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Monday, June 4, 2018

| June 4, 2018

Former Buckley Broadcasting President and CEO Joseph Bilotta Dead at 69.  Former Buckley Broadcasting president and CEO Joseph Bilotta died on Friday (6/1) at Connecticut Hospice.  Bilotta served as chief of Buckley Broadcasting when it operated venerable New York talk station WOR and the WOR Radio Network.  TALKERS magazine learned of Bilotta’s passing via New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella, who issued the following statement to his organization: “It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that Joe Bilotta passed away this afternoon.  As you know, Joe was a great friend and supporter of our association and he, along with Bob McCallan, Andy Santoro, and Elizabeth Christopherson comprised the search committee that ultimately offered me the privilege of representing this wonderful association. Joe was a constant source of support, advice, and guidance.  His wise counsel and friendship meant a lot to all of us on the Board, but most especially me. He was always available to help.”

Premiere Networks to Distribute Nancy Grace Daily Feature. Legal media figure and former HLN personality Nancy Grace and iHeartMedia’s Premiere
Networks 
are partnering to syndicate a new, daily feature focusing on current crime news.  The 60-second program launches July 23.  This show is called “Crime Alert with Nancy Grace.”  She says, “I’m thrilled to join iHeartMedia and Premiere Networks where I will continue my lifelong mission to fight crime and speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves.  This new platform expands my ability to shine a light on heinous crimes, help find missing people — particularly children — arm listeners with need-to-know information and catch the bad guys.”

Mike Morgan Named SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia Raleigh.  At its Raleigh station group, iHeartMedia names Mike Morgan senior vice president of sales.  The Raleigh cluster includes news/talk WTKK-FM “106.1 FM Talk,” plus four music-formatted stations.  Raleigh market president Alan Kirshbom says, “Mike is the total package.  He brings extensive radio experience, subject matter expertise in digital, and a stellar track record of serving and developing business in key categories.  With Mike joining the Raleigh team, we are stronger than ever.”  Morgan joins iHeartMedia Raleigh after previously serving as director of new business development and account manager at Sokal Media Group.  He also previously served as general manager for Capital Broadcasting in Raleigh.

Dan Mason Joins VSiN as Strategic Advisor and Investor. Most industry pros are aware of VSiN (Vegas Stats & Information Network), founded by Brian and Todd Musberger and home to brother Brent Musberger’s daily program “The Brent Musberger Action Update.”  Now, former CBS RADIO chief Dan Mason is joining the media network dedicated to sports gambling information.  The company is announcing a partnership with Mason in which he’ll join the company as strategic advisor and investor participating in all aspects of the company’s operations.  Brian Musberger says, “With decades of experience in the media industry, Dan brings a wealth of knowledge to our team. We are excited to leverage his expertise to drive continued growth at VSiN, capitalizing on the incredible opportunity presented by the burgeoning sports gambling industry.  His overall enthusiasm for our product brings an energy level to the room that is contagious.”  Mason is currently chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation of America and serves as a senior advisor to iHeartMedia.  The press release from VSiN says it “broadcasts as many as 13 hours of live programming a day from a showcase studio in the middle of the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.”

Beasley Radio Talent Institute Begins Today at Emerson College in Boston. Getting underway today at Emerson College in Boston and running through June 13 is the Beasley Radio Talent Institute. Conducting the opening session are Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley and EVP/COO Brian Beasley.  They follow opening comments from the president of Emerson College, Dr. Lee Pelton.  Sessions taking place over the next 10 days will be taught by working radio pros from Beasley and other radio groups, including EntercomiHeartMedia, Hall Communications, and more, as well as play-by- play announcers for the Patriots, Celtics, Bruins and Red Sox.   National Radio Talent System president and founder Dan Vallie comments, “From the beginning, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley grasped the vision and immediately stepped up.  They are a company that does the right thing in our industry.  We are proud to be working together to continue growing the farm system, discovering, coaching and incubating young talent with a passion for radio.  It’s a privilege to be able to do this with Emerson College and to be working with forward thinking companies like Xperi, Marketron, Benztown, and Vcreative to help make it happen.”  Jack Casey, general manager of WERS-FM and adjunct professor at Emerson College, says, “The Beasley Radio Talent Institute builds upon the quality education students are already receiving at their academic institutions and through working at their college radio stations.  We are grateful to Beasley Media Group for providing this incredible opportunity for future broadcasters.”

Witness List for Nielsen vs Bubba the Love Sponge Case Released. The $1 million suit brought against Bubba the Love Sponge by Nielsen for ratings tampering is expected to go to trial on Monday, June 18. On Friday, the court released the final witness lists from both parties.  Of course, Bubba himself is on both lists, as are a number of broadcasters, including Beasley’s Justin Chase and Brian Beasley.  On Bubba’s list is former Clear Channel and Tribune chief Randy Michaels.  Also, on both lists is PPM panelist Nicholas Tabachuck – with whom Bubba is alleged to have colluded to tamper with the ratings.

TALKERS News Notes.  Atlantic City talk radio personality Harry Hurley announces he’ll be filling in on the FOX News Radio Network, guest hosting the Todd Starnes show on June 12 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.  WPGG Talk Radio’s Hurley says, “I want to take this opportunity to thank Todd Starnes, who is literally one of the classiest and most generous broadcasters in our business.”……….San Francisco sports talker KNBR announces that as part of its new multi-year agreement with Major League Baseball’s Giants, the team is the first to offer free, in-market live streaming of its radio broadcasts.  The live stream is being delivered by TuneInCumulus Media San Francisco EVP of operations Dave Milner comments, “KNBR and Cumulus Media are proud to continue our 40-year partnership with the San Francisco Giants.  At the same time, we’re extremely excited to announce that KNBR, in partnership with TuneIn, will be the first radio station in Major League Baseball to offer Giants fans the ability to stream the games, live and free of charge in Northern California. Now every Giants game broadcast over the air on KNBR 680, will also be heard online at knbr.com, or the KNBR channel on TuneIn’s mobile app.”…..Sports radio pro Dan Graca is expanding his role WEPN “98.7 ESPN New York” as he joins the New York Jets game day radio team.  Graca will work this season alongside former Jets linebacker Greg Buttle during the pre-game, halftime, and post-game radio shows.  He’ll continue as regular contributor on ESPN Radio and SNY-TV, including “Loudmouths,” “Daily News Live,” and “Baseball Night in New York.”  Graca says, “You could say this is a job I’ve spent my whole life preparing for.  Growing up a New York Jets season ticket holder for 23 years, going from Section 302, Row 26 to now becoming a part of the game-day broadcast is nothing short of surreal.  It is impossible to fully express the gratitude and excitement that comes along with this opportunity.”…..At last weekend’s Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association Awards, WTOP-FM, Washington was presented with 12 honors, including for Outstanding News Operation and for Best Website for WTOP.com.  WTOP director of news and programming Mike McMearty says, “These awards are a testament to what an incredibly talented team we have here at WTOP.  Across a wide range of specialties from digital to sports, documentaries to feature stories our people are what set us apart.  We feel honored to be able to share in their success.”…..WDEL-FM/AM, Wilmington received seven awards from the Chesapeake AP Broadcasters Association on Saturday (6/2) in Ocean City, Maryland.  The awards in the Div. II classification (markets 51+) included the top award of News Operation of the Year, as well as Best Newscast, Best Website and Best Talk Show for Rick Jensen.  Pictured below at the ceremony are (from l-r): WDEL breaking news reporter Mike Phillips, director of news and programming Chris Carl, assistant news director Amy Cherry, talk show host Rick Jensen, and contributing correspondent Rob Petree.

Geoffrey Starks Nominated for FCC Seat.  We have a nomination for the Federal Communications Commission seat begin vacated by Mignon Clyburn.  Current FCC Enforcement Bureau assistant chief Geoffrey Starks gets the nod.  Democrat Starks had been supported for the seat by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.  Starks’ confirmation will take place in the next few months and will coincide with the vote on the reconfirmation of Republican commissioner Brendan Carr.

Trump Self Pardon/Russia Investigation, North Korea Summit, Iran Nuclear Deal, Portland Antifa Violence, Parkland H.S. Graduation, Facebook Data Deals, Italian Populist Government, NBA Finals, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and Rudy Giuliani’s statement that President Trump could pardon himself; the status of the summit between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un; the repercussions of the U.S.’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal; the violence in Portland as Antifa forces clash with those at a Patriot Prayer rally; the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduation and Jimmy Fallon’s surprise appearance there; story reveals Facebook shared user data with many partners; unease in Europe as Italy swears in new, populist government; the Warriors-Cavaliers NBA Finals; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Cumulus Media’s country WKKO-FM, Toledo “K100,” 33-year program director Gary Shores hands the PD baton to Jerry Mac.  Shores, who has been with the station for total of 43 years, will continue his role as morning show host.  Mac comes to Toledo from Community Broadcasters’ operations in Elmira, New York where he was operations manager.  Cumulus RVP and market manager Andy Stuart says, “We celebrate and honor Gary Shore’s unprecedented and highly successful run as ‘K100’ program director.  Gary has been an essential part of the station’s continued growth and popularity and we are deeply grateful for his dedication and contributions over the past 43 years and counting.  We are thrilled Gary will stay on as host of ‘K100 Mornings!’”…..CMT and iHeartMedia are collaborating so that iHeartCountry will once again serve as the official radio partner of the 2018 CMT Music Awards and will simulcast the live show from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday (6/8) at 8:00 pm ET/PT.  The live radio broadcast will air across more than 120 iHeartCountry music radio stations. In addition, Premiere Networks will engage those stations and Premiere-syndicated affiliates at the exclusive radio remote broadcast in Nashville today and tomorrow to help kick off the “hottest night in country music.”  “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan,” “The Bobby Bones Show,” and “The Crook & Chase Countdown” are on-location to provide listeners with interviews with award nominees, performers and celebrity guests…..Pictured below is country artist Kane Brown with Beasley Media Group staffers at WKLB, Boston’s “Street Party” where more than 8,000 listeners showed up to party on Lansdowne Street adjacent to Fenway Park.  Performers included Brown, Cam, Lanco, Brown & GrayStephanie Quayle, and local performer Timmy Brown.  From left to right are: Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley, Ilana Goldstein, Kane Brown, Brian Beasley, Beasley Media Group VP/market manager Mary Menna, and Joel Banos Carranza.

Monday, May 21, 2018

| May 21, 2018

Is There a Heavenly Hundred?  Today, as TALKERS magazine posts the 2018 edition of the Heavy Hundred, Paula Ryan, the wife of late radio personality Matt Patrick writes a piece for TALKERS in which she remembers her husband and his intense love of and dedication to the craft of performing on radio.  She writes, “Every year we looked forward to the Heavy Hundred being published by TALKERS magazine.  Many of Matt’s close friends in the business got the nod year after year.  Matt would celebrate his colleagues, singing their accolades, and then quickly got back to working on his own shows in order to take it all to the next level.  I knew it was only a matter of time before he would land on that list.  Unfortunately, time was not on his side.” Read Ryan’s piece here.

Dennis Green Named Chief Revenue Officer for Sun & Fun Media. Longtime Westwood One executive Dennis Green has joined Sun & Fun Media as chief revenue officer.  Sun & Fun Media creates products for radio stations, including: vacations, gift cards, vehicle wraps, branded station merchandise, and bill pay for NTR events, television and billboard advertising for radio stations, research, consultants, equipment, software and more, all available exclusively through barter.  In this newly created position, the company says that Green will lead the development of new products and services for radio stations and will manage a team of six affiliate sales professionals to grow the company’s affiliations across the U.S.  He’ll continue to be based in New York City.  Sun & Fun Media co-founder and CEO Rob Koblasz says, “Dennis Green is one of the most respected, experienced and trusted affiliate sales executives in the radio industry and we are thrilled that he is joining Sun & Fun Media as chief revenue officer.  With Dennis’ considerable expertise in radio operations and network radio sales, we will be able to offer our affiliates more and better solutions exclusively for barter than ever before.”

Former FOX News Host Andrea Tantaros’ Suit Against Company and Individuals Dismissed.  The former FOX News Channel personality was suing FNC and a number of individuals, including former FOX executive Bill Shine and late FOX chief Roger Ailes, for $10 million.  Andrea Tantaros claimed that in response to her making allegations of sexual harassment against various FOX executives, she was put under illegal surveillance.  Tantaros was representing herself – pro se – and in a ruling highly critical of the merits of the suit, Judge George B. Daniels dismisses all of the claims, ruling that Tantaros failed at every level to provide factual support for the allegations.  Tantaros claimed, among other things, that she was being spied upon by one of Roger Ailes security personnel, that FOX tech persons installed malware on her personal computer in order to spy on her, and that she was illegally videotaped at work.

Kirshbom to Lead iHeartMedia Raleigh Cluster.  Radio management pro Alan Kirshbom joins iHeartMedia as market president for the company’s Raleigh cluster that includes news/talk outlet WTKK-FM.  Most recently, Kirshbom was vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media in Memphis.  Previously, he’d served as vice president and market manager for Entercom in Austin and Milwaukee.  As market president, Kirshbom will be responsible for “leveraging iHeartMedia Raleigh’s radio station brands and assets to provide quality programming and create new revenue opportunities.  He will spearhead all aspects of the market’s operations including sales, programming, digital, events and promotion initiatives.”  Kirshbom will report to Dave Carwile, president of iHeartMedia’s Virginia/Carolina Region.

Russel Robertson Appointed SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia Tampa. Moving from the company’s Seattle station group to Tampa, Russell Robertson assumes the SVP of sales role for iHeartMedia’s cluster there. iHeartMedia’s Tampa cluster includes news/talk WFLA and sports talk WDAE.  iHM Tampa market president Chris Soechtig says, “I’m thrilled to have Russell join our team.  His 10-plus years of experience in iHeartMedia’s Pacific Northwest and San Diego Regions coupled with his passion for helping clients grow their business makes him the ideal choice for SVPS in Tampa Bay.”

Raising Money for Nevada GOP Candidates. Pictured above are Las Vegas-based talk show hosts Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) and Heidi Harris (left) at the Denim & Diamonds BBQ Fundraiser held in Las Vegas on Saturday night.  Wachs and Harris co-emceed the event sponsored by the Southern Nevada Republicans Women’s PAC and designed to raise funds for primary race GOP candidates. WSB-AM, Atlanta talk show host – and former presidential candidate – Herman Cain was a speaker at the event.

JVC Media’s John Caracciolo Delivers Commencement at Long Island’s Five Towns College.  Pictured above at the commencement at Five Towns College in Dix Hills, Long Island is JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo (left) with Chicago drummer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Danny Seraphine (center) and school president David Cohen (right).  Caracciolo was honored with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the ceremony.  JVC Media owns and operates stations on Long Island – including news/talk WRCN-FM, Riverhead, New York “LI News Radio” – and in Florida.

TALKERS News Notes. Omaha native and Radio One founder Cathy Hughes (right) is pictured here with Nebraska media personality Tom Becka (left) – formerly of KFAB, Omaha and KCMO, Kansas City – after being honored by the Omaha Press Club.  The city of Omaha named a street in her honor, as well. Hughes joins the ranks of other famous Nebraskans including: Warren Buffett, Johnny Carson, and Larry the Cable Guy…..Indiana Radio Watch publisher Blaine Thompson reports that Daryl McIntire is exiting his role as director of sales for Sarkes Tarzian’s news/talk WGCL/W241CD and triple A WTTS in Bloomington, Indiana.  McIntire served with Sarkes Tarzian for 32 years in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne…..Pictured below broadcasting live from the Connecticut Democratic State Convention on May 18 is WTIC-AM, Hartford “Newstalk 1080” afternoon drive personality Todd Feinburg.  Feinburg broadcast his show from the Hartford Convention Center interviewing state political figures and taking listener calls.

Texas School Shooting, Trump Asks DOJ to Investigate FBI-CIA Surveillance of Campaign, Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S.-China Trade Talks, Royal Wedding, Iran Nuclear Plan ‘B,’ Deadpool 2 Film, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The Santa Fe High School shooting on Friday that left 10 dead; President Trump asks the DOJ to investigate whether the Obama Administration asked the FBI or CIA to infiltrate the Trump campaign; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the U.S. and China agree not to accelerate a trade war; Saturday’s royal wedding of Prince Harry and American Meghan Markle; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to unveil “Plan B” for Iran nuclear deal; the film Deadpool 2 tops the weekend box office; Major League Baseball action; and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. There’s a change in morning drive talent at iHeartMedia’s WLIT, Chicago “93.9 LITE FM” as Melissa Forman returns to the station to host AM drive, replacing Kristina Kage.  The company says Forman “will kick off the workday with two hours of commercial free music from 8:00 am to 10:00 am.  Melissa’s tradition of informing and entertaining listeners will continue through celebrity interviews, charity involvement, and the unique relationships that she’s built with the people of Chicago.”  iHeartMedia Chicago Region president Matt Scarano says, “I am so excited to welcome Melissa Forman back into the iHeartMedia Chicago family.  She has a rich history with Chicago and 93.9 LITE FM’s listeners, and we are looking forward to working with her again.”…..iHeartMedia’s KMRQ, Modesto, California “Rock 96.7” adds the Premiere Networks-syndicated “The Woody Show” to the program schedule for morning drive.