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Entercom to Acquire Four Charlotte Signals from Beasley for $24 Million. In order to stay under the FCC ownership cap in the Charlotte market, Beasley Broadcast Group has to sell some of its holdings that would put if over the cap after the previously announced Greater Media acquisition deal closes. Now, Beasley announces that Entercom will acquire news/talk WBT-AM/FM, hot AC WLNK-FM (all three currently owned by Greater Media) plus sports talk WFNZ-AM and its accompanying FM translator. The company says that Entercom will begin operating WBT-AM/FM and WLNK-FM upon the closing of the Greater Media deal, pursuant to a time brokerage agreement. Back on July 19, Beasley and Greater Media entered into a definitive merger agreement whereby Beasley will acquire all of the outstanding stock of Greater Media for an aggregate consideration of approximately $240 million, subject to adjustments.
Westwood One to Syndicate WMAL, Washington-Based Chris Plante Show. Over the years, the WMAL-AM/FM, Washington-based Chris Plante show has aired on other Cumulus Media news/talk stations – it still is heard on the company’s KARN-FM, Little Rock. Now, the company is getting serious about going beyond DC with the show and Westwood One begins syndication efforts for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET program beginning January 2, 2017. About the conservative talk personality, WW1 says, “A third-generation media pro, Plante began his radio career at WMAL in 2005 after 17 years inside the Washington bureau at CNN, where he moved up the ranks from researcher and assignment editor to Pentagon correspondent. During his tenure at CNN, he crisscrossed the globe, covering events from Vietnam and Albania to Jakarta. He was the director of the U.S. television network pool operations in Saudi Arabia for three months following Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Plante won the Edward R. Murrow Award from the RTDNA for his live coverage of the terrorist attack on the pentagon on September 11, 2001. He was the first to report that the Pentagon had been attacked. He was also recognized by the Television Academy for his September 11 reporting. He makes regular appearances on the Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network.” Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “Chris Plante takes the news of the day and breaks it down in his signature direct, funny, and fearless style. He engages a legion of devoted fans who tune in every day whether they agree with him or not. He’s a captivating storyteller who makes great radio. It’s the kind of programming we are proud to add to our best-in-class talk lineup.”
WABC, New York and Westwood One Renew Don Imus. When January 2, 2017 rolls around, the only difference in morning drive at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York and its Westwood One radio network will be a 9:00 am ET signoff time for New York radio legend Don Imus (right now it’s 10:00 am). Cumulus announces it has re-signed Imus and his crew to a new multi-year deal for the show to air on 77 WABC Radio from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. It’s been nine years since WABC inked Imus to a morning radio deal after CBS RADIO dropped him from crosstown WFAN in the wake of the “nappy-headed hos” scandal. Cumulus SVP, content and programming Mike McVay states, “Don Imus is not a media icon. He is much more than that. He is an American Icon. Mr. Imus brings his ‘A’ game every day. And if you miss one day, you miss a lot. We are thrilled to have Don continue with Westwood One, Cumulus and WABC.” The cast of executive producer Bernie McGuirk, comedians Rob Bartlett and Tony Powell, producer Lou Rufino, sportscaster Warner Wolf, and news anchor Connell McShane will also remain with the show. The program is currently followed by “The Bernie & Sid Show” with McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg. Whether WABC expands that program to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon remains to be seen.
WPRO-AM, Providence’s John DePetro Hosts Red Sox Great Curt Schilling; Former Pitcher Intends to Challenge Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. During a long interview on the John DePetro program on Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence, former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling (who currently hosts a weekend syndicated talk show distributed by the Howie Carr Radio Network) spoke at length about the failed video game company 38 Studios that received a large Rhode Island state loan to locate in Providence. The company went belly-up and the issue has been a sore spot for a number of politicians in the state, not to mention segments of the public. During the interview, Schilling also told DePetro that he’s decided – pending approval from his wife Shonda – that he will challenge Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for her U.S. Senate seat. Shonda Schilling later called in to the station to say she has not decided if she’s willing to give approval. WPRI-TV, Providence reports that a recent WBZ/UMass poll put Warren at 47% and Schilling at 28%.
Entercom to Refinance Debt. The Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania-based broadcaster announces it is meeting with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc., RBC Capital Markets, LLC and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC today to discuss a refinancing of its senior and senior unsecured debt. In a press statement, Entercom Communications says it expects to enter into a $520 million senior secured credit facility that will include a $60 million revolving credit facility with a five-year maturity, plus a $460 million term loan with a seven-year maturity. Entercom will use the term loan to refinance $225 million in existing senior secured bank debt, plus it will buy back $220 million in 10.5% senior subordinated notes.
CBS News Icon Charles Osgood Is the Subject of this Week’s Harrison Podcast. Legendary CBS News radio and television giant Charles Osgood is the guest on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” posted today (10/18). Osgood has been hosting (and continues to host) the four-times-per-weekday morning feature “The Osgood Files” via Westwood One on radio stations across the nation since 1971. He also retired several weeks ago from a 24-year stint as the anchor of television’s CBS News “Sunday Morning” program. Harrison and Osgood talk about changes in media and journalism over the years culminating with a provocative analysis of the current presidential election. To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
The Presidential Race, Trump’s Media Conspiracy, Hillary Clinton Emails Scandal, Battle Against ISIS in Mosul, Police Chiefs Group Apology, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17). The race for the presidency; Donald Trump’s statements that the election is in jeopardy of being stolen by the media conspiracy against him; allegations that State Department Under-Secretary Michael Kennedy engaged in a quid-pro-quo with the FBI to have some of Hillary Clinton’s emails declassified during the investigation of her use of a private email server for State Department business; the ongoing battle against Islamic State in Iraq and the fight to retake Mosul; International Association of Chiefs of Police president Terrence Cunningham apologizes for generations of mistrust between police officers and minority communities; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Election 2016: TALKERS Magazine in the Trenches – WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano Interviews Michael Harrison About the State of Talk Radio During Current Cycle. WPHT, Philadelphia midday host Dom Giordano engages in an in-depth conversation with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about the disruptive effect Election 2016 has been having upon conservative talk radio during the current presidential election cycle. The two talk about how the concept of targeting audiences and preaching to the choir – a modern day strategy of political talk broadcasting – has hit speedbumps on the right with the emergence of Donald Trump and even to a degree on the left with revelations about Bernie Sanders’ candidacy. Harrison says, “We have gone from playing checkers to three dimensional chess.” To hear the conversation in its entirety, please click here.
Odds & Sods. Progressive talk media personality Nicole Sandler returns to work after taking time off to treat her cancer. She says, “It’s been a long couple of months during which my world changed completely. I had no idea how long my detour to deal with cancer would last, but I’m ready to head back into the land of electoral insanity with just three weeks to go before election day. If a life-threatening illness had to sideline me for a few months, it surely picked the right time. And if I wasn’t already sick, covering this year’s presidential madness would have certainly made me ill. But as we approach the finish line, I have to admit that I’ve been getting a bit antsy in recent days. Talking back to the TV just wasn’t helping.” She starts streaming her show – starting one hour from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET – at nicolesandler.com and Progressive Voices Network…..Stephanie Miller’s final “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” date for this year takes place in Los Angeles at the Saban Theater on November 5. It will be broadcast in movie theaters across the country via Fathom Events on November 7. Also, Miller’s book, Sexy Liberal! Of Me I Sing, wins the 2016 Wild Card Book Award in the Northern California Book Festival…..Following yesterday’s news about Galaxy Communications’ acquisition of Berkshires Media Group, it’s worth noting that Galaxy has applied to the FCC to move the FM translator it recently bought in South Burlington, Vermont to the Western Massachusetts region to serve as the translator for news/talk WBEC-AM, Pittsfield at 93.9 FM…..DGital Media issues a presser listing some of its recent content partnerships – including relationships with Tony Kornheiser, Peter King, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, IMG, The MMQB, and more. Chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “We are extremely proud to add so many wonderful partnerships to our business. The power of on-demand audio only continues to grow. We are well poised for what lies ahead, bringing together our new and existing partners with a rapidly growing audience of millions of fans who tune in on a daily basis.”