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Monday, June 18, 2018

| June 18, 2018

NAB Pushing for Relaxed Ownership Regs. The National Association of Broadcasters is asking the Federal Communications Commission to modernize what it calls the “outdated radio ownership rules” as part of the quadrennial media ownership review expected to take place later this year.  The NAB states that the last change in ownership rules was part of the 1996 de-regulation of the industry and that since that time, competitors such as SiriusXM and the various digital audio services were born and have changed the audio media landscape.  Specifically, the NAB is suggesting the FCC consider the following: For station owners in the top 75 Nielsen Audio markets, raise the cap to up to eight FM signals and put no limit on the number of AM stations it can operate.  In the markets smaller than the top 75, it suggests there be no restrictions on the number of FM or AM stations a single entity can operate.  In explaining its request, the NAB writes, “The Commission’s goal of fostering audio programming ‘tailored to the needs and interests of specific local markets’ must account for today’s reality: tailoring now occurs on the basis of specific listeners, not just on the basis of local radio markets.  The FCC’s approach to regulating free OTA radio must reflect today’s competitive audio market in which consumers have access to a virtually infinite number of ‘stations’ tailored to their specific interests.  Continuing to insist that the existing radio ownership limits are necessary because local stations only compete among themselves defies reality and is contrary to law.  Indeed, the FCC’s current regulatory framework simply ignores a large portion of the listening and advertising equation.  The notion of what constitutes a competitor to radio stations must include audio outlets that consumers in local markets are listening to and the outlets that advertisers use.”

WGOW-FM, Chattanooga Morning Host Jeff Styles Wounded, Charged in Road Rage Incident. Chattanooga morning drive talk host Jeff Styles has been charged with aggravated assault and vandalism after a Friday afternoon road rage incident that left him with a gun-shot wound to his arm. WRCB-TV, Chattanooga reports that Styles – morning drive co-host on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WGOW-FM, Chattanooga – and fellow motorist Nickolas Bullington were involved in a road rage incident late Friday afternoon (6/15) that ended after Styles allegedly attacked Bullington’s car with a “military grade tomahawk” and Bullington responded by shooting Styles in the arm with a handgun.  Styles was treated at a local hospital and arrested the following day. The WRCB-TV report includes a statement from Styles’ lawyer alleging Bullington was the aggressor and Styles the victim.  Styles hosts “The Morning Press” with co-host Jim Reynolds and program and news director Kevin West.

Robert Feder Provides Glimpse Behind the Ratings Woes at WGN, Chicago.  Windy City media maven Robert Feder publishes an exclusive report on what some of the station’s talent are saying about the state of Tribune’s venerable WGN-AM as it moves from the Tribune Tower to brand new studios at 303 Wacker Drive.  It’s no secret that WGN has suffered a long trend of dwindling ratings as measured by Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys, and Feder’s story offers a look at what at least a few of the station’s personalities are feeling about the situation.  Read it here.

ESPN Audio Now Available on iHeartRadio. This move adds ESPN Audio’s networks and on-demand content to the iHeartRadio digital platform.  The multi-year deal with iHeartMedia allows users to livestream the ESPN Radio Network shows – “Golic and Wingo,” Dan Le Batard, Stephen A. Smith, etc. – the O&O’s in New York, Chicago and L.A., ESPN-affiliated stations, live play-by-play events, and ESPN’s roster of podcasts.  ESPN VP, Audio and Talent Traug Keller says, “We are consistently looking for new ways to give fans access to ESPN Audio’s tremendous content.  iHeartRadio, with its expansive network and reach, will help us bring new listeners into the fold and give current fans yet another way to enjoy their sports content, anytime, anywhere.”

National Radio Institute Begins Today at University of Tennessee. Today begins the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters Radio Talent Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  At this session, students from four different universities will learn from broadcast pros from Patrick Communications, Midwest Communications, Stonecom Radio, Entercom, Cumulus MediaScripps Radio, 5 Star Radio/Saga Communications, Cromwell Communications, Thunderbolt Broadcasting, and others.  The course is led by industry professionals and facilitated by the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters and the University of Tennessee’s College of Communications and Information and was spearheaded by radio consultant Dan Vallie.  The TAB Radio Talent Institute is the fourth of eight Radio Talent Institutes this summer from the National Radio Talent System, next are Confer Radio Talent Institute at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania; Hubbard Radio Talent Institute at Central Washington University; KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute at Western Kentucky University, and the MBA Radio Talent Institute at Northwest Missouri State University.

TALKERS News Notes. The case of Nielsen Audio v. Bubba the Love Sponge was supposed to begin in trial court today, but the start of the eagerly awaited legal face-off will not happen until July 23 – that is, unless the two parties come to a settlement.  Nielsen’s complaint that Bubba the Love Sponge damaged its reputation by tampering with the PPM survey in the Tampa market goes back more than two-and-a-half years. Although a settlement is always a possibility, it seems unlikely Bubba would concede anything after spending as much on legal fees as he has up to this point.  Nielsen is seeking $1 million in damages.  Federal Judge James Whittemore offered no reason for the change in trial start dates but says it’s expected to last five to seven days…..cabana, the digital audio division of AdLarge Media, is announcing an exclusive ad sales representation deal for the newly launched true crime podcast network Murder.ly. AdLarge co-founder and co-CEO Cathy Csukas says, “True crime dramas are sought-after and in high demand among listeners and advertisers.  We’re proud to represent the titles in Murder.ly and bring this exclusive opportunity to cabana advertisers.”

Three Join Broadcasters Foundation Board of Directors. The Broadcasters Foundation of America elects Wendy McMahon, president of the ABC Owned Television Stations Group, and Charlie Weiss, publisher of New Bay Media’s TV Sector Brands, to its board of directors, and names Dennis Lyle, president and chief executive officer of the Illinois Broadcasters Association, an officer and vice president.  The new directors and Lyle were voted in during the board meeting that took place in New York City last week.  In a related story, at the TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! conference held in New York City on June 8, WPG, Atlantic City morning host and Heavy Hundred member Harry Hurley (pictured below at left) donated $2,000 to the Broadcasters Foundation of America on behalf of his successful Harry Hurley Charitable Foundation.  Foundation president Jim Thompson (right) accepted the check.  This marked the third year in a row that Hurley has made a large donation to the Broadcasters Foundation.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Roger Stone Allegation, Illegal Immigration Enforcement, Inspector General’s FBI-Clinton Probe Report, Trump Trade Wars, Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the allegation Roger Stone met with a Russian promising “dirt” on Hillary Clinton; the controversy over the treatment of illegals with young children; the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s investigation of the Hillary Clinton email server case; the tariffs being levied by the U.S. and retaliation by China and concerns about a global trade war; President Trump’s meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rock programmer Mat Bates has reportedly exited Cumulus Media’s legendary triple A KFOG, San Francisco where he was serving as program director.…..In the Reno market, Lotus Communications names Tina Smash morning drive host at classic rock KOZZ.  Smash is taking over the morning host role from operations manager and program director Jave Patterson who will assume the afternoon drive show hosting duties on Lotus’ sister active rock KDOT “Rock 104.5.”…..On-air pro Diana DeVille joins Strategic International Ministries’ country KWSV, Simi Valley, California “99.1 The Ranch” to host the midday program that was hosted by departed personality Mese Smith.  Station programmer Michael Raffety says, “It’s always hard replacing a strong personality that listeners have grown to love, like Mese Smith.  But if anyone can carry on the success, it’s Diana Deville. She’s loaded with great ideas and has a genuine love for the country music format and listener.  I know the audience will grow to love Diana as much as they do Mese.”…..Some of the winners at the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters awards luncheon held last Thursday (6/14) include Capitol Broadcasting’s hot AC WRAL-FM, Raleigh-Durham “MIX 101.5,” winner of the Radio Station of the Year honor in the large market category. Station PD Michele Williams says, “We at ‘MIX 101.5’ are honored to accept the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters’ radio station of the year award for 2017.  We thank this amazing community for allowing us to give back through events like our Radiothon for Duke Children’s Hospital, Interfaith Food Shuttle’s Back Pack Buddies Mediathon and our annual Christmas Choir Competition that supports local schools’ music programs.  It’s a privilege to serve you, our listeners, and we look forward to what’s to come in 2018 and beyond.”  Other winners were Beasley Media Group’s hip hop WZFX-FM, Fayetteville, which took home the Station of the Year honor for medium market stations, as well as WPEG, Charlotte “Power 98” evening personality Ya Girl Nikki who was honored with Large Market Personality of the Year.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

| March 7, 2018

Steele Named OM for Dick Broadcasting’s Myrtle Beach Cluster. The Myrtle Beach cluster of Dick Broadcasting announces Charlie Steele is named operations manager, effective March 21.  Dick’s Myrtle Beach group includes news/talk WRNN-FM “Hot Talk 99.5,” classic rock WYAV, CHR WYMB, and alt rock WKZQ.  Steele says of his new gig, “I am very excited to join market manager John Sheftic and his team at DBC/Myrtle Beach and look forward to being a part of these great brands.  Thanks to COO Dick Harlow and EVP/programming Jason Goodman for this opportunity.”

Talk Host, Former Congressman J.D. Hayworth Ready to Return to Radio.  After what he calls “four great years back on TV at NewsmaxTV,” former KFYI, Phoenix talk show host J.D. Hayworth says he’s “rarin’ to return to radio!”  Hayworth – a former U.S. Representative from Arizona – has been serving with NewsmaxTV as an anchor for the past four years (see his television reel here) but he’s ready to re-ignite his radio career either on a fill-in or permanent basis.  Hayworth just completed a fill-in assignment at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte, sitting in for the station’s Vince Coakley.  Reach Hayworth at 602-615-6956.

Edison Research: ESPN Audio Grabs ‘Nearly Half of Sports Radio Listenership.’  Citing data from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” study, ESPN Audio is promoting the result stating ESPN Audio’s content – that includes the ESPN Radio Network’s national talk shows and live events, affiliated local broadcast radio stations, and podcasting – accounts for nearly half (46%) of all sports radio listenership in the U.S.  According to the study, ESPN Audio listening breaks down this way: 71% listened on terrestrial AM/FM radio, 46% listened via streaming audio, 26% heard ESPN content on SiriusXM, and 25% listened to podcasts.  (Numbers add up to more than 100% as users could cite multiple choices.)

‘The Union Edge’ Radio Show Ceasing Operations.  The labor issues-focused talk radio program “The Union Edge” – hosted by Charles Showalter – is ending production after 10 years due to cash flow problems.  In a message to supporters, Showalter says, “In recent months, we have not been able to raise the necessary funds needed to continue operations of our daily radio program.  With that said, ‘The Union Edge’ has financial obligations to our union Brothers and Sisters and vendors such as back pay, severance pay, benefits, and bills that need to be settled.  These individuals are the same Brothers and Sisters that stood with us and continued to work, without pay, during financially difficult times.  They truly believe in labor’s message and cause and for the last decade have carried water for labor, fighting the good fight.”  Showalter is seeking donations from the program’s supporters to pay the overdue wages and past due bills.  He can be reached here.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $250k at 2018 Golden Mike Award Event.  Pictured above at Monday evening’s 2018 Golden Mike Award ceremony in New York City are (from l-r): Nick Verbitsky, chairman and CEO, United Stations Radio Networks; Jim Thompson, president, Broadcasters Foundation of America; Pat McLaughlin, widow of Edward F. McLaughlin; and Dan Mason, chairman, BFoA.  As part of the evening’s program, Pat McLaughlin accepted the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her late husband Ed, who launched the syndication career of Rush Limbaugh via his EFM Media Management company.  As part of the event, the Broadcasters Foundation of America raised $250,000 to assist broadcasters in need.  Photo: Wendy Moger-Bross.

Westwood One: Study Shows 12 to 1 ROI for Personal Care Brand.  That 12-to-1 return on investment for a radio campaign comes from the results of the first Nielsen Catalina Solutions sales effect study conducted for an AM/FM radio campaign in the personal care brand category.  Cumulus Media EVP of marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “Westwood One has been very vocal that AM/FM radio delivers an impressive return on investment for brand marketers.  Today, we back that statement up with an NCS study for a major personal care brand, which shows a $12 return on advertising spend for every dollar of AM/FM radio advertising.  NCS is the gold standard for CPG sales measurement, and these findings show that a personal care brand can use radio to realize impressive sales lift and a powerful return on ad spend.”  The press release explains, “NCS calibrates the largest shopper dataset of over 90 million unique households, from Catalina, with Nielsen’s retail sales and consumer panel data, to represent nearly 100% of total US all-outlet CPG spend.  Using an advanced methodology, NCS can connect Nielsen’s gold-standard radio ratings data with shopper data to understand what advertising households were exposed to and how it impacted their purchasing.”  See more from Westwood One here.

FOX News Radio Presents Five-Part College Debt Series.  This series – titled “Forever in Debt” – runs next week (3/12-3/16) and is available to FOX News Radio affiliates. FOX News Radio’s Eben Brown explores the fact that $1.34 billion in student loan debt is owed by Americans.  The network says, “Some estimates suggest more than half of those student loans are in default. Borrowers face garnishment of paychecks and even their parents’ social security benefits, and what’s worse, nobody can resolve these loans in Bankruptcy.”  The five-part series will be fed in two versions approximately :60 seconds in length, and approximately :40 seconds.  Each segment will post to the Newsfeed section of the affiliate website by 3:00 am ET.  Eben Brown will also be available for two-ways with affiliate stations.

WJFK-FM, Washington and MLB’s Nationals Renew. Baseball’s Washington Nationals and Entercom’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” ink a renewal to keep the club on the station for the next five seasons.  Play-by-play announcers Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler continue their roles.  Post-game duties are being shared by Phil Wood and The Fan’s Nationals beat reporter, Craig Heist, with select post-game shows hosted by “106.7 The Fan” midday show hosts Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Economic Adviser Gary Cohn Exits, Trump Administration Sues California, Sam Nunberg Subpoena, Stormy Daniels Sues Trump, Sickened Russia Spy, North Korea-South Korea Talks, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/6).  The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; Trump Administration economic adviser Gary Cohn announces his exit over differences on tariffs issue; the Trump Administration sues California over its sanctuary status hindering ICE deportation efforts; the bizarre media tour by former Trump aide Sam Nunberg after being subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller; porn star Stormy Daniels sues President Trump over “hush agreement”; the case of the Russian double agent and his daughter sickened in the U.K. in suspected poisoning; the diplomatic talks between North Korea and 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 Sacramento, Jenna Rae moves from middays to afternoon drive at Entercom’s country KNCI, filling the daypart opened by the recent departure of Dan Cheatham.   Taking over the midday show is Pacey, who steps into a full-time position after serving with the station in a part-time capacity…..Milwaukee Radio Alliance re-brands oldies WZTI-AM/W262CJ/W297BY, Milwaukee from Scott Shannon’s “True Oldies” to “Fonz FM” – referencing Henry Winkler’s character in the Milwaukee-set 1970s sitcom…..PR and marketing pro Jennifer Quiroz announces she’s opening her own firm, Jennifer Quiroz Marketing Consulting.  She calls it a “boutique, full-service agency offering a wide range of traditional and digital marketing services to clients nationwide.”  Quiroz previously served with iHeartMedia and Premiere Networks handling marketing for talent including: Ryan Seacrest, Mario Lopez, Delilah, Nikki Sixx and Bobby Bones…..Alpha Media’s KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” announces that the Eli Young Band will headline its CountryFest 2018 on June 3 at the Portland Rose Festival.  Also performing at the festival will be: Parmalee, Russell Dickerson, Carly Pearce and Mitchell Tenpenny.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

| August 3, 2017

Saga Communications Reports Q2 Financials; Net Revenue Down 1.9%.  That figure is based on revenue of $30.3 million for the second quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.  For the six months ended on June 30, Saga Communications reports net revenue of $56.4 million – a decrease of 3.3% compared to the first six months of 2016.  Saga recently signed off on its intent to sell its television stations in Joplin, Missouri and Victoria, Texas to Morgan Murphy Media for approximately $66.6 million and is acquiring eight radio stations in the Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina markets from Apex Media for $23 million.  The television stations are reported as discontinued operations and are not included in the above figures.  As for net income, Saga is reporting a figure of $4.5 million, down 5.9% from $4.8 million in Q2 of 2016.

E.W. Scripps Radio Division Revenue Down 5.6%.  Television is the majority of E.W. Scripps business, with radio and digital taking a back seat.  For the company as a whole, revenue was $232 million – up 2% from that same period a year ago.  Breaking the company down into segments, radio revenue was $17.2 million, down 5.6% from $18.2 million in the second quarter of 2016.  The company says segment profit in the radio division was $2.9 million in the second quarter, down from $3.9 million a year ago.  Looking at the digital segment for a moment, while revenue was up 27.2% to $19.3 million during the second quarter, expenses were up to $23.5 million for a segment loss of $4.2 million – down a bit from the loss of $4.7 million in Q2 of 2016.  Scripps reports that it is expecting third quarter radio revenue to be down in the mid-single digits.

ESPN Promotes Marcia Keegan to VP, National Radio Programming and Production.  This is a promotion from her previous title as vice president, production.  ESPN says that in this new role, Marcia Keegan will oversee all talk programming content on the ESPN Radio national network, including such shows as “Golic and Wingo,” “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” “The Ryen Russillo Show,” “The Right Time with Bomani Jones,” and “Jalen & Jacoby.”  She will continue to be responsible for ESPN’s packaged show productions – the unit that handles approximately 1,000 hours of programming produced by outside vendors.  ESPN SVP Traug Keller comments, “I’m so happy to welcome Marcia to the ESPN Audio team.  Her new perspective, strategic thinking and creativity strengthen an already formidable ESPN Audio talk programming lineup.”

TALKERS News Notes. Radio pro Smitty O’Loughlin is retiring from the radio biz after a 36-year career.  O’Loughlin has been serving as the market manager for Community Broadcasters’ Elmira, New York station group for the past four years.  He says, “It is bittersweet as I turn the page to a new chapter in my life.  Broadcasting is and will always be part of my life regardless of what retirement brings.  I cherish the moments and memories with so many professionals, helping so many people throughout the years, and the personal fulfillment with all the community outreach.”  O’Loughlin began his career in the Fort Smith, Arkansas market in 1981…..There’s a change in the on-air team for Tennessee Titans football broadcasts this season as former Titans tight end Frank Wycheck is taking the season off and is being replaced by former NFL coach Dave McGinnis as color analyst.   Wycheck continues his role on “The Wake-Up Zone” heard on Cumulus Media’s Titans flagship WGFX, Nashville “104.5 The Zone.”  The team released the following statement, “After multiple discussions with Frank, it was agreed that he will take this season off from the radio broadcasts and return next season. With the season quickly approaching, we have reached an agreement with Dave McGinnis to fill-in for Frank this season. Coach Mac has a deep knowledge and passion for the game, along with eight years as a coach with the Titans.  He is very excited about taking on this role and we think he will fill in admirably.”  Wycheck has been vocal about how concussions from his playing days have affected his health and its believed that this move is designed to, at least temporarily, lighten his workload.

Russian Sanctions/U.S.-Russia Relations, Fate of ObamaCare, North Korea Nuclear Threats, Iran-Nukes Deal, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake’s Book, West Wing Power Struggle, Trump Immigration Plan, Affirmative Action College Admissions, Dow Hits 22k, MLB Action and NFL Training Camps Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/2). President Donald Trump sign’s Russian sanctions bill and the tense relations between the U.S. and Russia; the GOP’s continuing efforts to build consensus for repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it; North Korea’s nuclear threats and U.S. diplomatic/military options; both sides in the Iran nuclear deal accuse the other of violating the pact; Arizona Senator Jeff Flake’s new book, A Principled Conservative, rankles fellow Republicans for its anti-Trump content; chatter about the ongoing West Wing power struggle and whether adviser Stephen K. Bannon will be next to exit; the Trump Administration’s plan to curtail immigration numbers; concerns by minority advocates the DOJ will investigate race-based admission policies at U.S. colleges; the Dow closes at a record 22,000-plus for the first time; Major League Baseball action; and news from the NFL’s training camps were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Completely Posted Today (8/3) with the Presentation of the “College Broadcaster of the Year Award” to WRHU, Hofstra University student manager Maria Santana by Doug Stephan (with introduction by Newsmax TV host/executive producer Bill Tucker).  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions have been posted to Talkers.com.  They include:

–          The “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein).

–          The special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan).

–          The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon).

–          The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor  Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo).

–          The special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard).

–          The special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell).

–          The first, second and third in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” featuring conversations between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan BearmanBold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto and DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum, and nationally syndicated host Dr. Asa Andrew and TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein.  All three sessions are facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter.

–          A “one-on-one” dialogue titled “Radio That Makes a Difference” featuring the SiriusXM Satellite Radio husband/wife team of host Joe Madison and executive producer Sharon Madison (introduced by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio VP/GM talk programming Dave Gorab).

–          A “Fireside Chat” featuring former CBS Radio president/CEO and Broadcasters Foundation of America chairman Dan Mason being interviewed by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley (with introduction by BOB-FM, London morning host Graham Mack).

–          A “Fireside Chat” featuring Emmis Communications CEO/chairman Jeff Smulyan being interviewed by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (with an introduction by Bentley University professor/TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman).

–          The series of four “one-on-one” dialogues titled “The Challenges of Doing Talk Radio in 2017.”  They feature a conversation between WYD Media syndicated host Thom Hartmann and Cumulus Media corporate PD/WMAL, Washington PD Bill Hess(introduced by Moceri Media president Greg Moceri), a conversation between morning co-host of WAQY-FM (Rock102), Springfield, MA  Mike “Bax” Baxendale and morning host of WOLB, Baltimore Larry Young, and a conversation between Cumulus Media EVP programming and content Mike McVay and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (facilitated by ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones).

–          The series of four “one-on-one” dialogues collectively titled, “Where Does Talk Media Go From Here?” featuring a conversation between WRHU, Hofstra University OM John T. Mullen and WRFH, Hillsdale College GM Scot Bertram; a conversation between The New Normal CEO/founder/host Tom Leykis and syndicated host Michael Berry; a conversation between The Weiss AgencyEVP Heather Cohen and Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel host Brian Kilmeade; and a conversation between WPHT, Philadelphia host Dom Giordano and GCN syndicated host Dr. Daliah Wachs  (facilitated by WOR, New York APD Scott Lakefield). At the conclusion, Dr. Wachs is presented the TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” award by Michael Harrison.

–          Three memorial tributes by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon dedicated to major talk show personalities and longtimeTALKERS Convention participants who passed away this past year:  Tom MarrDr. Joy Browne and Alan Colmes.  (Introduction by Stephan Multimedia CEO/host, Doug Stephan.)

–          Presentation of the 2017 “Woman of the Year” award to Cumulus Media president/CEO Mary Berner by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison.

–          Special luncheon greeting by Salem Radio Network syndicated host Joe Walsh (with introduction by SRN VP Phil Boyce).

–          TODAY (8/3) completes the agenda with the posting of the presentation of the 2017 “College Broadcaster of the Year” award to WRHU, Hofstra University student manager Maria Santana by Doug Stephan (with introduction by Newsmax TV host/executive producer Bill Tucker).

Every session will remain online for the rest of the year.  The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone NetworksBroadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  There’s a plum gig open in Milwaukee as Entercom hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix” is seeking an air personality for its “Morning Mix” AM drive show alongside market pro Elizabeth Kay.  Interested radio pros should apply via Entercom’s website here…..On-air and programming pro Johnny Maze exits Adams Radio Group’s rock WZBH, Salisbury/Ocean City “93.5 The Beach” and sister classic rocker WGBG “BIG 98.5.”  Maze, who was the afternoon drive personality at WZBH, also served as program director for both stations.  He says in a Facebook post, “I am ‘officially’ ON THE BEACH! As of today, I am no longer with ‘93.5 The Beach’ in Salisbury/Ocean City.  I had a good time, accomplished some great things and I made some awesome friends.  Looking forward to finding my next opportunity and challenge.”…..The “Dudley & Bob with Matt” show – heard in mornings on Emmis classic rock KLBJ-FM, Austin is celebrating 25 years on the air at a special show on August 12 at Austin’s Paramount Theatre.  The program will honor show founders Dale Dudley and Bob Fonseca.  The event will feature a dedication from Austin’s mayor as well as performances by comedians and local music acts.  The show was nominated for a Marconi Award in 2007 for Medium Market Personality of the Year.   They were inducted in to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2009…..Superadio promotes two to new positions.  Rich O’Brien rises to the newly created position of EVP of programming and affiliate relations and Eric Faison is elevated to SVP of programming and affiliate relations.  Superadio COO Jack Bryant states, “Both Rich and Eric are seasoned veterans of the industry and both epitomize the high standards for which the company is known.  All programming, talent, and affiliate matters are in the best of hands with the team of Rich and Eric.”

Ice Cream for a Good Cause. Pictured here in the WPLJ, New York studios are (from l-r): Jason Street from Applegate Farm, WPLJ morning co-host Jayde DonovanMelinda Street from Applegate Farm, and Philip Salerno from Children’s Specialized Hospital.  They are holding the two winning ice cream flavors – Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Chunk and S’mores Fluff-A-Nutter – that WPLJ jocks and listeners created to be featured at Applegate Farm in Montclair, New Jersey through October.  Ninety-five cents from every cone sold will be donated to Children’s Specialized Hospital.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

| October 21, 2015

cumulus logoCumulus Creates New Vice President, Programming Partnerships Position; Names Aaron Roberts to Post.  One week into Mary Berner’s Cumulus Media CEO tenure, a new multi-media programming position is created and the company’s Aaron Roberts is elevated to the new post.  The official title is vice president, programming partnerships forrobertsaaron Cumulus Media, Westwood One and NASH.  Roberts has been Atlanta-based national director, special projects for the company for the past three years.  He will continue to work in Atlanta.  SVP of content and programming Mike McVay states, “Aaron has performed beautifully in the difficult position of serving two masters.  What he does impacts both art and commerce.  He will work closely with both SVP, brand partnerships Tommy Page and me.”  Roberts adds, “It’s an exciting time at Cumulus Media as we continue to develop first-in-class original on-air, digital and event content.  I look forward to working closely with our tremendous partners and the entire partnerships team in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and Nashville.”

espnESPN to Cut Approximately 300 Staffers.  Sports media giant ESPN is releasing statements confirming the reports that it will cut some 300 positions within the company over the next few days.  ESPN chief John Skipper says in a memo to employees that the company carefully considered each job cut and that staffers will receive at least “60-days’ notice, a severance package reflective of their years of service, and outplacement benefits to help them find future employment.”  Earlier, BloombergBusiness reported the rumored cuts and wrote that escalating programming costs and a drop in television viewers as two reasons for the 4% reduction in the workforce.  It’s not clear how the cuts would affect the ESPN Audio division since changes to the slate of programs heard on ESPN Radio were finalized last month after the departure of Colin Cowherd for competitor FOX Sports.  The Bloomberg piece notes that SNL Kagan reported that ESPN’s cable TV division has lost some 4 million subscribers over the past four years.

nielsen logoNielsen Reports Q3 Revenue Up 5% on Constant Currency Basis.  The third quarter of 2015 saw revenue of just over $1.5 billion for the global ratings giant.  Nielsen reports revenue was down 2.6% due to the impact of foreign exchange, but up 5% on a constant currency basis, compared to the third quarter of 2014.  Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns says in a press release, “Nielsen’s third quarter results exemplify our strong value-generating business model with revenue growth of 5%, consistentbarnsmitch margin expansion across both our Watch and Buy businesses on a constant currency basis, and record quarterly free cash flow generation, up 19% over last year.  Our growth was driven by many important competitive wins all over the world.  Our Buy business, which grew 4.1%, had its fifth consecutive quarter of margin expansion, both on a constant currency basis.  Our Watch segment grew 6.1% on a constant currency basis due to strength in Audience Measurement, as our clients embed our digital measurement and analytics into their day-to-day decision-making.”  Barns also reports that it is closing in on completion of its goal of rating total audiences.  “The initial release of Digital Content Ratings has gone smoothly and we’re pleased with the feedback we’ve received as it is the final piece of our Total Audience Measurement framework.  We know how important the execution of our product roadmap and the subsequent industry adoption of our solutions are to our ability to drive value for our clients and we feel very confident about our progress here.  As our products continue to gain traction, we’re having meaningful conversations with clients and major industry voices in order to move toward a new definition of the currency ratings.”

mcfeelymikeMike McFeely Returns to WDAY, Fargo.  Fargo talk show host and columnist Mike McFeely is returning to Forum Communications-owned news/talk WDAY after a six-year stint with crosstown competitor KFGO.  The Forum reports McFeely’s return to the station and to Forum’s print division.wday logo  He’ll host the 8:30 am to 11:00 am program and write a column for The Forum and inforum.com.  McFeely says, “When I left The Forum in 2009, one of the quotes I gave a reporter was ‘I will always be an ink-stained wretch.’  I never lost that belief.  I have had more people than you’d believe in the last six years tell me they miss my columns in the newspaper.  I am excited to write for The Forum and its website again.”  McFeely joined KFGO in 2009 to host the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm daypart.

2016 Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton to Testify on Benghazi, Russia’s Military Policy in Syria, Release of the Film Truth, Israel Violence, GOP House Speaker Post, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/20).  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; Thursday’s scheduled testimony from former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on the Benghazi attacks; the Russian military role in Syria’s civil war; the release of the film Truth, portraying CBS’ Dan Rather and Mary Mapes reporting on George W. Bush’s Texas National Guard service; the ongoing violence between Jews and Palestinians in Israel; the opening House Speaker position and the GOP’s process of filling the post; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallA Walk Down Progressive Rock Radio Memory Lane.  In the third part of their loosely recurring series of conversations about their early careers working together in New York progressive rock radio posted today (10/20), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison andharrisonneer72 WFAN, New York personality/best-selling author Richard Neer, continue their stream-of-consciousness reminiscences about the very early days of their careers working with the legends of progressive rock radio at the iconic WNEW-FM in the Big Apple.  In the newest installment of the PodcastOne international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” the lifelong friends talk about their first two years at the historic Metromedia station, circa 1971-1972, where they worked with Scott Muni, Alison Steele, Jonathan Schwartz, John Zacherle and Pete Fornatale among others after being catapulted to the “big time” after the successful launch of progressive rocker WLIR-FM on Long Island.  To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page at Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.  Harrison (left) and Neer (right) are pictured at right in the WNEW-FM studios in 1971.

Monday, July 13, 2015

| July 13, 2015

greymichaelMichael Grey Returns to WBBL, Grand Rapids.  The Cumulus Media-owned sports talk station says popular Grand Rapids radio personality Michael Grey returns to the morning show daypart with new co-host Ryan Schuiling.  Grey co-hosted mornings on WBBL, Grand Rapids from 2009 through 2011wbbl logo with Bret Bakita.  He’s also worked at KXSP, Omaha and KIRO, Seattle.  WBBL program director Dave Jaconette says, “We are thrilled to have Michael Grey back on 107.3 WBBL.  After successful stints in Omaha and Seattle, Michael is back to talk with fans about the teams he loves.  And I’m very happy that Ryan Schuiling will be joining him on what will be one of West Michigan’s most exciting sports talk shows.”

espnaudiologoESPN Radio Reports Increased Streaming Numbers.  Referring to second quarter 2015 streaming data, ESPN Radio Network announces it accrued more than 2.5 billion total listening minutes compared to the same period in 2014.  That’s an increase of 31%.  The sports giant also reports that its on-demand audio downloads were up 27% over last year with more than 90 million downloads.  ESPN SVP, production business divisions Traug Keller says, “Sports fans consume audio across multiple platforms and the compelling content that ESPN Audio offers through streaming and podcasts is making an impact on listening.”

missanellimikePhilly Sports Talk Wars Invade Print Turf.  The hand-grenade lobbing between CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM and Greater Media’s WPEN-FM in Philadelphia has moved to the print media with WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” afternoon host Mike Missanelli writing a column for Philly Mag in which he lambastesinnesjosh afternoon host Josh Innes for his on-air style, former host Tony Bruno for similar reasons and suggests the former duo’s ratings successes against his show are not all they seem.  According to a story at Philly.com, Innes lashed back at Missanelli on his radio show saying the piece was “basically the last ramblings of a desperate man who’s trying to politic his way into the hearts of a few people by basically reading comment sections and seeing what appeals to meatballs.”  Read the Philly.com coverage of the feud here.

ppmunitNielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of June 2015 PPM Data.  The fourth of four rounds of June 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The June 2015 survey period covered May 21 through June 17.  You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

Odds & Sods.  Another personnel move in Philly sports talk as Pat Gallen leaves Greater Media’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” to join CBS’ KYW-TV as sports anchor.  Gallen served with WPEN-FM as a sports anchor and reporter.  His move to KYW-TV comes just a week after former NFL great Beasley Reece was let go from his sports anchor post at the station…..After nine years with NAB – the last four as EVP of government relations –colekelly Kelly Cole announces she’s leaving the organization to open her own advocacy firm.  In an email to NAB’s board of directors, Cole said, in part, “Over nine years, I’ve seen NAB make amazing strides.  Gordon Smith is a tremendous leader.  Our relationships with state associations are at an all-time high, and we have EVPs in every department who work cohesively and collaboratively.  NAB is viewed with respect on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill, and our government relations team is the strongest it has ever been during my time at NAB. It has been an absolute privilege to be a member of this amazing team, to be a part of NAB history, and to work with all of you.”…..Matt Martinez moves from his most recent position with NPR as senior producer to Pacific Public Media-owned non-com KPLU, Seattle where he’ll serve as director of content…..KNTK, Lincoln, Nebraska sports talk personality Tom Stephens is recovering after suffering a heart attack on June 26.  Stephens co-hosts the midday show with John Gaskins on the Home Field Communications station.  According to the Lincoln Journal-Star, the 51-year-old is undergoing speech and occupational therapy and is anxious to get back on the air.

metaxasRadioCity15Eric Metaxas at Radio City Music Hall.  Author and Salem Radio Network talk host Eric Metaxas appears here on the big screen in Times Square on Friday (7/10)  as the guest speaker at evangelist Luis Palau’s “City Fest” at Radio City Music Hall.  Metaxas’ address was beamed out to the crowd in Times Square.  Palau hosted an event the next evening in Central Park that drew some 60,000 attendees.