Alpha Media Deals in Chicagoland Market. Regular TALKERS readers are aware that Alpha Media has been wheeling and dealing – recently selling entire clusters such as West Palm Beach and Bluefield, West Virginia. Now it files to acquire two Chicagoland stations. FCC records indicate Alpha will pay $4.7 million for suburban classic rocker WFXF-FM, Dundee “103.9 The Fox” and adult contemporary WZSR, Woodstock “Star 105.5,” both serving the Northwest Suburbs. The company has been operating the stations under an LMA from Matrix Media, a company going through Chapter 11. In order to comply with FCC ownership regulations, Alpha Media will turn around and sell WFXF to religious broadcaster Education Media Foundation for $900,000 and spin-off rock WRXQ, Coal City (far southwest side) to Walnut Radio for $300,000. In the Chicago market Alpha also owns country WCCQ-FM, Crest Hill; classic hits WERV-FM, Aurora “95.9 The River”; adult contemporary WSSR, Joliet “Star 96.7”; hot AC WXLC, Waukegan; news/talk/sports WJOL-AM, Joliet; news/talk WLIP, Kenosha, Wisconsin; and Spanish sports WKRS, Waukegan “ESPN Deportes 1220.”
WIBA-AM, Madison Adds Dan O’Donnell Show. The WISN, Milwaukee-based Dan O’Donnell show is now heard in the Madison market on news/talk WIBA-AM “News Talk 1310” as iHeartMedia simulcasts the late morning program. The Dan O’Donnell show airs from 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily. On WIBA, O’Donnell takes over for Dan Conry, whostepped away from his daily show for health and family reasons. Conry will continue to host his Sunday program and serve as a fill-in host at the station. WISN program director Jerry Bott states, “Dan O’Donnell has made his mark with a hard-hitting show that is factually based, providing the foundation for Dan’s cutting-edge opinions, insights, and analysis. He’s tough, yet fair, and Dan explores all elements of current events, politics, public policy, and pop culture with unmatched energy.”
‘TheDailyCentrist’ Digital Platform Launches Targeting Independents. A new multi-media platform called TheDailyCentrist is being launched in a joint venture by Crossover Media Group, 921 Associates LLC, and media personality Rick Ungar. A press release says, “While there are no shortages of news and opinion destinations serving the interests of the far left and far right, there has – until now – been little available to appeal to those who identify in the middle: the center-right and the center-left of the political spectrum.” They say the platform is “crafted to serve the wide plurality of Americans who identify as political independents and the even larger numbers who, regardless of party affiliation, can be considered center-right and center-left Americans in search of solutions.” Rick Ungar will serve as editor-in-chief. He’s a one-time senior political contributor at Forbes.com, political analyst at Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and recently co-hosted the SiriusXM program “Steele & Ungar” with former RNC chairman and current MSNBC political contributor Michael Steele, who is among TheDailyCentrist’s contributors. Ungar says, “If you like to find company online at the far right or left wings of the political spectrum, you’ve got plenty of places to go. But when you look at the data it’s not simply a plurality but really a majority of Americans whose views are in the center-right/center-left bandwidth. We plan to be the water cooler for that great silent majority of Americans who are underserved by political opinion – or attitude – that speaks to their sensibilities. We will offer intelligent, thoughtful, provocative and fun conversation and engagement. And we will scrutinize and criticize commentators, personalities, politicians and candidates who embrace either extreme political pole.” TheDailyCentrist will offer daily columns, blogs, podcasts, and video clips from an array of political writers, commentators, and experts whose political perspectives reflect the center-right or center-left schools of American political thought.
Godwin Rises to SVP at Townsquare Media. Radio management pro Kevin Godwin is upped to senior vice president for Townsquare Media from his Northwest regional VP role and will leave his role as president of the Boise market operations. In this new post he’ll have multiple market oversight responsibilities. The Boise cluster consists of news/talk KIDO and sports talk KFXD-AM “630 The Fan” in addition to four music radio outlets. Taking over the Boise supervision duties is Grand Junction, Colorado market president Rick Carmean. That move requires a new manager in Grand Junction and current director of sales Natalie Redding is promoted to lead that station group.
John Wordock Named Executive Editor, Podcasting for Westwood One. This is a newly created position for Westwood One and its new executive editor, podcasting – John Wordock – comes to the company from The Wall Street Journal where he held the title, executive producer, podcasts. Wordock previously served as executive editor of The Wall Street Journal and Marketwatch.com Radio Networks when they were syndicated by Westwood One. Most recently, the Wordock-led division at The Wall Street Journal grew total monthly audience over 2000%, guided the multi-department team that launched the chart-topping podcast “The Future of Everything,” and developed “many other successful shows from planning to distribution.” Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “As the fastest organically growing podcast network in the U.S. in 2018, Westwood One is thrilled to welcome John to the leadership team. With almost 15 years of experience in podcast development, production, and distribution, coupled with his journalistic roots, John will help us expand our content portfolio with a commitment to quality and scale.”
Rare and Fascinating Air Check of Bruce Williams Surfaces. Since the death of talk show host Bruce Williams was reported this past weekend, TALKERS has received more than a dozen personal stories from our readers citing experiences they’ve had with the legendary radio personality. Among them, we received a fascinating air check submitted by KMZQ, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris that she recorded back in 1995 when she called in to Williams’ NBC Talknet program seeking advice about the sale of her pet snake. This took place prior to Harris’ radio career, when she was working as a cocktail waitress at a Las Vegas casino. It captures the feeling, style and tone of Williams’ work, not to mention a glimpse back at the way talk radio sounded almost a quarter century ago. To listen, please click here.
Federal Government Funding Deal, Trump El Paso Rally/Border Wall Battle, ‘Green New Deal,’ 2020 Presidential Hopefuls, Iran’s Anti-U.S. Rally, Rep. Omar Apology, Venezuela Unrest, Grammy Awards, Alliance of American Football Debut, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/11). The tentative deal to avoid another partial shutdown of the federal government; President Trump’s El Paso rally and the deal for 55 miles of U.S.-Mexico border fence; the controversial “Green New Deal” promoted by freshman Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez; the growing number of Democrats declaring their candidacy for president in 2020; the anti-U.S. sentiments expressed at Iran’s 40th anniversary celebration of the Islamic Revolution; Rep. Ilhan Omar apologizes for anti-Israel statement; the ongoing political unrest in Venezuela; Sunday night’s Grammy Awards show; the debut of the Alliance of American Football league; and NBA Action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. “The Big Interview” program hosted by legendary newsman Dan Rather is expanding into radio. Krantz Media Group announces that, via a successful partnership with AXS TV and its own KMG Networks, they will a expand the reach of the AXS TV series, distributing additional episodes to radio. Advertising sales will be handled by Westwood One. As part of the agreement, stations will receive an audio version of the archived AXS TV series in addition to a corresponding video segment, that stations may post on their websites, mobile apps, and social media channels. Radio stations will also receive customized promotional liners and promos from Rather. This year’s guest list features beloved music icons such as The Doobie Brothers, Geddy Lee, Steve Miller, Peter Frampton, Lindsey Buckingham, Robert Plant, John Mellencamp, Ringo Starr, and members of The Doors, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Kansas…..Radio pro Gary Alan reports that his podcast “The Sunday Express” – heard for the past seven years on Tmvcafe.com – is now airing on Salem Media Group’s Miami business talker WZAB-AM “The Biz.” Alan says that over the years he’s welcomed such guests as Loretta Swit, Ray Abruzzo, Tim Robbie and more to the program…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk radio personality Dr. Daliah Wachs is pictured below with the members of the Tenors of Rock at last Saturday night’s S.H.E.R.O Foundation Gala. The S.H.E.R.O. Foundation provides resources needed to support, sustain, and empower young girls and women under the age of 25 who have been abused, abandoned, and exploited. Dr. Wachs served as emcee for the event.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Source magazine is out with its annual “Power 30” list of the most powerful players in hip hop culture and the nationally syndicated urban radio morning show “The Breakfast Club” – hosted by Charlamagne Tha God, DJ Envy, and Angela Yee – was on top of the list for the 6th year in a row. Their entry says they “not only mix the music but also command the streets, represent their hoods, break new artists, deliver news and information, reign at the top of the ratings, and are social media influencers.”…..Blaine Thompson from Indiana Radio Watch tips us that Dave North exits his role as program director at Star City Broadcasting’s country WYCM, Attica, Indiana (Lafayette market) yet stays on with the company to serve as chief photographer for WPBI-TV.