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E.W. Scripps to Acquire Triton for $150 Million. Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps Company may not want to operate radio stations anymore (in August it announced a deal to sell its remaining 19 radio stations to SummitMedia for $47 million), but it likes the digital audio space enough to pony up $150 million for digital audio tech and measurement services firm Triton. Scripps says that the move helps it “advance its strategies for near- and long-term value creation.” Triton provides measurement in the digital audio space as well as hosting and advertising infrastructure (including dynamic ad insertion). Scripps president and CEO Adam Symson says, “Triton positions Scripps well to expand its role in the fast-growing global digital audio marketplace. Triton’s efficient business model, multiple growing revenue streams, competitive advantages and expanding international footprint made this an attractive opportunity.” He adds, “The acquisition of additional television stations remains our number one M&A priority, with the goal of enhancing our national scale and in-market depth for our Local Media portfolio. On the National Media side, acquiring Triton complements our strategy of owning growth businesses that capitalize on the evolving habits of media consumers and furthers our commitment to margin expansion.” Triton powers or measures streaming music and podcasting for media companies including: Pandora, Spotify, NPR, iHeartMedia, Entercom, Cumulus Media, Prisa (Spain), Mediacorp (Singapore) and Karnaval (Turkey). This is a cash transaction and Scripps notes that Triton’s 2018 revenue is projected to be approximately $40 million, with EBITDA projected in the mid-teen millions. Triton’s 2019 revenue is projected to grow in the low to mid-teens percent range over 2018. Triton co-founder and CEO Neal Schore and his management team will continue to lead Triton.
WOWO, Fort Wayne Names Kayla Blakeslee New Morning Host. News director Kayla Blakeslee is named as the new morning drive host at Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO-AM/W298BJ in Fort Wayne. Longtime station morning personality and market legend Charly Butcher died unexpectedly in August and the station had been searching for his replacement. Blakeslee returned to WOWO as news director in 2016 after a year away from radio. She’d been with the station previously from 2011 through 2015. WOWO afternoon host Pat Miller announced Blakeslee’s appointment on his program yesterday (10/16).
Rosati Named President of Binnie Media. New England media company Binnie Media promotes EVP of New Hampshire and Maine radio Massimo Rosati to president of the company. Rosati joined Binnie in 2015 as regional sales manager after having previously served with iHeartMedia and Saga Communications. Binnie Media owner Bill Binnie says, “Massimo joined us five years ago and was responsible for regional sales before taking responsibility for New Hampshire radio sales and eventually all of the radio sales. I am confident that Mass’ creativity, energy, and passion for the business will be crucial to our success.”
Cristina Mayer to Serve as iHM Washington-Baltimore Marketing Director. Marketing pro Cristina Mayer is named marketing director for iHeartMedia’s Washington DC/Baltimore operations. She comes to iHeartMedia from Mimi Brown Studio in New York where she was production manager. In this position, Mayer will be responsible for developing and creating marketing strategies in order to increase brand awareness, enhance business relationships, and assist with driving in revenue for the region. Washington/Baltimore RVP of programming Jeff Kapugi says, “Cristina’s extensive experience across many different types of media and entertainment organizations made her the perfect person to oversee marketing & promotions for iHeartMedia Washington DC/Baltimore.”
TALKERS News Notes. At suburban Chicago news/talk WCGO, Evanston, the “Citizen Kelly” show hosted by William J. Kelly moves to the 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm daypart. At the same time as the show time change is announced, Kelly takes the opportunity to announce the filing of his paperwork to run for mayor of Chicago. He says, “As the only Republican candidate in this race against 15 Democrats, I can win this race with the 133,000 Trump voters in Chicago alone. My callers support me 100%.”…..Milwaukee news/talk WTMJ Radio is again presenting its holiday radio show “The Night Before Christmas,” starring Milwaukee media personalities Gene Mueller, Jane Matenaer, Jeff Wagner, and a cast of WTMJ hosts and local voices. The annual show will be presented Monday, November 26 at Turner Hall. It will be recorded in front of a studio audience and replayed on WTMJ and WTMJ.com throughout the Christmas season. Five dollars from every ticket sold will benefit Kids2Kids Christmas…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that ESPN hires former Chicago Tribune and New York Times sports reporter Malika Andrews to serve as an NBA reporter for ESPN.com and WMVP, Chicago “ESPN1000.” She’ll cover the Bulls as well as the Milwaukee Bucks and the Minnesota Timberwolves. She takes over for Nick Friedell who’s moving to NoCal to cover the Golden State Warriors for the company…..PodcastOne launches the new podcast, “Life Reboot,” hosted by television personality Leah Messer, self-empowerment speaker and teacher Lindsay Rielly, and celebrity journalist Brian Scott. The podcast will guide listeners in learning to transform and live their best lives through personal stories, guest interviews, and tips from the Live Your Standard life coaching program…..iHeartRadio and HowStuffWorks are debuting a new iHeartRadio original podacast titled, “The End of The World.” It’s developed and hosted by fan-favorite Josh Clark, co-host of the beloved podcast “Stuff You Should Know”. This program “tackles the existential risks humankind faces and how today’s technological advancements will contribute to our survival.” Clark is joined by a number of top experts including, astrobiologists, philosophers, and economists…..There’s a new senior vice president for news at NPR as Nancy Barnes fills the role left vacant by Mike Oreskes last fall after allegations of misconduct from his past arose and forced him to resign. Her background is in newspapers. She’s served as executive editor of the Houston Chronicle.
Saudi Journalist Case, Elizabeth Warren Criticism, T.I. ‘Melania’ Video, November Midterms/2020 Presidential Race, Trump-Russia Report, Trump-Stormy Daniels Spat, Canada Legalizes Pot, Hawking ‘No God’ Conclusion, NFL Action, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/16). The case of presumed-dead Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Trump Administration’s response; criticism over Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage video; rapper T.I.’s video that depicts a Melania Trump look-alike doing a striptease; the battle for control of the house and senate in the November midterms and speculation about who will run for president in 2020; news that after the November elections, Robert Mueller will release his findings so far in the Trump-Russia investigation; the legal and social media spat between President Trump and Stormy Daniels; Canada becomes the second nation in the world to legalize marijuana; Stephen Hawking’s final book concludes there is no God; NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports on Windy City radio pro Kathy Hart’s guest stint on news/talk WGN-AM over the weekend in which she spoke – to some degree – about her tumultuous end at Hubbard Radio hot AC WTMX. While co-hosting with WGN weekend personality Frank Fontana, Hart disclosed she underwent medical treatment for what ended up being Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome during the time she was off the air leading up to her exit. But when asked why she ultimately did not return to the very successful “Eric & Kathy” show, she declined to explain…..Southern California sales pro George Herrera joins Meruelo Media as local sales manager for hip hop KPWR, Los Angeles “Power 106” and urban contemporary duo KDAY, Redondo Beach and KDEY, Ontario. Previously, he served as an account executive at alternative KROQ…..Envision Networks announces the return of the Wink Martindale-hosted program “The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time” for holiday programming. This 10-hour show counts down from 100 to 1 the top-selling, highest-charted, and best-loved Christmas songs ever released…..The Radio Music License Committee announces that Salem Media Group CEO Ed Atsinger is elected chairman of the RMLC. He succeeds Ed Christian and John VerStandig, who had been operating as RMLC co-chairs for the past year. Atsinger, no stranger to music licensing committees, previously served as chairman of the National Religious Broadcasters Music Licensing Committee for many years. Ed Christian comments, “Given my vested interest in seeing to it that the RMLC continues to thrive, it’s reassuring that we now pass the baton to an experienced chairman who is perfectly positioned to hit the ground running.” Atsinger adds, “I am fortunate to be assuming the mantle of chairman of the RMLC at a time when Ed Christian and a talented executive committee have worked so hard to build a solid foundation for the group and to enhance the RMLC’s stature in the industry. That said, it’s no secret that there are multiple challenges facing the industry right now and I am anxious to get to work with a great RMLC team that has already distinguished itself in many ways. We will continue the fight to maintain reasonable license fee levels during difficult economic times.”…..Pictured at right are “Steve Harvey Morning Show” cast members Shirley Strawberry (left) and Carla Ferrell (right) joining the more than 4,000 people who took part in the 2018 Sista Strut Breast Cancer Walk in Chicago this past weekend organized by iHeartMedia urban contemporary WVAZ “V103,” hip hop WGCI-FM, and Gospel WGRB “Inspiration 1390.”…..Sun Broadcast Group appoints of Rich O’Brien vice president of programing & affiliate relations. O’Brien comes to SBG with more than 25 years of experience in national radio syndication, having served as a VP of radio programs for Superadio Network…..Sad news from the Motor City as former WRIF air personality Mike Clark passed away on Monday (10/15) at age 63. Clark was one half of the “Drew and Mike” show (with Drew Lane) that aired on the rock station in morning drive for more than two decades. Lane is quoted in the Detroit News saying, “He had some medical issues the past couple years, but I’m still very surprised because we were texting yesterday and he was in typically good humor.”…..Pictured below is Premiere Networks-syndicated personality Delilah (left) during her appearance on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” show with Robin Roberts (right) to talk about her latest book, One Heart At A Time, (2018, Rosetta Books). During the book tour, she’s also appearing on “Megyn Kelly TODAY” and is featured on the cover of Women’s World Magazine and Guideposts magazine.
Eight More Arbitron PPM Markets Gain Accreditation by MRC. The Media Rating Council gives accreditation to eight more Arbitron PPM markets – making the total number of accredited markets 26. In making the announcement, Arbitron notes that the MRC is not granting accreditation in the remaining 22 markets at this time. The eight newly accredited markets include: Cleveland, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver-Boulder, Detroit, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood, Pittsburgh, Portland OR, and Nassau/Suffolk (Long Island). They join the 18 markets the MRC is voting to continue accreditation: Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee-Racine, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Riverside-San Bernardino, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater. Arbitron executive vice president, service innovation and chief research officer Gregg Linder states, “MRC accreditation for our PPM markets is a company-wide priority at Arbitron, and we are pleased the MRC continues to recognize our ongoing efforts to improve Sample Performance Indicators and other quality metrics in our Portable People Meter ratings services. Continuous improvement remains our watchword, for PPM and for all our ratings and software offerings and we are focused on earning accreditation for the balance of our PPM markets.”
Former CNN Producer/Reporter Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. Steve Krakauer – former CNN digital producer and media reporter – is named vice president of digital content for TheBlaze. In his work at CNN, Krakauer oversaw the social and digital output of the CNN domestic U.S. television programs. He also managed the team that ran @CNN — the network’s flagship Twitter account. Krakauer joined CNN in November 2010 as the digital producer of “Piers Morgan Tonight.” At TheBlaze, Krakauer will be responsible for growing the network’s presence across all digital media. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “Steve was one of the first people to truly recognize the growing relationship between digital media and traditional television and has built a remarkable track record integrating the two media. We are excited to have Steve join TheBlaze as we continue to be at the forefront of creating a television network designed for the 21st century.”
Ed Schultz Returns to Weeknights on MSNBC. It hasn’t been quite five months since MSNBC moved “The Ed Show” from weeknights at 8:00 pm to a Saturday and Sunday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot with Ed Schultz saying the move was for personal and professional reasons. Now, the Hollywood Reporter writes that MSNBC president Phil Griffin asked Schultz to return to weekdays in the 5:00 pm slot replacing the first run of “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” Matthews’ show will only air at 7:00 pm beginning August 26 when Schultz returns to weekdays. Griffin told the publication, “Ed has proven himself no matter where we’ve put him.”
CEO Gary Nell to Exit NPR to Head Up National Geographic. NPR CEO Gary Nell announces he’s leaving the public radio company after 21 months on the job. In a letter to staff, he says, in part, “As president and CEO, supporting NPR’s success – your success – has been my highest ambition. Working together, we have put NPR on more solid footing to continue to deliver the highest-quality journalism and programming. We have launched innovative new platforms and made meaningful strides in attracting new audiences and new funding. We have promoted a series of collaborations in news gathering, development, and a digital future. And we have an exceptionally strong leadership team in place that is charting an ambitious path for our future. We also face challenges, including the mandate to bring NPR to break-even cash operations. We are completing a plan to focus our limited resources which support our essential services to stations and audiences. We will present that plan to the Board soon, go over it carefully, and make it a reality.” Nell took over the reins of NPR in December of 2011 after the high-profile departure of former CEO Vivian Schiller. During her tenure, Juan Williams was fired after making comments on Fox News Channel admitting to feeling nervous when seeing people dressed in Muslim garb on airplanes. Also, NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation) was recorded denigrating conservatives at a lunch meeting.
Boston Herald Reports Kevin Graham Will Succeed Jason Wolfe at WEEI-FM, Boston. There is no confirmation from Entercom Boston market manager Jeff Brown about the Boston Herald’s recent report that KFNZ, Salt Lake City “1320 KFAN” program director and afternoon drive co-host Kevin Graham will take over the program director post at the station. According to his bio on the KFNZ website, Graham was one of the key architects of KFNZ back in 1996 and has worked as programmer at KTAR-AM, Phoenix; WXYT, Detroit and other sports talk outlets. In addition to programming KFNZ, Graham co-hosts the Gunther & Graham pm drive show with Kyle Gunther. Longtime program director Jason Wolfe exited the station last week and the Boston media is rife with speculation about the status of the station’s air talent – especially morning duo John Dennis and Gerry Callahan. CBS Radio’s crosstown WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” has been topping WEEI-FM in recent ratings reports. Still, the Herald also reports that Dennis and Callahan have been assured that they are not on the chopping block at this point.
Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald (“Brent & Meg”) Sign Up as Charter Members of TalkersRadio Lineup. The married couple team of “Brent & Meg” (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald, pictured below) join the initial lineup of the soon-to-be-launched experimental internet talk station, TalkersRadio. They will be hosting a Monday through Friday, two-hour Los Angeles-based program titled, “The Brent & Meg Show,” that will stream live between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm ET with possible re-streams at other times during the following 24 hours. According to TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein, “There never has been a ‘Brent & Meg Show’ prior to TalkersRadio. They are coming together to do this specifically because the station is designed for these kinds of experiments. Although they’ve been married for 28 years and have been in the media business doing everything from amazing short-form features to ground-breaking public relations campaigns for years, the idea of them being on the air live as a team hosting a long-form talk show is the brainchild of Michael Harrison who has been after them to do this for over two years now since hearing them bounce off each other in the ongoing short-form feature ‘Brent Seltzer, Still at Large.’ “I am excited about the potential of this show. We envision it to be in the tradition of the classic husband/wife chat shows of the golden era – except with its focus fully planted on a 21st century foundation.” The short-form feature “Brent Seltzer, Still at Large” — written, produced and performed by the couple — has accrued a dedicated multi-platform cult-following on Podjockey.com and XM Satellite Radio after having broken out in 2008 as a hot commodity at KSRO, Santa Rosa. According to the couple, “Outraged by the cable TV political bloviates, we invented ‘Brent Seltzer, Still at Large’ as a panacea to the anger and complacency that radio was becoming. We figured that since all the extreme right wingers and extreme left wingers were only preaching to their targeted choirs, we could have an extremely good time talking about anything to everyone. It is our intention to continue that tradition on the ‘Brent & Meg Show.’ Absolutely no politician, celebrity, corporate business practice, social custom, anything or anybody will be safe from our scathing, biting and hopefully humorous and entertaining observations. Hey, we just wanna have fun!”
Brent Seltzer is legendary in the annals of West Coast radio having worked as a personality “rock ‘n’ roll newsman” on two of the most storied signals in rock radio history – KMET, Los Angeles and KGB, San Diego — as well as LA’s KZLA-FM/AM, KNX-FM, and KMPC. He has also been a popular radio writer working for years at companies such as Watermark (“American Top 40”) and its founder Tom Rounds’ celebrated international company, Radio Express.
Born into a Hollywood show business family, Meg McDonald’s mother was the popular character actress Elisabeth Fraser and her father was the dancer Ray McDonald. Although a native of Santa Monica, her parents divorced when she was very young and her Mom moved to New York to co-star with Phil Silvers in his popular comedy, “You’ll Never Get Rich,” later known as “The Phil Silvers Show.” As her mother went to work in many classic films, TV shows and Broadway shows, Meg found herself surrounded by gifted writers including Neil Simon, Norman Lear and Gore Vidal. Returning to LA after a few years, Meg never thought of herself as a performer, so she majored in Journalism at LACC, but chose a career in public relations where she has forged an award-winning history as founder of her own shop, McDonald Media Services. Strikingly beautiful with a big gorgeous voice, she always wanted to be on-air but was too shy to take the shot, until she met Brent Seltzer. “The Brent & Meg” show debuts on TalkersRadio Tuesday, September 10. For more information about TalkersRadio call 413-565-5413 or email GM David Bernstein at firstname.lastname@example.org. TalkersRadio streaming is powered by Backbone Networks.
WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne Morning Show to Begin TV Simulcast. Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne will begin a simulcast of one hour of “Fort Wayne’s Morning News with Charly Butcher“ on local NBC affiliate WISE-TV “NBC33” on September 23. The television outlet will air the 6:00 am hour of Butcher’s program using several high definition cameras placed in the studio and newsroom at WOWO. Program director Ryan Wrecker says, “What we’re doing is taking a historic show in the market and advancing it to a new medium. Finding new platforms for our product is an important part of our station strategy, and we think this is going to make a big impact not only in the market but it’s what should be expected for news/talk stations looking for ways to gain a younger audience share.” Butcher states, “We’re excited to bring a show we work very hard on every morning to NBC33. It’s another way for listeners to get a behind-the-scenes look at what we do and get all the information they need every morning. I’m not excited that I might need to start wearing make-up.” Pictured above is the WOWO-AM/FM morning show in action (Butcher at right.)
SiriusXM and MLB Reach Six-Year Extension. Satcaster SiriusXM and Major League Baseball have reached an agreement to extend their relationship for another six years. As a result, every regular season and post-season game will be available on both Sirius and XM platforms through 2016. The deal also includes select exhibition games and Spanish-language broadcasts. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein states, “Baseball has been an essential part of our programming lineup and we’re very happy to extend our relationship with MLB to deliver the games to our subscribers for many years to come. We’re especially pleased to now offer the games to SiriusXM subscribers whether they listen through Sirius radios, XM radios, the SiriusXM App or online.”
NPR Producer Teshima Walker Dies at 44. After a two-year battle with colon cancer, NPR executive producer Teshima Walker passed away on Friday morning. Walker had been executive producer of the Michel Martin-hosted “Tell Me More” program since 2011. She’d been with the show in various capacities for four years prior to that. During her career she had worked at WBEZ, Chicago and served as a producer on the Tavis Smiley program.