Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” Panel. TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story. Today’s (7/18) post presents the panel discussion “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Michael Berry, host, Michael Berry Show; Grace Blazer, national brand coordinator of news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, iHeart Media; Karen Hunter, host SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Brett Winterble, host KFMB, San Diego; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; and Dan Yorke, host WPRO, Providence. Posted yesterday (7/17): WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley saluting the Broadcasters Foundation of America and Vince Benedetto, CEO of Bold Gold Media Group receiving the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster (“Humanitarian of the Year”). Also already posted: a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network; the panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video. The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York. Already posted: the special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOne; Steven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi Media; Michael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history. TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year. To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.
Cumulus Media Charleston Market Manager Dollar Passes. After battling breast cancer, Cumulus Media Charleston (South Carolina) vice president/market manager Sherry Dollar died yesterday morning (Wednesday, 7/17). She was surrounded by her family, who ask for nothing more than prayers and to honor her last wish to, “be kind.” Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary Berner comments, “Sherry was a terrific market manager and a terrific human being. She will be sorely and deeply missed by all of us.” The company’s executive vice president of operations Bob Walker notes that, “Sherry’s passion for this business was only surpassed by her passion for life. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and I will forever be grateful to have worked with her.” Details about memorial services honoring Dollar’s life are forthcoming. The Cumulus Media Charleston cluster consists of news/talk WTMA “News Talk 1250”; classic hits-oldies WIWF “96.9 The Wolf”; urban AC WMGL “Magic 107.3”; CHR WSSX “95-SX Hit Music Now”; and urban contemporary WWWZ “Z-93 Jamz.”
Finalists: NAB Marconi Radio Awards. “Legendary Manager of the Year,” and “Best Radio Station Podcast” are the two new categories for this year’s NAB Marconi Radio Awards, honoring radio stations and on-air personalities for excellence in broadcasting. Additionally, “Best College Radio Station of the Year” has been renamed from “Noncommercial Station of the Year.” Here are the five finalists in each of the 23 categories.
“Legendary Station of the Year”: KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KNX, Los Angeles, KRTH, Los Angeles, WBAL, Baltimore, and WBAP-AM.
“Legendary Manager of the Year”: Ben Downs, Bryan Broadcasting, College Station, Texas; Charlie Morgan, WQHT-FM, WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM, New York; Dan Seeman, Hubbard Broadcasting, Minneapolis-St. Paul; Mark Anderson, WBZZ-FM and WDSY-FM, Pittsburgh; and Nick Martin, Big River Broadcasting, Florence, Alabama.
“Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year”: Bob Lacey & Sheri Lynch, Now Media; Elvis Duran, Premiere Networks; Rickey Smiley, Reach Media, Inc.; Rush Limbaugh, Premiere Networks; and Ryan Seacrest, Premiere Networks.
“Major Market Personality of the Year”: Ebro Darden, WQHT, New York; Ellen K, KOST, Los Angeles; Felger & Massarotti, WBZ-FM, Boston; Preston & Steve, WMMR, Philadelphia; and The Musers, KTCK-AM, Dallas.
“Large Market Personality of the Year”: Crisco, Dez and Ryan, KSTP-FM, Minneapolis; Jack Harris, WFLA-AM, Tampa; Mercedes Martinez, KMXB, Las Vegas; Mike Calta, WHPT, Tampa; and Mojo, WKQI, Detroit.
“Medium Market Personality of the Year”: Brent Lane, WYCT, Pensacola, Florida; Buzz Jackson, KIIM, Tucson; Harlen The Sports Guy and Pigskin Bob, KYKX, Tyler, Texas; Jeff and Amanda, WKRZ, Wilkes-Barre; and Mike Street, WBTJ, Richmond.
“Small Market Personality of the Year”: Brent Carl Fleshman, WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; Chris and Rosie, WUSQ, Winchester, Virginia; Glenner Anderson, KXLR-FM, Fairbanks, Alaska; Scotty and Catryna, KCLR-FM, Columbia, Missouri; and Shags & Trevor, KCMG-FM, Columbia, Missouri.
“Major Market Station of the Year”: KIIS-FM, Los Angeles; WKYS, Washington, D.C.; WTOP-FM, Washington, D.C.; WWPR, New York, NY; and WYCD, Detroit.
“Large Market Station of the Year”: KOA, Denver; KSTP-FM, Minneapolis; KQMV, Seattle; WMTX, Tampa; and WXTB, Tampa.
“Medium Market Station of the Year”: KIPR, Little Rock; KRMG, Tulsa; WHKO, Dayton; WKHK, Richmond; and WSSL, Greenville, South Carolina.
“Small Market Station of the Year”: KFGO-AM, Fargo, North Dakota; KROX, Crookston, Minnesota; KWYO-AM, Sheridan, Wyoming; WNDH, North Canton, Ohio; and WXLP-FM, Davenport, Iowa.
“Best Radio Podcast of the Year”: “Behind the Song,” WDRV, Chicago; “Denied Justice Podcast,” WCCO, Minneapolis; “Garage Logic,” Hubbard Broadcasting, Minneapolis; “On the Table,” NET, Lincoln, Nebraska; and “What Had Happened Was,” WHIO-FM, Dayton.
“Adult Contemporary Station of the Year”: KODA, Houston; KRWM, Seattle; WBZZ, Pittsburgh; WMAG, Greensboro; and WSHE, Chicago.
“CHR Station of the Year”: KRBE, Houston; KTXY-FM, Columbia, Missouri; WKZL, Greensboro; WQHT, New York; and WWPW, Atlanta.
“Classic Hits Station of the Year”: WMGK, Philadelphia; WMJI, Cleveland; WMMO, Orlando; WOGL, Philadelphia; and WXGL, Tampa.
“College Radio Station of the Year”: WHPC-FM, Nassau Community College, Garden City, New York; WMSC-FM, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey; WRCC-FM, Rider University, Lawrenceville, New Jersey; WRHU-FM, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York; and WSOU-FM, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey.
“Country Station of the Year”: KILT-FM, Houston; KSCS, Dallas; KUBL, Salt Lake City; KYGO, Denver; and
WQHK-FM, Fort Wayne, Indiana;
“News/Talk Station of the Year”: KIRO-FM, Seattle; KTMY, Minneapolis; WDBO-FM, Orlando; WINS, New York; and WKXW, Trenton, New Jersey.
“Religious Station of the Year”: KKFS, Sacramento; KKJM-FM, St. Cloud, Minnesota; KNWI-FM, West Des Moines, Iowa; KPWJ-FM, College Station, Texas; and WRVL-FM, Lynchburg, Virginia.
“Rock Station of the Year”: KISS, San Antonio; WCSX, Detroit; WIYY, Baltimore; WPLR-FM, New Haven, Connecticut; and WRIF, Detroit.
“Spanish Station of the Year”: KLNZ, Phoenix; KLOL, Houston; KLZT, Austin; WOJO, Chicago; and WYUU, Tampa.
“Sports Talk Station of the Year”: KFXN, Minneapolis; WBZ-FM, Boston; WIP, Philadelphia; WKRK, Cleveland; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.
“Urban Contemporary Station of the Year”: KBLX-FM, San Francisco; WBLS, New York; WGCI-FM, Chicago;
WHQT, Miami; and WPEG, Charlotte.
Winners will be announced at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show during the radio Show in Dallas (9/26).
London Contest Among Compass Media Networks’ 2019 NFL Highlights. A double-header will be heard on Compass Media Networks every Sunday over the course of the NFL’s 17-week regular season. Compass Media Networks general manager of sports Michelle Salvatore maintains, “NFL Gameday presented by Compass Media Networks has become a ‘destination listen’ across the country. Our long history with the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, and numerous other clubs across the country has enabled us to once again offer a full spectrum of NFL coverage, called by some of the greatest voices to grace the air. We are thrilled to count this as year 11 and are humbled by the success and reach our productions have. This will be an amazing season from anywhere you look – or listen.” Pre-season coverage includes Rams vs. Cowboys in Honolulu and Packers vs. Raiders in Winnipeg, Canada. The first five weeks of the regular season schedule has been finalized and includes Titans vs. Browns; Giants vs. Cowboys; Chiefs vs. Raiders; Steelers vs. 49ers; Packers vs. Cowboys; Jets vs. Eagles; and Bears vs. Raiders from London. Sunday afternoon NFL games will feature Chris Carrino and Jesse Agler (play-by-play); Brian Baldinger and Curtis Conway (analysts); and Jon Rothstein (studio host). Talent for Oakland Raider broadcasts are Brent Musburger (play-by-play); Lincoln Kennedy (analyst); Chris Townsend (sideline reporter); and Tim Cates (studio host). Games of the Dallas Cowboys (available outside the Cowboys’ home territory) will be handled by Kevin Ray (play-by-play); Danny White (analyst); and Jerry Recco (studio host).
King, Sundstrom Boosted at WWO. Two executives in Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One’s 24-hour formats division receive promotions. Specifically, vice president of country programming George King becomes vice president/general manager and will oversee all programming and affiliate management for the company’s 24-hour formats. King will report to Westwood One president of programming Kirk Stirland. Meanwhile, regional affiliate manager Eric Sundstrom is elevated to vice president of affiliate sales and will report to King. Stirland comments, “George is both a gifted, experienced, programmer and a big strategic thinker. He will bring both skills to bear with our customers at 24-hour formats. Very few people understand the local radio marketplace like Eric, which makes him a smart choice for this leadership role. With George and Eric at the helm, we’ll continue to bring high-quality radio to the traditional 24-hour format marketplace, as well make an impact in larger markets that require different features and qualities.” King remarks, “We are proud to be the leader in the field, and we will continue to deliver best-in-class 24-hour content to radio stations nationwide.” Sundstrom notes, “I’m honored to work even more closely with this world-class team of sales and programming talent. I look forward to developing an even deeper relationship with our valued partners and to connecting with new 24-hour format customers.” Prior to joining Westwood One five years ago, King was regional operations manager for Townsquare Media’s stations in Ft. Collins, Colorado. He also worked at country WMZQ, Washington (D.C.). Sundstrom has a more than 20-year affiliate management tenure at Westwood One. He previously held program management positions in Albuquerque at KRST, KRZY, and KKOB-FM.
Pride Media and iHM Team For LGBTQ+ Podcasts. The partnership between iHeartMedia and Pride Media kicks off today (Thursday, 7/18) with “The Outcast,” an iHeartRadio original podcast co-produced with Out Magazine and hosted by its deputy editor Fran Tirado. This weekly podcast will explore queer and queer-adjacent topics as they pertain to politics, pop culture, fashion, relationships, and money. President of iHeartMedia Podcast Network Conal Byrne states, “At iHeartMedia, our goal is to connect exceptional content with diverse audiences. Pride Media has been an authentic voice for the LGBTQ+ community for years, and this partnership would not be possible without their unique expertise. We are proud to partner with them to create and distribute exciting new podcasts for the LGBTQ+ community and beyond.” Tirado remarks, “Podcasting and audio storytelling, particularly in the LGBTQ+ space, needs more voices in it. I can’t wait to help elevate and uplift those voices.” Interim Pride Media CEO Orlando Reece notes, “We’ve seen the power of podcasting firsthand, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with the leading podcast platform to create shows that we know our audience will love. By combining our established brand with iHeart’s massive scale, we’ll be able to reach even more LGBTQ+ individuals across the country through audio.” Out editor-in-chief Phillip Picardi adds, “I’m so thrilled that Fran is blessing us with his unique talents in the podcasting space. Under his vision and direction, I’m hopeful that the stories we’re so proud to tell at Out will be given new dimension and texture.” Later this month, the iHeartMedia Podcast Network will launch Pride Media’s “Food 4 Thot,” which discusses sex, relationships, race, and identity.
Podcast Movement Unveils Content Site, Daily Newsletter. Billed as “the world’s largest conference for podcasters and the podcast industry,” Podcast Movement this week launches a content site for podcasting news, resources, and thought leadership. Guest articles from creators and critics across the industry will be published regularly, offering exclusive materials, information, and insights to podcasters and other podcast industry professionals. Meanwhile, morning-delivered newsletter PodMov Daily is designed to keep podcasters and industry professionals in the loop with news, curated topics, and community updates. Podcast Movement co-founder/president Dan Franks remarks, “While we love providing value to podcasters at our in-person events, we’re excited to now have a platform that provides that value year-round, and allows us to give back in an even bigger way to the community that’s shown us so much support.” The sixth annual Podcast Movement conference will be held next month (8/13 – 16) in Orlando.
LRF Bill Gains More Bipartisan Support. The “Local Radio Freedom Act” (LRFA) now has 184 co-sponsors in the House and 24 in the Senate. The latest four signing on as co-sponsors are representatives Deb Haaland (Democrat-New Mexico); Dan Crenshaw (Republican-Texas); and Van Taylor (Republican-Texas, as well). The additional Senate sponsor is Cindy Hyde-Smith (Republican-Mississippi). The resolution states, “Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over the air, or on any business for the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station broadcast over the air.” Principal co-sponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act in the House of Representatives (H. Con. Res. 20) are Kathy Castor (Democrat-Florida) and Michael Conaway (Republican-Texas). Senators Martin Heinrich (Democrat-New Mexico) and John Barrasso (Republican-Wyoming) are the lead co-sponsors of a companion resolution in the Senate (S. Con. Res. 5).
TALKERS News Notes. Celebrating its 50th season as the Denver Broncos’ flagship station, iHeartMedia Denver news/talk KOA “News Radio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” debuts “Broncos Country Tonight” tomorrow (Friday, 7/19, 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm). President of the iHeartMedia Denver region Tim Hager notes, the six-hour show “solidifies the strong partnership between the Denver Broncos, KOA and top sports on-air personalities such as [Broncos play-by-play announcer] Dave Logan and [Broncos color analyst] Rick Lewis. From the Denver Broncos training camp to behind-the-scenes preseason coverage, this show will attract a huge following and we’re excited to welcome it to our heritage station.” ….. To coincide with the listing of iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, iHM chair/chief executive officer Bob Pittman and president/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler rang today’s opening bell (Thursday, 7/18) at 9:30 am. The company’s stock began trading today under the ticker “IHRT.”
June 2019 PPM Data – Part Four. June 2019 ratings information has been released for Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, and Jacksonville, Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 survey period covered May 23 – June 19. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from all four of these PPM-markets. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.
Spoken-Word Formats – Down a collective one-half share in three straight down or flat moves (3.6 – 3.6 – 3.2 – 3.1, 6+), Cumulus Media news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” ends the slide with a gain of four-tenths to 3.5 (#13 to #12, 6+). The repetitive March 2019 through June 2019 topline for iHeartMedia news/talk WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” is: 1.7 – 1.4 – 1.7 – 1.4 (#17 to #19, 6+).
Not only does Cumulus Media-owned sports talk WGFX have its 6+AQH-share carved roughly in half (-2.8) in three straight setbacks (5.5 – 4.8 – 4.2 – 2.7, 6+), “104.5 The Zone” slumps from #11 to #14. The last time WGFX was below a three-share (6+) was July 2017 (2.7, as well). Meanwhile, Cromwell Group-owned WPRT “102.5 The Game” is a combined -1.1 in May/June (1.9 – 1.1 – .8, #21 to #22, 6+).
Adding two-tenths to May’s +1.0 (5.4 – 5.6, 6+), Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN-FM “NPR News and Classical Music” progresses from seventh to fifth. The news/talk/classical hybrid outlet was -1.3 in March/April (5.7 – 4.8 – 4.4, 6+).
Nashville Music Formats – Without an increase three successive reports for an overall -1.2 (7.5 – 6.6 – 6.3 – 6.3, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WNRQ “105.9 The Rock” makes up 75% of the deficit with a +.9 to 7.2 (fourth to third, 6+). Over and above logging its best 6+-stat (4.5) since “Holiday” 2018’s 4.7, Salem Media Group’s WFFH “The Fish” is a collective +1.0 through four straight positive spikes (3.5 – 3.8 – 3.9 – 4.1 – 4.5, #12 to #11, 6+). Four setbacks in succession by Midwest Communications adult contemporary WJXA resulted in a collective -5.9 (14.1 – 10.6 – 9.3 – 8.8 – 8.2, 6+), but “Mix 92.9 – Your Life, Your Music” is now a combined +1.4 in May/June (8.2 – 9.2 – 9.6, 6+) and repeats at #1. Before forfeiting six-tenths in April, “Mix” had been on top the previous 15 ratings periods. Twelve recent WJXA fluctuations include: +1.0 (June 2018); +.9 (August); -.9 (September); -.7 (October); +.9 (November); +1.9 (December); +3.2 (“Holiday” 2018); -3.5 (January 2019); -1.3 (February); -.5 (March); -.6 (April); and +1.0 (May). “Holiday” 2018’s 14.1 is the highest 6+-share for any Nashville outlet since WJXA’s 14.4 in “Holiday” 2017. TBLC Media Spanish contemporary WNVL “Activa 105.1 & 1240 AM” has nearly quadrupled (+1.3) its 6+-stat in five bumps in a row (.5 – .6 – .8 – .9 – 1.5 – 1.8, #18 to #16, 6+). Directly after posting an April increase of seven-tenths (3.0 – 3.7, 6+), Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WLVU “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” falters by a combined -1.7 in May/June (3.7 – 2.8 – 2.0, #14 to #15, 6+) and posts its lowest 6+-stat (2.0) since February 2018’s 1.0. The March 2019 through June 2019 topline for iHeartMedia CHR WRVW “107.5 The River” is 5.3 – 5.9 – 5.9 – 5.3 (fifth to sixth, 6+). The market’s three major country FMs are separated by just three-tenths of a share. After posting a collective +2.2 in five straight gains (4.1 – 4.2 – 5.4 – 5.9 – 6.1 – 6.3, 6+), Cumulus Media’s WKDF “103.3 Nash FM” falters by one-half share in consecutive sweeps (6.3 – 5.8 – 5.3, flat at #6, 6+). Prior to March, WKDF last hit the six-share threshold in June 2013. Six consecutive sweeps without a loss by iHeartMedia’s WSIX “The Big 98 – Nashville’s #1 for New Country” (steady in eighth-place) net a +1.7 (3.5 – 4.7 – 4.7 – 5.0 – 5.2 – 5.2 – 5.2, 6+). It has a two-tenths advantage over Cumulus Media’s WSM-FM “95.5 Nash Icon,” which was up two-tenths in three successive up or flat moves (5.0 – 5.0 – 5.0 – 5.2, 6+) but squanders two-tenths to 5.0 (eighth to ninth, 6+). Dropping by one-half share in addition to WKDF is iHeartMedia urban contemporary WUBT “101.1 The Beat” (6.8 – 6.3, third to fourth, 6+) with 6.3, its lowest 6+-showing since February’s 6.1.
Spoken-Word Formats – Slipping from seventh to eighth, Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM “News Talk 630” is a combined -.7 in May/June (3.8 – 3.7 – 3.1, 6+).
Owing to four dips in succession, iHeartMedia-owned news/talk WHJJ “Providence’s News, Traffic, and Weather” forfeits eight-tenths (2.1 – 1.9 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.3, 6+) and drops from #13 to #14. Even though Cumulus Media’s WPRV forfeits two-tenths (.7 – .5, 6+), “AM 790 Talk & Business” is back in the top twenty (#21 to #20).
By picking up one-tenth in June to 3.6 (6) – after sputtering by one-half share in May – Entercom sports talker
WVEI progresses from eighth to seventh.
Down three-tenths in May/June (1.3 – 1.2 – 1.0, 6+), iHeartMedia Boston hybrid news – talk WBZ-AM “News Radio 1030” slips from #17 to #18.
Stuck on 2.0 (6+) in April and May, The Wheeler School’s news/talk WELH is off one-tenth to 1.9 (6+) but stays at #10, while WGBH Educational Foundation Boston news/talk WGBH notches a 1.6 (6+) for the fifth time in the last seven reports (1.6 – 1.6 – 1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.6, #12 to #11, 6+).
Providence Music Formats – Busting out improvements of nine-tenths each are Hall Communications’ WCTK “Cat Country 98.1” (7.6 – 8.5, steady at #3, 6+) and iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WWBB “B-101” (7.2 – 8.1, fifth to fourth, 6+). When “Cat Country” surrendered two-tenths in May, it halted four straight gains that accounted for a +2.2 (5.6 – 7.2 – 7.4 – 7.4 – 7.8, 6+). That streak, however, followed a collective -3.1 via three declines in succession (8.7 – 8.2 – 6.9 – 5.6, 6+). “B-101,” meanwhile, has its best 6+-performance in nearly a year – matching July 2018’s 8.1. Reaching this Rhode Island market from Boston, iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” is up a collective four-tenths through four successive up or flat Providence moves (1.1 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.5 – 1.5, #14 to #13, 6+). In addition to bumping up two-tenths (10.0 – 10.2, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WHJY “94 HJY Providence’s Home of Rock & Roll” repeats at #1. An April loss of nine-tenths forced WHJY from the top spot after three straight months there. The decline halted four consecutive positive or flat moves that netted a +2.0 (8.5 – 9.8 – 9.8 – 9.8 – 10.5, 6+). Before taking over at #1 in January, WHJY was in the runner-up slot from September 2018 through “Holiday” 2018. Co-owned hot AC WSNE “Coast 93.3,” which cobbled together three consecutive improvements for a collective +1.2 (3.8 – 4.3 – 4.5 – 5.0, 6+), sputters by seven-tenths to 4.3 (6+) and remains at #6. In May, “Coast” reached the five-share level (5.0, 6+) for the first time since October 2018’s 5.5. Unlisted until February 2019, Hall Communications’ classic hits-oldies WNBH more than tripled (+.7) its 6+-stat in three straight upticks (.3 – .4 – .5 -1.0, 6+), but “Big 101.3” sees its 6+ AQH share sliced in half to a .5 (-.5, #18 to #20). In five straight negative or neutral reports, Townsquare Media CHR WFHN “Fun 107 – The South Coast’s #1 Hit Music Station” has lost roughly 60% (-2.6) of its 6+-share (4.2 – 3.7 – 2.6 – 1.9 – 1.9 – 1.6, flat at #11, 6+). Immediately in advance of this stretch, WFHN more than tripled (+3.0) its 6+-stat as a result of six successive up or flat moves (1.2 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.7 – 4.2, 6+).
Norfolk – Unchanged in fourth-place, WNOR posts a gain of eight-tenths to 6.8, the highest 6+ AQH share for the Saga Communications’ rocker since October 2018’s 6.9. In addition to more than doubling (+1.1) its 6+-stat in six straight reports without a loss (.8 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.9, 6+), iHeartMedia alternative WNOH “Alt 105.3” returns to the top ten (#11 to #8). Responding to March/April’s combined -2.4 (12.9 – 11.6 – 10.5, 6+) with a May +1.0 to 11.5 (6+), Entercom urban AC WVKL “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” drops one-tenth to 11.4 (6+) but is #1 for the sixth successive month. Just prior to logging a 10.5 this past April, WVKL had posted a 6+-share of 11.0 or higher 37 of 38 times. “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” had been on top 25 successive survey periods before segueing to the runner-up slot in “Holiday” 2018. Its August 2018 15.5 holds the record for highest 6+-performance by any Norfolk station in the PPM-era. Adult contemporary sibling WWDE “101.3 2WD,” however, erodes by -1.4 (5.8 – 4.4, fifth to sixth, 6+) and is below a five-share (4.4, 6+) for the first time since January 2018’s 4.3. An overall -1.0 in three straight negative or neutral moves (5.6 – 5.2 – 5.2 – 4.6, 6+), cluster-mate WNVZ “Z-104” improves by three-tenths to 4.9 (6+) and climbs from sixth to fifth. Ever since appearing in print in November 2018, its internet stream is trending .4 – .5 – .6 – .5 – .5 – .5 – .4 – .5 – .4 (flat at #14, 6+). WJOI “1230 AM – Great Songs/Great Memories,” which gained six-tenths in five straight up or flat trends (.8 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.4, 6+), surrenders half that increase (1.1, -.3, 6+) as the Saga Communications adult standards station falls from #11 to #13. Likewise, Norfolk State University urban contemporary WNSB improved by four-tenths via four consecutive sweeps without a loss (1.0 – 1.- 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.4, 6+), but “Hot 91.1” is off two-tenths to 1.2 (#11 to #12, 6+).
Spoken-Word Formats – This marks the fifth consecutive sweep without an increase for Cox Media Group news/talk WOKV-FM, which is a collective -2.9 in that stretch (10.4 – 9.7 – 8.8 – 8.6 – 8.6 – 7.5, 6+). Moreover, “104.5 – Jacksonville’s News, Weather, and Traffic” segues from a first-place tie to a second-place tie. WOKV-FM had sole possession of first-place in April.
Without an increase the eighth consecutive time for a net loss of 75% (-.6) of its 6+-stat (.8 – .7 – .6 – .6 – .5 – .3 – .3 -.3 – .2, 6+), iHeartMedia sports talk WFXJ “930 The Game – Jacksonville’s Sports Leader” repeats at #19.
Off seven-tenths in three setbacks in succession (3.7 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 3.0, 6+), public news/talk WJCT falls from #11 to #12. Immediately prior to April, “Your Community – Your World” was a cumulative +1.5 in five increases in a row (2.2 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 3.0 – 3.5 – 3.7, 6+).
Jacksonville Music Formats – A lofty +1.4 (4.6 – 6.0, 6+) enables iHeartMedia urban contemporary WJBT “93.3 The Beat” to vault from eighth to fifth. On the strength of a +1.0, co-owned CHR WKSL “97.9 Kiss FM” crosses the five-share level (4.2 – 5.2, 6+) and bumps up from ninth to eighth. At the same time, Cox Media Group’s similarly-formatted WAPE falters by -1.0 and is down the third straight sweep for an overall -1.3 (7.3 – 7.2 – 7.0 – 6.0, fourth to fifth, 6+). In addition, “95.1 Jacksonville’s #1 Hit Music Station” has its weakest 6+-stat (6.0) since 5.2 in “Holiday” 2018. Its adult contemporary sibling, WEZI “Easy 102.9,” nets +1.4 in three successive upticks (4.5 – 4.9 – 5.1 – 5.9, 6+) and carries on in seventh-place. A combined +1.1 in January/February, WEZI surrendered roughly half that increase with a March loss of six-tenths. Despite being a collective -1.2 in three declines in a row (8.7 – 8.3 – 7.6 – 7.5, 6+), Renda Broadcasting’s similarly-formatted WEJZ “96.1 Jacksonville’s Official Work Station” advances from third to a second-place tie. Its “Holiday” 2018 16.3 is the highest 6+-mark for any Jacksonville station since “Holiday” 2015 when WEJZ notched a 19.5. Locked on 3.1 (6+) in April and May, iHeartMedia’s WWJK “107.3 Planet Radio – Jacksonville’s Rock Station” posts a one-half share gain (3.1 – 3.6, 6+) and enters the top ten (#12 to #10). After a March-only stay at #1, Cox Media Group classic hits-oldies WJGL segued to a second-place tie in April and then progressed to a first-place tie in May. Even though “96.9 The Eagle” drops one-half share in June (8.6 – 8.1, 6+), it has sole possession of first-place. An April loss of six-tenths interrupted three upticks in succession that resulted in a +1.6 (7.3 – 8.1 – 8.6 – 8.9, 6+). Immediately prior to that streak, “The Eagle” was an overall -2.0 in four consecutive slips (9.3 – 9.2 – 8.5 – 8.2 – 7.3, 6+). Off seven-tenths to 5.0, its lowest 6+-showing since 4.9 in “Holiday” 2018, iHeartMedia urban AC WSOL “V-101.5” slips from sixth to ninth. Showing decreases of six-tenths each are Cox Media Group-owned WXXJ “X-106.5 Jacksonville’s Alternative” (unchanged at #13); iHeartMedia gospel WKSL-HD3 (2.3, flat at #14, 6+); and Radio Training Network contemporary Christian WCRJ “The Joy FM” (1.6 – 1.0, #flat at #17, 6+). “X-106.5” has lost seven-tenths in three straight negative or neutral moves (3.1 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 2.4, 6+). Prior to the June sweep, WKSL-HD3 had shown a net increase of seven-tenths in four straight sweeps without a loss (2.2 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.7 – 2.9, 6+). “The Joy FM” was frozen on 1.6 (6+) in April and May. In nine straight sweeps without a loss, iHeartMedia Spanish contemporary WQIK-HD2 gained two-tenths (.1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .3, 6+) but is off one-tenth in June to .2 (unchanged at #19, 6+).
KLOS, KXOS Officially Added to Meruelo Media. The existing Meruelo Media Los Angeles cluster welcomes rock KLOS (from Cumulus Media) and regional Mexican KXOS (from Grupo Radio Centro). They join rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106,” Redondo Beach-licensed KDAY “93.5 Hip-Hop Back in the Day” and Ontario (California)-licensed simulcast KDEY, as well as KWHY-TV and KBEH-TV. The company’s current executive team takes over KLOS’ operations, with Meruelo Media president Otto Padron serving as interim market manager; Tomas Trujillo overseeing day-to-day operations; vice president of client solutions David Criscitelli leading sales; and vice president of marketing Dianna Jason dealing with communication and marketing. KLOS program director Keith Cunningham continues in that capacity. KWHY-TV general manager Irma Barrios adds KXOS to her existing duties and Emmanuel “DJ E-Man” Coquia takes over KXOS’ interim programming and music duties. Padron remarks, “Two closes in one day – we are thrilled to add KXOS and KLOS to the Meruelo Media family. This is the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in Los Angeles media. We are absolutely committed to the amazing heritage rock brand of KLOS. We are electrified to officially close on our purchase of the station and begin a new chapter of this legendary brand together with its amazing cadre of talented employees and iconic personalities. It will give Meruelo Media great scale and access to a highly desirable market sector, in addition to giving our clients and partners a newly energized local option. In turn, we will commit to KLOS our deep hyper-local operational and content resources that will drive significant audience growth for a larger share of advertising dollars. Regarding the other addition, he teased, “Stand by, exciting news about KXOS coming soon.” Meruelo Media plans to relocate KLOS’ Culver City operations to its Burbank facility later this year; KXOS already operates from there. The $43 million deal for KLOS was announced in April; it reportedly paid $35 million for KXOS. In addition to notching its sixth straight up or flat trend for a net gain of nine-tenths (2.4 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 3.3, 6+), KLOS cracks the top ten (#11 to #8, Nielsen Audio, June 2019, 6+). KXOS picks up three-tenths in June (.9 – 1.2, 6+) and finishes at #30 – tied with KDAY (flat at 1.2, 6+). “Power 106” gains two-tenths (2.9 – 3.1, #11 to #10, 6+) and has its best 6+-showing since September 2018’s 3.2.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Starting September 9, longtime “Extra” host – Mario Lopez – will join Kit Hoover and Scott Evans in a similar capacity on “Access Hollywood” and “Access Live.” In addition to his television work, Lopez hosts Premiere Networks’ “On With Mario Lopez” and the hot AC version of “iHeartRadio Countdown With Mario Lopez.” NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution executive vice president/creative affairs Tracie Wilson declares, “Mario is a multi-talented television personality. As an entertainment TV and radio host, actor, author, and – of course – a father and husband, Mario brings a fresh voice and perspective with creative ideas to our business. Our viewers know him and love him, and we are so excited to have him as a part of the NBCUniversal family.” According to “Access Hollywood” senior executive producer Maureen Fitzpatrick, “Mario has grown up in the business and is able to offer our viewers a unique insight on the latest Hollywood headlines. As a husband and father of three young children, he has a respect for the daytime audience looking for a break in their hectic lives with uplifting stories of everyday people transforming their lives and making a difference in their communities.” Lopez notes, “I have long admired the NBCUniversal team and all the shows being produced. I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to join in that success and develop scripted and alternative projects on their many creative platforms.” …. Founder/president of The WTA Group – a leader in development/marketing of faith-based film and publishing – Bill Reeves, succeeds the retiring Mike Novak as Educational Media Foundation’s chief executive officer. EMF is the parent company of contemporary Christian radio networks K-Love and Air 1. EMF has issued a letter of intent to acquire The WTA Group, which Reeves founded in 2009. EMF interim chief executive officer and president Alan Mason maintains, “God always sends the right person at the right time. Bill’s unique skill set and personality are a great match with our current and future needs. His vast media experience complements radio as we take our first step toward becoming a more diversified media ministry.” EMF board chair Mark Voltmann comments, “All of us at EMF are excited to welcome Bill into our family. Bill’s love for the Lord and ministry through Christian media is a great fit.” Reeves remarks, “K-Love and Air1 have tremendous impact on our culture. I look forward to continuing to grow that impact and reach both through the radio networks and through new media in the future.” WTA Group will remain in Nashville where it has operated since its inception ….. Five-year WRSA “Mix 96.9” “After Hours” night talent Blair Davis is boosted to middays (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) at the NCA Huntsville (Alabama) mainstream adult contemporary outlet. WRSA general manager Nate Adams comments that, “When it comes to radio, Blair has the ‘it’ factor. Her on-air ability is years beyond her experience. She not only understands how to deliver great content, she is focused on finding the right content for our audience. She brings a great level of energy to the workday listener and connects well with them.” Davis, who will also do a Saturday morning shift (6:00 am – 10:00 am), notes, “You never know what tricks I might have up my sleeve.” …..Windy City media authority Robert Feder is first to report that a new morning show could surface on Entercom Chicago’s country-formatted WUSN “US-99” early next month. Feder speculates that Jason Pullman and Katie Bright will constitute the wakeup team. The slot has been open since the departure two months ago of Dougie Stylz and Justin Roman (“Stylz & Roman”). Pullman’s previous on-air credits include iHeartMedia Los Angeles’ KYSR (when it was hot AC “Star 98.7”) and Atlanta country sibling WUBL “94.9 The Bull.” Bright has worked on-air in Nashville and was based in Music City USA as director/national promotion for Warner Music Nashville.
Joe McDonnell: LA Saddened at Giant-Size Talent’s Passing. How “big” was Joe McDonnell in Los Angeles? Consider this: Friday’s (3/13) lead item for several newscasts on the city’s only all-news station, CBS Radio‘s KNX, was that the 58-year-old McDonnell – widely-known as “Big Joe” or “The Big Nasty” – had passed away. “Big” references regarded his weight, approximately 700 pounds at one time; however, the sports talk host underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost roughly more than half of that. “Nasty” became a handle owing to his highly opinionated nature. The overwhelming majority of those familiar with McDonnell’s exemplary on-air work in Los Angeles would quickly associate him with being a “legendary” or “iconic” sports talk radio “fixture” and that would certainly be accurate. He was, however, among the rarest of on-air talents in the country’s second-largest market, in that, in addition to doing a nightly (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) sports program (“The Joe McDonnell Experience”) on Clear Channel‘s (now iHeartMedia) KLAC, he also did a Sunday (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm) political talk program (“The Joe McDonnell Show”) on co-owned KTLK-AM (now KEIB). Most recently, McDonnell did fill-in work at KNX. Reaction to his death has continued virtually nonstop, with a who’s who in local and national media, as well as executives of major sports franchises, offering condolences. Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia knew McDonnell ever since Scioscia first came up as a catcher in the Dodgers’ organization. “He was a good friend who will be missed. It’s sad,” Scioscia states. On Twitter, Keith Olbermann writes, “Heartbroken to learn of death of LA radio legend, my friend, Joe McDonnell. He leaves us having never held a grudge.” Ken Rosenthal comments, “So sad to hear about the passing of Joe McDonnell, a one-of-a-kind sports personality in Los Angeles and a reporter at heart.” Several years ago, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian, then the special features editor for Inside Radio, did an extensive profile of McDonnell, who freely used the word “idiot” to describe someone with whom he disagreed. It was a trademark of the bombastic on-air persona of “The Big Nasty” and customarily delivered in vitriol by the dean of Los Angeles radio sports talk hosts. McDonnell garnered legions of dedicated fans. Once – to benefit charity – he accepted the challenge of co-workers and successfully completed a four-hour shift without uttering one negative. In his profile, Kinosian shattered the myth about McDonnell and let the truth be told that in real-life, McDonnell was a far cry from the manic personality listeners were accustomed to hearing. Pensive and completely conscientious McDonnell qualified as a native Angelino, having relocated from Philadelphia in 1959 at age three with his parents. “I loved radio and wouldn’t go anywhere without it,” he fondly recalled to Kinosian. “I’d go to bed listening to it and wake up with it. I went through radios [as others] went through socks. Even when doing homework, I had the radio on.” Although thoroughly enthralled by the medium, McDonnell at that time never thought about pursuing a career in it. Family members urged him to be a lawyer, but McDonnell formulated sportswriter aspirations while attending L.A. Valley College and Cal State – Northridge. His radio career was, in his words, “a total accident.” A high school buddy McDonnell hadn’t seen in a while told him he received academic credit for working at a radio station. That was all it took for McDonnell: He scored an interview for a newsroom opening at KGIL in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley and his first day was September 18, 1975 – the day they arrested Patty Hearst. “I was so excited to be there and hung around to watch what everybody did. Then the story broke and I wound up staying until 10:00 pm. I fell in love with radio my first day and knew this was for me.” Freelance sports opportunities later surfaced for him at Mutual, AP Radio, and UPI Radio and he adroitly transitioned into a daily field correspondent. Play-by-play was briefly tinkered with, but long enough for McDonnell to know it didn’t captivate him. Something else did and as he flatly asserted to Kinosian, “My interest in politics is equal to my interest in sports. They are jobs but they are [also] passions. I love being able to show another side of my life. I am very liberal but do not [rubber-stamp] everything simply because that is what [other liberals] say you should do. I take things on a position-by-position basis. It is impossible and disingenuous to be one way on every subject. No one can ever accuse me of being a phony.” The first Gulf War was underway when he hosted a general talk show on KFI, Los Angeles. America’s first casualty came as a result of friendly fire. Soon after that, the victim’s widow drove to KFI one Sunday afternoon and McDonnell did two hours with her. “It was the most gut-wrenching, yet most fulfilling, thing I’ve done on radio,” he told Kinosian. “Quite honestly, I didn’t know I was capable of pulling it off. People heard me do sports and wondered what I knew about [politics]. I had to win them over.” Multiple Golden Microphone award winner McDonnell toiled in the Southland at KMAX and KWNK between 1994 – 1997; won raves doing sports updates for (then-all news) KFWB; and was part of the original 1992 staff transitioning KMPC to all-sports – although the outbreak of the L.A. riots was the considerably more monumental story the night of the format flip. For numerous personal and professional reasons, a five-year run beginning in 2000 as KSPN “ESPN 710,” Los Angeles’ assistant program director and afternoon driver profoundly affected him. “My first three years there were great,” McDonnell declared to Kinosian. “I had a say in what went on and helped build KSPN from the ground up with [KABC & KSPN OM] Erik Braverman who was my KFI producer. Unfortunately when Erik decided he wanted to concentrate on KABC, they brought in people who didn’t share our ideas.” It was one different concept after another and became the beginning of the end for McDonnell there. “They killed morale and dissolved everything we did. I wanted to leave every day the last two years I was there but made so much money I would’ve been put in a mental institution if I quit.” From the minute McDonnell walked into the Burbank offices of KLAC to interview with KLAC general manager/program director & KTLK program director Don Martin, he sensed something different. “This might sound crazy – but I really liked that they made me earn my position. Don put me on KTLK and let me do some KLAC fill-in. It meant a lot when he said I assimilated with the audience and staff. People have this idea you expect everything be given to you.” Being a sports talk host was a 24 hour-a-day job for McDonnell because, “Information doesn’t stop.” His shows were frequently punctuated with “24” and “Da Ali G” clips and laced with abundant/energetic hip-hop tracks as bumpers. At first, longtime “McDonnell – Douglas” partner Doug Krikorian wasn’t part of the equation for the “Joe McDonnell Experience,” although the Long Beach Press-Telegram sportswriter joined the ensemble to deliver weekly “K-Files” reports. After all, it was Krikorian who hung the “Big Nasty” moniker on McDonnell when Big Joe collared/disposed of a rowdy patron one night at their favorite hangout. Naturally, the subject of McDonnell’s weight came up in the Kinosian profile of him and McDonnell said that even before the gastric bypass procedure, the heavy burden he was carrying didn’t really bother him. He did however eventually begin slowing down, getting sick, and spending more time at home. “I stopped going to games because it was uncomfortable. My doctor told me I had to do something. Any addict – and I’m definitely a food addict – thinks you can do it on your own.” That’s the fallacy and something an addict desperately wants to believe but McDonnell stressed it can not be done alone. “It got to the point where I realized I was going to die. I had the surgery and lost 300 pounds. On Christmas Day, I put slabs of turkey and prime rib on a plate [surrounded with] potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce. I took it to the table and had a bite of each. Hey look – I’m a food addict and always will be.” The old Joe most likely would’ve avoided on-air surgery mentions. If it did pop up, he probably would’ve been brutal in challenging the person referencing it. A much mellower McDonnell made a conscious decision when he left KSPN that the “Big Nasty” had died. “It was a great vehicle for what I needed – but – that really isn’t me,” he emphasized to Kinosian. “I’m opinionated and will raise my voice but I’m a nice guy and like to have fun. One reason I love my job is it allows me to hang with people.” Conceding it was a “shortcoming” on his part as a talk show host to refrain from mentioning much about his personal life, McDonnell declared, “You can’t be isolated and expect to reach your audience; you have to let them in on your life. For the most part, I refused to do that. Don Martin and I had a long talk about that and he said the best on-air people let you know about them.” A happy, healthy, and exuberant McDonnell chatted up his March 30, 2007 wedding to KLOS’ lovely Elizabeth Cohn (now working at cross-town Bonneville-owned KSWD “The Sound”). “I finally met someone who will put up with me and I [married] the most wonderful person in the world,” McDonnell emphasized in that profile. Joe and Elizabeth worked together for four years inside ABC Radio Los Angeles (now Cumulus Media) and basically didn’t say a word to each other. “She understands I’ll occasionally make fun of her on-air and exaggerate things but my life is now an open book.” Numerous health ailments – some nearly life-threatening – plagued McDonnell and he frequently credited Elizabeth as being the rock who held him together. An avowed movie junkie, McDonnell would go to as many as three or four in one day. It was his way to relax and escape. “One of the biggest benefits of losing weight is I can fit into theater seats. That was honestly a problem before.” Such McDonnell segments as “Who Do You Want To Kick Out Of LA?” gave him a Northeast-sounding vibe, but his entire nearly 40-year career was spent in Los Angeles. The ardent WWE fan told Kinosian, “It would take a million dollar offer for me to leave Los Angeles. In the early-1990s, I had a chance to work for a friend in Nashville and had a big offer to go to Seattle in 1994 but my mother had cancer so I wasn’t about to leave town. There was a preliminary discussion years ago with WFAN, New York about being a reporter/weekend host but Los Angeles is my home. I’m part of the radio landscape.” Eerie now, but McDonnell confided to Kinosian in that lengthy printed conversation, “All the stuff I’ve done is leading up to something. I’ve always felt there was a bigger plan for me and a different path. God has kept me around for a reason – but I don’t know what it is. With what I’ve put myself through, any other person would have been dead by now.” Even at his heaviest, the voracious reader managed to stay in “fairly good shape.” The only weakness until recently was with his knees. According to McDonnell, “The ultimate moment for me would be to somehow find out who really killed John F. Kennedy.” As for the once “Big Nasty,” no cause of death was reported; several reports – including the one on KNX – said he died at Los Angeles’ Good Samaritan Hospital after a “brief illness.” A two-hour Friday night (3/13) Jeff Biggs-hosted show on KSPN paid tribute to McDonnell, who typically aired his “Kick Out” segment Fridays. Poignant, touching, and chillingly appropriate, the final word was given to Elizabeth McDonnell who somehow managed to summon up the strength in her voice to utter she wanted to kick Joe out of LA. Dramatic, goose-bump radio. “When I die,” McDonnell once told Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News, “I want to be cremated and then have a plane spread half of my ashes over Dodger Stadium and the other half over the [ex-home of the Lakers] Forum.”
Cumulus Names Big John Howell Morning Host at WLS-AM, Chicago. The arrival of longtime Chicago market personality Big John Howell at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago had been rumored for some time and now it becomes official as Howell will assume the morning show duties effective next Monday (1/19). Most recently, Howell was morning host at Salem Communications’ news/talk WIND “AM 560 The Answer.” He also was a jock at CBS RADIO’s country WUSN for many years as well as morning personality on CBS’ WCKG. For seven years he hosted the Westwood One-syndicated “Country Gold” request show. Howell comments, “I’m looking forward to joining WLS-AM. It has been a longtime professional, as well as personal, goal. Growing up in West Michigan and listening to WLS influenced my initial decision to give the radio business a try. Now, all these years later, and on the heels of many WLS broadcast legends, including Larry Lujack and Don Wade, it is truly an honor and a privilege. I’m also looking forward to sharing the WLS airwaves with Steve Dahl, who taught all of us to ignore management and hate disco.” Howell takes over for the team of Dan Proft and Bruce Wolf.
Roe Conn to PM Drive at WGN, Chicago. There’s no official word from Tribune Media on this…yet, but Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former longtime WLS-AM afternoon host Roe Conn will take over the afternoon drive show on WGN, Chicago from Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – both of whom have been in the post since last May. Conn even appeared on WGN’s Steve Cochran show this morning (1/12), but chatted about issues and there was no mention of his joining the station. The hiring of Leff and Snyder was part of the makeover of the station orchestrated by president Jimmy de Castro. Feder reports that it’s expected that Leff and Snyder will stay on in some capacity.
Dr. Laurie Roth Show Joins USA Radio Networks. As part of a series of program rollouts, the USA Radio Networks announces Dr. Laurie Roth becomes part of the syndicated lineup, airing from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET effective February 2. USA Radio Networks describes the show as an “issues-driven program known to tackle politics, crime and corruption. Dr. Roth often visits with survivors and family members affected by crimes and conspiracies. How do they survive and come back after losing a family member, being smeared or a being a victim of crime in some way? Listeners learn the answers to such questions. Roth says, “I expose the bad guys, stand for the good guys and don’t get caught in-between.” Tim Maranville is chief content officer at USA’a parent company – Cross Platform Media Group – and he comments, “Dr. Roth covers the issues driving the conversation in America like no other radio host. Her life experience brings a realness to the radio that, sadly, is uncommon in the network industry. She is a welcome breath of fresh air.” Recently, USA Radio Networks announced the launch of new shows including “AMERICA CONTINUES with Jim Sharpe,” and the syndication of the Steve Deace show, “DAYBREAK USA with Angie Austin,” and the hourly USA Radio News.
Brooks Promoted at WTMJ, Milwaukee. At the Journal Broadcast Group-owned news/talker WTMJ, Milwaukee, Eric Brooks is upped to assistant program director. WTMJ VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “Eric has grown tremendously as a leader at WTMJ. As producer of ‘Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure,’ Eric has helped the program leapfrog into the top news/talk position with both listeners 6+ and 25-54. Eric has also deftly handled many day-to-day responsibilities in the programming department in his role as executive producer of WTMJ programming.” Brooks joined WTMJ in 2011 as a news anchor and producer before being elevated to executive producer, WTMJ programming in 2013.
Odds & Sods. This Friday (1/16), New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella will sit in for morning drive personality Harry Hurley on Townsquare Media’s Atlantic City, New Jersey news/talker WPGG…..Here’s an interesting show, now available to radio stations across the country that draws on Americans’ interest in the Old West: Dakota Livesay’s “Chronicle of the Old West.” It’s both a three-and-a-half minute show delivered five days per week and a weekly, one-hour show that features friends, authors and experts who chat with host Livesay about this romanticized period of American history. Check out OldWestRadio.com…..The WYD Media-syndicated “Huckabee Report” with Mike Huckabee and the Stephanie Miller program are both joining the lineup at CRN Digital Talk Radio. CRN states that “The Huckabee Report” will air throughout the day on CRN effective today (1/12) and CRN 4 channel will broadcast encore presentations of the Stephanie Miller show Tuesday through Saturday, beginning January 13.
Talk Pro Tom Becka Does ‘Friday Night Live.’ Longtime Omaha (not to mention Kansas City and Fargo) talk radio personality Tom Becka rhetorically asks TALKERS magazine, “What does a talk show host do when he’s on the beach? He keeps talking…” And that’s what you see in this photo. Recently let go from KOIL, Omaha in a cost-cutting move, Becka reports on his latest venture – a live version of the Tom Becka Radio Show. He says, “We set up a stage at a local watering hole, charged admission, and did an interactive audience participation show just like it was on the radio. A sold-out crowd came to talk about the hot issues of the day with ‘Honesty, Integrity, and a Sense of Humor.’ It was spirited, entertaining, and profitable. I used social media and my daily podcasts to promote the event and it turned out great. I’ll be doing these on a regular basis.” Becka can be reached at: 402-321-9590 or via Tom@TomBecka.com.
Remembering Nick (Bazoo) Ferrara. Word and condolences spread throughout social media on Saturday, January 10 about the passing of noted CHR programmer Nick Ferrara. Conspicuously absent though were specific details of when, where, or even if Ferrara had indeed passed. The Harrison County (Mississippi) coroner though has unfortunately confirmed that 59-year-old Gulfport resident Ferrara was killed Friday (1/9) in a two-vehicle accident on Interstate 10. According to officials, Ferrara was not wearing a seatbelt while driving his 2013 Honda Accord sedan; he died at the scene from blunt-force trauma. According to a report in the Biloxi-Gulfport Sun Herald, police responded at 6:05 pm to a report of a crash with injuries. Ferrara’s car apparently rear-ended another vehicle. The Gulfport Fire Department and American Medical Response were at the crash scene. Eerily, a Friday Facebook posting ostensibly made by Ferrara – known to many from his earlier top 40 programming days as Nick Bazoo indicated simply that at approximately 5:30 pm, he was at Biloxi’s Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. The previous day (Thursday, 1/8), Ferrara made 17 original Facebook posts. Tony Gray had the most succinct – yet possibly the most powerful comment on Ferrara’s home page, with the noted consultant simply writing, “B-97 New Orleans.” Specifically, WEZB “B-97” is the New Orleans station (then owned by EZ Communications) at which operations manager Ferrara (Bazoo) rose to prominence in the early-1980s. He was famously linked to that Louisiana metro. NBC Sports Radio programmer Jack Silver though first met Ferrara in Mill Valley, California in 1984. “He was coming in to flip KMEL from rock to top 40,” Silver recalls. “He and Keith Naftalyhad the vision – I was in the right place to help them as well. Heaven is full of great program directors who touched us all – God rest your soul.” Media Monitors music manager Anita Bonita writes, “Godspeed Mr. Bazoo – you will be missed.” Renowned talk radio consultant Valerie Geller is “so sorry to hear this news – RIP.” According to Giant Records vice president Jean Johnson, Ferrara was, “The consummate Facebook poster. I shared many of your hilarious posts. Rest in peace Mr. Bazoo – taken way too soon.” Legendary voiceover/imaging talent Howard Hoffman sums it up perfectly by stating, “This hurts. Selfless, strong, and just a real honor to work with you, Nick. One of the best field marshals ever and you deserved so much better. I am glad you knew that before leaving us way too soon. Godspeed, friend – thanks for everything.” Longtime industry executive Rob Sisco laments, “Oh my dear sweet Bazoo. I am so profoundly sad to hear this news. You were one of the true good guys. I am proud and honored to have called you friend. You will be missed forever. Rest in peace, Nick.” Former New Orleans programmer Pat Matthews recalls, “Met you when you were just 18 and starting out at WIXO. A funny, talented, caring guy – wow, this is so unbelievable.” Veteran programmer Joel Burke remarks, “You were one of the smartest radio people I knew and had such a contagious laugh – RIP.” Consultant Dan Vallie comments, “Good man – good heart. Rest in peace my friend. Heaven is going to enjoy your sense of humor and big smile.” Yet another twist: A “Life Event” posted on Ferrara’s Facebook page less than two weeks ago – New Year’s Eve (12/31) – states he “started working at retired.” Commencing in 2001 and lasting approximately through 2013, Ferrara was an operations manager in State College, Pennsylvania at Forever Broadcasting and then doing similar duties at cross-town Results Radio (2006 – 2013). In addition to WEZB “B-97,” Ferrara (Bazoo) held the operations manager title at several other New Orleans outlets, including WLMG, WLTS, and WWL. In the mid- and late-1980s, he spent time in California as an OM for KMEL, San Francisco and then Gannett Broadcasting‘s properties in San Diego. Sandwiched between those stops was a two-year stint as operations manager in Pittsburgh for EZ’s WBZZ “B-94.” Information is not yet available regarding Ferrara’s funeral arrangements.