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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

| January 29, 2020

Talk Hosts Cover Trump’s Wildwood Rally. Talk radio hosts from the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York areas were in attendance at last night’s Trump rally at the Wildwoods Convention Center at the Jersey Shore.  Above at left is WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley with a front row view as President Trump speaks.  At top right is WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Rich Zeoli (right) talking with the first person in line to get a ticket for admission, Duke (left).  At bottom right is WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” afternoon personality Kevin McCullough (right) with Republican National Committee spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany (left).  Rally organizers say some 175,000 tickets were requested for the event although the venue holds 7,000.  McCullough tells TALKERS magazine campaign officials are considering another rally at a future date in Northern New Jersey at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

Staffs of News/Talk KFMB-AM and Adult Hits KFMB-FM in San Diego Given Notice.  Some 45 staffers at Tegna’s two radio stations in San Diego have been given their two-week notice in advance of the stations’ transfer of ownership to Local Media San Diego after February 7.  The San Diego Reader reports that the staffers were told that new owner LMSD is keeping four salespeople and one commercial production person.  Tegna says that it’s now up to LMSD to decide if it wants to hire any of the dismissed employees back.  From news/talk KFMB-AM, local talk personalities Brent Winterble, Mike Slater, and Mark Larson are among the casualties.  It’s unclear at this time what LMSD’s format plans are for the two stations.  The hosts are still working through February 7 at which time all employees will receive their severance packages.  Tegna acquired the radio stations in 2018 along with two television stations from Midwest Television for $325 million.

PodcastOne Partners with Spotify for Podcast Distribution. Podcasts by such stars as basketball icon Shaquille O’Neal, WWE legend Steve Austin, bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, and comedian Adam Carolla will soon be available worldwide via Spotify.  Spotify’s Lauren Jarvis says, “We are thrilled to bring PodcastOne’s 400-plus hours of fresh, weekly content to Spotify’s global listeners.  From longtime-running favorites like ‘The Adam Carolla Show,’ ‘Ladygang,’ and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s ‘Off the Vine,’ to shows from superstars like Shaquille O’Neal and T.I., we know that we are adding podcasts for diverse listener tastes to Spotify’s catalogue.”  Spotify listeners worldwide will be able to enjoy each of PodcastOne’s 300-plus programs, including original content produced by PodcastOne Global.  Eventually, Australian fans will be able to stream PodcastOne’s content as well, with the addition of PodcastOne Australia content in partnership with Southern Cross Austereo.  PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris comments, “PodcastOne is thrilled to make our extensive catalogue available to the Spotify audience.  Combining the power, talent, and reach of the leading ad-supported podcast network, PodcastOne, with Spotify’s best-in-class technology, and listening and user experience is a can’t miss.  This partnership creates new cross-promotional opportunities for us both and increases the accessibility of PodcastOne’s hundreds of programs for our listeners.  It’s been great to work with Lauren Jarvis and the Spotify team, as we launch our new partnership.”

Erika Beasley Promoted to VP of Digital Content for Beasley Media Group. At Beasley Media Group, Erika Beasley rises from her corporate digital content director position to vice president of digital content.  In this new role, she’ll be responsible for overseeing content creation on the company’s many digital platforms.  Beasley Media Group chief content officer Justin Chase says, “Erika’s outstanding work throughout the years, in a variety of different roles, speaks for itself.  Her many contributions to the company’s digital transformation has moved us forward in profound ways.  I look forward to Erika partnering with our vice president of digital market, Jennifer Williams, and the company’s highly talented digital content team to further expand our digital footprint.”

Impeachment, Trump Wildwood Rally, Presidential Race, Coronavirus, and Trump’s Middle East Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the large crowd gathered at last night’s Trump rally in Wildwood, New Jersey; the Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November; concerns about a global epidemic of the Wuhan coronavirus; and the Trump Administration’s unveiling of its Middle East peace plan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Cable news/talk outlet FOX News Channel is celebrating its ratings success.  In an internal memo, FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president and executive editor Jay Wallace say, “We passed CNN at the end of January 2002 in viewership in the key 25-54 demo in both Today Day and Primetime and never looked back.  There is no other network in cable that can lay claim to this level of consistent dominance with one of the most loyal and passionate audiences in the country.”…..WSCR, Chicago morning drive personality David Haugh has exited his gig with the Chicago Tribune where he was a sports columnist.  Haugh, who co-hosts the “Mully & Haugh” show with Mike Mulligan, spent 17 years with the Tribune – the last 10 as a sports columnist – according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Trenton, New Jersey-based Penn National Gaming is acquiring a 36% interest in the sports media firm Barstool Sports for $163 million – $135 million in cash and $28 million in non-voting convertible preferred stock.  Kennedy Rose has the story in the Philadelphia Business Journal.  In addition to its digital content that enjoys 66 million unique visitors per month, Barstool broadcasts radio shows via its own channel on SiriusXM…..Pictured below is KQTM-FM, Albuquerque “101.7 The Team” afternoon drive personality Jim Villanucci (right) with KQTM personality Sam Hauser (left) and Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Zach Gentry (center).  Gentry — a star high school football player in Albuquerque and a big fan of the station — stopped by the studios to say hello.  “101.7 The Team” airs a regular slate of high school football games during the season.

Legendary Jock Harry Harrison Dies at 89.  Top 40-era New York radio legend Harry Harrison died yesterday (1/28) after complications from numerous health issues.  Harrison worked on air at WMCA – one of the WMCA Good Guys – and at WABC, as well as later at WCBS-FM.  He retired from the latter in 2003.  He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last fall.  Photo: Art Vuolo Jr.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. An administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Stephens Media Group violated labor laws when it let a number of air personalities go from its Watertown and Massena, New York stations in 2018.  Judge Charles J. Muhl ruled that not only must Stephens hire the fired staffers back but must compensate the affected workers for financial losses and tax consequences.  Stephens tells NNY360 that it plans to appeal certain aspects of the ruling…..The entire staff – both on-air and off – of adult hits KFMB-FM, San Diego was given its two-week notice as owner Tegna prepares to close on the sale of the station (and sister news/talk KFMB-AM) to Local Media San Diego.  Out of work are Chris Cantore, Meryl Klemow, Cha Cha Harlow, Robin Roth, and Rick Lawrence.  They are working through February 7, at which point they will receive their severance packages.  It’s not clear what LMSD’s plans are for the station, which as part of the sale contract, must give up the KFMB-FM call letters…..In Duluth, Minnesota, Patti Banner joins J.D. Justice as co-host of the morning show on Midwest Communications’ country KTCO-FM “Kat Country 98.9.”  She was most recently with Cherry Creek Radio’s adult contemporary KONA, Tri-Cities, Washington as morning drive co-host.  She takes over for Brookie the Rookie, who leaves for a gig outside the radio business…..This year’s iHeartCountry Festival taking place on May 2 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin will feature the following acts: Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum, Dustin Lynch, Kelsea Ballerini, Kane Brown, Jon Pardi and Chase Rice, plus Hot Country Knights, Bobby Bones and more.

Monday, February 4, 2019

| February 4, 2019

Jamie Allman Returns to St. Louis Air on Salem’s ‘The Answer.’ Former KFTK-FM morning talk host Jamie Allman will be back on the air in St. Louis after a 10-month absence when he assumes the morning talk show host position on Salem Media Group’s KXFN-AM/K287BY “1380AM & 105.3FM The Answer.”  “Allman in the Morning” will launch on February 28.  He says, “I’m proud and super stoked to be joining a legendary broadcasting company. Salem always puts the listener first and we are a perfect match.  There is no bigger castle of common-sense conservatism in broadcasting.  I’m honored to inhabit a part of it with energy, insight, and entertainment.”  Allman and former employers Emmis Communications and Entercom were involved in a lengthy legal fight over Allman’s dismissal from KFTK-FM in the aftermath of this social media post about Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg in April of 2018.  Until that time, Allman had also been hosting “The Allman Report” on KDNL-TV “ABC-30.” Salem St. Louis vice president and general manager Greg Lhamon says, “Jamie is a broadcasting legend in this market.  He’s bright, passionate, and asks tough questions when he interviews political leaders.  He’ll keep them on their toes, that’s for sure.  But his show is just plain fun, too.  We are thrilled to see him return to St. Louis radio.”

PPM Analysis: News/TalkTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk radio.  Although 70% of the news/talk stations on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go down from the December 2018 survey to the Holiday survey, a relative handful saw modest increases, including iHeartMedia’s WZZR, West Palm Beach (+1.0).  Comparing Holiday 2017 to Holiday 2018, four stations improved by a full share or better, led by Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville (+3.1).  No news/talk outlet ranked #1 in its market during the Holiday survey, but three stations ranked #2 in their respective markets: CMG’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5”; and CMG’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville. See the whole report here.

Monday Memo: Say What?  Consultant Holland Cooke writes today in his Monday Memo about a number of bad habits and consistent errors that air personalities often make and that drive consultants (and programmers!) nuts.  Get Cooke’s thoughts on blue language, clichés, the benefit of forward momentum and more right here.

Chris Lavoie Named General Manager of SM Radio Productions. Former Stephanie Miller show executive producer Chris Lavoie is returning to the show as general manager of SM Radio Productions, parent company of “The Stephanie Miller Show.” Lavoie served as the radio talk show’s executive producer from 2004 to 2015.  He was public relations manager for Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in the Palm Springs, California area for the past three years. Lavoie comments, “I’m thrilled to be returning to my longtime radio home and back into the arms of Mama.  I began working with Stephanie as her production coordinator back in 1997 at KABC-AM in Los Angeles and we have a long, 18-year history together.  I’m excited to return to the Stephanie Miller universe to help take the show and SM Radio Productions to the next level.”  SM Radio Productions co-founder Ron Hartenbaum adds, “Chris has been a valued member of The Stephanie Miller Show family for years and we are ecstatic that he is re- joining the team in this newly created general manager role.  He will be crucial in overseeing our exciting, soon-to-be-announced multimedia platform.”

WVON, Chicago’s Cliff Kelley to Leave PM Drive Role. Windy City radio personality Cliff Kelley will be leaving his afternoon drive host position at Midway Broadcasting’s urban talker WVON after his program on March 29.  The company says that Kelley – who has been with WVON for the past 25 years – will remain with the station as community ambassador and as the host of the independently produced “American Heroes” broadcast that airs Saturdays on WVON. He’ll also serve as a regular fill-in host.  Kelley has been the longest serving talk show host at the station since it switched to its all talk format in 1986.  He says, “I don’t want people to look at this as I am retiring.  I’m just rewiring.  There is plenty more work for me to do.”  WVON program director Todd Ronczkowski comments, “Cliff Kelley is one of Chicago’s most influential hosts and has been a trusted source of information for Chicago’s African-American Community for over three decades, forming a host/listener bond that is rarely seen in any market.”  Kelley’s replacement has not been announced.

Remembering Some African American Talk Show Pioneers.  Longtime broadcaster and now college associate professor Donna L. Halper writes a special piece for TALKERS magazine that looks at some of the early African American talk show hosts who made inroads into the spoken-word end of the radio business during radio’s golden age.  Halper writes that at that time in the American radio business, “young black men and women who saw no chance to become announcers or newscasters went into print journalism instead, usually working for black newspapers.” But a few did buck that trend, including New Jersey and New York host Sherman “Jocko” Maxwell.  Read the entire piece here.

Jennifer Williams Promoted to VP of Digital Marketing for Beasley. Marketing pro Jennifer Williams is promoted to vice president of digital marketing for Beasley Media Group.  She has been serving with the company as director of interactive marketing.  In her new role, she’ll be responsible for marketing the company’s digital content platforms and leveraging data to drive traffic, audience engagement, and advertiser growth.  Prior to joining Beasley Media Group, Williams spent nearly 20 years with Greater Media, Inc where she worked as the director of digital marketing and was responsible for overseeing the interactive marketing efforts of the company’s 20 radio properties.  She joined the organization as the marketing director of WCSX-FM in 1997.  Beasley chief digital content officer Lori Burgess says, “Jennifer’s programming background, combined with her digital knowledge, marketing expertise and can-do attitude, made her the perfect choice to lead Beasley Media Group’s digital marketing efforts as we continue to diversify and extend our brands into the multi-platform arena.”

Lorenzo Neal and KGMZ-FM, San Francisco Renew. Former NFL star and current morning drive sports talk personality Lorenzo Neal signs a new, long-term contract with Entercom to continue co-hosting the morning drive “Joe, Lo, Dibs” program on KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” with fellow hosts Joe Fortenbaugh and Dan Dibley.  Entercom San Francisco SVP and market manager Gregory Nemitz says, “Lorenzo Neal continues to drive the San Francisco sports conversation every morning.  His experience as a professional athlete and gregarious personality translates to great radio for listeners of ‘Joe, Lo & Dibs’ and we look forward to this continued partnership.”  Neal spent 16 seasons in the NFL and he’s been a personality on KGMZ since 2014.

Harry Mayes and Eytan Shander Debut Midday Program on Townsquare’s ‘ESPN South Jersey.’  Former WPEN, Philadelphia “95.7 The Fanatic” personalities Harry Mayes and Eytan Shander are teaming up for a midday sports talk radio show on Townsquare Media’s WENJ-FM, Millville, New Jersey “97.3 ESPN South Jersey,” starting on April 1.  The program is being produced by JAKIB Media Partners and in a press release, Mayes says, “We are thrilled to be back on sports radio in Philadelphia and South Jersey on a powerful radio station that is a download away.  Our plan begins here with plans already to expand regionally before we launch an assault on the national sports radio market.”  The two partnered on a podcast called “Derailed” via WENJ that launched last fall.

Beasley Launches ‘FOX Sports Charlotte.’The new sports talker from Beasley Media Group is heard on three signals in the Charlotte market: WBCN-AM at 1660, W234BY at 94.7 FM, and the HD3 channel of WSOC-FM.  It launches today and carries the full FOX Sports Radio national lineup, including: “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” and “The Doug Gottlieb Show.”  Beasley Charlotte VP and market manager Bill Schoening says, “We are thrilled to bring FOX Sports Radio to the Charlotte Market.  We’re giving sports fans another great option for compelling content in our community.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk radio personality Jon Weiner, a.k.a. “Stugotz” from ESPN Radio’s “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” now has his own platform in the form of a new podcast called, “Stupodity.”  This is the second original offering from the newly formed Le Batard and Friends Podcast Network created by ESPN Podcasts.  “Stupodity” will be a weekly opportunity for Stugotz’s views on sports and life with visits from the people important to him both professionally and personally…..The University of Illinois and Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM partner to present play-by-play of the school’s football and men’s basketball games – as well as the seasonal coaches’ shows – through the 2023-24 season.  The news, five-year agreement officially kicks off with the 2019 football season…..Westwood One was the official national radio partner of the NFL for the broadcast of last night’s Super Bowl LIII.  Pictured below is Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes (right) with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (left).

Denver Sports Talk Personality Irv Brown Dies at 83.   Longtime Denver sports talk radio personality Irv Brown died on Sunday at age 83.  Brown retired from the business in April of 2016 after spending more than 40 years on the air.  He began as a sports reporter on KHOW, Denver in 1974.  For a portion of his career, he partnered with Joe Williams for “The Irv and Joe Show.”  Read Fox 31’s report here.

Ralph Northam Controversy, Border Wall Battle, State of the Union Address, Trump-Russia Investigation, and Super Bowl LIII Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The controversy over Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s racist college yearbook photos; the ongoing battle over funding for President Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall proposal; Tuesday evening’s State of the Union address; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; and Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

THE TALKERS INTERVIEW: A Conversation with ‘Our American Stories’ Founder and Host, Lee Habeeb. A longtime radio innovator, Salem Radio Network VP/content Lee Habeeb longed to create something new and different for commercial news/talk radio listeners – a show that would tell stories about American life. They would be stories about our nation’s past and present including sports, the arts, business, innovation, science and everything in-between. It would be a show that would tell the story of America to Americans. “This is a great country precisely because it is a good country,” Habeeb tells TALKERS. “The American people are longing for programming that’s positive, beautiful and good to lift their spirits, and tell the story of the country we all love – because the schools and colleges sure as heck aren’t doing it. And radio will attract a whole bunch of new listeners if we do it right.” Thanks to some significant donor support, and the blessing of his bosses at Salem, Habeeb founded American Private Radio (APR), an independent non-profit alternative to National Public Radio (NPR). APR’s debut show is, by all accounts, doing it right – at least if its impressive growth is any indication. Titled “Our American Stories,” the innovative program debuted on two stations in 2015 and recently passed the 170-affiliate mark, recently announcing some big new additions, including daily slots on KABC, Los Angeles and WHO, Des Moines. It is a meticulously produced show, with a wide range of subjects targeted to a wide audience. It is designed, according to Habeeb, to reach Americans who long for a show to reinforce their values and beliefs. However, he seeks to accomplish this “without all the debate and anger that political debates engender and without the pretentiousness and elitism of public radio.” It is also designed to be a safe space for advertisers to wrap their brand around and be extremely business friendly. “It is entrepreneurs who built the country, who employ people, and generate the taxes that help pay our teachers, police and our safety net,” Habeeb adds. “We celebrate our entrepreneurs, old and new, and their risk taking and their spirit on our show. American life is unimaginable without them.” TALKERS caught up with Habeeb to talk about the show we believe will be one of the big break-out hits of 2019. To read the entire TALKERS interview with Lee Habeeb conducted by Michael Harrison, please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Beasley Media Group’s country WQYK, Tampa, Melanie Mineau joins the morning drive program as the new co-host of “The Morning Krewe with Marc and Melanie.”  Mineau has most recently been hosting her own, successful podcast.  Previously, she served as a co-host on the “Sarah, Ty & Mel Morning Show” on WRQX, Washington.  She says, “I’m excited to be back in the building and to be working alongside so many talented people, some of whom are longtime friends.  I look forward to working with Marc and creating great content for the listeners of Tampa Bay.  I’m grateful to the Beasleys and Travis Daily for presenting me with this opportunity.  There is nothing better than hosting a morning show at a heritage station in your hometown!”…..Also from Beasley Media Group, WMMR, Philadelphia midday personality Pierre Robert signs a multi-year contract extension to remain in his position with the station.  Robert joined the station in 1981 and has been hosting the midday show for more than 35 years.  Beasley rock format brand manager Bill Weston says, “Pierre is the heart and soul of WMMR.  His warm, compassionate voice remains an important part of Philadelphia’s broadcast day.  A gifted interviewer and brand ambassador, he truly cares about the community he serves. We are so fortunate to have his talents grace the airwaves.”…..Jason Kidd exits Cumulus Media’s hot AC WRQX, Washington after a three-year stint hosting afternoon drive and serving as APD and music director…..In Wisconsin, Van McNeil joins Magnum Media’s country WVTY, Racine to host the early afternoon daypart.  McNeil comes to WVTY from his most recent position with WISN-TV, Milwaukee.