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Tuesday, December 14, 2021

| December 14, 2021

Good Karma Brands to Acquire ESPN Stations in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The three sports talk radio stations owned by Disney/ESPN are being acquired by Good Karma Brands, LLC under a deal that is expected to close during the first quarter of 2022. The stations are WEPN-AM, New York; KSPN-AM, Los Angeles; and WMVP-AM, Chicago. The deal will also have Good Karma Brands perform ESPN’s obligations under the current Local Marketing Agreement for WEPN-FM, New York “98.7 ESPN.” As part of a long-term affiliation agreement, all three stations will remain as ESPN Radio affiliates and continue broadcasting ESPN Network Radio content as well as locally produced programming. There is no price revealed in the press release from GKB. The company has been operating WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” under an LMA since October 2019. Good Karma founder and CEO Craig Karmazin says, “We are thrilled to add ESPN New York and ESPN Los Angeles to GKB. These stations and teammates give us an expanded footprint and increased resources to help meet our mission of serving our teammates, fans and advertising partners at a best-in-class level.” ESPN Audio vice president Scott McCarthy comments, “At ESPN, we are focused on evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of our business, providing the outstanding content that our fans expect, and growing our audience in critical, leading markets. We have a strong, 20-plus year relationship with Good Karma Brands and know they will further contribute to the success of these great local audio operations.” In addition, the companies have agreed to extend their ESPN Digital sales agreement, which began in 2015, in which GKB represents display and video inventory on ESPN.com and the ESPN App to local and regional advertisers in 14 select markets.

Porth Joins WSCR, Chicago as Assistant Brand Manager. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Ryan Porth is leaving his program director position at Cromwell Media’s sports talk WPRT, Nashville “102.5 The Game” to joins Audacy’s sports talk WSCR-AM, Chicago “The Score” as assistant brand manager, effective January 3. WSCR operations director and brand manager Mitch Rosen is quoted saying, “He will assist us in multiple facets — from organization, digital ideation and assisting all of us moving ‘The Score’ brand forward into the future.” Porth has served as PD of WPRT since 2016 and also served as executive producer for the Nashville Predators Radio Network.

Bonilla Rises to PD at KXNT, Las Vegas. TALKERS magazine hears that Audacy has promoted Mark Bonilla from his assistant program director position at news/talk KXNT-AM, Las Vegas to program director for the station. He assumes the role previously held by Paul Ihander.

Audacy and Voicify Partner for Voice Capabilities Across Digital Platform. A new multiyear partnership is struck between Audacy and Voicify, a company described in a press release as “the market leader in conversation experience management software that combines voice optimized content management, cross-platform deployment, and voice-specific customer insights.” As part of this deal, Audacy will leverage Voicify’s services to drive interactive voice capabilities across the Audacy platform and make station-branded skills more easily accessible for listeners via any voice assistant-enabled device. Audacy will also license Voicify’s patented platform – The Voicify Conversation Experience Platform – to create and deliver innovative, interactive voice ads and voice commerce experiences through digital audio content for advertisers. The Voicify Conversation Experience Platform enables marketers to connect with their customers by creating highly engaging and personalized voice experiences that are automatically deployed to a broad array of voice platforms, including smart speakers. Audacy chief digital officer J.D. Crowley comments, “As we continue to expand and enhance the Audacy direct-to-consumer platform, adding new interactive voice capabilities and enabling voice commerce experiences across a wide range of devices is an important area of future growth, especially in an age where flexibility and speed to market are a must have for our advertising partners. We are excited to partner with Voicify to provide next generation interactive advertising solutions to our clients to help make their advertising more actionable.”

Former WLS-AM, Chicago Talk Host Stephanie Trussell to Run for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. Former weekend talk host Stephanie Trussell is joining Illinois State Senator Darren Bailey on the Republican ticket for lieutenant governor and governor, respectively. Trussell had hosted the Saturday afternoon program on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago after winning the station’s “Next Talk Star” contest in 2012. She left the weekend gig in 2019 but continued to host a podcast for the station for a period.

Newsmax Names Duchardt Congressional Correspondent. Journalist Kilmeny Duchardt is joining Newsmax as congressional correspondent. A press release says that Kilmeny brings more than 15 years of media experience with the Associated Press, Reuters and most recently as an anchor with Turkish TV’s TRT World. Duchardt has spent the last three years anchoring “Turkish TV’s TRT World” U.S. primetime news bulletins out of Washington, covering the U.S. election, Congress, the White House and other major global news events. Newsmax news director Chris Wallace states, “Kilmeny is a well-regarded journalist known for getting the story right. She will be a great addition to our growing team.” Duchardt comments, “Trust isn’t given, it’s earned. I take great pride in earning the trust of my viewers. I look forward to gaining the respect of our diverse audience at Newsmax and being a source they can count on.”

TALKERS News Notes. Digital and tech services provider Triton Digital announces it is expanding its Podcast Reports to Canada. Triton says the Canadian Podcast Report will provide insight into the Top Podcasts and Networks in Canada each month, as measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics measurement service. The inaugural Canadian Podcast report will be issued in late Q1 2022. Triton president of market development John Rosso states, “As podcast listening in Canada continues to rise, advertisers need reliable measurement to better understand the performance of on-demand and podcast content. Expanding our Podcast Reports to the Canadian market, where we already have a strong presence, highlights our commitment to eliminate inconsistent measurement practices and self-reported data, providing content marketers, media buyers, and the audio industry at large with access to validated and transparent podcast metrics in the Canadian market for the first time.”.….New Hampshire Public Radio promotes staffer Rebecca Lavoie to director of on-demand audio. Lavoie joined NHPR in 2010 to produce the daily magazine program “Word of Mouth” and most recently served as director of audience & engagement. NHPR president and CEO Jim Schachter says, “Rebecca has nurtured an explosion of excellent journalism and inspired creativity throughout NHPR. Her keen editorial ear is evident in all the material produced under her leadership. Her deep roots in the community and knowledge of the podcast industry make her an essential contributor to our senior management team.”…..Audacy announces that its Richmond stations – including news/talk WRVA – raised more than $670,000 to benefit Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU during the annual “36-Hours for Kids Radiothon.”…..The syndicated “Motley Fool Money” show hosted by Chris Hill is added to the weekend lineup on Bennett Radio Group’s news/talk duo “The Patriot” in WEZR-AM, Rumford and WPNO-AM, South Paris, Maine…..Pictured below is “Florida Man Radio” (WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WZLB-FM, Fort Walton Beach) personality Shannon Burke (left) with Key Networks syndicated radio star Bill O’Reilly (right) backstage at the Amway Center in Orlando on Sunday (12/12). Burke attended the “History Tour” event with O’Reilly and former President Donald Trump – a series of live conversations between Trump and O’Reilly about the four-year Trump administration.

FOX News Radio’s Jimmy Failla to Be Part of FNC’s New Year’s Eve Programming. This New Year’s Eve, FOX News Channel is presenting special programming from 10:00 pm to 1:30 am ET featuring “FOX & Friends Weekend” co-hosts Pete Hegseth, Rachel Campos-Duffy and Will Cain live from the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. Joining the trio in the holiday programming will be Jimmy Failla, host of FOX News Radio’s “FOX Across America” midday show, who will perform stand-up comedy from the Wildhorse Saloon. Also involved in the programming will be FOX Nation’s Lawrence Jones, “Outnumbered” co-host Emily Compagno and FOX News correspondent Griff Jenkins from Times Square, FOX News contributor Raymond Arroyo and FOX Nation host Abby Hornacek in New Orleans, and FOX News Congressional correspondent Aishah Hasnie from Folly Beach in Charleston, South Carolina and FOX Business correspondent Madison Alworth from Tampa Bay, Florida.

COVID-19, Economy/Supply Chain/Inflation, Software Vulnerability, Build Back Better, January 6 Investigation, Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, and Tornadoes Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/13). The rate of COVID-19 cases around the world, the Omicron variant, Pfizer’s pill, and mandates; the state of the U.S. economy, the ongoing supply chain woes, and high consumer prices; criticism of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack, Mark Meadows’ refusal to cooperate with the House committee, and new email revelations; the G7 nations’ warning to Russia about military action in Ukraine; and the aftermath of the deadly tornadoes in Kentucky and Illinois were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

| December 17, 2020

Newsmax Media Founder and CEO Christopher Ruddy Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The CEO of Newsmax Media – the conservative news organization that owns and operates Newsmax.com and Newsmax TV in addition to a number of other platforms and services in digital and print publishing – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Veteran journalist, entrepreneur, and news executive Christopher Ruddy discusses the history and strategy that has led to Newsmax TV achieving enormous rating gains this year in its juggernaut campaign to provide FOX News Channel with formidable competition in the conservative news/talk cable TV ratings wars. In this revealing conversation, Ruddy tells Harrison his side of the recent story by media writer Ben Smith published inThe New York Times under the headline, “The King of Trump TV Thinks You’re Dumb Enough to Buy It.” He dispels the notion conveyed in that piece that Newsmax TV has strategically flanked FOX to its far right and is telling President Donald Trump’s most ardent loyalists whatever they want to hear regardless of the truth. Ruddy discusses the bigger picture of Newsmax content which also delivers stories and items that are unfavorable to Trump and collectively covers a broader segment of the spectrum best described as center-right, as opposed to far-right. Harrison and Ruddy take a deep-dive into talk media political “positioning” which lies at the very heart of modern competitive programming. They also speculate on the future of American politics and the talk media coverage thereof. True to his unpredictable and often contrarian approach to what many observers consider conventional wisdom, Ruddy states that it appears President-Elect Biden is not veering to the far left as many Republicans and Trump supporters fear he will as evidenced by many of his cabinet picks, and that the 46th president will be far more of a “centrist” than many in both parties are expecting. Ruddy also candidly discusses the balancing act required to maintain a long-standing “friendship” with Trump while not being afraid to criticize his policies on those occasions when he believes such criticism is warranted in addition to outlining his immediate plans to grow Newsmax as a full-service news organization in 2021. This podcast is a must-listen! 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 on every page of Talkers.com.

Floyd Reese Exiting ‘102.5 The Game’ in Nashville. According to a story in the Nashville Post, former Tennessee Titans general manager Floyd Reese is giving up his sports talk host gig at Cromwell Media’s WPRT-FM, Nashville “102.5 The Game.” Reese co-hosted the afternoon drive program “Jared & The GM” with Jared Stillman for the past five-plus years. Stillman will continue to host the afternoon show now billed as “Stillman & Company” as the station seeks out a new afternoon co-host. The Post cites a press release in which Reese states, “This is something I’ve been contemplating for a while and I feel it’s time for me to take a step back. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my tenure with ‘102.5 The Game’ and doing a show with Jared has been a terrific experience. He and I formed a unique partnership that allowed us to be teammates and friends. I’d also like to thank Cromwell Media owner Bud Walters and [program director] Ryan Porth for their non-stop support over the years. It’s been a good run.” Reese was general manager of the NFL’s old Houston Oilers from 1990-1999 and the Titans (after the Oilers moved from Houston to Nashville) from 1999-2006. He was a senior football advisor for the New England Patriots from 2009-2012. He joined “102.5 The Game” in 2015.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Keeps The Bike Drive Alive. The annual holiday “Bikes for Kids” drive was launched by retired WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte talk host John Hancock 26 years ago. With Hancock’s retirement at the beginning of 2020, the fate of the charitable drive that had provided some 20,000 bikes (as well as gifts, food, clothing and more) to tens of thousands of needy Charlotte-area kids was up in the air. Ultimately, WBT staff, in partnership with the Carolina Panthers, WSOC-TV, Frito Lay, and some other local charitable organizations, worked to get 400 brand-new bikes collected during the “Bike Drive” that took place on Tuesday (12/15). Brett Winterble, who took over the afternoon drive show following Hancock’s retirement, says, “It was an amazing day for Hancock’s bikes for kids. This was my first opportunity since joining WBT in February to interface with this amazing audience in person. The generosity and good cheer of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday was truly awe inspiring. In gathering hundreds of bikes for well deserving children I forged new friendships with dedicated listeners to WBT. One man named Steve told me he was a 50-year listener of WBT and had attended every one of the bike drives Hancock led. It was an unbelievable show of generosity and good civic pride. I look forward to next year and can’t wait for this to continue to grow!”

Townsquare Media to Offer $550 Million in Senior Secured Notes. In a filing with the SEC, Townsquare Media reveals it has priced an offering of $550 million in aggregate principal amount of its 6.875% senior secured notes due 2026. These notes are being offered to institutional buyers and will be senior secured obligations of the company and will be guaranteed on a senior secured basis by certain of the company’s direct and indirect wholly owned subsidiaries. The closing of the offering is anticipated to take place on or about January 6, 2021. Townsquare says that it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering, together with cash on hand, to repay existing senior secured credit facilities, to redeem all of its outstanding 6.500% senior notes due 2023. It is also terminating its existing senior secured credit facilities, including its existing revolving credit facility.

Skyview Networks and MLB Radio Rightsholders Team Up for Annual Meeting. This year’s annual meeting of Major League Baseball radio rightsholders and Skyview Networks to discuss their broadcast operations and ad sales experiences from the previous season was done remotely. This year’s panels placed a heavy focus on fan engagement and advertising strategies with emphasis on maximizing digital assets under the restrictions of the pandemic. Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones says, “The MLB radio rightsholders play a significant role in their teams’ success through broadcast sponsorships. Radio and baseball have always put fans first and this season proved no different. Skyview played an important role in helping teams find creative solutions during the pandemic and we showcased those solutions to the whole league this week.” Skyview says many teams also leveraged the power of social media to engage with fans through promotions from their biggest sponsors, citing proactive communication as their key to success. Putting their followers’ interests at the forefront, these organizations hosted many virtual gatherings through YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and more to encourage listenership and interaction while the season was on a hiatus. Additional panel topics included software and strategies to streamline remote broadcasting, creating awareness for franchises’ ancillary digital content to increase broadcast listening and sponsorship extensions, and monetizing the evolving sports betting opportunities across a radio platform.

New Drive Time Shows on SiriusXM’s P.O.T.U.S. Channel in January. Starting on January 4, the new lineup on SiriusXM’s non-partisan P.O.T.U.S. channel will includeJulie Mason Mornings” (6:00 am to 9:00 am ET) and “The Laura Coates Show” (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET). Veteran journalist Mason takes over for Tim Farley’s “The Morning Briefing” after Farley’s retirement at year’s end. Coates – a CNN senior legal analyst – moves to the P.O.T.U.S. channel from SiriusXM’s Urban View channel. Julie Mason has more than 30 years of experience covering local, state and national politics, including four presidential campaigns. In more than 10 years at the White House, she traveled internationally and reported from more than 30 different countries. She is a former elected board member of the White House Correspondents Association. In addition to her media work, Coates has served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and as an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law.

United Stations Radio Networks Names Jim Roberts Director of Affiliate Sales and Marketing for Sports. Sports radio pro Jim Roberts is named director of affiliate sales and marketing/sports content for United Stations Radio Networks. He comes to USRN after a 20-plus years career with Disney/ESPN in which he oversaw the inception and growth of the affiliate network of 500-plus stations for ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes while also managing Disney owned-and-operated stations in New York City and Dallas. United Stations recently announced a partnership with SportsGarten Network to provide stations with short-form, long-form and daily daypart options in sports and sports wagering content. In his new role, Roberts will market all USRN sports-related programs and services, including the Total Sports Prep service. USRN’s Stefan Jones comments, “At United Stations we are growing our programming, services, and partnerships in the sports and sports-wagering lane. As more and more states are legalizing sports wagering, we want to ensure our company delivers quality options.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports media personality Rich Eisen and Westwood One reach an agreement for the latter to feature “The Rich Eisen Show” podcast on the Westwood One Podcast Network, beginning on January 4. The deal also calls for the development of a new podcast by Eisen called “Just Getting Started” (scheduled for a February debut) in which Eisen interviews the biggest names from news, entertainment, sports, and pop culture, discussing their career origins and mining their stories on how they got started, in a format where audiences can be inspired by their endeavors…..In Chicago, Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM, Chicago is handing the agribusiness beat over to Steve Alexander with the retirement of Orion Samuelson at the end of this month. Samuelson is putting the wrap on a radio career that spans 60 years. Alexander says, “When I’ve filled in for Orion over the past 12 years, I’ve often joked that he gave me the key to the tractor, and I was able to keep it out of the ditch until he returned. Come next month, I’ll try to keep the tractor upright and continue Orion’s efforts to explain how important agriculture is to all of us.”…..GCN-syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs’ program adds two new affiliate stations as WEOL, Elyria, Ohio and KPRL, Paso Robles, California pick up the show.

COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Vaccines, the Economy & Closings, Stimulus Talks, Ongoing Election Denial, Georgia Runoff Elections, Biden Transition, and Northeast Snowstorm Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for post-holidays cases; the beginning of vaccine distribution in the U.S.; the state of the U.S. economy and forced business closings; the congressional negotiations over a new stimulus package; the ongoing denial of the election results in the Donald Trump camp; January’s runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the Joe Biden administration’s transition and nominations; and a big snowstorm hits the Northeast 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’s a series of holiday programs being made available on Entercom’s RADIO.COM that’s airing from December 18-20. The shows are: “POP Goes Christmas,” featuring Why Don’t We and Ava Max; “Acoustic Christmas,” featuring Kelly Clarkson, Meghan Trainor, Dan + Shay, Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, Rob Thomas, Train, Matt Nathanson, Ava Max, and a special performance from Keith Urban; “Country Christmas,” with Keith Urban, Dan + Shay, Lady A, Runaway June, and Russell Dickerson; and “Not So Silent Night” starring Machine Gun Kelly, 24kGoldn, All Time Low, SHAED, and Wallows. Those four shows will culminate in the “RADIO.COM LIVE! Holiday Music Festival,” a free video stream of the concert performances on December 21 at 6:00 pm ET, available nationwide on the RADIO.COM app and website at RADIO.COM/Live. Portions of the show will also be available on Twitch and via RADIO.COM’s social media channels. The performances will be accessible on demand for 72 hours after the show on RADIO.COM and station websites…..SiriusXM announces the rollout of several new pop up channels, holiday specials, live programs for New Year’s Eve, exclusive video, podcasts and best-of live performances. “New Year’s Nation” will launch beginning December 29 as a pop-up channel on SiriusXM dedicated to the ultimate New Year’s celebration songs in pop, rhythm, dance, and hip-hop from across the nation featuring the hottest hits from Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Drake, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, Taylor Swift and more. New holiday pop-up channels include Top 100 Interviews of 2020, highlighting the top celebrity interviews from the past year. Hosted by SiriusXM’s Jess Cagle and Julia Cunningham, the pop-up channel will feature interviews from shows including “Andy Cohen Live,” “The Hoda Show” and “The Jess Cagle Show” with some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Ben Affleck, Hugh Jackman, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Laverne Cox, Lily Collins, Lizzo, Ramy Yousef, Sam Smith, Sean Penn, Spike Lee and dozens more.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

| November 19, 2019

BREAKING NEWS – Masked Intruders Break In and Set fire to Hong Kong Office of The Epoch Times.   Four masked intruders dressed in black (three of which are pictured above in a still from a security camera) set fire to the printing press of the Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times in the early hours this morning (11/19), marking the fourth attack on the Hong Kong facility of the international news organization since its opening more than a decade ago.  According to a breaking report in The Epoch Times online edition, the manager of the printing press said that the incident took place around 3:40 am HKT at the facility located in the Mong Kok area, as the newly printed newspapers were about to be delivered to the stands.  Moments after staff at the press opened the factory door, however, the men walked into the facility and pointed batons towards the workers, shouting, “All of you don’t move!” Surveillance footage from the printing shop shows two of the men dressed in all black carrying batons, while one of them holds newspapers, and another carries two containers containing a flammable liquid, which he poured onto the factory machines and newspapers.  The other black-clad man then ignited fires with a lighter. The men immediately ran away after the fires started. The whole incident lasted about two minutes. The fire caused the sprinkler system to turn on, and a staff member used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. The staff then called the police and fire department, who arrived shortly afterward. The Tsuen Wan police bureau has launched an investigation.  Two print machines, four rolls of printing papers, and several stacks of newspapers in the factory suffered damage from the fire. Some papers were also damaged by the water.  In February 2006, thugs broke into the print shop and attempted to smash the presses. In October 2012, the door of the print shop was damaged. In December 2012, seven men carrying multiple tool boxes appeared and began attempting to break through the gate. They fled after police were called.  The Epoch Times has a long history of persecution in which reporters have been arrested and suffered violence at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.  Talk show hosts interested in booking a spokesperson from The Epoch Times to discuss today’s break-in may do so by contacting Victoria Jones at the DC Radio Company by phone 917-865-3991 or email at victoria@dcradiocompany.com

PPM Analysis: News/Talk (Part 2). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a second look at the performances of news/talk stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey.  This report delves into commercial news/talk listening by market, comparing data from October 2018 to October 2019.  A review of the 47 PPM markets (Puerto Rico not included), show news/talk listening (based on weekly, 6+ AQH share) was up in 19 of those markets and down in the other 28 PPM markets.  Markets that saw gains were led by Chicago, San Antonio, West Palm Beach, and Memphis.  Markets losing share were led by Denver, Providence, Seattle, and Milwaukee.  Which markets, as of October 2019, are the biggest news/talk listeners?  The top five are: Milwaukee (13.4 share), Cincinnati (12.9 share), Orlando (12.1 share), Minneapolis (11.9 share), Middlesex (10.8 share).  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Nick Kayal Exits Nashville’s “102.5 The Game.” Morning drive sports talk personality Nick Kayal exits Cromwell Media’s sports talk WPRT, Nashville “102.5 The Game” in a move that appears to be a cost-saving effort.  The show currently stars Braden Gall and former Tennessee Titans wide receiver Derrick Mason.  Kayal joined the WPRT morning show in 2018 after having previously served with WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Sports Fanatic.”  Gall and Mason discussed Kayal’s departure on today’s program and an appreciative good-bye text from Kayal appears on the morning show’s page on the station website.

TALKERS News Notes. The regionally syndicated “John Fredericks Show” – based at WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia – is broadcasting today (11/19) live from the White House.  Fredericks says the show will be “no-holds-barred as we delve into White House and GOP strategy for passing USMCA, prescription drug pricing, vaping restrictions, stopping surprise medical billing, and of course, the impeachment witch hunt.”  Guest will include members of Congress as well as press secretary Stephanie Grisham, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and Vice President Mike Pence…..Sports talk radio personality Matt Jones – whose “Kentucky Sports Radio” program is based at WLAP-AM, Lexington – announces he will not run for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Mitch McConnell.  FOX 17 Nashville reports Jones made the announcement on Friday (11/15).  Jones says he intends to publish a book about McConnell titled, Mitch, Please, sometime in the New Year.  After he made that announcement in August, he was fired from his TV show on WLEX-TV, Lexington.  The station says Jones will not return to air there.  Jones briefly was off his radio show after the Kentucky Republican Party filed a complaint about his candidacy being promoted on the radio…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that he hears Rachel Williamson – currently president of Cox Media Group’s multiplatform advertising organization Gamut – is the odds on favorite to take over for Jimmy de Castro as senior vice president and market manager for Entercom’s Chicago operations.  During her career, Williamson has served as director of digital revenue development for Cox Media Group and director of national ad sales for Cumulus Media, among others…..iHeartMedia adds an FM translator to the WVOC-AM, Columbia, South Carolina news/talk brand.  The station can now be heard on W278CY, Columbia at 103.5 FM…..ABC Audio is presenting three special programs for affiliate stations to air during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  For news/talk stations there is “America’s Bounty.”  Hosted by ABC News correspondent Aaron Katersky with reporting by correspondents Alex Stone, Jason Nathanson, Jim Ryan, Michelle Franzen, and more, the program takes listeners to an egg farm in New Hampshire, a five-generation livestock farm in South Dakota, and a hydroponic vegetable farm in New Jersey to report on the people who produce what ends up on America’s table.  The program also visits a vineyard in California’s Santa Maria Valley, where sustainable winemaking is their mission…..Public media firm KQED, San Francisco is creating a dedicated news desk to cover the Bay Area’s housing and affordability crisis.  The desk is comprised of journalists Erika Aguilar, Erin Baldassari, and Molly Solomon.  The team’s goal is to provide ongoing coverage of housing and affordability issues in the Bay Area for multiple KQED platforms.  The formation of KQED’s housing desk has been made possible in part by a generous grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative…..Last Friday (11/15), Eric Goranson, host of “Around The House With Eric G.” and Jeff “JT” Tracy, host of “Barbecue Nation,” – both distributed in syndication by Envision Networks – led the effort to raise funds for the Clark County Veterans Assistance Center via the “Operation Helping Our Heroes” radiothon on KPAM, Portland “AM 860 The Answer.”  The production netted $51,225 for supporting active military, veterans, and their families in obtaining benefits, services, and resources to meet their basic needs.  Below from left to right are: Tracy, retired Portland and KPAM radio legend Bob Miller, and Goranson.

Entercom Presents Live Event Addressing Addiction Hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky. The two-hour live event titled, “I’m Listening,” takes place Thursday (11/21) before a live audience at the Entercom Baltimore Performance Studio presented by Recovery Centers of America and hosted by radio host, television host, and addiction medicine specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky.  The program airs live on adult contemporary WLIF “Today’s 101.9” and Facebook Live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Dr. Drew and a panel of expert speakers will discuss substance abuse, suicide prevention, and information on how to get help.  Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “Millions of people are affected by mental illness.  It is our goal to open up the conversation and help end the stigma surrounding mental health.  We are proud to leverage our platform and voices to help provide the appropriate resources and information to those affected and encourage people to talk.”

Impeachment Hearings/Ukraine Allegations, Trump Hospital Visit, A Warning Book Released, Trump West Bank Reversal, 2020 Presidential Race, Hong Kong University Siege, Prince Andrew Interview, Iran Protests, and Fresno Shooting Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The impeachment testimony scheduled for this week and the allegations of President Trump’s impropriety with regard to Ukraine military aid; controversy over President Trump’s unannounced, weekend visit to the hospital; today’s publication of the book A Warning by Anonymous, purportedly a White House insider; Trump’s reversal of the 1978 U.S. policy declaring West Bank settlements illegal; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the siege by Chinese soldiers of the protester-occupied Hong Kong Polytechnic University; the aftermath of Prince Andrew’s BBC interview about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein; the protests in Iran after the government shut off the Internet; and the investigation into the football party shooting in Fresno that left four dead 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. On-air pro Glenn Kalina becomes part of the morning show at Entercom’s classic hits WOGL-FM, Philadelphia alongside incumbent AM drive host Marilyn Russell for the new “Glenn Kalina and Marilyn in the Morning.”  Kalina had been doing weekend and fill-in work for the station.  Kalina has worked on air in the market on WMWX-FM, WIOQ-FM, and the former WLCE-FM…..Actress, model, and radio personality Claudia Jordan exits urban contemporary KRNB-FM, Dallas “Smooth R&B 105.7.”  Air personality Rudy Rush moves from KRNB to Service Broadcasting’s co-owned hip hop KKDA-FM, Dallas “K104” as part of the “DeDe in the Morning” show, led by DeDe McGuire…..ABC Audio presents two music-oriented shows for affiliate stations to air during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  The three-hour country music special, “Every Girl At Christmas,” is hosted by Trisha Yearwood and includes appearances by Chris Young, Darius Rucker, Thomas Rhett, Carly Pearce, Brett Eldredge, Lady Antebellum, Chris Janson, Keith Urban, Dan + Shay, Luke Bryan, and more.  “Rock & Reelz” is a three-hour program hosted by Journey’s Jonathan Cain that takes a look back at some of the greatest rock songs from popular films such as Goodfellas, Easy Rider, Bohemian Rhapsody, and more.  The special features artists including Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Aerosmith, Bob Seger, Pat Benatar, Blondie, and Journey.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

| November 14, 2013

bolgerpeterPeter Bolger Named OM/PD at WLS-AM, Chicago.  Most recently with Clear Channel as director of AM programming in the San Antonio market, Peter Bolger joins Cumulus Media to head up programming and operations at its Chicago news/talk WLS-AM.  In a statement, Cumulus COO John Dickey says, “Chicago radio is a competitive and important market where we’re excited to add Peter’s expertise that positions up for future growth.  Bolger adds, “I think Chicago radio is the best there is.  Fortunately, we have incredible talent and deep resources at WLS.  I want to thank John Dickey, Mike McVay and Donna Baker for the opportunity to be part of the historic WLS brand.  I can’t wait to get started.”

walkerdwightWalker Announces His Retirement.  Six-year Entercom, San Francisco vice president/market manager Dwight Walker has been in radio for 30 years – the last 25 in the Bay Area.  He will be departing the company’s four-station (all are on FM) Bay Area operation, which is comprised of adult contemporary KOIT-FM, classic rock KUFX “The Fox,” sports KGMZ “The Game,” and urban AC KBLX.  “It has been a fun, rewarding, stimulating, and fantastic time,” he comments. “I have cherished my years with Entercom, a world-class company.  The vision of Entercom management and their commitment to radio is what will keep our industry and this cluster moving forward in a thriving and robust way.”  Family, travel, and Tahoe will become Walker’s top priorities, but he insists, “San Francisco will always be a part of an amazing and charmed life that I hold near and dear to my heart.”  According to Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer, “Dwight Walker is one of the best in the business.  Everyone at Entercom deeply appreciates Dwight’s years of hard work and leadership.  He will be missed in San Francisco and across the radio industry.”  Prior to joining Entercom, Walker was vice president of sales for cross-town Cumulus-owned KNBR, KFOG, and KSAN.  For nine years (1997 – 2006), he was general manager of KFOG and KSAN when Susquehanna owned those facilities.

ramseydaveDave Ramsey Changes Nashville Affiliates.  Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey moves to a new Nashville affiliate station beginning in the New Year as it joins Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WLAC to air in the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm time slot.  Since January of this year, Ramsey’s show has been airing on Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT “102.5 The Game.”  In a piece in The Tennessean, Cromwell’s Bud Walters admits the melding of Ramsey’s show and sports talk wasn’t the best fit and that the move is a mutual one.  “We have beenwlac logo friends for more than 20 years, and while we enjoyed this partnership from a personal standpoint, we both realize that from a business perspective our brands would be better served if we return to our respective formats.”  Dave Ramsey VP of broadcast Brian Mayfield states, “It’s great to be back on a news/talk station in Middle Tennessee.  WLAC has a long-standing tradition of quality radio in Nashville, and now with the addition of our show, offers the top three talk shows in America back to back.”  CC Nashville OM Michael Bryan adds, “We’re very excited to add the Dave Ramsey show to WLAC in the New Year.  Dave’s a legend in Nashville radio, and this aligns the power of his brand with the very best platform in talk radio.  It is a true home run for our listeners and advertisers.”

schultzedEd Schultz to Launch Live Theatrical Tour in 2014.  Nationally syndicated radio talk show host and MSNBC star Ed Schultz will be taking a show live to theaters in 2014.  Working in conjunction with Ron Hartenbaum‘s WYD Media, “The Ed Tour” commences on Saturday, February 8 with a booking in Fort Lauderdale and then several stops in the West including Seattle on Friday, February 21 with more locations to be announced shortly.  WYD Media has paved the way via an effective working model for talk show hosts to take theater-style shows on the road with the wildly successfully “Sexy Liberal Tour” starring Stephanie Miller which has also revved up for a number of dates in the remainder of 2013 and throughout 2014.

westwoodone logoWeather Channel and WestwoodOne Renew Ad Sales Agreement.  WestwoodOne and The Weather Channel announce that they have signed a multi-year agreement for the former to provide ad sales representation for The Weather Channel’s radio service.  The renewal runs through 2016.  The Weather Channel provides daily, customized cross-platform weather reports to individual radio stations around the country giving up-to-the-minute information on local weather or critical storm warnings.  WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine says, “We are delighted to continue our partnership with The Weather Channel and to represent its superior brand across the radio community.  Weather is a hugely covetable component in the audio space, and serves as a critical resource for listeners.  In fact, we have found that listeners are more likely to tune or tap in for weather information than most all other content.  We are happy to know we can continue to provide our listeners access to the best weather information available.”

sbaaire logoSBS Readies AIRE Radio Networks.  Set to debut January 1, Spanish Broadcasting System‘s AIRE Radio Networks will reach listeners in nine of the top 10 markets with a weekly audience reported to be approximately 12 million listeners – roughly one-quarter of the U.S. Hispanic population.  AIRE Radio Networks will feature shows focused on current events, health and family, finances, education, sports and entertainment.  “This creation solidifies SBS’ expanding presence in Hispanic media and entertainment,” explains SBS chairman/president/chief executive officer Raul Alarcon.  “We’re excited about capitalizing on syndication growth opportunities.  AIRE Radio Networks will extend our top-ranked offerings to advertisers and listeners nationwide.”  Aire Radio Networks senior vice president of network operations & affiliate sales Elisa Torres comments, “We have put together a stupendous lineup to deliver a national platform.  With AIRE Radio Networks’ targeted choices and vehicles, we anticipate rapid growth for clients seeking to embrace nationwide Hispanic listeners.”  The Aire Networks include the “Advantage Network,” targeting Hispanic men; “Young Adult Network,” geared to Hispanics 18-49; “Millennial Network,” targeting Hispanics 18-34; “Prime Family,” aimed at families on weekends; and “The Mandril Network,” featuring Ricardo “El Mandril” Sanchez of Los Angeles’ KLAX “La Raza.”

truesteveWAUK, Milwaukee Sports Talk Personality Steve “The Homer” True Injured in Car Accident.  Sports talk host and Marquette University men’s basketball play-by-play voice Steve “The Homer” True was in critical condition yesterday at a Milwaukee hospital after his car was hit by an alleged drunk driver at 10:00 am on Wednesday morning.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports WAUK owner Craig Karmazin issued a statement late last night saying, “I spoke with Homer’s wife, Nancy, tonight.  She said Homer is doing pretty well and that doctors want to monitor his condition overnight.  On behalf of the True family and all of us at ESPN Wisconsin, I’d like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers.”  True suffered a head injury in the crash.  He has worked for Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting at WAUK for the past eight years.

nasba logoNASBA Fires Off Letter to Washington Opposing Elimination of Advertising Deductions.  The National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations submitted an official letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp and Ranking Member Sander Levin detailing the opposition by the member state broadcasters associations to the possibility of altering the current deduction businesses may take for advertising expenses.  The letter reminds the legislators that any change to the deduction would harm broadcasters, notes that advertising has been part of the allowed deductions since the Tax Code was adopted 100 years ago and that radio stations generally receive 96% of their revenue from advertising (Television’s percentage is 94).

Odds & Sods.  Clear Channel’s KBME, Houston – flagship station for Houston Rockets hoops – will simulcast some of the team’s games on other CC stations in the cluster.  Some games will air on news/talk KTRH and a select number of Saturday games will simulcast on AC KODA and classic rock KKRW…..ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” will be broadcasting live from Pardee Plaza on the campus of USC tomorrow in advance of the Stanford at USC game that ESPN Radio will air this weekend.

ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, GOP 2014 Strategies, Iran Nukes Deal, and Typhoon Haiyan Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/13).  The debate in Washington over fixing the rollout of the Affordable Care Act or scrapping it altogether; Republican strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014; the proposed nuclear technology development deal between the United States and Iran; and the aftermath of deadly Typhoon Haiyan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.