Tag: "John Mercure"
iHeartMedia Gets Breathing Room to Settle Debt Issue. Industry watchers were expecting iHeartMedia to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection over the weekend as the default on a missed $103 million payment on 14% Senior Notes was about to kick in. That didn’t happen and iHeart announces that yesterday (3/4) it “and certain lenders party thereto (the ‘Consenting Lenders’) entered into a Forbearance Agreement (the ‘Forbearance Agreement’), with respect to the Credit Agreement, dated as of May 13, 2008, as amended and restated as of February 23, 2011 (as further amended or supplemented from time to time, the ‘Credit Agreement’), among iHeartCommunications, as the parent borrower, the subsidiary co-borrowers and foreign subsidiary revolving borrowers party thereto, iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC, as a guarantor, Citibank, N.A., as administrative agent, swing line lender and letter of credit issuer, and the other lenders from time to time party thereto. The Consenting Lenders constitute the lenders required under the Credit Agreement to grant a forbearance. Pursuant to the Forbearance Agreement, the Consenting Lenders agreed to temporarily forbear from accelerating the obligations under the Credit Agreement or otherwise exercising any rights or remedies thereunder as a result of any actual or prospective event of default under Section 8.01(e) of the Credit Agreement resulting from iHeartCommunications’ failure to make an interest payment beyond the applicable grace period with respect to its 14.00% Senior Notes due 2021 that was originally due on February 1, 2018. The forbearance became effective upon all parties’ execution thereof and will terminate immediately and automatically upon the earliest to occur of (i) March 7, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. Central time and (ii) an event of default under the Credit Agreement other than those that resulted in the entry into the Forbearance Agreement (the ‘Forbearance Period’).”
Erick Erickson Signs New Deal with WSB, Atlanta. Afternoon drive personality Erick Erickson has signed a new contract with Cox Media Group news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta to continue his work with the station through 2020. Erickson joined the station in 2011 and moved into a prime daypart in less than one year. WSB director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs states, “We are excited to have Erick as part of our radio family for the long term. He came into radio having never expected to be on radio and has thrived. The contacts in his phone are a ‘Who’s Who’ of newsmakers and power brokers. Atlanta is genuinely listening to the most connected man in radio.” In addition to hosting “Atlanta’s Evening News with Erick Erickson,” weeknights from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, he also provides political analysis for “Atlanta’s Morning News” and occasionally fills in for WSB’s Herman Cain. Erickson says, “I fell into radio by accident, and it has been fun to really move from being a blogger and TV pundit into the role of talk radio host. These last couple of years were not at all what I expected, but I get up every day excited to keep Atlanta entertained and informed with what is happening locally, nationally, and around the globe.”
Entercom Officially Announces Launch of ’97.3 The Machine’ in San Diego; Kevin Klein to Host Morning Drive. Last week, TALKERS magazine reported Entercom’s plans for former CHR KEGY, San Diego – to turn it into a hot talk/sports hybrid with former XEPRS sports talker Dan Sileo in middays and the KISW, Seattle-based “The Men’s Room” show in afternoon drive. Now, Entercom sends out an official presser announcing former alternative KITS, San Francisco personality Kevin Klein will be morning drive host, effective March 29. Until that time, the station will air rebroadcasts of “The Men’s Room” in mornings. As previously reported, the station will be the flagship for San Diego Padres baseball. Entercom says the station will present a “unique mix of compelling personalities, comedy, sports and curated classic rock music…evenings and weekends when not broadcasting Padres baseball, ‘97.3 The Machine’ will provide music fans in San Diego with a true classic rock curated playlist ‘That Rocks,’ framed by entertaining comedy.”
Author Suing Sid Rosenberg and WFAN for Fraud. Today’s New York Post is reporting that author Joseph DeBlasi is suing WABC, New York talk show host Sid Rosenberg and WFAN, New York for $20 million. DeBlasi alleges in his complaint that Rosenberg was paid $5,000 to get DeBlasi interviews on the radio to promote his book, Polarized: Sex, Lies and Family Betrayal. Rosenberg’s lawyer says the allegation is a lie and that Rosenberg was never given any money. DeBlasi’s complaint states that the June 2014 deal was supposed to get DeBlasi on Geraldo Rivera’s program on WABC. It further states that after Rosenberg attempted to get him the interview, DeBlasi learned that the deal with Rosenberg was illegal, violating payola laws. DeBlasi did appear on WFAN three times when Rosenberg was filling in on the morning show.
‘The Conservative Cartel’ Now Syndicated by USA Radio. Beginning today (3/5), “The Conservative Cartel” – co-hosted by Matt Locke and Chris X – is being syndicated by USA Radio. The Fort Worth-based program airs live from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET daily. The program continues to be distributed via TheBlaze Radio Network for weekends. The program will debut in 15-plus markets. USA Radio general manager Janet Bro says, “We’re extremely excited to announce the addition of ‘The Conservative Cartel’ to the daily lineup of shows available from USA Radio. Matt Locke and Chris X are the perfect addition to syndicated radio and the USA Radio family.”
WBEN, Buffalo Airing 12 Hours of Talk About School Safety and Guns. Calling it “#12Voicesin12Hours,” WBEN, Buffalo program director Tim Wenger says in a blog post that today’s 6:00 am to 6:00 pm broadcast addressing school safety and guns may “make you uncomfortable at times…But to advance change, meaningful and helpful change, you need to understand those who disagree with you and hear them out.” Wenger says, “The hard part about this ‘conversation’ is that while most people want to have it, most walk away from it as soon as ideas are presented that go against their own personal thoughts and beliefs on the issues. Most ‘cable news’ conversations go ‘ugly’ in a hurry and simply build a brick wall between two warring sides. Unless that changes, nothing changes…this broadcast is, by design, not laden with politicians who are looking for a spotlight. But it will, in the end, include some thoughts from some willing members of our Congressional delegation who may well be charged with advancing legislation that could impact us all.” Wenger notes that each hour of the broadcast will be saved as a podcast for listeners to check out later.
TALKERS News Notes. In New York, Salem Media Group is launching a news weekly program featuring John Catsimatidis called “Cats At Night” on WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.” The show debuts on Wednesday (3/7) and airs from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Catsimatidis also hosts a Sunday morning interview program called “The Cats Roundtable” that airs on WNYM and six other stations. Catsimatidis says, “I love doing radio. It’s the most enjoyable hour of my week. I am excited about expanding my radio presence to drive time with ‘Cats at Night’ and the opportunity to share my views on what’s really going on in New York and the world. My thanks to Jerry Crowley and his team at WNYM for their ongoing support.”…..WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley tells TALKERS magazine that he recently had the pleasure of interviewing Atlantic County resident Helen Turner, who will turn 111 on April 1. Hurley says he reached out to Atlantic County executive Dennis Levinson live, on the air requesting he make April 1, 2018 Helen Turner Day and he agreed. Turner is also a huge fan of FOX News Channel star Tucker Carlson. Hurley reached out to Carlson to see if he would announce Turner’s birthday on FNC and provide an autographed photo for her and he also readily agreed…..WTMJ, Milwaukee’s WTMJ Cares “Game Night for Stars and Stripes Honor Flight” recently raised a total of $54,758 to fund WTMJ Honor Flights for 150 veterans to see their memorial in Washington, DC. The unique partnership with the NBA‘s Milwaukee Bucks featured a pre-game party at historic Turner Hall where guests met Vietnam Veterans. After the party, the group enjoyed the Bucks game against the Washington Wizards. The event was the finale of a three-week on-air campaign led by WTMJ Radio afternoon host, John Mercure. Mercure’s “WTMJ Cares” fundraising project told stories of the service of Vietnam Veterans in the area. To complete the fundraising, WTMJ held a radiothon where WTMJ listeners donated $32,758 in three hours…..TribLive.com is reporting that the new owners of KQV, Pittsburgh hope to restore the all-news format that aired on the station prior to the previous owner’s shutting it down and selling it. Robert and Ashley Stevens – principals of Broadcast Communications Inc. – are paying $55,000 for the station and its assets. Stevens tells the news outlet, “We would like to be able to do the news. I would like to be able to do it as a news station very similar to the way it was. We just need to make sure we can do it in a way that would be financially feasible.”…..Northpine.com is reporting that WRRD, Milwaukee majority owner Michael Crute has entered into a deal with Good Karma Broadcasting to lease WTTN, Columbus, Wisconsin (Madison market) in order to air the “Resistance Radio” progressive talk format currently airing on WRRD. WTTN’s primary signal is northeast of Madison but Crute has applied for an FM translator at 92.7 that would cover much of Madison. Crute also has a construction permit for a 250-watt translator at 101.7 in the Milwaukee market.
Trump Tariffs/Trade War Talk, Trump Admires Xi Jinping, NRA Membership Spikes/Gun Control Issues, Russian Election Hacking, Sunday Night’s Oscars Awards, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Reactions to President Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and the related issue of trade wars; President Trump’s comments about Chinese president Xi Jinping’s elimination of term limits for his position and suggestion that the U.S. should do the same; the NRA reports a spike in new memberships and the related issue of gun control measures; the allegations of Russian hackers targeting U.S. elections; Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony; and NBA action 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. After last week’s departure of afternoon drive personality Cara Carriveau from Hubbard Radio’s adult contemporary WSHE, Chicago, the company announces the new afternoon team and several other air talent moves. Former FOX TV Chicago personality Jenny Milkowski, a.k.a. Jenny Milk, is teaming up with Jay Styles to host the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. Styles moves from his role as the Chicago producer of the “Brooke & Jubal Morning Show” on WSHE. Filling his shoes there is evening jock Robb Rose. His 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight shift is now being hosted by station weekend personality Brian Middleton…..After moving country KIIX from the 96.1 frequency in Spokane to KZFS-AM/K257FX, iHeartMedia launches new alternative rock outlet “ALT 96.1.” The station is airing Premiere Networks’ Los Angeles-based “The Woody Show” in morning drive…..The nationally syndicated Tino Cochino program is airing in evenings on Alpha Media’s CHR WNGY, Peoria “G 102.3.” Cochino comments, “I’ve been a fan of the ‘G’ brand from the beginning. Alpha took a different, much needed approach and it’s clearly working. To partner our show with ‘G 102.3’ is beyond exciting to say the least! I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to extending our brand in the Peoria market.”.….iHeartMedia announces Taylor Swift will present the world premiere of her new video for the hit single “Delicate” at the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards this Sunday (3/11). The event will simulcast live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET in addition to airing on numerous iHeartMedia radio stations…..The sale of four radio stations from MTS Broadcasting to Draper Media closes. Draper acquires Maryland stations country WAAI-FM, Hurlock; oldies WTDK-FM, Federalsburg; adult standards WCEM-AM, Cambridge; and adult contemporary WCEM-FM, Cambridge for $700,000. Greg Guy of Patrick Communications was the exclusive broker…..Premiere Networks and Viacom’s CMT announce a multi-year extension of their deal that syndicates CMT personality Cody Alan’s “CMT After MidNite” country music show. As part of the deal, CMT and Premiere Networks will continue to collaborate and develop programs and events for multiple platforms.
PPM Analysis: Rhythmic CHR. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on rhythmic CHR. In this report, Kinosian compares 6+ share fluctuations from the Holiday 2017 survey to January 2018, January 2017 to January 2018, and more. See the whole report here.
FCC Chairman Pai Asks Apple to Activate FM Chips. In a statement issued today (9/28), Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is asking Apple – the lone major smartphone manufacturer holdout – to agree to activate the FM chips installed in phones. Pai says, “When wireless networks go down during a natural disaster, smartphones with activated FM chips can allow Americans to get vital access to life-saving information. I applaud those companies that have done the right thing by activating the FM chips in their phones. Apple is the one major phone manufacturer that has resisted doing so. But I hope the company will reconsider its position, given the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. That’s why I am asking Apple to activate the FM chips that are in its iPhones. It is time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first.” There has been no public response to Pai’s statement by Apple.
Price Tag for Entercom-EMF Deal: $57.75 Million. We know the price for the three Entercom radio stations sold to Educational Media Foundation after Entercom filed with the FCC. These three stations are the first of the divestitures required to facilitate the merger of Entercom and CBS RADIO. Educational Media Foundation is paying Entercom $57.75 million for KSWD, Los Angeles; KSOQ, Escondido (San Diego market), and WGGI, Benton, PA (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market).
WSB, Atlanta’s Condace Pressley Receives Local Honor. The Atlanta Business League has just announced its 2017 list of “Atlanta’s Top 100 Black Women of Influence” and WSB Radio manager of program operations and community affairs Condace Pressley is honored as a member of this year’s list. Pressley was recognized during the “Women of Vision” breakfast on Tuesday (9/26) at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. Since 1994, the list has reflected the names of black women in the metro Atlanta community who have reached senior level positions within their profession, are leading entrepreneurs in their industry, or have attained the ability to influence large public bodies politically and in government. WSB-AM/WSBB-FM director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs comments, “Condace quietly and humbly moves through Atlanta’s communities and serves, mentors and leads every day. And, she’s done that throughout her entire career with WSB and ‘KISS 104.’ I am so proud and pleased that she gets this kind of due fanfare.”
Financial Talker Ray Lucia Seeks Supreme Court Ruling to Get Back into Investment Business. Financial talk radio host Ray Lucia is taking his ouster from the securities industry by the Securities and Exchange Commission to the U.S. Supreme Court. The San Diego Reader has a lengthy story on the matter here. The short version is that Lucia was banned in 2013 after the SEC ruled that his “Buckets of Money” investment plan was not “backtested.” He has appealed the ruling to no avail. Now, he’s arguing that the administrative law judge responsible for the decision to kick him out of the industry was appointed unconstitutionally. Lucia’s attorney tells the paper he believes the SCOTUS will hear the case. Lucia’s program is syndicated via the Biz Talk Radio network.
TALKERS News Notes. As part of its “Community Conversation” series, Scripps’ Milwaukee news/talk WTMJ’s news department is presenting a program addressing the controversy surrounding player protests during the national anthem at NFL games. The uninterrupted, one-hour special takes place this afternoon (9/28) at 4:00 pm CT. The conversation will lead directly into WTMJ Radio pregame coverage of the Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears game at Lambeau Field. WTMJ director of programming and news Eric Brooks states, “The protests by NFL players during the national anthem have sparked debate and raised awareness of the issues of social justice in the country. WTMJ Radio is the flagship station of the Green Bay Packers and the de facto town hall for the state of Wisconsin. We feel it’s our duty to provide a high-profile place for all sides of the conversation to be heard.” WTMJ hosts John Mercure and Melissa Barclay will moderate the special that is also being streamed at wtmj.com and via Facebook Live…..Dallas talk show host Jon-David Wells announces via Facebook that his talk show “The Wells Report” is soon to be heard in the market on Salem Media Group’s KVCE-AM, Highland Park as it flips from a simulcast of Christian teaching KWRD-FM to news/talk as “1160 AM KBDT – Big D Talk.” Wells says his program, previously heard on Salem’s news/talk KSKY, is also being distributed via USA Radio Network…..Pictured at right is Salem Radio Network East Coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh in a still shot from a promo for this weekend’s season premiere of “Saturday Night Live.” Bligh plays a security guard who won’t let guest star Ryan Gosling upstairs without a guest pass. See the video here. When Bligh is not scratching his acting itch (he’s appeared in motion pictures such as Man on a Ledge and Ricki and the Flash), he’s securing new affiliate stations for SRN’s Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Larry Elder and others.
PodcastOne and Former Staffer in Legal Tangle. Former PodcastOne producer Raymond Hernandez and company founder and chairman Norm Pattiz have very different views of the issues surrounding Hernandez’s claims against Pattiz. As reported first in Variety, Hernandez is suing PodcastOne for unlawful termination, claiming that he was let go for protesting instructions from Pattiz to “inflate download numbers” of the company’s podcasts. PodcastOne attorney Marvin Putnam, however, says, “Mr. Hernandez was fired for stealing intellectual property from PodcastOne — a theft he has admitted to committing.” In the complaint, Hernandez says Pattiz, who is a reserve sheriff’s deputy, set his revolver on a desk with the barrel pointing toward him in order to intimidate him. Pattiz reponds, “This guy must be crazy. I’ve never met alone with him. I didn’t hire him or fire him. I barely know who he is. The fact that I’m a law enforcement reserve is well known as I have public service awards in my office. I didn’t and would never act in the manner that’s been described… His allegations are absurd.”
Alliance for Women in Media ‘Women Who Lead’ Honorees Named. At this November’s Women Who Lead luncheon, five women media executives are being honored by the Alliance for Women in Media at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. The event “recognizes and celebrates women who have had a significant impact on the media industry, as trailblazers and extraordinary leaders in their chosen field.” This year’s honorees are: Caroline Beasley, CEO, Beasley Broadcast Group; Amy Emmerich, chief content officer, Refinery29; Kathleen Finch, chief programming, content & brand officer, Scripps Networks; Susan Swain, co-CEO, C-SPAN; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. For more information about the event or to reserve your seat, click here.
Trump Tax Reform Plan, Roy Moore Victory, NFL Protests, Cost of Illegal Immigration, Puerto Rico Devastation, ObamaCare Repeal Efforts, Hugh Hefner Dies, Rick Pitino Corruption Case, MLB Playoff Push, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/27). The outline of President Trump’s tax reform plan and his speech promoting the effort in Indianapolis; controversial former judge Roy Moore wins the GOP primary in the Alabama U.S. Senate race; ongoing debate over NFL players protesting during the singing of the national anthem; the FAIR study concluding illegal immigration costs taxpayers almost $116 billion per year; the lack of power, potable water and food in Hurricane Maria-stricken Puerto Rico; the efforts by the GOP to repeal the Affordable Care Act with the Graham-Cassidy Bill; Playboy founder Hugh Hefner dies at age 91; the federal investigation into corruption in Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino’s program; the final week of the regular season in Major League Baseball; and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cool News Radio Opportunity. WNRP seeks a morning drive news anchor/reporter. “NewsRadio1620 ▪ FM92.3” in Pensacola, Florida has an immediate opening for an experienced AM drive radio news anchor. Join the team that local newspaper readers have twice voted “Best Morning Show.” Includes news on sister station “CatCountry98.7.” Strong writer, fast audio producer, conversational style, plus a passion for local news gathering. Seven Edward R. Murrow awards for local news coverage. FOX Radio News affiliate. Independent and locally owned. Excellent employee benefits, including 401k plan and health/dental/vision insurance. Great lifestyle near beaches in NW Florida panhandle. EOE. Send audio with resume here.
Clive Davis Visits ‘Jonesy’s Jukebox.’ Music biz legend Clive Davis visited Cumulus Media’s classic rock KLOS, Los Angeles on Tuesday (9/26) to chat with “Jonsey’s Jukebox” host Steve Jones about his new documentary film, Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, that opened in LA at Cinerama Dome/ArcLight Hollywood. From KLOS, Davis also spoke with Matt Pinfield for “Flashback”; with WKQX, Chciago’s Brian & Lou; and WLS-AM, Chicago’s Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano. Pictured above are (from l-r): Evan Saxon of film distributor Abramorama, Davis, Jonesy, and film and music promoter Elliot Kendall. Photo: Mark “Mr. Shovel” Sovel.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Baltimore, rock programming pro Steve Huber moves from Hearst Communications’ WIYY “98Rock” to Times-Shamrock’s crosstown classic rocker WZBA “100.7 The Bay.” The move lifts him from assistant PD to program director and takes effect on October 2. WZBA general manager Jefferson Ward states, “We had a tremendous response to our open PD position and I had the chance to talk to a number of excellent programmers, people that might have easily been hired had Steve not come into our picture. Steve is deeply passionate about radio and has a broad and strong skill set. Those qualities along with his understanding of radio’s opportunities today and his vision about where radio can go made Steve a perfect fit for ‘100.7 The Bay.’”…..Alternative rock WRMR, Wilmington, North Carolina “Modern Rock 98.7” names Laura Lee program director and afternoon drive host. Sunrise Broadcasting sought to replace Paul Cannell, who exited last month to join Cumulus Media’s New Orleans operations. Lee was most recently with Adams Radio Group where she handled promotions director duties in Salisbury-Ocean City in addition to programming classic rock WGBG “BIG 98.5” and serving as music director and midday personality…..As reported in Billboard, Apple is now saying that it has hit the 30 million paid subscribers mark. That compares with Spotify’s 60 million paid subscribers. Neither service offers a free tier as do Pandora and iHeartRadio. The story notes that income from the service is part of Apple’s larger Services segment that reported third quarter 2017 revenue of $7.3 billion, a year-over-year increase of 22%…..Superadio Networks announces an affiliation and sales agreement with Marvin Sapp’s Praise Place, LLC to syndicate his eponymous weekly Gospel radio show. All affiliate and national advertising sales will be handled by Superadio and American Urban Radio Networks.
Bannon Is the Latest in a Long Line of High-Profile Radio Talkers to Make a Splash in Politics. Whereas most of the media coverage of Breitbart News, LLC chairman Stephen K. Bannon’s appointment this week as CEO of the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign, portrays him primarily as a “pugilistic” media/business/financial figure, the controversial iconoclast was also a rising talent in the world of talk radio. Until taking leave this week to join the Trump campaign, Bannon has served during the past year as the anchor/lead personality on the “Breitbart News Daily” 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET program on the SiriusXM Satellite Radio “Patriot” channel – a position he performed so effectively that it landed him on the 2016 edition of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “I distinctly got the impression, talking to Bannon, that he viewed himself as a ‘team-player’ in an ensemble production and not as the specific star of the show. However, the TALKERS editors felt that he was a very distinct and powerful voice on the program worthy of inclusion on the prestigious list which focuses on stand-out personalities.” Harrison adds, “There is an irony to Bannon now finding himself on the same team with former Fox News Channel head Roger Ailes – also involved with the Trump camp as a consultant. Bannon viewed Fox as being a significantly different type of news reporting agency than Breitbart and aggressively approached the organization as a prime competitor. He seemed quite proud of his depiction of Breitbart as being more news and journalistically oriented than Fox – as well as the rest of today’s big news media players – and more about reporting facts than personality-oriented opinion. This could be an example of politics making strange bedfellows.”
WEEI, Boston Morning Personality John Dennis Steps Away from Daily Duties. After 19 years as co-host of the morning show on Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston, John Dennis is leaving his role as co-host of the program to deal with health issues. In a statement announcing the move, Dennis says he’s making the decision on the advice of his doctors that he reduce his workload. Dennis has been partnered with Gerry Callahan since the show launched. Kirk Minihane joined the program in 2013. Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Phil Zachary says the show will continue with Callahan and Minihane. “John is a Boston radio icon and will remain an important part of the WEEI family going forward. To that end, we have been working with John to define a new role for his considerable talents.” Zachary says Dennis will work with station advertisers, act as an ambassador to sponsors and community organizations, and occasionally host WEEI programs. “Most important to him is that John will continue his compassionate work with our annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon and will appear in our live broadcasts from Fenway Park, August 29 and 30.” In April of 2015, Dennis took a leave of absence from the station to enter rehab for alcoholism.
Jan Mickelson Returns to WHO, Des Moines Airwaves. After suffering a stroke in November of last year that made him unable to host his daily 9:00 am to 11:30 am show on iHeartMedia’s WHO, Des Moines, Jan Mickelson returned to the air hosting a half-hour segment of his program live from the Iowa State Fair yesterday (8/18). Mickelson’s show has been hosted by fill-in personalities since last fall. Mickelson told KCCI-TV, Des Moines that after suffering the stroke and being treated in Iowa he traveled to China for a 2,400 needle acupuncture treatment and says he has a lot of his mobility back. Mickelson will continue to host the 11:00 am to 11:30 am portion of the show as he continues to rehabilitate.
Jeff Smulyan Offers to Take Emmis Communications Private. Via his E Acquisition Corp., Emmis Communications chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan is offering to take Emmis private by acquiring outstanding, publicly held shares of Emmis for $4.10 per share in cash. That’s a 3% premium above the August 18 closing price of Emmis’ stock ($4.00). Smulyan has backing lined up from Falcon Investment Advisors. The offer also includes the commitment to sell many of its publishing assets as well as WLIB-AM, New York and its four Terre Haute, Indiana signals – country WTHI, classic rock WWVR, hot AC WFNB, and sports talk simulcast WFNF/W258BA.
The Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of August 15-19. The presidential campaign, including Donald Trump’s staff changes that bring Breitbart chief Stephen K. Bannon aboard to head the campaign, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Close behind at #2 was the aftermath of the shooting death of an armed black man by police in Milwaukee. Coming in at #3 was the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the controversy over a phony robbery claim by U.S. swimmers, followed by the battle for Aleppo and Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Odds & Sods. If you live in the Charlotte area, you might want to know that Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM is seeking an experienced board operator. It’s a part-time position of between 15 and 20 hours per week, including nights and weekends. If you’re interested, contact program director Jason Furst at email@example.com …..High School athletics is on the schedule this school year at E.W. Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee’s digital platform. “Preps Live” is broadcasting high school football play-by-play in 2016, airing 26 contests via WTMJ.COM and the WTMJ Radio App.
Community Conversation. On Wednesday afternoon, E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee held a “Community Conversation” to address the shooting death of a young black man by a Milwaukee police officer and the protests that followed. WTMJ vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer tells TALKERS magazine, “The community response has been overwhelming. It’s WTMJ’s responsibility to help provide some longer-term historical context on this story. The visceral reactions to Saturday’s events need to be countered with real in-depth perspective. It’s really the story of a decades-long shift in the economy and social structure of an American city. Similar stories have unfolded across the country, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast. These stories require more than ‘video showbiz’ of demonstrations and quick sound bites. We hope to make a difference, with a more thoughtful and deeper approach in our coverage.” Pictured here in the WTMJ studio are (clockwise from the left): WTMJ afternoon anchor/host, John Mercure; Reverend Willie Briscoe, minister, New Covenant Baptist Church; Toron Brown, businessman and Sherman Park resident; Earl Ingram, president, Earl Ingram Media and former talk show host at WMCS, Milwaukee.
WTMJ, Milwaukee to Air Two-Hour ‘Community Conversation.’ In the wake of the violence and protests over the shooting death of an armed black suspect by Milwaukee police last weekend, Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ is presenting a community conversation on the city’s social unrest this afternoon (8/17) from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Station VP/GM Tom Langmyer says the special will create a forum for local residents, clergy, politicians and police to gather in the same studio to talk about life in the most challenged areas of the city. “The violence that erupted this week is a reminder of the struggles many face in our community. WTMJ Radio will lead the way for a productive listening session, where leaders can get together and offer solutions. Now is not a time for finger pointing, it’s a time to listen.” “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News” host John Mercure will moderate the program. In addition to being aired on WTMJ, it will be streamed at wtmj.com and via “Facebook Live” at Facebook.com/wtmj.
Dave Hooker Joins WGOW-FM, Chattanooga’s ‘SportTalk.’ Back on July 4, Chattanooga market sports media legend Gary Haskew, a.k.a. Doctor Basketball, died unexpectedly. Now, Cumulus Media introduces air personality Dave Hooker, who is joining the “SportTalk” show to fill the void left by Haskew’s passing. WGOW interim program director Bill Lockhart says Hooker joins “SportTalk” hosts Scott McMahen, a.k.a. Quake, and Joe Varner, a.k.a. Cowboy, on the show. “It’s rare to find someone of Dave’s talent that perfectly meshes with the existing on-air chemistry of the show. Tennessee and SEC athletics are key components of ‘SportTalk’ and Dave will add a fresh new dimension to a show that’s been an afternoon destination for Chattanooga listeners for more than 27 years. Dave’s knowledge and contacts, plus his radio, print, and digital experience will usher in a new era in Chattanooga radio.”
iHeartMedia Launches Re-Tooled Afternoon Show on WDFN, Detroit and WMAX, Grand Rapids. Detroit radio pro Gregg Henson is partnered up with Big Drew and Jim Costa (co-hosts of the former “It Is What It Is” show on WMAX) for the new “Gregg, Big Drew and Jim” show on iHeartMedia’s WDFN, Detroit and WMAX, Grand Rapids “ESPN 96.1.” The show airs in afternoon drive effective today (8/17). Henson also serves the company programming its sports talk WBGG, Pittsburgh.
MSG Acquires 12% of Townsquare Media. The acquisition doesn’t put any cash into the hands of Townsquare Media, but The Madison Square Garden Company’s purchase of 3.2 million shares of GE Capital’s Class C Common Stock in a private transaction means MSG now has approximately 12% common equity interest in Townsquare. Upon closing, the stock immediately converted to Class A shares. Townsquare chairman and CEO Steven Price says, “We are thrilled that MSG has elected to become a shareholder of our company and we look forward to collaborating with them in the future. MSG is a leading provider of live entertainment with world-class venues and there is no doubt that we will benefit from having their support.” In addition to New York’s Madison Square Garden and The Theatre at Madison Square Garden, MSG also operates Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre; the Forum in Inglewood, California; The Chicago Theatre; and the Wang Theatre in Boston. MSG president and CEO David O’Connor comments, “Using its diversified portfolio of radio stations, digital assets and live events, Townsquare creates compelling content that brings people together and builds communities. We understand and share their belief in the value of exceptional, live experiences, and look forward to working together through this new partnership – which is another opportunity that our partner, Irving Azoff, brought to our attention – to drive additional value and growth for both businesses.”
WAPI, Birmingham Presents Signed Flag in Support of Dallas Police Department. In the photo here, WAPI, Birmingham morning show personalities Matt Murphy and Andrea Lindenberg of the “Matt and Aunie Show” present an Alabama state flag signed by hundreds of listeners and Birmingham police officers to representatives of the Dallas Police Department in support of the force after the shooting deaths of five Dallas officers last month. Matt and Aunie also broadcast their program live from Cumulus Media Dallas studios on Monday (8/15).
Scott Shannon to Emcee National Radio Hall of Fame Induction in November. Just two months after emceeing the NAB’s Marconi Radio Awards, legendary WCBS-FM, New York morning personality Scott Shannon will host the 28th Annual National Radio Hall of Fame Induction ceremony at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago on November 17. National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “Scott Shannon adds a whole lot of fun and energy to an already electric and emotion filled evening. He’s a 2006 National Radio Hall of Fame Inductee himself, so he knows just how meaningful this evening is for our Class of 2016 Inductees and will bring the perfect tenor to the ceremony.” This year’s inductees include: George G. Beasley, Delilah, Jeff & Jer (Jeff Detrow & Jerry Cesak), Eric & Kathy (Eric Ferguson & Kathy Hart), Steve Harvey, Bob Kingsley, Kidd Kraddick, Tony Roberts, Neil Rogers, and Michael Savage.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations that serve as flagships for Major League Baseball based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2016 PPM survey. In this report you’ll find charts listing: stations by format and (6+) AHQ share; ratings fluctuations from June 2016 to July 2016; ratings fluctuations from July 2015 to July 2016; and how stations ranked in their respective markets. See it all here.
Mike Gallagher Joins Michael Harrison on Weekly Podcast. This week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” posted today (8/16), features a wide-ranging, intimate interview with Salem Radio Network syndicated star Mike Gallagher. Harrison and Gallagher get into an array of subjects guaranteed to fascinate the program’s growing audience of “media freaks” around the world. These include the changing nature of the human nervous system in the increasingly frenzied digital era, the impact of Donald Trump on American political discussion, the dark side of political bias in today’s left/right debate, and both men’s lifelong love affair with the theater. Gallagher talks about balancing his tremendously successful radio career with his accomplishments on the professional stage. In a segment about the decline of politeness in contemporary society, Gallagher touchingly reveals the personal anguish he suffered after a momentary lapse in judgement resulted in him fat-shaming singer Kelly Clarkson on the air. According to Harrison, “Mike Gallagher is not only one of the most talented and durable news/talkers in the business – he is also one of the nicest. Whether or not you agree with his political stance, his warmth and love of humanity are universal qualities with which any human being of decency can relate. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing him on this podcast and am proud to share it with our listeners.” To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Odds & Sods. Veteran college football analyst, talk show host and former UNLV head football coach Harvey Hyde begins hosting a new mid-week college football talk show on KLAA, Los Angeles effective September 7. “College Football Mid-Week Review” will air Wednesdays at 7:00 pm and will focus on USC, UCLA, the Pac12 Conference and the College Football Playoff selection committee process…..Alpha Media’s rock WFXH, Savannah-Hilton Head “Rock 106.1” is airing Carolina Panthers football this season, including the Monday night “Panther Talk” show featuring head coach Ron Rivera…..ABC Radio is offering three news/talk-oriented programs for airing during Labor Day weekend. They are: “ABC News Radio’s Powerhouse Politics: 5 Things to Know” with Brad Mielke, “Back to School Survival Guide” with Alex Stone, and “ABC Radio’s 10% Happier with Dan Harris.”…..Entercom sports talk station WAXY, Miami “AM 790 The Ticket” is bringing University of Miami and NFL star DJ Williams to the airwaves to appear on three of the station’s shows. Williams will be heard on Mondays from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm alongside Ethan Skolnick and Chris Wittyngham; Tuesdays from 7:00 am to 8:00 am with Zaslow, Romberg and Amber; Wednesdays from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm with Beast and Leroy; and Sundays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on The Ticket’s “Aqua and Orange Pre-Game Show.”…..New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker will appear on WEPN “ESPN New York 98.7” every Tuesday during the NFL season with Alan Hahn and Rick DiPietro on “Hahn & Humpty,” beginning August 30.
The Presidential Race, Milwaukee Protests, Louisiana Floods/SoCal Wildfire, Aetna to Exit Many ObamaCare Exchanges, France Burkini Controversy, Ellen DeGeneres’ Usain Bolt Tweet, London Muslim Cleric Convicted, John McLaughlin Dies, Rio Oylmpics, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/16). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the aftermath of the police killing of an armed black man in Milwaukee; the devastating floods affecting Louisiana and the wildfires in Southern California; insurer Aetna’s decision to exit 11 of the 15 health care exchanges in which it’s currently participating; France outlaws the burkini claiming its use has the potential to cause disturbances; Ellen DeGeneres receives flak for her posting of and image of her riding on Usain Bolt’s back; London Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary is jailed for his ties to Islamic State; conservative TV talk host John McLaughlin – creator of “The McLaughlin Group” – dies at 89; the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro; 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.
Annual ‘Bark in the Park’ Events Finds Homes for 20 Dogs. The 6th annual “Bark in the Park” promotion from Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, hot AC WPLJ, and country WNSH, New York took place on Saturday (8/13) at New Jersey’s Overpeck Park, hosted by WABC’s Mark Levin and personalities from all three stations. The day featured a wide array of vendors, services, great food, agility courses, doggie pools, demonstrations, a cooling station, and activities for families and dog lovers alike – including the always popular “My Dog Looks Like Me” contest! More than 20 dogs were adopted on site during the event from North Shore Animal League America and other area rescue organizations. Pictured here are (from l-r): WABC’s Ron Kuby, Levin, and WPLJ’s Jayde Donovan.