Cumulus Media Names Brian Philips EVP of Content and Audience; Mike McVay to Return to Consulting. Effective today, radio and television executive Brian Philips is being appointed executive vice president, content and audience for Cumulus Media, taking over for Michael McVay, who is returning to full-time consulting, with Cumulus as his first client. Philips previously served as president of Viacom/MTV Network’s CMT channel. The press release notes that there, Philips led “the music network’s successful forays into long-form script series, tentpole awards shows, concert specials, and feature films. He also developed CMT’s successful national radio network.” Prior to working in TV and film, Philips worked in radio programming with such stations as Cumulus’ WNNX-FM and WWWQ-FM in Atlanta, and KPLX-FM, Dallas. Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner says, “We are excited that Brian is joining our leadership team. A highly accomplished executive, leader, and innovator with substantial experience across today’s media landscape, he comes to us with an impressive and successful track record of growing ratings and expanding audiences. We look forward to benefiting from the skills and expertise he brings to his new role. I would also like to thank Mike for his significant contributions to Cumulus and for being such a great partner to me.” McVay underscores that the decision to leave Cumulus and return to consulting was entirely his. In praising McVay, Berner adds, “Mike’s accomplishments since his appointment as EVP, content and programming in 2015 are too numerous to count. To name just a few, under Mike’s leadership of the office of programming, we reversed four years of ratings share declines, and saw years of ratings share growth. We are currently posting the best ratings since 2011 on some of our biggest and most important stations. Mike has helped to expand Westwood One’s programming, participating in the launch of several new shows, including the very successful ‘The Ben Shapiro Show.’ Mike has also led us in increasing our reach beyond over the air listening to include smart speakers and all online listening.”
Monday Memo: Show Me Your Show. On smart talk stations, weekends are appointment listening and might be the two most profitable days of the week, “NOT incompatible goals” according to consultant Holland Cooke. “Yet,” he notes, “programming Saturdays and Sundays can be high-maintenance for stations, and getting airtime is challenging for talent.” In this week’s Monday Memo, HC recommends a win-win road map to weekend airtime. Read it here.
Simonson Named Director of Sales at Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach. Radio sales pro Gregory Simonson is appointed director of sales for Hubbard Radio’s recently acquired West Palm Beach station group that includes news/talk WFTL, Fort Lauderdale and sports talk WMEN, Royal Palm Beach “640 The Hurricane,” and four music-formatted stations. Simonson was most recently general sales manager with Beasley Media Group’s Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster. Hubbard Radio SVP and market manager Elizabeth Hamma states, “I’m very happy to welcome Gregory to the Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach family. His extensive track record of success in traditional and digital media as well as his passion for helping sales people succeed make Gregory a perfect choice to lead our sales team to new heights.” Last fall, Hubbard agreed to acquire the cluster from Alpha Media for $88 million.
‘Our American Stories’ Passes 180-Affiliate Mark. The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program from American Private Radio announces the addition of eight new affiliate stations to the program’s roster, putting over the 180-station mark. APR president and show host Lee Habeeb says, “Stations told us they wanted a radio program that wasn’t always about politics, to give listeners a break from the news cycle. More importantly, they love the topics we share every night, and we take great pride in putting stories together that touch our listeners’ hearts and minds. People walk away feeling better when they listen to ‘Our American Stories.’” New stations include Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis-St. Paul.
TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast is being launched starring iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman, titled, “Math & Magic: Stories From the Frontiers of Marketing,” on the iHeartPodcast Network beginning on May 14. The program will feature interviews with “visionary executives from the media and entertainment industries.” In the first two episodes. Pittman talks with Maurice Levy, who, during his tenure as CEO of Publicis Groupe, increased the value of the company by 100 times and expanded a French agency into a true global advertising and communications leader; and Scooter Braun, renowned talent entrepreneur, investor and entertainment executive who boosted the careers of international superstars such as Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and many others…..Boston Herald-based nationally syndicated columnist and Boston Herald Radio show host Adriana Cohen recently hosted President Trump on her weekly program. Cohen tells TALKERS that the almost-20-minute interview went viral after being picked up by Politico, Boston Globe, Newsweek, Fox News, The Blaze, The Hill, and others…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that staffers at Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM are getting some backing from fellow union members as they negotiate with the company for raises for the newsroom’s eight assistant producers. The Writers Guild of America will rally outside the WBBM studios in the Prudential Building today (5/6)…..Washington University in St. Louis is awarding seven people with honorary degrees at a ceremony during the school’s 2019 commencement on May 17 and one of those is SiriusXM Urban View talk host Joe Madison. The commencement address will be delivered by Michael Bloomberg. Madison graduated from Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in 1971…..WTMJ, Milwaukee cleaned up at the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards Gala in Madison over the weekend. The Good Karma Brands news/talk station won first place in 21 categories, including: News/Talk Large Market Station of the Year, Radio News Operation of the Year (Large Market); Social and Digital Operation of the Year (Large market); Best Newscast: Wisconsin’s Afternoon News; and more. Pictured below with the station’s awards are WTMJ staffers (from l-r): Nick Van Wagenen, Erik Bilstad, Jordan Gasiorowski, Steve Wexler, Steve Scaffidi, Jane Matenaer, Jay Sorgi, Brad Lane, Doug Russell, Melissa Barclay, and Mike Spaulding.
Mueller Report/Trump on Mueller Testimony, 2020 Presidential Politics, China Trade War Escalation, U.S.-Iran Tensions, North Korea Missile Test, Israel-Gaza Violence, ‘Game of Thrones,’ Avengers: Endgame, Kentucky Derby Disqualification, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of the release of the Mueller Report and President Trump’s tweets saying Robert Mueller should not testify before congress; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; markets react as Trump threatens to ramp up U.S.-China trade war; U.S. carrier group heads to Iran in response to reports of Iranian threats to U.S. interests in the region; reaction to North Korea’s latest missile test; the rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza; Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones”; the Avengers: Endgame movie sets new record; the Kentucky Derby winner is disqualified; and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
George Beasley Inducted into PA Radio Hall of Fame. Pictured above is Beasley Broadcast Group founder and chairman George Beasley at center with his wife Ann and surrounded by their family at the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters’ 2019 Gold Medal Awards Dinner yesterday (5/5) in Hershey where he was inducted into the PAB’s Hall of Fame. Beasley was inducted with fellow honorees: comic and actor/director Bob Saget, Pittsburgh Steelers great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis, and C-SPAN correspondent Steve Scully.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Los Angeles alternative rocker KROQ announces the debut of the afternoon drive “Stryker and Klein” program featuring Ted Stryker (left) and Kevin Klein (right). Entercom Los Angeles SVP and market manager Jeff Federman says, “Pairing Stryker and Klein is something we could never have imagined just a few years ago. Individually, they’ve both had tremendous success throughout their careers. Adding great content to our afternoon programming is something that we’re very committed to and these guys do a fantastic job connecting the music to fun and interesting conversations.” Stryker has been with the station since 1999. Klein hosted mornings on the company’s KITS-FM, San Francisco “Live 105.” He was slated to be the morning host at sports talk KWFN, San Diego but the infamous Coronado Bridge social media post bit derailed his gig on that station…..The search is on for the new morning show at Entercom’s country WUSN, Chicago “US99” after Doug Stylz and Justin Roman exited the station on Friday (5/3). The duo previously hosted the morning show at sister CHR WBBM-FM, “B96” before taking on the morning show role at “US99.”…..Premiere Networks-syndicated evening personality Delilah recently hosted the “Our Town, Our Heroes Celebration,” a local event recognizing listeners for their outstanding work in the Wilmington, Delaware area, produced by Beasley-owned affiliate WJBR, Wilmington “Mix 99.5.” In addition to helping honor local citizen’s Delilah was surprised by WJBR as the station honored her for her philanthropic efforts with her non-profit foundation, Point Hope, that serves as a voice for forgotten children in the U.S. foster care system and in West Africa.
Damon Bruce Renews with ’95.7 The Game’ in San Francisco. Sports talk pro Damon Bruce and Entercom Communications agree to a new multi-year contract to keep him hosting afternoon drive on KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game.” Entercom San Francisco SVP and market manager Gregory Nemitz comments, “Damon Bruce is an iconic Bay Area sports voice who has been an important part of The Game’s surge in popularity. We are beyond thrilled that with this new extension Damon will continue to keep us growing and thriving.” Bruce started his sports talk career at crosstown KNBR. He’s served with SiriusXM, ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio, and CBS Sports Network. He joined KGMZ in 2014.
Dan Bickley Is ‘All-In’ at Bonneville’s ArizonaSports.com and KMVP-FM. Phoenix sports media pro Dan Bickley (left) is digging in at Bonneville’s operations in the Valley. The longtime local sports columnist is moving his columns and all of his written content to the company’s digital platform, ArizonaSports.com. Simultaneously, Bonneville is adding two hours to the “Bickley and Marotta” sports talk show he co-hosts with Vince Marotta (right). The program airs from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm currently but will start at 10:00 am, effective April 23. (It appears this move means the current 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show “The Blitz with B-Train and Jurecki” [Bertrand Berry and Mike Jurecki] is cancelled.) Bickely states, “I’m ecstatic to join a team as talented and powerful as Arizona Sports. It’s a blessing to have an on-air partner like Vince Marotta, to work alongside the most engaging personalities in Arizona, and to bring my column to one of the fastest growing platforms in the country.” Bickley has been covering sports in the market for 20 years with the Arizona Republic and AZCentral Sports.
Mike Hartel Rises to EVP for Alpha Media’s Mid-Atlantic Region. Radio management pro Mike Hartel is promoted to executive vice president for Alpha Media’s Mid-Atlantic Region that includes the Dayton, Ohio; Columbia, South Carolina; Canton, Ohio; Fredericksburg, Virginia; Hagerstown-Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; and Bluefield, West Virginia markets. Spoken-word stations in that region include: sports talk WOIC-AM, Columbia, news/talk WNTX, Fredericksburg, and sports talk WING-AM, Dayton. Alpha Media CEO/president Bob Proffitt says, “Mike has demonstrated leadership skills surpassing our expectations from day one of joining the company and he has the unique ability to inspire and mentor those around him. I’m delighted to promote him into this role working side-by-side with our other regional EVP’s: Bill McElveen, Larry Bastida, and George Pelletier.”
Why Does Talk Radio Struggle? Answer: It Doesn’t. Talk show host and Talk40.com News publisher Bryan Crabtree writes in a piece for TALKERS magazine that talk radio is as strong as it ever was. He says that when moments of controversy on a talk station arise, the only “sales problems” stations have are created because “we allow sales departments to run our programming in moments like these.” Furthermore, Crabtree says no one can sell conservative talk radio better than the people who understand it and those people are the hosts. “I was recently having a philosophical conversation with a programmer in a top-50 market who told me that ‘we generally don’t want our talent out doing any sales [activities] in markets this size…so they can focus on their shows.’ I was stunned!” Read Crabtree’s entire piece here.
PodcastOne Announces Three New Publisher Deals. Podcast giant PodcastOne announces the network’s newest talent partners. The entertainment site Collider teams with PodcastOne to amplify distribution and advertising sales for their five movie and television-themed podcasts. Three-time NBA champ BJ Armstrong joins PodcastOne SportsNet to host “In the Key” with Sirius XM’s Gerald Brown. That weekly show provides insider conversation on the cultural beats of the moment, from basketball to hip hop. Finally, “Bubba’s Exotic Motorsports” launches featuring the award-winning, father-and-son car-building team, Bubba and Tom. Their weekly podcast for car enthusiasts debuts April 15.
TALKERS News Notes. WABC, New York morning hosts Bernard McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg were paid a visit by President Donald Trump. POTUS called the station to chat with “Bernie & Sid” about a number of hot topics. He also congratulated the two on succeeding the “Imus in the Morning” program on the legendary Cumulus Media station. Listen to the segment here…..Houston-based Patrick Creighton begins hosting the late night “Straight Heat with Patrick Creighton” on SB Nation Radio from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET beginning Monday (4/9). Creighton co-hosts the midday “Nate and Creight” show on Gow Media-owned KFNC-HD2/K231CN “Sportsmap 94.1.” Creighton says, “I am really excited to bring my unique blend of sports, entertainment, and fun every night to SB Nation Radio. It’s an incredible challenge, but one I am eagerly awaiting. I’d like to thank David Gow and Craig Larson for this amazing opportunity.”
Price: Are You Ready for Today’s 10 Plagues? Broadcast continuity expert Howard B. Price – who served with ABC/Disney for many years as director of business continuity & crisis management – says you can use the 10 plagues Biblical story as metaphor for what a concerned broadcaster must prepare in order to prevent an unstoppable event from ruining your ability to serve your listeners and, of course, advertisers. Price says the tale “mirrors our ongoing struggles to convince managers that at one time or another, very bad things will have dramatically negative impacts on their operations. And more likely as not, those bad events will cascade, causing even more catastrophic business impacts. Which is why we really should listen to and act upon the warnings we’re given, whether we like them or not.” Read his piece here.
Trump-Russia Investigation Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 2-6. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the ‘immigrant caravan’ making its way through Mexico tied with President Trump’s order to have the U.S. military protect the Southern border. Coming in at #3 was the U.S.-China tariff threats and the related financial markets activity, followed by the feud between FOX News Channel’s Laura Ingraham and Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
KXNT, Las Vegas, Afternoon Drive Host Alan Stock Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. It has been slightly more than six months since the terrible Las Vegas shooting rocked the nation. However, in today’s rapidly accelerating, increasingly frenzied news and communications environment, it might as well have been six years ago. This observation is especially apt considering the continuing series of events involving senseless and random violence assaulting the public’s collective consciousness. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison catches up with veteran talk show host of Entercom news/talker KXNT, Las Vegas, Alan Stock. Together they revisit the tragedy of October 1, 2017 and discuss it from the perspective of a talk station where the event was a mind-numbing local news happening and one that still permeates the thoughts and memories of its audience. On this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview,” Alan Stock recounts the radio station’s response on the night of the massacre and the days, weeks and months that followed. Harrison and Stock also talk about the impact Donald Trump is having on news/talk radio, the state of journalism and the American conservative movement. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on “The Michael Harrison Interview” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that hip hop jock and VJ Ed Lover is destined to be the new morning personality on Entercom’s urban contemporary WBMX “104.3 Jams.” Lover rose to prominence as host of “Yo! MTV Raps” back in the 1990s. Most recently he was serving with Radio One’s “Boom 102.9” in Atlanta as morning host. Feder says the station will make the announcement next week…..“Brooke & Jubal” co-host Brooke Fox (pictured below) was honored at 425 Magazine’s “Women to Watch” event at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Washington. The Premiere Networks-syndicated personality was among five women who were recognized as “change-makers for their dedication to moving the needle forward and making America stronger and more adaptable for the next generation.”
Cumulus Media Promotes Three to Executive Vice President. Three current Cumulus Media executives are promoted to newly created EVP positions: Mike McVay rises from senior vice president, content & programming to executive vice president, content & programming; Dave Milner, moves up from senior vice president, operations to executive vice president, operations; and Bob Walker is elevated from senior vice president, operations to executive vice president, operations. Cumulus Media president and chief executive officer Mary Berner states, “These promotions recognize the strong performance of these key members of our senior leadership team. Mike, Dave and Bob are terrific executives and have each been instrumental to the success we’ve achieved during the first year of executing our turnaround plan for the company.”
Ryan Wrecker Joins KMOX, St. Louis as ‘Overnight America’ Host. Talk radio pro Ryan Wrecker moves from his most recent gig as PD at Pathfinder Communications’ WOWO, Fort Wayne to CBS RADIO’s heritage St. Louis news/talker KMOX to host the station’s late-night program, “Overnight America,” beginning Monday (4/17). The program airs from 10:00 pm to 3:00 am. KMOX program director Steve Moore comments, “Ryan is a passionate advocate of local radio who comes to us from a legacy station and brings a great appreciation for KMOX and its role in the community. In addition, Ryan understands how creating unique digital and social media content can quickly expand his reach in the market and grow his listener base.” Speaking about his new gig, Wrecker states, “We’re going to have fun on ‘Overnight America.’ It’s a show that’s inclusive to new voices and topics. Every night we will present fresh and unique ideas to the audience and explore them in a way that’s different from any other radio show.” The “Overnight America” show had been hosted by Jon Grayson, who exited KMOX in February to host the midday show at crosstown news/talk KTRS.
Kaplan Promoted to Marketing Director for Cumulus Media Dallas. For the past two years, Rebecca Kaplan has been promotions director for Cumulus Media’s Dallas country signals KSCS and KPLX “99.5 The Wolf.” Now, she is promoted to marketing director for the seven-station cluster that includes news/talk WBAP, news/talk KLIF-AM, sports talker KTCK-AM and KESN-FM, and CHR KLIF-FM “HOT 93.3.” Cumulus regional vice president Dan Bennett states, “Rebecca has proven herself with outstanding event execution for our country stations KPLX and KSCS. Our seven-station cluster will benefit greatly from her involvement in the future with all our stations.”
TALKERS News Notes. The NBA Playoffs begin this weekend and ESPN Radio is presenting its coverage starting with the Cavaliers versus the Pacers Saturday at 2:00 pm ET. Marc Kestecher and Jon Barry will call the action. Sunday’s contest will be the Warriors vs Trailblazers with Adam Amin and P.J. Carlesimo on the call…..When the NHL’s new franchise the Vegas Golden Knights takes to the ice next fall, Lotus Communications’ KRLV, Las Vegas “FOX Sports 1340” will serve as the flagship station for radio. Lotus plans to begin simulcasting the station on FM translator K255CT, Henderson, Nevada. As part of the deal, some of the games will also be broadcast in Spanish on Lotus’ KENO-AM “1460 ESPN Deportes.”…..In podcasting news, Apple is changing the name of its podcast platform from “iTunes Podcasts” to “Apple Podcasts.”…..TALKERS magazine sends condolences to the family and friends of longtime Cleveland sports media personality Kendall Lewis, a.k.a. The BSK — the Big Sports Kahuna, who died on April 11 at the age of 56. Lewis’ most recent work was on digital platforms, but for years he was a host on sports talk WKNR, Cleveland “ESPN 850.” He also was a fixture at FOX Sports Net Ohio and served with WOIO-TV, Cleveland.
U.S.-Russia Relations/Syria Gas Attack Top News/Talk Stories This Week. The tense relations between the U.S. and Russia over the Syria sarin attack and the U.S.’s airstrikes in Syria were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of April 10-14. At #2 this week was the North Korea nuclear missile threats. Coming in at #3 was the United Airlines passenger removal case and the resulting PR blowback, followed by the FBI’s monitoring of Trump adviser Carter Page 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
Michael Harrison Interviews Judy Collins on this Week’s Podcast. Folk singing/pop music legend Judy Collins is this week’s special guest on the award-winning PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” In the words of Harrison, “Although she sings like an angel and performed on a number of hits and concert stages across the nation, creating a total of more than 50 albums along the way – not to mention authoring books, painting, and even directing a film – she lived a deeply troubled existence. We’re talking about severe depression and emotional disturbance that nearly drove her to suicide. We’re talking about substance abuse and eating disorders…and on top of everything, coping with the suicide of her son in 1992.” The TALKERS founder continues, “This amazing woman has survived to not only overcome these challenges but to be of great service and help to others, as well. She is a tireless advocate of those who suffer from similar emotional afflictions and has made significant contributions in bringing public awareness of mental illness out of the shadows and into the open.” On April 27, in recognition of her service to others, Collins will receive the 2017 Beatrice Stern Media Award at a major gathering in Los Angeles – The Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards. It is an annual event thrown by Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, a leading non-profit provider of free community mental health and substance abuse services for children and adults for over 75 years. Harrison and Collins engage in a remarkably candid and informative discussion about the state of mental illness in our healthcare system and culture. They also talk about the early days of her career, her relationship with rock legend Stephen Stills and her storied connection to his Crosby, Stills and Nash masterpiece, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Audio content syndicator Westwood One is partnering with dick clark productions to help promote the 2017 Billboard Music Awards and offer its broadcast partners branded, long-form and short-form content and promotions. Westwood One will welcome more than 20 radio stations to its Westwood One Backstage at the BBMAs event with live performances and celebrity interviews during rehearsals the day before the 2017 Billboard Music Awards (Saturday, May 20) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Talent taking part in the Saturday event include WPLJ, New York personality Jayde Donovan; WPLJ and WPRO-FM, Providence host Ralphie Aversa; and syndicated personalities Adam Bomb and Zach Sang…..The three urban-formatted Philadelphia stations owned by iHeartMedia – urban contemporary WDAS-FM “Philly’s Best R&B & Throwbacks,” hip hop WUSL “Power 99,” and smooth jazz WDAS-AM “Smooth Jazz ‘JJZ 1480” – are organizing the inaugural “Sista Strut 3K Breast Cancer Walk” taking place on Saturday, June 17 at Xfinity Live! in Philadelphia. Proceeds will benefit The American Association for Cancer Research. The stations note that the walk aims to raise breast cancer awareness among African American women, who are 41% more likely to die from the disease than white women, making screenings and early detection crucial. WDAS-FM personality Frankie Darcell comments, “As one of the founders of Detroit’s ‘Sista Strut,’ I’m ecstatic that nearly 20 years later the event will be held in our Philadelphia community.”…..Country KNIX, Phoenix and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire are cooperating on a “Rise From The Fire” Concert Flyaway Sweepstakes. Consumers ages 21+ can enter for a chance to win a trip for two to New York for a benefit concert featuring a top music act. The event concludes an 11-city iHeartRadio concert series to benefit firefighters and communities affected by fire. The Phoenix stop in the concert series will feature national recording artist, Brett Young, and will take place on April 19 at the Hall of Flame Fire Museum. The sweepstakes and concert series are part of an effort by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire to raise funds in support of the Fire Family Foundation, an organization that offers immediate assistance to firefighters and their families, fire victims, fire departments and charities. The Foundation believes that by coming together as a “Fire Family,” assistance can be provided by those impacted by fire.