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Archive for July, 2018

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

| July 31, 2018

Lawyers to Appear in Court Tomorrow in Alex Jones Defamation Case.  Attorney Mark Bankston – representing three of the Newtown, Connecticut families who lost children in the Sandy Hook assault in 2012 – will be in court tomorrow (8/1) along with Alex Jones attorney Mark Enoch as the two argue Enoch’s motion to dismiss the defamation case against Jones.  According to a story in the Austin American-Statesman, Enoch intends to use the Texas Citizens Participation Act (signed into law in 2011 and designed to protect citizens’ First Amendment rights) to have the case tossed.  Enoch’s argument is that the suit is an attempt to silence people with views that differ from reports in the “mainstream media.”  Bankston argues that Jones’ InfoWars platform publishes stories and videos with a reckless disregard for the truth in an attempt to get “hits” and thereby make money.  Read the American-Statesman piece here.

Charles Thomas Exits WVON, Chicago. Chicago journalist Charles Thomas 
(right) exits urban news/talk WVON where he was co-host of “The WVON Morning Show with Maze Jackson” (left).  A press release from the station notes that Thomas joined the morning show 13 months ago “with the intent of only staying a few weeks after retiring from ABC-7 following a 45-year career in journalism.”  Midway Broadcasting Corporation chair Melody Spann Cooper states, “I thanked Charles for his tremendous commitment and contribution to the station and the community.  We were honored to have him for such a short stay and look forward to assisting him in his future endeavors of building his brand in the Black media landscape.  We know there are big things on the horizon for him.”  Chicago media pro Robert Feder writes that Thomas’ exit comes on the heels of a Politico Illinois Playbook report connecting co-host Jackson to a political consultant working for the Governor Bruce Rauner re-election campaign.  But Thomas tells Feder his exit was about “getting my life back.”  Thomas says after retiring from ABC-7, he didn’t “envision getting up at 3 o’clock in the morning every day.”  The station says that Thomas’ departure is the first of several major personality changes that will be taking place before the end of the year.

Gallagher Mingles with Fans at Film Premiere.  Pictured above being photographed with a listener is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher.  He was at the Camelot Cinema in Greenville, South Carolina for the standing-room-only screening of the new Dinesh D’Souza film Death of a Nation.

TALKERS News Notes. A new deal between United Stations Radio Networks and celebrity and entertainment news website TheBlast.com results in the availability of exclusive content for affiliated radio stations.  USRN says that to kick off this new relationship, the majority of the content will be delivered as customized live reports from top producers at The Blast.   “Eventually, USRN and The Blast will expand their collaborative coverage of celebrity and entertainment news to include pre-recorded reports and feeds that allow stations to maximize the share-ability of this exclusive content.”…..Univision Deportes and SiriusXM announce the launch of the Univision Deportes Radio channel on the SiriusXM satellite service.  Spanish-language content is also available via the SiriusXM app and on the streaming web player at SiriusXM.com…..Podcast and talk show producer Joel Meyer joins pubcaster KUER, Salt Lake City – the statewide NPR affiliate – as its director of programming and promotion.  Meyer was most recently an executive producer at WNYC Studios.  Prior to that, he was an executive producer of talk programming at WBEZ Chicago, a managing producer of podcasts at Slate.com and the executive producer of Soundcheck at WNYC.

L.A. Newsman Dave Zorn Passes at 73. Longtime KNX, Los Angeles news anchor Dave Zorn died recently at a hospice in Michigan at age 73 after a battle with liver cancer.  Zorn served with the station for 25 years and for many of those years was afternoon drive anchor.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Giuliani’s CNN Interview, Manafort Trial, Religious Liberty Task Force, Child Immigrant Order, ICE vs Portland Mayor, ‘Quiet Skies’ Monitoring Program, North Korean Rocket Program, the California Wildfire, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/30). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents tied with the related Rudy Giuliani interview on CNN regarding the Trump Tower meeting with a Russian delegation; the trial of former Donald Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort; Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces creation of new “religious liberty task force”; a California judge rules on policy for authorities’ handling of immigrant children; Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents criticize Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler for ordering Portland police not to assist ICE agents; the revelation of the government’s “Quiet Skies” programming monitoring airline passengers who are not on watch lists or suspected of anything; new information indicating North Korea is continuing its ICBM program; the deadly California wildfire; and Major League Baseball action 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. On-air and imaging pro Chris “Fish” Shatek moves from Entercom’s WKIS, Miami “Kiss Country 99.9” to the company’s country KMNB, Minneapolis “BUZ’N @ 102.9” as midday personality and imaging director, effective August 1. Shatek says, “I am so grateful to not only be back in the Twin Cities, but also back on ‘BUZ’N @ 102.9,’ a station I helped to get started. I get to work in my hometown, at a station I love, and with an incredible group of people. I couldn’t be more excited.”…..In Charlotte, morning drive co-host Meg Butterfly is exiting her full-time position at iHeartMedia’s country WKKT “96.9 The Kat” for a gig outside the radio business.  She’ll continue to pull a weekend shift and host her blog on the station’s website.  She has worked for the past nine years on the station alongside morning personality Paul Schadt…..Philly rock personality Debbi Calton is celebrating 25 years as host of the midday program on Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WMGK.  On Friday, August 17, the station will mark the occasion with a live broadcast with Andre Gardner celebrating Debbi’s big day from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Tap 24 in Calton’s hometown of Media, Pennsylvania. Calton says her favorite aspect of her gig at WMGK are the listeners.  “I’ve formed 25-year relationships with so many of them.  We talk on the request line or see each other at concerts. Yes, we’re still going to plenty of rock concerts.”…..Programming pro Scott “Lugnut” Dwyer joins Max Broadcasting Group’s rhythmic CHR KFCO “FLO 107.1” and rhythmic AC KJHM “JAMMIN’ 101.5” in Denver as program director.  Dwyer comes to the Mile-High City after serving most recently at Ohana Media in Anchorage.

Monday, July 30, 2018

| July 30, 2018

Larry Wilson Steps Down from Alpha Media Chairman Role. The Citadel Broadcasting chief launched Alpha Broadcasting in 2009 with stations in Portland, Oregon.  The company would merge with L&L Broadcasting and Main Line Broadcasting in 2014 and become Alpha Media.  Now, Larry Wilson will step away from his role as chairman of the board of directors of Alpha Media but will remain a member of the board.  A press release from the company says that under Wilson’s guidance, “Alpha Media has become the largest privately-owned radio broadcast company in the United States, operating 225 radio stations in 48 markets across the nation.  Wilson is also known for his work within the country music industry, having served on the board of directors for the Country Music Association from 1991 to 2001 and inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014.” Alpha Media president and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “Wilson is a respected colleague and pioneer in the broadcast industry.  His vision helped craft today’s broadcast and radio landscape.” Alpha Media will elect a new chairman at its next scheduled board meeting.

Brett Winterble Re-Ups with KFMB-AM, San Diego. San Diego talk show host Brett Winterble signs a new contract with Tegna-owned news/talk KFMB-AM, San Diego to continue hosting the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm show.  Winterble originally joined KFMB-AM in 2012 as part of the Roger Hedgecock show and began hosting afternoons in 2015.  In addition to his radio show and podcast productions, he recently began hosting a two-hour show for Newsmax TV.  KFMB-AM program director Dave Sniff states, “We are excited to continue our relationship with Brett!  His ability to digest the daily news cycle and make it relevant for the San Diego community is unmatched and truly impressive.  Brett will play a key role in creating unique content, not only for KFMB-AM, but also for our various digital platforms.”

David Haugh Assumes AM Co-Host Role on WSCR, Chicago Today.  After 26 years with WSCR, Chicago “The Score,” Brian Hanley did his last regular morning show with Mike Mulligan on Friday (7/27) and Chicago Tribune sports columnist David Haugh debuts on the new “Mully and Haugh” show today.  Haugh says in a statement, “I’m excited to join The Score’s morning show.  Brian Hanley is a good friend and class act who set a high standard for me to meet.  Mike Mulligan has gone from fierce competitor to trusted confidante over the years, a relationship I’ve always valued.  I will continue to have the privilege of writing columns for the Chicago Tribune, where I have spent the last 15 years trying to serve the best interests of Chicago sports fans.  The job only gets better now.  Thank you to The Score for the opportunity, to the Tribune for the support and to everyone who will listen to “Mully and Haugh” do our best to entertain you every morning.”  Read Chicago media maven Robert Feder’s story on the changes here.

United States Traffic Network Sues Entercom for $5 Million.  Alleging that Entercom entered into negotiations with United States Traffic Network to buy the company and walked away from the deal at the last minute with the intent of developing a directly competitive business based on information gathered during the discovery process, USTN is suing Entercom for material and punitive damages “in excess of $5 million.”  The complaint, filed  the District Court in Harris County, Texas, states, “During the transaction of the sale of equity in USTN, in April and the failed transaction, Defendants (Entercom) made false representations of fact, false promises or benefitted by not disclosing that a third party’s representations or promises were false.  The false representations or promises, set forth above, were made for the purpose of inducing Plaintiffs to enter into a contract regarding the equity of USTN.  Plaintiffs relied on the false representations or promises.  The reliance on the false representations, promises, and failures to disclose caused Plaintiffs injury and benefited Defendants.”  The suit further alleges that Entercom intentionally induced USTN to miss a scheduled debt payment to Entercom under the pretenses that this payment would be unnecessary due to the planned closing of the purchase transaction. USTN is owned by Fair and Equal LLC. For its part, Entercom issues a press release saying it has ended its reseller agreement with USTN and calls the suit “entirely baseless, frivolous and frankly insulting.  Entercom has worked tirelessly and constructively with USTN over the past six months to help USTN work through its significant financial issues.  Entercom is owed substantial amounts of money by USTN, and the company intends to defend itself vigorously and assert all of its rights.”  Entercom says it “has successfully sold traffic and other short duration advertising on its own for many years.  In April, Entercom took back a portion of its broadcast inventory from USTN and is achieving great success selling that inventory through its own sales channels.  The Company expects to build on that success as it begins to monetize the remaining inventory taken back from USTN.”  CEO David Field says, “We are relieved to no longer be mired by the difficult USTN situation that was inherited as part of the CBS Radio merger.  We will move quickly to augment our strong internal sales organization to ensure that we realize the full value of this inventory.”

A Visit to WRKO’s New Digs.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison paid a visit to legendary outlet WRKO, Boston on Friday (7/27) to check out its new location and pristine, one-week-old studios at the iHeartMedia broadcasting complex in Medford, Massachusetts (a bustling area on Boston’s north side).  Until recently, WRKO was an Entercom property, but it was sold to iHeart after Entercom’s merger with CBS Radio, significantly re-shuffling the playing deck in Boston.  While there, Harrison sat in from 6:00 am to 10:00 am for the morning show’s regular co-host, Doug “VB” Goudie – something he occasionally does on the station.  Harrison (left) is pictured with the WRKO morning show’s co-anchor Kim Carrigan (center) and the program’s on-air producer Jim Clerkin (right).  Carrigan will be the guest on the next installment of the award-winning podcast “The Michael Harrison Interview” set to be posted tomorrow (7/31).

Final Radio Talent Institute of the Summer Taking Place at Northwest Missouri State.  This week begins that final 10-day Radio Talent Institute of the summer. Students from 11 different universities are converging on the campus of Northwest Missouri State University to take part in the Missouri Broadcasters Association Radio Talent Institute. MBA president Mark Gordon says, “This was made possible by the financial commitments from Northwest Missouri State University, the Missouri Broadcasters board of directors and broadcast companies that include: Hubbard Radio St. Louis; Eagle Communications St. Joseph; Zimmer Radio and Marketing Group of Mid Missouri Columbia, Jefferson City; iHeartMedia St. Louis, Springfield, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport; Cumulus Media Kansas City, Columbia, Jefferson City; Alpha Media of Missouri: Union Broadcasting Kansas City; and Mid-West Family Broadcasting Springfield.  We are pleased to bring this program taught by industry professionals to Missouri that will help fill job openings at broadcast stations with quality employees who have a true understanding of how fun and rewarding a career in our industry can be.”  Founder and president of the National Radio Talent System, Dan Vallie, comments, “To have so many students from so many different universities is a tribute to Mark and the MBA and their efforts as we work together to discover and prepare young talent for the industry.  These are the talent we will be hiring now and will be the leaders in our industry tomorrow.”

RI Talk Host John DePetro and Sean Spicer at Book Signing. Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer (left) returned to his home state of Rhode Island to promote his new book The Briefing (2018, Regnery Publishing).  He’s pictured here with WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk show host John DePetro (right), who hosted him on his radio show and attended several of the book signings with him.  DePetro also emceed a private VIP event in Spicer’s hometown of Barrington, Rhode Island.

New Affiliates for ‘Our American Stories.’ Now airing in the evenings on iHeartMedia-owned news/talk WHO, Des Moines is Lee Habeeb’s “Our American Stories.”  Additional new affiliate stations include: iHeartMedia’s KPRC, Houston and Inspiration Time’s WXTE, Erie.  Program host Lee Habeeb is a vice president of content at Salem Media Group and a contributing editor of the weekly essay series “Across America” for Newsweek Magazine and Newsweek.com.  “Our American Stories” airs on 139 radio stations across the U.S.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Trump’s Mueller Tweets, Trump-Sulzberger Fake News Meeting, Government Shutdown Threat, Trump Trade Wars, Facebook Value Plummets, California Wildfires, Les Moonves Allegations, New Mission: Impossible Film, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents, tied with President Trump’s weekend tweets about the matter; Trump’s meeting with New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger over the president’s fake news charges; Trump threatens to let federal government shut down unless border wall is funded; the effects of Trump’s trade wars on U.S. businesses; the plunging value of Facebook; the deadly California wildfires; allegations of sexual harassment against CBS chairman Les Moonves; the new Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible film; 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.

NuVoodoo Study Reveals Listener Misconceptions.  Calling the results “startling new insights for radio stations,” NuVoodoo Media Services says its 12th and latest NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study of more than 3,000 radio listeners between the ages of 14 and 54 across all PPM-rated markets will reveal the findings in a series of free webinars for radio professionals, beginning Wednesday (8/1).  Register at http://www.nuvoodoo.com/webinars.  The study was fielded this June and indicates that about half of all radio listeners under age 35 believe radio’s tight playlists are a cost-saving measure to avoid paying licensing fees.  Among those respondents who are likely to accept a diary or meter, the perception jumps to more than 2/3 among 14-24-year-olds. The study also shows that nearly 60% of all respondents and close to 70% of likely diary and PPM participants conclude that radio stations play the music that record companies pay them to play.  NuVoodoo says the webinar series is part of its ongoing effort to inform the industry of emerging trends and to help uncover opportunities for stations to improve programming and marketing efforts.  The primary focus is on those who have accepted or are more likely to accept a ratings diary or become part of the PPM panel, since this small segment of radio listeners holds the key to any station’s financial success.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Nationally syndicated country morning personality Bobby Bones and iHeartMedia announce a renewed and expanded relationship in which Bones takes on the title vice president, creative director of iHeartCountry.  In addition to continuing to host his daily morning show and the weekly “Country Top 30,” Bones will executive produce a new, one-hour weekend program, “Women of iHeartCountry,” co-hosted by Amy Brown from the Bobby Bones show.  The program will feature music from established female artists and up-and-comers, with weekly guest appearances by other iHeartMedia female on air personalities. Bones says, “This is the opportunity I’ve been chasing my entire career.  Thanks to Bob Pittman, Rich Bressler, and Kevin Legrett for their years of support and for the space to build this partnership.”…..LARadio.com reports that CHR legend Rick Dees is joining KQLH-LPFM, Yucaipa, California to host the afternoon drive show.  KQLH-LPFM serves parts of the Inland Empire and Palm Springs.  It is a non-profit station but accepts sponsorships as tax deductible donations…..Entercom names Toshamakia Acevedo music director and afternoon drive personality for hip hop KQKS, Denver “KS 107.5.”  Acevedo transfers from the company’s hip hop WJMH, Greensboro, North Carolina “102 Jamz.”  Entercom Denver SVP and market manager John Fullam comments, “We are excited to welcome Toshamakia to the Denver team. We believe her on-air energy and passion for being involved in the community will resonate a great deal with Denver music fans.”  Acevedo succeeds former APD, music director, and afternoon drive host Michael Buhrman, who recently transitioned to Entercom’s KSFM, Sacramento as program director and afternoon drive host…..Cumulus Media appoints Megan Stone co-host of WEBE, Westport, Connecticut (Fairfield and New Haven markets) “WEBE Wake Up Morning Show with Jay Michaels.”  Operations manager Danny Lyons states, “It is exciting to welcome Megan to the Cumulus family.  I know her enthusiasm for radio, as well as for her listeners, will shine through every morning on WEBE 108.”…..At CHR WYRG, Indianapolis “ENERGY 93.9,” Robert “Sid” Sidloski takes over the program director role on August 6.  Cumulus Media Indianapolis operations manager Boomer says, “In seeking the next leader for WYRG I had the opportunity to speak with several skilled programmers from around the country, most with career credentials that would certainly be suitable for the role of PD.  However, I kept coming back to Sid’s positive attitude and seemingly relentless drive and determination to succeed in this situation along with his vision for the brand to pursue and achieve aggressive success right away.  Sid has an understanding of our obstacles and has shared impressive plans to seize upon our opportunities here in Indianapolis.  I’m absolutely looking forward to seeing his leadership in action as PD of ENERGY 93.9.”…..The nationally syndicated “The Bert Show” – led by Bert Weiss – enters into an agreement to be produced and distributed by Westwood One.  Cumulus Media EVP, marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “We’re excited to welcome ‘The Bert Show’ to Westwood One.  His ever-evolving show has been on a steady rise for more than a decade.  Bert’s professionalism and level of entertainment, combined with the strength of our network, should take him to new heights.” The program was previously syndicated by YEA Networks…..In Detroit, Mildred Gaddis – host of the “Mildred Gaddis Show” on Radio One’s “Detroit Praise Network” is named community affairs director for Radio One’s Detroit cluster. The new “Praise Network” replaces gospel WPZR-FM that was recently acquired by EMF. As part of that transaction, Radio One acquires translators W228CJ at 93.5 and W252BX at 98.3 from EMF and plans to marry them with W260CB at 99.9 to build the new “Detroit Praise Network.”…..Premiere Networks syndicated adult contemporary star Delilah is publishing her latest book, One Heart At a Time (2018, RosettaBooks).  In the book, Delilah uses “stories from her extraordinary off-air life – full of trials, forgiveness, faith, and adventure (along with select well-executed pranks)” in calling on us to “connect, one heart at a time, to lift others, and in the process, our communities and ourselves.” Rosetta CEO Arthur Klebanoff states, “In her easygoing style and characteristic, beloved voice, Delilah shares the real woman behind the microphone. She tells her deeply moving story as the series of miracles and prayers it is.”

Friday, July 27, 2018

| July 27, 2018

Surprise Buyer for Scripps’ Milwaukee Duo Is Good Karma.  Numerous industry watchers expected E.W. Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI-FM to go to a larger operator – such as Entercom.  Today’s announcement that the stations are being sold to Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Brands for $16 million is sure to surprise many.  Good Karma already owns Milwaukee market ESPN affiliate WAUK-AM, as well as Madison sports outlet WTLX-FM.  Scripps president and CEO Adam Symson states, “Good Karma Brands’ focus on Milwaukee makes the company an ideal home for these important local radio stations. The company’s expertise in connecting audiences and advertisers, particularly with sports marketing, means these stations will be well positioned for the future.”  Scripps has put all of its radio assets on the market and Symson adds, “At Scripps, we are on track for the sale of our entire radio station group as a component of our enterprise-wide strategy to divest of non-core assets and focus on improving our near-term operating performance while fostering the growth ahead.”  The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.  Good Karma owns six sports talk stations (including WAUK). WTMJ has the rights to Green Bay Packers football, Milwaukee Bucks basketball, and Milwaukee Brewers baseball – right up Good Karma’s alley – but it also operates a personnel-heavy news and programming department and one has to wonder if staffers there are concerned about the owner-to-be’s commitment to a big news department.  At the same time, there are those who will applaud the sale of these stations to a smaller operator and not one of the big conglomerates. Kalil & Co., Inc. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

New Jersey 101.5’s Dennis & Judi Suspended for 10 Days. You have to give credit to Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” management for getting out front on this and 1) quickly decrying the words of hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco, 2) immediately suspending the duo while conducting an internal investigation, and 3) swiftly deciding the punishment and making it public.  This, of course, stems from their show segment during which they referred to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal – a practicing Sikh – as “turban man” and disparaged his name.  The station pulled Malloy and Franco from Wednesday’s program and promised quick action.  It then announced they will be suspended for 10 days.  It also released the following joint apology from Malloy and Franco: “It was a mistake we both deeply regret.  We respect all cultures and beliefs and are deeply sorry for the pain caused to the Sikh community, our co-workers and our beloved listeners.”

Salem Radio Network Host Mike Gallagher is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  In addition to being a top-10 member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred and a major radio talent, syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is a devoted theater fan and part-time stage actor.  The Salem Radio Network star has compiled quite an impressive list of credits over the years performing leading and supportive roles in musicals at professional regional theaters across the country including a brief guest stint on Broadway in the production of “Memphis.”  He’s even dabbled successfully in the risky business side of theater and has a Tony Award to prove it for his investment in the Broadway and road show revivals of “Pippin.”  Gallagher is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview” in which he and the founder of TALKERS take a deep dive into the world of theater.  They explore what being a stage actor has meant to the talk star in addition to the state of the theater in general touching upon its role in today’s politically polarized and contentious environment.  Don’t miss this fascinating look into the multi-layered personality of one of talk radio’s most successful players.  To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Podcast” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

TALKERS News Notes. Portland-based Alpha Media sells three of its Missouri stations for $250,000 cash.  To be transferred to Clayton and Brittany Radford-owned Radford Media Group are: agriculture-formatted KDKD-AM “Ag 1280,” country KDKD-FM, and classic rock KXEA “104.9 The Eagle.” These are the first radio properties for Radford.  The broker for the seller is Kalil & Co. and representing the buyer is Patrick Communications…..Louisville Public Media names Stephen George president and general manager for its public radio outlets WFPL, WUOL, and WFPK.  He’s been serving as interim president since January and takes over for previous president Michael Skoler.

Cohen Recordings and Trump-Russia Investigation Tied for Top News/Talk Stories This Week.  The recordings of conversations between former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and Donald Trump discussing a payment to Playboymodel and the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of July 23-27, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the threat by GOP congressmen to begin the impeachment process against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  Coming in at #3 was the meeting between President Trump and the E.U.’s Jean-Claude Juncker over trade issues, followed by the status of the second meeting between President Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See the entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. There’s a new voice joining iHeartMedia’s and Premiere Networks’ Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” on September 17.  Medha Gandhi becomes co-host, moving to New York from her most recent position as executive producer and co-host of the “Matty in the Morning” program on the company’s WXKS-FM, Boston “KISS 108.”  Cast member Bethany Watson left the program in February to pursue an acting career.  Duran says, “We fell in love with Gandhi within the first five minutes of meeting her.  When you have a show as long established as ours, it’s very important to continue to keep it fresh and in Gandhi we have found the perfect co-host to do that.  I can’t wait for her to join our dysfunctional family!”  The program emanates from WHTZ, New York “Z100” and airs on some 80 affiliate stations…..Entercom’s Portland country outlet KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” brings Toni-Marie aboard as midday personality and assistant program director.  Most recently, she was music director and air personality at Buck Owens Broadcasting’s KUZZ and KRJK in Bakersfield.  Entercom Portland SVP and market manager Bill Ashenden says, “Toni-Marie brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to these roles and I’m looking forward to seeing her connect with our audience in the Northwest.”…..Beasley Media Group names Scotty B evening personality on rock WDHA, Dover, New Jersey.  Scotty B was most recently a part-time air personality and production staffer at the company’s rock WRAT, Point Pleasant, New Jersey.  WDHA program director Terrie Carr comments, “Rockturnal with Scotty B,” which airs weeknights from 7:00 to 12:00 midnight, will focus on his strengths – interacting with rock fans, getting out in the community, and being host of the party!  I am thrilled to have Scotty’s energy, attitude, and huge presence on our airwaves and as part of our family.”…..Jeffrey Jameson exits Entercom’s hot AC WNEW-FM, New York “NEW 102.7,” he announces in a brief tweet. Co-host Karen Carson will handle the morning show solo for now…..Iliad Media Group appoints James Garner regional operations manager for its Boise and Twin Falls station groups.  The company says that in this new position, the 11-year staffer will oversee the programming, production, and promotions at the 13 stations in Boise and Twin Falls…..Kenny Chesney’s exclusive SiriusXM channel, “No Shoes Radio,” is a live Town Hall with Chesney at Soldier Field in Chicago this weekend.  The show is being hosted by Storme Warren.  Chesney will give fans the opportunity to hear songs from his new album with track-by-track commentary, audience members will learn about the album’s inspiration, the recovery efforts from Hurricane’s Irma and Maria, and his Love for Love City Fund.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

| July 26, 2018

Former KFTK-FM, St. Louis Host Jamie Allman, Emmis and Entercom Argue Over Motion to Dismiss His Breach of Contract Suit.  If you’ve been following the legal case in which talk show host Jamie Allman is suing Emmis and Entercom for his firing from news/talk KFTK-FM, St. Louis, there’s an update to report.  Remember that Allman was let go after the blowback from his tweet in which he referenced Florida school shooting survivor and activist David Hogg saying, “I’ve been hanging out getting ready to ram a hot poker up David Hogg’s ass tomorrow.”  Emmis/Entercom asked the court to dismiss the case and on Tuesday (7/24), each side filed arguments for and against the motion to dismiss.  Allman argues to convert the Motion to Dismiss to a motion for summary judgement due to Emmis/Entercom’s attachment of the contract’s Assignment and Assumption Agreement and news stories about his tweet to its argument and second, due to his claim that he’s a third-party beneficiary of the contract because of FCC ownership cap issues affecting the Emmis-Entercom stations sale.  Emmis/Entercom argue that their attachments comply with the rules for filing for the Motion and that Allman’s ownership cap argument is irrelevant because that matter is governed by the FCC.  Allman also argues that whether Emmis/Entercom legally fired him based on the language of his contract should be decided by a jury, not by a judge in the form of a dismissal.  It appears Jamie Allman is in this fight for the long haul.

‘New Jersey 101.5’ Suspends Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco for ‘Turban Man’ Comment. After catching heat for comments made by midday personalities Dennis Malloy (right) and Judi Franco (left) about New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” has suspended the pair “until further notice.”  During a radio conversation about Gurbir’s decision to not prosecute low-level marijuana arrests for the next month, the duo referred to Gurbi – a practicing Sikh – as “turban man.”  The comments went viral on social media and the station posted its response on its website. It says, “We are aware of the offensive comments made by Dennis and Judi during today’s broadcast.  We have taken immediate action and have taken them off the air until further notice.  We are investigating the matter and will have further comment shortly.”

Mike Pintek Takes Leave from KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. After being off the air for a few weeks, KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh talk host Mike Pintek announces he’s on leave from the station to focus on his health.  In May of 2017, Pintek announced he’s been diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer and is under the care of Dr. Nathan Bahary at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.  He says in a statement posted on the KDKA website, “At this point, I need to take some time and really focus on my health.  I know a number of listeners have reached out to the station to get an update on my condition since I haven’t been on the air for a few weeks.  I want everyone to know how much I appreciate all your prayers, kind words, encouragement and support.”  Pintek recently suffered a stroke but his doctors believe his rehab from that will be successful and he’ll return to his course of chemotherapy.

SiriusXM CEO Says AM/FM Must Improve Its Product to Survive. Commenting on the competitive nature of today’s audio services industry during Wednesday’s Q2 investor conference call, SiriusXM chief executive officer Jim Meyer says that his company has been addressing the threats of new and improved audio services since he’s been with the company.  In talking about that, he also gave his opinion about AM/FM radio’s future.  “I’ve been here almost 14 years, and during those 14 years I’ve seen a couple of moments where people have said, ‘Oh, competition and what’s it going to do?’  And yet, you look at the unbelievable things that have occurred over the last 10 years – the unbelievable surge in technology and yet you still look at the number of people that listen to AM/FM radio every day, okay?  And honestly, that’s the area I think that’s got a problem.  If they don’t vastly improve their product, that’s the area where I think listener hours are finally going to come or finally going to shift away to other things.  If you really want to know where I think it inevitably shakes out.”

SiriusXM Second Quarter Revenue Up 6%.  CEO Jim Meyer wasn’t taking a potshot at radio in the story above, but he makes his comments standing on pretty firm ground as far as SiriusXM’s business is concerned.  The company announces its 2018 second quarter revenue was $1.4 billion, up 6% over Q2 of 2017.  Net income for the quarter was $292 million, a gain of 42% over last year’s $202 million figure.  Jim Meyer states, “SiriusXM’s strong start to 2018 accelerated in the second quarter.  We added 483,000 net new self-pay subscribers in the quarter with an impressive 1.6% self-pay churn rate, our best-ever performance.  Our 6% growth in revenue would have been 8% absent the change in generally accepted accounting principles that was effective January 1, and we are thrilled to increase our full-year guidance for self-pay net additions, revenue and adjusted EBITDA.”

Nielsen 2018 Q2 Revenue Flat. Ratings and research giant Nielsen Holdings plc announces 2018 second quarter financial results.  Nielsen was basically flat on revenue of $1.6 billion, up 0.2% compared the same period in 2017.  Nielsen Audio is part of the company’s Watch segment that was up 4.5%, but the audio revenue was basically flat for the quarter.  The Audience Measurement of Video and Text and Marketing Effectiveness revenues accounted for a large portion of the Watch segment’s growth.

Nielsen’s Mitch Barns to Retire at Year’s End. Also on Wednesday (7/25), Nielsen’s board of directors announced that CEO and board member Mitch Barns will retire from the company at the end of 2018.  James Attwood, current chairman of the board, is named executive chairman.  Barns will remain through the end of the year and Attwood, a managing director at The Carlyle Group will assume a more active role and will direct the search for the new CEO.  Attwood says, “Mitch has left an indelible mark on Nielsen – his commitment to integrity, openness, values and engagement will continue to be the heart of this company for years to come.  I, along with the rest of the board of directors, thank him for his service.”

Salem Selling KOTK-AM, Omaha to Hickory Radio. Omaha-market news/talk KOTK-AM “The Answer” and religious KCRO-AM (and their translators) are being sold by Salem Media Group to Hickory Radio, an affiliate of Walnut Radio.  The deal includes the stations continuing to operate in those formats and with their respective brands, as Salem is licensing “The Word” and “The Answer” to Hickory.  Salem president/broadcast Dave Santrella says, “We are thrilled to put these radio stations in the capable hands of Walnut Radio, a broadcaster with deep roots in the area and with a commitment to maintain the quality of broadcast our ministry partners, advertisers and listeners have come to expect.”  No price has been announced yet.

News/Talk KVOI, Tucson Sold to Bustos Media. The Doug and Mary Martin-owned company Good News Communications agrees to sell news/talk KVOI, Tucson to Amador Bustos’ Bustos Media Holdings.  No sale price has been announced yet but Bustos says in a statement, “As a long-time Spanish language broadcaster, we are excited to step into the arena of news/talk radio in Tucson, Arizona, a city we have worked in before and have loved for many years.”  KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

TALKERS News Notes. The new voice of the New Orleans Saints is former Saints player Zach Strief, who begins handling play-by-play duties on flagship Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans. Strief will work alongside former teammate Deuce McAllister.  Entercom New Orleans SVP and market manager Chris Wegman states, “When we set the criteria for the new ‘Voice of the Saints’ we were looking for someone who would make the professional play calls, as well as someone who has a deep connection to the team, the fans, and our community.  Zach possesses all of those qualities, knows the game firsthand and is a fixture in the New Orleans community. We’re very excited about adding him to the team.”…..Envision Networks announces that it has brought aboard new affiliate relations manager Josh Friedman.  He comments, “After being able to intern with Envision Networks, I was excited to join the team full time when the opportunity came.  I look forward to working with Danno, Laura, and the rest of the team and to continue to grow Envision’s affiliate base while upholding the superlative level of customer service established by Envision.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that iHeartMedia Chicago chief engineer Bob Fukuda has exited the station group. Feder notes that Fukuda was a 30-year veteran of iHeartMedia, as well as its predecessors Clear Channel and Evergreen Media…..WBUR, Boston names Meghna Chakrabarti and David Folkenflik co-hosts of the NPR-syndicated midday program “On Point.”  They will assume their new on-air duties on August 20. They take over for Tom Ashbrook, who exited back in February after allegations of workplace abuse.  Folkenflik is an NPR correspondent and Chakrabarti is host of WBUR’s “Radio Boston.”…..The “Motley Fool Money” radio show, hosted by Chris Hill, adds new affiliate station WTAX, Springfield, Illinois.

Trump-Cohen Tapes/Russia Investigation, U.S.-E.U. Meeting, Trump Pushes Back Putin Meeting, Rosenstein Impeachment, YouTube Bans Alex Jones Videos, Trump-Iran Rhetoric, U.S.-China Trade War, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/25).  The release of some of the recordings made of Michael Cohen’s conversations with President Trump and the investigation into possible Russian connections with the Trump campaign; President Trump’s meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker over trade issues; the next Trump-Putin meeting is pushed off into 2019; GOP House members introduce articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein; YouTube bans three Alex Jones videos from its platform; the war rhetoric between President Trump and Iran; the effects of the U.S.-China trade war; and Major League Baseball action 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. A new, nationally syndicated weekend program featuring Ellen K is being launched by iHeartMedia.  Dubbed “The Ellen K Weekend Show,” it will be a four-hour adult contemporary weekend program emanating from Los Angeles where Ellen K also hosts morning on the company’s KOST.  The company calls it “custom-tailored content for an audience that wants to feel informed on lifestyle trends, inspired by ‘feel good’ moments and enhanced by shareable factoids.  Listeners will also enjoy the latest showbiz news and interviews with the biggest names in music like John Legend, Lady Gaga, Meghan Trainor, Kelly Clarkson and more.”…..Beasley Media Group names Joel Weiss music director for alternative WBOS “ALT 92.9,” effective August 6.  Weiss spent the past 13 years as music director and air personality at Cox Media Group’s alternative WSUN, Tampa “97X.” WBOS program director Ken West says, “I’m excited to welcome Joel to ‘ALT 92.9.’ He loves music, loves radio, and loves Boston.  His passion and energy for the alternative format will help push ‘ALT 92.9’ to new heights!”

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

| July 25, 2018

Beasley Sets Price for ‘Bordes Family’ Stock at $7.50; Pulls Back on Secondary Offering. Analysts are saying the announcement of the sale of 3,126,147 shares of its Class A common stock – shares held by the Bordes family and received in the Greater Media deal – at $7.50 per share, combined with Beasley Media Group’s intent to purchase country WXTU, Philadelphia for $38 million in cash has sent the company’s stock price down 17.4% (as of Tuesday) to $7.35 per share.  As a result, Beasley has reversed course and will not sell 1.1 million shares of Beasley family-held stock in a secondary offering.  At the same time, the company has set the price of the “Bordes family” stock to the public at $7.50 per share.  That offering is expected to close on or about July 26 (subject to customary closing conditions).  Additionally, the underwriters have a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 468,922 shares of Class A common stock from the “Bordes family selling stockholders.”  Beasley will not receive any proceeds from shares of Class A common stock to be sold by the Bordes family selling stockholders.  Guggenheim Securities, LLC is acting as sole book-running manager for the offering.

Cox Media Group Considering ‘Strategic Options’ for Television Assets. It wasn’t that long ago that a rumor filtered through the radio industry that Cox Media Group may be shopping its radio station properties.  Now we learn that CMG’s concern is not with its radio division but with the 14-station TV group.  In a statement, Cox Media Group president Kim Guthrie says that when it comes to television, “scale is critical to be successful.  We firmly believe that our great stations – and talented people – will need to be part of a larger entity to thrive in the future.”  It’s not clear if Cox has a buyer or partner in mind, but Guthrie says any deal would likely be completed in the next six to 12 months.  Her internal memo says the company would consider merging or partnering with another media entity.  Cox Enterprises president and CEO Alex Taylor  says in his internal memo, “We’ve identified a lot of exciting growth opportunities, and also some tough decisions we need to make as time marches on and things change.”

FCC Seeking Comments on Competition in Audio Marketplace.  Speaking of competition in the broader media marketplace, the Federal Communications Commission issues a public notice seeking comment from the industry on the “status of competition in the marketplace for delivery of audio programming.”  Recent legislation requires “the Commission publish a Communications Marketplace Report in the last quarter of every even numbered year.  Among other things, the biennial Communications Marketplace Report requires that the Commission assess the state of competition in the communications marketplace, including competition to deliver audio service among broadcast stations, satellite radio, and entities that provide audio content via the internet and to mobile devices.”  Responses to this request could go a long way in giving the FCC the information it needs to justify changes in ownership caps, for example.  The notice continues: “Accordingly, this Public Notice seeks input on the state of competition in the marketplace for the delivery of audio programming as it would relate to the overall goal of providing the required Communications Marketplace Report to Congress.  This Public Notice requests comment on the criteria or metrics that could be used to evaluate the state of competition in the audio programming marketplace, as well as comment and information on industry data, competitive dynamics, and trending factors.  For example, commenters are invited to submit the following data and information related to participants in the marketplace for the delivery of audio programming, including, but not limited to, terrestrial radio broadcasters (i.e., AM and FM radio stations), satellite radio providers, and entities that provide audio programming over the Internet and to mobile devices (collectively, Audio Marketplace Participants): 1) identification and ownership of key Audio Marketplace Participants, as well as the business models and competitive strategies they use; 2) trends in service offerings, pricing, and consumer behavior; 3) the extent of competition among Audio Marketplace Participants, including intramodal competition (i.e., competition among providers of the same type, such as terrestrial radio broadcast stations) and intermodal competition (i.e., competition among providers of different types, such as terrestrial radio broadcast stations and satellite radio providers); 4) ratings, subscribership, and revenue information, for the marketplace as a whole and for individual Audio Marketplace Participants; 5) capital investment, innovation, and the deployment of advanced technology; 6) requirements for entry into the marketplace; and 7) recent entry into and exit from the marketplace.”  See the full Notice here.

Jack Taddeo to Lead Cumulus Des Moines. Radio management pro Jack Taddeo is named vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Des Moines station group that includes: news/talk/sports KBGG and four music formatted stations.  Taddeo was most recently market manager at NRG Media’s Cedar Falls/Cedar Rapids cluster.  Cumulus EVP of operations Bob Walker comments, “We are thrilled to have a broadcaster like Jack Taddeo to lead the Cumulus team in Des Moines.  Jack’s passion for broadcast and the impact it has in communities is contagious.”

Doug Gottlieb and JT The Brick Launch NFL Camp Tour. The NFL season is just around the corner and that means FOX Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb and JT “The Brick” are on the road visiting team training camps in California for the network’s annual NFL Training Camp Tour.  The Doug Gottlieb show will broadcast from the Los Angeles Rams training camp at UC Irvine on July 27, followed by the Dallas Cowboys training camp at River Ridge Playing Fields in Oxnard on August 6, and the Los Angeles Chargers training camp at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa on August 9.  JT “The Brick,” who has served in various broadcast capacities with the Oakland Raiders since 1998 and currently serves as a sideline reporter for the team’s pre-season broadcasts, will broadcast from their training camp in Napa Valley, on July 26 and 27.

New Affiliates for Walter M. Sterling; Guest Shot on KMOX, St. Louis. New affiliates for the Westwood One-distributed “Sterling on Sunday” program include KKSF, San Francisco and KUFO, Portland.  Walter M. Sterling says, “The show’s success comes from holding up a mirror to daily life.  I did a whole hour about stealing Splenda and tiny airplane bathrooms.” On Thursday of this week (7/26), Sterling guest stars on KMOX, St. Louis’ “Overnight America” program for regular host Ryan Wrecker.

Envision’s ‘Drive By Funny’ to Air on WWSE, Jamestown.  The city of license for adult contemporary WWSE “SE93” – Jamestown, New York – is the hometown of comedy legend Lucille Ball.  The owner is Media One Group and director of broadcast operations Andrew Hill says, “Jamestown, New York is the birthplace of Lucille Ball, the first female of comedy, so we needed to have a professional and easy-to-use comedy service to entertain listeners that come into town from across the globe to visit her hometown.  We are also opening the new National Comedy Center museum in Jamestown this year and we really needed a turnkey comedy option that our jocks could use to promote all of the comedy we have in town.  ‘Drive by Funny’ fits our needs perfectly and our audience is enjoying these clean, funny, and iconic audio pieces to laugh to throughout the day.”  Envision Networks says, “Drive By Funny’s contemporary and classic comedy cuts come from a library that boasts tracks pulled from an archive of more than 18,000 safe-for-work and in-the-car comedy clips that can create a great opportunity for benchmark features and lucrative sponsorship opportunities.”

Trump-Russia Investigation/Cohen Recordings, Trade Wars/Farm Aid Package, Illegal Immigration/Asylum Policies, Trump-Iran Rhetoric, Ivanka Trump Shuts Fashion Brand, Mega Millions Jackpot, Southwest Heatwave, Athens Wildfires, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/24). The investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives and the related 12 tapes of President Trump and former attorney Michael Cohen turned over to Robert Mueller; the Trump tariffs and fears of trade wars as well as the related move to provide $12 billion in assistance to U.S. farmers; the Trump administration’s illegal immigration and asylum polices; the war rhetoric between President Trump and Iran; Ivanka Trump shutters her fashion brand; the $522 million Mega Millions jackpot; the heatwave affecting the Southwest U.S.; the deadly wildfires ravaging Greece; and Major League Baseball action 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. Programmer Nathan Graham is named PD at Entercom’s CHR WDZH, Detroit “98.7 AMP Radio.”  He comes to Detroit from his most recent position with the company at CHR WXSS, Milwaukee “103.7 KISS FM” where he was APD and music director.  Entercom Detroit vice president and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Nathan has cultivated strong leadership skills and a wealth of top 40 format knowledge that we are confident will help propel ‘98.7 AMP Radio’ to new heights.  We are proud to cultivate talent within the Entercom team and look forward to welcoming him to Detroit.”  Graham succeeds Ian “Slacker” Richards as program director, who remains at the station as the afternoon drive host, APD and music director…..KISS-FM, San Antonio-based Billy Madison is named Best Talk Show Host by San Antonio Current magazine.  His syndicated “Billy Madison Show” airs in morning drive on the Cox Media Group rock outlet…..SiriusXM announces that The Beach Boys will sit down for an intimate Q&A session with a select group of listeners for the SiriusXM “Town Hall” series at the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood on July 30.  The session will be moderated by Emmy award-winning actor, director, producer and writer Rob Reiner and will air on August 10 at 5:00 pm ET/PT on the Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys Channel.  In this rare, live group appearance, founding members Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine and David Marks along with long time Beach Boy Bruce Johnston, will gather to speak with Reiner and answer questions from fans about their SiriusXM channel, their new album, The Beach Boys with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and their celebrated career as one of the world’s most beloved and respected bands…..iHeartMedia announces the lineup for the 2018 iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina at American Airlines Arena in Miami on Saturday, November 3.  The fifth annual concert will celebrate the best in Latin music with performances by Pitbull, Nicky Jam, Steve Aoki, Farruko, Nacho, and Becky G with more artists to follow.