Talk Radio Rises to Coronavirus Challenge. This past weekend seems to have marked a tipping point in America regarding public anxiety over COVID-19, still commonly referred to as the coronavirus. Fears and near panic have infiltrated the beleaguered heath care systems of our communities, the stock market, and a number of inter-connected industries and public events. Add to that discourse about the problem in our politically oriented media have included the “weaponization” of issues per the troubling practice of each side tending to seek victory at the expense of truth. Most talk media broadcasters tell TALKERS that this crisis provides radio both the mission and calling to provide a significant degree of comfort and helpful information to the public – thus showcasing its pertinence as a vital medium in the 21st century. Broadcasters who spoke to TALKERS about this include: Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM; Mike Salk, Bonneville Seattle; Chris Little, KFI, Los Angeles; Joyce Kaufman, WFTL, West Palm Beach; Ryan Wrecker, KMOX, St. Louis; Harry Hurley, WPG, Atlantic City; Doug Stephan, nationally syndicated “DJV Show”; Dr. Daliah Wachs, GCN-syndicated host; Heidi Harris, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Jim Bohannon, Westwood One-syndicated host; Bob Lawrence, Saga Communications; Michael Berry, KRTH, Houston and in syndication; and Richard Neer, WFAN, New York. Read it here.
Monday Memo: Coronavirus Conundrum: It’s the story-of-the-week every week, and the public health sector is working overtime to keep it from becoming the story-of-a-lifetime. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “If listeners don’t hear ‘Coronavirus’ on your air, you’re wallpaper. If you are telling them something they haven’t yet heard elsewhere, they will listen more and tell others what they heard (and where).” And he outlines specific tactics. Read it here.
Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity, Presidential Race, North Korea Fires Missiles, and Greece-Turkey Immigrant Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The status of the coronavirus pandemic and public officials’ response to it; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus and the break of the Saudi-Russian oil pact that’s sent prices plummeting; the battle between Democrats Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders for the party’s nomination; North Korea fires more test missiles; and the violence over the refugee crisis at the Greece-Turkey border were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KFYI, Phoenix Moves James T Harris to Mornings; Debuts ‘Russell & Hunter’ Afternoon Show. Phoenix news/talker KFYI moves “The Conservative Circus With James T Harris” from afternoon drive to mornings and launches the new afternoon drive show “Russell & Hunter.” The iHeartMedia station says, “‘The Conservative Circus with James T. Harris’ is a highly entertaining look at the news of the day from an unapologetically conservative point of view.” Station PD Aaron Trimmer adds, “James T. Harris is an unrivaled talent in the world of talk radio. The success he has had hosting afternoon drive on 550 KFYI made him the obvious choice to now take over mornings.” Previous morning drive host Mike Broomhead exited at the end of his contract in January. He joined Bonneville’s crosstown news/talk KTAR-FM for mornings in February. iHeartMedia says Mike Russell and Rob Hunter bring more than 25 years of combined experience in Phoenix talk radio to afternoon drive. “Together, ‘Russell & Hunter’ will continue to serve Phoenix’s passionate conservative audience by being ardent defenders of small business, the 2nd Amendment and traditional American values.”
WABC, New York’s Curtis Sliwa Vows to Run for Mayor of New York. Longtime New York City talk radio host and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa tells the New York Post he intends to run for mayor of New York. Sliwa has not filed any paperwork to officially join the race and he’s expected to continue co-hosting the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show with Juliet Huddy on Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York. The piece notes that Sliwa left the Reform Party recently and registered as a Republican. Sliwa points to six issues he says are the most important facing New Yorkers: crime in the streets, crime on the subways, the homeless, emotionally disturbed people, the New York City Housing Authority, and affordable housing.
Talent Changes Coming to Sports Talk ‘99.9 The Fan’ in Raleigh. The afternoon drive show at Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh is splitting up, with longtime hosts Adam Gold and Joe Ovies soon to be hosting separate programs. Raleigh News & Observer sportswriter Joe Giglio is joining the radio station and will co-host the afternoon drive show with Ovies. Gold will host his own sports talk show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. In a press release, station program director Dennis Glasgow comments, “It’s not often that you have the unique opportunity to get better when moving an air personality of Adam Gold’s stature to another timeslot and also add a sports reporting vet like Joe Giglio to an already established show, so we’re very fortunate. In the end our listeners are the big winners.” Gold’s new program will replace the regionally syndicated David Glenn show on WCMC-FM.
‘K-News 94.3 FM’ Palm Springs Host Bill Feingold Dies at 70. The Desert Sun reports KNWQ-AM/K232CX, Palm Springs talk radio host Bill Feingold died on Friday (3/6) at age 70. Feingold, who co-hosted the morning show with Kevin Holmes on the Alpha Media station, was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer in August. It had spread to his lungs and bones. But Feingold underwent chemotherapy and returned to the radio program after showing improvement. Eventually, the cancer worsened, and he was hospitalized. During his time as radio host in Palm Springs, Feingold befriended such celebrity residents as Suzanne Somers and Gavin MacLeod.
Ed Wilson to Lead CMG’s CoxReps and Gamut. Sale executive Ed Wilson joins Cox Media Group to serve as executive chairman for its CoxReps and Gamut national ad platform businesses. CMG president and CEO Kim Guthrie says, “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Ed for years. He is a business builder and a natural networker in both traditional and emerging media. His experience and industry relationships will serve him well in this role. We look forward to his perspective as we leverage our industry leading position to evolve these important businesses.” Wilson has served in leadership roles at The Tribune Company, FOX Broadcasting, NBC, and CBS. CoxReps’ chief operating officer Ann Hailer and Gamut SVP of client solutions Soo Jin Oh will continue in their current roles, reporting directly to Wilson.
Weekly ‘Day 1’ Show to Celebrate 75 Years on Radio. Every Sunday since April 1945, the weekly, half-hour Protestant religious program “Day 1” has aired on radio stations across the country. Although originally titled, “The Protestant Hour,” the program from Alliance for Christian Media has never been a 60-minute show and when Reverend Peter Wallace started working on the show 19 years ago, it was decided the show’s name needed a change. Wallace tells TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian, “We came up with the name ‘Day 1,’ which sounds good in the media environment. We are on several news/talk stations [including Cox Media Group Atlanta flagship WSB-AM/WSBB-FM] so it fit into that milieu. It refers to when the program generally airs – Sunday – the first day of the week. It’s the day people generally go to church and has an inspirational, hopeful ‘first day’ of the rest of your life feel to it.” Read the full feature here.
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports on two radio stories from the Windy City. First, WGN-AM sports reporter and podcaster Adam Hoge is leaving the Nexstar Media Group news/talker to join cable’s NBC Sports Chicago where he’ll be a White Sox insider on the regional network. Second, crosstown sports talker WMVP “ESPN Chicago” is adding a nightly baseball show hosted by Jonathan Hood, effective March 23. The Good Karma Brands-operated station will air the show from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..According to a piece by Rob Tornoe at the Philadelphia Inquirer, WIP morning show producer Joe Weachter was released from a Florida hospital last Thursday morning after experiencing a health scare while on a flight from Philly to Tampa. Weachter was on the plane, along with morning host Angelo Cataldi and WIP personality Ava Graham heading to Florida to cover Phillies spring training when lost consciousness shortly after leaving his seat to use the restroom. Fortunately, Dr. Edward Dickinson – a professor of emergency medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania – was on the flight and, along with the assistance of an unnamed paramedic, treated Weachter who regained consciousness after about 10 minutes…..Seneca Women Podcast Network and iHeartMedia enter into a multi-year partnership to co-produce and distribute “a slate of high-quality, women-focused podcasts in the areas of women in business, leadership, current events, health and more, providing inspiring, purpose-driven and actionable content from a diverse range of women’s voices.” As part of the deal, new and existing podcasts on the Seneca Women Podcast Network will join the iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartMedia will now co-produce the hit podcast series “Seneca Women Conversations on Power and Purpose” hosted by Ambassador Melanne Verveer and Kim Azzarelli. “Seneca Women Conversations on Power and Purpose” will debut March 9 on iHeartRadio with 19 episodes in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Popular Twin Cities radio personality Brian Zepp returns to Cumulus Media’s rock KQRS as part of the “KQ Morning Show” with Tom Barnard. Zepp was an air personality on the station for 19 years before exiting for a position at Orion Media‘s classic rock KBZN-FM, Bozeman, Montana “The Eagle” three years ago. He says, “After having been away from KQ for a couple of years, I’ve come to realize there is just no better experience in my profession than being a part of the ‘KQ Morning Show.’ It’s great to be reunited with Tom and the crew, but even sweeter being reunited with the KQ listeners.”…..In Dallas, Michelle Boros joins iHeartMedia’s hot AC KDMX, Dallas “102.9 NOW” as the new morning drive personality. Boros was most recently an air personality and music director at Entercom’s CHR KAMP, Los Angeles “97.1 AMP Radio.” Station program director Jay Shannon comments, “We’re excited to add Michelle to the ‘102.9 NOW’ morning lineup. Her years of experience along with her DFW background and roots make her the perfect fit.”…..Radio pro Gary Saunders joins Tracy Johnson Media Group to work on TJMG’s Personality Magnet Show Prep Service. Saunders has been serving as executive producer for the Compass Media Networks syndicated “DeDe In the Morning” program as well as APD for Service Broadcasting’s hip hop KKDA, Dallas…..Publicist Taryn Pray joins Nashville-based publicity firm Monarch Publicity. During her more than 13 years in the publicity biz, she worked with UMG Nashville and Sony Music Nashville before starting her own independent publicity company in 2013. Monarch Publicity’s clients include Chris Bandi, Chris Young, Craig Morgan, Laine Hardy, Matt Stell, Sara Evans, The Shires, Temecula Road, Tiffany Woys, and Music Health Alliance.
Cumulus to Sell WABC, New York to Red Apple Media for $12.5 Million. As TALKERS magazine tipped earlier today, Cumulus Media Inc. is agreeing to sell New York City heritage AM WABC to John Catsimatidis-controlled Red Apple Media, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Red Apple Group, for $12.5 million in cash. Cumulus Media’s CEO Mary Berner says, “Today’s agreement with Red Apple is yet another step in the execution of our portfolio optimization priority to drive Cumulus’s long-term success. Consistent with our financial goals, we intend to use the sale’s net cash proceeds to pay down debt and invest in the company to better serve our 250 million listeners and the advertisers who want to reach them. We are also pleased that WABC’s excellent team will work with Red Apple following the transaction’s close to continue building this iconic station’s legacy.” Under the terms of the agreement, Red Apple will take responsibility for programming WABC immediately following the close of the sale, which is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2019. Catsimatidis says, “I am very pleased that Red Apple Media Inc. has agreed to acquire 77 WABC Radio. The station is a real New York legend with a rich history in broadcasting. I started a radio show five years ago which is now available in 14 states and on the internet. It has gained a large and loyal audience. Our purchase of 77 WABC Radio is the next step in building a new broadcasting business, and we look forward to considering the acquisition of more broadcasting assets. We plan to retain the excellent staff and talent working at the station now and look forward to working with them.” Catsimatidis is the owner, president, chairman and CEO of Gristedes Foods, a large Manhattan-based grocery chain and the Red Apple Group, a real estate and aviation company with about $2 billion in holdings in New York, Florida and Pennsylvania. He is also the chairman and CEO of the Red Apple Group subsidiary, United Refining Company. He hosts a Sunday morning talk radio show on a number of stations along the East Coast out of his flagship, Salem Media’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Catsimatidis was the runner-up for the Republican nomination for Mayor of New York in 2013.
Exclusive! TALKERS Publisher Michael Harrison Speaks with John Catsimatidis. Listen to Michael Harrison‘s conversation about his company’s acquisition of WABC, New York here.
Cox Enterprises Announces Sale of Cox Media Group Radio Assets to Apollo Global Management. This sale of the Cox Media Group radio station portfolio to private equity fund manager Apollo Global Management – the price not disclosed in the press release – will be less disruptive to the operations than a typical transfer of ownership of this size as it appears the new company will keep management in place. The deal calls for Cox Media Group’s radio station portfolio as well as its CoxReps and Gamut national advertising businesses to become part of a newly expanded media company called Cox Media Group, based in Atlanta, that acquired Cox’s broadcast television group and the company’s radio, newspaper, and television properties in Ohio back in February. Cox Enterprises is maintaining a minority stake in the new company. This deal affects some 52 radio brands in 10 markets – including heritage news/talk stations WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; WOKV-FM, Jacksonville; WDBO-FM, Orlando; and KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa. The new Cox Media Group will operate more than 60 radio stations across 11 markets. The presser states that “the buyer plans to maintain the successful operating structure of Cox Media Group’s television, radio, CoxReps and Gamut businesses and leverage these assets to continue building a national media company with station properties in key markets across the country.” However, the sale means Cox loses the grandfathered ownership status in Tampa and Orlando and will divest WPYO-FM, Orlando and WSUN-FM, Tampa in order to comply with FCC ownership caps. Cox Enterprises CEO Alex Taylor says, “We are happy our Cox Radio and national ad platforms will continue to be operated with our television group. Keeping these media businesses together gives us even more confidence in the future success of the new company. We have spent many years fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation across these businesses and are pleased to see that work will continue.” Apollo senior partner David Sambur adds, “We are thrilled to acquire the Cox Radio station portfolio, CoxReps and Gamut and combine them with the Cox Television business to form a new media company focused on quality local broadcasting. Cox has deep roots in the media industry and has stood for the highest quality in local journalism for the past 120 years. As we shepherd these businesses into the future, we are committed to investing in high-quality programming and fostering innovation in local media.”
‘Coach’ John Kentera Moves to Middays at ‘97.3 The Fan’ in San Diego. Market sports talk pro “Coach” John Kentera will take over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart at Entercom’s sports talk KWFN-FM, San Diego “97.3 The Fan,” effective July 1. Kentera will continue to host 97.3 The Fan’s pre- and post-game shows for Padres baseball games, “The Fan’s High School Football Show,” on Thursday nights in the fall, and serve as the color commentator on “The Fan’s Friday Night High School Football Game of the Week” broadcast. Kentera served with former sports talker XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090” from 2003 through 2015. His show replaces FOX Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb. Entercom San Diego SVP and market manager Bob Bolinger says, “We’re thrilled to add Coach Kentera to 97.3 The Fan’s weekday lineup. Coach has a rich history in San Diego and is truly beloved by the community, sports fans, and advertising partners alike.”
WGMN-AM, Roanoke Flips to News/Talk. The Roanoke Times reports that 3 Daughters Media has flipped WGMN-AM/W270CU, Roanoke from sports talk to news/talk. The station dropped its 21-year affiliation with ESPN Radio and is airing FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade show, Compass Media Networks-syndicated “Markley and van Camp” show, and the syndicated Tom Sullivan program. 3 Daughters owner Gary Burns tells the paper that more competitors in sports talk radio in the market have “watered it down.” He also says of the flip, “I just think there’s a larger available audience in Roanoke for talk radio…than there is for sports radio.”
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Thom Hartmann Show” is now heard on Genesis Communications’ “News/Talk Florida” – the duo of WIXC, Titusville and WWBA, Tampa — airing in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart…..Radio personality Susie Wargin – midday jock at iHeartMedia’s classic rock KRFX, Denver “103.5 The Fox” – is joining the radio broadcast team for Denver Broncos games this fall. Wargin will serve as a sideline reporter alongside play-by-play voice Dave Logan and color commentator Rick Lewis. Games air on iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOA and KRFX-FM…..cabana announces it has published its 2019 Guide to Buying Podcasts. The report includes new features, such as white-labeled case studies, “Ask an Ad Ops Expert” section, and insights into dynamic ad insertion. cabana VP of digital sales Ilwira Marciszek says, “We’re seeing bigger brands with different goals entering podcast advertising, so we wanted to speak to their concerns directly. Podcast advertising has worked for direct response, and it can work for all kinds of campaigns when used smartly.” You can download the Buying Guide here…..Coastal Broadcasting’s sports talk KLRZ-FM, New Orleans “ESPN 100.3” is the new flagship for New Orleans Pelicans basketball beginning with the 2019-20 season. Last season, games aired on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRNO-FM. Pelicans president Dennis Lauscha says, “We could not be more excited to begin this new era of Pelicans basketball with our new flagship radio partner and its devoted listening audience. ‘ESPN New Orleans’ offers a tremendous daily sports lineup with a significant focus on the Pelicans, along with all of the local professional, collegiate, and high school teams. This is an outstanding and natural alliance for our city and region.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM weekend talk host David Plier is taking over the interim chairman position with the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Plier has been and will continue to be a member of the museum’s board of directors. He assumes the role from Larry Wert, who has been interim chairman since 2016.
44thAnnual Gracie Awards Luncheon Held in New York City. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation presented the 44th Annual Gracie Awards Luncheon yesterday (6/26) at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. Sheinelle Jones, co-host of “3rd Hour of TODAY” and co-anchor of NBC News’ “Weekend TODAY,” led the program alongside presenters Angela Yee from Premiere Networks’ syndicated “The Breakfast Club”; supermodel, TV personality and podcast host Emme; Roula Christie of “The Roula and Ryan Show” on KRBE, Houston; and Duarte Geraldino from Al Jazeera Digital and “PBS NewsHour.” Winners in the Radio Local category included: Julie DiCaro and Maggie Hendricks, hosts of “The Julie and Maggie Show” on Entercom sports talker WSCR, Chicago; “The Jason & Alex Show” on Hubbard Radio’s KTMY, Minneapolis’; Jillian Barberie, morning personality on Cumulus Media’s KABC-AM, Los Angeles; and Tara Granahan, talk show on Cumulus’ news/talk WPRO-AM, Providence. See all the winners here. The National Gracie Award honorees were recognized at the Gracies Gala on May 21 at The Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills.
Democratic Debate/2020 Presidential Race, Immigration Policy/Detention Facilities/Wayfair Protest, G20 Summit, Mueller to Testify, Iran Tensions, and Dominican Republic Tourist Deaths Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26). Wednesday night’s debate featuring half of the Democrats seeking their party’s nomination; the Trump administration’s Southern border policies, the conditions at U.S. detention centers, and Wayfair employees’ protests over contracts to supply furniture to child detention centers; the G20 Summit in Osaka and President Trump’s plans to meet with Vladimir Putin; former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee; the diplomatic break between Tehran and Washington; and the deaths and illnesses affecting travelers to the Dominican Republic 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. Urban programming pro Kenny Smoov is promoted to vice president, urban formats for Cumulus Media, a role in which he will serve as a corporate programming resource for the company’s 37 urban outlets. Smoov has been with Cumulus since 2003 and is program director and morning host for urban contemporary WQQK, Nashville “92Q,” role in which he will continue…..Also at Cumulus Media, Patrick Scott is upped to program director for CHR WLTO-FM, Lexington, Kentucky “Hot 102.5.” For the past three years, he’s been promotions and marketing director for Cumulus’ five Lexington stations…..Adams Radio of Delmarva names Angela Caswell senior account manager for the five-station music radio cluster that includes rock WZBH, Millsboro, Delaware “The Beach”; CHR WOCQ, Berlin, Maryland “OC 104”; classic rock WGBG, Fruitland, Maryland “BIG 107.7”; country WUSX, Seaford, Delaware; and WOQC-HD2 “KOOL Oldies.” Caswell most recently served in the sales department at Delmarva Broadcasting, which recently sold its radio properties to Forever Media.