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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

| December 18, 2018

Report: Savage Program Changes the Result of ‘Corporate Censorship.’  In an analysis/opinion piece in The Washington Times, writer Cheryl K. Chumley quotes both Michael Savage and Daniel Horowitz (identified as Savage’s lawyer) in a piece that asserts the coming changes in Savage’s program from three live hours to one live hour and a one-hour podcast and the resulting, anticipated loss of affiliate stations WABC, New York; WLS-AM, Chicago; WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; and KABC, Los Angeles are not business decisions but political ones. Horowitz is quoted saying, “Michael’s voice, unlike [his conservative competitors] has always been very independent.  Savage is completely a wild card, right? And that’s what they’re trying to kill.  It’s all about corporate control.  Taking him off the air is not a business decision.”  Horowitz adds, “Networks are actually losing millions of dollars in order to keep Michael’s voice off these stations.”  Savage himself seems piqued the aforementioned stations won’t delay-broadcast his shows at night.  “The only reason I can see is because of politics.  It makes no sense.  I have a loyal, large audience.  Why not at least do reruns at night?”  Read the Times piece here.

Dave Glover Re-Ups with KFTK-FM, St. Louis. St. Louis radio talk show host Dave Glover signs a multi-year contract extension with Entercom’s news/talk KFTK-FM to continue hosting his afternoon drive program on the station.  Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “‘The Dave Glover Show’ has been a cornerstone of the afternoon drive at ‘FM NewsTalk 97.1’ from the very beginning and I am thrilled that Dave will be a part of the team for the foreseeable future.  I have been honored to work with Dave for the last decade and look forward to continuing to work with him in the years to come.  Dave leads the way on so many levels and strives for excellence in everything he does on a daily basis.”  Glover has been with KFTK-FM since 2000.  The station says Glover’s program finished #1 in 2017 with persons aged 25-54, according to Nielsen PPM ratings.

iHeartMedia Settles Lawsuits Removing Two Roadblocks. Two lawsuits that were partly responsible for postponing iHeartMedia’s Confirmation Hearing in its Chapter 11 reorganization have been settled.  Creditors GAMCO and Norfolk County Retirement System objected to iHeartMedia’s use of cash sweeps from Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings and filed suit.  An early December agreement between GAMCO and iHM called for iHeart to provide a revolving line of credit of $170 million to CCOH.  This latest settlement calls for the revolving line of credit to be hiked to $200 million after iHeartMedia and CCOH become separate companies – part of the Fifth Amended Plan.  iHeart is also indemnifying CCOH for up to 50% of certain tax liabilities.

TALKERS News Notes. Beginning January 2, Las Vegas talk radio pro Heidi Harris hosts a three-hour morning show on Kemp Communications’ news/talk KMZQ-AM, airing from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. Currently, Harris is hosting the 8:00 am to 10:00 am slot on the station.  The station also swaps out Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager and Michael Medved in middays for SRN’s Mike Gallagher and Sebastian Gorka.  Harris tells TALKERS magazine she continues to produce her podcast in addition to hosting her radio show.  Harris has served with Entercom’s KXNT-AM and Beasley’s KDWN in the Las Vegas market…..Sales pro Ed Krampf joins Sun & Fun Media as senior account executive for its affiliate sales unit.  Sun & Fun co-founder Rob Koblasz says, “Adding Ed to our team continues our mission of having the best and brightest minds in the industry serving our affiliates.”…..Premiere Networks announces the continuation of a long-standing “Coast to Coast AM” tradition of listeners being treated to live, holiday-themed programming, including special guest appearances, open lines, music and surprises on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  Program host George Noory says, “When I began this journey 17 years ago, I made a promise to our faithful listeners that there will be live programs on the holidays – a time of joy, but also a time of loneliness for some.  I look forward to sharing this special time of year with my ‘Coast to Coast AM’ family.”…..Tomorrow, WABC, New York personality Sid Rosenberg, along with WNYW-TV FOX 5 “Good Day New York” host Ines Rosales, will visit Maimonides Children’s Hospital in Brooklyn.  The two will deliver presents and holiday surprises from the hospital’s wish list for every child in the unit to make their holidays a little brighter.  Rosenberg says, “As the proud and loving dad of two, I can’t think of a better way to spend my holiday season than with the children at Maimonides Medical Center.  Bringing laughs to my listening audience is fun but putting a smile on these kids’ faces will be the absolute best.”

Trump-Russia Investigation/Russian Election Meddling, Border Wall-Government Shutdown Threat, Dow Dips 500+/Recession Worries, Obamacare Status, Moonves Gets Nothing from CBS, Criminal Justice Reform Bill, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/17). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents and the related intelligence regarding Russian election interference; the battle in Washington over funding for the Mexican border wall that could shut down the federal government; the continuing stock selloff and concerns about a recession; the status of Obamacare in the aftermath of a federal judge’s ruling it unconstitutional; CBS reveals ousted chief Les Moonves will get no severance; the criminal justice reform bill that would reduce sentences for non-violent offenders; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Remembering Dave Robbins.  Social media was abuzz Monday night as news spread about the sudden passing of highly respected programmer and general manager Dave Robbins. To see glowing tributes for someone who has died isn’t unusual, but the well-earned praise for Robbins was particularly voluminous and the word “mentor” was frequently mentioned. Held in high esteem for his days programming Columbus CHR WNCI, Robbins was among the most successful PDs who transitioned to the GM’s chair. What follows is a very brief sample from the many weighing in on him. Noted consultant/programmer John Sebastian: “He was my GM in Chicago at WJMK. He was a great boss and a very good man.” Executive vice president/programming operations at iHeartMedia Jon Zellner: “I have two mentors in this business and Dave Robbins is one of them. He literally taught me everything I know through the many years I had the opportunity to work with him at Nationwide and CBS Radio – I am forever grateful. No one was more creative, inspiring or motivating – a true strategist in every sense of the word. Dave possessed every trait of a natural leader, but he also was one of the most nurturing human beings I ever met. It truly brought him joy to see people on his team succeed.” Breakthrough Management partner John Parikhal: “This is terrible news. I was a huge fan of Dave’s and we had some serious fun working together. I’m so sorry to hear this.” WTUZ, New Philadelphia (Ohio) director/operations & programming Steve Kelly: “This is the most difficult post I have ever had to write, but I know our radio family and Dave’s friends will want to know that my dear friend, Dave Robbins, passed away today. Godspeed my friend.” Longtime Chicago programmer/consultant Buddy Scott: “I’m stunned – today we lost one of the greatest guys in radio and in life, Dave Robbins. We worked together twice and were corporate mates once. I loved Dave – he was my friend. [This is] so sudden and so sad.” Zapoleon Media Strategies president Guy Zapoleon: “We lost someone very special today, a broadcast industry legend; mentor to so many in our industry; and a great human being who always had time for anyone who would reach out in need. [This is a] heartbreaking loss for all who were blessed to know Dave Robbins. I was blessed to have worked with and partnered with Dave at Nationwide Communications. I always called him ‘the general’ because he had an amazing strategic mind that he applied to radio and was the greatest strategic mind I’ve met in our business, truly a leader of men. Most importantly, Dave was a wonderful nurturing man who mentored so many people in our business and taught them the secrets of success in radio and in life. Dave was simply a one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime human being.” Executive vice president/programming at iHeartMedia Tony Coles“This afternoon brought the stunning loss of my friend and mentor, Dave Robbins. Dave was the person responsible for getting me into programming. All of these years later, I have never made a major career decision without consulting Dave – I am so thankful to have known him.” Cumulus Media Holdings vice president/programming operations John Dimick“I am devastated at the news. [Dave] gave me my first shot and truly taught everyone how to be their best self. Programming WNCI with [him] as the GM is a bright spot in my life. The universe is just a little out of balance tonight.” Also “heartbroken” to hear the news of Robbins’ passing was Saga Communications Asheville (North Carolina) operations manager Neal Sharpe: “He was one of the most incredible people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. He was a mentor, a friend, and the greatest radio leader I’ve ever known.” WLNK, Charlotte on-air talent Ramona Holloway remarks that Robbins had, “one of the most unforgettable voices in the business.” Executive vice president of global music marketing & strategy for iHeartMedia Alissa Pollack: “Wow – I’m devastated – I just spoke with him. He was one of my all-time favorites. I’m so sorry to hear this about Dave ‘Rock & Roll’ Robbins.” Three comments from record company executives included this from Alchemy Entertainment owner Bill Pfordresher: “Dave was an amazing bright light in my life. Yes, he was a great radio executive, but also an amazing friend. You always felt special in his presence and he was able to do that with everyone he met. He had true soul and I am deeply saddened at his passing. He is in a good place and will be remembered and loved always.” What’s In-Store Music partner Bob Catania: “I will never forget my first meeting with Dave. He handed me a hand grip, stuck a quarter in it, and told me if I could hold it for five minutes without dropping the quarter, he’d give me an add. Of course, I couldn’t – he had tested it with many a promo person prior. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship [with a] true gentleman and a brilliant programmer. This news breaks my heart.” Hitpredictor owner Rick Bisceglia: “Dave was tough – almost impossible – but highly intelligent and fair at the end. He was compassionate and made me better.” From January 2006 to the time of his death, Robbins was owner and chief executive officer of Windermere, Florida-based Getaway Vacation Homes, where he owned/managed 50 vacation homes and condos along Florida’s beaches and at Walt Disney World. Prior to that, his lengthy radio resume included a five-year stint (2010 – 2015) as senior vice president/market manager for CBS Radio Orlando’s WOMX, WJHM, WOCL and eight years as vice president and general manager for four of that company’s Chicago stations – WUSN, WCFS, WBBM-FM, and WJMK. Prior to that (1998 – 2003), Robbins was VP/GM for Columbus facilities WHOK, WLVQ, and WAZU; as well as vice president and general manager of Nationwide Columbus’ WNCI, WCOL, and WFYI. He spent seven years as Nationwide’s vice president of programming (1988 – 1995) and, from 1982 – 1988, programmed KHTR, St. Louis. Just 59 years old, Robbins was reported to have suffered a massive heart attack.  He’s pictured here (center) with his wife Patti (left) and Radio’s Best Friend Art Vuolo (right).

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Syracuse morning duo Ted Long and Amy Robbins have signed a multi-year contract extension with Cumulus Media to continue hosting the “Ted & Amy in the Morning” show on CHR WNTQ “93Q,” something they’ve been doing for 30 years.  Long says, “To be able to do what I love for so long, with the same people whom I admire so much, and at a company that not only cares for the audience they serve, as well as their employees, really makes it a no-brainer when it came to re-signing our contract.  Amy and I both feel very privileged to hold the positions we have had for so long here in Central New York. I am excited to continue to inform and entertain our great audience of listeners on 93Q.”  Robbins adds, “I truthfully find it hard to believe that I have spent more than half my life on the airwaves of ‘93Q.’  We are beyond grateful to our amazing listeners who continue to keep us as a part of their daily lives and to Cumulus Media who continues to recognize how important local talent is to each and every market they serve.”…..Alpha Media names Frank Wright content director for adult contemporary WXLC, Waukegan, Illinois.  Wright – midday host on the station – takes over for Haynes Johns, who exited the position in October of this year.

Friday, July 24, 2015

| July 24, 2015

cbsradio logoCBS RADIO Announces Market Manager Changes. Taking over for Marc Rayfield at the CBS RADIO Philadelphia cluster as SVP/market manager is current director of sales David Yadgaroff.  Rayfield was recently named market manager for the New York market.  Elsewhere in the company, current Boston SVP/market manager Mark Hannon adds the same duties for Hartford, replacing the retiring Suzanne McDonald.  CBS combines the SVP/market manager post for both Miami and Orlando and appoints Steve Carver, who replaces Joe Bell in Miami and Dave Robbins in Orlando.  They both exit the company.  Director of sales Tony Perlongo is promoted to SVP/ market manager in Las Vegas, taking over for the exiting Jerry McKenna; and Mike Valenzuela rises from VP/director of sales in the Riverside cluster to SVP/market manager, replacing Harvey Wells who’s returning to the Chicago area to be closer to family.

orban logoOrban Addresses Nielsen-Voltair Issue.  Audio processor competitor Orban has been very quiet during the industry-wide discussion about 25-Seven’s Voltair processor but breaks that silence with a press statement released on Thursday (7/23).  The statement says, in part, “Some have argued that Voltair is ‘just another form of audio processing.’  However, we believe that there is an essential and fundamental difference between audio processing (like that done by our Optimods) that increases the opportunity of the Nielsen encoder to insert audibly undetectable watermark tones and processing that directly manipulates the level of the watermark, potentially breaking Nielsen psychoacoustic masking model and allowing the tones to become audible.  Based on their testing, Nielsen concluded that Voltair can degrade perceptual quality.  In an environment where traditional radio is suffering ever-increasing competition from new media, we believe that it is unwise for radio to degrade its audio in an internecine battle whose ultimate winner could be non-broadcast providers.  Because Nielsen is a large, global business that depends on producing credible audience measurements, we expect that it will soon solve any problem (if it actually exists) by making improvements to its encoder.  Accordingly, we have decided not to add processing to Optimods that directly manipulates the Nielsen watermark signal because we expect that any such effort would degrade audio quality and would soon be rendered obsolete by Nielsen’s encoder improvements.  Moreover, we trust the Media Rating Council to thoroughly evaluate any such improvements, as they have already done for the Nielsen PPM system in its current form.  While it is true Orban’s Optimod processors are compatible with Voltair, we urge caution.”

kfi logoDoug Steckler Ends Friday Appearances with Tim Conway Jr. on KFI, Los Angeles.  For the last four years, Doug Steckler has been co-hosting the Friday evening edition of Tim Conway Jr.’s show on iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles.  But that is ending and Steckler says in a statement, “I am leaving the Tim Conway Jr. show on KFI where I enjoyed sharing Fridaystecklerdoug evenings with the funniest, nicest guy in radio.  We had more fun than should be legal.  All good things must come to their finish and it’s always better (if still difficult) to get out while you can still hear the laughter.  I want to wish everyone connected with the Tim Conway Jr. show the very best in every way.  I would like to especially express my profound gratitude to Sheron Bellio, our executive producer, whose creativity, original thinking, laser wit, and supernatural administrative abilities made every Friday a wonderfully conspiratorial caper.”  Conway and Steckler co-hosted a talk show on the old hot talk-formatted KLSX-FM, Los Angeles (now CHR KAMP) from 1996 through 2005.  Doug Steckler is represented by Jason Insalaco’s Kelton Agency.

hoffmancraigWTEM, Washington Adds Craig Hoffman for Redskins Beat Reporter Gig.  This will be a year-round gig at Red Zebra Broadcasting’s Washington Redskins flagship WTEM “ESPN 980” for Craig Hoffman as he is named the new Redskins beat reporter.  Hoffman was most recently with ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas “103.3 FM ESPN” as a host and update anchor.  Red Zebra says he has experience “covering both professional and college teams along with reporting from large national events like the NCAA Final Four.  Craig will cover the Redskins year-round and will contribute content to the station’s local shows.  He will also be part of the game-day broadcasts on the Redskins Radio Network while producing content for ESPN 980’s website and social media outlets.”

vandenburghpaulPaul Vandenburgh Takes Top Talk Show Honors in Metroland ‘Best Of.’  WGDJ, Albany owner, general manager and morning talk host Paul Vandenburgh’s daily show was named the Best Talk Radio Program in the market by Albany alternative weekly Metroland.  Here’s how the entry reads: “This is the show for local issues.  Special mention must be made of the must-listen interviews he conducted with local reporters on scene in Dannemora during the prison break.  Standard disclaimer: We’re a bunch of liberals and disagree with 75 percent of his opinions, but so what?  Who didn’t enjoy it when he went after Troy’s City Hall clown show during the frozen pipes scandal?”

Odds & Sods.  Los Angeles-based talk legend Tom Leykis is streaming his program live from the Maximum Yieldleykistom Indoor Gardening Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center tomorrow (7/25) from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm PT from the Aqua Camel booth.  What is Aqua Camel?  It’s a self-watering plant pot system that uses 65% less water.  The company is co-founded by Tim Sabean, former Sirius Satellite Radio and CBS RADIO programmer…..Hearst-owned WBAL, Baltimore  “NewsRadio 1090” agrees to a new multi-year partnership with the Naval Academy Athletic Association to continue serving as radio flagship for Navy football.  This will be the 11th consecutive year WBAL has broadcast Navy football.

blackstoneaudioGot Old Radio Shows? Opportunity to Monetize Content in Your Basement.  One of the largest independent audiobook companies in the world, Blackstone Audio, is looking to expand its product offerings beyond audiobooks into spoken-word, including comedy, opinion pieces, soundtracks (non-musical), old-time radio and TV shows, sports broadcast highlights, and any other forms of spoken-word or subject matter that would be interesting to the audio-listening public.  Blackstone would offer the content owners of recorded audio programs that they choose to license or distribute an arrangement under which the content owners would receive the majority of the net revenue from the sale of their content to the public by Blackstone.  If you have recorded spoken-word content and would be interested in having Blackstone Audio consider it for licensing or distribution contact Larry Harris at talkharris@olypen.com.

talkersten logo2016 Presidential Candidates and Trump Criticisms Tie for Top Spot on Talkers TenTM.  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the criticism of Donald Trump’s recent statements tied for the top spot on the Talkers TenTM for the week of July 20-24.  At #2 this week was the Iran nuclear deal.  Coming in at #3 was talk about the U.S, immigration policy and the sanctuary city concept followed by threats from ISIS 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.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.