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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

| May 13, 2020

Dimick Promoted to VP, Programming Operations, Cumulus Radio Station Group. Programming pro John Dimick is upped from his VP, programming operations position with Cumulus Media to the newly created position of senior vice president, programming operations, Cumulus Radio Station Group. In his new role, Atlanta-based Dimick will lead Cumulus’ team of vice presidents, programming operations, and 11 format specialists across the company. He will continue to report to Cumulus EVP, Content and Audience Brian Philips, who says, “In my first year, John has proven himself to be an indispensable partner in the leadership of this programming group. He is gifted with the intuition, pragmatism, and patience to see us to greatness. This move validates the hard-earned trust and confidence John enjoys within our entire company.” Dimick comments, “Cumulus programming professionals are passionate about radio and understand the value of locally programmed and community involved stations. I am honored to assist Brian Philips in leading our team in this new position while continuing to learn from the best minds in our industry. I’m pleased to work with Mary Berner, Dave Milner, Bob Walker, and especially Brian Philips as Cumulus continues to reinvent the audio entertainment landscape.” Dimick joined the company in 2016.

WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago’s Felicia Middlebrooks to Leave All-News Outlet; Will Launch New Multimedia Platform. Morning drive news co-anchor Felicia Middlebrooks announces via a Facebook post that she is leaving Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago on May 29 after almost 36 years in the morning drive position. She says she’s “not retiring, I’m rewiring” and will focus full time on her Saltshaker Productions company developing a multimedia platform that will include “documentaries and feature films, audiobooks and other projects.” Her first project is a podcast titled, “She Matters,” that focuses on empowering women. She says her exit from WBBM is completely her decision and, in fact, is something she’s been planning for “nearly a decade.” She concludes her post saying, “I also could not have imagined announcing this life change in the midst of a global pandemic. That said, I can tell you that I believe newsradio will always be relevant, dependable and necessary as we all navigate what’s next. Those in medicine are at the forefront of battling COVID-19 and journalists are on the frontlines, disseminating vital information to the public. In a constantly changing world, I can promise you I’ll still be telling stories — stories that heal, elevate, enlighten and connect us. Truth matters. Always has, always will.”

Round Two of April PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s April 2020 survey period covered March 26 – April 22. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to more listening for news/talk – both commercial and non-commercial – and all-news stations and that trend continued during the April survey. In Washington, DC, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM rockets to #1 on the strength of a 2.2 share increase giving it a 10 share. It bested Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, which backslid to a 7.7 share and the #3 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston adds 2.5 shares for a 5.3 share finish and the #5 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM, Boston dips one-tenth to a 6.3 share and the #4 rank. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle adds nine-tenths to rise to a 6.9 share and repeating at #1. In Detroit, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR-AM jumps 1.9 shares for a 4.8 share and the #4 rank and Entercom’s all-news WWJ-AM tacks on six-tenths to remain at #1 with a 6.4 share. Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix moves to #3 on the strength of a 1.5 share increase that gives it a 6.1 share. And in Baltimore, Hearst’s WBAL-AM rises to #3 after a nine-tenths jump to a 6.0 share. You can see all of TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways from the April PPM survey here.

Winners of Regional Murrow Awards Named. Yesterday, TALKERS featured some of the stations that won honors in the Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association. Here are some more stations that were recognized: Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle won three regional Murrow awards including: Best Newscast (Morning Drive) with Gregg Hersholt & Manda Factor; Breaking News (Lake City Shooting, Afternoon Drive) with Rick Van Cise & Elisa Jaffe; and Best Continuing Coverage (Boeing, Year of Crisis). KOMO-AM/FM program director Rick Van Cise says, “KOMO Newsradio has once again been honored with one of the most prestigious prizes in journalism which is a testament to our news team’s great work every day.” Entercom all-news and news/talk stations won 23 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards in nine markets: WBEN-AM, Buffalo wins for Overall Excellence, Multimedia, and Newscast (September 5, 2019); WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago wins for Breaking News Coverage (Chicago Teachers Strike), and Newscast (July 16, 2019); KRLD-AM, Dallas wins for Overall Excellence and Newscast; KNX-AM, Los Angeles wins Overall Excellence; WCCO-AM, Minneapolis wins Excellence in Sound (The Power of Music); WCBS-AM, New York wins Overall Excellence and Excellence in Video (The Sweet Spot: Carmine Street Guitars); WINS-AM wins Breaking News Coverage (Jersey City Shootout), Excellence in Social Media (PRIDE), and Newscast; KYW-AM, Philadelphia wins Excellence in Sound (Gone Cold: Jennifer Tong), Multimedia, and Sports Reporting (Living with epilepsy doesn’t slow down Temple lacrosse star Maddie Gebert); KCBS-AM, San Franciso wins Hard News (The High Price Of Housing) and Newscast (9am, 10/24/19); and KMOX, St. Louis wins Excellence in Sound (It’s Your Birthday!), Hard News (Xavier Usanga Has a Name) and Newscast (8:00 am 4/30/19). Hearst Radio’s WBAL, Baltimore wins Breaking News and Excellence in Writing (Josh Spiegel).

EMF Launches Podcast Initiative. Religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation – parent of K-LOVE, Air1, and WTA Media – is preparing to launch a new podcasting platform called Accessmore that features a growing library of on-demand, faith-based podcasts. It will feature nationally known Christian teachers, authors, speakers, and entertainers sharing content designed to inform and inspire. Some of the podcasts include: “Dare to Be” with Grammy-nominated singer Natalie Grant and Charlotte Gambill; “Equip and Empower” from Christine Caine; “Hey, It’s the Luskos with Levi and Jennie Lusko”; Rebecca St. James Family & Friends; and “Into the Portal” from Elevation eKids. EMF CEO Bill Reeves says, “Since joining EMF last year, we’ve been developing opportunities in new media to reach more people with quality, faith-based content. We were already among the top 10 U.S.-based audio streaming companies. Accessmore is the next major step into that burgeoning segment.”

Statistics and Projections, Re-Opening Controversy/Fauci Warning, $3 Trillion House Aid Bill, Michael Flynn Case, SCOTUS Trump Taxes Arguments, U.S.-China Relations, and MLB Play Plans Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/12). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the number of deaths, and projections about future infections; concerns about the gradual re-openings taking place in some states and Dr. Tony Fauci’s warning that cases will likely spike; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi files a $3 trillion air bill; a Superior Court judge mulls whether the DOJ can drop the Michael Flynn charges plus allegations of the Obama administration’s role in implicating Flynn; the Supreme Court arguments over President Trump’s efforts to block disclosure of his tax returns; accusations by China and the U.S. that the other is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic; and Major League Baseball announces plans to start season in July were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

45th Annual Gracie Award Winners Announced. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the winners of the 45th annual Gracie Awards. The Gracies recognize exemplary programming created by, for and about women in radio, television, and interactive media. Honorees are selected in national, local and student markets, including both commercial and non-commercial outlets. AWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “Our leadership is proud to honor the best of the best who embody the spirit and intention of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation’s Gracie Awards. We want to thank those on the front lines telling the important stories still impacting our world. It is our distinguished honor to recognize the reporters, hosts, producers and media executives who are working to ensure the public is informed. We know everyone in media has been impacted in some way, and we continue to salute this outstanding list of honorees for their award-winning passion, energy and perseverance.” Radio National Honorees from commercial outlets include: Carla Ferrell, “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” Premiere Networks; Elaina Smith, “Nights with Elaina” Westwood One; Jayde Donovan, “The Jayde Donovan Show” Westwood One; Liana Huth, “I’m Listening” Entercom Communications; Michelle Collins, “The Michelle Collins Show” SiriusXM; and Michelle Franzen, “The NICU Cuddler” ABC News.  Radio Local Honorees from commercial outlets include: Angela Martinez, “The Angie Martinez Show” WWPR, New York; Brigitte Quinn, WINS, New York; Carla Rea, “The Mike and Carla Morning Show” Beasley Media Group; Chris Rollins, WPST, Trenton, New Jersey; Cooper Lawrence, “WOR Tonight,” WOR, New York; Deborah Honeycutt, “Jim, Deb & Kevin” Cumulus Media; Heather Hunter, “Mornings on the Mall,” WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; Jenn Hobby, “Jenn & Friends,” WSTR, Atlanta; Katie Neal, WNSH, New York; Mary Walter, WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; Meghan Lane, “The Big Ape Morning Mess,” WAPE, Jacksonville; Nancy Wilson, WHKO-FM, Dayton; Rebekah Maroun, “Matty In The Morning,” WXKS-FM, Boston; and Shannon Farren, “Gary and Shannon Show,” KFI, Los Angeles.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio broadcasters Cox Media Group, Alpha Media, Beasley Media Group, Hubbard Radio, Neuhoff Media, and Townsquare Media are joining BMI and some of country music’s top songwriters to present, “A Salute to Songwriters,” a radio concert to benefit the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief fund this Saturday, May 16, at 7:00 pm. The three-hour, commercial free benefit concert will be co-hosted by country superstar Luke Bryan and feature some of the songwriters behind country music’s biggest hits straight from their living rooms and home studios. The lineup includes Dallas Davidson and Rhett Akins, Jon Randall and Jessi Alexander, Luke Dick and Jeff Hyde, Brandon Kinney and Clint Daniels, Barry Dean and Natalie Hemby as well as Dylan Altman and Wynn Varble. Proceeds will benefit songwriters who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. The concert will be broadcast on more than 100 country radio stations across the six media groups…..The SupeRadio syndicated “Most Requested Live with Romeo” program celebrates its 10th anniversary. The Saturday evening live program is hosted by Tim “Romeo” Herbster. SupeRadio president Eric Faison says, “From the very beginning, ‘MRL’ has been one of SupeRadio’s elite programs, and we’re excited to continue to partner with the most interactive and social media-driven radio show in the world for the next 10 years.”

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

| April 16, 2019

Round One of Nielsen’s March PPM Survey Released.  The first round of (6+) data from Nielsen Audio’s March PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations hereTALKERS magazine editor Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaways” from the March survey will appear at Talkers.com beginning tomorrow (4/17).

Francesa-Kay Battle at Center of New York Sports Talk Wars.  With the release of the March PPM survey data from Nielsen Audio yesterday, the battle between WFAN’s Mike Francesa and WEPN’s Michael Kay is back in the news.  Both afternoon drive sports talk shows are claiming victory in the “Winter Book” that uses the January, February and March PPM survey data.  The controversy lies in how one counts the numbers.  As Newsday reports, the issue here is whether not each station’s stream ratings are added to the over-the-air numbers.  Counting streams, Francesa beats Kay in Men 25-64 with 6.2 share to Kay’s 5.9 share.  But unlike WEPN, WFAN airs different spots in its stream and, WEPN would argue, WFAN doesn’t qualify for Total Line Reporting.  Taking away Francesa’s streaming numbers gives Kay a 5.9 to 5.5 (M 25-54) share advantage over Francesa.  No matter how one slices up the Nielsen numbers, neither host’s other avenues, such as Kay’s TV simulcast nor Francesa’s app data are taken into account in the “Winter Book” ratings.

Connoisseur and Cumulus Swap Stations in Allentown and Connecticut. This swap of assets gets Connoisseur Media two stations in the state of Connecticut in which it’s based – news/talk WICC-AM, Bridgeport and adult contemporary WEBE-FM, Westport – and it gives Cumulus Media four more stations for its Northeast Pennsylvania presence.  That group includes sports talk duo WEEX-AM and WTKZ-AM/W234AX, plus classic rock WODE-FM and alternative WWYY-FM.  The stations will begin being managed by the respective buyers under an LMA, effective May 1.  Connoisseur Media SVP and market manager Kristin Okesson says, “As a lifelong Connecticut resident and the former general sales manager of WEBE/WICC, it is my privilege to lead these stations.  The combined reach of our portfolio will offer exciting opportunities for our partners and to the communities we serve.”

WBRP, Baton Rouge Cuts Three Talk Personalities. Baton Rouge news/talk station WBRP “Talk 107.3” made what general manager Gordy Rush tells local TV outlet WAFB was a “business decision” and let go of morning show team Kevin Gallagher and Bill Profita as well as late morning talk host Clarence Buggs.  The Guaranty Media station’s morning show is cut to two hours and is now being hosted by program director Brian Haldane.  The late morning daypart is being filled by FOX News Radio host Brian Kilmeade from 8:00 am to 11:00 am, followed by Todd Starnes from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

SiriusXM Making Its Talk Hosts Available Via Podcasts on Pandora. This content sharing will make audio from SiriusXM’s talk talent – from its entertainment, talk, comedy, music, and sports programming – available to Pandora subscribers via the newly announced Podcasts on Pandora platform.  The service will use the company’s Podcast Genome Project technology to recommend podcasts. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We’re excited that some of our most popular talk shows are now being made available to Pandora users.  This will be a great opportunity for new audiences to discover these SiriusXM shows, while providing Pandora with great programming, as we continue to collaborate on content opportunities for both platforms.”

2019 Gracie Award Winners Announced. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the winners of the 44th annual Gracie Awards being celebrated at The Gracie Awards Gala in Beverly Hills on Tuesday, May 21 and at the Gracie Awards Luncheon in New York on June 26.   Some of the honorees include Sean Hannity radio show producer Lynda McLaughlinAngela Yee of the urban morning drive show “The Breakfast Club”; syndicated country radio star Elaina Smith; Jayde Donovan of “The Jayde Show”; Jillian Barberie of “The Morning Drive” on KABC-AM, Los Angeles and more.  Alliance for Women in Media Foundation executive director Becky Brooks says, “Our leadership is proud to honor the best of the best who embody the spirit and intention of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation’s Gracie Awards.”  Christine Travaglini, president of Katz Radio Group and chair of the board of directors adds, “In the more than four decades since the inception of the Gracie Awards – what stands out in 2019 is bravery.  The courage of storytellers to share poignant, relevant and compelling content. This will be a year of true celebration.” See all the winners here.

TALKERS News Notes. The KTRH, Houston-based Michael Berry show called on its listeners to assist military veterans with PTSD – seeking the donation of 1,000 suits – and brought in more than 5,000. Berry says, “The reason talk radio is a great format for advertisers is the reason it is the best platform for charitable events: community engagement.  It’s not a passive medium.  Listeners are engaged; they share our values.  They respond when we put out the call.  In this case, it was for our veterans, but it’s also the case when we endorse goods and services provided by people who share our values.” Berry is the national spokesman for PTSD Foundation of America, that operates Camp Hope, a residential treatment center committed to reducing the 22 suicides per day our veteran community is experiencing.  The suits are being donated to assist veterans who are seeking employment after coming home from a war zone…..Today is Chicago newsman Bob Roberts’ last day on the job at Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM.  Roberts is retiring after a long career in the radio news biz.  WBBM director of news and programming Ron Gleason says Roberts is “one of Chicago’s best reporters” and “an invaluable member of our team thanks to his tremendous knowledge of the Chicago area and its transit system.  He’s second to none during breaking news situations.”  See highlights from Roberts’ career here…..Pubcaster WHYY in Philadelphia is acquiring the digital news publication Billy Penn.   The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that the millennial-targeted publication’s staffers will become WHYY employees…..The podcast “Crime Junkie” expands on its relationship with cabana, the digital audio business of AdLarge Media, and is now the exclusive ad sales partner for “Crime Junkie.”…..The Omaha World-Herald reports the death of KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska talk show host Coby Mach.  He hosted the daily 5:00 pm “Drive Time Lincoln” program on the NRG Media news/talk station. He also served as the president of the Lincoln Independent Business Association.  The paper reports that he was ending his show due to his dealing with tinnitus and his wife’s ongoing battle with breast cancer.  Lincoln police are saying the death of the 53-year-old host was an apparent suicide.  He wrote in a Facebook post, “It’s time to slow down…Thanks to the KLIN crew for some great years and a lot of fun.  Thanks to the listeners and advertisers who made it all possible!”

KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Dori Monson Performs Sold-Out Stage Show. KIRO-FM midday talk show host Dori Monson (pictured above on stage) packed the Kirkland Performance Center on Friday (4/12) for his inaugural “What Are The Odds? An Evening with Dori Monson” one-man stage show.  The sold-out event did include guest appearances by other KIRO Radio talent, including news anchor Ursula Reutin, Monson’s longtime friend Dave Wyman, show producer Nicole Thompson and more.  KIRO-FM promoted the show with the following: “Sometimes a hustler. Frequently incorrigible. Often a rascal. What are the odds that an aimless kid from old-school Ballard would grow up to become Seattle’s most fiery and most-listened-to radio talk show host?  Find out when you reserve a seat as KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson introduces you to the remarkable people who helped shape his improbable career.”

Southern Border Issue/Sanctuary Cities Proposal, Redacted Mueller Report Expected, Notre Dame Fire, 2020 Presidential Politics/Weld to Challenge Trump for GOP Nom, ‘Game of Thrones’ Season Premiere, Tiger Woods’ Masters Victory, NBA Playoffs and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/15).  The Southern Border migrant issue and the related proposal by President Trump to transport migrants to sanctuary cities; the anticipated release of the redacted version of the Mueller Report; the fire at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Republican Bill Weld’s announced challenge to Trump’s GOP nomination; the premiere of the final season of “Game of Thrones”; Tiger Woods’ stunning Masters victory; NBA playoff action; and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Hannity, O’ Reilly and Rome Set to Keynote Talkers 2019: Telling the Story. The agenda continues to grow as the 22nd annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention takes shape for Friday, June 7 in New York City. Heading up a roster of more than 55 speakers will be Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity, Key Networks radio commentator, best-selling author and former FNC personality Bill O’Reilly, and CBS Sports Radio giant Jim Rome. Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. Radio Advertising Bureau CEO Erica Farber will moderate a special panel focusing on the challenges facing talk radio sales and marketing in 2019. Senior VP programming WFAN and Entercom NY and CBS Sports Radio, captain/sports format Mark Chernoff will participate in a discussion about the state of sports talk radio. A general programming discussion will include Mike McVay, EVP, content and programming, Cumulus Media and Justin Chase, EVP programming, Beasley Media Group; Some of the other speakers already set to participate in the program include (in alphabetical order): Dr. Asa Andrew, host, Asa RX; Greg Batusic, chief operations officer, PodcastOne; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, host, WAQY, Springfield, MA “Rock 102”; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Michael Berry, host, The Michael Berry Show; Grace Blazer, national brand coordinator, news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, iHeartMedia; Jim Bohannon, host, Westwood One; Phil Boyce, SVP spoken word format, Salem Media Group and VP/operations, Salem Radio Network, New York Region; Howie Carr, host, The Howie Carr Show; Kathy Carr, president, The Howie Carr Show; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Michael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC; Kate Delaney, host, NBC Sports; Alex Fife, VP/regional operations, Total Traffic & Weather Network – Southeast; Greg Foster, VP programming and national news/talk brand coordinator, iHeartMedia/PD, KOA, Denver; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steven Goldstein, founder/CEO, Amplifi Media; Sebastian Gorka, host, Salem Radio Network; Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; Lee Habeeb, host/producer, Our American Stories; Thom Hartmann, host WYD Media; Bill Hess, VP of news/talk, Cumulus Media and program director, WMAL, Washington, DC; Harry Hurley, host, WPGG, Atlantic City; Andrew Kalb, executive director of programming, ABC News Radio; Brian Kilmeade, host, FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel; Scott Lakefield, assistant program director, WOR, New York; Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media; John T. Mullen, operations manager, WRHU, Hofstra University; Bill O’ Reilly, commentator, Key Networks; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, host, The Joe Pags Show; Michael Riedel, host, WOR, New York; Dave Robinett, Chief Marketing Officer, #250 – America’s Mobile Speed Dial; Jim Rome, host, CBS Sports Radio; Sid Rosenberg, host, WABC, New York; Todd Starnes, host, Fox News Radio; Walter M. Sterling, host, Westwood One; Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks; Mike Thomas, program director, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston/brand manager for spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting; Rick Ungar, host, The Rick Ungar Program/editor-in-chief, TheDailyCentrist.com; Dr. Daliah Wachs, host, Genesis Communications Network; Brett Winterble, host KFMB-AM, San Diego; Dan Yorke, host, WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence; Rich Zeoli, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Michael Zwerling, owner, KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz. More speakers to be named in the days and weeks ahead along with a complete agenda. 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, one-on-one conversations and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story 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 2019: Telling the Story 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. To take advantage of the hotel discount available to TALKERS convention attendees, contact the Hilton Fashion District Hotel located directly across the street from the venue at 152 W. 26th St, New York, NY 10001 by clicking here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  The big music radio story is Cumulus Media’s announced sale of classic rock KLOS, Los Angeles to Meruelo Media for $43 million in cash.  The deal was announced at the same time as the Connoisseur swap noted above.  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “These transactions are part of the continued execution of our portfolio optimization strategy.  Both transactions are accretive, and the sale of KLOS-FM to Meruelo Media at an attractive multiple allows us to generate substantial cash, which can be used to further pay down debt and invest in high-potential business opportunities.  The Connoisseur Media swap significantly strengthens our presence in Allentown and the Lehigh Valley.”  There’s no indication from Meruelo if it intends to make programming changes to KLOS or not…..Two big moves take place in the Seattle market as former Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick joins Hubbard Radio’s cluster there as brand/content director for country KNUC “98.9 The Bull.”  At the same time, Hubbard Radio Seattle VP/market manager Ann Marie Mulholland announces the return of “Fitz in the Morning” to the Seattle airwaves. Mulholland says, “The country audience in Seattle has been without their favorite morning show host for too long.  I believe the dynamic duo of Fitz backed by Scott Mahalick will change the face of radio in Seattle.”…..Back in Los Angeles, iHeartMedia’s hip hop KRRL “REAL 92.3” grabs J Cruz away from crosstown competitor KPWR to host the afternoon show.  “The Cruz Show” had been heard in mornings on Meruelo’s Media’s KPWR.  Joining Cruz on his show will be executive producerJeff Garcia, DJ Lechero and DJ Lezlee.   KRRL program director Doc Wynter says, “iHeartMedia is all about attracting the very best on-air talent and I’m excited to add J Cruz to the growing list of super talents in our thriving Los Angeles market.  Big Boy in the mornings and J Cruz in the afternoons – I get chills just saying it!”…..Entercom names Boston radio personality Karen Blake the new afternoon drive host at adult contemporary WMJX-FM “Magic 106.7.”  Blake was most recently morning drive host on WQRC, Cape Cod.  In Boston she’d previously served in drive time at WODS-FM and the old WQSX-FM (now WEEI-FM). Blake says, “It is a privilege to return to the Entercom family.  I am looking forward to being part of an air staff that I’ve admired for years and am thrilled to be continuing my career in my hometown of Boston.”

Thursday, June 28, 2018

| June 28, 2018

Dan Le Batard and Stugotz Sign Contract Extensions with ESPN. The inking of these new multi-year deals means the ESPN Radio-syndicated “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” and the television show “Highly Questionable” will continue for the foreseeable future.  Le Batard (left) and Jon “Stugotz” Weiner (right) are cleared on 258 affiliate radio stations across the country. Le Batard’s father Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard appears with Dan Le Batard on the television program.  As part of this deal, Le Batard will conduct six longform interviews each year that will live across multiple ESPN platforms, including TV and digital.  Weiner will make appearances on “SportsCenter” and continue hosting and guesting on other ESPN Radio shows.  ESPN SVP, audio and talent, Traug Keller says, “Dan and Stugotz have a chemistry and a viewpoint that is among the most unique in the business.  They take what they do seriously, but not themselves, which bonds them with a growing group of loyal listeners.  Dan’s sensibilities and intelligence combined with Stugotz’s incredible lack of either quality is a winning combination.  I look forward to the stress of having to listen to the show in the years to come!”

RTDNA/Hofstra University Newsroom Survey: Newsroom Diversity. Based on a survey of radio and television stations conducted during the fourth quarter of 2017, the 2018 RTDNA/Hofstra University Survey was authored by Hofstra University emeritus distinguished professor of journalism Bob Papper.  The radio portion includes valid responses from 415 radio news directors and general managers representing 1,110 radio stations.  Some of the findings include: the percentage of people of color working in radio news slipped slightly in 2017 (compared to 2016) now comprising 11.3% of radio newsroom staffs; the percentage of news directors who are people of color dipped slightly from 6.2% to 5.9%; the percentage of newsroom staffs with women dropped nearly four points in the past year to 48.2%, while women fell from 36.1% of the radio news workforce to 34.3%. See the study here.

TALKERS Continues Posting Videos Today of the Recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention – Today’s Post:  Fireside Chat Between Michael Harrison and Caroline Beasley.  Today (6/28), TALKERS magazine continues posting individual events from the recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! convention held in New York City on June 8.  Each day, another session will be posted in the order that they originally took place.  Today’s fourth installment features the Fireside Chat between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley.   This segment includes Harrison’s presentation of the 2018 “Woman of the Year” award to Beasley.  Yesterday’s post featured Harrison’s Fireside Chat with FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel mega-star Brian Kilmeade with an introduction by Westwood One syndicated host Walter Sterling and special remarks by Sean Hannity.  Prior posts present opening remarks by the convention’s co-emcees, TalkersRadio GM, David Bernstein and Good Day Networks/DJV Show CEO/host, Doug Stephan.  In addition, KGO, San Francisco host, Ethan Bearman delivers the event’s welcoming remarks and Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host, Brad Shepard introduces Bearman.   Also posted earlier this week: the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (“Freedom of Speech Award”) by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian to SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, book publisher, Hunter College professor, and former New York Daily News/Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Karen Hunter.  To view the page, please click here.

The 43rdAnnual Gracies Luncheon Takes Place in NYC. On Wednesday (6/27), the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation presented the 43rd Annual Gracie Awards at a luncheon at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.  CNN’s Erica Hill led the program alongside presenters Pam Oliver of FOX Sports, WWPR, New York personality Angie Martinez, April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks and CNN, and Larry Mullins from Entercom’s all-news WINS, New York.  Pictured at right are (from l-r): Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen, Angie Martinez, and WWPR program director Thea Mitchem.  In the photo below are some of the Cumulus Media talent who were honored with Gracies.  From left to right are: Westwood One president/Cumulus EVP Suzanne Grimes, WABC, New York personalityJoan Hamburg (honored for Outstanding Talk Show), WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning host Mary Walter (honored for Crisis Coverage), WABC host and political editor Rita Cosby (honored for Outstanding Talk Interview), WPLJ, New York personality Jayde Donovan (honored for Outstanding Co-Host), and Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner.

WOR’s Natalie Vacca Feted at Gracies.  Also honored at the Gracies Luncheon in New York on Wednesday was WOR, New York morning show producer Natalie Vacca (Outstanding Local Radio Producer).  Vacca is executive producer of the “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” on the iHeartMedia news/talk station. Pictured above are (l-r): WOR APD Scott Lakefield, morning drive news producer Terry Trahim, Berman, Vacca, news director and morning drive news anchor Joe Bartlett, and program director Tom Cuddy.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Bob & Tom Show” promotes John Kesler to chief operating officer for the program.  Kesler has been serving as general manager for the show that is distributed to more than 100 affiliates via Westwood One.  He joined the show in 2016 after serving with Emmis Communications’ WIBC, Indianapolis for almost 20 years…..Beginning today (6/28), Big 12 Conference fans have a new avenue of insight into all things Big 12 with the new “The Big 12 Podcast” on PodcastOne.  Sports radio pro Chuck Cooperstein hosts the weekly podcast and provides listeners with a unique perspective of the Big 12 and its personalities.  Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby says, “We are excited to begin a partnership with PodcastOne as we continue to amplify the Conference brand.  There are a number of exciting things going on in the Big 12 and we look forward to sharing these with our followers on a regular basis.”…..Also from PodcastOne, “Don’t Be Tardy” reality star Kim Zolciak-Biermann debuts her own podcast. She says, “I am so excited to be able to share this podcast with my fans and followers!  It will be full of positivity, fun, life coaching, parenting struggles and advice, beauty and fashion advice, and so much more.  It’s me, unedited and unfiltered!  You definitely don’t want to miss this!”…..Westwood One launches a special podcast series hosted by publisher Judith Regan titled, “My Side of the Story With Judith Regan,” on the Westwood One Podcast Network.  The program “features today’s newsmakers, trendsetters, cultural influencers, and troublemakers telling their side of the story, offering new insight into the issues that are the backdrop of American culture in 2018.”  All 11 episodes of the show are available now…..Midnight Entertainment, LLC announces five new affiliates for the weekly, nationally syndicated program, “Geek Universe with Jim Yelton.”  The program delves into the world of the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres across movies, television, games and more.  New affiliates include: KTRS, St. Louis; KCAA, Loma Linda, California; KMBZ-FM, Kansas City; KFRU, Columbia, Missouri; and KLIK, Jefferson City, Missouri.  The show launched into national radio syndication in 2015.

Justice Anthony Kennedy to Retire, SCOTUS Public Unions Decision, Tuesday’s Primary Results, Illegal Immigration Policy, Putin-Trump Meeting, Harassment of Administration Officials, Joe Jackson Dies, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/27). Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announces his retirement; the Supreme Court’s ruling against mandatory contributions to public sector unions; the results of Tuesday’s primary elections; the U.S.’s illegal immigration policies; the planned meeting between President Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin; U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters’ call for harassment of administration officials in public; Jackson family patriarch Joe Jackson dies; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rock programmer Jacent Jackson is named program director for Cumulus Media’s heritage triple A KFOG, San Francisco and KFFG, San Jose.  Jackson was previously PD at crosstown alternative KITS-FM.   Speaking about his new gig, Jackson says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to continue my broadcasting career here in the Bay Area with Cumulus.  KFOG has some incredible talent between ‘The Woody Show’ in mornings and No Name in the afternoons.  I can’t wait to join the fun, or as Woody would say it, #joinfun. Much, much gratitude to Doug Harvill, Troy Hanson, Mike McVayDave Milner, and the team at Cumulus for this incredible opportunity.”…..In the Columbus market, air personality Bobby Mitchell (left) is named new co-host of the morning show on Saga Communications’ adult contemporary WSNY “Sunny 95.”  Mitchell will work alongside current morning personality Stacy McKay (right).  Mitchell says, “I feel like the guy who was offered a ride on a rocket ship!  I don’t care where it’s going – I’m just getting on!  To be a part of this heritage radio station, with its incredible staff, and to live and raise my family in Columbus is very exciting.”…..Entercom Portland names Gary Sommer general sales manager for the cluster that includes seven music radio brands and two sports talk outlets.  He was most recently with SagaCity Media in Portland…..SiriusXM is presenting an exclusive, invitation-only performance by The Killers on July 28 at The Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett, New York.  SiriusXM president and CCO Scott Greenstein says, “We’ve loved collaborating with The Killers in the past and couldn’t be more thrilled that during their summer tour filled with major music festivals, The Killers are teaming up with SiriusXM for an intimate event at The Stephen Talkhouse.  Our subscribers nationwide will hear a special show performed just for them from this wildly popular band.”