By Andy Bloom
Andy Bloom Communications
MINNEAPOLIS — In the days leading up to MLB’s Opening Day, I advised sports radio clients regarding ideas to keep listeners interested in their stations and teams while live sports remains on hiatus due to the coronavirus.
The ideas require franchises and leagues to work with local broadcast rights holders. I didn’t have contact with any of the teams or leagues. I thought, however, it would be logical for these organizations and their local broadcast partners to help keep their brands pertinent during the pandemic. A Wall Street Journal article I read convinced me the teams and leagues will listen to the idea.
Brett Winterble Named Afternoon Drive Host at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Recently let go from San Diego news/talk KFMB-AM – along with the rest of the staff as the station changes hands from Tegna to new owner Local Media San Diego – is talk show host Brett Winterble, who begins his new gig at Entercom’s heritage talker WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte on Monday (2/17). Entercom SVP and market manager Matthew Hanlon says, “Brett Winterble represents the future of audio. When John Hancock took this exact seat on WBT 30 years ago, he was a progressive-minded voice in the market, placing an emphasis on issues that affected the community. Brett takes on a similar role in a new and meaningful way for our loyal audience. He cares about the listener and demonstrates a genuine interest in the community. We’re thrilled that Brett is joining our team.” In addition to his five-year stint at KFMB-AM, Winterble hosted afternoon drive at KFWB-AM, Los Angeles and served as a producer for Rush Limbaugh and Michael Reagan. Winterble takes over the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show from John Hancock, who announced his retirement in October 2019.
NOW POSTED: New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. The new episode titled, “Off to the Races!” looks back at this past week of February 10-14, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Todd Feinburg, talk show host, WTIC, Hartford; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, syndicated talk show host, Compass Media Networks; Heidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; and Joshua Philipp, senior investigative reporter, The Epoch Times. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.
‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold Town Hall on Prisoner Re-Entry. Next Thursday (2/20), Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” will present the next in its Town Hall series, addressing the issue of re-entry of New Jersey residents into mainstream society, including the unique and specific challenges faced by these residents and their families. ‘NJ101.5’ special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott will moderate the Town Hall. He says, “Our Town Hall broadcasts help create a better understanding among New Jersey residents while seeking to identify real and practical solutions to some of our state’s most difficult issues. More than half of those being released from prison in New Jersey today will be rearrested within three years. Almost a third will be sent back to prison. This program will explore ways to break the cycle of recidivism and confront the challenges of returning former inmates to society.” Expert panelists will include: former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, whose work with the New Jersey Reentry Corporation is well-known throughout the state; Haywood Gandy, who was released from prison in 2018 after serving 20 years on armed robbery and other charges and is now the director of re-entry for The H.U.B.B. (Help Us Become Better) Arts & Trauma Center in Newark; Daniel Lombardo, president and CEO of Volunteers of America Delaware Valley; and Jessica O’Neill, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Camden. Online, under the direction of ‘New Jersey 101.5’ digital managing editor Louis C. Hochman, the Town Hall will be streamed via Facebook Live, with representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Reentry Coalition of New Jersey, and Volunteers of America available to answer questions and provide resources for persons in need.
SBG Announces Creation of All-Female Marketing Team. Syndication and sales firm Sun Broadcast Group announces the formation of an all-female marketing team consisting of 11-year SBG veteran Loren Christofori – who has been promoted to director of marketing, former Envision Networks marketing and affiliate specialist, Jen Weisfeld – now in the role of marketing manager, and SBG alum Amber Kelley joining as marketing assistant. SBG president and founder Jason Bailey, “I know I speak for the entire SBG family when I say how proud we are to introduce this new all-female marketing team. Anyone who knows me knows that I take our brand very seriously. I couldn’t be more excited to place the next chapter of the SBG story in the hands of Loren, Jen, and Amber. I’m thrilled to see all the great ideas they have come to life.”
BFoA Names 2020 Leadership Awards Recipients. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces the recipients of the 2020 Leadership Awards that will be presented at the Broadcasters Foundation Annual Breakfast on April 22 in Las Vegas during the NAB Show. This year’s honorees are: Marci Burdick, senior advisor to Schurz Communications, retired; Kim Guthrie, president & chief executive officer, Cox Media Group; Kraig Kitchin, partner, Sound Mind LLC; Weezie Kramer, COO, Entercom Communications; Barbara Kreisman, chief, Video Division, FCC; Leo MacCourtney, president, Katz Television Group. The Broadcasters Foundation will also present the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award during the Breakfast. That honoree will be announced shortly.
Galaxy Media Celebrates 30 Anniversary. Earlier this week (2/12), Galaxy Media Partners celebrated 30 years of service to the Central New York Community. It was on that date in 1990 that Pam and Ed Levine began operation of WKLL-FM, Frankfort in the Utica market with its first studios and offices in the back of a diner. The company added stations in Syracuse in 1993, with additional acquisitions in 2001 and 2007. Galaxy created an events division in 2007 that has grown to encompass all of Central New York and New York State. Also in 2007, Galaxy became the flagship station for Syracuse University athletics and created a sports marketing division. Company president and CEO Ed Levine says, “We are proud to celebrate 30 years of service to the Central New York Community. Pam and I intend to continue to serve the Syracuse and Utica markets for many years to come.”
Beasley Personality Marisa Magnatta Hosts ‘Path to Pro… How to Be a Player in Esports.’ Philadelphia morning show personality Marisa Magnatta is hosting Beasley Media Group’s first ever “Path to Pro … How to be a Player in Esports” live event today from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Nerd Street Gamers in Philadelphia. Esports experts and success stories will take part in panel discussions that will “provide attendees with an ‘insiders’ perspective on esports and the many paths that an individual can take to pursuing a career in professional gaming and what life is like as an elite player in the Overwatch League, as well as explore the different paths one might take to get there.” WMMR-FM personality Magnatta says, “The feedback I’ve received after hosting the first season of ‘FTW Philly’ on NBC Sports Philadelphia has been all over the map…from expert to novice. The most common question I hear is, how do you actually start a career in esports? Our ‘Path to Pro’ event will be the ultimate guidebook for anyone interested in achieving their esports dream!”
The Presidential Race/New Hampshire Primary Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 10-14, 2020. The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and the results of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the aftermath of the impeachment trial of President Trump. Coming in at #3 was the controversy surrounding Trump’s influencing the sentencing of Roger Stone, and presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s 2015 racist stop & frisk comments and race relations at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS News Notes. Boston sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” enters into a multi-year partnership with Special Olympics Massachusetts. The collaboration between the Beasley Media Group station and the non-profit “will be instrumental in helping to raise funds, recruit volunteers, and support all major programs, such as the Summer Games, scheduled to take place June 12-14 at the Harvard Athletic Complex in Boston. WBZ-FM program director Rick Radzik says, “It is an honor and privilege to partner with a tremendous organization that makes a difference in the lives of others like Special Olympics. As the leading sports radio station in the country, we believe it’s important to align ourselves with an organization that offers support and inclusion for so many athletes, who otherwise might not have the opportunity to participate. It’s the perfect fit!”…..Podcast producer Cadence13 – part of Entercom’s RADIO.COM – is starting production on a new sports documentary podcast franchise that will explore “a wide range of compelling stories and people from the world of sports.” Season one will focus on the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. Season one will be hosted and written by Ben Reiter, the author of the New York Times bestseller Astroball: The New Way to Win it All…..iHeartMedia is expanding the iHeartPodcast Network with more Spanish-language and Hispanic-focused offerings with a slate of podcasts hosted and co-produced by radio personality Enrique Santos, who also serves as chairman and chief creative officer of iHeartLatino. iHeartMedia is launching a multi-year development, co-production, and distribution partnership with multicultural digital audio network, reVOLVER…..Entercom and Univision sign an agreement for all-news WCBS-AM to produce Spanish-language coverage of New York Mets baseball on Univision’s Spanish hits outlet WQBU, New York “Que Buena 92.7.” Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “We’re pleased to partner with Univision New York to bring New York Mets games to Spanish-speaking fans. As the unrivaled leader in local sports coverage, we’re looking forward to bringing our premier content to an even broader audience through this strategic partnership.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of career radio pro George Woods, who died on February 8. During his career, Woods was a talk host at such stations as WOW-AM, KKAR-AM, and KFAB-AM in Omaha and KCMO-AM, Kansas City. During the latter part of his career, he built and operated the multi-format, on-demand internet radio platform Radio George. Woods also served on the board of the non-profit radio organization The Conclave, volunteered for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, and travelled extensively with his wife Nancy Kaywood, who also serves on the Conclave board. She suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Bob Woodruff Foundation in Woods’ name.
FOX News Radio Positions Open. There are three news posts that FOX News is seeking to fill. The first is Overnight Freelance Anchor for FOX News Radio in Washington, DC, Los Angeles or New York City. FOX says, “As a radio news anchor you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a days’ notice.” See more about that position and apply here. The second position is staff producer and news editor for FOX News in New York City. In this position you will supervise the staff for FOX’s network radio news operation, Fox News Headlines 24/7. As the producer/news editor you are editorial leader, working with news anchors to craft the content and structure of a 24/7 news operation. See more about that position here. The third position is Freelance Radio Master Control Operator in New York. For this position the company is seeking a technically strong and motivated operator to provide technical oversight over all FOX News Radio platforms, including FOX News Radio’s terrestrial operation, FOX News Talk and FOX News Headlines 24/7. See more and apply for this position here.
Great Radio Management Opportunity. A broadcast owner has an immediate opening in a Northwest radio market for a general manager who is a self-directed individual with managerial skills, strong sales experience, and organizational talents. Candidate must have an established, result-oriented history. Must be a community-minded individual and possess written and verbal communications skills and leadership direction with the ability to convey to others. The successful candidate must maximize growth of the station while developing overall sales department operations; perform operational tasks; create sales and promotional opportunities; and have a willingness to recruit, hire, train, and support station staff. Must have thorough knowledge of radio broadcast industry. Three years proven sales experience required. B.A. Degree in Broadcast Journalism a “plus.” Successful candidate will be compensated equal to qualifications and performance. EOE. Contact: Radio Northwest, 18925 SW 84th Avenue, Tualatin OR 98062 503.223.6769. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital Content Producer. At Entercom’s Charlotte cluster consisting of news/talk WBT-AM/FM, sports talk WFNZ-AM/W273DA, and hot AC WLNK “The Link” has an immediate opening for a digital content producer. The company says, “The ideal candidate is an exceptional, quick-thinking multi-tasker with a passion for news, sports, music, entertainment and an ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment to producing top-quality multimedia content for all cluster stations. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: Research, write, edit, and publish original content for our websites. Ensure all daily content is optimized for SEO. Monitor social media for story ideas. Effectively post to social media to drive engagement and traffic while following company strategy and policy. Execute web initiatives as directed. Work closely with digital content coordinator and other team members to achieve digital goals. Participate in all applicable Entercom training to fully take advantage of tools and best practices. Other duties as assigned.” See more about this position and apply here. EOE.
Entercom Announces Sale of $100 Million in Second Lien Senior Secured Notes. These notes are being offered as additional notes under an existing indenture, dated April 30, 2019, pursuant to which the Issuer previously issued $325 million in aggregate principal amount of Entercom Media Group’s 6.500% senior secured second-lien notes due 2027. Net proceeds from the additional $100 million offering will be used to partially repay existing indebtedness under its senior secured term loan facility. They have the same terms as the existing notes. They are offered and sold only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers.
AJ Lurie Assumes New Post with Beasley XP. Sales and management pro AJ Lurie is promoted to the newly created position of director of local market integrated partnerships at Beasley XP, Beasley Media Group’s recently created esports division. Lurie began his career with Beasley Media Group in 2007 in Fort Myers and most recently served as the as vice president and market manager of its Wilmington, Delaware radio cluster. In his new role, Lurie will be responsible for overseeing all of Beasley Media Group’s local market esports and gaming revenues by leveraging the company’s content and local market gaming-oriented events. He says, “Beasley Media Group’s entrance into the esports industry is transformative for our company and I am honored to be a part of this initiative. Leveraging our company’s assets will present tremendous growth opportunities. I’m excited to work with some of Beasley’s best to help build this division for our organization.” As Lurie moves to his new position, BMG Philadelphia vice president and market manager Joe Bell will add the Wilmington radio cluster management duties to his current responsibilities under the new structure.
Fatherly Talk Radio Advice from Bob Lonsberry. WHAM, Rochester and WSYR, Syracuse talk radio personality Bob Lonsberry’s son Lee begins his new talk radio show on Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City today (12/11). In the time honored tradition of fathers imparting advice to their sons, Bob Lonsberry offers his son his views on what it takes to become a successful talk radio host. He says, “Be you. Know who you are, what you stand for, what your values and priorities are, and build a genuine radio character around that. Don’t pretend, don’t act. Entertain, yes. Accentuate, absolutely. Pose, no.” Read all of his advice here.
House Files Articles of Impeachment, Trump’s Pennsylvania Rally, Deadly Jersey City Shooting, USMCA, 2020 Presidential Race, Patriots Video Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/10). The Democrat-led House files articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump; the president appears at a rally in Pennsylvania; a shooting at a Jewish market in Jersey City claims the lives of six, including a police officer and the two shooters; the House agrees on the Trump administration’s US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; and the controversy over the taping of the Cincinnati Bengals’ sidelines by a film crew hired by the New England Patriots were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Rush Limbaugh Announces $5 Million-Plus Raised for Tunnel to Towers Foundation. During an appearance on FOX News Channel’s “FOX & Friends” morning program, Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh announced that sales from his “Stand Up for Betsy Ross!” merchandise surpassed $5 million dollars. All proceeds benefit The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation that provides financial assistance to military heroes and their families, as well as first responders. Limbaugh first launched the line of merchandise with a single T-shirt in July and quickly raised $2 million dollars for Tunnel to Towers. It paid off the home mortgages of six fallen American heroes. Limbaugh subsequently decided to expand the merchandise and continue the fundraiser through the end of 2019. On the program, Limbaugh said, “Our fulfillment center is working around the clock. The orders have not stopped coming in. We owe a debt to the people who have participated in this.”
Armstrong & Getty Raise More Than $1 Million for Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station. Sacramento-based, syndicated morning drive duo Armstrong & Getty – Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – announce that the show’s annual “Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station Radiothon” raised approximately $1.2 million to benefit the Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station charity that purchases plane tickets for injured warriors so they can spend the holidays at home and with their families. Getty says, “We feel compelled to give back to those who served our country. We owe it, as Americans, to support these guys.” Armstrong adds, “In all kinds of different ways, WFFS creates a buffer zone between combat and civilian life, providing our injured warriors with sanctuary, a sense of community and the tools they’ll need to rejoin society.”
TALKERS News Notes. The regionally syndicated late morning talk radio show hosted by Erick Erickson begins airing on Cumulus Media’s WMAC-AM, Macon, Georgia, effective December 16. Erickson hosts the afternoon drive show on Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta and he launched the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show in September to focus on Georgia politics and issues. He says, “Macon is home. My family goes to church in Macon. Our kids go to school in Macon. I broadcast from Macon. We live here. Now, I finally have an answer for people when they ask when they can hear me on the radio here.”…..iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles raised a new record of more than $435,000 and 109,000 pounds of pasta during the ninth annual “KFI PastaThon” to benefit Caterina’s Club, a charitable organization that feeds 25,000 underprivileged children, five days a week in more than 30 cities throughout Southern California. During the 17-hour live broadcast on December 6, all KFI – including Bill Handel, Jennifer Jones Lee, Gary Hoffmann, Shannon Farren, John Kobylt, Ken Chiampou, and Tim Conway Jr. were on site at the Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove encouraging listeners to donate money along with pasta and pasta sauce to help feed underprivileged children that live in motels without access to a kitchen…..Count former WEEI, Boston morning drive personality Gerry Callahan as the latest radio host to move into the podcast space. Callahan, who was let go from his longtime morning gig in at the Entercom sports talk station in July, will post new shows Monday through Thursday, beginning January 6. He announced the new venture on Kirk Minihane’s podcast. Callahan and Minihane co-hosted the WEEI morning show for several years before Minihane’s exit from Entercom last year. Callahan says the subtitle of his show will be “Politics, Sports, and Revenge.”…..cabana announces it has inked a deal with Critical Frequency Network to exclusively handle podcast ad sales representation. Critical Frequency was founded by science and gender writer and journalist Amy Westervelt and features a diverse community of hosts – all women, people of color, and/or LGBTQ…..Condolences to the family and friends of former KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning news anchor Bob Kopler, who died yesterday (12/10) at the age of 81. He worked in the Pittsburgh market for more than 40 years and at KDKA from 1988 through his retirement in 2007.
Talking Cryptocurrency on WBZ-AM. On Tuesday (12/10), iHeartMedia all-news WBZ-AM hosted some of Boston’s foremost experts in cryptocurrency to help explain what the savvy businessperson needs to know about the future of commerce. More than 300 WBZ listeners joined the panel for breakfast as WBZ business reporter and AM drive news anchor Jeff Brown moderated the conversation. Pictured above (l-r) are: Brown; Sir John Hargrave, author of Blockchain for Everyone; Christian Catalini, head economist at Calibra; Manasi Vora, head of product strategy at Sia; and Frank Makrides, founder & CEO of Tunnel.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At All Pro Broadcasting’s hot AC KHTI, Riverside “HOT 103.9,” midday host Sabrina Ruiz takes on music director duties, effective immediately. Station PD Rick Shaw comments, “It is with great pleasure that I can announce that Sabrina has accepted the position of ‘HOT 103.9’ music director. Sabrina’s knowledge and passion for the music that we play on ‘HOT’ makes her the perfect person for the task.”…..On-air pro Kayla Morgan joins SummitMedia’s CHR WWST, Knoxville “Star 102.1” as evening personality. Morgan was most recently with Entercom’s Detroit cluster as a personality on adult contemporary WDZH “98.7 The Breeze.” SummitMedia Knoxville market president Chris Protzman states, “We are delighted to welcome Kayla to Knoxville and ‘Star 102.1’ nights. Her personality and passion for the music is infectious. Knoxville is in for a real treat!”