iHeartMedia Launches BIN: Black Information Network. This new venture is a standalone unit within iHeartMedia that will be the “first and only 24/7 national and local all news audio service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate, and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.” iHeartMedia says BIN: Black Information Network “is focused on service to the Black community and providing an information window for those outside the community to help foster communication, accountability and a deeper understanding.” It is being led by Tony Coles – who also serves as division president of iHeartMedia markets group – as president of the unit. Tanita Myers – most recently with Reach Media – will be director of news operations. iHM says national founding partners are: Bank of America, CVS Health, GEICO, Lowe’s, McDonald’s USA, Sony, 23andMe and Verizon. Content will be available on the iHeartRadio platform and on “dedicated all-news local AM/FM broadcast radio stations providing local news, weather traffic and sports in addition to national news – all focused on the Black community and from the Black perspective – in markets including Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, GA, Detroit, Greenville, Macon, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Riverside, San Francisco and Seattle, with additional local markets being added over the next 60 days.” BIN will also provide the news service for iHeartMedia’s 91 hip hop, R&B, and Gospel stations across the country. iHM says, “BIN’s unique partner supported business model is tailored to its mission of providing comprehensive, accurate and trusted information and news. The national Founding Partners of BIN: Black Information Network will support building this new platform for Black journalism and trusted news, and this partnership support will enable BIN’s focus to be on providing a reliable, responsible, and responsive news service to the Black community without the daily pressure of ratings.” Coles says, “BIN: Black Information Network will fill a void by providing continual news and objective information with full focus on the Black community. We began developing our 24/7 Black news source last year, and events of the last few weeks, especially the senseless and tragic death of George Floyd, highlighted the need for this network. Now is the time for our voice to be heard, and I could not be prouder of our work and the team we are assembling at BIN.”
PPM Analysis: Has Pandemic-Related Listening Peaked? TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian wraps his “extra” ratings reports on the effects pandemic-related radio listening has had on Nielsen Audio’s PPM survey data by asking if pandemic-related listening has peaked after its unusual April spike. He says that in the PPM era, month-to-month gains or losses of a full share or more are noteworthy. “To underscore the genuine rarity of what transpired in the April 2020 survey period, there were nearly four times as many of these swings then as were registered in April 2019. Indexed against April 2020, roughly 70% as many stations notch declines of -1.0 or greater, while only approximately 40% as many stations rack up a +1.0 or more (May 2020 versus April 2020, 6+).” Kinosian says what’s truly amazing is that 75% of sports talk stations were up (weekly, 6+ AQH share) April to May with no live sports play-by-play since March. See Kinosian’s entire report here.
Chicago Radio Host William Kelly Sues Illinois Governor and Chicago Mayor Over COVID-19 Restrictions. Illinois business owner and WCGO-AM, Chicago talk show host William Kelly – along with three other plaintiffs – are suing Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Major Lori Lightfoot, complaining that their acts violated the plaintiffs’ rights under several sections of the station constitution, violated their rights to equal protection under the law, and that both exceed their authority in several instances. Kelly says, “We have filed suit for the people of Illinois. Every other lawsuit has, so far, missed the mark. Lives are being destroyed. People are going bankrupt. If we succeed, Mayor Lightfoot and Gov. Pritzker will pay a price, in the form of legal damages, for the terrible harm they’ve caused to people’s lives and liberties.” See the complaint here.
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM station manager and VP of content Todd Manley and his consulting company EarSight Studios is working with Crain’s Chicago Business to produce its podcast, “Crain’s Daily Gist.” Crain’s Chicago Business publisher and executive editor Jim Kirk says, “We are thrilled to partner with Todd to help us grow our audience in audio. We’ve had tremendous success with ‘The Daily Gist’ since its debut last year, and we expect even stronger growth with Todd’s production help.”…..According to a story at Crossing Broad, Entercom Philadelphia personality John Barchard is leaving the sports talk WIP-produced podcast “Go Birds” that he co-hosts with Eliot Shorr-Parks and James Seltzer. Citing family and health as concerns he must put to the forefront, Barchard says the decision to leave was his and he calls it one of the hardest decisions he’s had to make…..ESPN promotes commentator Pablo Torre to full-time host of the “ESPN Daily” podcast. This is part of a new, multi-year contract for Torre, who will also make appearances on ESPN shows such as “Highly Questionable” and “Around the Horn.” Current “ESPN Daily” host Mina Kimes is joining the network’s NFL Live team as an analyst and will host “The Mina Kimes Show featuring Lenny” football podcast. She will continue to be a key contributor to “ESPN Daily.”
This Year’s Gracie Awards to Be Streamed on September 10. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the 45th Annual Gracie Awards will be streamed virtually on September 10. The Gracies Gala, originally scheduled for May 19, was intended to be held at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills and the Gracies Luncheon, originally scheduled for June 24, was intended to be held in New York City at Cipriani 42nd Street. The 2020 honorees will now be celebrated through a series of digital acceptance speech montages along with a virtual awards ceremony. AWM/F executive director Becky Brooks says, “The leadership of AWM/F, which annually presents the Gracies as our largest fundraiser, has had one singular focus – to appropriately acknowledge and celebrate our outstanding winners in whatever manner is feasible this year. Therefore, we have made the decision to shift this year’s events to virtual experiences to ensure recognition of all winners in this very important year.”
NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes experts on the Chinese Communist Party, the USA gymnastics scandal, presidential race strategy, progressive rock, diversity management, campus safety during police reform, and much more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.
SCOTUS Abortion Ruling, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Black Lives Matter Movement/St. Louis Guns Incident, Russian-Taliban Bounty Allegation, U.S.-China Relations, Iran Issues Trump Arrest Warrant, and Sports Leagues Plan Seasons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/29). The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Louisiana law that would have limited abortion options; the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in re-opening states and projections about future infections; the protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and the case of the St. Louis couple who drew weapons on protesters; the allegation that Russia is offering the Taliban bounties for killing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and President Trump’s reaction to the story; relations between the U.S. and China as the latter clamps down on Hong Kong; Iran issues an arrest warrant for Trump and numerous other officials in the death of General Qasem Soleimani; and sports leagues making plans to open or re-start their seasons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the launch of the nationally syndicated “American Top 40” show, Premiere Networks announces that this weekend (7/4-5) host Ryan Seacrest will begin a yearlong celebration that will include his highlighting an iconic artist moment from the show’s archives every weekend – including interviews with the stars and the show’s creator and original host Casey Kasem. Listeners will also have the opportunity to win prizes and one-of-a-kind experiences throughout the year. Premiere president Julie Talbott says, “Over the past five decades, ‘American Top 40’ has become a cultural touchpoint for millions of people around the globe. Casey Kasem created the gold standard that we carry on today, and we’re so proud of how Ryan has expanded that legacy. He’s taken the show to new heights over the past 16 years with added reach, engagement, and technology, while continuing to drive impressive results for our partners.” The program debuted the weekend of July 4-5, 1970…..Legendary rock bank U2 is getting its own channel on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. The U2 X-Radio channel launches tomorrow (7/1) at 3:00 pm ET. p.m. ET, exclusively on SiriusXM Channel 32. SiriusXM says, “U2 X-Radio is U2 as you have never heard them before. An extraordinary and unique audio experience exploring the band’s history, idols, influences, and current passions, plus inspiration, conversation, culture, commentary and ideas from the band and guests. All curated by U2. The dedicated and exclusive channel will come to life with music and radio shows that celebrate music from across the globally acclaimed, four-decade career of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen, including their biggest hits, deep cuts, live concert recordings and rarities, as well as music from artists that are connected to or inspire the band.”
Cumulus to Sell WABC, New York to Red Apple Media for $12.5 Million. As TALKERS magazine tipped earlier today, Cumulus Media Inc. is agreeing to sell New York City heritage AM WABC to John Catsimatidis-controlled Red Apple Media, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Red Apple Group, for $12.5 million in cash. Cumulus Media’s CEO Mary Berner says, “Today’s agreement with Red Apple is yet another step in the execution of our portfolio optimization priority to drive Cumulus’s long-term success. Consistent with our financial goals, we intend to use the sale’s net cash proceeds to pay down debt and invest in the company to better serve our 250 million listeners and the advertisers who want to reach them. We are also pleased that WABC’s excellent team will work with Red Apple following the transaction’s close to continue building this iconic station’s legacy.” Under the terms of the agreement, Red Apple will take responsibility for programming WABC immediately following the close of the sale, which is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2019. Catsimatidis says, “I am very pleased that Red Apple Media Inc. has agreed to acquire 77 WABC Radio. The station is a real New York legend with a rich history in broadcasting. I started a radio show five years ago which is now available in 14 states and on the internet. It has gained a large and loyal audience. Our purchase of 77 WABC Radio is the next step in building a new broadcasting business, and we look forward to considering the acquisition of more broadcasting assets. We plan to retain the excellent staff and talent working at the station now and look forward to working with them.” Catsimatidis is the owner, president, chairman and CEO of Gristedes Foods, a large Manhattan-based grocery chain and the Red Apple Group, a real estate and aviation company with about $2 billion in holdings in New York, Florida and Pennsylvania. He is also the chairman and CEO of the Red Apple Group subsidiary, United Refining Company. He hosts a Sunday morning talk radio show on a number of stations along the East Coast out of his flagship, Salem Media’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Catsimatidis was the runner-up for the Republican nomination for Mayor of New York in 2013.
Exclusive! TALKERS Publisher Michael Harrison Speaks with John Catsimatidis. Listen to Michael Harrison‘s conversation about his company’s acquisition of WABC, New York here.
Cox Enterprises Announces Sale of Cox Media Group Radio Assets to Apollo Global Management. This sale of the Cox Media Group radio station portfolio to private equity fund manager Apollo Global Management – the price not disclosed in the press release – will be less disruptive to the operations than a typical transfer of ownership of this size as it appears the new company will keep management in place. The deal calls for Cox Media Group’s radio station portfolio as well as its CoxReps and Gamut national advertising businesses to become part of a newly expanded media company called Cox Media Group, based in Atlanta, that acquired Cox’s broadcast television group and the company’s radio, newspaper, and television properties in Ohio back in February. Cox Enterprises is maintaining a minority stake in the new company. This deal affects some 52 radio brands in 10 markets – including heritage news/talk stations WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; WOKV-FM, Jacksonville; WDBO-FM, Orlando; and KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa. The new Cox Media Group will operate more than 60 radio stations across 11 markets. The presser states that “the buyer plans to maintain the successful operating structure of Cox Media Group’s television, radio, CoxReps and Gamut businesses and leverage these assets to continue building a national media company with station properties in key markets across the country.” However, the sale means Cox loses the grandfathered ownership status in Tampa and Orlando and will divest WPYO-FM, Orlando and WSUN-FM, Tampa in order to comply with FCC ownership caps. Cox Enterprises CEO Alex Taylor says, “We are happy our Cox Radio and national ad platforms will continue to be operated with our television group. Keeping these media businesses together gives us even more confidence in the future success of the new company. We have spent many years fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation across these businesses and are pleased to see that work will continue.” Apollo senior partner David Sambur adds, “We are thrilled to acquire the Cox Radio station portfolio, CoxReps and Gamut and combine them with the Cox Television business to form a new media company focused on quality local broadcasting. Cox has deep roots in the media industry and has stood for the highest quality in local journalism for the past 120 years. As we shepherd these businesses into the future, we are committed to investing in high-quality programming and fostering innovation in local media.”
‘Coach’ John Kentera Moves to Middays at ‘97.3 The Fan’ in San Diego. Market sports talk pro “Coach” John Kentera will take over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart at Entercom’s sports talk KWFN-FM, San Diego “97.3 The Fan,” effective July 1. Kentera will continue to host 97.3 The Fan’s pre- and post-game shows for Padres baseball games, “The Fan’s High School Football Show,” on Thursday nights in the fall, and serve as the color commentator on “The Fan’s Friday Night High School Football Game of the Week” broadcast. Kentera served with former sports talker XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090” from 2003 through 2015. His show replaces FOX Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb. Entercom San Diego SVP and market manager Bob Bolinger says, “We’re thrilled to add Coach Kentera to 97.3 The Fan’s weekday lineup. Coach has a rich history in San Diego and is truly beloved by the community, sports fans, and advertising partners alike.”
WGMN-AM, Roanoke Flips to News/Talk. The Roanoke Times reports that 3 Daughters Media has flipped WGMN-AM/W270CU, Roanoke from sports talk to news/talk. The station dropped its 21-year affiliation with ESPN Radio and is airing FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade show, Compass Media Networks-syndicated “Markley and van Camp” show, and the syndicated Tom Sullivan program. 3 Daughters owner Gary Burns tells the paper that more competitors in sports talk radio in the market have “watered it down.” He also says of the flip, “I just think there’s a larger available audience in Roanoke for talk radio…than there is for sports radio.”
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Thom Hartmann Show” is now heard on Genesis Communications’ “News/Talk Florida” – the duo of WIXC, Titusville and WWBA, Tampa — airing in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart…..Radio personality Susie Wargin – midday jock at iHeartMedia’s classic rock KRFX, Denver “103.5 The Fox” – is joining the radio broadcast team for Denver Broncos games this fall. Wargin will serve as a sideline reporter alongside play-by-play voice Dave Logan and color commentator Rick Lewis. Games air on iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOA and KRFX-FM…..cabana announces it has published its 2019 Guide to Buying Podcasts. The report includes new features, such as white-labeled case studies, “Ask an Ad Ops Expert” section, and insights into dynamic ad insertion. cabana VP of digital sales Ilwira Marciszek says, “We’re seeing bigger brands with different goals entering podcast advertising, so we wanted to speak to their concerns directly. Podcast advertising has worked for direct response, and it can work for all kinds of campaigns when used smartly.” You can download the Buying Guide here…..Coastal Broadcasting’s sports talk KLRZ-FM, New Orleans “ESPN 100.3” is the new flagship for New Orleans Pelicans basketball beginning with the 2019-20 season. Last season, games aired on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRNO-FM. Pelicans president Dennis Lauscha says, “We could not be more excited to begin this new era of Pelicans basketball with our new flagship radio partner and its devoted listening audience. ‘ESPN New Orleans’ offers a tremendous daily sports lineup with a significant focus on the Pelicans, along with all of the local professional, collegiate, and high school teams. This is an outstanding and natural alliance for our city and region.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM weekend talk host David Plier is taking over the interim chairman position with the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Plier has been and will continue to be a member of the museum’s board of directors. He assumes the role from Larry Wert, who has been interim chairman since 2016.
44thAnnual Gracie Awards Luncheon Held in New York City. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation presented the 44th Annual Gracie Awards Luncheon yesterday (6/26) at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. Sheinelle Jones, co-host of “3rd Hour of TODAY” and co-anchor of NBC News’ “Weekend TODAY,” led the program alongside presenters Angela Yee from Premiere Networks’ syndicated “The Breakfast Club”; supermodel, TV personality and podcast host Emme; Roula Christie of “The Roula and Ryan Show” on KRBE, Houston; and Duarte Geraldino from Al Jazeera Digital and “PBS NewsHour.” Winners in the Radio Local category included: Julie DiCaro and Maggie Hendricks, hosts of “The Julie and Maggie Show” on Entercom sports talker WSCR, Chicago; “The Jason & Alex Show” on Hubbard Radio’s KTMY, Minneapolis’; Jillian Barberie, morning personality on Cumulus Media’s KABC-AM, Los Angeles; and Tara Granahan, talk show on Cumulus’ news/talk WPRO-AM, Providence. See all the winners here. The National Gracie Award honorees were recognized at the Gracies Gala on May 21 at The Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills.
Democratic Debate/2020 Presidential Race, Immigration Policy/Detention Facilities/Wayfair Protest, G20 Summit, Mueller to Testify, Iran Tensions, and Dominican Republic Tourist Deaths Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26). Wednesday night’s debate featuring half of the Democrats seeking their party’s nomination; the Trump administration’s Southern border policies, the conditions at U.S. detention centers, and Wayfair employees’ protests over contracts to supply furniture to child detention centers; the G20 Summit in Osaka and President Trump’s plans to meet with Vladimir Putin; former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee; the diplomatic break between Tehran and Washington; and the deaths and illnesses affecting travelers to the Dominican Republic 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. Urban programming pro Kenny Smoov is promoted to vice president, urban formats for Cumulus Media, a role in which he will serve as a corporate programming resource for the company’s 37 urban outlets. Smoov has been with Cumulus since 2003 and is program director and morning host for urban contemporary WQQK, Nashville “92Q,” role in which he will continue…..Also at Cumulus Media, Patrick Scott is upped to program director for CHR WLTO-FM, Lexington, Kentucky “Hot 102.5.” For the past three years, he’s been promotions and marketing director for Cumulus’ five Lexington stations…..Adams Radio of Delmarva names Angela Caswell senior account manager for the five-station music radio cluster that includes rock WZBH, Millsboro, Delaware “The Beach”; CHR WOCQ, Berlin, Maryland “OC 104”; classic rock WGBG, Fruitland, Maryland “BIG 107.7”; country WUSX, Seaford, Delaware; and WOQC-HD2 “KOOL Oldies.” Caswell most recently served in the sales department at Delmarva Broadcasting, which recently sold its radio properties to Forever Media.
Dan Le Batard and Stugotz Sign Contract Extensions with ESPN. The inking of these new multi-year deals means the ESPN Radio-syndicated “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” and the television show “Highly Questionable” will continue for the foreseeable future. Le Batard (left) and Jon “Stugotz” Weiner (right) are cleared on 258 affiliate radio stations across the country. Le Batard’s father Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard appears with Dan Le Batard on the television program. As part of this deal, Le Batard will conduct six longform interviews each year that will live across multiple ESPN platforms, including TV and digital. Weiner will make appearances on “SportsCenter” and continue hosting and guesting on other ESPN Radio shows. ESPN SVP, audio and talent, Traug Keller says, “Dan and Stugotz have a chemistry and a viewpoint that is among the most unique in the business. They take what they do seriously, but not themselves, which bonds them with a growing group of loyal listeners. Dan’s sensibilities and intelligence combined with Stugotz’s incredible lack of either quality is a winning combination. I look forward to the stress of having to listen to the show in the years to come!”
RTDNA/Hofstra University Newsroom Survey: Newsroom Diversity. Based on a survey of radio and television stations conducted during the fourth quarter of 2017, the 2018 RTDNA/Hofstra University Survey was authored by Hofstra University emeritus distinguished professor of journalism Bob Papper. The radio portion includes valid responses from 415 radio news directors and general managers representing 1,110 radio stations. Some of the findings include: the percentage of people of color working in radio news slipped slightly in 2017 (compared to 2016) now comprising 11.3% of radio newsroom staffs; the percentage of news directors who are people of color dipped slightly from 6.2% to 5.9%; the percentage of newsroom staffs with women dropped nearly four points in the past year to 48.2%, while women fell from 36.1% of the radio news workforce to 34.3%. See the study here.
TALKERS Continues Posting Videos Today of the Recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention – Today’s Post: Fireside Chat Between Michael Harrison and Caroline Beasley. Today (6/28), TALKERS magazine continues posting individual events from the recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! convention held in New York City on June 8. Each day, another session will be posted in the order that they originally took place. Today’s fourth installment features the Fireside Chat between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley. This segment includes Harrison’s presentation of the 2018 “Woman of the Year” award to Beasley. Yesterday’s post featured Harrison’s Fireside Chat with FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel mega-star Brian Kilmeade with an introduction by Westwood One syndicated host Walter Sterling and special remarks by Sean Hannity. Prior posts present opening remarks by the convention’s co-emcees, TalkersRadio GM, David Bernstein and Good Day Networks/DJV Show CEO/host, Doug Stephan. In addition, KGO, San Francisco host, Ethan Bearman delivers the event’s welcoming remarks and Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host, Brad Shepard introduces Bearman. Also posted earlier this week: the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (“Freedom of Speech Award”) by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian to SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, book publisher, Hunter College professor, and former New York Daily News/Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Karen Hunter. To view the page, please click here.
The 43rdAnnual Gracies Luncheon Takes Place in NYC. On Wednesday (6/27), the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation presented the 43rd Annual Gracie Awards at a luncheon at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. CNN’s Erica Hill led the program alongside presenters Pam Oliver of FOX Sports, WWPR, New York personality Angie Martinez, April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks and CNN, and Larry Mullins from Entercom’s all-news WINS, New York. Pictured at right are (from l-r): Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen, Angie Martinez, and WWPR program director Thea Mitchem. In the photo below are some of the Cumulus Media talent who were honored with Gracies. From left to right are: Westwood One president/Cumulus EVP Suzanne Grimes, WABC, New York personalityJoan Hamburg (honored for Outstanding Talk Show), WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning host Mary Walter (honored for Crisis Coverage), WABC host and political editor Rita Cosby (honored for Outstanding Talk Interview), WPLJ, New York personality Jayde Donovan (honored for Outstanding Co-Host), and Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner.
WOR’s Natalie Vacca Feted at Gracies. Also honored at the Gracies Luncheon in New York on Wednesday was WOR, New York morning show producer Natalie Vacca (Outstanding Local Radio Producer). Vacca is executive producer of the “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” on the iHeartMedia news/talk station. Pictured above are (l-r): WOR APD Scott Lakefield, morning drive news producer Terry Trahim, Berman, Vacca, news director and morning drive news anchor Joe Bartlett, and program director Tom Cuddy.
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Bob & Tom Show” promotes John Kesler to chief operating officer for the program. Kesler has been serving as general manager for the show that is distributed to more than 100 affiliates via Westwood One. He joined the show in 2016 after serving with Emmis Communications’ WIBC, Indianapolis for almost 20 years…..Beginning today (6/28), Big 12 Conference fans have a new avenue of insight into all things Big 12 with the new “The Big 12 Podcast” on PodcastOne. Sports radio pro Chuck Cooperstein hosts the weekly podcast and provides listeners with a unique perspective of the Big 12 and its personalities. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby says, “We are excited to begin a partnership with PodcastOne as we continue to amplify the Conference brand. There are a number of exciting things going on in the Big 12 and we look forward to sharing these with our followers on a regular basis.”…..Also from PodcastOne, “Don’t Be Tardy” reality star Kim Zolciak-Biermann debuts her own podcast. She says, “I am so excited to be able to share this podcast with my fans and followers! It will be full of positivity, fun, life coaching, parenting struggles and advice, beauty and fashion advice, and so much more. It’s me, unedited and unfiltered! You definitely don’t want to miss this!”…..Westwood One launches a special podcast series hosted by publisher Judith Regan titled, “My Side of the Story With Judith Regan,” on the Westwood One Podcast Network. The program “features today’s newsmakers, trendsetters, cultural influencers, and troublemakers telling their side of the story, offering new insight into the issues that are the backdrop of American culture in 2018.” All 11 episodes of the show are available now…..Midnight Entertainment, LLC announces five new affiliates for the weekly, nationally syndicated program, “Geek Universe with Jim Yelton.” The program delves into the world of the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres across movies, television, games and more. New affiliates include: KTRS, St. Louis; KCAA, Loma Linda, California; KMBZ-FM, Kansas City; KFRU, Columbia, Missouri; and KLIK, Jefferson City, Missouri. The show launched into national radio syndication in 2015.
Justice Anthony Kennedy to Retire, SCOTUS Public Unions Decision, Tuesday’s Primary Results, Illegal Immigration Policy, Putin-Trump Meeting, Harassment of Administration Officials, Joe Jackson Dies, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/27). Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announces his retirement; the Supreme Court’s ruling against mandatory contributions to public sector unions; the results of Tuesday’s primary elections; the U.S.’s illegal immigration policies; the planned meeting between President Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin; U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters’ call for harassment of administration officials in public; Jackson family patriarch Joe Jackson dies; and Major League Baseball action 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. Rock programmer Jacent Jackson is named program director for Cumulus Media’s heritage triple A KFOG, San Francisco and KFFG, San Jose. Jackson was previously PD at crosstown alternative KITS-FM. Speaking about his new gig, Jackson says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to continue my broadcasting career here in the Bay Area with Cumulus. KFOG has some incredible talent between ‘The Woody Show’ in mornings and No Name in the afternoons. I can’t wait to join the fun, or as Woody would say it, #joinfun. Much, much gratitude to Doug Harvill, Troy Hanson, Mike McVay, Dave Milner, and the team at Cumulus for this incredible opportunity.”…..In the Columbus market, air personality Bobby Mitchell (left) is named new co-host of the morning show on Saga Communications’ adult contemporary WSNY “Sunny 95.” Mitchell will work alongside current morning personality Stacy McKay (right). Mitchell says, “I feel like the guy who was offered a ride on a rocket ship! I don’t care where it’s going – I’m just getting on! To be a part of this heritage radio station, with its incredible staff, and to live and raise my family in Columbus is very exciting.”…..Entercom Portland names Gary Sommer general sales manager for the cluster that includes seven music radio brands and two sports talk outlets. He was most recently with SagaCity Media in Portland…..SiriusXM is presenting an exclusive, invitation-only performance by The Killers on July 28 at The Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett, New York. SiriusXM president and CCO Scott Greenstein says, “We’ve loved collaborating with The Killers in the past and couldn’t be more thrilled that during their summer tour filled with major music festivals, The Killers are teaming up with SiriusXM for an intimate event at The Stephen Talkhouse. Our subscribers nationwide will hear a special show performed just for them from this wildly popular band.”
FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Begins Today. The 11th annual Washington, DC radio row that addresses America’s immigration policies is underway at the Phoenix Park Hotel today through tomorrow. Federation for American Immigration Reform’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” consists of more than 60 talk radio hosts from around the country holding “a national conversation with voters in all 50 states about what is happening, what isn’t happening, and what needs to be done to get things moving” regarding America’s “immigration laws being effectively enforced.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “FAIR did another fantastic job of gathering what seems to be a record number of hosts to the radio row this year making it one of, if not the, biggest in history. The immigration reform issue has obviously emerged as one of the hottest topics on the talk radio agenda and a wide variety of views concerning it are amply on display at this dynamic happening. It is also, from my perspective, a major demonstration of the First Amendment on display.” Harrison has been booked as a guest on more than 25 shows for the two-day event. Pictured above left is Michael Harrison (right) with KCOL, Colorado Springs talk show host Jimmy Lakey (left). Above right is Harrison with FAIR president Dan Stein.
Westwood One and NextRadio Partner on Audience Measurement Tool. This agreement between Westwood One and NextRadio parent TagStation, LLC will provide for the rollout of what is being called “the first, and largest, interactive audience measurement tool of over-the-air FM radio. This alliance enables Westwood One to deliver consumer insights and intelligence that optimize campaigns and prove ROI to national advertisers.” The press release says that Westwood One has been testing the NextRadio Dial Report and recently ran a NextRadio campaign for a major retailer on 250 of its radio stations that proved radio drove listeners to retail. They say one-third of people who heard the ad also viewed the companion ad within the app. Of those listeners exposed to the campaign, 10% visited the retailer. Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes comments, “Imagine interacting with broadcast radio and brand content on your smartphone. What an inspiration for getting consumers to take immediate action. This capability is now a reality for a quarter of a billion Westwood One listeners who get more control over their experience, while advertisers get massive and actionable insights and results. In addition, NextRadio’s collaboration with industry partners, including Nielsen, further validates this alliance as transformative for our business.”
George Noory Publishes New Book. Nationally syndicated late night talk show host George Noory has just published his latest book titled, Mad As Hell (Forge Books 2017). This non-fiction book doesn’t deal with the paranormal, but instead reveals Noory’s concerns about the state of America and his worries about its future. The host of Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” says, “We live in a dangerous world that is sorely in need of an effective political system. I hope this book will inspire and encourage people to pull together as a society, and put in the hard work it will take to bring back the America that makes us proud.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media maven Robert Feder tips us that WGN late morning personalities Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder have signed contract extensions with the station to continue working there through June of 2020. The former WLUP-FM and WKQX-FM duo joined WGN in 2013. Their show airs from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon with an extra hour that can be heard on wgn.com. Read Feder’s “Robservations” column here…..SummitMedia brings another sports talk station to the Richmond market, flipping former CHR W291CL/WURV-HD2 “HOT 106.1” to “Sports 106.1.” The station is airing content from CBS Sports Radio…..Panama City, Florida also gets a new sports talk station as Horizon Broadcasting debuts WGSX “104.3 ESPN Panama City” airing programming from ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio…..Talk Stream Live is launching its second syndicated network talk show called “Sunday Night Sports Talk with Don and Galen Criqui.” The program streams live at 9:00 pm ET and is being distributed for AM/FM affiliation by Salem Radio Network…..The popular public radio arts and entertainment show “Studio 360” with host Kurt Andersen is operating under a new partnership. Since 2000, the program was a cooperative effort of Public Radio International and WNYC. Now, PRI is teaming with Slate to place the program on the latter’s digital-native podcasting network…..Dave Graveline announces that he has entered into a relationship with Fishnet Syndication to handle affiliate clearing and ad sales for his “Into Tomorrow” consumer electronics and technology talk radio show.
Troopathon 10 to Air in Conjunction with NewsmaxTV. Tomorrow (6/29) is the multi-media simulcast of Move America Forward’s Troopathon 10 – Care Packages for Our Heroes fundraiser to help send care packages to U.S. troops deployed in war zones. This year, Troopathon is partnering with NewsmaxTV, Wounded Warriors, and Rogers Family Coffee to host the 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET fundraising event from its base in Sacramento. Troopathon executive producer, award-winning talk show host and author Melanie Morgan says, “All Americans can agree that our troops deserve our love and support. The cause we come together to support is incredibly important. With thousands of troops still on the ground in Afghanistan, we cannot forget their continued service and sacrifice. Troopathon remains steadfast in our commitment to supporting our troops in harm’s way!” Morgan will again work with co-host Rita Cosby from WABC, New York and will be joined by guests including: “Newsmax Now” anchor John Bachman, Dionne Warwick, Chuck Woolery, Tony Orlando and Rich Little. Special segments will be hosted by syndicated radio stars Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Laura Ingraham. Through 2017, Troopathon events have raised nearly $5 million in sponsorships, enabling the group to send more than 350 tons of care packages to troops overseas.
Cumulus Women at the Gracies. Pictured here (at center) is WABC, New York personality Rita Cosby holding her fifth Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. She’s flanked by WNSH, New York “NASH FM 94.7” midday personality Katie Neal (left) and WPLJ, New York morning co-host Jayde Donovan (right) on Tuesday (6/27) at The Gracies Luncheon at Cipriani in New York City. Cosby was honored for “Best Interview Feature” for her Election Central special on New York Primary Day during which she interviewed all five presidential candidates.
TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (6/28). The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and, beginning yesterday (6/27), its sessions have begun being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day. Already posted are the “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor. Today (6/28), the special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke has been posted. Tomorrow, Thursday (6/29), the “Fireside Chat” between Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity will be posted. Closing out the week on Friday (6/30) the “Fireside Chat” between Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa will be posted. Within the following weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year. The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone Networks, Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp. To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.
Trump-CNN Spat/Trump-Russia Investigation, GOP Delays Health Care Vote, Global Cyberattack, SCOTUS Travel Ban Ruling, EU Fines Google, Sarah Palin Sues NYT, Jane Sanders Investigation, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/27). CNN’s retraction of a Trump-Russia investigation story and volley of tweets between CNN and the president, along with the related special counsel investigation into Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to delay a vote on the GOP health care plan; the ransomware attack that engulfed Ukraine and numerous European targets; the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing a portion of President Donald Trump’s travel ban from seven predominantly Muslim nations to take effect; Google is fined $2.7 billion by the European Union for manipulating search results to benefit its own shopping service; Sarah Palin files suit against The New York Times for implying her PAC’s actions resulted in the shooting of then-U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords; the investigation into Senator Bernie Sanders’ wife Jane over a loan deal for the Vermont college she ran; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Al Michaels Feted at Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters. Pictured above at the June 16 Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters luncheon honoring sports media legend Al Michaels are (from l-r): CRN Digital Talk Radio’s Fred Dryer, Michaels, former LA Kings broadcaster Bob Miller, and CRN CEO Mike Horn.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At CBS RADIO’s adult contemporary KYXY, San Diego, the morning drive Jeff & the Showgram exits. There’s been no official word from the company but the show’s info has been scrubbed from the website…..Longtime program director and morning show host Jimmy Buff is exiting Chet-5 Broadcasting’s triple A WDST, Woodstock New York “Radio Woodstock 100.1.” In a message on the station’s website, Buff states, “My decision to move on wasn’t easy. Radio Woodstock is an extraordinary radio station and it’s been my honor to be part of it for as long as I have been. The mission to the music, the community and to independent radio here will be ably carried on by my veteran colleagues Greg Gattine and Justin Foy, as well by Rookies of the Year material MK Burnell and Dan Cahill, as well as the rest of the amazing staff.” Gattine will assume programming duties as well as the host the morning drive program. MK Burnell will take over music director duties and will host the PM drive shift. Justin Foy moves to midday host, and Dan Cahill takes over the evening air shift, effective July 5…..Justin K exits Zimmer Radio’s adult contemporary KZWV, Osage Beach, Missouri where he was program director and midday personality…..Former KROQ, Los Angeles jock Rodney Bingenheimer brings his craft to SiriusXM where he’ll host a Sunday night program on Little Steven Van Zandt’s the Underground Garage channel. For more than 40 years, Bingenheimer hosted his “Rodney on the ROQ” program, championing little-known acts that went on to greatness, including the Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Tom Petty, Blondie, Elvis Costello, Van Halen, The Clash, The Smiths, The Go Gos, The Bangles, The Runaways, and Oasis.
Jim Bohannon and Westwood One Sign New Pact. The overnight Jim Bohannon show is heard on more than 250 affiliate stations across the country via Westwood One. Today, the company reports that it has signed Bohannon to a new multi-year contract to continue hosting the show beyond its current 33rd year. As part of this new deal, Westwood One is launching a new Jim Bohannon podcast and “Best of Bohannon” program, already slated to air on affiliates including: WLS-AM, Chicago; WBAP-AM, Dallas; KXL-FM, Portland; WTMJ, Milwaukee; and more. Bohannon comments, “I’m delighted and honored to continue working with Westwood One. It’s especially gratifying now that the new year finds me reaching even more stations with the weekly ‘Best of Bohannon’ broadcast. Here’s to a fantastic 2017!” ON a note unrelated to the new contract, Jim Bohannon has been selected to be one of the live crowd announcers for the Inaugural Parade in Washington, DC on January 20. He will be introducing and describing the participating organizations to the throngs gathered along his location on Pennsylvania Avenue.
E.W. Scripps Hires Schenek to Lead Digital Content at Milwaukee Duo. Most recently, Dan Schenek has been working for NBCUniversal’s “Access Hollywood” as a digital producer. He’ll leave Los Angeles for Milwaukee to take on the digital content director position for Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI. He’s being charged with expanding the stations’ digital products, including growing wtmj.com, kticountry.com and the stations’ social media accounts. In addition, he’ll support the rapidly growing demand for video and podcasts. Scripps Milwaukee vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “Dan is an experienced digital leader that will take us beyond typical coverage and lead us to places that expand the overall content experience – the way our consumers expect it today.” During his career, Schenek has also worked with CNN/HLN’s “Dr. Drew” show, with MTV in New York and CBS RADIO in Los Angeles.
Raback Named to Lead Pennsylvania Cluster for Cumulus Media. The York-Lancaster-Reading, Pennsylvania operations of Cumulus Media has a new vice president/market manager as 17-year radio sales exec Matt Raback is promoted to the position from his VP/sales post. The six-station cluster includes news/talk WSBA, York; sports talk WGLD, York; classic hits WSOX, York; adult contemporary WARM, York; country WIOV-FM, Lancaster; and sports talk WIOV-AM, Lancaster. York-Lancaster-Reading, PA. Cumulus Pennsylvania RVP Ron Giovanniello states, “We are thrilled to recognize Matt’s talent with this opportunity to lead our terrific Cumulus team in York-Lancaster-Reading. I’m very excited about the energy, enthusiasm and ideas that Matt will bring to our business in this great market and I’m looking forward to his contributions.”
Russian Hacking Allegations/Compromising Trump Material, Jeff Sessions Confirmation Hearings, Meryl Streep Golden Globes Speech, Obama’s Farewell Speech, Dylann Roof Sentenced to Death, Clemson Upsets Alabama for NCAA Football Title, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/10). The ongoing allegations that Russia is involved in affecting the U.S. political system via hacking of the DNC emails and the new report published alleging that Russia has proof of compromising sexual behavior by President-Elect Donald Trump; the protests against attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions and yesterday’s hearings; the fallout from Meryl Streep’s anti-Trump Golden Globes speech; President Obama’s Tuesday evening farewell speech; Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof is sentenced to death for the murders of nine victims; Clemson’s upset of Alabama in Monday’s NCAA Football Championship game; and the NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cool News Gig in Buffalo. WBEN, Buffalo program director Tim Wenger alerts TALKERS magazine that the Entercom news/talk station has a rare full-time news opening. Wenger says, “We’re seeking the next great radio news rock star who can make a difference on the air, be aggressive on the street and be a multi-media news operative in the Buffalo market. WBEN is THE news leader in the market and operates a full morning news and information show and seven-day newsroom.” For more information and to apply, click here.
Workhouse Media and ICM Partners Form Strategic Partnership. Talent and literary agency, ICM Partners, announced entering into a strategic partnership with Workhouse Media, a leading boutique agency representing professional voices of radio and audio broadcasting. Led by Paul B. Anderson and offering the services of noted radio talent agent/executive John McConnell, Workhouse Media represents some of the most recognizable personalities in radio across many formats, including syndicated personalities in talk, country, urban, rock, and CHR. ICM Partners, a full-service talent agency, will represent clients of Workhouse Media as content creators and performers in the areas of film, television, publishing, touring, branding, and digital entertainment, while Workhouse Media will represent the interests of ICM Partners’ clients wishing to extend their reach in radio. “We have worked collaboratively and successfully with ICM over the past couple years on a number of premium talent and content deals and very much look forward to having our teams work even more closely together to optimize our talent brands and cross-platform opportunities,” Workhouse principal Paul B. Anderson tells TALKERS. “Workhouse Media represents many of the best storytellers in broadcasting,” states ICM managing partner Chris Silbermann. “We are proud to partner with Paul and his team to help our shared clients reach new audiences with premium content.”
Odds & Sods. Kansas City sports talk personality Danny Parkins is exiting Entercom’s KCSP after six-plus years with the station to take a yet-to-be-announced gig outside of KC. Parkins co-hosts “The Drive” with Harrison Carrington in afternoons and the Kansas City Star reports that Carrington will continue to host the show with producer Ben Heisler…..After learning of a series of car break-ins perpetrated against Gwinnett and Forsyth County firefighters while they were out on call, WSB-AM, Atlanta talk show host Mark Arum solicited listeners to his show to donate to a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for the personal items stolen. Initially, the goal was $1,000, but after hitting that mark, Arum raised it to $2,000. Arum states, “I couldn’t believe the story when I heard it over the weekend. Who would steal from people that risk their lives every day? I know first responders don’t make a lot of money, so I wanted to help them out and try to replace the items that were stolen.”…..ESPN officially announces the move of the “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” from sports talk WEPN-FM to Spanish sports WEPN-AM in New York City. The move happens on January 17. Le Batard says, “We are glad New York has embraced our particular brand of nonsense. We appreciate the opportunity to continue making fun of Jets fans now on 1050 AM. Being on the ESPN Deportes station makes sense for us because Stugotz still hasn’t learned how to speak English.”…..Talk WZZR, West Palm Beach “Real Radio 94.3” recently partnered with Tito’s Handmade Vodka for the second annual “Touchdowns for Charity” fundraiser that involved Tito’s pledging to donate $350 to Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities for each touchdown pass scored by the Miami Dolphins during the football season. The team’s 27 TDs resulted in a $10,000 donation. WZZR personality The Greek promoted Tito’s commitment on-air throughout the program during the season on his midday show, “The Penthouse.”…..ABC Radio announces the debut of a new podcast hosted by ABC News chief business, economics and technology correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, titled “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis,” focused on leading women in a variety of industries. Each week Jarvis will speak with women in Hollywood, business, technology, fashion, comedy, food, sports and startups about how they built their empire and their wide-range of accomplishments.
Gracie Awards Deadline Extended. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation is announcing it has extended the call for entries for the 42nd annual Gracie Awards to January 19, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. ET in response to high requests for extensions. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation chair Kristen Welch says, “Now is a time, more than ever before, where we need to celebrate women for their exceptional work and contributions, especially in the media industry.” The Gracies recognize exemplary programming created by, for and about women in radio, television, cable and interactive media. Honorees are selected in national, local and non-commercial markets as well as among students. The AWMF will accept all entries submitted after the originally published deadline of January 12 through January 19 with an additional $50 late fee. Honorees will be announced in mid- to late-March. The Gracies are the largest fundraising event by the AWM Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AWM that supports educational programs, charitable activities and scholarships to benefit women in the media.
MIW Radio Group Mentoring Program Application Deadline Extended. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio group is extending the application window for the 2017 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program through next Wednesday, January 18. This experience pairs up-and-coming women who currently work in the radio industry with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio broadcasting and media. MIW Radio Group’s Mentoring Committee chair Lindsay Cerajewski comments, “This provides a wonderful opportunity for mentees to gain valuable insight, knowledge and access to some of the most influential women in radio.” A total of four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry – within the sales, marketing, programming and digital disciplines – will be selected for the 2017 program. To apply, click here.
Luvv Joins Hip Hop WRWM, Indy. Moving west along I-70 is Justin Luvv, who leaves Radio One’s Columbus, Ohio cluster where he was an air personality, imaging coordinator and mix DJ for hip hop WCKX “Power 107.5 and its sister urban outlet WBMO “Boom 106.3” to join Cumulus Media in Indianapolis to serve as afternoon jock and imaging director for hip hop WRWM “93.9 The Beat.” WRWM program director Jay Michaels comments, “Justin’s on-air skills and amazing imaging expertise make him stand out from the crowd. I’m really excited to have him on board as we take ‘93.9 The Beat’ full throttle into 2017!”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The “Full Metal Jackie” show – syndicated by Envision Networks – is being added to the program schedule at Alpha Media’s KMKO-FM, Mankato, Minnesota. The Jackie Kajzer-hosted metal show will air Sunday’s at 10:00 pm CT…..Programmer Garett Michaels is exercising his option to leave rock KFMB-FM, San Diego where he’s been PD and afternoon host as the joint operating agreement between Midwest Television and Local Media San Diego ends. He’ll remain in a consultant capacity…..The syndicated Walton & Johnson morning show is finding a new home at Townsquare Media’s rock KFTE, LaFayette, Louisiana “Planet Radio 105.1.” It had been heard on Guaranty Broadcasting’s classic rock WDGL, Baton Rouge. Guaranty is suing the show on the grounds that it was not given the notice required by the contract…..Tamara Grant joins the Superadio-syndicated Michael Baisden show as senior producer.
Foo Fighters Visit ‘Jonesy’s Juke Box.’ KLOS, Los Angeles midday host Steve Jones (second from right) poses for a photo in the studio where he hosts “Jonesy’s Juke Box” from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm each day. Joining him on the occasion of the release of his memoir, Lonely Boy: Tales from A Sex Pistol (Da Capo 2017), are (from l-r) former Nirvana guitarist Pat Smear, and Foo Fighters members Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl.