Archive for March, 2019
Programmer Peter Thiele Exits KARN-FM, Little Rock. Talk programming pro Peter Thiele tells TALKERS magazine he’s exited Cumulus Media’s news/talk KARN-FM, Little Rock after two years and is looking forward to his “next success story.” He comments, “What an amazing experience. I am profoundly grateful to the talented staff at KARN in Little Rock. In two years, we experienced explosive, in-demo ratings growth. I am excited for what is next.” You can reach Thiele at: email@example.com.
WVON, Chicago Announces New PM Drive Show. Chicago media personality Cliff Kelley is putting the wraps on his afternoon drive show at Midway Broadcasting’s urban news/talk WVON today. Chicago media reporter Robert Feder reports that the station is bringing back former station morning personality Matt McGill to partner with attorney and community activist Kimberley Egonmwan for the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program, beginning Monday (4/1). As Feder notes, McGill quit the station in 2017 after Maze Jackson was brought in as co-host of the morning show. McGill had been hosting a show on Newsweb’s crosstown progressive talk station WCPT. Egonmwan has been serving as a contributor to WVON.
The Epoch Times Newspaper has Good Source Material for News/Talk Radio per Mueller Report Aftermath. The aftermath of the Robert Mueller Report is currently the hottest topic on news/talk radio in America. For the past two years, The Epoch Times international newspaper – based out of New York – has been following the Donald Trump presidency from a unique and insightful perspective and working closely with radio and TV hosts in providing guests and resources of value and interest to illuminate the topic. Now, the news organization is booking interviews for talk media with its knowledgeable editor-in-chief Jasper Fakkert to discuss the subject of Russian collusion. According to Fakkert, “The Special Counsel investigation has concluded that there is no evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia. Attorney General William Barr has also determined that there is no obstruction of justice case. The news confirms reporting by The Epoch Times over the past two years that there was no evidence of collusion.” Fakkert continues, “A lot of media outlets, for one reason or another, bought into this narrative that the president colluded with Russia to win the election… we never bought in that narrative.” To arrange an interview with Jasper Fakkert, please call Lisa W. at 917-521-6028 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For further material, check out the fascinating “Spygate” infographic published by The Epoch Times in October of 2018 by clicking here.
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that market news pro Bob Roberts is retiring from his position with Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM on April 16. Roberts has been with the station since 2000. He previously had worked at former, longtime news station WMAQ (now sports talk WSCR)…..Westwood One adds a new podcast to The Empow(h)er Network. The “Mommies Tell All” podcast is hosted by The Bachelor’s Carly Waddell and Jade Roper and is billed as “an honest and hysterical take on women and motherhood.” The show was formerly known as “Babes and Babies” and returns with new episodes and all new tell-all stories…..With the sale of WYAY-FM, Atlanta from Cumulus Media to EMF, Cumulus and the Atlanta Braves agree to move the FM play-by-play broadcasts to WNNX “Rock 100.5.” The games are also heard on Dickey Broadcasting’s crosstown WCNN-AM “The Fan.” Atlanta Braves president and CEO Derek Schiller says, “Rock 100.5 gives us a fantastic opportunity to bring the excitement of this young Braves baseball team to Atlanta’s favorite rock station.”…..Nevada Public Radio is being awarded a $500,000 Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to be applied to its “Give Voice” Major Gift Initiative. The grant awarded will be used to complete a critical technical upgrade to the Nevada Public Radio broadcast hub and statewide network. President and CEO Florence Rogers says. “Nevada Public Radio delivers the Humanities ‘at scale’ without barrier to access. This grant will help protect access and infrastructure for another generation. On behalf of our campaign committee we are very humbled to be a recipient of NEH funding to further our mission.”
Mueller Report Aftermath Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 25-29. The aftermath of the Mueller investigation report was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was President Trump’s battle to take the Affordable Care Act off the books. Coming in at #3 was the unusual turn of events in the Jussie Smollett case, followed by the status of the U.S.-Mexico border wall and migrant caravans 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.
Digital Entertainment Leader Reza Izad Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most influential leaders in the digital entertainment movement, Reza Izad, is this week’s guest on the PodcastOne award-winning series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Izad is co-founder and global CEO of Studio71, a multi-platform media company that produces and distributes original entertainment programming and is the most engaged digital network on YouTube with 1,300 channels driving 11 billion views a month. Under his leadership, Studio71 has expanded globally by joining the ProSiebenSat.1 Group and taking investments from France’s leading commercial network, TF1, and Italian broadcaster Mediaset. Prior to Studio71, Izad was a partner at The Collective Management Group, the world’s largest management firm, where he led the music department and worked with artists such as Linkin Park, Kanye West, Enrique Iglesias, Slash, Counting Crows, Alanis Morissette and Michael Bolton. Previously, Izad was an agent at United Talent Agency (UTA), where he launched the firm’s music and branded entertainment divisions, working with Eminem, T-Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Prince, and more. At UTA, Izad also helped create award-winning brand integration campaigns for Fortune 500 companies such as Ammirati Puris Lintas, Kenneth Cole, Bausch & Lomb, and Loews Theatres. With Studio71 representing some of the top talent in digital, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Tyler Oakley, Lilly Singh, Grace Helbig, Rhett & Link, and Roman Atwood and producing premium scripted and unscripted digital content, Izad is a proven industry leader in the growing big-time internet entertainment space. He and Michael Harrison discuss the emerging 21st century content creation, marketing, and distribution paradigm. Don’t miss this! 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 on every page of Talkers.com.
PPM Analysis: Classic Rock. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on classic rock. More classic rock stations on our panel saw their weekly 6+ AQH shares go up (54%) than saw them drop or remain without change from January’s survey to February’s. About the same percentage (55%) of classic rockers went up from February 2017 to February 2018, led by Shamrock Communications’ WZBA, Baltimore (+2.4). In February, three classic rock stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets: Beasley Media’s WCSX, Detroit; Entercom’s KSEG, Sacramento; and Cumulus Media’s KCFX, Kansas City. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Dave Hill is named SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Indianapolis cluster, effective Monday (4/1). He’ll also hold the PD title for both classic rock WFBQ “Q95” and alternative WOLT “ALT 103.3.” Hill was most recently program director for iHM’s classic rock WBGG, Miami “Big 105.9.” He says, “I’ve been fortunate to be a part of some amazing brands throughout my career and I can’t wait to get things rolling with these legendary call letters. I look forward to working very closely with ‘The Bob & Tom Show’ and our tremendously talented team to ensure continued growth and success in Indianapolis!”…..Alpha Media Louisville names Phillip “PK” Kukawinski content director and afternoon personality on alternative WGHL “ALT 105.1.” Cluster operations manager Ben Davis says, “Louisville is experiencing the return of an alternative station for the first time in many years and I believe Phil will have no problem cultivating and attracting new listeners. Phil is a creative, out-of-the-box thinker who lives and breathes the lifestyle. I’m excited to welcome him to Louisville and watch him put his unique stamp on ‘ALT 105.1.’”…..Olivia Newton-John told the Kallaway on the Rise Show on Midwest Communications‘ CHR WIFC, Wausau, Wisconsin that she’s going to auction off the leather pants and jacket that she wore for the triumphal “You’re The One That I Want” scene in the iconic film, Grease! She broke the news in the interview that were set up through Envision Networks’ Guest Services. She said, “I have the leather jacket and I have the leather pants and I’m going to auction them off for my cancer research center in Australia this year. So, if there’s any millionaire out there who wants to buy his daughter the pants and jacket, I’m going to be auctioning them off.”
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — After having posted special feature February 2019 ratings overviews of sports talk stations (Wednesday, 3/27) and public radio news/talk outlets (yesterday, Thursday, 3/28), we turn our attention to classic rock.
This summary is comprised of PPM-market classic rockers that rank in the top 20 (6+) in the February 2019 ratings period, which covered January 31 – February 27.
Nielsen Audio only releases audience estimates for facilities that subscribe to its services. Owing to that reason, ratings stats in this exclusive analysis are limited to stations that pay Nielsen Audio for its data.
Bottom-line matchup: The typical PPM-market classic rock station in February 2019 generally notches a 6+-share of 5.13 and finishes in sixth-place (#6.31), both stats exceeding what we previously noted in sports talk and public radio news/talk.
iHeartMedia and Connoisseur Agree to Erie, PA and Frederick, MD Swap. The stations that Connoisseur Media is getting in this deal – news/talk WFMD-AM and country WFRE-FM in Frederick, Maryland – come from the Aloha Trust that iHeartMedia created 11 years ago for stations it has to sell to comply with ownership caps. In exchange, iHeartMedia will get six stations from Connoisseur Media in Erie – CHR WRTS-FM, rock WRKT-FM, adult hits WXBB-FM, country WTWF-FM, news/talk WJET-AM and sports talk WFNN-AM and adult contemporary WLTM-FM in Mina, New York. The companies expect the deal to close in the second quarter of this year. Connoisseur CEO Jeffrey Warshaw says, “iHeart is getting a remarkable team and an amazing array of brands. We have owned the stations for 13 years and have tremendous gratitude for the people of Erie. We are excited to enter the Frederick market with these legendary properties.” Meanwhile, iHeartMedia Allentown/Harrisburg region president Dan Lankford states, “We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to expand our reach and establish a presence in the Erie and Mina markets.”
PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk. More public radio news/talkers were up (60%) than down (weekly 6+ AQH share) from the January survey to the February survey, with perennial uber-performer KUOW, Seattle showing the best increase of 0.6 shares. About half of the stations on the panel were down (51%) from last February to this February, with KQED losing 2.3 shares in the San Jose market and 1.7 shares in the San Francisco market. However, both KUOW, Seattle and KQED, San Francisco ranked #1 in those markets in the February 2019 survey. Also ranking #1 in their respective markets were KPBS, San Diego; KCFR, Denver; and KUT, Austin. See the entire report here.
Backbone Demonstrating ‘Total Radio – In the Cloud’ at NAB Show. The NAB Show in Las Vegas gets underway on April 6 and among the “hot topics” that will be addressed at the huge confab are: content in the cloud, streaming, and podcasting, all of which attendees can see in operation at the Backbone Networks booth. The company says it will show how users can create a completely virtualized radio production environment – all operating in the cloud. Backbone Networks will have a SUNY college radio station broadcasting live to demonstrate how students produce live and automated shows in the cloud, stream them, and automatically generate and publish podcasts – all done with just a Mac, a mixer, and a couple of mics. Attendees can see the broadcasters using Backbone’s Production Suite – the whole turnkey bundle for a complete radio station that includes: Backbone Radio – professional streaming radio station in the cloud, live and automated, always-on 24/7; Backbone Talk – broadcast multi-line call-in phone system; Backbone Co-Host – unlimited SIP/OPUS remotes and multi-location shows with no boxes or hardware; Backbone Hub – cloud assistant for automated production, podcast publication, Alexa briefings, and scheduling live audio and FTP show syndication to AM/FM stations; and more. If you’re going to the NAB Show, check out the Backbone Networks booth (#N6319).
ESPN: Live Sports Reached 22.3 Million 12+ Fans Via Radio Last Fall. The sports media giant says that its ESPN Audio segment conducted a custom live sports audio study with Nielsen for the period of August 30, 2018 to January 17, 2019 that concluded an estimated 22.3 million people – 9.2% of the 12+ population – listened to live sports on ESPN Radio on terrestrial stations. The study consisted of the company’s play-by-play broadcasts of college football including bowl games and the College Football Playoff, regular and post-season MLB action, and NFL & NBA games. ESPN VP, multimedia sales John Fitzgerald says, “ESPN Radio’s live events are at the core of what makes it so valuable to our advertisers. This study has shown that once again our unparalleled lineup of marquee matchups continues to grow our audience nationally and increase the reach of ESPN Radio.”
TALKERS News Notes. “I would probably say not,” is the quote from Chris “Mad Dog” Russo about getting back together with Mike Francesa on Entercom’s sports talk WFAN, New York. Russo made the comment to WEPN, New York personality Michael Kay on his afternoon drive program. The competition between Kay and Francesa in afternoons in the Big Apple has been a big story in New York media lately…..Radio personality Walter M Sterling is serving as the guest star on KMOX, St. Louis’ late night, 10:00 pm to 2:00 am show. Sterling, whose Westwood One show “Sterling on Sunday” airs on KMOX, is sitting in for host Ryan Wrecker…..Today is Major League Baseball’s Opening Day and SiriusXM is beginning its season of presenting live play-by-play broadcasts of every game, all season long to accompany the news and analysis of baseball heard on the MLB Network channel on the satellite radio service.
Mueller Investigation Report Aftermath, Trump Administration’s Obamacare Battle, Charlottesville Guilty Plea, Jussie Smollett Case, Border Wall/Immigration Issue, Green New Deal, Brexit Chaos, NBA Action and NCAA Tournament Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/27). The aftermath of the completion of the Trump-Russia investigation and President Trump’s appearance on ‘Hannity’; the Trump administration’s moves to do away with the Affordable Care Act; James Alex Fields pleads guilty in the deadly car attack at the 2017 Charlottesville white nationalist rally; the controversy over the Illinois state’s attorney not to press charges against actor Jussie Smollett; the status of the U.S.-Mexico border wall and reports of migrant overcrowding in El Paso; the U.S. Senate’s vote on the Green New Deal; the political chaos in Britain over Theresa May’s EU exit proposal; NBA action and the NCAA tournament 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. There are two programming announcements from iHeartMedia Cleveland. First, programmer Carletta Blake moves from the company’s Raleigh country station WNCB “B93.9” to Cleveland to assume the PD post at country WGAR-FM, effective April 8. Simultaneously, cluster programmer Jason Carr is named PD for adult hits WHLK “106.5 The Lake.” He adds this role to his PD duties at alternative WMMS-HD2/W256BT “ALT 99.1 FM” and his APD responsibilities at rock WMMS. iHeartMedia North Ohio president Keith Hotchkiss says, “I could not be more excited for Carletta and Jason. Both are incredibly adept and have proven, extensive track records of success with aligning our market-leading iHeartMedia brands across all platforms. They are a perfect match for the vision of these stations and I know they will continue to move WGAR and ‘The Lake’ forward with music and content our listeners love.”…..At Griffin Communications’ Tulsa radio cluster, programmer Brian Jennings exits his position as PD of country KVOO and classic country KXBL “Big Country 99.5” after 15 months with the stations…..iHeartMedia rock WZZO, Allentown “95.1 ZZO” adds the WMMS, Cleveland-based “Rover’s Morning Glory” program, effective Monday (4/1). The change comes shortly after the recent death of longtime station morning personality Kevin “The Bearman” Schutts. Longtime morning co-host Keith Moyer is moving to the afternoon drive to host “The Keith Show.” He says, “I am thrilled for many reasons. My dream job has arrived. No more getting up at 3:00 am, I can actually stay out past 6:00 pm and I can spend more quality time with my family and friends and TV. I will be doing what I did in mornings, but now in the afternoon thus keeping The Bearman and Keith’s legacy alive! Plus, being the only live afternoon drive show, I have the freedom to get out of the studio and broadcast from all over the Lehigh Valley. ‘The Bearman and Keith’ will never be replaced, but ‘Rover’s Morning Glory’ is a great alternative and will be the second best morning show in WZZO’s history!”…..Westwood One’s syndicated country program “The Ty Bentli Show” is being heard across the pond as WWO strikes a deal with the UK’s Bauer Media, making it the only American program that’s part of its Country Hits Radio format. Bentli and cast members Chuck Wicks and Tricia “TJ Jenkins” will debut there on April 5 in markets including: London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, South Yorkshire, Lancashire, Humberside, Tyne & Wear, Teesside, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Tayside, Inverness, and Ayr…..Entercom and RCS ink a new deal for an expanded, long-term data partnership for the broadcaster’s use of RCS’ Mediabase service. As part of the agreement, Mediabase will provide Entercom with comprehensive music listening and consumption data for the company’s portfolio of over 235 stations nationwide. Additionally, Entercom will report the company’s weekly station music adds to the Mediabase platform.
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. The period between the end of the NFL season and the start of the MLB season usually means a dip in ratings for sports talk radio stations and this year is no different as 73% of sports talkers see a decrease in their weekly 6+ AQH share from the January 2019 survey to the February 2019 PPM survey. Comparing last February to this, about half of the sports talk stations on our panel are up with the other half down or unchanged. Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” was the highest-ranking station (6+) during the February survey, finishing the month at #3 in the Boston market with a 6.4 share. Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “93.7 FM The Fan” is the sports station with the highest 6+ share in February with a 6.5. See all the data here.
Mike Gallagher and Salem Radio Network Renew Through 2023. Talk radio pro Mike Gallagher and Salem Radio Network will continue to work together through 2023 as Salem announces the company and Gallagher have agreed to a new contract. Gallagher’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET show is heard on more than 420 affiliate stations via SRN. Salem SVP Phil Boyce says, “We are honored to have had Mike Gallagher in our Salem family for over two decades and thrilled to continue our long and fruitful relationship with him. Mike’s thoughtful and expert commentary is exactly what America needs in these turbulent times we live in, and it’s no wonder he is Salem’s highest-rated program.” Gallagher comments, “Every broadcaster should be lucky enough to work for Salem Media Group. I’ve worked hard and they’ve rewarded me with a partnership that will have spanned at least 22 years, a rarity in our business. I’m so grateful to Ed Atsinger, Dave Santrella, and Phil Boyce for their support and visionary leadership. And I will always appreciate Greg Anderson, who has since retired, for believing in me back in 2001 and bringing me into the Salem family.”
Jason Page Joins iHub Radio in Palm Springs. As the Palm Springs locally focused internet radio station iHub Radio approaches its first birthday, it announces that sports talk personality Jason Page is taking over the afternoon drive program, effective April 1. Page has served with NBC Sports Radio, ESPN, and SiriusXM. iHub Radio was founded by programmer John McMullen who asked Page to help with coverage of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. McMullen says, “Jason brought his A-game for the entirety of his stay in February and March. After two weeks of upsets on the tennis courts, I felt that the timing was right on our final broadcast from Indian Wells to wrap up with a positive surprise. We offered Jason a full-time opportunity to not only take our 3 to 6 pm weekday slot, but to join our management team and put his vision in play for social media and other multimedia opportunities that are likely to involve expanding some of our local talent beyond the iHub Radio platform and local market.” In addition to hosting afternoons, Page will be director of multimedia platforms for the media outlet. McMullen is giving up hosting the afternoon show to focus on management responsibilities. McMullen says iHub Radio is hyper-focused on its local connection to a marketplace rather than proactively seeking a national or global audience. He adds that as the platform nears its first anniversary and continues to increase its weekly unique audience numbers that rival the terrestrial competition and double the time spent listening of most traditional talk stations, the company will enter its second year with an eye towards creating a handful of programming products that could ultimately be part of the terrestrial radio landscape by 2020.
Cox Media Group: Study Shows Our Customers Are ‘More Satisfied.’ The results of a three-year study designed to measure advertiser expectations and perceptions of traditional and digital advertising at CMG indicates CMG customers rate many CMG advertising solutions at least two to three-times higher than non-CMG advertisers rate similar competitor services on return on investment. The survey of more than 450 businesses – including CMG customers and non-CMG customers – was done by research firm Magid. The advertising solutions include programmatic advertising, digital video, native, and traditional media. Cox Media Group EVP of content, digital strategy, technology, and research Marian Pittman says, “This is part of the culture and commitment at Cox Media Group. Our entire team is focused on driving results for our advertisers, providing innovative solutions and being a true partner for our clients. We have a relentless focus on tracking, monitoring and optimizing every advertisers’ campaign. The results of the survey show our clients agree.”
Westwood One’s 2019 Audioscape Report Highlights Podcasting and Smart Speaker Data. The company says this report examines the podcast and smart speaker consumer, listener, and user trends, podcast consumption among smart speaker users, and marketer and agency sentiment for advertising in podcasts and smart speaker environments. Westwood One reveals some of what it calls the key findings on podcasting and smart speakers: 1) The podcast audience is maturing with the median age advancing from 29 in 2017 to 35 in 2018. However, 2) podcast listeners are far more engaged and one-and-a-half times more attentive than social media audiences. 3) Smart speaker ownership has tripled in two years with 23% of U.S. households owning a smart speaker, and 4) GenXers – adults between the ages of 35 and 54 – represent the largest segment of smart speaker owners (38%). See more here.
TALKERS News Notes. WIBC-FM, Indianapolis-based, independently syndicated talk host Tony Katz adds Emmis Communications’ KLBJ-AM, Austin to his roster of affiliate stations for his “Tony Katz Today” program, effective April 15. Katz hosts the “Tony Katz and the Morning News” on WIBC-FM and his “Tony Katz Today” talk show airs live from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET. KLBJ-AM program director Mark Caesar says, “We are very excited about Tony Katz joining the NewsRadio KLBJ lineup. Tony is a great guy who knows how to blend his excellent sense of humor with his strong insight on the day’s biggest stories.”…..MSG Networks and ESPN O&O WEPN, New York “ESPN New York 98.7FM” announce a new multi-year agreement that ensures the station continues to serve as the radio home of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers. WEPN has served in this role since 2004. “ESPN New York” vice president and general manager Tim McCarthy says, “We are proud to continue our 15-year relationship with the New York Knicks and New York Rangers. As ‘98.7 ESPN’ continues to expand our listener base, the Knicks and Rangers serve as an integral component of our programming lineup.”…..Bonneville International’s sports talk KMVP-FM, Phoenix “Arizona Sports” inks a deal to serve as the radio and digital home for the Phoenix Rising FC for the 2019 season. As part of the deal, “Arizona Sports” will stream all Phoenix Rising FC games live on ArizonaSports.com as well as air three Phoenix Rising FC games on sister KTAR-AM “ESPN 620,” beginning in June. The partnership will also include a dedicated page of Rising coverage on ArizonaSports.com along with a weekly podcast hosted by Kellan Olson.
Mueller Investigation Aftermath, Obamacare Battle, Jussie Smollett Case, Green New Deal Vote, Israel-Gaza Tensions, Brexit Redux, NBA Action and NCAA Tournament Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/26).The aftermath of Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation; the battle between the Trump administration and Democrats over the status of the Affordable Care Act; the Illinois state prosecutor’s decision not to charge actor Jussie Smollett; the U.S. Senate vote on the Green New Deal; the tensions in Israel over the missile strike from the Gaza Strip; the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit status; and NBA action and the NCAA Tournament 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. Programming pro Charese Fruge is no longer with Radio One as the CHR format captain and program director for CHR outlets KROI, Houston and WNOW, Indianapolis. Fruge had previously served with the old CBS RADIO in Houston as vice president of programming and operations manager as well as PD for KHMX and KKHH…..On-air personality Amber “Alabama” Cole is the new morning show contributor for iHeartMedia’s CHR KBKS, Seattle “106.1 Kiss FM.” She exited the company’s Chicago country outlet WEBG “Big 95.5” where she was midday host back in December…..Griffin Communications announces that country recording artist Joe Diffie is joining the KXBL, Tulsa “Big Country 99.5” air staff, hosting the midday show. Diffie is based in Nashville and will voice track the program, even when he’s on the road this summer. Station program director Brian Jennings says, “Joe’s music is a reflection of the dominance of Oklahoma artists that have become part of the country music soundtrack across the nation. And ‘Big Country’ is the only station in Tulsa that is positioned to properly celebrate that legacy. Think about the influence that Oklahoma music has on the nation: Joe Diffie, Reba,Garth, Vince Gill, Toby Keith, Ronnie Dunn, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood…shall I go on? Having Joe on as part of the team brings Tulsa pride to his national status. I am so proud.”