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Monday, May 6, 2019

| May 6, 2019

Cumulus Media Names Brian Philips EVP of Content and Audience; Mike McVay to Return to Consulting. Effective today, radio and television executive Brian Philips is being appointed executive vice president, content and audience for Cumulus Media, taking over for Michael McVay, who is returning to full-time consulting, with Cumulus as his first client.  Philips previously served as president of Viacom/MTV Network’s CMT channel.  The press release notes that there, Philips led “the music network’s successful forays into long-form script series, tentpole awards shows, concert specials, and feature films.  He also developed CMT’s successful national radio network.”  Prior to working in TV and film, Philips worked in radio programming with such stations as Cumulus’ WNNX-FM and WWWQ-FM in Atlanta, and KPLX-FM, Dallas.  Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner says, “We are excited that Brian is joining our leadership team.  A highly accomplished executive, leader, and innovator with substantial experience across today’s media landscape, he comes to us with an impressive and successful track record of growing ratings and expanding audiences.  We look forward to benefiting from the skills and expertise he brings to his new role. I would also like to thank Mike for his significant contributions to Cumulus and for being such a great partner to me.”  McVay underscores that the decision to leave Cumulus and return to consulting was entirely his.  In praising McVay, Berner adds, “Mike’s accomplishments since his appointment as EVP, content and programming in 2015 are too numerous to count.  To name just a few, under Mike’s leadership of the office of programming, we reversed four years of ratings share declines, and saw years of ratings share growth.  We are currently posting the best ratings since 2011 on some of our biggest and most important stations.  Mike has helped to expand Westwood One’s programming, participating in the launch of several new shows, including the very successful ‘The Ben Shapiro Show.’  Mike has also led us in increasing our reach beyond over the air listening to include smart speakers and all online listening.”

Monday Memo: Show Me Your Show. On smart talk stations, weekends are appointment listening and might be the two most profitable days of the week, “NOT incompatible goals” according to consultant Holland Cooke.  “Yet,” he notes, “programming Saturdays and Sundays can be high-maintenance for stations, and getting airtime is challenging for talent.” In this week’s Monday Memo, HC recommends a win-win road map to weekend airtime.  Read it here.

Simonson Named Director of Sales at Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach. Radio sales pro Gregory Simonson is appointed director of sales for Hubbard Radio’s recently acquired West Palm Beach station group that includes news/talk WFTL, Fort Lauderdale and sports talk WMEN, Royal Palm Beach “640 The Hurricane,” and four music-formatted stations.  Simonson was most recently general sales manager with Beasley Media Group’s Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster.  Hubbard Radio SVP and market manager Elizabeth Hamma states, “I’m very happy to welcome Gregory to the Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach family.  His extensive track record of success in traditional and digital media as well as his passion for helping sales people succeed make Gregory a perfect choice to lead our sales team to new heights.”  Last fall, Hubbard agreed to acquire the cluster from Alpha Media for $88 million.

‘Our American Stories’ Passes 180-Affiliate Mark. The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program from American Private Radio announces the addition of eight new affiliate stations to the program’s roster, putting over the 180-station mark. APR president and show host Lee Habeeb says, “Stations told us they wanted a radio program that wasn’t always about politics, to give listeners a break from the news cycle.  More importantly, they love the topics we share every night, and we take great pride in putting stories together that touch our listeners’ hearts and minds.  People walk away feeling better when they listen to ‘Our American Stories.’”  New stations include Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis-St. Paul.

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast is being launched starring iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman, titled, “Math & Magic: Stories From the Frontiers of Marketing,” on the iHeartPodcast Network beginning on May 14.  The program will feature interviews with “visionary executives from the media and entertainment industries.”  In the first two episodes. Pittman talks with Maurice Levy, who, during his tenure as CEO of Publicis Groupe, increased the value of the company by 100 times and expanded a French agency into a true global advertising and communications leader; and Scooter Braun, renowned talent entrepreneur, investor and entertainment executive who boosted the careers of international superstars such as Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and many others…..Boston Herald-based nationally syndicated columnist and Boston Herald Radio show host Adriana Cohen recently hosted President Trump on her weekly program. Cohen tells TALKERS that the almost-20-minute interview went viral after being picked up by Politico, Boston Globe, Newsweek, Fox News, The Blaze, The Hill, and others…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that staffers at Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM are getting some backing from fellow union members as they negotiate with the company for raises for the newsroom’s eight assistant producers.  The Writers Guild of America will rally outside the WBBM studios in the Prudential Building today (5/6)…..Washington University in St. Louis is awarding seven people with honorary degrees at a ceremony during the school’s 2019 commencement on May 17 and one of those is SiriusXM Urban View talk host Joe Madison.  The commencement address will be delivered by Michael Bloomberg.  Madison graduated from Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in 1971…..WTMJ, Milwaukee cleaned up at the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards Gala in Madison over the weekend.  The Good Karma Brands news/talk station won first place in 21 categories, including: News/Talk Large Market Station of the Year, Radio News Operation of the Year (Large Market); Social and Digital Operation of the Year (Large market); Best Newscast: Wisconsin’s Afternoon News; and more. Pictured below with the station’s awards are WTMJ staffers (from l-r): Nick Van Wagenen, Erik Bilstad, Jordan Gasiorowski, Steve Wexler, Steve Scaffidi, Jane Matenaer, Jay SorgiBrad Lane, Doug Russell, Melissa Barclay, and Mike Spaulding.

Mueller Report/Trump on Mueller Testimony, 2020 Presidential Politics, China Trade War Escalation, U.S.-Iran Tensions, North Korea Missile Test, Israel-Gaza Violence, ‘Game of Thrones,’ Avengers: Endgame, Kentucky Derby Disqualification, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of the release of the Mueller Report and President Trump’s tweets saying Robert Mueller should not testify before congress; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; markets react as Trump threatens to ramp up U.S.-China trade war; U.S. carrier group heads to Iran in response to reports of Iranian threats to U.S. interests in the region; reaction to North Korea’s latest missile test; the rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza; Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones”; the Avengers: Endgame movie sets new record; the Kentucky Derby winner is disqualified; and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

George Beasley Inducted into PA Radio Hall of Fame. Pictured above is Beasley Broadcast Group founder and chairman George Beasley at center with his wife Ann and surrounded by their family at the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters’ 2019 Gold Medal Awards Dinner yesterday (5/5) in Hershey where he was inducted into the PAB’s Hall of Fame.  Beasley was inducted with fellow honorees: comic and actor/director Bob Saget, Pittsburgh Steelers great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis, and C-SPAN correspondent Steve Scully.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Los Angeles alternative rocker KROQ announces the debut of the afternoon drive “Stryker and Klein” program featuring Ted Stryker (left) and Kevin Klein (right).  Entercom Los Angeles SVP and market manager Jeff Federman says, “Pairing Stryker and Klein is something we could never have imagined just a few years ago.  Individually, they’ve both had tremendous success throughout their careers.  Adding great content to our afternoon programming is something that we’re very committed to and these guys do a fantastic job connecting the music to fun and interesting conversations.”  Stryker has been with the station since 1999.  Klein hosted mornings on the company’s KITS-FM, San Francisco “Live 105.” He was slated to be the morning host at sports talk KWFN, San Diego but the infamous Coronado Bridge social media post bit derailed his gig on that station…..The search is on for the new morning show at Entercom’s country WUSN, Chicago “US99” after Doug Stylz and Justin Roman exited the station on Friday (5/3).  The duo previously hosted the morning show at sister CHR WBBM-FM, “B96” before taking on the morning show role at “US99.”…..Premiere Networks-syndicated evening personality Delilah recently hosted the “Our Town, Our Heroes Celebration,” a local event recognizing listeners for their outstanding work in the Wilmington, Delaware area, produced by Beasley-owned affiliate WJBR, Wilmington “Mix 99.5.”  In addition to helping honor local citizen’s Delilah was surprised by WJBR as the station honored her for her philanthropic efforts with her non-profit foundation, Point Hope, that serves as a voice for forgotten children in the U.S. foster care system and in West Africa.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

| December 1, 2015

kgo logo newMike Anthony to Program KGO and KSFO, San Francisco.  On the heels of yesterday’s announcement that Cumulus Media San Francisco programmer Lee Hammer is now operations manager for talk stations KGO and KSFO comes the announcement that Mikeanthonymike Anthony is named program director for the stations.  Anthony comes from his most recent gig as general manager of Empire Broadcasting’s KLIV, San Jose.  Prior to that, he was corporate SVP of programming for Mapleton Communications.  He is also owner of ResearchWorks, a 24-year-old Palo ksfoAlto-based media research company.  Anthony says, “The legacy of these two remarkable stations is well documented and when the opportunity to join the Cumulus team at KGO/KSFO was presented to me, I embraced it wholeheartedly.  Every day these stations make a difference in the lives of Bay Area residents.  This is what a great radio station does, and I’m proud to be a part of continuing that legacy.”

ppmunitRound Four of November PPM Data Released.  The fourth of four rounds of November 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The survey period was October 8 – November 4.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

stevensrichRich Stevens Named Permanent Late Morning Host at WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale.  South Florida news/talk WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale announces talk host Rich Stevens – who had been splitting his time between serving as news anchor and his own interactive show – is leaving his news duties to focus on his daily 9:00 am to 11:00 am program.  Stevens tells TALKERS that the Mayor of the City of Ft. Lauderdale called in as the first guest on the Rich Stevens program and he officially proclaimed it “Rich Stevens Show Day” in the city of Ft. Lauderdale.

myers&wes‘The Beast 980’ in Los Angeles Debuts New Live Midday Show.  Los Angeles sports talker KFWB “The Beast 980” launches a new, live and local midday show today (12/1) starring sports media pros Chris Myers and Wes Clements.  The “Myers & Wes” show airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  In a press release, KFWB notes that Myers is a 30-year sports broadcasting vet who has covered numerous major sports events and worked at such sports media outlets as Fox Sports Net, FoxSportsOne, and ESPN.  He also serves as an NFL play-by-play announcer for Fox.  Clements is a Southern California native who has worked as a baseball analyst for ESPN.  Program director Tom Lee comments, “Adding Chris and Wes to our daily lineup further underscores our goal to be the only radio station super serving LA sports fans.  Throughout the day sports fans now get an unprecedented dose of local coverage from the top sports talent here in LA.”

huthlianaLiana Huth Named to New Corporate Post at Entercom.  The new title for Liana Huth is vice president of programming innovation for Entercom and Huth will be based in New York City, reporting to Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton.  The company says Huth comes with “vast experience in content development, creative partnerships, event marketing and more.”  She’s heldentercom senior roles in entertainment and media for Columbia Records, The Madison Square Garden Company, and AEG Live, among others.  Huth will be responsible for creating and developing content opportunities and strategic partnerships that will drive ratings and revenue across all of Entercom’s platforms.  Paxton states, “Liana is a creative trailblazer with a distinguished track record of content creation, innovative thinking and partnership building.  I could not be more excited to add this pivotal new role to the company and to bring in Liana to kick it off.  No one is more ready for this challenge.”

wtmj logoJane Matenaer Named WTMJ, Milwaukee AM Drive Co-Anchor.  A new co-anchor for WTMJ, Milwaukee’s “Wisconsin’s Morning News with Gene Mueller” is named.  Milwaukee radio pro Jane Matenaer – who’d joined the E.W. Scripps station in May and had been heard filling in on the show – joins the morning show officially.  Matenaer replacesmatenaerjane Bonnie Petrie, who’d been hired for the post in July but developed a vocal problem called spasmodic dysphonia that forced her to leave the position.  Petrie replaced Jodi Becker.  Matenaer worked in the market on the morning show at Entercom’s hot AC WMYX add Milwaukee Radio Alliance’s hot AC WLDB.  WTMJ VP/GM Tom Langmyer comments, “WTMJ is Milwaukee and we’re excited to have two of the best-known hometown voices together on Wisconsin’s Radio Station.  Gene and Jane are both distinguished broadcasters who will share their knowledge of Milwaukee and Wisconsin, along with the great chemistry they’ve already developed together.”

knoepkeshannonKnoepke to Replace Anselmo at CBS RADIO Minneapolis.  The Minneapolis cluster of CBS RADIO has a new SVP and market manager as Shannon Knoepke is hired to take over for the retiring Mick Anselmo.  Knoepke will be responsible for country KMNB, adult hits KZJK, and news/talkcbsradio WCCO-AM and is also serving as director of sales.  CBS RADIO COO Scott Herman says, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Shannon back to the CBS RADIO family.  With years of sales and leadership experience under her belt, she has a terrific reputation in the Twin Cities area.  Her commitment to the region and wealth of knowledge in the events and digital marketplace makes her uniquely qualified for the role.  We are excited she will be bringing this expertise to our award-winning cluster.”  Knoepke previously worked for CBS RADIO Minneapolis as an account executive with WCCO-AM from 2000-2001.

wssp logo15WSSP, Milwaukee to Air Expanded Bucks Content.  Milwaukee sports talk outlet WSSP made a strong bid for Milwaukee Bucks play-by-play rights but the team chose to stick with E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ.  But the Entercom sports simulcast of WSSP-AM and translator W289CB, branded as “105.7 FM The Fan,” partners with the NBA team for expanded game day and weekly coverage, as well as promotion and marketing opportunities for the club.  From a programming standpoint, the long-standing “Pick ‘n Save Milwaukee Bucks Post Game Show,” hosted by Steve “Sparky” Fifer, will be enhanced with regular on-air appearances by Bucks players, coaches and TV announcers Jim Paschke, Jon McGlocklin, Marques Johnson and Gus Johnson.

bubbaNielsen Amends Complaint Against Bubba the Love Sponge.  With new information added, Nielsen Audio amends its suit against morning radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge in U.S. District Court in Florida.  The amendment to the original suit that seeks $1 million dollars in damagesnielsen logo from Todd Clem, a.k.a. Bubba the Love Sponge, related to the ratings tampering case in the Tampa market, provides more information about influencing PPM panelists and alleges there was more than just one panelist Bubba was attempting to influence.  Bubba’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that Nielsen’s $1 million figure is part of an attempt to get the suit into the federal jurisdiction and that the company is unable to prove the damages it alleges.  Read the full story from the Tampa Bay Business Journal here.

rosenbergsidSports Talker Sid Rosenberg Getting Traction with Added Political Content at WMEN, Ft. Lauderdale.  South Florida sports talk personality – and former longtime “Imus in the Morning” cast member – Sid Rosenberg is putting a dose of political content into his morning drive show at sports talk WMEN, Ft. Lauderdale, and TALKERS sources report the addition is working for him.  Rosenberg tells TALKERS, “There is no bigger ‘water cooler’ issue than election 2016.  I bring on guests from both sides of the aisle – Lanny Davis, Chris Matthews and Robert Gibbs from the left and people like Rich Lowry, Molly Ball, and Jen Rubin from the right.  I’m the only show who has Chuck Todd on every Friday and we’ve already had six presidential candidates on as well.”  Rosenberg says he’s made this move against advice to avoid polarizing issues but says, “These are serious times.  This election is huge.  Where [Mets slugger] Daniel Murphy ends up is not keeping America awake at night!”  Rosenberg has been able to fill in at WABC, New York over the summer and will do another fill-in shot later this month.  He says the word from New York circles is that his show is getting positive feedback.

smulyanSalv15‘Tis the Season.  In advance of this Friday and Saturday’s 21st Annual WIBC Radiothon, Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan (left) and president and COO Patrick Walsh (right) ring the Salvation Army bell outside Emmis headquarters in Indianapolis.  This weekend’s radiothon benefits the Salvation Army Bed and Bread Club of Central Indiana.  Last year, WIBC helped raise more than $255,000 for the Salvation Army of Central Indiana.

Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooting, Gun Control, Paris Climate Conference, Turkey-Russia Tensions, Fight Against IS, 2016 Presidential Race, U. of Chicago Terror Threat, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/30).  The aftermath of the deadly shootings at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and the related topic of gun control policy; the Paris Climate Conference and discussion about the validity of man-made global warming theory; the tensions between Turkey, its NATO allies and Russia in the wake of the downing of a Russian fighter over Turkish airspace; the civil conflict in Syria and the battle against Islamic State; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; Monday’s terror threat at the University of Chicago; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.