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Monday, March 20, 2017

| March 20, 2017

ESPN Moves Craig to Network PD; Ups Hurley to WEPN, New York PD.  Sports programmer Justin Craig is promoted from PD of WEPN, New York to senior director, programming and operations for the ESPN Radio network.  The sports giant says that Craig will be responsible for all aspects of ESPN Radio programming and production, including oversight of “Mike & Mike,” “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” “Russillo & Kanell,” and nighttime and weekend programming.  Craig is now based at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol and reports to David Roberts, vice president, ESPN Network Content.  With Craig’s move to Bristol, WEPN APD Ryan Hurley is elevated to program director.  Jonathan Winthrop, who has previously served as a producer at WEPN, adds APD duties and continues to produce the Stephen A. Smith show.

TALKERS Personality Profile: KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner, Michael Zwerling. One of the most colorful owner/operators of a local radio broadcasting company, Michael Zwerling, is the subject of an audio personality profile posted today (3/20) on Talkers.com.  Since 1991, Zwerling (known to his friends and colleagues as “MZ”) has owned heritage news/talk 10k flamethrower KSCO-AM 1080.   The station puts out a giant signal covering the Monterey Bay area as well as huge swath of Northern California territory.  KSCO first went on the air in 1947.  Zwerling has subsequently gained a national reputation for his unique ownership and management style that has turned KSCO into a dynamic combination of mostly locally produced content punctuated by carefully selected national programming.  Under Zwerling’s guidance, KSCO is financially fueled by a potent combination of traditional advertising sales and the generation of non-traditional revenue.  In the hour-and-a-half interview conducted by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, Zwerling discusses what it has been like operating a conservatively oriented station (featuring Rush Limbaugh) in a predominantly liberal market.  He talks about his early, quirky days in broadcasting, the nuts-and-bolts of local radio station ownership in the modern era, the pros and cons of carrying Limbaugh over the years, his late mother and locally beloved broadcaster, Kay Zwerling, and his remarkably lucrative relationship with the multi-level marketing health products company, Youngevity.  To listen to this candid dialogue with the man described by Michael Harrison as one of the most interesting and eccentric owners in radio today, please click here.

‘The Big Talker’ Returns to Wilmington, NC.  Talk show host Chad Adams is reviving “The Big Talker” on WFBT-FM, Wilmington, North Carolina (licensed to Carolina Beach) under an LMA from Carolina Christian Radio.  His Red Wolf Broadcasting will operate the station and his regionally syndicated talk show – also heard in Charlotte and Greensboro – will be heard from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.  It will follow the local “Mornings With Pam and John” program with husband-and-wife team John and Pam Dismukes.  Other shows to air on the station include: Radio America’s Dana Loesch, the Dave Ramsey show, SRN’s Mike Gallagher, and Premiere NetworksSean Hannity and the overnight “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory.  Originally, “The Big Talker” was heard on WNTB-FM and WUDE-FM.  WFBT-FM’s frequency is 106.7.  It was formerly WMYT and was put on the air by Curtis Wright’s and George Bell’s Talk Media TV in 2013.

TALKERS News Notes. The morning drive show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WGOW-FM, Chattanooga – hosted by Jeff Styles, Jim Reynolds and Bill Lockhart – expands by an hour to air from 6:00 am to 10:00 am, eliminating the Reynolds-hosted hour, “The Nth Degree.”  At the same time, Styles – who had also been hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program, “Fred The Show,” gives up that program to new host Brad Giese…..WGN, Chicago launched a new weekend program on Saturday (3/18).  The two-hour show “On the Road with Dane Neal” airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  WGN says that this program is more than just a car show, “Neal will explore the relationship of people and their cars.  Topics will include motorsports, day trips, cruise nights, technology in the car and more.”  His first guests were Food Network’s Guy Fieri, Expedia’s Sarah Gavin, and NASCAR champion Kevin Harvick.  Neal comments, “I’m excited to be able to take a radio road trip with listeners each week.  We’ll share great stories about racing, innovation in driving and the great car culture of Chicago.”

Rising Country Music Star Pens and Records Inspirational Patriot Song for Both Music and Talk Radio.  Singer/songwriter Dede Wedekind is a rising star in country music circles (Indie Music Channel’s 2016 Best New Female Artist, plus a number of other music industry honors) and she is now attracting the attention of talk radio hosts doing interviews about her new soul-stirring, patriotic release titled “America United.”  The song was originally written by Wedekind and her husband in a flash of inspiration coming from the pulpit while attending church on a Sunday in 2012.  Garnering attention across her fan base for years, the couple then tweaked the song in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, resulting in another IMEA Award for the independent artist.  She tells CCM Magazine, “To me, everyone who hears ‘America United’ seems to like and relate to the overwhelming message of this song—which is the necessity of uniting all Americans once again. This song isn’t about a particular political party, being conservative or liberal, or even being Democrat or Republican—it’s about making America a great nation once again. ‘One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.’” Wedekind continues, “In the original version written in 2012, it features President Ronald Reagan‘s message of making America great quoting the line, ‘Once again, make America Great. When President Donald Trump decided to run last year, my husband Larry and I had already decided to update ‘America United’ to make it a better song with a more concise message and better production. We then decided to also incorporate Trump’s slogan, which, again was completely based on Reagan’s original message. We repeated the slogan in the chorus of the 2016 version, since it was already a part of the original song, and more importantly felt strongly that God had given it to President Reagan, and now again to President Trump.”  To listen to and download Dede Wedekind’s “America United” and obtain contact information to book an interview with her, please click here.

Trump’s Obama Wiretapping Accusations, Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings, GOP Health Care Bill, U.S.-Germany Relations, North Korea Missile Program, Rock Legend Chuck Berry Dies, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  President Donald Trump’s accusation that former President Barack Obama ordered wiretaps of Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign; Supreme Court judge nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings begin today; speculation about the fate of the GOP health care bill; President Trump’s belief that Germany owes the U.S. money for its NATO membership and his meeting last week with Angela Merkel; North Korea’s nuclear missile program and its threats to hit American targets; rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry dies at age 90; and the action during the first weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Stephanie Miller Announces ‘Sexy Liberal Resistance Tour’ 2017.  Progressive radio talk show host and comedienne Stephanie Miller is announcing the 2017 version of her Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour – this year titled the “Sexy Liberal Resistance Tour 2017.”  On this tour will be Miller, John Fugelsang and Frangela.  A press statement from Miller reads, “Touring for several years as the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour, the election forced us to rethink early retirement and return to the stage for a multiple-city tour.  We face Washington and laugh out loud at the tragic comedy of politics, to throw our finest, most scathing satire at the feet of our not-so-elected politicians.  To fight on with comedy…to offer the real fake news…to offer true alternative facts.”  The tour does 10 dates this year beginning in Madison on April 22 and ending in Maui, Hawaii on December 23.  Cities include Phoenix, Albuquerque, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

SRN’s Tradup Promoting Brantley Rescue Documentary.  Next Thursday night (3/30) is the one-night-only Fathom national movie theater screening of the film Facing Darkness.  The film was the result of a trip to the Ebola virus “hot Zone” in Liberia last summer during which Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured at right) accompanied a film crew from non-profit charity Samaritan’s Purse to chronicle the successful, high-tech rescue of Dr. Kent Brantley during the deadly 2014 outbreak.  Tradup, who is actively promoting the film via social media, says, “The courage of the Samairtan’s Purse team (including Dr. Brantley) who risked their own lives as the Ebola outbreak claimed thousands of lives all around them, is a truly inspirational story that is the centerpiece of a stunning documentary.”

TALKERS magazine Publishes the 2017 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. On Monday, March 13, we published the fifth annual TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – formally known as the 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. This annual list is compiled and ranked by the editors of TALKERS magazine – with input from industry leaders. As with our publication’s “sister list,” the 100 Most Important Talk Radio Hosts in America, the criteria are a number of hard factors – including ratings and revenue – as well as such soft factors as talent, recognition, impact, service and more. Executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This annual ranking of the most important sports talk radio hosts is one of the most difficult – but enjoyable – projects we undertake at TALKERS. The reason for that is the partially subjective nature of the criteria combined with the enormous number of talented and successful sports talk hosts working in America. Paring that pool of talent down to 100 is no easy task!” Casey also notes that TALKERS will be publishing the 2017 Heavy Hundred of News/Talk Radio in April. See the 2017 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Beginning this Friday (3/24), Entercom Austin is shifting its urban adult contemporary contemporary outlet to a new frequency as it changes translator K242CC from the 96.3 frequency to 95.9.  Appropriately, the station’s new brand is “95.9FM RnB.”  Entercom Austin VP/market manager Stephanie Callihan states, “We are looking forward to welcoming all of our loyal listeners at our new home on the dial.  We continue to be committed to providing the unparalleled radio experience that our fans have come to expect from us and will keep delivering for our fans at our new frequency.”…..Bonneville’s country KYGO, Denver welcomes Guy David aboard as the new co-host of the morning drive show with current AM personality Tracy Dixon.  David heads to Denver from his current position at RBH Enterprises-owned country WFON-FM, Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin “107.1 The Bull.”…..Wesley Miller returns to his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio to program adult contemporary WMXY “MIX 98.9” and CHR WAKZ for iHeartMedia.  Miller was most recently with Forever Media’s WGYY, Meadville, Pennsylvania “Froggy 100.3” hosting the morning show and serving as program director…..CBS RADIO country outlet WDSY, Pittsburgh “Y108” is hosting its annual Wine & Boots Bash to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on Thursday, April 13 at The Twentieth Century Club in Oakland.  The event will feature Warner Music Nashville country singer and songwriter Michael Ray.  CBS RADIO Pittsburgh VP of programming Mark Anderson says, “Michael Ray was a part of Y108’s ‘Eight Man Jam’ concert two years ago.  Michael’s career is on fire as he just achieved his second #1 hit single and we are thrilled to have him perform at Y108’s Wine and Boots Bash on April 13.”  Ray broke into music as a contestant on The CW’s “The Next: Fame Is At Your Doorstep.”  He co-wrote the 2015 Big & Rich hit “Run Away With You” and made his solo artist debut that same year with the #1 hit “Kiss You In The Morning.”  He scored his second #1 hit just this week with his song, “Think A Little Less.”

Josh Turner Plays Stage 17 LIVE.  The brand-new Cumulus Media New York performance space Stage 17 LIVE hosted country star Josh Turner on March 15.  WNSH “NASH FM 94.7” air personality Jesse Addy spoke with Turner on the air the same day Turner spent his morning hosting the fourth hour of NBC TV’s “Today Show.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Jesse Addy, Josh Turner; WNSH program director John Foxx, and WNSH APD Mike Alan.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

| March 16, 2017

Michael Savage in Altercation with Man at California Restaurant.  Several news reports indicate that Westwood One nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Savage was allegedly assaulted by an unidentified man outside a restaurant in Tiburon, California.  According to TMZ, the Daily Mail and other media outlets, while Savage was eating inside Servino Ristorante with his pet poodle Teddy, the man taunted him by repeatedly saying “weener, weener” – a reference to Savage’s legal surname, Weiner.  It’s not clear how it escalated but one report says the two got into some sort of scuffle outside the restaurant, ending with each man declaring the other under a citizen’s arrest.  Police arrived, interviewed both men and released them.  The local district attorney’s office is reviewing the matter and will determine if charges will be filed.  Savage’s attorney – Daniel Horowitz – told the Mercury News that another restaurant patron who attempted to intervene was punched in the face by the heckler.

NPR Ratings at ‘All-Time High.’  Based on data from Nielsen Audio, NPR is reporting that “the total weekly listeners for all programming on NPR stations reached an all-time high of about 37.5 million in the fall of 2016 – a nearly 4 million person increase from the same period in 2015.  Listeners for NPR programming and NPR Newscasts account for about 30 million of that total.”  During the build-up to the 2016 election and in the months since, talk-oriented public radio has seen its 6+ ratings in Nielsen’s PPM markets improve.  NPR SVP of news and editorial director Michael Oreskes states, “At a time when many news organizations have been forced to contract, NPR is expanding coverage and focusing resources on the local and national issues that listeners care about.  Now, more and more people are turning to NPR as their source for unbiased fact-based news.”  NPR also notes that flagship programs, “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition,” reached their largest weekly audience ever, at 14.4 million and 14.65 million listeners, respectively.  “The number of listeners for all NPR programming increased considerably this year, particularly in the coveted 25-44 age demographic which expanded by 26%.”  Additionally, NPR says that its digital content at NPR.org has average monthly users grow by 28%.

BFoA to Honor Jeff Smulyan with Lowry Mays Award. This honor from the Broadcasters Foundation of America will be presented to Emmis Communications founder and chairman Jeff Smulyan at the BFoA annual breakfast at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on April 26.  The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award is bestowed annually by the BFoA on an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.  It salutes its namesake Lowry Mays and is underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation.  The breakfast is complimentary to all, although pre-registration is required.

Westwood One Adds Two Shows to Podcast Offerings. Audio content syndicator and sales division Westwood One announces new partnerships with Frances Callier and Angela V. Shelton, known together as the comedic duo Frangela (right), and radio pro, author, blogger and cancer survivor Robin Marshall.  Callier and Shelton are hosting WW1’s first fully produced podcast titled “Frangela: The Final Word,” that promises “insights and witty perspective on news and culture.” Marshall’s “Sugar Mom” is for “smart and sexy women who want to try something new.”  Both programs are available via the iTunes and audioBoom platforms.  Westwood One president/Cumulus Media EVP corporate marketing Suzanne Grimes comments, “Frances, Angela, and Robin are powerful women who inspire, motivate, and make us laugh.  Westwood One is proud to help these fresh and funny shows build audience and brand partnerships.”

TALKERS News Notes. Hard-working talk show host Simon Conway (left) is doing a couple days of triple duty this week.  Today and tomorrow, Conway will do is regular shows – afternoon drive at iHeartMedia’s WHO, Des Moines and morning drive at the company’s WMT, Cedar Rapids – as well as filling in for WOAI, San Antonio-based, syndicated personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (right)…..Pamplin-owned Portland news/talk KPAM drops the afternoon “Margie and Carl” show hosted by Margie Boulé (right) and Carl Wolfson (left) due to budgetary reasons.  Wolfson, who also hosted a program in the market for years on the crosstown, former news/talker KPOJ, posted a gracious message on the show’s Facebook page giving thanks and credit to his former co-workers…..Nationally syndicated morning talk personality Doug Stephan checks in with TALKERS magazine to report his show, “On Air with Doug, Jen & Victoria,” has added 17 new affiliates in the first two months of 2017, including: KPHX, Phoenix; WOMI-AM, Owensboro, Kentucky; KQAM, Wichita; WXDE-FM, Salisbury, Maryland; and KYCA-AM/FM, Prescott, Arizona.  Stephan says, “The table for conversation is growing larger, and co-hosts Jennifer Horn and Victoria Keelan embrace the future and are constantly reinventing the program.”…..Cumulus Media’s news/talk radio stations WBAP-AM and KLIF-AM in Dallas picked up multiple honors from the 2016 Texas Associated Press Broadcasters contest.  WBAP won first place for “Spot News by a Station” for its coverage of the July 7, 2016 Dallas police ambush. For the third consecutive year, KLIF’s Dave Williams and Amy Chodroff (pictured at right) grabbed first place for “News Anchor/Anchor Team.”  WBAP’s Brian Estridge took home first place for “Sports Play-by-Play.”  Cumulus Media RVP for Dallas/Houston Dan Bennett states, “We are all extremely proud of our news team, news director Freda Ross and program director Kevin Graham.  These awards speak to them and the talent in our newsroom.  The awards honor a team that brings their news ‘A-game’ every day.”

Jones Receives RTDNF Award. At Tuesday evening’s 2017 Radio Television Digital News Foundation First Amendment Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones (right) received the First Amendment Service Award.  He’s pictured above with ABC News’ Robin Sproul (left).

Trump Travel Order Blocked, Fed Hikes Interest Rates, Trump Budget Cuts, Wiretapping Accusations, North Korea Threats/Tillerson Asia Trip, GOP Health Care Plan, Trump’s Tax Returns, Dutch Elections, Snoop Dogg Video, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/15). A judge blocks the Trump Administration’s second attempt at a travel ban; Fed Chair Janet Yellen announces raising of key interest rate hike for overnight lending of a quarter point; the Trump Administration’s budget proposal that seeks to make drastic cuts to a number of federal departments; the accusation by President Donald Trump that President Barack Obama ordered Trump Tower to be wiretapped during the 2016 election; North Korea’s nuclear missile program and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Asia; the Trump Administration’s and the GOP’s plans to replace ObamaCare with their own health care plan; far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders comes up short in Wednesday’s Netherlands elections; controversy over the latest Snoop Dogg video in which he shoots a clown dressed as President Trump; and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 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. Country radio personality and programmer Bryan “B-Dub” Washington is the new program director and afternoon drive host at iHeartMedia’s KBEB, Sacramento “92.5 The Bull.”  He was most recently with CBS RADIO’s KMLE, Phoenix as music director and PM drive host.  iHeartMedia Sacramento SVP of programming Curtiss Johnson says, “B-Dub thinks big.  He’s a fun and entertaining personality.  B-Dub is a destination, lean forward and pay attention type of air-talent.  I have no doubt he will put ‘92.5 The Bull’ front-and-center in the minds of Sacramento country fans.”  Washington also hosts the weekend syndicated country show “Buckwild Saturday Night.”…..Geoff “G-Off” Owens is promoted to program director for iHeartMedia’s hip hop KXJM, Portland “JAM’N 107.5” and KUBE, Seattle/Tacoma.  Owens has been serving as afternoon drive personality at both stations…..iHeartMedia’s Las Vegas hip hop outlet K280DD “REAL 103.9” announces that Roxy Romeo is promoted to APD and music director for the station, adding to her current midday air shift from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.  About her new responsibilities, Romeo says, “I am beyond ready to enter the programming world and take on this new role here in Las Vegas.  In the short time ‘REAL’ has been on-air here, it has touched the people and I’m excited to help make an even bigger impact and take it to the next level…..Midwest Communications promotes Ron Allen to format captain for the Duke FM country format.  Allen will continue to program the company’s adult hits WCJK, Nashville “96.3 JACK FM” in addition to his new duties.  He says, “My two great musical passions are adult hits and country.  To be able to continue as brand manager for ‘96.3 JACK FM’ and work with our Duke FM brand as format captain from my hometown of Nashville is the best of both worlds.”…..iHeartMedia’s Bobby Bones show and its listeners joined forces to honor wounded United States Air Force Captain Nathan Nelson (pictured at right with his family), who was paralyzed from the chest down during his third tour in Afghanistan and in need of a home to accommodate his needs.  Bones and his on-air crew worked to donate proceeds from the sale of camouflage #PimpinJoy T-shirts on TheShopForward.com and, in just a few days, sold enough T-shirts to raise $100,000 – doubling the original goal of $50,000.  With the help of Building Homes for Heroes, a new ADA-certified custom home will be built for Nelson and his family.