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Thursday, November 18, 2021

| November 18, 2021

KHTK Ropes In Cattles As PD. Three-year WVSP “ESPN Radio 94.1” afternoon drive personality Nick Cattles is leaving the Max Media Norfolk sports station to join Bonneville Sacramento’s similarly-formatted KHTK “Sports 1140” as program director. In addition to his PD duties which begin next month (12/13), Cattles will host KHTK’s PM drive show. Bonneville Sacramento senior vice president/market manager Steve Cottingim remarks, “Now that we have extended our relationship with the [NBA’s] Sacramento Kings, we couldn’t be more excited to add someone to the KHTK team who has the passion and experience that Nick does.” Bonneville Sacramento group director of programming Chad Rufer notes, “The sports programming team at Bonneville International has had our eye on Nick for a while. We couldn’t be more excited that he will be joining our team in Sacramento to lead KHTK.” Cattles adds, “I couldn’t be happier or more excited to join a brand with such a rich tradition. I look forward to this challenge and doing whatever I can to make sure KHTK remains the king of sports talk in Sacramento.” He succeeds Jason Ross, who remains with the station. Cattles’ final show on WVSP will be next Wednesday (11/24).

Radio Mercury Awards Winners Announced. Those scoring top honors in the 30th anniversary Radio Mercury Awards were disclosed last night (Wednesday, 11/17) in a Radio Advertising Bureau-produced virtual ceremony. BBDO Atlanta chief judge/chief creative officer Robin Fitzgerald comments, “This year, it took us two days to fully deliberate, as this year’s winners really impressed the jury with their overall approach to messaging and storytelling. The winning work shone through, made us laugh, feel inspired and even made us a little hungry for soup dumplings.” RAB president/chief executive officer/Radio Creative Fund chair Erica Farber notes, “The 30th anniversary awards presentation once again reflected the power of radio creative and its ability to grow brands and deliver for advertisers. The Radio Mercury Awards continue to advance the medium forward by showcasing innovative, creative and effective radio and audio commercial work.” The following is the list of winning spots. Creative Radio Campaign, Agency/Production Company/Advertiser/Radio Station or Group: “Barbershop Quartet,” Progressive Insurance, Arnold Worldwide; Motel 6 “2020 Radio Campaign,” Motel 6, The Richards Group. Creative Radio Spot for a Cause, Agency/Production Company/Advertiser: “How to Play Soccer,” The Aspen Institute’s Project Play, Arnold Worldwide. Creative Radio Spot, Agency/Production Company/Advertiser: Snickers “Commercial Free,” Mars Chocolate North America, BBDO New York; “Car Dealership,” Postmates, Mother LA. Creative Radio Spot, Insightful Voice: “Meemaw,” Motel 6, Barkley. Creative Radio Spot, Radio Station or Group: “Disco Colonoscopy,” Kansas Medical Clinic, Alpha Media; “Ballwash.Com Valentine’s Day 2020,” Ballsy, Cumulus Media Atlanta. Creative Spot for a Cause, Radio Station or Group: “Black Voices of Humboldt County #2,” In-House PSA, Lost Coast Communications. Creative Use of Non-broadcast Audio: “Bedtime Stories,” Walmart, FCB Chicago; “Radio Recliner,” Bridge Senior Living, Luckie. Creative Use of Songs/Music (Original or Repurposed): “Chinchilla,” Absolute Roofing, The Studio at iHeartMedia. Integrated Brand Campaign with Radio/Audio: “When All You Can Food Is Think About,” Postmates, Mother LA. Purpose-Driven Spot or Campaign, Agency/Production Company/Advertiser/Radio Station or Group: “Bingo Recovery,” Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance, Preston Spire. Radio Station or Group Promotional Spot or Campaign: “Black Excellence,” In-House Campaign, iHeartMedia. It was announced during the awards that Campbell Ewald Detroit/New York executive creative director Alejandro Ortiz will be chief judge for the 2022 Radio Mercury Awards.

Katz Media Group Adds Another $45,000 For BFA. During its eleventh annual company-wide membership drive, Katz Media Group has raised $45,000 for The Broadcasters Foundation of America, bringing the total amount to nearly $400,000 since the drive’s inception. All money garnered during Katz’s annual two-week campaign goes toward the Stu Olds Memorial Fund that commemorates Katz’s former chief executive officer and supports the Foundation’s mission to provide support to broadcast professionals in dire need. Katz Media Group chief executive officer Mark Gray comments, “As a longstanding board member, I have seen first-hand how the money raised helps broadcasters in need. I’m incredibly proud of the continued generosity of the Katz team to continue this tradition to honor Stu’s legacy and give back to our industry.” Broadcasters Foundation of America co-president Jim Thompson states, “We are grateful to the entire team at Katz for their continued support of our charitable cause. Our purpose at the Foundation is to provide aid to those in our industry who need it most, whether it be monthly assistance from life-altering circumstances or a one-time emergency grant to help victims of natural disasters. With the help from our friends and colleagues at Katz, we can help more broadcasters in need across the country.” For over 70 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has provided aid ranging from medical care to financial assistance to broadcasters and their families across the United States. This year, the Foundation will give away more than $1.8 million in monthly and emergency grants, including victims of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires.

WGN To Team Dent And Bertrand In PM Drive. Effective 1/3 (2022), Nexstar Chicago news/talk WGN will elevate part-timer Lisa Dent to afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) where she will team with Steve Bertrand. Anna Davlantes segues from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm duty to investigative correspondent. WGN Radio vice president/general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle remarks, “Lisa Dent has long been a significant and well-known presence in Chicago radio. Her vibrant personality and warmth, understanding of the city and an ability to authentically connect on a personal level with listeners makes her a natural fit for afternoon drive on WGN as we embark on our 100th  year of being the voice of Chicagoland. Anna Davlantes’ impeccable resume includes decades of award-winning investigative reporting. Few rival Anna’s commitment to serving the public in anticipating, exposing, and breaking important stories. We are fortunate to have her expertise at WGN Radio.” A fill-in host on WGN since January, Rockford (Illinois) native Dent began her radio career in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin in 1981. She has worked in Houston, Seattle, Minneapolis, and San Diego before returning to Chicago in 2002. A 2016 Country Radio Hall of Fame inductee, Dent previously hosted at Chicago country outlets (Audacy-owned) WUSN “US-99” and iHeartMedia’s WEBG “Big 99.5.” Beginning January 3, WGN’s revised lineup will include: WGN-TV simulcast (4:00 am – 6:00 am); Bob Sirrott (6:00 am – 10:00 am); John Williams (10:00 am – 2:00 pm); “Chicago’s Afternoon News with Lisa Dent and Steve Bertrand” (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm); “WGN Radio’s Money Matters” (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, airing early-2022); and John Landecker (7:00 pm -10:00 pm).

VICE World News Seeks Archival Conservative News/Talk Radio Airchecks for Forthcoming Documentary. The TV arm of VICE World News is producing a four-part documentary series on the history of talk radio, from the 1980s through present day. This series utilizes a combination of original footage with archival materials. The production is currently seeking archival recordings of conservative talk radio programs, particularly from 1989 – 1995, including material that is on tape and not digitized. If you have any archival audio recordings that meet this description, please contact archival producer Elijah Stevens at elijah.stevens@vice.com.

COVID-19, Inflation/Supply Chain, January 6 Investigation, Infrastructure Bill, Ahmaud Arbery Case and Kyle Rittenhouse Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/17). According to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine, some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (11/17) included: The increased rate of COVID-19 cases in some parts of the country, boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; soaring retail and fuel prices and the supply chain slowdown; the House investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol; President Biden signing his $1.2 trillion Infrastructure package into law; the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial taking place in Georgia; and the jury deliberates in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial in Kenosha.

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Links With iHM For Weekly Podcast. The 15-minute/52-episode “Amazing Wildlife” podcast series will post each Friday, beginning tomorrow (11/19). Highlights include unique wildlife stories from around the world, as well as conservation efforts happening on site at the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. iHeartPodcast Network chief operating officer Will Pearson remarks, “With ‘Amazing Wildlife,’ we are excited to expand iHeart’s educational and entertaining podcast offerings for families and kids of all ages. We have so much to learn around wildlife and conservation efforts, especially when it comes to how we can all be helpful in ways big and small. We’re excited to work alongside the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance to continue to provide these educational resources.” San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (SDZWA) chief marketing officer David Miller states, “San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has been doing amazing conservation work for decades, and this podcast is the latest opportunity for us to share the impact this organization has had on conserving wildlife and wild spaces. The family-friendly nature of the show is yet another way we’re working to inspire the next generation of conservationists.” Co-hosting the podcast are wildlife care specialist/San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance ambassador Rick Schwartz and SDZWA senior editor Ebone Monet. According to Schwartz, “We’re fortunate to work with iHeartMedia on this podcast. My hope is to inspire younger generations to be active in conservation efforts. I’m honored to be hosting the podcast alongside Ebone Monet and to share my passion for what I’ve learned throughout my years working at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.” The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is an international nonprofit conservation organization that oversees the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Three Board Members Added To NAB Leadership Foundation. Among those elected to the National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation are Black Information Network president/iHeartMedia Division president of metro markets Tony Coles. Joining Coles are Cox Media Group executive vice president Paul J. Curran Jr. and Allen Media Group executive vice president of global human resources Melody Smalls. NAB Leadership Foundation chair/Bonneville International KSL Broadcast Group president Darrell Brown comments, “We are grateful for our board’s guidance as we work to develop leaders, advance diversity, and highlight the community service initiatives of our industry.” NAB Leadership Foundation president Michelle Duke notes, “We want to thank the new members for their willingness to serve and look forward to their insights as we continue to expand our programs and prepare the next generation of industry leaders.” Coles joined iHeartMedia in 2004 and has held various on-air, programming and management positions. Most recently, he was executive vice president/programming for the company’s west region. Prior to his current position, Curran served as Cox Media Group’s market vice president for Orlando, which included WDBO-AM “Orlando’s News Talk;” country WWKA “K-92.3”; classic rock WMMO; urban AC WCFB “Star 94.5”; rhythmic CHR WPYO “Power 95.3”; and Spanish contemporary WOEX “Solo Exitos.” Smalls oversees global human resources strategy for all Allen Media Group divisions, including Allen Media Broadcasting, Entertainment Studios Networks, Local Now and The Weather Channel. She previously worked as The Weather Channel’s chief human resources and compliance officer.

TALKERS News Notes. In a special edition of ABC Audio’s “Start Here” podcast (today, 11/18), host Brad Mielke interviews former U.S. Attorney John Brownlee along with Danny Strong, the creator of Hulu’s “Dopesick,” about the explosion of OxyContin that resulted in millions of addicted Americans … College basketball analyst Greg “Hoops” Peterson hosts iHeart Podcast Network’s “Coast To Coast Hoops,” a daily show offering betting analysis on top ten teams and other games … A commercial-free version of ESPN Radio has been added to TuneIn Premium. This partnership adds to TuneIn’s premium lineup of commercial-free stations which includes MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News Radio. TuneIn chief executive officer Richard Stern notes, “Millions of people around the world trust ESPN to provide them with the latest and greatest in sports coverage and commentary. TuneIn is committed to meeting our listeners’ demand for timely and uninterrupted sports talk. As longtime partners with ESPN, we are incredibly excited to bring ESPN Radio commercial-free to TuneIn Premium, and give our listeners even more sports to consume.” Current TuneIn Premium subscribers can access commercial-free ESPN Radio immediately. Access to the existing ad-supported ESPN Radio remains available to non-subscribers … The Big 12 Conference has banned Texas Tech football radio play-by-play voice Brian Jensen and analyst John Harris from calling this Saturday’s game (11/20) against Oklahoma State for criticizing officials and the conference commissioner during last Saturday’s victory against Iowa State. Commissioner Bob Bowlsby notes, “I understand the roles of the play-by-play [announcer] and color analyst. However, as University representatives, they have an obligation to adhere to Conference policy regarding comments about game officials. Comments by the Red Raider Radio Network booth announcers were contrary to expected levels of respect and professionalism. Questioning the integrity of Conference officials is well beyond appropriate and permissible behavior.” Jensen and Harris suggested that one official acted as though he had sustained a concussion and that the officials did not want Iowa State to lose.

Futuri Debuts TopicPulse SportsEdge. According to Futuri chief executive officer Daniel Anstandig, “Sports betting advertising is one of the fastest-growing revenue streams for broadcasters.” He claims the eSports market is “predicted to grow to $3 billion by 2023.” With that in mind, Futuri introduces TopicPulse SportsEdge, a version of its real-time, AI-powered story discovery and social content system customized for eSports, betting, VR and fantasy content. The service provides 24/7 access to insights on sports-related stories and hot topics, as well as what’s losing traction. Anstandig comments, “Given the explosive growth of this space, TopicPulse SportsEdge is right in line with Futuri’s mission to help media companies grow their content, grow their audience, and grow their revenue.” TopicPulse SportsEdge’s “IdeaStarters” delivers pre-written copy points on the day’s top stories for use in blogs, social posts and on-air copy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

| September 8, 2020

Monday Memo: Noise Fatigue = News Renaissance?  With one new nightly network newscast launched, and another debuting this month, consultant Holland Cooke – himself a cable host – welcomes new play-it-straight players to the TV news menu. Read Cooke’s post-holiday Tuesday edition of the Monday Memo here.

Presidential Race/Polls/Vote-By-Mail Debate, School Openings/College Outbreaks, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, Portland Protests, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election, the most recent polls, and the debate over voting by mail; the opening of schools across the country and the outbreaks of COVID-19 cases at numerous college campuses across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, projections for future cases, and the progress on a vaccine; the ongoing violent clashes between protesters and police in Portland; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: 19 Years Ago This Friday. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about his memory of the terror attacks on the U.S. 19 years ago this Friday. Read it here.

WGN, Chicago Makes Surprise Programming Changes. The departure of Roe Conn from the afternoon drive slot on Nexstar Media Group’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago was not entirely unexpected – it has been rumored that the station was considering moving on when Conn’s contract ends in December – but the timing of Friday’s announcement was a bit surprising. Conn is gone from his show, effective immediately, as is longtime WGN overnight personality Nick Digilio. Effective September 28, Steve Bertrand will host the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm “Chicago’s Afternoon News” program and Chicago radio legend John Records Landecker joins to host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program. Anna Davlantes’ early afternoon program expands to 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. In a press release, Bertrand says of the new show, “I am thrilled to get a chance to help create a show that will be equal parts informative and entertaining. With any luck, we’ll end the day a little smarter and have a good time getting there.” WGN Radio general manager Mary Boyle adds, “The importance of local news and information being shared by someone who is trusted by our audience is paramount during these challenging times. Steve Bertrand has always been committed to reporting the news in a fair and thoughtful way. This afternoon news-oriented program led by Steve is a welcome addition to our WGN Radio weekday lineup.”

Report: Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes Off SiriusXM and SportsMap Radio Network. According to a story in Crossing Broad, the “Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes” has been taken off of SiriusXM’s Dan Patrick channel as well as the Houston-based SportsMap Radio Network in the aftermath of Bruno’s recent comments about NBA players boycotting games and about LeBron James in particular. Deadspin wrote a very critical story about Bruno’s segment on the NBA and paraphrased Bruno in its headline that read, “NBA Players Can’t Read.” Bruno was critical of Deadspin’s twisting of his words in a piece published by Barrett Sports Media. Bruno can be heard saying, “Most of these guys can’t even read, for God’s sake.” BSM writes, “In context, it is clear that Bruno was being flippant and not as malicious as Deadspin portrays.” The Bruno and Mayes program has been removed from the website program schedules at both SiriusXM and SportsMap Radio Network.

Wendy Bell Off Air at Entercom’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. According to a piece at Patch.com, afternoon drive talk host Wendy Bell is off the air of Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. The move came after Bell said on the air that park rangers should shoot people who are vandalizing monuments to historical figures. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP Michael Spacciapolli said in a statement: “Entercom is the home to thousands of voices representing Americans of all races, ethnicities, gender identity, sexual orientation, beliefs and ability. We take very seriously our responsibility to provide a platform for our communities to engage in diverse and meaningful dialogue, debate and the right to freedom of speech, we do not condone the incitement of violence on any of our platforms. Members of our community have recently brought to our attention comments made by Wendy Bell that do not align with Entercom’s values. Wendy has been taken off air until further notice. Entercom Pittsburgh remains steadfast in our commitment to inclusive conversations that engage everyone in Pittsburgh while excluding any form of violence.”

Sterling: My Cousin Brucie Problem. Talk show host Walter M. Sterling (pictured at left) writes today about his Cousin Brucie “problem.” Sterling hosts the hour immediately following radio legend Cousin Bruce Morrow’s new Saturday evening program on WABC, New York. His “problem” is figuring out how to keep as much of Cousin Brucie’s audience as he can. Read more here.

Premiere Networks Puts Black Information Network into Syndication. The newly launched BIN: Black Information Network, billed by iHeartMedia as “the first and only 24/7 national all news audio service dedicated exclusively to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of news coverage with a Black voice and perspective,” is being made available to stations nationwide via Premiere Networks. “Black Information Network News” features :60 newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour, as well as breaking news, from experienced and award-winning Black journalists, including Vanessa Tyler, Mike Stevens, Madelyne Woods, Morgyn Wood, Mike “Devin” Dunston, Tanita Myers, and Julius White. “Black Information Network News” launched on September 7 on nearly 20 stations across the country, including WVON-AM, Chicago; KMAZ-FM, Houston; KMOJ-FM, Minneapolis; and more. Midway Broadcasting chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper says, “WVON is pleased to add the Black Information Network as our national news source. WVON’s 24-hour Black talk format is an important and impactful voice in the Chicago market and BIN is the perfect complement to keep our vibrant local community aware of what’s happening across the country. What happens in Black America matters. Telling our story matters. BIN’s timing is perfect!”

KNX, Los Angeles Celebrating 100 Years of Service. Beginning today (9/8), Entercom begins celebrating 100 years of KNX 1070 News Radio “Southern California’s only 24-hour news and traffic station” with the airing of “KNX: a Century of Covering Southern California,” a “history-rich, eight-part on-air series to commemorate its centennial anniversary and pay tribute to former employees who helped grow KNX 1070 News Radio into one of the nation’s premiere all-news brands.” On Thursday (9/10 – the station’s official anniversary) KNX will reimage itself for the day using memorable jingles, sounders and sound bites from the previous 100 years. The radio station launched on September 10, 1920 when Fred Christian started 6ADZ for the customers of his Electric Supply Company to listen to. Twenty months later in May 1922, the electric supply company was issued the call sign, KNX. Current KNX brand manager Ken Charles says, “KNX is a historic brand and I’m in awe of being a part of its illustrious history. This station is a local pillar, here before the Hollywood Sign, the Santa Monica Pier and the Rose Bowl. Just as iconic as any of our local treasures, KNX is a consistent part of the fabric of Southern California, serving as a breaking news resource for our communities, first responders and the nation.”

Jason Bailey Exits Sun Broadcast Group. Media exec Jason Bailey is leaving his role as president of Gen Media PartnersSun Broadcast Group to “move on from the network he founded in order to focus his attention on his company Reatro Ventures, the developer of affiliate research software, ARC.”  Reatro is co-owned by former Sun COO Julio Aponte who will also be taking a more active role in the start-up venture. Warren Friedland, the managing partner of Gen Media Partners, will be filling the role of president for Sun. Bailey says, “Today is bittersweet for me. I’m excited to join Julio and our team at Reatro to focus on the amazing software and app development projects we have on our plate. I’m also incredibly sad to leave my baby (Sun) for the very last time. It has been the honor of a lifetime to work with the great men and women at Sun these last 12 years. They are my family and will always be in my heart. I am certain that under the leadership of Warren along with new COO, Danno Wolkoff, Sun will continue to shine bright for years to come.”

iHeartMedia Re-Brands WNIO, Youngstown as ‘The Gambler.’ Youngstown, Ohio sports talk outlet WNIO re-brands from “The Sports Animal” to “1390 The Gambler,” effective immediately. iHeartMedia says, “‘The Gambler’ will focus on sports talk with a concentration on gambling, including top-of-the-hour wagering updates from VSiN and will feature programming from the BetR Network, including “My Guys in the Desert,” hosted by sportscaster Brent Musberger. The station will also broadcast programming from FOX Sports Radio, including “The Clay Travis Show,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” and “The Lombardi Line,” hosted by former Cleveland Browns general manager, Mike Lombardi. iHM Youngstown market president Keith Kennedy says, “‘The Gambler’ is the future of sports radio. We are thrilled to bring this hot new format to The Valley and assist the Youngstown community with navigating the ever-growing world of sports wagering.”

WGAU, Athens’ Tim Bryant Honored with Enshrinement in Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. Radio news and on-air pro Tim Bryant – currently morning show host and news director for Cox Media Group’s WGAU, Athens – has been honored as a Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Career Achievement Inductee for his more than 30-year career in radio. Bryant is one of seven radio icons to have receive this top honor, which recognizes and celebrates individuals who have had a lasting impact on Georgia radio. The virtual ceremony was held on Friday (9/4). Cox Athens station director Kelsey Gresham says, “The name Tim Bryant is synonymous with WGAU and Athens, as his has been a steady and trusted voice on Athens’ radio station of record for a quarter of its more than 80-year history. Tim’s work goes well beyond the airwaves, as he is an integral part of the fabric of the Classic City. He is extremely involved in the community, often hosting forums and debates between political candidates, covering major local events and giving back as a volunteer to various community efforts as often as he can. We are so proud and honored to have him as part of the CMG team.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. This year’s 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards were handed out via an on-air and social media special over the Labor Day weekend on iHeartRadio stations nationwide, and the iHeartRadio App, the all-in-one digital music, podcast, on demand and live-streaming radio service. Some of the winners included: Lizzo for “Song of the Year”; Billie Eilish for “Female Artist of the Year”; Jonas Brothers for “Best Duo/Group of the Year”; and Taylor Swift for “Album of the Year.”…..Beasley Media Group brings Delaware Valley radio personality Jessie Jordan to hot AC WJBR-FM, Wilmington “MIX 99.5” as co-host of “The Mix Morning Show with Johnny B and Jessie Jordan.” Jordan has worked on air at WIOQ-FM and WBEB-FM in Philadelphia prior to joining WJBR-FM this past summer. Station program director Eric Johnson says, “We are thrilled to have Jessie join Johnny B weekday mornings. She certainly added sparkle and feel good fun to this summer’s weekend programming. Now we get to start our day with her sunshine each morning!”…..Nick Cannon announces he’s returning to the helm of his Skyview Networks-syndicated radio program after taking time away for a period of reflection, dialogue, and study with some of America’s most notable Jewish community leaders and representatives. Skyview says, “During his hiatus, Nick worked to deepen his understanding of the issues long troubling the Black and Jewish communities and pledged from this point forward to be a leading voice and advocate for positive change, greater understanding. and unity.” Skyview president and COO Steve Jones says, “We are so appreciative of Nick Cannon’s affiliates for their commitment to Nick during his period of reflection. We recognize that he is an incredible entertainer with a powerful voice that will continue to command the interest and attention of radio listeners during this volatile time in America.”…..Connoisseur Media welcomes Janine Johns back into the company fold as general sales manager for its five-station cluster on Long Island that includes: hot AC WALK-FM, adult contemporary WKJY “K-JOY 98.3,” classic hits WBZO “103.1 MAX FM,” rock WWSK “94.3 THE SHARK,” and oldies WHLI-AM.  She’s been serving as senior account manager for Altice since 2015.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

| March 19, 2020

WGN, Chicago Parts Company with Evening Personality Justin Kaufmann.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, evening talk host Justin Kaufmann leaves Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM after the company elected not to renew his contract.  Kaufmann joined WGN in 2015 after spending 21 years as a show producer at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM.  Feder says his sources expect Ji Suk Yi to move from her position as host of the “Wintrust Business Lunch” noontime program to host of the evening show.  Since Nexstar took over operation of the station from Tribune Media, on-air changes have included the exit of morning host Steve Cochran – replaced by Bob Sirott – and midday duo Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – whose former daypart was filled with a combination of the move of John Williams’ show to late mornings and Anna Davlantes leaving the Roe Conn afternoon drive show to host her own early afternoon program.

WNIR-FM, Akron Host Jim Isabella Out with Coronavirus. According to a report at CantonRep.com, WNIR, Akron evening talk show host Jim Isabella is off the air after contracting COVID-19.  Isabella tells the news organization he had flu-like symptoms last week and was hospitalized for pneumonia.  It was there he was tested for coronavirus and two days later learned the test was positive. He’s quoted saying, “Obey what the people are telling you.  I don’t know where the hell I got it.  You have to be smart… this is not a drill.”  Isabella says he has a cough and a rattle in his chest that makes it hard to talk for very long.

The Coronavirus Pandemic, Financial Markets Activity/Recession Fears, Coronavirus Relief Package, and Democratic Primary/Presidential Race, Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18).  The status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S and across the globe; the world’s financial markets endure another sell-off on Wednesday and economists express fear of a global recession as a result of the coronavirus; the coronavirus relief package and potential stimulus packages being considered by the Trump administration; and Joe Biden’s growing lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Round Three of Nielsen’s February PPM’s Posted. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey is released for 12 markets, including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus.  The February PPM survey covered January 30 through February 26.  You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian posts his Ratings Takeaways from the second round.  Positive movement from these markets include: Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM, Washington adds four-tenths to finish the ratings period at a 7.3 share and the #3 rank in the market; Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington also added four tenths to wrap the month at a 7.8 share and tied for the #1 rank; Entercom’s all-news WWJ, Detroit tacks a half share onto January’s four-tenths to finish the February survey at a 4.8 share and the #6 rank; iHeartMedia’s conservative talk KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7” adds another three-tenths, posting a 3.6 share and the #13 rank; and Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore puts another half share on top of seven consecutive ratings gains for a 4.4 share and the #8 rank in the market.  See all of Mike Kinosian’s Takeaways here.

New York Festivals Radio Awards Announces 2020 Finalists. The 2020 New York Festivals Radio Awards International Grand Jury has selected the finalists in this year’s competition.  All finalists move on to the medal round of judging.  New York Festivals Radio Awards will announce the 2020 award winners on Tuesday, April 21.  The Grand Jury selected the finalists based on the following criteria: production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. New York Festivals says prominent broadcasters that took the lead include: RTÉ Ireland, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBS News Radio, and Radio New Zealand. You can see the complete list of finalists here. Meanwhile, other U.S. broadcasters of note to make the medal round include: in the Podcast category – “30 for 30 Podcasts: Season 6,” ESPN Films, “Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith” Spotify; “Dolly Parton’s America,” OSM Audio/ WNYC Studios; and “Sleepwalkers,” iHeartMedia.  In the Breaking News, Feature and Investigative categories: “75th Anniversary of D-Day,” Westwood One; “Protests Grip Hong Kong,” Bloomberg LP; “CBS World News Roundup” and “Notre Dame,” CBS News Radio.

TALKERS News Notes. The New Jersey Broadcasters Association announces it is canceling this year’s Annual Conference & Gala, originally scheduled for June 16 and 17 in Atlantic City.  President and CEO Paul Rotella says, “That’s not something we wanted to do, because we enjoy that event and we were very much looking forward to it.  Like you, we treasure the opportunity to shine a spotlight on our magnificent industry, especially this year when we were going to celebrate the century of service provided by broadcasters.  But our number-one priority at this time is health and safety, and the CDC’s guidelines make clear that gatherings over 50 people should be avoided for at least the next eight weeks, and of course that makes our planning futile. (It was going to be great too!) But, the show will go on my friends, if not this year, then next year.”…..John FredericksDisruptor Media LLC buys WNTW-AM, Chester, Virginia and translator W224EB, Chester at 92.7 FM in the Richmond market from Nancy A. Epperson’s Delmarva Educational Association for $240,000.  This pair will become part of the John Fredericks Radio Network based at his WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia…..Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois-based Big Radio is creating an online directory connecting consumers with the innovative ways that local businesses are continuing to serve them during the COVID-19 emergency.  The directory provides information on local restaurants, retailers, and other businesses that are offering services while still complying with the health emergency directives.  Listings are updated on a regular basis and are being provided free of charge to businesses in the Big Radio family of stations coverage area.  Big Radio co-owner Ben Thompson says, “Local businesses are the biggest supporters of our community and we wanted to find a way to help them publicize changes in their operations so that community residents could lend a hand by continuing to shop local.”  Big Radio is the business brand of Scott and Ben Thompson who own 10 stations and other businesses throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

KMZQ, Las Vegas Morning Host Heidi Harris Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Although every corner of the nation and world have been hit hard by the coronavirus, Las Vegas has been particularly impacted due to the preponderance of hospitality and travel-oriented industries that make the market tick.  KMZQ, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harris, a 22-year veteran of Las Vegas broadcasting, and Harrison take a conversational deep dive into the coronavirus-era machinations of the “gig economy” as well as state of the convention, travel, hospitality, and gambling industries in a fascinating, fast-paced program with lots of takeaways.  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 every page on Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the New York market Mediaco Holdings appoints Jonathan Bates vice president of brand partnerships for hip hop WQHT “Hot 97” and urban contemporary WBLS.  Bates has been serving as executive vice president for The Shadow League, a “website dedicated to presenting journalistically sound sports coverage through the lens of culture.”  Mediaco SVP of revenue Victor Giacomelli says, “Jonathan is an exceptional digital sales and marketing leader whose 20 years of digital experience will enable us to accelerate opportunities for clients to benefit from the wide array of authentic ‘Hot 97’ digital content opportunities.  Jonathan is expected to recruit a team of multicultural digital marketing specialists to partner with clients on a variety of ‘Hot 97’ digital and social opportunities.”…..iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108” is presenting a Billie Eilish experience this evening to offer fans who would have attended Eilish’s canceled concert in town tonight (3/19).  At 7:30 pm, the station will play Eilish’s music, interview clips, and listeners sharing their Billie thoughts and stories.  Station PD Dylan Sprague states, “Since her show at the Garden has been postponed, it’s the best way for fans to join together in our love for Billie Eilish.  If we were at the show, we’d be all singing these songs together.  Why not belt ‘em out at home?”

Thursday, November 21, 2019

| November 21, 2019

Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder Out in New WGN, Chicago Program Schedule. Two months after new management ousted station manager Todd Manley from his role at WGN, Chicago and hinted more changes were on the horizon, the Nexstar-owned news/talk outlet announces its new programming lineup and late morning duo Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder are the odd couple out.  After the close of the Tribune-Nexstar deal, Sean Compton became executive vice president and director of news and operations Mary Sandberg Boyle was named interim programming manager.  Yesterday (11/20), Boyle announced the changes via internal email.  Among the changes effective December 2 are: Steve Cochran’s morning show starts an hour earlier, airing from 5:00 am to 9:00 am; John Williams moves from his current 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Ji Suk Yi takes over hosting the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm “Wintrust Business Lunch” show; and Anna Davlantes leaves the co-host role on the afternoon drive Roe Conn program to host her own 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm talk show.  Conn remains in afternoons, followed by Justin Kaufmann from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, followed by Nick Digilio from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am.  WGN will simulcast the “WGN-TV Early Morning News” from 4:00 am to 5:00 am.  Read Chicago media writer Robert Feder’s coverage here.

WPHT, Philadelphia’s Rich Zeoli Interviews President Trump. Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive personality Rich Zeoli interviewing President Trump in the Oval Office as part of Tuesday’s White House Radio Row on the United States Mexico Canada trade deal.  The president also talked about the 2020 election and the impeachment hearings.  Zeoli says, “The president was incredibly gracious with his time and said how much he loves talk radio.”  Photo: Andrea Hanks

John Fredericks Show Interviews VP Mike Pence. At Tuesday’s White House Radio Row on the USMCA treaty, Virginia talk station owner and statewide talk radio personality John Fredericks (right) posed for a photo with Vice President Mike Pence (left) and Fredericks’ wife, Anne (center), who serves as CFO of the John Fredericks Network.

Cumulus Inks ‘The Ticket’ Morning Show ‘The Musers’ to Multiyear Extension. Dallas sports talkers George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith – collectively known as “The Musers” – sign contract extensions to continue hosting the morning drive show on Cumulus Media’s sports talk KCTK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket.”  The Cumulus Dallas-Houston regional vice president Dan Bennett says, “For 25 years, the Morning Musers’ George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith have performed at a market dominant level and we are excited that will continue for many more years in Dallas!”  The Musers comment, “We are very pleased to continue our longstanding relationship with Cumulus and the wonderful leadership of the Dallas/Fort Worth market.  This company has made us feel appreciated and we are extremely thankful for their support of such a special station.  ‘The Ticket’ in Dallas/Fort Worth is our home and the bond that we have with our listeners is something we will cherish for as long as we breathe.”

Salem Covers A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Premiere. Above is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) interviewing director Marielle Heller (right) at last night’s premiere of the SONY Pictures film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.  The film stars Tom Hanks as television icon Fred Rogers.  The premiere took place in Pittsburgh where the “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” TV show was produced at WQED-TV.

Skyview Networks Sponsors Panels at MLB Rightsholders Conference. The photo above shows the participants in this year’s MLB Audio Rightsholders Conference in Las Vegas.  More than 20 teams and organizations participated in panels covering technology, audio sales strategies, and the future of emerging non-terrestrial mediums.  Digital content captured the main focus of the conversations as franchises shared strategies for monetizing this evolving platform.  Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones says, “Skyview Networks is proud to return as the title sponsor of this conference, which hosts an innovative group of baseball and broadcast executives as they discuss the critical role radio and digital audio play in fan engagement.  We look forward to developing additional technology to serve our partners in this evolving audio space.”  Additional panel topics included maximizing ad sales with an emphasis on innovative features and creating awareness for franchises’ ancillary digital content, especially concerning podcasts.  As the digital listenership rapidly increases, the franchises are hyper-focused on monetizing the platform.

TALKERS News Notes. The NM Political Report says that KIVA-AM/K229CL, Albuquerque owner Eddy Aragon is considering running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Tom Udall, who is not running for re-election.  Aragon – a staunch conservative – hosts the afternoon show on the station branded, “the Rock of Talk.”  He tells NM Political Report this is something he’s only considering at this point. “You have to imagine the tremendous sacrifice that I have to consider.  Being off [the air] during the year Donald Trump is running in 2020, that’s a sacrifice to my radio station.”…..KIDO, Boise morning drive talk host Kevin Miller is pictured below talking to KTVB-TV, Boise news about his annual Miller’s Mission Turkey Drive to help provide the hungry and homeless in Boise with a warm dinner for the holidays.  The goal is to collect 3,000 turkeys for the Boise Rescue Mission Ministries.  Each year Miller dons his turkey suit and broadcasts live from a local Walmart parking lot to collect turkeys and cash donations.

Impeachment Testimony, 2020 Presidential Race/Atlanta Debate, Epstein Case/Prince Andrew Troubles, U.S.-China Trade Talks/Hong Kong Human Rights Act, and Mexicans Sue Walmart Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/20). Wednesday’s impeachment hearing with testimony from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Wednesday’s Atlanta debates; the investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s death and the aftermath of Prince Andrew’s BBC interview; U.S. trade talks with China and the U.S. House’s Hong Kong Human Rights Act; and Mexicans’ suit against Walmart over the mass shooting in El Paso 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. Programming pro Robyn Simone exits Cumulus Media’s urban contemporary WLXC, Columbia, South Carolina “Kiss 103.1” where she’d been serving as program director for the past year.  She says, “Working at Cumulus Media in Columbia was a challenge, but I gained a lot of knowledge in my short time there.  As the program director/air talent for ‘Kiss 103.1,’ I’m a stronger and more knowledgeable PD because the experience.  I would like to thank [VP programming operations] John Dimick and VP/urban programming Kenny Smoov for the opportunity and their commitment to set new standards for urban radio.”

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

| March 5, 2019

Talk Host Scott Robbins Profiled in Comeback from Serious Health Issues. The story by Steve Tarter in the Peoria Journal Star is accurately titled “From death’s door to three radio shows a day” as it recounts the scary health odyssey of radio talk host Scott Robbins.  Regular TALKERS readers remember Robbins was co-hosting a successful talk show with Jamie Markley on Alpha Media’s WMBD-AM/W262BY, Peoria in 2015 when a massive heart attack felled him.  Five bypass surgeries later Robbins was on a challenging road to recovery, but he made it and today is back as a cast member on WMBD’s midday “Markley and van Camp” show (with David van Camp), his own sports talk show on Alpha’s WPBG-HD3/W240DM, Peoria and the morning drive show on Great Plains Media’s news/talk WRPW, Bloomington “Cities 92.9.”  Robbins admits his previous lifestyle wasn’t ideal – drinking lots of beer, smoking cigars, and not seeing a doctor for two decades. He says the convalescing was a challenge.  “It’s a dark tunnel.  I know that three years ago I couldn’t walk or talk.  I try to give others (in that situation) some sense of encouragement.”

Lauren Lapka Named Afternoon Traffic Reporter for WGN-AM, Chicago. WGN-AM, Chicago brings news pro and air personality Lauren Lapka aboard to handle traffic reports during the John Williams midday show and the PM drive Roe Conn show with Anna Davlantes.  She’ll also host the “Weekend Warnings” video series on wgnradio.com and cover transportation stories for WGN Radio News.  WGN station manager and VP of content Todd Manley says, “Having Lauren back in the WGN Radio family is a huge win for afternoon drive.  Her playful intelligence is the perfect complement to Roe & Anna and John Williams.” Lapka previously served with Tribune Media on the short-lived sports station “The Game 87.7 FM.”  In 2015, she transitioned to TV as a news reporter and anchor for KODE-TV and KSNF-TV in Joplin, Missouri.  As Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports in his column, Lapka was working as morning anchor for Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KVAL-TV, Eugene, Oregon when she refused to record the now-infamous promotional video the corporation had crafted that basically accused most other media sources of being “fake news.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Trump Administration official Sebastian Gorka is giving up his contributor role at FOX News Channel in order to focus on his Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated radio show and his work with television operator Sinclair Broadcast Group.   According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gorka stated, “I’m still supporting Sean Hannity and other Fox shows as a free agent as my new schedule permits.”…..iHeartMedia and Skyview Networks agree to terms for the former’s news/talk KOA, Denver to implement Skyview’s AdView live read capture software for Colorado Rockies play-by-play broadcasts.  As part of the agreement, all Colorado Rockies Radio Network live advertiser mentions will be cataloged by time, date, and advertiser in a personalized database and scheduled across the entire season.  The data and proof-of-performance provided by the system streamlines the billing process, which will allow KOA to manage and bill live reads alongside standard commercial units.  iHeartMedia Denver VP of sports sales Jeff Johnson says, “We’re excited to enter into this broadcast agreement with Skyview Networks.  The AdView system will allow us to serve our advertisers and partners with the Colorado Rockies better.”…..Tegna’s San Diego news/talk KFMB-AM is presenting a live event for listeners at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts on March 28 called “News, Views and Brews” that will feature the station’s personalities will talk about current events while listeners enjoy a beer or coffee.  Taking part are Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty of the Armstrong & Getty morning show, Mark Larson, Mike Slater, Brett Winterble, and Roger Hedgecock…..New York Public Radio announced COO Depelsha McGruder will become interim CEO, beginning April 1.  She takes on this role after Laura Walker left the CEO post following a 23-year career with the public radio organization.  McGruder joined NYPR in October 2018 after a 17-year career with Viacom.

Four Stations to Leave the Aloha Media Trust for EMF. This deal between the Aloha Media Trust (former Clear Channel stations waiting to be sold off) and religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation gives iHeartMedia ownership of six translators it’s been leasing from EMF in exchange for four full-market FM stations.  EMF will take over WEKL-FM, Augusta, Georgia; WSFF-FM, Roanoke, Virginia; WSNZ-FM, Lynchburg, Virginia; and WLRX-FM, Huntington, West Virginia.  iHeartMedia gets translators W277BF, Shoreview, Minnesota (KQQL-HD2 “ALT 93.3”); W292DH, Pittsburgh (WBGG-AM “ESPN Pittsburgh”); W221CR, Memphis (WREC-AM), K266BD, Carmel Valley, California (KOCN-FM), K253BV, Oklahoma City (KBRU-FM); and W248BQ, Nashville (WNRQ-HD2).

House Trump Investigation, Trump-Russia Probe, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, AOC Campaign Violation Allegation, Deadly Alabama Tornadoes, Luke Perry Dies, and NBA and NCAA Basketball Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4).  The U.S. House begins investigating the operations of the Trump organization; the status of the probe into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the growing list of Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the allegation of a major campaign finance violation by the chairman of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s election campaign; deadly tornadoes kill 23 in Alabama; actor Luke Perry dies at 52 after suffering a stroke; and NBA and NCAA hoops 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. Programmer Kris Abrams is appointed FM operations manager for Cumulus Media’s five Albuquerque FM stations and program director for country KRST “NASH FM,” classic country KBZU “NASH Icon,” and adult hits KDRF.  Abrams returns to the Albuquerque market after serving with Cleveland-based Futuri Media since March of 2016.  Cumulus Albuquerque VP and market manager Jeff Berry says, “I’m so excited to announce the return of Kris Abrams to ABQ. He has a strong history with and passion for these stations, our company and Albuquerque. We’re looking forward to having Kris’ extensive product knowledge, experience and leadership skills back in our building and at work for our listeners and advertisers.”…..In the Bakersfield market, Alpha Media names Danny Palacios operations manager and program director for CHR KLLY “Energy 95.3.” Palacios adds these responsibilities to his PD role with rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3.”…..On-air personalities Jordan Soto and Michael Mason are the new hosts on Townsquare Media’s country KUAD, Fort Collins/Greeley, Colorado. The “New Country Mornings with Jordan and Michael” launches on Monday (3/11).  Townsquare Fort Collins market president Evan Harrison states, “At Townsquare we are completely focused on entertaining and engaging our local community in Northern Colorado.  Jordan and Michael are the perfect duo to lead this charge on ‘New Country Mornings.’  Jordan lives the new country lifestyle completely and is a Colorado native.  Like so many of us living here, Michael is new to the area and he is so eager to dive in to experience it all.”…..Air personality Jen Lewis is the new midday jock at Max Media’s adult contemporary WVBW, Norfolk, Virginia “92.9 The Wave.”  She takes over for Rusty James, who is giving up is air shift to focus on his vice president of operations and programming role. James says, “I’m so excited to get one of Hampton Roads’ most-loved radio personalities back on the radio at ‘92.9 The Wave.’”…..SiriusXM says that country star Trisha Yearwood is debuting a new, weekly show called “Trisha’s Café” on The Garth Channel.  Yearwood is well known for her home cooking and has published three best-selling cookbooks. She also hosts the EMMY-winning “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen” cable TV show.