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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

| January 7, 2020

Good Karma Names Jacobsen PD for ‘ESPN Madison.’ Sports talk and news/talk radio pro Mike Jacobsen is named program director for Good Karma Brands-owned sports talk outlet WTLX-FM, Madison “ESPN Madison,” effective January 13.  Jacobsen has served with WGN-AM, Chicago as producer of the morning drive show, as well as sports talk shows hosted by David Kaplan and David Haugh.  He was most recently the director of education at Illinois Media School.  Good Karma Madison vice president and market manager Keith Williams says, “We’re excited to have Mike Jacobsen join the ‘ESPN Madison’ team to lend his expertise and ear to an already exciting and growing lineup.  His previous leadership roles and passion for the radio industry make him a perfect fit to lead the team to new heights.”  Jacobsen comments, “I couldn’t be more excited to help lead such an incredibly talented lineup and teammates in one of the best sports towns in the country.  It’s truly an honor to be a part of the innovative and ambitious Good Karma Brands team as we continue to grow the ESPN Wisconsin brand.”

Mike Rhyner Retires from ‘The Ticket’ in Dallas. After 26 years with Dallas sports talk radio station KTCK-AM/FM “The Ticket,” afternoon drive personality Mike Rhyner is retiring from the station immediately.  Rhyner made his announcement via a YouTube video in which the 69-year-old broadcaster told fans the decision to retire was entirely his.  He said, “The time is right. It has been my life for 26 years, probably more than it should have been.  I loved everything about the radio station.  I loved being on the air, being with the guys, the road trips with the guys. I will miss it terribly, no doubt.”  Rhyner has been co-host of the afternoon drive show, “The Hardline,” since the station launched in 1994.  Rhyner notes that the station has been through four owners, numerous general managers and yet has consistently achieved phenomenal ratings.  “We’ve seen it grow into something that none of us could have possibly imagined.”  The Dallas Star-Telegram quotes Rhyner’s co-host, Corby Davidson, saying, “He’s very happy with his situation.  This has everything to do with a guy who has decided it’s time.  We should all be so lucky.  We all owe everything to him.”

Chris Berry Promoted to EVP of News, Talk and Sports for iHeartMedia. Radio executive Chris Berry is promoted from SVP to executive vice president of news, talk and sports programming for iHeartMedia.  Berry will continue to provide strategic guidance for the company’s spoken-word formats and connect key advertisers with iHeartMedia’s news, talk, and sports audiences.  Since 2011, Berry has managed iHeartMedia’s 24/7 News Source and was upped to SVP in 2017.  He’ll continue as format brand manager and provide oversight for NBC News Radio and the 24/7 News Network, reporting to Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott.  She says, “Chris has tremendous programming experience and he’s been a valuable asset to our team for nearly a decade.  As the spoken-word format continues to grow, his leadership and vision will help ensure we’re strategically positioned to provide the best content across multiple platforms, while delivering unparalleled results for stations and advertising partners.”

Little Rock Sports Talker Exits Station in Wake of Theft Accusation. KATV-TV, Little Rock reports that sports talk radio host Eric Sullivan has exited Signal Media’s KABZ-FM, Little Rock “103.7 The Buzz” after a staffer at a local restaurant accused him of taking $409 from her purse.  KABZ confirmed to KATV-TV that Sullivan, host of the early afternoon “Out of Bounds” show, is no longer with the station.  Sullivan has not been charged.  Authorities say the money was returned to the restaurant staffer and it’s now up to her whether she wishes to file charges or not.  Sullivan issued the following statement to KATV-TV: “I need to address something to you all: I’ve made a monumental career mistake & I take full responsibility for it, I let many people down as well as the listeners and great people at 1037 the Buzz and I will own that for the rest of my life.”

Cumulus Toledo Names Dana DiModica VP and Market Manager. Radio sales pro Dana DiModica is promoted from director of sales and local sales manager to vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Toledo station group that includes sports talker WTOD “The Ticket ESPN 106.5 FM” and six music brands.  DiModica says, “I am honored and excited to be able to lead this wonderful group of people in Toledo.  I appreciate the opportunity that has been given to me by our CEO Mary Berner and executive vice president Bob Walker.  Having spent my entire radio career in the area, I know the impact our radio stations have in our community, with our listeners, and the relationships with our clients.  I am grateful for the opportunity to continue that impact as vice president/market manager of Cumulus Toledo.”

TALKERS News Notes. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that it is accepting entries for the NAB Crystal Radio Awards, honoring outstanding community service, to be presented during the We Are Broadcasters Celebration on April 21 during the 2020 NAB Show in Las Vegas.  Finalists will be announced next month.  Entry submissions must be received by January 31.  You can submit entries here…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Entercom all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM is promoting two staffers to full-time positions.  Jennifer Keiper becomes the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm anchor.  Her duties include reporting into the early evening as well as a Sunday shift.  Andy Dahn moves into the anchor role Sunday through Thursday evenings.  He’s also charged with boosting the station’s social media presence in late nights and overnight.  WBBM director of news and programming Ron Gleason says, “Jennifer and Andy have shown tremendous reporting ability both in the field and in the anchor chair.  Their flexibility and talents will enhance our news coverage, helping make WBBM even stronger as election season approaches.”…..Boston public media organization WGBH is beefing up its news department with a news bureau in the Central Massachusetts city of Worcester.  The bureau will house a fully equipped broadcast studio providing easy access for interviews and will be equipped to stream digital video to platforms such as Facebook Live.  WGBH News says it plans to collaborate with local colleges to develop internship opportunities with the new bureau and will use it as a convening space for local organizations…..Entercom’s KILT-AM, Houston “SportsRadio 610” announces it is airing “live and local programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as the Texans are in the postseason.”  Program director Armen Williams adds, “Coming off the most amazing Texans victory in franchise history, the city of Houston is buzzing.  We’re proud to be able to feed their hunger for this franchise by talking Texans around the clock.”…..On the national level, Entercom’s RADIO.COM is presenting weekly, live two-hour broadcasts of “You Better You Bet” (in partnership with The Action Network) to preview the NFL playoff games.  Entercom president of sports Mike Dee comments, “As the NFL postseason gets underway, our listeners can turn to their favorite sports betting show for all of the insight and advice they need leading right up to kickoff.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting live play-by-play coverage of all four NFL playoff games this weekend.  Ryan Radtke, Tony Boselli, and Scott Kaplan will call the Vikings at 49ers game; Brandon Gaudin, Ross Tucker, and Laura Okmin have the Titans at Ravens game; Kevin Kugler, Trent Green, and James Laurinaitis are working the Texans at Chiefs game; and Kevin Harlan, James Lofton, and Hub Arkush are calling the Seahawks at Packers game…..The Utica Comets hockey club and Galaxy Media Partners extend their broadcast partnership for another six years.  As part of the deal, in addition to airing all 76 regular season and playoff games on rock WKLL-FM, Utica “94.9 KROCK,” a new and extended 30-minute pregame show has been added to gameday coverage with hosts Rainman and Scoop.

Saga Communications Strikes Deal with Aptivada for Online Promotions. Radio operator Saga Communications signs a company-wide, multi-year agreement with Aptivada for it to provide online contesting, marketing, revenue, and promotions.  Saga director of digital strategies Eric Christian says, “In 2020, Saga is focused on creating unique and innovative solutions for audiences and clients within 120 of our local stations.  Aptivada’s offering of multiple products on one platform will allow us to provide cutting-edge ideas to our partners with the confidence that all audience and client data is stored securely and privately – which is also a top priority for us.  We look forward to this partnership and all the success it will bring.”

Iran General Killed/Middle East Tensions, Trump Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, Facebook Bans Deepfakes, Harvey Weinstein Case, Australian Bushfires/Global Warming, and Golden Globe Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). The aftermath of the U.S. killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and tensions in the Middle East; the articles of impeachment against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; Facebook announces a ban on deepfake videos; embattled movie mogul Harvey Weinstein – with a trial set to begin in New York – is charged with sexual assault in Los Angeles; the bushfires ravaging southeastern Australia and questions about whether climate change is a factor; and Sunday evening’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: Contemporary Christian. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the contemporary Christian format.  See how those stations performed compared to the November survey, the December 2018 survey and more here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Long Island morning radio duo “Roger and JP” are celebrating 20 years together on Cox Media Group’s classic rock WBAB, Babylon, New York.  Roger Luce (right) and John “JP” Parise (left) began working together in 2000.  Luce had years of radio experience in the market and served as PA announcer for New York Islanders games.  Parise was a van driver for the station before they got together on the radio.  In addition to their WBAB morning gig, they also host an 11:00 am to 2:00 pm show on CMG’s WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone.”…..iHeartMedia names Mike McCabe program director for CHR WZFT, Baltimore “Z104.3,” effective January 20.  McCabe was most recently PD and afternoon drive personality at the company’s CHR WERZ, Portsmouth, New Hampshire “Z107.”   iHeartMedia Baltimore SVP of programming Mike Preston states, “McCabe’s extensive programming background combined with his passion for the pop music landscape makes him the perfect fit for this position.  We are thrilled to welcome him to Baltimore as we kick off Z104.3’s 11th year as Baltimore’s number one hit music station.”…..Compass Media Networks’ “Free Beer and Hot Wings” program is added to the schedule at Townsquare Media’s rock WGBF, Evansville, Indiana as the new morning show.  WGBF brand manager Kat Mykals comments, “We are excited to start the new year and the new decade with a new era in morning rock radio as we welcome the ‘Free Beer and Hot Wings’ morning show to WGBF-FM.  With their amazing chemistry and authenticity, the show is a natural fit as we continue to be Evansville’s and the Tristate’s home for ‘Everything That Rocks.’”…..Magnum.Media unveils the new classic country format on WBOG, Tomah, Wisconsin.  Magnum staffer Robin Jon Olson is returning to the airwaves to host the morning drive show.  He says, “After two years focused on the sales and production side of radio, I’m excited about adding back to my duties being on the air.  Hard to believe I played those 80s country songs as current hits, and now I get to play them again.  A lot of great country music came out in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s.  By focusing on this era of country music, ‘BOG Country’ isn’t in direct competition with another station in our market.”…..CMT and iHeartMedia announce their renewed partnership and multi-year extension that includes the two syndicated radio programs, “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” and “CMT Radio Live with Cody Alan.”  Pictured below are (from l-r): Cody Alan, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, MCA Nashville recording artist Sam Hunt, and executive producer of CMT Radio content and programming partnerships Ashlee McDonald.

Friday, December 13, 2019

| December 13, 2019

Report: Liberty Media Seeks Control or Ownership of iHeartMedia.  According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Liberty Media is asking the Department of Justice for permission to up its stake in iHeartMedia.  Currently, Liberty owns 4.8% of iHM.  The WSJ’s sources say the deal that Liberty is seeking permission for would give it control or “outright ownership.”  One source says Liberty has not decided “what kind of transaction, if any, it would proceed with should it receive permission.”  Liberty Media currently owns 33% of Live Nation – the concert business that then-Clear Channel spun off in 2005 – and 71% of SiriusXM Holdings.  The WSJ piece notes that Justice Department officials are asking “interested parties” how they’d be affected by a major live events business and a leading radio company being co-owned.

Radzik to Program ’98.5 The Sports Hub’ in Boston. At Boston sports talker WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Rick Radzik is named the station’s new program director, effective immediately.  Beasley Media Group announces Radzik is assuming the role being vacated by Mike Thomas, who heads to Chicago to become market manager for the ESPN-owned and Good Karma-managed WMVP “ESPN 1000.”  Radzik has been the station’s assistant program director since the station signed on in August of 2009.  Prior to that, he’d served for 15 years as a producer at all-news WBZ-AM, overseeing Boston Bruins broadcasts.  He began his career at crosstown WEEI-AM (when it was a news station) producing the Bruins and Boston Celtics broadcasts, as well as various talk shows.  Beasley Media Group Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack says, “Rick has been a key member of the ‘Sports Hub’ programming team since the station’s inception.  The knowledge he has amassed over the past decade, coupled with his relationships and passion for continuing our winning history, make him uniquely qualified to lead the ‘Sports Hub’ into the 2020s and beyond!”

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (12/13).  The new episode titled “Meddling and Muddling!” reviews the week of December 9-13, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Sebastian Gorka, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City;  Joan Michelson; Executive producer/host, GreenConnectionsRadio.com; Bob Lonsberry, talk show host, WHAM, Rochester/WSYR, Syracuse; Doug Stephan, talk show host, Stephan Multimedia; and Scott James Matheson, Mayor-elect, Valdosta, Georgia. This acclaimed news/talk radio show first airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm. It then airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. It also appears on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

‘Cats Roundtable’ Show Joins ‘Florida Man Radio.’ The weekly “Cats Roundtable” show hosted by Red Apple Group president and CEO John Catsimatidis is being added to the program schedule at JVC Media’s WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WYGC-FM, High Springs (Gainesville market) “Florida Man Radio.”  Catsimatidis’ company Red Apple Media recently entered into a deal to acquire venerable WABC-AM, New York from Cumulus Media for $12.5 million.  That deal has not closed yet.  JVC president and CEO John Caracciolo says, “‘The Cats Roundtable’ radio show is perfect for ‘Florida Man Radio.’  John’s unique take on the news and his A-list celebrity interviews are fascinating conversations that keep listeners coming back for more.  We have been very successful with his show on our Long Island station and know this is a great fit for our growing ‘Florida Man Radio’ network.”

The Trump Impeachment Proceedings Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 9-13. The articles of impeachment against President Trump were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing in the top spot on the Talkers TenTM.  Tied at #2 this week was Russia’s meddling in the U.S. elections and the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s surveillance practices.  At #3 was Time magazine’s selection of Greta Thunberg as Person of the Year and the greater topic of climate change, followed by the deadly Jersey City shooting and the rise of anti-Semitism at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this 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.

TALKERS News Notes. The WGBH, Boston and PRI-produced program “Innovation Hub” takes a look at the rise of conservative talk radio and its influence on the America political scene on its most recent episode.  Joining host Kara Miller is author and University of Pennsylvania scholar-in-residence Brian Rosenwald.  His book, Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States (2019, Harvard University Press) examines the theory.  The teaser of the radio show says, “When Rush Limbaugh’s conservative talk radio program began in Sacramento in the 1980s, no one could have guessed that he would not only reinvigorate AM radio but also create a new format that would help remold the American political landscape.”  Check out the program here…..The WFAN watch continues as Newsday’s Neil Best writes that the odds-on replacement for Mike Francesa in afternoon drive on the Entercom sports talk station is midday team Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno.  He also says that Maggie Gray and Mark Malusis are “favorites” to serve as the midday personalities.  Francesa left his regular full-time role with the station a couple of weeks ago but will contribute to The Fan’s on-air content with a nightly, half-hour show at 6:00 pm.  WFAN has made no announcements about its plans for the station as of today (12/13)…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder writes today about longtime Chicago radio personality Turi Ryder’s new podcast that takes its name from her fictionalized memoir, She Said What?  Ryder co-hosts the show with Kathryn Lake and she tells Feder she’ll drop two podcasts each week, no longer than 15 minutes in length.  You can check it out here…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime radio journalist Pete Combs, who died in Atlanta after a three-month battle with lung cancer at age 61.  Combs had been working at Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta since May of 2018.  He previously worked for WSB from 2006 through 2015 but left for KOMO-AM, Seattle before returning last year.  During his career, he worked at stations including: WGST-AM, Atlanta; KRLD-AM and the Texas State Network, Dallas; USA Radio News, Dallas; WINK-AM Fort Myers; and WBT-AM, Charlotte.  He also reported for TV station in Charlotte and Tulsa during the early 1990s.  See the rest of WSB’s tribute to Combs here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Sales pro Dawn Girocco is named director of sales for Cumulus Media’s country KSCS “New Country 96.3,” country KPLX “99.5 The Wolf,” and CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3” in Dallas.  She was most recently vice president/market manager for Cumulus Los Angeles.  Cumulus Dallas/Houston RVP Dan Bennett comments, “Being able to get someone of Dawn Girocco’s experience and success back in our company to join our Dallas team as a key sales management leader is a great plus for Dallas and our company.  Dawn’s past success in Los Angeles speaks for itself and we can’t wait for her to get started here in Texas.”…..Alpha Media promotes Danny Dwyer to assistant program director for country KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” and inks him to a new, multi-year deal.  Dwyer will continue to host the midday show and continue his role as music director.  Alpha Portland SVP and market manager Lisa Decker states, “The energy and dedication Danny brings on and off the air to our ‘Bull Nation’ listeners, musicans, artists, labels, advertisers’ and community partners are an incredible asset to our station.  His leadership with station events and promotions including our St. Jude Radiothon and Countryfest concert are irreplaceable.”…..Seven-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette, who is planning a 31-date North American tour next year, performed a special acoustic set of the album Jagged Little Pill in its entirety on December 2 at New York’s legendary The Apollo.  That show will be broadcast exclusively on SiriusXM today (12/13) through December 22…..Air personality Brittany Rose joins Townsquare Media’s CHR WJBQ, Portland as co-host alongside Lori Voornas and Jeff Parsons on the “Q Morning Show,” effective January 2.   She was most recently with Townsquare Media’s WEBB-FM, Augusta “B98.5.”…..Cumulus Media’s alternative WWWX, Appleton, Wisconsin “96.9 The Fox” announces the nationally syndicated “The Dave and Mahoney Morning Show” takes over the morning slot, effective Monday (12/16).

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

| October 8, 2019

Mike Thomas Exits Boston’s ‘Sports Hub’ for WMVP, Chicago Market Manager Role. This move means a program director role at one of the top-performing sports talk radio stations in America is open.  Beasley Media Group announces that it is “looking for the Bill Belichick of sports radio” as it seeks a PD for WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  Mike Thomas, who also serves as Beasley Media Group’s national spoken word and podcast brand manager, announces he’s leaving Boston to accept a new position in Chicago – market manager for Good Karma-operated WMVP “ESPN 1000” – in order to be closer to his family and fulfill a career goal of becoming a market manager.   Beasley says he will continue to remain as a consultant to the station and actively participate in the search process.  Thomas says, “This was an incredibly difficult decision.  This radio station is a once-in-a-career station, with a once-in-a-career staff.  I would like to thank Caroline and Brian Beasley and the entire corporate team for everything. Locally, Mary Menna, Cadillac Jack, and Buzz Knight have been fantastic to work with!  I also want to thank every single ‘Sports Hub’ employee for 10 years of winning!  I know our relationships won’t end here.”  Beasley Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack says, “I want to thank Mike for the instrumental part he has played in leading our award-winning brand throughout its first decade and wish him continued success in his next chapter.  They’re big shoes to fill and we look forward to meeting a lot of great talent in the process as the coming days and weeks unfold.”

Ex-FOX News Radio Personality Todd Starnes Launches Syndicated Commentary.  Former FOX News Radio personality Todd Starnes – who exited the company last week – announces he’s unveiling a syndicated commentary that “more than 750 radio stations have signed on to carry.”  The “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” short-form program is produced by his Starnes Media Group and syndicated by Hamilton Strategies.  Additionally, a three-hour, caller-driven radio talk show will debut on November 4.  Starnes says that program will feature major newsmakers, entertainers, artists, and Christian leaders.  He says, “I am first and foremost a radio guy.  I love the format and I believe that radio will continue to have a lasting impact on the nation.  We are also deeply committed to super-serving our radio affiliates with first class service.”  The commentaries are broadcasting on Bott Radio Network, American Family Radio, CSN Network, and a number of commercial radio stations.  For information about broadcasting Starnes’ commentaries or his talk show, contact Deborah Hamilton at Media@HamiltonStrategies.com.

Tammy O’Dell Assumes VP/Market Manager Role at Cumulus Columbia. Sales and management pro Tammy O’Dell is named vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Columbia, South Carolina cluster.  This is a return to Cumulus after serving most recently as local sales manager for Spectrum Reach in Cary, North Carolina.  She was formerly Cumulus’ VP/MM in Charleston, South Carolina.  The Columbia cluster includes sports talk duo WNKT-FM “107.5 The Game” and WISW-AM “1320 The Fan” and three music brands.    Cumulus Media EVP of operations Bob Walker says, “We are excited to welcome Tammy back to the Cumulus family in Columbia.  Her passion for the Carolina region and her success in building a winning sales culture make her a great addition to the team in Columbia.”

SiriusXM Woos Denise Karkos from TD Ameritrade. Marketing pro Denise Karkos is joining SiriusXM as the new chief marketing officer, a position in which she’ll be responsible for brand and digital marketing of both the SiriusXM and Pandora brands and helping support and drive the growth of SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners.   Karkos was most recently CMO at TD Ameritrade where she was named 2019 CMO of the Year by Ad Age.  SiriusXM president, sales, marketing and operations Jennifer Witz says, “Denise is exceptionally innovative and forward thinking and we are very pleased and excited that she will be leading our marketing efforts as we continue to grow the SiriusXM and Pandora brands.  She and her team will execute a cohesive marketing strategy to drive brand relevance and consideration through to customer conversion, with a deep focus on digital, social, and mobile marketing.”

FOX Sports Radio Reports Digital Audience Gains. Citing data from August and September of this year, FOX Sports Radio – a division of Premiere Networks – is announcing audience growth “across several digital platforms, including podcasts, streaming and www.FOXSportsRadio.com.”  FOX Sports Radio says it set a new record for total monthly podcast listens in September, reaching more than 11 million monthly listens.  It also notes total podcast listens have grown nearly 60% since January.  FSR says it experienced its third-highest streaming audience in the history of the network with the streaming numbers growing 8% from August of 2018 to August 2019 and a 25% increase over August 2017.

Cumulus CEO Mary Berner to Receive Gracies Leadership Award. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation is honoring Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner with a 2019 Gracies Leadership Award.  The Gracies Leadership Awards are presented annually to women executives who have made a significant impact on the media industry, while also spurring to action and emboldening other female leaders.  The award will be presented to Berner and five other female media executives at the Gracies Leadership Awards luncheon at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Thursday, November 21, 2019.  AFWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “The Alliance for Women in Media is proud to showcase female executives for their extraordinary accomplishments and deep contributions across the media landscape.  The Gracies Leadership Awards are one way AWM recognizes and connects women who serve in all areas of the media and entertainment industry.  By honoring these outstanding women, including Mary Berner, we are empowering all women, at every level, to take that next step in elevating their careers and their contributions.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Denver, Bonneville brings former Denver Broncos offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus aboard as co-host of “The Drive” on sports talk KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.”  Polumbus joins hosts Darren “DMac” McKee and Nick Ferguson on the afternoon drive show.  He takes over for Tom Nalen who exits the station for personal reasons…..A “Free Talk Live” co-host is making news as he takes on two other candidates for mayor of Keene, New Hampshire.  But there’s more to the story.  In August, Rich Paul filed in New Hampshire probate court to change his name to Nobody.  Today’s ballot gives voters three choices for mayor: Mitchell “Mitch” Greenwald, George S. Hansel, and Nobody.  “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman tells TALKERS magazine Nobody’s mayoral campaign is just the beginning.  He’s already announced his 2020 campaign to take on New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and is even considering a presidential run in a few more years.  Check out his campaign website: ElectNobody.com…..Edison Research is making three of its presentations originally delivered at the recent NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas available to the industry at its website. Available for your perusal are: “The Top 10 Findings from Edison Research in 2019 (so far)”; “The Secret to Longer TSL”; and “What Does it Mean for Radio to Be Local.” Check them out here…..In Northern Michigan, an application is filed with the FCC to transfer the licenses of eight stations from Sovereign Communications, LLC to AMC Partners Escanaba, LLC.  The stations are: news/talk WMIQ-AM, classic rock WIMK-FM, and hot AC WZNL-FM in the Iron Mountain/Escanaba area and news/talk WDMJ-AM and WIAN-AM, country WJPD-FM, classic rock WUPK-FM, and oldies WNGE-FM in the Marquette area.  Sovereign Communications is headed by Bill Gleich.  AMC Partners Escanaba is a Wisconsin-based company headed by Terry Shockley and Chris BernierKALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction…..The University of San Francisco and Cumulus Media San Francisco announce a multi-year agreement for KTCT-AM “KNBR 1050 The Sports Leader” to serve as flagship station for the school’s men’s basketball games.  Pat Olson will serve as play-by-play voice for broadcasts of the USF Dons games.

Impeachment Inquiry, Bidens Investigation, Trump’s Syria Decision, 2020 Presidential Race, Omar Files for Divorce, NBA-China Rift, and Joker Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/7). The impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the report of a second whistleblower; the reported activities of Joe and Hunter Biden with regard to business in foreign countries; President Trump’s decision to remove U.S. troops from Northern Syria in deference to Turkey; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar files for divorce amidst rumors of an affair with a Democratic operative; the rift between the NBA and China over the Houston Rockets’ general manager’s comments; and the Joker film 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. Bay Area sales pro David Drutz is named vice president and market manager for Alpha Media’s San Jose duo KBAY-FM and KEZR-FM.  Drutz was most recently vice president of sales for Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco.  Drutz says, “I’m incredibly excited to be part of a company as visionary as Alpha Media and lead classic hits KBAY and hot AC KEZR.  Both brands not only dominate Silicon Valley but also have tremendous reach throughout the Bay Area.  It’s going to be great fun in managing these stations to even more success!”…..Programming pro JT Bosch is promoted to senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Greensboro station group, effective October 14.  Bosch will also serve as program director for rock WVBZ-FM “105.7 MAN UP!”  Bosch has been with iHeartMedia since 2001 and most recently served as the assistant program director, music director and afternoon show host for country WKKT, Charlotte “96.9 The Kat.”  He says, “The opportunity to lead our programming efforts in Greensboro is so incredible.  We are ushering in a new era and I’m honored to be a part of it.  Thanks to the entire iHeartMedia senior leadership team for their continued support.”…..Cumulus Media announces that it has appointed Mike Moore program director for country WKHX-FM, Atlanta “Kicks 101.5.”  Moore comes to Atlanta from his most recent position as VP of programming for Entercom’s Portland cluster where he also programmed country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf.”  Cumulus EVP of content and audience Brian Philips states, “As we met a strong field of senior candidates for WKHX, Mike Moore pushed his way to the front with thoughtful ideas and hard-driving enthusiasm.  His wartime country radio leadership experience will enable him to build the team that changes the Atlanta landscape.”

Friday, August 24, 2018

| August 24, 2018

Tom Langmyer to Exit WTMJ and WKTI-FM in Milwaukee; Steve Wexler to Lead the Stations for Good Karma. Management and programming pro Tom Langmyer will be replaced at heritage Brew Town news/talker WTMJ-AM and country WKTI-FM by a familiar face – former Journal Communications and E.W. Scripps executive Steve Wexler.  He headed Journal’s radio division and stayed with the stations after they became part of E.W. Scripps.  Buffalo native Langmyer – who rose from program director at KMOX, St. Louis to station manager, then served as GM of WGN, Chicago – will stay with the stations until Good Karma assumes control.

Francesa’s Mike’s On App Is Released. New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s new app – dubbed Mike’s On after the name of his new WFAN show – has been released.  The new digital platform for Francesa is a collaborative effort between Francesa’s agency CAA and WFAN owner Entercom.  In addition to giving listeners digital access to his daily radio show, it will include exclusive extras such as a Saturday college football show and a Sunday NFL show. Francesa also is promising to comment on sports stories as they happen, anytime day or night.  The app is $8.99 a month – a price point that some are criticizing for being higher than the typical media app.  In a press statement, Francesa says, “I wanted to create my own exclusive platform to provide fans and subscribers with fresh content to complement the WFAN program they have known and trusted for decades, but with a level of information and immediacy they have never experienced before.  If it’s breaking news at 7AM or 1AM after a crushing defeat, fans will hear from me instantaneously. No barriers. No restrictions.”

KKNT, Phoenix Host Seth Leibsohn to Sue Political Consulting Firm Over Services. According to a report by the Arizona Republic’s Ronald Hansen, KKNT, Phoenix “960 The Patriot” afternoon drive talk show host Seth Leibsohn is suing political consulting firm Compass Strategies for its failure to assist him in getting enough qualified signatures in his bid to run for U.S. Rep. in Arizona’s 9thcongressional district.  After ending his bid for congress – for which he was prepared to leave his radio show due to equal time concerns – Leibsohn spoke about the matter on his radio show and said he was assured by Compass that all was well with the nomination signatures.  The paper quotes Leibsohn saying, “I am embarrassed about it and I am ashamed over it and I am committed to doing everything I can to give the donors to this campaign their money back.  We were assured on multiple occasions all was going well and there was no problem.  Indeed, some on the campaign staff joked…about other campaigns having problems but not ours.  Well the joke as it turned out — the terrible, awful joke — was on me and on you.  The others had the signatures and we did not.”  The story notes that the Leibsohn campaign had raised $144,000 as of June.  Read the Republic piece here.

Michael Harrison Says Trump Uses His Contentious Relationship with the Press to Political Advantage.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison participated in a discussion about media and news bias in covering President Trump in a conversation on CNN’s Headline News Channel (HLN) yesterday (8/23) on “Across America with Carol Costello.”  In a conversation with the show’s host, Carol Costello, and media analyst Bill Carter, former media reporter for The New York Times, Harrison says that there is blatant bias being perpetrated by both the pro- and anti-Trump media.  He attributes it to the long-running trend of the media “targeting audiences for commercial purposes” and confirming people’s pre-determined opinions (pro and con) about the president in the process.  Harrison states, “There is nothing wrong with political opinion – it’s a cherished tradition in journalism – as long as it is disclaimed as such and done in good spirit and good will.  We’ve lost sight of that and a lot of people don’t know the difference.”  As far as Trump complaining that 80% of the coverage of his presidency is fake news, Harrison says, “Trump uses the contentiousness [with the press] to his advantage with his base and wouldn’t want it any other way.”  To view the entire segment, please click here.

TALKERS News Notes. Pictured at right is Jack Phillips (second from left) – the Colorado baker whose refusal to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple based on religious beliefs that was the subject of the recent 7-2 U.S. Supreme Court victory – visited the Salem Media Group Los Angeles offices seeking support for his Alliance Defending Freedom legal team.  From left to right are: Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager, Phillips, SRN vp/news & talk programming Tom Tradup; and SRN talk host Larry Elder…..On today’s edition of the syndicated “John Fredericks Radio Show,” U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) – who serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces – sat in as guest host…..iHeartMedia’s Milwaukee sports talker WOKY “The Big 920” is going local in the midday, replacing FOX Sports Radio’s Colin Cowherd with Milwaukee Bucks play-by-play man Ted Davis, WISN-TV sports director Dan Needles, and former WAUK “540 ESPN” personality Mitch “Thunder” Nelles hosting “The Crossover” from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm daily…..Entercom’s WWEI-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts and the University of Massachusetts renew their deal for the station to serve as flagship for football and men’s basketball play-by-play broadcasts.  Additionally, the station will air the weekly “UMass Insiders Show” featuring UMass football head coach Mark Whipple, men’s basketball head coach Matt McCall and men’s hockey head coach Greg Carvel.  WWEI-FM carries sports talk programming from Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston…..At the recent Beasley Media Group managers meeting, Jonathan Kraft, president of The Kraft Group and the New England Patriots, was the featured guest speaker. Kraft participated in a lunchtime “fireside chat” with WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” midday personality Marc Bertrand at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston.  Pictured below (from l-r) are: Dr. Bob Beasley, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley, Kraft, Beasley Media Group founder and chairman of the board George Beasley, COO/EVP Brian Beasley and president Bruce BeasleyPhoto: HSA Photo.

Lars Larson Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Veteran radio talk show host, Lars Larson is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Operating out of KXL in Portland, Oregon, he is an “iron man” hosting six hours of radio every weekday.  He starts this daily marathon by hosting 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm PT on a network of about 20 regional stations, including KXL, on Alpha Media’s Radio Northwest Network.  Then he immediately plugs into his Compass Media Networks coast-to-coast roster of about 150 radio stations and does a national show from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT.  He shows up to work every day prior to going on the air at around 6:00 am and puts in about six hours of prep time to be up to date on all the local, regional, and national issues.  And he performs his shows standing up to attain proper breathing and projection!  He’s been hosting radio shows in the Northwest for more than four decades since he was 16 years old and he just celebrated his 15th anniversary in national syndication.  Along the way, he also did some top-notch work for 20 years as a television reporter and news anchorman… but radio is his first love.  Larson is a highly regarded dyed-in-the-wool conservative who has received more than 70 awards from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Press Club, including two Emmy’s and a Peabody for his reporting and documentaries.  Harrison and Larson take a deep dive into exploring the state of talk radio, the changing nature of journalism, the differences between radio and TV, and his personal recipe for on-air durability.  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 of every page on Talkers.com.

Longtime Garden Show Host Paul Parent Dies Unexpectedly.  Condolences go out to the family and friends of Boston-based garden show host Paul Parent.  His son Michael contacted TALKERS magazine to let the industry know that Paul passed away unexpectedly last week.  He’d been hosting a gardening show on the radio for the past 34 years.  Beginning his “Paul Parent Garden Club” at WRKO in 1984 during the reign of talk radio greats Jerry Williams and Gene Burns, he worked there for 15 years before going into national syndication. At the time of his death, his show was syndicated by Genesis Communications Network.

Manafort Conviction and Cohen Guilty Plea Top News/Talk Stories for Week of August 20-24.  The conviction of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on financial fraud charges and the guilty plea by former Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to campaign finance violations tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Robert Mueller-led Trump-Russia Investigation. Coming in at #3 was the Mollie Tibbetts murder case, followed by President Trump’s ordering Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to investigate South Africa’s farm expropriation program and Trump’s Jeff Sessions criticisms tied 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 on ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Brian Paiz is named SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Columbus and Albany, Georgia markets.  He joins the company from IBX Media in Greenville, North Carolina where he was brand manager for WRHD-HD2.  Paiz has also held several programming positions for iHeartMedia, including program director for iHeartMedia’s “100.1 The Beat” and director of urban programming for WIBB and “V101.7” in Macon, Georgia…..The Envision Networks-syndicated “Wolfman Jack Radio Show” picks up new affiliate stations as KEDB-FM, Des Moines; KRWN-FM, Farmington, New Mexico; KIWA-FM, Sioux City; and WRHL, Rockford, Illinois add the program to their lineup.  Envision CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “Wolfman Jack is back and blowing up the airwaves again. In my 30-plus years of launching network programming for radio stations to broadcast, I have never seen these many affiliations so quickly.  The Wolfman legend continues.”…..Univision’s hip hop KBBT, San Antonio “The Beat 98.5” is adding Premiere Networks’ “The Breakfast Club” featuring Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy for morning drive…..iHeartMedia announces Mike “McCabe” Kerr is named program director at CHR WERZ, Exeter, New Hampshire “Z107.” McCabe will also host the afternoon drive program.  iHeartMedia New Hampshire SVP of programming Tim Moore says, “Mike’s talent and experience stood out immediately and we are thrilled to have him join the iHeartMedia New Hampshire team. He’s a true radio geek — which I love — from on-air to programming — and even engineering!  This guy is the real deal and we can’t wait for him to help take ‘Z107’ to even greater heights!”  McCabe joins the New Hampshire market from Saga Communications Ithaca where he most recently served as the program director and morning host for WFIZ “Z95.5.”

Friday, July 27, 2018

| July 27, 2018

Surprise Buyer for Scripps’ Milwaukee Duo Is Good Karma.  Numerous industry watchers expected E.W. Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI-FM to go to a larger operator – such as Entercom.  Today’s announcement that the stations are being sold to Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Brands for $16 million is sure to surprise many.  Good Karma already owns Milwaukee market ESPN affiliate WAUK-AM, as well as Madison sports outlet WTLX-FM.  Scripps president and CEO Adam Symson states, “Good Karma Brands’ focus on Milwaukee makes the company an ideal home for these important local radio stations. The company’s expertise in connecting audiences and advertisers, particularly with sports marketing, means these stations will be well positioned for the future.”  Scripps has put all of its radio assets on the market and Symson adds, “At Scripps, we are on track for the sale of our entire radio station group as a component of our enterprise-wide strategy to divest of non-core assets and focus on improving our near-term operating performance while fostering the growth ahead.”  The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.  Good Karma owns six sports talk stations (including WAUK). WTMJ has the rights to Green Bay Packers football, Milwaukee Bucks basketball, and Milwaukee Brewers baseball – right up Good Karma’s alley – but it also operates a personnel-heavy news and programming department and one has to wonder if staffers there are concerned about the owner-to-be’s commitment to a big news department.  At the same time, there are those who will applaud the sale of these stations to a smaller operator and not one of the big conglomerates. Kalil & Co., Inc. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

New Jersey 101.5’s Dennis & Judi Suspended for 10 Days. You have to give credit to Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” management for getting out front on this and 1) quickly decrying the words of hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco, 2) immediately suspending the duo while conducting an internal investigation, and 3) swiftly deciding the punishment and making it public.  This, of course, stems from their show segment during which they referred to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal – a practicing Sikh – as “turban man” and disparaged his name.  The station pulled Malloy and Franco from Wednesday’s program and promised quick action.  It then announced they will be suspended for 10 days.  It also released the following joint apology from Malloy and Franco: “It was a mistake we both deeply regret.  We respect all cultures and beliefs and are deeply sorry for the pain caused to the Sikh community, our co-workers and our beloved listeners.”

Salem Radio Network Host Mike Gallagher is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  In addition to being a top-10 member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred and a major radio talent, syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is a devoted theater fan and part-time stage actor.  The Salem Radio Network star has compiled quite an impressive list of credits over the years performing leading and supportive roles in musicals at professional regional theaters across the country including a brief guest stint on Broadway in the production of “Memphis.”  He’s even dabbled successfully in the risky business side of theater and has a Tony Award to prove it for his investment in the Broadway and road show revivals of “Pippin.”  Gallagher is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview” in which he and the founder of TALKERS take a deep dive into the world of theater.  They explore what being a stage actor has meant to the talk star in addition to the state of the theater in general touching upon its role in today’s politically polarized and contentious environment.  Don’t miss this fascinating look into the multi-layered personality of one of talk radio’s most successful players.  To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Podcast” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

TALKERS News Notes. Portland-based Alpha Media sells three of its Missouri stations for $250,000 cash.  To be transferred to Clayton and Brittany Radford-owned Radford Media Group are: agriculture-formatted KDKD-AM “Ag 1280,” country KDKD-FM, and classic rock KXEA “104.9 The Eagle.” These are the first radio properties for Radford.  The broker for the seller is Kalil & Co. and representing the buyer is Patrick Communications…..Louisville Public Media names Stephen George president and general manager for its public radio outlets WFPL, WUOL, and WFPK.  He’s been serving as interim president since January and takes over for previous president Michael Skoler.

Cohen Recordings and Trump-Russia Investigation Tied for Top News/Talk Stories This Week.  The recordings of conversations between former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and Donald Trump discussing a payment to Playboymodel and the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of July 23-27, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the threat by GOP congressmen to begin the impeachment process against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  Coming in at #3 was the meeting between President Trump and the E.U.’s Jean-Claude Juncker over trade issues, followed by the status of the second meeting between President Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin 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 the entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. There’s a new voice joining iHeartMedia’s and Premiere Networks’ Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” on September 17.  Medha Gandhi becomes co-host, moving to New York from her most recent position as executive producer and co-host of the “Matty in the Morning” program on the company’s WXKS-FM, Boston “KISS 108.”  Cast member Bethany Watson left the program in February to pursue an acting career.  Duran says, “We fell in love with Gandhi within the first five minutes of meeting her.  When you have a show as long established as ours, it’s very important to continue to keep it fresh and in Gandhi we have found the perfect co-host to do that.  I can’t wait for her to join our dysfunctional family!”  The program emanates from WHTZ, New York “Z100” and airs on some 80 affiliate stations…..Entercom’s Portland country outlet KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” brings Toni-Marie aboard as midday personality and assistant program director.  Most recently, she was music director and air personality at Buck Owens Broadcasting’s KUZZ and KRJK in Bakersfield.  Entercom Portland SVP and market manager Bill Ashenden says, “Toni-Marie brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to these roles and I’m looking forward to seeing her connect with our audience in the Northwest.”…..Beasley Media Group names Scotty B evening personality on rock WDHA, Dover, New Jersey.  Scotty B was most recently a part-time air personality and production staffer at the company’s rock WRAT, Point Pleasant, New Jersey.  WDHA program director Terrie Carr comments, “Rockturnal with Scotty B,” which airs weeknights from 7:00 to 12:00 midnight, will focus on his strengths – interacting with rock fans, getting out in the community, and being host of the party!  I am thrilled to have Scotty’s energy, attitude, and huge presence on our airwaves and as part of our family.”…..Jeffrey Jameson exits Entercom’s hot AC WNEW-FM, New York “NEW 102.7,” he announces in a brief tweet. Co-host Karen Carson will handle the morning show solo for now…..Iliad Media Group appoints James Garner regional operations manager for its Boise and Twin Falls station groups.  The company says that in this new position, the 11-year staffer will oversee the programming, production, and promotions at the 13 stations in Boise and Twin Falls…..Kenny Chesney’s exclusive SiriusXM channel, “No Shoes Radio,” is a live Town Hall with Chesney at Soldier Field in Chicago this weekend.  The show is being hosted by Storme Warren.  Chesney will give fans the opportunity to hear songs from his new album with track-by-track commentary, audience members will learn about the album’s inspiration, the recovery efforts from Hurricane’s Irma and Maria, and his Love for Love City Fund.