Talk Host Scott Robbins Profiled in Comeback from Serious Health Issues. The story by Steve Tarter in the Peoria Journal Star is accurately titled “From death’s door to three radio shows a day” as it recounts the scary health odyssey of radio talk host Scott Robbins. Regular TALKERS readers remember Robbins was co-hosting a successful talk show with Jamie Markley on Alpha Media’s WMBD-AM/W262BY, Peoria in 2015 when a massive heart attack felled him. Five bypass surgeries later Robbins was on a challenging road to recovery, but he made it and today is back as a cast member on WMBD’s midday “Markley and van Camp” show (with David van Camp), his own sports talk show on Alpha’s WPBG-HD3/W240DM, Peoria and the morning drive show on Great Plains Media’s news/talk WRPW, Bloomington “Cities 92.9.” Robbins admits his previous lifestyle wasn’t ideal – drinking lots of beer, smoking cigars, and not seeing a doctor for two decades. He says the convalescing was a challenge. “It’s a dark tunnel. I know that three years ago I couldn’t walk or talk. I try to give others (in that situation) some sense of encouragement.”
Lauren Lapka Named Afternoon Traffic Reporter for WGN-AM, Chicago. WGN-AM, Chicago brings news pro and air personality Lauren Lapka aboard to handle traffic reports during the John Williams midday show and the PM drive Roe Conn show with Anna Davlantes. She’ll also host the “Weekend Warnings” video series on wgnradio.com and cover transportation stories for WGN Radio News. WGN station manager and VP of content Todd Manley says, “Having Lauren back in the WGN Radio family is a huge win for afternoon drive. Her playful intelligence is the perfect complement to Roe & Anna and John Williams.” Lapka previously served with Tribune Media on the short-lived sports station “The Game 87.7 FM.” In 2015, she transitioned to TV as a news reporter and anchor for KODE-TV and KSNF-TV in Joplin, Missouri. As Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports in his column, Lapka was working as morning anchor for Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KVAL-TV, Eugene, Oregon when she refused to record the now-infamous promotional video the corporation had crafted that basically accused most other media sources of being “fake news.”
TALKERS News Notes. Former Trump Administration official Sebastian Gorka is giving up his contributor role at FOX News Channel in order to focus on his Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated radio show and his work with television operator Sinclair Broadcast Group. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gorka stated, “I’m still supporting Sean Hannity and other Fox shows as a free agent as my new schedule permits.”…..iHeartMedia and Skyview Networks agree to terms for the former’s news/talk KOA, Denver to implement Skyview’s AdView live read capture software for Colorado Rockies play-by-play broadcasts. As part of the agreement, all Colorado Rockies Radio Network live advertiser mentions will be cataloged by time, date, and advertiser in a personalized database and scheduled across the entire season. The data and proof-of-performance provided by the system streamlines the billing process, which will allow KOA to manage and bill live reads alongside standard commercial units. iHeartMedia Denver VP of sports sales Jeff Johnson says, “We’re excited to enter into this broadcast agreement with Skyview Networks. The AdView system will allow us to serve our advertisers and partners with the Colorado Rockies better.”…..Tegna’s San Diego news/talk KFMB-AM is presenting a live event for listeners at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts on March 28 called “News, Views and Brews” that will feature the station’s personalities will talk about current events while listeners enjoy a beer or coffee. Taking part are Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty of the Armstrong & Getty morning show, Mark Larson, Mike Slater, Brett Winterble, and Roger Hedgecock…..New York Public Radio announced COO Depelsha McGruder will become interim CEO, beginning April 1. She takes on this role after Laura Walker left the CEO post following a 23-year career with the public radio organization. McGruder joined NYPR in October 2018 after a 17-year career with Viacom.
Four Stations to Leave the Aloha Media Trust for EMF. This deal between the Aloha Media Trust (former Clear Channel stations waiting to be sold off) and religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation gives iHeartMedia ownership of six translators it’s been leasing from EMF in exchange for four full-market FM stations. EMF will take over WEKL-FM, Augusta, Georgia; WSFF-FM, Roanoke, Virginia; WSNZ-FM, Lynchburg, Virginia; and WLRX-FM, Huntington, West Virginia. iHeartMedia gets translators W277BF, Shoreview, Minnesota (KQQL-HD2 “ALT 93.3”); W292DH, Pittsburgh (WBGG-AM “ESPN Pittsburgh”); W221CR, Memphis (WREC-AM), K266BD, Carmel Valley, California (KOCN-FM), K253BV, Oklahoma City (KBRU-FM); and W248BQ, Nashville (WNRQ-HD2).
House Trump Investigation, Trump-Russia Probe, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, AOC Campaign Violation Allegation, Deadly Alabama Tornadoes, Luke Perry Dies, and NBA and NCAA Basketball Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4). The U.S. House begins investigating the operations of the Trump organization; the status of the probe into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the growing list of Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the allegation of a major campaign finance violation by the chairman of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s election campaign; deadly tornadoes kill 23 in Alabama; actor Luke Perry dies at 52 after suffering a stroke; and NBA and NCAA hoops action 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. Programmer Kris Abrams is appointed FM operations manager for Cumulus Media’s five Albuquerque FM stations and program director for country KRST “NASH FM,” classic country KBZU “NASH Icon,” and adult hits KDRF. Abrams returns to the Albuquerque market after serving with Cleveland-based Futuri Media since March of 2016. Cumulus Albuquerque VP and market manager Jeff Berry says, “I’m so excited to announce the return of Kris Abrams to ABQ. He has a strong history with and passion for these stations, our company and Albuquerque. We’re looking forward to having Kris’ extensive product knowledge, experience and leadership skills back in our building and at work for our listeners and advertisers.”…..In the Bakersfield market, Alpha Media names Danny Palacios operations manager and program director for CHR KLLY “Energy 95.3.” Palacios adds these responsibilities to his PD role with rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3.”…..On-air personalities Jordan Soto and Michael Mason are the new hosts on Townsquare Media’s country KUAD, Fort Collins/Greeley, Colorado. The “New Country Mornings with Jordan and Michael” launches on Monday (3/11). Townsquare Fort Collins market president Evan Harrison states, “At Townsquare we are completely focused on entertaining and engaging our local community in Northern Colorado. Jordan and Michael are the perfect duo to lead this charge on ‘New Country Mornings.’ Jordan lives the new country lifestyle completely and is a Colorado native. Like so many of us living here, Michael is new to the area and he is so eager to dive in to experience it all.”…..Air personality Jen Lewis is the new midday jock at Max Media’s adult contemporary WVBW, Norfolk, Virginia “92.9 The Wave.” She takes over for Rusty James, who is giving up is air shift to focus on his vice president of operations and programming role. James says, “I’m so excited to get one of Hampton Roads’ most-loved radio personalities back on the radio at ‘92.9 The Wave.’”…..SiriusXM says that country star Trisha Yearwood is debuting a new, weekly show called “Trisha’s Café” on The Garth Channel. Yearwood is well known for her home cooking and has published three best-selling cookbooks. She also hosts the EMMY-winning “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen” cable TV show.