John Rosso Rises to President and CEO of Triton Digital. The company’s president of market development rises to president and CEO as Triton Digital founder Neal Schore transitions to managing advisor. John Rosso says of his new role, “I am extremely proud of Triton Digital’s achievements and market-leading innovations and accomplishments and I’m looking forward to guiding the company as we continue to fuel the growth of the global online audio industry. Neal has always insisted that Triton Digital provide unparalleled service, unrivaled expertise and a commitment to excellence, and I look forward to building on that legacy, further expanding Triton Digital and contributing even more to the industry as we move into the next stage of growth.” Schore comments, “I founded Triton Digital in 2006 to reinvent the online audio industry. It has been wildly fulfilling for me to experience Triton Digital delivering innovative technology, attracting the best of the best team, and building an incredible client base in over 80 countries, and I am so grateful to our team and clients for all their loyalty and trust since launching the company over 16 years ago. I’m pleased to assume the role of managing advisor, and to continue to support Triton Digital’s clients and employees under John’s exceptional leadership as Triton Digital continues to carry on our tradition of driving and leading our industry.”
Brett Beshore to Lead Alpha Media Dayton Cluster. Radio executive Brett Beshore joins Alpha Media as SVP/market manager for the company’s Dayton station group that includes sports talk WING-AM and four music brands. Beshore has served as market president for iHeartMedia Indianapolis for the past 10 years. Alpha Media regional president and chief compliance officer Bill McElveen commented on the announcement, “Since our former market manager in Dayton, Keith Wright, announced his retirement earlier this year, we’ve been searching for the best possible candidate to lead our awesome team in Dayton, and Brett brings all of Alpha’s core values to the market. He knows how to lead a team and serve a great market and we’re excited to welcome him aboard.” Beshore states, “I’m thrilled for the opportunity to join ‘the Pack’ at Alpha Media. Alpha’s Dayton stations have a highly talented team and a solid track record of success in the market with heritage brands such as WDHT-FM, WROU-FM, WGTZ-FM, WCLI-FM and WING-AM. I look forward to serving our advertiser partners and providing great content for our listeners. I can’t wait to tell the story and find ways to use our stations to build and promote the great city of Dayton.”
iHeartMedia Announces Deal with TicketSmarter. A new multi-year agreement between Digital Ally’s TicketSmarter and iHeartMedia is struck that includes national marketing campaigns, prominent website feature displays, and sponsorship of national contests. The national contests will be powered by TicketSmarter and allow iHeartRadio listeners the opportunity to win trips and experiences. TicketSmarter CEO Jeff Goodman says, “We are thrilled to kick off this agreement with iHeartRadio and their innovative marketing team. We look forward to building once-in-a-lifetime experiences for their listeners.”
Today’s David Grapples Goliath with Problem/Solution. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian today presents a profile of Tampa-based talk personality David Gornoski. The 33-year-old hosts a daily, two-hour show on Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa that is also distributed as a podcast. He assesses his endeavor as “more of a mission,” rather than a conventional news/talk show, succinctly mentioning the “Neighbor’s Choice” title “felt right” when he started this project approximately seven years ago. “It actually began as an informal book club with some friends I gathered together. We try to make sense of current events through the lens of anthropology – I called our little group ‘a neighbor’s choice.’ I thought we need to shake things up by taking ideas we’ve been [discussing] in our neighborly community to the public. I wanted to introduce a new way of looking at things and began doing a podcast online in 2015.” He says that he views Joe Rogan’s podcast success as something radio should look at. “Joe Rogan does a fantastic show and has been able to build a parallel universe with a younger demographic. If we bring a young, relevant, fresh and interesting perspective to talk radio, there’s no reason why we can’t have 11 million young people tuning into a [terrestrial] radio show.” Read more here.
TALKERS News Notes. At 2022 SXSW yesterday (3/15), PodcastOne president Kit Gray took part in the panel titled, “Everything Old is New Again: The Podcast Biz Model, along with fellow panelists Gary Ousdahl of Advanced Management, Jenni Skaug of Sonic Influencer Marketing, and panel moderator Ilana Susnow, head of marketing & audience development for PodcastOne. The goal was to talk about the modern podcast business model and how it has adapted and adopted methods from content industries including TV, radio, streaming, and social media…..Good Karma Brands’ KSPN-AM, “ESPN Los Angeles” and the Los Angeles Lakers agree to extend their radio rights deal, continuing a long-standing partnership. The station will carry all regular-season games as well as all preseason and post-season games. The station has served as the official radio broadcast home of the Los Angeles Lakers since 2009. Handling play-by-play duties are John Ireland, currently in his 11th season as the Lakers radio play-by-play announcer, and Lakers legend and two-time World Champion, Mychal Thompson, who is in his 19th season as color commentator…..The Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer, in collaboration with iHeartRadio, announce the release of “Payback,” a new multimedia series on the years-long fight by members of the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) against what they allege is “institutionalized gender discrimination” in professional soccer. On February 22, 2022, the six-year legal battle between U.S. Soccer and the USWNT came to an end with an announced $24 million settlement and a pledge from the league’s governing body that steps would be taken to ensure equal pay between men’s and women’s teams in all competitions, including the World Cup. “Payback” examines some of the circumstances and events that led to the players’ filing.
Broadcasters Foundation Raises $300,000 at Golden Mike Award Gala. More than 270 radio and television broadcasters gathered at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on March 14 to honor Hilton H. Howell, Jr., chairman of the board and CEO of Gray Television and Atlantic American Corporation, with the 2022 Golden Mike Award and Lesley Visser, the first woman sportscaster to report on all major sporting events with the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award. The gala was a fundraiser, raising over $300,000 to support the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, which provides financial assistance to broadcasters in acute need. The annual event returned this year following a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Pictured here are Howell (left) and Visser (right).
Russia-Ukraine War, Gas Prices/Inflation, COVID-19, Daylight Saving Time, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, and Urban Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/15). Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the U.S.’s role in sanctions and arming the Ukrainian military, and Volodymyr Zelensky’s planned address to Congress; soaring gas prices and the still rising costs of retail consumer goods; the leveling of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the lockdowns in China, and the still-active People’s Convoy protesting mandates in Washington, DC; the U.S. Senate approves a bill to keep Daylight Saving Time year round; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the capture of a man suspected of killing homeless people, the arrest of an NYC man who beat an elderly Asian woman, and other examples of violent urban crime were some of the top stories discussed on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Westwood One to Offer Michael Knowles Show in January. The relationship between Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and the Daily Wire expands as WWO announces it will offer the one-hour “Michael Knowles Show” to radio stations beginning on January 4, 2021. The program will be fed live at 5:00 pm ET. Westwood One says, “Michael Knowles will provide a fresh, new voice on radio, delving beyond the headlines and analyzing the top cultural and political issues of the day. Knowles reaches a young conservative demographic, with an extensive following already through his podcast and social media channels. Knowles had the #1 podcast in America throughout most of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with ‘Verdict,’ his podcast with Ted Cruz; and his podcast, ‘The Michael Knowles Show,’ is among the top 10 News Commentary podcasts on the American iTunes Charts. Knowles has 1.12 million Facebook followers, 393.9k Twitter followers, 352k YouTube followers, and 150k Instagram followers.” Knowles has previously served as a guest host for “The Ben Shapiro Show.”
It’s Official: Grace Curley to Take Over Early Afternoons on WRKO, Boston. As TALKERS magazine reported on Tuesday (11/17), iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston begins airing “The Grace Curley Show” in the early afternoon daypart beginning on January 4. Curley’s program is produced and distributed by the Howie Carr Radio Network and it replaces “The Vinnie Penn Project” in the WRKO lineup. It will air from 12:15 pm to 3:00 pm. Curley is the executive producer of “The Howie Carr Show” – a role she will continue – and also is a Boston Herald columnist. iHeartMedia Boston VP of news, talk and sports Rob Sanchez says, “Grace has a spark ready to be ignited. She is part of the next generation of talk radio hosts and is ready to set the Boston airwaves on fire with her strong and authentic voice. Grace represents core conservative values through a millennial lens and has learned from the absolute best, so she is the perfect lead in for the ‘Howie Carr Show.’”
Cumulus Media and VolunteerMatch Partner for PROJECT SHINE. The cross-platform charitable initiative PROJECT SHINE is a partnership between Cumulus Media and VolunteerMatch. Cumulus describes it as “an evergreen campaign that will inspire local acts of service and human connection in a world that has seen its share of challenges.” Cumulus EVP, content & audience Brian Philips says, “PROJECT SHINE serves as a conduit for human connection. We make it easy for good people to connect with great causes through VolunteerMatch. In every town, in every corner of America, some darkness subsides, and a new ray of light appears. Through service, we help ourselves and the whole world is better for it.” PROJECT SHINE will be promoted on Cumulus’ 422 radio stations and websites across 87 U.S. markets and through Westwood One. Creative promos will feature a new version of Collective Soul’s hit “Shine,” re-recorded exclusively for PROJECT SHINE.
TALKERS News Notes. Progressive talk radio host Stephanie Miller announces that her “Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour” continues this weekend with a show on Saturday (11/21) at 8:00 pm ET featuring John Fugelsang, Frangela, and Hal Sparks…..Cumulus Media San Francisco and the University of San Francisco athletics department announce their renegotiated multi-year agreement that will have KTCT-AM “KNBR 1050 The Sports Leader” serve as the flagship station for USF Dons men’s basketball. The station will carry all of the games, including pre- and post-game shows as well as the weekly “Hilltop Hoops Hour” hosted by the voice of the Dons, Pat Olson…..New York Public Radio names Armando Gutierrez chief financial officer, effective December 2. Gutierrez was most recently CFO for CBS Corporation. NYPR says, “Gutierrez brings more than 20 years of experience developing financial strategy, transforming traditional broadcast businesses, and driving digital growth across media organizations.”
Trump’s Denial of Election Results, Biden Transition, Georgia Recount/Runoff Elections, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccines, Obama Memoir, Iran War Drums, Boeing 737 Max Greenlighted, and NFL Intensifies COVID Protocols Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The refusal by Donald Trump to concede the election; the hampered transition process for Joe Biden; the presidential election recount in Georgia and the January runoff elections for that state’s two U.S. Senate seats; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, projections for winter cases, and the vaccine progress announced by Pfizer and Moderna; former President Barack Obama’s new memoir; the talk of war against Iran by Saudi Arabia and Israel; Boeing’s 737 Max gets approval to fly again; and the NFL institutes stringent coronavirus prevention policies for all teams among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh News Reporter Joe DeStio to Retire. Radio news pro Joe DeStio announces he is retiring from Entercom’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh after 40 years in the business. DeStio served with WTAE, Pittsburgh before joining KDKA-AM nine years ago. He also serves as the house announcer for University of Pittsburgh Panthers football and mens basketball. He told listeners, “You get to the point that you realize life is short and while you still have the energy to do things, I want to get into music a little bit. I play the saxophone and I want to get good on that… I want to get good on the golf course, that’s the tallest order, probably… my wife and I want to travel… but, who knows, I may do something part time and I may get back into teaching.”
Former Long Island Radio Manager Pleads Guilty to Fraud. The former vice president and general manager of Long Island Radio Broadcasting pleads guilty to felony access device fraud in which she purchased “hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal charges” on the company’s American Express card. Stephanie McNamara Bitis faces 12 to 18 months in prison after the guilty plea. Long Island Radio Broadcasting owns and operates three stations – triple A WEHM-FM, Manorville; CHR WBEA-FM, Southold “The Beach 101.7”; and adult contemporary WBAZ-FM, Bridgehampton – on Long Island. Company owner Lauren Stone says that Bitis, who managed the stations from 2015 through 2017, was fired after “lackluster financial results.” Stone says a suspicious wire transfer caused her to hire outside experts to investigate the stations’ finances and then discovered the personal charges made by Bitis. While Stone says Bitis charged “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in personal expenses, Bitis’ lawyer Thomas Kenniff says Bitis disputes that and says his client was responsible for “no more than $1,000 in any given year,” according to a report in Patch.
RIP Mike Scinto. The passing of talk radio host Mike Scinto on Monday (11/16) was brought to the attention of TALKERS magazine by Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup, who shares with us the above photo of Scinto (left) with good friend Mike Gallagher (right). Gallagher and Scinto both got their start in talk radio at WAVI-AM, Dayton and for years Scinto would serve as a guest host on Gallagher’s SRN syndicated program. Gallagher paid tribute to Mike Scinto on his national program this morning, extending sympathy and prayers to Scinto’s wife Kathy and their children Zak and Carly, stating, “We will miss him. He was one of a kind.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country radio pro Michelle Rodriguez joins the “Hawkeye in the Morning” show on Cumulus Media’s KSCS-FM “New Country 96.3.” Rodriguez has been the midday personality on the station for the past seven years. She begins working with Mark “Hawkeye” Louis on November 30. Station program director Mike Preston says, “Michelle has been a shining star on the station for 10 years and pairing her with Hawkeye just made sense. I can’t wait to see the new heights that together they’ll take us to!”…..Entercom flips adult contemporary WDZH-FM, Detroit “98.7 The Breeze” to alternative rock as “ALT 98.7.” Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “This is a huge opportunity to add alternative to our portfolio, and we’re thrilled to further expand our content offering for Detroiters. ‘ALT 98.7’ will serve as a home for some of today’s top hits from premier artists in the industry, while capturing the distinctive style and flair of the Motor City.”…..Radio One Philadelphia begins transitioning the hip hop format on WPHI-FM at 103.9 to its new home at WRNB’s 100.3 FM frequency. The stations will simulcast the format all this week in advance of the switch on Monday (11/23). Radio One Philadelphia station manager, Ezio Torres states, “I’m excited about the updates to our Philadelphia Urban One cluster as this allows the audience and reach of each of our stations to expand.”…..For the 11th year in a row, “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” and Premiere Networks is giving away thousands of turkeys as part of the Steve Harvey Morning Show Annual Turkey Give. Nearly 9,000 turkeys will be provided to affiliates of the award-winning morning radio show to help those less fortunate celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Since the Turkey Give was launched in 2009, nearly 90,000 turkeys have been given to those in need. Harvey says, “We consider it an honor and a privilege to help those less fortunate during the holiday season. On behalf of the entire Steve Harvey Morning Show, Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you all.”