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Thursday, September 26, 2019

| September 26, 2019

‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ – Day 2.  Pictured above is conservative writer and media figure Ann Coulter (left) speaking on the air with Bill Meyer of KMED-AM, Medford, Oregon (right) at the 13th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row, presented by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill.  This year, 72 talk radio hosts are taking part in the radio row, debating immigration policy, interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists, administration officials, and those who live and work along the Southern border.

WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans Talk Host Seth Dunlap to Sue Entercom; Company Brings Police into Anti-Gay Slur Incident.  WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans owner Entercom released a statement yesterday (9/25) regarding its investigation into the use of the station’s Twitter account to publish a gay slur about station sports talk host Seth Dunlap on September 10.  At the same time, Dunlap’s lawyer – Megan Kiefer – released a long public statement implying that Entercom has not shown Dunlap any proof of its investigation into trying to find the perpetrator and concludes saying they are preparing a suit against Entercom. (Read that in Kevin Allman’s piece in Gambit.)  Dunlap has been on leave from the station since September 12.  However, Entercom says in its statement, in part: “WWL has completed its investigation into the highly offensive, unauthorized tweet sent from WWL’s Twitter account on September 10, which directed a homophobic slur at Seth Dunlap.  WWL conducted this investigation with the assistance of and external digital forensic firm and outside counsel, and expended considerable internal resources both in New Orleans and on our corporate staff.  We determined that the most appropriate next step is to involve law enforcement.  At this point, the investigation is in the hands of law enforcement and it is not appropriate for us to comment any further on the substance of our findings.”  Kiefer says in her statement that Dunlap has taken and passed a polygraph test indicating he is not responsible for the tweet and, in promising the lawsuit, she adds that Dunlap has endured a “history of discrimination” during his eight years with the station.

Alpha Media and Salem Media Group Content to Be Available on Entercom’s RADIO.COM. The content distribution partnerships between Entercom’s RADIO.COM and broadcasting companies Alpha Media and Salem Media Group will put live channels for all of Alpha’s and Salem’s radio stations on the digital platform and provide a destination for the companies’ on-demand audio and podcasts.  Entercom’s growth of the RADIO.COM platform beyond hosting just its own content is seen in recent content distribution agreements with CNN, Bloomberg Media, Cox Media Group, and Bonneville.  Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “These partnerships further position RADIO.COM as the premiere destination for live and on-demand audio news, entertainment, music and sports content in markets all across the U.S.”  Alpha Media content to be available on RADIO.COM includes livestream broadcasts from 183 stations in 12 markets. Salem Media Group content to be available on the digital platform includes livestreams from their portfolio of 115 radio stations, including 73 stations in the nation’s top 25 markets and 25 stations in the top 10, and over 700 podcasts. Salem Media Group will also partner with RADIO.COM to reach listeners directly and share information about local events, programming and promotions from their portfolio of stations.

‘WOR Live’ at The Cutting Room.  Pictured above are WOR, New York personalities and their guests who appeared in the second installment of “WOR Live,” yesterday (9/25) at The Cutting Room in New York City.  They had a spirited conversation about some of the day’s top stories, their radio careers, what has changed in radio in recent years, and how news reporting has changed in the wake of 9/11.  From left to right are: WABC-TV reporter Toni Yates, WOR personalities Mark Simone, Joe Bartlett, Len Berman, Michael Riedel, Joe Concha, and WABC-TV reporter N.J. Burkett.

Seen and Heard at the NAB/RAB Radio Show. TALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay checks in from the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas in which he reports on the “2020 and Beyond: Insights from the Top” session with executives from top radio companies, as well as thoughts about monetizing podcasting and terrestrial radio in the era of media convergence.  Read his report here.

TALKERS News Notes. On the same day that e-cigarette manufacturer Juul announced it is suspending all marketing efforts in the wake of the recent deaths being attributed to vaping, Entercom sent an internal email to its sales force that it is no longer accepting advertising for vaping products.  Earlier this week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a public health emergency and banned the sale of all vaping products for four months…..The new podcast from Lemonada is titled, “Last Day,” and is hosted by Lemonada co-founder Stephanie Wittels Wachs.  The program addresses the opioid crisis – reported to have taken 72,000 lives in the U.S. in 2017 – focusing on the last day of a victim’s life.  Wachs lost her brother Harris to opioid addiction.  She says, “We’re telling my brother’s story because it’s emblematic of so many stories of people taken too soon by this disease, and we think demystifying one person’s last day and their overall experience will help remove the stigma and shine light on solutions.”…..Season 4 of iHeartRadio’s Original Music Podcast, “Disgraceland” – produced and hosted by Jake Brenan – premieres today (9/26) on the iHeartPodcast Network.  iHeartMedia says, “In the first episode of the musical true crime podcast, Brenan covers hip hop legends N.W.A., the self-proclaimed, ‘most dangerous hip hop group in America.’  Other programs this season include and examination of: Led Zeppelin and the dangers of the band’s guitarist, Jimmy Page; the story behind Madonna’s difficult and deeply saddening rise to fame; and even explores Eric Clapton’s drug addiction and his murderous drummer.”

Trump-Ukraine Controversy/Impeachment Inquiry, 2020 Presidential Election, Brexit Chaos, Jacques Chirac Dies, and Joker Screening Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/25). The controversy over President Donald Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the Democrats’ move to begin an impeachment inquiry; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the political chaos in Britain over Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy; the death of former French President Jacques Chirac; and the reports of possible threats of violence and public screenings of the new film, The Joker, were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Charlotte Job Opportunity. In the Charlotte, North Carolina market, Entercom is seeking a part-time news anchor for news/talk WBT-AM/FM.  The company posts the following job description: “You’re an engaging, experienced on-air personality.  You’re a great storyteller.  You know how to get to the heart of a story and make it relatable to the listener. You’re never satisfied with knowing just the “Who?, What?, Where?, and When?” of a story; you always seek to know, “Why?”  If this sounds like you, News Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT Charlotte would like to hear from you.”  Get more information and apply here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In New York City, iHeartMedia names Greg T the new co-host for the morning show on hot AC WTKU.  The new “Carolina with Greg T in the Morning Show” debuts on October 9.   Carolina Bermudez says, “After a summer of having the opportunity to share the studio with some of the best and brightest on-air hosts across the country, it just made sense to welcome my brother Greg T to the KTU family.  I couldn’t be happier and can’t wait to welcome him to his new radio home!”  Greg T has been a part of the Elvis Duran show for the past 23 years.  As he moves across the hall to his new gig, Duran says, “Greg T is a major part of our show’s 25-year success story and I will miss him dearly.  We applaud his courage and determination to keep moving forward. I am so proud of him!”…..iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNR, Las Vegas “Sunny 106.5” names AJ Maguire morning drive personality in which he joins the station’s Joanna Baumann for the “AJ and Joanna Morning Show.”  iHeartMedia SVP of programming Tony Matteo says, “We’re excited to have AJ anchoring morning drive on ‘Sunny 106.5.’  Adding AJ’s skill as a storyteller and entertainer to the already strong ‘Sunny 106.5’ Las Vegas brand puts the station in the perfect position for growth and success.”  Maguire joins the station from Cox Media Group, where he most recently served as the afternoon host for country WWKA and classic hits WMMO in Orlando for the past three years…..Entercom’s hot AC WSTR, Atlanta “Star 94.1” names programming pro Jerry McKenna program director, effective September 30.  McKenna was most recently with Cape Cod Broadcasting as director of programming.  He previously served with Entercom in Springfield and Boston, Massachusetts.  Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “I am excited for Jerry McKenna to bring his breadth of knowledge to ‘Star 94.1.’  His insight and experience will be invaluable as we continue to deliver the engaging content Atlanta listeners deserve and expect from our station.”…..Skyview Networks announces “The Dana Cortez Show” is added to the program schedule at Riviera Broadcast Group’s hip hop KKFR-FM, Mayer, Arizona (Phoenix market).   This is the first top 15 market station to add the show to its lineup…..Sun Broadcast Group reports the Michael Baisden show is back on the air in his hometown of Chicago on dance-formatted W236CF, Chicago/W236CG, Bolingbrook “95.1 FM Club Steppin.”…..Townsquare Media Billings, Montana brings Michael Foth aboard as brand manager for classic rock KMHK “103.7 The Hawk.”  He says, “Reaching people on digital platforms is something that was only imagined by most terrestrial broadcast companies 10 or 15 years ago.  Radio is in the middle of a unique transformation and Townsquare Media is a leader in the industry.  I’m excited to be a part of this evolution.”

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

| September 25, 2019

Newsmax TV Announces Major Expansion and Seeks Talent and Staff. Chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy says Newsmax has spent the past several years building out the Newsmax TV network’s distribution and they are close to “mission accomplished.”  As a result, Newsmax TV is expanding and hiring dozens of producers, bookers, correspondents, anchors, and show hosts.  Newsmax tells TALKERS magazine that it has signed with all major cable carriers – including DirecTV, Xfinity, Dish, Fios, U-verse, Spectrum, Optimum, and dozens of others – putting Newsmax TV in more than 70 million U.S. cable homes.  Newsmax has been experiencing meteoric growth and Ruddy says he believes there’s room for more conservatives in American media.  He states, “I like FOX News Channel, but we believe the country needs more conservative voices, not less.  Imagine if there was just one conservative website or just one talk radio network.”  Ruddy says the network’s goals are to beef up news and programming shows as 2020 nears.  The TV operation is based in New York and interested parties sould send their resumes to jobs@newsmax.com.

FAIR Kicks Off 13th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row.  Some 60-plus radio talk show hosts from around the nation are gathered in Washington, DC for the 13th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row.  The event, presented by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), is taking place today and tomorrow (9/25-26) at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill.  As in years past, this gathering brings together talk hosts from across the nation to broadcast live while debating immigration policy, interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists, administration officials, and those who live and work along the Southern border.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is among the guests being interviewed at the event, personally appearing on more than 25 local and network programs during the two-day marathon.  Harrison is pictured below with Gordon Deal, host of the Compass Media Networks tremendously successful “This Morning – America’s First News” show at an opening reception presented by the company last night (9/24) at the world famous Irish pub, The Dubliner, located adjacent to the hotel.

KMG Networks to Syndicate Chris Hahn Show in 2020. Currently, in addition to work as a contributor to FOX News, lawyer and author Chris Hahn hosts a weekly, two-hour talk show on JVC Media’s WRCN, Long Island “103.9 FM LI News Radio” that airs from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm on Thursday nights.  Now, Krantz Media Group Networks, announces a new partnership with Hahn to syndicate his show nationally.  Hahn says, “I’m excited to be partnering with [KMG CEO] Gary [Krantz] and KMG to bring my show to a broader national audience.  2020 is going to be the most consequential year in recent American political history and I’m looking forward to the national conversation we are about to have regarding the future of our nation.”  Krantz says, “For years, listeners, advertisers, and radio programmers, have asked me when we will see another powerful progressive radio voice on the radio.  Now we have it. Chris speaks to a new generation of listeners who now want to identify with an aggressive, intelligent, and entertaining point of view.  He is well respected on both sides of the aisle and appears regularly on conservative radio and TV programs well.”

Cox Media Group Names Katie Reid to Lead Jacksonville Radio Group. Sales and management pro Katie Reid is promoted to vice president and general manager for Cox Media Group’s Jacksonville radio stations that include news/talk WOKV-FM and sports talk WOKV-AM, as well as six music brands.   She has been serving CMG as executive director of revenue.  Current Jacksonville VP/GM Bob Longo remains in the market overseeing the company’s two TV stations, WFOX-TV and WJAX-TV.  CMG EVP Bill Hendrich states, “Katie is a dynamic leader who inspires her teams and everyone around her to reach their fullest potential.  Paired with her extensive background and strategic vision, I am confident Katie and her talented team will continue to grow and deliver the best news and entertainment in Jacksonville.”

Jason Meder to Manage Orlando Radio Assets for Cox Media Group. In the Orlando market, Cox Media Group separates its TV and radio management as in the Jacksonville story above.  Paul Briggs moves south from the company’s Atlanta offices where he was VP of content and broadcast operations to become VP/GM for Orlando television stations WFTV-TV and WRDQ-TV.  Meanwhile, Jason Meder continues his vice president and general manager position, leading the company’s radio outlets in Orlando that include news/talk WDBO-FM “News 96.5” and sports talk WDBO-AM “ESPN 580 Orlando.”  Meder says, “The CMG Orlando radio team is a talent-rich group that I am fortunate to get to work with every single day.  I am confident that our continued partnership with TV will yield even greater results as we forge ahead.”

MSN and Radio Ink Radio Sales Compensation Study Results Are In. The results of the 2019 Radio Sales Compensation Study from Media Staffing Network (MSN) and radio trade publication Radio Ink are in.  The press release says, “The study’s findings provide useful insights that help radio owners, operators, and managers develop competitive compensation packages and sharpen their budgeting process.”  Over a three-week period, the study surveyed 334 respondents, of which 72.5% were managers and 27.5% were sellers.  Representing a wide range of market sizes from across the country, 29.3% were from top 20 markets, 15.9% from markets 21-50, 6.3% from markets 51-70, and the largest amount, 48.5%, came from markets 75+.  Among the findings is that 27.5% of stations surveyed have sellers earning $150,000-plus while only 12.6% have their highest seller earning what is also the radio station average of $40,000 to $59,000.  MSN founder and CEO Laurie Kahn says, “Recruiting and hiring the best candidates is crucial to generating revenue success.  It all starts with the recruitment process and culminates in offering compensation packages that compete successfully in the current marketplace.  With relocation extremely difficult, stations need to recruit more in their markets, often out of radio.  We’re grateful to Radio Ink for their support in delivering this important study to radio.  I look forward to partnering again next year so we can track changes in the compensation of sellers going forward.”  See the results of the study here.

Seen and Heard at the Radio ShowTALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay reports from the 2019 NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas and says that a lot of the talk in the halls – not to mention in the panels and presentations themselves – revolves around podcasting.  NAB EVP of communications Dennis Wharton says, “We have a lot of sessions on podcasting this year.  People see the growth of listenership and the monetization of podcasting is now taking root.  The reason the NAB is doing so much this year here is it gives people more ways to learn, network ideas, create potential business relationships.  It’s clearly something that’s on everybody’s mind in the industry right now.”  Read Jeff McKay’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. Comedian and former U.S. Senator Al Franken is getting back in the talk show game with a weekly talk show on SiriusXM’s Progress channel, beginning this Saturday (9/28).  The hourlong program will air at 10:00 am ET.  SiriusXM says the show “will feature the five-time Emmy winner hosting thought-provoking conversations with headliners and experts in the fields of politics, entertainment, media, technology, global affairs, and more.”  Franken says, “I’m excited to be back on SiriusXM, which carried my Air America show back in the day.  Listeners can expect a mix of guests from my comedian friends like Chris Rock, to my political pals like former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to policy experts on the issues in play in 2020.  When I’m interviewing Harry or former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, I’ll be the funny one.  When I interview Rock or Patton Oswalt, I’ll be the one who served eight-and-a-half years in the Senate.”…..With the new iOS13 update for the iPhone, Entercom announces a collaboration with Apple to integrate its portfolio of news, sports, and music stations into the iOS13 software so that they are available via Apple Music and Siri.  Entercom chairman, president and CEO David Field says, “Today marks an exciting new day in audio.  We are delighted to partner with Apple to provide listeners with enhanced access to our lineup of many of the country’s leading radio brands and personalities and other rich audio content.  By integrating radio directly into their latest technology, Apple sends a clear message about the importance of local radio, the country’s number one reach medium.”…..Also from Entercom, the company appoints Elizabeth Bramowski chief accounting officer and controller.  In this role, Bramowski will oversee corporate accounting functions including regulatory reporting, accounting policy and corporate tax.  She joined the company in June of 2018 as VP of business operations.  Prior to that, she served with PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP for 15 years…..Pictured below are Salem Radio Network v.p./News& Talk Programming Tom Tradup (left) and Westwood One late night talk radio legend Jim Bohannon (right) huddling under an image of Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas as they react to House Democrats launching a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

Trump Impeachment Inquiry, 2020 Presidential Race, Trump at UN, Climate Change, Brexit Chaos, Mass. Vaping Ban, and Joker Film Violence Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24). The Democrats’ move to begin an impeachment inquiry into President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the president addresses the UN General Assembly; the UN climate change speech by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg; the political chaos in Britain over Boris Johnson’s Brexit tactics; Massachusetts puts a four-month ban on the sale of vaping products; and criticism of the violence in the soon-to-be-released film, The Joker, 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 Kansas City, Cumulus Media brings programming pro Jowcol “Boogie D” Dolby aboard as PD for urban AC KMJK “Magic 107.3.”  Dolby was most recently with Radio One’s Detroit station group as OM/PD for WGPR, WPZR and WDMK.  Cumulus Kansas City RVP and market manager Donna Baker states, “Boogie D brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion to win to our outstanding ‘Magic 107.3’ team.  We are fortunate to have his creativity and leadership as we continue robust growth generating results for advertisers and even more focus serving our listeners in the KC community.”…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia names Matt Michaels digital program director for its six radio stations.  iHeartMedia Philadelphia RVP of programming Brian Check states, “Matt has already proven he is a leader and is well respected by both programming and sales.  Five years ago, he made an immediate mark as an intern and it has been incredibly rewarding to watch him grow and step into this new role.”…..Musician and “Tonight Show” musical director Questlove partners with iHeartMedia to bring new seasons of his podcast “Questlove Supreme” to the iHeartPodcast Network.  In addition, the famed Roots drummer will hand curate and produce a new slate of iHeartRadio Original content, that will go beyond just music, early next year.  Previous guests on “Questlove Supreme” have included Usher, Michelle Obama, Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph, Weird Al, Chaka Khan, and many more.