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Monday, January 25, 2021

| January 25, 2021

INDUSTRY AND NATION MOURN: Talk Media Pioneer Larry King Dead at 87. According to a report on Facebook posted by the producers of his current syndicated television show, Ora Media, legendary star of talk radio and television, Larry King died this weekend at the age of 87. The statement says: “With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.” The statement continues, “For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster.” The cause of death was not indicated, however King had been reportedly hospitalized with COVID-19 earlier this month. King was a major player in the talk media world who ushered in the modern era of syndication in radio on the Mutual Broadcasting System and the cable news/talk show format on television at CNN. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following statement: “Larry King was not the greatest talk show host on radio or television in terms of skills, outrageous personality or direct and profound influence on public policy. He was, however, the most important pioneer who paved the way for today’s robust talk media presence on both radio and television. If there ever was a case of the right person at the right time, Larry King fit the bill and that’s all it took for him to be a mighty force. He was the modern era of talk radio’s first national celebrity born solely as a result of his work in the medium. And his contribution to today’s institutional cable news/talk TV format is undeniably fundamental to the medium’s current presence as America’s political and sociological meeting place. We have lost one of the greatest broadcasting presences of the first century of radio and television history as well as one of the quirkiest and most colorful individuals to ever sit behind a microphone.” Read TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian’s “Remembering Larry King” feature here.

Tributes to Larry King Pouring in from All Over the Industry.  TALKERS has received dozens of tributes, anecdotes, and comments from readers in all sectors of the broadcasting industry in reaction to the passing of Larry King on Saturday (1/23).  The following statements from people who knew him and worked with him reflect the basic sentiments expressed across the board. Westwood One legend Jim Bohannon rose to national prominence as Larry King’s fill-in host back in the early days of King’s career as the late-night “king of talk radio” on the Mutual Broadcasting System. Bohannon tells TALKERS, “Larry King was the first certified big shot for whom I’d ever worked, and I was all set for some screaming prima donna jerk. What I found was a funny, savvy, decent human being who was always very supportive of me. His best advice: Be yourself. My 11 years backing him up on the radio were always based on being a first-rate Jim rather than a second rate Larry.” This Friday (1/29) marks Bohannon’s 28th anniversary of hosting that very same show fulltime. Norm Pattiz, chairman of PodcastOne and founder of Westwood One, was instrumental in Larry King’s fabulous radio career. He tells TALKERS, “Larry King was a superstar on radio well before he became a talk show icon on television and his contribution in those media will never be duplicated. I first met Larry in 1985 when Westwood One Radio bought the Mutual Radio Network. Some said at the time that I bought the network just to get the ‘Larry King Show’ and I never corrected them. When CNN came calling, I was thrilled to share Larry with them and when his show became one of the most influential nightly talk shows in history it only confirmed what I had known all along. No one will ever match the style, compassion, and genuine love for a great interview that Larry had and the worlds of television, radio, and podcasting are worse today for his loss.” Tom Tradup, VP/news and talk programming, Salem Radio Network, tells TALKERS, “My favorite memory of Larry was when I was president/GM of WLS in Chicago and was meeting with Larry for lunch in the now-closed Cape Cod Room restaurant of Chicago’s Drake Hotel. Always upbeat and gregarious, Larry seemed just a little down. He revealed he was speaking to a business group that night and his hotel had lost his trademark suspenders. After lunch I ran over the Marshall Field’s on State Street and bought him a pair. Big smile from a broadcast legend whose talent endured for decades.” And media consultant, TALKERS columnist, and host of “The Big Picture” on RT America (which also carried Larry King’s syndicated TV show at the time of his death), Holland Cooke adds, “One year ago this week, Larry was my guest on the very first show produced at RT’s new Los Angeles studio. Larry’s gift was his curiosity; and his legacy to fellow talkers is the art of the short question. I remember him asking Bob Hope, ‘Who do YOU think is funny?’ And he asked David Duke, ‘Don’t you ever get tired of hating?’ Often, guests on book tours or who are otherwise timely are prepped with ‘safe’ answers, regardless of the questions asked. And they get away with it, because hosts ask verbose questions and don’t listen closely to responses. Larry’s short question would catch the guest off-guard – enough to yield an answer you wouldn’t hear elsewhere along the tour.

King and I: An Excerpt from Bernadette Duncan’s Landmark Book Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016).  I landed a part-time job with the Larry King Radio Show in 1986 because I was in the right place at the right time. My late shift at NBC Radio Networks where I produced the Neil Myers Show ended at 1:00 am and no other talk producer was on the premises. All that was required? Meet Mr. King in the lobby, escort him to the elevator, guide him down the hall to the nearest empty studio, check mics and audio, and then be prepared to do the same with the on-coming, big-name parade of guests scheduled for the night. Basically, I was a “handler” for an extra 75 bucks a shift. At the time, this pre-suspenders-wearing Larry King was one of the most successful radio talk show hosts in the industry who at the height of his show’s prominence had nearly 500 affiliate stations around the country. Just the year before, in 1985, he began hosting a nightly TV program on the new cable network called CNN (for Cable News Network) and “Larry King Live” was getting some buzz. In addition to television at 9:00 pm… then radio after midnight… he was in contract to write a book. Larry King’s career was hot. And it was this book deal with a New York-based publisher that brought him to the Big Apple four or five days a month to meet with his editor face-to-face. I became his New York producer/handler, working in coordination with his crew in Washington, DC. Little did I realize when I signed up with “the King of Talk,” I would dive into a world as quirky as what you’d find down Alice’s rabbit hole. To read the entire excerpt please click here.

Alpha Media Announces Pre-Arranged Chapter 11 Reorganization. The company says in a statement on its website that it has entered into a “restructuring agreement with certain of its lenders to reduce its debt, as well as raise incremental capital” to allow it “to successfully navigate current market conditions and pursue growth opportunities. The company expects no disruption to its broadcast operations, customers or employees. Management will remain in place and continue to maintain the company’s day-to-day operations.” Alpha Media says it has filed “a pre-arranged plan of re-organization, disclosure statement and voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. Certain of the company’s existing lenders have agreed to provide new capital in the form of committed debtor-in-possession and exit financing. These lenders, together with management, are expected to collectively own 100% of the equity of the re-organized company, subject to regulatory approvals from the Federal Communications Commission. The restructuring of the company’s balance sheet will require receipt of bankruptcy court approval and certain regulatory, including FCC, approvals and satisfaction of other customary conditions. The company expects to conclude the restructuring process in the first half of 2021.” Alpha chairman and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “We have made significant progress in aggressively deleveraging our business in recent years. As we proceed with our financial restructuring to improve our capital structure and manage through the ongoing downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the agreement we reached today will leave Alpha Media well positioned for a market recovery as a stronger and even more competitive company. Broadcast radio is the leading reach medium in the United States, with attractive ROIs for advertisers, and radio continues to be an indispensable communications platform nationwide. We believe the balance sheet restructuring will provide greater financial resources and flexibility to Alpha Media, enabling the Company to strengthen its position as a leading mid-market broadcaster in the United States, and invest in new digital capabilities to better serve our advertisers and communities. Our core business continues to perform well despite current market challenges. We will continue to invest in our talented teams to foster the unique culture that has been key to Alpha Media’s success in delivering dynamic, diverse and exciting content to our communities.”

Monday Memo: Time Management 2021. “Short version? Time will not be managed.” But in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke explains how “tasks can,” and that’s gotten trickier in pandemic shutdown mode. He outlines solutions for recurring distractions. Read it here.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccine Rollout Troubles, Trump Impeachment, Capitol Attack Investigation, Trump Third Party Launch, Tacoma Protest/Deadly Indianapolis Shooting, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the strategic troubles affecting the rollout of the vaccines; the Article of Impeachment against Donald Trump; the arrests being made during the investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol; the rumors that Donald Trump intends to launch a third political party; the Tacoma protest in which a police officer drove into a crowd and the shooting in Indianapolis in which five adults and an unborn child were killed; and Sunday’s NFL Conference Championship games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Value. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says, “Presenting the value proposition is a never-ending challenge, especially for the broadcast seller. I’ve seen too many sellers get hung up on product features that are station-centric – important to management, talent, and the seller. The truth is the advertiser doesn’t see it the same way.” The past year has taught us that the value perception of your station’s product has changed. For more on this, read Lapa’s column here.

WCCO-AM, Minneapolis Program Director John Hanson Exits. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis has let program director John Hanson go. Hanson had been serving as the station’s PD since the fall of 2018. Hanson is a native of the Twin Cities who worked on air as co-host of KSTP-TV’s “Twin Cities Live” afternoon talk show that launched in 2008. He joined Entercom in 2013 to program sports talk KCSP-AM, Kansas City. The reason for Hanson’s departure is not clear but the staff was alerted in a memo from market SVP Shannon Knoepke, who wrote on January 21, “Reaching out this afternoon to notify the staff that John Hanson is no longer with the company, effective today. More to come as we move forward and work to fill this position.”

WJBC, Bloomington-Normal Adds Michael Koolidge Show. The independently syndicated Michael Koolidge show is added to the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s WJBC-AM, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot. Koolidge says, “We couldn’t be more excited to join WJBC. I’ve been trying to break into the Bloomington-Normal market for years and I’m thrilled that Cumulus’ WJBC decided to pick up the show!” WJBC operations manager Dan Westhoff says, “We are very excited to be adding ‘The Michael Koolidge Show’ to our lineup. Michael’s been very successful throughout Illinois and the Midwest and we can’t wait to have him on WJBC.”

Marc Bernier Show Celebrates 30th Anniversary. Pictured above is WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Benier broadcasting live from DB Pickles restaurant in Ormond Beach, Florida celebrating his 30th year on air as a talk host. The celebration was also a benefit for Halifax Urban Ministries. January 21 was declared “Marc Bernier Show Day” with a flag flown over the state capitol and declarations declared honoring Bernier in the cities and county of Volusia. A number of local and state officials attended the broadcast.

WRHU Radio Hofstra University will Receive World Radio Day Award 2021.  In conjunction with World Radio Day coming up on February 13, the Academy of Radio Arts and Sciences of America has selected WRHU Radio of Hofstra University to receive the 2021 World Radio Day Award. The honor commemorates World Radio Day, established by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) and is celebrated annually on February 13. World Radio Day is intended to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio. WRHU is the first student-run station to receive this honor.  WRHU Radio 88.7 FM is the campus radio station of Hofstra University, a private university located on Long Island in Hempstead, NY. The station has been the recipient of numerous regional, state, and national awards, including three prestigious Marconi Awards from the National Association of Broadcasters (2014, 2017, and 2019).  With studios housed in Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, the station has been committed to training the next generation of radio professionals for more than 60 years in a wide variety of radio genres including news, sports, public affairs, community programming, and music. For the past decade, WRHU has exclusively produced and distributed radio broadcasts of New York Islanders hockey games, the first and only college radio station to have such an agreement with a professional major-league sports team.  “We are immensely honored to receive this award of recognition,” said Mark Lukasiewicz, dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication. “WRHU and its managers and staff deserve enormous credit for carrying on their work throughout the pandemic and providing vital information to the community.”  The annual World Radio Day Award honors a U.S. radio station that exemplifies the best attributes of the radio industry. Recipients may be large or small stations, commercial or noncommercial, located in any market, and broadcasting in any language. The award jury looks for stations that demonstrate ideals of localism, audience reach, community service, effective use of new digital platforms, diversity in program content and staffing, and financial and ratings success.  For this year’s award, the jury has highlighted the work done during the coronavirus pandemic, in light of UNESCO’s theme for the World Radio Day 2021 celebration, which is “New World, New Radio” in the sense that radio is a medium for resilience of our society. The jury of Academy is composed by eight highly qualified professionals of the broadcast industry (in alphabetical order): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Michael Harrison, founder/publisher, TALKERSPaul McLane, editor in chief, Radio WorldMike McVay, president, McVay Media ConsultingFrancisco Montero, partner, Fletcher, Heald & HildrethChris Oliviero, SVP/MM, Entercom New York; Deborah Parenti, publisher, Radio Ink; and Paul Rotella, president of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association. WRHU was recognized for its efforts during the crisis, expanding its content as student and community staffers worked and broadcast from their homes during a New York state lockdown. Hofstra University has been cited on the Best College lists of U.S. News & World ReportThe Princeton ReviewFiskeWashington Monthly, Forbes, LinkedIn and Payscale.com. It is the only university chosen to host U.S. presidential debates in three consecutive election cycles (2008, 2012 and 2016). The World Radio Day Award was initially created by the Spanish Radio Academy to spread awareness of World Radio Day. The annual February 13 commemoration was endorsed by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly and accompanied by the creation of the International Radio Committee, which collaborates with UNESCO to promote World Radio Day each year. Last year, the award went to all-news station, WTOP, Washington DC.  The 2021 World Radio Day Award will be presented to WRHU at Hofstra University in early February. For more information, click here.

Townsquare Media to Repurchase 10 Million Shares. In a press release, Townsquare Media, Inc announces it has entered into an agreement to repurchase a minimum of 10 million of the 12.5 million shares of Class A common stock, shares of Class B common stock and warrants held by funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management L.P., for $6.40 per security, which reflects a 19% discount from the closing price of the Class A common stock on Friday, January 22, 2021. The repurchase was approved by the board of directors following the recommendation of a committee of independent and disinterested directors. The aggregate purchase price is expected to be at least $64 million, subject to the company’s ability to elect to purchase additional securities at closing of the repurchase. At closing, the repurchased securities will be retired and, subject to the company’s election to repurchase additional securities, the company’s outstanding securities will be reduced from approximately 28 million to approximately 18 million. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “We appreciate the opportunity to facilitate this significant transaction with Oaktree and are excited about this repurchase, which secures the exit of a very long-term private equity majority shareholder that current and potential shareholders have described to me consistently as being an obstacle to investing more, or establishing a position, in Townsquare given the significant overhang Oaktree’s holding represented. This repurchase is immediately accretive to shareholders and we thank our board of directors for their vote of confidence in our medium and long-term business plan to grow revenue and profits.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM, Chicago afternoon news anchor Kim Gordon has resigned from the Nexstar Media Group station after 15 years. It’s rumored that Gordon will be joining Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WLS-AM to serve as the afternoon news anchor on the Big John Howell program. Back at WGN, Feder reports that Lauren Lapka will be the news anchor on the Steve Bertrand afternoon program…..iHeartMedia flips sports talk WFXJ-AM, Jacksonville “The Game” to Gospel as “Hallelujah AM930/93.3 HD2.”…..News and sports radio pro Mike Smith is leaving his gig with iHeartMedia’s WBEX-AM, Chillicothe, Ohio to pursue other career opportunities, The 43-year radio pro says, “Thanks to all the great listeners, which many, many of them became life-long friends, and I can say the same about my colleagues being life-long friends and that means more to me than any nice thing that anybody ever said about the job that I did.”

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

| September 27, 2017

EMF Acquires Entercom Stations in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Wilkes-Barre. After much speculation about which Los Angeles property Entercom would spin in order to close its pending merger with CBS RADIO, we have learned the answer: It is Entercom’s own classic rocker KSWD “100.3 The Sound,” which will be acquired by Educational Media Foundation. In addition to Los Angeles’ “Sound,” Rocklin (California)-based contemporary Christian broadcaster EMF is also obtaining Entercom stations in San Diego (KSOQ-FM, which simulcasts KSON-FM “New Country”) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (WGGI, which simulcasts WGGY “Today’s Best Country – Froggy”). This three-station deal marks the first required divestitures in the company’s mega union with CBS Radio. According to Entercom president and chief executive officer David Field, “We have made great progress toward the completion of our merger with CBS Radio and this agreement with EMF brings us one step closer to the finish line. We remain on-track to close the CBS Radio transaction later this year and confident in the value-creating opportunities presented by this transformational combination.” Educational Media Foundation chief executive officer Mike Novak remarks, “We are particularly excited to see what God has in store for the people of Los Angeles, through our new station, ‘Positive & Encouraging K-Love at 100.3 FM.’ The people at Entercom have been a joy making this purchase possible.” Eight months ago, Entercom agreed to combine with CBS Radio in an all-stock transaction. After the deal, Entercom will own 240 stations; non-profit EMF currently owns/operates Christian music networks “K-Love” and “Air1,” as well as approximately 770 FM stations and translators. For the third time in the last six Nielsen Audio ratings sweeps, KSWD “The Sound” registers a 2.4 (PPM, August 2017, 6+) and finishes at #18; its 2.9 (6+) in May 2017 placed it at #11. Stations that will be under Entercom’s Los Angeles banner include smooth AC KTWV “The Wave”; classic hits-oldies KRTH “K-Earth 101”; adult hits KCBS-FM “Jack-FM”; all-news KNX; CHR KAMP “97.1 Amp Radio”; and alternative KROQ. All six are presently owned by CBS Radio. Its San Diego cluster will include KSON-FM; adult contemporary KXSN “Sunny 98.1”; and KBZT “94.9 – San Diego’s Alternative”; as well as current CBS Radio-owned hot AC KYXY and CHR KEGY “Energy 103.7.” In addition to WGGY, Entercom’s remaining Wilkes-Barre/Scranton stations are spring 2017 market leader (CHR) WKRZ “98.5 Today’s Best Music” (10.0, 6+); news/talkers WILK-AM, WILK-FM, WBZU, and WKZN; classic rock WMQX “Max 102”; and WKRF (which simulcasts WKRZ).

Sandy Buttweiler Exits WDAY-AM, Fargo.  Fargo market talk radio pro Sandy Buttweiler has retired from Forum Communications’ news/talk WDAY-AM and is moving back to her hometown of Minneapolis to be closer to family.  Buttweiler worked in the Fargo market in numerous iterations: at KFGO from 1982 to 1987, 1992 to 2004, and 2006 through 2014.  She hosted programs on WDAY in 2005, and most recently from 2014 through her retirement yesterday (9/26).  During her career she co-hosted several times with well-known Fargo talk pro Jack Sunday and worked on air with WDAY program director Mike Kapel during this last gig.  InForum.com reports Buttweiler saying, “I’ve been here 35 years and it’s time for me to live five minutes from my sister and my aunts and uncles and cousins.”

Talent Shift at WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that “News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB” program director Pete Spriggs is flipping the show times of Eric Von Haessler’s “Von Haessler Doctrine” and the Herman Cain show.  Beginning October 2, Cain assumes the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon hour and Von Haessler moves to the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot.  In January of this year, Von Haessler was promoted from his weekend show to the daily, one-hour program.  See Ho’s column here.

KNSS, Wichita’s Steve and Ted Do 5,000th Broadcast.  This morning (9/27), KNSS, Wichita morning duo Steve McIntosh and Ted Woodward performed their 5,000th morning show together.  News/talk KNSS program director Tony Duesing states, “One of the reasons I’m always excited to go to work each day is that Steve and Ted are on KNSS mornings.  They have an exciting show that matters to listeners.”  During their time together on the Entercom station, Steve and Ted have won multiple awards from the Associated Press, Kansas Association of Broadcasters, RTNDA, and a Marconi from the National Association of BroadcastersJad Chambers serves as producer for the program.

Hollywood Reporter: Hannity Trumps Maddow in Head-to-Head Debut.  According to a story in The Hollywood Reporter, FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity bested MSNBC rival Rachel Maddow on Monday night (9/25), the first night the two personalities aired head-to-head at 9:00 pm ET.  Hannity moved to the timeslot as part of changes that include the imminent debut of Laura Ingraham’s new 10:00 pm ET show.  Maddow has been the cable news/talk ratings leader for much of this year.  The story notes that although FNC continues to be the Total Day and Prime Time winner of Nielsen’s cable news/talk ratings – topping CNN and MSNBC – Maddow has been the most-watched show in both Total Viewers and 25-54 during the past quarter.  But on Monday, Hannity beat Maddow by 610,000 Total Viewers and 75,000 25-54 viewers.  Read the story here.

Trump vs the NFL, Alabama Senate Primary Race, North Korea Threats/Sanctions, ObamaCare Repeal, Tax Reform, Puerto Rico Devastation, Trump-Russia Probe, MLB Playoff Push, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/26).  The controversy over President Trump’s calling for NFL players who protest during the national anthem to be fired; the Alabama U.S. Senate primary race between Republicans Luther Strange and Roy Moore; North Korea’s military threats against the U.S. and the most recent sanctions levied on the hermit kingdom; the GOP’s attempt to get enough Senate votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with the Graham-Cassidy plan; the GOP’s plans to craft a tax reform bill; the devastation of Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria; the investigation into former Paul Manafort’s and Michael Flynn’s Russia connections; the playoff push in Major League Baseball; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Establishes Gary Fries Memorial Fund. In honor of recently deceased Radio Advertising Bureau executive Gary Fries, the Broadcasters Foundation of America is establishing the Gary Fries Memorial Fund.  BFoA president Jim Thompson states, “Gary was very passionate about radio and the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to help our colleagues in need.  He loved the radio profession, supported it, talked about it, and had many dear friends in our business.”  Fries, who died in Scottsdale, Arizona last Friday, was a longtime director of the Broadcasters Foundation.  Those wishing to donate in Fries’ honor may visit the Broadcasters Foundation’s website at www.broadcastersfoundation.org, call 212-373-8250, or email info@thebfoa.org.

 

 

JohnJay Van Es’ #LovePup Foundation Featured in People.  Pictured backstage at the T-mobile Arena in Las Vegas at last weekend’s iHeartRadio Music Festival are pop star Miley Cyrus (left) and JohnJay Van Es (right) of Premiere Networks’ syndicated “Johnjay & Rich” show.  They are surrounded by rescue puppies from Van Es’ #LovePup Foundation that he was promoting at the festival.  People magazine did a piece on the #LovePup Foundation.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Cool local props for CHR WNTQ, Syracuse “93Q” and morning personalities Ted Long and Amy Robbins – both winners in the Syracuse New Times’ “Best of Syracuse” reader’s poll.  Cumulus Media’s “93Q” was named Top Radio Station, and Ted and Amy were honored with the Favorite Radio Personalities crown.  The ever-popular on-air duo has won in the category more than 20 times in the last 25 years…..CBS RADIO Pittsburgh’s WDSY “Y108” is presenting the fifth annual “Y108 Girls With Guitars” concert, this year starring RaeLynn, Carly Pearce, and Danielle Bradbery.  It takes place on October 5 at Rivers Casino.  CBS RADIO Pittsburgh VP of programming Mark Anderson says, “Y108’s ‘Girls With Guitars’ has become one of the ‘gotta-have-it’ tickets in a very busy country concert marketplace.  We are excited to present RaeLynn, Carly Pearce, and Danielle Bradbery to our listeners while also introducing the newest member of ‘Y108’ all in support of Glimmer of Hope and the great work they do.  Set against the backdrop of the Rivers Casino, this free show is a great night out for Pittsburgh residents.”  Glimmer of Hope funds breast cancer research and programs.  Glimmer of Hope will be onsite during the event conducting various fundraising activities, including a silent auction…..iHeartMedia Milwaukee is presenting the inaugural, “Let’s Brunch MKE,” a community food sampling event.  It takes place from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday, October 28.  iHeartMedia VP of programming Kerry Wolfe says, “Brunch is huge in Milwaukee.  We’re excited to bring our listeners and the community together with both some of their local favorites and restaurants they may be experiencing for the first time.”

Friday, March 7, 2014

| March 7, 2014

wheelertomFCC Will Seek Public Comment on Ownership Rules; Reversal of Cross-Ownership Bans Appear Unlikely.  Reports are circulating in the media trades that senior FCC officials say FCC chairman Tom Wheeler will propose relaxing cross-ownership bans, but in a blog post dated March 6, that tone is not expressed.  Wheeler writes about the Commission’s duty to undertake and complete the 2014 Quadrennial Review.  He discusses some of the proposals regarding maintaining current ownership rules that will be open for public comment but many industry watchers say this should not be cause to think a Wheeler-chaired Commission will ultimately relax current cross-ownership bans.  Much of Wheeler’s concern in the blog is with television joint sales agreements and he’s clearly out to change those.  You can read Wheeler’s entire post here.

newsmax logoNewsmax Chief Chris Ruddy Announces Cable TV News/Talk Project.  In a piece in Bloomberg Businessweek, Newsmax founder and CEO Chris Ruddy announces his plans for a new cable news/talk network with Fox News Channel as his target.   Ruddy is quoted asking, “How do you have something so successful in cable that nobody else wants to imitate or cut into their market share?  It defies reason.”  Ruddy tells Bloomberg Businessweek his goal is “to be a little more boomer-oriented, more information-based rather than being vituperative and polarizing.”  He says that if he can get 10% to 15% of FNC’s audience, he’s going to be “hugely profitable.”  The piece states FNC bills $1 billion a year.  He understands the cable carriers don’t want to pay new networks and believes even if he has to pay them to carry the network, he’ll make money.  Currently Newsmax TV is online featuring talk media personality Steve Malzberg.  Ruddy does not say what the programming will look like when he’s ready to launch in June.  Read the entire Bloomberg Businessweek story here.

pelosiSiriusOdds & Sods.  Nationally syndicated “America Tonight” talk host Kate Delaney keeps her sports talk chops sharp as she sits in on the NBC Sports Radio Network this weekend hosting the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm slot both Saturday and Sunday this weekend…..In honor of Women’s History Month, SiriusXM host Julie Mason (left) sat down with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (right) before a live audience at the Newseum in Washington, DC on Tuesday, March 4.  It’s part of the “SiriusXM Leading Ladies” series of candid conversations with influential and inspiring women who have forged their own paths to leadership and success.

ramseySADave Ramsey Deep in the Heart of Texas.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey is pictured here on stage at the Lila Cockrell Theatre in San Antonio as he presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” on Thursday (3/6).  Ramsey talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage.  Ramsey combined forces with L&L Broadcasting’s news/talk KTSA to promote this event.  KTSA GSM Coreena Hazelett comments, “L&L Broadcasting and ‘550KTSA’ are thrilled to partner with the Dave Ramsey team in bringing life-transforming content to entrepreneurs and leaders as well as teaching families how to live now so you can leave a powerful legacy for your family.  We, along with our sponsors, sincerely believe in the importance of contributing to the growth of business and the quality of life for families here in San Antonio.”  Ramsey also hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” on Wednesday along with Cruze and speaker Chris Hogan.  The content of that presentation was how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 team members.

lanevemarkLaNeve Named to Entercom Board of Directors.  From the sales and marketing world comes the newest member of the Entercom board of directors as Mark LaNeve joins immediately.  He has served as COO of WPP’s Global Team Ford – an agency that serves as the marketing and advertising partner to Ford and Lincoln businesses globally.  During his time as chief marketing officer at Allstate Insurance, he led the marketing for the company and developed the long-running “Mayhem” campaign.  Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “Mark LaNeve is a tremendous addition to Entercom’s board of directors.  He has led some of America’s most iconic brands and ad campaigns.  He will bring a new and fresh perspective to the Entercom board.”

medvedCPACMichael Medved Broadcasts from CPAC.  Seattle-based Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Medved (right) is pictured here interviewing Republican Senator from Utah Mike Lee (left) at the radio row at CPAC 2014 taking place in Washington, DC.  The event is the American Conservative Union’s annual confab of conservative activists being held at the Gaylord Hotel & Convention Center.

Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Unrest Top News/Talk Stories This Week.  The political crisis in Ukraine and Crimea and the scrum between President Obama and Vladimir Putin were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was ObamaCare Criticism.  At #3 was the Israel-Palestinian talks followed by the 2016 presidential race at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  ABC News Radio adds WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte to its roster of affiliate stations…..Yahoo! Sports Radio announces KXFN, St. Louis flips to sports and takes its lineup of national sports talk hosts.

Friday, March 15, 2013

| March 15, 2013

ksco logoKSCO, Santa Cruz Is an Independent Talker that Flies in the Face of Corporatism.  The news/talk radio station in question is not owned by a hedge fund or multi-billion dollar conglomerate.  Nor is it in debt.  Its ownership group doesn’t occupy the top floors of a big-city skyscraper.  You will not see the morning or afternoon show brandishing seven-figure contracts, nor the corporate PD flying into town on the company Lear jet, or the “brand manager” moving from market to market implementing new strategies to grow the market cluster.  The fact of the matter is none of the above elements – which have become somewhat commonplace in today’s radio industry – exist at this station.  10k KSCO (1080 AM) is located in Santa Cruz, California, in a neat stand-alone building (that also houses its smaller sister station KOMY 1340 AM – a facility that its owner uses as a developmental farm club) on a piece of land that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.  It would be the envy of any real estate developer in a town known for its college, its beach and boardwalk, liberalism, the state park land and forests that surround it, and is an 80-minute drive from San Francisco.  KSCO is also one of the last “mom & pop” radio stations left in the United States.  It has not only survived the Telecommunications Act of 1996, it has thrived despite consolidation based upon several key factors, including vision by its family ownership, a shocking format change by a chief competitor, along with a non-traditional revenue approach, and a solid and real commitment to a local audience.  To understand KSCO, how it operates and its success, you have to understand the people who run the highly successful news/talk station.  TALKERS correspondent Jeff McKay writes a special feature about a special station.  To read it, click here.

gardneralAl Gardner Gone from WWIQ, Philadelphia Morning Show.  At Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia “IQ 106.9,” morning co-host Al Gardner is out and, though TALKERS has not had a response yet to its inquiry from management about the move, chatter in the Philly radio scene is they want to take the morning show in a less “conservative” direction.  Morning show co-host Lionel and news director Michelle Murillo are still listed on the station’s web page, but it’s unclear what the station’s plans are for the future of the daypart.

mcnabbdonovanNBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Name McNabb and Malone PM Drive Hosts.  Six weeks after teasing the former NFL quarterback would be part of the NBC Sports Radio Network 24/7 lineup, it’s announced Donovan McNabb, andmalonemark another former NFL QB Mark Malone, will pair up for the network’s 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program called, “Under Center with McNabb & Malone” beginning April 1.  Mark Malone has been serving as an analyst for Dial Global Sports‘ Sunday afternoon NFL package and he also hosts “NFL Insider” each week.  Dial Global EVP/GM Chris Corcoran says, “We’ve got two quarterbacks, two leaders, two competitive former professional athletes and two current media personalities who know all sports – you know this is going to be a fun ride for sports fans!”

wind logoSalem Chicago Confirms New Joe Walsh Show.  As Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reported last week, one-term Republican Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh begins a new 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm talk show on Salem Communications’ WIND beginning Monday, March 25.  General manager Jeff Reisman states,walshjoe “There are few politicians in Illinois or anywhere in the country that garner as much attention as Joe Walsh.  Joe is an outspoken defender of freedom, and because of his firsthand experience in Congress, he brings a unique perspective to the national conversation as our country searches for answers during these challenging times.”  Walsh’s arrival bumps Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt to the 2:00 am to 5:00 am slot.  Feder quotes Walsh saying, “We’re at a crucial point in this country, and I’m excited to take the debate right to listeners throughout Chicagoland via the airwaves.  The radio program will be a great platform to help grow a freedom movement which is already gaining momentum right here in Illinois.  I intend to do with this program what I did as a U.S. congressman — speak plainly, speak directly, not worry about political correctness, and engage in respectful, engaging debate with all viewpoints.  This is just too important of a time for all of us to do anything less.”  Walsh’s agent tells Feder if things go well the show could go national.

grandephil‘Phil’s Gang’ Returns to Denver on KRCN.  The nationally syndicated business talk show “Phil’s Gang” – hosted by nationally recognized investor and entrepreneur Phil Grande – returns to the Denver airwaves on KRCN 1060 “The Biz” at 1:00 pm beginning Monday, March 18.  Radio Colorado Network general manager Les Haber states, “We are excited and very pleased that Phil Grande is back in Denver because he is one of the best investment talk show hosts in the country.  Phil Grande brings insightful information that is very current and very cutting edge to an audience that will benefit from his program.”  Grande’s show is independently syndicated to stations across America and he describes his program as providing “all the information that Wall Street and the government doesn’t want you to know.”

wzgc am showCBS Radio’s “92.9 The Game” Atlanta Adds Kristen Ledlow to AM Drive Show.  The five-month-old Atlanta CBS Radio sports talker brings Kristen Ledlow aboard the “Opening Drive” morning show with Rick Kamla and Randy Cross.  Ledlow takes over for CJ Simpson who leaves the program to be the in-game host of the WNBA’s L.A. Sparks broadcasts.  Ledlow comes to the station after serving as the Southeast field reporter with Fox Sports NEXT in Atlanta.  She’s also worked as television host and sideline reporter with ABC News in Tallahassee and as co-host on ESPN Radio in Tallahassee.   WZGC program director Terry Foxx states, “We were very fortunate that Kristen was available.  She has tremendous passion, an incredible personality and a love for sports.”

fisherhouselogoFisher House Foundation Offers Second Annual Memorial Day Program for News/Talk Stations.  For the second year in a row, the three-hour “A Grateful Nation” program is being offered for broadcast by news/talksladescott stations this Memorial Day weekend.  The program is a project of the Fisher House Foundation which provides no-cost housing and other support for the families of wounded warriors while their loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals.  The radio special debuted last year as a one-hour program, but was expanded to a three-hour format in its second year due to popular demand.  The program includes profiles of several wounded warriors who have overcome serious injuries to build full and happy lives.  It also looks at how today’s America remembers her fallen heroes and cares for the loved ones left behind.  It’s hosted by Scott Slade, award-winning host of “Atlanta’s Morning News” on Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/FM.  Slade states, “It’s so important that we continue to remember and support our volunteer military and their families.  These folks make incredible sacrifices to protect our freedom and keep us safe.  I’m honored to tell their stories.”  Produced by Bloomquist Media and distributed by Premiere Networks, interested stations can get more information and sign-up for “A Grateful Nation,” by contacting Kurt Kretzschmar at 602-374-6351 or kkretzschmar@premiereradio.com.

russilloryenRussillo and Ryan Come Off the Bench for Celtics Broadcast.  ESPN Radio personality Ryen Russillo and Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan will sub for Cedric Maxwell alongside Sean Grande in the radio booth for WEEI, Boston’s broadcast of Saturday’s Boston Celtics vs Charlotte.  Russillo co-hosts ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo show.

oneamerica logoHerring Broadcasting and The Washington Times Partnering on New Conservative Cable News/Talk Channel.  Various media reports indicate a new conservative-slanted cable TV news/talk channel is scheduled to hit cable systems beginning around July 1, 2013.  Deadline.com reports it’ll be called One America News, and be a combined effort of The Washington Times and Herring Broadcasting, owner of WealthTV.  President Charles Herring is quoted saying his family’s company has invested “hundreds of millions of dollars” into the San Diego-based media outlet that will broadcast a combo of news and conservative talk and expects to be available in about 10 million to 20 million homes to start.  The story also quotes Herring saying he plans “to open up another front and give independents, libertarians and all kind of different voices under the conservative umbrella an opportunity to express themselves.”

wilderchuckChuck Wilder Returns to CRN Digital Talk Radio Show.  Veteran radio host Chuck Wilder will be back behind the mic of his “Talkback with Chuck Wilder” program on March 18 on CRN Digital Talk Radio after being on medical leave since late January.  With Wilder out, a number of top radio personalities have been sitting in including: Barry Farber, Frank Morano of New York City’s WNYM AM 970, actor P.J.  Ochlan of the TV series “Castle,” Jennifer Horn, of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day,” Larry Van Aalst of CRN’s “What’s Cookin’ on Wine: Sonoma Report,” and actor and radio host Fred Dryer, among others.  Wilder says, “I’m extremely pleased to have such great talent filling in for me during my leave and I’m especially happy to hear how great our audience has responded to them in the interim.   It’s been a great experience to listen to the show these last two months, but I’m looking forward to returning to the studio and getting back to work.”  The show airs 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm PT on CRN and its affiliates across the country.

nms2013logoEclectic Group of Visionaries Set for “Big Picture” Panel at Talkers New York 2013.  The stellar roster of speakers at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 continues to be unveiled.  The lineup is being set for this year’s “Radio: The Big Picture” panel.  Moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, the panel’s speakers include (in alphabetical order): Jeremy Coleman, SVP/talk and entertainment, Sirius XMSteve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD/WYM Media; Mike McVay, SVP/programming, Cumulus Media; Tom Ray, president, Tom Ray Consulting; Walter Sabo, chairman, Sabo Media; and Dennis Wharton, VP/communications, NAB. “It is always an invigorating challenge to moderate these ‘Big Picture’ panels because of the diversity of specialties brought to the table by the movers and shakers participating,” says moderator Harrison.  “The idea is to create a lightning-fast informal chat session giving serious insights to at least 15 burning issues relevant to the industry.”  Talkers New York 2013 takes place Thursday, June 6 and is on track to being an early sellout.  Because of space limitations, registration is only open to working members of the media and can only be taken via telephone at 413-565-5413.  Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more agenda details about speakers, panels, presentations and award recipients coming in the immediate days ahead.

gallagherCPAC2013Mike Gallagher Live from CPAC.  Salem Radio Network syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is in Washington, DC broadcasting his program live from the site of CPAC 2013.  He’s pictured here talking on the air with former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich and oil industry expert Scott Noble about energy policy.  CPAC 2013 takes place through this weekend.

Sequestration and Budget Battle Stay Atop Talkers TenTM for Fourth Straight Week.  The debate in Washington over the sequestration and the nation’s budget deficit and national debt was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Coming in at #2 was the naming of Pope Francis as leader of the Catholic Church.  At number #3 was the costs of the Affordable Health Care Act followed by North Korea’s military threats at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s chart here.