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Thursday, October 10, 2019

| October 10, 2019

KXNT, Las Vegas Revamps Mornings; Glenn Beck and Alan Stock Join Daily Program Schedule. The morning drive programming at Entercom’s news/talk KXNT, Las Vegas is now officially comprised of two hours of the Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck program – from 6:00 am to 8:00 am – followed by the local, one-hour “Vegas @ 8” show, hosted by longtime Sin City talk radio host Alan Stock.  Talk host Michael Castner exited the KXNT morning show back in June.  Entercom Las Vegas SVP and market manager Dan Kearney says, “We are excited to bring Glenn to KXNT and add his entertaining and engaging voice to our all-star lineup of programs.  Our ongoing commitment to bringing Las Vegas and the Valley the best in talk programming will be strengthened by this partnership.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  Fifty percent of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go down from the August survey to the September survey while just 31% were up (19% were flat).  Year-over-year, 56% of all-news stations were down, while just 38% improved from 2018 to 2019.  There were two all-news stations that ranked #1 in their respective markets in the September survey – Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

WGY, Albany Unveils Season Two of ‘Upstate Unsolved’ True Crime Podcast. Albany news/talk WGY-AM/FM “News Radio 810 AM & 103.1 FM” announces the season two debut of its iHeartRadio Original true crime podcast, “Upstate Unsolved,” hosted by WGY reporter Phoebe LaFave.  The iHeartMedia station says season two launches in partnership with the Cold Case Analysis Center at the College of St. Rose and investigates the unsolved murders of Catherine ‘Kate’ Blackburn in 1964 and Ruth Whitman in 1959.  With the support of the Albany Police Department and the Colonie Police Department, WGY’s “Upstate Unsolved” brings these cold cases into the spotlight in hopes of finding justice for these women.  LaFave adds, “It’s our goal to bring these cold cases out from the shadows because, although time is running out, it’s still possible that someone knows something that can solve one or both of these murders.  Everyone deserves to have their truths come to light and I hope season two of ‘Upstate Unsolved’ can help shine some light on the untimely deaths of these women.”  In March of 2019, the first season of “Upstate Unsolved” premiered focusing on Suzanne Lyall, a Ballston Spa native and University of Albany student who went missing on March 2, 1998.

Rush Limbaugh Show to Hold Sixth Annual Mahindra Military Salute Giveaway. In honor of Veteran’s Day, Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh program is presenting the sixth annual Mahindra Military Salute Giveaway in which all active and veteran military service members are eligible to enter for a chance to win a Mahindra 1000 Gas Standard utility vehicle with roof and windshield.  Entries are being accepted for the utility vehicle giveaway through November 10.  The winner will be selected in a random drawing on November 11, 2019. Mahindra Ag North America president and CEO Viren Popli says, “We appreciate the contribution of our military to their communities, the nation and this world.  Mahindra’s core values include making a difference in the communities where we work and live.  Our military men and women exemplify this value and we are pleased to partner with Rush Limbaugh and his listeners to show our support and gratitude for their service.”

Goldberg Named Director of News Programming for ABC Audio. There are management changes at ABC Audio as ABC News Radio midday anchor Scott Goldberg is promoted to director of news programming for ABC Audio, effective October 14.  In a memo to staff, ABC Audio VP/GM Stacia Deshishku says, “Scott is a brilliant journalist with a trusted editorial voice who’s been recognized across the industry for his innovative storytelling.  Just this year he won the National Edward R. Murrow Award for Sports Reporting, his third individual Murrow since joining the Audio department.  He is intimately familiar with how we find and tell stories here at ABC News Radio and I’m excited for the new ideas that he will bring to our division – which he hasn’t been shy about sharing.”  ABC is seeking a new midday news anchor.  At the same time, Jon Newman is now ABC News Radio’s managing editor in which he’ll continue to lead the newsroom.  Tara Gimbel is named deputy managing editor.  These changes come more than three months after Andrew Kalb exited the executive director of programming and news coverage position.  He was also executive producer of ABC’s “Start Here” podcast.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talker Chris Carlin won’t be filling in on WEPN, New York on the Michael Kay show after all – at least until the New Year.  Yesterday, TALKERS reported that the former WFAN, New York host – who exited the early afternoon show last month – would be sitting in for Peter Rosenberg on WEPN with Kay while Rosenberg was out for the Jewish holidays.  But, according to Neil Best at Newsday, as Carlin went on the air with Kay on Wednesday (10/9), ESPN got a call from Entercom notifying them that if Carlin stayed on for two hours, he risked violating his contract and not getting paid through the end of the year.  He left after 30 minutes as a “guest.”…..ESPN senior writer and TV/radio commentator Mina Kimes is hosting the new “ESPN Daily” podcast set to debut on October 21.  ESPN says “ESPN Daily” will “take a deep dive into a specific story in sports, using ESPN’s unmatched journalistic resources and deep roster of reporters, producers and commentators.”  With ESPN since 2014, Kimes regularly appears on multiple television programs, including the TV simulcast of radio’s “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” “Highly Questionable,” “Around the Horn,” “SportsCenter” and “Outside the Lines.”…..At SB Nation Radio, Basketball Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes returns to host the weekly “In the Post” show.  Hayes and co-host Alex Gold will present news and interviews from the college and pro basketball worlds.  The program debuts on Saturday, October 19 at 7:00 am ET…..Actor Tommy Lenk debuts a new podcast called, “Trashcast,” on the Ladygang Network on PodcastOne.  The “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Rock of Ages” star says, “Celebs bring me their prized possessions and items that no longer ‘spark joy,’ and I try to figure out what’s trash and what’s treasure!  I’m like a totally unqualified Marie Kondo, with none of the discipline and a very shoddy work ethic.”…..Also from PodcastOne, Brian Deegan – the most decorated professional freestyle motocross rider in X Games history – hosts “The Deegans.”  PodcastOne says, “Each week, the Deegans give listeners an all-access pass to the world of racing, parenting, business, sponsorships and health.  In addition, they conduct interviews with the top talent from the world of moto-sports and share their personal goals and insights into how the family stays ahead of the pack.”…..Blumhouse and iHeartMedia announce a strategic partnership to produce a series of fictional podcasts for potential, future film and television development.  The two companies will collaborate to develop and produce scripted podcasts in the horror genre, ranging from suspenseful thrillers and murder mysteries to science fiction audio-plays.  The first podcast in the series is set to launch early next year and will be distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network.  iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “We think fiction is one of the next big genres in podcasting, tapping into the incredible imaginative power we all have – the theater of the mind – and so we couldn’t be more excited to bring this slate of shows into the world, starting with ‘The Mantawauk Caves.’”…..iHeartMedia San Francisco launches a new iHeartRadio Original podcast titled, “CEO Unplugged,” hosted by Carolyn McArdle from KISQ-FM “98.1 The Breeze” and Sandy Stec and Marcus from KIOI-FM “STAR 101.3.”  “CEO Unplugged” highlights Bay Area trailblazers, disruptors, forward-thinking leaders, and philanthropists who set the stage for success and growth and who exemplify the connection between community and business.  Featured podcast guests include Kara Goldin, CEO of Hint Inc.; Bentley Hall, CEO of Good Eggs; Amy Errett, CEO of Madison Reed; Randy Hetrick, CEO of TRX; Paul A. King, CEO of Stanford Children’s Center; Ajay Prakash, CEO of Rinse.com; Nancy McKenney, CEO of Marin Humane; and James Reinhart, CEO of ThredUp.com…..C13Originals is presenting a bonus episode of “Gangster Capitalism” to look at the college admissions scandal.  The episode offers a look at where we are today in “Operation Varsity Blues” with legal analysis of Felicity Huffman’s sentence, re-enactments of wiretapped calls and emails between William “Rick” Singer and parents (including Lori Loughlin), and a look at the con man traits of the scandal mastermind Singer.

Impeachment Inquiry-FOX News Poll, U.S. Syria Policy, 2020 Presidential Race, Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill Book, Ellen DeGeneres-George Bush Flap, U.S.-China Trade Talks, and NBA-China Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/9). The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump, his refusal to cooperate, and the latest FOX News poll showing 51% of voters a for impeachment; the Trump administration’s military policy in Syria and the fate of Kurdish U.S. allies; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and rumors Republican Senator Mitt Romney is considering challenging Trump in the primary; the controversy surrounding the new Ronan Farrow book Catch and Kill that reveals new rape allegations against Matt Lauer; the social media response to Ellen DeGeneres watching Dallas Cowboys game with President George Bush; the status of U.S.-China trade talks, and the NBA’s relationship with China after the Houston Rockets’ GM’s pro-Hong Kong protestors comments 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. Kansas City alternative KCJK-FM tweaks its format to debut a new, “rockternative” format as “105.1 The X.”  The Cumulus Media station is billed as “the natural rock blend of alternative and active rock formats” featuring artists such as: Tool, Shinedown, The Black Keys, Disturbed, The White Stripes, Motley Crue, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, and “many other artists across generations.”  The weekday programming lineup features “The Woody Show” in mornings, Joel Weiss in middays, followed by new arrival Cassiday Proctor in afternoon drive.  Proctor was most recently afternoon personality at Hubbard Radio’s adult hits WARH, St. Louis “106.5 The Arch.”…..Country WRTB-FM, Rockford, Illinois “95.3 The Bull” APD Gordon Mays is promoted to brand manager for the station.  He takes over for Steve Summers, who is still the station’s morning show host but becomes the brand manager for sister adult hits WXRX-HD2…..iHeartMedia country WDRM-FM, Huntsville adds Brent “Dingo” Crank to the “Dan and Josie Morning Show,” with Dan McClain and Josie Lane.  Cranks was most recently morning host at SummitMedia’s WQNU-FM, Louisville.  iHeartMedia Huntsville SVP of programming Erich West says, “Dan and Josie have been dominating this market for years, but to add a new element like Dingo to the show puts us in a position to grow the WDRM morning show.  I know listeners will enjoy Dingo’s upbeat energy and chemistry that he has with Dan and Josie.”…..iHeartMedia announces the lineup for the third annual iHeartRadio “ALTer EGO Presented by Capital One” show at the Forum in Los Angeles on January 18.  The alternative rock show will feature: Billie Eilish, The Black Keys, blink-182, The Lumineers, Rex Orange County, and SHAED.  The show will livestream exclusively on LiveXLive.com and be broadcast on 70 alternative and rock iHeartRadio stations.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

| October 9, 2019

FOX News Radio Utilizing Series of Hosts in 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET Slot Beginning with Harry Hurley as Immediate Replacements for Starnes.  As reported in TALKERS (10/3), FOX News Radio has kicked off a midday show titled, “Fox Across America,” to replace Todd Starnes (who departed the network last week) in its midday 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET slot.  Reports indicate that Fox will be filling the vacancy with a series of hosts with no word yet on the company’s timetable or whether it is even looking for a permanent talent to take over the show.  The first host being utilized in the position is WPG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley who, in addition to his daily morning show, has been serving as one of the top fill-in personalities on the network for more than a year.  Hurley, a member of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” and the 2019 New Jersey Broadcasters Association “Broadcaster of the Year,” has been hosting “Fox Across America” since last Thursday (10/3).   He has hosted mornings in Atlantic City for more than a quarter century where he enjoys legendary status.

TALKERS News Notes.  Sports talk radio pro Chris Carlin announces via Twitter that he’ll be doing some fill-in work on ESPN’s WEPN, New York with afternoon drive host Michael Kay when Peter Rosenberg takes time off for the Jewish holidays.  Carlin was let go from Entercom’s crosstown sports talker WFAN last month as the station pared some expense from its early afternoon show that featured Carlin, Maggie Gray, and Bart Scott…..PRX announces that it is ending production of “Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen” after 20 years.  PRX chief content officer John Barth comments, “‘Studio 360’ has presented a who’s who of diverse cultural leaders, performers, and creators with verve and style.  Anchored by Kurt Andersen’s sharp, inquisitive, free-range mind and personality, a generation of creative producers has explored an impressive scope of arts and culture.  We’re proud of all that ‘Studio 360’ has brought into the lives of listeners over a remarkable 20 years.”…..MLive.com reports on the sale of Michigan radio group Jackson Radio Works from owners Susan and Bruce Goldsen to Jamie and Katina McKibbin.  Jamie McKibbin has worked for the company – as a radio host, station manager, and since 2015 as general manager – for the past 23 years.  The cluster includes news/talk WKHM-AM/W268CA, sports talk WKHM-HD2/W270CJ, CHR WKHM-FM, and country WIBM-AM/W240DG “The Power Cow.”  Jamie McKibbin says, “I love Jackson, I love the community, I love being a part of the community.  I’ve had a passion for radio since I’ve been a kid.”…..Salem Media Group closes on the swap of KKOL-AM, Seattle to Intelli LLC for that company’s KPAM-AM, Portland.  Salem has been airing its conservative news/talk with its Salem Radio Network programming on the station as “AM 860 The Answer” under an LMA.  Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage was the exclusive broker for this deal.

Impeachment Inquiry, Bidens’ Ukraine Business, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-Syria Policy, and NBA-China Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/8). The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump and his administration’s announced refusal to cooperate with requests for documents and testimony; the Republicans’ interest in the Ukraine dealings of Hunter and Joe Biden; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the U.S. military policy in Syria as Turkey prepares to invade Northern Syria; and the NBA’s controversial relationship with China after the Houston Rockets’ general manager made a public statement supporting Hong Kong protestors were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Stephens Media Group Closes on Mapleton Acquisition. The $21 million deal that transfers 37 radio stations from Jim Shea-led Mapleton Communications to David StephensStephens Media Group closes.  The deal includes seven stations in the Medford, Oregon market; six stations in Merced, California, five in the Monterey, California market; six stations in the Redding, California market; six signals in Spokane, Washington; three stations in Alexandria, Louisiana; and four stations in Monroe, Louisiana.  The acquisition doubles the size of Stephens Media and completes Mapleton’s exit from the radio business.  KALIL & CO., INC. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.

WWO Blog: Marketers on Audio.  In this week’s blog from Westwood One, data from presentations at the recent 2019 ANA Masters of Marketing conference is presented for the radio industry.  WWO says three hot topics were audio, brand building, and the power of emotion.  Some of the positive news regarding audio included the observation from Accenture Interactive that, “Forward-looking CMOs recognize the growing potential of audio and interactive voice as a dominant medium, elevating the importance of determining smart marketing strategies that can deliver brand messaging without a screen.”  Also noted was Proctor & Gamble’s use of AM/FM radio: “Major brands like P&G are using AM/FM radio to supplement digital and make their TV better.  Marketers and agencies were amazed to learn that P&G is now America’s fifth-biggest advertiser on American AM/FM radio after being absent from AM/FM radio for decades.”

Beasley Feted at ‘Free Speech Gala.’ Pictured above is Beasley Media Group chief executive officer Caroline Beasley (right) with Frederick J. Ryan, publisher and CEO of The Washington Post (left) and Media Institute president Richard Kaplar (center) at Monday’s 40th Annual “Free Speech Gala” at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC.  Beasley received the American Horizon Award for her visionary industry leadership in helping grow a family-owned radio business from a single AM station into a 65-station multi-media corporation.  Ryan received the Freedom of Speech Award for upholding principles of free speech and free press throughout a journalism career that has spanned print, broadcast, cable, and digital media.  FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks delivered the keynote remarks.  Photo: Gerald Barnes

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In celebration of the release of his autobiography, Me: Elton John (2019, Henry Holt & Co), Elton John and iHeartMedia are teaming up for an exclusive event on Wednesday, October 16 at 10:00 pm ET (7:00 pm PT) at iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles in which the company will host “iHeartRadio ICONS with Elton John.”  The event will feature an exclusive interview hosted by Jim Kerr and will be broadcast across more than 297 iHeartMedia stations digitally on “Big Classic Hits” and “Soft Rock.”  The CW Network will also livestream the event on The CW App and CWTV.com…..iHeartMedia Atlanta announces that Enrique Santos will anchor mornings on its Spanish hits WBZY “La Z 105.3.”  The “Tu Mañana con Enrique Santos” morning show will air from 6:00 am to 10:00 am.  Station PD Orlando Rosa says, “With the increased importance and size of the our U.S. Hispanic audience in Atlanta, both Spanish and English speaking, we’re excited to welcome a top-rated, on-air talent like Enrique Santos in morning drive on ‘105.3 La Z’ with Karla, our local talent who will integrate the local happenings in Atlanta with Enrique.”…..WAY-FM chief operating officer Lloyd Parker announces that current Charleston station manager Brian Driver is named general manager for the WAY-FM properties in South Carolina.  Driver comments, “Thirty-one years ago as a 15-year-old in Dallas getting started in radio, I could have never imagined I would have the opportunity that I now have today.  I have been honored to work for WAY-FM in every facet that I have since day one and could not have gotten as much accomplished in Charleston without the help and leadership of Jim Marshall.  To now be the general manager of WAY-FM Charleston, in such an incredible ministry, is an absolute honor and a blessing that I could not have imagined.”

Thursday, September 12, 2019

| September 12, 2019

Chris Carlin Exits WFAN, New York.  Sports talk personality Chris Carlin (left) was one-third of the team brought in to host the afternoon drive show on Entercom’s WFAN, New York after Mike Francesa left at the end of 2017.  Now, a year and a half later, Carlin announces he’s leaving the midday “CMB” show he’s co-hosted with Bart Scott (right) and Maggie Gray (center).  Regular TALKERS readers are aware that when Mike Francesa returned to WFAN in April of 2018, station brass placed him in PM drive and bumped “CMB” to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot.  This appears to be a fiscal move on Entercom’s part but it’s not clear why Carlin drew the short straw. He tweeted news of his departure on Wednesday: “I’m sad to say today was my last day at WFAN. I want to thank CBS Radio and Entercom for giving me an incredible opportunity for the last 2 years.  I’m proud to count Bart and Maggie among my closest friends. They truly are what my brother calls ‘back alley people,’ those who you want with you in the toughest situations. I’ll always know we had a chance to do something special, but sometimes things just don’t work out the way you hope. Still, we bonded and responded, and I’m so proud of what we accomplished by finishing in the top 3 in four consecutive ratings books.  I can’t wait to see them take the show to the next level and finish what we started.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on all-news stations.  After a down survey for the format in July, almost 70% of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares improve from July to August, led by Entercom’s WWJ-AM, Detroit (+1.1).  Year-over-year numbers are a mixed bag, with half the stations on our panel improving and the other half declining.  During the August survey, not a single all-news station ranked #1 in its market, however two – Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco and WWJ-AM, Detroit both ranked #2 (6+) in their respective markets.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

New Programs Debut at WTLA, Syracuse. Sports talk WTLA “ESPN Syracuse” adds two new shows to the late morning daypart.  In place of the now defunct Daniel Baldwin show, Galaxy Media launches “The Seth Everett Show” featuring Seth Everett and Paulie Scibilia (10:00 am to 11:00 am) followed by “Centers of Attention,” co-hosted by former Syracuse University basketball players Etan Thomas and Danny Schayes (11:00 am to 12:00 noon).  As Syracuse.com reports, the additions complement the other local shows on the station, including: “Orange Nation” hosted by Steve Infanti and Seth Goldberg (12:00 noon to 2:00 pm) “In the Booth” with Matt Park and Brian Higgins (2:00 pm to 3:00 pm), and “On the Block” starring Brent Axe (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm).   Galaxy president and CEO Ed Levine tells the paper the station has plans for the 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot, saying, “We will be doing something that to the best of my knowledge has never been done.”

Bolton Leaves Trump Administration/Iran Relations, 9/11 Anniversary, 2020 Presidential Race/NC Special Election, SCOTUS Asylum Ruling, Bahamas Devastation, Brexit Chaos, Vaping Illnesses-Deaths, and Antonio Brown Rape Allegations Among News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/11). National Security Advisor John Bolton’s exit from the Trump Administration and its effect on U.S.-Iran policy; the anniversary of the terror attacks of 9/11; the Democrats and Republicans vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and the results of the North Carolina special congressional election; the Supreme Court’s ruling that nixes a lower court stay on President Trump’s “third country” asylum ban; the refugee status in the Bahamas; the political chaos in Great Britain over Brexit; the rash of illnesses and deaths blamed on vaping; and the rape allegations being leveled at Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a new podcast from Cadence13 titled, “Campaign HQ,” hosted by former Obama campaign manager and White House senior advisor David Plouffe.  Cadence13 says that on the weekly show, Plouffe will offer insight and seasoned analysis on the strategies and decisions driving the Trump re-election efforts and the presidential campaigns of the Democratic challengers.  It premieres on September 19, 2019…..ESPN is reporting that in August its podcasts garnered more than 7 million listeners.  The company says the total represents an increase of 49% over August 2018.  It credits the “30 for 30: The Sterling Affairs” series for driving growth, saying the podcasts registered a unique audience of more than one million, a first, and an increase over the same month last year of 172%, according to Podtrac…..PodcastOne is celebrating the success of Tip “T.I.” Harris’ “expeditiously” podcast after it reached #1 on the Apple Podcasts chart for all podcast categories.  The first two episodes feature conversations with LL Cool J and Ice Cube…..iHeartMedia is also popping the champagne after Podtrac released its August 2019 publisher rankings of the top 10 podcast publishers and placed its iHeartRadio as the #1 podcast publisher by US unique monthly audience, surpassing NPR.  iHeartRadio says it has seen a more than 300% increase in unique podcast visits year-over-year.  Note that ranking data only includes publishers that participate in Podtrac measurement for the full month for which the ranking is being released…..Beasley Media Philadelphia personality Kathy Romano – cast member on WMMR-FM’s “Preston and Steve” show – is also host of the weekly “Her Story” program that airs on the company’s adult hits WBEN-FM on Sunday mornings.  Next Wednesday (9/18), she’ll host the “3rd annual Her Story Luncheon” that will feature ABC News and “Good Morning America” chief meteorologist Ginger Zee as keynote speaker.  Attendees of the event will include CEOs, influencers in arts and cultural worlds, directors of non-profit organizations, and public relations professionals, as well as WBEN-FM listeners who won tickets to the event.  The “Her Story” program showcases dynamic women that are making a significant impact in the community via their business, their charity work, or a combination of both.

Music Mogul Mathew Knowles Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The CEO of Music World Entertainment, college professor, best-selling author and cannabis industry entrepreneur, Mathew Knowles, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Knowles was the creator and manager of the historic female singing group Destiny’s Child and is the father of pop stars Beyoncé and Solange. He is also the father-in-law of rap giant Jay-Z (Shawn Corey Carter).  Knowles, who recently earned his doctorate, and is a widely respected college professor and lecturer who has written books about entrepreneurism as well as racism, recently became involved in the burgeoning cannabis industry as an investor and chief marketing officer of a publicly-traded company called Bangi (which means marijuana in Swahili). Harrison and Knowles discuss a wide range of topics and issues including music, marijuana and race relations.  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 of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the San Francisco operations of Bonneville International, programmer Brian Figula adds to his current role as PD of adult contemporary KOIT and classic rock KUFX, San Jose “98.5 K-Fox.”  Effective immediately, he is programming urban contemporary KBLX-FM and CHR KMVQ. Bonneville San Francisco vice president and market manager Carl Gardner says, “Fig will continue his direct programming responsibility over KOIT and KUFX.  In addition, he’ll take a bigger role overseeing digital content, digital audience development, and serve as a senior member of our programming and marketing brain trust for each of our four brands.  We’ve all come to respect and rely on his keen thinking about how to win in a competitive marketplace.”…..Programming pro Nick Cash exits iHeartMedia’s country KHGE, Fresno “102.7 The Wolf” where he was PD and afternoon drive personality.  He also served as brand manager for sports talk KCBL-AM “FOX Sports Radio 1340” and religion KRDU…..iHeartMedia reveals that alt rock icons Green Day are joining the lineup of the 2019 iHeartRadioMusic Festival taking place September 20 and 21 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas…..Condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of rock WRBR, South Bend, Indiana “103.9 The Bear” program director Ron Stryker, who passed away.  The Federated Media station posted the following message on the WRBR website: “It is with incredible sadness and heavy hearts that we announce that our friend and colleague Ron  Stryker has passed away. Ron has been a part of 103.9 The Bear and Federated Media family as long as any of us can remember. His personality and passion are irreplaceable. Out of respect for his family, friends and coworkers who are grieving his loss we are asking for privacy at this time.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

| October 23, 2018

Report: WLS-AM, Chicago to Get Lineup Re-Vamp in 2019.  According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert FederCumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM will get a programming makeover early in the New Year.  Feder writes, “Once among the top-rated stations in Chicago, the 50,000-watt AM giant never recovered after the loss of longtime morning star Don Wade, who died in 2013.”  He reports recent ratings figures reflect more success in middays with Cumulus’ Washington-based Chris Plante and Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh, leading one to conclude changes are more likely for drive time where market legend Steve Dahl hosts afternoons and mornings are hosted by Big John Howell and Ramblin’ Ray Stevens. Cumulus Chicago VP and market manager Marv Nyren wouldn’t comment specifically but said the station will continue with a combination of local and syndicated programming.

NYPost: MSG Goes to War with Entercom and WFAN. A story in the New York Post by Andrew Marchand reveals the bad blood between Madison Square Garden executive chairman and Knicks and Rangers owner James Dolan over WFAN sports talk host Maggie Gray’s rant against him that aired on the station this summer.  Gray didn’t hold back when she called Dolan a “vile piece of trash” while accusing him of hypocrisy after his band – yes, he plays in a band called JD and the Straight Shot – released a song about Harvey Weinstein called, “I Should’ve Known.” Gray alleges Dolan and Weinstein were close and that he did know.  In retribution, MSG banned all Entercom and WFAN staffers from getting special access to players and that players and coaches would not be allowed to appear on any show on WFAN.  Gray did ultimately apologize for her name calling during the rant but not for the thrust of her critique.  At the same time, WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa is being accused of throwing Gray “under the bus” during his comments about the feud.  Although Francesa is probably irked about losing access, he did call out MSG for holding a grudge after Gray apologized.

But Wait!… There’s More Francesa News. Also from the Post’s Andrew Marchand – or more accurately, from Mike Francesa himself – comes the question of whether Francesa’s afternoon drive program on WFAN can co-exist with his “Mike’s On” app. The Post story, based on Francesa’s on-air musings, indicates there are still contractual issues regarding the app between him, Entercom, and CAA that haven’t been settled.  Francesa went so far as to say, “We haven’t really come to a deal yet, which makes me think that maybe the app and show don’t work together and that’s something we’re going to have to adjust one way or the other.”  He followed that by saying the app is here to stay.  He also reflected on his return to the station after a brief retirement, admitting that it’s been “more uncomfortable” than he thought it would be after bumping Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray, and Bart Scott from the afternoon drive daypart.

WHO, Des Moines Listeners Help Raise $35,000-plus for Veterans Charity. Pictured above (in scooter) is Korean Conflict veteran Denny Dorman, the oldest recipient of a Puppy Jake Foundation service dog – named Puppy Simon – along with WHO PM drive personality Simon Conway, who adopted the organization as his show’s official charity.  The Puppy Jake Foundation acquires, raises, and professionally trains service dogs for physically and mentally wounded veterans.  Conway tells TALKERS that five years ago they held a BBQ fundraiser in the WHO parking lot and raised $4,000.  The next year they brought in $6,000.  Years three and four pulled in $22,000 and $29,000, respectively, and last Friday’s event raised $35,500.  He says, “It is really incredible how my audience, and indeed some of my show’s sponsors, have taken this charity to their hearts.”

Ann Marie Mulholland Named Market Manager for Hubbard Seattle. Emerald City media management pro Ann Marie Mulholland joins Hubbard Radio as vice president and market manager for its Seattle properties, including “Alternative Talk” KIXI-AM, CHR KQMV “Movin 92.5,” country KNUC “The Bull,” adult contemporary KRWM “Warm 106.9,” and nostalgia KKNW-AM.  Mulholland comes to Hubbard from CRISTA Media.  Prior to that, she served with Entercom and Sandusky in the Seattle market. Hubbard president/COO Drew Horowitz says, “We are looking forward to having Ann Marie, with her exceptional operational credentials, assume the leadership role in Seattle.  She brings strong market experience and will be an excellent fit with our Hubbard Seattle team.”

Midterm Elections, Khashoggi Death Aftermath, Migrant Caravan, Gender Definition Issue, Trump Threatens to Exit INF Treaty, Trump-Russia Investigation, NFL Action, and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22).  The November elections and the battle for control of the House and the Senate; the aftermath of the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and U.S.-Saudi relations; the Honduran migrant caravan headed for the U.S. border; the Trump Administration’s plan to require legal gender based on genitalia at birth; President Trump threatens to exit the Intermedia-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia; the Robert Mueller-led Trump-Russia investigation probes Roger Stone’s Wikileaks contacts; the weekend’s NFL action; and the 2018 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox 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. On-air changes take place at Cumulus Media’s country WKDF, Nashville “NASH FM 103.3” as the company promotes Tyler Reese from his part-time role with sister classic country WSM-FM “95.5 NASH Icon” to midday host and assistant program director at WKDF.  Also, Kelley Bradshaw-Brock moves from Entercom’s WUSY, Chattanooga, where she was part of the “Ken, Kelley, and Daniel” morning show to host afternoon drive on WKDF.  Program director John Shomby states, “We are excited for Tyler and Kelley to join ‘NASH FM 103.3.’  These are two very talented stars that are ready to shine in the Music City!…..The vacant program director chair at Townsquare Media’s country KAWO, Boise doesn’t last long as Matt Derrick arrives from his most recent gig as director of FM programming at NRG Media’s Omaha cluster to assume the PD role.  Derrick takes over for Rich Summers, who exited the station last week…..Entercom rock WTPT, Greenville, South Carolina “93.3 Planet Rocks” partners with the local Thomas Creek Brewery to create The Rise Guys P1 Pilsner inspired by the station’s morning show, “The Rise Guys.” Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “We are excited about this partnership and the ability to share the best beer on ‘The Planet’ with our dedicated fans.  The Rise Guys P1 Pilsner is a salute to the P1 army.  This refreshing and crushable beer fits our personalities and those of our listeners.”

Monday, April 30, 2018

| April 30, 2018

Conservative News/Talk Radio Takes on the White House Correspondents Dinner.  While listeners of news/talk radio were venting about what they overwhelmingly saw as unnecessary attacks on President Trump’s administration – most especially comedian Michelle Wolf’s targeting of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders – at Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner, some news/talk radio industry players were also making their thoughts about the evening’s program known.  WABC, New York news and talk personality Rita Cosby attended the event.  (She’s seen above with Sarah Huckabee Sanders at a WHCD party and below with Kellyanne Conway at the event itself) Cosby tells TALKERS magazine that she’ll be offering her take to WABC listeners on the “Curtis and Cosby” show today.  Meanwhile, Salem Radio Network V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup shares the letter he penned to Bloomberg White House correspondent and White House Correspondents Association president Margaret Talev:

Hi, Margaret…and congratulations!

 After viewing the disgraceful White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday—and your refusal on CNN this morning to denounce “comedian” Michelle Wolf and the mortifying, obscenity-laced attacks she directed at White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders,  White House counselor KellyAnne Conway and other Trump Administration officials in attendance last evening…you have actually achieved what I had always thought impossible: displaying less professional journalism and more outrageous bias than even The Associated Press.  An astonishing accomplishment.

 Given the fact that you, personally, invited the vile Michelle Wolf as the evening’s entertainment…and that rather than booing or leaving,  members of your Association were seen on television guffawing over an onslaught of stupid “pussy” references, lame jokes about President Trump’s performance in bed, the suggestion that President Trump’s daughter is “full of shit” and sophomoric F-bombs for nearly 20 minutes…I hope President Trump never attends another White house Correspondents Dinner.

 I know I won’t.

 Tom Tradup

iHeartMedia Files Joint Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization.  This Saturday (4/28) filing in iHeartMedia’s Chapter 11 reorganization lays out the current plan for the company’s exit from bankruptcy protection.  The Disclosure Statement states, in part, that “the proposed Plan achieves a value-maximizing restructuring that comprehensively addresses the Debtors’ funded debt obligations and positions their businesses for continued growth and long-term success.  As a result of extensive negotiations with groups representing their primary stakeholders, the Debtors entered into a restructuring support agreement on March 16, 2018.  As a result, the transactions embodied by the Plan enjoy the support of Holders of nearly $12 billion of outstanding debt obligations across the Debtors’ capital structure (including outstanding indebtedness held by the Debtors and their Affiliates), as well as the Debtors’ equity sponsors.  The Plan will reduce the Debtors’ funded debt by nearly two-thirds – approximately $10.3 billion – and will result in the separation of the iHeart business and CCOH businesses through either a Tax-Free Separation or a Taxable Separation (the ‘CCOH Separation’).”…Reorganized iHeart will emerge from chapter 11 with New Secured Debt of $5.75 billion that will be secured by substantially all assets of Reorganized iHeart with a 5 – 7 year maturity, as well as a new ABL facility that will, among other things, provide working capital and fund distributions under the Plan; Senior Creditors collectively will share, in the manner described in detail below, in (i) 100% of iHeart’s equity interests in CCOH (as separated from iHeart), (ii) $5.55 billion of the New Secured Debt, (iii) all Excess Cash, and (iv) 94% of the equity in Reorganized iHeart; Holders of Unsecured Debt Claims will receive their Pro Rata share of (i) $200 million of the New Secured Debt and (ii) 5% of the equity in Reorganized iHeart; and Holders of iHeart Interests will receive 1% of the equity in Reorganized iHeart.”

PPM Analysis: News/Talk.  In this final analysis of Nielsen’s March 2018 PPM survey, managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at the 6+ performances of news/talk stations.  iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego and Emmis Communications’ WIBC, Indianapolis each record 6+ AQH share increases of more than half a share (+0.8 and +0.6, respectively) from the February 2018 survey.  This during a period when only 34% of news/talk stations saw ratings increases. WIBC (+1.8) was one of five stations to see a year-over-year (March 2017 to March 2018) increase of more than one full share.  Others were: iHeartMedia’s hot talk WTKS-FM, Orlando (+1.6); Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington (1.3); and iHeartMedia news/talkers KTLK, Minneapolis (+1.0); and WHJJ, Providence (+1.0).  During Nielsen’s March PPM survey, only two news/talk outlets ranked #1 in their respective markets: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta and Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.”  See Kinosian’s complete report here.

Russo and Rosen Appointed to Executive Posts at Entercom’s Radio.com.  The moves signal what Entercom is calling its “renewed commitment and strategic shift” regarding the Radio.com platform.  Critics say that CBS’s focus on TV and video allowed the digital audio platform Radio.com to languish under its watch.  Now, new owner Entercom is bringing aboard Pamela Russo as SVP and general manager and Christopher Rosen as editorial director.  Russo will report to Entercom EVP of digital JD Crowley, who says, “This is an exciting time for Radio.com.  We welcome both Pam and Chris’s expertise as we accelerate our strategy to make Radio.com a daily habit for the millions of fans across our family of brands, entertaining and informing users with spoken-word audio, curated music and premium editorial.”  Russo joins Entercom from Meredith Corporation (formerly Time Inc.) where she led digital strategy and operations for the company’s portfolio of entertainment, travel and luxury brands, including People.com, EntertainmentWeekly.com, TravelandLeisure.com and Departures.com, among others.  Rosen is being charged with leading the content development, editorial and video strategy for Radio.com, overseeing content teams in New York and Philadelphia. The company says that “working alongside Entercom programming executives Jeff Sotolano and Liana Huth, Rosen will focus on developing exclusive and original national content for Radio.com’s national platform and portfolio of stations, while also working with local markets to surface their best content for national audiences.”  Rosen joins Entercom from Entertainment Weekly, where he served as executive editor for the brand’s digital properties.

Michael Harrison Says Advertiser Boycotts Infringe Upon the Spirit of the First Amendment, If Not Its Letter.  During a provocative conversation Friday evening (4/27) about advertiser boycotts being waged against the hosts of talk radio and television commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham by their political critics, RT America “The Big Picture” host Holland Cooke asked TALKERS founder Michael Harrison if this practice infringes upon Freedom of Speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Cooke suggested that boycotts are also an expression of free speech.  Harrison agreed, but only to a point stating, “The First Amendment guarantees you not to be censored by the government, with a few limitations here and there, but basically the First Amendment gives you free speech separate from government control and government censorship.  It doesn’t provide you with a soap box and it doesn’t guarantee that other people can’t express their free speech rights in protest of what you said.  So, the boycotts are a form of free speech – however, because commercial media today is so dependent on advertising revenue as its life blood, boycotts may not be an infringement of the letter of the First Amendment but they certainly are an infringement of the spirit of the First Amendment.”  Harrison continued, “It’s hitting below the belt…it’s part of the game but it’s playing very dirty and it does threaten free speech in America because so many of our vehicles of free speech are dependent upon advertising.”  To see the entire segment of Friday’s conversation, please click here.

WFAN-AM/FM, New York Keeps ‘CMB’ for Early Afternoons.  With the return of Mike Francesa to the WFAN-AM/FM, New York “The Fan” program schedule tomorrow, the Entercom station announces the new program lineup. Current 2:00 pm to 6:30 PM hosts Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray, and Bart Scott – “CMB” – remain with the station hosting the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show. An hour is cut off the “Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts” program (now heard 10:00 am to 1:00 pm), and Francesa’s “Mike On” show airs from 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm.  Prior to Francesa’s December departure from WFAN, his show aired daily from 1:00 pm to 6:30 pm.

Price: All I Learned About Resilience I Learned from ABBA.  Business continuity expert Howard B. Price writes today to explain that all he’s learned about dealing as a broadcaster with the challenges of natural disasters and made-made calamities he learned from the pop supergroup ABBA.   The former, longtime ABC news and technology & operations director of business continuity and crisis management says that within the titles of the group’s iconic songs lie the “inspiration and guidance for every resilience practitioner who aspires to rock-star status in the craft.”  Read his piece here.

Michiana’s WTRC Raises $174,000 for Five Star Life. Pictured above is the staff of WTRC, Niles, Michigan “95.3 MNC” celebrating the $174,100 grand total raised recently during the radiothon to benefit Five Star Life – an organization that teaches middle-school children five core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, sacrifice, and courage in after-school programs.  This is the eighth year that the Pathfinder Communications news/talk station has raised funds for Five Star Life.

TALKERS News Notes.  Former Atlanta Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur is joining Dickey Broadcasting Company’s sports talker WCNN, Atlanta “680 The Fan” for a regular Tuesday appearance on the late morning show with Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino.   WCNN general manager David Dickey says, “I’m excited that Jeff will continue to help ‘The Fan’ provide Braves fans with the best coverage and most in-depth analysis of the Atlanta Braves.  And we are thrilled that Jeff will continue to be an important member of the Dickey Broadcasting Company family…both in prime-time and in game-time content.”…..The NAB Education Foundation announces the election of six new members of the NABEF board of directors.  They are: Graham Media Group’s Emily Barr, Cox Media Group’s Kim Guthrie, Sinclair Broadcasting’s Rebecca Hanson, Univision Communications Inc.’s Rosemary Mercedes, Perry Publishing and Broadcasting’s Kevin Perry and NBCUniversal’s Craig Robinson.  The National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to “serving broadcasters and the public interest by supporting and advocating community service, diversity, education and broadcasting issues and trends.”…..Wishes for a speedy recovery go out to New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella who recently underwent emergency surgery for acute diverticulitis.  Rotella says that although there were complications, he’s on the mend and expects to be back working from his home office by next week…..Bonneville’s news/talk KTTH, Seattle hosted the quarterly “Freedom Series” debate on April 24, this time addressing the issue, “Guns and Our Children.”  The station says the intent of the live community discussion “was to give the public an opportunity to talk through and find common ground on what’s normally a polarizing issue.  The two-hour panel event was hosted at the Edmonds Center for the Arts in front of a sold-out audience of more than 600 people.  Pictured below (photo courtesy of Ashten Linkhart) The panel featured KTTH hosts Jason Rantz (far right) and Todd Herman (second from right), King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht (center), and KIRO-FM morning host Dave Ross (second from left).  KCPQ-TV, Seattle reporter Brandi Kruse (left) served as the moderator.   Bonneville Seattle VP and market manager Dave Pridemore says, “Through the ‘KTTH Freedom Series’ events, it is our hope to help our communities work through the issues that are important to them, especially issues that directly affect their families.  I was proud of how the station respectfully addressed this timely and highly emotional topic.  It was clear from the size of the audience, as well as their passion for the station, our KTTH hosts are connecting with our listeners about these matters on a daily basis.”

White House Correspondents Dinner, Trump Threatens Government Shutdown/Caravan Asylum Seekers, Sprint and T-Mobile Announce Merger, Texas Voter ID Ruling, Pompeo Confirmed as Secretary of State, MLB Action and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The flap over Michelle Wolf’s routine at the White House Correspondents Dinner; President Trump’s threat to let the federal government close in September if he doesn’t get funding for the Mexico wall, along with the related issue of “caravan asylum seekers” at the border; T-Mobile and Sprint announce plans to merge; a federal panel of judges rules Texas voter ID law does not violate rights of blacks and Hispanics; Mike Pompeo’s confirmation as Secretary of State; the weekend’s MLB action and NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At San Francisco hip hop outlet KRBQ “Q102.1,”Entercom promotes midday personality and music director Billy Vidal to program director.  Entercom San Francisco SVP and market manager Gregory Nemitz, says, “Billy has a great understanding of this format and, more importantly, the Bay Area market.  I have no doubt he will excel in his new role and will continue the upward trajectory of ‘Q102.1.’”  Vidal has been with the station for the past three years.  He rose to music director in June of 2017…..Alpha Media appoints Dave Numme content director for classic hits KBAY and hot AC KEZR.  Numme was most recently serving with Hubbard Radio in Seattle.  He previously worked in the Bay Area as program director for KITS, San Francisco and was vice president of rock/alternative formats for CBS RADIO.  Alpha Media San Jose market manager Lori Heeren comments, “I am honored to be able to work with someone with Dave’s breadth of experience in radio and the Bay Area.  He’s a perfect fit for our team in Silicon Valley!”…..Gene “Bean” Baxter returned to the air on Entercom’s alternative KROQ, Los Angeles on the “Kevin & Bean” show after more than a month off to deal with an undisclosed medical issue.  Stryker had been sitting in on the morning show and returns to his afternoon drive show…..At the same time as Cox Media Group’s WPYO “Power 95.3” shifts from hip hop to CHR, operations manager and WPYO program director Steve DeMann exits…..Neuhoff Media brings Miggy Santos to Illinois to program CHR WSOY-FM, Decatur “Y103” and rhythmic CHR WWHX, Bloomington “Hits 100.7.”  Neuhoff VP/programming Mike Shamus says, “Miggy brings experience and energy to a new concept for us. We’ve developed a special brand in the Twin Cities, Miggy has experience in winning with these types of projects. We’re excited to have him on our team.”