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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

| December 21, 2021

Salem Media Group’s Ed Atsinger Transitions to Executive Chairman; David Santrella Rises to CEO. Current Salem Media Group CEO Edward G. Atsinger III will transition to the newly created role of executive chairman of the board of directors, effective January 1, 2022 and David Santrella – currently president of broadcast media – will become chief executive officer. At the same time, David Evans – president of digital media and publishing – is promoted to chief operating officer. Salem Media Group’s current chairman, Stuart W. Epperson, will resign from Salem’s board of directors, transitioning to the position of chairman emeritus and Stuart W. Epperson, Jr. will join the board of directors, filling the vacancy created by Mr. Epperson Senior’s resignation. In the executive chairman role, Atsinger will be chairman of the board, assuming leadership of the board of directors while providing oversight and guidance to both the CEO and COO. Atsinger will continue to be engaged full-time and focus more of his attention on macro strategy and planning, M&A, external relationships, government affairs and leadership development. He comments, “I am pleased to serve as executive chairman and to oversee the succession to the next generation of leadership of our company. I am looking forward to working with the executive team to continue Salem’s vitally important mission of serving the media needs of the audiences interested in Christian content and public policy programming with a traditional conservative focus. With Salem well-positioned for continued growth into the future, now is the right time to take the next step in implementing our long-term leadership transition. We have a tremendously talented, deep and dedicated leadership team at Salem. David Santrella and David Evans each have played a critical role in developing and executing the strategy in place today, and I am confident they have the vision, skills, experience and capabilities necessary to provide continued leadership of Salem well into the future.” Speaking about his new role, David Santrella states, “I am deeply honored to have been appointed as Salem’s next CEO. I look forward to working in close partnership with David Evans to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that exist in today’s media landscape, to further the mission of our company and to grow our business. I am blessed that I will have Ed alongside me in my new role.”

WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago Names Cisco Cotto Morning Drive Anchor. Chicago all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM appoints Cisco Cotto the morning drive news anchor, taking over for Pat Cassidy, who recently announced his retirement. Audacy Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson comments, “We are excited to welcome Cisco into morning drive. He has proven to be a true professional and teammate for the last seven years both reporting and anchoring on WBBM. Not only does he bring a bright energy but is a great communicator and strong journalist – the perfect combination as Chicagoans wake up each morning.” About his new role, Cotto says, “Pat and Felicia [Middlebrooks] spent many years as voices Chicagoans trusted to wake them up with all of the most important stories to start their day. I’ll work hard to maintain what they built. Thanks to Ron Gleason, Greg Solk, and Rachel Williamson for trusting me with such an important show on this great station. I look forward to continuing to be a small part of the award-winning news team on WBBM for many years to come.” Assuming the midday and noon business hour anchoring position is Rob Hart, who has been with WBBM since 2016.

WGAC, Augusta and Talk Host Austin Rhodes Sued for Defamation. A suit has been filed in Gwinnett Superior Court in Georgia by James Faller II who says in the complaint that WGAC, Augusta talk host Austin Rhodes defamed him through “false, malicious and defamatory” statements. Faller appears to be representing himself as the complaint is not signed by an attorney representing him. Faller alleges that Rhodes called him a “fraud,” “weirdo,” and “felon” and says Rhodes spoke with local politicians and warned them about associating with Faller. A story in the Augusta Press indicates that Faller admits to having served two years in federal prison on a felony conviction but says that he’s actually a whistleblower and he went to prison due to a government conspiracy against him. Faller also alleges that Rhodes’ refusal to allow him to appear on his radio show violates his First Amendment rights. Beasey Media Group is also named in the suit and it’s expected the company will seek to have the suit dismissed.

KHTK-AM, Sacramento Announces On-Air Changes for the New Year. A series of talent moves at Bonneville’s Sacramento sports talk KHTK-AM will take place beginning January 4, 2022. Current afternoon drive host Jason Ross will move to mornings to join Carmichael Dave. At the same time, Justin Marshall will move away from the on-air portion of his role to solely focus on his duties as assistant program director and morning show producer. The afternoon drive show will be hosted by program director Nick Cattles who will be joined by a rotating cast of co-hosts each day from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

BIA Advisory Predicts Radio Ad Spend Will Rise 5.5% to $13.54 Billion in 2022. Looking ahead to 2022, BIA Advisory Services reveals it has increased its U.S. Local Advertising Forecast for the year to $173.3 billion from its earlier estimate of $161.5 billion issued in the late summer. The 2022 forecast indicates an 11.4% increase over 2021 due to faster than anticipated growth in digital advertising and a strong political year. Traditional media ad revenue still maintains a slight advantage over digital at 50.8% of the ad spend ($88 billion), while digital media will get 49.2% of the ad spend at $85 billion. Looking at the radio industry, BIA predicts that radio ad spend will be $13.54 billion, a 5.5% increase over 2021’s $12.79 billion. For 2021, radio’s ad spend on over-the-air will be $10.91 billion with $1.88 billion coming from digital (website, streaming and mobile apps). Next year, radio ad spend is forecast to be $11.37 billion for over-the-air and $2.17 billion for digital. BIA SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik says, “2021 has been a year of fluctuations. The first two quarters of the year saw strong growth, with some stalling in Q3 once the Delta variant appeared late summer. We’ve taken pandemic concerns plus inflation and supply chain issues into account to prepare our local media estimates and, overall, we are bullish on ad revenue for 2022.”

WTOP-FM, Washington Was Top Radio Biller for 2020. As a sidebar to the previous story about BIA Advisory Services’ Local Advertising Forecast, the company has revealed the top radio billers for last year. The top-billing station for 2020 was Bonneville’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington with $62 million. Rounding out the top 10 were: iHeartMedia’s KIIS-FM, Los Angeles and WLTW-FM, New York with $38.9 and $30.8, respectively; Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was #4 with $30 million; Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago was #5 with $29.7 million; Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston was #6 with $29.6 million; iHeartMedia’s KBIG, Los Angeles and WHTZ, New York were #7 and #8 with $29.35 million and $29.3 million, respectively; Audacy’s all-news WINS-AM was #9 with $28.1 million and Audacy’s sports talk WFAN, New York was #10 with $28 million.

COVID-19, Build Back Better, 2022 Midterm Elections, Trump Sues NY AG, January Investigation, Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, and Potter/Maxwell Trials Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20). The Omicron coronavirus variant sweeps across the U.S., the push for booster shots, and the pushback against mandates; Senator Joe Manchin’s blow to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan; Republicans savoring early predictions of taking back Congress in the 2022 midterm elections; former President Donald Trump sues New York attorney general Letitia James to prevent investigation of his businesses; the investigation into the January attack on the Capitol; Russia’s ongoing military aggression at the Ukraine border; and the trials of former police officer Kim Potter in the shooting of Daunte Wright and Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

| April 5, 2016

iheartmedia logo smalliHeartMedia and Creditors Still at Odds Over Asset Shift.  According to a report from Bloomberg, iHeartMedia and a number of its creditors have broken off talks to try to resolve the rancor over iHeartMedia’s shift of 100 million shares of Clear Channel Outdoor to a new subsidiary called Broader Media.  Creditors including D. E. Shaw, Canyon Capital, Franklin Advisers and Franklin Mutual sued iHeartMedia over the move claiming that it violates the debt covenants.  iHeartMedia argues that’s not the case and the move is designed to allow the company to deal more effectively with its $20 billion in debt.  iHeartMedia told a Texas judge that if the creditors’ bond defaults are allowed to proceed, it would cause as much as $15 billion of the company’s debt to come due quickly and that would force the company into bankruptcy protection.  The creditors argue that is not what they are trying to accomplish.  iHeartMedia SVP and treasurer Brian Coleman says the company’s maneuvers are part of its Project Indigo, a long-term strategy designed to allow it to study ways to deal with its debt.

The Panama Papers, The Presidential Race/Wisconsin Primary, Iran Arms Shipment Case, North Korean Nuke Threats, Tennessee Bible Bill, and NCAA Championship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/4).  The so-called “Panama Papers” that reportedly link numerous world leaders to schemes to hide wealth in off-shore accounts; the activities of the candidates for president and today’s Wisconsin primary; the capture of illegal arms being shipped by Iran; the threats of nuclear attacks by North Korea; the controversial Tennessee bill that makes the Bible the official state book; and Monday evening’s NCAA Men’s Basketball championship were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

zaneericEric Zane Lands at Sports WBBL, Grand Rapids.  After exiting the nationally syndicated “Free Beer and Hot Wings” show based at Townsquare Media’s rock WGRD, Grand Rapids, Eric Zane has landed the morning show gig at Cumulus Media’s crosstown sports talk WBBL, effective April 7.  Zane officially left the show in mid-February after being absent from the program without explanation.  It appears Zane’s departure was the result of a contract dispute.  Now, he’ll compete in the Grand Rapids market directly with his former co-hosts Gregg “Free Beer” Daniels and Chris “Hot Wings” Michels.  The “Free Beer and Hot Wings” show is syndicated nationally by Compass Media Networks.

altitude sportsLineup at ‘Altitude Sports’ in Denver to Launch on Friday.  The newest sports talk radio station in the Denver market will officially launch on Friday, April 8 – the home opener day for the Colorado Rockies.  Much of the news about Stan Kroenke-owned KRWZ, Denver (recently purchased from Entercom) is not really news as it’s been rumored and reported in the Denver media for some time.  Here’s the lineup: Josh Dover hosts “The Morning Lineup” from 6:00 am to 7:00 am; the morning show will feature Tom Helmer, Lauren Gardner (an Altitude TV reporter), and former Denver Nuggets star Scott Hastings.  Middays will be hosted by Vic Lombardi and Kyle Keefe.  The station will also carry play-by-play of the NBA’s Nuggets, the NHL’s Avalanche; the MLS’ Colorado Rapids; and the National Lacrosse League’s Colorado Mammoth.

Odds & Sods.  There’s been a morning show and midday program re-build at CBS RADIO’s KHTK, Sacramento.  Carmichael Dave is now joined by Kayte Christensen and former midday host Nate Goodyear.  In middays, Jason Ross is partnered up with newcomers Ken Rudolph and Damien BarlingJay Johnson joins the station as executive producer…..Long Nine Inc.-owned news/talk WMAY, Springfield, Illinois adds an FM translator to its broadcast with the addition of W234CC, Sherman, Illinois at 94.7 FM.

granttoniDr. Toni Grant Dead at 72.  The cause of death is unknown at this time, but the Los Angeles Times is reporting that former radio talk show host and psychologist Dr. Toni Grant died in Beverly Hills on March 27.  Grant’s radio career was launched on KABC, Los Angeles in 1975 in the overnight daypart.  Her show eventually moved across town to KFI.  It went into syndication and at its height was heard on some 180 affiliates.  She was off the air from 1990 to 1997 when she re-entered the business.  She last worked on air at KABC in 2001.  Read the Times’ obit here.

kfivCool Job Opportunity.  “PowerTalk 1360 and 1280” is searching for a local talk show host for afternoon drive in California’s Central Valley.  Applicants must have spoken-word experience. General necessities include a passionate, opinionated, outspoken, larger-than-life personality with decidedly conservative values, obsession for news, politics, pop culture, and sports.  The ideal candidate will bring an intuitive understanding of the unique values, morals and issues of the California Central Valley and be in sync with those values and perspectives.  You must have the ability to speak to the audience as one of them; put a voice to their thoughts and beliefs…much more important than professional polish or experience.  In a perfect world you have spent time working in the Central Valley but you don’t have to presently live in the Modesto/Stockton area.  You will fully embrace the role of a LOCAL personality: specifically address and engage the LOCAL community issues, organizations, and interests, capitalize on endorsement opportunities, serve as station ambassador, be visible at all community functions, spearhead station and cluster community outreach. You must understand and dedicate your performance to the bottom line: your goals are ratings and unique visitors.  See required skills and submit resume and demo here.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

| July 2, 2013

carmichaeldaveCBS Radio Makes Changes to Programming at Sports Talk KHTK, Sacramento.  The big change here is the move of Don Geronimo from AM drive to middays – airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and the return of Carmichael Davegeronimodon to the station.  Carmichael Dave – who exited the station in May of last year and was recently hosting an internet program – is being paired up with Keith Brooks for the new morning show that will debut on July 8.  It appears the station will re-brand itself as “KHTK Sports 1140” from its current “CBS Sports Radio Sacramento.”  The station also notes that “Jason Ross will rejoin the afternoon sports desk in the ‘KHTK Sports 1140’ update studios and continue to fill in for Grant NapearDave ‘Deuce’ Mason will continue to be an important part of Sports 1140 and local sports programming for KHTK.”  Don Geronimo has been a successful personality on KHTK in the midday slot going back to the days of the old Westwood One-syndicated Don & Mike show.

boylespeterLegal Snag Hits Salem’s Attempt to Bring Peter Boyles to KNUS, Denver.  Longtime KHOW, Denver radio personality Peter Boyles – recently fired by Clear Channel after a physical altercation between Boyles and his producer Greg Hollenback – was supposed to resurface on Salem Communications’ crosstown news/talk KNUS on July 1.  But it appears a legal complication – probably a non-compete in his contract with Clear Channel – is preventing that from happening for the time being.  Local reports said Boyles may be hosting the morning show as early as Wednesday (7/3) but as of today the morning drive show is being hosted by regular KNUS fill-in host Jimmy Sengenberger.

pendlchrisValuable Formula to Determine the Financial Value of Each Listener Measured by Arbitron.  What if you knew how much an average listener as measured in your Arbitron ratings contributed in daily, monthly, or even annual revenue to your station? And what if you could use that data to help drive decisions in what promotions make sense for existing listeners and which marketing channels are best for new listeners?  You can, and in a new article posted today (7/2), Chris Pendl, the brilliant creative director of Bonneville Seattle and TALKERS columnist, shows you how to do it. All it takes (ugh) is a little math.  To read this valuable information, click here.

cochransteveSteve Cochran Fills in for Jonathon Brandmeier on WGN, Chicago.  As Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports, longtime WGN personality and former crosstown WIND host Steve Cochran (who exited WIND just last week) is sitting in for the vacationing Jonathon Brandmeier today (7/2) on the morning show – possibly adding fuel to the speculation that Cochran will return to WGN.  But WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro is either being coy or truly is still considering the future of the station’s lineup when he tells Feder, “We haven’t even talked about an agreement because he’s just doing fill-ins.  I know Cochran really well.  I love him.  I’d love to figure out if there’s a way to have him in WGN’s family.  I don’t know.  I’m doing research and looking at a lot of stuff.  I want him to fill in on different dayparts — mornings, middays, afternoons — and hear what happens.”  The two worked together at WLUP-FM and WLUP-AM (now sports WMVP) in the 1990s.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago Officially Comments on Staff Changes.  TALKERS reported the exit of WGN, Chicago late night talk host Turi Ryder last week as she addressed her departure from the station on her radio program – by the way a classy move for management to allow her to say “good-bye.”  Now, WGN announces the evening sports show content and news staff changes confirming “the David Kaplan show will air from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight with a focus on the Chicago sports scenekaplandavid and national sports landscape.  Listeners will hear a variety of sports topics discussed by Kaplan and various guests from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, followed by an hour of sports talk from Mark Carman and Jordan Bernfield.  Kaplan is a staple in the Chicago sports industry, having joined WGN Radio in 1995.  He most recently held the position of afternoon drive sports reporter and host of various shows including, ‘WGN Sports Night’ and ‘Cubs Insider.’ Bernfield is the current host of ‘Cubs Weekly’ and Northwestern basketball and football broadcasts.  Carman comes to WGN radio from Yahoo! Sports Radio, where he was previously the afternoon co-host since August of 2012.”  The new schedule also includes a lineup shift for news anchors Andrea Darlas and Steve Bertrand.  Darlas will anchor mornings and Bertrand returns to the afternoons/evenings.  WGN president and general manager Jimmy deCastro states, “We’re making changes in an effort to give Chicagoans more of the things they want to hear.  Thank you to our WGN Radio listeners, the most loyal and attentive family, for helping us navigate through this and stay tuned for the best of the old and new coming soon.”

kilmeadebrianBrian Kilmeade’s Fox News Radio Show to be Featured on his Fox News Channel TV Show.  In what promises to be a creative and interesting piece of cross-platform promotion tomorrow morning between 6:00 am and 9:00 am (7/3), multimedia talk star Brian Kilmeade‘s midday Fox News Radio show “Kilmeade and Friends”  will be featured in “realty show” style on Fox News Channel‘s “morning show “Fox and Friends” (in which Kilmeade is a co-host).  The behind the scenes package will show Brian’s transition as he goes from TV to radio — the cameras followed him and stayed in the radio studio for the three hours where some of Brian’s regular “friends” stopped by and had a little fun with him.

nymrad logoNYMRAD Touts Positive New York Market Revenue Data.  Based on numbers from Miller, Kaplan, Arase and Co., the trade group New York Market Radio is announcing spot revenue is up 7.6% for the first five months of 2013.  NYMRAD executive director Deborah Beagan says, “It’s quite a story to see New York Radio Market revenues up by over 7% year-to-date through May, 2013…The key to New York Market Radio’s success is live-and-local content that engages the audience.  For the 92% of New Yorkers who listen to radio, this is their hometown and their favorite stations.  In addition, New York Market Radio stations have significantly invested in the digital arena to provide multi-platform options to advertisers.  The future of effective advertising lies in the smart integration of traditional and digital media.  I am extremely enthusiastic about the second half of 2013.”

carlsonsusanWLS-AM, Chicago Brings Susan Carlson Aboard for PM News Duties.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS, Chicago is hiring former WBBM-TV “CBS 2” morning news anchor Susan Carlson to serve as news anchor for the afternoon drive show hosted by Roe Conn and Richard Roeper.  She replaces Jim Johnson who recently retired from the station after 45 years.  Carlson is no stranger to WLS having served as a news and traffic reporter from 1998 to 2002, also working with Roe Conn.  Feder reports Carlson is under contract to WBBM-TV until July 18 and will join WLS-AM after that.

neerrichardSports Reporting: Dealing with Prickly Coaches.  WFAN, New York sports talk host and TALKERS columnist Richard Neer offers advice to sports reporters and talk hosts who interview sports coaches as part of their jobs.  Neer’s experience dealing with some of the top coaches leading New York sports teams has taught him a few lessons, especially about dealing with skippers who don’t enjoy post-game press conferences.  Neer writes about the tactics of asking questions during post-game pressers and eliciting useful responses from reluctant managers.  Read his piece here.

bergmansandiMEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Burt Sherwood of Burt Sherwood & Associates.  In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Burt Sherwood of Burt Sherwood & Associates.  Sherwood brings years of experience (he was one of the early WMCA Good Guys) to his brokerage firm optimistically stating, “Station sales should be strong, ethnic operators will grow, youth will be served by over-the-air stations which will have apps for their iPhones and iPads, and the audience will grow proportionately — I think better than 30%.  You will be able to track listeners and TV viewers and get them to respond directly…broadcasting and the internet will be partners.”  To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, click here.

wbaplogoVeteran Talk Show Host Mark Wainwright Dips Toe in On-Air Water After 16 Year Hiatus.  He was one of the big players in talk radio back in the 1990s doing stellar airwork — perhaps most notably at WBAP, Dallas — before leaving the industry in 1997 to pursue other endeavors.  Now Mark Wainwright is back, at least temporarily as a fill in, returning to WBAP this Friday, July 5 subbing in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot.  He’ll also be heard doing fill-in during morning drive on WGY, Albany next Thursday and Friday (7/11-12) and morning drive on WSYR, Syracuse the week of August 12-16 and August 19 and 20.  Welcome back to the game, Mark – we hope we get to hear even more of you in the coming days.  For old friends looking to reconnect, Mark Wainwright can be emailed at thatvoice@verizon.net.

kmzq logoKMZQ, Las Vegas Re-Brands as ‘Fox Sports 670AM Las Vegas.’  Kemp Communications’ sports talk KMZQ picks up Fox Sports Radio Network programming and re-brands as “Fox Sports 670AM Las Vegas.”  The station is airing “Fox Sports Daybreak,” “Jay Mohr Sports,” “Fox Sports Primetime featuring Pat O’Brien with Steve Hartman,” “Petros & Money,” “Fox Sports Tonight,” J.T. The Brick and the network’s complete weekend lineup.  It will continue to air TRN-FM’s “Mancow in the Morning” on the station from 7:00 am to 10:00 am.  General manager Deirdre Palmer states, “We are very excited to add Fox Sports Radio programming to 670AM.  We’re confident the Fox Sports brand, combined with the Network’s quality programming, will elevate KMZQ-AM to the next level in Las Vegas.”

galantykatherineKatherine Galanty Joins Yahoo! Sports Radio.  Yahoo! Sports Radio has a new vice president of affiliate relations as Katherine Galanty joins the company.  Galanty’s resume includes stints with Sports USA, ISP Sports, and Westwood One.  Yahoo! Sports Radio program director and chief operating officer Craig Larson states, “Katherine brings a wealth of affiliate relations experience in sports talk radio.  We expect her to play a critical role as we continue to emerge in the years ahead.”

tornadoimageNAB Spotlights Importance of ‘First Informers’ in Moore, Oklahoma Video.  The National Association of Broadcasters, in an effort to highlight the importance of “first informers” in saving lives during natural disasters and weather emergencies, has posted a condensed version of a documentary by University of Oklahoma media arts professor Scott Hodgson and his students that features interviews and never-before-seen footage on broadcasters’ efforts before, during and after the storm.  The video is on the blog post page by NAB vice president, communications, Ann Marie Cumming.  See it here.

Arizona Firefighters Deaths, U.S. Spying Program/Edward Snowden Case, Egyptian Violence, Western Heat Wave, Student Loan Rate Hikes and ObamaCare Promotion Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1).  The deaths of 19 firefighters battling the Arizona wildfire; the ongoing issue of the United States’ spying program and the fate of Edward Snowden; the anarchy in Egypt as protests demand Mohamed Morsi’s ouster; the scorching heat affecting the Western United States; the debate over government-backed student loan rates; and promotion of ObamaCare by libraries in the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

| May 10, 2012

FM Talk Winning in PM Drive with Alan Cox Show on Cleveland’s Legendary Rocker WMMS-FM.  The Alan Cox show is quietly defying the conventional wisdom about what talk targeting younger demos on FM is all about.  Ensconced in afternoon drive on Clear Channel’s legendary rock outlet WMMS-FM, Cleveland, Cox’s success is not a widely told tale in the radio industry, in part because it doesn’t appear to be a piece of a corporately directed programming puzzle with companywide ambitions.  Cox credits local management for daring to be innovative with spoken-word programming outside the realms of news/talk and sports talk.  “’MMS, everybody knows, is a legendary station and management had the foresight to realize music on FM is kind of going away and to see if it can work with two talk products and it has worked amazingly well.  The foresight that brought them to try this hybrid station also makes them realize that you have to honor the heritage the station has but everything has to move forward.”  Read this entire story here.

Gil Gross Replaces Gene Burns in PM Drive at KKSF, San Francisco.  Talk radio legend Gene Burns is not going away from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment San Francisco as he continues to rehab from a stroke he suffered last December but cluster director of operations Don Parker gives the PM drive slot to Gil Gross, who’s been one of those filling in for Burns since January.  Parker states, “I’m thrilled to have Gil Gross aboard full time for the Bay Area’s only live and local afternoon drive talk show.  With his extensive background in network news, everyone in news/talk radio knows the name Gil Gross.  I couldn’t be happier to have KKSF be his new home.  NewsTalk 910 has been very fortunate to have the highest caliber of talent filling in for Gene Burns since January.  I’d like to thank John Rothman, Ed Baxter and Rosie Allen for their contributions and for continuing to play a role on NewsTalk 910 moving forward.”  Burns will continue to blog at newstalk910.com and his Saturday “Dining Around” program will remain on the program schedule with Joel Riddell hosting .  Additionally, John Rothman is named the station’s political analyst.  He’ll contribute to the station’s talk shows and newscasts as well as serve as host for KKSF’s 2012 election coverage.  Baxter and Allen will remain with the station for fill-in and blogging duties.  On his new position, Gross states, “I am thrilled to keep the live, local talk flame alive in the Bay area.  From the Occupy movement to Oscar Grant or the struggles of our economy, it’s important for the Bay area to have a platform to discuss today’s most pressing topics.  I look forward to having my friend and colleague, Gene Burns, back in the line-up.  I also look forward to building the future at NewsTalk 910, a unique station that will not be one point of view all day long.”

Tony Kornheiser Negotiating for Long-Term Deal to Remain on WTEM, Washington.  Washington, DC-based sports media personality Tony Kornheiser tells his audience he hopes to be assured his radio talk show will be heard on Red Zebra’s WTEM – ESPN 980 for “another two years, at least.”  The Washington Post reports director of programming Chuck Sapienza hinted the two sides are negotiating, quoting him saying, “Our goal has always been to have Tony with ESPN 980 long term, and we hope to have an official announcement soon.”  Kornheiser will take much of the summer off from his radio show telling his audience he will do a few weeks of ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” but will not do radio in July or August.

Terry Gross Celebrates 25 Years of National Syndication for “Fresh Air.”  Tomorrow “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross will celebrate her 25th anniversary in national syndication via NPR.  Gross began the program on WHYY-FM, Philadelphia – where the show is still based – in 1975.  Gross tells the Philadelphia Daily NewsDan Gross (no relation), “I fell in love with radio the moment I started doing it.  I still find it a privilege to be able to talk to and engage in a pretty personal level with people whose work I respect.”  Surprisingly for some, Gross tells the paper she counts Howard Stern among those whom she’d like to interview but has not.  She says she’s a fan of his radio show.

Carmichael Dave Out at KHTK, Sacramento.  The producer and sidekick to morning host and PD Don Geronimo and host of his own midday show exits the CBS Radio sports outlet.  His tweets about his exit are vague but it appears Carmichael Dave is the victim of a budget-related maneuver.  He tweets, “As of today I am no longer a part of CBS Radio…I’m getting a lot of response that this was contract related.  I asked for nothing.  I can’t go into details.  Just know that I love the station and the people.”  The station is airing DirecTV/Premiere’s Dan Patrick show in middays.

Analysis:  The Legal Basis for the Bob Lonsberry Decision.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman reviews the recent ruling by the Appellate Division, Fourth Department of New York in the defamation case filed against WHAM, Rochester talk show host Bob Lonsberry.  Weisman writes that for talk hosts who make a living expressing their opinions, it’s important to note that “not all opinion is protected, but when it is made about a matter of public concern, the speaker is protected by the First Amendment.”  Read Steven J.J. Weisman’s piece here.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio names Brian Thomas vice president of programming for its Tampa cluster that includes sports talk WQYK – 1010AM Sports…..Syndicated Solutions, Inc. begins distribution of Chuck Woolery’s “Save Us Chuck” political commentary feature on June 4.  The game show legend states, “I started in radio and just love it!  During all my years on television, I’ve come to realize that radio is truly the only medium where I can connect one-on-one with the audience and help to create real change.”…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles visits the foothill cities of the San Gabriel Valley as part of its “KNX on Your Corner” remote broadcast series.  The broadcast will emanate from the Monrovia Coffee Company in the heart of Old Town Monrovia on June 1…..WTKK-FM, Boston midday talk host Doug Meehan’s listeners are launching a campaign to get the host an on-air audition with Kelly Ripa on ABC TV’s “Live! With Kelly.”  Meehan has recorded his pitch to be on the show and posted it on WTKK’s website.  He’s encouraging listeners to visit the “Live! With Kelly” website touting Meehan for a shot at a guest host appearance…..Former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte regular fill-in host Wayne Powers wins his primary contest for a seat on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.

First Caller Puts Curse on New Talk Show Host.  What a way to start a new gig!  Gregg Henson, the station’s program director who replaced afternoon drive host Pat Miller on WOWO, Fort Wayne, was greeted with a first call that sounded like something out of a Steven King novel.  Not only did the listener with a heavy accent voice his disapproval of Henson and insult him by saying he is “a snake” who “doesn’t bring anything to the table” — he went on to actually put a curse on him!  Check THIS out.  Listen to the audio here.

2012 Presidential Race, Obama Gay Marriage Issue, Feds to Sue Arizona Sheriff Arpaio, and Putin Snubs Obama Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/9).  The 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama’s change of heart on the gay marriage issue, the federal lawsuit being filed against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s backing out of meeting with President Obama and the G-8 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Media Veteran and Fenway Park Announcer Carl Beane Dies in Auto Crash.  Fenway Park’s voice of the Boston Red Sox, Carl Beane, died Wednesday at age 59 after suffering a heart attack and crashing his car while driving.  Beane won the Fenway Park gig after the 2002 season.  He was a radio sports announcer, talk host, news reporter and more during his long career.  In addition to stringing for AP, ESPN and SiriusXM, Beane had worked at WBZ, Boston and spent many years in the 1990s working at then talk/music hybrid WESO, Southbridge.