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Kim Carrigan Out as Kuhner Returns to AMs on WRKO, Boston; Doug “V.B.” Goudie Moves to Middays. The new program schedule on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston launches on Monday (11/26) and in morning drive will be “The Kuhner Report” with Jeff Kuhner. He moves from the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart and replaces the “Boston’s Morning Show” with Kim Carrigan and Doug “V.B.” Goudie. V.B. moves to the early afternoon show hosting “V.B. in the Middle” and Carrigan apparently departs. The station says in a press release, “‘The Kuhner Report’ will continue to cover today’s latest headlines and breaking political news. Conservative Jeff Kuhner will continue to tackle cutting-edge, hot-button, political, social and foreign policy issues. ‘V.B. in the Middle’ will also discuss today’s biggest political headlines, showcasing V.B.’s humorous, creative opinions as well as his connection with the Boston listeners.” WRKO program director and iHeartMedia Boston VP of news/talk Robert Sanchez adds, “Jeff Kuhner believes what he says and says what he believes. Bostonians need an energy burst in the morning and with Jeff, their commute just erupted.”
Alan Stock to Exit Afternoon Drive on KXNT, Las Vegas for New Role at Station. Although still not confirmed at press time, TALKERS sources indicate that a programming shuffle is about to take place at Entercom’s heritage talk outlet in Las Vegas, KXNT with the official announcement coming this week. Local market mainstay (and TALKERS Heavy Hundred luminary) Alan Stock will move out of the 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm afternoon drive position to be replaced by a yet-to-be-named syndicated program and play a reduced, but still-important, role at the station as its “commentator.” Stock will deliver a live, daily, early afternoon, short-form political commentary that will be replayed several times later in the day. Word is that Stock’s on-air presence at the station will also include a live, long-form weekend program to be announced at a later date. Further unconfirmed rumors indicate Stock might be replaced in afternoon drive by Radio America syndicated host Chad Benson. Stay tuned!
iHeartMedia Files Fifth Amended Joint Chapter 11 Plan with Bankruptcy Court. December 11 is still the date that iHeartMedia will be in Bankruptcy Court in Houston for confirmation of its Chapter 11 reorganization plan. Ahead of that, the company has filed the Fifth Amended Joint Chapter 11 Plan with the court and the deadline for filing objections with this latest plan is November 28. The plan outlines the New Term Loans to be issued by parent company iHeartCommunications. They include: an Asset-Based Loan of $450 million with a five-year term; a Term Loan of $3.5 billion with a seven-year term; $800 million in secured notes with a seven-year term; and $1.45 billion in unsecured bonds with an eight-year term. The Plan also lays out the salaries of chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and COO and CFO Rich Bressler – both of whom who will make $1.5 million in salary per year and whose annual Target Bonuses will be $3.4 million. Note that these figures are for the year 2019 and beyond that changes in the employment terms are at the discretion of the board of directors.
iHeartMedia to Acquire Jelli Inc. This move takes the relationship between iHeartMedia and cloud-based ad platform developer Jelli Inc. to the next level, with iHM acquiring the company whose technology powers its SoundPoint programmatic platform. iHeartMedia goes on to say that this deal will enable it to “further leverage Jelli’s assets to continue to create for brands a digital-compatible buying platform for broadcast radio that includes targeting and creative optimization based on data and attribution tools compatible with the offerings of the major digital players. In addition, ‘Expressway from Katz,’ the industry’s programmatic buying ad exchange for the country’s leading radio groups, will continue to remain independently run by Katz, powered by Jelli.” Brian Kaminsky, president of SmartAudio and analytics group for iHeartMedia, says, “Facebook and Google pioneered a new way for advertisers to interface with media partners to improve targetability, the ease of buying and measurement of results, and our programmatic platform puts us in the position to participate in the modern data driven ecosystem for our broadcast radio audience as well as our digital audiences. We have been excited by the advances we made with Jelli as our partner and the acceptance from our advertising partners.” The press release makes no mention of the terms of the deal, but says that “Jelli will continue to operate as a company within iHeartMedia, Inc. led by president and CEO Michael Dougherty and his team. The Jelli division will continue to be based in Silicon Valley and will become iHeartMedia’s primary ad technology operation.”
Larry King Weighs In with Strong Opinions on Jim Acosta Story and the State of Journalism. Veteran radio and TV talk show host Larry King dropped in on Friday (11/16) for an unplanned chat during the recording of this past weekend’s RT America show “The Big Picture with Holland Cooke.” The impromptu, seven-minute interview took place while King was visiting the network’s Washington, DC headquarters. During the provocative conversation that delved into the state and future of journalism in America, King candidly described the daily briefings and press conferences held at the Donald Trump White House as “a sideshow… reality TV… that has nothing to do with governing.” King elaborated, “The whole thing is a show and when Jim Acosta [engaged in the argument with the President] he became part of the show. Trump loves that!” To view the entire conversation between King and Cooke, please click here. King hosts a nightly show, “Larry King Now,” on RT America from his studio in Los Angeles via a licensing agreement between the network and his program that originates on Ora TV and is also seen on Hulu. Holland Cooke is also a senior correspondent for TALKERS.
Hoffman to Lead Entercom Indianapolis. Rising from vice president of sales for Entercom’s Indianapolis cluster to SVP and general manager is Ben Hoffman. He is now in charge of the cluster that includes sports talk WXNT-AM “CBS Sports 1430 AM,” CHR WZPL, and adult contemporary WNTR “107.9 The Mix.” Entercom region president Dave Alpert states, “For the past seven years at Entercom Indianapolis, Ben has demonstrated strong leadership qualities, high energy and the ability to be a collaborative team leader with a strong ability to win. This is a well-deserved promotion for Ben to senior vice president and market manager and we are looking forward to the great work that Ben will continue to produce.” Prior to joining Entercom, Hoffman served as station manager and director of sales for Townsquare Media in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Judge’s Ruling in CNN-White House Suit, Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump FOX News Interview/Schiff Attack, House Speaker Battle, California Wildfires, Migrant Caravan, U.K.’s Brexit Chaos, U.S.-China Trade War/Pence at APEC Summit, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. A judge rules the White House must return CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials; the status of the investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; President Trump’s FOX News interview with Chris Wallace and his Twitter attack on Congressman Adam Schiff; the internal battle among Democrats over the next Speaker of the House; the status of the California wildfires and the latest death toll; the caravan of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border; the political chaos surrounding Britain’s exit from the E.U.; the U.S. trade war with China and Vice President Mike Pence’s appearance at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit; and the weekend’s NFL action 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. St. Louis country outlet KSD-FM “93-7 The Bull” announces Gail Austin is the new program director for the station. Back in April, Jules Riley was promoted from PD for KSD and sister classic hits KLOU to senior vice president of programming for the entire iHeartMedia St. Louis cluster. Austin previously served with the company in the programming departments of both WQIK, Jacksonville and WCOL, Columbus. Riley comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Gail back to iHeartmedia and excited to watch her take ‘The Bull’ to new heights. We spoke with a number of talented programmers, but Gail’s competitive drive, creativity, and talent development made her our ideal candidate.”…..At morphing WTDY, Philadelphia, Entercom moves program director Bobby Smith off the air and “Coop & Casey” are the new morning show. The station is transitioning into a CHR as the result of the company’s recent acquisition of hot AC WBEB “B101.1.”…..Air personality Brian Holmes exits Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rhythmic CHR WJQM, Madison “93.1 Jamz” after three-and-a-half years hosting “The Freak Show” in the evenings…..ABC Radio is offering a Thanksgiving holiday radio show for country stations called, “Holiday Season Serenade.” The three-hour program is hosted by country star Martina McBride, who will take a look at stars’ holiday favorites including food, decorations, traditions, gifts and music. The special will feature Christmas songs by top country artists such as Dan + Shay, Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Brett Eldredge, Chris Young, Scotty McCreery, and more.
Clear Channel Programmer Chris Sargent Departs. Clear Channel Portland vice president of programming Chris “Sarge” Sargent leaves the cluster effective immediately. In addition to his VP duties, Sargent for the past 20 months was the cluster’s operations manager. He programmed classic hits-oldies KLTH, news/talk KEX, progressive-talk-turned-sports KPOJ and classic rock KFBW. Sargent joined the Portland cluster over four years ago from Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Bruce Logan Named VP of Programming and Ops at CBS Radio Houston. Programmer Bruce Logan exits his regional programming manager role at Clear Channel’s Greensboro, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina clusters and his national country brand coordinator post to join CBS Radio as vice president of programming and operations manager for the six-station Houston cluster that includes: hot AC KHMX, sports talk KIKK, country KILT-FM “The Bull,” sports talk KILT-AM, CHR KKHH “Hot 95.7,” and Spanish KOLO. He’ll also have day-to-day programming responsibilities for “The Bull” and “Hot 95.7.” CBS Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier says, “Bruce has a reputation as one of the premier country radio programmers in America. We have admired his work for some time and are thrilled we have an opportunity to bring him into the division. I am equally excited about his leadership skills and ability to build teams which is so important in today’s cluster environment.”
Pro Wrestler Chris Jericho Joins PodcastOne. World champion wrestler Chris Jericho – also a New York Times best-selling author and lead vocalist of the metal band Fozzy – is launching his podcast on PodcastOne. The program, “Talk Is Jericho,” premieres today (12/4) with Steve Austin as Jericho’s first guest. Jericho dishes out his unique take on all things pop culture and life in general as he interviews some of the biggest names in entertainment from wrestling and music to TV and film with new episodes delivered every week at PodcastOne.com. Jericho comments, “I’ve been considering doing a podcast for years now, but wanted to find the right people to work with. Now after being hooked up with the fine folks at PodcastOne, I know I’ve found the right place! I’m stoked to bring you the biggest names in show biz every week to discuss all things pop culture, music, pro wrestling and kumquats. Get ready Jerichoholics…The Pod Of Thunder has arrived!” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “As an entertainer, Chris is so much more than a world champion wrestler. He’s an actor, an author, lead singer in a rock band and radio broadcaster. With a package like that and the proven success of PodcastOne programs like the Steve Austin show, this is clearly a great bet. Actually, more like no bet at all. We’re thrilled with our new partnership.”
Carson and Beckman Promoted at Idaho Broadcasting Groups. The Moscow, Idaho-based broadcasting companies IdaVend Broadcasting, Inland Northwest Broadcasting and KRPL Inc. announce two promotions. The company’s current promotions director – Jon Carson – is upped to executive director of promotions for the nine-station radio group beginning January 2014. Carson has been with the company for more than two years and commutes between the station groups’ two locations in Moscow and Lewiston, Idaho. Carson recently earned designation as CRSM, Certified Radio Sales Manager, from the Radio Advertising Bureau. With the expansion of his team, Carson is overseeing a team of two promotions directors. The Moscow promotions director will oversee promotions for the six-station group, Inland Northwest Broadcasting, and KRPL, Inc. The Lewiston promotions director will oversee promotions for the three-station group, IdaVend Broadcasting. Additionally, Amberly Beckman is promoted to promotions director for the Moscow-based group from her most recent position as promotions director at the Lewiston-based stations. She has served with the company for the past two years.
The Sad State of Radio Broadcast Engineering – Part 2. Around Labor Day, TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray wrote a powerful article that asked, “Where have all the broadcast engineers gone?” He was inundated with responses — not just from across the country – but from around the world! Obviously, he hit a nerve with everyone. Ray reports, “I have heard from Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Ireland. Obviously, this is a universal topic and I have been overwhelmed. Additionally, I was both surprised and not surprised at the bitterness in many of the responses. Broadcast engineers are a unique group. It’s difficult, though not impossible, to find a more dedicated group of people in any business. We take it personally. The station becomes part of us and is what we do. And once that is disrupted, even if the person is in a much better place, it is taken personally. I can relate.” In a long-awaited follow-up to that article, Tom Ray posts a powerful and informative “Part 2” today (12/4) that goes into even more depth on this complex and important topic – raising issues and offering solutions – that lies at the very foundation of the state of today’s radio station business. It is must reading for anyone who cares about the present and future state of radio station operations. To read it in its entirety, please click here.
‘Home Wizards’ Show Partners with Media Management Group. KFWB, Los Angeles-based weekly home improvement show “Home Wizards” – hosted by Cindy Dole (left) and Eric Stromer (right) – joins the New York-based MMG Radio Network. Home Wizards is a nationally syndicated radio show and multimedia content brand. The show feeds live from KFWB Saturdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm ET. In addition to Dole’s and Stromer’s work on the radio on digital platforms, Eric is a regular on NBC‘s “Today Show.” MMG president Jeff Schwartz comments, “Cindy and Eric are familiar to millions of Americans who enjoy home improvement and decorating. They have a great on-air chemistry that resonates with both men and women while creating an inviting environment for sponsors.” Cindy Dole adds, “Home Wizards is a true multimedia opportunity to engage with your audience every day! We needed a team that excels in that space and are so impressed by how MMG masters the art of turning sales and marketing into a higher-level connection that delivers meaningful results!”
Edison Research to Work with Triton Digital on ‘Infinite Dial’ Study. Arbitron’s absorption into the Nielsen fold has had an impact on the annual “Infinite Dial” study that Edison Research has been producing in partnership with the radio ratings firm. Edison announces that it will be conducting the long-running study of consumer media usage with Triton Digital when the new study is released in March of next year. Edison states that the study has been “one of the most widely cited and well-regarded studies on digital media usage, eagerly awaited each year and used by advertisers and content providers. Hundreds of start-ups, advertising agencies, established businesses, financial analysts, and academics all make extensive use of the study each year.” Edison Research president Larry Rosen comments, “We’re hard at work making the 2014 version of ‘The Edison/Triton Infinite Dial’ the best ever. Edison has always sought to provide thought leadership and Triton Digital is the recognized leader in digital audio measurement with its MRC-accredited Webcast Metrics platform. Our two companies have come together to continue the tradition of ‘The Infinite Dial’ and the tracking of consumer media trends in the digital economy.”
WPRO, Providence Talk Host John DePetro Files Police Complaint Alleging Threat. WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro filed a complaint with the Providence Police alleging that he was threatened outside the radio studios on Tuesday morning by two men he did not know. The men apparently took issue with his comments about a labor union protest that happened in September. According to a report in the Providence Journal, DePetro expressed his opinion of union leaders after a union protest at a fundraiser for State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo allegedly served to intimidate attendees and prevent others from attending. DePetro reportedly said, referencing a female union leader, “What a disgrace. You are an embarrassment…You are parasites. You are cockroaches. You lie. You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use…it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S. See if they can spell that.” Labor unions have since called for a boycott of WPRO until DePetro is fired. DePetro has said that if the men who threatened him are caught, he will press charges.
Sun Broadcast Group Contracts with Jelli for Cloud-Based Ad Platform. SBG CEO Jason Bailey announces that his company is investing the resources necessary to affect the “much-needed change to measurement and accountability in network radio” that he’s been publicly calling for as it will deploy Jelli, Inc.‘s cloud- based ad platform across its entire network that will make it easier and faster to buy and run radio advertisements. The change will start immediately across all of Sun’s Hispanic products including CNN en Español, Fox Deportes, AccuWeather en Español and its national Latino Advantage network. Sun Hispanic content partner, Stardome Media Group, has also committed to the platform change. A roll out to Sun’s general market offerings will begin in early 2014. Bailey comments, “I have been asking leaders large and small to stand with me and implement true change in how we conduct business across our industry. Radio has been living in the dark ages when it comes to accountability. We’re being eaten alive by the real-time metrics of digital audio competitors and our best answer, RADAR, still requires busy planners and buyers to go back months after a campaign to see what should have run. Today we stand proud to put our entire sales and programming schedules on the line and make a real change for this great industry.” In a statement, SBG says it is agreeing to finance equipment and installation costs for each affiliate they service. It has also been working with Jelli’s team of engineers to enhance the ad platform and include delivery of short-form content and features, allowing for real time measurement of sponsorships and integrated product placement in addition to relieving local affiliate workload in scheduling and running network content and ads.
Vulpi Joins USRN as VP/GM Content Affiliations. Former My Traffic Department vice president of sales Frank Vulpi is tapped to become vice president/general manager of Content Affiliations for the United Stations Radio Networks (USRN). Vulpi will oversee roughly one-dozen staffers marketing the network’s programming services. “Frank’s wealth of experience on both the station and the network side of the business is an incredible asset for our company,” comments USRN executive vice president Charlie Colombo. “He understands the needs of our clients; he knows the new platforms; and he knows how to develop and maintain those essential relationships with our affiliates. He is joining an already successful team.” Vulpi’s approximately 30-year industry background includes being general sales manager of New York City’s WYNY. In addition, he spent 15 years with Bloomberg‘s media division, ultimately running its radio and television syndication departments.
HD Radio to be Standard on the 2015 K900. The seventh Kia-made vehicle to have HD Radio as a standard feature will be its 2015 K900. The luxury sedan will join the recently-launched Cadenza, along with the Forte, Optima, Sorento, Soul, and Sportage as other Kia vehicles to offer the digital AM & FM format. HD Radio is – or will be – available as a factory-installed feature from 33 automotive brands including Acura, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MINI USA, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Ram, Rolls-Royce, Scion, SRT (Chrysler), Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. The 2015 Kia K900 is expected to arrive at dealers during the first quarter of 2014.
WGN, Chicago Helps Raise More Than $554,000 for Tornado Victims. In response to the widespread damage of the November 17 storms throughout Illinois, Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago partnered with the McCormick Foundation, WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune to host the Illinois Tornado Relief Effort on Tuesday, November 26. The fundraising initiative took place over a 24-hour period, with WGN Radio hosts rallying listeners to donate to the newly established Illinois Tornado Relief Effort. WGN listeners, in addition to major donations from Medline Industries Inc., Cadence Health, Wintrust Financial Corporation and the FDC Foundation, contributed to a total of $554,087 raised. The McCormick Foundation matched the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents to the dollar, providing an additional $250,000 in funds and bringing the total amount available to grant to $804,087. WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro says, “The Illinois Tornado Relief Effort continues the WGN Radio tradition of reacting quickly to take care of our listeners in need. It’s also another example in a long list of generous giving from the Chicago community. We thank our partners at the McCormick Foundation, WGN TV, and the Chicago Tribune as well as generosity of our listeners, viewers, and readers for helping rebuild the lives of those impacted by the devastating storms.”
Upstate New York Business Talker Flips to Sports. Genesee Media Corp.’s WRSB, Canandaigua (plus translator W286AE, Fairport) and WASB, Brockport flip from business talk as “Business 1310” to sports talk using programming from CBS Sports Radio Network.
Daytona Beach Talker Gets Dog Park Re-Opened. WELE, Ormond Beach, Florida – being operated by Goliath Radio under an LMA – recently put its community-oriented philosophy to work to help re-open a closed dog park in Daytona Beach. Goliath Radio talk show host Big John, a former member of the Volusia County Council, came to the rescue when resident Mary Nichols (pictured here) found herself and her dogs locked out of the park that had been open since 2001. It turns out Big John had helped create the park when he was on the County Council. When Nichols showed up at the radio station to complain about the closure, Big John put her on the air and took calls about the park that had become the center of a dispute between the county and the suburban city of Holly Hill. Big John urged the sides to find a compromise. Within 20 minutes of the broadcast, the outline of an organization of dog owners/lovers that might operate the park came together; a local veteran’s club offered a meeting room and support to bring it together and support for maintaining the dog park was offered. By the following Thursday, the Friends of the Holly Hill Dog Park was formed and able to show a broad base of support to the County Council which voted to reopen the park for 90 days while officials and the newly-formed support group work out details for ongoing operation. Big John tells TALKERS, “People are ready and willing to do good things if we just give them a chance to figure out how. Radio can be the bridge to coming up with answers and actions in our communities that benefit everybody.”