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Talk Radio Legend Barry Farber Dead at 90. One of the founding fathers of the talk radio format, Barry Farber, died Wednesday evening (5/6). His daughter Celia Ingrid Farber announced via Twitter, “My father Barry Farber, beloved, died this evening, at 6:25 pm. He was home, in bed, and we were all with him. He turned 90 just yesterday. He told me recently that his concept of death was ‘going somewhere I’ve never been before, like Finland or Estonia.’ May God rest his soul.” Barry Farber began his talk radio career in 1960 on WINS, New York with his “Barry Farber’s WINS Open Mike” show, the only talk show on a rock ‘n’ roll station. He left for WOR, New York in 1962 to do the evening show, which eventually led to his becoming the all-night host in 1967. He left WOR in 1977 to delve into politics as the conservative party candidate for New York City mayor and when that didn’t pan out, he joined WMCA, New York and did afternoon drive for the next decade. Farber, with the help of Michael Castello and the late Alan Colmes, formed an independent network called Daynet. That proved to be one of the forerunners of today’s independent talk syndication scene. Since 2009, Farber had been hosting a nightly talk show on CRN Digital Talk – something he did until his last live program last week. In 2012, Farber was honored with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from TALKERS magazine. Radio Pro Michelle Jerson interviewed Farber at the TALKERS conference in New York City that year. You can see it here. Newsmax founder Christopher Ruddy tells TALKERS he met Farber when he was 16 years old and they’ve been friends for 40 years. “I grew up listening to Barry Farber, a favorite of my mother who made his WMCA, WOR and WABC shows a staple of our kitchen radio. He was a thinking conservative, not a bomb thrower, who loved America, his Jewish faith, and Israel, as well as the 26 languages he spoke, many in dialect.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison comments, “Barry Farber was one of the founding fathers of talk radio whose influential career spanned both the modern and pre-modern eras of the format. He described his longevity in the business as ‘being big in the old days and old in the big days.’ He was among the finest public speakers of his time and a true wordsmith who served as an inspiration for generations of broadcasters who strived to be artists as well as communicators.”
iHeartMedia Adopts Shareholder Rights Plan. Also known in the financial business as the “poison pill,” the shareholder rights plan is designed to prevent a hostile takeover bid. iHeartMedia states that its board of directors is approving “the adoption of a short-term stockholder rights plan in order to protect the best interests of all iHeartMedia stockholders during the current period of high equity-market volatility and price disruption. The board adopted the rights plan at this time due to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on equity market valuations; the complex nature of the company’s capital structure; to enable all of iHeartMedia’s stockholders to realize the full potential of their investment in the company in light of the inherent resilience of the company’s cash flow model and patient capital structure; and to protect the interests of iHeartMedia and its stockholders by deterring any entity, person or group from attempting opportunistically to gain undue influence over or control of iHeartMedia through open market accumulation or other tactics without paying an appropriate control premium.” Specifically, under this plan “the board has declared a dividend distribution of one right on each outstanding share of iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock, share of Class B common stock and warrant issued in connection with the Company’s plan of reorganization. The record date for such dividend distribution is May 18, 2020.”
Crossover Media Group Sales to Rep Quick Hits Media. The recently launched Quick Hits Media and Crossover Media Group Sales have struck a deal for the latter to provide ad sales for Quick Hits. Quick Hits was recently launched by veteran television journalist David Shuster and partners to “bring compelling conversations and expertise to news consumers via succinct, informative, 10-minute exchanges, covering the day’s top stories, that are polished, highly watchable and digestible on all screens.” Quick Hits says its team “boasts global journalism experience developed at news organizations including, among others, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, i24 News, NowThis News, Associated Press, and Investigative Journal, and informed by assignments and postings throughout the U.S., U.K., Germany, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and East Africa among other locales.” Crossover Media Group Sales managing member Sue Freund states, “It’s a new world in which news consumption has skyrocketed and consumers more than ever are seeking information and insights that are presented clearly, comprehensibly and succinctly by globally experienced, big-picture journalists. David and his colleagues bring decades of experience and complementary backgrounds to the task of keeping viewers informed of the critical issues of the day from a worldwide perspective.”
iHeartMedia Unveils SmartAudio COVID Recovery Program. The “SmartAudio COVID Recovery Program” is a suite of three new SmartAudio products that iHeartMedia says enable businesses to utilize its “unparalleled data and scale to re-engage with their loyal customers, and find new ones, as the nation’s economy begins to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The company says businesses will also be able to use the new products to deliver tailored advertising messages based on local market data to ensure businesses are reaching their customers with messaging that fits their circumstances. The three new products in the suite are: SmartAudio COVID Community Recovery Index, SmartAudio Brand Loyalists, and SmartAudio Unlimited. iHeartMedia president of revenue and data operations Brian Kaminsky says, “The massive disruption created by the pandemic has caused brand loyalties to shift as consumers adapted to limited supplies and financial constraints – making them rethink what is essential. The SmartAudio data platform uses iHeartMedia’s best-in-class audience data and real-time inputs to give brands the power to reconnect with their loyal customers and find switchers as they enter the market in a post COVID-19 world.”
TALKERS News Notes. Today (5/7), Entercom’s Kansas City sports talker KCSP “610 Sports Radio” is hosting “The Tyrann Mathieu Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Radiothon” to support children and families who are experiencing hardships from the global health pandemic. As part of the daylong event, KCSP will welcome celebrity guests at the top of each hour to help raise funds and awareness, including Chiefs safety and foundation founder Tyrann Mathieu, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, former Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy, and more…..iHeartMedia Denver’s KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” is extending its broadcast agreement with the University of Colorado Athletics Department and its exclusive multimedia rightsholder, Buffalo Sports Properties, for a 77th season. The deal means listeners will continue to hear all Buffs sports, including football as well as men’s and women’s game broadcasts. Mark Johnson will return this fall as the “Voice of the Buffs” for his 17th season of play-by-play reporting for Buffs football and men’s basketball…..AdLarge Media announces that with the return of NASCAR on Sunday, May 17, at Darlington Raceway, Motor Racing Network and Performance Racing Network are delivering the races to radio stations across America. AdLarge Media chief revenue officer Don Wachsmith says, “NASCAR is back! It couldn’t be at a better time as the country is starved for sports. Long time NASCAR fans are going to be glued to the radio broadcasts of these races and new NASCAR fans are going to find out what the excitement is all about. One of the special aspects of NASCAR is the relationship between the fans and the sponsors who support the sport. I can’t wait for the radio broadcasts to get going and for our advertisers to make that connection with fans, new and old.”…..Cadence13 partners with Headspace to create a slate of new and original podcasts dedicated to mindful living. The first, Radio Headspace, will launch later this month and will feature a daily, short-form meditation podcast hosted by Headspace co-founder and former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe in an effort “to help listeners cope with the heightened stress of our changing world.” Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran states, “As our daily routines are changing and the world we live in has brought on an unprecedented uncertainty, Headspace continues to offer a more mindful experience. There’s never been a better time to bring the Headspace experience into podcasting, and we’re thrilled to be their partner in this important venture, and at this important time.”
Newsmax TV Inks Carriage Deal with Mediacom Communications. Cable operator Mediacom Communications operates primarily in the Midwest and Southeast, reaching approximately 1.4 million households and businesses. This deal will put Newsmax TV in the company’s expanded basic package it calls Variety TV. Newsmax SVP of content distribution Andrew Biggers says, “Mediacom is one of the most respected operators in the industry and we’re pleased to partner with them in delivering Newsmax TV across their heartland footprint.” This pact means Newsmax now has distribution agreements with each of the top 10 pay TV operators in the U.S and Comscore reports Newsmax total household cume viewership is up over 200% from mid-2019, and viewership in the first quarter of 2020 outpaced the prior quarter by 74%.
COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Unemployment Figures/The Economy, States Re-Opening, Black Jogger Slaying, and Presidential Race/Biden Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections about future infections; the expected release of the latest unemployment figures and the state of the U.S. economy; the numerous states planning to re-open their economies; the viral video revealing the shooting death of jogger Ahmaud Arbery by two white men in Georgia; and the presidential race and the sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Financial Advisor Ric Edelman Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the preeminent financial advisors on radio in America today, Ric Edelman – founder of Edelman Financial Services and Edelman Financial Engines – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Edelman has been a major talk radio professional for nearly 30 years, currently airing on 80 stations coast-to-coast, as well as a longtime member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred. He’s also produced several award-winning specials for public television and is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with 10 books on personal finance, including a best-selling children’s book on money. Harrison engages Edelman in a remarkably candid discussion about the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the intricacies of the “lives versus livelihood” debate dominating the national conversation. In the process, they take a deep dive into the psychology of America’s consumer culture and the nature of personal debt as it applies to the nation’s emotional profile. Don’t miss this extraordinarily timely and informative conversation! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio pro Dave Levora is back on the air in the Quad Cities after exiting iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOC-AM during the “employee dislocation” that took place back in January. He’s co-hosting mornings on Regional Media’s KQCJ-FM as the station flips from adult hits to alternative as “Planet 93.9.” He tells Regional’s Illinois News Now that he was finished with radio until the company’s Fletcher Ford offered him the chance to build a radio station on his terms…..The Toledo Blade reports that country WKKO “K-100” weekend personality Craig Snyder is recovering from COVID-19 at Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Medical Center. He tells the Blade that the doctors say he is getting better. He’s been in the ICU for two weeks and was in a different facility for a week and a half prior…..Entercom Boston helped raise funds to provide 156,684 meals for people in need through the Greater Boston Food Bank. The “Feed New England Radiothon” took place on Tuesday (5/5) and was presented by local grocery chains Shaw’s and Star Market. Helping in the cause were celebs including pop star Joe Jonas, singer and songwriter Charlie Puth, singer and songwriter Noah Cyrus, legendary Boston comedian and actor Lenny Clarke, and New England Patriots safety and three-time Super Bowl champion Devin McCourty.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
If you sell in the news/talk world the log line is audience levels are up. Yet you know ad sales are down. More listeners are tuning in, yet co-workers are getting laid off. Fear is dominating the content and fear is the most difficult business condition to sell through. All markets hate fear and uncertainty. Adapting to this pandemic environment challenges everything we know. The new normal is a moving target-normal.
Pete Spriggs Retires from WSB, Atlanta; Drew Anderssen to Assume PD Duties. Longtime Cox Media Group programmer Pete Spriggs is retiring as director of branding and programming for news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta. Current senior manager of programming and operations Drew Anderssen will step into Spriggs’ role, effective February 28. Spriggs began his career with Cox at Dayton’s news/talk WHIO-AM. He spent three years at the company’s WDBO-AM, Orlando before taking on programming duties at WSB, Atlanta in 2000. Spriggs says, “WSB will go down in history as one of the greatest radio stations in the world, and I’m humbled to have been the program director there for 19 years. I’ve worked with some of the finest talent in this business. Several of them are in either the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame or the National Radio Hall of Fame and we’ve all worked together to make life better for our listeners in Atlanta and Georgia. It has been an awe-inspiring experience for me, and I’m so grateful to CMG for trusting me with the ‘keys’ to such a great ‘kingdom.’” CMG EVP radio Bill Hendrich says, “I have had the pleasure of working with Pete for over 25 years. Along with being the best news/talk program director in the business, Pete is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Cox Media Group has benefited greatly from Pete’s leadership in Dayton, Orlando, Atlanta, and as our news/talk format leader. We are definitely a better company because Pete Spriggs was on our team. He will be missed, and we all wish him the best going forward.” Prior to joining WSB, Drew Anderssen spent years in programming and research for Cox Media Group in Orlando, Florida and Tulsa, Oklahoma. The company says, “Anderssen brings an immense amount of experience and devotion to his role and CMG looks forward to continuing their partnership to ensure WSB remains an industry leader.”
Newsmax TV Names Emerald Robinson White House Correspondent. Broadcast journalist Emerald Robinson joins Newsmax TV as White House correspondent where she’ll work alongside Newsmax chief White House correspondent John Gizzi. Robinson was most recently chief White House correspondent for One America News Network. Speaking about her new position, Robinson says, “Newsmax TV has become a major force in Washington’s media universe and I’m thrilled to be a part of its major expansion. Americans trust Newsmax to deliver truthful, unbiased reporting – and that’s what we do every day.” Robinson began her journalism career as host of “The Daily Orbit,” a syndicated science and technology news show. Her experience also includes entertainment, political, and economic beats. During her tenure on the White House beat, Robinson has covered presidential foreign trips including the Helsinki and Singapore Summits.
Dallas’ ‘The Ticket’ Moves Bob Sturm to ‘The Hardline’ Afternoon Show. In the wake of the recent retirement of longtime afternoon drive station personality Mike Rhyner, Cumulus Media’s KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket” announces midday co-host Bob Sturm moves to afternoon drive to partner with Corby Davidson as co-hosts of “The Hardline.” Danny Balis continues to produce the PM drive show. Sturm has co-hosted the midday “BaD Radio” with Dan McDowell since 2000. Filling Sturm’s role on “BaD Radio” is show producer Jake Kemp, who moves up to the co-host role. Cumulus Dallas/Houston RVP Dan Bennett says, “Bob Sturm has earned the trust and following from our listeners for over 20 years and is one of the finest sports talk talents in America. This move made perfect sense and we are excited to entertain our listeners with the new afternoon drive team of Bob Sturm and Corby Davidson, and with Jake Kemp and Dan McDowell for ‘BaD Radio’ in middays.” Sturm adds, “Our station lost an absolute icon in Mike Rhyner to retirement and we must all pull together to bridge that gap. I am honored to join forces with The Hardline’s Corby Davidson and Danny Balis to see what we can dream up from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and we can’t wait to get to our mighty challenge. Dan McDowell and Jake Kemp will make a fantastic duo themselves from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Dan McDowell is the closest friend I might ever find in this business and I owe him an immeasurable debt.”
SiriusXM Drops $75 Million into SoundCloud. Audio entertainment giant SiriusXM builds up its relationship with SoundCloud via a purchase of $75 million of securities for a minority stake in the open audio platform. SiriusXM, via subsidiary Pandora, began an ad sales relationship with SoundCloud in 2019 in which advertisers and brands could purchase SoundCloud’s U.S. ad inventory directly through Pandora, leveraging Pandora’s direct sales capabilities, targeting data, and audio programmatic platform. SiriusXM says that SoundCloud and Pandora’s combined U.S. audience constitutes more than 100 million unique listeners. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “SoundCloud’s unique platform serves a vital role in today’s music ecosystem where new artists are discovered and build their fan base, and established artists experiment and connect directly with their fans in highly effective ways. We admire SoundCloud’s loyal and growing audience, its offering for creators, and its reputation and popularity in global music communities. We believe this is another opportunity to continue creating value for SiriusXM stockholders by investing in expanding digital audio platforms.” As part of the minority stake acquisition, the SoundCloud board of directors will expand to include two individuals designated by SiriusXM.
World Radio Day Honor Goes to WTOP. In celebration of the forthcoming observance of World Radio Day coming up this Thursday (2/13), the American Academy of Radio – a subsidiary of the Academia Española de la Radio (Spanish Academy of Radio) – presented the World Radio Day “American Radio Station of the Year” award to Hubbard Radio’s all-news outlet WTOP, Washington, DC. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) executive board recommended to the General Conference the proclamation of World Radio Day, on the basis of a wide consultation process, carried out in 2011. The leader of the project, the Academia Española de la Radio, received support for the proposal from diverse stakeholders, including major international broadcasters and broadcasting unions and associations. The date of February 13, the day United Nations Radio was established in 1946, was proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO which proclaimed February 13 as World Radio Day. The objectives of the day are to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio; to encourage decision-makers to establish and provide access to information through radio; as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters. The jury appointed to judge stations for the American honor are: Heather Cohen, EVP of The Weiss Agency; Deborah Parenti, publisher of Radio Ink/RBR/TVBR/Podcast Business Journal; Francisco R. Montero, managing partner of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth; Paul MacLane, managing director of content, B2B media technology brands and editor-in-chief of Radio World; Michael Harrison, editor and publisher of TALKERS magazine; and Paul Rotella, president and CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association. In addition to WTOP, nominated stations were KIIS-FM, Los Angeles; WRHU, Hofstra University; and WFUV, Fordham University. Pictured at this morning’s (2/11) ceremony in the station’s offices and studios are jurists Frank Montero (l) and Paul McLane (r) delivering the trophy to WTOP general manager Joel Oxley (c).
Trump Budget Proposes Elimination of CPB Funding. In the Trump Administration’s budget for Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2022, the line item for funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be reduced from about $445 million to about $30 million. CPB president and CEO Patricia Harrison says, “We look forward to working with Congress in the continued pursuit of our statutory public service mission of supporting educational, informational and diverse content that addresses the needs of our nation’s citizens – a mission the American people overwhelmingly trust in and support. The federal appropriation to CPB is the foundation of our uniquely American, public-private partnership that supports our nation’s public media system – a system of more than 1,500 locally controlled and operated public television and radio stations across the country. This seed money pays invaluable dividends to millions of Americans and their families in the form of content and resources that educate, inform and inspire. Through public media initiatives such as American Graduate and Ready To Learn, stations provide high-quality educational content and community engagement that helps Americans prepare for success in school and career. As the most trusted news source in America, local public media stations offer journalism that elevates local stories to a national audience. Further, public media stations’ infrastructure provides critical communications functions during local and national emergencies to first responders and emergency management officials.” Of course, funding is ultimately left to Congress which has historically ignored such calls for CPB defunding.
TALKERS News Notes. Conservative media personality and author Todd Starnes has been chosen to moderate a Fathom Events panel discussion for the upcoming theatrical documentary, Patterns of Evidence: The Red Sea Mystery. The panel discussion was recently filmed at the Ark Encounter and will be shown nationwide in theaters on February 18. Starnes is host of the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio program, “The Todd Starnes Show” and the short-form “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” – both distributed by Hamilton Strategies. The long-form show recently added new affiliate stations KARN-FM, Little Rock; KWAM, Memphis; and KLUP-AM, San Antonio…..The “Always in Fashion” radio program, starring fashion industry pro Mark Weber (left) and his son Jesse (right), moves from Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to iHeartMedia’s WOR, New York. The show airs Saturday nights from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm and Sundays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Weber says, “Throughout my career, I have worked with the best and that’s precisely what has led me to iHeartMedia’s 710 WOR. We’re thrilled to join the number one audio company and broadcast on one of the leading talk stations in NYC.”…..Nashville sports talk hosts Derrick Mason and Braden Gall announce via Twitter that they have been let go from their morning show duties on The Cromwell Group’s sports talk WPRT-FM “102.5 The Game.” Back in December, third host Nick Kayal exited the station. The WPRT website offers no indication of the station’s intentions for the daypart. Mason played wide receiver for the Tennessee Titans from 1997 through 2004…..ABC Audio will officially launch the ABC Power Portal at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville on February 19. ABC says the ABC Power Portal is “the first on-demand, original video service for distribution to radio station websites, apps and social media platforms. ABC Power Portal will house a wide range of music and entertainment videos as well as breaking news and obituary content, all produced by ABC Audio. These new videos, along with social media teasers, will be available daily for download by Power Portal affiliates as white label content, allowing stations to add their own logos and sponsor ads to the videos prior to publication. ABC Audio executive director business strategies, programming and distribution Heidi Oringer says, “I’m thrilled to debut the ABC Power Portal and offer stations the type of digital content television outlets have had access to for so long. This turn-key platform is essential for radio’s digital expansion and allows affiliates to take advantage of ABC Audio’s unmatched array of content.” ABC Audio posted content from last Sunday’s Oscars. Below is an image of the Power Portal dashboard.
Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus, Trump Budget-Border Wall, Oscars Political Speeches, Russians Track U.S. Satellites, Chinese Equifax Hackers, and MLB Playoffs Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The New Hampshire primary and the Democrats’ race to take on President Trump in November; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus and the effects on China’s economy; President Trump’s budget and the cuts to services and increase in border wall funding; the political speeches at Sunday evening’s Oscars ceremony; the report the Russian’s are tracking U.S. military satellites; Chinese military hackers are accused of executing the Equifax breach; and MLB floats a new playoff format in which division winners get to choose opponents among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Shreveport, Louisiana programmer and air personality Nina Montgomery – who serves as PD and DJ on Cumulus Media’s urban AC KVMA “Magic 102.9” – was recently honored for her significant contributions to Shreveport’s African-American Community. Montgomery was recognized at the Shreveport-Bossier-DeSoto African-American Scholarship Awards Banquet. Cumulus Shreveport VP and market manager Aaron Criswell says, “Nina has been a spark of light for the African-American Community in Shreveport and Bossier City for many years. Nina has committed to spread this light to the community and listeners of urban AC powerhouse KVMA-FM, day in and day out.”…..Entercom appoints Lisa Powell SVP and market manager for its Greensboro, North Carolina cluster that includes hip hop WJMH “102 JAMZ,” country WPAW “93.1 The Wolf,” urban AC WQMG, adult contemporary WSMW “98.7 Simon,” and Gospel outlets WEAL-AM and WPET-AM. Entercom regional president Doug Abernethy says, “For over two decades, Lisa has faithfully led our sales efforts in the Triad and obtained outstanding results. We are excited to recognize her accomplishments with a well-deserved promotion and are confident in her ability to lead our cluster to further growth.”…..The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” cast member Kellie Rasberry is launching her second podcast, this one based on the morning show’s “Love Letters to Kellie” segment. It’s being produced by longtime show producer Robert Ehrman. Rasberry says, “Robert and I have been working on this project for quite some time and I’m so excited that we finally get to share it with the world! While we’ll be having a lot of fun on this podcast, I realize people are trusting me to give them advice that can often have serious consequences. I don’t take that lightly.” She already hosts a podcast titled, “A Sandwich and Some Lovin.’”…..SiriusXM announces that Harry Styles will perform for SiriusXM and Pandora on Friday, February 28 at a secret location in New York City. The intimate set for SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners will feature Styles performing songs from his recent sophomore album, Fine Line, released via Columbia Records. The event will also include an interview with Harry Styles and “The Morning Mash Up” hosts Ryan Sampson, Nicole Ryan, and Stanley T.
PPM Analysis: Holiday 2019 Extra. TALKERS magazine manager editor Mike Kinosian offers this “extra” look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey. This report looks at the weekly 6+ AQH share movement from the December 2019 survey to the Holiday 2019 survey, based on degree of improvement or loss, by format and more. See the analysis here.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze to Debut Philly-Focused Online Station with FM Promotional Campaign. The talk radio audience in Philadelphia is being targeted by Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze as the company is creating a stream specifically for Philly listeners that will feature TheBlaze Radio Network’s national talk radio programs but with local Philadelphia elements including, news, traffic and weather twice hourly and four times hourly during drive times. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood says, “TheBlaze Radio Network has built a strong daily lineup and a loyal following in a short period of time. We are excited to continue our growth by bringing our programming with a local flavor to Philadelphia, which Glenn once called home.” During the week of October 28 to November 1, the programming will air on WWIQ, Philadelphia prior to that station’s flip to religious content on November 4. The programming heard on WWIQ next week will include: Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, Buck Sexton from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm, Jay Severin from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm and Doc Thompson from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. During the week, TheBlaze personalities Doc Thompson and Skip LaCombe will broadcast live from O’Neals Irish Pub & Restaurant in Philadelphia.
Don Geronimo Returns to WJFK-FM, Washington. When Don Geronimo said goodbye to his fans on sports talker KHTK, Sacramento after the cancellation of his midday program there, he said he and CBS Radio were talking about another project for him and now we know that he’ll be heading back to his old stomping grounds at the company’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan.” As announced yesterday afternoon (10/23) on the LaVar & Dukes program, Geronimo will be hosting the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET show, the Saturday morning 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program and will also be part of the station’s Sunday football coverage. The station had teased a major announcement prior to revealing Geronimo’s new role with the line: “Who says you can’t go home again?” This was a reference to Geronimo’s tenure with the station from the early 1990s through 2008 as co-host of the Don & Mike show (with Mike O’Meara) that was also syndicated via Westwood One.
WYAY, Atlanta Adds Talk Show to Middays with Market Pro Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson. Cumulus Media is adding a midday talk show to the programming at WYAY, Atlanta “All News 106.7” beginning November 4 as longtime market talk pro Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson joins the station for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Peterson says in a statement, “It feels like coming home for the holidays. I’m really thrilled…We want to bring back a little common sense to the news/talk business and do some serious fooling around, too. We’re bringing back the team – Jim Gossett’s ‘Newsmaker Line’ and sports with Pete ‘Snake’ Davis — so nobody is safe from ridicule. Sounds like fun.” Peterson was a fixture on Clear Channel’s crosstown news/talk WGST before his show was cancelled in 2006. He’s been off the radio since then. This is the second non-news program to be added to WYAY. Last week the station announced that Braves baseball will also be heard on the station beginning with the 2014 season.
Gina Suarez to Manage Affiliate Sales at Sun Broadcast Group. Gina Suarez comes to SBG from Warner Music Group’s Ryko Records where she was manager of label operations. At Sun, she’ll serve as manager of affiliate sales, based in New York City, where she’ll report to VP of programming and affiliate sales Nick DeGregorio. Suarez is being charged with leading and supervising the affiliate strategy for the Marilu Henner show and “will work with all affiliate stations to promote and improve Sun’s burgeoning group of products and services.” DeGregorio states, “It happened in the blink of an eye. As soon as we met Gina, we knew she was a perfect fit. We wanted her enthusiasm and professionalism to be a part of the Sun Broadcast Group family. Gina is a master in managing relationships and is immediately a cornerstone of our growing affiliate sales team.” Suarez adds, “It’s a thrill and an honor to be part of the dynamic Sun Broadcast Group family! CEO Jason Bailey, EVP Steve Gallagher, Nick and the entire team are among the most passionate and dedicated in the business. I share their vision of bringing compelling programs like the Marilu Henner show to the fore.”
Eastlan Ratings Begins Doing Business in 11 New Markets. Medium and small market ratings company Eastlan announces it will begin providing radio ratings in 11 new markets including: Abilene, Texas; Casper, Wyoming; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Lawton, Oklahoma; Lufkin/Nacogdoches, Texas; Mankato/New Ulm, Minnesota; Odessa/Midland, Texas; State College, Pennsylvania; Texarkana, Arkansas; and Wichita Falls, Texas. Eastlan president and CEO Mike Gould says in a statement, “We know where our bread is buttered and we are extremely thankful. Eastlan is a 100% radio-focused brand. Our future is inexorably linked to the success of small- and medium-market radio broadcasters. Local radio is in the middle of resurgence as new ownership groups revitalize the industry in step with forward-thinking established broadcasters. Our purpose is to be certain the power of local radio is not diminished by research companies geared toward television or personal jukebox services like Pandora or Spotify.”
AdLarge Media Brings Tom Fleming Aboard as VP of Midwest Sales. AdLarge Media announces the expansion of ad sales presence in the Midwest with the hiring of Tom Fleming as vice president, Midwest sales. The company calls Fleming “a high-performing sales executive” who “brings over a decade of experience to AdLarge’s growing sales force, including expertise in digital sales.” Fleming will be based in AdLarge’s Chicago office and report to Don Wachsmith, chief revenue officer, radio sales. Wachsmith states, “Working with Tom again is something I always hoped would happen. Tom knows the advertising community in Chicago and the Midwest, and he knows that servicing clients and helping them find solutions to their marketing needs are a formula for success. He is a perfect fit for what we are doing as a company at AdLarge.” Wachsmith and Fleming had worked together at Westwood One/Dial Global. Fleming adds, “Don is a great sales leader, and I jumped at the opportunity to work with him again. AdLarge’s reputation for fostering a culture of innovation was a big draw for me. It is a fast-growing company known for its exceptional customer and client service. I couldn’t be more thrilled about joining the AdLarge team.”
Odds & Sods. Kim Komando’s WestStar announces it is offering its immensely popular “An American Christmas” program on a barter basis. It’s hosted by Mannheim Steamroller‘s founder, Chip Davis and is a highly produced, 12-hour show consisting of the stories and legends surrounding the holiday – all keyed to today’s popular and traditional Christmas music…..Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (also the former U.S. Ambassador to China) begins a weekly radio program on Sirius XM Radio called, “No Labels Radio with Jon Huntsman.” The one-hour program is being produced in conjunction with No Labels, the growing movement of Democrats, Republicans and independents committed to the politics of problem solving. It’ll air this Saturday, October 26 at 10:00 am ET on the POTUS channel.
Peter Doyle Appointed VP of Broadcasters Foundation. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces the appointment of Peter Doyle to the position of vice president in which he’ll share responsibility for planning and executing the Foundation’s fundraising events and assisting in the overall fundraising and outreach efforts with Jim Thompson, president of the Broadcasters Foundation. Doyle is widely known in broadcasting for his leadership of McGavren Guild, and subsequently other Interep initiatives, for more than 30 years. Thompson states, “Peter brings a unique dynamic to the Foundation. He has a keen understanding of the broadcasting business, and has been a staunch supporter of the Broadcasters Foundation. As we continue to provide more aid to more broadcasters, Peter will be invaluable in helping us secure the funds that are essential to advancing our mission.” Doyle adds, “I look forward to concentrating my efforts on raising money to support this great cause. I have always believed in giving back to my community and to this industry that has been so good to so many of us. The Foundation’s major fundraising events are well known and help generate the money we need. There are a plethora of opportunities for expanding our reach across the industry so that we can continue to help our colleagues in need.”
New York Sports Media Legend Bill Mazer Passes. Sports radio and television pioneer Bill Mazer died in Danbury, Connecticut on Wednesday (10/23) at age 92. Mazer is remembered in the radio business for his pioneering sports radio program on WNBC as well as his longtime general talk and interview morning show on WEVD. Mazer worked at WOR radio hosting a general interest talk show as well as serving as sports anchor on WNEW-TV for some 20 years. He finished his broadcasting career on WVOX in New Rochelle from which he retired in 2009.
Marc Bernier’s Embry-Riddle Interviews Now Online. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (left) is pictured here interviewing Washington Times opinion page editor and author Emily Miller (right) at the President’s Speakers Series Live Town Hall at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Miller is author of the book Emily Gets Her Gun (Regnery 2013). Bernier tells TALKERS magazine that his interviews in this series – which are also simulcast on WNDB – are being made available in video on YouTube and on his new ROKU channel “Book Marc.” Photo: Arthur J. Byrnes.
HealthCare.gov Hearings, Teacher Slayings, Immigration Legislation, Trimming of Federal Workforce, Scope of NSA Spying, Fired White House Tweeter and the World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/23). The looming hearings investigating the problems at the HealthCare.gov site; the two recent slayings of teachers; President Obama’s forthcoming immigration legislation; the size of the federal workforce and what might be targeted in future cuts; the fired National Security Council tweeter; and the Red Sox versus Cardinals World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.