Former Buckley Broadcasting President and CEO Joseph Bilotta Dead at 69. Former Buckley Broadcasting president and CEO Joseph Bilotta died on Friday (6/1) at Connecticut Hospice. Bilotta served as chief of Buckley Broadcasting when it operated venerable New York talk station WOR and the WOR Radio Network. TALKERS magazine learned of Bilotta’s passing via New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella, who issued the following statement to his organization: “It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that Joe Bilotta passed away this afternoon. As you know, Joe was a great friend and supporter of our association and he, along with Bob McCallan, Andy Santoro, and Elizabeth Christopherson comprised the search committee that ultimately offered me the privilege of representing this wonderful association. Joe was a constant source of support, advice, and guidance. His wise counsel and friendship meant a lot to all of us on the Board, but most especially me. He was always available to help.”
Premiere Networks to Distribute Nancy Grace Daily Feature. Legal media figure and former HLN personality Nancy Grace and iHeartMedia’s Premiere
Networks are partnering to syndicate a new, daily feature focusing on current crime news. The 60-second program launches July 23. This show is called “Crime Alert with Nancy Grace.” She says, “I’m thrilled to join iHeartMedia and Premiere Networks where I will continue my lifelong mission to fight crime and speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves. This new platform expands my ability to shine a light on heinous crimes, help find missing people — particularly children — arm listeners with need-to-know information and catch the bad guys.”
Mike Morgan Named SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia Raleigh. At its Raleigh station group, iHeartMedia names Mike Morgan senior vice president of sales. The Raleigh cluster includes news/talk WTKK-FM “106.1 FM Talk,” plus four music-formatted stations. Raleigh market president Alan Kirshbom says, “Mike is the total package. He brings extensive radio experience, subject matter expertise in digital, and a stellar track record of serving and developing business in key categories. With Mike joining the Raleigh team, we are stronger than ever.” Morgan joins iHeartMedia Raleigh after previously serving as director of new business development and account manager at Sokal Media Group. He also previously served as general manager for Capital Broadcasting in Raleigh.
Dan Mason Joins VSiN as Strategic Advisor and Investor. Most industry pros are aware of VSiN (Vegas Stats & Information Network), founded by Brian and Todd Musberger and home to brother Brent Musberger’s daily program “The Brent Musberger Action Update.” Now, former CBS RADIO chief Dan Mason is joining the media network dedicated to sports gambling information. The company is announcing a partnership with Mason in which he’ll join the company as strategic advisor and investor participating in all aspects of the company’s operations. Brian Musberger says, “With decades of experience in the media industry, Dan brings a wealth of knowledge to our team. We are excited to leverage his expertise to drive continued growth at VSiN, capitalizing on the incredible opportunity presented by the burgeoning sports gambling industry. His overall enthusiasm for our product brings an energy level to the room that is contagious.” Mason is currently chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation of America and serves as a senior advisor to iHeartMedia. The press release from VSiN says it “broadcasts as many as 13 hours of live programming a day from a showcase studio in the middle of the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.”
Beasley Radio Talent Institute Begins Today at Emerson College in Boston. Getting underway today at Emerson College in Boston and running through June 13 is the Beasley Radio Talent Institute. Conducting the opening session are Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley and EVP/COO Brian Beasley. They follow opening comments from the president of Emerson College, Dr. Lee Pelton. Sessions taking place over the next 10 days will be taught by working radio pros from Beasley and other radio groups, including Entercom, iHeartMedia, Hall Communications, and more, as well as play-by- play announcers for the Patriots, Celtics, Bruins and Red Sox. National Radio Talent System president and founder Dan Vallie comments, “From the beginning, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley grasped the vision and immediately stepped up. They are a company that does the right thing in our industry. We are proud to be working together to continue growing the farm system, discovering, coaching and incubating young talent with a passion for radio. It’s a privilege to be able to do this with Emerson College and to be working with forward thinking companies like Xperi, Marketron, Benztown, and Vcreative to help make it happen.” Jack Casey, general manager of WERS-FM and adjunct professor at Emerson College, says, “The Beasley Radio Talent Institute builds upon the quality education students are already receiving at their academic institutions and through working at their college radio stations. We are grateful to Beasley Media Group for providing this incredible opportunity for future broadcasters.”
Witness List for Nielsen vs Bubba the Love Sponge Case Released. The $1 million suit brought against Bubba the Love Sponge by Nielsen for ratings tampering is expected to go to trial on Monday, June 18. On Friday, the court released the final witness lists from both parties. Of course, Bubba himself is on both lists, as are a number of broadcasters, including Beasley’s Justin Chase and Brian Beasley. On Bubba’s list is former Clear Channel and Tribune chief Randy Michaels. Also, on both lists is PPM panelist Nicholas Tabachuck – with whom Bubba is alleged to have colluded to tamper with the ratings.
TALKERS News Notes. Atlantic City talk radio personality Harry Hurley announces he’ll be filling in on the FOX News Radio Network, guest hosting the Todd Starnes show on June 12 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET. WPGG Talk Radio’s Hurley says, “I want to take this opportunity to thank Todd Starnes, who is literally one of the classiest and most generous broadcasters in our business.”……….San Francisco sports talker KNBR announces that as part of its new multi-year agreement with Major League Baseball’s Giants, the team is the first to offer free, in-market live streaming of its radio broadcasts. The live stream is being delivered by TuneIn. Cumulus Media San Francisco EVP of operations Dave Milner comments, “KNBR and Cumulus Media are proud to continue our 40-year partnership with the San Francisco Giants. At the same time, we’re extremely excited to announce that KNBR, in partnership with TuneIn, will be the first radio station in Major League Baseball to offer Giants fans the ability to stream the games, live and free of charge in Northern California. Now every Giants game broadcast over the air on KNBR 680, will also be heard online at knbr.com, or the KNBR channel on TuneIn’s mobile app.”…..Sports radio pro Dan Graca is expanding his role WEPN “98.7 ESPN New York” as he joins the New York Jets game day radio team. Graca will work this season alongside former Jets linebacker Greg Buttle during the pre-game, halftime, and post-game radio shows. He’ll continue as regular contributor on ESPN Radio and SNY-TV, including “Loudmouths,” “Daily News Live,” and “Baseball Night in New York.” Graca says, “You could say this is a job I’ve spent my whole life preparing for. Growing up a New York Jets season ticket holder for 23 years, going from Section 302, Row 26 to now becoming a part of the game-day broadcast is nothing short of surreal. It is impossible to fully express the gratitude and excitement that comes along with this opportunity.”…..At last weekend’s Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association Awards, WTOP-FM, Washington was presented with 12 honors, including for Outstanding News Operation and for Best Website for WTOP.com. WTOP director of news and programming Mike McMearty says, “These awards are a testament to what an incredibly talented team we have here at WTOP. Across a wide range of specialties from digital to sports, documentaries to feature stories our people are what set us apart. We feel honored to be able to share in their success.”…..WDEL-FM/AM, Wilmington received seven awards from the Chesapeake AP Broadcasters Association on Saturday (6/2) in Ocean City, Maryland. The awards in the Div. II classification (markets 51+) included the top award of News Operation of the Year, as well as Best Newscast, Best Website and Best Talk Show for Rick Jensen. Pictured below at the ceremony are (from l-r): WDEL breaking news reporter Mike Phillips, director of news and programming Chris Carl, assistant news director Amy Cherry, talk show host Rick Jensen, and contributing correspondent Rob Petree.
Geoffrey Starks Nominated for FCC Seat. We have a nomination for the Federal Communications Commission seat begin vacated by Mignon Clyburn. Current FCC Enforcement Bureau assistant chief Geoffrey Starks gets the nod. Democrat Starks had been supported for the seat by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Starks’ confirmation will take place in the next few months and will coincide with the vote on the reconfirmation of Republican commissioner Brendan Carr.
Trump Self Pardon/Russia Investigation, North Korea Summit, Iran Nuclear Deal, Portland Antifa Violence, Parkland H.S. Graduation, Facebook Data Deals, Italian Populist Government, NBA Finals, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and Rudy Giuliani’s statement that President Trump could pardon himself; the status of the summit between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un; the repercussions of the U.S.’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal; the violence in Portland as Antifa forces clash with those at a Patriot Prayer rally; the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduation and Jimmy Fallon’s surprise appearance there; story reveals Facebook shared user data with many partners; unease in Europe as Italy swears in new, populist government; the Warriors-Cavaliers NBA Finals; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Cumulus Media’s country WKKO-FM, Toledo “K100,” 33-year program director Gary Shores hands the PD baton to Jerry Mac. Shores, who has been with the station for total of 43 years, will continue his role as morning show host. Mac comes to Toledo from Community Broadcasters’ operations in Elmira, New York where he was operations manager. Cumulus RVP and market manager Andy Stuart says, “We celebrate and honor Gary Shore’s unprecedented and highly successful run as ‘K100’ program director. Gary has been an essential part of the station’s continued growth and popularity and we are deeply grateful for his dedication and contributions over the past 43 years and counting. We are thrilled Gary will stay on as host of ‘K100 Mornings!’”…..CMT and iHeartMedia are collaborating so that iHeartCountry will once again serve as the official radio partner of the 2018 CMT Music Awards and will simulcast the live show from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday (6/8) at 8:00 pm ET/PT. The live radio broadcast will air across more than 120 iHeartCountry music radio stations. In addition, Premiere Networks will engage those stations and Premiere-syndicated affiliates at the exclusive radio remote broadcast in Nashville today and tomorrow to help kick off the “hottest night in country music.” “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan,” “The Bobby Bones Show,” and “The Crook & Chase Countdown” are on-location to provide listeners with interviews with award nominees, performers and celebrity guests…..Pictured below is country artist Kane Brown with Beasley Media Group staffers at WKLB, Boston’s “Street Party” where more than 8,000 listeners showed up to party on Lansdowne Street adjacent to Fenway Park. Performers included Brown, Cam, Lanco, Brown & Gray, Stephanie Quayle, and local performer Timmy Brown. From left to right are: Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley, Ilana Goldstein, Kane Brown, Brian Beasley, Beasley Media Group VP/market manager Mary Menna, and Joel Banos Carranza.