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Monday, January 4, 2021

| January 4, 2021

Monday Memo: Who Will Replace Rush? Consultant Holland Cooke says the short answer is, of course, nobody. However, he points out that affiliate stations may soon have to find a solution for those 15 hours per week that they didn’t have to worry about before. He also asks, “Who will replace Clark Howard?” Find out what he has to say here.

Pending Business: This Year in Review. Sales and marketing pro, and Lapcom Communications Corp president, Steve Lapa says that just many aspects of our daily lives changed after 9/11, so too has the pandemic changed much about our lives – including how we work and consume media. In today’s column, he offers some thoughts about how selling radio will be different this year. Read it here.

WTIC, Hartford’s Joe D’Ambrosio Exits Morning Show. After stating back in early November that he was disillusioned with management’s directives about political opinion on the air, WTIC-AM, Hartford, morning drive co-host Joe D’Ambrosio said he would leave the station when his contract was up in June of 2021 after 28 years with the Entercom station. However, he and management reached an agreement on an early buyout and D’Ambrosio’s last shift was December 31. D’Ambrosio co-hosted the morning drive show with Ray Dunaway. The Hartford Courant reports D’Ambrosio saying he never adapted to waking up for the program’s 5:30 am start and he found it difficult to work within station’s conservative political framework.

Chris Ryan Takes Over ‘New Hampshire Today’ Morning Show. New Hampshire radio pro Chris Ryan is named the new host of the “New Hampshire Today” program heard on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WGIR-AM, Manchester and WQSO-FM, Portsmouth. Ryan fills the role previously held by Jack Heath, who exited “NH Today” to join Binnie Media’s three-station simulcast in New Hampshire for the late morning daypart back in October. iHeartMedia says that Ryan is an award-winning talk show host and political commentator based in Concord who most recently served as general manager for New Hampshire Family Radio’s news/talk WKXL, Concord. iHeartMedia New Hampshire market president Joe Graham says, “It was of utmost importance that the new host of ‘NH Today’ would be a person of integrity and character, someone who would hold themselves to the highest professional standards. We are thrilled that Chris will be joining our iHeart NH team!” The “New Hampshire Today” program is also heard on WKXL.

Leila Rahimi Named Co-Host for WSCR, Chicago’s Late Morning Show. Radio and television sports personality Leila Rahimi is promoted to regular co-host of the late morning program alongside Dan Bernstein on Entercom’s WSCR, Chicago “670 The Score.” Entercom Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson says, “We are thrilled to be amplifying Lelia’s role at ‘The Score.’ She’s a seasoned professional with experience engaging with sports fans across multiple platforms and cities and has built a great reputation with Chicago’s sports fans. Adding her voice and perspective consistently creates a more dynamic midday lineup for ‘Score’ listeners.” She assumes the role left vacant when Entercom let co-host Connor McKnight go back in April. Rahimi has appeared on “670 The Score” both as a contributor to various shows on the station, and as a co-host since 2017. She’s also hosted, reported and anchored for NBC Sports Chicago. She was a rink-side reporter for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Women’s Hockey Tournament at the PyeongChang Olympics in 2018. She’s also served with NBC Sports Philadelphia, CSN Houston, the San Diego Padres, FOX Sports Southwest, and KLIF-AM and KTCK-FM/AM in Dallas.

Ian Beckles & Jay Recher New Afternoon Hosts on Sports Talk WDAE, Tampa. Sports talk WDAE, Tampa announces that Ian Beckles and Jay Recher are the new afternoon drive program co-hosts, taking over the daypart from retiring Tampa Bay radio icon Ron Diaz. WDAE program director John Mamola says, “We are thrilled to announce our new afternoon drive program featuring Ian Beckles and Jay Recher. Teaming Ian’s long-standing history in the market both as a player, entrepreneur, and radio personality with the knowledge and passion for Tampa Bay sports from Jay Recher will provide a dynamic program for sports fans in Tampa Bay to embrace. This announcement further enhances and strengthens WDAE’s standing as the voice for Tampa Bay sports fans.” Beckles was a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles during his eight-year NFL career and he joined WDAE in 2002. Recher began his career at WDAE in 2014 and has served as executive producer of multiple programs including the previous “Ron and Ian Show.”

David Rubini Launches Conspiracy Radio Network. Former Art Bell and John B. Wells producer David Rubini is launching the Conspiracy Radio Network. Rubini officially leaves Dark Matter Digital Network and “Midnight In The Desert” to begin “his own unique vision” and take his “pioneering spirit to the all-new 24/7 digital streaming platform and subscription archive service in the new radio landscape of 2021.” Rubini is now hosting his own program titled “David Rubini After Midnight AM” that will broadcast “two to three live shows each week on alternating days from 1:00 am to 5:00 am ET with “The Best of David Rubini After Midnight AM” on all Rubini off days. He says, “Unlike what we did with Art, we will get political at CRN, that’s for sure. The political climate has drastically changed since we left ‘Dark Matter.’ And with the 2020 election confusion and rise of ‘fake news’ awareness and questioning, uncensored alternative news, info, and talk are more in-demand right now than any time in modern history. Our staff of professionals are convinced CRN will absolutely fill this void in the digital content delivery space.” Terrestrial radio affiliate relations expert Ted Edwards says, “What programmers have to realize is that variety in political talk is hot right now and the political landscape has never been more fascinating to discuss and to share opinions about both like-minded and dissenting talk radio voices. CRN should have remarkable growth over the next four to eight years. I love David Rubini’s pioneering vision and I plan to help see it all the way through to fruition, responsibly performed by Rubini on-air in terrestrial syndication.” Joining this new venture are: Jordan Maxwell, Dr. Richard Alan Miller, Flat Earther Math Powerland, and controversial and polarizing YouTube sensation, Russianvids, as well as former Art Bell Network News anchor Leo Ashcraft, Ross Mitchell, Dr. John Illias, Michael Decon, Blake Walley, and Joshua Chaires

TALKERS News Notes. At Starnes Media Group’s KWAM, Memphis, Brodee Scott joins to serve as operations director. Scott previously served at iHeartMedia in Memphis. He is a longtime Memphis radio pro having also served at Flinn Broadcasting and Rebel Radio in Oxford, Mississippi. In this new role, Scott will also oversee KWAM’s growing podcast and digital platforms. KWAM general manager Dalton Glasscock says, “Brodee was born and raised in Memphis and he understands how important it is to have a locally owned, locally run news/talk radio station.”…..Indianapolis talk radio personality Tony Katz shifts his syndicated “Tony Katz Today” program from the late morning daypart to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Katz is host of the morning drive show at Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. He says, “The numbers in Indianapolis have been incredible. The show has been doing great in its current setup, it was just in a weird place, bridging two standard time slots being 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. This move shows a lot of faith in the show from WIBC and opens up a lot of opportunity.”…..WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte afternoon drive talk host Brett Winterble achieved what he calls a career milestone on December 30 when he filled in for Rush Limbaugh. About sitting in for Limbaugh on his Premiere Networks syndicated show, Winterble says, “I am just overjoyed at the chance to connect with the greatest audience in all of talk radio. It is a homecoming. I have kept in close touch with everyone at the Rush Limbaugh show over these years and nothing could be more special than to sit in that legendary seat for a man I consider a friend and mentor.” Winterble started his career with Limbaugh’s original syndicator EIB/EFM Media in 1995 and was with the show until early 2006…..Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago is adds an hour to Big John Howell’s afternoon drive show. The program now airs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Howell takes the 4:00 pm hour from Westwood One’s syndicated Ben Shapiro program that continues to air from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston announces the new program schedule that takes effect with the new year that includes the addition of Grace Curley and Jesse Kelly. Curley’s program airs from 12:15 pm to 3:00 pm and Key Networks’ syndicated Jesse Kelly airs from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am (Kelly’s show will move to the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm daypart effective February 15. iHeartMedia Boston VP of news, talk, and sports Rob Sanchez says, “We’re excited about the addition of Grace and Jesse to WRKO’s lineup. Their talents complement the established success of Jeff Kuhner in the morning and the legendary Howie Carr in afternoons.”…..Cumulus Media promotes Jon Laing to vice president and market manager for its Cincinnati cluster. Laing rises from his previous role as vice president of sales for the station group. He takes the market leadership reins from Dave Crowl, who retired in December…..Salem Radio Network and TOWNHALL news White House correspondent Greg Clugston is traveling aboard Air Force One with President Trump today (1/4) to cover a campaign rally for the Republican U.S. Senate candidates ahead of tomorrow’s runoff elections. In addition to filing special reports for SRN News and TOWNHALL News, Clugston will also serve as White House pool reporter for all other national radio networks…..VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, expands its partnership with iHeartMedia by moving its dedicated streaming radio station to digital platform iHeartRadio. VSiN had previously broadcast its content via SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

Skyview Networks OM Andy Luberda Passes After COVID Battle. Condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of Skyview Networks operations manager Andy Luberda, who died on December 29 of complications from COVID-19. Luberda joined Skyview Networks in the broadcast operations department as a board operator in 2012. In 2015, Luberda was promoted to operations manager in which he focused on managing one of the company’s largest clients, TuneIn. In 2016, Luberda’s son, Kade, joined Skyview’s operations team as a board operator. Aaron Mellis, Luberda’s longtime friend and manager shares, “We were fortunate to have Andy on the team, and as his role grew, it made a positive impact on our company and our clients. Andy’s warm heart and genuine care for his colleagues will continue to be a part of the Skyview Networks culture.” Skyview has set up a GoFundMe page for his family to help raise funds for medical and memorial costs and to provide financial support for Kade during this difficult time.

GOP Senators to Challenge Election Results/Trump Georgia Phone Call, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Georgia Runoff Elections, Pelosi Keeps Speaker Post, and Texas Church Shooting Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The move by a group of GOP senators to challenge the election results and the recording of President Trumpasking the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” votes in his favor; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the Georgia runoff election for its two U.S. Senate seats; Nancy Pelosi retains her House Speaker position; and the fatal shooting at a Texas church were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, November 16, 2018

| November 16, 2018

WDAE, Tampa Names ‘Ron & Ian’ Afternoon Drive Show.  Longtime Tampa Bay and WDAE sports talk personality Steve Duemig focuses on his health as he continues treatment for a brain tumor.  He’ll step aside as the station names Ron Diaz and Ian Beckles hosts of the afternoon drive “Ron & Ian” show, effective Monday, November 26.  This is a return to the station for the duo who exited three years ago in a programming reshuffle.  Producer Jay Recher remains in the afternoon slot as a “key part of the program.”  Diaz says, “The band is back together and it’s about time to rock.  During the year that the show first began, the Lightning won the Stanley Cup.  No pressure guys let’s do it again.”  Beckles adds, “I am super excited to reunite with Ron and Jay to create the Ron & Ian show 2.0.  Tampa Bay has been begging for its return, so I hope everyone is ready.”

WXYT-FM, Detroit Personality Mike Valenti to Launch Podcast on RADIO.COM. Motor City sports talk personality Mike Valenti – heard in afternoon drive on Entercom’s sports talker WXYT-FM – is the latest to launch a podcast on the company’s digital platform RADIO.COM.  Titled, “Always Aggravated,” the weekly program “is a chance for fans to go behind the scenes with Valenti and his cast of characters from his daily afternoon drive show.”  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon states, “Mike is an extraordinary talent who is loved by Detroit sports fans.  This podcast will be an extension of his show, giving fans access to an unfiltered Mike Valenti.”  Valenti comments, “This podcast is something that I have wanted to do for a very long time. It gives us the chance to go beyond what we are able to discuss in our daily show. Nothing is off limits and I am very excited about the opportunity to appeal to listeners around the country.”

Tennessee Won’t Prosecute Former WGOW-FM, Chattanooga Talk Host Jeff Styles. The good news for former WGOW-FM, Chattanooga morning personality Jeff Styles is that the state won’t be prosecuting him on an aggravated assault charge; the bad news is the road rage incident from last June cost him his job at the Cumulus Media talk station. Styles testified that Nick Bullington was driving recklessly toward him and waving a gun before Styles got out of his car at a red light and attacked Bullington’s vehicle with a tomahawk.  Bullington fired his weapon and Styles was hit in the arm.  The case was bound to a grand jury but now the state is electing not to prosecute.  The Chattanoogan reports Styles’ attorney Lee Davis told the court, “Jeff Styles called 911 after he was shot.  He cooperated in the police investigation and testified in court.  Jeff has done everything possible to be fully accountable for his actions.  I appreciate the care and deliberation that District Attorney Neal Pinkston has taken in the review of this case. On behalf of Jeff Styles, I want to express my support and appreciation of the state’s decision after careful review to dismiss this matter.”

iHeartMedia Monthly Operating Report: September Revenue Up 9.6%. As it has been doing while working its way through Chapter 11 reorganization, iHeartMedia files another monthly operating report with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  This report – for the month of September – notes that revenue was $325.9 million, an increase of 9.6% over August’s $299.4 million figure.  Operating income was down 20.6% to $62.4 million and net income was $11.9 million – down a dramatic 140% from August’s net income of $66.9 million. During September, iHeartMedia paid out $15.8 million to outside professionals assisting in the reorganization process.

TALKERS News Notes.  There’s been no official communique from Entercom Minneapolis but after seven months with the cluster, operations manager Andy Bloom exits.  He’d been in charge of operations at heritage news/talk WCCO-AM, country KMNB “BUZ’N @ 102.9,” and adult hits KZJK “104.1 JACK FM.”  Previously, Bloom had been with CBS RADIO as operations manager for sports talk WIP-FM and news/talk WPHT in Philadelphia.  Bloom simply tells the Pioneer Press, “WCCO is a legendary station.  I wish them luck.”…..The Boston Beasley Media Group stations are taking part in the third official “Massachusetts Civility Day” proclaimed by Governor Charlie Baker.  National Civility Foundation executive director Judith Bowman says the purpose of tomorrow’s (11/17) event is “to have every person in every family, every company…consciously perform a random act of kindness.  Day of Civility is timely given our coarse global climate and particularly fitting as we enter the Thanksgiving holiday season.”…..Pictured at left are some of the staff members of Alpha Media Alaska posing with their “Goldie Awards” from the Alaska Broadcasters Association.  The cluster garnered four awards: KFDQ-AM, Anchorage’s “Big Alaska Show” for Best Radio Show; sports talk KHAR for Best Sports Play-By-Play; classic hits KEAG-FM, Anchorage for Best Radio Commercial (:30); and country KBRJ-FM for Best Radio Commercial (over :30).  Pictured here are (from l-r): “Big Alaska Show” host Steve Stripling, KBRJ-FM program director Joe Campbell, Lindsey Dailey, Steven Franklin, and John Miller.

Talkin’ Turkey.  KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (dressed as a turkey) is pictured here broadcasting from inside a Walmart in Nampa, Idaho where he’s been living to collect turkeys for the Boise Rescue Mission.  This is Miller’s eighth year living at and broadcasting from the Walmart to help the cause.  With him in the photo are KTVB-TV, Boise’s Larry Gebert (left) and Boise Rescue Mission CEO Reverend Bill Roscoe (right).

CNN-White House Suit Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 12-16.  CNN’s suit against the White House for the pulling of reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was Florida election re-counts and the related allegations of voter fraud by President Trump.  Coming in at #3 was the status of the Trump-Russia investigation, followed by the migrant caravan and U.S. illegal immigration policy at #4.   The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

30th Radio Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. In New York City last night (11/15), 10 radio broadcasters were inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.  A number of talk personalities were enshrined, including longtime New York radio talk host Joan Hamburg, pictured above with actor Alan Alda, who introduced her, stating, “She has the ability to interview anybody with grace and good humor.” Other talk hosts enshrined were: Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, SiriusXM personality Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Jonathon Brandmeier, Westwood One syndicated host Mark Levin, WFAN legend Mike Francesa, and sports talker Nanci Donnellan, a.k.a., the Fabulous Sports Babe (who was unable to attend).  Music radio personalities inducted included WAXQ, New York morning host Jim Kerr and Kid Kelly, along with consultant Fred Jacobs.  Pictured below are (from l-r): Jacobs, Levin, Kerr, and Brandmeier.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country WQIK, Jacksonville promotes music director John Scott to program director, effective immediately.  Scott will report to iHeartMedia SVP of programming Gary “Geewiz” Christopher, who says, “We are thrilled to have John transition to program director for the number one country station in Jacksonville.  He understands our listeners and brings his passion and extensive knowledge of the market to this role and we know he will continue to contribute to our station’s ongoing success.”  Over the past 28 years, he has served WQIK as morning show host, midday personality, and afternoon drive jock…..Entercom’s rock KISW, Seattle is presenting the fourth annual “Live Day.”  This year’s event will feature broadcasts of the station’s morning show “BJ Migs” and afternoon show “The Mens Room” in front of a live audience with no recorded commercials, sound effects or music.  More than 100 performers and producers are involved in creating eight hours of completely live radio.  “Live Day” will emanate from Snoqualmie Casino Ballroom on Tuesday (11/20) and feature a cast of local musicians, Foley artists and comedians, and station on-air talent including “BJ & Migs,” Ryan Castle, Taryn Daly, and talent from The Mens Room.  KISW legacy talent Kathy Faulkner and Spike O’Neill will also be in attendance…..WWPR, New York-based morning show “The Breakfast Club” raised more than $200,000 during its second annual #Change4Change to benefit PROJECT 375, an organization whose mission is to raise awareness of mental health, ending the stigma and raising funds for treatment. The Breakfast Club personalities DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God worked in support of PROJECT 375, a charity co-founded by NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall and his wife Michi. PROJECT 375 offers several free community programs and resources addressing mental health such as Project Prevent, which provides technology-driven mental health first aid training for parents, teachers and anyone working closely with youth; and Mind Over Matter Talks, where members of the organization visit schools to speak with students, principals, community leaders and parents about mental health…..Bobby Bones show co-host Amy Brown is launching an iHeartRadio original podcast called “4 Things with Amy Brown,” focused on featuring “4 Things” listeners can do to promote healthy well-being and to “maintain an attitude of gratitude, while sprinkling joy and giving back in their daily lives.”   Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott states, “Amy is an integral part of some of our most-popular Country radio programs.  We’ve seen firsthand how her loyal following of fans stays connected across any and every platform, so this podcast is a natural next step.”…..Sun Broadcast Group celebrates its 10th anniversary. The national radio network is now headquartered in New York City and Boca Raton and is home to “The Country Fried Mix with DJ Sinister,” multiple nationally syndicated shows hosted by “Fitz,” “The Woody & Wilcox Show,” and Sun Latino among many others.