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Thursday, June 10, 2021

| June 10, 2021

TALKERS Magazine’s 2021 Heavy Hundred Published . The 2021 edition of TALKERS magazine’s “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – a.k.a. The Heavy Hundred – has been published. This highly anticipated ranking of America’s talk radio hosts from the editors of TALKERS is published annually. TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey says, “This is one of the most challenging projects TALKERS undertakes each year. The large number of quality talk radio hosts working in America makes this job a very difficult one. While longtime talk pros tend to dominate the list, each year the Heavy Hundred reveals some new faces that prove there is fresh, new talent eager to undertake the hard work necessary to build a successful talk radio career.” TALKERS magazine congratulates the members of this year’s Heavy Hundred. See the list here.

Michael Cohen Exploring Wider Audience for ‘Mea Culpa’ Program. TALKERS learns that Krantz Media Group’s Gary Krantz is feeling out major groups and networks about a project featuring former Donald Trump attorney, New York Times best-selling author, and successful podcaster Michael Cohen, who is eyeing a wider, diverse, and immediate live audience for his “Mea Culpa” podcast. KMG is in the process of talking with the major groups/networks for a Monday – Friday show on terrestrial radio stations, networks, and platforms across the United States. The new show is an obvious extension and progression of Cohen’s podcast. “Mea Culpa Radio” is an insider’s discussion of the major news of the day in politics and government today and not biased to the right or the left. Recent guests have included Stormy Daniels, Donny Deutch, CNN’s Don Lemon, Rosie O’Donnell, Ben Stiller, and Adam Carolla. Krantz says, “We’ve been talking to Michael since before his book and podcast came out and the response is explosive. The time is right to take it to radio. He is the ultimate insider to the current narrative in our country and his perspective, knowledge, and ability to converse with the biggest newsmakers in the world make for extremely compelling radio.” “Mea Culpa Radio” will launch in the third quarter of 2021. Check out the podcast here.

Former RI Trump Chair Alleges WPRO’s Dan Yorke ‘Defamed’ Him. According to a piece in the Providence Journal, former Donald Trump Rhode Island campaign co-chair Gerald Zarrella is alleging that WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence afternoon drive talk host Dan Yorke defamed him. Though no suit has been filed, Zarrella’s attorney has filed a miscellaneous petition in Rhode Island Superior Court seeking to issue subpoenas and depose Yorke. This comes after a political fundraiser Zarrella was planning for Democratic Governor Dan McKee was canceled because McKee wanted nothing to do with anyone associated (or formerly associated) with Donald Trump and this was apparently discussed on Yorke’s WPRO program. The court petition says that Yorke “while on air, made defamatory and offensive statements about Gerald Zarrella which painted Gerald Zarrella in a false light and was stated with the intent to cause harm to his name, reputation and ethnic group from which he derives.” Zarrella tells the Journal, “I’m proud that I’m an Italian-American from Rhode Island. To portray us all as Mafia or crooked people, we’re not crooked people. We’re not crooked people. We’re sensitive people. We have families. We raise children. We pay our dues. I want to get the tapes.” Cumulus Media, WPRO, and Yorke have not commented on the matter.

Doug Stephan Show Adds Seven Affiliates. The nationally syndicated “DJV Show” – hosted by Doug Stephan – announces it has added seven new radio stations to its roster of affiliates. The program features Jen Horn and Victoria Keelan, along with Jai Kershner anchoring the daily “What’s Trending Report,” in addition to Stephan himself. It now airs in more than 325 markets nationwide. Stations adding the program to their lineups include: KTLR, Oklahoma City; WCAP, Lowell, Massachusetts; KUJ-AM, Walla Walla, Washington; WKCT-AM/FM, Bowling Green, Kentucky; and KLID-AM, Poplar Bluff, Kentucky. The program is syndicated by Radio America and is repped by Sun Broadcast Group and AdLarge Media. Doug Stephan comments, “It’s exciting to see the show continue to grow after all these years. We welcome these new stations to a new and different way to start their day.”

Bloomberg Beefs Up Washington, DC Coverage. There are a number of personnel moves to report from Bloomberg. Global head of television and radio Al Mayers announces that Jodi Schneider is taking over as Bloomberg TV and Radio’s political news director while Annmarie Hordern and Joe Mathieu are joining as Washington correspondents covering the White House and Capitol Hill. Bloomberg government senior congressional reporters Emily Wilkins and Jack Fitzpatrick will continue to contribute to daily coverage and round out Bloomberg’s air team with contributors Rick Davis and Jeanne Zaino. Mathieu joins Bloomberg from public media’s WGBH Radio in Boston where he was the host of “Morning Edition.” Prior to that, he was the morning anchor at WBZ-AM, Boston. Hordern returns to the U.S. from London where she was most recently anchor of “Bloomberg Daybreak Europe.”

Salem VP Phil Boyce is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime talk radio executive, Phil Boyce, senior VP/spoken word format, Salem Media Group and Salem Radio Network is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Boyce, who also serves as Salem’s operations VP, New York region, which includes WMCA and WNYM “AM970 the Answer,” is one of the most influential news/talk radio programmers of the past quarter century having been a significant influence in the careers of dozens of leading personalities including Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. Before joining Salem, Boyce served as program director of such major stations as WJR, Detroit and WABC, New York in addition to an influential stint as VP of programming for ABC Radio. In a candid wide-ranging conversation, Harrison and Boyce discuss the basic tenets of talk radio as well as political aspects of social media bias, “cancel culture” censorship and principles of the First Amendment. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here. Phil Boyce will be one of 50 industry speakers at TALKERS 2021 tomorrow (6/11).

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WLS-AM and WGN-AM talk show host Roe Conn has joined the Office of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart as a senior project manager in which he’s currently working on a crime analytics team specializing in vehicular hijacking and roadway shootings. Conn tells Feder, “It’s definitely an unexpected pivot, but Chicago is where I’m from and where I always want to be. It’s been the honor of a lifetime to be part of Chicago’s radio landscape – especially on two of the continent’s most legendary stations. But our town is facing a tough battle ahead and I couldn’t be more proud to get the chance to work alongside these amazing men and women who try to make our streets safer and our city better.”…..At 12:00 noon ET today (6/10), Premiere Networks nationally syndicated personality, political commentator and podcaster Ben Ferguson makes an appearance on FOX News Channel’s “Outnumbered.” He’ll be the #OneLuckyGuy to discuss the latest news stories and headlines for a full hour with the hosts, Harris Faulkner, Emily Compagno, Kayleigh McEnany, and Kennedy…..The Digital Division of Nexstar Media announces the promotion of Susan Parker to chief strategy officer/EVP strategy & data for the division. In this newly created role, Parker will oversee all data and strategy functions for the division that extends Nexstar’s audience insights into the digital realm…..PodcastOne announces it is now producing and distributing the “Innovation on the Edge with Microsoft Edge” podcast hosted by  Jordan Harbinger and television host and lifestyle expert Chelsea Briggs, who will trade hosting duties through the limited run series. “Innovation on the Edge with Microsoft Edge” is a weekly podcast that explores the cutting edge of Internet innovation and pop culture trends. Each of the ten planned episodes will dig into how people are currently using the web to innovate, notable ways in which it’s evolving, what its future might look like, and how we can create that future together.

Joe Biden’s European Trip, Kamala Harris’ Latin America Trip, COVID-19, Critical Race Theory, Ransomware Attacks, Keystone XL Project Abandoned, Alzheimer’s Drug Controversy, and California Drought Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/10). President Joe Biden’s meeting with European allies and his coming meeting with Vladimir Putin; Vice President Kamala Harris’ Latin America trip and her glib response to why she hasn’t visited the U.S.-Mexico border yet; the fast-falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy and criticism of Dr. Tony Fauci’s emails; the blowback against Critical Race Theory in U.S. schools; the recent ransomware attacks and concerns about the vulnerability of America’s digital infrastructure; the developer of the Keystone XL pipeline drops the project; the controversy over the FDA approval of an Alzheimer’s drug that some experts say is largely ineffective; and the worsening California drought were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

| May 30, 2019

Talk Host Michael Berry and KTRH, Houston Extend Their Relationship. KTRH, Houston-based talk radio personality Michael Berry and iHeartMedia sign a four-year contract extension.  The new deal keeps Berry hosting his daily shows – from 8:00 am to 11:00 am and from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm – on news/talk KTRH AM 740.  Berry’s program is syndicated to two dozen iHeartMedia stations across the country in markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Portland, Nashville, New Orleans, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Birmingham, and Baton Rouge.  iHeartMedia region president Eddie Martiny comments, “I’m excited to extend our partnership with Michael because he is one of the hardest-working radio personalities in America and offers a unique brand of humor and information.  I know his listeners will ‘pop a top’ knowing Michael Berry will continue taking them to and from work!”  Berry adds, “I love what I do, I love who I do it with, and I love that I do it here with iHeartMedia.  Talk radio is about engaging people with ideas, and some will agree, some won’t, but it’s entertaining and rewarding to engage. That’s what I get to do every single day and now I can do it for years more to come.”  Michael Berry will be one of 67 industry speakers participating in a power-packed agenda at the sold out 22nd annual TALKERS convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story – next Friday, June 7 in New York City.   For details, please click here.

New York Festivals Radio Awards Announces Finalists. The New York Festivals announces the finalists in its 2019 Radio Awards.  The awards grand jury evaluated entries submitted from 35 countries around the globe and selected 346 finalists based on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity and use of the medium.  Entries achieving finalist status move on to an additional round of judging to determine trophy-winners.  VP/executive director of New York Festivals Radio Awards Rose Anderson says, “Once again, the NYF grand jury selected finalists whose work embodies the full spectrum of radio content today and as audiences’ appetites for radio and audio continue to fuel robust industry growth, the level of creativity continues to rise as well.”  New categories this year include: Narrative/Documentary Podcast and Serialized Podcast and both saw a robust number of entries achieve finalist status.  Compelling documentaries from such companies as Sirius XM Radio, NPR, Alabama Public RadioWNYC Studios, and Radiolab, advanced to the final round.  So did breaking news, feature and investigative reports from: Westwood One, Compass Media NetworksBloomberg, and CBS News Radio. See all the finalists here.

TALKERS News Notes. A new sports wagering show is being offered to radio stations from Sports Garten Network and Envision Networks.  The show is called, “Wanna Bet?!,” and is hosted by Tom Barton. Envision says it offers listeners entertaining sports talk with an inside look at the analysis and news they need to gain an edge on wagering intelligence.  Barton says, “Sports talk is ripe for a transition from arguing hosts and home team bias to important decision-making information and guests whose opinions are not only entertaining but informative.  This is a game changer.”…..In the public radio news/talk sphere, Boston University announces that it is agreeing to share control of radio station WBUR-FM, Boston with the station board.  That board has served in the past as advisory in nature only.  Now, it will have decision-making power.  Under the agreement, a new executive committee would have the authority to hire and fire the station’s general manager and oversee its finances.  That committee would still report to the Boston University president as the school owns the station’s broadcast license.  School president Robert Brown says, “WBUR deserves to have an oversight structure that’s really engaging with the community that it serves and that is really invested wholeheartedly in the mission of ‘BUR.  That’s not to say BU is not.  But it’s not something that our board of trustees can ever spend much time on in this big $2.6 billion research university.”…..Radio legend Joey Reynolds was recently honored by the state of New Jersey with an official proclamation commending him on his lengthy career in radio.  During his career, Reynolds worked at some 40 radio stations and hosted the overnight show on WOR, New York for 15 years…..This evening (5/30), talk radio host Walter Sterling – host of the Westwood One nationally syndicated “Sterling on Sunday” program – will sit in for Ryan Wrecker on his late night show on Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis.  KMOX is one of the almost 100 stations that carry his weekly program.

Craig Mish to Host Daily Show on FNTSY Radio. The Elvis Duran Group and SportsGrid announce that fantasy sports expert Craig Mish is launching a new, daily show on their FNTSY Radio platform.  The 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET show is called “Fantasy Sports Today” and debuts on June 3.  Mish was previously host of a fantasy baseball show on SiriusXM.  EDG partner/CEO and FNTSY Radio partner David Katz comments, “Craig is the only person in sports who inherently presents any news and information through a fantasy sports perspective.  He never forgets his audience and I for one have greatly benefitted from his insight with my own fantasy teams over the years.  All of us are extremely proud to have him join FNTSY Radio.”  “Fantasy Sports Today” is live and on-demand on FNTSY Radio, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn.

PodcastOne Unveils New Spring Lineup. Four new shows are joining the PodcastOne platform this spring.  They include: “The GG Podcast with Rick Fox, Jace Hall and Todd Roy” – a podcast all about the culture, athletes, and inner-workings of the gaming industry; “Enough About Me with Shep Rose” – host of Bravo’s “Southern Charm” show; “Sports Like a Boss with Holly McPeak and Anne Marie Anderson” – a show that helps people use the sports they love and the sports their kids play to create the life they want; and “Say It Forward with Rebecca Rothstein and Lee Ann Daly” – in which the hosts go inside the real life stories of fascinating people at the vanguard of art, music, business, pop culture, TV, film, fashion, and more.

Dahm Appointed Chief Privacy Officer for iHeartMedia. This is an addition of responsibilities for iHeartMedia’s Andrew L. Dahm, whose new role as chief privacy officer comes in addition to his work as senior corporate counsel.  His new duties will include shaping, regulating, and administering iHeartMedia’s privacy policies and strategies to ensure they continue to meet global regulatory requirements and address the company’s specific needs.  He will also work closely with Steve Mills, iHeartMedia’s global chief information officer, and David Neuman, iHeartMedia’s global chief information security officer, to oversee company-wide data security and protection plans.  iHM president, COO, and CFO Rich Bressler says, “Protecting our company data and personal information has always been a priority for iHeartMedia.  Andrew is uniquely suited for this important new role at our company and has been at the center of the legal aspects of all of our digital operations for several years, including the development of our privacy policies for consumers and employees and our third-party vendor relationships relating to privacy matters.”

Muller Report/Dems Impeachment Talk, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-China Trade War/Rare Earth Threat, USS John McCain Controversy, Severe Weather, and Anti-Abortion Laws Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/29).  The re-ignition of controversy over the conclusions drawn in the Mueller Report and the Democrats’ continued debate over impeachment proceedings against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020 and the rift between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders; the tariffs the U.S. and China are placing on each other’s exports and China’s threat to limit sales of rare earth to U.S. companies; the report that the White House wanted to move the USS John S. McCain out of sight during Trump’s visit to Yokosuka Naval Base; the tornadoes and flooding affecting the Midwest; and the anti-abortion laws being passed in several states 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. The new Elton John bio-pic Rocketman is about to be released from Paramount Pictures and the studio and iHeartMedia have partnered to promote it across iHM’s platforms.  Today (5/30) at 5:00 pm ET, an hour-long radio special featuring Elton John will air across more than 120 iHeartRadio AC, hot AC, classic rock, and oldies stations nationwide and digitally.  iHeartMedia stations nationwide will also build anticipation to the film’s Friday release with an official countdown across its stations…..iHeartMedia announces that its Roanoke CHR WJJS-FM moves to the 93.5 frequency and will continue to simulcast on 102.7 in Lynchburg.  Sister adult hits station WSTV, Roanoke “STEVE-FM” moves to the 104.9 frequency.

May 2018 PPM Analysis: All-News

| June 20, 2018

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

LOS ANGELES — Our four-part series of May 2018 ratings recaps commences with an overview of all-news properties.

The following scoreboards reflect data from all-news stations that appeared in the top 20 (6+) in May 2018, a ratings period that covered April 26 – May 23.

Among qualifying all-news properties, May 2018’s average market share is off slightly from April 2018 (4.53 – 4.41, 6+); however, the (6+) market rank improves from #8.75 to #8.62.

A whopping 93.75% of our panel was down or flat (March – April, 6+), but the format bounces back (April – May), as 62.5% are either down or flat.

May 2017 – May 2018 stats for all-news outlets are extremely consistent with comparable April 2017 – April 2018 figures.

Nielsen Audio only releases audience estimates for facilities that subscribe to its services. As a result, ratings stats in this exclusive analysis are limited to stations that pay Nielsen Audio for its data.

While the vast majority of outlets on this particular panel program news around-the-clock, a few run talk blocks (in addition to their news commitment), making them genuine news – talk hybrids.

All but four properties listed here are owned by Entercom. The exceptions are WBZ-AM, Boston and KFBK, Sacramento (both iHeartMedia); WTOP, Washington, DC (Hubbard); and KOMO, Seattle (Sinclair Broadcast Group).

Appearing in the Baltimore report, Bloomberg-operated WDCH airs a business news format.

Read More

September 2017 PPM Analysis: News

| October 11, 2017

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

LOS ANGELES — The first in a four-part series of September 2017 ratings recaps begins with all-news operations, where our qualifying panel posts strong month-to-month and year-to-year gains.

The following scoreboards are comprised of all-news stations that appeared in the top 20 (6+) in any of the 48 PPM-markets in September 2017, a ratings period that covered August 17 – September 13.

Nielsen Audio only releases audience estimates for facilities that subscribe to its services.

Owing to that reason, ratings stats in this exclusive analysis are limited to stations that pay Nielsen Audio for its data.

With the exception of WTOP-FM, Washington, D.C. (Hubbard); KOMO, Seattle (Sinclair Broadcast Group); and KFBK, Sacramento (iHeartMedia), all stations listed here (strictly by coincidence) are CBS Radio-owned properties.

While principally all-news the majority of a 24-hour day, a few stations shown here run talk blocks and could be considered news – talk hybrids.

Appearing in the Baltimore report, WDCH airs a business news format and is operated by Bloomberg.

Read More

Monday, October 9, 2017

| October 9, 2017

Moskowitz, Siegel Named VP/Sales for iHM New York. The appointment of Todd Moskowitz as vice president of sales of iHeartMedia New York City news/talk WOR “The Voice of New York” and the promotion of Marc Siegel from sales manager to VP/Sales of co-owned WAXQ “Q-104.3 New York’s Classic Rock Station” are effective immediately. Both will report to senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia New York Bernie Weiss who states, “Marc and Todd are proven sales leaders with a long track record of delivering results for clients, teams and stations. They have the talent and experience to coach their teams in coming up with the most effective marketing solutions to maximize the ROI for their clients.” Moskowitz remarks, “I am excited to lead sales for one the most legendary radio stations in New York City and work with some of the best and brightest people in our business.” Siegel comments, “Classic rock is a format that transcends time and is as popular as it has ever been. I am very excited for this opportunity and I look forward to the next step in the journey with my iHeartMedia colleagues.” Moskowitz most recently was market president for Townsquare Media’s Danbury, Connecticut cluster. He began his career with CBS Radio Hartford, before joining Cumulus Media Bridgeport, Connecticut and eventually CBS Radio New York City all-news WINS. Before arriving at iHeartMedia New York at the end of 2016, Siegel was head of global audio sales at Bloomberg Media, and was local sales manager for New York public outlet WNYC, where he managed radio, podcasting, digital, and events sales.

TALKERS Founder Michael Harrison Guests on Debut Holland Cooke Show on RT America.  Says Donald Trump Has Been A Boon to Talk Media Business.  As reported last week in TALKERS, noted media consultant and TALKERS correspondent Holland Cooke was named to fill the big shoes of Thom Hartmann as host of television network RT America’s long-running “The Big Picture” program.  His debut installment of the half hour weekend show aired this past Friday (10/6) and is being met with positive reviews.  Cooke divides the opening show into two segments.  In the first, he welcomes panelists Brian Keane and Harvey Wasserman to discuss renewable energy… which could be the silver lining as Puerto Rico recovers from Hurricane Maria. And in the second segment, he asks TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison and talk media pundit Steve Malzberg, “Are we really THAT angry?” referring to the tone of today’s conversation in talk media.  Asked if Donald Trump is the best thing that could happen to talk radio and television, Harrison replies, “From a purely business standpoint – getting ratings, giving us material to use, creating interest, keeping people tuned to their radios and TVs – he’s the best thing that’s happened in years. I don’t remember anything like it.”  To view the entire program, please click here

Sirott Selected to Call Bruins Action. Inbound from Tribune Chicago news/talk WGN-AM, where he was studio host for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, Judd Sirott becomes the game caller for the Boston Bruins, whose NHL games are carried on CBS Radio Boston sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” CBS Radio Boston vice president of programming/CBS Radio vice president of sports programming Mike Thomas comments, “We are very excited to have someone with the exceptional reputation and experience that Judd has join our team at ‘The Sports Hub.’” Sirott adds, “I am incredibly fortunate, privileged, and humbled to be the radio voice of the Boston Bruins on ‘98.5 The Sports Hub.’ I didn’t just hit the lottery – I hit the Powerball. [The Bruins are] an ‘Original Six’ [NHL] team in a spectacular hockey market and one of the world’s greatest cities.” He succeeds Dave Goucher, who left last summer to become the television play-by-play voice for the Vegas Golden Knights, and joins analyst Bob Beers. An interesting note about Bruins’ radio play-by-play announcers: The only ones serving in that capacity going back to 1924 are Frank Ryan (28 years); Bob Wilson (25.5 years); Goucher (16 years); Fred Cusick (13 years); Bob Neumeier (five years); Bill Harrington (three years); Jim Laing (one year); and Dale Arnold (one-half year).

Cumulus DC Combo Arranges Blood Drive for Vegas Shooting Victims. Coordinated by Cumulus Media Washington D.C. news/talk and hot AC cluster-mates WMAL “Where Washington Comes to Talk” and WRQX “Mix 107.3,” the “Vegas Victims’ Blood Drive” will be held this Wednesday (10/11) from 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner in suburban Washington D.C. (McLean, Virginia). WMAL program director Bill Hess states, “The injured – including some from our area – face a lengthy recovery. This is one thing we can come together and do to help in our own individual way. We invite our friends and listeners to roll up their sleeves and join us in this effort.” WRQX program director Rob Roberts notes, “Distance doesn’t lessen the impact of what happened in Las Vegas. This is our chance to help someone and it costs nothing but a little time. We’re proud to do our part.” On a side note, “Mix” assistant program director/music director/mid-day talent Ashley Nickels is a Las Vegas native. Excluding the shooter, 58 people were killed last Sunday night (10/1) in Las Vegas. The dead included 36 women and 22 men; the oldest was 67, the youngest 20. Six of the dead were from Nevada, 35 from California, 13 from other states, and 4 from Canada. An additional 489 people were injured. The attack became the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the United States, having surpassed the death toll of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, where 50 died, including the gunman.

Broadcast Station Mergers, Acquisitions Hit $4.47 billion in Q2. The top radio deal was the $82.8 million sale of Emmis Communications’ Los Angeles rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106” to Meruelo Media. According to estimates from Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, the transaction was the largest single radio station sale since 2012 and represents nearly 34% of the quarter’s $245 million radio deal total. The second-largest radio transaction was the radio portion of Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune Media with an estimated value of $58.4 million for news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago and the programming of one additional FM station. That was followed by Educational Media Foundation‘s purchase of three FMs from Entercom for $57.5 million – classic rock KSWD “100.3 The Sound,” Los Angeles; KSOQ-FM, which simulcasts KSON-FM “New Country,” San Diego; and WGGI, which simulcasts WGGY “Today’s Best Country – Froggy,” Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Next was the sale of four Alpha Media AM stations, 14 FM outlets, and two FM translators to Dick Broadcasting Company for $19.5 million. Saga Communications sold its six-remaining owned-and-operated television stations and three LMAs to Morgan Murphy Media for $66.6 million, while at the same time, expanded its radio business with the third-largest radio deal of the quarter, paying $23 million to Apex Media for seven FM stations, one AM, and four translators.

Levy Exits KJR-AM. Related to his August 26 arrest for soliciting a prostitute, KJR-AM morning show host Mitch Levy departs the iHeartMedia Seattle sports talk outlet after a 23-year tenure there. According to a report in The Seattle Times, Levy entered which is known as an “Alford plea,” an acknowledgment of enough evidence for conviction without a formal guilty plea. He was sentenced to two years of probation plus a deferred sentence that will be dismissed if he completes probation without being charged with another crime. Levy was one of 110 men arrested in an undercover operation called “Operation on Demand.” The 50-year-old Levy reportedly placed $160 in cash on a bedside table in anticipation of a half-hour of sex. On Twitter, he wrote, “As most of you realize by now, my 23-year tenure at KJR is over. I am fully aware that I have disappointed so many from the loved ones closest to me to all of you who have given me the opportunity to entertain you on weekday mornings. I’m deeply sorry. I’d like to thank KJR and iHeartMedia for the golden opportunity that was never taken for granted. Now, I must continue tending to me, my emotional demons and my family. Some day I hope you’ll allow me the opportunity to earn back your trust and respect.”

CPR’s Wycisk Sets Retirement Plans. It won’t become effective for another eight months, but 40-year Colorado Public Radio (CPR) president Max Wycisk is announcing he will retire on June 30 (2018). Board chair Dean Salter remarks, “On behalf of the CPR board of directors, we thank Max for his service and for the many notable accomplishments achieved during his tenure. Max is recognized as a pioneer in public broadcasting and his vision set CPR on the path to its current success. He leaves one of the strongest public radio organizations in the country with a sound financial base, a talented and committed staff, and loyal listeners. We look forward to an orderly transition to ensure the continued success of CPR.” According to Wycisk, “While the world has undoubtedly changed over the past 40 years, CPR’s mission has remained steadfast and our importance has grown. The organization is stronger than it has ever been – a testament to our dedicated staff, the donors who support us, and the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on us each and every day. It has been an honor to lead the development of a vital community resource that’s uniquely positioned to have an even greater future ahead.” Prior to becoming CPR’s president, Wycisk was a program director and an on-air announcer there. Among other things, he is responsible for transforming CPR from a single-signal station to a statewide network, which includes CPR News, CPR Classical, and CPR’s triple A Open Air, which are broadcast on 34 statewide signals and online.

WGN Slots Chicago Inno Tech Briefs. Starting today (10/9), Tribune Chicago news/talk WGN-AM adds “The Inno Minute,” a 60-second breakdown of Chicago’s top tech news. Airing weekdays in the 5:00 am hour on “The Opening Bell with Steve Grzanich,” the segment is a snapshot of topics covered at ChicagoInno.com. WGN-AM vice president of programming & content Todd Manley notes, “The stories that the team at Chicago Inno chases and shares are so powerful we wanted them on WGN every day.” Reporter Katherine Davis and Chicago Inno associate editor Jim Dallke will serve as producers. “Chicago Inno is incredibly excited to be working with WGN radio on ‘The Inno Minute,’” Dallke comments. “Chicago’s entrepreneurship scene is thriving, and we are thrilled to be able to work with WGN to inform Chicagoans on the innovation that is driving the city forward.” Elsewhere on the station, former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka will appear for football commentary each Monday in morning drive with Steve Cochran and every Friday with afternoon driver Roe Conn. Ditka formerly had a similar radio arrangement in the market on WMVP “ESPN 1000.”

Salem Talk Hosts Headed Back to the White House. Approximately two and a half months ago (7/25), Salem Radio Network talk hosts Mike Gallagher and Hugh Hewitt conducted day-long broadcasts from the White House. The two will return to the Nation’s Capital next Tuesday (10/17) for live “Tax Reform Day” broadcasts from the White House. Hewitt (right) and Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup are planning for invited guests including treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, as well as other senior White House and administration staff.

Cavaliers, Monsters, iHM Cleveland Sign Multi-Year Extensions. As part of the new pact, all 82 regular-season contests, as well as five preseason and all playoff games of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers will air on iHeartMedia Cleveland news/talk WTAM and co-owned rocker WMMS. In addition to these two flagships, the Cavs are on a 30-station radio network. John Michael returns for his seventh season as the franchise’s play-by-play announcer, while Jim Chones is back for his eighth year as analyst. The Cavs have reached an extended agreement with Murray Hill Broadcasting to continue broadcasting all of its games in Spanish. Meanwhile, for the second consecutive year, all 76 regular-season games of the AHL Cleveland Monsters will be broadcast on iHeartMedia Cleveland alternative WMMS-HD2. Tony Brown returns for his third season as the radio and television play-by-play voice of the Monsters. Brown spent two years in the NAHL as the voice of the Odessa Jackalopes; one season in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers; became the radio voice of the Indy Fuel in the ECHL; and then came to the Monsters in their Calder Cup-winning season of 2015-2016.

Osgood As It Gets. The longtime host of Westwood One’s “The Osgood File” – Charles Osgood – was presented with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” last night (Sunday, 10/8) from the News and Documentary Emmys. Celebrating with Osgood (in the center with his trademark bowtie) backstage were his family and colleagues, including Westwood One executive vice president of news and talk Bart Tessler, and senior vice president of Affiliate Sales Dennis Green.

 

TALKERS News Notes. Fill-in host Rob Carson – who will be on iHeartMedia Phoenix news/talk KFYI and CBS Radio Las Vegas’ similarly-formatted KNXT next week – recently joined the conservative-leaning LibertyOne TV/video podcasting network and he explains, “My experience as an audio/video podcaster and live Facebook/YouTube podcaster is propelling my career forward in many ways. I hope to consult talk hosts about the new digital platforms. I’ve only been on for two weeks and my LibertyOneTV.com show attracted 18,000 viewers last Friday [10/6]. After two months, my daily podcast on PodcastRadioNetwork.com is their second-biggest podcast. This journey beyond terrestrial radio is incredible.” ….. The appointment of Karen Wishart as an Urban One executive vice president becomes official on January 1, 2018, when she replaces Linda Vilardo as chief administrative officer. In the meantime, those two will work together to transition Vilardo’s duties. According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Wishart will be paid a base salary of $425,000 with an opportunity to make up to $150,000 in bonuses ….. The official charity of iHeartMedia Des Moines news/talk WHO afternoon drive talent Simon Conway is The Puppy Jake Foundation, which acquires, raises, and trains service dogs for physically and mentally wounded veterans. Last Friday (10/6), the fourth annual, two-hour free sandwich giveaway to benefit The Puppy Jake Foundation raised more than $28,500. The event brought in $4,000 in year one; $6,000 the second year; and $23,000 last year. Conway remarks, “People drove long distances and handed over huge sums of money. My show’s sponsors stepped up too, one of them called in and doubled his initial $1,000 donation.” Over 200 pounds of meat, buns, and sauce were all donated. So far, 22 service dogs have been provided to veterans; five more dogs will graduate the program in March ….. As of next Monday (10/16), Genesee Media Brockport-Rochester, New York sports talk WRSB “97.5 The Team” will transition to Spanish variety as “Mi 97.5.”

 

 

Delilah Taking Leave of Absence Following Her Son’s Suicide. On Saturday (10/7), the 7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight host posted on Facebook about the suicide, which occurred early Tuesday morning (October 3). “I will be absent from the radio and on social media for a time as I grieve and try to process this loss with my family,” Delilah (Rene) wrote as she grieves the loss of her teenage son Zachariah, who battled a long bout against depression. In what reportedly will be the only statement at this time by the Premiere Networks’ personality, Delilah states, “My dear friends, I need to share some devastating news with you. My son, Zachariah, took his life. He was being treated, counseled, and embraced fiercely by family and friends while battling depression. My heart is broken beyond repair and I cannot fathom how to go on, but I have to believe he is at peace with the Lord and that God will get us through. We will be playing some of my favorite shows from the recent past. I’ll look forward to my return, as you all lift me up so very much. Please pray for my beloved Zacky, and I will pray for all suffering from this debilitating disease called depression.” In a Facebook post earlier this year, Delilah revealed that Zack was autistic. The mother of 13 children, including ten she adopted, Delilah previously lost a son, Sammy, who died in 2012 from complications of sickle-cell anemia. According to The New York Daily News, Sammy’s death came two years after he was adopted from a Ghanaian refugee camp in West Africa. Delilah’s nightly show is heard on 180 (mainly adult contemporary) stations and on the American Forces Network. She was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame in April, following her November 2016 induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Delilah has updated her Facebook home page to include the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), which offers free, 24-hour emotional support for people in distress, as well as resources that provide aid.

iHeartMedia Philadelphia Taking Bids to Beat Breast Cancer. The cluster is doing so in its annual “Bid for Breast Cancer” fundraiser to benefit the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). It begins today (10/9) and will include an auction through next Monday (10/16). According to iHeartMedia Philadelphia vice president of programming Brian Check, “We have again pulled together all the resources of our six stations to collect one-of-a-kind autographed items to benefit a cause that affects many women in our community. AACR is known for bringing together the greatest minds in cancer research and helping patients worldwide, as well as right here in the Philadelphia area.” AACR Foundation executive director Mitch Stoller explains that this year, “More than 300,000 women will hear the words, ‘You have breast cancer.’ The AACR’s mission is to prevent and cure all cancers, including breast cancer which is the second-most common cause of cancer-related death among women in the United States. We are grateful to iHeartMedia Philadelphia and the community for their support in this ‘Bid for Breast Cancer.’ Proceeds will enable the AACR to fund groundbreaking cancer research that will lead to more cancer discoveries, saving more lives.” Auction items include an Ed Sheeran-autographed guitar; a guitar autographed by Brad Paisley; a Green Day-autographed guitar; jacket autographed by Bruno Mars; Rolling Stone Magazine autographed by Harry Styles; and a Red Hot Chili Peppers-autographed guitar. In a similar “Bid for Breast Cancer” event last year, iHeartMedia Philadelphia raised over $15,000.

Chicago’s “B-96” Reveals “Jingle Bash” Lineup. The 18th annual Pepsi “Jingle Bash” from CBS Radio Chicago CHR WBBM-FM “B-96” is roughly two months away (12/7) and will be headlined by Taylor Swift, along with Backstreet Boys, Fifth Harmony, Khalid, Logic, and Sabrina Carpenter. Vice president of programming for CBS Radio Chicago/WBBM-FM program director Todd Cavanah states that the “B-96” “Jingle Bash” has been a “must-see holiday event in Chicago for almost two decades. This year, we are thrilled to have the world’s biggest superstar – Taylor Swift – as our headliner. In the holiday season, the ‘Jingle Bash’ is a wonderful way for our community to come together and celebrate an exceptional night of pop music.” Breaking the news on-air was “B-96” afternoon air talent “Tyler.” The station’s December 7 “Jingle Bash” will be held in Rosemont (Illinois) at the Allstate Arena. In other station concert news, Emmis New York rhythmic CHR WQHT “Hot 97” will present “Hot for the Holidays” on December 14 at the Prudential Center. Scheduled to appear are Chris Brown, 21 Savage, Meek Mill, Cardi B, and Dave East & Tee Grizzley. Meanwhile, CBS Radio San Francisco CHR KMVQ “99.7 Now” will have Taylor Swift headline its December 2 “Poptopia” concert at San Jose’s Sap Center. Slated to perform as well are Ed Sheeran, The Chainsmokers, Fifth Harmony, Niall Horan, Khalid, Logic, and Dua Lipa.

WDVE Radio-thon Raises $814,000. Easily surpassing last year’s total of $605,000, iHeartMedia Pittsburgh’s WDVE “102.5 Rocks” raised just over $814,000 during the tenth annual “DVE Rocks for Children’s Radio-thon.” The beneficiary is Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, which is the fundraising arm of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. WDVE morning show personalities Randy Baumann, Bill Crawford, Val Porter, and Mike Prisuta, as well as Michele Michaels and Sean McDowell, shared stories from patients, families, and staff from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh during the two-day radio-thon. Market president for iHeartMedia Pittsburgh – West Virginia Tim McAleer comments, “The ‘DVE Rocks for Children’s Radio-thon’ continues to exceed our expectations. WDVE has terrific listeners who rally for the kids. I am in awe of the dedication and efforts of our on-air talents to raise funds for the children in our Pittsburgh community.” Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation president Greg Barrett adds, “It is truly unbelievable to witness the generosity of WDVE, their loyal listeners, the corporate sponsors and partners, and this amazing Pittsburgh community who have supported the radio-thon over the past ten years. Without this remarkable support each and every year, providing this level of expert, compassionate care to our patients and their families simply would not be possible.” Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, comedian Billy Gardell (“Mike & Molly”), and WWE chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon made donations by phone. The “DVE Rocks for Children’s Radio-thon” has raised nearly $5 million to benefit Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, leading provider of pediatric care in the Pittsburgh community.

Duran Supports Third Annual “Carney Awards.” A joint production between The Elvis Duran Group and Radcliffe Road Pictures, the third annual “Carney Awards” will be held in approximately three weeks (10/29) at Santa Monica’s Broad Stage. Named in honor of the Oscar and six-time Emmy winning actor Art Carney, the Carney Awards were created by Elvis Duran Group CEO David Katz, his brother – Emmy-winning producer Jim Katz, and Carney’s son – actor voice-over artist, Brian Carney. Duran is morning personality on iHeartMedia New York CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and syndicated by Premiere Networks. “I never understood why the hardest-working actors in Hollywood were almost always excluded from receiving awards and recognition for the great work that they do,” Duran comments. “We created the Carney Awards to rectify that injustice. Character actors are the backbone of almost every movie and television show ever made. It’s time for them to get the recognition they so deserve. I don’t want people pointing anymore saying ‘Hey, it’s that guy.’” David Katz notes, “Elvis is the first to admit that his co-hosts are the backbone of his radio show. Our desire to celebrate those in supporting roles has picked up great momentum and has caught the attention of Hollywood, which is always good for radio.” This year’s honorees are Xander Berkeley, William Fichtner, Richard Kind, William H. Macy, and Wendie Malick. Past honorees include Bob Balaban, Steve Buscemi, Gary Cole, Conchata Ferrell, Dan Hedaya, and David Paymer. Tom Bergeron of ABC-TV’s “Dancing with the Stars” will host the awards program. Tickets are complimentary to radio industry members.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The guest emcee at the 73rd annual Congressional Correspondents Dinner in just over two weeks (10/25) at the National Building Museum will be Bobby Bones, whose eponymous weekday morning show originating from iHeartMedia Nashville’s country WSIX-FM is heard on more than 100 affiliates. In addition to his Monday through Friday Premiere Networks’ syndicated morning program, Bones hosts a weekend “Country Top 30” countdown and authored “Bare Bones: I’m Not Lonely If You’re Reading This Book.” The event’s headline entertainer will be “Daily Show with Trevor Noah” correspondent Roy Wood, Jr.; house speaker Paul Ryan will deliver keynote remarks ….. General sales manager of iHeartMedia Pittsburgh classic rock WDVE and country WPGB “Big 104.7” Bobbie Loesch is promoted to regional senior vice president of sales for the Pittsburgh-West Virginia region. The company’s region president Tim McAleer remarks, “Bobbie’s extensive experience in our region makes her the perfect fit to oversee sales for our robust media and entertainment assets. We are lucky to have her; she is an expert at multiplatform sales and consistently helps our partners reach their goals.” Loesch – who begins her new duties next Monday (10/16) – adds, “I have worked with the iHeartMedia Pittsburgh team for over a decade, so I am excited to lead such a talented group. It is great that we are such a tight-knit team and that we are all passionate about helping our partners succeed.” ….. Starting next Monday (10/16), Cameron Moore takes over 10:00 am – 3:00 pm duties on Beasley Media Group Charlotte CHR WNKS “Kiss 95.1.” Operations manager/program director John Reynolds comments, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Cameron to Beasley’s Charlotte team. [Her] expanded experience in every aspect of radio programming will help ‘Kiss’ continue the solid growth we have been having all year. Cameron is a great example of our goal to mentor and groom excellent talent within our company.” Moore adds, “It is an honor to be part of the ‘Kiss’ team. I look forward to playing all of the hottest hit music and getting out on the streets to meet all of [our] loyal listeners.” Winston-Salem native Moore most recently worked at Midwest Family Broadcasting’s Springfield, Missouri cluster ….. The yearly signature event for CBS Radio Chicago triple A WXRT “93-XRT” is its Goose Island Holiday Jam. The ninth such event will feature performances by Spoon with special guest Real Estate and takes place in two months (12/10) at the Chicago Theatre. WXRT program director and operations manager Greg Solk explains, “The WXRT Goose Island Holiday Jam was created to showcase some of the most dynamic talents around, and to offer a memorable annual holiday event for Chicago music fans. This year’s fabulous double bill of Spoon and Real Estate will certainly accomplish that goal.” ….. As of today (10/9), 2016 Texas Radio Hall of Fame inductee Gary Lee Love joins John Walton classic country KXXF “105.3 Free,” Beaumont (Texas) for afternoon drive duties. Station owner John Walton states, “It is quite a coup for [us] to acquire a partnership with the Gary Lee Love Show. Gary is a bigger-than-life personality who is a household name in Southeast Texas and a great entertainer. Love most recently did a similar shift on cross-town Cumulus Media-owned KAYD “Nash-FM.”

Hundreds Attend “The House FM” and “My Praise FM” Kid DJ Day. The sixth annual “Kid DJ Day” was held over a week ago (9/30) at the 89.7 “The House FM Where Christian Hits Live” and 88.7 “My Praise FM” studios. More than 550 Kid DJs and 888 total family members attended the free event. “The House FM” and “My Praise FM” founder and chief executive officer Doyle Brewer remarks, “We had such a great day hosting 888 guests. The families were making such great memories with the petting zoo and so many other activities. Our ministry has always been focused on supporting families on the air with our programming and any other way we can.” Kids were invited to be DJs for a day, receiving a tour of the radio station and having a turn on-air. They were asked to discuss a variety of different topics, prompted by the DJ; parents received an email recording of their child’s on-air time. Listener-supported Christian radio network “The House FM” broadcasts from Oklahoma City to Wichita; sister network “My Praise FM” broadcasts in northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas.

Austin’s September 2017 Report to be Re-Released. Owing to audience estimates being inadvertently omitted for Austin subscribing HD-multicast KKMJ-HD3, Nielsen Audio will issue a revised September 2017 PPM ratings report for that Texas market this Wednesday (10/11) at 12:00 noon. Reporting for Entercom urban AC KKMJ-HD3 apparently had not been entered into one of Nielsen Audio’s internal systems. Audience estimates for other Austin stations will reportedly not be affected. Prior to August’s +.1 to 1.6 (#19, 6+), KKMJ-HD3 hadn’t had an increase in five consecutive sweeps for a net loss of nine-tenths (2.4 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 1.7 – 1.5, 6+) but disappeared from print in the September sweep that was released last week.