KKOB-AM/FM, Albuquerque Names John Summers News Director. Radio news and programming pro John Summers is named news director for Cumulus Media’s heritage news/talk KKOB-AM/FM, Albuquerque. Cumulus says Summers is an award-winning journalist who was most recently brand manager and news director for Saga Communications’ WHCU-AM/FM, Ithaca, New York. Prior to that, he was regional program director and news director for the Northwest News Radio Network and the Washington Ag Network. Cumulus Albuquerque operations manager Jared Hart says, “We are thrilled to welcome John to the News Radio KKOB family. He’s a great fit to lead this iconic Albuquerque station into an exciting new chapter and to help capitalize on our recent expansion of the KKOB brand.” Summers says, “I’m thrilled to become part of the awesome Southwest legend, KKOB. I really appreciate Jeff Berry and Jared Hart’s confidence in my journalistic vision for the giant AM/FM signals involved – and I love New Mexico. This is going to be fun.”
Disruptor Radio LLC Acquires WNTW-AM, Richmond. Virginia media company Disruptor Radio, LLC announces it has closed on the purchase of WNTW-AM and translator W224EB – both licensed to Chester, Virginia in the Richmond market. Disruptor Radio is operated by John Fredericks, whose radio show airs in morning drive on the simulcast and is based at Disruptor’s WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia. It’s distributed by the John Fredericks Radio Network. Fredericks says the combination of the three signals “gives JFRN the largest footprint and most coverage in central Virginia.” John Fredericks says, “As of June 17, we have the most dynamic and engaging news/talk network lineup in America right here in central Virginia. Our combined three-stick radio reach now goes to Petersburg in the south, Fredericksburg to the north, west to Charlottesville, southwest to Longwood University in Farmville and east to Newport News and the Northern Neck. We now have a bigger footprint then-rival legacy station WRVA in Richmond and we look forward to the opportunity to offer central Virginia radio listeners an exciting alternative in the news/talk arena.” Fredericks adds he’s not shy about further expansion potential and he’s bullish on the future of talk radio.
Firings at U.S. Agency for Global Media Draw Rebuke from Democrats. The U.S. Senate confirmation of conservative filmmaker Michael Pack and his subsequent firing of four news organization chiefs has drawn the ire of congressional Democrats. According to Edward Wong’s story in The New York Times, those let go on Wednesday evening were: Bay Fang of Radio Free Asia, Jamie Fly of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Alberto M. Fernandez of Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Emilio Vazquez of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, and Libby Liu of the Open Technology Fund. The story adds that Pack also “disbanded the bipartisan boards that govern and advise those five organizations. He replaced the members, which are the same across the organizations, largely with Trump administration political appointees, including himself as chairman.” On Monday of this week, Radio Free America director Amanda Bennett and deputy director Sandra Sugawara resigned their positions.
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the sports talk format. Obviously, without any sports contests being played since March, the format has suffered, but the downward trend the format experienced in March and April is leveling off. Sixty-two percent of sports talk stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up, led by Bonneville’s KKFN, Denver (+1.0, 3.1share). Comparing May 2019 to May 2020, just 32% of stations are up with 65% down. The year-over-year gainers are led by iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis (+1.8, 5.9 share). No sports talker came close to ranking #1 in its market in May. Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia was the top ranker in the format, finishing at #4 with a 5.9 share. Read Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.
John Bolton Book, BLM Protests/Rayshard Brooks Case, Trump Police Reform Order, COVID-19 Statistics/Beijing Outbreak, Aunt Jemima Retired, Presidential Race, China-India Clash, and Return of the NBA Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/17). The controversy and legal battle over former national security adviser John Bolton’s yet-to-be-released book; the Black Lives Matter protests and the officers being charged in the death of Rayshard Brooks; President Trump issues a police reform executive order; the COVID-19 statistics in the U.S., the states seeing increases, and the outbreak in Beijing; the Aunt Jemima brands are retired by PepsiCo; the November presidential election; the deadly clash between China and India over a disputed Himalayan border region; and the NBA prepares to return to action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Scott Herman Elected Chair of Broadcasters Foundation of America. The board of directors of the Broadcasters Foundation of America elects radio executive Scott Herman chair of the charitable organization. Herman served for years with CBS RADIO and Group W and he’s currently CEO of SHH Media Management. He takes over for Dan Mason, who remains on the board of directors. Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb is re-elected as vice chair. Additionally, Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones is elected to the board. Dan Mason says, “It has been an honor to serve the broadcasting industry as chair of the Broadcasters Foundation, and I look forward to continuing my involvement as a board member of this unique charity that helps our colleagues. I am pleased to turn over the chair seat to Scott, who I know to be both capable and caring. He loves this industry as much as I do and will work tirelessly to help those in our business who need it most.” Herman is a longtime member of the Foundation’s board and has served as vice chair since 2017.
DOUBLE HEADER: ‘Two Men, Two Games’ – Sean Spicer and Colin Cowherd Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. Former White House press secretary and current Newsmax TV host Sean Spicer and FOX Sports Radio/Television host Colin Cowherd are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” In a two-part program titled, “Two Men, Two Games,” Harrison discusses a wide array of current issues with two of the most colorful individuals in talk media focusing on the impact that today’s turbulence is having on media, business, sports, and society. Harrison and Spicer talk about the seismic changes that have taken place in the relationship between the presidency and the press during the Donald Trump administration in addition to ongoing debate over government regulation of social media. Spicer also offers his perspective on the Black Lives Matter movement and offers a few tips on how to approach this president in an interview or ask him questions at a press conference. Harrison and Cowherd (who is ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio) discuss the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on professional sports, the delicate art of simulcasting a talk show on radio and television, the responsibility team owners have to the fans, as well as a fascinating breakdown on the political leanings of sports talk radio listeners. Don’t miss this power-packed installment of one of the world’s most-respected, media-oriented podcasts. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. After last week’s exit from SummitMedia by SVP of programming Beverlee Brannigan, the company announces that Randy Chase is joining the company in the same capacity. SummitMedia says Chase joins the leadership team and will oversee all country music stations. He’ll report to EVP of programming Bill Tanner. SummitMedia chairman and CEO Carl Parmer states, “Randy’s experience across all formats and his passion to serve our listeners make him an excellent addition to our team. His ability to innovate in our industry and drive consumer engagement are attributes we are particularly excited about.” Chase has served with the Educational Media Foundation as VP of radio for the past seven years. Prior to that he led national country branding and programming for Cox Media Group. Chase will be based in Knoxville and will also serve as program director for country WCYQ, Knoxville “100.3 The Wolf.”…..Hubbard Radio makes changes to the air staff at Chicago hot AC WTMX “101.9 THE MIX.” Eric Ferguson remains in mornings but everything else changes. Sixteen-year afternoon drive personality Kevin “Koz” Koske leaves that daypart and will be director of creative services for both WTMX and sister AC WSHE. He’ll also handle some weekend and fill-in shifts. Taking over afternoon drive is evening host Chris Petlak and midday jock Lisa Allen. Taking over Allen’s midday slot is music director Nikki Chuminatto. Weekend personality Jordan “Dash” Weiss is upped to evening personality…..In Charlottesville, Virginia, Saga Communications lets classic rock WWWV morning host and imaging director Max Hoecker go and replaces his show with the Westwood One syndicated “Bob & Tom” Show…..United Stations Radio Networks announces a new program hosted by Grammy and Emmy award-winning musician Kenny Loggins. Titled, “Kenny Loggins: The Real Thing,” the program will debut at a yet-to-be-finalized date this summer and will be delivered as completely flexible segments allowing stations to build their imaging and music around voice tracks supplied by Kenny Loggins.
Chicago Cubs to Move to CBS RADIO’s WBBM Next Season. In what appears to be the end of a 90-year relationship, Tribune’s WGN, Chicago is passing on Chicago Cubs play-by-play and, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the club will sign with CBS RADIO’s WBBM beginning in 2015. That Tribune has been losing money on the broadcasts in recent years has been pretty widely reported for some time now and it’s not particularly shocking to industry watchers that WGN is giving up on the Cubs. Though the deal has not been formally announced (a press release is expected sometime Thursday), the Tribune reports that the previous deal was for approximately $10 million per season and WGN had the right to match any other offer, which it chose not to do. CBS RADIO already has the rights to Chicago Bears games (which air on both WBBM-AM and simulcast WCFS-FM) and White Sox broadcasts which air on sports talker WSCR. WGN holds the rights to Blackhawks hockey.
KCAA, Loma Linda Owner Fred Lundgren Writes Appeal for AM Station Owners in HuffPost Piece. In a blog post on Huffington Post, KCAA, Loma Linda, California founder and CEO Fred Lundgren asserts that the FCC has “waited too long to act on the problems facing the AM band, and the agency has made so many wrong and irreversible decisions that the AM band can’t be sustained in the long term…It’s time for the Congress and the FCC to pause it’s love affair with inefficient point-to-point communication and realize that the most efficient form of mass communication and spectrum utilization continues to be point-to-multipoint terrestrial radio, and unless the AM band is migrated to FM very soon, the opportunity to expand the band will be gone forever.” Lundgren writes about the 10 ways the FCC is hastening the demise of the AM band and says the way to save the stations is to migrate them to FM frequencies below 87.5 FM. Read his piece here.
Sam Seder’s ‘Ring of Fire’ Changes to Daily Format. Progressive talk host Sam Seder, co-host of the weekend “Ring of Fire” syndicated radio talk show, launches a daily version of the show airing from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. The show is syndicated by Ron Hartenbaum‘s and Debbie Greenbaum‘s WYM Media Management and distributed by WestwoodOne. WYM describes the show as a “live, take-no-prisoners, progressive talk show featuring blistering commentary, smart interviews and the comedy which has made Sam Seder so popular amongst progressive audiences.” In addition to his work on “Ring of Fire,” Seder is a contributor to MSNBC and produces a daily political podcast called “Majority Report.”
WNTW, Chester, Virginia Flips to News/Talk as ‘820 The Answer.’ The branding slogan “The Answer” has been used by Salem Communications news/talk stations in some markets but now the Delmarva Educational Association-owned signal licensed to Chester, Virginia (just south of Richmond) takes on the moniker as it flips from Christian talk to conservative talk featuring programming including: local host John Fredericks, Cox Media’s Herman Cain, Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager, WestwoodOne’s Michael Savage, Mark Levin, and “Red Eye Radio” plus independently syndicated Steve Deace and Genesis Communications Network-distributed Alex Jones.
Cigar Dave Offers D-Day Tribute Show to Non-Affiliates. Last weekend, nationally syndicated talk show host “Cigar Dave” Zeplowitz hosted a special “D-Day 70th Anniversary Tribute.” He reports that the response to his show, which devoted the entire two hours to the historic events of June 6, 1944, was so overwhelming that he’s decided to give the show to non-affiliates on a one-time basis to air this weekend, in honor of the 70th anniversary. Zeplowitz states, “Friday marks the 70th Anniversary of Allied Expeditionary Forces scaling the cliffs at Normandy to begin the liberation of Europe from Nazi oppression. It’s imperative that every American of every age recognize and understand the historic significance of D-Day. The tribute show is my way of honoring the great Americans who stormed the beaches and insuring their legacy and sacrifice is never forgotten.” The D-Day 70th Anniversary Tribute features a timeline of Operation Overlord and the D-Day invasion with audio from General Dwight D. Eisenhower, news reports from D-Day and highlights of Ronald Reagan’s speeches on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day. The special tribute also includes interviews with World War II veteran Thomas Blakey, one of the first paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division to land behind enemy lines on D-Day, and April Cheek-Messier, president of the National D-Day Memorial. Stations interested can contact Skip Joeckel at: 719-579-6676 or via email at: Skip@TalkShowsUSA.com.
Talk Radio Day at the United Nations Shaping Up as Major Broadcasting Event for Thursday, June 19. TALKERS magazine announces a strong and diverse lineup of participating hosts at the forthcoming 9th installment of its annual international initiative, “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations.” Presented in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and in association with the United Nations Foundation, the event consists of a massive radio row held in the heart of the United Nations’ iconic headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan. Approximately 25 talk show hosts and programs from around the country are given the opportunity to do live shows or simply record interviews on the scene for later playback with a wide variety of special guests including UN officials, foreign ambassadors, international policy experts and representatives of the arts and sciences from around the world. “This is one of our most important annual events,” states TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “and I am absolutely delighted that – in spite of the technical and tactical challenges presented by a project of this complexity and enormity – we are able to produce yet another installment in 2014.” Harrison says, “It accomplishes a number of important things – most notably, it gives a variety of talk show hosts and millions of their listeners in every corner of the country the opportunity to shift gears and discuss international news stories of significant consequence that rarely, if ever, are covered or discussed in the mainstream American media. Some of these stories have staggering implications on war, peace, life and death.” Harrison also points out, “Hosts of just about every political and ideological persuasion have raved about this event over the many years we have been doing it saying that it has proven to be a personally rewarding experience for them as much as it has provided a spectacular bit of special programming to their stations and networks.” “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” will conveniently take place the day before Talkers New York 2014 when many talk show hosts are already in New York City. Participating hosts include: Thom Hartmann, Alan Colmes, Doug Stephan, Dr. Joy Browne, Martha Zoller, David Webb, Ethan Bearman, Carole Marks, John Fredericks, Miriam Wallach, Ed Woodson, George Russell, Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald (Brent & Meg), Phil Paleologos, Scott Hennen, Dr. Evelyn Higgins, Timothy Spangler, David Fisher, Debbie Nigro, Rick Smith, Howard Monroe and more. Talk Radio News Service will broadcast the entire day to its hundreds of affiliates across the nation with more to be announced and the event will be covered live on TalkersRadio. All equipment and broadcast set ups are provided at no cost for the convenience of the participants – but only a handful of spots are left, so interested hosts should call 413-565-5413 quickly to inquire about signing up.
‘Northwestern Outdoors Radio’ Wins Three National Honors. The regional weekend program “Northwestern Outdoors Radio” with host John Kruse, wins Excellence in Craft awards from the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Kruse was honored with first place in the radio broadcast category; second place in the hunting category and second place for a humorous interview segment. This is the second year “Northwestern Outdoors Radio” entered the national competition featuring outdoor radio shows and podcasts from all over the United States. Kruse comments, “We must be doing something right, and it’s wonderful to get feedback saying so from not only our listeners, but also from the judges who are our peers in the outdoors media industry.” The show is an hour-long weekend show airing on 52 stations in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. The program covers not only fishing and hunting, but also wildlife watching, conservation, and a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities and destinations with a strong focus on the Northwestern United States.
Bergdahl Prisoner Swap, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, New Donald Sterling Allegations, VA Hospitals Scandal, U.S.-Israel Relations, and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/3). The aftermath of the prisoner swap for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl; the primary races leading up to this fall’s mid-term elections and speculation about candidates for president in 2016; new allegations of racist and sexist behavior against Clippers owner Donald Sterling; the ongoing fallout from the VA Hospitals scandal; U.S.-Israel relations in the wake of Hamas’ role in the Palestinian Authority makeup; and the prelude to the NBA and NHL finals series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.