Colorado Talk Host Jeff Crank Exits KVOR-AM Over Vaccine Mandate. Refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine to comply with Cumulus Media’s company-wide mandate, KVOR-AM, Colorado Springs talk host Jeff Crank has been let go from the station for his stand. The Colorado Times Recorder reports that Crank calls the mandate “unethical and immoral.” He posted to his Facebook page: “Recently Cumulus Media – which owns KVOR – instituted a forced employee vaccination policy nationwide. While I am not anti-vaccination, I am anti-tyranny and I told them that I find their policy unethical and immoral. I’ve already had coronavirus. I discussed the vaccine with my doctor, and he recommended that I not take the vaccine at this time as there was very little risk to me contracting COVID and even less risk of having severe complications from COVID. I’m going to make my medical decisions after consultation with my doctor – and it won’t be forced onto me by the CEO of a company that I’ve never met or knows nothing about me. One day our country will look back on this time in our history with shame – that we live in a country where you can be forced to go against your doctor’s best medical judgment in order to feed your family.” Crank says he’ll launch a podcast to continue his program.
Columbia PD/Host Tim Hill Ousted from ‘107.5 The Game’ for Vaccine Refusal. Programming and sports talk pro Tim Hill was let go from his position as program director and co-host of “The Early Game” morning show on Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina after refusing the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds. As noted in the story above, Cumulus issued a company-wide mandate that staffers return to the offices and be vaccinated by October 11. The State reports that Hill said, “Various religious reasons and the lack of any long-term studies have led me to this decision. I don’t know what medical decisions are right for others. Others don’t know what medical decisions are right for me. I felt like I had to stand up for it. I have three boys and tell them to stand up for what they believe in. It is my job to teach them that. I felt like it was a test in some way. That is what I stuck with. So, that is why it wasn’t a difficult decision from my perspective.” Hill told the paper that as a Catholic, he looked to the Catholic Medical Association which said it “opposed mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment without conscience or religious exemptions.” He said, “If you have a sincerely held religious belief, then it becomes a matter of reasonable accommodation. They said they couldn’t reasonably accommodate me. I offered to wear a mask or do the show from where our producer does it, or from home. They thought none of that was reasonable.”
Salem Addresses Larry Elder Recall Run During C-Suite Presentation. Executives from Salem Media Group recently sat down with Noble Capital Markets senior research analyst Michael Kupinski to talk about the state of the company’s business. Salem Media CEO Edward Atsinger, president – broadcast media Dave Santrella, president – interactive and publishing David Evans, and EVP & CFO Evan Masyr appeared during the interview and Santrella addressed how Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder’s run for governor in California’s recent recall election has affected his program. Santrella said, “First off, it provided us with the opportunity to give a platform to another new talent, Carl Jackson, who has a great story and a great testimony… so we’re excited we have him now and I would anticipate we’ll keep some sort of relationship with Carl.” Santrella said Elder is still on his 30-day leave after the election and will return at the end of this month. “There’s no doubt it’s risen his popularity and we think ultimately that will be good for us because it will probably increase the number of people that are anxious to have him on their radio station and increase our affiliate numbers.”
WVON, Chicago Adds Buchanan to Afternoon Show. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Midway Broadcasting is bringing host, podcaster, and political analyst Atiba Buchanan aboard to co-host the afternoon drive show with Kimberley Egonmwan. Buchanan takes over for Matt McGill who is expected to launch a new program on the station in the near future. Buchanan previously served with the station as a producer for Cliff Kelley. Buchanan says, “I could not be more honored or humbled to join such a storied tradition that is so vital to the well-being of the city of Chicago in general and to the Black community specifically.”
WABC, New York Broadcasts from Columbus Day Parade. Pictured above broadcasting from the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan are (from l-r): John Catsimatidis, owner of WABC and Red Apple Media; Edward Salzano, business consultant to WABC; and Frank Morano, host of “The Other Side of Midnight” and co-host of the “77 WABC Early News.” The station launched yesterday’s coverage of the parade with a press conference on Friday (10/8) from the Chazz Palminteri Italian Restaurant in midtown Manhattan. A video stream of the entire broadcast was presented in television style online via a platform dubbed WABCRadio.TV. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says, “I was knocked out by the professional set and execution of a ‘television show’ mounted by the WABC staff during the parade that was very similar to how these things are historically handled by local TV stations. John Catsimatidis and company are to be congratulated for providing the industry with a superb demonstration of the emerging concept of the ‘media station’ that will change the game over the next few years, for sure.”
ABC Audio Names Liz Alesse Director and Executive Producer of Podcast Programming. After leading ABC Audio’s podcast team for the past 11 months, Liz Alesse is named to the permanent position of director and executive producer of podcast programming. ABC Audio VP and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku tells fellow staffers in a memo: “Liz has already been able to leverage her understanding of the news division and relationships across the platforms on behalf of ABC Audio, working on recent podcasts including ‘In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson’ and ‘Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson.’ She has big plans for the unit, including adding new titles and seasons to our existing podcast library. Liz is a skilled producer in the control room, edit bay and in the field. She most recently served as a supervising producer with the Pennsylvania Avenue unit. While in that role, Liz took on special assignments that included leading site production of the spin room at the 2020 New Hampshire Democratic primary debate and the two presidential town halls in Philadelphia. Liz began her career at ABC News in 2015. At ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos,’ she managed the team and oversaw production and operations for the show, and even served as interim executive producer.”
Sports Betting Station Launches in St. Louis on WGNU-AM. In deal with DraftKings-owned VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, WGNU-AM/K283CI, St. Louis flips from Gospel to a sports betting format. “The Game” will air content from VSiN and feature morning talk personalities Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard, sports betting analytics expert Gill Alexander, former pro football executive Michael Lombardi and sportscasting legend Brent Musburger. WGNU consultant Bill Moir comments, “We’re thrilled to introduce the St. Louis metro area to this informative and entertaining brand of sports talk. Sports betting education as a 24/7 format, and specifically the expert analysis from VSiN, is a perfect choice for WGNU. We’re excited to be the St. Louis home of VSiN.”
COVID-19, Inflation/Gas Prices/Supply Chain Woes, Border Crisis, Biden Infrastructure and Reconciliation Bills, China’s Taiwan Aggression, and Gruden Resigns from Raiders Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11). The rate of COVID cases in the U.S., mask & vaccine mandates, and Texas Governor Gregg Abbott’s edict outlawing mandates; the soaring price of gasoline, inflation, and the dearth of goods as a result of the global supply chain troubles; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s handling of the problem; the status of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill; China’s ongoing military aggression toward Taiwan; and Jon Gruden resigns from the Las Vegas Raiders after racist emails are made public were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Ramsey Solutions’ Film Borrowed Future Debuts on October 14. The first documentary film from Ramsey Solutions will premiere on digital platforms on October 14. Titled, “Borrowed Future: How Student Loan Debt Is Killing the American Dream,” and produced by Dave Ramsey, it “uncovers the dark side of the student loan industry, exposes how it’s built to work against the 45 million Americans currently in debt for their education, and shows that it’s possible to beat the student loan system.” The film is directed by David DiCicco and features experts such as Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey, Seth Frotman, Kristina Ellis, Dr. John Delony and Anthony ONeal, as well as CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Mike Rowe. The main subjects of the documentary are college graduates who owe between $9,000 and $1 million in student loan debt, a debt-free college graduate, and high schoolers who haven’t yet questioned the norm of student loans. DiCicco says, “This film is a warning for kids and teenagers who aren’t victims of the student loan industry yet. I want viewers to walk away from this film with eyes wide open to the true cost of student loans. Teens need to know that they can have the American Dream — they just shouldn’t listen to America on how to get it.” Dave Ramsey adds, “The student loan problem is out of control, and it’s messed up millions of lives. Smart young people got sucked into a false narrative about what success looks like, and it’s left them paralyzed. It’s time to call the student loan industry what it is: an epic failure.” See more about the film here.
Phil Valentine Update: Family Says He Remains in ‘Grave Condition.’ The status of WWTN-FM, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” afternoon drive talk host Phil Valentine has not improved as his family provided an update last night (8/16) asking his fans to “pray for a miracle” as he remains in “grave condition.” Valentine contracted COVID-19 in mid-July and initially Valentine told his listeners that while he was pretty sick, he believed he was “on the other side of it.” His family revealed on July 22 that he’d been hospitalized and was eventually put on a ventilator due to his suffering from COVID pneumonia. Although Valentine had expressed concerns over the safety of the vaccines and disagreed with mask mandates, his family says he was never an “anti-vaxxer,” but he does regret not being more “pro-vaccine.” His family is urging his fans to get vaccinated.
Salem Media Group Promotes Jamie Cohen to SVP of Broadcast Digital. Digital media pro Jamie Cohen is promoted to senior vice president, broadcast digital for Salem Media Group. The company says that in his new role he’ll oversee all aspects of the digital operations for Salem’s local and national/network digital efforts. Salem Broadcast Media president David Santrella comments, “Jamie has done a tremendous job building Salem’s digital enterprise for our local stations. Overseeing all aspects of our digital operations, both locally and nationally, will open more channels of opportunity and unify our efforts in reaching our audiences through digital avenues and monetizing our digital assets.” Cohen says, “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made and am bullish on our future. With the emergence of platforms like Salem Now, the Salem Podcast Network and other innovations, our audience has never been bigger. We have an amazing opportunity ahead of us and I can’t think of a better place to be.”
Phil Cianciola to Host Mornings on WOSH-AM, Oshkosh. Radio pro Phil Cianciola is named morning drive host for Cumulus Media’s WOSH-AM, Oshkosh, Wisconsin “NewsTalk 1490,” effective August 23. The station says, “It is important for WOSH that we retain a local voice in mornings and provide a show that will be uniquely Oshkosh. We wanted to find someone who would get what Oshkosh and the Valley are all about and would be able to entertain our listeners while also providing the news and community information that matters most. That’s a lot to ask of someone, but we’re confident that Phil fits our needs perfectly.” During his career Cianciola has served at Milwaukee news/talk outlets WISN and WTMJ. He comments, “I believe in LOCAL radio. The magic of radio is the relationships we build with listeners over the air. It’s all I’ve ever done. I guess you could say radio is in my blood.”
Brian Hauswirth Named News Director at KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri. News pro Brian Hauswirth joins Zimmer Communications to serve as news director for news/talk KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri “93.9 The Eagle.” In this role, he becomes the newest member of the “Wake Up Columbia” morning drive program. Zimmer Communications operations manager Jeremy Washington states, “We’re thrilled to have Brian Hauswirth be part of our Zimmer News Network. Brian shares our vision for excellence in broadcasting and will strongly enhance our award-winning local news coverage in Mid-Missouri.” Hauswirth most recently served with Missourinet where he was a senior capitol reporter, covering the Missouri statehouse in Jefferson City. His radio station experience includes time spent working at KMZU, Carrollton; KTRS, St. Louis; and KRES-KWIX, Moberly. In addition to his new role, Hauswirth will continue his 23rd season as a college football scoreboard host at Learfield, where he handles the updates for five major colleges across the nation, including Mizzou, Alabama, Texas Tech, Purdue, and Wyoming.
Audacy and Urban One Enter into Digital Platform Relationship. A content distribution partnership between Audacy and Urban One will put audio from the latter’s 57 stations in 13 markets onto the Audacy digital platform. Audacy VP of business development Corey Podolsky comments, “This partnership underscores our unwavering commitment to amplifying diverse voices and delivering premier audio content to the communities in which we serve. We’re delighted to unite with a power player in the audio space to expand and enhace our content offering and add dozens of dynamic brands to our library.”
iHeartMedia Launches Progressive Podcast Network Cool Zone Media. The launch of Cool Zone Media will highlight “vital voices often overlooked in today’s rapidly changing political landscape,” according to iHeartMedia. The progressive podcast network is being powered by investigative journalist and podcaster Robert Evans. The company says Cool Zone Media will provide an “in-depth look at topics including climate change, the Capitol insurrection, and uncovering QAnon – offering listeners a place unique from others in the political sphere by melding media and politics with storytelling.” The network debuts with the first episode of the new daily podcast, “It Could Happen Here,” that focuses on climate change and picks up where Evans’ 10-episode weekly podcast by the same name left off. Evans, who is serving as the head of content for Cool Zone Media, will be joined by the iHeartPodcast Network’s executive producer, Sophie Lichterman, who will become Cool Zone Media’s head of creative, to help curate and elevate other vital voices in today’s progressive political landscape for the network.
TALKERS News Notes. Canton radio stations WHBC-AM “News/Talk 1480” and WHBC-FM “Mix 94.1” wrapped their 14th Annual Aultcare Wish-a-thon to benefit Wishes Can Happen on Friday August 13 and the Alpha Media outlets helped raise a record $334,928. The charity grants wishes to children with severe and terminal illnesses in Northeast Ohio. The record number was an increase of almost $145,000 over last year’s event, thanks in large part to the many businesses, individuals and foundations who stepped up…..PodcastOne announces it has secured the exclusive sales and distribution rights for B-Real’s “Dr. Greenthumb” podcast and the sales rights to the show in its vodcast form. “Dr. Greenthumb” launched in January of 2020 as a program dedicated to all things entertainment, music, and cannabis and now has more than 300 recorded episodes to date that include guests such as Tommy Chong, George Lopez, Tony Hawk, Matt Barnes, John Sally and Ricky Williams. B-Real says, “PodcastOne has set the bar for what podcasts have become. With their amazing roster of shows, best-in-class distribution and advertising approach, there is no other platform for the ‘Dr. Greenthumb’ podcast. I am excited to partner with Norm Pattiz and the PodcastOne family.”…..Pictured below are staffers from the Audacy Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina operations celebrating their honors from the 2021 State Television and Radio (STAR) Awards presented by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association. News/talk WYRD-FM “106.3 WORD” was honored with four STAR Awards including: Radio Station of the Year, Radio Personality of the Year (Tara Servatius), Best News Talk Show (Tara Servatius), and Production PSA.
Benztown West Coast Commercial Production Director Jeff Kelly Dies at 50. The company announces the untimely death of Jeff Kelly, who had joined Benztown in January as West Coast Commercial Production Director. Kelly passed away unexpectedly on August 13 at the age of 50. He and his fiancé had recently moved to L.A. to work with the Benztown team in its Glendale studios. Benztown president Dave “Chachi” Denes says, “We are deeply saddened we were not able to spend more time with Jeff and we will miss him very much. Jeff was incredibly energized and excited about working for Benztown and his recent move to L.A. from Albuquerque, and his positive attitude and tremendous talents were inspiring. His production, writing and VO skills were among the very best in the business and I am incredibly grateful for his contributions to our company, the Commercial Production Department and YamanAir.”
Biden on Taliban in Afghanistan, COVID-19 Stats & Mandates, New Trump Book, Western Drought/Wildfires, and Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/16). President Joe Biden defends his Afghanistan pullout amidst the Taliban’s resurgence and the social chaos; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rate of vaccination, and mask mandates for schoolchildren; the new book from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa titled, Peril, that chronicles the final days of the Donald Trump administration; the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom heats up were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Rush Limbaugh Announces That He Has Been Diagnosed with Advanced Lung Cancer – News Shocks Industry
Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh ended his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program today with the shocking news that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.
He made the following statement:
“This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory, for me, because I’ve known this moment was coming,” Limbaugh said. “I’m sure that you all know by now that I really don’t like talking about myself and I don’t like making things about me… one thing that I know, that has happened over the 31-plus years of this program is that there has been an incredible bond that had developed between all of you and me.
“So, I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn’t have to tell you. It’s a struggle for me because I had to inform my staff earlier today.
“I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down. The upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.
“I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer… diagnosis confirmed by two medical institutions on January 20th after first discovering something not right on January 12th.
“I thought about not telling anybody, it is what it is. You know me, I’m the mayor of Realville. This has happened and my intention is to come here every day I can, and do this program as normally and competently and expertly as I do each and every day because that is the source of my greatest satisfaction professionally, personally.
“I told the staff today that I have a deeply personal relationship with God that I do not proselytize about, but I do, and I have been working that relationship tremendously.
“I am, at the moment, experiencing zero symptoms.
“I hope I will be talking about this as little as necessary in the coming days, but we’ve got a great bunch of doctors, a great team assembled, we’re at full speed ahead on this. It’s just now a matter of implementing what we are going to be told later this week.”
Limbaugh indicated that he “hopes” to be back on Thursday further stating, “If not, it’ll be as soon as I can. Every day I’m not here I’ll be thinking of you and missing you.”
TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has released the following statement: “Anything I have to say about Rush’s importance to the radio industry as well as the national conversation has been said countless times before. He is cumulatively the most influential individual in the modern era of talk media and any change in his role will have enormous impact. We pray for his swift and complete recovery.”
Monday Memo: Cue ‘Centerfield.’ Consultant Holland Cooke describes the morning after the Super Bowl as “like the morning after the Iowa Caucus in Des Moines or the morning after the New Hampshire Primary in Manchester: sagebrush and tumbleweed. The crowd has moved on.” And he outlines opportunities for exploiting what he calls “the best radio sport.” Read it here.
‘Bill and Wendy’ Podcast to Debut On WLSAM.com. Chicago media personalities Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – most recently hosting a midday show at crosstown WGN-AM – are signing on with Cumulus Media to host a podcast on WLSAM.com, effective today. Cumulus says, “Since their early days at the legendary WLUP-FM “The LOOP” in the 1990s, Wendy and Bill have also been heard hosting weekday programming on Chicago radio powerhouses WKQX and WGN-AM 720. As a team, they have amassed thousands upon thousands of on-air hours conducting celebrity interviews, providing a laugh, and discussing the topics that are most important to their audiences and themselves. Once considered to be our generation’s ‘slightly edgier Donnie and Marie,’ Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder proudly bring you their version of a world gone mad! (Or at least, slightly ticked off.)”
Juandolyn Stokes Named New Midday Host at WAOK-AM, Atlanta. At Entercom’s urban news/talk outlet WAOK-AM, Atlanta, Juandolyn Stokes is named the new midday show host. Stokes is the founding pastor of Deeper Life In Christ Ministries in Conyers, Georgia and will host “On Point with Juandolyn Stokes” daily from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, effective immediately. Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “Juandolyn Stokes is a leader in our community and embodies the WAOK mission, which serves as an informative, empowering, engaging and entertaining voice of Atlanta. It is our goal to provide our city with everything they need to navigate their world and I believe the addition of Juandolyn, as well as our new weekday lineup, will benefit our audience on all platforms.” Stokes’ show followed “The Rashad Richey Morning Show” and leads into Reach Media’s syndicated “Keepin’ It Real with Rev. Al Sharpton.” “Too Much Truth with Derrick Boazman” airs in afternoon drive on the station.
Columbia Sports Talker Teddy Heffner Moves to iHeartMedia’s WCOS-AM. Longtime Columbia sports radio personality Teddy Heffner – who was losing his daily sports talk show on Glory Communications’ WGCV, Columbia, South Carolina because of its pending format change – will continue talking sports in Columbia on iHeartMedia’s WCOS-AM “FOX Sports 1400.” Heffner served with iHeartMedia for almost 20 years before exiting in 2014. iHeartMedia SVP of programming LJ Smith says, “We are looking forward to having Teddy back on ‘FOX Sports 1400.’ His knowledge of sports and the connection he has with his listeners is really unique to Columbia radio. And now people can listen to him no matter where they live or travel, on the iHeartRadio App.
SCBA’s Callahan Joins Saga Communications. Media sales pro Thom Callahan is leaving the Southern California Broadcasters Association to join Saga Communications as director of business development. Callahan has been serving as president of the SCBA and current SCBA chairman Miles Sexton will serve as interim president while the group seeks a permanent replacement. Callahan says, “I am proud of the value we have created for Southern California radio and will miss so many of the great radio members we have. However, the opportunity to work with CEO Ed Christian and the great Saga team was just too compelling. I wish the SCBA great success moving forward.”
PPM Analysis: NBA Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on stations that serve as flagship stations for NBA play-by-play. This report shows comparisons of station performances from the December 2019 survey to the Holiday 2019 survey, from December 2018 to December 2019, market rankings, and more. See it all here.
TALKERS News Notes. St. Louis media personality Martin Kilcoyne is back with CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS, St. Louis after exiting crosstown sports talk KFNS-AM two weeks ago. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports, that Kilcoyne – whose main gig is as sports director for KTVI-TV, St. Louis – begins a new position with KTRS after having hosted a regular, daily show there in the past. Kilcoyne tells Caesar, “I’ll be basically a correspondent, a contributor. I think it will be a lot of fun to be on different shows, have a chance to kind of appear in a columnist role. I can talk about sports news of the day but kind of venture off into life stories, too, and have a little bit of fun. I had a good run there and I think the audience is somewhat familiar with me and I’m familiar with the station. So, I think it’s a good fit. It’s a really professional operation, which has gotten me excited.”…..Bonneville’s news/talk KTTH, Seattle is hosting a GOP Gubernatorial Forum on Friday, February 28 at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma. Station afternoon drive host Jason Rantz is moderating the free event. He says, “This won’t be a boring debate of canned answers to fit in :30 second slots. This will be an in-depth look at the issues that matter to voters most. Candidates will be challenged, the pace will be quick, and solutions to Washington’s biggest problems will be demanded of all the Republican candidates.”…..The Forum of Fargo reports that Dom Izzo’s “Hot Mic” show heard on Forum Communications’ WDAY-AM, Fargo from 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily, is now being simulcast on television on WDAY-Xtra. Izzo launched his radio show in September of 2019 after stepping back from his nightly sportscasts. He says, “This was something they talked to me about right away when they initially approached me about moving off the set. This was the thing I was most excited about was the chance to do something different that hadn’t been done before in this market.”…..Cumulus Media’s classic rock and Kansas City Chiefs flagship KCFX-FM “101 The Fox” aired a special re-broadcast of the 1969 Super Bowl IV win featuring Bill Grigsby, and all of the original game day content with no commercials. That re-broadcast led right into the “101 The Fox” pre-game show live from Super Bowl LIV in Miami….FOX News Radio is presenting live national network coverage from Des Moines today for the Iowa Caucus beginning at 7:00 pm ET with a FOX News Podcast special, “The Campaign with Bret Baier,” followed by live coverage of the results anchored by FNR’s national correspondent Jared Halpern, FNR political analyst Josh Kraushaar, and FNR reporters Tonya J. Powers and Jessica Rosenthal. Additionally, the nationally syndicated “Guy Benson Show” is broadcasting live from Des Moines from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET as is the nationally syndicated “Brian Kilmeade Show” from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET…..Entercom sports talker WZGC-FM, Atlanta “92.9 The Game and the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks announce a new, multiyear contract extension of their broadcast partnership. The extension includes the broadcast of all 82 Hawks regular season and all postseason games as well as 30-minute pre- and post-game shows. As part of the agreement, sister stations urban contemporary WVEE-FM “V-103” and WSTR-FM “Star 94.1” will provide additional promotional support.
Impeachment Trial, Wuhan Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity, Presidential Race, Brexit, and Super Bowl LIV Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Senate’s vote not to hear witnesses in the Donald Trump Impeachment Trial; concerns about a coronavirus pandemic; the effects the Wuhan coronavirus is having on the world’s financial markets; Monday’s Iowa caucuses and the Democrats battling for the nomination to face Donald Trump in November; the U.K. officially exits the European Union; and the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV 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. Dance-formatted WPTY, Long Island “Party 105.3” names “Steve and Leeana” co-hosts of the morning show. JVC Media says, “Steve and Leeana have been a part of Long Island radio mornings for decades and now they will be part of mornings on ‘Party 105!’” The company says, “While many radio stations around the dial have been consolidating, cutting staff, bringing in national shows from other markets, and terminating jobs, JVC is doing the opposite and going back to what made radio great – live, local, and home grown.” JVC Media president John Caracciolo says, “This is live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be, we’re not phoning it in. To say you are live and local isn’t enough; the radio personalities have to be involved in the community, involved in local charities and events and become ambassadors for the radio station. There is no better team to do this than Steve and Leeana.”…..Radio One Buffalo, LLC owner and operator Buddy Shula announces that former WGRF-FM, Buffalo overnight and evening personality Cindy Chan is joining the station’s personality lineup. Shula says, “While other companies are firing great on-air talent here in Buffalo and all over the country, making radio just a jukebox, WECK-AM/FM continues to appreciate what live DJs bring to our radio culture and community and we continue to hire. As a kid I grew up in Buffalo listening to Cindy Chan. I loved her conversational on-air approach and her unique style of communicating, plus she really knows her music, and relates it so well to listeners.” Cindy Chan will begin with her “Dance, Sing and Boogie-Woogie” show on Sundays from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
BREAKING NEWS – Masked Intruders Break In and Set fire to Hong Kong Office of The Epoch Times. Four masked intruders dressed in black (three of which are pictured above in a still from a security camera) set fire to the printing press of the Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times in the early hours this morning (11/19), marking the fourth attack on the Hong Kong facility of the international news organization since its opening more than a decade ago. According to a breaking report in The Epoch Times online edition, the manager of the printing press said that the incident took place around 3:40 am HKT at the facility located in the Mong Kok area, as the newly printed newspapers were about to be delivered to the stands. Moments after staff at the press opened the factory door, however, the men walked into the facility and pointed batons towards the workers, shouting, “All of you don’t move!” Surveillance footage from the printing shop shows two of the men dressed in all black carrying batons, while one of them holds newspapers, and another carries two containers containing a flammable liquid, which he poured onto the factory machines and newspapers. The other black-clad man then ignited fires with a lighter. The men immediately ran away after the fires started. The whole incident lasted about two minutes. The fire caused the sprinkler system to turn on, and a staff member used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. The staff then called the police and fire department, who arrived shortly afterward. The Tsuen Wan police bureau has launched an investigation. Two print machines, four rolls of printing papers, and several stacks of newspapers in the factory suffered damage from the fire. Some papers were also damaged by the water. In February 2006, thugs broke into the print shop and attempted to smash the presses. In October 2012, the door of the print shop was damaged. In December 2012, seven men carrying multiple tool boxes appeared and began attempting to break through the gate. They fled after police were called. The Epoch Times has a long history of persecution in which reporters have been arrested and suffered violence at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. Talk show hosts interested in booking a spokesperson from The Epoch Times to discuss today’s break-in may do so by contacting Victoria Jones at the DC Radio Company by phone 917-865-3991 or email at email@example.com
PPM Analysis: News/Talk (Part 2). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a second look at the performances of news/talk stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey. This report delves into commercial news/talk listening by market, comparing data from October 2018 to October 2019. A review of the 47 PPM markets (Puerto Rico not included), show news/talk listening (based on weekly, 6+ AQH share) was up in 19 of those markets and down in the other 28 PPM markets. Markets that saw gains were led by Chicago, San Antonio, West Palm Beach, and Memphis. Markets losing share were led by Denver, Providence, Seattle, and Milwaukee. Which markets, as of October 2019, are the biggest news/talk listeners? The top five are: Milwaukee (13.4 share), Cincinnati (12.9 share), Orlando (12.1 share), Minneapolis (11.9 share), Middlesex (10.8 share). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Nick Kayal Exits Nashville’s “102.5 The Game.” Morning drive sports talk personality Nick Kayal exits Cromwell Media’s sports talk WPRT, Nashville “102.5 The Game” in a move that appears to be a cost-saving effort. The show currently stars Braden Gall and former Tennessee Titans wide receiver Derrick Mason. Kayal joined the WPRT morning show in 2018 after having previously served with WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Sports Fanatic.” Gall and Mason discussed Kayal’s departure on today’s program and an appreciative good-bye text from Kayal appears on the morning show’s page on the station website.
TALKERS News Notes. The regionally syndicated “John Fredericks Show” – based at WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia – is broadcasting today (11/19) live from the White House. Fredericks says the show will be “no-holds-barred as we delve into White House and GOP strategy for passing USMCA, prescription drug pricing, vaping restrictions, stopping surprise medical billing, and of course, the impeachment witch hunt.” Guest will include members of Congress as well as press secretary Stephanie Grisham, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and Vice President Mike Pence…..Sports talk radio personality Matt Jones – whose “Kentucky Sports Radio” program is based at WLAP-AM, Lexington – announces he will not run for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Mitch McConnell. FOX 17 Nashville reports Jones made the announcement on Friday (11/15). Jones says he intends to publish a book about McConnell titled, Mitch, Please, sometime in the New Year. After he made that announcement in August, he was fired from his TV show on WLEX-TV, Lexington. The station says Jones will not return to air there. Jones briefly was off his radio show after the Kentucky Republican Party filed a complaint about his candidacy being promoted on the radio…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that he hears Rachel Williamson – currently president of Cox Media Group’s multiplatform advertising organization Gamut – is the odds on favorite to take over for Jimmy de Castro as senior vice president and market manager for Entercom’s Chicago operations. During her career, Williamson has served as director of digital revenue development for Cox Media Group and director of national ad sales for Cumulus Media, among others…..iHeartMedia adds an FM translator to the WVOC-AM, Columbia, South Carolina news/talk brand. The station can now be heard on W278CY, Columbia at 103.5 FM…..ABC Audio is presenting three special programs for affiliate stations to air during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. For news/talk stations there is “America’s Bounty.” Hosted by ABC News correspondent Aaron Katersky with reporting by correspondents Alex Stone, Jason Nathanson, Jim Ryan, Michelle Franzen, and more, the program takes listeners to an egg farm in New Hampshire, a five-generation livestock farm in South Dakota, and a hydroponic vegetable farm in New Jersey to report on the people who produce what ends up on America’s table. The program also visits a vineyard in California’s Santa Maria Valley, where sustainable winemaking is their mission…..Public media firm KQED, San Francisco is creating a dedicated news desk to cover the Bay Area’s housing and affordability crisis. The desk is comprised of journalists Erika Aguilar, Erin Baldassari, and Molly Solomon. The team’s goal is to provide ongoing coverage of housing and affordability issues in the Bay Area for multiple KQED platforms. The formation of KQED’s housing desk has been made possible in part by a generous grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative…..Last Friday (11/15), Eric Goranson, host of “Around The House With Eric G.” and Jeff “JT” Tracy, host of “Barbecue Nation,” – both distributed in syndication by Envision Networks – led the effort to raise funds for the Clark County Veterans Assistance Center via the “Operation Helping Our Heroes” radiothon on KPAM, Portland “AM 860 The Answer.” The production netted $51,225 for supporting active military, veterans, and their families in obtaining benefits, services, and resources to meet their basic needs. Below from left to right are: Tracy, retired Portland and KPAM radio legend Bob Miller, and Goranson.
Entercom Presents Live Event Addressing Addiction Hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky. The two-hour live event titled, “I’m Listening,” takes place Thursday (11/21) before a live audience at the Entercom Baltimore Performance Studio presented by Recovery Centers of America and hosted by radio host, television host, and addiction medicine specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky. The program airs live on adult contemporary WLIF “Today’s 101.9” and Facebook Live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Dr. Drew and a panel of expert speakers will discuss substance abuse, suicide prevention, and information on how to get help. Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “Millions of people are affected by mental illness. It is our goal to open up the conversation and help end the stigma surrounding mental health. We are proud to leverage our platform and voices to help provide the appropriate resources and information to those affected and encourage people to talk.”
Impeachment Hearings/Ukraine Allegations, Trump Hospital Visit, A Warning Book Released, Trump West Bank Reversal, 2020 Presidential Race, Hong Kong University Siege, Prince Andrew Interview, Iran Protests, and Fresno Shooting Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The impeachment testimony scheduled for this week and the allegations of President Trump’s impropriety with regard to Ukraine military aid; controversy over President Trump’s unannounced, weekend visit to the hospital; today’s publication of the book A Warning by Anonymous, purportedly a White House insider; Trump’s reversal of the 1978 U.S. policy declaring West Bank settlements illegal; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the siege by Chinese soldiers of the protester-occupied Hong Kong Polytechnic University; the aftermath of Prince Andrew’s BBC interview about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein; the protests in Iran after the government shut off the Internet; and the investigation into the football party shooting in Fresno that left four dead 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 pro Glenn Kalina becomes part of the morning show at Entercom’s classic hits WOGL-FM, Philadelphia alongside incumbent AM drive host Marilyn Russell for the new “Glenn Kalina and Marilyn in the Morning.” Kalina had been doing weekend and fill-in work for the station. Kalina has worked on air in the market on WMWX-FM, WIOQ-FM, and the former WLCE-FM…..Actress, model, and radio personality Claudia Jordan exits urban contemporary KRNB-FM, Dallas “Smooth R&B 105.7.” Air personality Rudy Rush moves from KRNB to Service Broadcasting’s co-owned hip hop KKDA-FM, Dallas “K104” as part of the “DeDe in the Morning” show, led by DeDe McGuire…..ABC Audio presents two music-oriented shows for affiliate stations to air during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The three-hour country music special, “Every Girl At Christmas,” is hosted by Trisha Yearwood and includes appearances by Chris Young, Darius Rucker, Thomas Rhett, Carly Pearce, Brett Eldredge, Lady Antebellum, Chris Janson, Keith Urban, Dan + Shay, Luke Bryan, and more. “Rock & Reelz” is a three-hour program hosted by Journey’s Jonathan Cain that takes a look back at some of the greatest rock songs from popular films such as Goodfellas, Easy Rider, Bohemian Rhapsody, and more. The special features artists including Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Aerosmith, Bob Seger, Pat Benatar, Blondie, and Journey.
Mike Thomas Exits Boston’s ‘Sports Hub’ for WMVP, Chicago Market Manager Role. This move means a program director role at one of the top-performing sports talk radio stations in America is open. Beasley Media Group announces that it is “looking for the Bill Belichick of sports radio” as it seeks a PD for WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.” Mike Thomas, who also serves as Beasley Media Group’s national spoken word and podcast brand manager, announces he’s leaving Boston to accept a new position in Chicago – market manager for Good Karma-operated WMVP “ESPN 1000” – in order to be closer to his family and fulfill a career goal of becoming a market manager. Beasley says he will continue to remain as a consultant to the station and actively participate in the search process. Thomas says, “This was an incredibly difficult decision. This radio station is a once-in-a-career station, with a once-in-a-career staff. I would like to thank Caroline and Brian Beasley and the entire corporate team for everything. Locally, Mary Menna, Cadillac Jack, and Buzz Knight have been fantastic to work with! I also want to thank every single ‘Sports Hub’ employee for 10 years of winning! I know our relationships won’t end here.” Beasley Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack says, “I want to thank Mike for the instrumental part he has played in leading our award-winning brand throughout its first decade and wish him continued success in his next chapter. They’re big shoes to fill and we look forward to meeting a lot of great talent in the process as the coming days and weeks unfold.”
Ex-FOX News Radio Personality Todd Starnes Launches Syndicated Commentary. Former FOX News Radio personality Todd Starnes – who exited the company last week – announces he’s unveiling a syndicated commentary that “more than 750 radio stations have signed on to carry.” The “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” short-form program is produced by his Starnes Media Group and syndicated by Hamilton Strategies. Additionally, a three-hour, caller-driven radio talk show will debut on November 4. Starnes says that program will feature major newsmakers, entertainers, artists, and Christian leaders. He says, “I am first and foremost a radio guy. I love the format and I believe that radio will continue to have a lasting impact on the nation. We are also deeply committed to super-serving our radio affiliates with first class service.” The commentaries are broadcasting on Bott Radio Network, American Family Radio, CSN Network, and a number of commercial radio stations. For information about broadcasting Starnes’ commentaries or his talk show, contact Deborah Hamilton at Media@HamiltonStrategies.com.
Tammy O’Dell Assumes VP/Market Manager Role at Cumulus Columbia. Sales and management pro Tammy O’Dell is named vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Columbia, South Carolina cluster. This is a return to Cumulus after serving most recently as local sales manager for Spectrum Reach in Cary, North Carolina. She was formerly Cumulus’ VP/MM in Charleston, South Carolina. The Columbia cluster includes sports talk duo WNKT-FM “107.5 The Game” and WISW-AM “1320 The Fan” and three music brands. Cumulus Media EVP of operations Bob Walker says, “We are excited to welcome Tammy back to the Cumulus family in Columbia. Her passion for the Carolina region and her success in building a winning sales culture make her a great addition to the team in Columbia.”
SiriusXM Woos Denise Karkos from TD Ameritrade. Marketing pro Denise Karkos is joining SiriusXM as the new chief marketing officer, a position in which she’ll be responsible for brand and digital marketing of both the SiriusXM and Pandora brands and helping support and drive the growth of SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners. Karkos was most recently CMO at TD Ameritrade where she was named 2019 CMO of the Year by Ad Age. SiriusXM president, sales, marketing and operations Jennifer Witz says, “Denise is exceptionally innovative and forward thinking and we are very pleased and excited that she will be leading our marketing efforts as we continue to grow the SiriusXM and Pandora brands. She and her team will execute a cohesive marketing strategy to drive brand relevance and consideration through to customer conversion, with a deep focus on digital, social, and mobile marketing.”
FOX Sports Radio Reports Digital Audience Gains. Citing data from August and September of this year, FOX Sports Radio – a division of Premiere Networks – is announcing audience growth “across several digital platforms, including podcasts, streaming and www.FOXSportsRadio.com.” FOX Sports Radio says it set a new record for total monthly podcast listens in September, reaching more than 11 million monthly listens. It also notes total podcast listens have grown nearly 60% since January. FSR says it experienced its third-highest streaming audience in the history of the network with the streaming numbers growing 8% from August of 2018 to August 2019 and a 25% increase over August 2017.
Cumulus CEO Mary Berner to Receive Gracies Leadership Award. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation is honoring Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner with a 2019 Gracies Leadership Award. The Gracies Leadership Awards are presented annually to women executives who have made a significant impact on the media industry, while also spurring to action and emboldening other female leaders. The award will be presented to Berner and five other female media executives at the Gracies Leadership Awards luncheon at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Thursday, November 21, 2019. AFWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “The Alliance for Women in Media is proud to showcase female executives for their extraordinary accomplishments and deep contributions across the media landscape. The Gracies Leadership Awards are one way AWM recognizes and connects women who serve in all areas of the media and entertainment industry. By honoring these outstanding women, including Mary Berner, we are empowering all women, at every level, to take that next step in elevating their careers and their contributions.”
TALKERS News Notes. In Denver, Bonneville brings former Denver Broncos offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus aboard as co-host of “The Drive” on sports talk KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” Polumbus joins hosts Darren “DMac” McKee and Nick Ferguson on the afternoon drive show. He takes over for Tom Nalen who exits the station for personal reasons…..A “Free Talk Live” co-host is making news as he takes on two other candidates for mayor of Keene, New Hampshire. But there’s more to the story. In August, Rich Paul filed in New Hampshire probate court to change his name to Nobody. Today’s ballot gives voters three choices for mayor: Mitchell “Mitch” Greenwald, George S. Hansel, and Nobody. “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman tells TALKERS magazine Nobody’s mayoral campaign is just the beginning. He’s already announced his 2020 campaign to take on New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and is even considering a presidential run in a few more years. Check out his campaign website: ElectNobody.com…..Edison Research is making three of its presentations originally delivered at the recent NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas available to the industry at its website. Available for your perusal are: “The Top 10 Findings from Edison Research in 2019 (so far)”; “The Secret to Longer TSL”; and “What Does it Mean for Radio to Be Local.” Check them out here…..In Northern Michigan, an application is filed with the FCC to transfer the licenses of eight stations from Sovereign Communications, LLC to AMC Partners Escanaba, LLC. The stations are: news/talk WMIQ-AM, classic rock WIMK-FM, and hot AC WZNL-FM in the Iron Mountain/Escanaba area and news/talk WDMJ-AM and WIAN-AM, country WJPD-FM, classic rock WUPK-FM, and oldies WNGE-FM in the Marquette area. Sovereign Communications is headed by Bill Gleich. AMC Partners Escanaba is a Wisconsin-based company headed by Terry Shockley and Chris Bernier. KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction…..The University of San Francisco and Cumulus Media San Francisco announce a multi-year agreement for KTCT-AM “KNBR 1050 The Sports Leader” to serve as flagship station for the school’s men’s basketball games. Pat Olson will serve as play-by-play voice for broadcasts of the USF Dons games.
Impeachment Inquiry, Bidens Investigation, Trump’s Syria Decision, 2020 Presidential Race, Omar Files for Divorce, NBA-China Rift, and Joker Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/7). The impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the report of a second whistleblower; the reported activities of Joe and Hunter Biden with regard to business in foreign countries; President Trump’s decision to remove U.S. troops from Northern Syria in deference to Turkey; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar files for divorce amidst rumors of an affair with a Democratic operative; the rift between the NBA and China over the Houston Rockets’ general manager’s comments; and the Joker film 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. Bay Area sales pro David Drutz is named vice president and market manager for Alpha Media’s San Jose duo KBAY-FM and KEZR-FM. Drutz was most recently vice president of sales for Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco. Drutz says, “I’m incredibly excited to be part of a company as visionary as Alpha Media and lead classic hits KBAY and hot AC KEZR. Both brands not only dominate Silicon Valley but also have tremendous reach throughout the Bay Area. It’s going to be great fun in managing these stations to even more success!”…..Programming pro JT Bosch is promoted to senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Greensboro station group, effective October 14. Bosch will also serve as program director for rock WVBZ-FM “105.7 MAN UP!” Bosch has been with iHeartMedia since 2001 and most recently served as the assistant program director, music director and afternoon show host for country WKKT, Charlotte “96.9 The Kat.” He says, “The opportunity to lead our programming efforts in Greensboro is so incredible. We are ushering in a new era and I’m honored to be a part of it. Thanks to the entire iHeartMedia senior leadership team for their continued support.”…..Cumulus Media announces that it has appointed Mike Moore program director for country WKHX-FM, Atlanta “Kicks 101.5.” Moore comes to Atlanta from his most recent position as VP of programming for Entercom’s Portland cluster where he also programmed country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf.” Cumulus EVP of content and audience Brian Philips states, “As we met a strong field of senior candidates for WKHX, Mike Moore pushed his way to the front with thoughtful ideas and hard-driving enthusiasm. His wartime country radio leadership experience will enable him to build the team that changes the Atlanta landscape.”