APOLLO 11 ANNIVERSARY: CBS News Radio Correspondent Peter King is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing (7/20) and the stellar 45-year career of a CBS News Radio reporter who has been covering the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the past two decades, Peter King is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison (a passionate space enthusiast) and King discuss a wide variety of topics including NASA, US space exploration, memories of the Apollo 11 mission, their love of radio, and the state of journalism in America. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the daily TALKERS email newsletter and every page of Talkers.com.
Esiason Gets The Call to NY State Broadcaster’s Association HOF. Twelve-year Entercom New York City sports talk WFAN morning show co-host, Boomer Esiason, has been selected to the New York State Broadcaster’s Association’s Hall of Fame. The legendary former NFL quarterback will be inducted at the Broadcast Leadership and Hall of Fame luncheon during the NAB New York Show in October. Entercom New York regional president/market manager Susan Larkin remarks, “Boomer has been a cornerstone of this station since his arrival. This distinguished recognition represents his invaluable contributions to our station and industry overall.” In thanking the NY State Broadcaster’s Association “for this incredible honor,” Esiason comments, “It is extremely humbling to be recognized alongside hardworking, accomplished individuals in our industry.” He and Gregg Giannotti form “Boomer and Gio” weekday mornings on WFAN, which is the flagship of the Yankees, Giants, Brooklyn Nets, and New Jersey Devils. After his 14-year NFL career, Esiason debuted as a commentator on ABC-TV’s “Monday Night Football.” For nearly two decades, he has called games for Westwood One/CBS Radio Sports and served as a studio analyst for “The NFL Today” on CBS-TV and Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.”
Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with Special Luncheon Address by Salem Radio Network Host Sebastian Gorka. TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story. Today’s (7/16) post presents a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network. Yesterday’s (7/15) post presents the panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video. The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York. Already posted: the special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOne; Steven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi Media; Michael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history. TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year. To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.
Preliminary iHM Q2 Results, NASDAQ Listing. Under the Global Select Market ticker symbol “IHRT,” NASDAQ approves the listing of iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock, par valued at $0.001 per share. Class A shares are expected to begin trading on NASDAQ this Thursday (7/18). Meanwhile, preliminary SEC-filed second-quarter financial show year-to-year revenue rose 2.4% to $913 million. Operating income (OI) was off $1 million to $180, while Adjusted EBITDA grew 3.1% ($255 million to $263 million). Preliminary results have not been audited or reviewed by the company’s independent accountants, and remain subject to review by iHeartMedia’s management and audit committee. Results may differ from actual results, which remain subject to completion of management’s and the audit committee’s final review, as well as the interim review by its independent accountants.
Study: Podcast Ads Least Likely To Be Skipped. Monthly podcast listeners skip digital ad formats the most – online pop-up ads, online banner ads, e-mail advertising, direct mail, and online video. That’s among the nuggets Westwood One uncovered when it teamed with Canadian media research consultancy Audience Insights in a study focused on podcast consumers and their listening habits. Fielded this past March, the report examines podcast consumption habits of 1,407 monthly podcast listeners. It addresses four distinct segments based on when people began listening to podcasts: 313 “Podcast Pioneers” who started listening four or more years ago; 415 who began listening two to three years ago; 327 who began listening in the past seven to 12 months; and 352 “Podcast Newcomers” who began listening within the last six months. Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing Suzanne Grimes states, “The finding that emerging podcast listeners are using a diverse number of platforms signals a turning point for the podcast industry. When compared to the ‘Podcast Pioneers,’ who use Apple Podcasts almost exclusively, ‘Podcast Newcomers’ are open to using multiple platforms to access podcasts.” Audience Insights president Jeff Vidler notes, “This podcast download report expands on much of what we have seen as we put our microscope on Canadian podcast listeners. Podcasting is uniquely engaging, on trend with on-demand content platforms like Netflix or paid music streaming services, but the only one accessible to advertisers.” Other study highlights include: Roughly three of ten (31%) “Podcast Newcomers” typically discover podcasts by hearing about them on terrestrial radio. While the average monthly podcast listener accesses 2.7 podcast platforms, “Podcast Newcomers” use 3.5 platforms. Two of three “Power” podcast listeners follow their favorite podcast hosts on social media. Podcast listeners equally use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to follow their favorite hosts. Approximately two of five (42%) “Power” podcast listeners follow their favorite podcast host on Twitter, compared to 22% of U.S. adults who ever use Twitter. Spotify and Google Podcasts are attracting consumers who recently began listening to podcasts. Among those listening to podcasts over four years, Apple is the leading destination.
SBG President: “Case Is Far From Over.” As we reported yesterday (TALKERS, 7/15), a Los Angeles superior court jury ruled unanimously in favor of independent syndicator of radio live play-by-play Sports USA in its multi-year violation of contract suit against Sun Broadcasting Group. The jury awarded Sports USA damages in excess of $2 million as compensation for Sun’s breach of its advertising representation agreement with Sports USA. Sun Broadcast Group president Jason Bailey, however, stresses, “This case is far from over. We were shocked and saddened by the verdict in Pacific West Radio Sports, LLC (d/b/a Sports USA) v. Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. Despite establishing wrongdoing by Sports USA from even before the inception of the agreement between the parties, the jury granted judgment in favor of Sports USA. The jury reached that verdict without the benefit of being able to consider key evidence of Sports USA’s wrongdoing. Sun was barred from introducing that evidence at trial on hearsay grounds. We remain determined to see that justice is done, and plan to pursue every available avenue to overturn this result so that Sports USA’s improper business practices are exposed and no other company falls victim. This verdict involves the old Sun, which has not traded since late 2018. It does not involve the current SBG-owned and operated by Gen Media Partners.” Bailey further notes, “This will be the only statement I will make on the matter while we work through the appeal process.”
Three Moody Radio AM Stations Are On The Block. With plans to exit the AM radio business, Moody Radio is set to spin off its three AM facilities. Chicago-based operator Moody Bible Institute will focus on FM network expansion. Senior vice president of media Greg Thornton writes, “Moody Radio seeks to transform the world for Jesus Christ, one listener at a time, by producing and delivering quality, creative, biblical content, which helps people take the next step in their journey with Jesus. In looking to the future, Moody Radio is committed to double [our] overall impact by 2030. Our strategic roadmap to achieving this bold vision includes audience growth through market expansion/realignment, and content development strategies.” Thornton recognizes “the limitations of AM broadcasting today, including [that] many AM stations only broadcast in the daytime.” Thus, Moody Radio will be selling Spanish religion WMBI W268AY “Moody Radio – AM 1110,” Chicago; Spanish religion WDLM “Moody Radio – AM 960,” East Moline/Quad Cities, Illinois; and Spanish religion WGNR “Moody Radio – AM 1470,” Anderson, Indiana. According to Thornton, “Listeners in these cities will still hear Moody Radio 24 hours a day on our strong FM signals. Proceeds from the sale of these three AM licenses will be used to further the expansion of Moody Radio through the addition of digital/online content, new apps in both English and Spanish, and the acquisition of select FM broadcast licenses.”
TALKERS News Notes. As part of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing investigating charges of bias against conservatives, Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager will testify at 2:30 pm (ET) today (Tuesday, 7/16). Prager’s opening statement has already been submitted and, in part, he states, “I have been communicating this appreciation of America for 35 years as a radio talk show host, the last 20 in national syndication with the Salem Radio Network, an organization that is a blessing in American life.” According to Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup, videos from Prager’s “online Prager University have been blocked as ‘controversial’ by Google and other search engines. Google officials deny any political bias or filtering of conservative viewpoints.” Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz is the chair of today’s hearing ….. In two weeks (7/30 & 7/31), Westwood One News’ coverage of the Democratic National Committee-sanctioned/CNN-produced Democratic Presidential Debates will air from Detroit. Westwood One News correspondent Evan Haning will anchor, starting at 7:59 pm (ET) both nights, while Bob Costantini handles on-scene reporting and will be available for live Q&A from the Motor City. The network will offer stations an unanchored feed and one-minute special reports each night at the top and bottom of the hour (8:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) ….. Set to rejoin WTEM “980 The Team” in three weeks (8/5) is Kevin Sheehan, who wasn’t retained when Radio One acquired the Washington (DC) sports talk outlet late last year. Sheehan co-hosted mornings with Chris Cooley and will return for 7:00 am – 10:00 am duty. Radio One senior regional vice president Jeff Wilson comments, “I’m elated to have Kevin Sheehan back home on ‘The Team.’ His unique approach to the sports landscape, combined with his overwhelming passion, provides an entertainment destination for listeners throughout the Nation’s Capital.” Prior to departing last year, Sheehan had been with WTEM 14 years and states, “I’m looking forward to coming home – it’s great to be back.” ….. The first three Jim Rutt Show podcasts went live yesterday (Monday, July 15) on JimRuttShow.com. The series will examine “cutting-edge thinking” in science and technology, and the future of our economic, political and social systems and institutions. The past chair of The Santa Fe Institute; former chief executive officer of Network Solutions; and first CTO of Thomson-Reuters, Rutt was called “the internet’s bad boy” by The New York Times for his reputation for creative mischief. A complete collection of Rutt’s podcasts, including show transcripts, episode highlights, guest biographies, and links are available on the aforementioned website.
Line Drives. This past weekend, NBC Sports Radio produced seven radio shows from the driving range at Edgewood Tahoe golf course in Lake Tahoe (Nevada), site of the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament. Flanking MLB Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz (center) are Tim Murray and Michael Jenkins, hosts of NBC Sports Radio’s “The Daily Line.” Launched this past January in conjunction with Westwood One, “The Daily Line” is a weekday, 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm sports talk show, focusing on sports betting.
Trump’s Controversial Tweets; US Immigration Policy/Detention Facilities; 2020 Presidential Race; and US-China Trade War Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15). President Donald Trump’s Tweets attacking four Congressional Democratic women of color; conditions for migrants detained at the border; the relative standing and contributions raised by Democratic Party presidential candidates; and the US-China trade war’s impact on the Chinese economy were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
CRB Elects 2019 – 2020 Board of Directors. Returning as board president of the Country Radio Broadcasters is Townsquare Media’s Kurt Johnson; Cumulus Media’s John Shomby is elected vice president; and SummitMedia’s Beverlee Brannigan returns as secretary. Johnson remarks, “This is one of the strongest boards CRB has ever had. [I am] so proud to work with this group of radio and Music Row leaders to present country with the best CRS ever – February 19 – 21, 2020.” This year’s board of directors are: Chuck Aly (Country Aircheck); Beverlee Brannigan (SummitMedia); Becky Brenner (Albright & O’Malley & Brenner Consulting); Johnny Chiang (KKBQ-FM, Houston); George Couri (Triple 8 Management); Andy Denemark (United Stations); Ryan Dokke (Curb); Mike Dungan (UMG); John Esposito (Warner Music Nashville); Dan Halyburton (Falls Media); Debra Herman (Apple); Steve Hodges (Sony Nashville); Clay Hunnicutt, Dave Kelly (Big Machine Label Group); Jon Loba (BBR/BMG); Mike McVay (McVay Media); Charlie Morgan (Emmis Communications); Rod Phillips (iHeartCountry); Tim Roberts (WYCD, Detroit); Royce Risser (UMG); Bob Richards (Emmis Communications/WLHK, Indianapolis); Brittany Schaffer (Spotify); John Shomby (Cumulus Media); Lesly Simon (Pearl Records); Matt Sunshine (CFSS); Joel Raab (Joel Raab Country Radio/Media); Ryan Redington (Amazon Music); Kristen Williams (Warner); and Charlie Monk continues as a lifetime director emeritus.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Many stations are noting the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first-ever “moon walk” (July 20, 1969) with Apollo lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin. Without question, one of the cleverest promotions is being done by the program director of Cumulus Media Salt Lake City country-formatted KUBL “K-Bull 93” … Travis Moon. As part of the “Travis Moon Walk,” which began today (Tuesday, 7/16) at 7:00 am and is expected to end Saturday (7/20) coinciding with that history-making mission, Moon plans to “walk” more than 80 miles to raise money for Salt Lake City-based Shriner’s Hospitals For Children. Hoping to travel approximately 16 miles a day, Moon admits it will be a “long, tough walk. The exciting part is the unknown – if I can actually do this physically. I guess we will all find out.” While on foot from (Utah cities) Provo to Ogden, Moon will discuss the hospital’s purpose and invite listeners to make donations ….. “California Live,” a 30-minute lifestyle/entertainment show, which airs on Los Angeles’ KNBC-TV (as well as KNTV-TV, San Jose and KNSD-TV, San Diego) has added “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” co-host Sisanie as a correspondent. In her latest segment, Sisanie visits Los Angeles’ first cat cafe experience, where customers can drink coffee while cuddling rescue cats that are up for adoption ….. Starting next Monday (7/22), Sytonnia “Toni” Moore joins Cox Media Group Atlanta urban AC WALR “Kiss 104.1” as co-host/news anchor on the (5:00 am – 9:00 am) “Morning Groove” with Art Terrell and Corey “Zooman” Miller. The station’s director/branding and programming, Terri Avery, declares, “Toni Moore is the real deal. Her experience and passion for radio is beyond compare and will take ‘Kiss 104.1’ to new levels.” Moore remarks, “This is an incredible opportunity: I’m thrilled and honored to be joining the powerhouse that is Cox Media Group and ‘Kiss 104.1.’ It’s a dream I’ve had for a few years. It’s beyond exciting to see it come to fruition.” Moore previously was an on-air personality for cross-town Entercom urban contemporary and sports talk siblings WVEE “V-103” and WZGC “92.9 The Game,” as well as a sports reporter for the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Falcons ….. Continuing his role as afternoon-drive host, Andy Chanley adds music director duties at California State University – Northridge’s KCSN & Saddleback College’s KSBR, Mission Viejo (both California, simulcast on 88.5). General manager Patrick Osborn proclaims, “Andy has done it all in this market – mornings, middays, afternoon drive – and has vast experience in all the rock format genres. I’m happy to say we are operating at full strength with great, experienced broadcasters in every position.” Program director Marc “Mookie” Kaczor notes, “Andy is such an asset for us. He’s an incredible personality and he’s been a great sounding-board for me. We’re constantly bouncing ideas off of each other.” Chanley adds, “There’s no station in the world like 88.5 FM. It’s a special blend of music and people — on both sides of the transmitter — that makes radio fun again. I’m really proud to be on this team, and beyond excited at the opportunity to help steer the rudder even more.” KCSN and KSBR began simulcasting just over two years ago …. Three-year WUSN “US-99” nighttime talent Kimmie Caruba departs the Entercom country outlet. Caruba was previously heard in the same day-part in Phoenix on co-owned KMLE “Country @ 107.9,” and she did mid-days in that Arizona market on cluster-mate KALV “Live 101.5.” ….. A six-episode podcast on Milwaukee’s hip-hop history, “Backspin,” debuted yesterday (Monday, 7/15) on Radio Milwaukee triple A WYMS “88Nine.” Hosted by hip-hop expert Tyrone Miller (“DJ Bizzon”) and “88Nine” music director Justin Barney, “Backspin” provides an insightful view into black America in the late-1970s and early-1980s, through the lens of hip-hop. Miller comments, “The series is about so much more than who recorded Milwaukee’s first hip-hop song. It’s about the journey of getting to that song. Hip-hop is more than a genre: It’s connected everywhere – radio, movies, TV, and fashion. It’s in every piece of culture.” ….. After departing two months ago from Townsquare Media, “Taste of Country Nights” host Sam Alex surfaced yesterday (Monday, 7/15) on the eponymous “Sam Alex Show.” Affiliate licensing and sales for the syndicated program are being handled by Sun Broadcast Group. Alex notes (in Forbes Magazine) that he’s “so excited about this new chapter. The world of radio,” he opines, “has changed so much in the past decade, with continued consolidations, new technology, and increased competition to discover new music. This change positions me to have full creative control and reach listeners in new ways.” ….. KDVV “V-100 Topeka’s Rock Leader” 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm talent Randy Raley adds PD duties at the Cumulus Media rocker and classic hits cluster-mate KWIC “99.3 The Eagle.” Cumulus Topeka operations manager Amber Lee notes, “Randy brings significant on-air experience and format knowledge to these stations and to our programming team.” According to Raley, “I’ve been a radio geek since an early age – I’m happy to be taking the programming reins at the legendary ‘V-100.’ Amber Lee has put together an incredible staff and we’re going to do great things together.” St. Louis Classic Rock Hall of Famer Raley did afternoon drive on St. Louis’ KSHE for 13 years and has worked in Kansas City at KYYS “KY-102,” and KCFX “101 The Fox.” ….. Among the latest affiliates for Envision Networks’ “The Wolfman Jack Radio Show” is Metro Radio Berkeley Springs, West Virginia classic hits-oldies WXDC. The show airs Saturday nights starting at 7:00 pm on “Cool 92.9 – Good Times/Great Oldies.”
June 2019 PPM Data – Part Four. June 2019 ratings information has been released for Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 survey period covered May 23 – June 19. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.
iHeartMedia Announces Completion of Restructuring. Almost 14 months after entering into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, iHeartMedia announces it has “successfully completed its restructuring process. As a result of the comprehensive balance sheet restructuring, iHeartMedia’s debt has been significantly reduced – from $16.1 billion to $5.75 billion.” With the balance sheet reorganization comes the separation of iHeartMedia and Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings into two independent, publicly traded companies. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased that iHeartMedia now has a capital structure that matches our exciting operating business. The focused dedication of our employees and the unwavering support of our new owners and advertising partners enabled iHeartMedia to seamlessly complete the restructuring process and reach this final milestone. iHeartMedia enters this next phase of growth as a multi-platform audio company with a vastly improved financial profile. We are well-positioned to continue to innovate and offer cutting-edge technologies, products, and services to our audiences and advertisers.” Pittman continues to serve as chairman and chief executive officer of the new iHeartMedia, Inc. Rich Bressler continues to serve as president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer. A new board of directors has been appointed, including Bob Pittman, Rich Bressler, and the following members: Jay Rasulo, Gary Barber, Brad Gerstner, Sean Mahoney, and Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan.
David Field on Spoken-Word Radio and Sports Gambling. During the first quarter earnings call with analysts yesterday (4/30), Entercom president and CEO David Field talked about the value of his spoken-word formatted radio stations, saying the group – all-news, news/talk, and sports talk – account for “roughly about 40% of our revenue mix across our stations.” The company operates 235 stations and, by TALKERS‘ count, approximately 30% of its stations are spoken-word. Separately and responding to a question about the gambling category and the trend towards legal sports gambling across the country, Field expressed hopes for the future of the sports gambling advertising category, saying the company’s large group of sports talk stations should be able to capitalize on that. He stated, “We have seen estimates that the sports gambling advertising market could be in the neighborhood of $2 billion. If you think about radio getting a chunk of that, a reasonable chunk of it and Entercom’s prowess in the sports market, we think this could become a $1 million or $2 million category for Entercom over time. That is certainly a reasonable aspirational goal.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Subscribers can see the rest of the transcript here.
‘The O’Reilly Update’ Show Launches. This is the week “The O’Reilly Update” – the new, 15-minute daily radio program featuring Bill O’Reilly – debuts on more than 100 stations. Key Networks is syndicating the program and reports that inaugural affiliates include: WBAL, Baltimore; WDTK, Detroit; WHK, Cleveland; KUFO, Portland; and KTSA, San Antonio. Key Networks says the program is airing in four of the top 10 DMAs, nine of the top 20 DMAs and 18 of the top 50 DMAs. It is also being rolled out on 21 non-news/talk stations, including on country and classic hits outlets. The show – with all network spots included within the show and two minutes of local avails – is delivered daily at 11:30 am ET. WBAL president and general manager Cary Pahigian says, “Bill O’Reilly has a track record of insightful and unfiltered commentary on vital topics and issues. His familiar voice and dynamic point of view augments our lineup of outspoken hosts and commentators.” Alpha Media news/talk/sports content director Bruce Collins says, “Bill is a true natural storyteller. I’m extremely excited to have him on-air in Portland on ‘Freedom 970.’” Meet Bill O’ Reilly at the forthcoming Talkers 2019: Telling the Storywhere he will be delivering a special keynote address. The convention is rapidly nearing a sellout. For registration information, please click here.
TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT: Overcoming the Public’s Distrust of the Media Spotlighted at Forthcoming Talkers Convention. The highly polarized nature of today’s political climate has created a widespread public distrust of the media in general. Dealing with this complex issue has become one of the fundamental challenges facing news/talk hosts of all political stripes. It also creates new opportunities. Talkers 2019: Telling the Story, set for New York on Friday, June 7, is featuring a panel discussion addressing this concern and all matters of credibility titled “Overcoming Distrust of the Media.” Panelists include (in alphabetical order): Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, host, “The Joe Pags Show;” Doug Stephan, CEO/host, Stephan Multimedia; and Rick Ungar, host, “The Rick Ungar Program”/editor-in-chief, TheDailyCentrist.com. Don’t miss this session! The discussion will be moderated by Jim Bohannon, host, Westwood One. The conference is rapidly moving toward being an early sellout. To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and registration/hotel information, please click here.
Midwest Closes on Alpha Media Acquisitions. The $21.6 million deal between Alpha Media and Midwest Communications that gives Midwest six Peoria market radio stations closes. The station group includes news/talk WMBD-AM/W262BY and five music-formatted signals. The Duke Wright-led Midwest Communications owns 75 other radio stations in states including: Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. This is its first Illinois acquisition. At the time the sale was announced, Wright stated, “The first time my wife and I visited Peoria was to visit son Michael enrolled at Bradley University. We were most impressed with the city and its radio stations. My thought was that here was a market that would probably nicely fit into the Midwest Communications radio group.” KALIL & CO., INC. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.
Indiana’s Legendary WHBU-AM Relaunches as Talk-Music Hybrid. The Anderson, Indiana-licensed station is owned by Woof Boom Radio and the company is re-launching the “oldest commercial station” in the state to more intensely serve the Muncie-Marion market. The station will feature talk shows to focus on Anderson and Madison counties plus classic hits from the 60s and 70s. New morning host (and Hoosier native) Mitch Henck handles the 7:00 am to 9:00 am show. He says, “I am really excited to help launch a new morning news/talk show on WHBU. We really put Anderson and Madison county first. We want to capture stories about the special people who live here as they pursue their hopes and dreams every day.”
Dan Mason Named Chairman of VSiN. Longtime radio executive Dan Mason is named chairman of VSiN (Vegas Stats & Information Network) the media network dedicated to sports betting information. In this role, Mason will “work closely with VSiN’s management team to capitalize on the emerging growth and partnership opportunities in the sports betting and media space.” VSiN founder and CEO Brian Musburger says, “There are few media executives with both the experience and reputation that Dan brings to the table. He’s already brought invaluable guidance to our team as a senior adviser and investor, and we look forward to having even greater access to his unmatched depth of knowledge and relationships in this industry. We’re thrilled to work even more closely with this consummate leader and better leverage his C-level expertise to build on and accelerate the recent growth we are experiencing at VSiN.” Mason adds, “Brian and his team have caught lightning in a bottle here. Besides establishing itself on the satellite platform, recently extending its agreement with SiriusXM, VSiN has made tremendous inroads into the OTT space with Sling TV and fuboTV, as well as growing its own subscription offerings. We will now look to further expand our reach across video and audio channels, including terrestrial radio where sports have thrived for decades.”
TALKERS News Notes. The National Association of Broadcasters is announcing it is accepting nominations for the 2019 NAB Marconi Radio Awards through May 31. The NAB’s Marconi Radio Awards recognize overall excellence and performance in radio. Finalists will be announced in July and winners will be honored at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show at the Radio Show in Dallas on September 26. Stations and on-air personalities may nominate themselves in the categories of “Station of the Year by Market Size,” “Station of the Year by Format,” “Personality of the Year by Market Size,” “Legendary Station,” and “Best College Radio Station of the Year,” which has been renamed from “Noncommercial Station of the Year.” Nominations will also be accepted for new awards categories of “Legendary Manager of the Year” and “Best Radio Station Podcast.” Syndicators and affiliates may also submit nominations for the category of “Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year.” Nominations must be submitted online here…..Radio America‘s nationally syndicated “The Dana Show” starring Dana Loesch announces new affiliate stations WJJF-FM, Nassau (Long Island); WSIC-AM/FM Charlotte; WFTW-AM Ft. Walton Beach, Florida; and KPNW-AM/FM Eugene, Oregon all add the program to their daily lineups…..Bustos Media’s news/talk KVOI, Tucson announces that two of its programs – “Eye on the Ball” with Steve Rivera and “Around the Table” with Dawn and Jennifer English – are swapping dayparts. Rivera moves to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot and the English’s move to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot. Also, the station adds the independently syndicated Dave Ramsey show to the program schedule, airing from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm…..This month is being declared the Second Annual Maryland Podcast Month. Brian Griffiths founded Maryland Podcast Month last May in order to “bring together podcasts of all stripes and cross-collaborate and cross-promote in order to create more opportunities for podcasts to get new listeners.” It’s non-partisan and non-ideological and consists of all sorts of locally produced content, including podcasts about news, politics, sports, life, culture, food, wrestling, and other shows. Being featured in Maryland Podcast Month are a couple of shows from WBAL, Baltimore personalities…..Team Broadcasting‘s sports talk KQTM, Albuquerque “ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team” is partnering with local soccer club New Mexico United to bring 15 of the team’s matches to the station’s airwaves. New Mexico United is in its inaugural season in the USL Championship, a professional soccer league that has a partnership with Major League Soccer…..Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” recently hosted The Stanley Cup, the oldest trophy in professional sports, on the “Felger & Massarotti” show. Pictured below in the “Sports Hub” studio in Boston are (From l-r): host Mike Felger, 985thesportshub.com hockey writer Ty Anderson, WBZ-FM personality Big Jim Murray, and host Tony Massarotti.
Mueller Report Release/Barr Testimony Request, 2020 Presidential Politics, Trump Tax Returns/Business Earnings Issues, Venezuela Unrest, Deadly UNCC Shooting, Southern Border Crisis, NBA Playoffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30). The release of the Mueller report, Robert Mueller’s disagreement with Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the report and Barr’s requested testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee; the Democrats vying to run against President Trump in 2020; the request by New York State for Trump’s tax returns and the investigation into Trump business deals with foreign governments; the political unrest in Venezuela; the shooting at University of North Carolina Charlotte that took the lives of two and injured others; the migrant influx status at the U.S.-Mexico border; the NBA playoffs; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Phoenix, midday personality and music director Tom Peake is leaving his on-air role with Entercom’s classic hits KOOL-FM. He’ll continue to serve as music director. Peake tells the Arizona Republic that it was not his idea to give up his air shift, but he understands the reasons and has no ill feelings. Peake started at the station as a part-time jock in 1979. He became the full-time evening personality in 1981…..Beasley Media Group’s hot AC WJBR, Wilmington, Delaware “The New Mix 99.5” names John Baublis, a.k.a.Johnny B, program director. Beasley EVP of programming Justin Chase says, “Johnny’s a programming veteran with years of proven success and past experience in the Wilmington market. Plus, he shares our values of great local radio with an emphasis on serving the community. We’re proud to have someone like Johnny on our team at JBR.”…..Two programming announcements from Midwest Communications. First, Ryan Fantozzi is named brand manager for rock WOZZ, Wausau, Wisconsin “Rock 94.7,” effective May 13. Fantozzi comes to Midwest from NRG Media where he was PD at rock WBWB, Bloomington, Illinois. Fantozzi replaces Terry Stevens, who is promoted to operations manager for the company’s Lansing, Michigan cluster. Stevens will oversee the operations of rock WJXQ, CHR WLMI, country WWDK and adult hits WQTX.