Tag: "Dan Le Batard"

Thursday, July 25, 2019

| July 25, 2019

Dan Le Batard Off Air Again Today.  According to a story in The Washington Post, ESPN sports personality Dan Le Batard is off his radio program, “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” and his cable TV show, “Highly Questionable,” today (7/25) because he’s meeting in New York with ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro.  Le Batard was off the air on Monday after he addressed the “Send her back!” chants directed toward Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar by Trump supporters at a recent Trump political rally.  Le Batard was reminded by ESPN brass of the company’s mandate that politics are off limits on the sports network unless there’s a sports connection.  Le Batard criticized that policy as well.  He was, however, back on the air on Tuesday and Wednesday.  FOX News coverage quotes former ESPN staffer and Le Batard friend Bill Simmons saying on his podcast that he doesn’t think Le Batard will remain with ESPN much longer.  He calls him “a really proud guy, who I feel like at some point looked at it and said, ‘I have a platform, I’m on live radio right now and I’m just gonna use the platform for this and I know there is going to be repercussions.’”

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk.TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  Summer listening trends may be having an effect on public talk stations as 61% of those in PPM markets saw their weekly AQH share dip, led by KCFR, Denver and KUT, Austin – both declining 1.6 shares from the May survey to the June survey.  Comparing June of 2018 to this year, just 38% of public radio news talkers are up – including KNPR, Las Vegas with an impressive 2.8 share gain – but 58% of stations see a ratings dip, including WBUR, Boston (-2.5), WFAE, Charlotte (-2.0), and KUT, Austin (-2.0).  Just two public news/talk stations – KQED, San Francisco and KPBS, San Diego – ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets during the June survey.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Wraps Up Posting Today with the Panel Discussion, “Launching and Growing a Talent Career in 2019.”  Today (7/25), TALKERS concludes the posting of videos of key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story.  This final post is the panel discussion, “Launching and Growing a Talent Career in 2019,” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Danielle Lin, host, “The Art of Living & the Science of Life”; and Michael Riedel, host, WOR, New York.  The panel was moderated by Andrew Kalb, then-executive director of programming, ABC News Radio and introduced by Dr. Daliah Wachs, host, Genesis Communications Network.    This concludes the posting of all the key panels, speeches and presentations that took place at the annual event.  All will remain posted for viewing/listening at Talkers.com for the rest of 2019.  Thank you to Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video for the excellent job of capturing these historic recordings.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Bert Baron Exits WCTC-AM, New Brunswick for Public Service Gig. Central New Jersey morning personality Bert Baron is exiting his position as host on Beasley Media Group’s news/talk WCTC-AM, New Brunswick after tomorrow’s program to take a position outside of the radio business.  In a press release, Mayor Jim Cahill says, “Bert is a well-known and admired member of our community.  His vast experience in communications, messaging, social media, community engagement, advocacy, and community work and education initiatives will serve as key assets in his daily responsibilities as PIO.  We are excited to welcome him to the team.”

Premiere’s George Noory Profiled in Boca Magazine.  Nationally syndicated late-night radio star George Noory was recently profiled in the Florida publication, Boca magazine.  The host of “Coast to Coast AM” promoted his live stage show that’s taking place at the Miramar Cultural Center on Saturday (7/27), and discussed his 17-year tenure as host of the Premiere Networks radio program.  Noory’s stage show will feature live interviews with Billy Carson, an expert in forbidden archaeology; James L. Paris, a motivational speaker and lecturer on the power of prayer; and Chip Coffey, a renowned psychic medium. Check out the Boca piece here.

Max Media Norfolk Back with Nielsen.  Three years after deciding to do without Nielsen Audio’s PPM ratings service for its Norfolk, Virginia cluster that includes sports talk WVSP-FM “ESPN 94.1,” urban talk/music hybrid WGH-AM and three music radio brands, Max Media signs a multi-year deal to use PPM data and a number of other services from Nielsen. Max Media VP and general manager Keith Barton says, “We are delighted to be working again with Nielsen. The comprehensive capabilities of Nielsen’s tools, including Nielsen Scarborough, Polk by IHS Markit, Nielsen Rhiza and Tapscan, are integral to our ability to facilitate success for the advertisers and agencies that we work with.  We are now armed with the tools necessary to provide valuable marketing and advertising expertise to our clients and ultimately increase ROI.”

WWO: Smart Speaker Bringing AM/FM Back into the Home. The radio industry is hopeful that the rapid adoption of the smart speaker among American households will heighten listening to AM/FM stations in the home.  Westwood One presents some data to indicate the smart speaker is beginning to do just that.  Some of the conclusions drawn from recent research are published in this week’s Westwood One blog post.  They include: according to Nielsen, 28% of U.S. households own a smart speaker; 19% of streaming listening to AM/FM radio stations occurred via smart speaker at the start of this year, up from 9% in January 2018; streaming audiences skew female: 68% of the total music streaming audience is female, compared to 50% of the on-air audience to the same AM/FM radio stations; smart speaker AM/FM radio streamers listen to 7:55 hours and 6.3 sessions per month, higher than the average streaming listener; and a higher proportion of smart speaker streaming occurs on Saturdays and Sundays where smart speaker listening peaks between 11:00 am and 6:00 pm.

Mueller Testimony, Immigration/Asylum Policy, Epstein Injured in Jail, North Korea Missile Test, Puerto Rico Governor Resigns, and Boris Johnson Becomes Prime Minister Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/24). Wednesday’s testimony before the House judiciary and intelligence committees by special counsel Robert Mueller; the Trump administration’s immigration and asylum policies and the conditions at detention centers; accused sex traffickerJeffrey Epstein is found in jail cell injured; North Korea tests new short-range missile; Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello resigns over leaked chat message controversy; and Boris Johnson assumes the role as Great Britain’s prime minister 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. The rumored arrival of Jason Pullman as host of the new morning drive show on Entercom’s country WUSN-FM, Chicago “US99” is confirmed as the company announces the new show launches on August 8.  Pullman was most recently morning host at iHeartMedia’s country WUBL, Atlanta “94.9 The Bull.”  Joining him on the air for the new morning show is Chicago native Katie Bright.  She returns to WUSN after serving as national director of promotion for Warner Music Nashville. Prior to that, she’d worked with WUSN in the sales department.  Also contributing to the show is current WUSN lead promotions coordinator Erin – known to WUSN listeners as the station’s “Batchelor” expert.   Entercom Chicago president and market manager Jimmy de Castro says, “We are thrilled to welcome this talented team to ‘US99.’  The team will bring country music fans an entertaining and informative live, local show that is built for Chicagoland.”

Monday, April 8, 2019

| April 8, 2019

Monday Memo: 2019 NAB Show. The NAB Show is underway in Las Vegas, and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke reports that the convention focus is taking the term “broadcast” quite literally.  He writes: “Huge banners atop the Convention Center proclaim ‘Every story starts here,’ and reiterate the theme of the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual convention these past several Aprils: ‘Where content comes to life.’ As opposed to ‘where content feeds transmitters.’  While the NAB’s mission remains lobbying on behalf of FCC licensees, its unmistakable message to attendees is – as NPR VP/distribution Michael Beach put it – ‘be offering your content anywhere and everywhere you can do it.’”  Read HC’s column here.

Marc Hochman and WQAM, Miami Sign Extension. Miami sports talk personality Marc Hochman signs a new, long-term contract to continue co-hosting the afternoon drive program on Entercom’s sports talk WQAM.  Hochman works on air with former Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder on the “Hoch and Crowder” afternoon drive show.  Hochman says, “I’m so fortunate to be able to continue doing this show with Channing Crowder and our super producer Erick Falero.  The community we’ve built on the air is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever accomplished on radio.”  He previously served in the market as executive producer for the “Dan Le Batard Show,” based at sister sports talker WAXY-AM, Miami.

Carver Appointed to Market President Post at Townsquare Media’s Amarillo Cluster. Sales and management pro Carolyn Carver is named market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Amarillo, Texas cluster that includes news/talk KIXZ and three music-formatted stations.  Carver says, “I’m so excited to be back with Townsquare.  The vision, passion, and commitment of Bill Wilson and Erik Hellum to the industry, its clients, and their people is what has set them apart from all others.  The company has a motto of ‘You Matter’ and they stand behind that.  It starts from the top down and it is refreshing to see leaders who believe in their people and make them feel a part of something grand.”

Mike Gallagher Packs the House at WJJK, Montauk’s Casino Event.  More than 600 listeners of Red Wolf Broadcasting’s news/talk WJJF, Montauk, Long Island packed the cabaret theater at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut on Saturday (4/6) as Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher and an all-star panel saluted the radio station’s seventh anniversary as a news/talk station.  Station officials say it was the best-attended cabaret event in the station’s history.  And to top it all off, since the following day was Gallagher’s birthday, WJJF arranged for a Marilyn Monroe impersonator to sing “Happy Birthday” a la the famous salute to JFK.

Jimbo Visits Janesville. Nationally syndicated late-night talk radio host Jim Bohannon was in Janesville, Wisconsin on Friday (4/5) for an appearance at affiliate WCLO’s remote broadcast.  Pictured above (from l-r) are: Westwood One’s Bohannon, Al Meehan, owner of Barkley’s Burgers, Brews & Dawgs, where the broadcast o originated; Tom Edwards, Tim Bremel, and Tim Beggs of WCLO; and Mark Finnegan of Vets Roll, an organization that provides trips to the Nation’s Capital for veterans.

TALKERS Notes Notes. Satellite receiver changes are taking place for Salem Radio Network and Salem Music Network that affects affiliates of the company’s Christian programming platform.  Salem is switching from satellite to IP and will be upgrading its receiver fleet in mid-2019 to the XDS platform.  Current Wegener satellite receivers will be replaced and upgraded to an XDS Pro receiver that will be fed completely from the internet.  Salem will continue broadcasting on the current Wegener satellite platform while migrating to the new XDS IP receivers and expect to end the SES-2 Wegener satellite feed in early 2020.  This will affect current Salem Wegener affiliates (Christian on SES-2) and NOT current Westwood One XDS (General Market on SES-11) receivers.  Current affiliates should submit a receiver request here…..Mel Wheelerowned news/talk station WFIR, Roanoke, Virginia was honored with top awards by the Associated Press for radio stations in Virginia’s and West Virginia’s largest cities.  “The Roanoke Valley’s Morning News” was honored for “Best Newscast” in competition with stations in Richmond, Norfolk, and Charleston, West Virginia.  WFIR took home second-place honors for its website. WFIR sports earned first-place honors in the “Best Sports Feature” category for their story on “The Making of Negro League Legend Larry LaGrande.”  The judges also gave the station top honors among Virginia stations for “Best Sports Operation” featuring “Greg Roberts Live.”…..New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is signed up to make weekly live appearances on WEPN, New York’s “Michael Kay Show.”  “98.7 ESPN” program director Ryan Hurley says, “We could not be happier about this partnership.  There is a lot of excitement surrounding one of the NFL’s young rising stars and his future. Listeners will not only get an inside look into his week-to-week journey on the field, but they’ll get to know Sam off the field as another member of the 98.7 family when he joins Michael, Don and Peter every week.”…..Pictured below are KQTM, Albuquerque afternoon personality Jim Villanucci (center) with Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (left) and Cooper’s childhood friend and former New Mexico Lobos player Daryl Chestnut (right).  The two appeared on Villanucci’s program to promote their youth football camp.

Kirstjen Nielsen Steps Down from DHS/U.S.-Mexico Border Situation, Trump Tax Returns Issue, Libya Military Action, 2020 Democratic Candidates, Venezuela Tensions, ‘SNL’ Mocks Joe Biden, Netanyahu Campaign/U.S.-Israel Relations, NCAA Final Four, and NBA and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The forced resignation of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and the related state of affairs at the U.S.-Mexico border; the House Ways and Means Committee’s request for President Trump’s tax returns; the U.S. pulls out of Tripoli as the Libyan National Army approaches the city; the Democratic candidates vying to challenge President Trump in 2020, the tensions in Venezuela over infrastructure failures and the presence of Russian troops; “Saturday Night Live” pokes fun at Joe Biden’s inappropriate touching troubles; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election bid and the state U.S.-Israel relations; the NCAA Final Four; and NBA and MBL games 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. Los Angeles rock station KLOS is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a special one-time-only reunion of the “Mark & Brian Radio Show” on Thursday April 25 from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  The legendary KLOS morning team retired from the station in August of 2012.  KLOS program director and Cumulus Media rock format captain Keith Cunningham says, “We’re stoked that Mark & Brian have agreed to get the band back together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of KLOS.  If not for the Mark & Brian Show, KLOS may not have reached the 50-year milestone.  The show is an enormous part of the brand’s history and the 25th will be an epic day for Southern California radio listeners.”…..NRG Media’s hip hop KOPW, Omaha “Power 106.9” announces the launch of its new morning show, “Chef West And The Morning Scramble,” featuring Tay Westberry and Alyssa Siebken.  Westberry, a.k.a. Mr. West, previously hosted the evening show.  Siebken is a musician who appeared on season 13 of “American Idol.”  KOPW program director Caleb Farnell says, “Tay has his finger firmly on the pulse of the ‘Power’ listener and Alyssa will be able to bring a valuable perspective to the show.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of Morris Diamond, a legendary music business player who passed away recently at age 97.  Diamond got his start serving as a gofer for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.  He later got into song publishing and launched his own label, Beverly Hills Records.  He published a memoir of his encounters with music biz greats from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson titled, The Name Dropper or People I Schlepped With……Pictured below at Westwood One‘s Backstage at the ACM Awards on Friday and Saturday (4/5-6) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas are (from l-r): Mike McVay, EVP programming & content, Cumulus Media and Westwood One; Cumulus Country operations manager Charlie Cook, country artist Lauren Alaina; and Cumulus Media VP, label relations John Kilgo.

Monday, February 4, 2019

| February 4, 2019

Jamie Allman Returns to St. Louis Air on Salem’s ‘The Answer.’ Former KFTK-FM morning talk host Jamie Allman will be back on the air in St. Louis after a 10-month absence when he assumes the morning talk show host position on Salem Media Group’s KXFN-AM/K287BY “1380AM & 105.3FM The Answer.”  “Allman in the Morning” will launch on February 28.  He says, “I’m proud and super stoked to be joining a legendary broadcasting company. Salem always puts the listener first and we are a perfect match.  There is no bigger castle of common-sense conservatism in broadcasting.  I’m honored to inhabit a part of it with energy, insight, and entertainment.”  Allman and former employers Emmis Communications and Entercom were involved in a lengthy legal fight over Allman’s dismissal from KFTK-FM in the aftermath of this social media post about Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg in April of 2018.  Until that time, Allman had also been hosting “The Allman Report” on KDNL-TV “ABC-30.” Salem St. Louis vice president and general manager Greg Lhamon says, “Jamie is a broadcasting legend in this market.  He’s bright, passionate, and asks tough questions when he interviews political leaders.  He’ll keep them on their toes, that’s for sure.  But his show is just plain fun, too.  We are thrilled to see him return to St. Louis radio.”

PPM Analysis: News/TalkTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk radio.  Although 70% of the news/talk stations on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go down from the December 2018 survey to the Holiday survey, a relative handful saw modest increases, including iHeartMedia’s WZZR, West Palm Beach (+1.0).  Comparing Holiday 2017 to Holiday 2018, four stations improved by a full share or better, led by Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville (+3.1).  No news/talk outlet ranked #1 in its market during the Holiday survey, but three stations ranked #2 in their respective markets: CMG’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5”; and CMG’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville. See the whole report here.

Monday Memo: Say What?  Consultant Holland Cooke writes today in his Monday Memo about a number of bad habits and consistent errors that air personalities often make and that drive consultants (and programmers!) nuts.  Get Cooke’s thoughts on blue language, clichés, the benefit of forward momentum and more right here.

Chris Lavoie Named General Manager of SM Radio Productions. Former Stephanie Miller show executive producer Chris Lavoie is returning to the show as general manager of SM Radio Productions, parent company of “The Stephanie Miller Show.” Lavoie served as the radio talk show’s executive producer from 2004 to 2015.  He was public relations manager for Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in the Palm Springs, California area for the past three years. Lavoie comments, “I’m thrilled to be returning to my longtime radio home and back into the arms of Mama.  I began working with Stephanie as her production coordinator back in 1997 at KABC-AM in Los Angeles and we have a long, 18-year history together.  I’m excited to return to the Stephanie Miller universe to help take the show and SM Radio Productions to the next level.”  SM Radio Productions co-founder Ron Hartenbaum adds, “Chris has been a valued member of The Stephanie Miller Show family for years and we are ecstatic that he is re- joining the team in this newly created general manager role.  He will be crucial in overseeing our exciting, soon-to-be-announced multimedia platform.”

WVON, Chicago’s Cliff Kelley to Leave PM Drive Role. Windy City radio personality Cliff Kelley will be leaving his afternoon drive host position at Midway Broadcasting’s urban talker WVON after his program on March 29.  The company says that Kelley – who has been with WVON for the past 25 years – will remain with the station as community ambassador and as the host of the independently produced “American Heroes” broadcast that airs Saturdays on WVON. He’ll also serve as a regular fill-in host.  Kelley has been the longest serving talk show host at the station since it switched to its all talk format in 1986.  He says, “I don’t want people to look at this as I am retiring.  I’m just rewiring.  There is plenty more work for me to do.”  WVON program director Todd Ronczkowski comments, “Cliff Kelley is one of Chicago’s most influential hosts and has been a trusted source of information for Chicago’s African-American Community for over three decades, forming a host/listener bond that is rarely seen in any market.”  Kelley’s replacement has not been announced.

Remembering Some African American Talk Show Pioneers.  Longtime broadcaster and now college associate professor Donna L. Halper writes a special piece for TALKERS magazine that looks at some of the early African American talk show hosts who made inroads into the spoken-word end of the radio business during radio’s golden age.  Halper writes that at that time in the American radio business, “young black men and women who saw no chance to become announcers or newscasters went into print journalism instead, usually working for black newspapers.” But a few did buck that trend, including New Jersey and New York host Sherman “Jocko” Maxwell.  Read the entire piece here.

Jennifer Williams Promoted to VP of Digital Marketing for Beasley. Marketing pro Jennifer Williams is promoted to vice president of digital marketing for Beasley Media Group.  She has been serving with the company as director of interactive marketing.  In her new role, she’ll be responsible for marketing the company’s digital content platforms and leveraging data to drive traffic, audience engagement, and advertiser growth.  Prior to joining Beasley Media Group, Williams spent nearly 20 years with Greater Media, Inc where she worked as the director of digital marketing and was responsible for overseeing the interactive marketing efforts of the company’s 20 radio properties.  She joined the organization as the marketing director of WCSX-FM in 1997.  Beasley chief digital content officer Lori Burgess says, “Jennifer’s programming background, combined with her digital knowledge, marketing expertise and can-do attitude, made her the perfect choice to lead Beasley Media Group’s digital marketing efforts as we continue to diversify and extend our brands into the multi-platform arena.”

Lorenzo Neal and KGMZ-FM, San Francisco Renew. Former NFL star and current morning drive sports talk personality Lorenzo Neal signs a new, long-term contract with Entercom to continue co-hosting the morning drive “Joe, Lo, Dibs” program on KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” with fellow hosts Joe Fortenbaugh and Dan Dibley.  Entercom San Francisco SVP and market manager Gregory Nemitz says, “Lorenzo Neal continues to drive the San Francisco sports conversation every morning.  His experience as a professional athlete and gregarious personality translates to great radio for listeners of ‘Joe, Lo & Dibs’ and we look forward to this continued partnership.”  Neal spent 16 seasons in the NFL and he’s been a personality on KGMZ since 2014.

Harry Mayes and Eytan Shander Debut Midday Program on Townsquare’s ‘ESPN South Jersey.’  Former WPEN, Philadelphia “95.7 The Fanatic” personalities Harry Mayes and Eytan Shander are teaming up for a midday sports talk radio show on Townsquare Media’s WENJ-FM, Millville, New Jersey “97.3 ESPN South Jersey,” starting on April 1.  The program is being produced by JAKIB Media Partners and in a press release, Mayes says, “We are thrilled to be back on sports radio in Philadelphia and South Jersey on a powerful radio station that is a download away.  Our plan begins here with plans already to expand regionally before we launch an assault on the national sports radio market.”  The two partnered on a podcast called “Derailed” via WENJ that launched last fall.

Beasley Launches ‘FOX Sports Charlotte.’The new sports talker from Beasley Media Group is heard on three signals in the Charlotte market: WBCN-AM at 1660, W234BY at 94.7 FM, and the HD3 channel of WSOC-FM.  It launches today and carries the full FOX Sports Radio national lineup, including: “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” and “The Doug Gottlieb Show.”  Beasley Charlotte VP and market manager Bill Schoening says, “We are thrilled to bring FOX Sports Radio to the Charlotte Market.  We’re giving sports fans another great option for compelling content in our community.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk radio personality Jon Weiner, a.k.a. “Stugotz” from ESPN Radio’s “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” now has his own platform in the form of a new podcast called, “Stupodity.”  This is the second original offering from the newly formed Le Batard and Friends Podcast Network created by ESPN Podcasts.  “Stupodity” will be a weekly opportunity for Stugotz’s views on sports and life with visits from the people important to him both professionally and personally…..The University of Illinois and Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM partner to present play-by-play of the school’s football and men’s basketball games – as well as the seasonal coaches’ shows – through the 2023-24 season.  The news, five-year agreement officially kicks off with the 2019 football season…..Westwood One was the official national radio partner of the NFL for the broadcast of last night’s Super Bowl LIII.  Pictured below is Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes (right) with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (left).

Denver Sports Talk Personality Irv Brown Dies at 83.   Longtime Denver sports talk radio personality Irv Brown died on Sunday at age 83.  Brown retired from the business in April of 2016 after spending more than 40 years on the air.  He began as a sports reporter on KHOW, Denver in 1974.  For a portion of his career, he partnered with Joe Williams for “The Irv and Joe Show.”  Read Fox 31’s report here.

Ralph Northam Controversy, Border Wall Battle, State of the Union Address, Trump-Russia Investigation, and Super Bowl LIII Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The controversy over Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s racist college yearbook photos; the ongoing battle over funding for President Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall proposal; Tuesday evening’s State of the Union address; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; and Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

THE TALKERS INTERVIEW: A Conversation with ‘Our American Stories’ Founder and Host, Lee Habeeb. A longtime radio innovator, Salem Radio Network VP/content Lee Habeeb longed to create something new and different for commercial news/talk radio listeners – a show that would tell stories about American life. They would be stories about our nation’s past and present including sports, the arts, business, innovation, science and everything in-between. It would be a show that would tell the story of America to Americans. “This is a great country precisely because it is a good country,” Habeeb tells TALKERS. “The American people are longing for programming that’s positive, beautiful and good to lift their spirits, and tell the story of the country we all love – because the schools and colleges sure as heck aren’t doing it. And radio will attract a whole bunch of new listeners if we do it right.” Thanks to some significant donor support, and the blessing of his bosses at Salem, Habeeb founded American Private Radio (APR), an independent non-profit alternative to National Public Radio (NPR). APR’s debut show is, by all accounts, doing it right – at least if its impressive growth is any indication. Titled “Our American Stories,” the innovative program debuted on two stations in 2015 and recently passed the 170-affiliate mark, recently announcing some big new additions, including daily slots on KABC, Los Angeles and WHO, Des Moines. It is a meticulously produced show, with a wide range of subjects targeted to a wide audience. It is designed, according to Habeeb, to reach Americans who long for a show to reinforce their values and beliefs. However, he seeks to accomplish this “without all the debate and anger that political debates engender and without the pretentiousness and elitism of public radio.” It is also designed to be a safe space for advertisers to wrap their brand around and be extremely business friendly. “It is entrepreneurs who built the country, who employ people, and generate the taxes that help pay our teachers, police and our safety net,” Habeeb adds. “We celebrate our entrepreneurs, old and new, and their risk taking and their spirit on our show. American life is unimaginable without them.” TALKERS caught up with Habeeb to talk about the show we believe will be one of the big break-out hits of 2019. To read the entire TALKERS interview with Lee Habeeb conducted by Michael Harrison, please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Beasley Media Group’s country WQYK, Tampa, Melanie Mineau joins the morning drive program as the new co-host of “The Morning Krewe with Marc and Melanie.”  Mineau has most recently been hosting her own, successful podcast.  Previously, she served as a co-host on the “Sarah, Ty & Mel Morning Show” on WRQX, Washington.  She says, “I’m excited to be back in the building and to be working alongside so many talented people, some of whom are longtime friends.  I look forward to working with Marc and creating great content for the listeners of Tampa Bay.  I’m grateful to the Beasleys and Travis Daily for presenting me with this opportunity.  There is nothing better than hosting a morning show at a heritage station in your hometown!”…..Also from Beasley Media Group, WMMR, Philadelphia midday personality Pierre Robert signs a multi-year contract extension to remain in his position with the station.  Robert joined the station in 1981 and has been hosting the midday show for more than 35 years.  Beasley rock format brand manager Bill Weston says, “Pierre is the heart and soul of WMMR.  His warm, compassionate voice remains an important part of Philadelphia’s broadcast day.  A gifted interviewer and brand ambassador, he truly cares about the community he serves. We are so fortunate to have his talents grace the airwaves.”…..Jason Kidd exits Cumulus Media’s hot AC WRQX, Washington after a three-year stint hosting afternoon drive and serving as APD and music director…..In Wisconsin, Van McNeil joins Magnum Media’s country WVTY, Racine to host the early afternoon daypart.  McNeil comes to WVTY from his most recent position with WISN-TV, Milwaukee.

Monday, January 14, 2018

| January 14, 2019

Talk Radio Host Lars Larson Banned from Twitter for 12 Hours. The story in the Willamette Week has the details of KXL, Portland-based, nationally syndicated talk host Lars Larson’s 12-hour ban from Twitter for his exchange with a Portland activist over a recent police shooting that resulted in the death of man reportedly schizophrenic and legally blind.  Former Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone tweeted, “We know the police kill. [The] question is whether we will ever stop funding this deadly paramilitary force and start funding things that actually keep the people of Portland safe.”  Larson was suspended for the following response, “Gee @sarahforpdx you think the cops make PDX dangerous? Read the story and you find the dead man was 1) paranoid schizophrenic 2) invaded a stranger’s home 3) fought with the officer 4) pulled a knife. What’s your millennial snowflake solution to that situation without the cops?”  Responding to the ban Larson received for the tweet, Iannarone said Larson’s words “may not seem like much on the surface.”  But complained that “whenever that account retweets me, it brings commenters into my sphere who hurl insult and innuendo my direction. I reported three other accounts resulting from the retweet that day that Twitter admins agreed were abusive or harmful.”

Ron & Don Fans Baffled by Show’s Abrupt, Unexplained Exit. This story in the Seattle Times was published on Saturday (1/12) and includes comments from TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison.  Friday’s launch of a new afternoon drive program – “Candy, Mike and Todd” – on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM Seattle caught fans of the “Ron and Don” show off guard.  The story notes some 1,000 comments on the “Ron and Don Nation” Facebook page expressing their dismay at the show’s departure and anger with the lack of Bonneville’s explanation.  Ron Upshaw and Don O’Neill had been with the station for 13 years.  They didn’t shed much light on the controversy, either, probably due to a non-disparagement clause in their contracts.  They wrote, “Life is not about what you got, it’s what you give. We are very appreciative to all our great advertisers and everyone in the Ron and Don Nation for giving so much of your time, your energy, and your resources over the last 22 years. Together we raised over 11 million dollars for causes in the community we all care about. From our families to yours, Thank You Seattle, Tacoma, Fife, and Fremont.”

KSTP-AM, Minneapolis Re-Brands as ‘SKOR North.’  Tomorrow (1/15) will be sports talk KSTP-AM’s first day as “SKOR North” as it shucks the “1500 ESPN” brand.  Hubbard Radio says in a press release that the brand is now “a digital-first sports brand that will create and distribute content across multiple traditional and digital platforms, including 1500 AM, 94.5 FM HD2, streaming, a dedicated SKOR North app, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.”  In September, Hubbard dropped the “Garage Logic” show with host Joe Soucheray from the lineup, as well as Patrick Reusse’s show (PD Brad Lane exited as well).  The new program schedule will still consist of ESPN Radio’s “Golic & Wingo” in morning drive, followed by the “Dan Le Batard with Stugotz” show.  Local afternoon program includes the new “SKOR North Live with Matthew Coller,” followed by the drive time “[PhilMackie and Judd [Zulgad] Show with Ramie,” and a return to the airwaves of Patrick Reusse as one of the four 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm programs that will rotate throughout the year, depending on the season.

Monday Memo: CES 2019.  Consultant Holland Cooke’s Monday Memo here at TALKERS magazine summarizes some of his takeaways from last week’s enormous CES 2019 in Las Vegas.  Cooke reports that Consumer Technology Association vice president of market research Steve Koenig says we’re at the beginning of the “Data Age of Consumer Tech” and that means, “information about our listeners – whom advertisers want as customers – is gold.” See his entire report here.

WICC, Bridgeport Announces Programming News. Connecticut news/talk WICC-AM, Bridgeport announces it will continue to serve as an affiliate for New York Yankees baseball.  In addition, the Cumulus Media station is adding FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade show for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot.  It also is carrying Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro in the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daypart.

Mike Rich to Lead Townsquare Media Danbury. Radio management pro Mike Rich is named market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Danbury, Connecticut group of sports talk WINE-AM “Sports Radio 940,” rock WRKI-FM “i95,” and WDBY-FM “Kicks 105.5.”  Rich comes to Townsquare from his most recent position as CEO of digital media firm Irish Studio.  He’s also served with Time Inc., Radio One, and AOL.

TALKERS News Notes. Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM’s new afternoon drive personality – former, longtime rock KZRR “94 Rock” morning personality T.J. Trout – is an unabashed “left of center,” “social liberal” who will take over 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program on Cumulus Media’s conservative news/talk station on January 22.  Trout talks about getting the gig and how he views his role on the station in a piece with Albuquerque Journal here…..The podcast “Red Pilled America” – an iHeartRadio original podcast – got some love from The Washington Times recently in an article about story-focused podcasts that target conservative listeners.  The podcast is the work of husband and wife creative duo Patrick Courrielche and Adryana Cortez and the piece delves into how the program highlights stories rather than monologues to get the message across to listeners…..The NHL’s Boston Bruins and the Boston Bruins Foundation are holding the second annual Patrice Bergeron & 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Pucks & Paddles event on Thursday, February 7.  The table tennis tournament will feature players from the active Boston Bruins roster, on-air personalities from Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” and patients from Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center with all proceeds to benefit the hospital…..Beasley Media Group announces Jennifer Sulik is named to the newly created position of vice president of strategic partnerships at Beasley XP, the company’s esports division.  Sulik was most recently founder and chief executive officer of Go Media Detroit, a digital media advertising agency.  Previously, she worked in the digital sales division at WXYZ-TV, Detroit and UBM Tech in San Francisco, where she developed integrated business-to-business media campaigns targeting game developers and game industry influencers, including Game Developer Magazine, Gamasutra.com and Indiegames.com…..Across the pond, “Fix Radio” – the station for builders and tradespeople – will launch in Manchester, England today (1/14).  Fix Radio is programmed by British talk radio pro Graham Mack and is based in London.  Mack and Gaz Drinkwater present the daily morning show on the format.

The Trump-Putin Relationship, U.S.-Mexico Border Wall, Government Shutdown, Jayme Closs Case, Paris Bakery Bombing, Bezos Divorce, 2020 Presidential Race, Dems in Puerto Rico, Winter Snow Storm, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Reaction to weekend stories indicating the FBI was concerned about President Trump’s relationship with Russia’s Vladimir Putin; the battle over funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border; the ongoing government shutdown; missing teen Jayme Closs is found after escaping her captor; the deadly bombing at a bakery in Paris; the divorce of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos; potential presidential candidates in the 2020 election; Democrat legislators are criticized for “partying” in Puerto Rico with lobbyists; the winter storm that swept across the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic; and the weekend’s NFL playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend according to ongoing research from TALKER magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Terri Avery is the new PD at Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WALR, Atlanta “Kiss 104.1,” effective January 22. Avery was most recently radio station manager and an instructor at Carolina School of Broadcasting in Charlotte.  Prior to that, she was OM/PD at WPEG and WBAV in Charlotte for 14 years. CMG Atlanta director of operations Chris Eagan says, “Terri is well-regarded in the radio industry.  She is smart, engaging, a champion in talent coaching and an expert in urban AC.  Her years of diverse experience make her a great addition to the ‘Kiss 104.1’ team.”…..Cumulus Media rock KSAN, San Francisco “107.7 The Bone” officially names Chasta Michaelis midday personality.  She’s been interim host of the daypart since Steven “The Weedman” Seaweed in 2017.  Chasta also serves as a cast member on the station’s “Lamont& Tonelli Morning Show,” a role she will continue along with her daily production of her daily Facebook Live chats from “The Bone” studios following each morning show…..Through a partnership between iHeartMedia and LiveXLive Media Inc – a global digital media company focused on live entertainment – the 2019 iHeartRadio ALTer Ego concert at the Forum in Los Angeles on January 19 – will stream live. LiveXLive chairman and CEO Rob Ellin comments, “Our mission is to bring our global audience of music fans the ‘best seat in the house’ for musically diverse concerts by the most popular artists.  iHeartMedia, with its massive reach across radio, digital and social, and its culture-defining marquee events such as ALTer Ego, is undeniably a perfect fit.”…..According to a report by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Roots” show with Bob Stroud that’s heard weekly on Hubbard Radio’s classic rock WDRV “97.1 The Drive” is getting another play.  The show has been airing Sunday mornings from 7:00 am to 10:00 am but, as program director Rob Cressman says, “The ‘Stroud Crowd’ has been relentless in their quest to get ‘Roots’ scheduled a bit later in the day.”  So, now the show also airs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm…..Kelly J moves from evening jock to a member of the Jeff Pope morning show on All Pro Broadcasting’s hot AC KHTI, Riverside-San Bernardino…..Condolences to the family and friends of radio personality Michael “Mike” Walker, who died on January 7 at the age of 60.  Walker worked at numerous radio stations during his career, including WIFM, Elkin; WKBC North Wilkesboro; and WWWC, Wilkesboro in North Carolina.  He was the founder/operator of The Production Room where he produced and voiced more than 530 weekly episodes of the syndicated “Saving the 70s” show that focused on 1970s music and pop culture.

PPM Analysis: Contemporary Christian. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on contemporary Christian. See the report here.

Friday, December 14, 2018

| December 14, 2018

Alpha Media to Sell Biloxi Stations to TeleSouth.  Portland-based Alpha Media announces it has filed to sell its Biloxi, Mississippi cluster to TeleSouth Communications for $2.5 million.  The deal includes sports talk duo WANG-AM/WTNI-AM “103.5 The Champ,” (no mention is made of translator W278CE, Biloxi on which the sports format is heard) rock WCPR-FM, hip hop WGBL-FM, adult hits WQBB-FM, and CHR WXYK-FM. TeleSouth already owns news/talk WOSM-FM that airs the company’s “SuperTalk” format heard on 11 other stations across the state.  To comply with FCC ownership caps, TeleSouth will divest of WXYK-FM.  Alpha Media president and CEO Bob Proffitt states, “We are happy our group of great broadcasters in Biloxi/Gulfport are being sold to a good operator located in the state of Mississippi that is dedicated to live and local.  We have a special place for everyone at these stations and wish them the very best.”  Kalil & Co., Inc. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

ESPN’s Dan Le Batard to Launch Podcast. Next Tuesday (12/18), ESPN Radio’s Dan Le Batard is premiering his new podcast called “South Beach Sessions.” That’s being called a “preview episode” and the show will begin in earnest on Tuesday, January 8.  The program will feature a one-on-one interview each week and it’s the first original podcast from the newly created Le Batard and Friends Podcast Network. The guest for the December 18 preview is former ESPN staffer Jemele Hill, who has worked extensively with Le Batard over the years on TV and radio.  Le Batard says, “This is really exciting for us and for people who inexplicably want more of us.  ESPN has given us a digital podcast network to create and control as part of a ‘Le Batard and Friends’ universe that will be in equal measure a part of ESPN and apart from ESPN.”  Le Batard hosts the “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” daily from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm as well as the ESPN television show “Highly Questionable” weekday afternoons on ESPN2.

TALKERS News Notes. Public radio pro Jennifer White is named as host of “The Morning Shift” on public radio news/talk WBEZ-FM, Chicago.  She takes over the morning program hosting duties at the NPR member station from Tony Sarabia, who is retiring from the station after almost three decades. White joined WBEZ in 2016 and has been hosting the Friday edition of The Morning Shift, leading its Friday roundtable discussions.  She’s also hosted some of WBEZ’s podcasts, including: “Making Oprah,” “Making Obama,” and “16 Shots.”.….In the Erie, Pennsylvania market, religious broadcaster Inspiration Time, Inc. has re-launched AM signal WZTE, Union City, calling it “Freedom 1530” and is airing “a unique reading of the United States Constitution, mixed with patriotic band music.”  Haydn Tidball, a 2018 graduate of McDowell High School and Jennifer Natalie, 2018 graduate of Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy, have voiced WZTE’s continuous reading of the entire U.S. Constitution, with amendments included and changes noted. Station manager Joel Natalie states, “We are so excited to present these young voices reading this very old document. We are calling it, ‘Madison’s and Hamilton’s Greatest Hits.’”…..Alpha Media news/talk KTSA, San Antonio hosted the 20th annual “Wrappin’ with Jack” event at Six Flags Fiesta Texas on Tuesday (12/11).  More than 800 people turned out to help KTSA talk show host Jack Riccardi wrap thousands of gifts for needy families in San Antonio served by Family Service Association. While listeners wrapped gifts, they enjoyed live music from the Ken Slavin Band, holiday treats, carousel rides, and pictures with Santa.  Riccardi says, “Our 20th ‘Wrappin’ with Jack’ was our best gift drive, wrapping party, and broadcast yet.  I truly believe people in San Antonio and South Texas have the impulse and instinct to give.  Our event just creates a way to help people that is local and real.”

WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta Shifts Show Times. According to Rodney Ho’s report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the need for more traffic reports in the 4:00 pm hour to better serve commuters is the reason for shifting two drive-time shows on Cox Media Group‘s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM an hour earlier.  WSB program director Pete Spriggs says as the heavy traffic is beginning earlier than in the past, the need for a clock that allows traffic reports every six minutes means bumping the second two hours of Sean Hannity’s show to the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot is necessary.  Hannity’s 3:00 pm hour will air live, followed by Erick Erickson’s program now airing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Mark Arum’s show moving to the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot.

Trump-Russia Investigation and Cohen Sentencing Tie for Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 10-14. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related sentencing of former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was President Trump’s border wall negotiations and the threat of a federal government shutdown.  Coming in at #3 was the migrants amassed at the U.S.-Mexico border, followed by financial markets activity at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

Washington Examiner Editorial Director Hugo Gurdon Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The Washington Examiner, located in the nation’s capital, has built a growing reputation with increasing influence for its coverage of politics, public policy and the federal government from an independent, moderate conservative perspective.  It has evolved through various platform iterations both in print and online since its roots as a group of suburban DC news outlets collectively known as the Journal Newspapers, Inc. which was purchased in 2004 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Philip Anschutz.  Anschutz combined them into a single news entity, the Washington Examiner in 2005 under the umbrella of his holding company Clarity Media Group, which in turn operates the publishing company Media DC.  Today, Media DC owns and operates the Washington Examiner, which has grown into a full-service online news organization, along with its weekly print arm, the Washington Examiner Magazine, that has been functioning effectively as a DC insider’s close up look at the workings of the federal government.  It also owns the separately operated national conservative political opinion print magazine, the Weekly Standard.  The Washington Examiner is currently in the process of boldly expanding its weekly magazine to take on a larger scope both in its subject matter and geographic distribution.  Beginning in 2019, it will remain in print, but be nationally distributed and targeted to political observers across America interested in the goings on in Washington, DC.  Washington Examiner editorial director Hugo Gurdon is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”   Gurdon is a distinguished journalist with an international background.  He joined the Washington Examiner after serving as editor-in-chief of The Hill.  Before that, he was an editor and reporter at the Daily Telegraph of London and the National Post of Canada.  His writing has also appeared in such publications as the European edition of the Wall Street JournalFinancial Times and The Guardian.  In this conversation, Harrison and Gurdon discuss the general state of print journalism in the ever-expanding digital era as well as the inner ideological struggles and debates that impact the media within the American conservative movement during the turbulent Age of Trump.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Boston country outlet WKLB “Country 102.5” names Ayla Brown (left) co-host of “The Jackson and Ayla Brown Show” alongside Jackson Blue (right), effective Monday (12/17).  Brown is a former Boston College basketball star and was a finalist on season five of “American Idol.”  She’s been living in Nashville performing and writing music the past few years.  About joining the Beasley Media Group stations, she says, “Country music has brought me all around the world and back to Boston again.  Many have seen me perform, but I am so excited for our listeners to get to know me in a whole new way.  Thank you to the ‘Country 102.5’ team for this incredible opportunity!”…..In Seattle, Sinclair Broadcast Group flips morning and afternoon talent on hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5.”  Program director Kent Phillips moves to afternoons with cast members Jen Pirak and Marina Rockinger.  However, his longtime partner Alan Budwill retires from the morning show after more than 30 years.  Moving to mornings on January 2 is the current afternoon team “Curt & Corine” with current AM show producer Leonard Barokas…..iHeartMedia nationally syndicated personality and KOST, Los Angeles morning host Ellen K is named the first-ever TCL Chinese Theatre ambassador and permanent master of ceremonies for its famed celebrity handprint-footprint ceremonies. Her first emcee gig is today (12/14) as musical artist Pitbull is honored with a hand and footprint ceremony…..Pictured below is Chicago hit radio legend John Records Landecker with the “Bob & Tom” show.  The Radio Hall of Famer appeared at the show’s Indianapolis studios to surprise cast member Chick McGee on his birthday. From left to right are: Grace Yinger, Tom Griswold, Kristi Lee, Josh Arnold, Landecker, and McGee. (Photo: Art Vuolo)

Monday, June 18, 2018

| June 18, 2018

NAB Pushing for Relaxed Ownership Regs. The National Association of Broadcasters is asking the Federal Communications Commission to modernize what it calls the “outdated radio ownership rules” as part of the quadrennial media ownership review expected to take place later this year.  The NAB states that the last change in ownership rules was part of the 1996 de-regulation of the industry and that since that time, competitors such as SiriusXM and the various digital audio services were born and have changed the audio media landscape.  Specifically, the NAB is suggesting the FCC consider the following: For station owners in the top 75 Nielsen Audio markets, raise the cap to up to eight FM signals and put no limit on the number of AM stations it can operate.  In the markets smaller than the top 75, it suggests there be no restrictions on the number of FM or AM stations a single entity can operate.  In explaining its request, the NAB writes, “The Commission’s goal of fostering audio programming ‘tailored to the needs and interests of specific local markets’ must account for today’s reality: tailoring now occurs on the basis of specific listeners, not just on the basis of local radio markets.  The FCC’s approach to regulating free OTA radio must reflect today’s competitive audio market in which consumers have access to a virtually infinite number of ‘stations’ tailored to their specific interests.  Continuing to insist that the existing radio ownership limits are necessary because local stations only compete among themselves defies reality and is contrary to law.  Indeed, the FCC’s current regulatory framework simply ignores a large portion of the listening and advertising equation.  The notion of what constitutes a competitor to radio stations must include audio outlets that consumers in local markets are listening to and the outlets that advertisers use.”

WGOW-FM, Chattanooga Morning Host Jeff Styles Wounded, Charged in Road Rage Incident. Chattanooga morning drive talk host Jeff Styles has been charged with aggravated assault and vandalism after a Friday afternoon road rage incident that left him with a gun-shot wound to his arm. WRCB-TV, Chattanooga reports that Styles – morning drive co-host on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WGOW-FM, Chattanooga – and fellow motorist Nickolas Bullington were involved in a road rage incident late Friday afternoon (6/15) that ended after Styles allegedly attacked Bullington’s car with a “military grade tomahawk” and Bullington responded by shooting Styles in the arm with a handgun.  Styles was treated at a local hospital and arrested the following day. The WRCB-TV report includes a statement from Styles’ lawyer alleging Bullington was the aggressor and Styles the victim.  Styles hosts “The Morning Press” with co-host Jim Reynolds and program and news director Kevin West.

Robert Feder Provides Glimpse Behind the Ratings Woes at WGN, Chicago.  Windy City media maven Robert Feder publishes an exclusive report on what some of the station’s talent are saying about the state of Tribune’s venerable WGN-AM as it moves from the Tribune Tower to brand new studios at 303 Wacker Drive.  It’s no secret that WGN has suffered a long trend of dwindling ratings as measured by Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys, and Feder’s story offers a look at what at least a few of the station’s personalities are feeling about the situation.  Read it here.

ESPN Audio Now Available on iHeartRadio. This move adds ESPN Audio’s networks and on-demand content to the iHeartRadio digital platform.  The multi-year deal with iHeartMedia allows users to livestream the ESPN Radio Network shows – “Golic and Wingo,” Dan Le Batard, Stephen A. Smith, etc. – the O&O’s in New York, Chicago and L.A., ESPN-affiliated stations, live play-by-play events, and ESPN’s roster of podcasts.  ESPN VP, Audio and Talent Traug Keller says, “We are consistently looking for new ways to give fans access to ESPN Audio’s tremendous content.  iHeartRadio, with its expansive network and reach, will help us bring new listeners into the fold and give current fans yet another way to enjoy their sports content, anytime, anywhere.”

National Radio Institute Begins Today at University of Tennessee. Today begins the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters Radio Talent Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  At this session, students from four different universities will learn from broadcast pros from Patrick Communications, Midwest Communications, Stonecom Radio, Entercom, Cumulus MediaScripps Radio, 5 Star Radio/Saga Communications, Cromwell Communications, Thunderbolt Broadcasting, and others.  The course is led by industry professionals and facilitated by the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters and the University of Tennessee’s College of Communications and Information and was spearheaded by radio consultant Dan Vallie.  The TAB Radio Talent Institute is the fourth of eight Radio Talent Institutes this summer from the National Radio Talent System, next are Confer Radio Talent Institute at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania; Hubbard Radio Talent Institute at Central Washington University; KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute at Western Kentucky University, and the MBA Radio Talent Institute at Northwest Missouri State University.

TALKERS News Notes. The case of Nielsen Audio v. Bubba the Love Sponge was supposed to begin in trial court today, but the start of the eagerly awaited legal face-off will not happen until July 23 – that is, unless the two parties come to a settlement.  Nielsen’s complaint that Bubba the Love Sponge damaged its reputation by tampering with the PPM survey in the Tampa market goes back more than two-and-a-half years. Although a settlement is always a possibility, it seems unlikely Bubba would concede anything after spending as much on legal fees as he has up to this point.  Nielsen is seeking $1 million in damages.  Federal Judge James Whittemore offered no reason for the change in trial start dates but says it’s expected to last five to seven days…..cabana, the digital audio division of AdLarge Media, is announcing an exclusive ad sales representation deal for the newly launched true crime podcast network Murder.ly. AdLarge co-founder and co-CEO Cathy Csukas says, “True crime dramas are sought-after and in high demand among listeners and advertisers.  We’re proud to represent the titles in Murder.ly and bring this exclusive opportunity to cabana advertisers.”

Three Join Broadcasters Foundation Board of Directors. The Broadcasters Foundation of America elects Wendy McMahon, president of the ABC Owned Television Stations Group, and Charlie Weiss, publisher of New Bay Media’s TV Sector Brands, to its board of directors, and names Dennis Lyle, president and chief executive officer of the Illinois Broadcasters Association, an officer and vice president.  The new directors and Lyle were voted in during the board meeting that took place in New York City last week.  In a related story, at the TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! conference held in New York City on June 8, WPG, Atlantic City morning host and Heavy Hundred member Harry Hurley (pictured below at left) donated $2,000 to the Broadcasters Foundation of America on behalf of his successful Harry Hurley Charitable Foundation.  Foundation president Jim Thompson (right) accepted the check.  This marked the third year in a row that Hurley has made a large donation to the Broadcasters Foundation.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Roger Stone Allegation, Illegal Immigration Enforcement, Inspector General’s FBI-Clinton Probe Report, Trump Trade Wars, Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the allegation Roger Stone met with a Russian promising “dirt” on Hillary Clinton; the controversy over the treatment of illegals with young children; the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s investigation of the Hillary Clinton email server case; the tariffs being levied by the U.S. and retaliation by China and concerns about a global trade war; President Trump’s meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; and Major League Baseball 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. Rock programmer Mat Bates has reportedly exited Cumulus Media’s legendary triple A KFOG, San Francisco where he was serving as program director.…..In the Reno market, Lotus Communications names Tina Smash morning drive host at classic rock KOZZ.  Smash is taking over the morning host role from operations manager and program director Jave Patterson who will assume the afternoon drive show hosting duties on Lotus’ sister active rock KDOT “Rock 104.5.”…..On-air pro Diana DeVille joins Strategic International Ministries’ country KWSV, Simi Valley, California “99.1 The Ranch” to host the midday program that was hosted by departed personality Mese Smith.  Station programmer Michael Raffety says, “It’s always hard replacing a strong personality that listeners have grown to love, like Mese Smith.  But if anyone can carry on the success, it’s Diana Deville. She’s loaded with great ideas and has a genuine love for the country music format and listener.  I know the audience will grow to love Diana as much as they do Mese.”…..Some of the winners at the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters awards luncheon held last Thursday (6/14) include Capitol Broadcasting’s hot AC WRAL-FM, Raleigh-Durham “MIX 101.5,” winner of the Radio Station of the Year honor in the large market category. Station PD Michele Williams says, “We at ‘MIX 101.5’ are honored to accept the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters’ radio station of the year award for 2017.  We thank this amazing community for allowing us to give back through events like our Radiothon for Duke Children’s Hospital, Interfaith Food Shuttle’s Back Pack Buddies Mediathon and our annual Christmas Choir Competition that supports local schools’ music programs.  It’s a privilege to serve you, our listeners, and we look forward to what’s to come in 2018 and beyond.”  Other winners were Beasley Media Group’s hip hop WZFX-FM, Fayetteville, which took home the Station of the Year honor for medium market stations, as well as WPEG, Charlotte “Power 98” evening personality Ya Girl Nikki who was honored with Large Market Personality of the Year.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

| December 22, 2016

Nielsen Audio to Increase PPM Panel Size.  The radio industry has been asking for larger panels for the PPM surveys and yesterday (12/21) Nielsen Audio granted the business that long-sought-after wish.  In a press release, Nielsen announced it will increase “the effective sample size of the panel by 10% across all markets and demographics starting mid-2017.  Nielsen’s enhanced PPM panel will have more than 80,000 installed meters. nielsen-logoThis means that on an average day over 65,000 panelists will contribute to the ratings.  The increase represents more than 6,000 additional panelists on a daily basis across the aggregate of PPM markets.  The sample increase will be distributed proportionally across all demographics.”  President for Nielsen product leadership Megan Clarken states, “Larger sample sizes are important due to the continuing fragmentation of audiences and the need for more granular analysis of the data.  This expansion will be an important step forward in the accuracy and quality of our audio estimates.  Increasing the size of our PPM panel will allow our clients to continue to share their story with confidence and in a way that resonates with advertisers.”  The company also says that the recent acquisition of Gracenote will allow it to explore “ways to leverage Gracenote’s vast footprint in over 70 million car infotainment systems as well as their expertise as the industry standard for automatic content recognition to help expand our measurement of in-car audio and in-car digital listening.”  Managing director for Nielsen Audio Brad Kelly, adds, “An increase in the PPM sample size is the number one priority for our clients.  With this investment, Nielsen is doubling down on its commitment to the radio industry and addressing the needs of our clients.  We are thrilled to rollout this enhancement that will continue to build a stronger radio advertising marketplace.”

ESPN Extends Deal with Bomani Jones.  Sports giant ESPN inks a contract renewal with Bomani Jones.  He currently hosts the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET slot on ESPN Radio – “The Right Time with Bomani Jones” – and jonesbomaniappears on ESPN television on “Highly Questionable” with Dan Le Batard and Papi weekdays at 4:30 pm.  The company says additional projects featuring Jones will be developed.  Jones says, “I’m really happy to continue my relationship with ESPN.  I’ve spent the last three-and-a-half years working with some of the best and brightest people in sports, and it’s great to know that will continue.  More than that, I’m excited about everything that will be possible in the next few years on television and continuing to build ‘The Right Time’ on ESPN Radio.”

Our American Network Offers Holiday Specials.  The producer of the two-hour, nightly syndicated radio show “Our American Stories” is offering a Christmas special and a weeklong, “Best of 2016” special.  Lee Habeeb hosts and produces “Our American Stories.”  He says the Christmas special “will feature stories about how the song ‘White Christmas’ came to be, along with a superb story about the Bing Crosby and David Bowie duet of ‘Theouramericanstories Little Drummer Boy.’  We will also delve into the origins of many of our greatest Christmas traditions, from the Christmas tree to Christmas lights, and so much more.”   That show airs live from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm on Friday (12/23).  “Our American Stories Best of 2016” will showcase a week of some the year’s most memorable segments from the year.  Habeeb says, “Included are profiles and rare interviews with actor Gene Wilder, musician Merle Haggard, golf legend Arnold Palmer, plus profile segments about Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, Annie Oakley and Jimmy Stewart.  It will be the best of the best of ‘Our American Stories.’”  For market exclusivity on the Christmas and/or week-long “Best of” special, contact affiliates@oanetwork.org or by calling 239-470-9297.

iHeartMedia and Jingle Punks Create ‘National Jingle Day’; Honor Barry Manilow for Career Jingle Work.  In collaboration with audio creative agency Jingle Punks, iHeartMedia is debuting the first annual iHeartMedia’s National Jingle Day Presented by Jingle Punks, taking place on Monday, December 26.  The event will debut new jingles from the ACLU, Aloe Gloe, Axe Hair, Band-Aid Brand Adhesive Bandages, Chase natjingledayFreedom Unlimited, Glade, Logitech, musical.ly, Outback Steakhouse, Suave, Ziploc and more.  The two companies partnered with the brands to script, record and produce 13 original jingles, back-to-back in 13 hours.  Select jingles will air nationwide on December 26 across hundreds of iHeartMedia radio stations and on digital platform iHeartRadio.  Also, video social network musical.ly is going to share a selection of the original jingles with its community of more than 160 million users, allowing them to create videos set to their favorite jingle.  Jingle Punks president and CEO Jared Gutstadt comments, “National Jingle Day was created to bring the jingle back into the spotlight in an impactful, disruptive way.  Music is the most powerful way to reach people, so we teamed up with iHeartMedia to create 13 jingles for 13 brands in 13 hours, and ended up with some kick-ass audio creative that celebrates the adventure of sound in today’s modern world.”  In connection with National Jingle Day, Barry Manilow is being honored as the first-ever inductee into the National Jingle Day Hall of Fame for his voice work on iconic brands such as McDonald’s, Band-Aid, KFC and State Farm.

Nielsen Audio Releases Round Three of December 2016 PPM Data.  The third of four rounds of Decemberppmunit-alt 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus.  The December 2016 survey period covered November 3-30.  You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

Odds & Sods.  Portland sports talker KXTG “750/102.9 The Game” adds Seattle Mariners baseball to its programming.  The Alpha Media station announced yesterday that it is adding KIRO-AM-based duo “Brock & Salk” to its lineup and today’s move adds more Seattle-based sports content…..ESPN Radio is adding four new shows to its winter weekend lineup.  The new shows are “Rothenberg & Medcalf” (Saturdays, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET), featuring Dave Rothenberg and Myron Medcalf; “Robin & Reese” (Saturdays, 11:00 pm to 1:00 am) with Robin Lundberg and Reese Waters; “Clinton Yates, Mina Kimes & Domonique Foxworth” (Sundays, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon); and Jordan Rodgers & Jason Fitz (10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight).

Trump Transition, Popular Vote vs Electoral College, Walmart ‘Black Lives Matter’ Case, Iran Involvement in Syria, Search for Berlin Terror Suspect, North Carolina Bathroom Law Issue, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/21).  The Trump Administration’s transition, including Kellyanne Conway’s appointment as counselor to the president; the final presidential election figures showing Hillary Clinton’s popular vote margin of victory; Walmart’s response to request by national Fraternal Order of Police to remove “Black Lives Matter” shirts from its website; new information indicating Iran’s military is playing violent role in Aleppo, Syria; the search for the man German authorities believe was responsible for the deadly truck attack in Berlin; the failure of the North Carolina Senate to repeal the law requiring people use public restrooms that align with their gender at birth; and chatter about the NFL playoff possibilities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

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Special PodcastOne Live Event.  On Monday (12/19), PodcastOne host Adam Carolla (second from right) invited 100 fans to an advanced screening of the new film, Why Him? on the FOX Studios backlot.  Following the showing, stars (left to right) James Franco, Megan Mullally and Bryan Cranston joined Carolla for a live podcast.  The group covered everything, from growing up to current projects, and culminated with a few questions from audience members.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

| September 15, 2015

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison and Consultant Holland Cooke Discuss ‘How Digital Media is Rewiring the Human Nervous System.’  In the latest installment of Podcast One’s international hit “Up Close and Far Out” posted today (9/15), noted radio and media consultant Holland Cooke joins host Michael Harrison in a discussion of what Harrison describes as the five major tenets of digital media’s effect on the way human nervous systems are becoming “rewired” going into the 21st century.  According to Harrison, here are the five major tenets of modern-day media theory for commercial practitioners to consider (from five to one in order of importance):

5. The magic of 20th century media is rapidly disappearing. Radio, television, film, print and records do not carry the same level of mystique that they did for most of our lifetimes.  It is no longer just enough getting past the gatekeeper and “being there.”  Everybody is or has direct access to being a media star.  This development democratizes production and distribution but significantly raises the bar on what must be achieved to actually attract attention and display panache in an increasingly noisy world.

4. Loss of privacy.  It is becoming increasingly impossible to engage in modern life “on the grid” and preserve the level of privacy that many consider vital to maintain dignity and personal freedom.  It is becoming increasingly treacherous to be famous or a “celebrity.”  Media whores beware!  It is dangerous out there.

3. Life is becoming one big crazy reality show. Look no further than the media circus known as the 2016 presidential election to see this process at work – punctuated by the adventures of the greatest media exhibitionist of our time, Donald Trump.  The once well-defined boundaries between entertainment and real life – fact and fantasy – are becoming increasingly blurred.

2. The rise of the techno-psychic.  Modern-day instantaneous communications and data accumulation, punctuated by multi-tasking, social media, and the individual’s immediate access to everyone and all publically archived information, is transforming the human race (Homo sapiens) into a technologically induced telepathic species.  People literally are walking around with the voices of others inside their heads.  We are just a handful of short years away from having chips implanted inside our bodies that will replace the inconvenience of having to lug around what we currently call “smartphones.”

1. The coming of the quantum age.  Don’t expect the digital era to hang around as long as the analogue era has through all of the 20th century and into the 21st.  It will be replaced relatively quickly by something truly “far out.”  Our increased understanding and coming to cultural terms with quantum physics is changing everything!  Although the development of the quantum computer (which promises to replace the digital computer) is still in its infancy, progress is being made at a rapid rate.  Quantum computing will exponentially increase humanity’s influence on the very fabric of time and space themselves.  Today’s modern technology will seem as quaint as the horse and buggy in a relatively short time.  Harrison advises, “Today’s media practitioners interested in being prepared for the onrushing future should study everything they can about quantum physics and the impact it will have on computing and communications.”

Interestingly, Harrison produced this installment of “Up Close and Far Out” on the road under difficult technological conditions stating, “Our studio back at TALKERS suffered an equipment malfunction and our server was undergoing maintenance.  I found myself facing deadline with nothing more than two iPhones and a remote guest (Holland Cooke) who also had nothing more to work with at the moment than an iPhone.  Somehow we made it work – although I regret that Holland’s usually mellifluous voice sounds a bit like Rudy Vallee singing on his trademark megaphone.  Considering the futuristic nature of our rather esoteric conversation, it is ironic that we produced the show under extremely primitive (by modern standards) conditions.  All of us who’ve done radio over the years have had the experience of being forced to play MacGyver.  This was one such case.  Thank you, Holland Cooke, for being a good sport.”

To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here. or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

rosenbergpeterFamiliar New York Voice Peter Rosenberg to Join WEPN’s Michael Kay Show.  New York radio personality Peter Rosenberg is joining the Michael Kay show on ESPN’s WEPN.  Rosenberg is host of Emmis-owned hip hop HOT 97’s morning drive show – a position he will continue.  Rosenberg will join Don LaGreca – himself recently inked to a contract renewal – as co-hosts with Kay.  On this added gig, he comments,wepn logo “I’m thrilled and thankful for this opportunity to be a part of the 98.7 family and to be part of a show that I have always loved with two guys that I couldn’t respect and admire more.  By working for both 98.7 and HOT 97, I’m able to contribute to a wide variety of topics I’m passionate about and provide listeners with a fresh perspective on not just hip hop, but sports, lifestyle, and more.”  He begins his new duties today (9/15).He begins his new duties today (9/15).

martinezheatherMartinez Joins ‘News 96.5 Orlando’ for Anchor Position.  Trading the cold for sunshine this winter is Heather Jordan Martinez who is leaving iHeartMedia heritage news/talker WHO, Des Moines for Cox Media Group’s WDBO-FM, Orlando “News 96.5.”  Martinez has a diverse resume including time in music radio on-air and in promotions.  She is also a voice-over talent.  Her new gig starts September 28.

mckayjeffIAB Presents Podcasting ‘Upfront.’  The recent “Upfront Showcase” held in New York City by the Interactive Advertising Bureau was held in response to the medium’s recent and meteoric rise on the mainstream consumer’s and advertiser’s radar.  TALKERS and RadioInfo special features correspondent Jeff McKay reports, “The Interactive Advertising Bureau put together the event to highlight some of the top-flight podcasters, along with some of the companies at the forefront of digital success and their advertiser successes.”  IAB president/CEO Randall Rothenberg explains, “We’re here responding to market demand.  Why are we here?  The success of ‘Serial’ and President Obama’s interview on ‘WTF with Marc Maron’ – these shows have opened up eyes to podcasting.”  Attendee and VP of digital sales for AdLarge, Jay Green states, “You’re saying, ‘I want to hear what this host has to say,’ and that becomes a brand.  For advertisers, the spot load is very low.  It’s not intrusive.  And, the ads are integrated into the show, discussed by the host with their own brand and style.”  Read McKay’s entire report from the IAB “Upfront Showcase” here.

jalenjacobystillESPN Radio to Finalize New Network Lineup; Jones to PM Drive, Jalen & Jacoby to Assume Early Evening Show.  TALKERS magazine sources say the revamped ESPN Radio schedule should be complete within a couple of weeks and, as we’ve reported in recent weeks, Bomani Jones willjonesbomani move from his 9:00 pm ET start to the afternoon drive slot being filled right now by Jorge Sedano and Sarah Spain.  As regular TALKERS readers are aware, the changes at ESPN Radio were spurred by Colin Cowherd’s move to Fox Sports.  ESPN has already shuffled Dan Le Batard to the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET daypart, leaving an opening in afternoon drive.  With Jones in the PM drive slot, TALKERS hears ESPN will move podcast duo Jalen & Jacoby – Jalen Rose and Dave Jacoby – to the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET slot and Jorge Sedano will assume the 9:00 pm to 12:00 ET midnight show.  Sedano will reportedly also take on more NBA-related program responsibilities on the TV side.

salemmediagroup logoSalem Media Group to Acquire Radio Disney Signals.  Five more Radio Disney AM signals are on their way to a new owner as Salem Media Group agrees to buy 5,000-watt class B KDIZ-AM, Minneapolis for $375,000; 10,000-watt class B KDDZ, Denver for $550,000; 10,000-watt class B KDZR, Portland for $275,000; 20,000-watt class B WSDZ, St. Louis (licensed to Belleville, Illinois) for $275,000; and 9,800-watt class B WWMI, Tampa-St. Petersburg for $750,000.

CORRECTION:  Yesterday (9/14), TALKERS magazine incorrectly reported the new time of the “Business Rockstars” show.  The correct time is 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  TALKERS regrets the error.

The Trump Campaign, the 2016 Presidential Candidates, European Migrant Tensions/U.S. Immigration Policy, Russia-Syria Military Buildup, Iran Nuclear Deal, North Korean Nuke Threat, California Wildfires and NFL Week One Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14).  The ongoing analysis of the early success of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the migration issues European nations are dealing with and talk about the immigration policy in the United States; reports of Russia’s supplying Syria with weaponry; the controversial nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran; the threats of nuclear missile use by North Korea; the destruction being caused by the Western wildfires; and the first week of the 2015 NFL season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, July 20, 2015

| July 20, 2015

cbsradio logoScott Herman Promoted to COO of CBS Radio.  President Andre Fernandez announces EVP of operations Scott Herman has been promoted to chief operating officer for CBS RADIO.  The company says that in this new role, Herman will continue to report to Fernandez and lead local operations across the division’s 117 major market stations.  CBS RADIO’s market managers will now report to Herman.  Fernandez states, “Scott has ahermanscott tremendous reputation in the industry, and is a distinguished representative for radio.  He understands CBS RADIO’s vision for the future and will provide strength to our senior leadership team as we move forward with a variety of key growth initiatives.  Having someone with Scott’s experience collaborating directly with our station management will result in new value for CBS RADIO and our partners.”  The company notes that, because of this experience, Herman “works particularly close with the division’s news and talk stations, and his expertise in this area has allowed CBS RADIO to retain its leadership position in the format.”  Herman was promoted to EVP, Eastern Region for CBS in 2003.  Prior to that, he was senior vice president, market manager for the division’s New York properties, including all-newsers WINS and WCBS plus sports talk WFAN.  Herman was vice president and general manager of WINS from 1994-2003 and WNEW-FM on two different occasions during the 1990s.

trn logoTRN Loses Appeal of Back Pay Judgement in Savage Case.  The appeal of the ruling by an arbitration panel that the Original Talk Radio Network Inc. owes talk host Michael Savagesavagemichael $800,000 in back pay is unsuccessful after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled Friday in Savage’s favor.  A small victory for TRN, though, as the Court denied Savage’s request for sanctions against TRN for filing a “frivolous appeal.”  This latest court action stems from Savage’s original suit against TRN to void his contract with the syndicator after the relationship between the two parties had soured and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One pursued Savage’s services.

espnradioEarly Line on Cowherd’s Replacement at ESPN Radio: Le Batard.  According to TALKERS sources, there are two scenarios for filling the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot on ESPN Radio after Colin Cowherd does his final show for the network before departing for FOX Sports.  The first is that Dan Le Batardlebatarddan moves to the slot and Jorge Sedano slides down from his 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show to assume Le Batard’s 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot.  The second possibility is that ESPN keeps Le Batard where he is and moves Sedano into the midday program.  TALKERS sources also say ESPN is high on Bomani Jones, who hosts sedanojorgethe 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm show and potential talent shuffles could involve a better daypart for his show.  As for Cowherd, reports indicate that he was making about $2.5 million with ESPN and that FOX Sports will pay him approximately $6 million per year.  Just what FOX Sports’ plans are for Cowherd are not set in stone and the company hasn’t been specific, but it’s expected he’ll host a nationally syndicated radio show and host a TV show on Fox 1, possibly at 6:00 pm to compete with ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”

wibclogoEmmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Adds Radio America’s Chad Benson Show for Evenings.  Saying the show has a “Gen-X perspective,” WIBC-FM, Indianapolis programbensonchad director David Wood announces the Radio America-syndicated Chad Benson show joins the station’s lineup for the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot.  Wood says, “I was looking for something unique and contemporary for evenings.  I found it in Chad Benson.  Chad’s show has a great energy and Gen-X perspective, but still with conservative sensibilities.  Plus he’s got the best set of tattoos in talk radio.”  Radio America says Benson’s sense of showmanship and entertainment was developed from years in music radio and has had a huge influence on him as a talk host.

digilionickWGN, Chicago’s Nick Digilio Returns to the Air; Explains Stomach Ailment Exacerbated by Alcohol.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports on the return to the WGN airwaves of overnight personality Nick Digilio, who was back hosting his show today (7/20) after an absence of a month.  Digilio explained to his listeners that he landed in the hospital after complicating existing stomach troubles by consuming too much alcohol being unable to eat much food.  He explained that he came down with a stomach ailment in May that made it difficult to eat.  His overconsumption of alcohol caused him to spend five days in the hospital. Now, he says he’s done drinking.  He admits it was a stupid thing to do and blames no one but himself.  Read Feder’s piece here.

pasacritawalterWalter Pasacrita to Host Local Show on Sports Talk KONO-AM, San Antonio.  The station had been an oldies outlet before flipping to sports talk in January of 2014.  Now, the Cox Media Group-owned station is adding a local show by market pro Walter Pasacrita, who previously co-hosted a sports talk show with Jeff Vexler on iHeartMedia’s crosstown KTKR.  Pasacrita will host the afternoon drive show on KONO-AM.  He tells the San Antonio ExpressJeanne Jakle he is prepared to take on the competition on crosstown sports talkers KTKR and KZDC.  “I have more experience on the radio in San Antonio than the rest of those people.  I’m more passionate about sports than the rest of those people.  I don’t sugarcoat anything. . .and don’t let relationships get in the way of what should be stated.  I tell it like it is.”

kvet-am logoSean Adams and Chip Brown to Host Mornings on KVET, Austin.  A new, local sports talk show replaces ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike on iHeartMedia’s KVET, Austin.  Sean Adams moves from his early afternoon “Adams Theory” show to the morning slot alongside Chip Brown for “The Bottom Line with Sean Adams and Chip Brown.”    Brown was most recently with crosstown Total Austin Sports Radio-owned KTXX-FM.  The two worked together from 2007-2010.

talkersradio logoTalkersRadio’s “Vox Animali with Lori Lundin” Posts Second Installment.  The second installment of the groundbreaking, experimental talk show, “Vox Animali” hosted by award-winning radio journalist Lori Lundin is posted today (7/20) after receiving widespread positive response to its pilot episode last month.  The series – the latest offering of TalkersRadio’s “laboratory” workshop – is dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of animals that are institutionally abused and tortured at the hands of humans and foster respect for the dignity of all earthly creatures.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “I am so pleased that we are able to address a deeply important cause that hardly gets its due share of attention in the media – including talk radio – and when it does get attention, it is usually in the form of ridicule.”  Harrisonlundinlori continues, “We are very happy to have a brilliant and talented radio journalist of Lori Lundin’s caliber spearheading this project.”  Lori Lundin – who has received a number of prestigious industry honors including a Gracie this year – is an anchor with WTOP, Washington, DC and a reporter/podcaster with the Washington Examiner.  Harrison adds, “Lori, who is a breast cancer survivor and an all-around inspirational human being, brings a level of intelligence, sensitivity and empathy to her work that takes it beyond today’s typical newsroom fare in connecting to the heart as well as the brain.”  TALKERS general manager of broadcast operations, David Bernstein adds, “This is a heck of a show.  It has the potential to become a very influential vehicle for consciousness-raising for the animal rights movement, one of the fastest growing areas of public sentiment in America today.  And that’s what TalkersRadio is all about – developing spoken-word programs that address issues and interests outside the rigid boundaries of everyday broadcast radio.”  The new installment of “Vox Animali” features a look at the abuse and suffering of chimpanzees and presents an interview with Laura Bonar of Animal Protection of New Mexico.  Another current show under development on the TalkersRadio platform is “Healed Planet” hosted by Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel personality Alan Colmes that explores the human consciousness movement.  A recent “graduate” of TalkersRadio is the weekly “American Family Farmer” hosted by Doug Stephan.  Its mission is to champion the beleaguered small farmers of the nation being pushed out by the alliance of Big Agriculture and Big Government.  It has now cleared about 30 stations and is adding new ones daily on the GCN and Radio America platforms.  Bernstein says, “TalkersRadio is not set up to compete with broadcast radio or develop long-term hit shows for its own sake… but rather, as an experimental theater… a laboratory… to help new ideas develop to the point that they find a regular home on broadcast media.”  To listen to TalkersRadio, please click here.  For more information, contact David Bernstein at 413-565-5413.

Odds & Sods.  There’s a new, two-year contract for some 400 NPR staffers represented by SAG-AFTRA.  The union announces the new pact will provide 2 ½ % salary increases at the start of each of the next two years.  Other provisions include NPR paying 70% of health care benefits and a contribution of 7% of workers’ pay into the retirement plan…..Hubbard Broadcasting donates $5 million to the Newseum in Washington, DC and gets naming rights to the concourse level of the building.  Hubbard chairman and CEO Stanley Hubbard comments, “Our family has always been a strong advocate of a free press.  Because it is the only institution solely devoted to educating the public about the fundamental value of First Amendment freedoms and free expression, the Newseum is a great gift to the nation and the world.  It’s an honor for our family and our company to help support this noble cause.”

WachsWalkerDr. Daliah Wachs Welcome’s Scott Walker.  Nationally syndicated talk host and practicing physician Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) welcomes Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (left) to Las Vegas.  Walker – a just-announced candidate for president in 2016 – visited the Silver State a day after announcing his candidacy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

| May 12, 2015

usaRadioNetworks‘Washington Watch with Tony Perkins’ to Air on USA Radio Networks.  Another afternoon program is added to the roster at USA Radio Networks as it announces “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” begins airing on the network on June 8 live from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council and a former member of the Louisiana legislature.  Perkins also serves as the president of the Council for National Policy an umbrellaperkinstony organization for dozens of conservative organizations that address fiscal, social, and foreign policy issues.  He says about joining USA Radio Networks, “I’m excited to join the USA Radio Networks at such a critical time for our nation.  ‘Washington Watch’ is uniquely positioned in the heart of our nation’s capital to provide daily interviews from Capitol Hill with political and conservative leaders.  Radio has only become more important to our mission to keep God-fearing Americans informed and equipped to respond to the policy and cultural challenges of our day.  We are excited to partner with USA Radio Networks as we advance faith, family and freedom across America.”  Tim Maranville is chief content officer at Cross Platform Media Group, parent company to USA Radio Networks.  He says, “Tony Perkins has been a prominent voice in Washington for years with the Family Research Council.  The important issues he brings will now be available for discussion and debate in the open market through USA Radio Networks.”

le batard danDan Le Batard Show to Simulcast on Fusion.  According to TVNewser, ESPN Radio’s “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” will begin being simulcast on May 19 at 4:00 pm ET.  Fusion – a multi-platform, joint endeavor from Disney-ABC Television and Univision – debuted in the fall of 2013 and targets millennial consumers.  Fusion’s chief programming officer Wade Beckett is quoted by TVNewser saying, “Dan and Stugotz are an extremely engaging pair, and we are thrilled that they are bringing their unique flare to Fusion daily line-up.  Dan’s smart-yet-irreverent take on sports and the stories making headlines perfectly aligns with Fusion’s desire to present this young, diverse generation with an array of dynamic voices that have an authentic point of view and, at the end of the day, are just are fun to watch.”

rtdna logoRTDNA Reports on Social Media and Mobile Strategies for Radio News Operations.  The third edition of a series of reports from Hofstra University professor emeritus Bob Papper – whose data comes from the annual survey of radio and television news directors – investigates newsrooms’ use of social media and mobile applications.  Among the questionspapperbob answered by the approximately 150 news directors who responded to the survey include: What’s the most important new thing you started doing with social media in 2014?  Almost 49% of radio news directors reported doing something new in social media in 2014.  In underscoring the importance of developing mobile apps for news consumers, Papper points out that 55% of news directors mentioned apps compared to the next most popular answer – streaming, at 11%.  The RTDNA will be releasing new reports every two weeks through July.  See the whole report here.

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Releases First Round of April 2015 PPM Data.  The first of four rounds of April 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  The April 2015 survey period covered March 26 through April 22.  You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison Engages in Stimulating Conversations with Rebecca Costa and Buzz Aldrin on New Podcast.  TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison presents a “double header” on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” as he interviews two provocative thinkers on the connection between human evolution and the species’ chances of survival.  The podcast opens with Harrison in conversation with a personality he describes as “one of the most intelligent voices in talk radio today,” sociobiologist Rebecca Costa.  Costa, a renowned author, speaker and consultant, hosts radio’s weekly “Costa Report” – a nationalcostarebeccaposed weekend talk show syndicated by GCN, in which she interviews thought leaders with an eye on the future from a wide spectrum of fields and disciplines.  Costa, author of the worldwide best-seller, The Watchman’s Rattle (Vanguard, 2010), says the human brain needs to evolve if it has a chance of coping with the increasingly complex nature of society and its technological/information-generating systems.  She calls for humanity rising above the traits it shares with lower animals (“the lower instruments of our aldrinbuzzgenetic inheritance”) to be able to enter an age of cooperation and enlightenment, vital to its survival, by tapping into the evolutionary advantages offered by the brain’s frontal cortex.  In part-two of the podcast, Harrison engages legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin in a discussion about the Apollo moonwalker’s new book, Mission to Mars (National Geographic, 2015) in which he encourages humanity to begin planning its future as being more than a “one-planet species” – an evolutionary step he believes necessary for humanity’s long-term survival.  To listen to Rebecca Costa and Buzz Aldrin on “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click here or click on the special player box in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.  Archived interviews currently available for download at www.upcloseandfarout.com in the “Up Close and Far Out” series include Sean Hannity, Mike Francesa, Dr. Joy Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Sciacca, Christopher Ruddy, Norm Pattiz, Alan Colmes, and Steve Weisman.

wddz logoSalem Media Group to Unveil ‘AM 1250 The Answer’ in Pittsburgh.  The station acquired from Disney – WDDZ, Pittsburgh – becomes the latest Salem-owned AM news/talk to assume the brand “The Answer.”   In addition to airing the Salem Radio Network lineuptennentrose of talk hosts, local news/talk personality Rose Tennent – formerly with partner Jim Quinn on crosstown WPGB-FM – is signed on for a local morning show that will air from 8:00 am to 10:00 am.  The rest of the schedule is: Bill Bennett, 6:00 am to 8:00 am; Mike Gallagher, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; Dennis Prager, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Michael Medved, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Westwood One’s Mark Levin, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; and Hugh Hewitt, 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  Salem general manager Tom Lemmon comments, “Pittsburgh deserves a news/talk station that reflects the conservative, hard-working heart and soul of its people.  We’re thrilled to have an opportunity to provide an intelligent, sensible, conservative voice to the market.  We want to be a station that tackles solid local and national issues with an intelligent opinion committed to truth and integrity.

focus 360 logoWYD Media and Focus 360 Announce Partnership.  Saying that this agreement “significantly extends the reach of Focus 360‘s sales efforts and its ability to provide top-shelf service to agencies,” Focus 360 and WYD Media Ad Sales announce a new partnership.  The deal provides for WYD to provide enhanced ad sales representation for Focus 360.   Focus 360 CEO Phil Brown explains, “This is a tremendous opportunity for us to extend our sales efforts.  WYD’s resources and sales talent will enable us to increase our presence at key agencies, thereby boosting revenue and enabling us to do an even better job at servicing our partners.”  Brown says Focus 360 will continue to work directly with certain agencies where the company has long-standing relationships.  Focus 360 also will continue to build its Jelli programmatic advertising platform.

Odds & Sods.  There’s a new all-comedy station as Austin Radio Network flips its Gospel-formatted KLGO, Austin and re-brands it “Comedy 1260 AM.”…..The Georgia Association of Broadcasters kicked off its second annual Radio Talent Institute at Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia, as the opening Institute this summer from the National Radio Talent System.  The GAB sponsors the Institute, now in its second year, with further support from Cox Media Group.  Twenty-five students from Georgia schools with a “desire and passion for broadcasting” were accepted into the program.  Opening day speakers included Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey, Cox Media VP Scott Smith, and Cox EVP Kim Guthrie, to name a few.  Numerous other radio pros are speaking and teaching courses.

davislaurenCFRA, Toronto News Anchor Lauren Davis Dies Suddenly at 24.  Condolences are pouring in to the family, friends and co-workers of Lauren Davis, who died unexpectedly at age 24 over the weekend.  Davis was a news anchor on CFRA, Toronto.  She’s the daughter of longtime CHFI, Toronto personality Erin Davis.  Lauren Davis’ husband Phil Shirakawa also works at CFRA as a producer.  Lauren Davis was on maternity leave after giving birth to her son Colin last fall.  Bell Media regional vice president Richard Gray issued the following statement, “Lauren’s sudden passing was a shock to our CFRA and Bell Media staff here in Ottawa.  We are deeply saddened by the loss of Lauren, who had just become a mom in the last year.  We also want to extend our deepest sympathies to Lauren’s husband, Phil Shirakawa, who is a producer with us here at CFRA.  Lauren will be deeply missed by her family and the many colleagues here who knew her so well.”

2015 NYC 150Talkers New York 2015 Nearing Maximum Capacity.  Based on the diminishing number of registrations still open and the rate at which they are being filled, Talkers New York 2015 – the 18th annual installment of the talk media’s longest-running and most important national convention — will be sold out sometime this week.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We are gratified by the strong response this event is receiving and we clearly do not like to turn folks away – however, we must abide by New York City’s building codes, not to mention be sensitive to the comfort and safety of our attendees.”   Casey continues, “There will be no registrations sold after 5:00 pm EDT this Friday May 15, IF NOT SOONER.  Friday at 5:00 pm Eastern will be the absolute cut off point… but we cannot guarantee that we won’t run out of room earlier.”  The event will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district.  It is an all-day event – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm.  Registrations, priced at $299 per person and only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities.  The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees will be the allowed limit.  Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card.  They are not refundable or transferable.  For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest agenda, please click here.

wccr logoEWTN Launches Programming on Cleveland Affiliate.  Catholic broadcaster EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network debuts its programming on WCCR, Cleveland “AM 1260 The Rock.”  The Cleveland station, which launched on Monday, May 11, becomes EWTN Radio’s 300th affiliate in the United States.  St. Peter The Rock Media acquired the former WWMK from Radio Disney Group, LLC.  EWTN Radio general manager Dave Vacheresse says, “We are grateful to all the folks at St. Peter The Rock Media who have worked so hard to make this station a reality!  EWTN Radio is the beneficiary of incredible partnerships like this all over the U.S. and around the world.  These partnerships, combined with the cooperation and blessings of bishops across the U.S., has led to a growth rate of nearly 250% in the last five years – from 120 stations to over 400 and growing!”

Michelle Obama ‘Racism’ Commencement, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Baltimore Freddie Gray Death Aftermath, Obama Trade Bill Issue, Arctic Drilling Approved, NATO Expels Alleged Russian Spies, Clinton Email Suit Reopened, and Deflategate Sanctions Announced Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11).  Criticism of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “racism” commencement address at Tuskegee University; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the legal and political aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore; the controversial trade bill being pushed by President Obama; the approval by the Obama Administration to allow oil drilling in the Arctic; the expelling from Brussels of alleged Russian spies by NATO; the lawsuit seeking to force Hillary Clinton to turn over private emails is reopened by a judge; and the NFL issues a fine for the Patriots and four-game suspension for Tom Brady in the “deflategate” case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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