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Monday, November 18, 2019

| November 18, 2019

Talk Host Craig Silverman and KNUS, Denver Have Different Takes on His Departure.  Only this appears to be agreed upon by former Denver chief deputy district attorney Craig Silverman and Salem Media Group’s news/talk KNUS, Denver – he exited during his Saturday program.  Silverman claims he was ousted in the middle of his show after a segment critical of President Trump aired.  But KNUS general manager Brian Taylor tells FOX 31 Denver that he was removed after appearing on a competing station.  Taylor says, “He decided that it was important to work across town and so on Saturday on his program he announced that, and that’s what prompted our decision to take him off the air.  The notion that he was relieved from his program because he criticized President Trump is absolutely untrue.  We’ve never told Mr. Silverman the position to take on his impeachment.”

Monday Memo: What’s really ‘Official?’ With AM/FM broadcasters now competing with SO many audio competitors, the timing couldn’t be worse to blend-into the blah-blah-blah with dated-sounding station imaging.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke warns against what he calls “the most-abused word” in promo copy.  Read it here.

iHeartMedia Announces $500 Million Private Offering. Via a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission,iHeartMedia, Inc. announces its intent to offer, $500 million aggregate principal amount of Senior Secured Notes due January 2028 in a private offering to qualified institutional buyers.  Proceeds from the notes – guaranteed on a senior secured basis by iHeartCommunications’ direct parent, iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC, and the subsidiaries of iHeartCommunications that guarantee iHeartCommunications’ term loan facility – are intended (together with cash on hand) “to prepay at par a portion of the outstanding borrowings under its term loan facility, to pay accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but excluding, the date of prepayment, and to pay fees and expenses related to the offering of the Notes and the use of proceeds therefrom.”

Dunlap Maintains Innocence; Has New Attorney. On Friday (11/15), the Times-Picayune’s Ramon Antonio Vargas wrote an updated story on the case of former WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans sports talk host Seth Dunlap, who was fired from the Entercom station on October 31 in the aftermath of in investigation into the September 10 posting of a gay slur on the radio station’s Twitter account.  If you’ve been following this story, you are aware that Entercom, based on its own investigation, believes Dunlap sent the text himself several days after posting to his own Facebook page an open letter to New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees complaining about Brees’ work with Focus on the Family, an organization that is not LGBTQ-friendly.  Dunlap also went public with his own struggles in the radio biz as an openly gay man.  Several days later the anti-gay slur appeared on the WWL Twitter feed.  Entercom turned the investigation over to the New Orleans Police Department and recently, a judge denied the NOPD a warrant for Dunlap’s arrest on extortion charges.  The request for a warrant was based in part on WWL’s statement that Dunlap sought $1.8 million from the station for him to drop his planned lawsuit against it for allowing a hostile workplace.  Dunlap has since changed lawyers.  Megan Kiefer no longer represents him.  Dunlap tells the Times-Picayune that Billy Gibbens is his attorney.  Another new development is that Dunlap says he no longer has the iPhone from which WWL and police believe he accessed the station’s Twitter account.  The NOPD says their investigation is ongoing and Dunlap says he is still considering suing the station.

Jimmy de Castro ‘Retiring’ from Entercom. In a memo to staffers last Friday, Entercom COO Weezie Kramer announced that Jimmy de Castro – senior vice president and market manager for the company’s Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison station groups – is retiring from his position with the company.  He’s expected to leave in mid-December.  Kramer says of de Castro in her memo, “Jimmy was tasked with breathing new energy and positivity into the organization as we embarked on our journey as a new team.  And Jimmy delivered.  His spark, creativity, experience, and business acumen were just what was needed to improve our brands, our culture, our business, and our building in Chicago.”  De Castro tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder that he’ll continue to operate sports marketing and consulting firm After The Whistle LLC and his firm The Content Factory, and through the latter he hopes to get into sports betting and gaming content.

Place Assumes Mornings on New Hampshire’s WNTK-FM.  The Valley News reports that market on-air pro Jason Place is taking over the morning drive show on Sugar River Media’s news/talk WNTK-FM, New London, New Hampshire.  Place takes over the program from former host Keith Hanson.  Hanson – a local Republican committee chairman – exited the station in October after his controversial use of profanity on social media in defense of his decision to bring Jihad Watch author Robert Spencer to the area for a presentation caused a stir.  Though the Valley News says station officials deny his exit had to do with that incident.  Place tells the paper he isn’t hosting the show to espouse a certain political philosophy; he wants to have conversations with listeners.  “What matters is what the listener thinks.  Hopefully, we can get a conversation going, learn something. and have some fun. … God, I just hope I don’t take myself too seriously.”

TALKERS News Notes. St. Louis news/talk KMOX “News Radio 1120” announces it signs a contract extension to continue to serve as the flagship radio station for St. Louis Cardinals games through the 2024 season.  Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “We are honored to continue to work with the world class St. Louis Cardinals.  ‘News Radio 1120 KMOX’ and the Cardinals are synonymous institutions here in this great city and we couldn’t be more excited to continue this fantastic partnership.”…..Westwood One Podcast Network announces that “The Dan Bongino Show” adds a once-weekly interview show to its daily lineup.  The new program launched with an interview with President Trump.  During the interview, the president shared thoughts about why he uses social media, the impeachment hearings, the whistleblower’s identity, Ukraine’s new president, looking forward to the new Inspector General report, draining the swamp, tax cuts, the economy, capital gains indexing, Obamacare, and more.  Bongino is a former Secret Service Agent, former NYPD officer, and a New York Times best-selling author…..AdLarge Media announces that Dave Boretti is named its vice president of Midwest sales.  Boretti comes to AdLarge from a similar position with PodcastOne.  Chicago-based Boretti says, “I’ve had conversations with Don for a few years about moving to AdLarge and this came together at the perfect time.  AdLarge is an exciting company with leadership that consistently is ahead of emerging trends in audio.  I look forward to marshalling their assets to help AdLarge’s advertisers achieve their goals.”

Impeachment Testimony/Ukraine Allegations, 2020 Presidential Race, Deadly Fresno Football Party Shooting, Hong Kong Protests, China’s Muslim Detention Docs, Prince Andrew Interview, Iran Protests, Venice Flooding/Climate Change, and Kanye West at Osteen Church Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment testimony against President Trump and the related allegations of impropriety with regard to Ukraine’s military aid money; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Michael Bloomberg’s entrance into the race as a Republican; the shooting at a football watching party in Fresno that took the lives of four; the protests at Hong Kong Polytechnic University; the revelation of Chinese documents indicating detention of Muslims; Prince Andrew’s awkward interview with the BBC regarding his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein; protests in Iran over the doubling of gas prices; the city of Venice suffers its third flood in a week that officials are blaming on climate change; and Kanye West’s appearance at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

2019 Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts Honored. Pictured above are the nine distinguished members of the media industry who were honored Friday (11/15) at the 17th Annual Library of American Broadcasting Foundation’s Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts awards ceremony held at New York City’s famed Gotham Hall.  Clockwise from top left are: CW Television Network president Mark Pedowitz, Urban One CEO Alfred C. Liggins III, Patrick Communications founder and CEO Larry Patrick, CBS Television Stations president Peter Dunn, Advanced Television Systems Committee president emeritus Mark Richer, PBS president & CEO Paula Kerger, journalist Connie Chung, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. Photo: Wendy Moger-Bross

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Albuquerque CHR outlet KKOB-FM re-brands as “93-3 The Q.”  Cumulus Media Albuquerque VP and market manager Jeff Berry comments, “‘93-3 The Q’ is the natural evolution of 93.3, a highly rated radio outlet with compassionate personalities, an enormous fan base, and market-leading, multi-platform content.  ‘93-3 The Q’ brings renewed passion for and connection with the city of Albuquerque and its people. It is a reflection of our commitment to Albuquerque listeners and we couldn’t be more excited to grow and expand the brand when it is healthy and take it to the next level.”…..iHeartMedia Asheville announces the debut of “The Woody & Wilcox Show” on its WKSF-HD3/W266CP “ALT 101.1.”  iHeartMedia Asheville SVP of programming Brian Hall says, “We are pumped to add ‘The Woody and Wilcox Show’ to the lineup.  Woody and Wilcox can’t deliver food to your door, but they will deliver a morning wake-up call that Asheville listeners will love.”

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

| September 11, 2019

‘970 The Answer’ Presents Special 9/11 Show. On the anniversary of 9/11, Salem Media Group news/talk WNYM, New York “970 The Answer” is presenting a special program today (9/11) from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on location from the kitchen table of Red Apple Group chief John Catsimatidis (soon-to-be owner of WABC, New York) with host Kevin McCullough and former New York Governor George Pataki and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.  McCullough says, “The unique and intimate broadcast will take place on location around the Catsimatidis kitchen table and will bring the two leaders together in person in a way seldom seen since this fateful day.”

WHO, Des Moines Listeners Respond to Call for Flag Planting. Afternoon drive personality Simon Conway tells TALKERS magazine that WHO, Des Moines listeners planted almost 3,000 flags in a local park to commemorate those who died in the 9/11 attacks after the city decided to cancel the annual event.  Conway says, “About four months after I arrived in Des Moines, there was a meeting.  How were we going to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11?  Some people wanted to rent the big arena in town and have a solemn service. I pointed out that was a big risk. It was the first or second NFL Sunday and how terrible would it be if no one showed up.  Eventually, I came up with the idea of planting a flag in the ground for every person who was murdered that day.  We have done that ever since.  Yesterday morning my listeners started to contact me saying that the city had cancelled this year’s [event] due to lack of flags and volunteers (total garbage by the way – they want to move on!).  There was no way I was going to let that happen and so using social media and the opening of my show yesterday, I directed people to the park. All the nearly 3,000 flags were in the ground before 5:00 pm!  THAT’S the power of the very best audience in talk radio!”

Entercom Wrestling with ‘Technical Issues.’ The company has been pretty tight-lipped about the technical issues that may have been caused by a cyber-attack that occurred over the weekend.  Entercom’s email system has been compromised and those trying to email someone at the company receive a message saying it is dealing with technical issues and directs them to call the local market via phone.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that the issue – again, the company won’t confirm it’s an “attack” – also has affected music scheduling, production, and billing.  Radio trade site RadioInsight is calling it a ransomware attack and reports the attacker(s) is asking for $500,000.  Whether it’s an actual ransomware attack or just the work of a devious hacker, the company has a lot of work to do.  Entercom’s public statement on the matter is that it is working around the clock to fix the problems.  An internal memo staffers received on Monday morning said they should not expect things to be back to normal for three or four days.

WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans Does Damage Control After Gay Slur Tweet.  Openly gay WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans evening sports talk host Seth Dunlap was the target of a tweet containing a gay slur that appears to have emanated from within the station.  According to a piece in The Advocate, many of Dunlap’s listeners may have learned of his sexuality after he wrote a personal essay questioning New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ affiliation with Focus on the Family, an organization that, among other goals, promotes gay conversion therapy.  Brees has recorded a video for the organization about the upcoming “Take Your Bible to School” day.  Entercom removed the offensive tweet and tweeted out the following: “We are aware of a tweet that went out today from the WWL account.  The content of the tweet is categorically offensive and abhorrent to the station.  We are actively investigating this incident and will take swift and appropriate action once we determine how this occurred.”

Todd Schnitt and Fark.com Partner for New Podcast. On-air pro Todd Schnitt and FARK.com founder Drew Curtis are launching a new podcast called, “Fark and Schnitt,” “a humorous approach to some of the more unusual story lines in the news cycle.”  It’s being managed by Steve Lapa and Lapcom Communications and represented by Crossover Media Group. It’s being promoted as “an entertaining, irreverent look at the stories you may have missed.  The ‘Fark and Schnitt’ podcast blends entertaining content with polished production to bring the audience the famous and the forgettable in an engaging format.”  New episodes are posted each Tuesday.  Schnitt says, “The explosive growth of podcasts cannot be ignored, and this delivery method will continue to grow exponentially.  While I’ve been part of repurposing my radio shows for many years, ‘Fark and Schnitt’ is all new exclusive quality content just for the podcast universe.  Soon, I’ll be Adam Carolla’s golf caddy.”  FARK.com is a successful news aggregator site with more than 2,000 link submissions daily, 20 million page views per month with more than 1 million uniques.

TALKERS News Notes. Joining the meteorologist staff at EnvisionVirtualServices Weather is Tom Hauf, who will deliver custom daily weather forecasts and severe weather coverage for affiliated stations.  Hauf says, “I’ve been passionate about weather forecasting since childhood, delivering my first forecast at age 10.  Weather is one of a very few things in the world that affects every single person every day.”  Hauf has 30 years of experience as a radio weatherman and possesses a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist certification from the American Meteorological Society. EnvisionVirtualServices Weather Reports from Envision Networks offer a complete locally derived weather solution for radio stations. The team of major market meteorologists deliver multiple daily reports and are ready to spring into action whenever inclement weather hits…..PodcastOne announces that it is teaming with Kc Wayland Productions for production, marketing and sales for the “We’re Alive” podcast series that has more than 160 million downloads to date.  The new season, “We’re Alive: Goldrush,” features guest-star appearances from actors Danny Trejo and Christy Carlson Romano as well as former “Bachelorette,” Kaitlyn Bristowe.  PodcastOne says “‘Goldrush’ is a multi-layered story that fully utilizes the audio drama medium, employing a multitude of audio-focused comedic gags, plot devices that force visualization, and scenes that take advantage of the soundscape.”  PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Coming on the heels of our huge success with ‘22 Hours: An American Nightmare’ and the continuing strong showing of ‘Cold Case Files,’ our partnership with A&E Networks, the launch of ‘Goldrush’ not only gives us a strong, new entry into the scripted category, but also shows the strength of our content and promotional resources.”…..KPOJ-AM, Portland afternoon drive sports talk personality Travis Demers is named the new play-by-play voice of the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers.  Demers has been the substitute play-by-play voice recently, filling in for Brian Wheeler who has been dealing with health issues.  Wheeler recently retired, leaving the position open.  Demers says, “It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do, it’s an absolute dream job.  I’m thrilled to be able to live out that dream in Rip City.”

Beasley Announces Esports Initiative at UNLV. Broadcaster Beasley Media Group is collaborating with the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies to launch Checkpoint XP On Campus.  Beasley XP is the company’s esports division that is leading this endeavor.  Under this initiative, the school will serve as the primary content creation and production hub for Checkpoint XP’s college-targeted brand extension.  Plans include a college-agnostic esports weekly video and podcast show, as well as extensive online content that will be featured under the Checkpoint XP On Campus section on CheckpointXP.com.  The weekly video and podcast will be officially launched tomorrow (9/12) on RADIO.com, as well as Twitch, YouTube, and via a podcast on bPod Studios.  It’s being hosted by Beasley XP’s Norris Howard, along with UNLV student anchors Daniel Agbuya and Jacob Brothers, with Kevin Kelly serving as the managing editor.  Additionally, UNLV will work closely with Checkpoint XP to recruit student correspondents from more than 30 of the country’s top journalism and esports colleges to provide additional coverage on the growing esports scene across many of the nation’s college campuses.  Beasley chief digital content officer Lori Burgess says, “The convergence of sports and entertainment has never been more real than with the esports academic curriculums, sports teams and arenas that are changing the face of campuses across the country.  Checkpoint XP On Campus intends to capture this lifestyle-based competitive sport as it continues to gain popularity and become a more serious part of the university experience.”  Pictured above at yesterday’s announcement are (from l-r): Dr. Kevin Stoker, director of the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies at UNLV; Dr. Robert Ulmer, Dean of the UNLV Greenspun College of Urban Affairs; Caroline Beasley, CEO of Beasley Media Group; Norris Howard; and Leslie Fitzsimmons, director of underwriting and corporate sponsorship for UNLV’s public media outlets.

Trump Fires John Bolton, 2020 Presidential Race, NC Special Elections, U.S.-China Trade War, Immigration Policy, Antonio Brown Rape Allegation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/10). National Security Advisor John Bolton is fired by President Trump; the Democrats and Republicans vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Republican Dan Bishop wins a North Carolina congressional special election; the war of tariffs between the U.S. and China; the Trump administration’s immigration and asylum policies; and the rape allegations leveled against Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Cool Radio Opportunities in Phoenix. There are two positions that WestStar Multimedia Entertainment is seeking to fill. First, the Kim Komando show is looking for an on-air call screener and sidekick.  They ask: “Do you have an engaging personality?  Quick-witted? Funny?  And this is very important, have a passion for consumer electronics and all things digital?  We are looking for a superstar talent who’s hard working and wants to be part of national radio show and global TV show!”  See more about the position and to apply here.  Also, WestStar is seeking an affiliate relations manager with at least two years’ experience. The company says, “Kim Komando Multimedia is rapidly expanding in many divisions, as we are one of the fastest growing broadcast media companies in America!  For over 20-years, Kim Komando has led the industry in tech-lifestyle programming within the national radio category, reaching millions of people every week.”  For more on this position and to apply, click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Sales and management pro Donald St. Sauveur is upped to chief operating officer for Northeast Broadcasting and its stations triple A outlets WXRV, Boston “92.5 The River” and WNCS, Montpelier “The Point.”  St. Sauveur has been serving as general manager for WXRV for the past 11 years. Northeast Broadcasting CEO Ed Flanagan says, “Donald has shown an uncanny ability to integrate the sales and programming elements of the station, while simultaneously building brand and customer loyalty.  We are looking forward to seeing him succeed in this new role.”…..Programming pro Leigh McNabb joins Saga Communications’ classic hits KIOA, Des Moines as program director.  She comes to Saga from her most recent gig as PD and midday personality at Entercom’s hot AC KZPT, Kansas City “99.7 The Point.”  Saga Des Moines vice president and general manager Tom Nankival says, “We are thrilled to be able to bring someone with Leigh’s experience and qualifications back to her hometown.  Her passion for KIOA’s heritage is unparalleled and the fact that she is already so well respected in our building made her the obvious choice to rejuvenate the station and lead our terrific team.”…..Premiere Networks syndicated morning star Bobby Bones is offering his listeners the opportunity to put their personal twist on The General Insurance’s jingle for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas to see Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots perform.   Fans can enter the contest by creating their own video showcasing their spin on the jingle.  The winning video will receive a three-day, two-night trip to Las Vegas to meet Bobby Bones and attend the Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots performance on November 15 at Reynolds Hall at Smith Center.