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Monday, January 25, 2021

| January 25, 2021

INDUSTRY AND NATION MOURN: Talk Media Pioneer Larry King Dead at 87. According to a report on Facebook posted by the producers of his current syndicated television show, Ora Media, legendary star of talk radio and television, Larry King died this weekend at the age of 87. The statement says: “With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.” The statement continues, “For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster.” The cause of death was not indicated, however King had been reportedly hospitalized with COVID-19 earlier this month. King was a major player in the talk media world who ushered in the modern era of syndication in radio on the Mutual Broadcasting System and the cable news/talk show format on television at CNN. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following statement: “Larry King was not the greatest talk show host on radio or television in terms of skills, outrageous personality or direct and profound influence on public policy. He was, however, the most important pioneer who paved the way for today’s robust talk media presence on both radio and television. If there ever was a case of the right person at the right time, Larry King fit the bill and that’s all it took for him to be a mighty force. He was the modern era of talk radio’s first national celebrity born solely as a result of his work in the medium. And his contribution to today’s institutional cable news/talk TV format is undeniably fundamental to the medium’s current presence as America’s political and sociological meeting place. We have lost one of the greatest broadcasting presences of the first century of radio and television history as well as one of the quirkiest and most colorful individuals to ever sit behind a microphone.” Read TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian’s “Remembering Larry King” feature here.

Tributes to Larry King Pouring in from All Over the Industry.  TALKERS has received dozens of tributes, anecdotes, and comments from readers in all sectors of the broadcasting industry in reaction to the passing of Larry King on Saturday (1/23).  The following statements from people who knew him and worked with him reflect the basic sentiments expressed across the board. Westwood One legend Jim Bohannon rose to national prominence as Larry King’s fill-in host back in the early days of King’s career as the late-night “king of talk radio” on the Mutual Broadcasting System. Bohannon tells TALKERS, “Larry King was the first certified big shot for whom I’d ever worked, and I was all set for some screaming prima donna jerk. What I found was a funny, savvy, decent human being who was always very supportive of me. His best advice: Be yourself. My 11 years backing him up on the radio were always based on being a first-rate Jim rather than a second rate Larry.” This Friday (1/29) marks Bohannon’s 28th anniversary of hosting that very same show fulltime. Norm Pattiz, chairman of PodcastOne and founder of Westwood One, was instrumental in Larry King’s fabulous radio career. He tells TALKERS, “Larry King was a superstar on radio well before he became a talk show icon on television and his contribution in those media will never be duplicated. I first met Larry in 1985 when Westwood One Radio bought the Mutual Radio Network. Some said at the time that I bought the network just to get the ‘Larry King Show’ and I never corrected them. When CNN came calling, I was thrilled to share Larry with them and when his show became one of the most influential nightly talk shows in history it only confirmed what I had known all along. No one will ever match the style, compassion, and genuine love for a great interview that Larry had and the worlds of television, radio, and podcasting are worse today for his loss.” Tom Tradup, VP/news and talk programming, Salem Radio Network, tells TALKERS, “My favorite memory of Larry was when I was president/GM of WLS in Chicago and was meeting with Larry for lunch in the now-closed Cape Cod Room restaurant of Chicago’s Drake Hotel. Always upbeat and gregarious, Larry seemed just a little down. He revealed he was speaking to a business group that night and his hotel had lost his trademark suspenders. After lunch I ran over the Marshall Field’s on State Street and bought him a pair. Big smile from a broadcast legend whose talent endured for decades.” And media consultant, TALKERS columnist, and host of “The Big Picture” on RT America (which also carried Larry King’s syndicated TV show at the time of his death), Holland Cooke adds, “One year ago this week, Larry was my guest on the very first show produced at RT’s new Los Angeles studio. Larry’s gift was his curiosity; and his legacy to fellow talkers is the art of the short question. I remember him asking Bob Hope, ‘Who do YOU think is funny?’ And he asked David Duke, ‘Don’t you ever get tired of hating?’ Often, guests on book tours or who are otherwise timely are prepped with ‘safe’ answers, regardless of the questions asked. And they get away with it, because hosts ask verbose questions and don’t listen closely to responses. Larry’s short question would catch the guest off-guard – enough to yield an answer you wouldn’t hear elsewhere along the tour.

King and I: An Excerpt from Bernadette Duncan’s Landmark Book Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016).  I landed a part-time job with the Larry King Radio Show in 1986 because I was in the right place at the right time. My late shift at NBC Radio Networks where I produced the Neil Myers Show ended at 1:00 am and no other talk producer was on the premises. All that was required? Meet Mr. King in the lobby, escort him to the elevator, guide him down the hall to the nearest empty studio, check mics and audio, and then be prepared to do the same with the on-coming, big-name parade of guests scheduled for the night. Basically, I was a “handler” for an extra 75 bucks a shift. At the time, this pre-suspenders-wearing Larry King was one of the most successful radio talk show hosts in the industry who at the height of his show’s prominence had nearly 500 affiliate stations around the country. Just the year before, in 1985, he began hosting a nightly TV program on the new cable network called CNN (for Cable News Network) and “Larry King Live” was getting some buzz. In addition to television at 9:00 pm… then radio after midnight… he was in contract to write a book. Larry King’s career was hot. And it was this book deal with a New York-based publisher that brought him to the Big Apple four or five days a month to meet with his editor face-to-face. I became his New York producer/handler, working in coordination with his crew in Washington, DC. Little did I realize when I signed up with “the King of Talk,” I would dive into a world as quirky as what you’d find down Alice’s rabbit hole. To read the entire excerpt please click here.

Alpha Media Announces Pre-Arranged Chapter 11 Reorganization. The company says in a statement on its website that it has entered into a “restructuring agreement with certain of its lenders to reduce its debt, as well as raise incremental capital” to allow it “to successfully navigate current market conditions and pursue growth opportunities. The company expects no disruption to its broadcast operations, customers or employees. Management will remain in place and continue to maintain the company’s day-to-day operations.” Alpha Media says it has filed “a pre-arranged plan of re-organization, disclosure statement and voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. Certain of the company’s existing lenders have agreed to provide new capital in the form of committed debtor-in-possession and exit financing. These lenders, together with management, are expected to collectively own 100% of the equity of the re-organized company, subject to regulatory approvals from the Federal Communications Commission. The restructuring of the company’s balance sheet will require receipt of bankruptcy court approval and certain regulatory, including FCC, approvals and satisfaction of other customary conditions. The company expects to conclude the restructuring process in the first half of 2021.” Alpha chairman and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “We have made significant progress in aggressively deleveraging our business in recent years. As we proceed with our financial restructuring to improve our capital structure and manage through the ongoing downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the agreement we reached today will leave Alpha Media well positioned for a market recovery as a stronger and even more competitive company. Broadcast radio is the leading reach medium in the United States, with attractive ROIs for advertisers, and radio continues to be an indispensable communications platform nationwide. We believe the balance sheet restructuring will provide greater financial resources and flexibility to Alpha Media, enabling the Company to strengthen its position as a leading mid-market broadcaster in the United States, and invest in new digital capabilities to better serve our advertisers and communities. Our core business continues to perform well despite current market challenges. We will continue to invest in our talented teams to foster the unique culture that has been key to Alpha Media’s success in delivering dynamic, diverse and exciting content to our communities.”

Monday Memo: Time Management 2021. “Short version? Time will not be managed.” But in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke explains how “tasks can,” and that’s gotten trickier in pandemic shutdown mode. He outlines solutions for recurring distractions. Read it here.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccine Rollout Troubles, Trump Impeachment, Capitol Attack Investigation, Trump Third Party Launch, Tacoma Protest/Deadly Indianapolis Shooting, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the strategic troubles affecting the rollout of the vaccines; the Article of Impeachment against Donald Trump; the arrests being made during the investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol; the rumors that Donald Trump intends to launch a third political party; the Tacoma protest in which a police officer drove into a crowd and the shooting in Indianapolis in which five adults and an unborn child were killed; and Sunday’s NFL Conference Championship games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Value. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says, “Presenting the value proposition is a never-ending challenge, especially for the broadcast seller. I’ve seen too many sellers get hung up on product features that are station-centric – important to management, talent, and the seller. The truth is the advertiser doesn’t see it the same way.” The past year has taught us that the value perception of your station’s product has changed. For more on this, read Lapa’s column here.

WCCO-AM, Minneapolis Program Director John Hanson Exits. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis has let program director John Hanson go. Hanson had been serving as the station’s PD since the fall of 2018. Hanson is a native of the Twin Cities who worked on air as co-host of KSTP-TV’s “Twin Cities Live” afternoon talk show that launched in 2008. He joined Entercom in 2013 to program sports talk KCSP-AM, Kansas City. The reason for Hanson’s departure is not clear but the staff was alerted in a memo from market SVP Shannon Knoepke, who wrote on January 21, “Reaching out this afternoon to notify the staff that John Hanson is no longer with the company, effective today. More to come as we move forward and work to fill this position.”

WJBC, Bloomington-Normal Adds Michael Koolidge Show. The independently syndicated Michael Koolidge show is added to the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s WJBC-AM, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot. Koolidge says, “We couldn’t be more excited to join WJBC. I’ve been trying to break into the Bloomington-Normal market for years and I’m thrilled that Cumulus’ WJBC decided to pick up the show!” WJBC operations manager Dan Westhoff says, “We are very excited to be adding ‘The Michael Koolidge Show’ to our lineup. Michael’s been very successful throughout Illinois and the Midwest and we can’t wait to have him on WJBC.”

Marc Bernier Show Celebrates 30th Anniversary. Pictured above is WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Benier broadcasting live from DB Pickles restaurant in Ormond Beach, Florida celebrating his 30th year on air as a talk host. The celebration was also a benefit for Halifax Urban Ministries. January 21 was declared “Marc Bernier Show Day” with a flag flown over the state capitol and declarations declared honoring Bernier in the cities and county of Volusia. A number of local and state officials attended the broadcast.

WRHU Radio Hofstra University will Receive World Radio Day Award 2021.  In conjunction with World Radio Day coming up on February 13, the Academy of Radio Arts and Sciences of America has selected WRHU Radio of Hofstra University to receive the 2021 World Radio Day Award. The honor commemorates World Radio Day, established by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) and is celebrated annually on February 13. World Radio Day is intended to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio. WRHU is the first student-run station to receive this honor.  WRHU Radio 88.7 FM is the campus radio station of Hofstra University, a private university located on Long Island in Hempstead, NY. The station has been the recipient of numerous regional, state, and national awards, including three prestigious Marconi Awards from the National Association of Broadcasters (2014, 2017, and 2019).  With studios housed in Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, the station has been committed to training the next generation of radio professionals for more than 60 years in a wide variety of radio genres including news, sports, public affairs, community programming, and music. For the past decade, WRHU has exclusively produced and distributed radio broadcasts of New York Islanders hockey games, the first and only college radio station to have such an agreement with a professional major-league sports team.  “We are immensely honored to receive this award of recognition,” said Mark Lukasiewicz, dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication. “WRHU and its managers and staff deserve enormous credit for carrying on their work throughout the pandemic and providing vital information to the community.”  The annual World Radio Day Award honors a U.S. radio station that exemplifies the best attributes of the radio industry. Recipients may be large or small stations, commercial or noncommercial, located in any market, and broadcasting in any language. The award jury looks for stations that demonstrate ideals of localism, audience reach, community service, effective use of new digital platforms, diversity in program content and staffing, and financial and ratings success.  For this year’s award, the jury has highlighted the work done during the coronavirus pandemic, in light of UNESCO’s theme for the World Radio Day 2021 celebration, which is “New World, New Radio” in the sense that radio is a medium for resilience of our society. The jury of Academy is composed by eight highly qualified professionals of the broadcast industry (in alphabetical order): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Michael Harrison, founder/publisher, TALKERSPaul McLane, editor in chief, Radio WorldMike McVay, president, McVay Media ConsultingFrancisco Montero, partner, Fletcher, Heald & HildrethChris Oliviero, SVP/MM, Entercom New York; Deborah Parenti, publisher, Radio Ink; and Paul Rotella, president of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association. WRHU was recognized for its efforts during the crisis, expanding its content as student and community staffers worked and broadcast from their homes during a New York state lockdown. Hofstra University has been cited on the Best College lists of U.S. News & World ReportThe Princeton ReviewFiskeWashington Monthly, Forbes, LinkedIn and Payscale.com. It is the only university chosen to host U.S. presidential debates in three consecutive election cycles (2008, 2012 and 2016). The World Radio Day Award was initially created by the Spanish Radio Academy to spread awareness of World Radio Day. The annual February 13 commemoration was endorsed by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly and accompanied by the creation of the International Radio Committee, which collaborates with UNESCO to promote World Radio Day each year. Last year, the award went to all-news station, WTOP, Washington DC.  The 2021 World Radio Day Award will be presented to WRHU at Hofstra University in early February. For more information, click here.

Townsquare Media to Repurchase 10 Million Shares. In a press release, Townsquare Media, Inc announces it has entered into an agreement to repurchase a minimum of 10 million of the 12.5 million shares of Class A common stock, shares of Class B common stock and warrants held by funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management L.P., for $6.40 per security, which reflects a 19% discount from the closing price of the Class A common stock on Friday, January 22, 2021. The repurchase was approved by the board of directors following the recommendation of a committee of independent and disinterested directors. The aggregate purchase price is expected to be at least $64 million, subject to the company’s ability to elect to purchase additional securities at closing of the repurchase. At closing, the repurchased securities will be retired and, subject to the company’s election to repurchase additional securities, the company’s outstanding securities will be reduced from approximately 28 million to approximately 18 million. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “We appreciate the opportunity to facilitate this significant transaction with Oaktree and are excited about this repurchase, which secures the exit of a very long-term private equity majority shareholder that current and potential shareholders have described to me consistently as being an obstacle to investing more, or establishing a position, in Townsquare given the significant overhang Oaktree’s holding represented. This repurchase is immediately accretive to shareholders and we thank our board of directors for their vote of confidence in our medium and long-term business plan to grow revenue and profits.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM, Chicago afternoon news anchor Kim Gordon has resigned from the Nexstar Media Group station after 15 years. It’s rumored that Gordon will be joining Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WLS-AM to serve as the afternoon news anchor on the Big John Howell program. Back at WGN, Feder reports that Lauren Lapka will be the news anchor on the Steve Bertrand afternoon program…..iHeartMedia flips sports talk WFXJ-AM, Jacksonville “The Game” to Gospel as “Hallelujah AM930/93.3 HD2.”…..News and sports radio pro Mike Smith is leaving his gig with iHeartMedia’s WBEX-AM, Chillicothe, Ohio to pursue other career opportunities, The 43-year radio pro says, “Thanks to all the great listeners, which many, many of them became life-long friends, and I can say the same about my colleagues being life-long friends and that means more to me than any nice thing that anybody ever said about the job that I did.”

Thursday, July 23, 2020

| July 23, 2020

TALKERS Marks 30th Anniversary Today. It was 30 years ago today – July 23, 1990 – that TALKERS was launched as “The Information-Radio Newspaper.”  It first appeared as a tabloid-style, 12-page newsprint publication distributed to radio stations around the country by mail and eventually grew into a full-color, glossy magazine and, eventually, a multi-platform communications organization. Over the decades, TALKERS has produced 22 annual national talk media conventions in New York City plus several “bonus” conferences in Los Angeles. At those conferences, a number of the publication’s annual awards were presented, including the coveted TALKERS magazine Freedom of Speech Award. TALKERS magazine was a pioneer in producing radio row events that began in the mid-1990s. The organization also presented numerous talk media forums in Washington, DC and New York featuring talk personalities discussing important issues of the day. Many of those were aired on C-SPAN. As digital media became inextricably intertwined with radio and television, TALKERS itself evolved into a multimedia platform presenting video elements via Talkers TV and launching Talkers Radio. Annual features, including the “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America,” a.k.a. the Heavy Hundred (and later its sports talk radio sister list), have become highly anticipated presentations within the industry. Upon reaching this milestone, founder Michael Harrison stated, “TALKERS is a reflection of my lifelong fascination with and love of radio, as well as my core devotion to the tenets of the First Amendment. It has come very far during these three decades and most of the credit for its remarkable longevity and adherence to quality has been to the credit of its devoted core staff (in alphabetical order) – David BernsteinKevin CaseyMarcia DalyMatthew B. HarrisonAl HerskovitzMike KinosianBarbara Kurland, and Steve Weisman with a special salute to the late Sharon L. Harrison.  Add to that list our loyal advertisers and sponsors, our talented contributing writers, as well as our readers.  The radio and its related media industries have been extremely kind to us and, for that blessing, I am eternally grateful.”

‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ Host Fred Toucher Off the Air for Medical Help. The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” morning drive co-host Fred Toucher is off the air for the time being as he deals with personal issues that were revealed during the July 21 program. Toucher posted to his Instagram account: “First of all thank you to the listeners that have my back. For some reason I want you guys to know I have never been drunk on the air [management has never accused me of such] I am going to a mental institution next week. I am sometimes too forthcoming on the air. I’m used to just being honest about my life but when you are a f*ckup that isn’t such a good idea.” Finn reports that Toucher confessed he’s going through a divorce on the Tuesday morning program discussion that he describes as “unsettling.” Co-host Rich Shertenlieb suggested he take some time off the air and offered to take a leave with him. However, on Wednesday’s program, Shertenlieb told listeners Toucher is taking some time off and they can’t wait for his return. Beasley Media Group issued the following statement to the paper: “As a responsible company committed to the Boston Community, we take this matter very seriously. Fred will be off the air while we continue to review the situation.”

WLW, Cincinnati-Based “America’s Truckin’ Network” to Avoid Political Discussion. In a move that’s clearly a sign of the times, the overnight program “America’s Truckin’ Network” has been ordered by management to steer clear of political discussions. The show is nationally syndicated and available via SiriusXM but is produced at iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati and hosted by Steve Sommers (son of program founder Dale “Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers). Sommers tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Jim Calhoun that after complaints to corporate headquarters in San Antonio about a caller’s comments that aired, he was held responsible for the comments that shouldn’t have aired and was given a warning. He’s also been told to refrain from politics and stick to issues relevant to the trucking audience. iHeartMedia Cincinnati SVP of programming Scott Reinhart issued the following statement to the Enquirer: “The ATN has been on the air for over 30 years. We regularly review all our shows to ensure they provide the best and most compelling programming, and we have always relied on comments and feedback from our listeners to help us make these decisions.”

Cume & Coronavirus (Part 3). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian continues his analysis of ratings data for spoken-word radio stations based on information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey. After looking at 6+ cume data for the all-news and sports talk formats in parts one and two, today Mike Kinosian turns to the news/talk format. When it comes to cume (versus AQH share), two news/talk stations stand above the rest based on June numbers – iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles (747,600) and Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta (709,800). In this report, see comparisons of cume from the May 2020 survey to the June 2020 survey – which stations went up and which went down – as well as charts showing cume by market rank and more.  See it here.

Entercom Seeking Vice President of News Candidates. Posted on Entercom’s website in its career opportunities section is a notice seeking applicants for a new corporate position, VP, News. The post states, “The VP, News is responsible for overseeing all news content across Entercom’s best-in-class local news brands and via the RADIO.COM platform. The ideal candidate has experience managing both broadcast and digital news operations and is adept at leading through change and innovation.” Among the duties that are part of this position are managing “all broadcast and digital news content across 8 All News and 18 News/Talk stations in 23 markets working with brand managers and news directors across the country.” The post adds, “This role is for a hands-on leader and self-starter who is relentless in his/her quest for excellence in journalism. This role will require strong business acumen and the ability to drive results leading market-based teams across the country and in our corporate offices in Philadelphia and New York.” Read the post here.

iHeartMedia and Will Ferrell Partner for New Comedy Podcast Network. Comedian Will Ferrell and iHeartMedia are announcing their new deal that will bring the initial six co-produced podcasts to the Big Money Players Network of comedy podcasts that will be heard on the iHeartRadio platform later this year. The programs include “Las Culturistas with Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang”; “Michael Bolton’s Big Sexy Podcast” in collaboration with The Lonely Island and Comedy Bang Bang; “My Momma Told Me with Langston Kerman”; “POOG with Kate Berlant and Jacqueline Novak”; “Bald Talk” hosted by Brian Huskey and Charlie Sanders; and “True Romance with Carolina Barlow and Devin Leary.” Will Ferrell comments, “The iHeartPodcast Network really knows how to make a podcast. In addition to the creative minds working behind the scenes, the network has an unprecedented ability to reach millions of new podcast listeners. These first few shows for Big Money Players Network will set the standard for the type of high-quality comedy podcasts we’re striving to produce with this collaboration.”

TALKERS News Notes. The “Kim Komando Daily Tech Update” is expanding to seven-days-per-week delivery. Komando says, “As our country was forced to work from home, unemployment soared and parents became teachers, ‘The Kim Komando Show’ and programs became more popular than ever. We pivoted to focus on providing COVID-19 much-needed digital life advice and assistance to our listeners, offering inspiration and confidence to all.” As a result of demand, the “Daily Tech Update” goes from five days per week to seven with the Saturday and Sunday editions being delivered just like the weekday editions…..Today (7/23) on SiriusXM’s Business Radio channel, a special program titled “The Business of Sports Reopening During a Pandemic” which will air from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.  Dan Loney, host of “Wharton Business Daily,” leads the discussion and speaks with high-ranking executives in the world of sports, including: Houston Texans president Jamey Rootes, San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer, agent Drew Rosenhaus, and more…..Chicago media reporter Robert Feder writes that Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM is eliminating the creative services manager position at the news/talk station and Chris Duffy exits after more than 10 years there. As Feder notes, Duffy was one of the staffers brought aboard when former Clear Channel Radio president Randy Michaels assumed the CEO role at Tribune, former owner of the station, in 2007. Duffy posted on Facebook, “After over 10 years, three Stanley Cups, one Cubs World Championship, working with some of the absolute best in the business, yesterday I closed the book on WGN Radio. It will always be the pinnacle of my radio career.”…..PodcastOne and Violet Benson come to terms on a deal to bring Benson’s podcast “Too Tired to Be Crazy” to the network. The podcast features Benson and a wide swath of friends, guests, and frequent co-hosts chatting about topics ranging from living and dating in Los Angeles, to millennial life, to pop culture news perfectly capturing the zeitgeist of today…..WAPT-TV, Jackson reports the death of civil rights activist and talk show host Charles Evers, who passed away on Wednesday (7/22) at the age of 97. Evers was the older brother of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers. In addition to his lifelong work on civil rights, Charles Evers owned and operated WMPR-FM, Jackson, Mississippi for many years. He hosted the “Let’s Talk” program on the station for decades.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Fall School Plans, U.S.-China Tensions/Hacking Allegations, Portland Protests/Chicago Violence, Federal Agents Controversy, GOP COVID Stimulus Plan, and MLB Season Opens Today Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). The soaring number of COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; debate over plans to return children to schools this fall; tensions between the U.S. and China as the latter’s consulate in Houston is ordered closed and feds seek a Chinese scientist believed to have lied on her visa application; the protests taking place in Portland and the violence on Chicago’s streets; the controversy over President Trump’s use of federal troops to combat protestors; the Republican plan for COVID-19 relief and stimulus; and Major League Baseball begins the 2020 season today were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Legendary Moody Blues Member John Lodge Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The venerable British bass guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the iconic Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, the Moody Blues, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” John Lodge is the writer of Moody Blues hits that include “Ride My See-Saw,” “I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock and Roll Band),” “Isn’t Life Strange?” and many more. This musical legend has been performing and recording with the Moody Blues for more than five decades, selling in excess of 70 million albums. He’s been voted one of the “10 most influential bass players on the planet,” and has been the recipient of numerous prestigious music industry awards. Although he primarily lives in London, Harrison caught up with Lodge via phone at his condo in Naples, Florida where he’s been isolating from COVID-19 for the past four months and during which time he wrote and recorded a new song titled “In These Crazy Times (Isolation Mix).” Harrison (an album rock radio pioneer) and Lodge talk about a wide range of topics including the recording of the groundbreaking album “Days of Future Passed,” their personal encounters with Dr. Timothy Leary (“Legend of a Mind”) and the psychedelic era, changes in popular music over the years, and the impact COVID-19 is having on live music and theater. 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Former “American Idol” contestant and current WKLB, Boston “Country 102.5” morning drive co-host Ayla Brown will be featured singing the National Anthem at a future NBA game in Orlando. Beasley Media Group says Brown has performed the Anthem for every major sport in Boston and was the Celtics’ “Lucky Anthem Singer” when the team won the 2008 National Championship. She says, “Growing up in Massachusetts and being a former basketball player for Boston College, my dream was always to step on the court at the Garden. While I never got to lace up the sneakers for a game, singing the National Anthem over the years for the team has always been the highest honor. Thank you to the Boston Celtics for this wonderful opportunity!”…..On-air pro Christy is exiting Pamal Broadcasting’s CHR WFLY-FM, Albany “FLY 92” because of her husband’s relocation to the Boston area. She was part of “The Fly Morning Rush With Jake & Christy.” As a result, program director Ally Reid is seeking a new morning drive co-host. Interested candidates should email her at ally@fly92.com.

Friday, February 14, 2020

| February 14, 2020

Brett Winterble Named Afternoon Drive Host at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Recently let go from San Diego news/talk KFMB-AM – along with the rest of the staff as the station changes hands from Tegna to new owner Local Media San Diego – is talk show host Brett Winterble, who begins his new gig at Entercom’s heritage talker WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte on Monday (2/17).  Entercom SVP and market manager Matthew Hanlon says, “Brett Winterble represents the future of audio.  When John Hancock took this exact seat on WBT 30 years ago, he was a progressive-minded voice in the market, placing an emphasis on issues that affected the community.  Brett takes on a similar role in a new and meaningful way for our loyal audience.  He cares about the listener and demonstrates a genuine interest in the community.  We’re thrilled that Brett is joining our team.”  In addition to his five-year stint at KFMB-AM, Winterble hosted afternoon drive at KFWB-AM, Los Angeles and served as a producer for Rush Limbaugh and Michael Reagan.  Winterble takes over the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show from John Hancock, who announced his retirement in October 2019.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, 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. The new episode titled, “Off to the Races!” looks back at this past week of February 10-14, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Todd Feinburg, talk show host, WTIC, Hartford; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio CompanyJoe “Pags” Pagliarulo, syndicated talk show host, Compass Media NetworksHeidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; and Joshua Philipp, senior investigative reporter, The Epoch Times. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on 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.

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold Town Hall on Prisoner Re-Entry. Next Thursday (2/20), Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” will present the next in its Town Hall series, addressing the issue of re-entry of New Jersey residents into mainstream society, including the unique and specific challenges faced by these residents and their families.  ‘NJ101.5’ special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott will moderate the Town Hall. He says, “Our Town Hall broadcasts help create a better understanding among New Jersey residents while seeking to identify real and practical solutions to some of our state’s most difficult issues.  More than half of those being released from prison in New Jersey today will be rearrested within three years.  Almost a third will be sent back to prison.  This program will explore ways to break the cycle of recidivism and confront the challenges of returning former inmates to society.”  Expert panelists will include: former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, whose work with the New Jersey Reentry Corporation is well-known throughout the state; Haywood Gandy, who was released from prison in 2018 after serving 20 years on armed robbery and other charges and is now the director of re-entry for The H.U.B.B. (Help Us Become Better) Arts & Trauma Center in Newark; Daniel Lombardo, president and CEO of Volunteers of America Delaware Valley; and Jessica O’Neill, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Camden.  Online, under the direction of ‘New Jersey 101.5’ digital managing editor Louis C. Hochman, the Town Hall will be streamed via Facebook Live, with representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Reentry Coalition of New Jersey, and Volunteers of America available to answer questions and provide resources for persons in need.

SBG Announces Creation of All-Female Marketing Team. Syndication and sales firm Sun Broadcast Group announces the formation of an all-female marketing team consisting of 11-year SBG veteran Loren Christofori – who has been promoted to director of marketing, former Envision Networks marketing and affiliate specialist, Jen Weisfeld – now in the role of marketing manager, and SBG alum Amber Kelley joining as marketing assistant.  SBG president and founder Jason Bailey, “I know I speak for the entire SBG family when I say how proud we are to introduce this new all-female marketing team.  Anyone who knows me knows that I take our brand very seriously.  I couldn’t be more excited to place the next chapter of the SBG story in the hands of Loren, Jen, and Amber.  I’m thrilled to see all the great ideas they have come to life.”

BFoA Names 2020 Leadership Awards Recipients. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces the recipients of the 2020 Leadership Awards that will be presented at the Broadcasters Foundation Annual Breakfast on April 22 in Las Vegas during the NAB Show.  This year’s honorees are: Marci Burdick, senior advisor to Schurz Communications, retired; Kim Guthrie, president & chief executive officer, Cox Media Group; Kraig Kitchin, partner, Sound Mind LLC; Weezie Kramer, COO, Entercom Communications; Barbara Kreisman, chief, Video Division, FCC; Leo MacCourtney, president, Katz Television Group.  The Broadcasters Foundation will also present the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award during the Breakfast.  That honoree will be announced shortly.

Galaxy Media Celebrates 30 Anniversary. Earlier this week (2/12), Galaxy Media Partners celebrated 30 years of service to the Central New York Community.  It was on that date in 1990 that Pam and Ed Levine began operation of WKLL-FM, Frankfort in the Utica market with its first studios and offices in the back of a diner.  The company added stations in Syracuse in 1993, with additional acquisitions in 2001 and 2007.  Galaxy created an events division in 2007 that has grown to encompass all of Central New York and New York State.  Also in 2007, Galaxy became the flagship station for Syracuse University athletics and created a sports marketing division.  Company president and CEO Ed Levine says, “We are proud to celebrate 30 years of service to the Central New York Community.  Pam and I intend to continue to serve the Syracuse and Utica markets for many years to come.”

Beasley Personality Marisa Magnatta Hosts ‘Path to Pro… How to Be a Player in Esports.’  Philadelphia morning show personality Marisa Magnatta is hosting Beasley Media Group’s first ever “Path to Pro … How to be a Player in Esports” live event today from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Nerd Street Gamers in Philadelphia.  Esports experts and success stories will take part in panel discussions that will “provide attendees with an ‘insiders’ perspective on esports and the many paths that an individual can take to pursuing a career in professional gaming and what life is like as an elite player in the Overwatch League, as well as explore the different paths one might take to get there.”  WMMR-FM personality Magnatta says, “The feedback I’ve received after hosting the first season of ‘FTW Philly’ on NBC Sports Philadelphia has been all over the map…from expert to novice.  The most common question I hear is, how do you actually start a career in esports?  Our ‘Path to Pro’ event will be the ultimate guidebook for anyone interested in achieving their esports dream!”

The Presidential Race/New Hampshire Primary Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 10-14, 2020. The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and the results of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the aftermath of the impeachment trial of President Trump.  Coming in at #3 was the controversy surrounding Trump’s influencing the sentencing of Roger Stone, and presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s 2015 racist stop & frisk comments and race relations 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.

TALKERS News Notes. Boston sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” enters into a multi-year partnership with Special Olympics Massachusetts.  The collaboration between the Beasley Media Group station and the non-profit “will be instrumental in helping to raise funds, recruit volunteers, and support all major programs, such as the Summer Games, scheduled to take place June 12-14 at the Harvard Athletic Complex in Boston.  WBZ-FM program director Rick Radzik says, “It is an honor and privilege to partner with a tremendous organization that makes a difference in the lives of others like Special Olympics.  As the leading sports radio station in the country, we believe it’s important to align ourselves with an organization that offers support and inclusion for so many athletes, who otherwise might not have the opportunity to participate. It’s the perfect fit!”…..Podcast producer Cadence13 – part of Entercom’s RADIO.COM – is starting production on a new sports documentary podcast franchise that will explore “a wide range of compelling stories and people from the world of sports.”  Season one will focus on the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.  Season one will be hosted and written by Ben Reiter, the author of the New York Times bestseller Astroball: The New Way to Win it All…..iHeartMedia is expanding the iHeartPodcast Network with more Spanish-language and Hispanic-focused offerings with a slate of podcasts hosted and co-produced by radio personality Enrique Santos, who also serves as chairman and chief creative officer of iHeartLatino.  iHeartMedia is launching a multi-year development, co-production, and distribution partnership with multicultural digital audio network, reVOLVER…..Entercom and Univision sign an agreement for all-news WCBS-AM to produce Spanish-language coverage of New York Mets baseball on Univision’s Spanish hits outlet WQBU, New York “Que Buena 92.7.”  Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “We’re pleased to partner with Univision New York to bring New York Mets games to Spanish-speaking fans.  As the unrivaled leader in local sports coverage, we’re looking forward to bringing our premier content to an even broader audience through this strategic partnership.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of career radio pro George Woods, who died on February 8.  During his career, Woods was a talk host at such stations as WOW-AM, KKAR-AM, and KFAB-AM in Omaha and KCMO-AM, Kansas City.  During the latter part of his career, he built and operated the multi-format, on-demand internet radio platform Radio George.  Woods also served on the board of the non-profit radio organization The Conclave, volunteered for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, and travelled extensively with his wife Nancy Kaywood, who also serves on the Conclave board.  She suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Bob Woodruff Foundation in Woods’ name.

FOX News Radio Positions Open. There are three news posts that FOX News is seeking to fill. The first is Overnight Freelance Anchor for FOX News Radio in Washington, DC, Los Angeles or New York City. FOX says, “As a radio news anchor you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a days’ notice.” See more about that position and apply here. The second position is staff producer and news editor for FOX News in New York City. In this position you will supervise the staff for FOX’s network radio news operation, Fox News Headlines 24/7. As the producer/news editor you are editorial leader, working with news anchors to craft the content and structure of a 24/7 news operation. See more about that position here. The third position is Freelance Radio Master Control Operator in New York. For this position the company is seeking a technically strong and motivated operator to provide technical oversight over all FOX News Radio platforms, including FOX News Radio’s terrestrial operation, FOX News Talk and FOX News Headlines 24/7. See more and apply for this position here.

Great Radio Management Opportunity. A broadcast owner has an immediate opening in a Northwest radio market for a general manager who is a self-directed individual with managerial skills, strong sales experience, and organizational talents. Candidate must have an established, result-oriented history. Must be a community-minded individual and possess written and verbal communications skills and leadership direction with the ability to convey to others. The successful candidate must maximize growth of the station while developing overall sales department operations; perform operational tasks; create sales and promotional opportunities; and have a willingness to recruit, hire, train, and support station staff. Must have thorough knowledge of radio broadcast industry. Three years proven sales experience required. B.A. Degree in Broadcast Journalism a “plus.” Successful candidate will be compensated equal to qualifications and performance. EOE. Contact: Radio Northwest, 18925 SW 84th Avenue, Tualatin OR 98062 503.223.6769. Email: kbnp@kbnp.com

Digital Content Producer. At Entercom’s Charlotte cluster consisting of news/talk WBT-AM/FM, sports talk WFNZ-AM/W273DA, and hot AC WLNK “The Link” has an immediate opening for a digital content producer. The company says, “The ideal candidate is an exceptional, quick-thinking multi-tasker with a passion for news, sports, music, entertainment and an ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment to producing top-quality multimedia content for all cluster stations. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: Research, write, edit, and publish original content for our websites. Ensure all daily content is optimized for SEO. Monitor social media for story ideas. Effectively post to social media to drive engagement and traffic while following company strategy and policy. Execute web initiatives as directed. Work closely with digital content coordinator and other team members to achieve digital goals. Participate in all applicable Entercom training to fully take advantage of tools and best practices. Other duties as assigned.” See more about this position and apply here. EOE.

Friday, October 12, 2018

| October 12, 2018

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on 6+ data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio.  More than half (54%) of the sports talk stations on Kinosian’s panel saw their weekly AQH share go up from the August 2018 survey to the September 2018 survey, led by Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville “104.5 The Zone,” which enjoyed a 1.4 share increase.  Comparing September 2017 to September 2018, some 55% of sports talkers improved.  Interestingly, Cumulus’ KNBR enjoyed a 1.2 share increase year-over-year in the San Jose market but dipped a tenth in the adjacent San Francisco market.  Entercom’s WFAN, New York “The Fan” ranked #1 (6+) in the September PPM survey in the Long Island market – the only sports talker to achieve a #1 ranking.  See the entire report here.

Cumulus Makes Prepayment of Portion of Loan. This $50 million discounted prepayment means Cumulus Media has paid off a portion of its $1.3 billion senior secured term loan facility due May 2022. Cumulus successfully purchases $50.2 million aggregate principal amount of term loans under the facility for $50 million (a discount to par value of 0.40%).  The transaction closed on October 11, 2018 and was funded with cash from operations.  The company notes that it will recognize a one-time, non-operating gain of approximately $0.2 million in its fourth quarter 2018 earnings, and its annual interest expense will be reduced as a result of this transaction.

KVI, Seattle Hosts Listener Appreciation Event. Seattle news/talk station KVI held a listener appreciation party on Tuesday (10/9) at Sinclair Broadcasting’s KOMO Plaza.  The station’s local hosts joined producer Phil Vandervort on stage for a discussion of such topics as the coming midterm elections and their favorite local restaurants.  Pictured (from l-r) are: KVI program director Rick Van Cise, station manager Gary Greenberg, morning host John Carlson, late morning duo Jamie Markley and David van Camp, early afternoon host Lars Larson, afternoon drive personality Kirby Wilbur, and Compass Media Networks VP of affiliate sales Adam Wilbur.

Doug Stephan Celebrates 30th Anniversary as a Continuously Running Independent Syndicated Host.  It began as a morning show titled “Good Day” in a basement studio at WCKY, Cincinnati 30 years ago this week and has been on the air as a general news/talk weekday show hosted and managed by veteran broadcaster Doug Stephan ever since.  Along the way, it evolved under different names and has been co-hosted by a variety of personalities alongside Stephan in addition to spawning a number of specialty shows under the corporate banner of Stephan Multimedia.  The program is currently titled the “DJV Show” and, in addition to central figure Doug Stephan, is co-hosted by Jennifer Horn and Victoria Keelan.  In marking the milestone, Stephan tells TALKERS, “I think for the first few months, I was talking to myself, and now after all these years, I have spoken to millions of listeners…how many…who really knows?  Plus being on over 1,400 stations in the collective over the years, I am humbled by the support of so many station managers and program directors.  If my count is correct, we still have some 24 stations who were on at the beginning or close to the beginning of this fabulous ride, and to all of them, and all of you, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I could not remain as the only host/producer of these programs which have nothing but advertiser support… no big company, no big advertiser, no big benefactor – just me and the folks on the team made this happen…wow!”

TALKERS News Notes. Programming pro Michael Cross is named operations manager for Cherry Creek Media’s seven-station cluster in Wenatchee, Washington that includes news/talk KPQ, talk simulcast KKWN-FM/KWNC-AM, and sports talk KYSP in addition to four music-formatted stations. Cross – who starts his new gig on November 5 – was most recently OM with NRG Media’s rock KFMW and classic hits KOKZ duo in Waterloo, Iowa.  Cherry Creek Wenatchee market manager Kevin Andrus says, “Michael has a passion for radio and clearly understands the influence radio has in our listeners lives.  He understands how to win ratings, coach talent, and manage those under his direction.  Cherry Creek Media is excited to have Michael join the team.”…..Entercom news/talk WTIC-AM, Hartford inks a deal with Division III school University of Saint Joseph to broadcast the team’s home games during the school’s men’s basketball team’s inaugural season.  The partnership will run through the 2018-19 collegiate season.  The school recruited former University of Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun as its head coach to launch its men’s basketball program.  As part of the partnership, Joe D’Ambrosio, co-host of the station’s “Mornings with Ray Dunaway” program, will handle play-by-play duties for the games…..SiriusXM is debuting a new, weekly show hosted by former open-wheel racing star Danny Sullivan – winner of the 1985 Indy 500 and 1988 CART Series champion – on the Dan Patrick Radio channel.   Titled, “The Real Spin with Danny Sullivan and Bill Armour” it will debut on October 15 and air every Monday…..The nationally syndicated “Motley Fool Money” radio program with host Chris Hill adds new affiliate KSOO-AM, Sioux Falls, South Dakota to its roster of stations.

Hurricane Michael Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 8-12.  The destruction in the Florida panhandle from Hurricane Michael was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the release of the UN Climate Change Report and its dire warning about continued global warming. Coming in at #3 was the global stock selloff and the related interest rate hikes, followed by the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation aftermath and the related issue of Democrats accused of incivility 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.

“Cousin” Bruce Morrow Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The legendary “Cousin” Bruce Morrow is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Morrow is one of the most celebrated radio personalities of all time whose remarkable career as a big-time disc jockey goes all the way back to the late 1950s when he broke into New York City radio at WINS and is still going strong today as a featured host on the SiriusXM Satellite Radio ‘60s on 6’ channel. Harrison and Morrow take a deep conversational dive into the early days of rock ‘n’ roll, their shared memories of growing up in Brooklyn, the great top 40 stations, the universals of radio communication, Morrow’s successful years in station ownership and the importance of keeping up with advances in technology. This is a must-listen for anyone who loves radio! Harrison says, “It was a thrill for me to be able to spend so much time in conversation with one of the true greats of our industry and culture. Cousin Brucie is full of joy – it pours out of him and that’s what keeps him going at such a remarkable and admirable level. It is deeply gratifying for me as a radio student, historian, and professional broadcaster to present this episode of my podcast to the world.” 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 newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Operations Manager Position Open at Dick Broadcasting’s Eastern NC Cluster. The five-station cluster of Dick Broadcasting in the Greenville/New Bern/Jacksonville, North Carolina market is seeking an operations manager. The company says the successful candidate will “manage a team of great program directors, air talent, and promotional personnel. We need someone that knows what leadership means! Someone who can inspire a team!” Dick Broadcasting operates sports talk WRNS-AM “The Bull,” CHR WERO-FM “Bob 93.3,” rock WXQR, country WRNS-FM, and adult hits WQSL/WQZL. The company says candidates must have experience as a supervisor, leader, music programmer, strategic thinker, and the ability to coach air talent. On air experienced preferred. The cluster is managed by market manager Tony Denton and vice president of programming Jason Goodman. E-mail all materials to newbernresumes@dbcradio.com. DBC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

WQYK, Tampa Seeks AM Drive Co-Host. Tampa country outlet WQYK is seeking a morning show co-host. The Beasley Media Group station says the successful candidate must possess strong digital skills. “We’re seeking a great communicator and story teller with a great sense of how to create great content that will be displayed across all of our platforms. The perfect candidate is great on the air, great digitally, is forward thinking and is a true content innovator. This is a very active station, heavily involved in the community and requires someone who is fearless and willing to get out of the studio and meet listeners. If you are ready to work in a building full of incredible talent with a family atmosphere and a must-win attitude, we would love to hear from you.” Qualifications include: At least three years of proven success as a morning show co-host; full understanding of PPM best practice as it applies to an on-air show; proficient with Vox-Pro, WordPress social networking platforms, interviewing, and LIVE broadcasts; and more. Send materials to operations manager Travis Daily at: Travis.daily@bbgi.com. Beasley is an EOE.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Phoenix-based, nationally syndicated morning duo “Johnjay & Rich” – Johnjay Van Es and Rich Berra – were inducted into the Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame at a ceremony last night at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale.  The program is heard in Phoenix on iHeartMedia-owned flagship CHR KZZP “104.7 KISS FM” and is syndicated by Premiere Networks.  The program debuted in Tucson on KRQ.  It moved to KZZP in 2006.  It’s currently heard in 20 markets across the country…..The Envision Networks-syndicated weekly Wolfman Jack show adds new affiliates” WCCW-FM, Traverse City, Michigan; WOWY, State College, Pennsylvania; and KMGZ, Lawton, Oklahoma.  The stations add the classic radio program in time to also air the two-hour special “Wolfman Jack Halloween Party.”  WOWY program director Bob Steele says, “I have been searching for this show for years.  Knowing what a legend he was and how much fun the show was, I knew it was going to be an instant listener favorite!  He is probably the most referenced DJ in history. Everyone has heard of him.  I think it’s his personality that resonates with people.  He makes people laugh and feel good.  He often had a shocking side and I think that may be what keeps people glued to his every word.”…..Country artist Jessie Ritter from Fort Walton Beach, Florida is named the winner of Cumulus Media’s 4th annual “NASH Next” competition.  The final competition event took place last night (10/11) at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon and featured live performances from the top 10 national finalists, and a special performance by Radio Romance, last year’s “NASH Next” winner whose single “Weekend” rose to the top 40 on the country airplay charts.  Ritter will receive national radio airplay on Cumulus stations and gets a recording contract with Nash Next Records under the Big Machine Label Group umbrella…..Country music legend Dolly Parton was on the NASH campus in Nashville yesterday joining “Ty, Kelly and Chuck” in-studio to talk about her latest Netflix project, “Dumplin’,” in which she found herself working with Jennifer Aniston and Sia. Pictured below are (from l-r): Ty Bentli, Parton, Kelly Ford, and Chuck Wicks.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

| August 2, 2018

Rush Limbaugh Celebrates 30 Years in National Syndication. On Wednesday (8/1), Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh marked the 30thanniversary of the national syndication of his radio program.  Premiere says that “in addition to discussing the latest news and events of the day, Limbaugh spent some time during this three-hour show reflecting on the special milestone and his journey to becoming the most-listened-to national radio talk show host in America.  The five-time Marconi Award winner featured calls from listeners and fans, as well as highlights from throughout his radio career, including audio of his first radio job as a disc jockey at WIXZ in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1971. Limbaugh was also surprised with a call from President Donald Trump.”  The president told Limbaugh, “You’re a very special man, Rush, and you have people that love you.  I’m one of them.  But you’re a very, very special guy.  What you do for this country, people have no idea how important your voice is.  So, I just wanted to personally make this one and I said, ‘I’ll even dial the number myself if I have to’…But I just want to congratulate you.  Thirty years in that tough business is incredible — and you’re stronger now than ever before.”  In 1988, Limbaugh and his partners founded EIB, the Excellence In Broadcasting network, launching his show into national syndication on August 1, 1988, debuting with 56 radio stations.  In just a few months, an additional 100 affiliates were added, paving the way for the expansion of the talk radio format.

Prescription Drug Cocktail Contributed to Art Bell’s Death.  The Clark County, Nevada coroner’s report on the April 13, 2018 death of talk radio pioneer Art Bell indicates that a prescription drug cocktail of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam (Valium), and the muscle relaxant carisoprodol were found in Bell’s system.  The report concludes he died of an accidental overdose, although it also says chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and hypertension contributed to his death.  According to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, all of the medications were legally prescribed to Bell.

New York State Broadcasters Association Announces Hall of Fame Class of 2018.  The board of directors of the New York State Broadcasters Association announces its Hall of Fame Class of 2018. This year’s inductees are: New York Yankees radio voice and WEPN talk host Michael Kay, J. David (Dave) Davis of WABC-TV and ABC News, WHAM-TV news team Doug Emblidge and Ginny Ryan, and legendary New York City disc jockey Dan Ingram.  The class of 2018 will be inducted at the New York Leadership and Hall of Fame Luncheon during the NAB Show NY at 12:00 noon on Thursday, October 18 at the Jacob Javits Center.  NYSBA president David Donovan says, “The Class of 2018 represents the best in our profession.  We are honored to induct these highly successful broadcasters into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame.  They represent the best in radio and television.

iHeartMedia Second Quarter Financial Data Released.  Filing its 10Q report with the Securities and Exchange Commission reveals that iHeartMedia’s revenue for the second quarter of 2018 was basically flat – up 0.7% — at $1.6 billion, compared to $1.59 billion in the same period in 2017.  Operating income was down 7.7%, dipping from $308 million a year ago to $285 million this year.  iHeartMedia is not holding quarterly conference calls while the company is in Chapter 11 reorganization.

Middle Tennessee Radio Pro David Tower Dead.  Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame member David Tower, a.k.a. David Milstead died on July 28 at age 78.  He’d been inducted into the hall this past May.  Tower was born in Orange, Texas in 1940 and came to Nashville in 1970 as a news reader for WMAK-AM.  He rose to news director and began a career that would lead him to other Nashville radio stops including WYHY-FM “Y-107” and WLAC.  In his later years, Tower worked as a real estate agent and lived in East Nashville.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Trump Calls to End Probe, Paul Manafort Trial, U.S. Immigration Policy, New China Tariffs, Economic Growth/Housing Starts Down, Midterm Races, California Wildfire, European Heatwave, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/31). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents tied with President Trump’s demand Attorney General Jeff Sessions shut it down; the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort; the U.S.’s immigration and deportation policies; Trump threatens more tariffs on Chinese goods; the positive second quarter economic growth stats coupled with concerns about the decline in new housing starts; this fall’s midterm elections; the deadly California wildfire; the heatwave affecting Western Europe; and Major League Baseball 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. Air personality Mel, a.k.a., Melissa Sorrentino is now music director and midday personality at Entercom’s alternative WQMP, Orlando “ALT 101.9.”  She’s most recently been serving the company as programming assistant at alternative WSFS, Miami “104.3 The Shark.”…..Premiere Networks is celebrating the 25thanniversary of the rock prep service “Today’s Rock Facts.”  The service was conceived by then-head of programming Bill Wise at MJI Broadcasting in 1993 with current Premiere senior director of rock programming and specials Sal Cirrincione and West Coast prep producer Dave Schulps.  Premiere says highlights over the last 25 years include hundreds of interviews with every top act from AC/DC to ZZ Top; countless exclusive stories; and on-the-scene coverage of such memorable events as Led Zeppelin’s reunion show in 2007, Woodstock ’94 and ’99, Live Eight, and every Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and major awards show since the early ’90s…..SiriusXM is broadcasting performances and backstage interviews from Lollapalooza in Chicago on its Alt Nation channel.  The broadcast will include interviews and live performances by Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Lil Uzi Vert, Post Malone, Portugal. The Man, CHVRCHES, The National, ODESZA, Walk The Moon, Manchester Orchestra, Khalid, Brockhampton, The WombatsJungle, Parquet Courts, lovelythebandSir Sly, and many more…..There are opportunities for air personalities at Service Broadcasting’s KRNB, Dallas “Smooth R&B 105.7.”  The company says if you are a “multi-dimensional” and “multi-platform” talent ready to elevate your brand, career and creativity; if your passion for people, music, culture and community is unmatched; if you live, love, and breathe the “Smooth R&B” lifestyle, they want to talk to you.  “Smooth Crew” candidates must possess a unique point of view and know how to connect with listeners, clients, partners, and team members to positively impact and enhance ratings, revenues and relationships.  Send your audio, resume, references and social media success stories to: SBG HR manager Debbie Henry at jobs@KRNB.com. No phone calls please.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

| June 20, 2017

WFAN, New York Celebrates 30 Years. On July 1, CBS RADIO is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the birth of sports talk radio outlet WFAN, New York.  In honor of the 1987 launch of the station, WFAN is celebrating with a special day of live broadcasts from Vanderbilt Hall inside the world famous Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan this Thursday (6/22) from 6:00 am to 6:30 pm.  The day begins with a special broadcast of “Boomer & Carton,” (also simulcast on CBS Sports Network) followed by Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts, and Mike Francesa.  WFAN operations manager and CBS RADIO VP of sports programming Mark Chernoff comments, “We are proud to be a part of the fabric of New York sports.  WFAN has wonderful, appreciative and engaged listeners who are the backbone of the station, as well as leading talent, that together allow WFAN to achieve groundbreaking success and have helped the station become an institution in the Big Apple.  It is no coincidence that the station is nicknamed ‘The Fan,’ acting as a mouthpiece for die-hard sports enthusiasts.”

TALKERS News Notes. From his recent Twitter post, sports radio pro Kevin Sherrets announces he’s exiting CBS RADIO’s sports talk KHTK, Sacramento as a result of the station not renewing his contract.  Sherrets has been program director with the station since August of 2015…..CBS Radio News wins three Edward R. Murrow awards from the RTDNA for outstanding radio journalism, taking home the top award for “Overall Excellence” for the 11th time.  “The World News Roundup” was deemed “Best Newscast” for its coverage of the Baton Rouge police shooting and the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The broadcast was co-anchored with Peter King in Baton Rouge, Steve Futterman in Cleveland, and Steve Kathan, who anchors the program.  Coverage of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando earned the staff the “Breaking News” honor…..AdLarge Media is repping the 2017 schedule of college football games being covered by Gino Torretta’s Touchdown Radio.  Its first game will be Ohio State at Indiana on August 31.  Torretta handles color analysis with Taylor Zarzour and Roxy Bernstein doing play-by-play…..Sun Broadcast Group signs chief operating officer Julio Aponte to a multi-year extension.  Under the agreement, Aponte continues to head the daily operations of Sun’s New York City and Boca Raton offices as well as oversee the company’s sales department…..Independent sales rep firm Regional Reps Corp. announces the signing of client Impact Radio Group of Boise…..Westwood One News correspondent Steve Kastenbaum is pictured at right accepting two silver awards from the New York Festivals International Award Competition for the World’s Best Radio Programs.  Westwood One was honored for Best Investigative Reporting for Kastenbaum’s “Dead People Voting” story and for Best Coverage of a Breaking News Story for the network’s coverage of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Keeping Up with Every Word. WFAN, New York sports radio personality Richard Neer writes today about the tricky business of staying in tune with word usage changes and being sensitive to the public’s perception of certain words.  “Political correctness does serve a purpose and the concept was founded with good intentions. However, it has run amok. It is one thing to be aware that certain words are deemed offensive and to use them anyway, in defiance of accepted norms…It is frustrating when you’ve used a word your entire life without a second thought and with no bad intentions, only to be told it is hurtful and no longer appropriate. Sometimes, it feels that you must dance among raindrops to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes.”  Read Neer’s entire piece here.

Hugh Hewitt Keynotes Bold Gold Foundation Event. Nationally syndicated talk show host Hugh Hewitt is serving as the keynote speaker at The Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation’s 3rd Annual Event and Dinner on June 27 at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre.  The Salem Radio Network personality will speak about the role NEPA (Northeastern Pennsylvania) played in the 2016 election, the future of media, and the importance of the preservation of freedom of speech.   At the event, Pocono Raceway president and CEO Brandon Igdalsky will be honored with the Bold Gold Foundation’s ‘Atlas Award for Citizenship.’  The non-profit Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation – formed by Bold Gold Media Group president Vince Benedetto – works to help young professionals enter broadcast media fields, with an emphasis on news and talk formats.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Georgia U.S. House Special Election, U.S.-Russia Syria Tensions, Sean Spicer Speculation, Otto Warmbier Dies, London Mosque Attack, Trump-Tech CEOs Meeting, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/19). The special counsel investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents, and whether the president himself is under investigation; the special election between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel for Georgia’s sixth congressional district seat; military tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the downing of a Syrian fighter jet by U.S. forces; speculation about White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stepping down from that position; the death of former North Korean prisoner Otto Warmbier; the attack on Muslim worshippers in London by a man driving a vehicle; Monday’s meeting between President Trump and some of the nation’s tech CEOs; and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Change has come to morning drive – and at least one other daypart – at Cumulus Media’s country WKHX, Atlanta “Kicks 101.5.”  The station announces that morning show personality Dallas McCade is being promoted to music director.  With this move she departs the “Cadillac Jack and Dallas Mornings” program but will remain on air in another, yet-to-be announced daypart.  At the same time, morning show co-host Cadillac Jack says he’ll be off the air until Thursday morning (6/22), when the station reveals its new morning show lineup…..Erin Vermeulen joins WCSX, Detroit’s “Classic Rock Mornings: with Big Jim O’Brien as the newest member of the show, effective July 10.  Most recently with iHeartMedia on KFI, Los Angeles’ Bill Handel show, Vermeulen began her radio career on the former WYUR, Detroit.  WCSX program director Jerry Tarrants says, “Choosing a native Detroiter with a wealth of global experience was a no-brainer for us.  Erin will be a great on-air complement and partner to Big Jim O’Brien.”…..In New Orleans, Cumulus Media flips frequencies for its country and alternative rock stations.  The alternative format moves from WZRH at 106.1 to its new home as WRKN, branded “ALT 92.3 FM.”  The “NASH” format slides up the dial to the 106.1 position.  Cumulus says the “frequency flip brings alternative tock to two-thirds of Louisiana’s total population and comes in response to the increasing demand for alternative rock in the Gulf South among men and women equally, primarily among those aged 18 to 44.”  The alt rock format was originally launched in the market in 2015 as “106.1 the underground alternative.”…..WMGK, Philadelphia morning personality John DeBella, via his “11th Annual John DeBella Veterans Radiothon,” helps raise more than $154,000 to benefit local veterans through the Veterans Multi-Service Center.  The VMC provides services, programs, opportunities and advancement to veterans…..Last week, Premiere Networks-syndicated personalities John Boy and Billy were honored with the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters’ 2017 Hall of Fame Award for their outstanding contributions to the broadcast industry in North Carolina…..Pandora has let go of its only FM radio station, selling KXMZ, Box Elder, South Dakota (Rapid City market) to Haugo Broadcasting for $300,000.  It bought the station from Connoisseur Media for $600,000 in 2013 in hopes that it could use its status as owner of a terrestrial station to lower its royalty payments.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

| April 17, 2013

arbitronArbitron Shareholders Approve Acquisition by Nielsen Holdings N.V.  At yesterday’s special meeting of stockholders, Arbitron’s shareholders voted to approve the acquisition of the company by Nielsen Holdings N.V.nielsen logo with 98.99% of the shares voting in favor of the agreement and plan of merger.  These shares represented approximately 77.11% of total outstanding shares of Arbitron common stock as of the March 8, 2013 record date for the Special Meeting.  As previously announced on December 18, 2012, Arbitron Inc. and Nielsen Holdings N.V. entered into a definitive agreement for Nielsen to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Arbitron for $48.00 per share in cash.  The deal remains subject to certain regulatory approvals, including expiration of the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust waiting period, and customary closing conditions.

DG-logoHorizontalDial Global Closes on Recapitalization.  Dial Global first announced plans to enter into recapitalization of its existing credit facilities, other obligations and equity interests back on March 4.  Now, it reports it has entered into an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement with General Electric Capital Corporation, as administrative agent and collateral agent on a “First Lien Credit Agreement,” which, after taking into account a $15 million paydown, consists of a term loan of $136 million and revolving credit commitments of approximately $23 million, $18 million of which is drawn.  The maturity date for that is October 21, 2016.  DG also states it has entered into a Priority Second Lien Credit Agreement with Cortland Capital Market Services, LLC, as administrative agent and collateral agent, Blackrock Kelso Capital Corporation, as syndication agent and as the lender party for an additional $31.5 million term loan facility, with a maturity date of July 21, 2017.  The Company issued to Blackrock penny warrants to purchase 7.5% of the Dial Global common stock.  The Second Lien Credit Agreement was a restructuring of the existing approximately $93 million in second lien obligations and was accomplished by amending and restating the Second Lien Credit Agreement to provide for a $30 million term loan with a maturity date of April 16, 2018 and exchanging approximately $63 million in remaining obligations under the prior Second Lien Credit Agreement for a new Series A preferred stock of the Company.  Lenders received penny warrants to purchase 12.0% of the Company’s common stock and 12.0% of the outstanding shares of Series B preferred stock, Series C preferred stock and Series D preferred stock.  Those will be subject to forfeit, in whole or in part, if the Dial Global retires all or a portion of the $30 million second lien term loan and the Series A preferred stock held by such 2L lenders prior to certain specified dates.  As part of these agreements, stockholders of preferred stock and warrants were granted certain corporate governance rights, including the right to elect three directors to the Dial Global’s new eight-person board of directors.  The three newly-elected directors are Brian Pope, Marshall Merriman and Ethan Underwood.

smerconishmichaelWashington Post’s Erik Wemple Examines Smerconish Departure from WPHT.  In a piece in the Washington Post, media writer Erik Wemple takes a look at Michael Smerconish’s exit from longtime home base WPHT, Philadelphia for his new employer SiriusXM and, more specifically, Smerconish’s unwillingness to be defined as a dyed-in-the-wool conservative Republican and the CBS Radio station’s move to remain true to the conservative talk radiowpht logo philosophy.  Smerconish debuted this week on the satcaster’s POTUS channel – politics of the United States – that serves those interested in politics in general as opposed to the conservative and liberal talk channels the service also offers.  Smerconish is not afraid to criticize what he believes are faults with both the news/talk format or the country in general, telling Wemple, “The problem for the country, I think, is that too many [people] cannot differentiate between entertainment and substance.  The country is paying a price for this brand of polarized media…Too many politicians are taking their cues from people with microphones.”  Wemple spoke with WPHT GM Marc Rayfield who says Smerconish’s philosophical change over the past few years veered from the station’s objective.  He says there’s little passion for “middle-of-the-road.”  He also says Smerconish “didn’t serve our core values.  We wanted to remain conservative…We had been talking about the direction of the radio station for some time and we came to a mutual conclusion that we were not necessarily the best fit for each other.”  Michael Smerconish will deliver the State of the First Amendment address at the Talkers New York 2013 conference in New York on Thursday, June 6.  Read Wemple’s piece here.

bohannonjimRadio Legend Jim Bohannon Celebrates 30 Years in Syndication.  The lifelong radio broadcaster has been in national syndication with Dial Global and its predecessors for 30 years as of Friday, April 19 when he celebrates that mark.  Jim Bohannon began with the old Mutual Radio Network as a reporter and then started filling in for Larry King on his nationally syndicated program.  The network was acquired by Westwood One and Bohannon took over for King’s late night slot in 1993.  Bohannon recently re-signed with Dial Global (which acquired Westwood One) and will be honored with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from TALKERS magazine at the Talkers New York 2013 industry convention in New York City on Thursday, June 6.

stephandougDoug Stephan Adds a Dozen Affiliates.  Doug Stephan’s Stephan Multimedia reports the company has picked up a dozen new affiliates for the company’s radio offerings including Stephan’s “Good Day” nationally syndicated morning program, the weekend “Talk Radio Countdown Show” and others.  New affiliates include: WNZS, Bangor, Maine; KTPA, Prescott, Arizona; WLBK, DeKalb, Illinois; KLEY, Wellington, Kansas; KMAS, Shelton, Washington; KVPI, Ville Platte, Louisiana; KXAR, Hope, Arkansas; KKLE, Winfield, Kansas; KOAL, Price, Utah; KUGN, Eugene, Oregon; WICO, Ocean City, Maryland; and WTIM, Taylorville, Illinois.

mmgradionet logoMedia Management Group Expands into Network Syndication; Warren Eckstein’s Pet Show Joins Initiative.  Longtime WOR, New York and WOR Radio Network personality Warren Eckstein returns to national syndication via Media Management Group’s new MMG Radio Network division.  The syndicator reports Eckstein’s “The Pet Show” launched on Saturday, April 6 on more than 100 stations. ecksteinwarren Additionally, Warren’s “Pet Tip” can be heard daily on more than 200 stations.  MMG also announces the new network will be led by Alan Eisenson, MMG’s EVP of business development.  MMG states, “Eisenson has a 23-year background successfully programming news/talk radio stations in New York, Denver, Las Vegas and, most recently, Clear Channel’s news/talk properties in Sacramento and San Francisco.”  On the new initiative, Eisenson says. “As the industry environment continues to evolve, the opportunity presented itself to acquire some of the format’s top talent in various niches.  We’re thrilled to have seized that opportunity.  We’re honored to be working with an accomplished pro like Warren Eckstein, and excited by the array of top caliber talent to come as we expand the network.”  The MMG Radio Network says it will eventually include 12 hours of programming produced weekly and tailored for stations’ weekend lineups.  The programs will also include a broad roster of digital elements, making them completely customizable for listeners to consume exactly when and how they wish.

schruckwindremSeton Hall University Radio Station Honors Alumni Glenn Schuck and Bob Windrem.  Two alumni of Seton Hall University’s radio station WSOU, South Orange, New Jersey “The Loudest Rock” were honored at the station’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony this past Saturday.  WINS, New York reporter Glenn Schuck (left) and NBC News producer Bob Windrem (right) were inducted during WSOU’s 65th anniversary dinner, which drew more than 200 people together to celebrate the station’s birthday.  Some of the attendees included station alumni Bob Ley, Anthony Delia, Bill Rock, Full Metal Jackie, Pete Tauriello, Christina Stoffo, Frank Garrity, Mike DePippa, Joe Guzick, Mark Mitchell, and Gary Susalis, among others.

Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Gun Legislation Proposals, and Teen Rape/Suicide Cases Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/16).  The aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing was the dominant story on news/talk radio across the country on Tuesday.  Other stories that registered included proposals for gun legislation and the high-profile cases of young teens allegedly raped who then committed suicide.  The top stories are the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.