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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

| March 16, 2021

Cox Media Group’s ‘95.5 WSB’ Names Erick Erickson Early Afternoon Host. At news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta, Cox Media Group announces that the daypart long occupied by the “Rush Limbaugh Show” will be hosted by the station’s Erick Erickson, beginning on Monday (3/22). Erickson will move from his current 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot and the station’s early evening host Mark Arum will take over the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. WSB will air an hour of Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity program live at 3:00 pm and will air the rest of the show delayed from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. WSB director of branding & programming Drew Anderssen says, “With these lineup changes, 95.5 WSB will better serve Atlanta with more local programming. Erick Erickson and Mark Arum are both tremendous talents, and the move will continue to strengthen the extraordinary brand that is 95.5 WSB.” Erickson also hosts his own self-syndicated 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET talk radio show that has garnered almost 20 affiliate stations in its first year (although speculation has already begun that other syndication developments could be in the works that take into account the host’s new schedule).  Erickson says, “I would never have gotten into radio without encouragement from Rush Limbaugh who has been gracious over the years with a lot of great advice and guidance. It was an honor to fill in for him on his show, and it is overwhelming and humbling to move into the slot Rush occupied with such distinction for so long. I appreciate and intend to live up to the responsibility that comes with this time slot.” Mark Arum, who’s been with WSB since 1997, also serves as traffic anchor for WSB-TV’s “Channel 2 Action News This Morning.” Arum says, “When I was hired at 95.5 WSB over 23 years ago, I could never have envisioned that I would ever get the opportunity to host a drive time show on the best news and talk station in the nation. It’s a cliché, but this is truly a dream come true.”

WOKV-FM, Jacksonville Goes Local in the ‘Rush Daypart.’ As sister news/talk giant WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta is doing (see story above), Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville is filling the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart occupied by Rush Limbaugh for so many years with a local host, in this case current late morning personality Mark Kaye. CMG says that Kaye “has been growing his audience on 104.5 FM from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon for multiple years. Mark has gained a national following through multiple video streaming platforms, as well as a show on Newsmax TV.” Cox will fill Kaye’s current daypart with FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade whose radio show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Kaye comments, “As a life-long fan of Rush Limbaugh, I am still adjusting to a world without his voice. Producing a daily show in ‘Rush’s timeslot’ is a daunting task for any broadcaster, but I am grateful to the leadership team at CMG and 104.5 WOKV for placing their trust in me. With the audience’s help I promise to do my best to keep Rush’s spirit, energy, and unique brand of conservative entertainment alive. This is an incredibly bittersweet opportunity.”

iHeartMedia Names Paul Rogers Area President for North Florida. Media executive Paul Rogers is named area president for iHeartMedia’s newly configured North Florida area that includes Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Panama City. Rogers takes over for Nicky Sparrow who was recently promoted to SVP of multicultural sales for iHeartMedia Markets Group. Rogers reports to division president Linda Byrd. She says, “I’ve worked with Paul for over 35 years, in many different roles. His integrity, judgment, professionalism, and competitiveness are what any manager would look for in a market leader. He is the perfect choice as a successor, and I have no doubt that he will take this area to the next level. I also want to thank Nicky for the great work she has done in getting Jacksonville to where we are today and congratulate her on this exciting new opportunity to expand her role in iHeartMedia.” Rogers has been serving iHeartMedia as market president for Tallahassee and Panama City since 2017.

Townsquare Media 2020 Q4 Net Revenue Down 3.2%; Full Year Revenue Declines 15%. Compared the second quarter of 2020 when Townsquare Media’s net revenue was down 35% compared to 2019, the fourth quarter’s decline of just 3.2% was a source of joy for CEO Bill Wilson. While Q4 net revenue was $108.5 million (down 3.2%), net revenue for the full year was $371.3 million, down 15% from the full year 2019 ($431.4 million). What has Wilson pumped is Townsquare’s digital assets. He says, “Townsquare Interactive, our digital monthly subscription business, excelled throughout the year, accelerating year-over-year net revenue growth in Q4 to +16% and generating over $70 million of revenue for the full year (+14% YoY) at a profit margin of approximately 30%. In total, digital net revenue increased +6% year over year, driven by both Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite (our digital programmatic advertising platform), which grew net revenue by +11% year over year.  With $162 million of 2020 digital net revenue, digital now accounts for approximately 44% of our total net revenue, further differentiating us in the local media marketplace.” Wilson says that the company is proud of its roots and DNA in local radio, “2020 was the year Townsquare became a ‘Digital First’ company.” He says, “I am also pleased to reaffirm our expectation that Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite will each generate $100 million in revenue in two to three years. 2020 served to accelerate Townsquare’s transformation into a premier local media and digital marketing solutions company proudly super-serving markets outside the top 50 markets.”

TALKERS News Notes. One of WFAN, New York afternoon co-host Craig Carton’s fraud victims is petitioning the court asking that Carton’s restitution order be rewritten because Carton has returned to the Entercom sports talk station in what petitioner Gerard LoDuka says “is almost surely an extremely lucrative job,” according to a piece in the New York Post. LoDuka claims that the restitution order requiring him to pay 15% of his yearly income toward the nearly $5 million he owes victims should be rewritten because of his new, high-profile job. But Carton’s attorney says Carton makes “a fraction” of his previous salary as morning drive co-host…..Cumulus Media announces that for the second year in a row, news/talk KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno’s “Morning News” takes home the Golden Mike Award for “Best Newscast under 15 minutes” (Division B) from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California. KMJ news anchors Matt Otstot, Tony Manes, Liz Kern and Aaron Abeytia – along with sports anchor George Takata and weather anchor Kimberly Kolliner – teamed up for the winning newscast…..The National Association of Broadcasters is offering a new online training course for radio stations containing critical information and guidelines for complying with Federal Communications Commission regulations. The Radio Rules! A Guide to FCC Regulations for Radio Stations course is now available here. The scenario-based training course tests participants’ understanding of acceptable practices for FCC regulation compliance. The guide outlines compliance related to content, advertising, station operation and management, copyright, and public files and reporting in four learning activities.

Mildred Carter Mentoring Program Announces 2021 Participants. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group, a volunteer organization dedicated to developing management and leadership skills for women in radio broadcasting, introduces the MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program’s Class of 2021. They are (pictured above from left to right) The 2021 class is comprised of the following professionals, listed in alphabetical order: Lisa Kirkman, national accounts director, Ruby Radio, Northeastern Nevada; Jenna Miller, integrated sales manager, Cox Media Group, Tampa; Tonee Roper, on-air personality and promotions director, Neuhoff Media, Springfield, Illinois; and Ashley Wilson, director of country programming, iHeartMedia, Kentucky/Indiana Region. The program, now in its 20th year, matches up-and-coming women in radio with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of the industry. vCreative is serving as the lead sponsor of this year’s program. The MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is named in the memory of Mildred Carter who, along with her husband Andrew “Skip” Carter, founded the first African American-owned radio station in the U.S. in 1950, when they turned on KPRS, Kansas City.

Migrant Border Crisis, COVID-19, Cuomo Allegations, Stimulus Package, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Voting Bills, Georgia’s Trump Investigation, Gavin Newsom Recall Effort, North Korea Warns U.S., and the Grammy Awards/Oscar Nominations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/15). The Biden administration’s immigrant problem as thousands of parentless children amass at the U.S.-Mexico border; the number of COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, the removal of mask mandates in some states, and the rollout of vaccines; the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the fellow Democrats calling for his resignation; Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package becomes law; the voting bills in various states critics say will make voting more difficult; the investigation into Donald Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State asking for more votes; California Governor Gavin Newsom battles the recall effort against him; the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un warns the U.S. about military exercises with South Korea, and Sunday night’s Grammy awards and the unveiling of this year’s Oscar nominations were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

| October 24, 2019

iHeartMedia and BuzzFeed Create ‘Impeachment’ Podcast. Just two days after former Donald Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon started his “War Room: Impeachment” podcast and radio show, iHeartMedia and BuzzFeed News roll out “Impeachment Today,” a daily podcast covering the Trump impeachment process hosted by BuzzFeed News senior reporter Hayes Brown.   The show is distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network beginning today (10/24). iHM and BuzzFeed News call it “a digestible, 10- to 15-minute news breakdown of the day’s impeachment process, debuting each morning and helping listeners make sense of the all-consuming political and legal saga that will captivate U.S. politics in the months to come.”  iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne states, “The current climate of fast changing news cycles often makes it difficult to keep up with complex topics like the Trump impeachment proceedings.  Podcasting is an ideal medium to dissect this news coverage and make it available to listeners in a way that is quick and easy to digest while on the go, and Buzzfeed is the perfect partner to breakdown this crucial information for listeners in an appealing daily podcast format.”

The Herd Podcast Network Launches Dallas Cowboys Podcast. A new football podcast dedicated to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys debuts on The Herd Podcast Network.  FOX Sports Radio and Premiere Networks announce the launch of “The ‘Boys and Girl Podcast,” hosted by Dallas-based NFL Network reporter Jane Slater and NFL Network field producer Bobby Belt.  New episodes of the podcast will be available on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout football season, with episodes continuing in the off-season.  Slater says, “As a Dallas native who reports on the Cowboys daily, I’ve found there is no offseason – the appetite for more content is as strong as Ezekiel Elliott’s desire to be fed on the field.  When Colin Cowherd approached me about this podcast, it was a no brainer.  My producer Bobby Belt and I talk this beat 24/7 and we’re excited to share those conversations with the fans.”

Michael Koolidge Show Adds Third Hour. The WROK, Rockford, Illinois-based Michael Koolidge show adds a third hour and is now airing from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Koolidge says that affiliate WZUS, Decatur, Illinois “Talk 101 FM” requested the additional hour.  “Talk 101 FM” operations manager Storm Edwards says, “Mike’s show has been on ‘Talk 101FM’ from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm for over five years now and it’s extremely popular with our listeners.  When we asked Mike if he could create an additional third hour from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily, he jumped at the chance and we all couldn’t be happier about it.  I’m sure other affiliates will take advantage of it as well!”  Koolidge’s show is heard on a number of regional affiliate stations including: WTAX-AM/FM, Springfield and WTAD, Quincy in Illinois as well as Hillsdale College’s WRFH-LP, Hillsdale, Michigan.

Tegna Chief Dave Lougee to Receive BFoA’s Golden Mike Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that Tegna president and CEO Dave Lougee is the recipient of its 2020 Golden Mike Award.  The award will be presented during a black-tie gala on Wednesday, March 4 at the famed Plaza Hotel in New York City.  The annual event is a major fundraiser in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation of America to provide aid to broadcasters in acute need.  Lougee says, “When devastation strikes one of our colleagues, it’s good to know the Foundation is there to help.  I’m so very proud of the generosity of the many broadcasters who support and donate to the Broadcasters Foundation and I am honored to receive their Golden Mike Award.”  BFoA chairman Dan Mason adds, “As a member of our board of directors, Dave has made a difference in the lives of the many broadcasters the Foundation helps.  Dave is an exemplary broadcaster who leads his team in serving their local markets with journalistic integrity.  We are proud to honor him.”  Previous recipients of the Golden Mike Award include: Perry Sook, Emily Barr, David Barrett, Michael Bloomberg, Bob Pittman, Gordon Smith, Jeff Smulyan, and more.

TALKERS News Notes. Radio executive and McVay Media principal Mike McVay and Sun Broadcast Group announce that McVay is serving as an advisor to SBG with his focus being on the company’s international platform.  McVay’s role will be to consult Sun CEO Jay Bailey and the company as they grow their international digital and international product line…..One of the carriers of the new “War Room: Impeachment” talk show hosted by former Breitbart exec and former Donald Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon is the John Fredericks Radio Network based at WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia…..RADIO.COM’s Pineapple Street Studios is producing “The Catch and Kill Podcast with Ronan Farrow” in partnership with Ronan Farrow. The podcast will serve as an audio companion to his bestselling book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators (2019, Little, Brown and Company).  Farrow says, “Catch and Kill is full of incredibly compelling men and women and this podcast will give you the opportunity to hear their voices directly, in intimate, candid conversations with me.  We’ll provide a deeper understanding of the plot that unravels in the book and feature brand new details and pieces of evidence directly from the investigation.”…..iHeartMedia and Fatherly launch a new iHeartRadio Original podcast, “Finding Fred.”  iHM says, “The show digs into the deep and simple language of Mister Rogers to uncover his very adult lessons about how to build a meaningful life.”  The 10-episode podcast is hosted by New York Times bestselling author, memoirist, and award-winning podcaster Carvell Wallace.  He says, “‘Mister Rogers’ has had a huge impact on an entire generation of children.  As this generation becomes parents, raising children of their own, it’s important to discuss how his words and ideas are still relevant today.”

Impeachment Inquiry/Republicans Protest Closed-Door Deposition, Zuckerberg on Capitol Hill, 2020 Presidential Race/Gabbard-Clinton Feud, Syria Pullout/Turkey Sanctions Lifted, California Wildfires/Power Blackouts, Katie Hill Ethics Investigation, and 39 Deceased Found in British Truck Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/23). The impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the Republicans’ attempts to gain access to the closed-door deposition; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee about his cryptocurrency plans; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and the Hillary ClintonTulsi Gabbard feud; the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Syria and Trump lifts the sanctions against Turkey; the California wildfires and power blackouts; the ethics investigation being initiated against U.S. Rep. Katie Hill; and the discovery of 39 bodies of Chinese nationals in a truck in Essex, England 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.  On-air pro JJ Kincaid has joined Cumulus Media’s Atlanta CHR WWWQ “Q 99.7.”  He made his first appearance on the station yesterday (10/23) in the midday daypart but it’s not clear yet if he’ll be the permanent midday jock or is destined for another daypart on the station.  Kincaid was most recently morning drive host at iHeartMedia’s CHR KPTT, Denver “95.7 The Party.”…..The Skyview Networks-syndicated “Dana Cortez Show” adds three new Texas stations to its roster of affiliates.  Adding the program to their schedules are: Alpha Media’s KBTE-FM, Lubbock and KVWE-FM, Amarillo; and Four R Broadcasting’s KMDX-FM, San Angelo…..SiriusXM announces that jam band Phish will perform an exclusive concert for SiriusXM and Pandora listeners on Tuesday, December 3 at The Met in Philadelphia.  The live performance will mark the smallest venue the band has played in nearly 20 years and will be broadcast live on Tuesday, December 3 at 7:30 pm ET…..Condolences to the family and friends of former, longtime KNCI, Sacramento air personality Dan Cheatham, who died Tuesday (10/22) at age 50.  At this time, the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office is saying the cause of death is undetermined.

Friday, February 8, 2019

| February 8, 2019

KFI’s Dr. Wendy Walsh Launches ‘Mating Matters’ Podcast. Psychologist and “relationship guru” Dr. Wendy Walsh – heard on KFI, Los Angeles on her Sunday afternoon radio program – is launching a new iHeartRadio original podcast called “Mating Matters,” beginning February 10.  Dr. Walsh – described as “obsessed with the science of love” – explores human behavior through a lens of reproduction, showing that even when people are not thinking about sex, ancient programming makes us respond to mating cues that impact just about every decision they make.  She states, “Let’s face it, we are wired to reproduce.  So powerful is this instinct that it has secretly embedded itself in almost every human behavior.  But we are so used to being human and hanging out with humans that most people can’t see it.  Listen to ‘Mating Matters’ podcast and you’ll understand yourself a little better.”

Westwood One Grabs Dennis Miller Podcast. Sales and syndication firm Westwood One adds “The Dennis Miller Option” podcast to its podcast network platform, effective February 12. Miller is already affiliated with Westwood One as it distributes his daily radio feature, “The Miller Minute,” to some 150 affiliate stations.  The company says that bringing his podcast into the fold allows it to offer marketers advertising in both programs.  WWO president Suzanne Grimes says, “Dennis is a legend, and we couldn’t be happier about representing more of his original, idiosyncratic commentary.  We’re ready to offer marketers broadcast and podcast access to this legendary personality.”

Higgins to Lead SummitMedia Omaha. At the Omaha cluster that includes sports talk KXSP “ESPN Omaha” and four music radio outlets, SummitMedia names Kathy Higgins president of SummitMedia Omaha. Higgins has spent 22 years in television and radio and was most recently leading sales and marketing for an Omaha IT software and consulting firm.  She says, “I am thrilled to be back home.  These stations and the team who make them possible hold a very dear part of my heart.  We look forward to continuing to improve our ability to entertain our audiences and deliver results for our clients.”

Craig Melvin Hosting BFoA’s Golden Mike Award Gala. This year’s Golden Mike Award Dinner and Ceremony to benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America will honor Nexstar Media Group founder, chairman, president and CEO Perry A. Sook on March 6 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  NBC News’ “TODAY” and MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin will serve as host for the evening that will feature a performance by country duo Sugarland.  Perry Sook has more than 38 years of professional experience in the broadcasting industry, covering all facets of the business.  He founded Nexstar in 1996 with one local television station in Scranton, Pennsylvania and began building the foundation of what is today one of the world’s leading local diversified media companies, with 174 stations reaching 100 markets and annual revenue in excess of $2.4 billion.  Previous recipients of the BFoA’s Golden Mike Award include: Emily Barr, David BarrettMichael Bloomberg, Bob Pittman, Gordon Smith, Jeff Smulyan, and more. For information, or to reserve a seat or table, please contact the Broadcasters Foundation at 212-373-8250 or info@thebfoa.org.

Trump’s State of the Union Address Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 4-8.  Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia investigation. Coming in at #3 was the House Intelligence Committee investigation into Trump organization’s ties to Russia, Saudi Arabia and beyond, followed by the political battle over Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Post Super Bowl Media Thoughts.  Noted media consultant and RT America host Holland Cooke is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Inspired by Super Bowl LIII, Harrison and Cooke engage in thoughtful conversation about the pace of modern life (offense versus defense), the state of commercials, the rise of streaming TV services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, boring music, deep fakes and more.  Check it out!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on the TALKERS email newsletter and every page of Talkers.com.

The Epoch Times Providing News/Talk Radio with In-Depth Information and Interviews About Huawei.  The subject of the global impact of the giant Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei (pronounced wah-way) and the serious security threat it poses to the United States is back in the headlines.  The recent arrest of its CFO, Meng Wanzhou, in Canada is just a part of a story of significant importance to the larger subject of U.S.-Chinese relations and the escalation of tensions between the two nations.  As indicated in a recent TALKERS story, The Epoch Times, a highly regarded international newspaper launched in the early 2000s by Chinese Americans based in New York City, has taken a leadership role in providing information and insight into Chinese foreign and domestic policy uncensored by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  Many U.S. talk show hosts have begun taking advantage of the resources provided by this unique news organization’s outreach to the American media.  Now, The Epoch Times has published a series of extremely informative articles updating the state of Huawei’s activities and the Meng Wanzhou case.  To access this valuable information please click here.  To book highly-informed guests from The Epoch Times on your show or to arrange for a media subscription to the newspaper, call Lisa W. at 917-521-6028 or email: lisaw@epochtimes.com.  To read the recent comprehensive TALKERS story about The Epoch Times, please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Entercom has parted ways with WBBM-FM morning personality Kevin “DreX” Buchar after 10 months leading the CHR morning program.  Co-hosts Gabe Ramirez and Nina Hajian will remain as co-hosts of the station’s AM show.  In an internal email, program director Todd Cavanah says, “During the past 10 months, Gabe and Nina have developed not only a friendship off the air but a great deal of chemistry with each other and the audience on air, at our bashes, their appearances and their social media platforms.  We see an enormous potential with both of these rising stars to achieve our goals on ‘B96’ for mornings.  Gabe and Nina will take over mornings immediately and we are confident that their engagement with each other and the listeners will be a huge success.”…..Sales and management pro Jessica Farias is promoted from her region VP of sales post with iHeartMedia Denver to market president for the company’s Colorado Springs station group.  iHeartMedia Denver president Tim Hager comments, “Over the years, I’ve marveled at Jessica’s ability to lead and motivate a winning team, to cultivate impactful relationships and elevate her department to unmatched heights.  I’m so proud of what Jess has accomplished.  I now have the privilege of watching her grow within our region and lead a best-in-class team at iHeartMedia Colorado Springs.”…..Looks like the Grammys’ loss is Westwood One’s gain as singer Ariana Grande – who famously withdrew from performing at this Sunday’s Grammy Awards over conflicts with the producers – will appear on tonight’s Zach Sang show to preview her new album Thank You, Next.  Grande will appear with Sang for two hours of this evening’s program to play tracks from her new album and tell the stories behind the songs…..Alpha Media names Ricky Thomas program director for CHR WVBX, Fredericksburg, Virginia “Live 99.3.”  Alpha Fredericksburg market manager Beth Vickers says, “Ricky comes to us with a solid level of expertise in the CHR format and is a welcomed addition to ‘Live 99.3!’  His talent on and off the air are sure to bring new and exciting things to Alpha Media Fredericksburg.”…..On-air pro Steph Peters becomes part of the morning show on Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s country WWQM, Madison “Q106,” hosted by Jackson Jones.  Peters fills the role vacated by Andi Brooks who recently exited for a promotions position with Big Machine Label Group…..Pictured below is singer, songwriter and actor Jesse McCartney being unmasked in the Phoenix studios of the Johnjay and Rich show.  McCartney, in town as part of his Resolution Tour, agreed to don the costume for the show’s version of “The Masked Singer” in which he performed Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me.”  Show cast members Kyle and Suzette were tasked with trying to guess who was in the costume.

Monday, January 12, 2015

| January 12, 2015

howellbigjohnCumulus Names Big John Howell Morning Host at WLS-AM, Chicago.  The arrival of longtime Chicago market personality Big John Howell at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago had been rumored for some time and now it becomes official as Howell will assume the morning show duties effective next Monday (1/19).  Most recently, Howell was morning host at Salem Communications’ news/talk WIND “AM 560 The Answer.”  He also was a jock at CBS RADIO’s country WUSN for many years as well as morning personality on CBS’ WCKG.  For seven years he hosted the Westwood One-syndicated “Country Gold” request show.  Howell comments, “I’m looking forward to joining WLS-AM.  It has been a longtime professional, as well as personal, goal. Growing up in West Michigan and listening to WLS influenced my initial decision to give the radio business a try.  Now, all these years later, and on the heels of many WLS broadcast legends, including Larry Lujack and Don Wade, it is truly an honor and a privilege.  I’m also looking forward to sharing the WLS airwaves with Steve Dahl, who taught all of us to ignore management and hate disco.”   Howell takes over for the team of Dan Proft and Bruce Wolf.

connroeRoe Conn to PM Drive at WGN, Chicago.  There’s no official word from Tribune Media on this…yet, but Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former longtime WLS-AM afternoon host Roe Conn will take over the afternoon drive show on WGN, Chicago from Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – both of whom have been in the post since last May.  Conn even appeared on WGN’s Steve Cochran show this morning (1/12), but chatted about issues and there was no mention of his joining the station.  The hiring of Leff and Snyder was part of the makeover of the station orchestrated by president Jimmy de Castro.  Feder reports that it’s expected that Leff and Snyder will stay on in some capacity.

rothlaurieDr. Laurie Roth Show Joins USA Radio Networks.  As part of a series of program rollouts, the USA Radio Networks announces Dr. Laurie Roth becomes part of the syndicated lineup, airing from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET effective February 2.  USA Radio Networks describes the show as an “issues-driven program known to tackle politics, crime and corruption.  Dr. Roth often visits with survivors and family membersusaRadioNetworks affected by crimes and conspiracies.  How do they survive and come back after losing a family member, being smeared or a being a victim of crime in some way?  Listeners learn the answers to such questions.  Roth says, “I expose the bad guys, stand for the good guys and don’t get caught in-between.”  Tim Maranville is chief content officer at USA’a parent company – Cross Platform Media Group – and he comments, “Dr. Roth covers the issues driving the conversation in America like no other radio host.  Her life experience brings a realness to the radio that, sadly, is uncommon in the network industry.  She is a welcome breath of fresh air.”  Recently, USA Radio Networks announced the launch of new shows including “AMERICA CONTINUES with Jim Sharpe,” and the syndication of the Steve Deace show, “DAYBREAK USA with Angie Austin,” and the hourly USA Radio News.

brooksericBrooks Promoted at WTMJ, Milwaukee.  At the Journal Broadcast Group-owned news/talker WTMJ, Milwaukee, Eric Brooks is upped to assistant program director.  WTMJ VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “Eric has grown tremendously as a leader at WTMJ.  As producer of ‘Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure,’ Eric has helped the program leapfrog into the top news/talk position with both listeners 6+ and 25-54.  Eric has also deftly handled many day-to-day responsibilities in the programming department in his role as executive producer of WTMJ programming.”  Brooks joined WTMJ in 2011 as a news anchor and producer before being elevated to executive producer, WTMJ programming in 2013.

Odds & Sods.  This Friday (1/16), New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella will sit in for morning drive personality Harry Hurley on Townsquare Media’s Atlantic City, New Jersey news/talker WPGG…..Here’s an interesting show, now available to radio stations across the country that draws on Americans’ interestrotellapaul in the Old West: Dakota Livesay’s “Chronicle of the Old West.”  It’s both a three-and-a-half minute show delivered five days per week and a weekly, one-hour show that features friends, authors and experts who chat with host Livesay about this romanticized period of American history.  Check out OldWestRadio.com…..The WYD Media-syndicated “Huckabee Report” with Mike Huckabee and the Stephanie Miller program are both joining the lineup at CRN Digital Talk Radio.  CRN states that “The Huckabee Report” will air throughout the day on CRN effective today (1/12) and CRN 4 channel will broadcast encore presentations of the Stephanie Miller show Tuesday through Saturday, beginning January 13.

beckaliveeventTalk Pro Tom Becka Does ‘Friday Night Live.’  Longtime Omaha (not to mention Kansas City and Fargo) talk radio personality Tom Becka rhetorically asks TALKERS magazine, “What does a talk show host do when he’s on the beach?  He keeps talking…”  And that’s what you see in this photo.  Recently let go from KOIL, Omaha in a cost-cutting move, Becka reports on his latest venture – a live version of the Tom Becka Radio Show.  He says, “We set up a stage at a local watering hole, charged admission, and did an interactive audience participation show just like it was on the radio.  A sold-out crowd came to talk about the hot issues of the day with ‘Honesty, Integrity, and a Sense of Humor.’  It was spirited, entertaining, and profitable.  I used social media and my daily podcasts to promote the event and it turned out great.  I’ll be doing these on a regular basis.”  Becka can be reached at: 402-321-9590 or via Tom@TomBecka.com.

ferraranickRemembering Nick (Bazoo) Ferrara. Word and condolences spread throughout social media on Saturday, January 10 about the passing of noted CHR programmer Nick Ferrara. Conspicuously absent though were specific details of when, where, or even if Ferrara had indeed passed. The Harrison County (Mississippi) coroner though has unfortunately confirmed that 59-year-old Gulfport resident Ferrara was killed Friday (1/9) in a two-vehicle accident on Interstate 10. According to officials, Ferrara was not wearing a seatbelt while driving his 2013 Honda Accord sedan; he died at the scene from blunt-force trauma. According to a report in the Biloxi-Gulfport Sun Herald, police responded at 6:05 pm to a report of a crash with injuries. Ferrara’s car apparently rear-ended another vehicle. The Gulfport Fire Department and American Medical Response were at the crash scene. Eerily, a Friday Facebook posting ostensibly made by Ferrara – known to many from his earlier top 40 programming days as Nick Bazoo indicated simply that at approximately 5:30 pm, he was at Biloxi’s Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.  The previous day (Thursday, 1/8), Ferrara made 17 original Facebook posts. Tony Gray had the most succinct – yet possibly the most powerful comment on Ferrara’s home page, with the noted consultant simply writing, “B-97 New Orleans.” Specifically, WEZB “B-97” is the New Orleans station (then owned by EZ Communications) at which operations manager Ferrara (Bazoo) rose to prominence in the early-1980s.  He was famously linked to that Louisiana metro.  NBC Sports Radio programmer Jack Silver though first met Ferrara in Mill Valley, California in 1984. “He was coming in to flip KMEL from rock to top 40,” Silver recalls. “He and Keith Naftalyhad the vision – I was in the right place to help them as well.  Heaven is full of great program directors who touched us all – God rest your soul.”  Media Monitors music manager Anita Bonita writes, “Godspeed Mr. Bazoo – you will be missed.” Renowned talk radio consultant Valerie Geller is “so sorry to hear this news – RIP.”  According to Giant Records vice president Jean Johnson, Ferrara was, “The consummate Facebook poster. I shared many of your hilarious posts. Rest in peace Mr. Bazoo – taken way too soon.” Legendary voiceover/imaging talent Howard Hoffman sums it up perfectly by stating, “This hurts. Selfless, strong, and just a real honor to work with you, Nick.  One of the best field marshals ever and you deserved so much better. I am glad you knew that before leaving us way too soon. Godspeed, friend – thanks for everything.” Longtime industry executive Rob Sisco laments, “Oh my dear sweet Bazoo. I am so profoundly sad to hear this news. You were one of the true good guys. I am proud and honored to have called you friend. You will be missed forever. Rest in peace, Nick.” Former New Orleans programmer Pat Matthews recalls, “Met you when you were just 18 and starting out at WIXO. A funny, talented, caring guy – wow, this is so unbelievable.” Veteran programmer Joel Burke remarks, “You were one of the smartest radio people I knew and had such a contagious laugh – RIP.” Consultant Dan Vallie comments, “Good man – good heart. Rest in peace my friend. Heaven is going to enjoy your sense of humor and big smile.” Yet another twist: A “Life Event” posted on Ferrara’s Facebook page less than two weeks ago – New Year’s Eve (12/31) – states he “started working at retired.” Commencing in 2001 and lasting approximately through 2013, Ferrara was an operations manager in State College, Pennsylvania at Forever Broadcasting and then doing similar duties at cross-town Results Radio (2006 – 2013). In addition to WEZB “B-97,” Ferrara (Bazoo) held the operations manager title at several other New Orleans outlets, including WLMG, WLTS, and WWL. In the mid- and late-1980s, he spent time in California as an OM for KMEL, San Francisco and then Gannett Broadcasting‘s properties in San Diego. Sandwiched between those stops was a two-year stint as operations manager in Pittsburgh for EZ’s WBZZ “B-94.” Information is not yet available regarding Ferrara’s funeral arrangements.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

| February 27, 2014

millerjpatJournal’s WTMJ and ‘The Lake’ Name J. Pat Miller to Marketing Post.  At the Milwaukee properties news/talk WTMJ and adult hits WLWK “94.5 The Lake,” Journal Broadcast Group ups J. Pat Miller to the new position director of marketing & innovation.  The company says that in his new role, he’ll be responsible for the overall marketing activities of WTMJ and WLWK as well as designing and implementing new brand programs.  VP and GMwtmj logo Tom Langmyer comments, “J. Pat has demonstrated his ability to create and develop new revenue streams.  He will focus more of his attention on additional initiatives to grow our business.”  Miller adds, “This new role is vital to our growth and the industry as a whole.  The incredible team here at Journal’s Milwaukee Radio Operations can effortlessly pull off most anything we create.”  Miller is overseeing the promotions department and the company announces that Alison Helf is named promotions manager.

wgwg logoTribune’s WGWG-LP, Chicago Brings McKnight Aboard.  The fledgling sports talk station Tribune’s WGN is building and airing on LMA’d WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7” adds another local sports talk personality to its staff.  Connor McKnight – who’s served with CBS RADIO’s WSCR “The Score” for the past four years – joins “The Game 87.7” for an on-air role.  According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, McKnight will “make his first appearance Thursday (2/27) on Mark Carman’s show, which airs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.”  Feder reports he’ll become part of the daily lineup.  At WSCR, McKnight hosted the “Hit and Run” baseball show as well as having been an anchor and reporter at the station.  Read Feder’s story here.

diminochrisChris Dimino Set to Join ‘680 The Fan’ for ‘Rude Awakening’ Show.  As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, former WQXI sports talk personality Chris Dimino will become part of WCNN “680 The Fan” in an on-air capacity as his non-compete clause from WQXI expires on March 17.  Dimino has been working for the station in an off-air capacity since last September but Ho reports he’ll join Christopher Rude and Perry Laurentino on the morning show soon.  Dimino was part of the WQXI morning program – including fellow hosts Steak Shapiro and Nick Cellini – that was fired in the wake of the poorly thought out bit poking fun at former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason who is suffering from ALS.  Read Ho’s entire piece here.

nab logoNAB Rejects Elimination of Advertising Tax Deduction.  As part of a comprehensive tax code overhaul proposal being spearheaded by House Ways and Means Chairman David Camp (R-MI), the deduction that businesses can claim for advertising expenses would be eliminated and this oft-considered-but-never-enacted change has the NAB letting legislators know how it feels about it.  NAB EVP of communications Dennis Wharton states, “NAB strongly opposes any job-killing proposal that would limit the ability of thousands of large and small businesses from fully deducting their annual advertising expenses.  Advertising on local radio and television stations is a key driver of the American economy – indeed, a recent study found local broadcast advertising generates $1.05 trillion in GDP and supports 1.48 million jobs.  NAB will work with lawmakers and other stakeholders to ensure the advertising tax deduction continues to create economic prosperity and well-paying jobs.”  Since ad deduction elimination is just one part of a comprehensive tax overhaul proposal, it’s difficult to say how it would affect a company’s bottom line in the long run.  Camp has stated his goal is to simplify the tax code – not to increase anyone’s tax burden – and there are other proposed changes that promise to help the bottom line of corporate and individual taxpayers.  This is an election year so it’s unlikely there will be any action on this front any time soon.

clyburnmignonFCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn Defends CIN; Implies It’s Misunderstood.  During a speech at Washington, DC’s Media Institute on Wednesday (2/26), FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn defended the controversial Critical Information Needs (CIN) study that would have researchers quizzing journalists and managers about how they choose news stories and information for dissemination to the public.  Her speech came the day after Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) promised legislation to put the FCC’s study to rest for good, citing its potential intrusion into First Amendment areas and its scope being beyond the purview of the Commission.  Clyburn explained that the Commission needs to understand the markets it regulates.  She said that she would never be a part of anything that seeks to chill free speech or shape news gathering and that the goal was to “gather data and other information about whether there are any market entry barriers, preventing local communities from receiving important information…I am about facilitating ownership and opportunities and making sound decisions about our most critical industries based on solid research and not rhetoric.”  Still, critics of the study argue that neither Clyburn nor FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler have adequately explained the connection between interviewing news people about story selection policy and barriers to station ownership for minorities.

blackburnvalerieValerie Blackburn to Step Down at CBS RADIO Los Angeles.  The word from Los Angeles is Valerie Blackburn – currently serving as controller for the CBS RADIO Los Angeles cluster and general manager of news/talk KFWB (residing in the KFWB license trust) – is resigning from her positions and is planning to take some time away from radio and work to travel and be with family and friends.  Her exit will not be immediate and it’s assumed CBS is already working on finding her replacement.

schultzAZSchultz Honored by Arizona Progressives.  Nationally syndicated talk show host and MSNBC personality Ed Schultz is pictured here speaking at the annual Arizona Advocacy Network dinner on Saturday, February 22.  Schultz was honored by the group for his work on key progressive issues and he addressed the attendees.  He was clearly in the right state at the right time with the controversy over the Arizona religious freedom bill such a hot-button issue. (Photo: Josselyn Berry)

farberericanewRAB: Radio’s Digital Revenue Expected to Rise 22%.  That’s from the just-released Benchmarking: Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues report from Borrell Associates and the Radio Advertising Bureau.  The report states that digital revenues went up 15% in 2013 and the total figure for 2014 could be as high as $520 million.  Some figures from this year’s report: the average radio station brought in $166,490 in digital advertising – about 3% of its total revenue; some large-market stations report making millions; the average revenue for four-station clusters is approaching $750,000.  The data for the study is culled from three sources: ad revenue reported by the stations, local business ad spending, and a survey of radio managers.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “We’re experiencing year-over-year, double-digit growth in radio; and to truly maximize this revenue stream this survey continues to provide us with areas to improve upon and ultimately grow our overall revenue share.  Most notably, sales managers are looking for continued training for their sales staffs and a better understanding of the digital buying community.  The RAB is poised to help in this area through our professional development programs and outreach.”

millerstephanieOdds & Sods.  Talk show host Stephanie Miller‘s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” hits Fort Lauderdale, Florida Saturday, March 1.  The progressive talker, whose show has played in theaters to sold-out crowds across the country, is appearing at the Parker Playhouse  along with John Fugelsang, Carlos Alazraqui, special panel guest Judy Tenuta and more surprises…..“SportsRadio 94” WIP-FM, Philadelphia is presenting the “Great Birds Debate” remote broadcast today at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia.  The station says it is one of the few times all year that the WIP wiplogoairstaff is on the same stage together.   Personalities Angelo Cataldi, Rhea Hughes, Michael Barkann, Ike Reese, Anthony Gargano, four-time champion Rob Ellis (also a member of the CBS 3 Sports Team), Josh Innes, Howard Eskin, CBS 3 Sports Director Beasley Reece, and Philadelphia Eagles insider Dave Spadaro will all be present to discuss and debate questions about the Eagles present and future.  The event is free and open to the public…..At Detroit urban talker WCHB, John Mason leaves that Radio One outlet masonjohnto take over the morning slot at sister urban AC WDMK where Reach Media’s Tom Joyner has been airing.  Joyner moves to mornings at WCHB and that bumps talk host Mildred Gaddis from AMs to afternoon drive in Mason’s old slot…..A couple of notes from SiriusXM: U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will appear on the next installment of the “SiriusXM Leading Ladies” series, “candid conversations with influential and inspiring women who have forged their own paths to leadership and success.”  SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S. host and veteran White House correspondent Julie Mason will host the program on March 4 before a live audience at The Newseum in Washington, D.C.  In addition to the one-on-one conversation between Leader Pelosi and Mason, the one-hour town hall style event will have an interactive element featuring questions from an audience of SiriusXM listeners, female students from D.C. universities and Newseum members.  Also from SiriusXM, sports talk host Casey Stern re-ups with the satcaster for his daily hosting spot on the MLB Network Radio channel, as well as for expanded duties on additional SiriusXM sports channels.  Stern will continue to host “Inside Pitch” alongside his co-host, former Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden, every weekday afternoon…..Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York is bringing the world of fashion to its airwaves as it takes a look back at NY Fashion Week with an exclusive interview with Kenneth Cole.  Hosted by Cristina Cuomo, editor of Manhattan magazine, from the Modern Luxury arm of Cumulus Media, the interview digs into Cole’s ambitions and inspirations.  He also shares details of his groundbreaking advertising campaigns, views of fashion, social media, and much more.  WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “It was a real honor to work with our sister publication Manhattan and Cristina Cuomo to bring the iconic designer to WABC Radio.  We are already making plans for this fall’s Fashion Week.”

bfoabryantgroupBroadcasters Foundation of America Raises More Than $200,000 at ‘Golden Mike’ Event.  At Monday evening’s black tie 2014 Golden Mike Award Dinner honoring BMI president Del Bryant, the Broadcasters Foundation of America raised more than $200,000 for its mission of helping broadcasters in need.  More than 200 television, radio, and music industry executives and celebrities were in attendance.  The evening was hosted by CBS NewsBob Schieffer.  Presenters for the evening were longtime personal and professional friends of Bryant’s:  Michael Bolton, performer and BMI songwriter; Jack Sander, former chairman of the BMI board of directors; and Sandra Lee, internationally acclaimed culinary and home style expert and host of four highly rated programs on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, plus HGTV.  Legendary singer, songwriter, musician, and actor Kris Kristofferson performed, as did songwriter Brenda Russell, who sang her top 10 hit “Piano In The Dark,” and “Get Here.”  Dolly Parton opened a very moving video that provided a glimpse into Bryant’s amazing life — from his early years growing up as the son of songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant through his incredible 42-year career at BMI where he championed the works of some of the biggest songwriters in entertainment.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Jim Thompson (president of the Broadcasters Foundation), Michael Bolton, Sandra Lee, Del Bryant, Bryant’s son Thaddeus, Kris Kristofferson, Brenda Russell, Bob Schieffer, and Phil Lombardo (chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation).

Brewer Vetoes ‘Religious Rights’ Bill, ObamaCare Criticism, U.S.-Russia Tensions Over Crimea-Ukraine, Immigration Legislation, Bitcoin Controversy, and Hillary Clinton in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/26).  Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoes legislation that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to some based on religious beliefs; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the political tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the strife in Ukraine and Crimea; new immigration legislation that includes an amnesty component; the bitcoin movement and recent events questioning its value; and speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.