Jamie Allman Sues Entercom and Emmis Over Firing. Former KFTK-FM, St. Louis morning talk show host Jamie Allman has filed suit against both Entercom and Emmis over his dismissal from the station in the aftermath of his social media comment about Parkland, Florida student David Hogg. If you recall, Allman’s Tweet about the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student – whose anti-gun stance Allman was attacking – included the phrase “I’ve been hanging out getting ready to ram a hot poker up David Hogg’s ass tomorrow.” Allman’s television show on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KDNL-TV was canceled immediately and he was let go from KFTK-FM several days later. In his suit, Allman contends that immediately after the incident, he was assured by management that it was not serious enough that the company PR department couldn’t handle it. However, six days later he was summoned to a meeting and let go. Allman is suing both companies because Emmis owned the station at the time but Entercom was operating it under an LMA in anticipation of owning it (that sale recently closed). His breach of contract suit centers on the contention that the Tweet does not rise to the level of an offense for which he could be fired “for cause.” He is seeking either reinstatement of his job or payment of his salary through 2020 (the term of his contract), waiver of the non-compete clause if he’s not reinstated, plus damages of $25,000.
USTN Announces Partnership with Entercom. Today’s announcement isn’t long on details but reports that United States Traffic Network – recently sold to Fair and Equal LLC by Global Traffic Network — has entered into an agreement with Entercom Communications that includes an “equity position” for Entercom in USTN. Fair and Equal LLC is led by USTN president Ivan Shulman. He says, “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Entercom and look forward to their new role as an equity-holder as we continue to build out the new face of U.S. Traffic Network. Involving media groups at an equity level is an unprecedented move in the industry and we couldn’t be more excited about our prospects for the future. As one of the largest radio companies in the United States, Entercom is and will remain an invaluable part of our company and this partnership is just the first step in revolutionizing the broadcast traffic industry.” USTN says Entercom is the “first of many media groups with respect to which USTN intends to partner.” Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “We are pleased to announce our new partnership with USTN. Their new management team has moved quickly to fix their issues and establish a solid business model following the company’s separation from its former corporate parent. We look forward to participating in their future growth as they capitalize on the significant opportunities in this attractive market segment.”
Wisconsin Broadcaster Settles Debt Issues, Seeks Bankruptcy Exit. According to the La Crosse Tribune, Mississippi Valley Broadcasters is filing a petition with the bankruptcy court to allow subsidiary La Crosse Media Group – operator of news/talk WLFN, adult contemporary WXLR-FM, classic hits KQEG-FM, classic rock WKBH-FM, and country WQCC-FM – to exit bankruptcy as it has come to agreements with creditors. The station group was put up for sale but, according to the piece, none of the offers contained enough cash to pay off the debts. The company reports that the cluster is profitable. The primary creditors agree that bankruptcy would not provide any substantive benefit to unsecured creditors. See the story here.
TALKERS News Notes. A series of moves at Capitol Broadcasting’s stations in the Raleigh-Durham market changes the frequencies of two of its sports talk stations and adds a new music-formatted station to the market. Capitol had been – in addition to sports talk WCMC-FM “99.9 The Fan” – airing sports talk on WDNC-AM and its two translators as “Buzz Sports Radio” as well as on WCLY-AM, its translator and WCMC-HD3 as “95.7 The Ticket.” Now, “Buzz Sports Radio” is available via WCMC-HD2, W243DK, and W257CS while “95.7 The Ticket” moves to WDNC-AM and WCMC-HD3 as “620 The Ticket.” The new music format that appears to be a hybrid of Americana, country, R&B, folk, and rock airs on WCLY-AM and W239CK as “That Station 95.7.” Capitol is currently running a contest and will award $1,000 to the listener who comes up with the best name for the station to give to the charity of his or her choice…..Saga Communications drops the sports talk on Asheville, North Carolina signals WOXL-HD3 and W247BV. They are now simulcasting oldies as “Pure Oldies 97.3.” Saga still operates sports talk WISE-AM/WYSE-AM/W275CP as “WISE Sports Radio” on 102.9 FM and 1310 AM in the Asheville market…..Katz Media Group recently raised more than $34,000 for the Broadcasters Foundation of America during its 9thannual two-week, company-wide membership drive. The Katz Membership Drive was initiated in 2010 by Stu Olds, the former CEO of Katz Media Group. The drive has continued annually, raising more than $300,000 since its inception. All money raised during the drive goes to the Stu Olds Memorial Fund, which was established following the beloved industry leader’s passing in 2011. BFoA president Jim Thompson says, “Katz Media Group has been a longtime champion of the Broadcasters Foundation. We are extremely grateful to the Katz family for their belief in ‘giving back’ and continuing this charitable tradition. Their annual donation makes a huge impact for our colleagues in need.”
Trump-Russia Investigation, Stormy Daniels Case, Kanye West Comments, North-South Korea Talks, Mexico Border Security/Caravan Asylum Seekers, Trump Doctor Story, Iowa Abortion Law, Southwest Plane Window Incident, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/2). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents whether President Trump will be subpoenaed; porn star Stormy Daniels’ suit against President Trump and Rudy Giuliani’s statement that President Trump reimbursed attorney Michael Cohen for the $130,000 hush payment; Kanye West’s controversial comments about slavery and his support of President Trump; the peace talks between North and South Korea; security at the U.S.-Mexico border and the status of the caravan of asylum seekers; former Trump doctor Harold Bornstein’s statement that the president’s bodyguard and lawyer raided his office and that the president dictated his own health status report; Iowa passes restrictive abortion law; a second Southwest Airlines plane suffers a window break while in flight; Major League Baseball action, and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rock radio pro “Uncle Joe” Benson is assuming the hosting duties at Townsquare Media’s syndicated evening program “Ultimate Classic Rock.” The former KSWD, Los Angeles midday host and former star of Westwood One’s “Off the Record” program takes over for Zach Martin, who’s been hosting the show since it debuted in 2015. Townsquare SVP of programming Kurt Johnson says, “Joe’s name is synonymous with great rock radio. We’re excited to have him crack the mic nightly on the 50+ national affiliates of ‘Ultimate Classic Rock,’ and to share commentary, stories, interviews and videos with our audience on UltimateClassicRock.com.”…..On-air pro Jenn Marino is joining Entercom to be part of the company’s new alternative outlet KVIL, Dallas “ALT 103.7.” In a statement, the company says Marino will “lead morning drive as well as all three prime dayparts. She is the first on-air host to join KVIL since its commercial-free launch as an alternative station.” Entercom Dallas SVP and market manager Brian Purdy says, “We have an opportunity to build a powerful brand with ‘ALT 103.7’ and it begins with identifying incredibly talented people. Jenn is passionate about radio and driven to win and we’re looking forward to having her energy and drive on-air.” Marino was most recently co-host of Premiere Networks’ “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx.”…..Connoisseur Media promotes air personality Kara Reifert to co-host of the WKJY, Hempstead, New York “K-98.3” morning program, the “K-98.3 Morning Crew with Steve Harper.” Jon Daniels programs the Long Island adult contemporary station and he says, “Kara has been a member of the ‘K-98.3’ family for many years and, in addition to being a familiar, friendly voice, is someone who we feel Long Islanders can really relate to.”…..Cumulus Media’s hot AC WPLJ, New York presents the “95.5 PLJ Pepsi Summer Kick Off” on Friday, May 25 at Jenkinson’s Pavilion in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. During the “Todd & Jayde in the Morning” show, listeners will be treated to live performances from Jason Mraz, Echosmith, MAX, and John Splithoff…..Hubbard Radio Seattle’s new country KNUC “98.9 The Bull” partners with Super Late Model division race car driver Molly Helmuth of Molly Helmuth Racing (pictured below). KNUC program director Lisa Adams says, “The ‘New 98.9 The Bull’ is fast-paced by nature and partnering with Molly Helmuth Racing only solidifies that. She is one of the few up-and-coming female superstars in the sport and we can’t wait to see our name and image flying down the track with her. What goes better together than NASCAR and country music? Nothing!”