It’s Official: Rich Zeoli Moves to AM Drive on WPHT, Philadelphia. Afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli is making the move to the WPHT, Philadelphia’s morning drive daypart, effective May 13. Zeoli is taking over the show most recently hosted by Chris Stigall, who exited the station earlier this year. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “Rich is a compelling and thought-provoking radio host and we’re looking forward to seeing him shine in the mornings on WPHT. From interviewing the president to covering what’s hot in pop culture or entertainment, to Rich’s passion for recognizing local police officers, his funny and poignant style always shines a light on what everyone is talking about.” Zeoli comments, “For years I have had one simple goal: to blend information and humor to make entertaining talk radio. Moving to mornings is an honor and a challenge and I’m thrilled that my team will be moving with me.” Zeoli has been with the company since joining as a talk host in 2010. He became afternoon drive host in 2015. Zeoli is also the founder of RZC Impact, a communications firm specializing in media training, public speaking, and strategy. His clients have included Fortune 100 C-Suite executives, national television personalities, and bestselling authors. He is the author of The Seven Principles of Public Speaking: Proven Methods of a PR Pro (2008, Skyhorse). WPHT has made no statement about its plans for the now-open afternoon drive depart.
Nashville Sports Talk Personality George Plaster Launching Daily Show on WSM-AM. The Tennessean reports that Nashville sports talk personality George Plaster is returning to the air full time to host a daily, afternoon sports talk show on Grand Ole Opry’s country WSM-AM, effective July 15. Plaster has been serving as athletics director at Belmont University since 2016. Plaster first started doing sports talk radio on WWTN-FM, Nashville in 1989. From 2003 through 2012, he hosted afternoons on crosstown WGFX-FM “The Zone,” and moved to WPRT-FM “102.5 FM The Game” in 2012. Despite its afternoon drive air time, the show will be called “Sports Night with George Plaster.”
Connoisseur Sells Billings Cluster to Desert Mountain Broadcasting. The Billings, Montana cluster of six stations owned by Connecticut-based Connoisseur Media is going to Desert Mountain Broadcasting for $3 million in a just-announced deal. The cluster includes news/talk KYYA and sports talk KBLG in addition to four music-formatted brands. Connoisseur regional vice president and general manager Cameron Maxwell formed Desert Mountain Broadcasting in 2018 with the intention of acquiring the stations. He says, “And now I’m in the very rare position to be able to launch my new media company by purchasing from these exceptional broadcasters six radio stations I’ve helped to create. I’m forever grateful for this incredible time with Connoisseur Media and the constant mentoring they’ve provided. With this first acquisition, Desert Mountain Broadcasting launches today on a solid foundation, built upon the values and best practices embedded in me by [Connoisseur CEO] Jeff [Warshaw], [CFO] Mike [Driscoll], and COO David Bevins.”
TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT: Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio. Among the challenges news/talk radio faces today is the aging of its audience and the desire by many broadcasters to attract younger listeners to the format. Opinions on how to achieve this – and there are those who question whether it can be achieved at all – vary greatly. Some believe broadcasting on FM is a necessary first step while others say the whole approach to the format must be re-thought for the Millennial generation. At Talkers 2019: Telling the Story, set for New York on Friday, June 7, TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey will moderate a panel of broadcasters to discuss “Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio.” Panelists include (pictured below): Mike “Bax” Baxendale, host, WAQY, Springfield, MA “Rock 102”; Greg Foster, VP of programming and national news/talk brand coordinator, iHeartMedia and KOA, Denver PD; John T. Mullen, operations manager, WRHU-FM, Hofstra University; Sid Rosenberg, host, WABC, New York; Rich Zeoli, host, WPHT, Philadelphia. The conference is rapidly moving toward being an early sellout. To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and for registration/hotel information, please click here.
TALKERS News Notes. Philadelphia all-news KYW gets a brand refresh as Entercom unveils a new logo and an update to its iconic jingle. The company says the changes reflect “its multiplatform growth and evolution.” KYW worked with legendary arranger and Philadelphia native Larry Gold on the modern update to its beloved jingle. Entercom SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “KYW Newsradio has evolved into a modern news organization serving a wide range of listeners across various platforms and we are proud to introduce visual and audio enhancements that reflect who the station is today. The station is a local treasure that remains an integral part of the city and to honor those roots, we worked with hometown artists to capture its essence and develop the refreshed brand identity. Everyone in town sings our jingle and we’re thrilled to introduce this new contemporary sound.” Check it out here…..Sun Broadcast Group announces the opening of its West Coast office in Los Angeles as part of its expansion efforts and the hiring of Ed Moloney as affiliate content director, effective immediately. The company says Moloney will affiliate stations for all SBG shows and services, maintain relationships with current affiliates, and support other programming efforts for new additions to the SBG line up such as “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis” and more. For the past eight years, Moloney programmed the syndicated version of JACK FM. He has also served with Westwood One, Entertainment Radio Networks, KCBS and KYSR, Los Angeles and WBCN, Boston…..Townsquare Media’s news/talk WPGG-AM, Atlantic City is changing its FM simulcast to 95.5 FM. The company announces that, effective immediately, the station is being heard there in addition to 104.1 and, of course, 1450 AM. But, the 104.1 FM simulcast will eventually go away. Townsquare also says it’s not done making major announcements about the station, saying, “WPG is getting even bigger and better very soon…” Stay tuned!
MIW Radio Group Announces 2019 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program Participants. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group announces the four radio professionals selected to participate as mentees in the 2019 MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program. They are: Andrea Clay, national sales manager, Beasley Media Group Charlotte; Katy Dempsey, program director and morning show host, Bryan Broadcasting, College Station, Texas; Nicole Jones, manager of sales training & development, Cumulus Media Chicago; and Jennifer Seelig, director of news & programming, Entercom San Francisco. The MIW Group’s signature mentoring program matches up-and-coming women in the radio industry with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio broadcasting. Beasley Media Group, LLC is, for the second year in a row, serving as the lead sponsor of this year’s program. Lindsay Cerajewski, chair of the 2019 MIW Group Mentoring Committee and national sales manager/new business development, Entercom Chicago says, “Each year, this coveted program generates more and more interest and therefore applications. We are very encouraged by the quantity and quality of candidates desiring to grow their careers in radio, and this year’s class definitely reflects the excellence we’re seeing in our applications. Let the mentoring begin!”
Mueller Report/Barr Contempt Vote, U.S.-China Trade War, Iran Nuclear Deal, NYTimes Trump Losses Story, 2020 Presidential Politics, Colorado School Shooting, and North Korea Missile Test Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/7). The ongoing reactions to the release of the redacted version of the Mueller Report and Democrats’ option to consider Attorney General William Barr in contempt of congress for his refusal to turn over the complete report; the financial markets react to President Trump’s reigniting the tariff war with China; Iran backs out of the nuclear deal it entered into with six other nations; The New York Times’ story about Trump’s business losses from 1985 to 1994; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Tuesday’s shooting at a Colorado high school that left one dead and several injured; and North Korea’s latest missile test 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 “Todd & Jayde” morning show announced that May 31 will be the last broadcast on WPLJ-FM, New York as a hot AC outlet. Owner Cumulus Media is selling the iconic FM to Educational Media Foundation and that company will flip the station to a Christian music format…..The Daily Chronicle reports that Bustos Media is acquiring the Centralia, Washington FM KFNY from the Ocean Station II Trust, operated by iHeartMedia. The station has been airing a smooth jazz format for the past couple of years as it awaited acquisition by another broadcaster. Bustos owns KDDS-FM in the market that currently airs a regional Mexican format.