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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

| September 8, 2020

Monday Memo: Noise Fatigue = News Renaissance?  With one new nightly network newscast launched, and another debuting this month, consultant Holland Cooke – himself a cable host – welcomes new play-it-straight players to the TV news menu. Read Cooke’s post-holiday Tuesday edition of the Monday Memo here.

Presidential Race/Polls/Vote-By-Mail Debate, School Openings/College Outbreaks, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, Portland Protests, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election, the most recent polls, and the debate over voting by mail; the opening of schools across the country and the outbreaks of COVID-19 cases at numerous college campuses across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, projections for future cases, and the progress on a vaccine; the ongoing violent clashes between protesters and police in Portland; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: 19 Years Ago This Friday. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about his memory of the terror attacks on the U.S. 19 years ago this Friday. Read it here.

WGN, Chicago Makes Surprise Programming Changes. The departure of Roe Conn from the afternoon drive slot on Nexstar Media Group’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago was not entirely unexpected – it has been rumored that the station was considering moving on when Conn’s contract ends in December – but the timing of Friday’s announcement was a bit surprising. Conn is gone from his show, effective immediately, as is longtime WGN overnight personality Nick Digilio. Effective September 28, Steve Bertrand will host the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm “Chicago’s Afternoon News” program and Chicago radio legend John Records Landecker joins to host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program. Anna Davlantes’ early afternoon program expands to 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. In a press release, Bertrand says of the new show, “I am thrilled to get a chance to help create a show that will be equal parts informative and entertaining. With any luck, we’ll end the day a little smarter and have a good time getting there.” WGN Radio general manager Mary Boyle adds, “The importance of local news and information being shared by someone who is trusted by our audience is paramount during these challenging times. Steve Bertrand has always been committed to reporting the news in a fair and thoughtful way. This afternoon news-oriented program led by Steve is a welcome addition to our WGN Radio weekday lineup.”

Report: Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes Off SiriusXM and SportsMap Radio Network. According to a story in Crossing Broad, the “Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes” has been taken off of SiriusXM’s Dan Patrick channel as well as the Houston-based SportsMap Radio Network in the aftermath of Bruno’s recent comments about NBA players boycotting games and about LeBron James in particular. Deadspin wrote a very critical story about Bruno’s segment on the NBA and paraphrased Bruno in its headline that read, “NBA Players Can’t Read.” Bruno was critical of Deadspin’s twisting of his words in a piece published by Barrett Sports Media. Bruno can be heard saying, “Most of these guys can’t even read, for God’s sake.” BSM writes, “In context, it is clear that Bruno was being flippant and not as malicious as Deadspin portrays.” The Bruno and Mayes program has been removed from the website program schedules at both SiriusXM and SportsMap Radio Network.

Wendy Bell Off Air at Entercom’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. According to a piece at Patch.com, afternoon drive talk host Wendy Bell is off the air of Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. The move came after Bell said on the air that park rangers should shoot people who are vandalizing monuments to historical figures. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP Michael Spacciapolli said in a statement: “Entercom is the home to thousands of voices representing Americans of all races, ethnicities, gender identity, sexual orientation, beliefs and ability. We take very seriously our responsibility to provide a platform for our communities to engage in diverse and meaningful dialogue, debate and the right to freedom of speech, we do not condone the incitement of violence on any of our platforms. Members of our community have recently brought to our attention comments made by Wendy Bell that do not align with Entercom’s values. Wendy has been taken off air until further notice. Entercom Pittsburgh remains steadfast in our commitment to inclusive conversations that engage everyone in Pittsburgh while excluding any form of violence.”

Sterling: My Cousin Brucie Problem. Talk show host Walter M. Sterling (pictured at left) writes today about his Cousin Brucie “problem.” Sterling hosts the hour immediately following radio legend Cousin Bruce Morrow’s new Saturday evening program on WABC, New York. His “problem” is figuring out how to keep as much of Cousin Brucie’s audience as he can. Read more here.

Premiere Networks Puts Black Information Network into Syndication. The newly launched BIN: Black Information Network, billed by iHeartMedia as “the first and only 24/7 national all news audio service dedicated exclusively to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of news coverage with a Black voice and perspective,” is being made available to stations nationwide via Premiere Networks. “Black Information Network News” features :60 newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour, as well as breaking news, from experienced and award-winning Black journalists, including Vanessa Tyler, Mike Stevens, Madelyne Woods, Morgyn Wood, Mike “Devin” Dunston, Tanita Myers, and Julius White. “Black Information Network News” launched on September 7 on nearly 20 stations across the country, including WVON-AM, Chicago; KMAZ-FM, Houston; KMOJ-FM, Minneapolis; and more. Midway Broadcasting chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper says, “WVON is pleased to add the Black Information Network as our national news source. WVON’s 24-hour Black talk format is an important and impactful voice in the Chicago market and BIN is the perfect complement to keep our vibrant local community aware of what’s happening across the country. What happens in Black America matters. Telling our story matters. BIN’s timing is perfect!”

KNX, Los Angeles Celebrating 100 Years of Service. Beginning today (9/8), Entercom begins celebrating 100 years of KNX 1070 News Radio “Southern California’s only 24-hour news and traffic station” with the airing of “KNX: a Century of Covering Southern California,” a “history-rich, eight-part on-air series to commemorate its centennial anniversary and pay tribute to former employees who helped grow KNX 1070 News Radio into one of the nation’s premiere all-news brands.” On Thursday (9/10 – the station’s official anniversary) KNX will reimage itself for the day using memorable jingles, sounders and sound bites from the previous 100 years. The radio station launched on September 10, 1920 when Fred Christian started 6ADZ for the customers of his Electric Supply Company to listen to. Twenty months later in May 1922, the electric supply company was issued the call sign, KNX. Current KNX brand manager Ken Charles says, “KNX is a historic brand and I’m in awe of being a part of its illustrious history. This station is a local pillar, here before the Hollywood Sign, the Santa Monica Pier and the Rose Bowl. Just as iconic as any of our local treasures, KNX is a consistent part of the fabric of Southern California, serving as a breaking news resource for our communities, first responders and the nation.”

Jason Bailey Exits Sun Broadcast Group. Media exec Jason Bailey is leaving his role as president of Gen Media PartnersSun Broadcast Group to “move on from the network he founded in order to focus his attention on his company Reatro Ventures, the developer of affiliate research software, ARC.”  Reatro is co-owned by former Sun COO Julio Aponte who will also be taking a more active role in the start-up venture. Warren Friedland, the managing partner of Gen Media Partners, will be filling the role of president for Sun. Bailey says, “Today is bittersweet for me. I’m excited to join Julio and our team at Reatro to focus on the amazing software and app development projects we have on our plate. I’m also incredibly sad to leave my baby (Sun) for the very last time. It has been the honor of a lifetime to work with the great men and women at Sun these last 12 years. They are my family and will always be in my heart. I am certain that under the leadership of Warren along with new COO, Danno Wolkoff, Sun will continue to shine bright for years to come.”

iHeartMedia Re-Brands WNIO, Youngstown as ‘The Gambler.’ Youngstown, Ohio sports talk outlet WNIO re-brands from “The Sports Animal” to “1390 The Gambler,” effective immediately. iHeartMedia says, “‘The Gambler’ will focus on sports talk with a concentration on gambling, including top-of-the-hour wagering updates from VSiN and will feature programming from the BetR Network, including “My Guys in the Desert,” hosted by sportscaster Brent Musberger. The station will also broadcast programming from FOX Sports Radio, including “The Clay Travis Show,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” and “The Lombardi Line,” hosted by former Cleveland Browns general manager, Mike Lombardi. iHM Youngstown market president Keith Kennedy says, “‘The Gambler’ is the future of sports radio. We are thrilled to bring this hot new format to The Valley and assist the Youngstown community with navigating the ever-growing world of sports wagering.”

WGAU, Athens’ Tim Bryant Honored with Enshrinement in Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. Radio news and on-air pro Tim Bryant – currently morning show host and news director for Cox Media Group’s WGAU, Athens – has been honored as a Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Career Achievement Inductee for his more than 30-year career in radio. Bryant is one of seven radio icons to have receive this top honor, which recognizes and celebrates individuals who have had a lasting impact on Georgia radio. The virtual ceremony was held on Friday (9/4). Cox Athens station director Kelsey Gresham says, “The name Tim Bryant is synonymous with WGAU and Athens, as his has been a steady and trusted voice on Athens’ radio station of record for a quarter of its more than 80-year history. Tim’s work goes well beyond the airwaves, as he is an integral part of the fabric of the Classic City. He is extremely involved in the community, often hosting forums and debates between political candidates, covering major local events and giving back as a volunteer to various community efforts as often as he can. We are so proud and honored to have him as part of the CMG team.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. This year’s 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards were handed out via an on-air and social media special over the Labor Day weekend on iHeartRadio stations nationwide, and the iHeartRadio App, the all-in-one digital music, podcast, on demand and live-streaming radio service. Some of the winners included: Lizzo for “Song of the Year”; Billie Eilish for “Female Artist of the Year”; Jonas Brothers for “Best Duo/Group of the Year”; and Taylor Swift for “Album of the Year.”…..Beasley Media Group brings Delaware Valley radio personality Jessie Jordan to hot AC WJBR-FM, Wilmington “MIX 99.5” as co-host of “The Mix Morning Show with Johnny B and Jessie Jordan.” Jordan has worked on air at WIOQ-FM and WBEB-FM in Philadelphia prior to joining WJBR-FM this past summer. Station program director Eric Johnson says, “We are thrilled to have Jessie join Johnny B weekday mornings. She certainly added sparkle and feel good fun to this summer’s weekend programming. Now we get to start our day with her sunshine each morning!”…..Nick Cannon announces he’s returning to the helm of his Skyview Networks-syndicated radio program after taking time away for a period of reflection, dialogue, and study with some of America’s most notable Jewish community leaders and representatives. Skyview says, “During his hiatus, Nick worked to deepen his understanding of the issues long troubling the Black and Jewish communities and pledged from this point forward to be a leading voice and advocate for positive change, greater understanding. and unity.” Skyview president and COO Steve Jones says, “We are so appreciative of Nick Cannon’s affiliates for their commitment to Nick during his period of reflection. We recognize that he is an incredible entertainer with a powerful voice that will continue to command the interest and attention of radio listeners during this volatile time in America.”…..Connoisseur Media welcomes Janine Johns back into the company fold as general sales manager for its five-station cluster on Long Island that includes: hot AC WALK-FM, adult contemporary WKJY “K-JOY 98.3,” classic hits WBZO “103.1 MAX FM,” rock WWSK “94.3 THE SHARK,” and oldies WHLI-AM.  She’s been serving as senior account manager for Altice since 2015.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

| February 15, 2018

KNBR, San Francisco Cuts Ties with Patrick Connor After Host’s Comments About Teen Olympian.  Sports media personality Patrick Connor has been let go by Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco after his sexualized comments about U.S. Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim.  Connor hosted the daily “The Shower Hour with Patrick Connor” at 5:00 am on KNBR but he didn’t make his comments on KNBR.  He did that on SiriusXM’s Barstool Sports channel calling in to the “Dailed In with Dallas Braden” program.  Connor’s radio bit revolved around his opinion of the 17-year-old athlete’s looks and that she would soon be 18.  Connor apologized for his words, calling them “lame and gross.”  Obviously, this latest incident comes as fellow broadcaster Entercom is dealing with the blowback from two recent errors in judgement by talk hosts and will suspend live programming on WEEI, Boston tomorrow (2/16) so the entire staff can attend mandatory sensitivity training.

John Patrick Joins WGAC, Augusta Morning Show.  At Augusta, Georgia news/talk WGAC-AM/FM, Beasley Media Group names John Patrick as a new co-anchor of the station’s morning show.  He joins Steve Smith and Mary Liz Nolan for wake-up duties.  Patrick was most recently hosting the “Buzz on Buzz” show at sister sports talk WRDW-AM “ESPN Augusta 1630.”  Among Patrick’s achievements in his 40-plus-year career is the 2008 creation of “The Augusta Golf Show with John Patrick.”  It will now air on WGAC-FM on Saturday afternoons.  Beasley Augusta VP and market manager Kent Dunn comments, “To have a guy like John with 40-plus years in radio leading the way on the WGAC morning show is quite an honor.  We look forward to what John brings to WGAC and the Beasley Media Group of Augusta.”

Pub Talker Tom Ashbrook Exits WBUR, Boston for ‘Creating Abusive Work Environment.’ Host of the WBUR, Boston talk program “On Point” – Tom Ashbrook – had been on leave from the Boston University-owned public radio news/talk outlet since the school launched an investigation into his behavior back in December.  Now, the school has let him go, citing actions he was reported to have taken that created an “abusive work environment.”  According to a report of his dismissal in Deadspin, “The university said it had conducted two separate reviews after allegations were made by 11 former staffers claiming Ashbrook ‘created a work environment that included verbal assaults, intimidating actions, consistent bullying, and unwanted touching.’ A second probe, conducted by a law firm, determined that the alleged unwelcome conduct was not sexual in nature, and was not sexual harassment under BU’s Title IX polices.”  See the Deadspin piece here.

Atlanta’s ‘The Sports X’ Gets a New Midday Show.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that another local show has been added to Dickey Broadcasting’s WOFM-AM/W292EV, Atlanta “The Sports X.”  The station pairs up Jerry “Tug” Cowart with former University of Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show.  Cowart also works as a jock at iHeartMedia’s crosstown country outlet WKHX “Kicks 101.5.”  Station owner David Dickey has been retooling the station – a sister station to WCNN “The Fan” – in an effort to draw in younger listeners.  He recently added Mark Zinno to host the afternoon program and the late morning “Hometeam & Hamilton” show with Brandon Leak and Joe Hamilton.

WAXY, Miami Signs Deal for University of Miami Baseball. South Florida sports talker WAXY, Miami “AM 790 The Ticket” enters into a multi-year agreement with University of Miami sports rights holder Learfield to air the school’s baseball games and ancillary baseball programming.  As part of the partnership, ‘The Ticket’ will broadcast at least 15 regular season games, all postseason baseball and various ‘Canes baseball-focused programs throughout the season.  Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “We’re excited to begin a new partnership with Miami Athletics and are ready to air Canes baseball game broadcasts and various shows for fans this spring.  There’s not a better time than right now to be associated with the University of Miami and as part of our commitment to our listeners, we are always looking to bring them the excitement of the games they love.”  Joe Zagacki – in his 29th season as the voice of the ‘Canes – will continue calling games this season.

Deadly Florida School Shooting, FBI’s China vs US Warning, DACA Status/Immigration Policy, Russian Election Interference, Trump-Stormy Daniels Case, PyeongChang Winter Games, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/14). The Florida school shooting that took the lives of 17 and wounded numerous others; the FBI warns that all of Chinese society is focused on surpassing the U.S. as the world’s foremost global power; the legal status of DACA and the Trump Administration’s immigration policy; intelligence officials’ warning about Russian interference in the 2018 U.S. mid-term elections; the case of porn star Stormy Daniels’ alleged romp with President Trump and Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s claim he paid her $130,000 to stay quiet; the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea; and NBA 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.  In Chattanooga, Entercom brings market radio pro Boner, a.k.a. Randy Smith, aboard to host the “Boner in the Afternoon” program on rock WRXR “Rock 105.”  Entercom Chattanooga SVP and market manager Nicole Hartman says, “Boner is a longtime, local on-air personality and we are thrilled to reunite him with the ‘Rock 105’ listeners.  Boner has been a part of the fabric of the ‘Rock 105’ brand in many roles over the years and we’re excited that he will now be hosting afternoon drive.”  He first joined WRXR when it was owned by then-Clear Channel in 2001 and hosted the morning show and programmed the station for 15 years…..Hubbard Radio Seattle announces the new morning show cast for country KNUC “Country 98.9” is Tim Leary, Claire Beverly and Karen (Red) Daiss (pictured at left).  The three come to the Pacific Northwest from their most recent gig hosting mornings at Alpha Media’s WUBB, Savannah, Georgia “Bob 106.9.”  Hubbard Seattle market manager Marc Kaye comments, “I fell in love with Tim, Claire and Red in the first few minutes of meeting them.  I know the Seattle radio audience will find them entertaining and refreshing, we are in for one heck of a run.”…..Elvis Duran show cast member Bethany Watson is leaving the Premiere Networks-syndicated program to pursue other challenges in the New York entertainment industry.  She says she’s making “the scariest, riskiest decision I’ve ever made.”  She says she’s interested in writing, acting and producing, among other things…..Programming and on-air pro Dave Fields exits Townsquare Media’s country WKDO, Evansville, Indiana where he held the brand manager and morning show host positions to host the morning show at the company’s adult contemporary WMSX, Buffalo “MIX 96.”  That leaves Townsquare seeking a new morning host and brand manager for WKDO…..Sales pro Lindsay Lazar is named general sales manager for iHeartMedia in Chicago.  She will oversee sales at country WEBG “BIG 95.5” and adult contemporary WLIT “93.9 LITE FM.”  iHeartMedia Chicago SVP of sales Adam Kurtz states, “Lindsay has an impeccable reputation in the Chicago market and a glowing track record of success.  She is a proven leader with an exceptional ability to deliver solutions to the advertising community and I am thrilled to welcome her to our team.”…..SiriusXM is adding a new show to the Underground Garage rock channel, hosted by legendary musician, producer and songwriter Lenny Kaye.  The show will air weeknights from 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  In addition to being a member of the Patti Smith Group, Kaye also produced the Nuggets garage rock anthologies that were released on vinyl during the 1970s.