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Monday, August 30, 2021

| August 30, 2021

Anti-Vaxxer Bernier Loses Three-Week COVID Fight. This time last week, we reported news/talk WWTN-FM, Nashville afternoon drive personality Phil Valentine’s COVID-19-related death. Now, another conservative radio host who publicly spoke out against COVID-19 vaccines has died from the coronavirus: Marc Bernier, 65, passed away Saturday (8/28) after a nearly month-long battle against the virus. A Daytona Beach market fixture for more than three decades, the Rhode Island native who characterized himself as “Mr. Anti-Vax” did a morning commentary; a three-hour afternoon program; weekend shows; and specials for Southern Stone Communications news/talk WNDB “AM 1150 & FM 93.5.” The station released news of Bernier’s death on its Twitter account by stating, “It is with great sadness that [we] announce the passing of Marc Bernier, who informed and entertained listeners on WNDB for over 30 years.” After being off-the-air for a week, Bernier entered the hospital on August 7.  In an article published in The Daytona Beach News-Journal, Mark Harper points out that Bernier, “interviewed countless governors, senators, mayors, sheriffs, journalists, historians and authors. He also was an outspoken opponent of vaccinations.” Sports Network International vice president Justin Gates co-hosted “Weekend Around the House” with Bernier and was the best man at Bernier’s wedding. Gates was quoted as saying that Bernier gave “all sides” and wouldn’t “bully, throw punches, do potshots, or anything for ratings – that’s why he [was] so popular.” A guest on Bernier’s WNDB radio show the past 15 years, Volusia County sheriff Mike Chitwood comments, “I’m numb – this is a death in the family to me. You don’t have to agree with everything a person says for them to be your friend – I don’t think a lot of people get that. [Our] off-the-air banter was priceless. A great stress reliever for me was the things we would talk about, laugh about, and the jokes we would exchange. More than anything, I will miss how funny he could be, and how we’d try to one-up each other with funny anecdotal stories.” Florida-based CBS News Radio correspondent Peter King’s first radio news job was at WNDB and included anchoring on Bernier’s afternoon show. On his Facebook page, King writes, “I enjoyed working with him and we remained in touch for a while after that. Marc was the proverbial big fish in a small pond, becoming an integral and influential force in the community and really turning himself into a cottage industry that allowed him a wonderful quality of life in Daytona Beach. Whether you agreed with his points or not, he was always interesting; engaging; well-informed; involved; and a fine broadcaster. There was always room for more than just his opinion. I’m pretty sure that he helped make a lot of money for his radio station during his 30 years there. I was saddened to read reports that he was very publicly anti-vaccine on-air and was hospitalized with COVID; I’m even more saddened by his death.” After Bernier was hospitalized, WNDB operations director Mark McKinney was uncertain if the talk host was vaccinated. According to progressive news website/online tabloid Raw Story, McKinney remarked, “If you’ve listened to his show, you’ve heard him talk about how anti-vaccine he is on the air.” In his final tweet published on July 30, Bernier wrote that the United States government was “acting like Nazis because officials were urging people to get vaccinated.” WNDB emphasizes on Twitter, “We kindly ask that privacy is given to Marc’s family during this time of grief.”

Monday Memo: Which of These 7 Mistakes Are You Making On-Air? Validating the consultant caricature, Holland Cooke ticks-off what ticks-off listeners. Most of these are not intentional on the part of the talk host but they can signal a host who is not completely prepared, doesn’t hear things through the ears of the listener, or has acquired a bunch of bad habits, probably due to a lack of coaching. Read his column here.

 

Pending Business: Checking In. You’ve noticed how so many retailers “check-in” with you after your purchase – usually via email or text – to make sure you’re happy. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column about sales managers checking in with sales leads to make sure they are being served by the sales rep. He says this is not about micro-managing and most managers trust most of their reps, but there are several reasons the “Check-In” plays an important role in the sales process. Read his column here.

Dawn Stensland to Host Late Mornings at WPHT, Philadelphia. WPHT morning drive co-host Dawn Stensland is getting her own two-hour radio talk show from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon beginning September 7. She is currently co-anchor of the Audacy station’s morning drive “Rich Zeoli Show” and will continue in that role. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We’re excited to grow Dawn’s role with the station with the launch of her new midday show, where she will speak with top local newsmakers for in-depth analysis of stories that affect the Philadelphia region. Dawn’s show, along with an extra hour of Rich Zeoli, and Dom Giordano’s new program time extends our local content to nine hours, which allows us to best serve our local listeners, while continuing to deliver some of the biggest names on the national stage.” Stensland says, “I’m grateful to Rich Zeoli and his ‘army’ of loyal listeners for believing in me since I joined the show six years ago. I am so proud to work with Audacy and I’m also so thankful for their commitment to showcase a diverse collection of local voices as we engage with people across our region about the issues of the day and the news that impacts us here at home.”

KMVP-FM, Phoenix Makes AM Drive Change; Replaces ‘Doug and Wolf’ with ‘Bickley and Marotta.’ A series of programming changes at Bonneville’s Phoenix sports talk outlet KMVP-FM “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM” has the midday team of Dan Bickley (left) and Vince Marotta (right) moving to morning drive, taking over for the current morning show hosted by Doug Franz and Ron Wolfley, effective September 7. Wolfley moves to middays with a new show (in addition to his current role as Arizona Cardinals radio broadcast analyst) joined by Luke Lapinski for “The Wolf and Luke Show.” Doug Franz remains with the station as he transitions to digital contributor on ArizonaSports.com. Bonneville Phoenix SVP and market manager Scott Sutherland says, “I cannot say thank you enough to both Doug Franz and Ron Wolfley, who along with being great broadcasters, are both first-class people that have made tremendous contributions to the Arizona Sports brand and our community.  Vice president of programming Ryan Hatch adds, “Doug and Wolf had the longest, most successful run in Valley sports radio history, and we are so appreciative of all of their great efforts over the years. But now is the time to bring a new energy to mornings with an ensemble cast that will jumpstart each day with strong opinions and plenty of laughs.” Bickley and Marotta state, “We are so pumped up to start the Valley sports conversation every morning on one of the biggest sports brands in the country. This is going to be a blast.”

WEEI/NESN Radio-Telethon Raises More than $3.8 million to Fight Cancer. The 19th annual “WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon” raised more than $3.8 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The Audacy sports talk outlet has been partnering with New England Sports Network to present the event since 2003 and since WEEI launched the fundraiser in 2002 has raised more than $62 million for the cause. The 36-hour live broadcast took place on August 24 and 25. Audacy Boston SVP and market manager Tim Clarke states, “We’re completely inspired to see the New England community from so many different walks of life come together to support Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s selfless mission. The annual ‘Jimmy Fund’ event is synonymous with this region and, in a year where we’ve faced adversity unlike any other, being able to unite with our audience to help strike out cancer is a true testament to our resiliency.”

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” adds new affiliate station WRVA, Richmond, Virginia in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. With this addition, the Starnes Media Group program is now heard on more than 110 affiliate stations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WSCR-AM, Chicago “The Score” and WSSP-AM, Milwaukee “The Fan” brand manager Mitch Rosen is also adding the title director of operations for BetQL Network, which is providing sports betting programming to Audacy’s sports talk stations. Audacy VP of sports Matt Volk says, “Mitch Rosen has been at the forefront of all the planning, operations and execution of this seamless expansion. He has been a trusted leader and point of contact for so many important BetQL Network initiatives. We are thrilled with Mitch’s daily dedication to all of his stations, its people and Audacy.”…..Radio programmer and consultant Mike McVay is being inducted into the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame on October 16. The ceremony will take place at the Museum of Radio and Technology in Huntington, West Virginia. McVay began his radio career at WEIF, Moundsville in 1974. He also served with WNEU, Wheeling and WCHS, Charleston…..PodcastOne announces the launch of Doug Ellin’s “Hollywood Wayz” weekly podcast and vodcast with co-host, rapper and actress BRE-Z. “Hollywood Wayz” debuts September 9. The vodcast is available on LiveXLive and YouTube. The production includes a partnership with actor and director Kevin Connolly’s Action Park Media, where the show will be recorded weekly.

Afghanistan Pullout, COVID-19, Hurricane Ida Hits Louisiana, Global Supply Chain Troubles, North Korea Re-Starts Nuclear Program, Gavin Newsom Recall, Talk Host Marc Bernier Dies from COVID-19, and Ed Asner Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The U.S.’s deadly exit from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden’s meeting the return of the slain military personnel at Dover, and the Taliban’s terrorist strategies; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the battles over mask and vaccine mandates; Hurricane Ida hits Louisiana leaving New Orleans without power; the effect COVID-19 is having on global supply chains; U.S. intelligence indicates North Korea is again producing plutonium; California Governor Gavin Newsom is on the ropes as the recall election looms; Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier dies after a battle with COVID-19, and actor Ed Asner dies at 91 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, January 25, 2021

| January 25, 2021

INDUSTRY AND NATION MOURN: Talk Media Pioneer Larry King Dead at 87. According to a report on Facebook posted by the producers of his current syndicated television show, Ora Media, legendary star of talk radio and television, Larry King died this weekend at the age of 87. The statement says: “With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.” The statement continues, “For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster.” The cause of death was not indicated, however King had been reportedly hospitalized with COVID-19 earlier this month. King was a major player in the talk media world who ushered in the modern era of syndication in radio on the Mutual Broadcasting System and the cable news/talk show format on television at CNN. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following statement: “Larry King was not the greatest talk show host on radio or television in terms of skills, outrageous personality or direct and profound influence on public policy. He was, however, the most important pioneer who paved the way for today’s robust talk media presence on both radio and television. If there ever was a case of the right person at the right time, Larry King fit the bill and that’s all it took for him to be a mighty force. He was the modern era of talk radio’s first national celebrity born solely as a result of his work in the medium. And his contribution to today’s institutional cable news/talk TV format is undeniably fundamental to the medium’s current presence as America’s political and sociological meeting place. We have lost one of the greatest broadcasting presences of the first century of radio and television history as well as one of the quirkiest and most colorful individuals to ever sit behind a microphone.” Read TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian’s “Remembering Larry King” feature here.

Tributes to Larry King Pouring in from All Over the Industry.  TALKERS has received dozens of tributes, anecdotes, and comments from readers in all sectors of the broadcasting industry in reaction to the passing of Larry King on Saturday (1/23).  The following statements from people who knew him and worked with him reflect the basic sentiments expressed across the board. Westwood One legend Jim Bohannon rose to national prominence as Larry King’s fill-in host back in the early days of King’s career as the late-night “king of talk radio” on the Mutual Broadcasting System. Bohannon tells TALKERS, “Larry King was the first certified big shot for whom I’d ever worked, and I was all set for some screaming prima donna jerk. What I found was a funny, savvy, decent human being who was always very supportive of me. His best advice: Be yourself. My 11 years backing him up on the radio were always based on being a first-rate Jim rather than a second rate Larry.” This Friday (1/29) marks Bohannon’s 28th anniversary of hosting that very same show fulltime. Norm Pattiz, chairman of PodcastOne and founder of Westwood One, was instrumental in Larry King’s fabulous radio career. He tells TALKERS, “Larry King was a superstar on radio well before he became a talk show icon on television and his contribution in those media will never be duplicated. I first met Larry in 1985 when Westwood One Radio bought the Mutual Radio Network. Some said at the time that I bought the network just to get the ‘Larry King Show’ and I never corrected them. When CNN came calling, I was thrilled to share Larry with them and when his show became one of the most influential nightly talk shows in history it only confirmed what I had known all along. No one will ever match the style, compassion, and genuine love for a great interview that Larry had and the worlds of television, radio, and podcasting are worse today for his loss.” Tom Tradup, VP/news and talk programming, Salem Radio Network, tells TALKERS, “My favorite memory of Larry was when I was president/GM of WLS in Chicago and was meeting with Larry for lunch in the now-closed Cape Cod Room restaurant of Chicago’s Drake Hotel. Always upbeat and gregarious, Larry seemed just a little down. He revealed he was speaking to a business group that night and his hotel had lost his trademark suspenders. After lunch I ran over the Marshall Field’s on State Street and bought him a pair. Big smile from a broadcast legend whose talent endured for decades.” And media consultant, TALKERS columnist, and host of “The Big Picture” on RT America (which also carried Larry King’s syndicated TV show at the time of his death), Holland Cooke adds, “One year ago this week, Larry was my guest on the very first show produced at RT’s new Los Angeles studio. Larry’s gift was his curiosity; and his legacy to fellow talkers is the art of the short question. I remember him asking Bob Hope, ‘Who do YOU think is funny?’ And he asked David Duke, ‘Don’t you ever get tired of hating?’ Often, guests on book tours or who are otherwise timely are prepped with ‘safe’ answers, regardless of the questions asked. And they get away with it, because hosts ask verbose questions and don’t listen closely to responses. Larry’s short question would catch the guest off-guard – enough to yield an answer you wouldn’t hear elsewhere along the tour.

King and I: An Excerpt from Bernadette Duncan’s Landmark Book Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016).  I landed a part-time job with the Larry King Radio Show in 1986 because I was in the right place at the right time. My late shift at NBC Radio Networks where I produced the Neil Myers Show ended at 1:00 am and no other talk producer was on the premises. All that was required? Meet Mr. King in the lobby, escort him to the elevator, guide him down the hall to the nearest empty studio, check mics and audio, and then be prepared to do the same with the on-coming, big-name parade of guests scheduled for the night. Basically, I was a “handler” for an extra 75 bucks a shift. At the time, this pre-suspenders-wearing Larry King was one of the most successful radio talk show hosts in the industry who at the height of his show’s prominence had nearly 500 affiliate stations around the country. Just the year before, in 1985, he began hosting a nightly TV program on the new cable network called CNN (for Cable News Network) and “Larry King Live” was getting some buzz. In addition to television at 9:00 pm… then radio after midnight… he was in contract to write a book. Larry King’s career was hot. And it was this book deal with a New York-based publisher that brought him to the Big Apple four or five days a month to meet with his editor face-to-face. I became his New York producer/handler, working in coordination with his crew in Washington, DC. Little did I realize when I signed up with “the King of Talk,” I would dive into a world as quirky as what you’d find down Alice’s rabbit hole. To read the entire excerpt please click here.

Alpha Media Announces Pre-Arranged Chapter 11 Reorganization. The company says in a statement on its website that it has entered into a “restructuring agreement with certain of its lenders to reduce its debt, as well as raise incremental capital” to allow it “to successfully navigate current market conditions and pursue growth opportunities. The company expects no disruption to its broadcast operations, customers or employees. Management will remain in place and continue to maintain the company’s day-to-day operations.” Alpha Media says it has filed “a pre-arranged plan of re-organization, disclosure statement and voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. Certain of the company’s existing lenders have agreed to provide new capital in the form of committed debtor-in-possession and exit financing. These lenders, together with management, are expected to collectively own 100% of the equity of the re-organized company, subject to regulatory approvals from the Federal Communications Commission. The restructuring of the company’s balance sheet will require receipt of bankruptcy court approval and certain regulatory, including FCC, approvals and satisfaction of other customary conditions. The company expects to conclude the restructuring process in the first half of 2021.” Alpha chairman and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “We have made significant progress in aggressively deleveraging our business in recent years. As we proceed with our financial restructuring to improve our capital structure and manage through the ongoing downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the agreement we reached today will leave Alpha Media well positioned for a market recovery as a stronger and even more competitive company. Broadcast radio is the leading reach medium in the United States, with attractive ROIs for advertisers, and radio continues to be an indispensable communications platform nationwide. We believe the balance sheet restructuring will provide greater financial resources and flexibility to Alpha Media, enabling the Company to strengthen its position as a leading mid-market broadcaster in the United States, and invest in new digital capabilities to better serve our advertisers and communities. Our core business continues to perform well despite current market challenges. We will continue to invest in our talented teams to foster the unique culture that has been key to Alpha Media’s success in delivering dynamic, diverse and exciting content to our communities.”

Monday Memo: Time Management 2021. “Short version? Time will not be managed.” But in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke explains how “tasks can,” and that’s gotten trickier in pandemic shutdown mode. He outlines solutions for recurring distractions. Read it here.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccine Rollout Troubles, Trump Impeachment, Capitol Attack Investigation, Trump Third Party Launch, Tacoma Protest/Deadly Indianapolis Shooting, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the strategic troubles affecting the rollout of the vaccines; the Article of Impeachment against Donald Trump; the arrests being made during the investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol; the rumors that Donald Trump intends to launch a third political party; the Tacoma protest in which a police officer drove into a crowd and the shooting in Indianapolis in which five adults and an unborn child were killed; and Sunday’s NFL Conference Championship games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Value. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says, “Presenting the value proposition is a never-ending challenge, especially for the broadcast seller. I’ve seen too many sellers get hung up on product features that are station-centric – important to management, talent, and the seller. The truth is the advertiser doesn’t see it the same way.” The past year has taught us that the value perception of your station’s product has changed. For more on this, read Lapa’s column here.

WCCO-AM, Minneapolis Program Director John Hanson Exits. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis has let program director John Hanson go. Hanson had been serving as the station’s PD since the fall of 2018. Hanson is a native of the Twin Cities who worked on air as co-host of KSTP-TV’s “Twin Cities Live” afternoon talk show that launched in 2008. He joined Entercom in 2013 to program sports talk KCSP-AM, Kansas City. The reason for Hanson’s departure is not clear but the staff was alerted in a memo from market SVP Shannon Knoepke, who wrote on January 21, “Reaching out this afternoon to notify the staff that John Hanson is no longer with the company, effective today. More to come as we move forward and work to fill this position.”

WJBC, Bloomington-Normal Adds Michael Koolidge Show. The independently syndicated Michael Koolidge show is added to the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s WJBC-AM, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot. Koolidge says, “We couldn’t be more excited to join WJBC. I’ve been trying to break into the Bloomington-Normal market for years and I’m thrilled that Cumulus’ WJBC decided to pick up the show!” WJBC operations manager Dan Westhoff says, “We are very excited to be adding ‘The Michael Koolidge Show’ to our lineup. Michael’s been very successful throughout Illinois and the Midwest and we can’t wait to have him on WJBC.”

Marc Bernier Show Celebrates 30th Anniversary. Pictured above is WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Benier broadcasting live from DB Pickles restaurant in Ormond Beach, Florida celebrating his 30th year on air as a talk host. The celebration was also a benefit for Halifax Urban Ministries. January 21 was declared “Marc Bernier Show Day” with a flag flown over the state capitol and declarations declared honoring Bernier in the cities and county of Volusia. A number of local and state officials attended the broadcast.

WRHU Radio Hofstra University will Receive World Radio Day Award 2021.  In conjunction with World Radio Day coming up on February 13, the Academy of Radio Arts and Sciences of America has selected WRHU Radio of Hofstra University to receive the 2021 World Radio Day Award. The honor commemorates World Radio Day, established by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) and is celebrated annually on February 13. World Radio Day is intended to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio. WRHU is the first student-run station to receive this honor.  WRHU Radio 88.7 FM is the campus radio station of Hofstra University, a private university located on Long Island in Hempstead, NY. The station has been the recipient of numerous regional, state, and national awards, including three prestigious Marconi Awards from the National Association of Broadcasters (2014, 2017, and 2019).  With studios housed in Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, the station has been committed to training the next generation of radio professionals for more than 60 years in a wide variety of radio genres including news, sports, public affairs, community programming, and music. For the past decade, WRHU has exclusively produced and distributed radio broadcasts of New York Islanders hockey games, the first and only college radio station to have such an agreement with a professional major-league sports team.  “We are immensely honored to receive this award of recognition,” said Mark Lukasiewicz, dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication. “WRHU and its managers and staff deserve enormous credit for carrying on their work throughout the pandemic and providing vital information to the community.”  The annual World Radio Day Award honors a U.S. radio station that exemplifies the best attributes of the radio industry. Recipients may be large or small stations, commercial or noncommercial, located in any market, and broadcasting in any language. The award jury looks for stations that demonstrate ideals of localism, audience reach, community service, effective use of new digital platforms, diversity in program content and staffing, and financial and ratings success.  For this year’s award, the jury has highlighted the work done during the coronavirus pandemic, in light of UNESCO’s theme for the World Radio Day 2021 celebration, which is “New World, New Radio” in the sense that radio is a medium for resilience of our society. The jury of Academy is composed by eight highly qualified professionals of the broadcast industry (in alphabetical order): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Michael Harrison, founder/publisher, TALKERSPaul McLane, editor in chief, Radio WorldMike McVay, president, McVay Media ConsultingFrancisco Montero, partner, Fletcher, Heald & HildrethChris Oliviero, SVP/MM, Entercom New York; Deborah Parenti, publisher, Radio Ink; and Paul Rotella, president of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association. WRHU was recognized for its efforts during the crisis, expanding its content as student and community staffers worked and broadcast from their homes during a New York state lockdown. Hofstra University has been cited on the Best College lists of U.S. News & World ReportThe Princeton ReviewFiskeWashington Monthly, Forbes, LinkedIn and Payscale.com. It is the only university chosen to host U.S. presidential debates in three consecutive election cycles (2008, 2012 and 2016). The World Radio Day Award was initially created by the Spanish Radio Academy to spread awareness of World Radio Day. The annual February 13 commemoration was endorsed by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly and accompanied by the creation of the International Radio Committee, which collaborates with UNESCO to promote World Radio Day each year. Last year, the award went to all-news station, WTOP, Washington DC.  The 2021 World Radio Day Award will be presented to WRHU at Hofstra University in early February. For more information, click here.

Townsquare Media to Repurchase 10 Million Shares. In a press release, Townsquare Media, Inc announces it has entered into an agreement to repurchase a minimum of 10 million of the 12.5 million shares of Class A common stock, shares of Class B common stock and warrants held by funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management L.P., for $6.40 per security, which reflects a 19% discount from the closing price of the Class A common stock on Friday, January 22, 2021. The repurchase was approved by the board of directors following the recommendation of a committee of independent and disinterested directors. The aggregate purchase price is expected to be at least $64 million, subject to the company’s ability to elect to purchase additional securities at closing of the repurchase. At closing, the repurchased securities will be retired and, subject to the company’s election to repurchase additional securities, the company’s outstanding securities will be reduced from approximately 28 million to approximately 18 million. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “We appreciate the opportunity to facilitate this significant transaction with Oaktree and are excited about this repurchase, which secures the exit of a very long-term private equity majority shareholder that current and potential shareholders have described to me consistently as being an obstacle to investing more, or establishing a position, in Townsquare given the significant overhang Oaktree’s holding represented. This repurchase is immediately accretive to shareholders and we thank our board of directors for their vote of confidence in our medium and long-term business plan to grow revenue and profits.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM, Chicago afternoon news anchor Kim Gordon has resigned from the Nexstar Media Group station after 15 years. It’s rumored that Gordon will be joining Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WLS-AM to serve as the afternoon news anchor on the Big John Howell program. Back at WGN, Feder reports that Lauren Lapka will be the news anchor on the Steve Bertrand afternoon program…..iHeartMedia flips sports talk WFXJ-AM, Jacksonville “The Game” to Gospel as “Hallelujah AM930/93.3 HD2.”…..News and sports radio pro Mike Smith is leaving his gig with iHeartMedia’s WBEX-AM, Chillicothe, Ohio to pursue other career opportunities, The 43-year radio pro says, “Thanks to all the great listeners, which many, many of them became life-long friends, and I can say the same about my colleagues being life-long friends and that means more to me than any nice thing that anybody ever said about the job that I did.”

Monday, November 25, 2019

| November 25, 2019

Monday Memo: Podcast Best Practices. Google “podcast tips” and you’ll find plenty, most for newbies (“State your name and the name of your podcast at the beginning”).  Since you’re a pro, this week’s column by consultant Holland Cooke is Advanced Placement stuff.  Read it here.

Impeachment Testimony, 2020 Presidential Race, Hong Kong Elections, Navy Secretary Fired, Mr. Rogers Movie, and AMAs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The week’s impeachment testimony; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and former Republican-turned-Democrat Michael Bloomberg’s entrance into the race; the Hong Kong elections that saw pro-democracy candidates win in local races; Navy Secretary Richard Spencer forced out of his post over the Edward Gallagher case; the A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood film; and Sunday evening’s American Music Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WIP, Philadelphia Morning Star Angelo Cataldi Signs Contract Extension. Morning drive sports talk host Angelo Cataldi signs a multiyear contract extension with Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia.  He’ll continue to lead the “Angelo and the Morning Team” program with co-hosts Al Morganti, Keith Jones, and Rhea Hughes.  The former Philadelphia Inquirer Eagles beat writer began hosting the morning show on WIP in 1990.  He comments, “It’s an honor to continue my time at WIP as I move past my 30-year anniversary at the best sports station in America.  All I can do is express my appreciation to Entercom and to all of my colleagues at WIP.  But most of all I want to thank the listeners who have been so loyal to me and to everyone at the morning show.  I can’t believe I get to do a job I love in the city whose passion for sports is incomparable.  Now let’s win another championship.”

Sam Moser Named Chief Revenue Officer and EVP of National Sales for Newsmax TV.  Former FOX News advertising sales executive Sam R. Moser joins Newsmax TV as chief revenue officer and EVP of national sales.  During his career, Moser has also served with MTV, the Comedy Channel, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, and the Game Show NetworkNewsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Sam has a stellar reputation for building, developing, and directing highly successful sales teams for major cable networks – both established and start-up.  He’s a consummate sales professional and has amassed an impressive track record of increasing billings significantly from existing advertisers as well as new business development.”  Moser says, “Newsmax has quickly become the most-talked-about cable news network in the United States.  I’m excited to be part of the cream of the crop Chris is assembling and help further accelerate the growth of this exciting, must-watch news outlet.”  Newsmax TV says it has cable agreements with all major MVPD outlets, including DirecTV, Dish, Xfinity, Spectrum, Fios, U-verse, Altice (Optimum and Suddenlink), and Cox, among many others.  The network expects to reach close 80 million MVPD homes in 2020.

TALKERS News Notes. Corpus Christi morning drive personality Jim Lago announces he’s retiring from iHeartMedia’s news/talk KKTX-AM after his December 6 program.  Lago suffered a mild stroke in April but later returned to his show.  He’s been a Corpus Christi air personality for more than 30 years…..In Kansas City, Ron “Show” Hughley exits the midday show at Entercom’s KCSP “610 Sports.”  His former partner Josh Vernier and producer Stephen Serda remain hosting the program that’s been renamed “Mid-Days” on the station’s website…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway is doing double duty this week.  In addition to his WHO program (also heard on iHeartMedia’s WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids), he’s sitting in for Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo on his nationally syndicated show today through Wednesday (11/25-27)…..AdLarge Media announces that it has renewed its deal with The Weather Channel Radio Network and will continue serving as radio ad sales rep for TWC.  AdLarge co-founder and co-CEO Gary Schonfeld says, “The Weather Channel television and radio network is a marquee brand trusted by radio stations and advertisers.  With this extended partnership, our team can continue providing AdLarge advertisers with access to listeners of top-rated radio stations across the country.  We are delighted to continue our relationship with the network.”…..WBUR, Boston appoints Margaret Low CEO and general manager.  Low was most recently with The Atlantic where she was the president of AtlanticLIVE.  Prior to serving with The Atlantic, she was SVP of news for NPR and a former senior producer for “All Things Considered.”  During her five years at The Atlantic, Low oversaw the live events division, which produces more than 100 events a year across the country and around the world.

WNDB’s Marc Bernier Interviews Senator Tom Cotton. Pictured above is WNDB, Daytona Beach afternoon drive talk show host Marc Bernier interviewing U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) before a live audience at the Miami BookFair International live on C-SPAN about his book Sacred Duty: A Soldier’s Tour at Arlington National Cemetery (2019, William Morrow).  This is the 15th consecutive year that Bernier’s “BookMarc” radio and TV show has broadcast from the Miami BookFair International.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro John DeSantis is leaving All Pro Broadcasting’s hot AC KHTI, Riverside-San Bernardino “Hot 103.9” on December 15 after 23 years with the station.  He’s also worked on-air at the station in mornings, afternoons, and evenings.  Station VP and general manager Kimberly Martinez says, “John will forever remain a part of All Pro Broadcasting’s history.  He was a very important part of our X103.9 programming.  When we flipped formats in December 2015 he continued on as our program director.  John has been a dedicated employee and an important part of the All Pro Broadcasting family, we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”…..On Friday, November 15, iHeartMedia’s rock WDVE celebrated its 50th Anniversary with by an alumni party at Cefelo’s – a local Pittsburgh venue.  The party brought together the station’s former sales and support staff, along with top on-air personalities, including Randy Baumann, Val Porter, Michele Michaels, and Russ Rose as well as former air personalities Scott Paulsen, Jimmy Roach, Steve Hansen, Marsy, Terry Caywood, Herschel, Sean McDowell, Eddie Crowe, Kenny Gibbs, Cris Winter, Joe Fenn, and Jesse Scott.  In addition, program director John Moschitta was joined by former program directors from throughout the decades – which included Gene Romano, Dave Lange, Garrett Hart, and special guest attendee Alan Shaw.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

| November 21, 2017

FOX News Channel Taps Mark Levin for Sunday Evening Program.  The name of the new program is “Life, Liberty & Levin” and will debut in February and air at 10:00 pm ET on Sunday nights.  FOX News Channel says Mark Levin’s show “will explore the fundamental values and principles undergirding American society, culture, politics, and current events, and their relevance to the nation’s future and everyday lives of citizens.  The hour-long program will feature Levin’s lively, in-depth and long-form interviews and powerful debate style with consequential guests covering history, philosophy, and economics.”  FNC president of programming Suzanne Scott adds, “Mark’s passion for the principles found in the Constitution and success in talk radio has made him a distinct figure in the media landscape.  We look forward to adding this spirited program to our weekend lineup.”  Levin says, “I am honored to join FOX News, a network I have enjoyed appearing on as a guest for quite some time.  As a proud citizen of the United States, I am delighted to share the significance of American values with such a wide audience and look forward to engaging with important guests about crucial topics.”

Jim Blasingame Celebrates 20 Years of ‘The Small Business Advocate.’  The nationally syndicated “The Small Business Advocate” program, hosted by Jim Blasingame, debuted on November 17, 1997 and is still the only syndicated, live weekday program “dedicated to Main Street businesses.”  Blasingame says, “When we began, we wanted to provide Main Street entrepreneurs with the information, resources and inspiration they need to start, run and grow a small business.  Thanks to the support of our audience, Brain Trust members and corporate partners, we’ve accomplished that goal and continue to deliver multi-media resources for small businesses, including a mobile site and a video series.”  In addition to his radio work, Blasingame is a prolific writer with three books to his credit (plus, one due out next year!) and a weekly, syndicated column that’s appeared in newspapers and business journals, plus online publications, including Forbes.com, BizJournals.com, Manta.com and Nasdaq.com, plus his own weekly ezine.  Forbes Media chairman Steve Forbes comments, “Congratulations to Jim Blasingame on his 20th anniversary.  I’ve been a regular guest on Jim’s show for years.  He really knows Main Street business, is a great interviewer, and his peerless commitment to serving small businesses and promoting entrepreneurship comes through in everything he does.  Well done, Jim.”

Salisbury Gives Up Local Show on KFNC-FM, Houston to Focus on Network Program.  Sports talk personality Sean Salisbury is leaving his post at Gow Media’s KFNC-FM “ESPN 97.5” where he co-hosts the “Unfiltered: with Sean Salisbury & John Granato” to “focus his energies exclusively on his national radio and TV show.”  His eponymous sports talk show is heard from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET on the SB Nation Radio Network.  The program is also simulcast from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on beIn Sports TV.   Gow Media CEO David Gow says, “The Sean Salisbury show is on a really strong trajectory with a ton of momentum.  The show has recently picked up new radio station affiliates in Lubbock, Phoenix and Atlanta.  And we are excited to have Sean focus his efforts on the next wave of growth for the show.”

Dickey Broadcasting Drops ‘The Regular Guys’ on ‘The Fan 2.’  The four-month experiment with Larry Wachs’ new version of “The Regular Guys” hosting mornings at WFOM, Atlanta “The Fan 2” is over.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that station chief David Dickey says the company is going to focus on an all-sports lineup on the station.  Both Dickey and Wachs tell Ho that everyone put in a good effort to get the show off the ground but, in the end they agreed that it just wasn’t going to work.  Read Ho’s piece here.

Schieffer Faces Daytona Beach. Pictured above is former “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer (left) being interviewed by WNDB, Daytona Beach afternoon drive personality Marc Bernier (right).  The two appeared at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University last night (11/20) as part of the school’s Speaker Series.  The two discussed the current state of reporting and Schieffer’s new book, Overload: Finding the Truth in Today’s Deluge of News (Rowland & Littlefield, 2017).  Photo: David Massey.

Roy Moore Case, New Sexual Misconduct Allegations, Sanctuary Cities Ruling, GOP Tax Plan, Charles Manson Dies, Putin-Assad Meeting, Trump vs Marshawn Lynch, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/20). The allegations of sexual predation against Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore; the latest round of allegations of sexual misconduct against Charlie Rose, Senator Al Franken, and NYT reporter Glenn Thrush; a federal judge rules against President Trump’s order to withhold funding from “sanctuary cities”; analysis of the possible effects of the Republican tax reform plan; Charles Manson dies at age 83; Vladimir Putin meets with Bashar al-Assad over Syria’s civil war; President Trump’s criticism of Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch for standing during the Mexican national anthem; 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Detroit country outlet WDRQ “NASH FM 93.1,” Cumulus Media appoints Jessica Tyler midday personality, APD and music director.  Tyler comes to Detroit from her most recent post with Summit Media at country WQNU, Louisville “Q103.1” where she was morning drive co-host and APD.  Cumulus Detroit director of FM programming Robby Bridges states, “I’ve known Jessica a long time and the special bond she creates with listeners on and off the air, the friendships she develops with the artists, songwriters and managers, plus the relationships she has with the record community in Nashville are second to none.”…..Madison radio pro Sara Freeman is giving up her full-time afternoon drive show on Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s adult contemporary WMGN “Magic 98” to take a position with her husband’s real estate firm.  She’ll continue to handle weekend shifts.   Coming aboard the station is former WKTI, Milwaukee personality Jillene Kahn.  She’ll host middays until Freeman exits, then take over afternoon drive.  On tap to fill the midday slot after that is Julie Jacobs…..Former WBMP, New York “92.3 AMP Radio” weekend personality Mike McGinn joins Beasley Media Group to host the afternoon drive show on WMGQ, New Brunswick, New Jersey “MAGIC 98.3.”  WMGQ program director Debbie Mazella says, “I am really excited to have Mike on the air and make ‘MAGIC 98.3’ his home.  He’s got the energy we are looking for in afternoon drive.  Take a listen and you will hear what I mean!”…..In Jacksonville, Cox Media Group swaps frequencies between alternative WXXJ and adult contemporary WEZI.  WXXJ moves to the class A signal at 106.5 and WEZI slides down to the class C frequency at 102.9.  CMG Jacksonville market vice president Dan Lawrie states, “Our ‘Easy’ listeners told us they wanted a larger signal and we listened!”…..iHeartMedia’s Detroit adult hits WDTW flips to alternative rock as “ALT 106.7.”…..Sun Broadcast Group announces  Shelby Wood Wasicki joins the company as national account manager.  In this role, she’ll forcus on products including: Shazam For Radio, The Hit List with Fitz, Country Fried Mix with DJ Sinister, Sun Select RADAR, Sun Latino Networks, and many others.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

| March 29, 2016

pagliarulojoeGrowing Joe Pags Show Hits 50-Affiliate Mark.  The WOAI, San Antonio-based Joe Pags show – hosted by Joe Pagliarulo and syndicated by Compass Media Networks – is in expansion mode and recently hit the 50-affiliate mark with the addition of E.W. Scripps’ KQTH, Tucson and Bicoastal Media Licenses’ KMED, Medford, Oregon to its roster of stations.  Joe Pags tells TALKERS magazine that his team had the goal of adding 50 stations in a year and has accomplished the feat in just eight months.  He also says he’s pleased to announce they have a number of station additions “in the hopper” and hope to announce confirmed additions soon.  Besides his daily program, Pagliarulo is also heard across the country on more than 200 affiliate stations on Saturdays hosting the Premiere Networks program “The Weekend.”  For more about the Joe Pags show, click here.

wrightnickNick Wright Exiting KILT-AM, Houston for Fox Sports One Gig.  The KILT-AM, Houston “Sports Radio 610” morning drive co-host is not specific in his farewell to listeners but says he’s pursuing “a dream come true” with his move to Los Angeles to host a national cable TV show on FOX Sports’ FS1 channel.  Nick Wright joined CBS RADIO’s KILT-AM in 2012 after working at KCSP, Kansas City.  He’s been co-hosting the morning show with John Lopez.  He says he’ll announce more about what he’ll be doing at FS1 “within the coming days and weeks.”

rosenjamesFox News Journalist Rosen Supports Bold Gold Foundation.  Journalist James Rosen addressed a private audience of Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation supporters in Honesdale, Pennsylvania on Saturday (3/26).  The Fox News Channel chief Washington correspondent (and host of the online show “The Foxhole”) spoke about a number topics, including the important work the Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation is undertaking to help educate and train tomorrow’s broadcast and communications leaders.  Regular TALKERS readers may be aware that the Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation helped Hillsdale College build its first radio station and broadcast program on its main campus in Hillsdale, Michigan, as well as its state-of-the-art studio at the school’s Kirby Center forboldgoldfounation Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.  Speaking about his appearance, Rosen stated, “Every single student I met there was just the kind of young person that you pray America will keep producing to stay America, and by establishing a student radio station to help that student population explore and understand media, that’s real service the Bold Gold Foundation is providing.”  Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto comments, “James sets a very high bar for journalistic excellence and, as such, is an outstanding and inspirational example to young people everywhere who seek a future in broadcast media.  We’re grateful for his interest in, and support of, our Foundation’s efforts.”  At Saturday’s event it was announced that Rosen will be coming back to Northeast Pennsylvania to be the keynote speaker at the Foundation’s 2nd annual event at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre on June 14.  For more information about how you can be a part of this annual event featuring Mr. Rosen, visit:  www.BoldGold.org.

hurleykelliHurley Upped to VP of Digital Sales for Westwood One. Media sales pro Kelli Hurley is promoted from her VP, national partnerships and digital activation, Midwest position with Westwood One to vice president, digital sales for the entire network. In this role, Hurley will oversee all sales efforts for the company’s portfolio of digital products — including streaming audio, on demand, and podcasting — and will continue to develop new content partnerships. Chicago-based Hurley will report directly to Westwood One president Steve Shaw. During her career, Hurley has served with Premiere Networks, United Stations Radio Networks, and TargetSpot.

Radio 620 WTMJ - WRS (662c)WTMJ, Milwaukee to Air Special Coverage of Tonight’s GOP Town Hall.  This evening’s GOP Town Hall meeting at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee will feature remaining Republican contenders Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John KasichE.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee announces it will present special coverage of the event, including carrying the audio simulcast from CNN’s telecast.  WTMJ will add one hour of special coverage with a special focus on local issues in advance of the three-hour event.  WTMJ president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “When news is made in Milwaukee, WTMJ is there to cover it.  We are ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station’ and that means delivering live and local coverage on which our listeners can depend.”

Odds & Sods.  Tomorrow (3/30), sports talk personality Marc James is sitting in for Jim Rome on hisjamesmarc nationally syndicated CBS Sports Radio Network program.  James most recently was morning drive co-host at CBS RADIO’s WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game.”…..Ratings results for the Fall 2015 period (September 10 – December 2) based on Nielsen Audio data are being reported by ESPN Radio and the network says its quarter-hour impressions (Monday – Sunday, 6a-6p) were up 18% over the same period in 2014.  Additionally, the company says ESPN Streaming is up 28% over last year…..Pubcasters Chicago Public Media and Window to the World Communications are literally linking their newsrooms in a cooperative venture.  The operators of WBEZ-FM and WTTW-TV, respectively, are linking the newsrooms in order to share reporters and correspondents for WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” and WBEZ’s news programming.  A robotic camera is being installed at WBEZ and an audio link will allow WTTW reporters to appear on WBEZ shows…..At public radio news/talk WFPL, Louisville, Bill Burton is the new local host and producer of NPR’s “Morning Edition.”  Also, Kathi Lincoln joins the station as midday host and producer.

berniernapolitano16Here Comes the Judge.  Pictured here on the stage at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University are Fox News senior legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano (left) and WNDB, Daytona Beach afternoon drive personality Marc Bernier (right).  Bernier notes that with an FBI investigation looming over presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and an opening on the Supreme Court, there was plenty to discuss before the audience at the university-sponsored event, “An Evening with Fox News Sr. Legal Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano.”  Photo: Jack H. Taylor

The Presidential Race, the Aftermath of the Brussels Terror Attacks, Taliban Targets Christians in Pakistan Terror Bombings, FBI Accesses San Bernardino Attacker’s iPhone, Battle Against Islamic State-Crucifixion of Priest, ‘Convention of States’ Movement, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28).  The activities of the candidates for president; the aftermath of the terror attacks in Brussels; the deadly targeting of Christians in Pakistan by Taliban terrorists on Easter Sunday; the FBI calls off its legal action against Apple after gaining access to an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists; the ongoing battle against Islamic State and the organization’s execution of a Catholic priest via crucifixion; the “convention of states” movement to circumvent congress feels momentum; and the Final Four were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.