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Tuesday, December 8, 2020

| December 8, 2020

Howard Stern Signs Renewal with SiriusXM for Five More Years. During previous investor conference calls, outgoing SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer said he believed Howard Stern and SiriusXM would come to terms on a new deal and today’s announcement bears that out. Under the new agreement, Stern will continue to produce and host “The Howard Stern Show” exclusively for SiriusXM for the next five years, and the Howard Stern archive of audio and video will continue to be licensed to SiriusXM for an additional seven years. Stern says, “Fifteen years ago, I joined SiriusXM, a fledgling group of broadcasters. I had been in a toxic relationship with terrestrial radio. And no matter how well I treated the medium, no matter how successful I made them, they abused me. Going to SiriusXM liberated me. I felt like Tina Turner freeing myself from Ike. And despite the naysayers and the ridicule, we have persevered, and are thriving. I’ve been proven right about satellite radio over and over again. With this contract renewal, I can’t wait to see what else I’ll be right about. Certainly, I have a lot more to say about Metamucil crackers and stepmom porn. Plus, now that I can work from home, I simply don’t have an excuse to quit.” Meyer says, “As the leading audio entertainment company, we couldn’t be happier to have Howard, the leading host in all of radio and audio, continue to make SiriusXM the home for his show, channels, and archives while at the peak of his broadcasting career. Howard’s home has been SiriusXM and it will remain that way, but we’ve expanded SiriusXM in recent years too, and we are excited about finding the right ways that select content from Howard can find audiences on additional platforms. May I add, I consider Howard a close friend and look forward to listening to him for years to come.”

Ron St. Pierre Out at iHeartMedia’s WHJJ, Providence; Jim Polito Takes Over Morning Show. Longtime Providence air personality and programmer Ron St. Pierre has exited iHeartMedia’s news/talk WHJJ-AM, Providence where he hosted the morning drive show. Filling the programming gap is WTAG-AM, Worcester, Massachusetts-based morning personality Jim Polito. In 2016, iHeartMedia dropped the local morning show hosted by Adam Wright and Bo Sullivan on WHYN-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts and began simulcasting Polito’s show there. The WHJJ move puts the Jim Polito show in three of iHeartMedia’s New England markets.

Salem’s KRLA and KTIE Cut Ties with Brian Whitman. Southern California radio pro Brian Whitman exits Salem Media Group’s morning drive show “The Morning Answer” that he co-hosted with Jennifer Horn that was simulcast on KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino. Whitman shared the news on his Facebook page on Friday (12/4). He wrote, “I was provided the following from folks at Salem/KRLA this morning. The announcement was sent by the general manager to their kind and hardworking staff, making this news public. I’ll have very personal thoughts to share with members of the ‘Morning Answer Listening Family’ (as I came to know and regard you over many years) very soon. It will be in this space at a time that is more appropriate and comfortable. With all of my love and with the warmest gratitude for every moment that we’ve shared together, I offer words that I know fall far short of my heart’s sentiment. Thank you, thank you, thank you guys.” The message from management was as follows: “After eight years hosting ‘The Morning Answer,’ Brian Whitman will no longer be with us. We wish Brian all the best in the future. Chuck [Tyler] and I echo Phil Boyce who said, “Brian has been a hard-working and extremely talented employee for us for many years. We will always cherish his friendship, and our opportunity to work together at KRLA and KTIE.” Whitman was the liberal counterpart to conservative Horn.

Hubbard Radio Drops Sports Talker Chris Rongey; Re-Aligns Host Lineup. According to a report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar, afternoon drive sports talk personality Chris Rongey has been let go from Hubbard Radio’s WXOS-FM, St. Louis. Rongey had been part of “The Fast Lane” afternoon show since replacing D’Marco Farr in 2017. The station moves midday host Jamie Rivers into afternoons alongside Anthony Stalter and Brad Thompson and promotes Alex Farrario to the midday show co-hosting with Brandon Kiley.

Talk Radio Host Michael Berry’s Good Month Includes Raising $1.3 Million for PTSD Foundation. KRTH, Houston-based, nationally syndicated talk host Michael Berry had a very good month in which his program helped raise $1.3 million for Camp Hope, the residential treatment center run by the PTSD Foundation of America, of which Berry is the national spokesman. The organization was laying off staff, including the vital folks who counsel suicidal veterans who struggle with re-integration after war. Berry teamed up with sponsor Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale, owner of the Gallery Furniture chain, to raise funds. During the whole of 2020, Berry’s efforts have raised $3 million for the organization, almost its entire budget. Additionally, Berry made national news on Monday (12/7) for his interview with Houston-based Goya Foods CEO Bob Unanue, during which Unanue said he gave U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez the company’s “employee of the month” award. This came after Ocasio Cortez called for a boycott on Goya products because Unanue publicly praised President Trump. However, Unanue says the boycott call produced a counter-protest in which supporters flocked to buy Goya goods. On top of that, Berry has added new affiliates, WPNN, Pensacola, Florida, and KNUW, Silver City, New Mexico and hopes to roll out seven new affiliates before the New Year. In case you missed it, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian profiled Berry back in October. Read it here.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. The Nielsen Audio PPM ratings survey in the month prior to the November election (October 8 – November 4) was not as generous to sports talk radio stations as it was to news/talk, still TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian reports that 46% of sports talkers were up (weekly 6+ AQH share) from the October 2020 survey. Gainers from October to November were led by RadiOhio’s WBNS-FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” (+0.7, 6.2 share) and Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville (+0.7, 6.0 share). Due to the pandemic’s effect on live sports, year-over-year comparisons have not been kind to the sports talk format and November 2019 to November 2020 is not different. 68% of sports talk outlets in PPM markets were down. However, 23% of stations gained with Cumulus Media’s KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas leading the pack (+1.6, 2.8 share). While no sports talkers claimed the #1 rank in their market during the November survey, iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis came close, posting a 7.6 share good for the #2 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

WJR, Detroit News Director Dick Haefner to Retire. After a 51-year career in radio news, WJR, Detroit news director Dick Haefner is retiring. Haefner, an award-winning newscaster, reporter, and news director, has been WJR news director since 1989. Cumulus Media says that “his tenure is unmatched by any other Detroit broadcast news director. He is one of the most recognizable news voices in his hometown of Detroit, signing on to radio news in 1969 and signing off on December 11, 2020, Haefner’s last day on-air.” The company goes on to note that “under Haefner’s leadership, WJR News has been honored with nearly every national and local news award in the broadcast business, including: the Peabody Award, Associated Press national award for Best Broadcast Reporting, Edward R. Murrow Awards, and numerous state news awards… Some of Haefner’s projects have changed laws. A series on suburban toxic waste dumps resulted in tighter rules for handling waste. An investigation of fraud at gas stations brought about new regulations on service station inspections and fuel hauling, and even changed the way the IRS taxes the fuel hauling industry. Among the biggest stories Haefner has broken are Coleman Young’s baby, the Nancy KerriganTonya Harding incident heard around the world, and Detroit’s two side-by-side sports stadiums.” Haefner comments, “Anything I may have accomplished is because of other people, my wife Judy, and my family who allowed me to pursue adventures in broadcast news, and especially my co-workers. My most important job was to put them in position to do their best work. What they accomplished every day is my greatest reward. I have had the best job in Detroit radio news for almost 32 years. I’m the luckiest person I know.”

Susan O’Connell Retires from Compass Media Networks; Robert Blum Rises to Senior Manager of Affiliate Sales. Affiliate sales pro Susan O’Connell is retiring from her position as vice president of news/talk affiliate sales with Compass Media Networks, effective December 31. At the same time, the company announces that Robert Blum – a Compass Media staffer since 2011 – is being promoted to senior manager of affiliate sales for news/talk/sports. O’Connell has been in the news/talk affiliate sales business for the past 40 years, the last six with Compass Media. She previously served with the Wall Street Journal Radio Network, ABC Radio Networks, CBS News, and the Progressive Radio Network. She comments, “The best part of my job has always been working with great broadcasters. Thank you all for sharing your time, talent, and friendship over the years. Compass Media Networks was the perfect place to wind up. Representing our stellar news/talk lineup and being part of this team has been an honor and a privilege.” Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann says, “Susan is a total superstar, friend, and treasured colleague. Through hard work, perseverance, and cunning, Susan established Compass Media Networks as a dominant player in news/talk programming with over 750 leading news/talk stations airing over a dozen hours of our daily, live, and original news-talk programming.”

COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Trump Challenges, Biden Transition, Stimulus Package, Georgia Runoff Elections, Pornhub Allegations, and Presidential Pardons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the pleas from authorities to follow mask and gathering mandates, and the status of vaccines; Donald Trump continues legal challenges to the results of the presidential election; President-Elect Joe Biden continues his administration’s transition; the debate in Congress over a new stimulus package; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the allegations that porn giant Pornhub has promoted underage actors; and reports of Donald Trump’s pardon plans 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. On-air pro and urban media personality Charlamagne Tha God, a.k.a. Lenard McKelvey, and iHeartMedia renew and extend their relationship. The deal means the co-host of the WWPR, New York “Power 105.1”-based, nationally syndicated “The Breakfast Club” will continue to work with iHeartMedia for the next five years.  He says, “I give my sincerest thanks to iHeart for empowering me over the past decade to be the best talent that I can be, and for honoring me as an owner and executive. I love the audio business and iHeart is the biggest and best audio company in the world. As co-founder and chief creative officer of the Black Effect Podcast Network and now senior creative officer of cultural content and programming at iHeart, all I want to do for the next five years is continue to move the culture of radio and podcasting forward by curating a new era of voices, programming, and events. GOD IS GREAT! Now, it’s time to get back to work.”

Friday, October 9, 2020

| October 9, 2020

Radio Show 2020: Noon Is ‘the new Morning Drive.’ In today’s report from the virtual 2020 NAB/RAB Radio Show, consultant Holland Cooke recalls how, “in olden times, when the boss asked what the station got for its money when you got home from the convention, THIS is what you’d show-off.” In the virtual Radio Show session “Radio Listening During Covid-19: What’s Changed,” Nielsen Audio senior VP/client services John Snyder draws the road map to radio’s New Normal, “and you didn’t have to spend a dime on airfare or hotel!” Read it here.

NYTimes: Talk Radio Is Turning Millions of Americans Into Conservatives. A piece in The New York Times by author Paul Matzko (The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built the Modern Conservative Movement, Oxford University Press 2020) credits talk radio with, as the headline states, “turning millions of Americans into conservatives.” In the piece, Matzko writes, “Talk radio may face an aging audience, a decline in ad revenue and competition from new mass media forms like podcasts, but there are still millions of Americans whose politics are shaped by what they listen to on talk radio all day, every day. FOX News gets more of the attention for shaping conservative opinion and for its influence on the Trump administration, but we shouldn’t overlook the power of conservative talk radio.” Citing such show hosts as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, Matzko suggests that “[t]alk radio’s power is rooted in the sheer volume of content being produced each week. The typical major talk radio show is produced every weekday and runs three hours, so just the top 15 shows are putting out around 45 hours of content every day. Even setting aside hundreds of additional local shows, the dedicated fan can listen to nothing but conservative talk radio all day, every day of the week, and never catch up.”

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “The Other Side is Lying!” looks back at this past week of October 5 – October 9, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Robyn Walensky, talk show host, KWAM, Memphis; Charlie Kirk, talk show host, Salem Radio Network/president, Turning Point USADr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/medical doctor; and David Bernstein, professor, Caldwell University, New Jersey/general manager, TalkersRadio. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network;Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here  or call 616-884-8616.

WABC, New York Debuts ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ Overnight Program. New York City’s TALKRADIO 77 WABC launches the live and local overnight program “The Other Side of Midnight” hosted by Frank Morano. Red Apple Media says that the 1:00 am to 5:00 am program airs Monday through Friday and “features newsmakers, insightful commentary, expert guests, lively exchanges with callers, and a healthy dose of satire. Just this week, Morano welcomed former Trump adviser Roger Stone, subway vigilante Bernard Goetz, former radio talker Doug McIntyre, and radio legend John Gambling. There are also regular discussions exploring the world of the paranormal, including UFOs and conspiracy theories.” In addition to this new program, Morano will continue to host his daily 10:00 am to 11:00 am program on “Talk Radio 107.1” (WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays, Long Island). Red Apple Media and WABC president Chad Lopez says, “Frank has already proven to be one of the most entertaining young voices in talk radio today. We’re thrilled to add Frank to our ranks as we continue to cement our place as New York’s premiere news and talk station. This is the city that never sleeps, and New Yorkers deserve a live and local overnight show.” Morano comments, “I grew up listening to overnight radio. To me, there’s nothing more intimate and more fun. There’s no daypart where you can combine longform interviews, wacky topics, off-the-wall guests, and a bit of irreverence. When I’d fall asleep, or wake up early, listening to the likes of Alan Colmes, Brian Whitman, Art Bell, Jay Diamond and Doug McIntyre, I’d quickly find those voices becoming the soundtrack of my dreams. I was absolutely hooked. I’m hoping to give insomniacs one more reason to stay awake.”

Townsquare Media to Investors: 2020 Continues to Improve. In a presentation to investors, Townsquare Media says that its status as a “small market presence” has “greatly benefitted the company” because its markets reopened sooner than many of the big cities. Townsquare says its digital products and services were more resilient than its over-the-air services and those helped offset overall revenue decline. It adds that digital products Townsquare Ignite and AMPED (advertising on its O&O websites) returned to positive revenue growth in July. Finally, Townsquare tells investors that it has “prudently managed cash and generated positive cash flow from operations through the first six months of 2020,” pointing out that its cash balance on June 30 was $70 million, down just $15 million from its $85 million balance on December 31, 2019.

Calgaro Named OM for Entercom’s Sacramento Operations. Programming pro Joe Calgaro moves from Entercom’s Boston station group to the company’s Sacramento cluster to serve as operations manager for sports talk KIFM-AM “ESPN 1320,” hip hop KSFM, CHR KUDL-FM “106.5 The End,” classic rock KSEG “96.9 The Eagle,” KRXQ “98 Rock,” and alternative KKDO “ALT 94-7,” effective November 1. Calgaro has been serving as operations manager for the company’s sports talk WEEI-FM, adult hits WBGB “Big 103,” and rock WAAF-FM (prior to that signal’s being sold to religious broadcaster EMF). Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “Joe has a long track record of working with rock, sports and high-profile talent, which lends to the Sacramento portfolio in working with the biggest radio brands and engaging personalities in the market. His experience leading three very different brands in Boston will allow him to strategically position our stations to collectively represent our audience.”

TALKERS News Notes. On today’s Premiere Networks nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh program, President Donald Trump will appear for what Limbaugh is calling the “largest virtual rally in radio history.” The program is also giving listeners the chance to submit their questions to the president…..An article by Matt Perez in Forbes explores how Americans perceive the coronavirus pandemic based on political affiliation and their consumption of conservative media. The piece analyzes data from a recent Pew Research poll and says, “Nearly 40% of all U.S. adults believe the outbreak has been ‘made a bigger deal than it really is,’ but only 15% Democrats think it’s been exaggerated compared to 66% of Republicans. That number jumps to 78% among Republicans who only consume FOX News or talk radio like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.”…..SiriusXM’s The Beatles Channel is honoring John Lennon’s 80th birthday today (10/9) with exclusive programming featuring special guests Paul McCartney, Alec Baldwin, Sean Ono Lennon, and more. The weekend-long programming will feature McCartney in conversation with Alec Baldwin in which he reflects on his songwriting partner, bandmate, and friend. It will air multiple times on The Beatles Channel throughout the weekend…..PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, Inc., launches the new podcast/vodcast from Grammy Award-winning artist Pitbull. The first episode of “From Negative to Positive” features Flo Rida, followed by intimate and in-depth interviews with Lil Jon in episode two, and noted producer Uncle Luke, a.k.a., Luther Campbell from 2 Live Crew in episode three.

The President’s Battle with COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 5-9. The positive COVID-19 tests for President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and the president’s treatment at Walter Reed Hospital was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race and Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. Coming in tied at #3 was the transfer of power question, the SCOTUS nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, court packing, and the abortion issue, followed by COVID-19 stats & projections, health care and medications all tied at #4. The Talkers TenTMis a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Washington, DC-Based News Pro Bob Costantini Launches ‘Ear on the White House’ News Service. Radio news pro Bob Costantini is launching a Washington, DC-based White House news service called Ear on the White House that serves client stations with regular debriefs with a White House reporter. The former Westwood One News correspondent says, “I provide market-exclusive facts and analysis – not significant leanings – from someone on-scene as we move through the election cycle and potential changes in the dynamic between the White House and Capitol Hill.” Bob Costantini has more than three decades of experience covering Washington, Congress, The White House, and major political issues. His tenure at Westwood One News included traveling with Presidents Trump and Obama. In addition to covering the news, he can also provide an inside perspective on what it’s like to cover the White House, including asking the last five presidents scores of questions. Costantini is available for clients Monday through Friday to do talk-backs with stations and if news warrants, weekends and travel to major event locations are part of the mix. Video debriefs are a possibility for stations that have streaming simulcasts and he’s available for podcasts upon request. Find out more by direct messaging him on Twitter to @costantiniWHear or call at 410-302-3855.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Vince Richards is promoted to brand manager for Entercom’s adult hits KJKK, Dallas “100.3 JACK FM,” effective November 1. Entercom Dallas regional president and market manager Brian Purdy says, “Since 2018, Vince has consistently led the operations efforts for six iconic brands in our Sacramento market, and we look forward to bringing him back to his roots to revamp ‘JACK FM.’ ‘JACK FM’ is a state of mind here in DFW, and Vince’s leadership qualities and rich experience will only fuel its growth.” Richards was most recently operations manager for Entercom Sacramento…..iHeartMedia Chicago is promoting its fourth annual “Sista Strut,” a 3K breast cancer charity walk that will go virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Sista Strut” is presented by Illinois Lottery and Xfinity, and will benefit the Chicago Chapter of the Sisters Network Inc., the nation’s largest Black breast cancer survivorship organization. iHeartMedia Chicago VP of programming Derrick Brown says, “2020 has brought many unforeseen challenges to our community, one being the ability to get together. Breast cancer remains a significant threat to Black women in our community and it is our responsibility to continue raising the much-needed funds to educate and inform our listeners about this devastating disease.”

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

| July 7, 2020

Nielsen to Cut 3,500 Jobs in ‘Broad-Based Optimization Plan.’ Media ratings and consumer data giant Nielsen Holdings plc announces the implementation of a “broad-based optimization plan to drive permanent cost savings and operational efficiencies, as well as to position the company for greater profitability and growth.” The company says it is “prioritizing resources to focus on key strategic initiatives, higher margin products and services, and greater efficiency” and as a result will include a global reduction in force of approximately 3,500 employees. Nielsen CEO David Kenny says, “Across Nielsen Global Media [ratings segment] and Nielsen Global Connect [consumer data segment], we are making progress on increasing our operational and financial discipline, including zero-basing our cost structure as we move toward the planned separation of Nielsen Global Connect. As discussed on our earnings call in April, we have increased our focus on platform consolidations, further automation, optimizing our global footprint, and ensuring that our resource allocation aligns with high-margin essential services. Today’s plan encompasses, accelerates, and expands on those initiatives. These restructuring actions will further expedite our transformation to a more efficient, agile, and scalable organization and are designed to drive sustained margin expansion and increased cash generation. As part of the optimization plan, we have made the difficult decision to exit selected businesses and markets and permanently reduce our workforce. While these are important actions to take, I recognize the impact they have on our people, and I am grateful for the important contributions made by these talented associates during their time at Nielsen.” The company says cash payments for the severance costs will continue into late 2021.

WVON, Chicago Morning Show Exits Over ‘Censorship’ Issue. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story about the sudden departure of urban news/talk outlet WVON, Chicago’s morning program. Maze Jackson, co-host Todd Stroger, and producer Sonia Escobar resigned from the station last week after station management ordered the program to cease criticism of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Jackson tells Feder he was instructed not to talk about the mayor or allow callers to do so and he consequently resigned because he “could not accept the censorship.” The trio are now brokering the 6:00 am to 9:00 am slot on Gospel WBGX-AM. WVON is searching for a new morning show as Ernest B. Fenton handles the morning show on an interim basis.

Report: SiriusXM to Acquire Stitcher. According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, SiriusXM Satellite Radio is very close to a deal with E.W. Scripps to buy podcasting platform Stitcher for $300 million. Scripps paid $4.5 million for Stitcher in 2016. The piece notes that Stitcher owns podcast networks Earwolf and Stitcher Podcasts that comprise some 50 shows, including “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” and “Freakonomics Radio.” Stitcher also has deals with other podcast networks for distribution and sales via Scripps’ Midroll Media division that totals more than 250 programs.

TALKERS News Notes. Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM is producing a special version of its ongoing series “COVID-19: Seattle Podcast,” this one targeting children. The “COVID-19 Seattle: Kids Edition” was released on July 2. For this episode, Bonneville’s KIRO Radio asked young listeners to call in with questions about the coronavirus, in their own words. KIRO Radio hosts Dave Ross, Mike Lewis, Tom Tangney, John Curley, Rachel Belle, Dori Monson, Ursula Reutin, Gee Scott, Feliks Banel, and Colleen O’Brien answered these questions “with heart, humor, and the best information available.” Dr. Mollie Greves Grow from Seattle Children’s Hospital also contributed to this podcast as a local healthcare expert…..The BetR Network is partnering with Skyview Networks for network audio and affiliate sales and distribution and announces it has an affiliate agreement with Denver’s Mile High Sports. As a result, KDCO-AM/K284CI will bring sports betting programming to Denver, including select content from VSiN, The Sports Betting Network…..Public media’s KQED announces its long-running public affairs call-in radio program “Forum” is making the 10:00 am hour of the program available for public media stations across California starting July 13. The second hour of the 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily program will be hosted by Mina Kim, who shifts from her role as the Friday host of “Forum” and afternoon anchor for KQED news. Longtime host Michael Krasny continues to host the 9:00 am hour of the program. Kim says, “This is a moment of unprecedented change and people are hungry for meaningful dialogue about these issues. I couldn’t be more excited and honored to help bring ‘Forum’ to other communities across the state — and to bring in a wider range of voices to these conversations.”

Michael Kindhart Promoted at Premiere Networks. Affiliate sales pro Michael Kindhart is promoted from senior director of operations, affiliate sales at Premiere Networks to vice president of operations, affiliate sales. Nashville-based Kindhart will help develop strategic and operational initiatives to improve sales effectiveness and efficiency for nearly 200 of Premiere’s radio programs, services, and podcasts in this new position. Premiere EVP of affiliate sales Peter Tripi says, “Michael’s contributions to our affiliate sales division have been significant. He is constantly searching for ways to enhance our business through collaboration and by providing the best possible tools and resources to serve our affiliates and partners. This is a well-deserved promotion and I’m proud to have him on the team!”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Heightened Gun Violence, Presidential Race, John Bolton/Mary Trump Books, PPP Scrutiny, TikTok Ban, SCOTUS Electoral College Ruling, and Charlie Daniels Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/6). The spike in COVID-19 cases in Sun Belt states and projections for future cases; the spate of gun violence in some urban areas and the shooting death of an 8-year-old girl in Atlanta; the November presidential election; the book by former Trump national security adviser John Bolton and the soon-to-be released book by Mary Trump; the Trump administration releases the names of companies that benefitted from the Payroll Protection Plan; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the administration is considering banning the China-based TikTok app; the Supreme Court rules that states can bind presidential electors’ votes; and musician Charlie Daniels dies at 83 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 daughter of Reach Media nationally syndicated morning radio personality Rickey Smiley is recovering in a Houston hospital after being shot in that city late Sunday night. AL.com reports that Aaryn Smiley was driving to a Whataburger restaurant in Houston close to midnight and was stopped at a red light when shooting between several men erupted and she was hit at least twice. She is recovering from her wounds. Meanwhile, authorities are searching for the shooter.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

| May 10, 2018

Emmis Communications Fiscal Q4 Report: Pro Forma Net Revenue Down 1%. Because of the recent sales of its Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Terre Haute stations, the Emmis Communications fourth fiscal quarter report can be viewed two ways.  Fourth fiscal quarter revenue was $28.4 million – down 16%.  But, pro forma for the sale of Emmis’ Los Angeles and Terre Haute radio stations, revenue as reported to Miller Kaplan (which excludes barter revenue and syndication revenue) was down 1% in markets that were down 3%.  The company says the New York and St. Louis clusters both grew their revenue in the quarter and outperformed their markets.  Looking at the whole fiscal year (ended February 28, 2018), radio revenue was $142.9 million compared to $165.1 million in the prior year – a decrease of 13%.  For the full year, Emmis’ pro forma radio revenue was down 2%.  The report notes that on April 30, the company finalized the sale of its St. Louis radio stations, and after applying the net proceeds therefrom, has less than $20 million of net credit facility debt outstanding.  Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “In the last 12 months, we have paid down over $120 million of senior debt, leaving us on firm financial footing and providing flexibility as opportunities present themselves.  Ratings for our New York radio stations remain strong and they are rebounding nicely in Indianapolis.  The NextRadio team has done a tremendous job rolling out Dial Report, an industry-wide data attribution platform, and we believe it is uniquely positioned to meet the growing demand for robust analytics and insights into the behaviors of radio listeners.”

Liberty Media Group Still Interested in iHeartMedia.  “At the right price” is the phrase Liberty Media Group president and CEO Greg Maffei used during yesterday’s investors conference call.  Maffei noted that Liberty owns “about $660 million” of iHeartMedia bonds.  Regarding Liberty’s interest in iHeartMedia, Maffei adds, “I think the process is evolving as they go through their Chapter 11 proceedings.  Creditors are gaining an understanding of what they are proposing to buy.  I think at some point they are going to re-engage with us, and if the price is attractive, as I said, we would be interested.  And the rationale for that is there are both – I think some opportunities around radio.  They’re still having interest toward radio and are so interested in some of the assets that we have, including serious investment in Pandora.  I think there are both synergies on the revenue side and on the cost side potentially.  And iHeart is an attractive free cash-flow generator.  The wide pricing in combination with that is those are the factors and it will be additive to our music holdings.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  Members can read it all here.

Schulman Named CMO at Katz Media Group. Media executive Stacey Lynn Schulman is promoted to chief marketing officer for Katz Media Group.  The company says that in this new role, “Schulman will lead a team of marketing and insight professionals across both Katz Radio Group and Katz Television Group, driving overall marketing strategy and insights for Katz’s 14 regional offices that together serve as the trusted sales partner to more than 3,300 radio stations, 800 television stations and their digital platforms.”  The company says Schulman joined it in 2014 as EVP of strategy, analytics and research.  “She quadrupled Katz’s proprietary research efforts on behalf of clients.  Schulman also introduced new marketplace tools to showcase the power of local media, including Katz’s DJ Personality Index, which helps marketers easily identify on-air personalities who already engage with their brands, and The Local Vote project, which provides political marketers with a media compass based on recent voter sentiment in local markets. Her efforts have been instrumental in bringing additional revenue into the radio sector and expanding the target-ability of local broadcast television.”

TALKERS News Notes. A piece published at CNNMoney that states Salem Media Group execs have pressured their talk show hosts to be supportive of President Trump is getting a lot of attention.  Featured in the story is former KRLA, Los Angeles morning personality Elisha Krauss, who tells writers Hadas Gold and Oliver Darcy that although she understands Salem can hire or fire any talent it wants, “They shouldn’t do it with the facade that they’re delivering multi-level opinions and they’re not puppeteering those opinions.” Krauss currently works with Ben Shapiro on his podcast programs.  The two worked together on KRLA’s “The Morning Answer.” Currently, “The Morning Answer” is co-hosted by anti-Trumper Brian Whitman and pro-Trumper Jennifer Horn.  Read the piece here…..As election season gears up, the Larry Young morning program on Radio One’s WOLB, Baltimore will participate in presenting public forums featuring candidates for office.  The station will present a gubernatorial forum on Tuesday, June 5 and a state’s attorney forum on Wednesday, June 13 as part of the Larry Young morning program.

U.S. Exits Iran Nukes Deal, Israel Strikes Syria, North Korean Prisoners Released/Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, Haspel Confirmation Hearings, Stormy Daniels Case/Cohen Russian Money Allegations, Hawaiian Volcano Watch, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/9). The reaction to President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear agreement; Israel’s strikes on Iranian targets inside of Syria; three American prisoners held in North Korea are released and the related planned meeting between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and President Trump; the confirmation hearings for CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel; the Stormy Daniels payoff case and allegations Trump attorney Michael Cohen received money from a Russian oligarch after the 2016 election; Hawaii’s oozing volcano and fears it may transform into a full blown eruption; Major League Baseball action; and the NBA playoffs 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 evening program on iHeartMedia’s CHR WIHT, Washington “HOT 99.5” is getting a new voice as Emily Sklar takes over the daypart on Monday (5/14).  She comes to DC from her most recent gig as midday jock on the company’s CHR WKQI, Detroit “Channel 955.”…..Cumulus Media names radio personality Nikki Blades co-host of “The Morning Block Party” on rhythmic CHR KWIN, Stockton-Modesto.  Blades has been hosting the midday program since January.  Blades began her career as a professional model and was featured in Maxim magazine and earlier this year, appeared on MTV’s “Wild ‘N Out with Nick Cannon.”  Station program director Daniel “Jiggy” Diaz says “We are very excited for today.  It’s not very often you find someone who fits the mold of the brand so well and is also destined for greatness.  Nikki Blades is by far the next big talent on the West Coast and I’m so excited for her to take the next step here at KWIN!”…..Entercom appoints Sean “Sonic” Leckie host of the afternoon drive show on WBMX, Chicago “104.3 Jams.”  Entercom Chicago SVP and market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “Sonic brings a passion for music and drive to succeed to ‘104.3 Jams.’  We’re looking forward to having him take the helm of Chicago’s new afternoon drive show.”…..Cumulus Media promotes Josh “Bru” Brubaker to the local anchor position for “Ty, Kelly and Chuck” on WDRQ, Detroit “NASH FM 93.1.”  He joined WDRQ in 2017 as a weekend/swing talent and was elevated to production assistant shortly thereafter…..ACM-award winner and platinum-selling singer/songwriter Jake Owen is hosting Westwood One’s Annual “Summer Kick Off” Memorial Day special.  The four-hour program features music from Jake and his friends, including Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Kelsea Ballerini, Zac Brown Band, and more. The show will also remember the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Monday, April 16, 2018

| April 16, 2018

Remembering Art Bell. The somewhat eerie fact that 72-year-old Art Bell died on Friday the 13th (4/13 in Pahrump, Nevada) certainly could not go unnoticed or overlooked. Bell was the founder and original host of the paranormal-themed “Coast to Coast AM,” which Premiere Networks syndicated on hundreds of North American radio outlets. Part of a Bell retrospective on that program’s website details that, “His love of radio led him to working for an English-language station in Japan, where he set a Guinness world record for broadcasting 116 hours straight. This was no mere radio stunt, however, as it served to raise funds to rescue over 100 Vietnamese orphans left stranded by the conflict in their home country.  Upon returning to the United States, he entered the world of talk radio with an overnight program on KDWN, Las Vegas.  After noticing that episodes covering conspiracy theories and paranormal topics generated considerable interest from listeners, Bell transformed the show from political talk to discussion of these often-verboten realms. Syndicated nationally in 1993 [by Talk Radio Network], ‘Coast to Coast AM’ soon became a radio phenomenon.  During the 1990s, when ‘The X-Files’ had people wondering about the world of high strangeness, Art Bell was the voice of that world, introducing millions of radio listeners to a vast array of paranormal topics and the researchers that studied them. As he begins his journey on the ‘Other Side,’ we take solace in the hope that he is now finding out all of the answers to the mysteries he pursued for so many nights with all of us.”  The Jacksonville, North Carolina born former Air Force medic “semi-retired” from “Coast to Coast AM” 15 years ago but could be heard hosting the program on weekends from 2003 – 2007 and was an occasional guest host through 2010.  Bell called his show “absolute entertainment” and did not necessarily accept every guest or caller’s claims but offered a forum where they would not be openly ridiculed. SiriusXM debuted “Art Bell’s Dark Matter” in September 2013 on its “Indie Talk” channel, but that four-hour (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, PT) Monday through Thursday venture ended after just six weeks. Approximately four-dozen stations carried his 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight PT “Midnight in the Desert” show, which launched on the Internet in July 2015 on Bell’s Dark Matter Digital Network. Three months later in October of 2015, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviewed him for his weekly podcast. The following is a brief excerpt from that long-form conversation in which Bell assesses the state of the radio industry and its future.  To listen to the clip, please click here.  Five months later though, Bell exited, citing concerns about his family’s safety.  Bell was replaced as weekday host of “Coast to Coast AM” on January 1, 2003 by George Noory, who reacted emotionally on air last Friday night to Bell’s passing. “I’m trying to get my composure here, folks,” a shaken Noory admitted. “Art and I were not that close.  We had our differences, but he was one of those instrumental in me being where I am right now.  He was a very heavy smoker and was hospitalized a year or so ago because of [that].  I don’t know if that played a factor in [his death] or not.”  In 1996, KTRS, St. Louis’ Tim Dorsey hired Noory to be “The Night Hawk” and as Bell decided he needed an emergency replacement, Noory gained national exposure by doing his first “Coast to Coast AM” show in April 2001. “As Art’s back problems became more severe, I started doing more shows, until he decided to retire from fulltime work,” Noory told Inside Radio’s then special features editor/current TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian.  Equating the experience of substituting for – and eventually succeeding – Bell on a fulltime basis to pinch-hitting for Babe Ruth, Noory maintained, “It’s sometimes an unreal feeling. I never showed it on the air, but replacing Art Bell was overwhelming for me. I realized there was no way I could replace him. It wouldn’t work if I tried to duplicate him.” The first time Noory heard Bell was in 1996 when he was driving to work at heritage St. Louis news/talker KMOX. “I said to myself that I wanted to do that program,” Noory confided to Kinosian. “After I concentrated on the show, strange events occurred that made it all happen.  Whatever’s out there in the universe that makes things happen for people is real.”  Now living in Lexington, Kentucky, noted spoken-word consultant/programmer Gabe Hobbs is a former vice president/programming – news, talk, & sports for Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia). “What a special talent Art Bell was – truly unique,” Hobbs declares.  “He helped talk radio evolve from the Larry King-era into the modern era of our format.  He is the man that made overnights meaningful and profitable in radio.”  Longtime iHeartMedia Los Angeles adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103” air talent Ted Ziegenbusch notes on Facebook, “I did a late-night show for about 20 years in the 1980s and 1990s. On a family trip to central California one night, I heard Art on a tiny radio station. That was long before he became popular and I was fascinated with his stories about UFOs; ghosts; pyramids on Mars; climate change; and all sorts of quirky subjects. His shows were almost always riveting and impossible to leave for even a moment. When I returned from my trip north, I told my general manager that Art Bell would be perfect for our AM station. Nobody had ever heard of the guy, so my suggestion fell on deaf ears. Later, he would join our team and score enormous success. The story doesn’t end there. Sadly, there were some real ups and downs in Art’s life and his career; [however], he was sure a trailblazer and one-of-a-kind entertainer.” Brian Whitman, who does morning drive in Los Angeles on Salem Media Group news/talk KRLA, recounts, “Many years ago when I was younger and less experienced, I was doing some on-air work at Premiere Radio Networks. I asked the boss if he would consider me to be a substitute host on ‘Coast to Coast’ when Art Bell was absent. I took the opportunity to mention that when those crazy people called, I’d goof on them and do a really funny show. The boss made me smarter [by telling me], ‘Brian, you don’t understand. On ‘Coast to Coast,’ when someone calls to tell you an alien landed in their swimming pool, you don’t make fun. You say, ‘tell me more.’ [That was] the genius of Art Bell. I always say that the most important thing for a radio performer is to find his voice.  Art Bell’s singular voice, brilliant mind, and master showmanship came together to create his own brand. He understood the intimacy that radio can create [and] the lives it can touch.”  An executive producer at iHeartMedia Los Angeles news/talk KFI, Michelle Kube, comments that, “Even if I thought some of the stories were crazy, you couldn’t deny [Art Bell’s] talent.” He was “a true radio pioneer and a great storyteller. He created ‘Coast to Coast AM’ – it’s his legacy.”  For the past 14 years, Kurt Kretzschmar has been director of affiliate marketing – Premiere Networks. The former executive producer of Los Angeles sports outlet KSPN and cross-town news/talk KABC asserts that tapes of Bell’s shows “that air on Saturday nights are some of the highest-rated weekend hours on several affiliates.” Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Northern Ohio region, which includes WHLO “640 Akron’s News Talk,” Keith Kennedy, was among programmers scheduling Art Bell tribute programming this past weekend. Kennedy wrote on Facebook, “Listen to ‘Somewhere in Time’ Saturday at 9:00 pm – we’ll rebroadcast one of his unique programs.”  Bell studied engineering at the University of Maryland in College Park, but dropped out to become a radio chief engineer/board op/occasional on-air talent.  In May 2008, he sold KNYE, Pahrump to station manager Karen Jackson for a reported $600,000. Inducted to the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame (2006) and National Radio Hall of Fame (2008), Bell received Radio & Records’ “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2007. A July 2016 posting on Bell’s website indicated he was hospitalized for pneumonia and that he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Nye County (Nevada) sheriff Sharon Wehrly described Bell as a “longtime resident” of the area and said an autopsy to confirm the cause of death would be performed later this week. Geller Media International Broadcast Consultants president Valerie Geller proclaims, “May his journey continue in peace.”

WWJ, Detroit Names Brooke Allen PM Drive Co-Host. Detroit all-news WWJ-AM “Newsradio 950” announces that Brooke Allen (right) is returning to the station to co-host the afternoon drive daypart (2:00 pm to 6:00 pm) with current afternoon host Greg Bowman (left).  Allen was most recently the producer and local host of “Morning Edition” on public news/talk WKAR-AM/FM, East Lansing, Michigan.  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “We are excited to welcome Brooke back to WWJ.  In addition to being an award-winning journalist, Brooke is devoted to our local community.   Her passion for the news and connection to the people of the metro Detroit area will be evident each and every day.”

Johnson Named VP of Sports Sales for iHeartMedia Denver. Denver sales pro Jeff Johnson is promoted at iHeartMedia to vice president of sports sales & partnerships.  In this new role, Johnson is charged with “growing and managing iHeartMedia Denver’s sports partnerships, including the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies, as well as its Broncos-centric station, KDSP-AM ‘Orange & Blue 760.'”  iHeartMedia Denver SVP of sales Ryan Clune states, “I’m thrilled for Jeff.  Watching him grow over the years from senior account executive to director of sports sales, and now vice president of sports sales & partnerships has been a highlight of my career.  Jeff’s ability to align advertisers with our exclusive sports content, along with delivering unmatched reach, brand affinity, and ROI for our partners makes him the ideal leader to step into this key position.”

Price: Are You Ready for Atlantic Hurricane Season? Former longtime director of business continuity & crisis management for ABC’s news and technology & operations divisions, Howard B. Price, writes today in a piece for TALKERS magazine about the need to be prepared for the Atlantic Hurricane Season.  Price says that tropical researchers at Colorado State University have issued their predictions for this year and have concluded that there will likely be 14 named storms between June 1 and November 30. Of those, researchers expect seven hurricanes, with three of those likely to be major storms (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5, with sustained winds of 111 MPH – plus).  Price provides this nine-point preparedness checklist for broadcasters who could be affected by an Atlantic hurricane or any other natural disaster for that matter.  See it here.

Padres Executive Chairman Opens Up About KEGY Format Tweak.  As reported in the San Diego Union Tribune writer Bryce Miller, San Diego Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler says the team had “significant input and impact” on the format and branding changes Entercom made to KEGY, but not so much as to dictate which air talent should go where.  Union Tribune reports Fowler and the Padres had issues with KEGY’s programming as “97.3 The Machine” before air personality Kevin Klein’s promotional Tweet that referenced the city’s Coronado bridge and its history as a site of hundreds of suicides.  Miller quotes Fowler referencing the station’s programming as “shock-jock” radio.  See Miller’s story here.

Comey’s ABC Interview/Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S. Strikes on Syria, Starbucks-Philly Arrests, Mexico Border Issues, Barbara Bush Health Status, MLB and NBA Playoffs Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Former FBI director James Comey’s interview on ABC-TV in which he discussed the investigation into the Hillary Clinton email matter and opined on President Trump’s fitness for office and the related investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the weekend’s U.S. military strikes in Syria; the controversy over the arrest of two black men for trespassing at a Philadelphia Starbucks; the issue of security at the U.S.-Mexico border; former First Lady Barbara Bush’s failing health; and Major League Baseball and NBA playoffs action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes.  According to the most recent list published by The Hollywood Reporter, Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity and multi-media personality Ryan Seacrest are two of the 35 most powerful media people in New York. Regarding Hannity, THR says that he regularly commands the largest audience of any cable news host on television, in addition to reaching millions of listeners on his national radio show.  “He also has the ear (and the eyes) of the president…and has the power to make or break Republican political candidates.”  As for Seacrest, the publication says that since Kelly Ripa tapped him as her co-host in May, viewership of ABC’s “LIVE with Kelly & Ryan” has “risen nearly 15% to 3.2 million viewers each day.”  See the whole list here…..Westwood One announces a strategic partnership with American Public Media to increase sales and promotional opportunities for season two of the investigative podcast, “In the Dark.”  The first season of “In the Dark” has driven nearly 12 million downloads to date and continues to receive downloads more than a year later at roughly 465,000 per month.  In this new relationship, Westwood One is providing broadcast radio show promotion and exclusive ad sales representation…..Pictured below is former White House national security adviser Dr. Sebastian Gorka (left) reviewing documents with Ken Lormand (right), Washington bureau chief of Salem Radio Network News.  As a former Trump adviser, Gorka has insight into administration personnel moves, including CIA director Mike Pompeo’s nomination to become the next U.S. Secretary of State.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! to Feature Presentation by Salem VP Phil Boyce Titled, “What Has Donald Trump Done to Talk Radio.” There is no doubt that the ascendancy of Donald J. Trump to the U.S. presidency has greatly impacted news/talk radio and its associated platforms of talk media. Salem Media Group SVP of the spoken word format Phil Boyce will deliver an address, backed up by Harker Research data, exploring this phenomenon in detail during the morning sessions of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! The presentation will be introduced by highly regarded programmer Greg Moceri, CEO of Moceri Media. The 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running, and most important convention takes place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. The day opens with back-to-back keynote “fireside chats” conducted by Michael Harrison with Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity and Beasley Broadcasting CEO Caroline Beasley. The conference will also include presentations by such industry notables as PodcastOne executive chairman, Norm Pattiz; former WFAN, New York sports talk superstar, Mike Francesa; Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein, panel appearances by Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes and an afternoon keynote address by Infowars and GCN maverick Alex Jones. There will be panels on programming, sales, digital convergence and more featuring a total of 50-plus speakers from all aspects of the talk media industry. The convention is on a fast-track to being an advance sellout and there will be no registrations sold at the door. For more information and the complete up-to-the-minute agenda, read the story below.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Agenda Posted. The TALKERS editorial board is pleased to post the basic agenda for the 21stannual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national convention – TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! takes place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception – all in a single, power-packed day! Full up-to-the-minute agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information can be seen here. If you are planning to attend, it would be wise to register NOW. This convention will be an early sellout.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Denver, iHeartMedia names Chelsea Thomas midday host for country KWBL “106.7 The Bull,” effective April 23.   iHeartMedia region SVP of programming JoJo Turnbeaugh says, “An on-air opening with iHeartMedia in Denver always generates strong interest from many talented personalities.  Chelsea was the clear winner. Her authenticity and unique ability to weave storytelling into her show made her the ideal match for the Bull Nation.”  Thomas was most recently music director and air personality at Alpha Media’s CHR WDJX, Louisville…..KAMP, Los Angeles “97.1 AMP Radio” music director and midday personality Michelle Boros exits her position with the Entercom CHR station after an eight-year stint…..Kristina Carlyle signs on with Albany Broadcasting’s country WKLI, Albany “100.9 The Cat” to co-host the morning show and serve as music director. Carlyle – most recently with Scripps’ KVOO, Tulsa – takes over for the departed Dana Race…..There’s a new morning host at California Radio Partners’ triple A KOZT, Fort Bragg “The Coast” as Dred Scott is tapped to work alongside news director Joe Regelski.  Station co-owner and program director Tom Yates says, “We did a job posting and got 41 responses in two days from some really good candidates.  But Dred is a really good fit with the ‘Coast’ crew.”…..At Ingstad Media’s country KXDD, Yakima, Washington, Lindsey Cleveland is promoted from part-time status to full-time as morning drive co-host with Brian Stephenson on “The Good Morning Gang with Brian & Lindsey.” Cleveland fills the role vacated recently by Carey Jacobson…..In Washington, DC, Kala Simmons is named morning show producer for WASH-FM’s “Toby and Chilli” morning show. Simmons has been with the iHeartMedia Washington cluster for the past three years as assistant digital producer for WIHT’s “The Kane Show.”