Tag: "Jim Bligh"
Former Mega-Church Pastor Sues Mancow Muller for Defamation. In a complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois, WLS-AM, Chicago morning drive personality Erich “Mancow” Muller is being sued by James MacDonald, the former pastor of the Harvest Bible Chapel church. MacDonald is seeking $50,000 in compensatory damages and punitive damages to be determined at trial. The back story is that Mancow and MacDonald were once close, with Mancow a fan who publicly lauded MacDonald’s Chicagoland megachurch. Over time, Mancow became disenchanted with MacDonald and ultimately recorded conversations in which MacDonald allegedly spoke of planting child porn on the computers of his enemies. That got MacDonald fired from his position with the church. MacDonald argues that Mancow used his radio show to destroy him and his surreptitious recordings were illegal. The complaint also targets Cumulus Media for allowing Mancow to broadcast his speech about MacDonald and for “negligent hiring” – implying the history of defamation allegations against Mancow should have been enough to prevent him from being hired.
Monday Memo: Don’t list To-Do. “Assume that your listener is busier than you are,” cautions consultant Holland Cooke. In this week’s column, he notes how some radio talkers seem to be over-estimating listeners’ attention. Read it here.
Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, IG’s FBI Report, Chinese Diplomats Expelled, U.S.-China Trade Talks, Dem Congressman Flips, India’s Citizenship Rule, UK Election Aftermath, and Richard Jewell Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment proceedings against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the criticism of the FBI in the wake of the inspector general’s scathing report; two Chinese diplomats are expelled from the U.S. after suspicion of espionage; the trade talks between the U.S. and China; plans by New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew to leave the Democratic Party for the Republican Party; the controversy over India’s citizen rule that doesn’t apply to Muslims; the aftermath of Boris Johnson’s UK prime minister victory; and the poor weekend box office for the Richard Jewell film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
FOX News Talk Superstar Brian Kilmeade Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. Cross-platform, multi-media personality Brian Kilmeade is the guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” He is co-host with Ainsley Earhardt and Steve Doocy of the very popular daily ‘FOX & Friends” show on FOX News Channel from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET. Then he runs down the hall to host his daily 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated “Heavy Hundred” talk show on FOX News Radio. Both of his shows are famously among the favorites of the President of the United States and, of course, politically controversial. Kilmeade is the 2019 recipient of the prestigious TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award. As a best-selling author, he is proving himself to be an extremely contemporary and communicative storyteller of great events in American history. With co-author Don Yaeger, he penned George Washington’s Secret Six, followed by Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates and then Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans – all published by Sentinel. These three history books have already gone well past the million mark in sales. Now he has another book about American history, and it is extremely exciting and informative. It’s titled, Sam Houston & the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory that Changed American History (Sentinel, 2019). Harrison and Kilmeade engage in a lively dialogue about the nature of leadership, past and present as well as the rigors of hosting a live, three-hour radio show while major news – such as the impeachment hearings – is breaking in real time. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box that appears in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Joey Hudson’s ‘Breakfast Broadcasts’ on WGTK, Greenville Benefit the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign. Morning drive talk radio personality Joey Hudson (pictured above at the mic) is making the rounds in Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina broadcasting his show from breakfast restaurants while ringing the bell and asking listeners to donate to the Salvation Army. To date, Hudson’s listeners have raised more than $30,000. Hudson’s show is based at Salem Media Group’s WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina “94.5FM The Answer.” He says, “I have this wonderful platform to ask people to give generously and why not spend some time out in the communities we serve to raise funds and awareness of the wonderful work being done by the Salvation Army.”
Taylor Leads Townsquare’s Rochester, Minnesota Cluster. Management and sales pro Ben Taylor is named market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Rochester/Preston, Minnesota station group that includes news/talk KROC-AM and sports talk KLOM-AM “1520 The Ticket” and seven music brands. Taylor was most recently VP of sales for iHeartMedia in Minneapolis. Townsquare regional VP Kelly Quinn says, “Ben’s vast experience in radio and digital, both on-air and in sales, combined with his leadership experience as a coach and volunteer firefighter, make him an ideal fit to lead our team in Rochester/Preston. We’re poised for a strong 2020, building on the growth we had in 2019, with incredible on-air ratings and digital content, and by continuing our ‘Local First’ focus.”
Townsquare Media Execs Receive New Contracts. In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Townsquare Media reveals it has entered into letter agreements that amend the employment deals with CEO Bill Wilson, CFO Stuart Rosenstein, COO Local Media Chief Erik Hellum and executive chairman Steven Price. The agreements extend the terms of their deals through October 16, 2023 for Wilson and Rosenstein and through October 25, 2023 for Hellum. The letter agreements also provide that in the event of the executive’s termination by the Company without cause or by the executive for good reason, all outstanding, vested stock option awards will remain exercisable for 24 months following the executive’s termination date or, if earlier, until the original expiration date of the stock option award, and that all outstanding equity awards will fully accelerate and vest upon a change in control of the Company.
TALKERS News Notes. The best interviews from this year’s Howard Stern programs on SiriusXM are being packaged in a 19-episode podcast series on Pandora. Titled, “Howard Stern: 19 from 2019” includes interviews with: Jennifer Aniston, Russell Crowe, Robert Downey Jr., and Kristen Stewart; musicians including The Black Crowes, Def Leppard, Billie Eilish, and Adam Levine; comedians including Jimmy Kimmel, Tracy Morgan, Seth Rogen, and Adam Sandler; and newsmakers such as Hillary Clinton…..There’s a webinar on Wednesday (12/18) from Edison Research that focuses on moms and social media. Edison says, “The Infinite Dial study estimates that there are 15 million fewer Facebook users in the U.S. today than there were in 2017. However, among Moms in the U.S., Facebook remains strong year over year.” The webinar will “debut data from this study that explores moms’ usage, perceptions, and sentiments of all social media. This is a new survey conducted in the second half of 2019 among a sample of moms in the U.S. It includes why they use social media, what they use it for, and how they feel about using it – and how their feelings and actions don’t always align.”…..WTKN-FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina “Talk 94.5” is airing “The Jared Dillian Show,” hosted by self-made millionaire Jared Dillian. He says, “I’m proud to be a part of the WTKN family and I couldn’t be more impressed by everyone’s professionalism in producing this show.” The Jared Dillian Show is part of the 24/7 Smart Talk Radio Network, based in Chicago and distributed by Envision Networks…..Pictured at left is Salem Radio Network East Coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh in a still shot from Netflix’s The Irishman in which he plays a mob supporter of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. He tells TALKERS, “As someone who grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, I literally jump at any chance to be in a Martin Scorsese movie… it’s an offer you can’t refuse. LOL.”…..Entercom sports talker WSSP, Milwaukee “105.7 FM The Fan” helped raise more than $200,000 in cash and the value of toys to benefit Children’s Wisconsin and Robyn’s Nest during its 13th annual “WSSP Toy Drive.” This marks a record-breaking year for the fundraiser, topping the $160,000 that the station raised in 2018…..Pictured below is Westwood One talk host Jim Bohannon reprising his role as Santa Claus for the Collins Children’s Home of Seneca, South Carolina.
Internationally Noted Artist Inspired by TALKERS Panels. A world-renowned artist living and working in South America who is a fan of American talk media and reads TALKERS regularly has created a painting titled “Talking Heads” that she says was inspired by the convention and workshop panel discussions that she sees in this trade journal. Clearly, this is an abstract work subject to interpretation. Bobbie Winston (a.k.a. La Femme Bobbíe) is a multi-award-winning American artist living and painting in Rio de Janeiro since 1988. She has a world-wide following that enjoys her highly identifiable style. She paints wildly abstract portraits, full human figures, and imaginative, surrealistic scenarios marked by dramatic features and bold, striking colors. Her perspective on the human condition is cosmic, inclusive, and evolved. Bobbie Winston’s Facebook page can be accessed here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programing pro Kelly Gueno is promoted from programming assistant to assistant program director for iHeartMedia Chicago’s urban programming. In this role, Gueno will assist with brand support for all urban programming and digital operations for “V103,” WGCI and “Inspiration 1390.” She reports to VP of urban programming Derrick Brown. He says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled with Kelly’s expanded role. She literally grew up at our stations and it has been absolutely gratifying to see Kelly’s progress from our promotions department, to being a programming assistant, and now, assistant program director for our iconic urban brands. Kelly’s passion, skill and insight will be invaluable as we navigate our ever-changing media landscape.”…..Pictured below are the staff of Beasley Media Group’s country WKLB-FM, Boston at the Secret Superstar Holiday Jam last Thursday (12/12) at the House of Blues. The station officially announced the show about six weeks ago and sold the venue out without divulging the names of the talent (Dan + Shay and Lauren Alain) that would be performing until the day before the show! Pictured below are (clockwise from l-r): Summer Harlow, director, Northeast promotion, Mercury Nashville; Lauren Alaina; Dan Smyers; Shay Mooney; Dawn Santolucito, music and marketing director, WKLB; Kristen Williams, SVP radio & streaming, Warner Music Nashville; Heather Propper, regional manager, radio & streaming, WAR; and WKLB PD David Corey.
WPEN-FM, Philadelphia Reveals New Morning and Midday Shows. A little more than a week after rumors in Philly swirled about the departure of Anthony Gargano from the morning drive show at Beasley Media Group’s sports talker WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic,” the company announces its plans. The new AM drive show is “Farzetta and Tra In the Morning” with Philly sports media personality Marc Farzetta and former Eagles star William “Tra” Thomas. The new midday program (10:00 am to 2:00 pm) will star Anthony Gargano and current midday host Jason Myrtetus. Both shows launch on October 8. Farzetta currently serves as co-host of NBC Sports Philadelphia’s “Philly Sports Talk.” Previously, he served as an associate producer for NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Farzetta and Thomas will be joined by longtime Philadelphia sports journalist and current morning show co-host Bob Cooney and producer Jamie Lynch. Station content manager Eric Johnson says, “We are very excited to be adding Marc Farzetta and Tra Thomas to ‘The Fanatic’ lineup. I’ve been a fan of Marc’s since he started on the air in Philly in the mid 2000s. He’s evolved into a major talent in town, growing from update anchor and time out entertainer at Temple basketball games to radio talk show anchor and NBC Sports Philadelphia host. Tra has a natural gift of compelling story telling. With Anthony Gargano leading our midday show with Jason Myrtetus, these moves will put the station in a much stronger competitive position. This really ushers in a new era for a great brand…’97.5 The Fanatic!’”
Bob Pittman to Present at Advertising Week New York. The title of this panel discussion is “An America Divided: Are We Listening?” and it takes place this afternoon at day one of Advertising Week New York (AWNY runs through Thursday). iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman will host a roundtable featuring Amy Brown, co-host of the “Bobby Bones Show”; Enrique Santos, chairman and chief creative officer of iHeartLatino; WHTZ, New York-based syndicated radio star Elvis Duran; and Stephanie Ruhle, the anchor of “MSNBC Live.” Noting that the ad business is run by those living and working mostly in Manhattan and that often skews its perspective, Pittman’s presentation addresses that fact that “the Hispanic population of America is now 18%; the African American population is now 13%; and a quarter of a billion people live outside New York and Los Angeles. Effective marketers need to understand everyone – not just their neighbors here [in NYC].” The panel will explore what the multiple voices are in America today, what marketers don’t understand about this audience, and the best way to reach them.
Bob Brinker Ends Weekend ‘MoneyTalk’ Program. One of the longest-running weekend financial talk programs wrapped on Sunday (9/30) as Bob Brinker steps away from “MoneyTalk,” the program he’s been hosting for more than 32 years. Westwood One says that Brinker has decided to spend more weekend time with his family. He’ll continue to author his award-winning investment letter, “Marketimer.” Brinker began his radio career as a news anchor on KYW, Philadelphia in 1966. In 1970 he entered the investment banking business with Provident National Bank as a portfolio manager. He began a financial investment talk show on WMCA, New York in 1981 and went syndicated with the program in 1986 via the old ABC Radio Network. The show eventually transitioned to syndication through Westwood One.
Sales Pro Chuck Deskins Returns to iHeartMedia as SVP of Inside Sales. Sales and management pro Chuck Deskins Jr. is rejoining iHeartMedia as senior vice president of inside sales, effective immediately. He’ll be based in St. Petersburg, Florida and will report to EVP of inside sales, James Donovan. Deskins was most recently a partner at C3 Media but spent the majority of his career with iHeartMedia. He launched his career as an account executive with Jacor in Cincinnati and became a Clear Channel staffer when it acquired Jacor. In his new position, Deskins will “manage iHeartMedia’s team of inside sellers and managers and create advertising opportunities for brands and iHeartMedia partners across the company’s vast array of platforms including radio broadcasting, digital, mobile, outdoor, live concerts and events and more.” He comments, “I spent most of my career at iHeartMedia and couldn’t be more excited to help our clients tap into such a powerful combination of marketing assets. The iHeartMedia inside sales team is the best in the business and I look forward to working with our great team of professionals.”
TALKERS News Notes. From Chicago media writer Robert Feder comes news that WSCR, Chicago sports director Brendan McCaffrey is exiting the Entercom sports talk station after 10 years there to join SiriusXM’s NFL Radio as a producer. Feder quotes station operations director Mitch Rosen’s staff memo in which he said, “It is hard putting into words what Brendan McCaffrey has meant to ‘The Score’ for the last 10-plus years because B-Mac has done just about everything at the station and knows more about the inner workings more than anyone. I, like many of you, will miss Brendan’s humor, wit, and most importantly his interest and care for others around him.”…..Also from Robert Feder is the reported move of urban talk WVON and regional Mexican WRLL to new offices in the South Loop. Midway Broadcasting is moving the stations from their South Side offices to 800 South Wells Street by the end of this year. Midway chair Melody Spann-Cooper is quoted saying, “We will miss the South Side terribly, and the sentimental value of being here can’t be overstated. However, I am excited about the move. Like Cumulus, WGN, the Trib and the Sun-Times, it is time for Midway to downsize for efficiency and we embrace this new chapter.”…..KXL, Portland associate producer Jackson Sager (right) is leaving his role with the Lars Larson (left) show to launch his own talk show on sister news talk KUFO “Freedom 970.” The weekend program will air Saturdays at 7:00 am. Sager tells TALKERS that he’s also doing podcasting and voice-over work and says the time and dedication necessary to produce the Lars Larson show wouldn’t allow him to handle his other duties as he pursues his dream of having his own talk show…..In the screen shot below of this past weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” opening skit, Salem Radio Network East Coast director of affiliate relations Jim Bligh can be seen behind and to the right of host Matt Damon as an extra. Bligh’s second career has landed him roles in a number of New York-filmed movies as well as an extra on “SNL,” which he’s done several times. SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says Bligh told him, “Toughest thing was to keep from laughing at the guy lying on the floor next to me, who you can’t see, holding the Alyssa Milano pop-up on a stick!”
Well-Known Broadcasting Professional and TALKERS Exec Al Herskovitz Pens New Book. Korean War veteran and renowned broadcasting industry “veteran” Al Herskovitz who, following his service to America, embarked upon a 68-year career in the radio business that’s still going strong, has written a new book published by TALKERS. In The Tall, Skinny Jewish Kid with Eyeglasses from Bridgeport: A Radio Guy’s Chance Encounters with the Colorful and Famous (Talkers Books, 2018), he recalls the fascinating characters whom he met growing up in Bridgeport, Connecticut as a child of hard-working Jewish, Hungarian immigrants, a young man in the army, and a broadcaster at some of the nation’s leading radio stations. They include show business celebrities, sports stars, politicians, mysterious international figures (including a couple of spies), and even a few mobsters! Stories include details about the world famous movie actress who served as his babysitter before she was a star; a local radio co-worker who went on to become a quirky TV actor with a scandalous lifestyle; an articulate young man he met at a dinner party who became a present-day world leader; a major presidential candidate whose campaign he served as media consultant; and the touching story of his family’s search for relatives lost in the Holocaust. The book also recalls numerous wild and wacky radio promotions and provocative insights into the lives of a parade of celebrities. Herskovitz’s fascinating life in the idiosyncratic world of radio brought him into contact with an array of hundreds of figures from Kate Smith and Bob Dylan to Steve Forbes and Benjamin Netanyahu. He writes about everything from skills he employed playing ping pong in the army recreation center to the pain of losing an officer friend accidentally blown up by a hand grenade in a war games maneuver. It’s a story set against the backdrop of almost nine decades of American history – wars, protests, rapidly evolving pop culture and social norms – all the way to the author’s current activities on the leading edge of the digital era! Today, pushing 90, Al remains fully engaged in the communications field and serves as senior marketing director for TALKERS. He lives in Bradenton, Florida and is an active member of the Sarasota-based Media Round Table. To arrange an interview with Al Herskovitz, please call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Kavanaugh FBI Investigation, Kanye West’s ‘SNL’ Trump Speech, New U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement, Midterm Elections, Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S.-China Relations, Warren Re-Considers Presidential Run, California Net Neutrality Law, NFL Action, and MLB Regular Season Finale Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The accusations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the FBI’s investigation into Christine Blasey Ford’s claim; rapper Kanye West’s controversial pro-Trump speech on “SNL”; the U.S., Mexico and Canada agree to new NAFTA deal; November’s midterm elections and the battle for control of congress; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the trade war between the U.S. and China; Senator Elizabeth Warren’s statement she’s considering running for president; the Trump administration sues California over its net neutrality law; the weekend’s NFL action and the final weekend of baseball’s regular season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. KOST, Los Angeles morning personality Ellen K is launching The Ellen K Podcast Network designed to share “behind-the-scenes stories from Ellen K’s career and dive deeper into the stories of the day.” The network will launch three new podcasts on iHeartRadio that will give listeners an in-depth look at what really goes on at the Ellen K shows. Ellen K says, “I’m so excited to invite listeners into our studio through The Ellen K Podcast Network. The opportunity to explore daily topics and everyday situations in a deeper way is thrilling to me. I used to get in trouble in school for talking too much during class, and thanks to iHeartRadio I can continue my passion for connecting with listeners after the morning radio show is off air.”…..At Entercom’s classic hits KLUV, Dallas “98.7 K-LUV,” Jeff Miles is the new morning personality alongside Rebekah Black and David Rancken on the new “Miles in the Morning” program. Miles takes over for Jody Dean, who exits the program but will continue with KLUV in other capacities…..iHeartMedia announces the lineup for its 2nd annual ALTerEgo concert taking place on January 19 at the Forum in Los Angeles. The bill for the event includes: Twenty One Pilots, The Killers, Muse, Weezer, Rise Against, Bishop Briggs, and The Revivalists. iHeartMedia chief programming officer Tom Poleman says, “This will be one of the strongest alternative performance lineups to ever appear on one stage. It’s such a strong lineup that it’s impossible to refer to any one of these incredible artists as the headliner – in fact, several of the performers have told us that it’s a show they would want to go to even if they weren’t already on the bill.”
Levin (Again) Lands At #1. Syndicated talk host Mark Levin’s “Plunder and Deceit” will reportedly debut at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list across all three categories of hardcover nonfiction, e-book nonfiction, and the combined list. This will be his fourth consecutive #1 New York Times bestseller. One of Levin’s previous books, “Liberty and Tyranny,” spent 38 weeks on that bestseller list and sold over one million copies. In a statement to Breitbart News, however, Levin emphasizes that he doesn’t “write books for The New York Times – I write them for people who love their country, want to learn about their country, and want to save their country. ‘Plunder and Deceit’ is a particularly important book. It is intended to stir the citizenry, particularly younger people, to understand what big government is doing to them and how its policies are destroying their liberty and prosperity.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison asked Levin, “What is the key to your success as a best-selling author so we can share it with other talk hosts who write books.” Levin immediately acknowledged that he is not the only accomplished author among the ranks of radio talk show hosts – then added, “It takes me a year or more to write a book. It involves extensive research and scholarship. You have to be willing to commit a lot of time to it — most weekends, early mornings, and late nights. I don’t have ghostwriters or co-authors, etc. There’s a difference between being an author and having your name on a book.” Landmark Legal Foundation president Levin is syndicated through Cumulus Media‘s Westwood One; “Plunder and Deceit” was released last Tuesday (8/4).
Hoping His Herd Heads with Him to Fox, Premiere. Speculation has become reality now that one of the worst-kept secrets in recent history is official: After a 12-year association with ESPN (the last two days there being controversial owing to his on-air comments questioning the intelligence of Dominican ballplayers), Colin Cowherd will indeed join Fox Sports and Premiere Networks in just over three weeks (Tuesday, 9/8). That is when he will begin hosting “The Herd,” a three-hour program, which will air simultaneously on Fox Sports Radio Network and Fox Sports1 (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm, Eastern). Fox Sports Radio is produced/distributed by Fox Sports and iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks. “Colin is one of the most powerful and talented personalities in sports media today,” asserts Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. “His addition to Premiere’s lineup demonstrates our continued commitment to reaching diverse audiences with the best talent the industry has to offer. We are excited to join with Fox Sports in bringing Colin’s passionate and engaging brand of sports entertainment to millions of people across multiple platforms. By leveraging our combined reach, we’ll have the opportunity to connect with more sports fans than ever before, while delivering unmatched results for our partners.” Cowherd states that, “It is hard to put into words how much fun it is for me, as a broadcaster, to build something with really smart, talented people. I cannot wait for this next chapter in my career to start. Fox Sports is the perfect spot for me at this time in my life.” On Sunday mornings during the NFL season, Cowherd will be part of the Fox-TV “NFL Kickoff” crew. According to Fox Sports national networks president Jamie Horowitz, “Colin is the first person I hired for my first daily studio show at ESPN, so it’s fitting that he’s the first one I’m hiring at FS1. Colin is a unique voice in sports media with a loyal following of fans. We are looking forward to building our daytime programming around him.” Before joining ESPN, Cowherd did a morning drive sports show on KFXX, Portland; was sports anchor at WTVT-TV, Tampa; and sports director of Las Vegas TV station KVBC. He began his career as the play-by-play voice for the Pacific Coast League’s Las Vegas Stars.
Alpha Media and Robbins & Markley Ink Multi-Year Renewal. Heard weekdays on talk siblings KXL, Portland (9:00 am – 12:00 noon) and WMBD, Peoria, Illinois (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm), Scott Robbins and Jamie Markley extend their deal with parent company Alpha Media. Executive vice president of programming, Scott Mahalick states, “Robbins and Markley bring a contemporary style and entertaining flare that connects with the audience in a big way – we are proud they are on our winning team.” Alpha Media Portland senior vice president/market manager Milt McConnell notes, “Robbins and Markley have made a tremendous showing in Portland. Scott and Jamie are two of the best communicators in our business, and we are thrilled to have them for years to come.” Meanwhile, Alpha Media Peoria market manager Mike Wild remarks, “Scott and Jamie reflect real-life, day-to-day; they are [two] of the most genuine personalities anywhere. Their chemistry is unique and they both have an amazing sense for content. The show is a completely fresh approach to talk radio.”
Circle Next Thursday as National Radio Day. Especially when considering that some offbeat things – including specific foods – somehow garner their own special day, it is rather odd that there has not heretofore been a border-to-border celebration dedicated to the medium of radio. That will change one week from today (Thursday, 8/20) when non-commercial radio stations in more than 30 U.S. cities will participate in Seattle-based “not-just-for-profit social enterprise” Brown Paper Tickets’-formulated “National Radio Day.” This year, the FCC has awarded construction permits to nearly 2,000 low-power FMs and as National Radio Day “lead organizer” Sabrina Roach explains, “This is a great opportunity to get to know the new low-power stations by working on a common project together. A low-power FM is like community glue. These new media outlets can become powerful resources that help neighbors to organize, share, and find solutions together. I wanted to introduce an opportunity for all kinds of non-commercial stations to work together and to engage their communities by celebrating radio with listeners and independent producers.” Stations can promote National Radio Day (August 20 is also “National Lemonade Day”) on social media using the hash tag “#NationalRadioDay.” Brown Paper Tickets will provide promotional assistance and support for National Radio Day events organized by all participating U.S. stations. By the way, the significance of choosing August 20 as National Radio Day (which has actually been observed since the early-1990s) is to honor the day in 1920 that Detroit news station 8MK (now CBS Radio-owned WWJ – and still all-news) was licensed by the FCC. On August 31, 1920, 8MK aired the first news radio broadcast featuring local election results. WWJ’s Pittsburgh sibling KDKA-AM debuted on November 20, 1920 and, of course, has long claimed to be the “world’s first commercial radio station.”
NBC Selects Seacrest to Host Late-Night Rio Coverage. With less than a year to go until the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, NBC-TV announces that its host of live late-night coverage will be KIIS “Kiss-FM,” Los Angeles morning personality/”American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. During the 2012 London Games, Seacrest was a correspondent and he co-hosted the closing ceremony. NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell promises that, “The late-night atmosphere will be electric. We are thrilled to have Ryan Seacrest in the middle of it all capturing Rio’s unique flavor, talking to Olympic athletes, and telling the stories of the day.” Seacrest reflects, “Joining the NBC Olympics team at the 2012 London Games was an exhilarating experience. I appreciate Jim Bell’s confidence, along with everyone at NBC Sports. I can’t wait to reunite with the team of broadcasters and producers for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and I look forward to hosting the live late night show.” Bob Costas hosted NBC’s primetime and late-night Olympic coverage at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and he has been primetime host for every NBC-covered Olympic Games since 1992. Mary Carillo previously hosted Olympics late-night coverage. The Summer Games from Rio begin August 5, 2016.
Answers From a Presidential Hopeful. During his visit to Arkansas’ GOP headquarters, Republican presidential candidate/junior Texas senator Ted Cruz did on on-air interview with KHTE “The Answer,” Little Rock afternoon drive host Dave Elswick. The two commemorate the occasion with a selfie.
Ready for his Close-up. Part of the enjoyment industry people derive when watching television shows or movies is trying to identify an announcer’s voice when the radio plays in the background, or spotting radio talents used as “extras.” In the country’s #7 film this week, “Rikki and The Flash,” Meryl Streep’s rock singer character struggles and fumbles operating a cash register as a part-time checkout clerk. The camera catches fellow employee “Chris” grimacing at the next register. Portraying “Chris” is Salem Radio Network east coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh, who shot his scenes in Westchester County, New York. Advanced film buffs might recognize Bligh from his appearances in “A Beautiful Mind,” Cloverfield,” and “Man on a Ledge.”
Odds & Sods. Two sports programming notes from SiriusXM that take effect next Tuesday (8/18). Former University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke will host – alongside Mark Packer – SiriusXM “College Sports Today” twice a week (9:00 am – 12:00 pm ET) throughout the college football season. In addition, former PGA tour professional/television analyst Mark Lye will join radio personality Bruce Murray on the satcaster’s weekly “Let It Fly with Murray & Lye.” The one-hour (8:00 pm – 9:00 pm) program will air every Tuesday night, starting next week. Lye has previously been an analyst on SiriusXM’s pre- and post-round coverage.
Donald Trump Surpasses POTUS as Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (8/12). Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Reform and the Chinese Devaluation of the Yuan. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America this week and people (and the media) remain fixated on Donald Trump. Very rarely does anyone top the President of the United States as the most-talked-about person for a day, let alone a week. We will know how Trump fares versus Barack Obama by tomorrow morning (8/14) in terms of this week’s survey. Other hot topics include the presidential election in general, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of its currency.