Talk Host Craig Silverman and KNUS, Denver Have Different Takes on His Departure. Only this appears to be agreed upon by former Denver chief deputy district attorney Craig Silverman and Salem Media Group’s news/talk KNUS, Denver – he exited during his Saturday program. Silverman claims he was ousted in the middle of his show after a segment critical of President Trump aired. But KNUS general manager Brian Taylor tells FOX 31 Denver that he was removed after appearing on a competing station. Taylor says, “He decided that it was important to work across town and so on Saturday on his program he announced that, and that’s what prompted our decision to take him off the air. The notion that he was relieved from his program because he criticized President Trump is absolutely untrue. We’ve never told Mr. Silverman the position to take on his impeachment.”
Monday Memo: What’s really ‘Official?’ With AM/FM broadcasters now competing with SO many audio competitors, the timing couldn’t be worse to blend-into the blah-blah-blah with dated-sounding station imaging. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke warns against what he calls “the most-abused word” in promo copy. Read it here.
iHeartMedia Announces $500 Million Private Offering. Via a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission,iHeartMedia, Inc. announces its intent to offer, $500 million aggregate principal amount of Senior Secured Notes due January 2028 in a private offering to qualified institutional buyers. Proceeds from the notes – guaranteed on a senior secured basis by iHeartCommunications’ direct parent, iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC, and the subsidiaries of iHeartCommunications that guarantee iHeartCommunications’ term loan facility – are intended (together with cash on hand) “to prepay at par a portion of the outstanding borrowings under its term loan facility, to pay accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but excluding, the date of prepayment, and to pay fees and expenses related to the offering of the Notes and the use of proceeds therefrom.”
Dunlap Maintains Innocence; Has New Attorney. On Friday (11/15), the Times-Picayune’s Ramon Antonio Vargas wrote an updated story on the case of former WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans sports talk host Seth Dunlap, who was fired from the Entercom station on October 31 in the aftermath of in investigation into the September 10 posting of a gay slur on the radio station’s Twitter account. If you’ve been following this story, you are aware that Entercom, based on its own investigation, believes Dunlap sent the text himself several days after posting to his own Facebook page an open letter to New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees complaining about Brees’ work with Focus on the Family, an organization that is not LGBTQ-friendly. Dunlap also went public with his own struggles in the radio biz as an openly gay man. Several days later the anti-gay slur appeared on the WWL Twitter feed. Entercom turned the investigation over to the New Orleans Police Department and recently, a judge denied the NOPD a warrant for Dunlap’s arrest on extortion charges. The request for a warrant was based in part on WWL’s statement that Dunlap sought $1.8 million from the station for him to drop his planned lawsuit against it for allowing a hostile workplace. Dunlap has since changed lawyers. Megan Kiefer no longer represents him. Dunlap tells the Times-Picayune that Billy Gibbens is his attorney. Another new development is that Dunlap says he no longer has the iPhone from which WWL and police believe he accessed the station’s Twitter account. The NOPD says their investigation is ongoing and Dunlap says he is still considering suing the station.
Jimmy de Castro ‘Retiring’ from Entercom. In a memo to staffers last Friday, Entercom COO Weezie Kramer announced that Jimmy de Castro – senior vice president and market manager for the company’s Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison station groups – is retiring from his position with the company. He’s expected to leave in mid-December. Kramer says of de Castro in her memo, “Jimmy was tasked with breathing new energy and positivity into the organization as we embarked on our journey as a new team. And Jimmy delivered. His spark, creativity, experience, and business acumen were just what was needed to improve our brands, our culture, our business, and our building in Chicago.” De Castro tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder that he’ll continue to operate sports marketing and consulting firm After The Whistle LLC and his firm The Content Factory, and through the latter he hopes to get into sports betting and gaming content.
Place Assumes Mornings on New Hampshire’s WNTK-FM. The Valley News reports that market on-air pro Jason Place is taking over the morning drive show on Sugar River Media’s news/talk WNTK-FM, New London, New Hampshire. Place takes over the program from former host Keith Hanson. Hanson – a local Republican committee chairman – exited the station in October after his controversial use of profanity on social media in defense of his decision to bring Jihad Watch author Robert Spencer to the area for a presentation caused a stir. Though the Valley News says station officials deny his exit had to do with that incident. Place tells the paper he isn’t hosting the show to espouse a certain political philosophy; he wants to have conversations with listeners. “What matters is what the listener thinks. Hopefully, we can get a conversation going, learn something. and have some fun. … God, I just hope I don’t take myself too seriously.”
TALKERS News Notes. St. Louis news/talk KMOX “News Radio 1120” announces it signs a contract extension to continue to serve as the flagship radio station for St. Louis Cardinals games through the 2024 season. Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “We are honored to continue to work with the world class St. Louis Cardinals. ‘News Radio 1120 KMOX’ and the Cardinals are synonymous institutions here in this great city and we couldn’t be more excited to continue this fantastic partnership.”…..Westwood One Podcast Network announces that “The Dan Bongino Show” adds a once-weekly interview show to its daily lineup. The new program launched with an interview with President Trump. During the interview, the president shared thoughts about why he uses social media, the impeachment hearings, the whistleblower’s identity, Ukraine’s new president, looking forward to the new Inspector General report, draining the swamp, tax cuts, the economy, capital gains indexing, Obamacare, and more. Bongino is a former Secret Service Agent, former NYPD officer, and a New York Times best-selling author…..AdLarge Media announces that Dave Boretti is named its vice president of Midwest sales. Boretti comes to AdLarge from a similar position with PodcastOne. Chicago-based Boretti says, “I’ve had conversations with Don for a few years about moving to AdLarge and this came together at the perfect time. AdLarge is an exciting company with leadership that consistently is ahead of emerging trends in audio. I look forward to marshalling their assets to help AdLarge’s advertisers achieve their goals.”
Impeachment Testimony/Ukraine Allegations, 2020 Presidential Race, Deadly Fresno Football Party Shooting, Hong Kong Protests, China’s Muslim Detention Docs, Prince Andrew Interview, Iran Protests, Venice Flooding/Climate Change, and Kanye West at Osteen Church Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment testimony against President Trump and the related allegations of impropriety with regard to Ukraine’s military aid money; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Michael Bloomberg’s entrance into the race as a Republican; the shooting at a football watching party in Fresno that took the lives of four; the protests at Hong Kong Polytechnic University; the revelation of Chinese documents indicating detention of Muslims; Prince Andrew’s awkward interview with the BBC regarding his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein; protests in Iran over the doubling of gas prices; the city of Venice suffers its third flood in a week that officials are blaming on climate change; and Kanye West’s appearance at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
2019 Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts Honored. Pictured above are the nine distinguished members of the media industry who were honored Friday (11/15) at the 17th Annual Library of American Broadcasting Foundation’s Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts awards ceremony held at New York City’s famed Gotham Hall. Clockwise from top left are: CW Television Network president Mark Pedowitz, Urban One CEO Alfred C. Liggins III, Patrick Communications founder and CEO Larry Patrick, CBS Television Stations president Peter Dunn, Advanced Television Systems Committee president emeritus Mark Richer, PBS president & CEO Paula Kerger, journalist Connie Chung, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. Photo: Wendy Moger-Bross
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Albuquerque CHR outlet KKOB-FM re-brands as “93-3 The Q.” Cumulus Media Albuquerque VP and market manager Jeff Berry comments, “‘93-3 The Q’ is the natural evolution of 93.3, a highly rated radio outlet with compassionate personalities, an enormous fan base, and market-leading, multi-platform content. ‘93-3 The Q’ brings renewed passion for and connection with the city of Albuquerque and its people. It is a reflection of our commitment to Albuquerque listeners and we couldn’t be more excited to grow and expand the brand when it is healthy and take it to the next level.”…..iHeartMedia Asheville announces the debut of “The Woody & Wilcox Show” on its WKSF-HD3/W266CP “ALT 101.1.” iHeartMedia Asheville SVP of programming Brian Hall says, “We are pumped to add ‘The Woody and Wilcox Show’ to the lineup. Woody and Wilcox can’t deliver food to your door, but they will deliver a morning wake-up call that Asheville listeners will love.”
iHeartMedia and Debt Holders Reach Agreement in Principle. The company announces that it has reached an agreement in principle with holders of more than $10 billion of its outstanding debt and its financial sponsors that reflects widespread support across the capital structure for a comprehensive balance sheet restructuring that will reduce its debt by more than $10 billion. To implement the balance sheet restructuring contemplated by the agreement in principle, iHeartMedia and certain of its subsidiaries, including iHeartCommunications, Inc., have filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. and its subsidiaries did not commence Chapter 11 proceedings. The Company has filed with the Bankruptcy Court a series of customary motions seeking to maintain business-as-usual operations and uphold its commitments to its valued employees and other stakeholders during the process. These “first day” motions, which the Company expects to be granted in short order, will help facilitate a smooth transition into Chapter 11. The company says it believes that its cash on hand, together with cash generated from ongoing operations, will be sufficient to fund and support the business during the Chapter 11 proceedings. In the press release, iHM chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “iHeartMedia has created a highly successful operating business, generating year-over-year revenue growth in each of the last 18 consecutive quarters. We have transformed a traditional broadcast radio company into a true 21st century multi-platform, data-driven, digitally focused media and entertainment powerhouse with unparalleled reach, products and services now available on more than 200 platforms, and the iHeartRadio master brand that ties together our almost 850 radio stations, our digital platform, our live events, and our 129 million social followers. The agreement we announced today is a significant accomplishment, as it allows us to definitively address the more than $20 billion in debt that has burdened our capital structure. Achieving a capital structure that finally matches our impressive operating business will further enhance iHeartMedia’s position as America’s #1 audio company.”
Deke Bellavia Exits WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans. Longtime sports talk personality Deke Bellavia – known as to many as “Big Chief” – has exited Entercom’s New Orleans news/talk WWL-AM/FM in what appears to be a budget-related move. NOLA.com reports that Entercom has made no public comment about Bellavia’s departure. For the past 10 years, Bellavia has worked alongside Bobby Hebert on the daily “SportsTalk” program. He was also part of the “Point After” Saints post-game program. Since he exited, Saints sideline reporter Kristian Garic has been working with Hebert. See the NOLA.com story here.
TALKERS News Notes. Now that CNBC and Westwood One personality Larry Kudlow has joined the Trump Administration as economic adviser, what will happen to his weekend, syndicated radio show? Westwood One has not issued a public statement about the future of the program, so its status is unclear. On one hand, Kudlow may be too busy to continue hosting the Saturday 10:00 am to 1:00 pm call-in show that deals with “where money meets politics,” but the administration may also enjoy having a presidential adviser speaking to the talk radio audience about economic issues. Stay tuned!…..Speaking of Westwood One, the radio network partners with Amazon and XAPPmedia to give listeners the ability to hear live audio coverage and post-game recaps of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship via Alexa. In addition, Alexa users will also be able to hear Westwood One’s coverage of Division II Men’s Basketball Championship, the NIT semifinals and final from Madison Square Garden, and the regional finals, Final Four and National Championship Game from the Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament…..CNN makes a talent move, shifting morning drive star Chris Cuomo to a new program airing at 9:00 pm ET called, “Cuomo Prime Time.” The changes include current prime time personality Jon Berman moving to morning drive where he’ll work beside Alisyn Camerota on the “New Day” program. CNN’s prime time ratings – both total viewing and 25-54 – have lagged behind MSNBC and FOX News Channel in recent ratings reports…..Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice will make on-air appearances on Entercom’s San Francisco sports talker KGMZ “95.7 The Game” this season as a contributor. Rice will contribute to coverage throughout the 2018 NFL off-season, including breaking news, the NFL Draft, and free agency. During the 2018 season, he’ll join “Mornings with Joe Fortenbaugh, Lorenzo Neal and Dan Dibley” Monday mornings at 8:00.
Pennsylvania Special Election, Stormy Daniels Case, U.K.-Russia Tensions, Trump-Russia Investigation, Stephen Hawking Dies, Toys-R-Us Liquidation, Katy Perry ‘Idol’ Controversy, NFL Free Agency, the NCAA Men’s Tournament, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/14). The Pennsylvania special election won by Democrat Conor Lamb and speculation about the 2018 mid-term elections; the legal battle between porn star Stormy Daniels and President Trump; the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in the U.K. and that country’s growing diplomatic tensions with Russia; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; renowned physicist Stephen Hawking dies; toy giant Toys-R-Us announces it will sell or close all of its American stores; the controversy over “America Idol” judge delivering an unwanted kiss to a contestant; the NFL’s free agency activity; the NCAA’s Men’s basketball tournament; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Great Hotel Deal Arranged for Attendees of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! The organizers of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! are pleased to announce a special deal has been arranged to provide attendees of the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention with a conveniently located and affordable hotel at which to stay. The one-day, power-packed convention is set for Friday, June 8, 2018 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the colorful Chelsea District of Manhattan. The official convention hotel is the Hilton New York Fashion District located at 152 West 26th Street, New York – right across the street from the convention venue. A special block of remarkably priced rooms has been reserved for convention attendees. They will only be available until May 8 or until they sell out – whichever comes first. The TALKERS editorial board strongly recommends that industry professionals planning on attending the convention make their registrations and hotel reservations as quickly as possible. An early sellout is imminent! For the latest details about TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! please read the story below. To make hotel reservations, please click here.
Speaker Roster Growing for TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! The TALKERS editorial board has begun naming industry leaders who’ll be speaking at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! – the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. The following individuals have already been set to speak at the one-day, power-packed event on Friday, June 8 in New York City (in alphabetical order): Jack Armstrong & Joe Getty, hosts, Armstrong & Getty Show; Asa Andrew, host, Dr. Asa Network; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY-FM, Springfield, MA “Rock 102”; Ethan Bearman, host KGO, San Francisco; Caroline Beasley, CEO, Beasley Broadcasting; Mike Bendixen, PD, CFRB, Toronto and national news/talk format head, Bell Media; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; David Bernstein, GM, TalkersRadio; Chris Berry, SVP/news-talk-sports programming, iHeartMedia; Jim Bohannon, host, Westwood One; Phil Boyce, SVP/director, spoken word format and operations VP, New York Region, Salem Media Group; Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS; Howie Carr, host, Howie Carr Radio Network; Kathy Carr, VP/sales & marketing, Howie Carr Radio Network; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Michael Czarnecki, PD, WRKO, Boston; Mike Francesa, sports media personality, New York; Dom Giordano, Host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steven Goldstein, CEO, Amplifi Media; Suzanne Grimes, president, Westwood One; Sean Hannity, host, Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel; Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS; Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Bill Hess, VP of News/Talk, Cumulus Media and program director, WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC; Karen Hunter, host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Harry Hurley, host, WWPG, Atlantic City; Alex Jones, director of media operations, Infowars and host, Genesis Communications Network; Steve Jones, VP/GM, ABC News Radio; Brian Kilmeade, host, FOX News Radio and FOX News Channel; Mike Kinosian, managing editor, TALKERS; Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York; Scott Masteller, PD, WBAL, Baltimore; Mike McVay, EVP content & programming, Cumulus Media; Greg Moceri, consultant, Moceri Media; John T. Mullen, OM, WRHU-FM, Hofstra University; Cary Pahigian, president/GM, WBAL, Baltimore; Norm Pattiz, executive chairman, PodcastOne; Chris Plante, Host, Westwood One; Wayne Allyn Root, host USA Radio Network; Sid Rosenberg, host, WABC, New York; Craig Schwalb, PD, WABC, New York; Brad Shepard, GM/host, Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Todd Starnes, host, FOX News Radio; Doug Stephan, host/CEO, Stephan Multimedia; Walter M. Sterling, host, Westwood One; Tom Sullivan, host, Talk Media Network; Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks; Fred Toucher, morning co-host, WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub”; Dan Yorke, host, WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence; and Michael Zwerling, owner, KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz. More speakers will be added in the days and weeks to follow. TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will take place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception – all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions,TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. The convention is already well on its way to being an early sellout. Don’t be shut out! To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Hot AC WQAL, Cleveland “Q104” adds Jack Freeman to “The Jeremiah Show” hosted by Jeremiah Widmer. Freeman becomes co-host of the morning show on Monday (3/19). Entercom Cleveland SVP and market manager Tom Herschel says, “We’re excited to have Jack come on board at ‘Q104’ and use his energy and sense of humor to wake up Cleveland. Our goal is to keep our listeners engaged with premiere live content tailored to the local community and we’re sure that Jeremiah and Jack will deliver on that.” Freeman was most recently with iHeartMedia Detroit as part of the “Mojo in the Morning” program on WKQI…..Midwest Communications promotes Trent “Moose” Pender to the newly created position rock format captain. “Moose” hosts the morning drive show on Midwest’s adult hits WCJK, Nashville “96.3 JACK FM.” The company says that in this new role, he’ll work closely with company rock brands WHBZ, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; WJXQ, Lansing, Michigan; KRRO, Sioux Falls, South Dakota; WWVR, Terre Haute, Indiana; WABX, Evansville, Indiana; WIMZ, Knoxville; KQDS, Duluth; WZOX, Kalamazoo; and WOZZ, Wausau, Wisconsin. Pender says, “It’s an honor to put additional focus on these rock brands and help them grow. I can’t thank everyone at Midwest Communications enough for their unwavering support and this incredible opportunity.”…..iHeartMedia reports that, according to the recent Nielsen Social Content Ratings’ weekly top 10 list, the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards ranked first with 10.858 million social interactions – five times larger than “The Bachelor” season finale that finished second. The Nielsen Social Content Ratings’ weekly top 10 list ranks series and specials by the total number of social TV interactions across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
iHeartMedia and Consenting Lenders Extend Deadline by 24 Hours. This is the second extension of the Forbearance Agreements between debtor iHeartMedia and the Consenting Lenders. The first was signed on March 4 and the second on March 7. This extension ends at midnight tonight (3/13). The 8-K filing with the SEC notes that “As previously disclosed, iHeartCommunications has been engaged in ongoing discussions with its stakeholders with respect to the restructuring of its capital structure. In connection with such discussions, iHeartMedia and iHeartCommunications have been working on a proposed draft restructuring support agreement and related proposed draft restructuring term sheet with advisors to groups of iHeartCommunications’ noteholders, lenders and equity holders.” One would have to assume that progress is being made toward a solution to the company’s debt problem that avoids putting it all in the hands of a bankruptcy judge. The latest term sheet still calls for the spinning off of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, a senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility, new secured debt of $5.75 billion, and equity issued to holders of Term Loan Credit Facility Claims, PGN Claims, 2021 Notes Claims, Legacy Notes Claims, and various holders of Equity Interests in iHeart. See the 8-K filing here. Meanwhile, Gene Ely writes in Forbes about what possibilities exist for the future incarnation of iHeartMedia. Read that here.
Townsquare Media Releases Q4 2017 Financial Data; Net Revenue Flat. The company says its 2017 fourth quarter net revenue figure for the Local Marketing Solutions division (that includes radio) was good. Townsquare Media co-CEO Bill Wilson says, “We are pleased to announce another strong result in our Local Marketing Solutions segment, which delivered net revenue growth of 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2017, and 1.9% for the full year, despite the loss of political revenue. This was the 16th consecutive quarter of positive, organic net revenue growth for this segment of our Company. Excluding political revenue, Local Marketing Solutions net revenue increased 5.2% in the fourth quarter of 2017, our strongest quarter of the year, and 3.9% for the full year.” The Entertainment division (live events) did not perform well in either Q4 or the year as a whole. Fourth quarter 2017 Entertainment net revenue was down 17.4% and, for the year, was down 8.6%. Townsquare did repay $6.7 million of long-term debt.
WEEO, Chambersburg-Hagerstown Unveils ‘Live Eye in the Sky.’ Pictured above is Magnum Broadcasting general manager Patrick Ryan launching WEEO, Chambersburg-Hagerstown’s new drone, “The Live Eye in The Sky.” Ryan says “NEWS TALK 1037 FM” is using the drone to fly over Tri-State events and provide play-by-play sound on air and video on Facebook Live. “Forget cutting edge, we’re cutting through the skies and on air with news events, community activities, business celebrations and more. As far as we know, it’s the first of its kind combination of live radio and live social media!”
Mark Levin Interviews Netanyahu on ‘Life, Liberty & Levin.’ Talk media star Mark Levin – nationally syndicated on radio via Westwood One – is pictured above (left) on Sunday’s FOX News Channel program, “Life, Liberty & Levin,” interviewing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) during Netanyahu’s visit to America.
Trump-Russia Investigation, Stormy Daniels Case, Kudlow Trump’s Economic Adviser Choice, PA House Race, Trump PA Rally, O.J. Simpson Interview, Black Panther/A Wrinkle in Time, March Madness, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/12). The House Intelligence Committee issues statement denying Trump campaign-Russia collusion in 2016 election; Donald Trump’s lawyers’ battle to keep porn star Stormy Daniels’ “60 Minutes” interview from airing; CNBC host and former Wall Street economist Larry Kudlow named Trump’s choice for economic adviser; the close special election race between Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania; the 2006 O.J. Simpson interview that was aired by FOX TV over the weekend; the Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time films; the NCAA tournament bracket; and NBA action were some of the most-talked about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS magazine’s 2018 “100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America” to Be Published Tomorrow (3/14). This year’s edition of the “100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America” – also known as the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio – will be the sixth edition of this list. It is compiled by the editors of TALKERS magazine with input from industry leaders based on a number of hard factors, such as ratings and revenue, as well as soft factors including impact, recognition, and talent. This annual list makes no distinction between local personalities or nationally syndicated hosts – the requisite being that the host, duo, or team is working on a regularly scheduled show on a terrestrial radio station or on satellite radio at the time of the list’s publication. TALKERS magazine will publish the 2018 list tomorrow (March 14) at 12:00 noon EDT.
KHTE, Little Rock’s Dave Elswick Broadcasts from Branson. Little Rock talk show host Dave Elswick – afternoon drive host on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KHTE, Little Rock “96.5 FM The Answer” – is pictured above broadcasting live from Sight and Sound in Branson Missouri for the grand opening of the musical production of Samson.
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media personality William J. Kelly, a.k.a. Citizen Kelly, is returning to Evanston Broadcasting’s WCGO, Chicago to host “The Citizen Kelly Show” from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight, effective March 19. Kelly says, “The Citizen Kelly radio empire is not only growing but thriving. We do Chicago TV and radio successfully because we are from Chicago, we know Chicago people, we know Chicago attitudes, and we know Chicago humor, unlike these failed, bankrupt radio stations with their fake personalities and forced laughter.” Kelly is a frequent contributor to the Daily Caller, Newsmax, and the Washington Times…..Curtis Media Group’s WPTF, Raleigh announces program schedule changes that include the addition of Radio America’s Dana Loesch program and FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade show. Loesch’s show is taking over the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot and Kilmeade’s show airs live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. The Raleigh News Observer quotes Curtis VP of news and information programming Rick Martinez saying there will be more news programming, including from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm with Scott Briggaman, as well as the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show hosted by Martinez and his wife, Donna…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that changes are coming to Entercom’s sports talk WSCR “The Score,” including the exit of Jason Goff from the afternoon show and a possible return to the station of Dan McNeil, partnered with Dan Bernstein. McNeil left “The Score” back in 2014, subsequently co-hosted mornings on classic rock WDRV, and recently returned to WSCR to host a Sunday morning show…..Fishnet Syndication is named to handle marketing and advertising sales for USA Radio Network, effective immediately. In October 2015, Anthem Broadcasting acquired the USA Radio Network. Anthem Broadcasting LLC, is a subsidiary of the Phoenix-based media company Liftable Media Inc…..In the aftermath of Sunday’s airing of “O.J. Simpson: The Lost Confession?” on FOX TV, publisher Judith Regan spoke exclusively to several Cumulus Media radio stations, including WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; WLS-AM, Chicago; WYAY-AM, Atlanta; WABC-AM, New York; WPRO-AM, Providence; WJR-AM, Detroit; KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KGO-AM, San Francisco; KMJ-AM, Fresno; and WWTN-AM, Nashville. Regan told WYAY’s Shannon Burke Simpson showed “not a speck” of remose, adding, “I think he’s a psychopath and he has no conscience.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Alt rock KROQ, Los Angeles announces Miles Anzaldo is joining the station to serve as music director. Entercom SVP and market manager Jeff Federman says, “After an extensive search for the next music director, I am beyond thrilled to welcome Miles Anzaldo to KROQ. Miles grew up in the music and radio business in Southern California and is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about our business. His understanding of digital and social content will certainly help the station continue to expand beyond broadcast.”…..In Kansas City, Cumulus Media names air personality Dave Fogel midday jock at classic hits KCMO-FM. Fogel, who most recently was in Chicago at WJMK and WLS-FM, started his radio career at KMXV, Kansas City. He is the son of Kansas City television legend Jerry Fogel. KCMO-FM program director Joe Russo comments, “Dave is a superstar and a Kansas City guy through and through.”…..Local Media San Diego brings “The Moug Show” to alternative XETRA, San Diego “91X.” Program hosts John Moug and Jared Dey – most recently with CHR KLUC, Las Vegas – join XETRA’s Danielle for the new show…..Woodward Radio Group agrees to acquire CHR WBJZ, Berlin, Wisconsin “B104” from Caxambas Corporation. Woodward general manager Kelly Radandt states, “This additional signal will fit nicely into our long-term strategic goals for our radio division. It will also allow us to better serve our Northeast Wisconsin communities.”…..YEA Networks is launching the national syndication of “Tino Cochino Radio.” The program is hosted by Tino Cochino, co-host Milli Rodriguez.
iHeartCommunications Declines to Make $106 Million Cash Interest Payment. This move, like Cumulus Media’s similar tactic last fall, is designed to spur action in the company’s efforts to restructure its debt. Today, iHeartCommunications, Inc. (iHeartMedia is the parent company of iHeartCommunications) announced that its board of directors elected not to make a cash interest payment of $106 million (due today, 2/1) to holders of its 14% senior unsecured notes due 2021 as active discussions continue among its lenders, noteholders, and financial sponsors regarding a comprehensive debt restructuring. “The board elected not to make the payment in connection with ongoing efforts to proactively and comprehensively address the company’s capital structure. The decision will not trigger an event of default under the indenture as the company will utilize a 30-day grace period under the indenture during which it retains the right to make the interest payment to the holders of the notes and remain in compliance with the indenture governing the notes. The board is considering options as part of its strategy to achieve a comprehensive restructuring of the company’s debt.”
SiriusXM Q4 Revenue Up 8%. The satellite radio company did take a loss of $37 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, but that was due to a $185 million charge associated with the revaluation of the company’s deferred tax assets as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. For the year of 2017, SiriusXM’s net revenue was positive to the tune of $648 million. In the fourth quarter, SiriusXM recorded a decrease of approximately $72 million in the fair value of its investment in Pandora, reversing the prior quarter’s unrealized gains. The satcaster reports that it gained 1.56 million self-pay subscribers during 2017 to put its total self-pay subscribers at approximately 27.5 million. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “The fourth quarter capped a strong year for SiriusXM and was our best quarter for self-pay subscriber growth in five years. We exceeded all of our 2017 subscriber and financial guidance, even after increasing these targets during the year. I am particularly pleased that we achieved this growth in an environment of slowing auto sales.”
‘Radio War’ Gets KBME, Houston Booted from Super Bowl Radio Row. A good old-fashioned radio war tactic escalated tensions between iHeartMedia’s KBME, Houston “SportsTalk 790” and Entercom’s KILT-AM “Sportsradio 610,” resulting in KBME losing its credentials to broadcast from the Super Bowl LII radio row. It all started when KBME morning host Josh Innes sent his producer, Jim Mudd, to video KILT-AM’s Seth Payne and Mike Meltser as they did their show. It had the intended consequence of riling up Payne, who soon was in a verbal argument with Innes. Audio from the confrontation ended up on both stations’ airwaves. WEEI, Boston’s Gerry Callahan and Kirk Minihane (mornings on the Entercom sports talk station) were broadcasting their show nearby and captured the donnybrook on video. After it was all over, the NFL removed KBME from the radio row. See the Houston Chronicle’s story and the WEEI-shot video here.
KXL, Portland Announces New Afternoon Team. The new afternoon drive team for Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland “FM News 101” is Lucinda Kay and Cooper Banks. Kay is promoted from her part-time position with the station. She has an extensive background in radio and television news. She launched her career in journalism in 1994, working as a TV news anchor and reporter – in both English and Spanish – for several years. She hosted her own talk show in Spokane. She started freelancing for KXL in 2016. Cooper Banks worked as an afternoon DJ at KWKJ, Warrensburg, Misourri in 2004. He was hired as news director for KMXL/KDMO, Joplin, Missouri two years later. He later jumped to KMBZ, Kansas City as a producer, reporter, and news anchor. Alpha Media Portland content director Bruce Collins says, “I am extremely excited to work each day with Cooper and Lucinda. They have the talent that will take KXL to a new level in pm drive.”
Westwood One at Super Bowl LII. The official network radio partner of the NFL and Super Bowl LII reports that it is on the scene in Minneapolis preparing for its coverage of the game. Westwood One says it’s been busy taping interviews and special features for the coverage. In addition, its personalities (and some from partner NBC Sports Radio) have been visiting radio row. Above is Super Bowl XXXI-winning coach Mike Holmgren (center), one of Westwood One’s Super Bowl LII analysts, doing an interview with KKFN, Minneapolis “K-FAN” personalities Dan Barriero (right) and Justin Gaard (left).
26th Wing Bowl Takes Place Tomorrow Morning. With SportsRadio 94WIP’s Wing Bowl 26 taking place tomorrow morning at the Wells Fargo Center, the official weigh-in takes place tonight, live on WIP, Philadelphia from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm from Chickie’s and Pete’s. The Entercom sports talk station has scheduled 29 eaters to record their official “eating” weight and record their age, height, and hometown. Members from each eater’s entourage and Wingettes will be on hand to cheer on their favorite eaters to victory. This year, WIP personalities Marc Farzetta, Ava Graham, Al Morganti, and Rhea Hughes will also compete in Wing Bowl 26. The Overall Winner of Wing Bowl 26 gets a 2018 Hyundai Sonata courtesy of Colonial Hyundai of Downingtown, plus Steven Singer Jewelers is presenting $5,000 cash and a custom Championship Medal and Ring. The First Responders Champion Prize is a Harley Davidson XL 883N Iron Sportster Motorcycle courtesy of Barb’s Harley Davidson. The Wingette of the Year walks away with $5,000 Courtesy of Dr. Steven Davis & Davis Cosmetic Surgery, and Best Wing Bowl 26 Entourage wins $5,000 cash, courtesy of Steven Singer Jewelers.
NRG Media Names New General Managers in Omaha and Wausau. There are new general managers at NRG Media’s Omaha and Wausau station groups. Kurt Luchs leaves the Wausau, Wisconsin station group where he’s been GM for almost five years to lead the Omaha cluster that includes news/talk KOIL and sports talkers KOZN and KOZT. In Wausau, Aleese Fielder is promoted from director of sales to general manager. NRG Media president/CEO Mary Quass says, “The goal of NRG Media is to be a destination company for our team to build a career, so I am very excited to be able to promote from within. These promotions are well deserved, together Kurt and Aleese turned Wausau around and helped make it one of the most successful markets in the company. We like to reward a job well done and these moves are a definite win-win for two very talented teams.
Major National Programming Executives Set to Speak at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! The roster continues to grow as the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention continues to name what will be a stellar list of some 50 or more leaders from the programming, talent, sales, management, ownership and technical sectors of the field. Convention organizers have named (in alphabetical order): Canadian radio giant Bell Media national news/talk format head (and PD of NEWSTALK 1010, Toronto), Mike Bendixen; iHeartMedia SVP of news/talk/sports programming, Chris Berry; Salem Media Group SVP/director, spoken word format, Phil Boyce; and Cumulus Media EVP of content and programming, Mike McVay. These outstanding individuals join (in alphabetical order) Beasley Broadcasting CEO, Caroline Beasley; Premiere Networks/FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity; Westwood One president, Suzanne Grimes; PodcastOne founder/executive chairman Norm Pattiz; and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott as conference speakers. More speakers will be announced here in the days and weeks ahead leading up to the event. For more information about TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! see story below.
TALKERS Convention Early Bird Discount Ends Tomorrow! The opportunity to attend the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important convention at a significantly reduced registration fee comes to an end tomorrow (Friday, February 2 at 5:00 pm ET). Those registering before the deadline will save $50. TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will take place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and at the dawn of a rapidly accelerating era. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern-day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
TALKERS News Notes. In the Winchester, Virginia market, Centennial Broadcasting changes the simulcast of classic country on WZFC-FM, Strasburg, Virginia and will instead simulcast its news/talk WINC, Winchester “Newstalk 1400” on WZFC’s 104.9 FM signal. Company market manager Larry Weiss says, “Centennial Winchester is excited about the prospects of extending the reach of our highly regarded ‘Newstalk 1400’ station programming further south in the Shenandoah Valley, utilizing the powerful WZFC signal. This move will allow us to extend the news/talk brand, including our roster of well-established national hosts, south of Winchester into the Warren and Shenandoah County areas.”…..WVLZ, Knoxville “Sports Radio 1180” owner Doug Mathews is selling the station to fellow Knoxville station owner Aaron Ishmael. He owns crosstown oldies WKCE. Ishmael begins operating WVLZ under an LMA today (2/1). The Knoxville News reports that two WVLZ personalities Tony Basilio and Jayson Swain – have ended their brokered arrangements with WVLZ. It’s not known if Ishmael intends to change the sports talk format…..JVC Media signs an extension to carry Frank MacKay’s two programs – “Breaking it Down” and “52 Players” – on WRCN, Riverhead (Long Island) and WSWN, Belle Glade, Florida (West Palm Beach).
State of the Union Address, FBI Memo Controversy, Trump-Russia Investigation, DACA Status/Immigration Policy, Gowdy to Leave Congress, Flu Epidemic, Social Media Fraud, Black Panther Film, and Super Bowl LII Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/31). Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address by President Trump; the battle over whether to release the FBI memo that alleges law enforcement abuses and Congressman Adam Schiff’s allegation that Congressman Devin Nunes made changes to the memo; Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives; the status of the Obama-era DACA Act and the Trump administration’s immigration policy; Congressman Trey Gowdy announces he will not seek re-election; the flu epidemic that’s sweeping the U.S.; the social media scandal involving allegations numerous high-profile people bought artificial followers from a firm called Devumi; the new superhero film Black Panther; and the build-up to Super Bowl LII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Powerful Candid Conversation with WABC, New York Personality Curtis Sliwa on Harrison Podcast. New York City radio icon Curtis Sliwa is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Sliwa, whom Harrison describes as a “performance artist,” is the founder and leader of the grassroots crime fighting organization the Guardian Angels, as well as serving as the chairman of the New York State Reform Party. Sliwa is a longtime Big Apple talk show host heard mostly on WABC during the past few decades. He is currently recovering from serious surgery in the aftermath of an ongoing battle with Crohn’s Disease and other gastroenterological issues – resulting in him having to dry out from opioid addiction. Harrison and Sliwa talk about a range of subjects including prescription drugs, the state of radio, street crime, politics, Donald Trump and the peculiar nature of ego. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Some of the performers taking part at the March 11 iHeartRadio Music Awards are being announced by iHeartMedia. The fifth “fan-fueled” iHeartRadio Music Awards takes place at the Forum in Los Angeles and will feature: Ed Sheeran, Cardi B, Maroon 5, Camila Cabello, Charlie Puth and Backstreet Boys will be among the performers. The event is being hosted by Hailey Baldwin and DJ Khaled and is being simulcast live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET…..Alpha Media Dayton names programming pro Bo Matthews operations manager for the cluster and content director for adult hits WGTZ “92.9 Jack FM” and country WCLI “101.5 Hank FM.” Matthews was most recently SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Cincinnati. He began his career in Youngstown, Ohio with then-Jacor and worked his way up the programming ladder at Clear Channel and iHeartMedia. Alpha Media EVP of content Scott Mahalick comments, “Bo is a world-class, ‘A’-level programmer who is energized, pursues excellence as a habit, and understands the mission and how to achieve it. We look forward to his leadership on the Alpha content team.”…..Envision Networks announces that its ‘90s rock weekend show “The Core” adds new affiliates, bringing the Envision Rock Network affiliate count to more than 350. Adding the program are: KUBQ, La Grande, Oregon; WTCX, Ripon, Wisconsin; and WKBH, La Crosse, Wisconsin.
iHeartRadio’s Darren Davis Testifies Bankruptcy Threat Is ‘Disrupting’ Company’s Business. The debt default trial underway in Texas pitting iHeartCommunications against Benefit Street Partners LLC is being covered by Bloomberg’s Laura Brubaker Calkins. Yesterday’s star witness for iHeart was iHeartRadio president Darren Davis and in his testimony, he painted a picture of a company that was able to make its debt payments as it works to build a global digital music service, that is, until the debt default was declared. Calkins reports that Davis said as it stands now, the company’s line of credit has been reduced, its relationships with partners are strained, and it’s affecting iHeart’s ability to attract top, and in some cases, critical employees. The upshot is that the debt default issue is hampering the company’s goal of building iHeartRadio into the global content service that it believes it can be. The case stems from iHeartCommunications’ transfer of $500 million of Clear Channel Outdoor stock into the shell company Broader Media Inc. iHeart says the transfer was legal, and Benefit Street Partners LL says it was not. Read Calkins’ Bloomberg piece here.
WPRO, Providence’s John DePetro Ties with Rhode Island Governor as ‘Most Divisive.’ The Rhode Island digital publication GoLocalProv.com published a list of what it calls the state’s “Ten Most Divisive” personalities. Most of the 10 are politicians or are very involved with the state’s political process. However, tied for #1 with Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro. The publication defines the list’s occupants as those who “generate the greatest emotion.” See the feature here.
The Presidential Race, Islamic State Iraq Bombings, Iran Nuclear Deal Hearing, Bathroom-Gender Laws, Facebook Anti-Conservative Allegations, Brazil and Venezuela Troubles, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/17). The activities of the candidates for president, the Oregon and Kentucky primaries and Megyn Kelly’s Donald Trump interview; the recent deadly bombings in Baghdad by Islamic State; the House Oversight Committee hearing on the Obama Administration’s Iran nuclear deal; ongoing controversy over public restroom laws and gender identification; allegations Facebook’s trending stories are biased against conservative topics; the political and economic turmoil in Brazil and Venezuela; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
George Noory to Present Live Stage Version of ‘Coast to Coast AM’ in June. The event will take place on Saturday, June 18 at Lindenwood University in St. Louis beginning at 7:00 pm local time. Tickets are available for the show that will include a VIP meet-and-greet. It’s being produced by Emmis-owned KFTK-FM, St. Louis and Danheiser Entertainment. Guests on the show will include ufologist and nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman, rock historian and author R. Gary Patterson, St. Louis Radio Hall of Famer Mark Klose of KFTK, and Mark Farley, founding member of the St. Louis Paranormal Society and frequent guest of KFTK’s Dave Glover show. It’ll be available as a pay-per-view event as well.
CMG Names Heather Boethin to Gamut Sales Director Post. Named to the director of sales south for Gamut is Cox Media Group sales pro Heather Boethin. She’s based in Dallas and will oversee the territory of Atlanta, Dallas, and outlying areas. She’ll also work closely with CoxReps Digital on “driving high-level strategic initiatives between the two companies.” Gamut is a digital media services company owned by CMG.
WTMJ, Milwaukee Sends 140 Veteran to DC on ‘Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.’ Last Saturday (5/14), Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee sent 140 veterans on a trip from the city to Washington, DC to visit their war memorials. WTMJ afternoon host John Mercure led a “WTMJ Cares” fundraising project last October and the station’s listeners donated more than $250,000 to fund the flights. “WTMJ’s Operation Parallel” featured Mercure interviewing Veterans to tell their stories and what a trip to their war memorial would mean to them. The money was donated through two radiothon events and online giving. Stars and Stripes Honor Flight vice president Karyn Roelke says, “We are humbled by the absolutely incredible support of WTMJ Radio. Many of our veterans have already told us that, aside from their wedding day and the birth of their children, their Honor Flight day was the best day they have ever had. We owe such a debt of gratitude to the listeners and staff of 620 WTMJ for making this possible.” Pictured above are the veterans along with WTMJ staffers.