Archive for September, 2018
It’s a New Deal for Cumulus Programmer Bill Hess. Programming pro Bill Hess and Cumulus Media sign a new, multi-year contract extension. Hess is the company’s vice president of news/talk, program director for WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, and operations manager for the Washington, DC cluster. During his 41-year career, Hess has programmed WTEM, Washington; WHJJ, Providence; and WHYN-AM/FM, Springfield, Massachusetts. He served as SVP of programming for Air America Media and has programmed music outlets WASH and WBIG in Washington. Cumulus Media Washington VP/market manager Jake McCann says, “This is an exciting time for news/talk in our nation’s capital and we have the privilege of being led by one of the strongest program directors in the country. Under Bill Hess’ leadership and hands-on approach, WMAL has consistently grown ratings. He works daily with on-air staff to guarantee they are delivering a top-level product to their audience.”
Stone Canyon Buys Northern Arizona Station Group. This deal has three broadcast management pros organized as Stone Canyon Radio and Marketing, LLC buying four Northern Arizona signals from Grenax II Broadcasting for an as yet undisclosed sum. The stations are: news/talk KBTK-FM/K246AA “97.1 The Big Talker,” country KSED “107.5 KOLT Country,” classic rock KWMX “The Wolf-Classic Rock 96.7,” and 80s rock KFLX “Rewind 92.5/104.1.” Stone Canyon’s principals are former Cherry Creek Media CEO Joe Schwartz (left), Emmis SVP John Beck (right), and Withers Broadcasting and Dana Communications president Dana Withers (center). Schwartz states, “This is a wonderful opportunity for three veteran broadcasters to pool our years of broadcast experience to create exceptional programming, on-the-street marketing, top digital assets, and to bring the best advertising services available to the Flagstaff-Prescott area. In addition, I can’t wait to work with current VP & general manager Stan Pierce and his team.” Schwartz will be relocating to the Flagstaff area to work with the cluster team and Beck and Withers will remain in their current positions in St. Louis and Mt. Vernon, respectively. The start of an LMA is expected to be announced in the near future.
WMAL’s Mary Walter to Host Fisher House Foundation’s Talk Radio Special. The Fisher House Foundation’s annual talk radio special, “Home Away from Home – The Fisher House Story,” is being hosted this year by WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning co-host Mary Walter. The Fisher House Foundation and The Jeff Wyatt Group are producing the program for talk stations around the country to be aired any time from Veterans Day (11/11) through the holidays. Regular TALKERS readers are aware that the Fisher House program provides “a home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. The homes provide temporary, free lodging so families can be close to their loved ones during a medical crisis. This year’s three-hour radio special will feature stories of our nation’s heroes, families who serve by their side, and how Fisher House plays a role in their journey. Show producer Jeff Wyatt says Mary Walter’s love of the military will add to the quality of the program. “Her talent, well known support for our military, and broad base of listening across the U.S. makes her a great fit to support our wounded, injured, and ill service members and their families.” Stations interested in the program can contact Wyatt at: firstname.lastname@example.org
TALKERS News Notes. Rhode Island talk radio host John DePetro is celebrating 20 years on talk radio in the Ocean State this month. DePetro says that he was working part-time air shifts on WABC, New York while also serving as national sales manager for WABC and sister WPLJ when he was offered a weekend show on WHJJ, Providence in his home state. After a few months, he took over the full-time job of mid-morning host on WHJJ in January of 1999. He currently is heard in Rhode Island on WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island.…..iHeartMedia announces the fruit of its partnership with technology platform creators Jelli and Foursquare is a new attribution product for broadcast radio that will offer marketers “a unique combination of iHeartMedia’s massive reach and Jelli’s programmatic buying capabilities, with the attribution and insights tools from location technology company Foursquare.” iHeartMedia says this is the next step in its effort to make radio easier to buy and measure. It says it “invested in Jelli’s programmatic platform to make the purchase of data driven radio campaigns as easy as digital, and now with the addition of Foursquare, more in-depth campaign measurement and real-world attribution data is now available to advertisers who buy via Jelli’s demand side platform SpotPlan.” iHM president of revenue and data operations Brian Kaminsky adds, “This initiative with Foursquare and Jelli is the next evolution in the development of our platform, providing retailers and QSRs the same measurement and accountability for broadcast radio as Google is in search and Facebook is in social.”…..Entercom and Telemundo’s KTMD-TV, Houston announce a multi-platform media partnership that includes distribution of content across all partner channels, including KTMD-TV and Entercom’s Houston stations sports talk KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610” and KIKK “CBS Sports Radio 650,” plus country KILT-FM, Spanish KLOL, and hot AC KHMX. Content will also be distributed across each entity’s websites and social media platforms. Entercom Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier says, “We are excited to partner with Telemundo and further serve our community with enhanced coverage. We’re looking forward to continue bringing our listeners improved access and coverage of live, local news.”…..Sun & Fun Media announces it has hired Tim Closson to join the company as a senior AE. He was previously manager of affiliate sales for country & sports at Westwood One. Sun & Fun Media offers a “suite of products and services designed to increase sales, improve ratings, and reduce expenses for 100% barter.”…..Donna Hardwick is appointed chief marketing officer for PRX, the public media program supplier that recently merged with PRI. Hardwick was most recently senior director of communications & distribution for ITVS.
Kavanaugh Assault Allegations/Cruz Restaurant Protest, Trump-Russia Investigation/Rosenstein’s Status, Midterm Elections, U.S.-China Trade War, Iran Threatens Attacks, NFL Action, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24). The allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the related restaurant protest that forced Senator Ted Cruz and his wife to leave; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related uncertainty over the status of Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein; the coming midterm elections; the trade war between the U.S. and China; Iran’s threats against Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the U.S. after the deadly attacks on its military parade; the weekend’s NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoff push 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. In the Charlotte market, Beasley Media Group announces promotions at urban contemporary WBAV “V 101.9” and hip hop WPEG “Power 98.” Brian “Mr. Incognito” Robinson is upped to program director for both stations. He was most recently APD for WPEG and previously held the music director, afternoon drive host, and morning drive co-host positions. At the same time, the company bumps Janine Davis up from traffic correspondent for both stations to midday personality at “V 101.9.” Nikki “Ya Girl Nikki” Davis rises from evening host to afternoon drive personality on “Power 98.” Finally, John Reynolds is promoted to operations manager for the entire cluster. Reynolds most recently served as the program director and operations manager at CHR WNKS “KISS 95.1” and Adult contemporary WKQC “K 104.7.” Beasley Charlotte VP and market manager Bill Schoening comments, “John is an exceptional leader and very committed to the success of all of our Beasley Media Group Charlotte radio stations. I am looking forward to seeing him continue to build our strong brands for many years to come.”…..The Envision Networks-syndicated “Collin Raye’s Rewind Country” adds new affiliate stations WVWF-FM, Waverly, Tennessee and WPAY-FM, Garrison, Kentucky. “Rewind Country” is a daily, one-minute vignette that “highlights amazing stories behind the greatest country hits, shared by Raye and friends such as Dolly Parton, John Michael Montgomery, and Lorrie Morgan…..ABC Radio, Skyview Networks, and Front and Center Entertainment are introducing radio versions of the PBS programs “The Front and Center Sessions” — for country stations — and “The Speakeasy Sessions” for rock outlets. Both series will feature 12, two-hour programs that are being produced exclusively for ABC Radio’s distribution. ABC Radio VP and general manager Steve Jones says, “We are excited to work with today’s greatest performers in country and classic rock music. We’re taking a wealth of content and weaving it into fast-paced radio programming that features great music and riveting behind-the-scenes stories and never-before-shared anecdotes from some of the biggest country and rock stars.”…..Westwood One is launching a new urban morning show on its 24/7 network starring former WHQT, Miami “Hot 105 FM” personality Rick Party (right) and former WALR, Atlanta “Kiss 104.1” jock Sasha the Diva (left). Comedian Benji Brown is also named as part of the cast. WWO says it has 20-plus stations initially lined up to carry the program that is targeted to females 35-44.
iHeartMedia’s Fourth Chapter 11 Re-Org Does the Trick. When it comes to eliminating billions of dollars of debt in a Chapter 11 re-organization, someone is not going to be happy with what they get (or don’t get). Certain debt holders are likely to feel they’re not getting what they deserve. But Houston Bankruptcy Court Judge Marvin Isgur liked what he saw enough to approve iHeartMedia’s fourth crack at its Joint Chapter 11 Re-Organization Plan. Yesterday’s approval of the adequacy of the disclosure statement sets the stage for more deadlines and court dates as iHeartMedia still hopes to exit Chapter 11 by the end of this year. The deadline for voting on this plan is set at November 9. The Plan Objection deadline is November 28. A pre-trial conference is set for December 7 and the Confirmation Hearing is set for December 11.
Hannity Talks with President Trump in Las Vegas. The screenshot above is from FOX News Channel and the “Hannity” show’s coverage of President Trump’s rally in Las Vegas last night (9/20). After the president addressed the crowd he spoke with host Sean Hannity about a number of issues, including the allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and the midterm elections.
iHeartMedia Adds FM Translator to WLAC, Nashville; Expands Steve Gill Reports. Nashville news/talker WLAC has an FM presence now that iHeartMedia adds translator W252CM at 98.3 FM to WLAC’s broadcast. The station is also being transmitted on WSIX-FM’s HD-2 signal. As the company says, the 250-watt translator is heard “across the southern portions of the Nashville area, including Williamson County and the Franklin area.” The translator had been carrying country WSIX-FM’s broadcast. At the same time, the station announces that it is expanding the “Tennessee Star Report” so that the Steve Gill-hosted program now airs from 5:00 am to 8:00 am. Tennessee Star executive editor Michael Patrick Leahy co-hosts the program with Gill, who comments, “It’s been great being back on the air in Nashville over these last few weeks. Adding a big booming FM signal on WLAC will be a great opportunity for us to reach voters in the final month of this election season and we will be right in the thick of things.”
Tony Howard Named Interactive Sales Manager for Alpha Media Portland. Digital sales pro Tony Howard joins Alpha Media to serve as interactive sales manager for the company’s Portland operations that include news/talk KXL “FM News 101”and sports talk KXTG-AM/FM “102.9 The Game.” Howard was most recently with Clip Interactive as VP of sales and affiliate partnerships. He’s also served with Tribune, CBS RADIO, and iHeartMedia. Alpha Portland VP of sales Amy Leimbach states, “I’ve had the opportunity to work with Tony Howard when he was at CBS RADIO and again when he handled affiliate partnerships at Clip Interactive. Tony is creative, competitive, and has a drive to succeed – all qualities that correlate with Alpha’s core values. I am looking forward to having Tony join the Alpha Portland team.”
KBOI, Boise’s Paul J Schneider to Retire After 51 Years. Incredibly, Paul J Schneider has been working on the air at KBOI, Boise since June of 1967. Back then he worked on both TV and radio. He was a news anchor and voiced the TV replay of Boise State football games. He shifted to radio only in 1976. Now, after 51 years on the station, he’ll retire after his December 14 program to finally sleep in for a change. During his career at KBOI he enjoyed one of the country’s largest radio audience shares as a part of “Dunn & Schneider,” that aired from 1973 to 1993. Since 2001, he’s hosted “Idaho Talks Live” with Chris Walton. and throughout his career, Paul J and his morning partners have been at the top of station ratings. Schneider says, “I have been privileged to work with great morning show partners and to be on AM radio in its heyday. I was able to call the Boise State games through their growth trajectory and when not all the games were broadcasted live on TV.” Schneider plans to produce weekly features and blog for NewsTalk 670 KBOI as well as continue covering Boise State football for Learfield Sports.
TALKERS News Notes. The San Diego Reader is reporting that local photographer Jesse Cuevas has received a settlement from Entercom over talk host Kevin Klein’s unauthorized use of his photo of San Diego’s Coronado Bridge in the ill-advised social media post that derailed his gig as morning host on what is now sports talk KWFN. If you recall, Klein’s post teased his debut as the station’s new AM host with the phrase “Jump to a new morning show.” The Coronado Bridge has been the scene of hundreds of suicides during its existence. Cuevas can’t reveal how much he was paid but the paper speculates that settlements in cases like this are usually in the five figures…..PodcastOne reports that award-winning investigative journalist and WTOP, Washington national security correspondent J.J. Green recently spoke with a former Russian internet troll named Marat Mindiyarov on his podcast “Target USA.” Mindiyarov served with the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg where his job was to “trick Americans on Facebook,Twitter and other social media platforms.” During the interview Mindiyarov says one of the main objectives was to impact the U.S. presidential election by promoting Russian government views to Americans by pretending to be Americans on social media. Listen to the episode here…..Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley is launching a brand-new podcast series. In the premiere episode, Beasley speaks with Dr. Shawn DuBravac, author of the best-seller Digital Destiny: How the New Age of Data Will Transform the Way We Work, Live, and Communicate (Regnery, 2015). Beasley says, “Podcasting is an area of growth in the audio space that I am personally very passionate about as we continue to grow as a company. It was such a privilege to speak with Shawn and hear his valuable thoughts about the future role of smart cities, the transformation of automotive industry and more!” Listen to the podcast here.
Talk Media Public Relations Pioneer Richard Strauss Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The man who literally opened the White House doors to talk radio and gave the medium top tier access to the executive branch of the Federal Government for decades to come, Richard Strauss, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Strauss, the founder and president of Washington, DC-based Strauss Media Strategies was the first-ever White House radio director, appointed at the age of 23 and serving between 1993 and 1996, the first three years of President Bill Clinton’s administration. During that time, Strauss elevated the burgeoning medium of news/talk radio to equal status with newspapers and television in enjoying access to the presidency. Prior to that, radio was a second-class citizen in that arena – at least during the modern era going all the way back to the Eisenhower years. According to Michael Harrison, “What Richard Strauss did for talk radio, while still a kid, is a major piece of the medium’s colorful history and should serve as an inspiration for aspiring youngsters looking to make their mark in this industry going forward. I am so glad we have a chance to tell his story on this week’s program.” Media freaks, historians and audiophiles will not want to miss this podcast! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Kavanaugh Assault Allegation Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 17-21. The allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents. Coming in at #3 was the growing trade war between the U.S. and China, followed by the GOP spending bill and President Trump’s criticism it provides no funding for a Mexican border wall 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 this week’s entire chart here.
Noted Record Producer and Social Commentator Robbie Stevens Launches Short-Form Series on TalkersRadio. TALKERS magazine is pleased to welcome noted record producer and iconoclastic social commentator Robbie Stevens to its experimental talk radio platform, TalkersRadio, beginning today (9/19). Stevens is launching a series of short-form features titled “I Don’t Do Podcasts” in which he randomly shares his views and experiences about a variety of subjects including politics, media, education, sociology, philosophy, psychology, sports and, of course, music. He is well-known for decades in the record business for his prolific contributions as a musician, recordist, mixer, and/or producer on records by such artists as Herbie Hancock, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the late Gil-Scott Heron, John Lydon a.k.a. Johnny Rotten, Afrika Bambaataaa, the posthumous John Lennon catalog, and many more. Stevens most recently headed up the production of Yoko Ono’s remarkable run of 13 Billboard #1 dance singles with her EDM band, ONO and just concluded the exciting 2018 surround sound re-mix of key elements from John Lennon’s “Imagine” album called “Raw” as a soon-to-be released box set titled “John Lennon’s Imagine – the Ultimate Collection” (Universal). A Columbia University graduate, this fascinating raconteur was born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens and now resides in the Bronx. Bringing what can be described as an “outer-borough” grit to the microphone, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has referred to Stevens as the “Bronx Philosopher” as well as the “Rogue from Riverdale.” TALKERS general manager of broadcast operations David Bernstein says, “I first became aware of Robbie almost a decade ago when he came to my attention as a successful record producer who liked to dabble in news/talk radio. He briefly did some interesting work on WNYM in New York and WOR’s short-lived online ancillary talk show platform where his well-informed, ‘streety’ take on hot topics generated a positive buzz. I am beyond thrilled that he is clearing the time in his busy schedule to get back to trying new things in spoken word programming on TalkersRadio. This guy is an original and that’s what TalkersRadio is all about.” TalkersRadio was launched in 2013 as an experimental radio workshop/lab where new ideas in talk programming could be tested and showcased by newcomers to the industry as well as seasoned pros looking to expand their repertoire. Since then, a number of shows have been developed on TalkersRadio that have gone on to achieve success in terrestrial radio and/or podcasting. To listen to the first episode of “I Don’t Do Podcasts with Robbie Stevens” please click here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Panama City, Florida market, Powell Broadcasting enters into an agreement to sell CHR WPFM-FM to religious not-for-profit broadcaster Educational Media Foundation……….Programmer Candy Cintron is promoted to program director for Entercom’s Spanish pop outlet WLZL, Washington “El Zol 107.9.” She’s been morning show producer and assistant program director since 2015. SVP and market manager Phil Zachary says, “Candy has invested close to a decade of her career in making ‘El Zol’ a vital, vibrant voice in DC’s Hispanic community. This promotion honors her past, present and, most importantly, her future contributions to the ‘El Zol’ legacy.”…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports on the unexpected death of Chicago radio sales pro Laura Hangren, who died after a heart attack on Saturday (9/15) at age 56. She’d most recently been an AE at Weigel Broadcasting’s WRME-FM “Me-TV FM.” She’d also worked at such heritage Windy City signals as WLS-FM and WLUP-FM…..The Premiere Networks nationally syndicated alternative morning program “The Woody Show” hosted Foo Fighters Dave Grohl (left) and Taylor Hawkins (right) recently. They’re pictured below with show host Woody (center). During their visit, they talked about how they met, the evolution of rock music, the upcoming Foo Fighters-curated “Cal Jam 18” festival, being parents, and more.