Cumulus Names Divello Market Manager for Abilene Cluster. Management and sales pro Paula Divello rises from director of sales for Cumulus Media’s Shreveport, Louisiana station group to vice president and market manager for its Abilene, Texas cluster that includes KTLT-FM “SportsRadio 98.1 FM The Ticket” and three music outlets. Divello says, “Thank you to Mary Berner and the Cumulus leadership team for this opportunity. I am enthusiastically looking forward to leading from the front in Abilene. It’s a strong cluster with an invested team, in a great market with tons of potential. I’ve learned and grown so much with Cumulus, experienced FORCE values and culture – and how consistently they drive success. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to drive revenue, ratings, and community involvement for Cumulus as the new vice president/market manager in Abilene.”
Urban One Founder Cathy Hughes to Be Inducted into the NAB Hall of Fame. The founder and chairperson of Urban One, Cathy Hughes, will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the 2019 NAB Show during the “Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner” on Monday, April 8 at the Encore in Las Vegas. Hughes built what was formerly Radio One after buying her first radio station – WOL-AM, Washington – in 1980. She became the first black woman to own a station in a major market. At WOL-AM, she created the “24-Hour Talk from a Black Perspective” format. Today’s Urban One is a publicly traded company operated by Hughes’ son Alfred Liggins III. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Cathy Hughes is a truly remarkable broadcaster and entrepreneur whose contributions continue to greatly influence and drive our industry. We look forward to honoring Cathy with this well-deserved award at this year’s NAB Show.”
Facebook Announces Local News Initiative. Via a blog post by vice president of global news partnerships (former NBC and CNN news personality) Campbell Brown, social media behemoth Facebook announces “an expanded effort around local news in the years ahead.” Brown writes that the goal of the initiative is two-fold: to support “local journalists and newsrooms with their newsgathering needs in the immediate future; and helping local news organizations build sustainable business models, through both our product and partnership work. Over time, we think this work can have the added benefit of fostering civic engagement, which research suggests is directly correlated with people’s reading of local news.” She says Facebook will invest $300 million over the next three years. You can read about the breakdown of where that money is being spent here. Brown also says Facebook will hold a two-day “Accelerate: Local News” summit early this year that will be “devoted to local news, in partnership with Knight Foundation and the Online News Association. Our goal is to bring together top local US news organization leaders, entrepreneurs, technologists and funders to discuss, design and drive towards solutions that address today’s most pressing local news challenges.”
iHeartMedia and Fremont Street Experiences Announce Downtown Las Vegas Revitalization Plan. The Las Vegas operations of iHeartMedia announces a partnership with Fremont Street Experience in which it will move its regional office to downtown Las Vegas as part of an effort to revitalize and assist in the growth of downtown Las Vegas. The new Fremont Street location is scheduled to open in August 2019 includes a 15-year lease. The company says in a press release that it has designed a new “state-of-the-art facility to house their iconic brands and franchises – both broadcast and digital – including ‘Sunny 106.5,’ ‘93.1 The Mountain,’ ‘95.5 The Bull’ and ‘Real 103.9.’ The studios will feature cutting-edge design elements as well as digitally advanced technology and resources for talent and programmers that will help them connect even faster and easier with listeners delivering even more great content to the Las Vegas community.” iHeartMedia Las Vegas’ partnership with Fremont Street Experience will also include co-promotions of current downtown concerts and events, with additional opportunities to co-produce and create new events and concerts to drive awareness and visitation to the area. iHeartRadio in-studio guests and musical acts can also perform on one of Fremont Street Experience’s three stages in downtown Las Vegas.
TALKERS News Notes. This Friday night (1/18), sports talk personality Dan Sileo – who hosts mornings on Entercom’s sports talk KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” – will star on the evening show at the company’s WEEI-FM, Boston. The former University of Miami defensive tackle, who played his high school ball in Connecticut, will host “WEEI at Night” from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm two days before the hometown New England Patriots take on the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game…..Twin Cities sports media personality Mike Max is named the new sports director at CBS’ WCCO-TV. He is currently host of “Sports to the Max with Mike Max” on Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM. There’s no official statement from Entercom about his status with the station but it appears he’ll leave his radio show to focus on the new gig…..Detroit sports talk host Matt Shepard – host of the “Shep, Shower ‘n’ Shave” morning program based at iHeartMedia’s sports talk WDFN-AM – is named the new play-by-play personality for Detroit Tigers television broadcasts, according to numerous Motor City media reports. Shepard’s radio program is syndicated regionally to a number of affiliate stations via the Michigan Media Network…..A number of new FM signals are added to the main 970 AM signal of iHeartMedia’s news/talk WFLA, Tampa. The company drops the classic hip hop format on a trio of translators – W233AV, Gulfport at 94.5; W256CT, Bayonet Point at 99.1; and W290BJ, West Tampa at 105.9 – and assigns them to WFLA-AM.
Border Wall Battle, Government Shutdown, Russian Sanctions, Trump-Russia Investigation, Gillette Ad Controversy, Barr Confirmation Hearing, Rep. Steve King Troubles, Brexit Deal Fails, ‘El Chapo’ Case, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/15). The political battle over President Trump’s efforts to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; the effects of the federal government shutdown; Republicans join the Dem-led effort to rescind Trump’s easing of sanctions on Russian firms; the controversy over Gillette’s ‘toxic masculinity’ ad; the senate confirmation hearing for attorney general nominee William Barr; the status of Rep. Steve King’s committee assignments in the aftermath of his ‘white supremacist’ comments; the failure of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan; the trial of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman Loera; and the NFL playoffs 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. Longtime WTIC-FM, Hartford morning personality Gary Craig is retiring from the station after a 39-year career in morning drive radio. He tells his listeners he’s leaving the “Craig and Company” program in June. The 68-year-old Craig first worked for WTIC-FM in 1981. He left in 1992 to go across town to competitor WKSS, where he would stay for four years. He returned to WTIC-FM in 1996 and teamed up with John Elliott and has been there ever since…..iHeartMedia Barry Allen program director for adult contemporary KBFP “Sunny 105.3, Bakersfield’s Feel-Good Station,” effective January 22. He was most recently program director at the company’s CHR duo KCEZ-FM, Chico and KEWB-FM, Redding. iHeartMedia area SVP of programming Steve Weed says, “We’re excited to have Barry joining our iHeartMedia Bakersfield family. When we launched ‘SUNNY 105.3’ last year, we filled a major void for Bakersfield listeners and we’re confident that Barry will continue to build out the ‘SUNNY 105.3’ brand.”…..Cumulus Media makes a time shift for hot AC WPLJ’s “Todd & Jayde in the Morning.” It now airs from 5:30 to 8:30 to allow for the new “95 Minutes & More,” commercial-free music block from 8:30 am to 10:15 am.
WDRV, Chicago Seeks Associate Producer for ‘Sherman & Tingle’ Show. There’s a prime producer gig open in Chicago as Hubbard Radio is seeking an “incomparable call screener, celebrity guest-booker, street reporter, and content architect to join ‘The Sherman & Tingle Show’ as associate producer. Applicants should have at least five years of on-air experience in an ensemble setting; exemplary audio production skills are required in this position, specifically time sensitive, on-the-fly editing aptitudes; robust social media savvy essential, including real time integration and a clear understanding of the ever-evolving nature of the medium; proven record of accomplishment in locating/booking/delivering premiere celebrities from major league sports, television, movies, and other arenas of pop culture preferred.” To see the entire job posting, click here.