Sean Hannity Tops Mediaite ‘Influential’ List. Consumer publication Mediaite unveils its 2018 list of the most influential figures in news media, and Premiere Networks/FOX News Channel superstar Sean Hannity is #1 this year. Mediate says of Hannity: “There are many figures in media and on the air at FOX News that form what certain critics refer to as President Donald Trump’s ‘shadow cabinet.’ Only one of them has phone calls with the president on a truly regular basis. When Sean Hannity isn’t chatting with the leader of the free world over the phone – they talk policy, media, ratings, and gossip – he’s speaking to him through his FOX News primetime show. Did we mention Hannity is the highest-rated cable news show in the United States? It has been for two years running. And not by any small measure. Hannity regularly notches a whopping three million viewers a night and sometimes breaks four. His three-hour radio show garners millions of listeners too, making Hannity a veritable media empire in and of himself. He has no shortage of critics who argue that his sort of advocacy doesn’t belong on a news network, but despite that Hannity has emerged as the king of cable news — after playing the long game over two decades at FOX. Pair that with a direct line to the White House, and there’s simply no one more influential.” The list – composed of 75 media figures including talk hosts, news anchors, comedians, executives, reporters and more – includes two other personalities doing radio work. Laura Ingraham, who is transitioning her talk radio show to a podcast in the New Year, is ranked #36, and Westwood One-syndicated radio talk host Mark Levin is #67.
iHeartMedia Chapter 11 Confirmation Hearing Postponed. That December 11 Confirmation Hearing for iHeartMedia’s Chapter 11 reorganization is postponed to “a future date.” We don’t know what date that is as it’s not been set. According to a filing with Bankruptcy Court in Houston, iHeartMedia and Wilmington Savings Fund Society are agreeing to the extension. WSFS represents holders of two issues of senior notes and it appears they and iHM have more to hammer out before proceeding with the Confirmation Hearing. In the meantime, as iHeart moves toward exiting Chapter 11 reorganization (sometime in early 2019, the company hopes) CEO Bob Pittman issues a company-wide pep talk memo reminding staffers they work for a company with a “unique position” in the media business. Regarding the press the company’s bankruptcy proceeding is getting and the reports of companies like Liberty Media wanting a piece of iHM, Pittman says, consider it a “compliment” that there are those out there who want a piece of iHM’s equity.”
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk Radio. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk. A comparison with the October survey indicates about half the sports talkers in PPM markets saw their weekly 6+ AQH share go up and the other half declined. Entercom’s WSCR, Chicago saw the biggest decline as it was down 1.4 shares. The company’s WBZ-FM, Boston realized the highest gain of 0.8 shares. Comparing November 2017 to this year, Entercom’s WVEI-FM, Providence was the big winner, up 2.2 shares to a 5.4 share, while Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh dropped 2.8 shares year-over-year. WFAN is tops in Long Island as the Entercom sports talker ranked #1 in November. A big month in sports talk in Boston saw WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” rank #2 with a 6.1 share and crosstown competitor WEEI rank #3 with a 5.7 share. See the entire report here.
Michael Berry Show Adds Digital Director. The nationally syndicated Michael Berry show announces it adds Josh Benoit to the staff as digital director. Berry’s KTRH, Houston-based talk show is currently heard in almost 20 markets. Berry states, “I’m adding critical skills to my team so that the Michael Berry show is equipped for the next few years of exciting growth and expansion. I want our on-air content to continue to engage and entertain and I want to use the tools of technology to take that content and share it in more places. Josh is the perfect talent to do that. His relationships within the industry, as well as his focus on quality daily content, will prepare for us for an exciting future.” Benoit, who works on air as Josh Reno, will continue his weekend roles with alternative KTBZ, Houston and classic rock KYRV, Sacramento. The Michael Berry show features executive producer Chad Nakanishi, the “King of Ding” Ramon Robles, “Producer Kenny” Webster, research director Sandra Peterson, “and a cast of characters and frequent callers.”
Glenn Beck’s Mercury One Charity Assists Lincoln Presidential Library. Upon learning that one-of-a-kind Abraham Lincoln artifacts were in danger of being sold to pay off debt, Glenn Beck’s Mercury One charity launched the “5 4 Lincoln” campaign that raised $50,869. A collection of documents and artifacts, owned by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation and housed at the Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, is not paid off and the foundation still owes $9.2 million. If the foundation can’t make the payments, artifacts will have to be sold to raise the money. Beck says, “When I heard about the museum and the help they needed last summer, we started a ‘5 4 Lincoln’ fundraiser. Thousands of my listeners have signed up to donate $5 a month to help grow the library and preserve these treasures. I wish we could do it all, but we are excited to play any role in helping. Join us at 54Lincoln.com. We are committed through the long haul.”
TALKERS News Notes. Los Angeles news/talk KFI is presenting the eighth annual “KFI PastaThon,” an on-air fundraising event to help feed local children in need all day today (12/7) at the Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove. Proceeds will benefit Caterina’s Club, a charitable organization that helps feed, house and educate children in need in the Orange County. During the 17-hour live broadcast, all of KFI’s on-air personalities – Bill Handel, Jennifer Jones Lee, Gary Hoffmann, Shannon Farren, John Kobylt, Ken Chiampou, and Tim Conway Jr. – are on site encouraging listeners to donate packaged pasta, jars of pasta sauce and money to help feed local children in need. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci says, “This is an entire station and community effort. Not only does ‘KFI PastaThon’ help feed children in need but it also aims to end the cycle of poverty. We are grateful for our incredibly giving listeners.” Since 2010, KFI has raised more than $1.8 million and 340,000 pounds of pasta and sauce to benefit Caterina’s Club…..CBS-TV’s “The Talk” is replacing Julie Chen – wife of embattled, former CBS Corp. chief Les Moonves – with “Dancing with the Stars” judge Carrie Ann Inaba. Chen left the show as the allegations of sexual impropriety against Moonves began to heat up…..Westwood One News is producing a series of 20 year-in-review reports – one-minute vignettes showcasing the year’s biggest stories. Westwood One News is also providing to affiliate stations two long-form, year-in-review programs: “The Year in Review – The Big Stories,” hosted by correspondent Michael Toscano, and “The Year in Review – People and Entertainment,” hosted by correspondent John Trout. These programs will replace “The Week in Review” and “America This Week,” respectively, the weekends of December 22 and 23 and December 29 and 30, 2018.
Death of George H.W. Bush Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 3-7. The passing of former President George H. W. Bush was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At # 2 this week was the Trump-Russia investigation. Coming in at #3 was the migrant surge at the U.S.-Mexico border, followed by financial markets activity 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.
Jim Bohannon Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the longest-running and most highly regarded talk show hosts in radio, Jim Bohannon, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Bohannon broadcasts via Westwood One to hundreds of stations every weekday evening between 10:00 pm and 1:00 am ET. He has been a professional radio personality for 58 years and is still going strong. Along the way, he has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Special Recognition First Amendment Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association and a nomination for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Marconi Radio Award for Network Syndicated Personality of the Year. He was named by TALKERS as the 2013 recipient of its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in addition to being a perennial member of the publication’s “Heavy Hundred” – the 100 most important radio talk show hosts in America. He is also an inductee into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Known for his even-handed approach to the issues and big, friendly personality, Bohannon is an extremely likeable figure, popular with his radio colleagues and listeners alike. He and Harrison engage in an informal discussion about the major issues and interests facing America during the Age of Trump from divisive political polarity and political correctness to the state of the First Amendment and celebrity gossip. 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 of the TALKERS email newsletter and every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Philadelphia CHR WTDY welcomes new morning drive show “Coop and Casey” to the air. Sean “Coop” Tabler (left) and Casey Reed (right) take on morning show duties as the station recently transitioned from country to CHR. Reed comes to WTDY from crosstown CHR WIOQ. Tabler was most recently morning host at country WGH, Norfolk, Virginia. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff states, “We are so excited to bring Coop to Philly and to welcome Casey back to the 96.5 TDY family. Together, their focus on all things Philadelphia, along with their infectious energy is just what WTDY’s listeners are looking for in the morning.”…..At iHeartMedia’s hot AC WMTX, Tampa “Mix 100.7,” Laura Diaz is leading the new “Mix Morning Show with Laura Diaz,” starting January 3. She joins “Mix 100.7” from iHeartMedia Orlando’s CHR WXXL “XL106.7,” where she co-hosted “Johnny’s House” with Johnny Magic for the past seven years. She says, “My great-grandparents emigrated from Spain to Tampa in search of the American Dream. To think that 103 years later I have the opportunity to be the female lead on a morning show and continue the dream is overwhelming! I’m grateful and humbled to be able to join a community-focused station like ‘Mix 100.7’ and to continue doing what I love with iHeartMedia.”…..At Hubbard Radio’s country WYGY, Cincinnati “97.3 The Wolf,” air staffers Ernie Brown, Pete Miller, and Jimmy Salzurulo exit as the station appears to be going jockless. That report comes from WVXU’s John Kiesewetter who also talks with Brown about his career in Cincinnati radio…..Beasley Media Group parts ways with adult contemporary WPBB, Tampa “B98.7” morning team Chadd & Kristi after almost two years. The station is in Christmas mode and rumors in the market are that a format change may be in store for WPBB…..The Envision Networks-syndicated weekend rock show “Chop Shop Guitar Show” is celebrating the production of the 800th consecutive program. On this weekend’s program, host Steve Black is joined by Lzzy Hale and Joe Hottinger from Halestorm and Trans-Siberian Orchestra guitar maestro Al Pitrelli…..Superadio Networks and CTC Productions announce an affiliation and sales partnership agreement to syndicate “Explicitly Old School with T-Boz,” a daily radio show hosted by Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins from the legendary super group TLC. The one-hour, daily show is designed to air on rhythmic, urban, urban AC and throwback stations and features hip hop and R&B artists such as Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J, Snoop Dogg, Tupac, Kanye West, Lauryn Hill, P Diddy, and more.