Tag: "Chicago Bulls"
PodcastOne and Edison Research Reveal Data on Podcast ‘Super Listeners’ at IAB Upfront. The topline findings from the first-ever Super Listeners study from PodcastOne and Edison Research were revealed yesterday (10/16) at the IAB Podcast Upfront in New York and the complete findings will be made available via a webinar on Tuesday, October 22. PodcastOne and Edison say, “This study showcases the power of podcasting’s most active consumers, including how they react to advertising, the role ads play in their listening experience, and what the industry must be cautious about in maximizing advertising impact.” The podcast “super listeners” are defined as “those who spend at least five hours listening to podcasts each week.” This smaller number of consumers that account for a high degree of demand are the people most likely to hear podcasting ads and to really have an opinion about them. Some of the highlights of the study indicate that advertising in podcasts increases favorability for specific brands. For example, 60% of “super listeners” appreciate podcast advertisers for supporting their favorite podcasts and 44% say their opinion of a company is more positive when they hear it mentioned in a podcast they regularly listen to. This favorability impacts the thing advertisers care about most, conversions. 70% considered a new product or service as a result of hearing a sponsorship or ad on a podcast they regularly listen to and 43% say that when price/quality are equal, they prefer to buy products from companies that advertise on podcasts they regularly listen to. However, the study also warns that too many ads will leave a negative impression as 50% of “super listeners” say it is important or very important to limit their exposure to ads and 49% of say there are more ads now than there were a year ago. Right now, only 24% say there are too many ads in podcasts, compared to 62% for TV, 47% for AM/FM radio and 45% for streaming audio. The webinar will feature PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris and Edison Research SVP Tom Webster as they walk attendees through an exclusive look at podcasting’s heaviest listeners, their attitudes towards advertising, and how they view podcasting in the greater media landscape. Register here.
Westwood One to Distribute ‘The McLaughlin Group’ Programs. Though we lost program creator and original host John McLaughlin in 2016, the political roundtable talk show “The McLaughlin Group” has been airing on Maryland Public Television since January of this year with a scheduled rollout to public television stations across the country in January 2020. Now, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces it is exclusively distributing and selling a new podcast and weekend radio show with “The McLaughlin Group.” The podcast becomes available on the Westwood One Podcast Network on November 1, and the radio show will debut the weekend of December 7-8. New host, political writer and commentator Tom Rogan, is joined by original panel members Pat Buchanan, Eleanor Clift, and Clarence Page. Additionally, new generation of panelists will join the group engaging in conversations about politics, culture, and foreign policy issues. Listeners will get content from the TV program as well as original bonus content in both the radio show and the podcast. Cumulus Media EVP and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “We’re proud to provide access to this legendary show as we gear up for what will certainly be one of the most heated election years in American history. ‘The McLaughlin Group’ was a pioneer among political talk shows and this distinguished iteration lead by Tom Rogan offers important commentary at a significant time.” “The McLaughlin Group” is produced by BL Sports & Media Group.
TALKERS News Notes. The nominations for the Digital Hollywood Awards are announced and PodcastOne proudly reveals that its programs have earned a total of 51 nominations in the event’s inaugural year. The awards will be announced at the Digital Hollywood Conference on November 14, 2019. PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz states, “From the day PodcastOne was founded, we were committed to providing advertisers and listeners programming in all genres. Our showing at the Digital Hollywood Awards, with 51 nominations, shows that we accomplished that goal.” See all the nominations here…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WSCR-AM “The Score” sports talk host Jason Goff is joining NBC Sports Chicago to host pre-game and post-game shows for Chicago Bulls games. Goff lost his gig at “The Score” after Entercom SVP and market manager Jimmy de Castro decided some of the station’s hosts were becoming too political, writes Feder…..Award-winning television producer and writer Shonda Rhimes is partnering with iHeartMedia to launch Shondaland Audio that will develop a full slate of iHeartRadio Original Podcasts set to release over the next three years as part of the iHeartPodcast Network. Rhimes will oversee the development and chief digital and design officer Sandie Bailey will manage day-to-day operation. Rhimes says, “Podcasting continues to see tremendous growth and I’m excited to partner with iHeartMedia as Shondaland expands its storytelling journey into this medium which has seemed to usher in a unique sense of boldness, intimacy and connection. With iHeartMedia we aim to share stories that are engaging, insightful, and reflect a robust world-view while staying true to the authentic storytelling voice that has become synonymous with Shondaland.”
Executive Moves at Urban One. The company promotes VP and deputy general counsel C. Kristopher Simpson to senior vice president and general counsel. At the same time, Urban One announces it is bringing Tony Spinelli aboard as chief information officer. The company says Simpson will now oversee legal operations across the company’s five divisions. Throughout his tenure with Urban One, Simpson has provided counsel to the board of directors, executive management, and corporate finance/treasury teams. He’s also served as counsel on various acquisitions and divestitures across Urban One’s divisions, managed its outside counsel, and worked with its investment advisors on various refinancing projects. Urban One says Spinelli – who comes to the company after 25 years in the financial services industry – will manage all aspects of the company’s technology infrastructure. He most recently led the digital startup, Fractal Industries.
2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-Syria Policy, Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Controversy, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings Dies, U.S.-China Trade Talks/Hong Kong Bill, and Brexit Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17). The aftermath of Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate; the Trump Administration’s Syria policy and the withdrawal of American troops for Northeastern Syria; the impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related controversy over Hunter and Joe Biden’s and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s Ukraine dealings; longtime U.S. Rep. Elijah Cumming dies at 68; the status of U.S.-China trade talks and China’s warning about the U.S. Congress’ Hong Kong bill interfering in their internal affairs; and reports of a Brexit deal on the table were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Legendary Country Jock Bob Kingsley Passes at 80. Country radio air personality Bob Kingsley passed away today (10/17) at his home in Weatherford, Texas after a battle with bladder cancer. He was 80. Kingsley’s “Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40” is produced by his KCCS Productions and syndicated globally by Westwood One. A celebration of life is planned for November 14 at the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian profiled Kingsley several years back when he served as special features editor for Inside Radio. Read that piece here.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Cumulus Media’s hot AC WDVD, Detroit, midday personality and assistant program director Kendall Taylor adds music director duties for the station. Cumulus Detroit director of FM programming Lance Tidwell says, “Since I started last December, Kendall has been such an important team member and she contributes so much to WDVD. She brings great ideas and follows them with great organization and execution to what we do on WDVD. I am thrilled to have her to help improve communication with our important label partners and bringing her own perspective to what we do musically at WDVD.”…..Entercom announces the three dates and lineups for its “Not So Silent Night” alternative music festival. The RADIO.COM event will happen in New York, hosted by WNYL “ALT 92.3” on December 5; in San Diego, hosted by KBZT-FM “ALT 949” on December 8; and in San Francisco, hosted by KITS “ALT 105.3” on December 7. Acts booked include: Mumford & Sons, Cage the Elephant, Vampire Weekend, Twenty-One Pilots, Neon Trees, and more…..Modelo beer teams up with rapper Anderson .Paak for the “Modelo Fighting Chance Concert Series,” produced by iHeartRadio, in an effort to raise money for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to help refugees, immigrants, and Americans in need achieve their full potential. Anderson .Paak will perform in San Francisco on November 13, Atlanta on November 15, and New York on November 17…..Skratch N Sniff’s Halloween Mix 2019, “Puddle of Blood” features guest host Wes Scantlin from Puddle of Mudd in which he’ll play his favorite Halloween tunes in the mix with tracks from the new album, Welcome to Galvania. The radio special syndicated by Compass Media Networks is available for alternative and rock stations for air Friday, October 25 through Halloween…..Pictured below at last night’s “iHeartRadio ICONS with Elton John” at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles is pop icon Elton John (left) with WAXQ, New York “Q104” morning personality Jim Kerr (right). The event celebrated the release of John’s autobiography, ME (2019, Henry Holt) as Kerr spoke with John about his life and career.
Tribune Terminates Sinclair Merger Agreement. Included in our story yesterday which dealt with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s second-quarter earnings report (Talkers.com, 8/8) was the following quote from Sinclair president and chief executive officer Chris Ripley who addressed the pending acquisition of Tribune Media Company: “We are working with them to analyze approaches to the regulatory process that are in the best interest of our companies, employees, and shareholders.” It was announced early today that not only is the marriage between the two entities over, Tribune Media is suing Sinclair Broadcast Group for breach of contract; the suit was filed today (Thursday, 8/9) in Delaware Chancery Court. The proposed $3.9 billion deal hit a snag when the FCC designated it for a hearing, a red flag that the transaction would most likely not be approved. Last month, FCC chair Ajit Pai raised “serious concerns” about the deal, which originally would have reached roughly 70% of U.S. households. Tribune is charging that, “In an effort to maintain control over stations it was obligated to sell, Sinclair engaged in unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations with the Department of Justice and the FCC over regulatory requirements; refused to sell stations in the markets as required to obtain approval; and proposed aggressive divestment structures and related-party sales that were either rejected outright or posed a high risk of rejection and delay – all in derogation of Sinclair’s contractual obligations.” Tribune further claims, “Sinclair’s entire course of conduct has been in blatant violation of the merger agreement; but for Sinclair’s actions, the transaction could have closed long ago.” According to Tribune chief executive officer Peter Kern, “In light of the FCC’s unanimous decision, referring the issue of Sinclair’s conduct for a hearing before an administrative law judge, our merger cannot be completed within an acceptable timeframe, if ever. This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders. Accordingly, we have exercised our right to terminate the merger agreement, and, by way of our lawsuit, intend to hold Sinclair accountable.” Revenue for Tribune’s only radio property – Chicago news/talk WGN – is not broken out in the company’s second-quarter financials. “Notwithstanding our disappointment regarding the outcome of the [Sinclair] transaction,” Kern remarks, “we are extremely pleased with our second quarter results, which were very strong. Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA grew 69% versus the prior year period and 84% for the first half of the year. While net core advertising revenues declined 6%, we were able to drive consolidated revenue growth of 6% when excluding the impact of barter revenues, with solid growth in retransmission and carriage fees revenues and political advertising revenue. Our disciplined focus on cost management drove programming expenses down 29% and corporate and other cash expenses, excluding transaction costs, down 19% over the prior year period.”
Rumor Becomes Fact: Warner Is WW One’s Lead MNF Analyst. Just this past Tuesday (Talkers.com, 8/7), we referenced a report by Richard Deitsch in The Athletic, hinting that Hall of Fame QB and NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner would join Kevin Harlan as Westwood One’s lead analyst for “Monday Night Football” and the Super Bowl. It is now official: Warner’s first broadcast will be in a little over four weeks (9/10), when the Oakland Raiders host the Los Angeles Rams. He becomes only the fourth regular “MNF” analyst for Westwood One since its broadcast partnership with the NFL began 40 years ago. The others were Boomer Esiason (2000-2017); Matt Millen (1996-2000); and Hank Stram (1978-1984, 1987-1995). Ever since he retired from the NFL, Warner insists he has “been blessed” with tremendous broadcasting opportunities. “I am grateful to Westwood One for this opportunity and for believing in me with this role. The bar has been set extremely high by Boomer Esiason and others. I look forward to grabbing the torch, working hard, and maintaining the sense of excellence that has become synonymous with Westwood One. I also look forward to continuing my relationship with Kevin Harlan, who I believe is one of the best play-by-play people in the business.” Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing Suzanne Grimes states, “We have been proud partners of the NFL for more than four decades and our best-in-class broadcasts feature the brightest stars from the league. Kurt Warner is a keen observer with a great eye and unique analysis. He adds another layer of authenticity, knowledge, and expertise to our roster. He is an incredible asset for our loyal and passionate listeners and engaged advertisers.” Westwood One Sports executive vice president/executive producer Howard Deneroff adds, “To have a player, and person, of Kurt Warner’s caliber become our lead analyst is incredibly exciting. We look forward to Kevin and Kurt working together full-time. We are confident that they will continue the legacy of great Westwood One broadcast teams which have informed and entertained listeners on Monday nights for decades.” A 2017 inductee in the pro football Hall of Fame, Warner played 12 seasons in the NFL, leading two different franchises (St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals) to Super Bowl appearances. He was the NFL’s MVP in 1999 and 2001. He and wife, Brenda, created “The First Things First Foundation,” dedicated to impacting lives by promoting Christian values, and “Treasure House,” which provides a supportive living environment for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Multi-Year TuneIn, Cumulus Deal Expands Streaming Partnership. The arrangement between the two principals calls for streaming of Cumulus Media’s 441 stations in 90 markets, as well as shows on co-owned Westwood One Podcast Network on the TuneIn platform. Cumulus Media president and chief executive officer Mary Berner remarks, “We understand that consumers engage with content across multiple platforms and devices. We put our listeners first, and we have made it our mission to provide a modern and platform-agnostic listening experience. Expanding our partnership with TuneIn takes our distribution and promotional opportunities to the next level, exposing our portfolio of leading stations, shows, and programs to new fans.” TuneIn chief executive officer John Donham states, “As the world’s leader in live digital audio, we are thrilled to provide our listeners access to some of the best live-station programming across sports, news, talk, music, and entertainment, as well as popular podcasts and other on-demand content offered by Cumulus Media. We look forward to a long and successful partnership as we grow the next chapter of the audio business together.” Heretofore, Cumulus Media stations have been available through iHeartRadio, as well as TuneIn.
Salem Media Group Reports Mixed Q2 Results. Second-quarter total revenue for Salem Media Group increased .2% to $66.3 million; net broadcast revenue rose 2.7% to $50.6 million; and station operating income held steady at $13.3 million. Conversely, operating income fell 84.4% to $1.3 million and net income spiraled from a gain of $1.3 million to a loss of $2.2 million. In addition, EBITDA dropped 40.8% to $6 million and Adjusted EBITDA fell 9.4% to $11.2 million. A full-slate of Salem Radio Network talk shows aired on news/talk WBIX, Boston but, in early-January (2018), Salem Media Group agreed to sell “The Buzz” for $685,000 to the International Church of the Grace of God, which – through an LMA – flipped the station to a Portuguese format; the sale was finalized approximately two months ago (6/20). The second-quarter included a $5.7 million net loss on the sale of stations in Omaha and land in Covina, California. Salem Media Group projects third-quarter total revenue to be flat or up 2% from 2017’s $65.4 million.
Round Three of July 2018 PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Orlando, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 survey period covered June 21 – July 18. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.
TALKERS News Notes. Under newly-signed five-year deals, Joe Bowen and Jim Ralph will return calling Toronto Maple Leafs hockey games. The NHL team’s radio broadcasts are split between Rogers sports talk CJCL “Sports Net 590 The Fan” and Bell Media sports talk CHUM “TSN Radio 1050.” Per The Toronto Sun, the deal is for radio only. This year’s Hockey Hall of Fame Foster Hewitt award winner – Bowen – has been calling Toronto Maple Leafs games since 1982; Ralph has been on the broadcasts since 1997 ….. Morning driver John Hines is retiring at the end of the month from heritage Entercom Minneapolis news/talk WCCO. Newly-arrived (from Entercom Philadelphia) operations manager Andy Bloom is holding on-air auditions to fill that upcoming “News Radio 830” vacancy. In a station memo obtained by City Pages, Bloom writes, “My only interest is getting someone that will generate an audience. The fact is, the majority of news/talk radio listeners are center-right.” ….. Former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dennis Brown is named co-host of KNBR’s pregame and postgame NFL coverage. This marks the 14th year of 49ers football on the Cumulus Media San Francisco sports talk outlet. Program director Jeremiah Crowe comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Dennis Brown to the KNBR family. Dennis brings a Super Bowl champion’s perspective to our coverage, and he will maintain a regular analyst role throughout the week during our primetime talk programming. The addition of Dennis further strengthens KNBR’s NFL roster as the strongest in all of sports radio.” Brown, who was a 49ers television analyst from 2012 – 2017, adds, “As a Bay Area native, I’m very excited to be joining KNBR’s game-day broadcast team. I’ve listened to KNBR for decades and jumped at the opportunity to join their pregame and postgame coverage.” Brown was the 47th overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft and played all seven years of his career for San Francisco, including 1995, when he was part of the team that won Super Bowl XXIX ….. Meanwhile, in Seattle, Dave Wyman is named radio analyst for the NFL’s Seahawks on Bonneville-owned flagships KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” and news/talk KIRO-FM “Radio 97.3.” The former linebacker (Seahawks and Denver Broncos) will work alongside play-by-play announcer Steve Raible during the regular season; Jen Mueller and John Clayton return as sideline reporters ….. Cleveland-based podcast production and radio syndication network Front Porch Media Network acquires Pit Pass Media Group, producers of weekly two-hour motorcycle racing podcast “Pit Pass Moto,” which has had 785,015 episode downloads in the last four years. Front Porch chief executive officer Michael DeAloia notes, “We look forward to enhancing the brand and building new content. We continue to concentrate on building a dynamic and engaging podcast portfolio. ‘Pit Pass Moto’ is a prestigious podcast and one that merits additional resources and investment.” The podcast’s partner and guest host Ed Kuhlenkamp remarks, “We are excited about the Front Porch Media acquisition and what it means for the show’s fans. We believe Front Porch Media has the resources required to take the ‘Pit Pass Moto’ brand to the next level.”
Harrison Podcast Resurrects 36-Year-Old Interview with Apple I and Apple II Inventor Steve Wozniak. In commemoration of Apple, Inc. reaching the historic milestone of a one trillion dollar valuation, TALKERS founder Michael Harrison dug up a 36-year-old interview that he conducted with Apple, Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak, the designer and inventor of the original Apple I and II personal computers. It is the centerpiece of this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Originally aired in 1982 on the pioneering national cable TV talk show “Harrison’s Mic,” the 24-minute conversation explores the beginnings of Apple Computer, Inc. (as it was then called) from what was a relatively recent perspective (it was only six years old). More importantly, it reveals the prescient thinking and perspective of one of the most important electronic designers and computer scientists of the digital era (and eventual philanthropist) when he was only 32 years old and society had merely scratched the surface of the revolution about to change the way people live and think. This fascinating interview is a must-listen for pop culture enthusiasts and media freaks. Michael Harrison states, “I am only first understanding the level of historical and intellectual gold that exists in the thousands of interviews, specials and broadcasts collecting dust in my archives that go back a half-century. We never realized when this content was being created in those early days that it would be of such historical interest and value. It just seemed like disposable pop content of the moment. This gem of a conversation with the great Steve Wozniak, which I hadn’t heard in more than three decades, is a prime example. I am so happy to share it in 2018 upon the milestone of Apple setting such astonishing records.” To listen to the interview in its entirety, please click here.
Mueller Investigation; Ohio Special Election/Primaries; Manafort Trial/Gates Testimony, California Wildfire and the Environment, Trump China Tariffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Discussed Yesterday (8/8). The Robert Mueller probe; the special election in Ohio and key primaries in several states, the trial of Paul Manafort highlighted by the damaging testimony of Rick Gates; the deadly California wildfires and their possible causes; and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (8/8), according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. “Summer Camp,” a two-day, outdoor music concert showcasing the different sounds of alternative rock, will be held this Saturday (8/11) and Sunday (8/12) at Redmond, Washington’s Marymoor Park. Entercom Seattle’s KNDD “107.7 The End” hosts the tenth annual event, which will feature – among others – AWOLNATION, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Manchester Orchestra, Robert DeLong, and Elle King. A portion of the ticket sales will go to Pearl Jam’s “Home Fund” to fight homelessness in Seattle. The “Home Fund” is part of the Vitalogy Foundation, which supports the efforts of non-profit organizations and their work in the fields of community health, the environment, arts and education, and social change ….. Changes at Cumulus Media Syracuse find CHR WNTQ “93-Q The #1 Hit Music Station” music director/afternoon drive talent Rick Roberts boosted to assistant program director/digital content manager, while production director Joey Walker takes over as “93-Q” mid-day host/digital content manager for alternative WAQX “95-X” and rock WXTL “105.9 The Rebel.” Operations manager Tom Mitchell comments, “We are pleased to promote from within. In these new roles, both Rick and Joey will apply valuable fresh perspective to market leader ’93-Q.’ Rick assumes all APD duties, along with digital content oversight/management and the afternoon-drive air shift. Joey brings talent and enthusiasm to the ’93-Q’ midday slot. Both will continue to develop new opportunities for us in the digital and social media realm.” ….. Former 12-year vice president of operations for Rubber City Radio Akron’s WQMX “94.9 Your Station – Your Country,” Sue Wilson Cordle, restarts her voiceover business with Sue Wilson Creative. She previously was Cleveland adult contemporary WDOK’s director/programming for 12 years; a programming consultant for McVay Media; and director/programming of Salem Cleveland contemporary Christian WFHM “95.5 The Fish” and co-owned Christian talk WHKW “AM 1220 The Word.” ….. In conjunction with the National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), Kizart Media Partners (KMP) will present the 18th annual “Power of Urban Radio Forum” October 4th and 5th in Washington, DC. This year’s National Service awardee, Procter & Gamble chief business officer Marc Pritchard, will be the keynote speaker. KMP founder/managing director Sherman Kizart notes, “We continue the tradition of bringing together influential marketers and advertising agencies to discuss the incomparable value that the African-American market and urban radio bring as key communications elements. The event coincides with NABOB’s 42nd annual Fall Broadcast Management Conference. NABOB and PURF conference registrations are $200 for members; $400 for non-members ….. Chicago media reporter Robert Feder is first to report that, sometime next year, legendary “Windy City” programmer/on-air talent Tommy Edwards will publish his memoir, which will feature stories of Edwards’ 54-year radio career. Highlights will surely include his time working with the iconic Larry Lujack and moonlighting as public address announcer for the Chicago Bulls. Four years ago, Edwards retired from CBS Radio’s classic hits-oldies WJMK “K-Hits 104.3” (now Entercom-owned urban-rhythmic oldies WBMX “104.3 Jams”) ….. Grammy-nominated country artist Cam will serve as the first host of Slacker Radio’s “Women Crush Everyday” (#WCE Country), a channel devoted to introducing and elevating female country artists. “Women Crush Everyday” will feature commentary and playlist selections from ladies in the music industry. Slacker’s country format captain Jess Wright declares, “We have amazingly talented women making music in Nashville and they deserve to be heard. In 2017, more than 97% of the artists who appeared on the year-end country top 40 were male. This doesn’t reflect the quality of music created by women – it reflects a lack of support from the gatekeepers of country music who believe that women have limited commercial appeal. Through Slacker, we can bring the music of female country artists directly to our audience, curated by the people who are most passionate about it – the women in Nashville’s music industry.” ….. Interim general manager of Bellevue Community College-owned KBCS, Seattle – Carol Handley – is named director of music programming at Friends of 88.5 FM’s KNKX in the same market and will begin her new duties one week from next Monday (8/20). Director of content Matt Martinez notes, “Carol has proven success in building and nurturing teams and on-air talent; an entrepreneurial spirit; and a love of storytelling. With her deep roots in the Seattle music scene, I am confident she will redouble our commitment to supporting this vital and vibrant community.” Handley succeeds Nick Francis, who is retiring after 13 years in that position. In Seattle’s July 2018 Nielsen Audio PPM report, KNKX ranks #14, dropping the six-tenths it gained in June (3.0 – 3.6 – 3.0, 6+).
Rod Shares Red Roses With Dresdale. During his interview with ABC Radio‘s Andrea Dresdale (r), one of the most prolific pop star interviewers in radio, the ageless Rod Stewart (l) discussed his new album “Blood Red Roses” and his headlining tour with Cyndi Lauper.
TALKERS Convention Early Bird Discount Ends Today! DON’T MISS THE DISCOUNT! The opportunity to attend the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important convention at a significantly reduced registration fee comes to an end today (Friday, February 2) at 5:00 pm ET. Those registering before the deadline will save $50. TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will take place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. However, those registering before 5:00 pm ET TODAY pay only $279. The convention is already well on its way to being an early sellout. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Tim Clarke Upped to VP of Audience and Content for Radio at Cox. In this new role, Tim Clarke will “set the overarching content strategy for radio — programming, new content development, content distribution, audience growth and measurement” for Cox Media Group. Clarke has been serving CMG as senior director of digital audience for radio. The company says that “vice president of programming Steve Smith will continue in his critical role to oversee CMG format leaders and work directly on radio programming with radio stations and brand managers.” Smith will report to Clarke in this new structure. Clarke says, “It is an honor to take on these expanded responsibilities. Cox is truly an incredible organization and I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I have been afforded throughout my 13-year career here. This is an exciting, transformative time for the media business and Cox Media Group has the best radio brands and digital products in local media.”
Cumulus and Merlin Agree to Path Forward for WKQX and WLUP-FM in Chicago. With stations operator Cumulus Media in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and unwilling to buy the two Chicago rock stations for the previously contracted price of $50 million, stations owner Merlin Media and Cumulus have agreed to the following new terms. Cumulus will continue to operate the stations under the local marketing agreement but will not be bound to purchase the alternative and classic rock outlets. Merlin will continue to present the stations to prospective buyers. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “We’re pleased to reach this mutual agreement, which establishes a clear path forward for these stations and our employees in Chicago following months of negotiations with Merlin. We continue to be interested in permanently acquiring these stations on economic terms that make sense for our business. In the meantime, as we have for the past several years, Cumulus will continue to operate WKQX-FM and WLUP-FM while Merlin seeks a new owner. Importantly, nothing is changing in the near-term. It is business as usual for team members, advertisers and partners, and we look forward to achieving a favorable outcome for all parties involved.” The new agreement with Merlin provides for an approximately three-month extension of the LMA with additional extensions thereafter, exercisable upon mutual agreement by Cumulus and Merlin.
Bankruptcy Judge Relieves Cumulus of Contract Responsibilities. Yesterday, Cumulus Media was in court for a hearing before bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman. As you’re aware, the company asked the court to let it out of some 20 contracts that it deemed were untenable – including the Merlin deal in Chicago noted above. Judge Chapman agrees to let Cumulus out of all the deals – the Chicago Bulls had already arranged to move their radio play-by-play from WLS-AM to Entercom’s crosstown WSCR – except a content distribution agreement that Westwood One has with CNBC.
Alpha Media Names Format Captains; Greg Martin to Lead News/Talk/Sports. Nine format captains are named by Alpha Media, with news/talk KTSA and sports talk KZDC, San Antonio operations manager and content director Greg Martin appointed to lead the news/talk/sports formats. Alpha has this to say about Martin: He’s “spent the better part of his career doing top 40 at great stations such as KKSS, Albuquerque; KHFI, Austin, KQKS, Denver; and KTFM, San Antonio. Several years after returning to San Antonio in 1999 to do afternoons on KTFM, Greg eventually transitioned into operations and programming ‘News Talk 550’ KTSA and ‘ESPN San Antonio’ day-to-day.” Speaking about the new roles, Alpha Media EVP of content Scott Mahalick says, “We are always proud to promote from within Alpha. Our format captains have been carefully selected based on their experience, format expertise, reliability, and performance. I look forward to seeing great success happen from this collaboration.” Other format captain appointments are: rock/alternative/AAA – Kenny Vest; classic hits/oldies – Rick Hirschmann; country – Joe “MoJoe” Roberts; hot AC/AC – Leo Baldwin; CHR – Ben Davis; urban/urban AC/Gospel – Darrick “Brown” Williams; rhythmic/throwbacks – Mark “TicTak” Allen; and Spanish – Alfonso Flores.
Former All-News KQV, Pittsburgh Sold for $55,000. Once upon a time, KQV, Pittsburgh was a big-time CHR station serving the market. Later it morphed into an all-news station operated by the Dickey family’s Calvary Inc. (not the Atlanta Dickeys of Cumulus fame). Just before the holidays, Calvary revealed that the news format was just too expensive to continue operating the station and that, after much soul-searching, it would be selling the heritage signal. Now we learn that Bob Stevens – a principal of Broadcast Communications Inc. – is buying the station for $55,000. This deal is a “limited asset purchase agreement” and Stevens will move the transmitter location for the station to the one occupied by his current property, WEDO, McKeesport, Pennsylvania.
PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this analysis of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2017 PPM survey, today focusing on public news/talk. Given that the Holiday survey period takes place at a time of year that pulls people out of their usual listening habits, it’s not surprising that “only about one of every five stations on this public news/talk panel are up December 2017 – ‘Holiday’ 2017 (22%, 6+) while 72% are down; the remaining 6% of the sample is flat.” However, comparing Holiday 2016 6+ ratings to Holiday 2017, “more than six of 10 stations from our eligible public news/talk sample are up year-to-year (64%); 26% are down; and the remaining 10% are unchanged from a year ago.” No public news/talk station ranked #1 in its market during the Holiday survey, but four ranked #2: KQED, San Francisco (and in the nearby San Jose market; KUOW, Seattle; KPBS, San Diego; and KOPB, Portland. See the whole report here.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly Tips FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (right) poses for a pic with FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade (left) after appearing on Kilmeade’s radio show and telling his listeners that President Trump will release the secret FBI surveillance memo very soon. Kilmeade Tweeted out this pic and the scoop from Kelly.
TALKERS News Notes. It’s the end of an era for New Orleans Saints fans as local radio play-by-play legend Jim Henderson, a.k.a. Hondo, is retiring from his booth duties after 31 years with Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM. Entercom New Orleans market manager Chris Wegmann says, “Jim has been a beloved member of our team at WWL in New Orleans for many years. He made a very complex job look easy and raised the bar for sportscasters everywhere. I speak on behalf of the entire WWL family when I say we will miss Jim dearly, as will all New Orleans Saints fans across the Gulf South and throughout the country. We wish him the absolute best on his next chapter.”…..The compensation committee of Cumulus Media agrees to extend the contract of EVP of corporate marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes. She’ll also be getting a raise, effective July 3, bumping her annual salary to $650,000. The new deal puts Grimes under contract with the company through July 2020. As with most corporate executives, her contract also includes a bonus structure and the ability to earn stock options…..The talk radio show “Vegas Never Sleeps with Steven Maggi” is going national via the Biztalk Radio Network. Maggi calls his show a “weekly romp to Las Vegas, the capital of fun, food and entertainment” that provides “a look behind the scenes of world-class hotels, dining, gaming, special events and conventions.” Maggi began hosting the program in 2016 and he says the Sunday 11:00 am ET show is “the perfect addition for stations looking for a weekend program that brings the excitement and energy of Las Vegas to their market.”
Trump’s State of the Union Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 29-February 2. This week’s State of the Union Address from President Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia investigation and whether the president will talk with special counsel Robert Mueller. Coming in at #3 was the controversy over the potential release of the secret FBI surveillance memo, followed by the status of the Obama-era DACA act and the administration’s immigration policy 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 the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programmer Jason Carr joins the iHeartMedia Cleveland cluster to serve as program director for alternative “ALT 99.1 FM” (WMMS-HD2/W256BT) and assistant program director for rock WMMS. iHeartMedia North Ohio Region president Keith Hotchkiss comments, “Jason Carr comes to Cleveland after spending 10-plus years programming and running stations in Florida. I’m excited for him to head north, experience the Cleveland winter, contribute to the growth of ‘ALT 99.1 FM’ and further strengthen the brand of ‘100.7 WMMS.’”…..Entercom announces a branding tweak and air-talent changes on some of its San Diego stations. First, alternative KBZT leaves behind the “FM 94/9” brand and is now “ALT 949.” The air talent moves are reflected in the new lineups at adult contemporary KYXY and classic hits KXSN “Sunny 98.1.” KYXY’s new schedule is: Susan DeVincent in mornings, Dorothy Tran in middays, Joe Rosati in afternoons and Sherry Knight for evenings. At KXSN, AJ and Sara host mornings, Dave Mason is in middays, Gene Knight hosts afternoons and Brooks O’Brian is the night personality…..As reported first by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Entercom’s triple A WXRT, Chicago announces plans to drop the 43-year-old Sunday night “Jazz Transfusion” program hosted by Barry Winograd. The show’s final edition will be this Sunday at 11:00 pm.
Talking with Kellyanne Conway at the White House Radio Row. Talk40.com News publisher Bryan Crabtree (center) and conservative media figure Robyn Walensky (right) interview White House spokesperson Kellyanne Conway (left) at today’s (1/31) White House radio row. Crabtree tells TALKERS the administration-sponsored event at the Old Executive Office Building “included a few strategic radio and blogging hosts to be able to speak with cabinet and top White House officials in order to react to the State of the Union.” Some of the other administration officials who took part included: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, among others.
It’s Official: WSCR Grabs Bulls by the Horns. Seeking to shed unprofitable contracts, Chapter 11-ensconced Cumulus Media asked the bankruptcy court to allow it out of a number of deals that are losing money, including its WLS-AM, Chicago contracts to air Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox games. Now, one of those contracts is void after the Bulls and Entercom agreed to terms to air the NBA club’s games on its sports talk WSCR “The Score.” The announcement was made on this morning’s “Mully & Hanley” show with market manager Jimmy de Castro and operations director Mitch Rosen breaking the news. The first Bulls game on WSCR will air on Saturday (2/3) as they play at the LA Clippers. The question that remains is where will the White Sox end up? At Tribune’s WGN, at ESPN’s WMVP, or somewhere else? Stay tuned.
WXDE, Salisbury-Ocean City, Delaware Adds Talk Pro Ed Tyll to New Program Lineup. Salisbury-Ocean City news/talker WXDE, Lewes “Delaware 105.9” announces another addition to its new lineup as talk radio pro Ed Tyll joins to host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Recent arrival Rob Sussman is hosting the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart. Sussman had been serving at KBUR, Burlington, Iowa as news director. Station programmer Dan Gaffney continues as morning personality and Susan Monday – whose show is simulcast to Delmarva Broadcasting sister station WDEL, Wilmington – airs from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Gaffney states, “Ed Tyll is one of the most passionate talk show hosts I have heard and it is exciting to hear his energy blasting out of the speakers from WXDE. And, if anyone ever wanted to know where the next generation of great talk show host talent is, we have that too in 26-year-old Rob Sussman!”
TALKERS News Notes. The January cable news/talk numbers are in and, according to a report by TVNewser, FOX News Channel’s Sean Hannity led all competitors in total viewer average with 3.27 million. FNC had seven of the top 10 cable news/talk shows in January in total viewer average – Tucker Carlson finished #3 and Laura Ingraham’s “The Ingraham Angle” was #4. In the adults 25-54 demo, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was #1, edging FNC’s Sean Hannity 678,000 to 660,000. The rest of the adults 25-54 top five were “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (597,000), “Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell (518,000), and “The Ingraham Angle” (504,000)…..Former FOX News Channel and Talk Radio Network star Andrea Tantaros is continuing her legal battle against FNC, now claiming that the late Roger Ailes used a closed circuit video system to view female staffers changing their clothes in the wardrobe department. This amended complaint is part of Tantaros’ ongoing allegation that FNC engaged in retaliation against her. For its part, FOX replied to the report in The Hollywood Reporter, saying, “Fox News moved for sanctions against the lawyer who filed Andrea Tantaros’ original lawsuit and he has since withdrawn. None of the four lawyers currently representing Tantaros in the action signed her new complaint, which she purports to have written herself. Her outlandish claims lack any factual basis.”
Jim Bohannon Celebrates 25 Years of Nightly Program. Nationally syndicated late-night talk show host Jim Bohannon is pictured above celebrating his 25th anniversary hosting his eponymous Westwood One radio talk show. Bohannon took over the time slot back on January 29, 1993 from Larry King. Bohannon’s staff surprised him with a special celebratory broadcast that included: a customized montage, a surprise call-in greeting from Larry King, plus congratulatory messages from Westwood One personalities Dennis Miller, Charles Osgood, and Michael Savage. Check out the audio here. Westwood One EVP news & talk Bart Tessler comments, “It’s been a highlight of my career working with Jim over a very fast 25 years and producing programs with him across the country and around the world. Jim Bohannon has long been the standard bearer for a great talk show host: intelligent, informed, passionate, and funny. Congratulations to Jim on a superb 25 years.”
1,000 Smackeroos for PodcastOne Staffers. In celebration of the new corporate tax rate, PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz announces the company is awarding $1,000 bonuses to all of the company’s full-time employees. Pattiz says, “There’s no question that cutting the corporate federal tax rate to 21% will have a positive effect on business, ours included. We want our employees to feel the direct benefit of these cuts, especially since because of their efforts we are coming off another record year in 2017. So, we say, ‘Thank you’ to our dedicated staff and ‘job well done.’”
State of the Union Address, Trump-Russia Probe, Andrew McCabe Resignation, DACA Status/Immigration Policy, FISA Abuses Memo, U.S.-Turkey-Russia Relations, Flu Epidemic, Anti-Military Teacher Rant, Super Blue Blood Moon, and Super Bowl LII Among News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/30). Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address by President Trump; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives; Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe resigns from his position under pressure from President Trump; the status of the Obama-era DACA Act and the Trump administration’s immigration policy; the House Intelligence Committee’s vote to release a memo detailing alleged surveillance abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department; the tenuous relations between the U.S. and Turkey over the latter’s attacks on Kurds in Northern Syria and Russia’s involvement in Turkish policy in Syria; the flu epidemic that’s sweeping the U.S.; the viral video of a Los Angeles-area teacher’s rant about U.S. military policy in which he called U.S. soldiers “the lowest of the low”; Wednesday’s rare “super blue blood moon”; and Sunday’s Super Bowl LII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cox Media Group Joins Trustworthy Accountability Group. In an effort to improve transparency and combat criminal activity in digital advertising, Cox Media Group announces it is now a participant in the TAG Registry by the Trustworthy Accountability Group. TAG is a digital industry program created to fight fraudulent traffic and improve transparency in the digital ecosystem. TAG Registered companies have been verified as legitimate participants in the digital advertising industry through a proprietary background check and review process powered by Dun & Bradstreet and approved by TAG. TAG Registration is also the baseline requirement for companies to apply for TAG’s four certification programs around fighting fraudulent traffic, stopping ad-supported piracy, reducing malware, and improving transparency. Vice president of CMGdigital Joe Weir comments, “Reliable data, transparency, and a brand safe environment are very important to Cox Media Group. We are committed to delivering quality inventory for our advertisers and our participation in the TAG Registry is a sign of that commitment. The digital ad supply chain is very complex and can be challenging to navigate. The TAG Registry is an important tool for companies to confirm they are doing businesses with legitimate counterparties in the digital advertising space.”
Doing Relief Aid in Haiti. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network vice president news & talk programming Tom Tradup with a group of children in Citi de Soleil, Haiti. Tradup is working with the relief organization Food For The Poor.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. RAMP24/7.com reports that KINK, Portland program director and afternoon drive host Sean Demery is recovering from a brain-stem stroke suffered on January 20. Demery has been programming the Alpha Media triple A station since March of last year. RAMP published the following: “It is with heavy hearts but positive spirits that the family and friends of Sean Demery…would like to inform you of his recent medical issue. Sean suffered a brain-stem stroke on January 20. We are told that Sean’s spirits are good, as he’s been requesting his favorite bands, checking in on KINK daily, and conversing with family and friends and checking email and texts. There is a long road to recovery ahead for Sean, and we ask for your continued support, positive thoughts and prayers. Sean’s wife Jennifer has asked that you check in on Sean’s Facebook page for updates and to post supportive messages, videos and photos for Sean. We also ask that you respect the privacy of Sean’s family and please direct your messages, posts and well-wishes to the Facebook Group. Hearing from his friends and listeners is the best therapy he can receive, so thank you!”…..Los Angeles CHR KAMP “97.1 AMP Radio” adds Chelsea Briggs to the morning show with Edgar Sotelo and Brian Moote. Entercom Los Angeles SVP and market manager Jeff Federman comments, “Chelsea is a social media superstar and we are thrilled to bring her unique personality to the new ‘AMP Morning Show’ with Edgar and Brian. Their chemistry is unparalleled and I’m confident that the three of them will create sensational mornings for our listeners.” Briggs has most recently been serving as a correspondent for Billboard News…..iHeartMedia and KGB, San Diego morning personality Bob Buchman come to terms on a contract extension to keep him working alongside Coe Lewis on the classic rock morning station. KGP program director Shauna Moran states, “Bob has been a vital piece of our programming puzzle here in San Diego and we look forward to more successful years. Bob and Coe have been a favorite of the rock radio morning commute and we are excited that it will continue.”…..Chelsea Alayne is the new morning host at Sun Broadcasting’s rock WXNX, Fort Myers “93X.” She takes over the daypart from Spam, who exited in December of 2017.
CHR KZIA, Cedar Rapids Owner Killed in Deadly Auto Crash. According to a report by KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids, KZIA Inc. owner Robert Norton Jr. was driving the wrong way on I-380 when he struck a car driven by 28-year-old Jennifer Koenighain. Both were declared dead at the scene. Norton’s company owned and operated CHR KZIA “Z102.9,” sports KGYM, and adult hits KZIA-HD2/K236AA.
Emmis Reaches Agreements in Principle to Sell Its Four St. Louis Stations. These agreements in principle are exactly that and subsequent definitive agreements mean more, but Emmis Communications announced today (1/30) that it will sell classic rock KSHE and alternative rock KPNT “The Point” to Hubbard Radio and news/talk KFTK-FM and CHR KNOU to Entercom. Terms – including price – are not available at this time. If the sales are finalized and pass regulatory approval, Entercom would own both heritage news/talk KMOX and news/talk KFTK. It seems unlikely that Entercom would operate two conservative news/talk stations in the same market and KFTK’s Class C1 FM signal would be a prime candidate for a flip to a music format.
Imus in the Morning/WABC Update. From the mouth of WABC, New York morning legend Don Imus comes the news that when his show ends on March 29, certain staff members are leaving along with him. The I-man said that show engineer Lou Rufino, along with cast members Rob Bartlett and Tony Powell will not continue with Cumulus Media’s 77WABC. TALKERS magazine sources also say that, effective today (1/30), Lisa Ritchie moves from evening news anchor position to weekday afternoon news anchor. Also, weekday street reporter Jerry Barmash assumes the evening news anchor role.
Ralph Bristol Exits WWTN-FM, Nashville Morning Show. There’s a change in mornings at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN-FM, Nashville “Super Talk 99.7 WTN” as morning personality Ralph Bristol exits the station. There’s no official word from Cumulus on this change, but former WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning host Brian Wilson has been sitting in on the morning show, so far. The rest of the weekday lineup on WTN is Michael Del Giorno in late mornings, Dan Mandis in early afternoons, and Phil Valentine in afternoon drive.
PodcastOne Founder and Executive Chairman Norm Pattiz to Present a “Podcasting for Radio Broadcasters” Clinic at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! The founder and executive chairman of one of the talk media industry’s leading podcasting platforms, PodcastOne, will address the attendees at the forthcoming TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! on the subject of “Podcasting for Radio Broadcasters.” As podcasting grows into a major communications business and modern-day cultural phenomenon, it is becoming clear that the practice is an extension of the radio industry’s platform projection into the digital space. According to Norm Pattiz, “There are unlimited potential and yet untapped opportunities for radio broadcasters to expand their programming, brands and potential for revenue generation in this exciting field. We will discuss some of them at the TALKERS conference.”
TALKERS News Notes. Talk show host Jeremy Leahy’s “Standing Ground” program picks up another affiliate as WLBB, Carrollton, Georgia adds the show to its program schedule. TalkAmericaRadio.US operations manager Ron Phillips comments, “We are extremely proud to be carrying Jeremy’s program. In his unfiltered style, he guides the listener through all aspects of our political landscape. He is well on his way to being a headliner on our national network.”…..USA Radio Network is reporting that “WAR Now: The Wayne Allyn Root Show” has added new affiliate stations, including KBDT, Dallas (USA Radio’s new flagship station) and KSPK, Minneapolis. Additionally, the 8:00 pm ET hour of the program is carried by Newsmax TV, reaching some 50 million households…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that sources tell him the rights to Chicago Bulls play-by-play could transfer from Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM to Entercom’s sports talker WSCR “The Score,” as a deal is close to being struck. As part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy and company-wide cost-cutting measures, Cumulus is asking out of its deals with the Bulls and MLB’s White Sox. It’s hard to say where the White Sox rights may end up. WSCR also carries the Cubs. Tribune’s WGN let go of the Cubs several years ago, presumably for financial reasons. And, it’s not certain if sport talker WMVP parent ESPN is interested in the White Sox. Stay tuned…..Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is entering the news media game. He was introduced on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program today (1/30) by George Stephanopoulos as the newest ABC News contributor. He was referred to as a friend and adviser to President Trump. Christie – a former U.S. prosecutor gave his takes on the exit of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and the Robert Mueller special investigation…..Cumulus Media news/talk KABC, Los Angeles was honored by Southern California’s RTNA with five top honors at the 68th Annual RTNA Golden Mike Awards on Saturday (1/27). The station took home the following: Best Newscast Under 15 Minutes: Leeann Tweeden, anchor; Sharon Reardon, editor; Best Sports Segment: Randy Wang; Best Government and Political Reporting: James Rojas; Best Traffic Reporter: Bill Thomas; and Best News Reporting by Radio Network or Content Syndicator: Westwood One‘s Jim Roope.
Merlin Media Still Negotiating with Cumulus. WKQX-FM and WLUP-FM, Chicago owner Merlin Media filed yesterday (1/29) with the bankruptcy court handling Cumulus Media’s Chapter 11 case, informing it that it is still working with Cumulus to seek a mutually beneficial solution to the ownership of the two stations. Those following the Cumulus bankruptcy case recall that the company is asking the court to let it out of a number of contracts that are losing money. One of those is the LMA of WKQX and WLUP. Under the terms of the deal, Cumulus is also under obligation to buy the two signals for around $50 million. Merlin acknowledges that, in the event negotiations fail and pending a court ruling, it is preparing to either operate the alternative and classic rock stations itself and/or seek another buyer. Also, Merlin is objecting to Cumulus classifying the Merlin contract as a subordinating claim – which would make it payable only after senior claims are settled.
Andrew McCabe Resignation, Trump-Russia Investigation/Kremlin List, FISA Abuses Memo, State of the Union Address, Criticism of Politicized Grammys, DACA Status/Immigration Policy, Strava Security Concerns, Flu Epidemic, and Super Bowl LII Among News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/29). Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe resigns from his position under pressure from President Trump; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents and Vladimir Putin’s response to the U.S. Treasury Department’s “Kremlin list” of Russian politicians and oligarchs who’ve thrived under Putin; the House Intelligence Committee’s vote to release a memo detailing alleged surveillance abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department; President Trump’s State of the Union Address; criticism of the political speeches at Sunday night’s Grammy Awards; the status of the Obama-era DACA Act and the Trump administration’s immigration policy; concerns of the security of U.S. service personnel after use of the Strava workout app appears to reveal their locations; the flu epidemic that’s sweeping the U.S.; and Sunday’s Super Bowl LII 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. Morning radio personality John Forsythe is retiring from iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary WMGF, Orlando “Magic 107.7” where he’s been co-hosting AM drive with Leslye Gale since 2010. During his 50-year career, Forsythe has worked at such stations as WQAM-AM, Miami; KLIF-AM, Dallas; KKOB-FM, Albuquerque; and KCBQ, San Diego. About retirement, Forsythe says, “It’s been a difficult decision to step away from such a successful show but it’s time. Radio has given me so many amazing life experiences. From the early days in Miami with the Bee Gees living on the same canal as ‘QAM in the ‘70s, to being part of the Chargers broadcast team in the ‘80s, to raising millions for children’s hospitals in the ‘90s and 2000s, radio has enriched my life in so many ways! I’m grateful for the opportunity to try and make someone’s day better through warmth and laughter.”…..The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that Entercom urban contemporary WVEE, Atlanta “V-103” will replace departing morning personality Ryan Cameron with familiar voices – Frank Ski and Miss Sophia, along with Wanda Smith. Ski returns to the station after exiting in 2012 and Miss Sophia returns after an almost eight-year absence…..When the new Justin Timberlake album Man of the Woods drops this Friday (2/2), it will be available on demand via iHeartRadio starting at 12:00 midnight ET. iHeartRadio and Timberlake have teamed up to gift fans with the access to stream the album all weekend long during iHeartRadio’s “All Access Free Preview Weekend.” At 8:00 pm ET on Friday, iHeartMedia’s digital platform will host an iHeartRadio Album Preview with Justin Timberlake across broadcast stations nationwide and digitally on iHeartRadio’s Hit Nation featuring an exclusive interview about the making of the album…..iHeartMedia rock station KEGL, Dallas “97.1 The Eagle” announces the lineup for this year’s “BFD 2018” concert at Starplex Pavilion on May 26. The day-long concert will feature performances from A Perfect Circle, Stone Temple Pilots, Theory of a Deadman, I Prevail, Nothing More, Candlebox, 10 Years, and The Blue Stones…..SiriusXM is devoting a channel to the music of Billy Joel all during February. The Billy Joel Channel will feature the works of Joel plus a new series, “BJ the DJ” in which Joel plays some of the artists he admires most. Each show will be focused on a different genre of music including pop, rock and R&B. Billy will host this series while sitting at his piano illustrating musically and verbally each song he selects.