Tom Bauerle Solo Again in WBEN-AM, Buffalo Afternoons; Report Alleges Internal Strife and More. According to a report in the Buffalo Chronicle, talk show host Tom Bauerle is back to being a solo performer in afternoon drive on Entercom’s WBEN 930 AM after co-host David Bellavia left the show with no explanation. The piece says a rift between Bauerle and Bellavia is the reason for the change. It also reports speculation that Bellavia is in line to take over the late morning show from Sandy Beach as he is considering retirement. However, what’s far more bizarre is the Chronicle piece accuses Bauerle of “lashing out at members of his audience” and alleges that Bauerle sexually harassed the wife of a caller to the show. David Bellavia is still with WBEN. A station spokesperson tells TALKERS, “We have adjusted his duties to allow him the flexibility to continue with his Medal of Honor duties. We are incredibly proud to continue our relationship with him and will soon be announcing a new venture with him.”
Quote of the Week. There has been a lot of reaction, positive and negative, to Rush Limbaugh receiving the Medal of Freedom at the recent State of the Union Address. The following quote deemed “brilliant” by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is attributed to Steve Lapa (pictured above), president of South Florida-based Lapcom Communication Corp.: “How ironic is the talk radio world?! The man who was #1 on the ‘No Buy’ list received the #1 civilian honor by the President of the United States. How many agency marketing directors will open their thinking to what great talk radio is about… and the deep influence of great talent?”
iHeartMedia and VSiN Partner with XFL for Sports Betting Audio Content. The new XFL inaugural season begins on Saturday (2/8) and the league has teamed with Vegas Stats & Information Network and iHeartMedia to create audio BetCasts for two games each week during the 2020 10-week regular season and two-week post-season. The BetCasts will feature VSiN sports betting experts covering XFL games live from VSiN’s studios in Las Vegas through a wagering lens. These digital audio broadcasts, available on the iHeartRadio app, will deliver real-time odds, as well as in-depth analysis of the events behind those changing lines to inform fans during the live action of the games. VSiN founder and CEO Brian Musburger says, “It’s great to see a league like the XFL embrace sports betting as a way to drive fan engagement and interest. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the forward-thinking executives at both the XFL and iHeart to deliver the most credible and actionable sports betting content to football fans around the country on the number one audio platform.”
TALKERS News Notes. Retired Orlando talk radio personality Jim Philips authored an op ed piece in the Orlando Sentinel that decries the loss of local talent in radio. Pointing to the recent staff cutbacks and radio leaders such as iHeartMedia and Entercom, Philips says he’s a realist who understands the business is changing, but says, “This doesn’t mean I have to like it.” Philips hosted “The Philips Phile” on WTKS-FM “Real Radio 104.1” for 30 years prior to his retirement in 2018…..Lazer Broadcasting and MLB’s San Francisco Giants extend their radio partnership for three‐years – through the 2022 season – for games to air on its newly launched Spanish sports talk KSFN-AM, San Francisco “Unanimo Deportes.” Lazer Broadcasting chief revenue officer Gerardo Martinez says, “The San Francisco Giants are a first-class organization with legions of faithful Latino fans, and we’re excited to be the official home of the SF Gigantes in Español. The professional sports journalism that ‘Unanimo Deportes’ brings to sports fans is unmatched.”…..The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that “Inside Edition” Emmy Award-winning anchor Deborah Norville will host its 2020 Golden Mike Award dinner taking place Wednesday, March 4, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. This annual event is a major fundraiser for the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to help broadcasters in acute need. As previously announced, this year’s Golden Mike Award honoree will be Dave Lougee, president and chief executive officer of TEGNA Inc. and the Lifetime Achievment Award will be presented to George Beasley, founder and chairman of Beasley Media Group.
Puckett Named Sales Manager for Beasley Southwest Florida; Johnson Rises to National Sales Manager. Radio sales pro Ellen Puckett is promoted to sales manager for Beasley Media Group’s Ft. Myers station group that includes news/talk WJBX, sports talk WWCN “ESPN Southwest Florida,” and four music brands. She’s been with the cluster since September of 2016, most recently as a senior AE. She comments, “As I move into this new phase with Beasley Media Group, I’m delighted to be working with a strong existing sales team. I look forward to using my skills in training and development to help our team introduce new products into the marketplace while continuing to grow our existing core business to provide results for our advertisers.” At the same time, Todd Johnston is upped from his account executive position to national sales manager for the cluster. Director of sales Allyson Hillman says, “We are thrilled to be able to promote Todd to his new role. His talent in negotiating and research are guaranteed to help us win in the national arena in the Ft. Myers market!”
WELI-AM, New Haven Adds FM Signal. New Haven, Connecticut news/talk WELI-AM adds FM translator W245DK to its broadcast, giving listeners to the iHeartMedia station the option to hear it on the 96.9 FM frequency. iHeartMedia Hartford Region president Steve Honeycomb says, “We are thrilled to be able to increase the reach of these heritage programs to listeners in the northern part of Connecticut. With this new signal, listeners will get to experience our unique programming like never before.”
Impeachment Ends in Acquittal, Iowa Caucuses/Presidential Race, Russian ‘Information Warfare,’ Wuhan Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity/Macy’s Announces Closures, and Kirk Douglas Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/5). The Senate votes to acquit President Donald Trump of the impeachment charges against him; the Iowa caucuses technical woes and the race for the Democratic nomination; FBI Director Chris Wray’s warming that the Russians are engaging in “information warfare” over the 2020 election; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus; activity on the world’s financial markets and Macy’s news it will shutter 125 stores; and actor Kirk Douglas dies at 103 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. At the Cox Media Group stations on Long Island, longtime VP and general manager John Shea is retiring and the company announces that current director of sales Katelin Tinley will assume the VP/GM role. Tinley began her career with CMG as an AE back in 2005. The CMG Long Island operations includes CHR WBLI, classic rock WBAB and its digital media platforms. CMG EVP radio Bill Hendrich says of Shea, “John is the kind of passionate leader that we love at CMG. John loves his team. He loves his stations. And he loves Long Island. We are losing a friend and a great business partner but know that he has worked hard for this day and wish him the absolute best in his retirement.”…..SiriusXM announces that Pearl Jam will perform at Harlem’s world-famous Apollo Theater in a special invitation-only concert for SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners on Thursday, March 26. The special event comes days before the band embarks on the U.S. leg of their Pearl Jam 2020 tour. The concert will take place just hours ahead of the release of the band’s new album Gigaton, that goes on sale at midnight. The concert will air live on the band’s dedicated SiriusXM’s Pearl Jam Radio channel.