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.