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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

| October 27, 2021

Vaccine Mandates Causing Strife Among Staffers in Broadcasting Industry. The mandate by several radio companies that workers return to the office and get vaccinated against COVID-19 before they do is causing angst for some in the industry. Already, a handful of radio personalities have chosen to be terminated from their positions rather than get a vaccine. TALKERS reported on the dismissal of sports talk host Tim Hill from Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina and Jeff Crank’s exit from Cumulus Media’s KVOR-AM, Colorado Springs for refusing the vaccine. Also, country jock Roxanne Steele exited Cumulus’ WDRQ-FM, Detroit for the same reason. Cumulus is not the only radio company with a mandate. Beasley Media Group also has instituted a vaccine requirement. But the threat by talk host Dan Bongino to leave his program syndicated by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One if the company doesn’t retreat on the mandate has pushed the issue into mainstream news outlets. It has also put WWO in a difficult situation with Bongino as the company has replaced Bongino’s live show with best-of editions so far this week, ostensibly so the company can sort out this matter. Bongino – who is vaccinated but says he’s taking this stand for his fellow employees – has only been syndicated by WWO since May but the company has invested a lot of time and money in his show. His popular podcast was the #8-ranked podcast in terms of average weekly downloads in September, according to Triton Digital’s rankings so this makes Cumulus’ handling of Bongino’s threat very tricky. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison comments, “We haven’t seen this kind of dramatic brinksmanship since the Cuban Missile Crisis… well perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration… but Bongino has clearly drawn a red line in the sand and both parties have boldly stepped over it. Now it’s a matter of image and pride for each. Unless this is defused by a masterful display of diplomacy in which both sides can save face and move the issue forward to the benefit of all involved – including society at large – [Cumulus CEO] Mary Berner has no choice but to let Bongino go. He made his choice… and Dan must now make good on his threat and live with the consequences, whatever they might be. One thing’s for sure… we’ve come a long way from the old ‘morals clause’ that was a standard part of media talent contracts. We’ll now be seeing the ‘political clause’ become part of the deal in talk media management/talent legal agreements.”

Audacy Rebrands WQAM, Miami; Unveils Tweaked Lineups for South Florida Sports Talkers. A number of changes talk place at Audacy’s South Florida sports talk stations, including the rebranding of WQAM, Miami. The station is leaving the “560 The Joe” moniker behind and the station is now “AM 560 Sports WQAM.” While sister sports talker WAXY-AM remains branded “AM 790 The Ticket,” some programming changes also take place, including the move of personality Jonathan Zaslow to middays (10:00 am to 2:00 pm) on WQAM from his previous role in middays on WAXY. Meanwhile, “AM 790 The Ticket” adds “BetQL Daily” for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.

Hubbard Radio’s Talk KTMY-FM, Minneapolis Launches Marketing Campaign. Twin Cities talk outlet KTMY-FM “myTalk 107.1” is beginning a four-and-a-half month marketing campaign that sets out to differentiate itself from its pure news/talk cousins with the slogan: “Where Talk is Fun.” The first billboard (top) was a teaser that was followed by the next in the series (bottom) featuring morning duo Jason Matheson and Alexis Thompson that reveals the station’s brand. Hubbard Radio VP and region manager Dan Seeman says the next four months will see the campaign expand with bulletins, poster billboards, indoor advertising (women’s bathrooms), OTT, and digital display.

Talk Host John Hancock Honored with Induction into NC Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. The North Carolina Broadcasters Association held its annual business meeting virtually this year and presented its annual broadcast awards. Longtime WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte personality John Hancock was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame. Hancock’s bio says: “John recently retired after 50 years of on-air service with the past 30 years in Charlotte. John arrived in Charlotte and at WBT in December of 1990 and has helped shape the conversation in the Queen City ever since by musing on the issues of the day with his unique perspective. For nearly three decades, John’s daily show provided a mix of information and opinion, peppered with humor and just the right dose of sarcasm, enabling him to become a cherished and trusted voice for the community, known universally as ‘Charlotte’s Most Beloved.’ As an integral part of the community, he showed how much he cared including his 27 year, unconditional commitment to the Kids First of the Carolina’s annual holiday drive, raising millions in dollars, toys, bikes (over 20,000) and services. Additionally, John’s annual ‘Father’s Day’ show on the anniversary of his own father’s death, March 16 and the annual ‘Peanut Butter N July’ benefitting the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, became Charlotte traditions. John Hancock aired his final daily show on WBT 1110 AM on October 17, 2019. But, even in retirement, he remains active in radio and at WBT in the form of two commentaries a week and joining Bo Thompson on the WBT morning show for an hour every Friday.

Sean Spicer Celebrates Release of New Book. Pictured above at the launch party for former White House press secretary and current Newsmax personality Sean Spicer’s new book are (from l-r): U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Spicer and Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy. Newsmax says, “The top movers and shakers in Washington came out for the launch of Sean Spicer’s new book, Radical Nation: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ Dangerous Plan for America (Humanix, 2021). The book launch party, hosted by Chris Ruddy, drew approximately 40 members of Congress, including many from the top leadership, former Trump administration cabinet members, media personalities, and major policy experts.”

TALKERS News Notes. Finance and investment expert and best-selling author Jared Dillian is launching a podcast titled, “Be Smart: How Not to Be an Idiot with Your Money.” This is an all-new take on an existing podcast. Dillian says, “I’m on a mission to help people live a richer stress-free life, not by renting or borrowing it. I help discover how to conquer money troubles, escape the scarcity mentality trap, and ignite earning power. Yes, people can do it while still enjoying material possessions. You don’t have to live in a van down by the river.” Dillian is a 20-year veteran of the financial industry. He worked at Lehman Brothers from 2001 to 2008 —first as an index arbitrage trader and then as head of the ETF trading desk. He left Lehman to start his own newsletter, “The Daily Dirtnap,” where he shares trade ideas and market commentary for finance professionals and sophisticated investors. He also edits of “Street Freak,” “ETF 20/20,” and the “10th Man.”…..There’s a nice piece in The Southern Illinoisan recognizing 45 years on the radio for River Radio’s WJPF-AM, Herrin, Illinois morning host Tom Miller. The self-described “rock ‘n’ roll guy” has been hosting “The Morning News Watch” for 20 years and he says that during his rock radio days it was all about his image as “off-the-hook crazy, a wild card, loose cannon.” Now, unlike the majority of his talk radio colleagues, Miller says it’s not about him. “I had to remake myself completely. I didn’t use my name; I focused solely on content. I didn’t want anybody to think about any of the other stuff I had done before, because in this format it is about what you say and how you say it. It became about credibility.”…..TeshMedia signs an extension with Compass Media Networks to continue in its role as the exclusive advertising sales representative for its portfolio of radio assets including the daily “John Tesh Radio Show,” a/k/a Intelligence for Your Life, “The Best of the John Tesh Radio Show,” “Intelligence for Your Health with Connie Sellecca,” “The Weekend Show with John Tesh and Gib Gerard” and “Intelligence for Your Life Minute,” as well as “Intelligence For Your Life: The Podcast.”…..Cumulus Media, Imperative Entertainment and Vespucci dropped “Bonaparte,” a true crime podcast series revealing the remarkable journey of one woman’s resolve to help piece together events surrounding the mysterious and unsolved death of her childhood friend 25 years prior. The new, 10-part podcast series, hosted by Jason Stavers, reports on attorney Anne Champion’s endeavor to solve the death of her childhood friend of Laura Van Wyhe. Champion says, “Laura’s death has always stayed with me. There are too many things that don’t add up. A few years ago, I decided to start pushing for answers. I’m working with Laura’s family to see if we can get people to come forward and share new details. Based on my review of the files, it’s clear that there are many inconsistencies and many open issues begging for further investigation. I believe this is a cold case that can be solved, and solving it is long overdue for Laura’s family and friends.”

January 6 Investigation/Executive Privilege, COVID-19, Biden Infrastructure-Social Spending Bills/Unrealized Gains Tax, Virginia Governor’s Race, Bolsonaro Charges, and Rust Movie Set Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/26). The investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and President Joe Biden’s rejection of former President Donald Trump’s claim of executive privilege, the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine approval for kids, and protests over Biden’s looming vaccine mandate; the Biden infrastructure and social spending bills and the pushback against his taxing of the wealthy on unrealized gains; the too-close-to-call race for Virginia Governor between incumbent Terry McAuliffe and Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin; Brazil’s senate recommends criminal charges against President Jair Bolsonaro for his response to the coronavirus pandemic; and the investigation into the death of assistant producer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Alec Baldwin’s Rust film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, February 21, 2020

| February 21, 2020

Pete Mundo Upped to Program Director for KCMO-AM.  Programming and on-air pro Pete Mundo is promoted from APD to program director for Cumulus Media’s news/talk KCMO-AM/K279BI, Kansas City.  Mundo is also host of the station’s morning show.  Before joining Cumulus Kansas City, Mundo served as a host/anchor for FOX News Radio, CBS Sports Radio, Sports Illustrated’s daily platforms, and WFAN, New York.  Cumulus Kansas City RVP and market manager Donna Baker says, “One of the most fulfilling rewards as a leader is seeing the impact that someone as talented as Pete can make in just two years.  Growth of nearly 75% in audience since his arrival is the result of Pete’s daily focus, drive, passion, and hard work. This well-deserved promotion to program director is an opportunity to continue to expand the brand of KCMO Talk Radio for years to come.”

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled “Billions and Billions!” looks back at this past week of February 17-21, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Wayne Allyn Root, talk show host, USA Radio Network/Newsmax TV; Howard Monroe, talk show host/owner, WKKX/WVLY, Wheeling, WV; Grace Curley, producer/co-host, the Howie Carr Show; Daliah Wachs, M.D., talk show host, Genesis Communications Network; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings between 6:00 pm-7:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Zaslow Re-Ups with ‘AM 790 The Ticket’ in Miami. Sports talk host Jonathan Zaslow and Entercom’s WAXY-AM, Miami “AM 790 The Ticket” agree to a new, multiyear contract extension for him to remain host of the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm show, “Zaslow and Amber,” alongside Amber Wilson.  Zaslow will also continue to serve as pregame and postgame host for Miami Heat gameday broadcasts, as part of the station’s flagship coverage.  Zaslow joined “AM 790 The Ticket” in 2004 and has served as an on-air personality for the station for the last 13 years. This year marks Zaslow’s 10th as a part of the station’s Heat gameday broadcasts.  Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “Jonathan Zaslow is a true Miami sports talent and an original employee of ‘790 The Ticket.’  We are thrilled to have him back for more passionate sports talk and lock him into our impressive weekday programming.”

Cumulus 2019 Q4 Net Revenue Down 7.7%; Same Station Net Revenue Dips 1.7%.  Financial data for the full year and the fourth quarter of 2019 is reported by Cumulus Media.  Net revenue in the fourth quarter of 2019 was $285.5 million, a decrease of 7.7% over the same period in 2018.  However, on a same station basis, net revenue was down just 1.7%.  For the full year of 2019, net revenue was $1.1 billion, down 2.4% from 2018.  On a same station basis, net revenue – excluding political – of $1,103.2 million was up 1.4% from 2018.  Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner comments, “I am very proud of the company’s 2019 results. On a same station basis, our team has now delivered the second year in a row of revenue growth and, excluding the impact of political, the third year in a row of Adjusted EBITDA growth. This performance was driven in large part by the industry-leading growth of our digital businesses and active cost management across our platforms.  Additionally, we made strong progress against our financial goals during the year, paying down $220 million of debt with cash from operations and highly accretive divestitures, reducing net leverage to 4.7x.  This year’s results reflect the success of our consistent focus on key strategies to create value for our investors.  Despite a choppy environment and an expected political headwind, fourth quarter revenue finished in-line with the pacing we shared during our last earnings call, and, with some slight favorability on expenses, we delivered Adjusted EBITDA that was somewhat better than we had indicated. As we move into the new year, we are further expanding our delivery of compelling audio experiences and digital offerings that connect and support our advertisers and listeners.  And, we are optimistic about 2020 and our continuing ability to drive strong operating and financial performance while aggressively reducing net leverage to below 4.0x.”

Round Three of January PPM’s Released.  The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus.  Nielsen’s January 2020 survey period covered January 2 – 29.  Some of the spoken-word stations that performed well in January (weekly, 6+ AQH share) coming off the challenging Holiday survey were: Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland, which racked up a half share increase to finish the January survey with a 5.1 share and the #5 market rank.  Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte adds 1.4 shares to post a 4.9 share and the #8 rank.  iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio adds four-tenths to finish the month at a 5.7 share and standing steady at the #3 rank.  In Sacramento, iHeartMedia’s KFBK gains an amazing 2.7 shares to leap into a tie for the #1 rank in the market with an 8.6 share.  Bonneville’s KSL-FM, Salt Lake City adds a full share to end the survey with a 5.0 share and the #7 rank in the market.  You can see all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, check out TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Wednesday’s Democratic Debate and the Presidential Race Top News/Talk Stories for Week of February 17-21. The Democratic candidates debate in Las Vegas and the presidential race tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was President Trump’s post-impeachment pardons and appointments.  Coming in at #3 was the Department of Justice turmoil and the related Roger Stone sentencing, followed by the covid-19 pandemic, U.S.-China relations, and the deadly flu season tied at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discusses on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s complete chart here.

Diana Boyce Completes Disney Princess 5K. Pictured above left is Diana Boyce, wife of Salem Radio Network SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce, braving the chilly temps and drizzle in Orlando this morning (2/21) while finishing the annual Disney Princess 5K race.  The race is part of Disney Half Marathon Weekend that benefits some 17 charities. Pictured at right is Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher cheering Diana on.

AWM/F Announce 2020 Board. The Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation (AWM/F) announce their 2020 National Board of Directors.  Joining the AWM Board are: Katina Arnold, vice president, corporate communications, ESPN; Abby Auerbach, executive vice president, chief communications officer, TVB; Michelle Ray, executive director, The Walter Kaitz Foundation; Sandra Rice, senior vice president, outreach and strategic partnerships, Center for Talent Innovation; and Esther Mireya Tejeda, senior vice president, head of corporate communications & PR, Entercom.  Officers of the board have been announced as Keisha Sutton-James, chair, vice president & CEO, Sutton Button Productions LLC, serving as chair; Heather Cohen, executive vice president, The Weiss Agency, serving as incoming chair; Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group, serving as immediate past chair; Josie Thomas, CBS, serving as treasurer; and Annie Howell, co-founder and managing partner, The Punch Point Group, serving as incoming treasurer.  The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large of AWM: Joyce Fitch, legal consultant; Abby Greensfelder, founder & CEO, Everywoman Studios; Brenda Hetrick, chief revenue officer, Matrix Solutions; Jinny Laderer, co-founder & CEO, vCreative; Meg LaVigne, president, LaVIGNE MEDIA; Kelly Perdomo, vice president, content, sports, entertainment, and partnership marketing, SiriusXM; and Katherine Wolfgang, head of public relations, CBC.  The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large of AWMF: Deborah Parenti, publisher, RadioInk, RBR and TVBR; Rob Stoddard, SVP program network policy, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association; and Kristen Welch, chief financial officer, Illustrative Mathematics.  AWM executive director Becky Brooks says, “The role of the AWM and Foundation boards is to lead our organizations and industry as we recognize, connect and educate women in radio, television and interactive media.  We have a true working board.  This year’s new directors have voiced their dedication to donating time and resources to take these organizations to the next level. We are thrilled to have these talented, accomplished women joining our leadership for the next two years.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Columbia, South Carolina market, programming pro Chris Connors joins Cumulus Media’s urban contemporary WLXC-FM “Kiss 103.1” as program director.  Connors was most recently with Alpha Media’s Columbia cluster as operations manager.  He says, “We’ve already made ratings history in Columbia, and I’m very fortunate and extremely thankful to have the opportunity to do it again.  Big thanks to John Dimick, Kenny Smoov, and Tammy O’Dell for entrusting me to lead the Columbia team.  No need to pack or move; we’re ready on day one.”…..Nationally syndicated and WBLS-FM, New York afternoon drive host Deja Vu wraps up a month of celebration with the special, “The Deja Vu Show: Black History in Forward Motion,” being syndicated by ABC Audio.  The commercial free, two-hour special celebrates the importance of African American representation in a variety of fields, including Broadway, film, TV and law.  It features Deja Vu sitting down with iconic celebrities, artists, and influencers including: Will Packer, David Alan Grier, Celia Rose Gooding, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, and Isaac Wright Jr…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One syndicated radio host Lon Helton was honored with the Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award at the Country Radio Seminar.  This award – named for Tom Rivers, former WQYK PD and host of Westwood One holiday specials in the 1990s – recognizes an individual in the country radio industry who has given back to the community.  Helton is one of the founders and advocates of the legendary country radiothon program, Country Cares For St. Jude Kids, that has raised almost $1 billion for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital…..iHeartMedia announces that country star Blake Shelton is joining the lineup for the 2020 iHeartCountry Festival Presented by Capital One on Saturday, May 2 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.  The seventh annual event will also feature performances from 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.  The event will livestream exclusively on livexlive.com and broadcast live across iHeartMedia’s country radio stations in their local markets and at iHeartRadio.com.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

| December 18, 2019

Cox Enterprises’ Deal with Apollo Global Management Closes. According to Jessica Saundersreport in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Cox Enterprises’ sale of its radio, TV, Ohio print brands, and affiliated businesses to an Apollo Global Management-controlled company has closed.  The new company goes by an old name – Cox Media Group – and Cox Enterprises maintains a minority stake in the new firm.  The company is led by president and CEO Kim Guthrie and Bill Hendrich is EVP of radio.  CMG now consists of 13 television stations in 10 markets; 54 radio stations in 10 markets; three Ohio newspapers, the CoxReps TV sales division; digital ad and OTT products and services segment Gamut; and the Northwest Broadcasting 20 TV station group.

Wilson Re-Ups with Entercom’s ‘Ticket’ in Miami. South Florida sports talk host Amber Wilson signs a multiyear contract extension to continue co-hosting the midday show on Entercom’s WAXY, Miami “AM 790 The Ticket.”  Wilson co-hosts the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm “Zaslow & Amber” show with Jonathan Zaslow.  She joined the station in 2016 after serving with CBS Television in Miami and SNY in New York.  She says, “I’m very fortunate to have a job that I enjoy doing every single day and I’m thrilled to be continuing my career at Entercom.  It is an honor that [program director] Len Weiner and [SVP/market manager] Keriann Worley continue to trust me to entertain South Florida with sports talk.”

Matthew Jarecki Named PM Drive Host at ‘FOX Sports 910’ in Phoenix. At iHeartMedia’s Phoenix sports talker KGME-AM “FOX Sports 910,” Matthew Jarecki is named host of the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm show.  Jarecki comes to KGME from his most recent position with Northern Arizona University’s KLJX-LP, Flagstaff.  He also handled play-by-play and color analyst work for Lumberjacks athletics.  KGME program director Aaron Trimmer says, “Matthew is a future superstar in the sport talk world.  His perspective and unique commentary on sports make him the perfect fit to lead afternoon drive on ‘FOX Sports 910.’  We are thrilled to have him join our lineup.”  KGME briefly hired Dan Sileo to host afternoons, but he lasted just a week in the role in early September after the Phoenix Coyotes hockey club objected to Sileo’s hiring based on some of his controversial social media posts.  KGME is the flagship for Coyotes play-by-play.

Nielsen: News/Talk Top 6+ Format in PPM Markets This Year. The data from Nielsen Audio’s year-end tally of the most-listened-to formats in radio in its PPM markets shows news/talk is #1 in the 6+ demographic (9.5% weekly AQH share).  In the 25-54 demo, news/talk ranked #4 (6.7%), behind only AC (7.7%), CHR (7.6%), and country (6.8%).  However, there is an asterisk of sorts associated with these figures as Nielsen includes non-commercial, public radio news/talk in its definition of the format.  Public news/talk skews younger than commercial news/talk.  Sports talk ranked #9 in the 6+ demo and #8 in the 25-54 demo.  Nielsen used an average of data from the January through November PPM surveys.

Magnum to Acquire Three Wisconsin Signals from NRG Media. The deal between Wisconsin’s Magnum Communications and Iowa-based NRG Media will transfer news/talk WFAW-AM and adult contemporary WSJC-FM in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, along with classic hits WKCH, Whitewater, Wisconsin to Magnum.  NRG president and CEO Mary Quass says, “We have been fortunate to have worked with the great people at the stations in Fort Atkinson for many years.  The dedicated broadcasters at the stations will continue to provide the Fort Atkinson community with great local radio and know they will contribute to the success of Magnum Communications going forward.”  Magnum chief Dave Magnum adds, “I’m a sentimental person so two aspects of these acquisitions really struck me.  First, my maternal grandmother grew up on a Fort Atkinson farm.  My Mom and her remaining siblings get together at Lake Ripley each summer in her honor.  Second, we’re again getting to work with NRG.  Back in the 90s, my late wife Lynn had the chance to speak with Mary Quass several times at conventions.  She considered Mary a role model.  In 2007, five years after Lynn passed, I acquired three stations from NRG.  That transaction went as smooth as silk.  We look forward to the same outcome with the acquisitions of WFAW, WSJY and WKCH.”  KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

KSCO, Santa Cruz Initiates Its Own ‘Person of the Year.’ On the heels of the controversy over youthful Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg being named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year,” Michael Zwerling-owned news/talk KSCO, Santa Cruz is creating its own “Person of the Year” award and naming President Donald Trump for the past four years.  Zwerling says, “I empathize with the president’s frustration of not being named Time magazine’s person of the year.  After all, the designation does not necessarily indicate an endorsement of its recipient’s policies – just acknowledgement that they have made the biggest impact on the news. Clearly, Donald Trump has been the most influential person in the news since 2016.  And that has not stopped.”  See all four “Person of the Year” covers here.

Impeachment, IG FBI Report Aftermath, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-China Trade Negotiations, Financial Markets Activity, Fiat Chrysler-Peugeot Merger Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/17). The impeachment against President Donald Trump; the aftermath of the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s use of the secret FISA court; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China; the record high Dow and activity in the world’s financial markets; and the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot to make the third largest auto firm were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Appearing on fubosportsnetwork.com’s “Call It A Night” program with host Julie Stewart-Binks, WFAN, New York and Radio.com sports talk personality Mike Francesa says he’ll delve into politics during his daily, one-hour Radio.com show.  Asked why, Francesa said, “There’s not a show, there’s no political coverage anywhere that is unbiased.  It’s all biased.  It’s either left or right.  It is so significantly left or right.  Give me a network, I’ll tell you – FOX is right, MSNBC is left.  Everybody has a bias. Everybody is one or the other, most on the left, there are some rights.  There’s nothing down the middle.” Francesa’s Radio.com show will stream from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET prior to his half-hour WFAN program airing at 6:00 pm ET…..Talk radio pro Phil Valentine and his son Campbell Valentine are celebrating the fact that their podcast “The PodGOATs” has been named one of the Top 10 History Podcasts for 2019 by Podbean – a global podcast hosting site.  “The PodGOATs” is produced by Comworld Media.  Phil Valentine says, “I’m in shock, to be honest with you.  Campbell and I have worked really hard this year on this podcast.  We bill it as ‘The History of Everything,’ which is a lofty goal.  We’re closing in on episode 100 and we have over 360,000 downloads, so we’re getting’ there.”  Comworld Media will launch two more Phil Valentine podcasts in 2020…..Westwood One adds “Esports 30 with Kevin Knocke” to its Westwood One Podcast Network.  The show is an original podcast covering esports news and in-depth interviews with industry personalities, celebrities, athletes, influencers, and enthusiasts. Knocke says, “Esports is now big enough that it can’t rely on the sunshine and rainbows perspective that it’s the ‘next big thing’ so we need to understand how to develop a sustainable infrastructure for the long term.  I’ll be inviting on guests with a broad viewpoint of the industry as a whole as well as game-specific experts who are willing to take an honest look at their game and reflect on improvements needed.”…..Longtime New York City radio news pro Pat Farnack retires from Entercom’s WCBS-AM “Newsradio 880.”  Farnack also served with KYW-AM and KYW-TV in Philadelphia as well as WWDB-FM, Philly during her career.  She joined WCBS-AM in December 2000.  The WCBS website notes that Farnack also “spent time at WNBC in New York delivering news in the days of Don Imus and Howard Stern and even did a several-month stint as traffic reporter in the flying ‘N’ copter.”…..iHeartMedia and NostalgiaCon, LLC are working together to produce the NostalgiaCon Miami ‘80s pop culture convention on April 25-26 at the MANA Convention Center in Miami’s Wynwood arts district.  iHeartMedia’s participation includes sponsorship collaborations for branded activations, VIP fan experiences, contests, giveaways, and grassroots promotions…..Pictured below are actors Jamie Foxx (left) and Michael B. Jordan (center) with SiriusXM Urban View host Mike Muse (right) chatting before a live audience at SiriusXM studios in New York.  Foxx and Jordan visited on a promotion tour for their new film, Just Mercy, hitting theaters on Christmas Day.  Photo: Cindy Ord/ Getty Images for SiriusXM.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programmer and air personality Adam “Kash” Kashner moves from Cumulus Media’s Indianapolis cluster where he was APD at country WFMS-FM to Pensacola where he’s the new program director for country radio station WXBM-FM “NASH 102.7 FM.”  At the same time, Cumulus adds APD stripes to current WXBM afternoon host Matt Fisher.  Cumulus Pensacola VP and market manager Gary Mertins says, “Kash is such an up-and-coming programming talent within Cumulus and we’re so proud to have him join us in Pensacola.  He’s really done some great things and proven himself in Indianapolis.  WXBM is a heritage country station and we know that we’ve found the right person in Kash to lead it to further greatness.”…..Air personality Amanda Valentine is leaving her radio gig at Hubbard Broadcasting’s country WUBE, Cincinnati “B105” to work full time on her fitness career.  Valentine was co-host of the afternoon show with Jesse Tack, who continues the show solo.  Valentine noted on her Facebook page: “Health and fitness is a huge passion of mine.  After going through a significant weight loss journey myself, helping others on their own journeys fills my heart in ways I can’t even describe.  So, I’ve made the decision to follow my heart and devote my time and energy into helping as many people as possible discover just how life changing a healthy lifestyle can be.”…..Milwaukee non-commercial triple A WYMS-FM “88Nine” bestowed honors on the winners of its 2019 Radio Milwaukee Music Awards last Saturday (12/14).  Winners of the awards covered a wide swath of musical genres.  WYMS-FM’s 12th annual music awards were based on 6,278 votes online by area music fans and selections of ‘88Nine’ music staff and local music writers.  Station program director Jordan Lee says, “This year’s awards reflect the strong avant-garde sound that is developing here in Milwaukee.  It’s really hard to put the music of Klassik, SistaStrings, or Browns Crew in a genre box.  These new sounds are defining the sound of our city in an exciting and inspiring way.”

Monday, April 4, 2016

| April 4, 2016

owensronnKGO, San Francisco Announces New Programming; Ronn Owens to Remain on KGO After All.  Citing listener outcry (who saw that coming?), Cumulus Media is changing its plans to move Bay Area talk legend Ronn Owens to drive time on sister talker KSFO and will keep him on KGO (with anbearmanethan3 hour trimmed off) from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Beginning tomorrow (4/5), the new KGO lineup begins with KSTE, Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty – Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – in morning drive.  After Owens is Ethan Bearman from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm.  Bearman has been hosting weekend shows for KGO and sister KSFO for the past few years.  Brian Copeland, a copelandbrianlongtime weekend host at KGO, follows Bearman from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  Chip Franklin is now afternoon drive host from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and DreX remains the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm personality.    Last week, the company moved away from its newsy heritage, dismissing most of its newsfranklinchip personnel in this move to re-make KGO a live-and-local talk station.  Program director Mike Anthony states, “We couldn’t be more excited about the new direction KGO 810 is taking, and we believe our listeners will love what they hear.  Ronn’s audience made it very clear to us yesterday that he belongs at KGO — so we listened.”

The Presidential Race, Syrian Conflict/Battle Against Islamic State, European Jihadists Investigation, European Migrant Issues, and the Final Four Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The activities of the candidates for president in advance of Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary; the Syrian civil conflict, weekend attacks on al-Nusra leaders and the battle against Islamic State fighters; the investigation into the jihadists responsible for the Paris and Brussels terror attacks; the issues European nations are dealing with as they absorb refugees from Syria and other Middle East nations; and the Final Four games were some of the stories discussed on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

wilsonamberAmber Wilson Joins WAXY-AM, Miami’s ‘Zaslow & Romberg’ AM Show. Florida broadcaster Amber Wilson is joining Entercom’s WAXY-AM, Miami “Sports Talk 790 AM The Ticket” as a member of the on-air team on the “Zaslow & Romberg” show with Jonathan Zaslow and Brett Romberg.  Entercom notes that Wilson is “a veteran sports broadcaster, who began her career hosting a weekly sports television show, ‘Sports Bang’ on WFOR-TV alongside ESPN’s Jon ‘Stugotz’ Weiner.  She has previously appeared on a variety of sports radio programs, including CBS Network’s ‘The Players Club’ and as an anchor, reporter and writer for Open Sports Inc. and CBS Sports Interactive.”  Entercom South Florida VP and market manager Doug Abernethy states, “Amber has it all: in-depth sports knowledge and expertise, a fan’s enthusiasm and a lively on-air presence.  Her chemistry with Jonathan and Brett will be a winning combination that will resonate with our audience and our ad partners.  Listeners will benefit from her proven track record providing real time commentary and sports analysis.”

schnitttoddTodd Schnitt and Wife Lose Case Over Unpaid Legal Bills.  Talk show host Todd Schnitt and his wife Michelle were handed a legal defeat in a Tampa courtroom when the jury decided that the couple must pay their former legal team the fees it charged to sue former Tampa radio rival Bubba the Love Sponge.  The Schnitts had argued that they were deceived by former attorney Philip Campbell and would not have sued Bubba if not for “bad advice” from Campbell.  The Schnitts lost their bid to win a defamation case against Bubba.  In the end, the jury found the Schnitts had not been deceived by Campbell and they are being ordered to pay $669,000 in legal fees.

kinosianmikePPM Analysis: Public Radio Talk.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the third of three format analyses of spoken-word radio based on the February 2016 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio.  Previously we published reports on all-news and news/talk.  Today’s report focuses on non-commercial news/talk.  No public radio talk station ranked first in its market in February, however six stations finished in the top five: WAMU, Washington (#2); KOPB, Portland (#2); KQED-FM, San Francisco (#3); WUNC, Raleigh (#3); KCFR, Denver (#4); and KPBS, San Diego (#5).  In this report you’ll also find a chart comparing the performances of all-news, news/talk, and non-commercial talk.  See it here.

Odds & Sods.  According to a report from Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM,levinmark Chicago is flipping the air times of Westwood One syndicated talk programs “The Savage Nation” with host Michael Savage and the Mark Levin program.  When the shows aren’t being pre-empted or partially pre-empted by White Sox baseball, Savage will be heard at 9:00 pm and Levin will go on at 6:00 savagemichaelpm.  Both shows will be streamed when baseball is airing…..Media sales pro David J. Halberstam has just published his new book titled, The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts.  Halberstam – who began his career with Katz Media and spent a decade as EVP of sports for Westwood One – currently heads up the Halby Group.  He tells TALKERS the book is being released in both hardcopy and electronic forms via Sagamore Publishing.  Halberstam says, “The title is a first of its kind; a step-by-step handbook on developing new sports media and sponsorship accounts. Corporate sports account executives, veterans and rookies alike, should findconwaysimon the text of interest. From identifying prospects to closing a piece of business and the emotional roller coaster throughout the process, they are all covered.”…..Hard-working Iowa personality Simon Conway – heard on WHO, Des Moines in afternoons and on WMT, Cedar Rapids in mornings – is tripling up this hewitthughweek as he is also being heard on iHeartMedia’s WFLF, Orlando in morning drive today through Wednesday…..Bill Bennett officially passed the baton to new Salem Radio Network morning drive host Hugh Hewitt, who replaces Bennett in the daypart.  Hewitt had U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) on his program and he wished Hewitt well, “Congratulations, welcome to mornings…you have some big shoes to fill!”

millerpatWOWO, Fort Wayne’s Pat Miller to Undergo Kidney Transplant.  Afternoon drive talk host Pat Miller recently shared with his listeners his battle with Chronic Kidney Disease and the news that a matching kidney donor has been found.  He said, “God miraculously has made a kidney available for me.  There’s a donor that has selflessly put themselves on the line…”  Miller is scheduled to undergo the transplant on May 24.

WBBM-AM, Chicago Reporter Dies in Car Crash.  A Sunday morning automobile accident in Merrillville, Indiana took the life of 60-year-old WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago reporter Dave Mitchell.  Mitchell had been with the CBS RADIO all-news outlet since 1992.  Chicago media is reporting Mitchell leaves behind a wife and four children.

Monday, November 25, 2013

| November 25, 2013

wabcCumulus Media to Remake Geraldo into an NYC-Only Show.  A little more clarity on the status of journalist and talk media personality Geraldo Rivera after last week’s quickly dispelled rumors that he would be exiting Cumulus altogether.  It turns out Geraldo will be leaving the national syndication game and his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ETriverageraldo program will be heard exclusively on WABC, New York beginning January 1, 2014.  A statement from the company says the show “will focus on the most-talked-about topics involving the nation’s largest city — everything from social issues to politics.”  Rivera will also continue his fight against unemployment by broadcasting live from upcoming “Put Americans Back to Work” job expos and events hosted by Cumulus.  Rivera comments, “For the last four decades, in war and peace I’ve been chasing the news around the world.  But there’s a universe of stories right here in my hometown.  Energized and excited by this opportunity, I’m taking our show to the four corners of the five boroughs.  I’ll be on the streets and in the face of lawbreakers and newsmakers, ready with a hot mike and a helping hand.”  Cumulus COO John Dickey adds, “We are excited that one of the most recognized and respected names in media will be sharing his perspectives on New York issues and supporting local causes that matter most to listeners in one of our top markets.”

harrisinteractiveNielsen to Acquire Harris Interactive.  The company best known for The Harris Poll – Harris Interactive Inc. – is announcing plans to be acquired by Nielsen Holdings N.V.  In a statement, it reports: “Nielsen will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Harris Interactive’s common stock through a wholly owned subsidiary formed for the purpose of making the offer.  Holders of outstanding shares of Harris Interactive’s common stock will receive $2.00 per share in cash, subject to adjustment as provided in the merger agreement.  The $2.00 per share cash purchase price (which excludes any adjustment which may be required under the merger agreement) represents a 2.0% premium to the volume weighted average closing price of Harris Interactive’s common stock in the 60 consecutive trading days prior to announcement of the transaction, and 8.7% below and 81.8% above the 52-week high and low, respectively.”  The final purchase price will be based on Harris Interactive’s average cash (subject to certain adjustments and calculated as specified in the merger agreement) calculated during a 10-day period before and after a reference date expected to occur approximately 20 business days after commencement of the offer.  Nielsen president, Americas, John J. Lewis says, “For our existing CPG and media clients, our combined capabilities will provide better and more integrated insights to help them drive business outcomes.  Harris Interactive’s strength with other industry verticals allows us to serve these clients with Nielsen’s differentiated solutions in areas such as marketing effectiveness, social and digital to achieve our growth objectives.”

waxylogoCastleberry Exits Sports WAXY, Miami; Marc Hochman Status Uncertain.  Program director Tod Castleberry has exited Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk WAXY, Miami “790 The Ticket” and the Miami Herald is reporting that WAXY morning drive co-host Marc Hochman is bound for afternoonhochmanmarc drive at crosstown WQAM after sitting out a three-month non-compete (he would start in April).  Since LFM won’t comment on personnel matters, we may never know if the reports that Castleberry was dismissed from WAXY, in part, for missing an exclusive negotiation period in Hochman’s contract (which lapses on December 31) are accurate.  The Herald is also reporting that Hochman has been telling friends he’s done at WAXY after his contract expires or sooner if the station chooses to keep him off the air.  However, there are also reports from Miami that LFM and Hochman are negotiating a new deal for him to remain at WAXY.  Hochman was the executive producer and a cast member on Dan Le Batard’s PM drive show on WAXY for many years until moving into morning drive a year and a half ago where he works with Jonathan Zaslow and Joy Taylor.

beckatom2012Opinion: Why I Went to Dallas.  KOIL, Omaha talk pro Tom Becka writes about his approach to Friday’s 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy.  He explains that he doesn’t buy into the notion that it was merely commemoration of a news event to which only older audiences can relate.  “It was theatre of the mind…I went to Dallas and [talked to] people who were actually there that day.  I interviewed a man who was in the high school marching band that played “Hail to the Chief” the last time JFK heard it.  I interviewed a former congressman who was on the house select committee of assassinations.  I interviewed a few conspiracy theorists.  I gave a different perspective direct from the grassy knoll.  I was just a few feet from where many say a second gunman stood.”  Read Tom Becka’s entire piece here.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago and McCormick Foundation to Raise Funds for Tornado Victims.  On Tuesday, Tribune’s WGN, Chicago and the McCormick Foundation are declaring it Illinois Tornado Relief Day.  Starting with the Steve Cochran show at 5:00 am, the station will host a 24-hour campaign for listeners to donate to the newly established Illinois Tornado Relief Fund. WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune are also partnering with the effort to promote additional fundraising for the day.  WGN VP of content Todd Manley says, “We’ve all been touched by the stories of communities coming together following last Sunday’s storms.  Our WGN and Tribune families kept searching for ways to help.  Now, like so many times before, we’ll trust in the generosity of our wonderful listeners, viewers, and readers.”  The McCormick Foundation will match the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents on the dollar.  All administrative costs are paid by the foundation and its partners, allowing 100% of all money raised, including the match, to be granted directly to the nonprofit agencies.  The first round of grants will be distributed by the end of 2013.

grabien logoHosts Can Now Conveniently Cut Their Own Clips. A new service recently launched that aims to take the technical know-how out of creating sound clips for radio.  Called Grabien, the site allows users to browse news videos, creating custom audio/video clips that come with transcripts.  Launched by the executive producer of The Peter Schiff Show and former long-time producer of The Laura Ingraham Show, Tom Elliott, the site was designed to be so simple that hosts could create their own clips. “Recognizing radio margins can be thin, I wanted to help shows that can’t afford a big production staff achieve the same professional sound as the biggest shows out there,” Elliott tells TALKERS. “Grabien posts the best news clips every day, making it an easy one-stop shop for quickly assembling a sound packet.” By helping keep production costs down, Elliott says he hopes the site will help stations preserve original programming.  For more information about this innovative service please click here.

slocumjoyceSlocum Named President/CEO of Texas Public Radio.  NPR chief administrative officer Joyce Slocum will begin her responsibilities as president/chief executive officer of Texas Public Radio starting January 6.  “I am delighted to join the wonderful team in building on the momentum to make TPR a vital resource to the community and a preeminent voice regarding the news, events and culture of the region,” the Dallas native and Southern Illinois University (B.A.) and St. Louis University School of Law (J.D.) graduate comments.  NPR acting president/chief executive officer Paul Haaga remarks, “Joyce has made many contributions to NPR over the years, including her pioneering work within our legal division during her time as general counsel, and leading the teams that moved NPR into our new building under budget and ahead of schedule.  We will certainly miss her but are thrilled she is staying in the public radio family.”  In 2011, Slocum was NPR’s interim president/CEO. Before joining NPR five years ago, she was general counsel at HIT Entertainment and supervising attorney for 7-Eleven.  San Antonio-based Texas Public Radio operates noncommercial talk KSTX and classical KPAC (both in San Antonio); talk-classical KTXI, Ingram; and talk KTPR, Snyder.

deanKVOCtowerThe Joy of Hearing One’s Syndicated Show in One’s Home Market.  In this era of remote broadcasting and crowded competition, it is not uncommon in talk radio for a syndicated talk show host to be without an affiliate in the market in which he or she actually lives.  Such was the case with Michael W. Dean, the talented co-host of the nationally syndicated Genesis Communications Network (GCN) program “The Freedom Feens.”  That was, until now — as the rapidly growing program has been cleared on KVOC in Dean’s hometown of Casper, Wyoming.  KVOC is owned by Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting which O&Os 14 stations in Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nevada.  Dean is pictured, in this artsy photo, listening to a DB of “The Freedom Feens” on his car radio parked in the shadow of KVOC’s tower.  Ah… the magic of it all!

kirofm logoSuper Cool Morning Gig Opening.  Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle is seeking to fill the shoes of Linda Thomas who is exiting the morning news anchor/host position in morning drive program.  The company says the successful candidate will have the backing of a 24/7 award-winning newsroom, the heritage brand of KIRO Radio, a market leading website MyNorthwest.com, all in a world-class international city with unparalleled quality of life.  Candidates must have integrity and be a credible news personality; must be exceptionally curious about both local and national news; must be intellectually honest and conduct entertaining, yet civil conversation while maintaining high energy and a sense of humor.  The morning news show will reflect the purpose at KIRO Radio: To connect entertainment to value; to connect discussion to understanding; to connect communities and enrich lives.  To apply, visit: here.