Steele Returns to ‘FOX News 92.5’ in Naples-Ft. Myers; Radel to Drive Time. Effective today (9/25), Sun Broadcasting’s news/talk WFSX, Naples-Fort Myers “FOX News 92.5” makes changes to its drive time programming, bringing Drew Steele back to the station for morning drive duties and moving Trey Radel to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daypart. About the changes, program director Casey Bartholomew tells the Naples Daily News, “We wanted to better serve the market and what better way than with two live, local shows. And Trey was more than happy to not have to get up (in the early morning).” Steele was host of the morning show on WFSX from 2012 through 2016. He comes back to Sun Broadcasting from Bonneville’s news/talk KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City. Radel replaced Steele in mornings when he left for Salt Lake City. Read the Daily News piece here.
Bowen Out at Cumulus Chicago. As reported by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, radio executive Peter Bowen exits the Cumulus Media cluster there after three years as vice president and market manager. As Feder points out, Bowen was responsible for bringing White Sox baseball and Chicago Bulls hoops to WLS-AM. The company told Feder, “Peter Bowen has left the company and we wish him well in his future endeavors. The open market manager role in Chicago is a priority for us and we are working to find the right leader for this important market as soon as possible.” See Feder’s column here.
Steve Dahl Re-Ups with WLS-AM. Also, as reported by Robert Feder, Chicago radio legend Steve Dahl re-ups with Cumulus Media to continue hosting his afternoon show on news/talk WLS-AM for another three years. Dahl hosts the program with cast mates Dag Juhlin and Brendan Greeley. Dahl tells Feder, “I’m proud of the work Dag, Brendan and I are doing every afternoon for WLS AM 890, and gratified that they like it, too. The show is funny, informative and apolitical. We could still use a little marketing, however, so I am currently in negotiations to buy the ‘Kathy’ half of the Eric and Kathy billboards.” Read Feder’s report here.
TRN Files to Appeal Dismissal of Suit Against Industry Syndicators. A year ago, the anti-trust lawsuit brought by Talk Radio Network against several industry syndicators including Westwood One, Compass Media Networks, WYD Media Management, and others was dismissed with prejudice and that dismissal affirmed. TRN is filing to appeal that dismissal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate court will decide if it will hear the case.
TALKERS News Notes. Launching this fall on CRN Digital Talk Radio is a new program titled, “HEAR IT NOW – A Radio Document of Our World,” hosted by Thomas Ross Bond II. Bond calls the show “a program that focuses on the human-side of individuals who made an imprint on our world and the sounds of the times, in hope that another dimension is given to our understanding of our world and the human condition. Unlike other programs concentrating on controversy, we strive to focus on the life of our ‘guest,’ the human side, to find out about ‘them,’ where they grew up, what influenced their life, why they made the choices they did.”…..The Rhode Island political talk radio show, “The Coalition – Talk Radio for Independent Minds,” moves from Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence to the digital platform of GoLocalProv.com. The weekly, Friday evening show is hosted by Pat Ford, the chair of the Libertarian Party of Rhode Island and airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm…..SiriusXM is presenting comprehensive coverage of the Presidents Cup golf tournament September 28 through October 1 at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Trump Calls Out Athlete Protesters, North Korea Nuclear Threats/Sanctions, Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill, Merkel Re-Election, Maria-Devastated Puerto Rico, Kingsman Film, MLB Playoff Push, College Football, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The issue of athletes protesting during the national anthem after President Trump’s criticism; North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and new sanctions put upon the hermit kingdom; the push by Republicans to pass the Graham-Cassidy health care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act; Angela Merkel wins fourth term as Chancellor of Germany; the devastation of Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria; the new Kingsman film tops It at the box office; the weekend’s MLB games with playoff implications; Saturday’s college football games; and Sunday’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KXL and Compass Media Talker Lars Larson Co-Starring Regular TV Segment. Pictured here during the “Left Hook, Right Jab” segment on KGW-TV, Portland is news/talk KXL, Portland and Compass Media Networks syndicated talk show host Lars Larson (right). Going against Larson in the debate-style segment is former Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick (left). Larson tells TALKERS magazine he’s been doing the TV segment for a few months now. “They wanted a standard ‘he said, he said’ format but I suggested a chess clock format. Each of us gets 90 seconds. Here’s the difference: we take turns leading off on a different question. You can weigh in for, say 20-30 seconds (or shorter or longer), hit the bell and the other person has to respond. He can go as long or short as he likes and then it switches back. Back and forth until both run out of time. It moves fast. It forces each to get right to the point (like Twitter).”
EXCLUSIVE TALKERS DIALOGUE: Terminated and Embattled KXNT, Las Vegas Talk Show Host Heidi Harris Speaks with Michael Harrison about the Events Leading Up to and Following CBS Choosing Not to Renew Her Contract as Morning Host. In an exclusive TALKERS interview conducted Thursday evening (9/21), TALKERS founder Michael Harrison talks to former KXNT, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris about CBS RADIO’s decision not to renew her contract that was about to expire in a few weeks in the wake of a controversial social media comment about gay adoption posted by the broadcaster. Although CBS has not cited the controversy as its reason for choosing not to renew Harris’ contract, the widespread speculation in the press and across the radio industry is that the host was let go because of negative blowback from organized activists in the gay community. Discussing the interview, Harrison states, “I entered this conversation hoping to give Heidi the chance to present her side of the story, but, perhaps, wishfully to see if there was any chance to smoothen out the situation and set the stage for CBS to reconsider its decision if she clarified her position short of actually apologizing. Apologizing is not something I would expect or encourage her to do. But it would be unfortunate if she left the station because of a misunderstanding of terms and today’s tendency for black and white thinking to rule the narrative.” To listen to the interview, please click here.
Yappy Tour Rolls into NewsmaxTV. Pictured above being interviewed by NewsmaxTV‘s John Bachman is Bernadette Duncan, author of one of the most-discussed radio books in the talk media industry, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Boozers, Schmoozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016). Former producer Duncan chronicles her 26 years as the woman behind the glass on shows hosted by such legends as Sally Jessy Raphael, Larry King, Tom Snyder, Lou Dobbs, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and others covering a large swath of modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.” Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of quirky guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature. Due to the strong response by hosts across the nation to the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the national “Yappy Tour” will continue to roll on through the remainder of 2017. Duncan has already appeared on more than 85 local and syndicated programs since the book’s release in September of 2016. Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Milwaukee’s WKTI “94.5 KTI Country” brings Brew City radio personality Karen Dalessandro aboard to host the afternoon drive daypart. Dalessandro is a Country Music Hall of Famer and a two-time CMA Personality of the Year who previously was a morning personality on iHeartMedia’s crosstown WMIL “FM 106” until “retiring” from the station back in March. About this new gig, Dalessandro says, “I made the switch to ‘94.5 KTI Country’ to join a staff that is excited about country music, committed to winning and actually living in Milwaukee. It’s refreshing to see this kind of radio still exists. [Scripps Milwaukee ] GM Tom Langmyer and PD Ryan Wild deserve much credit for believing that real people doing real radio is important to the community they serve. I spent 19 years hosting Milwaukee morning radio so to continue my career as music director/afternoons at WKTI is more than I could have imagined!”…..iHeartMedia names Nikki Corl marketing director for its Charlotte market operations and the rest of the Carolinas. She was most recently promotions director at iHeartMedia’s Richmond station group…..In Nashville, iHeartMedia CHR WRVW “107.5 The River” announces that Wells Adams begins hosting the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm show (starting tonight). The 10-year market pro was most recently on the company’s sister classic rock WNRQ “105.9 The Rock” hosting afternoons. Adams was also a recent contestant on ABC-TV’s “The Bachelorette.” WRVW program director Jonathan Shuford says, “Wells is already a well-known and talented radio personality here in Music City, a reality show star, social influencer, and all-around great guy. It just made sense to marry his pedigree with Nashville’s most-listened to station and we’re excited to launch this new chapter in Nashville radio.”…..CBS RADIO’s WUSN, Chicago is presenting its third annual “Stars and Strings” show in honor of America’s veterans and their families on Wednesday, November 15 at The Chicago Theatre. The all-star lineup features: Brad Paisley, Chris Young, Darius Rucker, Kelsea Ballerini, Lady Antebellum, and Sam Hunt with a special appearance by Lindsay Ell. WUSN morning duo “Stylz & Roman” announced the concert on their program this morning.
iHeartRadio Music Festival Wraps Two Days in Las Vegas. Pictured here are iHeartMedia chief programming officer Tom Poleman (second from left) and iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes (right) with singer Demi Lovato (second from right) and an unidentified guest (left) backstage at the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the T-mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Some of the artists that played on Friday and Saturday night included: Coldplay, The Weeknd, DJ Khaled, Chris Stapleton, Lorde, Kings of Leon, Big Sean, P!NK, Miley Cyrus, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Niall Horan, David Guetta, Thomas Rhett, Harry Styles, Kesha and more, plus this year’s ‘Macy’s iHeartRadio Rising Sta’ winner, James Maslow.
Mark Masters’ TRN Companies File Lawsuit against Dial Global Claiming Monopoly Practices. These companies, (usually referred to generally in the industry as Talk Radio Network (TRN), include The Original Talk Radio Network, Inc., Talk Radio Network Enterprises, LLC and Talk Radio Network-FM, Inc. They have initiated the filing of a Federal action against Dial Global, Inc. and multiple other parties, asserting anti-trust, anti-monopoly and other claims. In announcing that action, Mark Masters, CEO of the plaintiff companies, states, “This is a sad but necessary day for us. But the steps we take today are for the sake of the entire community of independent spoken word syndicators, and independent radio networks who depend on outside sale representation for their very financial survival. These independent producers, syndicators and networks serve America’s over 10,000 commercial radio stations, helping them save costs, and increase quality at a critical time to those stations’ survival in the current difficulties they face in navigating today’s national economic environment. Today, we reluctantly are forced to bring this action, as the largest group of independent spoken word syndicators/networks in the United States. In doing so, we hope this signals a beginning of the end to active monopoly and anti-competitive actions within radio’s independent spoken word syndication markets.” In the suit TRN lists a variety of marketplace operational grievances against Dial Global citing the recent demise of CNN Radio News as a prime example: “The plaintiff companies note in particular that the recent destruction of CNN Radio (which was on over 1,100 radio stations in the US and had been operating for over 20 years), going into a presidential election, in favor of its immediate replacement by a branded news operation, at the election of its sales representatives, is a telling example of the threat posed by the ability of a small handful of unelected Wall Street executives who have achieved sufficient dominance in one sales market to force changes in the separate independent spoken word market, and the threat posed to other independent spoken word syndicators absent prompt corrective actions.” Masters goes on to state, “The sudden death of CNN Radio News, after 20 years, and in a presidential election year besides, is a veritable canary in a coal mine for independent spoken word syndication in radio.” The idea to file this lawsuit has obviously been brewing in the mind of Mark Masters for some time now. Attendees at the recent industry gathering presented by TALKERSmagazine, “The New Media Seminar” in New York on June 7 might recall the TRN CEO hinting during his luncheon address about the possibility that his company might be taking unprecedented legal action against an alleged radio industry monopoly. Seems he meant it. TALKERS contacted Dial Global CEO David Landau who said, “No comment.”
Broadcasts and Interviews Abound as Talk Radio Shows Emanate from Tampa. The official activities at the Republican National Convention may have been put on hold for a day but the skies cleared and planned broadcasting activities went on pretty much unabated at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Convention Center where the RNC will officially resume today. Talk hosts, news professionals, celebrities and political commentators gathered and took advantage of the day to talk about the presidential race and all that goes with it. Pictured here is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher (r) speaking with actor Jon Voight (l) who spoke with Gallagher on the record for his nationally syndicated program. Voight told Gallagher, “Much of the Hollywood community has ‘blood on our hands’ for taking leftist positions in the 60s and 70s.” He says he’s “atoning” for that by supporting Mitt Romney’s campaign for president. “He’s serious, he’s a problem solver and he’s been in public service all his life.” Meanwhile, XtreMedia president and nationally syndicated talk host Kevin McCullough (l) had the opportunity to chat with Minnesota Senator and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (r) on radio row inside the convention center at the Talk Radio News Service booth. Cumulus Media Networks syndicated talk host – and career journalist – Geraldo Rivera (r) meets up with news colleague Sam Donaldson of ABC News (l) at the news organization’s booth inside the convention center. Meanwhile, as Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast and moves straight towards New Orleans…
Gulf Coast Radio Stations Prepare to Keep Citizens Informed. The people of Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf Coast are understandably nervous. It has been seven years since Hurricane Katrina roared through this region making history and leaving an indelible mark on the lives of millions of people. During that natural disaster — and a number of others both before and since – good ol’ terrestrial radio has risen to the occasion, in many cases putting competitive barriers aside, and served the community. In preparation for the coming storm, Entercom’s WWL-FM/AM went into wall-to-wall coverage mode preparing its listeners with updates on the approaching storm’s direction and progress. The radio station’s website this morning looks like something you would expect to see from the Weather Channel. Guaranty Broadcasting Group reports to TALKERS it is all over the storm today with simulcasts on their various formats in the market that began at 5:30 am. Talk 107.3 FM began live simulcast coverage on Eagle 98.1’s 100,000 watt signal. Matt Kennedy and Brian Haldane are leading coverage with the Talk 107.3 FM morning show. Darren Gauthier and Scotty Drake will provide mid-day coverage. The husband and wife team of Bill and Karen Profita will anchor afternoon coverage. 104.5 ESPN’s Charles Hanagriff and Matt Moscona will take on coverage until midnight on the Talk 107.3/Eagle 98.1 simulcast. Bill and Karen Profita will return with the overnight shift beginning at midnight. The Talk 107.3 FM/Eagle 98.1 simulcast will continue throughout the hurricane as proves to be necessary. The simulcast will also feature live coverage from Guaranty’s TV partner WAFB Channel 9 with continuous updates from chief meteorologist Jay Grymes. Guaranty VP/market manager Gordy Rush tells TALKERS, “We are thrilled to bring unprecedented 24-hour live and local coverage to South Louisiana with the names and voices that carried this region through the likes of Katrina and Gustav.” (Image courtesy of NASA)
CBS Sports Radio Names Eric Spitz Director of Programming; Chris Oliviero to Supervise New Division. WFAN, New York program director Eric Spitz is named the director of programming for CBS’ new sports talk radio network and the company announces CBS Radio SVP of programming Chris Oliviero will take on a supervisory role in the new sports talk venture. Spitz is a longtime WFAN employee, beginning his tenure there as a desk assistant back in 1987 when the station first debuted. Spitz split from WFAN for a period in 2002 when he was named vice president, operations and programming for Westwood One’s Shadow/Metro Traffic but returned to WFAN in 2005. In a statement, Oliviero comments on the new management structure. “Eric has a unique skill set ideal for building a sports radio network as proven by his tremendous success at WFAN. Eric has been involved with the pioneering radio station since the beginning and watched the format grow from its infancy to what is now one of the most successful in the industry. His perspective is exactly what’s needed to launch a sports radio brand that can stand the test of time. And his selection for this critical position proves the value we are putting on leadership with a strong editorial track record in sports programming. We are also fortunate to be able to call on the expertise of Mark Chernoff, who is without a doubt the most successful sports radio program director of all time. Mark has been one of the principals helping to lay the foundation for CBS Sports Radio and his continued guidance will be a huge advantage as we craft programming we are confident will be of great interest to our affiliates around the country.” The 24/7 sports programming network will launch on January 2, 2013 with Cumulus Media Networks as syndicator and sales partner.
WRKO, Boston Promotes Bill Cooksey to Assistant PD. Morning show executive producer Bill Cooksey will keep his duties managing the production of the Todd Feinburg and Michele McPhee morning drive show at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston as he adds the assistant program director tag to his business card. Cooksey will effectively take over the day-to-day operations of WRKO with this promotion. WRKO PD Jason Wolfe says, “Bill has more passion for WRKO than anyone and has earned this promotion. He’s smart, aggressive, and a true leader. His efforts over the past several years have been outstanding and I’m really looking forward to working with him in this new capacity.” Cooksey started at WRKO in 2006 and became executive producer of the morning show in 2010. Of his promotion, Cooksey states, “I’m honored by this promotion and couldn’t be more excited about the future of WRKO. We’ve made several big changes in recent months and top to bottom WRKO is a stronger radio station today than ever before. WRKO has been home for me for the last six years. I am proud of what we accomplished and I look forward to building on those accomplishments in the future.”
Cincinnati Talk Host Eric Deters to Surface at Rock Trimulcast. Just days after leaving Christian Broadcasting System’s WQRT, Cincinnati due to clashes with management, talk host Eric Deters (who has also worked at Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati subbing for Bill Cunningham and hosting his own weekend show) will take over the morning show at Class X – the classic rock trimulcast that’s heard on WMWX, Miamitown, Ohio; WKCX, Crittenden, Kentucky; and WYNS, Waynesville, Ohio. No official start date for Deters has been given.
Local Fan Wins Eagles Season Tix in Celebrity Call-In Contest on WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia. Kristin Lee of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania won Eagles season tickets in PM drive host Mike Missanelli’s Celebrity Call-In Contest in which listeners had to work their connections to urge a celebrity to call in to Missanelli’s program on 97.5 The Fanatic. Lee convinced P-Diddy to phone in and she was awarded the tickets on Friday, August 24. The impressive list of celebrities to call in during the contest included: actor Colin Quinn, actress Anne Hathaway, golfer Gary Player, model Cheryl Tiegs and musician Alicia Keys, to name a few.
Fox Sports Radio Develops Weekend Golf Show with Hank Haney. The program will air live from 8:00 am to 10:00 am ET beginning Saturday, September 8 and FSRN has nabbed SupremeGolf.com as the title sponsor for the show. Hank Haney – legendary golf instructor and author of a recent best-selling book – “will take listeners beyond the green to provide expert analysis on today’s players and events, talk with celebrities, insiders and golf fans, and provide insight on how to become a better golfer.” Senior vice president, sports programming for Premiere Networks, Don Martin, states, “We’re excited to give listeners the opportunity to interact with one of the best golf instructors in the world every weekend. Hank’s many years of experience and expertise in golf will provide our listeners with tremendous insight into the sport, and access to the best players on the course today.”
Republican National Convention, Tropical Storm Isaac and the Death of Neil Armstrong Were Among the Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/27). The Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay; the effect of Tropical Storm Isaac on the convention and its path toward New Orleans; and the death of legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.