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Monday, April 16, 2018

| April 16, 2018

Remembering Art Bell. The somewhat eerie fact that 72-year-old Art Bell died on Friday the 13th (4/13 in Pahrump, Nevada) certainly could not go unnoticed or overlooked. Bell was the founder and original host of the paranormal-themed “Coast to Coast AM,” which Premiere Networks syndicated on hundreds of North American radio outlets. Part of a Bell retrospective on that program’s website details that, “His love of radio led him to working for an English-language station in Japan, where he set a Guinness world record for broadcasting 116 hours straight. This was no mere radio stunt, however, as it served to raise funds to rescue over 100 Vietnamese orphans left stranded by the conflict in their home country.  Upon returning to the United States, he entered the world of talk radio with an overnight program on KDWN, Las Vegas.  After noticing that episodes covering conspiracy theories and paranormal topics generated considerable interest from listeners, Bell transformed the show from political talk to discussion of these often-verboten realms. Syndicated nationally in 1993 [by Talk Radio Network], ‘Coast to Coast AM’ soon became a radio phenomenon.  During the 1990s, when ‘The X-Files’ had people wondering about the world of high strangeness, Art Bell was the voice of that world, introducing millions of radio listeners to a vast array of paranormal topics and the researchers that studied them. As he begins his journey on the ‘Other Side,’ we take solace in the hope that he is now finding out all of the answers to the mysteries he pursued for so many nights with all of us.”  The Jacksonville, North Carolina born former Air Force medic “semi-retired” from “Coast to Coast AM” 15 years ago but could be heard hosting the program on weekends from 2003 – 2007 and was an occasional guest host through 2010.  Bell called his show “absolute entertainment” and did not necessarily accept every guest or caller’s claims but offered a forum where they would not be openly ridiculed. SiriusXM debuted “Art Bell’s Dark Matter” in September 2013 on its “Indie Talk” channel, but that four-hour (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, PT) Monday through Thursday venture ended after just six weeks. Approximately four-dozen stations carried his 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight PT “Midnight in the Desert” show, which launched on the Internet in July 2015 on Bell’s Dark Matter Digital Network. Three months later in October of 2015, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviewed him for his weekly podcast. The following is a brief excerpt from that long-form conversation in which Bell assesses the state of the radio industry and its future.  To listen to the clip, please click here.  Five months later though, Bell exited, citing concerns about his family’s safety.  Bell was replaced as weekday host of “Coast to Coast AM” on January 1, 2003 by George Noory, who reacted emotionally on air last Friday night to Bell’s passing. “I’m trying to get my composure here, folks,” a shaken Noory admitted. “Art and I were not that close.  We had our differences, but he was one of those instrumental in me being where I am right now.  He was a very heavy smoker and was hospitalized a year or so ago because of [that].  I don’t know if that played a factor in [his death] or not.”  In 1996, KTRS, St. Louis’ Tim Dorsey hired Noory to be “The Night Hawk” and as Bell decided he needed an emergency replacement, Noory gained national exposure by doing his first “Coast to Coast AM” show in April 2001. “As Art’s back problems became more severe, I started doing more shows, until he decided to retire from fulltime work,” Noory told Inside Radio’s then special features editor/current TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian.  Equating the experience of substituting for – and eventually succeeding – Bell on a fulltime basis to pinch-hitting for Babe Ruth, Noory maintained, “It’s sometimes an unreal feeling. I never showed it on the air, but replacing Art Bell was overwhelming for me. I realized there was no way I could replace him. It wouldn’t work if I tried to duplicate him.” The first time Noory heard Bell was in 1996 when he was driving to work at heritage St. Louis news/talker KMOX. “I said to myself that I wanted to do that program,” Noory confided to Kinosian. “After I concentrated on the show, strange events occurred that made it all happen.  Whatever’s out there in the universe that makes things happen for people is real.”  Now living in Lexington, Kentucky, noted spoken-word consultant/programmer Gabe Hobbs is a former vice president/programming – news, talk, & sports for Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia). “What a special talent Art Bell was – truly unique,” Hobbs declares.  “He helped talk radio evolve from the Larry King-era into the modern era of our format.  He is the man that made overnights meaningful and profitable in radio.”  Longtime iHeartMedia Los Angeles adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103” air talent Ted Ziegenbusch notes on Facebook, “I did a late-night show for about 20 years in the 1980s and 1990s. On a family trip to central California one night, I heard Art on a tiny radio station. That was long before he became popular and I was fascinated with his stories about UFOs; ghosts; pyramids on Mars; climate change; and all sorts of quirky subjects. His shows were almost always riveting and impossible to leave for even a moment. When I returned from my trip north, I told my general manager that Art Bell would be perfect for our AM station. Nobody had ever heard of the guy, so my suggestion fell on deaf ears. Later, he would join our team and score enormous success. The story doesn’t end there. Sadly, there were some real ups and downs in Art’s life and his career; [however], he was sure a trailblazer and one-of-a-kind entertainer.” Brian Whitman, who does morning drive in Los Angeles on Salem Media Group news/talk KRLA, recounts, “Many years ago when I was younger and less experienced, I was doing some on-air work at Premiere Radio Networks. I asked the boss if he would consider me to be a substitute host on ‘Coast to Coast’ when Art Bell was absent. I took the opportunity to mention that when those crazy people called, I’d goof on them and do a really funny show. The boss made me smarter [by telling me], ‘Brian, you don’t understand. On ‘Coast to Coast,’ when someone calls to tell you an alien landed in their swimming pool, you don’t make fun. You say, ‘tell me more.’ [That was] the genius of Art Bell. I always say that the most important thing for a radio performer is to find his voice.  Art Bell’s singular voice, brilliant mind, and master showmanship came together to create his own brand. He understood the intimacy that radio can create [and] the lives it can touch.”  An executive producer at iHeartMedia Los Angeles news/talk KFI, Michelle Kube, comments that, “Even if I thought some of the stories were crazy, you couldn’t deny [Art Bell’s] talent.” He was “a true radio pioneer and a great storyteller. He created ‘Coast to Coast AM’ – it’s his legacy.”  For the past 14 years, Kurt Kretzschmar has been director of affiliate marketing – Premiere Networks. The former executive producer of Los Angeles sports outlet KSPN and cross-town news/talk KABC asserts that tapes of Bell’s shows “that air on Saturday nights are some of the highest-rated weekend hours on several affiliates.” Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Northern Ohio region, which includes WHLO “640 Akron’s News Talk,” Keith Kennedy, was among programmers scheduling Art Bell tribute programming this past weekend. Kennedy wrote on Facebook, “Listen to ‘Somewhere in Time’ Saturday at 9:00 pm – we’ll rebroadcast one of his unique programs.”  Bell studied engineering at the University of Maryland in College Park, but dropped out to become a radio chief engineer/board op/occasional on-air talent.  In May 2008, he sold KNYE, Pahrump to station manager Karen Jackson for a reported $600,000. Inducted to the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame (2006) and National Radio Hall of Fame (2008), Bell received Radio & Records’ “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2007. A July 2016 posting on Bell’s website indicated he was hospitalized for pneumonia and that he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Nye County (Nevada) sheriff Sharon Wehrly described Bell as a “longtime resident” of the area and said an autopsy to confirm the cause of death would be performed later this week. Geller Media International Broadcast Consultants president Valerie Geller proclaims, “May his journey continue in peace.”

WWJ, Detroit Names Brooke Allen PM Drive Co-Host. Detroit all-news WWJ-AM “Newsradio 950” announces that Brooke Allen (right) is returning to the station to co-host the afternoon drive daypart (2:00 pm to 6:00 pm) with current afternoon host Greg Bowman (left).  Allen was most recently the producer and local host of “Morning Edition” on public news/talk WKAR-AM/FM, East Lansing, Michigan.  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “We are excited to welcome Brooke back to WWJ.  In addition to being an award-winning journalist, Brooke is devoted to our local community.   Her passion for the news and connection to the people of the metro Detroit area will be evident each and every day.”

Johnson Named VP of Sports Sales for iHeartMedia Denver. Denver sales pro Jeff Johnson is promoted at iHeartMedia to vice president of sports sales & partnerships.  In this new role, Johnson is charged with “growing and managing iHeartMedia Denver’s sports partnerships, including the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies, as well as its Broncos-centric station, KDSP-AM ‘Orange & Blue 760.'”  iHeartMedia Denver SVP of sales Ryan Clune states, “I’m thrilled for Jeff.  Watching him grow over the years from senior account executive to director of sports sales, and now vice president of sports sales & partnerships has been a highlight of my career.  Jeff’s ability to align advertisers with our exclusive sports content, along with delivering unmatched reach, brand affinity, and ROI for our partners makes him the ideal leader to step into this key position.”

Price: Are You Ready for Atlantic Hurricane Season? Former longtime director of business continuity & crisis management for ABC’s news and technology & operations divisions, Howard B. Price, writes today in a piece for TALKERS magazine about the need to be prepared for the Atlantic Hurricane Season.  Price says that tropical researchers at Colorado State University have issued their predictions for this year and have concluded that there will likely be 14 named storms between June 1 and November 30. Of those, researchers expect seven hurricanes, with three of those likely to be major storms (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5, with sustained winds of 111 MPH – plus).  Price provides this nine-point preparedness checklist for broadcasters who could be affected by an Atlantic hurricane or any other natural disaster for that matter.  See it here.

Padres Executive Chairman Opens Up About KEGY Format Tweak.  As reported in the San Diego Union Tribune writer Bryce Miller, San Diego Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler says the team had “significant input and impact” on the format and branding changes Entercom made to KEGY, but not so much as to dictate which air talent should go where.  Union Tribune reports Fowler and the Padres had issues with KEGY’s programming as “97.3 The Machine” before air personality Kevin Klein’s promotional Tweet that referenced the city’s Coronado bridge and its history as a site of hundreds of suicides.  Miller quotes Fowler referencing the station’s programming as “shock-jock” radio.  See Miller’s story here.

Comey’s ABC Interview/Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S. Strikes on Syria, Starbucks-Philly Arrests, Mexico Border Issues, Barbara Bush Health Status, MLB and NBA Playoffs Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Former FBI director James Comey’s interview on ABC-TV in which he discussed the investigation into the Hillary Clinton email matter and opined on President Trump’s fitness for office and the related investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the weekend’s U.S. military strikes in Syria; the controversy over the arrest of two black men for trespassing at a Philadelphia Starbucks; the issue of security at the U.S.-Mexico border; former First Lady Barbara Bush’s failing health; and Major League Baseball and NBA playoffs action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes.  According to the most recent list published by The Hollywood Reporter, Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity and multi-media personality Ryan Seacrest are two of the 35 most powerful media people in New York. Regarding Hannity, THR says that he regularly commands the largest audience of any cable news host on television, in addition to reaching millions of listeners on his national radio show.  “He also has the ear (and the eyes) of the president…and has the power to make or break Republican political candidates.”  As for Seacrest, the publication says that since Kelly Ripa tapped him as her co-host in May, viewership of ABC’s “LIVE with Kelly & Ryan” has “risen nearly 15% to 3.2 million viewers each day.”  See the whole list here…..Westwood One announces a strategic partnership with American Public Media to increase sales and promotional opportunities for season two of the investigative podcast, “In the Dark.”  The first season of “In the Dark” has driven nearly 12 million downloads to date and continues to receive downloads more than a year later at roughly 465,000 per month.  In this new relationship, Westwood One is providing broadcast radio show promotion and exclusive ad sales representation…..Pictured below is former White House national security adviser Dr. Sebastian Gorka (left) reviewing documents with Ken Lormand (right), Washington bureau chief of Salem Radio Network News.  As a former Trump adviser, Gorka has insight into administration personnel moves, including CIA director Mike Pompeo’s nomination to become the next U.S. Secretary of State.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! to Feature Presentation by Salem VP Phil Boyce Titled, “What Has Donald Trump Done to Talk Radio.” There is no doubt that the ascendancy of Donald J. Trump to the U.S. presidency has greatly impacted news/talk radio and its associated platforms of talk media. Salem Media Group SVP of the spoken word format Phil Boyce will deliver an address, backed up by Harker Research data, exploring this phenomenon in detail during the morning sessions of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! The presentation will be introduced by highly regarded programmer Greg Moceri, CEO of Moceri Media. The 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running, and most important convention takes place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. The day opens with back-to-back keynote “fireside chats” conducted by Michael Harrison with Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity and Beasley Broadcasting CEO Caroline Beasley. The conference will also include presentations by such industry notables as PodcastOne executive chairman, Norm Pattiz; former WFAN, New York sports talk superstar, Mike Francesa; Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein, panel appearances by Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes and an afternoon keynote address by Infowars and GCN maverick Alex Jones. There will be panels on programming, sales, digital convergence and more featuring a total of 50-plus speakers from all aspects of the talk media industry. The convention is on a fast-track to being an advance sellout and there will be no registrations sold at the door. For more information and the complete up-to-the-minute agenda, read the story below.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Agenda Posted. The TALKERS editorial board is pleased to post the basic agenda for the 21stannual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national convention – TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! takes place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception – all in a single, power-packed day! Full up-to-the-minute agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information can be seen here. If you are planning to attend, it would be wise to register NOW. This convention will be an early sellout.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Denver, iHeartMedia names Chelsea Thomas midday host for country KWBL “106.7 The Bull,” effective April 23.   iHeartMedia region SVP of programming JoJo Turnbeaugh says, “An on-air opening with iHeartMedia in Denver always generates strong interest from many talented personalities.  Chelsea was the clear winner. Her authenticity and unique ability to weave storytelling into her show made her the ideal match for the Bull Nation.”  Thomas was most recently music director and air personality at Alpha Media’s CHR WDJX, Louisville…..KAMP, Los Angeles “97.1 AMP Radio” music director and midday personality Michelle Boros exits her position with the Entercom CHR station after an eight-year stint…..Kristina Carlyle signs on with Albany Broadcasting’s country WKLI, Albany “100.9 The Cat” to co-host the morning show and serve as music director. Carlyle – most recently with Scripps’ KVOO, Tulsa – takes over for the departed Dana Race…..There’s a new morning host at California Radio Partners’ triple A KOZT, Fort Bragg “The Coast” as Dred Scott is tapped to work alongside news director Joe Regelski.  Station co-owner and program director Tom Yates says, “We did a job posting and got 41 responses in two days from some really good candidates.  But Dred is a really good fit with the ‘Coast’ crew.”…..At Ingstad Media’s country KXDD, Yakima, Washington, Lindsey Cleveland is promoted from part-time status to full-time as morning drive co-host with Brian Stephenson on “The Good Morning Gang with Brian & Lindsey.” Cleveland fills the role vacated recently by Carey Jacobson…..In Washington, DC, Kala Simmons is named morning show producer for WASH-FM’s “Toby and Chilli” morning show. Simmons has been with the iHeartMedia Washington cluster for the past three years as assistant digital producer for WIHT’s “The Kane Show.”

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

| April 10, 2018

KFTK-FM, St. Louis Morning Host Jamie Allman Leaves TV Show Gig After Controversial Tweet.  If you guessed that this involves Parkland, Florida student David Hogg, you are correct. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that KFTK-FM, St. Louis morning show host Jamie Allman Tweeted a statement regarding Hogg, who is seen as the face of the student-led movement to change gun laws in Florida in the aftermath of the deaths of 17 students at the hands of Nikolas Cruz.  He wrote, “I’ve been hanging out getting ready to ram a hot poker up David Hogg’s ass tomorrow.”  As the paper reports, the context of Allman’s Tweet is unclear as his account has been locked.  Allman, in addition to his radio show, hosted “The Allman Report” on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KDNL-TV “ABC 30,” but The Hollywood Reporter states that he resigned that gig after the backlash that included a number of advertisers reportedly dropping their ad campaigns on the TV station.  Allman continues to host his morning show on news/talk KFTK-FM.  The station is being operated under an LMA by Entercom as it is buying the station from Emmis Communications.

Entercom’s ’97.3 The Machine’ in San Diego Goes All Comedy/Rock; Sileo and ‘The Men’s Room’ Off the Air.  Local sports talker Dan Sileo and the Seattle-based “The Men’s Room” were both off the air on Entercom’s KEGY, San Diego “97.3 The Machine” yesterday, and likely will be today as well, as the status of the erstwhile sports talk/hot talk hybrid remains in question.  As of this morning, the station continues to play comedy bits and rock music.  If you’ve been following this story, you know that the ill-advised Tweet by Kevin Klein – hired to host the morning show – that used a picture of San Diego’s Coronado bridge and poking fun at its history of being a site of many suicides left his status with the station up in the air.  The San Diego Padres – for whom the station serves as their flagship for play-by-play – were upset with the station and publicly questioned their desire to continue with KEGY.  The absence of Sileo and “The Men’s Room” from the air seems to indicate Entercom is planning an overhaul of the station, but what form the station will take when the smoke clears is not known.  There is speculation the station will emerge as a traditional sports talk outlet.  Stay tuned.

Andy Bloom Named Operations Manager at Entercom’s Twin Cities Cluster. Programming pro Andy Bloom is returning to his hometown(s) to serve as operations manager for Entercom’s Minneapolis-St. Paul cluster that includes news/talk WCCO-AM, country KMNB “Buz’n @ 102.9” and adult hits KZJK “104.1 JACK FM.” Entercom Twin Cities SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “Andy has a successful track record programming radio stations and we are looking forward to having him join our Twin Cities team.  He has a clear understanding of our operational vision and is skilled at implementing winning business strategies.”  Bloom is certainly well known to Entercom EVP of programming Chris Oliviero, with whom he worked at CBS RADIO.  Oliviero came over to Entercom with the acquisition of the CBS RADIO stations by Entercom.  Bloom was most recently programming CBS’ Philly stations, including sports talk WIP-FM and news/talk WPHT.

FOX News Radio to Launch Early Evening “Benson and Harf” Program.  This new nightly show from FOX News Radio will emanate from the company’s newly named Tony Snow Radio Studio in Washington, DC and will co-star Guy Benson and Marie Harf.  The 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET “Benson and Harf” show will feature nightly expert guests to “discuss the news of the day and engage in powerful debate, providing fast-paced, thoughtful discourse on relevant stories pertaining to politics, media and culture.”  Benson joined FNC in 2013 and provides political commentary across FNC and FOX Business Network’s daytime and primetime programming.  Harf joined the network in 2017 to offer national security and political analysis across FNC and FBN’s daytime and primetime programming.  Most recently, Harf served as the senior adviser for strategic communications to Secretary of State John Kerry and previously held the position of deputy spokesperson for the State Department from July 2013 until May 2015.

Michael Clemente Named CEO of Newsmax Broadcasting. The Newsmax Broadcasting segment of Newsmax Media, Inc. airs the Newsmax TV channel.  The company announces that television executive Michael Clemente is joining the fold as CEO of Newsmax Broadcasting.  Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Michael is one of the most accomplished executives and producers in television and digital news.  He is widely respected in the industry and has won accolades for his high journalistic standards.  It’s an honor for us to have him leading our team.”  Clemente was with FOX News Channel for the past seven years as EVP of news.  In that capacity he oversaw all news programming, including live events, breaking news, documentaries, and specials.  He’s also served as senior producer for ABC’s “World News Tonight” and was executive producer of live and breaking news at CNN.  Clemente comments, “Newsmax has demonstrated the ability to adapt and thrive in the highly transformative digital news world and was one of the first major online outlets to create a TV brand in cable and OTT.  I’m excited to take on this new role at Newsmax during an incredible period of change, in a country eager for truth, understanding, and engagement in the news process.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Next Monday (4/16), the simulcast of WPEN-FM, Philadelphia’s afternoon program – “The Mike Missanelli Show” – begins on NBC Sports Philadelphia.  The program airs on Beasley Media Group’s “97.5 The Fanatic” from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily, but the TV simulcast will end at 5:00 pm followed by the “Philly Sports Talk” show on NBC Sports.  Missanelli says, “I’m extremely excited to be joining forces with NBC Sports Philadelphia. ‘97.5’ led the way in town to bring sports talk radio to the FM airwaves and now we are so looking forward to bringing it to television.  The show will continue to provide the very best in sports analysis and fun, entertaining radio.  I can’t wait for everyone to become part of it.”…..Boston television news figure Tony Pepper died at age 79 in the Boston suburb of Newton after complications from diabetes and heart disease.  In addition to his years spent on WBZ-TV, he co-hosted a talk radio program with Janet Jeghelian on WRKO-AM, Boston for two years in the early 1980s…..In conjunction with NBC Sports and NBC Sports Radio, Westwood One is presenting live, play-by-play audio coverage of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, beginning tomorrow (4/11).  Kenny Albert – play-by-play – and Joe Micheletti – analyst – are serving as Westwood One/NBC Sports Radio’s lead broadcast crew and will call the 2018 Stanley Cup Final and select playoff games…..WPHT, Philadelphia morning host Chris Stigall is pictured at left in a screen grab of his most recent appearance on FOX News Channel.  Stigall says that in the Trump era, “FOX News knows one of the president’s most important constituency groups is talk radio.”  He’s been making regular appearances on FNC commenting on the Keystone State, how the 2018 mid-terms may play out, the special House race in PA-18, and how trade issues could affect Pennsylvania…..In the photo below, WGOW-FM, Chattanooga “Talk Radio 102.3” midday personality Brian Joyce is throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Chattanooga Lookouts-Birmingham Barons AA baseball game.  Joyce – who is also heard in afternoons on Cumulus Media’s sister Atlanta news/talker WYAY-FM “Talk 106.7” – says he warmed up a bit in the bull pen to avoid “air-mailing the first pitch.”  Coincidentally, Joyce played four years of Division 1 college baseball in his younger days.

‘Yappy Tour’ Rolls Into Academia.   Pictured above lecturing a college class in “journalism convergence” at Highpoint University in Highpoint, NC this morning (4/10) is Bernadette Duncan, author of one of the most-discussed radio books in the talk media industry, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Boozers, Schmoozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016).  Duncan, a former producer, chronicles her 26 years as the woman behind the glass on shows hosted by such legends as Sally Jessy RaphaelLarry KingTom SnyderLou DobbsGil GrossCharles Osgood and others, covering a large swath of modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.”  Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of quirky guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature including: Donald TrumpOmarosa ManigaultDavid LettermanJoe BidenMike HuckabeeGeraldo RiveraJoan Rivers and dozens more.  Due to the strong response by hosts around the world to both the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the “Yappy Tour” has continue to roll on into 2018, sponsored by TALKERS magazine.  Duncan has already appeared on more than 130 local and syndicated programs since the book’s release in September of 2016.  Now, based on the book’s success and positive recognition, she has been invited to guest-lecture at colleges and universities advising students how to break into the radio business and carve out a career in producing and journalism.  In the past two months, she has spoken at such schools as Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY; Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, CT;  American International College in Springfield, MA; and Bay Path University in Longmeadow, MA.   Hosts, shows and schools interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

FBI Raids Trump Attorney Cohen’s Office, Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S.-Syria Military Policy/Chemical Attack, Zuckerberg Congressional Testimony, Rick Scott Senate Bid, Kimmel-Hannity Feud, Mexican Border Security, U.S.-China Tariffs, and MLB and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). The FBI executes warrants on Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen after receiving information from special counsel Robert Mueller; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the Trump administration’s military policy in Syria and the recent, deadly chemical attack on civilians; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress on Cambridge Analytica data usage; Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott to challenge Democrat Bill Nelson for U.S. Senate seat; the war of words between Jimmy Kimmel and Sean Hannity over the former’s poking fun at First Lady Melania Trump; Trump’s plan to use the U.S. military to defend the Mexican border from illegals; the threat of a tariff war between the U.S. and China; and MLB and NBA 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. Country radio programming pro Lance Houston is named PD for iHeartMedia Chicago’s WEBG, Chicago “BIG 95.5.”  Houston – who joins the Windy City operations of iHM from the company’s WBWL, Boston “101.7 The Bull” – will also serve as midday personality.  Houston reports to Tommy Austin, SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Chicago Region…..Programmer John Richards is the new program director at iHeartMedia’s country WQIK, Jacksonville.  In this position, Richards is also taking on programming duties at the company’s WTNT, Tallahassee and WPAP, Panama City, Florida.   Richards says, “I’m excited to be back in Jacksonville at WQIK.  I have history with the brand, and now another opportunity to add something to its tapestry.  The management team is terrific, and the staff is passionate.  It really shows in the quality of the product.  I appreciate the opportunity to contribute.”  Richards was most recently market president and iHeartMedia’s Corpus Christi and Harlingen-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas markets…..Westwood One is launching a new, weekly syndicated Saturday program called “Jayde,” starring Jayde Donovan.  Donovan is well-known as co-host of the WPLJ, New York morning show, host for the “Westwood One Backstage” broadcasts and her various television endeavors.  WWO says the new, three-hour show is “an upbeat, fun, and empowering show built for Saturday mornings to target the fierce, fabulous women who are doing it all – even if that means they are still wearing yesterday’s make-up while driving carpool to soccer practice.  The show will be a mix of interviews with celebrity moms, real life stories that inspire, and great music, all creating the perfect cocktail for a young, fresh, and inspired female-driven radio show.”…..iHeartMedia Seattle radio personality Marty Riemer – morning show co-host at KJR-FM “95.7 The Jet,” is being featured in an upcoming episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters International.”  Riemer works on air from Germany to join co-host Jodi Brothers for the “Marty & Jodi Show.”  The HGTV program addresses the Riemer family’s decision to move to Berlin, Germany, Marty’s experience co-hosting a cohesive morning program from Germany, and how the family met their unique balance of needs – including a central city location, reliable internet connection, and proximity to their children’s school…..In honor of Elvis Duran being inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Sierra Automated Systems presented the Premiere Networks syndicated morning host with a gold “Hall of Fame Edition” iSL console (pictured below) at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.  From left to right are: Elvis Duran, “Shotgun” Tom Kelly, and SAS president Eddie Fritz.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

| April 5, 2018

Nielsen’s Audio Today 2018 Highlights Radio’s Reach. This latest version of Nielsen Audio’s report on audio usage notes that “93% of U.S. adults 18 and older listen to radio every week—more than those watching television or using a smartphone, TV-connected device, tablet or PC.”  Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly’s report underscores the reach of radio across the media-using population.  “According to Nielsen’s ratings data comparing adults18+, AM/FM radio continues to reach more people each week than any other medium in the U.S. at 228.5 million consumers, compared with 216.5 million for TV (live, DVR and time-shifted), 203.8 million for app/web on a smartphone, and 127.6 million for video on a smartphone.  Looking at the audio landscape, broadcast radio’s weekly reach of 228.5 million also outpaces the 68.5 million for streaming audio, 35.7 million using satellite radio and 21.9 million consuming podcasts.”  Industry insiders are well aware that the challenges facing radio as a medium include decreased time spent listening over the past decade or so.   Although certain formats, news/talk and sports talk especially, have maintained TSL better than many music formats.  The graphic here shows the reach of the news/talk format among Gen Xers.  News/talk is the #1 format reached by Boomers (55-64) with a 15% AQH share according to Nielsen’s National Regional Database 2017.

Photo Copyright Issues May Dog Kevin Klein.  In addition to the state of limbo in which Entercom’s new hot talk/sports hybrid KEGY, San Diego “97.3 The Machine” finds itself, yet-to-debut morning personality Kevin Klein may have legal issues involving the photographer who took the photo seen here of the Coronado bridge, used in Klein’s controversial promotional Tweet.  According to a story in the San Diego Union Tribune, local photographer Jesse Cuevas says he’s considering his legal options regarding Klein’s use of the pic.  Cuevas admits the photo wasn’t legally copyrighted but says the negative press associated with the image gives it “no marketability” from this point forward.  In case you missed it, Klein sent out a Tweet to promote his new morning show that showed the Coronado bridge with the phrase, “Jump…to a new morning show.”  There was public outcry over the insensitivity toward suicide – some 400 suicides have taken place on the bridge since it opened.  Klein has not taken to the airwaves at “97.3 The Machine” as of Thursday morning.  It’s assumed, based on a statement from San Diego Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler, that Entercom and the team will sit down and discuss the matter at the end of the team’s home stand.

The Howie Carr Radio Network Promotes Two. Three-year staffers Steve Robinson and Grace Curley are moving up at The Howie Carr Radio Network.  Robinson is named vice president of operations and Curley rises to producer.  Robinson and Curley joined Howie Carr more than three years ago when he began his independent syndication.  Over the years, their roles have grown with the success of the network’s expansion.  Robinson is the regular fill-in host for Carr and Curley performs daily entertaining segments on the program.  Their promotions follow the signing of a major broadcast contract with Carr’s Boston flagship WRKO, now under the ownership of iHeartMediaHowie Carr comments, “Steve and Grace have proven themselves on this network since day one in 2014.  These well-deserved promotions should help us reach even higher levels of performance as we move forward.”

Radio Host Alan Taylor on ‘Live with Kelly & Ryan.’ Nationally syndicated radio personality Alan Taylor, host of “The Drive with Alan Taylor,” is pictured above (left) with Kelly Ripa (center) and Ryan Seacrest (right) on “LIVE with Kelly & Ryan!” showcasing the top crossover vehicles for 2019.  Taylor’s Radio America-syndicated program is a weekly, two-hour show that reveals the latest car news and test-drive results, how-to tips, auto show coverage, automotive expert insights, track-day reporting and behind the scenes action.

SiriusXM Brings Journalism Pro Oliver Knox Aboard.  U.S. political journalist Oliver Knox joins SiriusXM to serve as chief Washington correspondent.  Knox worked for 15 years for Agence France-Presse covering U.S. politics.  He’s covered six presidential campaigns and has deep knowledge of the inner-workings of Capitol Hill and the White House.  In July, he will be appointed president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, for which he currently serves as vice president. In this role for SiriusXM, Knox will cover the day’s top news stories and provide analysis for all of SiriusXM’s political channels, effective Monday, April 16.   In the coming months, Knox will also host his own live, weeknight show on the POTUS channel. About this new gig, Knox says, “I’m thrilled to be joining the team at SiriusXM.  I’ve loved hosting a show on SiriusXM these last few years, bringing its deeply engaged audience in-depth conversations with newsmakers and experts.  I look forward to building on that foundation in the months and years to come.”

TALKERS News Notes.  According to a report by WABC-TV, New York, seven people are being charged in the 2012 murder of WOND-AM, Pleasantville, New Jersey talk show host April Kauffman.  Prosecutors say her murder was orchestrated by her late husband Dr. James Kauffman in order to prevent her from revealing a drug ring he was operating in concert with the Pagans Motorcycle Gang.  Dr. Kauffman committed suicide while in prison earlier this year.  Authorities say that in 2011 April Kauffman threatened to divorce Dr. Kauffman and expose his drug business…..iHeartMedia’s WOR, New York launches a new “Daily Mets Podcast” hosted by New York Mets radio play-by-play man Josh Lewin.  The podcast is an expansion of his popular “What Did We Learn?” segment from Mets radio post-game programs.  Lewin says, “Because we are producing this podcast every day, it will be totally up-to-date with content.  It will be informative and playful at the same time.  It’ll be a fresh perspective on the team and in 10-20 minutes any fan will be completely in-the-know.”

‘Immigrant Caravan’/U.S. Military Plans, Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump on U.S. in Syria, Zuckerberg Before Congress, MLK Assassination Anniversary, Jimmy Kimmel’s Melania Trump Attack, YouTube Shooting, Trump vs Amazon, MLB Action and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/4). The caravan of immigrants from Central America moving through Mexico toward the U.S. and President Trump’s plan to use the military to protect the border; the investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents and Robert Mueller’s notice to President Trump’s lawyers that the investigation continues but the president is not a target right now; President Trump orders the Pentagon to prepare a Syrian exit strategy; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s April 10 date with Congress on data usage issues; the 50thanniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.; Jimmy Kimmel’s mocking of Melania Trump’s accent; the shooting and apparent suicide at YouTube headquarters in California; President Trump’s attacks on Amazon and Jeff Bezos; and Major League Baseball and NBA 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. In Detroit, Entercom names market media pro JoAnne Purtan morning show co-host at classic hits WOMC, alongside Stephen Clark.  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says of Purtan, “We are thrilled that JoAnne is part of the new WOMC morning show.  In addition to being a widely respected journalist, she is an integral part of the Detroit community.  JoAnne’s father, Dick Purtan, is a huge part of the heritage of WOMC and it’s exciting to have a Purtan back at the station.” JoAnne Purtan says, “After 27 years in television news [20 years with WXYZ-TV], I’m excited for this new adventure in radio.  I listened to my dad on the radio for much of my life and I’m truly humbled to be at the same station where he spent the last 15 years of his iconic career entertaining people in the morning.  Stephen and I have always worked so well together and we’re so excited to team up again.  After covering a lot of serious news through the years, we look forward to spending mornings with Detroit’s listeners, sharing good news, great music and some fun.”…..In Miami, programming pro Rob Morris exits his role as vice president of programming for the cluster and PD of CHR WPOW “Power 96.”  Assistant program director and music director Will Calder is serving as interim PD for the Entercom station…..Hubbard Radio Seattle names Corey Dillon afternoon drive personality for new country outlet KNUC “98.9 The Bull.”  Dillon says, “I am so excited to join the team at ‘The New 98.9 The Bull’ and a company like Hubbard.  My dream has always been to be able to entertain, inform, or draw some sort of emotion out of listeners on their drive home.  I can’t imagine a better place to have that opportunity than Seattle.” Dillon comes to KNUC from his most recent gig as evening host at Entercom’s country KILT-FM, Houston “100.3 The Bull.”…..Mike V is joining Mikey Esparza on Midwest Television’s classic rock KFMB-FM, San Diego “100.7 KFM-BFM,” effective Monday (4/9) on the afternoon drive show…..Envision Networks’ nationally syndicated “Full Metal Jackie” show, hosted by Jackie Kajzer, announces new affiliate stations, including: KATT-FM, Oklahoma City; KKBZ-FM, Fresno; WTCX-FM, Green Bay-Appleton; and KHYX-HD2/K232EA, Reno.  Kajzer comments, “I’m forever on a mission to bring hard rock and metal to the masses and I’m honored to have these new stations as new affiliates!”…..Premiere Networks nationally syndicated morning personality Bobby Bones is making his ABC-TV debut on Sunday night as he joins the cast of “American Idol” to help mentor the top 24 contestants.  He’ll meet with the first 12 performers this week, followed by the remaining 12 on April 15, to “help them reach the next level in their artistry and performances.”…..iHeartMedia Colorado Springs appoints Samantha Kumm market president. The cluster includes country KCCY, hip hop KIBT, hot AC KVUU, and adult contemporary KLCX, and rock KBPL.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

| April 4, 2018

ABC Radio and Skyview Networks Expand Radio Syndication Efforts.  A statement from both companies says ABC Radio and Skyview Networks are “further aligning” their resources to “identify, develop and syndicate talent and programs to broadcast radio.”  For its part, ABC Radio will seek out talent syndication opportunities – for both music and news/talk formats – and will handle the affiliate sales angle, while Skyview Networks will take care of national sales and distribution.  ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones states, “We are building on the momentum and tremendous success we’ve already seen in our existing partnership.  ABC Radio has always represented creative and innovative programming and we are excited to offer programmers and talent a new, stable business environment to grow and monetize their brands.”  Skyview Networks president Ken Thiele adds, “The timing of our syndication partnership couldn’t be more perfect.  We’ve heard from a significant number of programs and clearly there is a need for another syndication option in the marketplace.  We’re growing and continue to make substantial investments in technology and our staff, and it’s paying off.  This new venture is really a reflection of the dynamic synergies between ABC Radio and Skyview, and our positive business trajectory.”  In July 2016, ABC Radio and Skyview Networks renewed their content, ad sales, affiliate sales and audio distribution agreement.

Cumulus and Merlin Strike a Deal for WKQX, Chicago.  On Tuesday evening, Cumulus Media announced that it has arrived at a deal to acquire Chicago alternative rock WKQX from Merlin Media.  Cumulus has been operating the station under a local marketing agreement, but when it filed to reorganize under Chapter 11, it asked the court to void a number of its prior agreements that it considered onerous.  The WKQX LMA included a “put-and-call” that would have allowed Merlin to force Cumulus to buy the station at a predetermined price (the “put”). The combo deal included WLUP-FM, but Merlin found another willing buyer in Education Media Foundation, which is acquiring WLUP for $50 million.  As part of this deal, Cumulus Media is also getting the intellectual property of “The Loop.”  The speculation in Chicago is that the company will transform classic hits WLS-FM into “94/7 The Loop.” Cumulus CEO Mary Berner says, “After operating the station for the past four years, we are delighted to be able to bring this beloved station under Cumulus’ ownership on economic terms that make sense for our business.  We look forward to continuing to deliver the best alternative rock programming to our devoted listeners in the Chicago area for years to come.”  Though no price for WKQX in included in the press release, media trade RBR-TVBR is reporting the price tag is $18 million.

Janet Bro Named COO at USA Radio Networks. Rising from vice president/general sales manager to chief operating officer at USA Radio Networks is Janet Bro.  The company announces that this promotion comes as the company completes its corporate relocation from Phoenix to its flagship station offices at KBDT-AM, Dallas. USA says that in this new position, Bro will lead the networks, including the company’s stations in Chicago, Dallas and Minneapolis, as well as five properties in Nevada.  USA says, “Bro comes from a distinguished career in media and advertising.  She began in radio/TV at Bradley University, has owned and operated three FM stations in Illinois and managed others before embarking on a two-decade adventure with Verizon’s Yellow Pages.”  USA Radio Networks CEO Fred Weinberg says, “Our goal is to create news and programming that we and our affiliates can be proud of. We’re not Democrats or Republicans, we’re Americans and that’s how we see the news.  Janet is the perfect person to push this forward.”  USA Radio Networks provides news and long-form talk programming for some 500 affiliates across the country.

Still No Kevin Klein at ’97.3 The Machine’ in San Diego.  Yes, Entercom’s KEGY, San Diego “97.3 The Machine” is still playing rock music and comedy bits during morning drive, five days after air personality Kevin Klein was to debut as host of the new station’s AM drive show.  He’s still listed on the station’s website, so it’s unlikely he’s been let go.  What is likely is that Entercom is still negotiating with the San Diego Padres over the station’s role as flagship for the MLB club.  The Padres either stay or they go.  If they stay, one line of thought is that the station veers from the guy talk/sports hybrid to a pure sports talk station (in order to assuage the team). But if the Padres take their play-by-play elsewhere, perhaps Kevin Klein takes to the air as morning host and the station keeps its “edge.”  It’s hard to imagine Entercom letting this go beyond this week and it must be very difficult to sell time on a station thats format is in question.  In case you’ve missed the backstory, Klein posted a promotional Tweet for his show that poked fun at the city’s Coronado Bridge and its history as a site of so many suicides.  That upset many San Diegans, as well as the Padres.  But, that wasn’t the only issue.  According to comments made to the San Diego Union Tribune by Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler, the club hasn’t been happy with the station’s general tone. Fowler told the paper that the team would get through the opening series of the season and then “sit down and evaluate it,” meaning the team’s relationship with the station.

Larry Kudlow to Do Regular Guest Spot on WABC’s John Batchelor Program. The new director of the National Economic Council – Larry Kudlow – is going to join John Batchelor each Tuesday evening at 9:00 as a guest on Batchelor’s WABC, New York radio program.  The station says that the Tuesday night guest spots “will include other colleagues and will cover topics including the economic health of the U.S. and its allies and trading partners.”  WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “Kudlow and Batchelor have been working together on-air each week since 2004.  It is a joy to learn that the Trump administration is willing to make the country’s new economic adviser available to the national and global audience of ‘The John Batchelor Show.'”

Cooke: The Class of ’68 Turns 68.  Media consultant Holland Cooke writes today about the value of Baby Boomers to talk radio.  On the 50thanniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cooke notes many of the cultural touchstones that affected the generation.  He says that while Millennials now outnumber the Boomers, the Baby Boom generation outspends the Millennials at retail.  That’s an important fact for radio sales people who are selling upper-demo radio formats like news/talk.  See his piece here.

TALKERS News Notes. We have a new date in the legal saga between Bubba the Love Sponge and Nielsen Audio.  After suddenly postponing Monday’s scheduled start of the courtroom proceedings, the two sides are being called in for a status conference on April 10.  Perhaps we’ll learn more about the trial schedule after that. Nielsen is suing Bubba for $1 million in damages for his part in a PPM ratings manipulation plot in the Tampa market…..Salem Media Group re-brands KDZR, Lake Oswego, Oregon from its former “Talk 1640” to “AM 1640 The Patriot.” Also, in Oregon, Salem rebrands KPAM, Portland – the station it’s operating under an LMA – to the familiar “AM 860 The Answer.”  Some programming adjustments take place on KPAM as the SRN-syndicated Dennis Prager grabs an hour from the local Tim Hohl and Terry Travis morning show.  Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham show replaces Clark Howard in middays, and the afternoon drive show featuring Michael Herrington and Eric Peterson changes from “Afternoon Northwest” to “The Afternoon Answer.”…..Today (4/4) Alpha Media is joining World Concern to raise funds to “Cure 1 Million Kids.”  As part of World Health Week, Alpha Media stations in 49 markets are working to raise money to cure children living in developing countries of parasites that can cause blindness, malnutrition, disease and even death.  Alpha Media CEO/president Bob Proffitt remarks, “We are so proud and honored to work with World Concern for this one-day push to help save children’s lives.  We are passionate to use the power of our Alpha community of listeners and business clients to do what we can to help those less fortunate.  World Concern is a wonderful organization that will take what we raise and make a difference in a young person’s life.”

Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches ‘Broadcasting Hope’ Campaign.  A new industry-wide campaign is being launched by the Broadcasters Foundation of America, called, “Broadcasting Hope.” The goal of the initiative is to reach broadcasters across the country with trade ads, social media, and more to ensure that broadcasters in acute need know they can apply for aid from the Broadcasters Foundation.  It is the only charity devoted exclusively to providing financial assistance to broadcasters whose lives have been devastated by illness, accident, or disaster.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “There are broadcasters in local markets across America who may qualify for aid, and it’s imperative that they know the Broadcasters Foundation can be a life support.  The radio and TV trade publications and members of the National Alliance of State Broadcast Associations have been very supportive in helping us expand awareness of the Foundation’s charitable mission.”

U.S.-China Trade War, Trump-Russia Probe, Ingraham-Hogg Feud, YouTube Shooter, U.S.-Mexico Relations/Illegal Immigration Battle, Spotify Stock Market Debut, Villanova Beats Michigan, MLB Action and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/3).  The brewing trade war between the U.S. and China as both countries impose tariffs; the investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents and Robert Mueller’s notice to President Trump’s lawyers that the investigation continues but the president is not a target right now; the feud between FOX News Channel’s Laura Ingraham and Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg; the woman shooter who injured four before taking her own life at the YouTube campus in California; the relations between the U.S. and Mexico and President Trump’s threat to use the military to guard the border; digital audio giant Spotify goes public; Villanova beats Michigan to claim the NCAA title; the first week of MLB action, and NBA 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.  Newly flipped country KNUC, Seattle re-brands as “The NEW 98.9 The Bull.”  Lisa Adams is the program director at the Hubbard Radio station and she says, “Welcome to the next evolution of 98.9, a personality all its own.  More BULL, more MUSIC, more FUN.”  She also says the station plans to make its final additions to the air staff soon…..Also from Hubbard Radio, the Chicago cluster announces that sales pro Nancy O’Brien is promoted to director of sales for hot AC WTMX, classic rock WDRV “The Drive,” adult contemporary WSHE, and in-house digital media services arm 2060 Digital.   O’Brien has most recently been serving as national sales manager Midwest region for the company…..Neuhoff Media tweaks CHR WWHX-FM, Bloomington, Illinois to a rhythmic CHR station with the new brand, “HOT 100 The Beat of BloNo.”  Neuhoff Media Bloomington vice president and general manager Danielle Outlaw says, “‘HOT 100’ is the only station designed specifically for the 18-34-year-old audience in Bloomington-Normal.  The music, the connection, the interactivity, the engagement and the beat.  Bloomington-Normal was ready for ‘HOT 100,’ we’re thrilled by the reaction, the future has arrived, it’s ‘HOT 100.’”

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

| April 3, 2018

Day Four of Where’s Kevin Klein?  The website for Entercom’s sports/guy talk/rock hybrid still lists Kevin Klein as morning drive host.  In fact, it says he’s on the air now.  But, he’s not; the station is still playing rock music as of this morning.  Klein was supposed to start his morning show stint on KEGY, San Diego “97.3 The Machine” last Thursday.  But, after the ill-fated Tweet poking fun at the city’s Coronado Bridge and its history as a site of so many suicides, Klein’s fate appears to be up in the air.  The station is the flagship for San Diego Padres baseball, but the team was upset with the Tweet as well as the station’s general tenor, according to recent local media reports.  Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler last week told the Union Tribune that the team would get through the opening series of the season and then “sit down and evaluate it,” meaning the team’s relationship with the station.  It seems safe to assume that Entercom and the Padres are still in discussions about their deal.  Programming execs may be re-evaluating the station’s image, or they could be waiting for the issue to blow over.

FNC Backs Laura Ingraham with Strong Statement. Despite reports of advertisers fleeing FOX News Channel’s “The Ingraham Angle” program starring Laura Ingraham, FNC co-president Jack Abernethy issued a strong statement in support of her.  As talk media watchers are aware, Ingraham’s social media comments about Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior David Hogg’s college applications drew criticism from some quarters.  Hogg posted a list of Ingraham’s advertisers, suggesting a boycott, and the feud gained momentum.  Ingraham is on a planned vacation this week, and Abernethy issued the following statement: “We cannot and will not allow voices to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts.  We look forward to having Laura Ingraham back hosting her program next Monday when she returns from spring vacation with her children.”  Read Variety’s take on the matter here.

Former WWTN-FM, Nashville Morning Host Ralph Bristol to Run for Nashville Mayor.  According to a report in The Tennessean, former WWTN-FM, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” morning host Ralph Bristol will run as a Republican in the August election for the Nashville mayoral position.  Megan Barry recently resigned from the mayor’s office after pleading guilty to felony theft over $10,000 in connection with her extra-marital affair with her former security chief.  The 68-year-old Bristol tells that paper that he left his gig with Cumulus Media’s WWTN due to and “editorial difference of opinions” with station management.  (Brian Wilson recently assumed AM drive duties at the station.)  Bristol is opposed to a $9 billion transit bill that is intended to alleviate Nashville’s traffic problems and is banking on his opposition to the controversial proposal to fuel his campaign.

Longtime Washington News Pro Connie Lawn Dies at 73.  News pro Connie Lawn died this morning at her home in Falls Church, Virginia at age 73 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.  Lawn was the longest-credentialed member of the White House press corps, having served for 50 years.  Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says Lawn served with him during the 1990s at USA Radio Network and, more recently, worked for SRN News on a part-time basis.  Tradup says he told his staff, “All of us at SRN News and TOWNHALL News send our condolences to Connie’s husband, Dr. Charles Sneiderman, and to her many friends and colleagues throughout the radio news industry.  She was one-in-a-million.”

TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow (4/4), SiriusXM is honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King on the anniversary of his assassination in Memphis 50 years ago.  SiriusXM host and human rights activist Joe Madison will broadcast his daily show live from Ben’s Chili Bowl.  The popular D.C. restaurant was frequented by Dr. King during his life and remained open during the riots that ensued following his assassination.  Other programming will take place across the satcaster’s Progress and POTUS channels…..Westwood One is presenting coverage of the 2018 Masters Tournament this Thursday through Sunday.  In addition to hole-by-hole coverage, Westwood One will present hourly updates and a nightly, half-hour preview and recap show, “The Masters Tonight.”  Bob Papa and Charlie Rymer are the anchors for live coverage from Augusta National Golf Club…..ESPN Deportes Radio (WEPN-AM, New York) launches a new, local afternoon show called “Zona NYC,” airing from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm, hosted by Tenchy Rodriquez and Nestor Rosario.   ESPN says the show will focus on the sports themes most relevant to the New York City Hispanic community.  Rodriquez brings years of experience as a reporter in the Dominican Republic covering MLB and Dominican League Baseball.  Rosario serves as Spanish-language color commentator for the New York Mets and as play-by-play announcer for the New York Giants.

Trump Mexico Criticism, U.S.-China Tariffs, Financial Markets Activity, Trump-Russia Investigation, Ingraham-Hogg Feud, Iran Nukes Deal, Steven Bochco and Winnie Mandela Die, NCAA Championship Game, and MLB and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/2).  U.S. immigration policy and President Trump’s criticism of Mexico’s policing of illegal immigration; China slaps tariffs on U.S. goods in response to President Trump’s tariffs on Chinese exports; Monday’s sharp Dow drop and the financial markets’ responses to U.S. policy; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the feud between FOX News Channel personality Laura Ingraham and Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg; criticism of the Iran nuclear deal from Israel and Saudi Arabia; the deaths of television producer/writer Steven Bochco and Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Mandela; Monday night’s NCAA championship game between Villanova and Michigan; and MLB and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERSmagazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Detroit on-air and programming pro Jessica Tyler adds music director duties for Cumulus Media’s hot AC WDVD to her responsibilities at the cluster.  Tyler continues to serve as APD, music director, and midday jock at sister country outlet WDRQ-FM “NASH FM 93.1.”  Cumulus Detroit director of programming Robby Bridges says, “Jessica’s passion for music and her relationships with artists and the label community is unparalleled.  I’m pleased she’ll work with me, APD Kendall Taylor, and our corporate team on the sound of Detroit’s 96.3 WDVD going forward!”…..At Connoisseur Media’s Connecticut operations, Allan Lamberti is named morning host at rock WFOX, Stamford/Norwalk “95.9 The FOX.”  He’s been with the cluster since 2003 in a variety of positions.  Station PD Kevin Begley says, “Allan is a walking trivia night.  He knows more about pop culture and music than anyone I’ve ever met.  Being a lifelong resident of Fairfield County, Allan is a perfect person to entertain ‘FOX’ listeners on their way to work in the morning.”  Begley adds that Lamberti leads a re-tooled lineup that includes the addition of Keith Dakin in afternoons…..Cumulus Media promotes programming pro Dayton Kane to operations manager and program director for country WPKR-FM and alternative WWWX-FM “96.9 The Fox.”  Kane was most recently program director for the company’s classic rock WKRU and classic hits WOGB in Green Bay.  Cumulus VP and market managerJohn Rowe says, “Dayton has demonstrated strong programming leadership qualities and produced outstanding results within Cumulus Wisconsin. We’re excited to expand his role and take advantage of his success and experience.”

West Coast Jock John Mack Flanagan Dies at 71.  As reported in LARP.com, John Mack Flanagan, who spent most of his career at KFRC, San Francisco – but also did part of 1975 at KHJ, Los Angeles – passed away after a battle with congestive heart failure on March 31.  In addition to his work at KFRC, he also worked on air at KWSS, San Jose; KSFO, San Francisco; KYA, San Francisco; and KBGG-FM, San Francisco.