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Kim Carrigan Out as Kuhner Returns to AMs on WRKO, Boston; Doug “V.B.” Goudie Moves to Middays. The new program schedule on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston launches on Monday (11/26) and in morning drive will be “The Kuhner Report” with Jeff Kuhner. He moves from the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart and replaces the “Boston’s Morning Show” with Kim Carrigan and Doug “V.B.” Goudie. V.B. moves to the early afternoon show hosting “V.B. in the Middle” and Carrigan apparently departs. The station says in a press release, “‘The Kuhner Report’ will continue to cover today’s latest headlines and breaking political news. Conservative Jeff Kuhner will continue to tackle cutting-edge, hot-button, political, social and foreign policy issues. ‘V.B. in the Middle’ will also discuss today’s biggest political headlines, showcasing V.B.’s humorous, creative opinions as well as his connection with the Boston listeners.” WRKO program director and iHeartMedia Boston VP of news/talk Robert Sanchez adds, “Jeff Kuhner believes what he says and says what he believes. Bostonians need an energy burst in the morning and with Jeff, their commute just erupted.”
Alan Stock to Exit Afternoon Drive on KXNT, Las Vegas for New Role at Station. Although still not confirmed at press time, TALKERS sources indicate that a programming shuffle is about to take place at Entercom’s heritage talk outlet in Las Vegas, KXNT with the official announcement coming this week. Local market mainstay (and TALKERS Heavy Hundred luminary) Alan Stock will move out of the 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm afternoon drive position to be replaced by a yet-to-be-named syndicated program and play a reduced, but still-important, role at the station as its “commentator.” Stock will deliver a live, daily, early afternoon, short-form political commentary that will be replayed several times later in the day. Word is that Stock’s on-air presence at the station will also include a live, long-form weekend program to be announced at a later date. Further unconfirmed rumors indicate Stock might be replaced in afternoon drive by Radio America syndicated host Chad Benson. Stay tuned!
iHeartMedia Files Fifth Amended Joint Chapter 11 Plan with Bankruptcy Court. December 11 is still the date that iHeartMedia will be in Bankruptcy Court in Houston for confirmation of its Chapter 11 reorganization plan. Ahead of that, the company has filed the Fifth Amended Joint Chapter 11 Plan with the court and the deadline for filing objections with this latest plan is November 28. The plan outlines the New Term Loans to be issued by parent company iHeartCommunications. They include: an Asset-Based Loan of $450 million with a five-year term; a Term Loan of $3.5 billion with a seven-year term; $800 million in secured notes with a seven-year term; and $1.45 billion in unsecured bonds with an eight-year term. The Plan also lays out the salaries of chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and COO and CFO Rich Bressler – both of whom who will make $1.5 million in salary per year and whose annual Target Bonuses will be $3.4 million. Note that these figures are for the year 2019 and beyond that changes in the employment terms are at the discretion of the board of directors.
iHeartMedia to Acquire Jelli Inc. This move takes the relationship between iHeartMedia and cloud-based ad platform developer Jelli Inc. to the next level, with iHM acquiring the company whose technology powers its SoundPoint programmatic platform. iHeartMedia goes on to say that this deal will enable it to “further leverage Jelli’s assets to continue to create for brands a digital-compatible buying platform for broadcast radio that includes targeting and creative optimization based on data and attribution tools compatible with the offerings of the major digital players. In addition, ‘Expressway from Katz,’ the industry’s programmatic buying ad exchange for the country’s leading radio groups, will continue to remain independently run by Katz, powered by Jelli.” Brian Kaminsky, president of SmartAudio and analytics group for iHeartMedia, says, “Facebook and Google pioneered a new way for advertisers to interface with media partners to improve targetability, the ease of buying and measurement of results, and our programmatic platform puts us in the position to participate in the modern data driven ecosystem for our broadcast radio audience as well as our digital audiences. We have been excited by the advances we made with Jelli as our partner and the acceptance from our advertising partners.” The press release makes no mention of the terms of the deal, but says that “Jelli will continue to operate as a company within iHeartMedia, Inc. led by president and CEO Michael Dougherty and his team. The Jelli division will continue to be based in Silicon Valley and will become iHeartMedia’s primary ad technology operation.”
Larry King Weighs In with Strong Opinions on Jim Acosta Story and the State of Journalism. Veteran radio and TV talk show host Larry King dropped in on Friday (11/16) for an unplanned chat during the recording of this past weekend’s RT America show “The Big Picture with Holland Cooke.” The impromptu, seven-minute interview took place while King was visiting the network’s Washington, DC headquarters. During the provocative conversation that delved into the state and future of journalism in America, King candidly described the daily briefings and press conferences held at the Donald Trump White House as “a sideshow… reality TV… that has nothing to do with governing.” King elaborated, “The whole thing is a show and when Jim Acosta [engaged in the argument with the President] he became part of the show. Trump loves that!” To view the entire conversation between King and Cooke, please click here. King hosts a nightly show, “Larry King Now,” on RT America from his studio in Los Angeles via a licensing agreement between the network and his program that originates on Ora TV and is also seen on Hulu. Holland Cooke is also a senior correspondent for TALKERS.
Hoffman to Lead Entercom Indianapolis. Rising from vice president of sales for Entercom’s Indianapolis cluster to SVP and general manager is Ben Hoffman. He is now in charge of the cluster that includes sports talk WXNT-AM “CBS Sports 1430 AM,” CHR WZPL, and adult contemporary WNTR “107.9 The Mix.” Entercom region president Dave Alpert states, “For the past seven years at Entercom Indianapolis, Ben has demonstrated strong leadership qualities, high energy and the ability to be a collaborative team leader with a strong ability to win. This is a well-deserved promotion for Ben to senior vice president and market manager and we are looking forward to the great work that Ben will continue to produce.” Prior to joining Entercom, Hoffman served as station manager and director of sales for Townsquare Media in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Judge’s Ruling in CNN-White House Suit, Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump FOX News Interview/Schiff Attack, House Speaker Battle, California Wildfires, Migrant Caravan, U.K.’s Brexit Chaos, U.S.-China Trade War/Pence at APEC Summit, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. A judge rules the White House must return CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials; the status of the investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; President Trump’s FOX News interview with Chris Wallace and his Twitter attack on Congressman Adam Schiff; the internal battle among Democrats over the next Speaker of the House; the status of the California wildfires and the latest death toll; the caravan of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border; the political chaos surrounding Britain’s exit from the E.U.; the U.S. trade war with China and Vice President Mike Pence’s appearance at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit; and the weekend’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.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. St. Louis country outlet KSD-FM “93-7 The Bull” announces Gail Austin is the new program director for the station. Back in April, Jules Riley was promoted from PD for KSD and sister classic hits KLOU to senior vice president of programming for the entire iHeartMedia St. Louis cluster. Austin previously served with the company in the programming departments of both WQIK, Jacksonville and WCOL, Columbus. Riley comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Gail back to iHeartmedia and excited to watch her take ‘The Bull’ to new heights. We spoke with a number of talented programmers, but Gail’s competitive drive, creativity, and talent development made her our ideal candidate.”…..At morphing WTDY, Philadelphia, Entercom moves program director Bobby Smith off the air and “Coop & Casey” are the new morning show. The station is transitioning into a CHR as the result of the company’s recent acquisition of hot AC WBEB “B101.1.”…..Air personality Brian Holmes exits Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rhythmic CHR WJQM, Madison “93.1 Jamz” after three-and-a-half years hosting “The Freak Show” in the evenings…..ABC Radio is offering a Thanksgiving holiday radio show for country stations called, “Holiday Season Serenade.” The three-hour program is hosted by country star Martina McBride, who will take a look at stars’ holiday favorites including food, decorations, traditions, gifts and music. The special will feature Christmas songs by top country artists such as Dan + Shay, Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Brett Eldredge, Chris Young, Scotty McCreery, and more.