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Monday, August 16, 2021

| August 16, 2021

iHeartMedia Launches News/Talk Outlet in St. Louis. Urban contemporary KMJM “Majic 104.9” is gone (now available on KTLK-HD2) as iHeartMedia flips the signal to news/talk with new call letters KTLK-FM and the brand “104.9 The Patriot.” The station launches today and features market media pro Jamie Allman in morning drive and the much of the slate of conservative talk programming from Premiere Networks, including: Glenn Beck, Clay Travis & Buck Sexton, and Jesse Kelly, plus “The Ramsey Show” and Westwood One’s “Red Eye Radio.” iHeartMedia St. Louis market president John R. Beck, Jr. says, “St. Louis is excited to welcome a talk radio station featuring the latest news, opinions, and discussions from a conservative point of view that isn’t afraid to engage with the other side. ‘104.9 The Patriot’ will deliver all of that and more every weekday.” Allman hosted mornings at crosstown news/talk KFTK-FM until 2018 when he exited in the aftermath of his social media post about Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg in April of that year.  Until that time, Allman had also been hosting “The Allman Report” on KDNL-TV “ABC-30.” Allman joined Salem Media Group’s KXFN-AM, St. Louis in early 2019 but Salem subsequently sold the signal, along with a number of others, to Relevant Radio later that year.

Monday Memo: Disinformation, the New Disco. As school bells ring – or don’t – angst is amplified, and employers’ vaccine mandates and renewed mask mandates echo a 2020 we’d like to forget. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke cautions that “the pandemic protocol resistance narrative is approaching its ‘use-by’ date.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: The Feedback & Agreement of Sales. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communcations Corp, writes in today’s column about the deadly effects of the “assumptive close.” He says, “What’s really going with these poorly timed assumptive closers? It’s all part of a fast track sell-by-email culture. When a seller bypasses key steps in any sales flow, the result is typically pushback. When an assumptive close is pushed too early in the sales flow, rapport and ease of access are stressed and difficult to reignite.” Read his piece here.

How Do the Dominion Lawsuits Affect Talk Hosts? TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in a column today (8/13) about the recent rulings allowing the lawsuits by Dominion Election Systems against Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Lindell to go forward and the recently filed suits by Dominion against One America News Network, Newsmax, and FOX News. In denying the motions to dismiss by Powell, Giuliani, and Lindell, Federal Judge Carl Nichols wrote, “It is true that courts recognize the value in some level of ‘imaginative expression’ or ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ in our public debate…But it is simply not the law that provably false statements cannot be actionable if made in the context of an election.” Weisman notes that the landmark NY Times v. Sullivan recognizes the importance of the media being able to report on newsworthy topics without the threat of being sued for minor errors in reporting. However, he says, “There is a responsibility that comes with the microphone and camera and that responsibility is to not make statements that you know to be false or to make statements of fact when you have not properly investigated the basis for making those statements.” Read his column here.

Jeff Sottolano to Take Over for Pat Paxton as Audacy Chief Programming Officer. Late Friday (8/13), Audacy announced that 21-year corporate programmer Pat Paxton is exiting the company and he’ll be replaced by company programmer Jeff Sottolano, who rises to executive vice president, head of programming. Audacy CEO David Field says of Paxton, “Pat has been a key leader in the organization for the past 21 years, spearheading programming and playing a critical role in helping us build many of the industry’s greatest brands. Pat’s steady, decisive leadership and thoughtful insights have made him a valuable and trusted voice on Audacy’s leadership team. Pat has left an outstanding legacy at Audacy which will stand the test of time. We deeply appreciate his many important contributions to our success and everything he has meant to this company. Please join me in thanking Pat for all of his excellent work at Audacy and wishing him all the best for the future.” Addressing Sottolano’s rise within the company, Field states, “Like Pat, Jeff is a veteran team member, having spent his entire career at Audacy, Entercom, CBS Radio and Infinity. Since the merger, he has played an important leadership role overseeing a number of initiatives and many key elements of our programming.  Over the past year, Jeff led our news transformation efforts and the launch of the BetQL Network. In addition, he expanded our programming data and analytics capabilities, managed our network content partnerships and contributed to our Audacy Exclusive Station launch strategy. In his new role, Jeff will be responsible for the content strategy and performance of Audacy’s local brands in all formats across both broadcast and digital distribution platforms. He will oversee our outstanding programming leadership team, including SVP, programming Dave Richards; VP, news Bill Smee; VP, sports Matt Volk, and Audacy’s team of experienced format VPs.  He will also work closely with our Music Initiatives and Live Events team led by SVP, music initiatives Michael Martin and SVP, promotions and experiences Chad Fitzsimmons, as Audacy curates amazing experiences for its listeners in-person and online. Finally, he will collaborate with digital leadership to ideate new and exclusive features and content on the Audacy app and distribution platform as the company expands its capabilities and offerings.”

Gen Media Partners Unveils G Networks. This new radio network sales and affiliates sales division of Gen Media Partners debuts as G Networks. The company says, “Rising in tandem with the Gen Media Partners successful umbrella of other radio divisions, G Networks will stand alone as a full-service audio network company that is already engaged with over 250 million listeners each month through over 4,000 affiliated radio stations. G Networks has an existing and extensive portfolio of high-quality audio services, produced features, research services, entertainment, sports, news, and programming.” Gen Media Partners managing partner Warren Friedland adds, “Evolution isn’t possible without change. It is with this ethos that we have upped the commitment and engagement for our G Networks radio division and are focusing on what is now vitally important to advertisers and stations in the current media environment. With an eye to the future, we intend to both invest and transform the future of audio.”

Big Joe Staysniak Exits Sports Talk ‘The Fan’ in Indy. Longtime Emmis Communications air personality Big Joe Staysniak has exited “The Fan Morning Show.” The company says in a statement, “Big Joe Staysniak is no longer with Emmis and ‘The Fan.’ We would like to thank Big Joe for his many contributions to Emmis since he joined WIBC in 1998. He was always a fan favorite, and his knowledgeable insights and affable nature will be missed by his coworkers and listeners. We wish him nothing but the best in his next chapter.” Staysniak had been co-hosting the morning show with Jeff Rickard but Rickard recently left “The Fan” to take the brand manager position at Audacy’s WEEI, Boston. Meanwhile, Kevin Bowen continues as morning host at “The Fan” and it’s unclear at this time if Emmis will hire a co-host to work with him. The company recently took “The Fan” off WFNI-AM and shut the signal down after selling its transmitter property for development. “The Fan” is currently heard on WIBC-HD2 and translators W228CX at 93.5 FM and W298BB at 107.5 FM.

TALKERS News Notes. In the wake of the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti early Saturday morning (8/14) the Salem Radio Network announces that it is using its network-wide resources to generate food donations for victims. The quake Saturday was worse than the 2010 earthquake that left 220,000 dead across the island nation. SRN’s 24/7 news service SRN News and its news/talk counterpart TOWNHALL News have immediately launched a campaign to generate donations for Florida-based Christian non-profit relief organization FOOD FOR THE POOR. SRN V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “For over 35 years FOOD FOR THE POOR has had boots on the ground in Haiti, and their teams are uniquely qualified to distribute food to earthquake-devastated areas of Haiti through their network of local churches.” The Haiti earthquake relief effort will be joined by SRN’s nationally syndicated talk hosts Mike GallagherEric Metaxas, Sebastian Gorka, Hugh Hewitt and Carl Jackson (who is guest-hosting Larry Elder’s national talk show while Elder runs for Governor of California in the state’s September 14th Recall.)…..“Bar Fights: Taking on Issues that Matter,” a new podcast hosted by advocate, survivor and preeminent sexual abuse attorney Sarah Klein makes its debut today. Klein is also a former gymnast and the first known survivor of former Olympic women’s gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. In 2018, she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs for the bravery that she and her sister survivors exhibited to bring Nassar to justice. On “Bar Fights,” Klein goes after the issues that matter to protect children and vulnerable adults from perpetrators of sexual abuse, the institutions that enable them, and the laws that protect them. “Using my voice and platform to create awareness and positive change has been a huge part of my healing journey. It is an honor to bring on such an incredible line-up of guests who will inform, inspire, and challenge our listeners. To affect real change, we all have to do our part. That’s what we are doing here on ‘Bar Fights.’”…..Pictured below is Tom Griswold, host of the nationally syndicated “The BOB & TOM Show” in an Indianapolis hospital recovering from heart valve replacement surgery. It will be several weeks before he returns to his microphone at the studio, but a home studio is being assembled so he can get back on the air quicker. Those wishing to send well wishes to Tom may send them to: getwell@bobandtom.com.

WFOY, St. Augustine Owner Kris Phillips Dies. Lifelong broadcaster Kris Phillips, whose Phillips Broadcasting owns news/talk WFOY-AM, St. Augustine, has died at age 61 after a long illness. The station’s Facebook page features her obituary. Phillips, a native of Chicago, worked in the TV news and weather business for most of her career. She settled in St. Augustine in 2008 and formed the company that would buy WFOY and sister WAOC. Phillips had lived with Type 1 diabetes since she was a child and battled cancer twice.

COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines & Mandates, Taliban Takes Afghanistan, Haiti Earthquake, COVID Benefits Cyberfraud, Western Wildfires/Drought, Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases on some parts of the U.S. and the controversy over vaccines and mask mandates; criticism of the Biden administration’s response as the Taliban takes control of Afghanistan; the aftermath of the deadly earthquake that hit Haiti; the report indicating that “tens of billions” of dollars of COVID relief benefits were stolen by cyberfraudsters abroad; the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Great News Opportunities at Saga Communications. The company is expanding its NEWS presence in several markets. Group program director Scott Chase says, “We are looking for news people who are more than just news people. If you’re a storyteller with a news mindset; if you’re charismatic and have a sense of humor; if you’re active in your community; if you’re interesting; if you’re an elite communicator, we’re looking for you. We want someone who understands how to reach the local listeners and make a story interesting. We want an individual who loves to connect with listeners and the leaders of their respective community. Are you still with us? If so, APPLY NOW. We are expanding our news footprint in South Dakota, Iowa, New York, Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, and the New England area, and we would love to talk to you about your ideas on news in a world that thinks the media delivers fake news. Saga Communications is a great company to work for and an equal opportunity employer. Apply Now!” Contact group program director, Scott Chase at schase@sagacom.com. Please send your resume, audio sample, and or writing sample.

Monday, April 15, 2019

| April 15, 2019

Brown Parts Ways With iHeartMedia Denver. The approximately 12-year association between talk show host Michael Brown and iHeartMedia Denver has come to an end. While this turn-of-events isn’t something Brown wanted or anticipated, he emphasizes he has “fond memories” of his time in radio and is “looking forward to getting behind the microphone as quickly as possible.” He maintains radio is “a fantastic medium that will never disappear,” and he “readily embraces” the digital aspect of the business. Citing conversations he had with iHeartMedia regional senior vice president of Denver programming JoJo Turnbeaugh, Brown – who served as under-secretary of Homeland Security in both of George W. Bush’s administrations – reports his departure is owing to “format changes.” Brown’s Denver radio career began at news/talk KOA, where he did part-time work before becoming a full-timer. He then spent several years in afternoon drive on news/talk sibling KHOW, and recently returned to KOA. Regarding his highly-publicized experiences during Hurricane Katrina, Brown co-authored June 2011’s “Deadly Indifference, The Perfect (Political) Storm: Hurricane Katrina, The Bush White House, and Beyond.” In it, he criticizes the performance of several people and critiques his own performance by stating that he “failed to be ready for the press and was too timid in his response.” Politically, Brown describes himself as “very clearly center-right, conservative, with a strong libertarian bent.” He appears at #83 on The Talkers Magazine 2018 Heavy Hundred.

Thomas Inducted Into The Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame. In recognition for her career in radio and community service, Entercom Detroit WWJ “News Radio 950” reporter Vickie Thomas was honored yesterday (4/14) in a ceremony at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. Entercom Detroit senior vice president/market manager Debbie Kenyon states, “For more than 25 years, Vickie Thomas has been informing our listeners on major stories that impact our community in and around Detroit. Vickie is an incredible journalist who isn’t afraid to pose tough questions to city leaders and other officials to report a fair and accurate story. She is well deserving of this honor and we are extremely proud to have Vickie inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.” Thomas comments, “In thinking about my over 30-year career in radio, with most of that time spent at WWJ, I can’t help but acknowledge all the people who took the time to encourage me and guide me. I’m really a reflection of those outstanding individuals. This award is extremely special because it comes from my peers. I’m blessed to have my body of work in journalism acknowledged by the selection committee; I thank each member who poured over all the applications and deemed me worthy of this honor.” Thomas, who joined WWJ in 1991, has earned awards from the Detroit Press Foundation, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, the Michigan Associated Press, and the National Association of Black Journalists. She graduated cum laude and with honors in journalism from Wayne State University in 1989.

MONDAY MEMO: The Podcast Consumer 2019.  In our on-demand culture, consumers have taken control of their media.  We call the audio version “podcasting,” something everyone seems to be doing now.  But who is listening?  In this week’s Monday Memo, consultant Holland Cooke summarizes the recently released Edison Research “Podcast Consumer 2019” report. Click here to read how he outlines ways radio broadcasters can exploit this trend.

TALKERS News Notes. All remaining regular season and postseason play of the New York City Football Club will air in Spanish on the ESPN app, along with the iHeart and Tune-in apps. In addition, select games of the American professional soccer team will air locally in New York City on WEPN-AM “ESPN Deportes Radio 1050.” ESPN Radio Group senior vice president Tim McCarthy remarks, “WEPN-AM is proud to be associated with a tremendous brand like NYCFC. We believe giving our  listeners a choice on quality play-by-play has tremendous value; this agreement with NYCFC does just that.” NYCFC chief executive officer Brad Sims notes, “We are excited to have our 2019 matches broadcast in Spanish on ESPN Deportes platforms. We want to give our fans many different ways to follow our club. This is a terrific alliance that will make our games even more accessible. New York’s Hispanic community is extremely passionate about soccer and is an integral part of our fanbase, so it continues to be a priority for us to provide Spanish-language presentations. ESPN is a leader in the sports media landscape and we’re looking forward to working together.” Roberto Abramowitz and Ariel Judas will give their commentary throughout the season ….. Changes to take effect in three weeks (5/6) at Emmis-owned WFNI “Indy’s Sports Center – The Fan” will find Jeff Rickard and “Big JoeStaysniak moving from mid-days (10:00 am – 12:00 noon) to morning drive (7:00 am – 10:00 am). “Jeff & Big Joe” will succeed ESPN Radio’s “(Mike) Golic & (Trey) Wingo,” while ESPN Radio’s “Dan Le Batard with Stugotz” will inherit the vacated 10:00 am – 12:00 noon slot …. A nine-year program director of iHeartMedia-owned WGAR “Cleveland’s Country 99.5,” Charley Connolly is named operations manager of Cumulus Media’s eight Youngstown stations and will be the day-to-day PD of country WQXK “K-105” there. Cumulus Youngstown vice president/market manager Bill Kelly comments, “We are fortunate to have someone of Charley’s background available to us in Youngstown. This is going to be fun.” In addition to WGAR, Connolly programmed iHeartMedia Cleveland’s adult hits WHLK “106.5 The Lake.” Prior to that, he performed similar responsibilities for Cumulus Media Nashville’s news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” and country WSM-FM “95.5 Nash Icon.” In addition to WPIC “News Talk 790,” WBBW “Sports Radio 1240 AM,” and WLLF “Sports Radio 96.7 FM,” Cumulus Media Youngstown consists of aforementioned WQXK; CHR WHOT “Hot 101”; classic rock WYFM “Y-103”; classic country WSOM “America’s Music”; and classic hits-oldies WWIZ “Z-104.” ….. Approximately 250 guests attended last Friday’s (4/12) eleventh annual “Hurley in the Morning” charity dinner and silent auction, which raised $40,000. Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes keynoted the festivities at Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino – Hotel. “We are so grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from the highest levels of government, business, and industry sectors,” declares Townsquare Media Atlantic City news/talk WPGG morning talent Harry Hurley. “Todd is a kind and generous friend. He is such a well-respected talent and a wonderful gentleman. Todd took the time to greet every guest, making each one feel like the most important person in the Ocean Ballroom.” Resorts Casino – Hotel president/chief executive officer Mark Giannantonio opines, “Harry could take his iconic event anywhere – it was truly spectacular. Todd Starnes was engaging and entertaining. Our audience enjoyed his humble, friendly, and unifying message. Resorts was happy and proud to once again host this charity dinner and we look forward to hosting Harry’s event again next year.” Starnes did his 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm Fox News Radio talk show onsite. Among dignitaries attending were congressman Jefferson Van Drew; New Jersey Senate president Stephen Sweeney; New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella; and current and past New Jersey state legislature members. Ahead is Hurley’s twelfth annual charity golf open (6/21) in Egg Harbor Township (New Jersey) ….. Following his tenure as Reach Media’s integrated ad sales coordinator, Erick Vilson joins Sun Broadcast Group as national account manager and will be based in New York City. Sun Broadcast Group chief operating officer Julio Aponte, Jr. comments, “I was very impressed with Erick’s background, reputation, and his dedication to excellence. Bringing someone with his digital and event experience on-board will allow our team to offer greater business opportunities for our agencies and a deeper connection with our national audience for our advertisers.” Vilson notes, “Becoming part of the Sun Broadcast Group family is a fantastic opportunity. Their reputation in the industry, new approach to business, and clever ways to market their offerings was very attractive to me. I am very excited to bring my experience to the sales team.” Vilson has held sales and operation positions for iHeartMedia and Emmis.

Mueller Report Anticipation, College Admissions Scandal, 2020 Presidential Race, Assange Case Free Speech Implications Top Stories Discussed on News/Talk Radio This Weekend.  According to the research of TALKERS, news/talk shows across the country this weekend (4/13-14) were largely focused on the topics of anticipation of the Robert Mueller Report’s planned delivery to Congress this Thursday, the next level of the College Admissions Scandal and charges filed against celebrity participants, the 2020 Presidential Race, and the Julian Assange Case’s implications on free speech and the free press going forward.

Progressive Talk Radio Champ Thom Hartmann Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. What is the state of progressive news/talk radio on the commercial and non-commercial dial? What is the liberal talk radio view of the early competition in a crowded field of hopefuls vying for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination? And what is the general status of the “Left” in American politics in 2019? Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Thom Hartmann – consistently ranked the most important progressive talk radio host on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – is the guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Hartmann (heard daily 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET) tackle these and other pertinent issues in an illuminating conversation that gets right to the heart of today’s talk media landscape. Harrison states, “Thom Hartmann has not only earned the respect of people on all sides of the political spectrum for his authentic, even-handed approach to today’s issues from the liberal perspective, but the unique and aggressive multi-platform distribution paradigm that he and his team have developed over the years stands as a model for independent radio syndication of all ideological stripes going forward into the digital era. The radio industry should pay attention to this innovative broadcaster.” 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 TALKERS email newsletter and every page on Talkers.com.

Survey Says: Social Media Use Unchanged. Notwithstanding privacy controversies, “fake news,” and social media censorship, the share of adults in the United States who say they use certain online platforms or apps is statistically the same as it was this time last year. That is the conclusion of a Pew Research Center study conducted January 8 to February 7 (2019). The shares of adults who say they use Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter are each basically the same as in 2016. Instagram, however, shows an uptick during this same timeframe, growing from 35% of adults to 37%. Roughly seven of every ten adults in this country say they still use Facebook; nearly three of every ten visit Pinterest; and more than one of every five are Twitter users. Of all Facebook users, approximately three of every four visit the site every day – half check that platform several times a day. Those particular numbers identically mirror Pew’s 2018 survey results. At the same time, YouTube use remained at 73%, while LinkedIn users went from 25% to 27%. Slightly more than half of YouTube users (51%) visit the site daily – up from the 45% who said the same in 2018. According to the report, Instagram and Snapchat are especially popular with younger adults, with Instagram used by two of every three 18 – 29-year-olds and Snapchat used by slightly more than two of every five (62%) people in that demo.

Lilly Broadcasting Becomes A Radio Player. As a result of paying $900,000 for three Warren (Pennsylvania) stations it is acquiring from Frank Iorio’s Radio Partners LLC, San Luis Obispo, California-based Lilly Broadcasting enters the radio business. The three Warren-area outlets involved are WNAE “News Talk 96.7,” classic hits-oldies WRRN “92 Gold,” and WKNB “Kinzua Country 104.3.” Lilly owns television facilities in Honolulu, Erie (Pennsylvania), Elmira (New York), Marquette (Michigan), and the Caribbean. According to Lilly Broadcasting president Kevin Lilly, “The Warren radio properties create synergies with our current footprint in our Pennsylvania television DMA, comprised of Erie, Warren, and Crawford counties. They will allow us to better serve our viewers and now our radio listeners while in their homes, cars, and online. We look forward to providing the best content available for our listeners and will improve the news, weather, and sports information on all platforms.”

 

 

San Antonio’s New Vibe. KXTN “Tejano & Proud,” San Antonio transitions to KVBH “Vibe 107.5.” Of the rhythmic hot AC presentation that will mix “pop, hip-hop, and R&B artists from the 1980s and early-2000s,” Univision San Antonio vice president and general manager Chris Morris states, “We are excited to launch a brand-new format that reflects the distinct musical tastes of San Antonio – one of the most diverse communities in the nation. By reformatting and optimizing our audio portfolio, we are able to better serve our audience and give them more of the content they love.” In conjunction with the format flip, the “Tejano & Proud” format shifts to a simulcast on KVBH-HD2 and KCOR, while “Univision Deportes Radio” moves from KCOR to KROM-HD3. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s February 2019 survey period, KXTN ranks #14 (3.1). Its February 2018 through February 2019 high was 4.0 (6+) in February 2018.

More Than A Million Smiles. As part of its fourth annual “Laugh United: A Night of Cocktails and Comedy,” Westwood One’s “The Bob & Tom Show” raised a record $1,053,500 in Vienna, West Virginia for the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley. Pictured here is show cast member Josh Arnold who performed with fellow veteran touring comics Greg Hahn, Jack Freeman, and Henry Phillips. Parkersburg (West Virginia) rocker WHBR “103.1 The Bear” is the local “Bob & Tom Show” affiliate.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. After nearly four years with iHeartMedia Denver CHR KPTT “95.7 The Party,” morning driver J.J. Kincaid (of “JJ & Nina”) departs. Immediately in advance of his Denver stint, Kincaid had a nine-year afternoon drive run in New York at co-owned/similarly-formatted WHTZ “Z-100” and spent three years in Dallas at another iHeartMedia CHR, KHKS “106.1 Kiss-FM” ….. On the heels of Beasley Media Group Boston flipping WBOS from “Alt 92.9” to “Rock 92.9” last Thursday (4/11), the station eliminates the music director position that was held by Joel Weiss, who exits. After having spent 13 years in a similar position at Cox Media Group Tampa’s WSUN, Weiss joined WBOS less than a year ago ….. Formerly the program director/afternoon drive talent at Martz Communications Group-owned WAMO “Pittsburgh’s #1 for Hip-Hop,” Jonathan Steele, will join Beasley Media Group Detroit’s WMGC “105.1 The Bounce” next Monday (4/22) as afternoon drive personality, using the air name “J. Steele.” According to WMGC vice president and market manager Mac Edwards, “When we heard J.’s demo, he jumped to the top of our list. Having the opportunity to meet him and discover his impressive skill set as both a person and personality, there was no denying J. Steele was the right talent at the right time to help us write the next chapter of success.” Program director John Candelaria comments, “We are very impressed with J.’s experience and his strong desire to entertain the listeners in Detroit. I am excited to hear his high energy interactive show and see him earn the community’s respect.” Steele adds, “This is the job I dreamed about as a little kid. I am beyond excited to light up the airwaves for this incredible radio station.” The revised weekday “Bounce” line-up includes: “The Gello Show with Joanna” (6:00 am – 10:00 am); J. Steele (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); and DJ Dinero (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) ….. With Emmis Indianapolis’ WLHK “97.1 Hank FM” ever since the country outlet launched in 2005, morning talent Dave O’Brien exits, as his contract isn’t renewed. O’Brien started his Indianapolis radio career in 1996 at WRZX, later going to WNOU for two years and to WENS in 2004 ….. Jazz KUVO, Denver program and content director Nikki Swarn is appointed PD for Rocky Mountain Public Media‘s new R&B/hip-hop streaming service, “The Drop.” Swarn comments, “It is such an honor to get to serve the Colorado community through this incredible opportunity. We anticipate engaging Coloradans with an exciting blend of their favorite artists, while providing a platform for new and Colorado-based musicians as well. The audience consuming R&B and hip-hop is vast and hungry for dynamic experiences in music; we want to fill that void.” Swarn previously was Entercom Denver’s director of promotions and marketing and spent six years as Max Media Denver’s director of marketing and promotions ….. In separate fundraisers for their respective communities, two Alpha Media country-formatted properties (WFLS and KZKX) recently combined to bring in nearly $200,000. Completing its eleventh year of working with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, WFLS “93.3 – Today’s Country,” Fredericksburg (Virginia) accounted for $135,479 in a two-day event hosted by the station’s morning team – Steve & Jessica. That figure broke WFLS’ previous records. Alpha Media market manager Beth Vickers states, “It is a privilege to lead a team of individuals who are passionate about helping others. Steve & Jessica were amazing hosts, pulling long hours to make it all happen. Our community and our listeners were so generous with donations – results like this make a difference.” Meanwhile, co-owned/similarly-formatted KZKX “KX-96.9,” Lincoln (Nebraska) – along with the Starlite Event Center – raised over $60,000 for American Red Cross flood relief during a one-night (3/29) benefit concert. Entertainment was provided by local bands Dylan Bloom, Bucka Ruse, and Sack of Lions. Alpha Media Lincoln operations manager Rob Kelley comments, “That night was a humbling experience as the people of Saunders County and surrounding areas – many of them flood victims themselves – came together with auction items and monetary donations to go directly to their friends, family, and neighbors. We are so blessed to have listeners like this in the KZKX family.” Severe flooding began impacting Nebraska in mid-March. The “KX-96.9” donation check was presented to the American Red Cross last Thursday (4/11).