Archive for September, 2019
FCC Grants Waiver of Ownership Regs for Sinclair Telecable in Austin. When Emmis Communications and Sinclair Telecable agreed to a $39.3 million deal for the latter to acquire full ownership of the Austin cluster that the two companies have been co-owners of since 2003, the result would have put Sinclair over the FCC’s ownership limit. The companies applied for a waiver from the FCC and on Friday (9/27), the Commission granted the waiver. Emmis owns 50.1% of the cluster and Sinclair owns 49.9%. Emmis sought the waiver, calling the Austin co-ownership “unique” and the sale of its stake to the other “more akin to a corporate restructuring.” FCC audio division chief Albert Shuldiner agreed, and in his ruling said that it’s obvious that Emmis and Sinclair are not trying to get around the ownership caps. “In fact, it appears that this transaction is part of Emmis’ ongoing efforts to divest its radio stations.” The Austin station group includes: news/talk KLBJ-AM, alternative KROX, adult contemporary KGSR, regional Mexican KLZT, and adult hits KBPA (as well as HD2 stations “Austin City Limits Radio” and “Latino 102.7”).
Monday Memo: Play the Hits. If you host an ask-the-expert show, you’re working “a sales funnel.” This week, in part two of a series, consultant Holland Cooke explains how weekend talk radio hosts can borrow a success technique from music radio. Read it here.
Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Aid Issue, Biden Campaign’s Giuliani Request, 2020 Presidential Race, MBS’ ‘60 Minutes’ Interview, Hong Kong Protests, Netanyahu’s Future, and Kanye’s ‘Jesus Is King’ Album Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Democrat-led impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related issue of the president’s withholding of approved aid for Ukraine; the Joe Biden campaign’s request of news organizations to stop giving Trump attorney/adviser Rudy Giuliani air time; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman denies ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi during “60 Minutes” interview; the continuing protests in Hong Kong as the 70th anniversary of the Communist Takeover approaches; the future of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he tries to build a coalition with his main rival; and the controversy over Kanye West’s Jesus Is King album that failed to be released were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
iHeartMedia Announces Second Annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards. In a press release, iHeartMedia says that in celebration of International Podcast Day, it is announcing the return of the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards to the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles on Friday, January 17, 2020 at 8:00 pm PT. It will be broadcast and streamed live across iHeartMedia stations nationwide. The awards will cover 30 categories and the live event will feature appearances by award nominees, celebrity presenters, and other special guests. iHeartPodcast president Conal Byrne says, “When we introduced the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards last year, we knew we wanted to celebrate the most talented podcast creators out there – the key reason that podcasting continues to grow exponentially. The response to last year’s awards was amazing. This is the one time of the year that all the most popular podcasters come together to celebrate the community of podcasting truly as colleagues, not competitors. The iHeartRadio Podcast Awards bring everyone into one room – the biggest hosts, producers and distributors – all committed to this amazing podcast medium and to seeing its incredible growth continue.”
TALKERS News Notes. From the Windy City, media writer Robert Feder reports two items of note. First, Nexstar Media Group is making a change to news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago’s imaging. Chicago media figure Bill Kurtis is no longer voicing the station’s imaging. That is duty is now being handled by New York-based voiceover pro Steve Kamer. Feder notes that new jingles for WGN-AM now use the familiar music from sister WGN-TV’s newscasts. Feder quotes a Nexstar spokesman saying, “We are embracing our Midwest roots. Going to bring back the warmness of WGN — a station for everyone.” Second, Jennifer Weigel moves from serving as co-host of the “Mancow in the Morning” program on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM to hosting her own program airing from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on the station, replacing the syndicated John Batchelor program. WLS-AM PD Stephanie Tichenor calls it “the only locally produced, female-hosted show in our market”…..SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio channel is presenting a special radio documentary celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 “Miracle Mets” World Series victory — the memorable first world championship in the young franchise’s history following seven consecutive losing seasons. Titled, “Amazin’: A Celebration of the 1969 Mets,” it features new interviews with several members of the ’69 Mets including Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, Ed Kranepool, Cleon Jones, Ron Swoboda, Jerry Koosman, Jerry Grote, Duffy Dyer, Rod Gaspar, Wayne Garrett, J.C. Martin, Jim McAndrew, Bobby Pfeil, Art Shamsky and Al Weis, as well as manager Gil Hodges’ wife Joan and son Gil Jr., and Tommy Agee’s wife Maxcine. Listeners will also hear previously recorded memories from Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver. SiriusXM’s Ed Randall hosts the special…..Digital audio advertising firm DAX brings Chris Blackburn aboard to serve as EVP for sales and business development. Blackburn was most recently with SoundCloud where he was responsible for overseeing and growing its worldwide ad-sales business…..Below, WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk show host John DePetro (right) poses for a photo with Southeast Massachusetts Sheriff Tom Hodgson (left) on the White House lawn during a ceremony in which America’s Sheriffs and Angel Families presented President Trump with a plaque of appreciation for his work combating illegal immigration.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programing pro Steven Lewis is named program director and afternoon drive host at Cumulus Media’s rock WNDX, Indianapolis “93.9X,” effective October 7. He moves to Indy from Cincinnati where he was assistant director of custom/national programming for iHeartMedia. WNDX operations manager Christopher “Boomer” Layfield says, “‘93.9X’ shot out of a cannon to incredible audience response when we launched back in May, thanks to Doug Hamand, Troy Hanson, Derek Madden, and Jim Kurdziel. We’re now adding just the right mad rock programming genius to make us dangerous… in a good way. Steven is ideally suited to lead this team. I share his vision and look forward to working with him to firmly establish the ‘93.9X’ brand in Indy.”…..iHeartMedia’s alternative KTBZ, Houston “94.5 The Buzz” names Tessa Barrera co-host of “The Rod Ryan Morning Show” alongside Rod Ryan, Alex Middleton, and executive producer, Jose “The Chile” Santos. Station PD Elliott Wood says, “Tessa brings an amazingly strong on-air presence along with an accomplished set of skills in radio, news, sports, and television.” She comes to Houston from the company’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles where she served as a news anchor and executive producer…..It’s getting close to Jingle Ball season for the 12 iHeartMedia CHR stations that are hosting a Jingle Ball concert. With Capital One again on board as the title sponsor, the company announces that some of the acts seen will include: Taylor Swift, Camila Cabello, Halsey, 5SOS, Lizzo, Dan + Shay, Monsta X, Fletcher, Jonas Brothers, NF, Niall Horan, French Montana, Why Don’t We, Zara Larsson, and Lewis Capaldi.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Last week here, we detailed a negotiating strategy for attorneys, realtors, veterinarians, financial advisors, and other professional services providers who broker weekend talk radio time to round-up new clients. In too many cases, the station isn’t doing all it should to help produce results. If you missed that column, which included a helpful podcast, click here.
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
DALLAS — The NAB/RAB Radio Show continued Thursday with sessions and workshops dedicated mostly to sales and podcasting. The show culminated with the annual Marconi Awards Dinner which saluted the best of radio’s talent and radio stations.
Some of the winners included Hubbard’s all-news WTOP-FM Washington, DC for Major Market Station of the Year; Beasley took home awards for Major Market Personality of the Year (Michael Felger & Tony Massarotti), Classic Hits Station of the Year (WMGK Philadelphia), Rock Station of the Year (WRIF Detroit) and Sports Station of the Year (WBZ Boston). Hofstra University’s WRHU-FM in Hempstead, NY won College Radio Station of the Year; and Hubbard’s KSTP in Minneapolis took home both the Large Market Station of the Year and Large Market Personality of the Year (Crisco, Dez & Ryan).
The WWL, New Orleans-Seth Dunlap Case Gets More Bizarre; Station Accuses Host of Extortion. According to coverage of this story in the Times-Picayune, the reason Entercom went from an internal investigation of the anti-gay slur tweet against sports talk host Seth Dunlap to turning it over to the police (as TALKERS reported yesterday), is because it believes Dunlap himself sent the text and is attempting to extort $1.85 million out of the company. The New Orleans police department says WWL believes the tweet was sent from Dunlap’s cell phone. The police report also notes that the station is accusing Dunlap of threatening to go “scorched earth” over the matter and is demanding $1.85 million in order to get out of personal financial trouble. The station adds that it has been receiving letters regarding wage garnishment for Dunlap as creditors attempt to collect for unpaid credit card bills and personal loans. The police are currently working to corroborate WWL’s conclusions. Right now, they are calling it a possible extortion case. Dunlap’s lawyer, Megan Kiefer, says Dunlap didn’t have access to the station’s Twitter account and that the station is “attempting to blame the victim of its own anti-LGBT culture.”
New KIRO-AM, Seattle Program Schedule Unveiled. As a result of the semi-retirement of longtime KIRO-AM personality Dave “The Groz” Grosby and the transition of the “Brock & Salk” morning show to a podcast, Bonneville’s sports talk KIRO-AM, Seattle “710 ESPN” announces its new lineup, effective Monday (9/30). First, in afternoon drive, Bob Stelton moves from the early afternoon show to afternoon drive with Dave Wyman and Jim Moore for the “Bob, Dave and Moore” show. Stelton’s departure from the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show results in Tom Wassell being joined in the daypart by Stacy Rost and Jake Heaps for the “Tom, Jake and Stacy” show. Rost is a Seahawks insider who has served as a writer and editor with 710Sports.com and host with KIRO-AM. Heaps played quarterback at BYU, Kansas and Miami. He had pro stints with the Jets and Seahawks and joined the station in 2018. That show will be produced by current “Brock & Salk” producer Kyle Brown. Taking over the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show is the “Danny and Gallant” program, featuring Danny O’Neil and Paul Gallant. O’Neil moves from his current afternoon drive role on the “Danny, Dave and Moore” show and Paul Gallant arrives from Houston where he’d most recently been hosting mornings at Entercom’s KILT-AM. Jessamyn McIntyre will produce the “Danny and Gallant” program. Mike Salk leaves his daily show to focus on his program director role with the station but, as noted above, he and Brock Huard will produce a weekly podcast version of their show, beginning next week. As TALKERS reported previously, Grosby steps away from his daily show but will do a segment with John Clayton at 11:45 am and will serve as a guest host. He’s also going to have an expanded role with 710Sports.com.
New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (9/20). The new episode titled “Whistle a Yappy Tune!” looks back at this past explosive week of September 23-27, 2019. Recorded at this week’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row in Washington, DC, the show features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dale Jackson, WVNN, Huntsville, AL; Michael Brown, KHOW, Denver; Gordon Deal, Compass Media Networks; Casey Hendrickson, WRTC, South Bend, IN; Michael Patrick Leahy, WLAC, Nashville; Martha Zoller, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Dan “Ox” Ochsner, KNSI, St. Cloud, MN; Joyce Kaufman, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami; and John De Petro, WNRI, Woonsocket, RI. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as well as other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; and KBKW, Aberdeen, WA as a special week-in-review and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeartRadio App. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.
SRN’s ‘Battle for America’s Soul’ Tour Hits Phoenix. Pictured above are Salem Radio Network talk show hosts in Phoenix as SRN’s “Battle for America’s Soul” tour stopped at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. SRN says the sellout crowd of more than 1,000 heard the hosts discuss topics from impeachment to the culture wars. From left to right are: SRN hosts Larry Elder and Dr. Sebastian Gorka, two unidentified KKNT, Phoenix listeners, Twitchy.com founder Michelle Malkin, and moderator/SRN talk host Mike Gallagher.
Seen and Heard at the Radio Show. TALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay reports from the 2019 NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. He says Thursday’s sessions focused on podcasting and sales, culminating in the annual Marconi Awards ceremony. He notes that 139 students interested in radio and media from across the country attended the Radio Show as part of the Broadcast Education Association’s mentoring program. Executive director Heather Birks says of the 400 or so students who’ve taken part in the last five years, 75% are now working in media and about 50% are working in radio. Read Jeff McKay’s report here.
2019 Marconi Award Winners Honored. At last night’s awards dinner at the 2019 NAB/RAB Radio Show, the Marconi’s were handed out. Spoken-word winners of this year’s honors include: Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington for Major Market Station of the Year; Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle for News/Talk Station of the Year; and Beasley Media’s WBZ-FM, Boston for Sports Station of the Year. WBZ-FM’s “Felger and Massarotti” – Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti – were honored with the Major Market Personality of the Year award. WRHU-FM, Hempstead, New York “Radio Hofstra University” was honored with the “College Station of the Year” award. See all the winners here.
TALKERS News Notes. Journalist Katie Couric is hosting an iHeartRadio Original podcast titled, “Next Question with Katie Couric.” The show becomes part of iHeartMedia‘s iHeartPodcast Network and will “explore some of today’s most important issues and transformative trends through insightful and engaging conversations that span news, politics, and pop culture.” Topics addressed in the 12 episodes include: ABC’s of CBD, Jennifer Garner’s foray into entrepreneurship, whether ageism is the last socially acceptable “ism,” the eSports universe, and a conversation with a former white supremacist who now works to deradicalize others…..SiriusXM announces the launch of “The Johnny Carson Channel,” on October 1. The month-long special programming will feature the top, handpicked episodes of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” The programs will highlight notable classic moments, including the first “Tonight Show” stand-up appearances by Jerry Seinfeld (1981), Jay Leno (1977), and Ellen DeGeneres (1986), and Eddie Murphy (1982). There are also interviews with Lucille Ball, Muhammad Ali, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Billy Crystal, and Oprah Winfrey.
The Impeachment Inquiry Is the Top News/Talk Story for the Week of September 23-27. The Democrats decision to begin an impeachment inquiry against President Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Ukraine phone conversation flap. Coming in at #3 was immigration reform, followed by the UN General Assembly and climate change tied 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.
Sports Talk and Album Rock Radio Pioneer Richard Neer Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. There have been a number of stories these past couple of weeks from the world of popular culture. They include the milestone of Bruce Springsteen reaching his 70th birthday and the impact of his political outspokenness on how his fans might view him. The deaths of rock stars Ric Ocasek and Eddie Money – also in their seventies; the disturbing saga of football wide receiver Antonio Brown; and the growing popularity in the podcasting world of the “true crime” genre. WFAN, New York, sports talk personality Richard Neer is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison describes Neer as “one of my oldest and best friends… and one of my top go-to guys on the subjects of sports, music and crime.” Neer has been a sports talk show host on WFAN in New York since 1988. He is also a pioneer of album rock radio having worked in the golden era at WLIR on Long Island and WNEW-FM in New York. He wrote the milestone book about rock radio titled FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) and has a growing following of fans for his series of murder mysteries featuring the ongoing adventures of Riley King, Private Investigator. 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 or on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air personality Joe “Flu Season” Lewis joins Cumulus Media as afternoon host and programming assistant at urban contemporary KTCX, Beaumont, Texas “Magic 102.5.” He was most recently the evening host at Cumulus’ WLZN-FM, Macon, Georgia. KTCX program director Kelly Mac says, “Joe is a passionate, multi-skilled on-air talent who brings an array of experience to the table. He not only gets the on-air aspect of radio, but strongly embraces the community as well as the digital, imaging, and branding aspect of radio, which made him a perfect fit for this role. I look forward to watching him grow and succeed with the Cumulus team.”…..Leaving his brand/content director post with Hubbard Radio’s adult hits WARH-FM, St. Louis “106.5 The Arch” for a yet-to-be-revealed position is programming pro Scott Roddy. He joined the station in February of 2016…..Below is Premiere Networks personality Amy Brown (right) with Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott (left). Scott appeared on the “4 Things with Amy Brown” podcast to talk about the band’s new album and the single, “Ocean.” She’s also a guest on Scott’s weekend radio program, “Women of iHeartCountry.”
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
DALLAS — The NAB/RAB Radio Show kicked into a new gear on Wednesday, highlighted by a standing-room-only lunch featuring Entercom CEO David Field, Cumulus CEO Mary Berner, and iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman. A packed schedule of info sessions continued what has become a theme for the radio show – podcasting.
Thursday continues that same trend with info sessions that include a strong focus on sales and podcasting, capped off with the Marconi Awards dinner and show, and the Marconi “after party.”