Brian Shactman Joins WTIC-AM, Hartford for Mornings. Television news personality Brian Shactman is named the new morning drive co-host at Entercom’s WTIC-AM, Hartford, joining Ray Dunaway for the “Mornings with Ray and Brian” program. Shactman assumes the role beside Dunaway left open after former morning co-host Joe D’Ambrosio and Entercom agreed to negotiate an early exit from his contract. Prior to joining WTIC, Shactman had been serving as an anchor for WBTS-TV, Boston NBC10 and New England Cable News. He most recently created and hosted “Primary Source,” a nightly political show focusing on the presidential primary and has also anchored weekend evenings on NBC10 Boston since the onset of the pandemic. Entercom Connecticut SVP and market manager Stephanie Perl says, “I’m excited to welcome Brian back to Connecticut to join our morning show program alongside Ray Dunaway. He has a proven track record of entertaining and capturing his audience, and his energy will be a great addition to our show.” Shactman comments, “I have been listening to Ray for years, and WTIC is always my first stop when I get in the car. To now be a part of the WTIC team is an absolute thrill. Connecticut – the whole state – is a community. WTIC is a huge part of that community, and I am excited to help people start their day in this great state.”
Townsquare Media Creates Texas Network Featuring Chad Hasty Show. Following the departure of the Robert Pratt-hosted “Pratt on Texas” program from Townsquare Media’s talk stations KFYO, Lubbock “Newstalk 790”; KYYW, Abilene; and KWFS-AM, Wichita Falls, the company is adding a two-hour version of “The Chad Hasty Show” (5:00 pm to 7:00 pm) to those stations’ program schedules. This move also marks the creation of the Texas Townsquare Media Network that will function on those three stations, with more affiliates expected to be announced later this year. Hasty is the first host to operate under this banner, with more programs anticipated to join it. Hasty has been hosting his eponymous 8:30 am to 11:00 am program on KFYO since the fall of 2012 and he’ll continue that Lubbock-focused program in addition to the new afternoon drive show.
Former Sports Talker Marty Tirrell to Be Sentenced Wednesday. The Des Moines Register reports that former Des Moines sports talk host Marty Tirrell will be sentenced in federal court tomorrow (1/20) after pleading guilty in December of 2019 to one count of mail fraud. Prosecutors are seeking a five-year sentence combined with an order to pay $1.46 million in restitution to American Express, Wells Fargo, Bank of the West and five individuals. Prosecutors say Tirrell defrauded investors of more than $1.5 million in a sporting events tickets resale venture. However, Tirrell didn’t acquire tickets and instead used the cash to “finance a lavish lifestyle and to spend on online gambling.” Prosecutors are seeking the five-year sentence because “the defendant has been defrauding businesses and individuals with his lies for years, with little to no consequences. Defendant continued to lie after he was under investigation in this matter, and the government is concerned he won’t ever stop lying.”
Salem Media Group’s Regnery to Publish Josh Hawley’s Book. After Simon & Schuster decided to cancel its publication of Senator Josh Hawley’s new book, The Tyranny of Big Tech, in the aftermath of the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, Hawley has found a new publisher in Salem Media Group’s Regnery Publishing. Simon & Schuster said in a statement, “We did not come to this decision lightly. As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: At the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat.” The Salem press release says, “Despite Senator Hawley’s immediate and forceful condemnation of the violent incursion, social media teemed with calls for retribution for his objection to the certification of the electoral vote. The next day, citing his purported ‘role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom,’ Simon & Schuster announced that it was dropping Hawley’s book, scheduled for publication in June. Responding to the impulsive decision, Hawley stated on Twitter, ‘Simon & Schuster is canceling my contract because I was representing my constituents, leading a debate on the Senate floor on voter integrity, which they have now decided to redefine as sedition.’” The press release goes on to state: “Senator Hawley is an authority on the legal and constitutional implications of Big Tech’s growing power. While the attorney general of Missouri, he investigated how the most powerful company in the world – Google – uses citizens’ private information. In The Tyranny of Big Tech, he shows how Facebook, Amazon, Google, Twitter, and other digital giants have abused their enormous market power and political influence, silencing their competition. Explaining why current policies fail us, he identifies alternatives that will break Big Tech’s control over our liberties.”
High-Profile Guests to Take Part in 2021 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards. On Thursday (1/21), the 2021 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will take place in a virtual format and is being recorded from multiple locations. Just-announced special guests will include: Aaron Mahnke, Hillary Clinton, Holly Frey, Laverne Cox, Questlove, Roy Wood Jr., Will Ferrell, and more. The awards span 30 categories and you can see all of the finalists here. The event will exclusively video stream on iHeartRadio’s YouTube and Facebook pages on Thursday at 9:00 pm ET and will broadcast across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio App at 9:00 pm local time.
Anny Mansfield Named Corporate Research Director for Gen Media Partners. The company says that in order to meet the growing demands of its expanding portfolio of radio rep firms and networks, Anny Mansfield has been appointed to the newly created position of corporate research director. Mansfield has been with Gen Media Partners since its inception and in this new role will build out a company-wide research department and work closely with the company’s sales departments to serve the needs of network and national advertisers. Gen Media Partners CEO Kevin Garrity says, “I am very pleased that we already had the right person on our team to lead research across Gen Media Partners. Anny is exceptional at finding the data to develop marketing strategies that help our account executives deliver compelling stories and solutions about the power of radio to advertisers and their agencies, especially for new business development.”
U.S. Agency for Global Media Names Board of Directors; Blanquita Cullum Appointed Chair. New boards of directors have been appointed for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Middle East Broadcasting Networks by CEO Michael Pack. The USAGM says the diverse boards “bring exceptional skill in the fields of journalism, language, technology, broadcasting, and diplomacy that are essential to the work of the three surrogate broadcast networks, which provide a lifeline of factual news for those living in places where a free press is denied to them by repressive government.” Blanquita Cullum — host, producer, and writer for “The Hard Question” — is named chairwoman of the three boards. She comments, “From my previous service on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, I understand the importance of delivering objective, accurate news about America and the world to combat our adversaries’ misinformation campaigns and to shine the light of truth into those dark corners where access to a free press is denied. The other board members and I will fight to ensure these networks and their journalists have the tools and support they need to perform their difficult but essential work, which itself is crucial for our national interest.” Serving on the board with Cullum as directors are: Jonathan Alexander, Amanda Milius, Roger Simon, and Christian Whiton.
TALKERS News Notes. This Thursday (1/21) at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the latest in a series of Town Hall broadcasts to help New Jersey deal with the mental stresses of the pandemic. The station’s Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments in bringing mental health experts together to talk about these stressors and help residents access help. He says, “The toll this pandemic has taken on our overall mental wellness has been huge. This program seeks to de-stigmatize seeking help and connect our listeners to the many resources available.”…..Beasley Broadcast Group announces that subsidiary, Beasley Mezzanine Holdings, LLC intends to offer $280 million in aggregate principal amount of senior secured notes to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers…..In Abilene, Texas, Cumulus Media drops the sports talk format on KTLT-FM and flips to rock as “98.1 The Phantom.”…..iHeartMedia New York’s iHeartRadio Broadway and D’Marie Productions announce that the LGBTQ+ comedy podcast “Slumber Party with Tim Murray” is joining the iHeartPodcast Network, beginning January 20…..The GCN-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Wachs Show” adds new affiliates: WWPR-AM, Bradenton/Tampa; KNET, Palestine, Texas; WNRI ,Woonsocket, Rhode Island; WTBG-FM, Brownsville, Tennessee; and WVEL, Peoria, Illinois.
Trump’s Final Day/Pardons Commutations, Inauguration Prep, Capitol Attack Investigation and Arrests, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, China and WHO Failures, Social Media and Free Speech, New Migrant Caravan, and Australian Open Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/18). Today’s final day in office for President Donald Trump and the pardons and commutations expected to be issued; the preparation and security for Wednesday’s inauguration for Joe Biden; the ongoing investigation into the Capitol attack and related arrests; the fast-rising number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response report indicating China and the WHO failed to act quickly at the beginning of the pandemic; the move by social media platforms to suspend purveyors of extremist content; the caravan of Hondurans heading for the U.S.; and positive COVID tests hamper the Australian Open were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cumulus Names Divello Market Manager for Abilene Cluster. Management and sales pro Paula Divello rises from director of sales for Cumulus Media’s Shreveport, Louisiana station group to vice president and market manager for its Abilene, Texas cluster that includes KTLT-FM “SportsRadio 98.1 FM The Ticket” and three music outlets. Divello says, “Thank you to Mary Berner and the Cumulus leadership team for this opportunity. I am enthusiastically looking forward to leading from the front in Abilene. It’s a strong cluster with an invested team, in a great market with tons of potential. I’ve learned and grown so much with Cumulus, experienced FORCE values and culture – and how consistently they drive success. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to drive revenue, ratings, and community involvement for Cumulus as the new vice president/market manager in Abilene.”
Urban One Founder Cathy Hughes to Be Inducted into the NAB Hall of Fame. The founder and chairperson of Urban One, Cathy Hughes, will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the 2019 NAB Show during the “Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner” on Monday, April 8 at the Encore in Las Vegas. Hughes built what was formerly Radio One after buying her first radio station – WOL-AM, Washington – in 1980. She became the first black woman to own a station in a major market. At WOL-AM, she created the “24-Hour Talk from a Black Perspective” format. Today’s Urban One is a publicly traded company operated by Hughes’ son Alfred Liggins III. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Cathy Hughes is a truly remarkable broadcaster and entrepreneur whose contributions continue to greatly influence and drive our industry. We look forward to honoring Cathy with this well-deserved award at this year’s NAB Show.”
Facebook Announces Local News Initiative. Via a blog post by vice president of global news partnerships (former NBC and CNN news personality) Campbell Brown, social media behemoth Facebook announces “an expanded effort around local news in the years ahead.” Brown writes that the goal of the initiative is two-fold: to support “local journalists and newsrooms with their newsgathering needs in the immediate future; and helping local news organizations build sustainable business models, through both our product and partnership work. Over time, we think this work can have the added benefit of fostering civic engagement, which research suggests is directly correlated with people’s reading of local news.” She says Facebook will invest $300 million over the next three years. You can read about the breakdown of where that money is being spent here. Brown also says Facebook will hold a two-day “Accelerate: Local News” summit early this year that will be “devoted to local news, in partnership with Knight Foundation and the Online News Association. Our goal is to bring together top local US news organization leaders, entrepreneurs, technologists and funders to discuss, design and drive towards solutions that address today’s most pressing local news challenges.”
iHeartMedia and Fremont Street Experiences Announce Downtown Las Vegas Revitalization Plan. The Las Vegas operations of iHeartMedia announces a partnership with Fremont Street Experience in which it will move its regional office to downtown Las Vegas as part of an effort to revitalize and assist in the growth of downtown Las Vegas. The new Fremont Street location is scheduled to open in August 2019 includes a 15-year lease. The company says in a press release that it has designed a new “state-of-the-art facility to house their iconic brands and franchises – both broadcast and digital – including ‘Sunny 106.5,’ ‘93.1 The Mountain,’ ‘95.5 The Bull’ and ‘Real 103.9.’ The studios will feature cutting-edge design elements as well as digitally advanced technology and resources for talent and programmers that will help them connect even faster and easier with listeners delivering even more great content to the Las Vegas community.” iHeartMedia Las Vegas’ partnership with Fremont Street Experience will also include co-promotions of current downtown concerts and events, with additional opportunities to co-produce and create new events and concerts to drive awareness and visitation to the area. iHeartRadio in-studio guests and musical acts can also perform on one of Fremont Street Experience’s three stages in downtown Las Vegas.
TALKERS News Notes. This Friday night (1/18), sports talk personality Dan Sileo – who hosts mornings on Entercom’s sports talk KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” – will star on the evening show at the company’s WEEI-FM, Boston. The former University of Miami defensive tackle, who played his high school ball in Connecticut, will host “WEEI at Night” from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm two days before the hometown New England Patriots take on the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game…..Twin Cities sports media personality Mike Max is named the new sports director at CBS’ WCCO-TV. He is currently host of “Sports to the Max with Mike Max” on Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM. There’s no official statement from Entercom about his status with the station but it appears he’ll leave his radio show to focus on the new gig…..Detroit sports talk host Matt Shepard – host of the “Shep, Shower ‘n’ Shave” morning program based at iHeartMedia’s sports talk WDFN-AM – is named the new play-by-play personality for Detroit Tigers television broadcasts, according to numerous Motor City media reports. Shepard’s radio program is syndicated regionally to a number of affiliate stations via the Michigan Media Network…..A number of new FM signals are added to the main 970 AM signal of iHeartMedia’s news/talk WFLA, Tampa. The company drops the classic hip hop format on a trio of translators – W233AV, Gulfport at 94.5; W256CT, Bayonet Point at 99.1; and W290BJ, West Tampa at 105.9 – and assigns them to WFLA-AM.
Border Wall Battle, Government Shutdown, Russian Sanctions, Trump-Russia Investigation, Gillette Ad Controversy, Barr Confirmation Hearing, Rep. Steve King Troubles, Brexit Deal Fails, ‘El Chapo’ Case, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/15). The political battle over President Trump’s efforts to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; the effects of the federal government shutdown; Republicans join the Dem-led effort to rescind Trump’s easing of sanctions on Russian firms; the controversy over Gillette’s ‘toxic masculinity’ ad; the senate confirmation hearing for attorney general nominee William Barr; the status of Rep. Steve King’s committee assignments in the aftermath of his ‘white supremacist’ comments; the failure of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan; the trial of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman Loera; and the NFL playoffs 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. Longtime WTIC-FM, Hartford morning personality Gary Craig is retiring from the station after a 39-year career in morning drive radio. He tells his listeners he’s leaving the “Craig and Company” program in June. The 68-year-old Craig first worked for WTIC-FM in 1981. He left in 1992 to go across town to competitor WKSS, where he would stay for four years. He returned to WTIC-FM in 1996 and teamed up with John Elliott and has been there ever since…..iHeartMedia Barry Allen program director for adult contemporary KBFP “Sunny 105.3, Bakersfield’s Feel-Good Station,” effective January 22. He was most recently program director at the company’s CHR duo KCEZ-FM, Chico and KEWB-FM, Redding. iHeartMedia area SVP of programming Steve Weed says, “We’re excited to have Barry joining our iHeartMedia Bakersfield family. When we launched ‘SUNNY 105.3’ last year, we filled a major void for Bakersfield listeners and we’re confident that Barry will continue to build out the ‘SUNNY 105.3’ brand.”…..Cumulus Media makes a time shift for hot AC WPLJ’s “Todd & Jayde in the Morning.” It now airs from 5:30 to 8:30 to allow for the new “95 Minutes & More,” commercial-free music block from 8:30 am to 10:15 am.
WDRV, Chicago Seeks Associate Producer for ‘Sherman & Tingle’ Show. There’s a prime producer gig open in Chicago as Hubbard Radio is seeking an “incomparable call screener, celebrity guest-booker, street reporter, and content architect to join ‘The Sherman & Tingle Show’ as associate producer. Applicants should have at least five years of on-air experience in an ensemble setting; exemplary audio production skills are required in this position, specifically time sensitive, on-the-fly editing aptitudes; robust social media savvy essential, including real time integration and a clear understanding of the ever-evolving nature of the medium; proven record of accomplishment in locating/booking/delivering premiere celebrities from major league sports, television, movies, and other arenas of pop culture preferred.” To see the entire job posting, click here.
KKOB, Albuquerque Celebrates 95 Years On Air. On Tuesday evening (4/5), Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB-AM celebrated 95 years on air with a birthday bash at the New Mexico Natural History Museum in Albuquerque that drew some 800 people, including listeners, clients and past on-air talent. The photo above is the station’s first studio at the original transmitter site in Las Cruces, where it signed on on April 5, 1922. The station moved to Albuquerque in 1932, and in July 1941 upped its power to 50,000 watts. Cumulus Media added the 94.5 FM simulcast on translator K233CG, Sandia in August of 2016.
Jeff Lyon to Lead Cumulus Media Abilene. Radio management pro Jeff Lyon joins Cumulus Media to serve as VP/market manager for the Abilene, Texas cluster that includes sports talk KTLT-FM, “The Ticket,” classic rock KHXS “The Bear,” country KBCY, and CHR KCDD “Power 103.” Lyon was most recently with Townsquare Media’s Victoria, Texas four-station cluster as president/chief revenue officer. Cumulus Media regional vice president Mark Sullivan comments, “We’re thrilled to have a manager of Jeff’s caliber joining our team in Abilene. Jeff brings a wealth of experience and knowledge that provides him with a strong foundation for success.”
Trump Campaign-Russia Investigation Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 3-7. The investigation into possible connections between Russian agents and Trump campaign personnel was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Neil Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination battle. Coming in at #3 was the deaths by chemical weapons of civilians in the Syrian conflict, and following at #4 was President Donald Trump’s meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
Cox Launches COMET Programmatic Platform. The company says the launch of this programmatic platform – dubbed COMET (Cox Media Technology) – brings together data from Cox’s dozens of companies to connect buyers and sellers across all advertising channels, including desktop, mobile, video, and TV. Cox Enterprises EVP and COO Alex Taylor says, “Our company’s investment in COMET is an example of our commitment to drive innovation and enhance the customer experience. COMET’s technology will use customized data to establish meaningful connections to better serve the needs of the constantly evolving advertising ecosystem.” Cox Enterprises SVP and general manager of corporate strategy and investments Duncan O’Brien adds, “The world of advertising is transforming before our eyes, and the necessity to support this evolving marketplace is expanding. Cox is fusing technology with data, access and expertise to better serve the needs of the advertising ecosystem. We have a long, proud history in the media industry, and with COMET, we’re using this experience and knowledge to best prepare for the future of the advertising business.”
TALKERS News Notes. This weekend, Westwood One is presenting exclusive radio coverage of the 2017 Masters Golf Tournament through Sunday. In addition to hole-by-hole coverage, WW1 will be broadcasting 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 along with WW1 broadcast crew members Mark Carnevale, Brian Katrek, Maureen Madill, Kevin Kugler, Whit Watson, and Ted Emrich…..CBS RADIO announces its plans for the Chicago Cubs home opener at Wrigley Field. On Monday (4/10), CBS RADIO Chicago will broadcast live from the ballpark with on-air personalities on site and present a series of live events for fans. All day (starting at 5:00 am!) and leading up to the first pitch, WSCR “670 The Score,” WBBM-FM “B96,” WXRT, WUSN “US99,” and WJMK “104.3 K-HITS” personalities will be entertaining game attendees and fans at Wrigley. Additionally, The Score’s Ron Coomer will be reporting on-field during the opening ceremonies and for the raising of the 2016 World Series Championship Banner.
Emmis Head Jeff Smulyan to Receive 2017 TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. The TALKERS editorial board has announced today (4/5) the recipient of the publication’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. The prestigious honor is going to Emmis Communications chairman, CEO and founder, Jeff Smulyan. Smulyan has contributed to radio in a wide variety of ways and on a number of fronts as one of the industry’s most visionary leaders. Among his many achievements, Smulyan is the father of the all-sports talk format which he boldly launched as then-owner of WFAN, New York in 1987. He built Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications into one of the 10 largest radio corporations in America with an ongoing reputation for being one of the most employee-friendly radio companies in the business. Today, Emmis owns and operates 16 FM and 3 AM radio stations in New York, Los Angeles, Austin, St. Louis and Indianapolis, as well as its hometown Indianapolis Monthly magazine. Emmis owns the two top hip hop brands in the world, KPWR “Power 106” in Los Angeles and “HOT 97” in New York City. On the news/talk front, the company owns and operates heritage station WIBC, Indianapolis. Smulyan is the leading advocate of getting FM-enabled wireless devices in smartphones. He shepherded the unification of the radio industry behind the installation of the Emmis-created NextRadio application in a broad array of FM-enabled wireless devices, allowing consumers to listen to their local radio stations without data charges. Upon making the announcement of Smulyan’s selection to receive this award, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Having the guts and foresight to launch all-sports talk radio is reason enough for this wonderful member of our industry to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. But that is only the tip of an iceberg of accomplishments attributable to his stellar career and it is but a small token of our appreciation for his continuing body of work when stacked up against all the many industry awards and honors he has received over the years.” Past recipients of the award include: Don Imus, Harvey Nagler, Norm Pattiz, Jim Bohannon, and Don Barrett among others. Harrison will personally present the award to Smulyan during their “Fireside Chat” scheduled to take place at TALKERS 2017: A New Era in New York City on Friday, June 2. For more information about the 20th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention, please click here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Morning drive personality Teri Ann Schlesser re-ups with iHeartMedia Fresno’s adult contemporary KSOF “Soft Rock 98.9” to continue co-hosting the “Jason & Teri Ann Morning Show” (with partner Jason Hurst). Schlesser comments, “I’m so excited to continue my journey with ‘Soft Rock 98.9’ and iHeartMedia. The past eight years have been wonderful and challenging and I’ve never had so much fun doing what I love!”…..Across the hall at iHeartMedia Fresno’s hip hop KBOS “B95,” Monisha Mann returns to the station where she once interned to host the evening show from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. The 15-year radio pro says, “I am beyond excited and grateful for the opportunity to do nights in my hometown at ‘B95.’ I look forward to bringing new music to our listeners and I thank the team here in Fresno for believing in me to uphold the standards and ratings of this heritage station.”.…..Philadelphia alternative rocker WRFF “Radio 104.5” is offering a local couple the chance to be married on stage during the station’s 10th Annual Birthday Celebration Presented by Bernie Robbins Jewelers at the BB&T Pavilion on Sunday, June 11. The wedding ceremony will be officiated by Reverend Mike Jones and the winning bride and groom will be serenaded by Andrew McMahon during their first dance. The couple will also be showered with gifts including a five-star, all-inclusive honeymoon at the Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau. The promotion is in conjunction with WRFF’s 10th Birthday Celebration concerts, taking place on May 13 and June 11. The June 11 lineup features: The Killers, Bleachers, Foster The People, Kaleo, Marian Hill and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness…..iHeartMedia announces the debut of “On the Move with Enrique Santos,” the company’s hallmark English-language, Hispanic-targeted content initiative. The company says that in 2017, 53% of the Hispanic population in the U.S. are primarily Spanish-language first households and 43% are primary English-language households and its goal is to deliver to both at scale across broadcast and digital platforms. “On the Move with Enrique Santos” is the first English-language radio program to feature Hispanic broadcast powerhouse Enrique Santos, chairman and chief creative officer of iHeartLatino, iHeartMedia’s new Hispanic platform. “The new, two-hour music-intensive CHR weekend program features what’s hot and moving in music, entertainment, lifestyle and current events targeted to the Hispanic community.” It will originate from Miami and debut the weekend of April 15 on more than 100 iHeartMedia stations nationwide…..KTJJ, Farmington, Missouri morning personality Mark Toti was recently honored by the Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce with its Lifetime Achievement Award. The country radio personality spends a lot of time at various charity events in the community. The Alpha Media station notes that the Lifetime Achievement Award is not an annual one, but an honor that is only given out when an individual stands out above the rest. Toti comments, “I am quite honored to receive this award. It is very humbling. Farmington has a number of people who give their time to the community and they deserve this award as much as me. I don’t do what I do so people will say ‘Good job!’ I do it because it’s the right thing to do. Having said that, I’m very grateful for the recognition.”
Envision Broadcast Network Merges with Rocking M Media. The Envision here is not the Danno Wolkoff-led syndicator and sales firm Envision Networks. This Envision – the Envision Broadcast Network – owns hot AC KKGQ, Newton, Kansas “Q92” (Wichita market) and its mission is to “grow and expand employment opportunities in the radio industry for people who are blind or visually impaired.” Manhattan, Kansas-based Rocking M Media owns stations across the state of Kansas. Envision SVP of foundation and mission services Heather Hogan states, “Having already employed individuals with vision loss at some of its existing stations, Rocking M Media shares Envision’s belief that people with all abilities should have access to meaningful career paths. We’re proud of our successes with the Envision Broadcast Network and ‘Q92.’ The fact that we found a radio group with the capacity to carry out our objectives on a much wider scale will propel our mission forward.” Q92’s current on-air personalities who are blind or visually impaired will be brought into the Rocking M Media family. In addition, Rocking M Media will collaborate with Envision to take the Envision Broadcast Academy model to its entire multi-state listening area. The Envision Broadcast Academy is a hands-on training program intended to equip youth and adults with vision loss with the skills and encouragement they need to explore high-tech careers in the radio industry.