Tag: "Edward Atsinger"
Colorado Talk Host Jeff Crank Exits KVOR-AM Over Vaccine Mandate. Refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine to comply with Cumulus Media’s company-wide mandate, KVOR-AM, Colorado Springs talk host Jeff Crank has been let go from the station for his stand. The Colorado Times Recorder reports that Crank calls the mandate “unethical and immoral.” He posted to his Facebook page: “Recently Cumulus Media – which owns KVOR – instituted a forced employee vaccination policy nationwide. While I am not anti-vaccination, I am anti-tyranny and I told them that I find their policy unethical and immoral. I’ve already had coronavirus. I discussed the vaccine with my doctor, and he recommended that I not take the vaccine at this time as there was very little risk to me contracting COVID and even less risk of having severe complications from COVID. I’m going to make my medical decisions after consultation with my doctor – and it won’t be forced onto me by the CEO of a company that I’ve never met or knows nothing about me. One day our country will look back on this time in our history with shame – that we live in a country where you can be forced to go against your doctor’s best medical judgment in order to feed your family.” Crank says he’ll launch a podcast to continue his program.
Columbia PD/Host Tim Hill Ousted from ‘107.5 The Game’ for Vaccine Refusal. Programming and sports talk pro Tim Hill was let go from his position as program director and co-host of “The Early Game” morning show on Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina after refusing the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds. As noted in the story above, Cumulus issued a company-wide mandate that staffers return to the offices and be vaccinated by October 11. The State reports that Hill said, “Various religious reasons and the lack of any long-term studies have led me to this decision. I don’t know what medical decisions are right for others. Others don’t know what medical decisions are right for me. I felt like I had to stand up for it. I have three boys and tell them to stand up for what they believe in. It is my job to teach them that. I felt like it was a test in some way. That is what I stuck with. So, that is why it wasn’t a difficult decision from my perspective.” Hill told the paper that as a Catholic, he looked to the Catholic Medical Association which said it “opposed mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment without conscience or religious exemptions.” He said, “If you have a sincerely held religious belief, then it becomes a matter of reasonable accommodation. They said they couldn’t reasonably accommodate me. I offered to wear a mask or do the show from where our producer does it, or from home. They thought none of that was reasonable.”
Salem Addresses Larry Elder Recall Run During C-Suite Presentation. Executives from Salem Media Group recently sat down with Noble Capital Markets senior research analyst Michael Kupinski to talk about the state of the company’s business. Salem Media CEO Edward Atsinger, president – broadcast media Dave Santrella, president – interactive and publishing David Evans, and EVP & CFO Evan Masyr appeared during the interview and Santrella addressed how Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder’s run for governor in California’s recent recall election has affected his program. Santrella said, “First off, it provided us with the opportunity to give a platform to another new talent, Carl Jackson, who has a great story and a great testimony… so we’re excited we have him now and I would anticipate we’ll keep some sort of relationship with Carl.” Santrella said Elder is still on his 30-day leave after the election and will return at the end of this month. “There’s no doubt it’s risen his popularity and we think ultimately that will be good for us because it will probably increase the number of people that are anxious to have him on their radio station and increase our affiliate numbers.”
WVON, Chicago Adds Buchanan to Afternoon Show. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Midway Broadcasting is bringing host, podcaster, and political analyst Atiba Buchanan aboard to co-host the afternoon drive show with Kimberley Egonmwan. Buchanan takes over for Matt McGill who is expected to launch a new program on the station in the near future. Buchanan previously served with the station as a producer for Cliff Kelley. Buchanan says, “I could not be more honored or humbled to join such a storied tradition that is so vital to the well-being of the city of Chicago in general and to the Black community specifically.”
WABC, New York Broadcasts from Columbus Day Parade. Pictured above broadcasting from the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan are (from l-r): John Catsimatidis, owner of WABC and Red Apple Media; Edward Salzano, business consultant to WABC; and Frank Morano, host of “The Other Side of Midnight” and co-host of the “77 WABC Early News.” The station launched yesterday’s coverage of the parade with a press conference on Friday (10/8) from the Chazz Palminteri Italian Restaurant in midtown Manhattan. A video stream of the entire broadcast was presented in television style online via a platform dubbed WABCRadio.TV. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says, “I was knocked out by the professional set and execution of a ‘television show’ mounted by the WABC staff during the parade that was very similar to how these things are historically handled by local TV stations. John Catsimatidis and company are to be congratulated for providing the industry with a superb demonstration of the emerging concept of the ‘media station’ that will change the game over the next few years, for sure.”
ABC Audio Names Liz Alesse Director and Executive Producer of Podcast Programming. After leading ABC Audio’s podcast team for the past 11 months, Liz Alesse is named to the permanent position of director and executive producer of podcast programming. ABC Audio VP and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku tells fellow staffers in a memo: “Liz has already been able to leverage her understanding of the news division and relationships across the platforms on behalf of ABC Audio, working on recent podcasts including ‘In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson’ and ‘Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson.’ She has big plans for the unit, including adding new titles and seasons to our existing podcast library. Liz is a skilled producer in the control room, edit bay and in the field. She most recently served as a supervising producer with the Pennsylvania Avenue unit. While in that role, Liz took on special assignments that included leading site production of the spin room at the 2020 New Hampshire Democratic primary debate and the two presidential town halls in Philadelphia. Liz began her career at ABC News in 2015. At ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos,’ she managed the team and oversaw production and operations for the show, and even served as interim executive producer.”
Sports Betting Station Launches in St. Louis on WGNU-AM. In deal with DraftKings-owned VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, WGNU-AM/K283CI, St. Louis flips from Gospel to a sports betting format. “The Game” will air content from VSiN and feature morning talk personalities Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard, sports betting analytics expert Gill Alexander, former pro football executive Michael Lombardi and sportscasting legend Brent Musburger. WGNU consultant Bill Moir comments, “We’re thrilled to introduce the St. Louis metro area to this informative and entertaining brand of sports talk. Sports betting education as a 24/7 format, and specifically the expert analysis from VSiN, is a perfect choice for WGNU. We’re excited to be the St. Louis home of VSiN.”
COVID-19, Inflation/Gas Prices/Supply Chain Woes, Border Crisis, Biden Infrastructure and Reconciliation Bills, China’s Taiwan Aggression, and Gruden Resigns from Raiders Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11). The rate of COVID cases in the U.S., mask & vaccine mandates, and Texas Governor Gregg Abbott’s edict outlawing mandates; the soaring price of gasoline, inflation, and the dearth of goods as a result of the global supply chain troubles; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s handling of the problem; the status of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill; China’s ongoing military aggression toward Taiwan; and Jon Gruden resigns from the Las Vegas Raiders after racist emails are made public were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
iHeartMedia Launches New FM Sports Talker in Milwaukee. The sports talk radio battle in Brew Town is getting serious as iHeartMedia flips CHR WRNW to sports talk as “97.3 The Game, Sports Talk That Rocks,” effective immediately. iHM already owns WOKY “The Big 920” that carries primarily FOX Sports Radio content. Across town is Entercom’s WSSP-AM/W289CB “105.7 FM The Fan” airing local sports talk during the day and syndicated fare at night. And, of course, there’s Good Karma Brands’ new FM sports talker WKTI “ESPN Milwaukee 94.5” that’s airing the same mix of local and ESPN Radio programming as sister suburban AM WAUK, Waukesha. Good Karma also owns news/talk WTMJ (thanks to its recent $16 million acquisition of the two stations from Scripps Media) which has the play-by-play broadcast rights to Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Milwaukee Bucks games. Getting back to “97.3 The Game,” the station will air a blend of local and syndicated content including: former Brewers beat writer and Milwaukee radio host Drew Olson, Milwaukee Bucks radio voice Ted Davis, WISN-TV sports director Dan Needles, FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Dario Melendez, Spectrum Sports’ Bob Brainerd, longtime market morning personality Kevin Brandt, a.k.a. KB, and Wisconsin Badgers sports voice Mike Heller. “The Game” program director Tim Scott says, “Sports talk in Milwaukee is about to change. Milwaukee is more than just a great sports town and ‘97.3 The Game’ will reflect that.”
Salem Launches Multimedia Ad Agency. In order to effectively sell its broad range of media options, Salem Media Group announces it has developed Salem Surround, “a nationwide multimedia ad agency with locations in 35 markets across the country.” The press release says that “in addition to selling audio and digital advertising on its 116 radio stations and websites, Salem Surround offers a comprehensive suite of digital marketing services to develop and execute audience-based marketing strategies for clients on both the local and national levels.” Salem Media Group CEO Edward Atsinger adds, “From our beginning as just a few local radio stations to the nationwide multi-platform media company we are today, Salem has worked hard to stay in tune with our listeners, readers, clients, and partners to meet their growing needs. Salem Surround is yet another way for us to serve with excellence nationwide, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.” Company VP of digital marketing Jamie Cohen states, “With consumers spending more and more time on smart phones and tablets, the media landscape has become significantly more complicated for business owners and marketers to navigate. The one-size-fits-all marketing approach of just a decade ago has quickly become outdated. Combining the power of Salem Radio with a full-service digital advertising strategy will allow us to go above and beyond in meeting the needs of advertisers around the country.”
NBA’s Spurs Sign with Skyview Networks for Broadcast Services. The NBA’s San Antonio Spurs are working with Skyview Networks, using the latter’s radio distribution network and AdView Inventory Management software for its WOAI, San Antonio-based play-by-play broadcasts. Skyview says its “AdView system provides inventory scheduling, revenue reporting, and affidavit reconciliation in one consolidated system. This allows the organization’s front office to manage the complex nature of play-by-play contracts with ease. Now the Spurs have access to detailed inventory tracking, which in turn generates instant affidavits to speed the billing and receivables process.” Skyview VP of business development Matt Stys says, “I am thrilled to call the San Antonio Spurs a partner. We are proud of the package of services we provide, and I am confident in the value the Spurs will receive with our high-quality distribution and streamlined inventory management system.”
Programmer/Researcher Roberts Succumbs to Cancer. Programmer and research expert Dave Roberts (Kelliher) lost his long battle against cancer last Saturday (11/24). The former architect and PD of San Francisco’s KRQR “The Rocker” became vice president of programming for the RKO Radio Networks and vice president of FM programming for CBS. He and RKO news vice president Dave Cooke formed Roberts/Cooke Media Research. In addition to consulting news/talk outlets, Roberts provided research to television stations and retailers. His on-air credits included stops in San Francisco (KYA and KIOI “K-101”); Anaheim (KEZY); Riverside-San Bernardino (KMEN); Fresno (KYNO); and Honolulu (KPOI). SoundOut president/North America Rob Sisco hired Roberts at “K-101” in 1981. “Dave went on to host national radio shows and filled-in several times for Casey Kasem on ‘American Top 40,’” Sisco points out. “Jo [Interrante] and I hired him when we had IS Inc to host RKO Radio Networks artist profiles we produced, ‘Music Star Special,’ and ‘The Hot Ones.’ Dave narrated more than 250 shows for RKO. He was an amazing talent, a brilliant programmer and researcher, a delightfully nice man, and a dear friend to all who knew him. Rest in peace my dear friend – you are missed.” Of Roberts, veteran programmer (WGN, Chicago; WBAP, Dallas; WCCO, Minneapolis; NRG Media) Bob Shomper comments, “The absolute best research guy around – and an even better person.” RKO Radio Networks’ former director of affiliate relations Julie Spira states, “My heart aches seeing this news. I loved working with Dave at RKO Radio Networks. May he rest in peace.” John Evans notes, “We’ve lost another brilliant broadcaster. I was lucky to have worked with Dave at KYA from 1979 until [Rob] Sisco grabbed him for ‘K-101.’ We were doing great radio in those storied days and Dave was one of the best. His shows for RKO and IS Inc were top notch.” Owing to the fact Roberts held a Ph.D. in communications research from the University of Oregon, he was often called “Dr. Dave.” Surviving Roberts, who turned 70 earlier this month, is his wife – Walsh College (Troy, Michigan) president Marsha Kelliher. A private funeral for Roberts will be held later this week, followed by a memorial.
Talking Trump. Pictured above are former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski (right) and Citizens United president (and former Trump deputy campaign manager) David Bossie (left) at the ABC News Radio studios where they talked to affiliate stations about their new book, Trump’s Enemies: How the Deep State Is Undermining the Presidency (2018, Center Street). (Photo: ABC News)
Trump-Russia Investigation/Manafort Allegedly Violates Plea Deal, GM Announces Job Cuts, Climate Change Report, U.K. Facebook Documents, Undecided Congressional Races, Russia-Ukraine Aggression, Mars Landing, the Brexit Deal, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/26). The anticipated release of Robert Mueller’s report on the investigation into potential connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related allegation from Mueller that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort lied to investigators after making his plea deal; General Motors announces job cuts and plant closings in the U.S.; the U.S. government’s ominous climate change report and President Trump’s response; the U.K.’s possession of Facebook documents relative to the Cambridge Analytica data use scandal; the status of the remaining 2018 election results; global response to Russia’s military aggression in the Ukraine; NASA’s successful Mars InSight landing mission; the U.K.’s latest Brexit deal with the EU nations and its implications for U.S.-U.K. trade; 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. Pittsburgh Entercom-owned radio stations WBZZ-FM, “100.7 STAR” and country WDSY “Y108” are presenting “A Concert for Unity” to benefit the rebuilding of Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh, the site of the deadly assault on worshippers there on October 27. The event, live from Pittsburgh’s Byham Theater on Sunday, December 2, will feature Dan + Shay, FRZY, and The Andy Davis Band and will be broadcast live on both stations. All proceeds from the show are going to rebuild Tree of Life. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Pittsburgh suffered an unfathomable tragedy and our community has come together to support our neighbors in their time of need. Through the generosity of local Pittsburgh artists and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, ‘A Concert for Unity’ will directly support the rebuilding of Tree of Life.”…..Morning show personality Frank Lario exits Beasley Media Group’s country WXTU, Philadelphia where he was working alongside Andie Summers, who is holding down the show solo while a search is on for a partner…..Programming pro Robyn Simone is named PD at Cumulus Media’s urban AC WLXC, Columbia, South Carolina “KISS 103.1,” effective December 10. During her career, Simone has served for 10 years with Radio One in markets including Detroit and Cleveland…..Sales pro Kimberly Parker is named general sales manager at Cumulus Media’s country WIVK, Knoxville. She most recently served as VP of advertising with the Las Vegas Media Group. She comments, “It’s great to be back in Knoxville. This is my home. I know the wonderful history and significance of WIVK in East Tennessee and I am honored and thrilled to have the opportunity to work with this talented and well-established staff.”…..Big Broadcasting’s KOKO-FM, Fresno flips from oldies to classic hip hop and R&B as “Jammin’ 94.3” entering into a deal with Envision Networks for programming and ad sales. Station program director Mike Marino says, “Our unique blend of old school and R&B throwbacks super serves an adult female audience ignored by other contemporary and gold-based radio stations in the market. Passion levels for this music are off the charts. Fresno will get the ‘feels’ from Jammin.’”…..Tragic news strikes iHeartMedia’s hip hop WWWZ, Charleston, South Carolina “Z93 Jamz” as authorities in Beaufort County report finding the body of 28-year-old Nathaniel Scott Jr., known on the radio as DJ Tough Love, in a wooded area where he’d been shot to death. Authorities are still investigating the matter.
Salem Third Quarter Net Broadcast Revenue Up 3.2%. Chief executive officer Edward Atsinger said on the Q3 conference call that Salem Media Group’s total revenue was up 5.6% but expenses were up 7.3%, “resulting in a 1.5% decrease in adjusted EBITDA.” Atsinger said the expenses increase was almost entirely the result of increased health care costs. Back to the numbers, in the Broadcast segment, net broadcast revenue was $51.1 million, an increase of 3,2% over the same period a year ago. However, station operating income decreased by 2.1%. Atsinger reported that although they booked $1 million of broadcast political revenue during the quarter, that was down about 20% from the same period during the 2012 campaign. However, Atsinger adds, “Network revenue was up 29.2% for the quarter. Obviously, this extraordinary political year is a major driver in this revenue growth, and our nationally syndicated hosts have significantly increased their profile beyond the exposure of their own radio programs, which has resulted in an increased time spent listening to their shows and better response for advertisers, all of which has led to higher renewals, higher rates of renewals, and additional advertising clients.”
Townsquare Media Net Revenue Flat in Q3. On a pro forma basis, Townsquare Media’s Local Marketing Solutions segment – the one that includes broadcast and digital – saw net revenue increase 3.8% over the same period a year ago. It was the Entertainment segment – live events – that had a tough quarter and drew the company down to a net revenue decrease of 0.8%. Townsquare Media chairman and CEO Steven Price says, “On a pro forma basis, our Local Marketing Solutions segment continued its positive momentum by delivering another quarter of solid growth, with net revenue increasing approximately 4% over the prior year period. These results were offset by a decline in our Entertainment segment due primarily to exceptionally poor weather at four of our largest fairs. Excluding those fairs, Townsquare’s pro forma net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA increased approximately 2% and 3%, respectively.” For the first nine months of the year, Townsquare’s (pro forma) net revenue is up 2.2% and the Local Marketing Solutions segment is up 5.1%.
Saga Communications Q3 Net Revenue Rises 6.8%. Reporting financial data for the third quarter of 2016, Saga Communications’ net revenue was $36.1 million – an increase of 6.8% over the same period a year ago. Breaking the radio segment out from the television segment, radio’s net revenue was $29.8 million – an increase of 4.6% over 2015’s third quarter. For the year so far, Saga’s net revenue is $105.3 million – up 8.3% over the first nine months of 2015.
WABC, New York Officially Names Sid Rosenberg Imus Sports Anchor. A press release from Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York officially announces that Sid Rosenberg is returning to the “Imus in the Morning” show to serve as sports anchor, however the presser makes no mention of Warner Wolf, who exited the show suddenly on Friday (11/4). WABC program director Craig Schwalb comments, “Sid’s triumphant return to ‘Imus In The Morning’ has reunited him with an incredibly gifted cast. Their collective chemistry is exceptional.” Rosenberg adds, “I’m really excited to be back with Imus and the guys in the same role where it all started for me nearly 17 years ago.” Rosenberg will continue to co-host the late morning show with now-fellow Imus cast member Bernard McGuirk.
NAB to Sue FCC Over Quadrennial Review. This suit must be filed by Monday and that is presumably what the National Association of Broadcasters will do as EVP of media relations Dennis Wharton says it’s difficult to believe the Federal Communications Commission could recommend (on a 3-2 party line vote) going forward with decades-old policy when technology is moving the industry ahead at the speed of light. The cross-ownership rules seem particularly out of date considering what’s been going on in other sectors of the media, says Wharton, who tells Broadcasting and Cable, “Broadcasters want to compete in the digital age and continue being a trusted source for local news and information, but FCC rules need to reflect 2016 and not the 1960s. It defies belief that the FCC allows AT&T/DirecTV and Charter/Time Warner mergers while barring two Topeka TV stations from combining, or a radio station from buying a newspaper.”
Today’s Presidential Election; the U.S. House and Senate Races; Voter Fraud and Poll Hacking Concerns; UVA Administrator Awarded $3 Million in Rolling Stone Rape Story Case; Hillary Clinton’s Emails Troubles; and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7). The presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the down-ticket races for U.S. House and Senate seats; concerns over voter fraud and the possibility of hacking the electronic polls; a jury awards a University of Virginia administrator $3 million in her case against Rolling Stone and the author of a discredited story about a gang rape at the school; the private email server case surrounding Hillary Clinton’s campaign; 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.
Ginny Morris to Chair RAB Board of Directors. The Radio Advertising Bureau announces the new slate of officers recently to its board of directors and new, incoming directors. Chairperson and CEO of Hubbard Radio Ginny Morris is elected chair of the RAB board of directors. Cox Media Group RVP Susan Larkin is the vice chair. The finance chair is Steve Newberry, president and CEO of Commonwealth Broadcasting. The secretary is Mike Hulvey, COO, Neuhoff Communications, and immediate past chair is Hartley Adkins, president, Northeast Division & Corporate Operations, iHeartMedia. Newly elected directors are: Brian Beasley, EVP, chief operating officer, Beasley Media Group; Jonathan Brewster, CEO/president, Cherry Creek Radio LLC; Mike Tarter, president/CEO, Forcht Broadcasting; and Sabina Widmann, VP, general manager/director of sales, radio, Univision Radio. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “We are excited to have Ginny Morris at the helm of the RAB board of directors. With Ginny’s tremendous experience and passion for this industry, the organization is well-positioned to continue to lead and advocate for radio.”