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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

| April 8, 2020

Cumulus Announces Furlough and Pay Cut Plans. It was the last of the large radio companies to take drastic measures, but Tuesday (4/7) Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner made her employees aware of the company’s plans via a video message.  Berner told her workforce that the Covid-19 plan was temporary and will be implemented in the coming days.  As part of the plan, Cumulus’ salaried staffers will take three non-consecutive weeks of furlough over the course of 15 weeks that begins on April 20.  For the group of employees who don’t have supervisors or don’t have anyone else who can cover for them, they will work for 90-days without pay, beginning April 16.  For those employees whose duties have been reduced or eliminated, they are on a 90-day furlough, starting April 16.  Berner said the company intends to bring all furloughed employees back when full-scale business operations resume.  She is taking a 50% pay cut during this period and says the executive leadership team is taking a 25% cut and is giving up incentive compensation for the year.  She said, “Even though these are intended to be temporary actions, I know they are going to land hard – really hard – and that is in the emotional and financial toll that a furlough or salary cut will take on each of you, but also in terms of the increased workload the vast majority of you will have to take on during your co-workers’ furlough weeks.  I am truly sorry and sad about this announcement.  None of you deserves this.”  It’s unclear how the company is dealing with its union-represented air staffers.

‘The Mighty 990’ in Memphis Offering Week of Free Advertising. Memphis news/talk KWAM-AM/W300DE “The Mighty 990” is offering small businesses in the Memphis market a free week of advertising.  Starnes Media Group says, “It’s just one significant way the news/talk radio station is lending a helping hand to the community during the global pandemic.”  Company CEO Dalton Glasscock adds, “We’ve covered the stories of neighbors and small businesses in this community sacrificing to help in this fight against our invisible enemy.  These people, their businesses, and their stories have inspired us to do what we can to help them and other businesses that need an extra hand during this time.”  The company adds that Glasscock and president Todd Starnes are not taking their salaries during the pandemic and are committed to their staffers.

‘Cats Roundtable’ to Air on WABC, New York. The nationally syndicated “Cats Roundtable with John Catsimatidis” begins airing on “TALK RADIO 77 WABC” in New York at 9:00 am this Sunday (4/12).  Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Media recently closed on its purchase of the radio station and assumed operations.  Catsimatidis’ show features “A-list guests from politics, business, science, and more.”  Guests on the program have included: Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senators Rand Paul, Richard Blumenthal, Kirsten Gillibrand, Charles Schumer, Secretary Hillary Clinton, and more.  Catsimatidis says, “It’s exciting for me to have my show on the legendary 77 WABC.  WABC is a staple in talk radio and a vital part of New York City.  I love New York, and I’m looking forward to welcoming all the new listeners from 77 WABC.”  Red Apple Media and WABC Radio president Chad Lopez says, “John’s personal relationships give him unprecedented access to world leaders and newsmakers.  We’re delighted to welcome ‘The Cats Roundtable’ to our lineup of great talk shows and to give our advertisers the opportunity to connect with John’s engaged listeners.”

TALKERS News Notes. The content creation deal between iHeartMedia and Aaron Mahnke is extended and includes two more years of new content for the popular “Cabinet of Curiosities” podcast, two new seasons of “Unobscured,” as well as an executive producer role for the newly launched hit “Strange Arrivals,” additional seasons of “Noble Blood” and a new scripted series set to launch this fall.  Additionally, the partnership will add a slate of five new podcasts to feature groundbreaking talent including Rabia Chaudry – attorney, advocate, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, Adnan’s Story…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM evening host Justin Kaufmann is returning to his public radio roots at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM to host a two-hour, Saturday afternoon call-in show on the coronavirus pandemic.  Before joining WGN five years ago, Kaufmann worked for WBEZ for 21 years…..Entercom sports talk WFAN, New York announces the second season of the Travelers Insurance-sponsored Sunday morning program, “Talkin’ Golf with Ann Liguori,” is airing on the station through June 28.  Entercom programming SVP Mark Chenoff comments, “Ann is a WFAN original and continues to serve as our premier golf reporter, also covering the U.S. Open Tennis Championship and other special events for the station.  No one is more dialed into the sport than Ann and we’re looking forward to the return of her show, giving listeners an inside look at movers and shakers in the game, including players, celebrities, authors, broadcasters and other newsmakers in the world of golf.”…..iHeartMedia Cleveland’s news/talk WTAM and rock WMMS-FM and three local TV outlets joined together last Saturday for a broadcast fundraising effort to help raise more than $150,000 for United Way of Greater Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to assist families in need during the Covid-19 crisis.

U.S. Coronavirus Cases and Death Toll, the Hydroxychloroquine Debate, Trump WHO Criticism, Wisconsin Primary, Acting Navy Secretary Resigns, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7). The number of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll; the debate over prescribing the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to combat the coronavirus; President Trump’s criticism of the World Health Organization and his threat to withhold U.S. funds from the organization; the decision to go ahead with Tuesday’s Democratic primary in Wisconsin; acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigns from his post after his controversial badmouthing of the USS Theodore Roosevelt captain; and the state of the presidential race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. International advocacy organization Global Citizen and the World Health Organization are presenting “One World: Together At Home” a program that will be globally televised and streamed in support of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.  It’s taking place on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 8:00 pm EDT on ABC, NBC, ViacomCBS Networks, iHeartMedia, and Bell Media networks and platforms in Canada.  “The virtual broadcast will show unity among all people who are affected by COVID-19 and will also celebrate and support brave healthcare workers doing life-saving work on the front lines.  At this critical moment in history, Global Citizen is also calling on philanthropists to join and support immediate COVID-19 response efforts as part of the organization’s Give While You Live effort. Investors, changemakers and foundation leaders are being urged to actualize their giving and invest quickly in related efforts like stronger health systems and vaccine development.”…..A casualty of the coronavirus-related programming changes at Entercom includes the end of “The TJ Show” on CHR WODS, Boston “103.3 AMP Radio.”  The program, hosted by TJ Taormina with co-hosts Loren and Producer Matt, has aired on the station since 2013.  Taormina served with iHeartMedia’s WHTZ, New York on the Elvis Duran program prior to joining WODS…..The Compass Media Networks-syndicated “DeDe in the Morning” program adds new affiliate stations: WLGZ, Rochester “105.5 The Beat,” KFXZ-FM, Lafayette, Louisiana; KJMP-AM,  Ft. Collins; KJMZ-FM, Woodward, Oklahoma; and KKST-FM, Alexandria, Louisiana.  DeDe McGuire states, “Our show is a family.  We share our laughs and reveal our personal stories about how we are coping with this pandemic and the new normal it’s creating in our lives.  We are all in this together.  Connecting to family, friends, and community is more important than ever.”…..Programming pro John Shomby exits his NASH director of programming position and WKDF, Nashville PD role with Cumulus Media.  He joined Cumulus in 2016 after serving as director of programming for Max Media’s Norfolk station group for 13 years.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

| March 19, 2020

WGN, Chicago Parts Company with Evening Personality Justin Kaufmann.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, evening talk host Justin Kaufmann leaves Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM after the company elected not to renew his contract.  Kaufmann joined WGN in 2015 after spending 21 years as a show producer at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM.  Feder says his sources expect Ji Suk Yi to move from her position as host of the “Wintrust Business Lunch” noontime program to host of the evening show.  Since Nexstar took over operation of the station from Tribune Media, on-air changes have included the exit of morning host Steve Cochran – replaced by Bob Sirott – and midday duo Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – whose former daypart was filled with a combination of the move of John Williams’ show to late mornings and Anna Davlantes leaving the Roe Conn afternoon drive show to host her own early afternoon program.

WNIR-FM, Akron Host Jim Isabella Out with Coronavirus. According to a report at CantonRep.com, WNIR, Akron evening talk show host Jim Isabella is off the air after contracting COVID-19.  Isabella tells the news organization he had flu-like symptoms last week and was hospitalized for pneumonia.  It was there he was tested for coronavirus and two days later learned the test was positive. He’s quoted saying, “Obey what the people are telling you.  I don’t know where the hell I got it.  You have to be smart… this is not a drill.”  Isabella says he has a cough and a rattle in his chest that makes it hard to talk for very long.

The Coronavirus Pandemic, Financial Markets Activity/Recession Fears, Coronavirus Relief Package, and Democratic Primary/Presidential Race, Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18).  The status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S and across the globe; the world’s financial markets endure another sell-off on Wednesday and economists express fear of a global recession as a result of the coronavirus; the coronavirus relief package and potential stimulus packages being considered by the Trump administration; and Joe Biden’s growing lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Round Three of Nielsen’s February PPM’s Posted. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey is released for 12 markets, including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus.  The February PPM survey covered January 30 through February 26.  You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian posts his Ratings Takeaways from the second round.  Positive movement from these markets include: Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM, Washington adds four-tenths to finish the ratings period at a 7.3 share and the #3 rank in the market; Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington also added four tenths to wrap the month at a 7.8 share and tied for the #1 rank; Entercom’s all-news WWJ, Detroit tacks a half share onto January’s four-tenths to finish the February survey at a 4.8 share and the #6 rank; iHeartMedia’s conservative talk KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7” adds another three-tenths, posting a 3.6 share and the #13 rank; and Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore puts another half share on top of seven consecutive ratings gains for a 4.4 share and the #8 rank in the market.  See all of Mike Kinosian’s Takeaways here.

New York Festivals Radio Awards Announces 2020 Finalists. The 2020 New York Festivals Radio Awards International Grand Jury has selected the finalists in this year’s competition.  All finalists move on to the medal round of judging.  New York Festivals Radio Awards will announce the 2020 award winners on Tuesday, April 21.  The Grand Jury selected the finalists based on the following criteria: production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. New York Festivals says prominent broadcasters that took the lead include: RTÉ Ireland, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBS News Radio, and Radio New Zealand. You can see the complete list of finalists here. Meanwhile, other U.S. broadcasters of note to make the medal round include: in the Podcast category – “30 for 30 Podcasts: Season 6,” ESPN Films, “Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith” Spotify; “Dolly Parton’s America,” OSM Audio/ WNYC Studios; and “Sleepwalkers,” iHeartMedia.  In the Breaking News, Feature and Investigative categories: “75th Anniversary of D-Day,” Westwood One; “Protests Grip Hong Kong,” Bloomberg LP; “CBS World News Roundup” and “Notre Dame,” CBS News Radio.

TALKERS News Notes. The New Jersey Broadcasters Association announces it is canceling this year’s Annual Conference & Gala, originally scheduled for June 16 and 17 in Atlantic City.  President and CEO Paul Rotella says, “That’s not something we wanted to do, because we enjoy that event and we were very much looking forward to it.  Like you, we treasure the opportunity to shine a spotlight on our magnificent industry, especially this year when we were going to celebrate the century of service provided by broadcasters.  But our number-one priority at this time is health and safety, and the CDC’s guidelines make clear that gatherings over 50 people should be avoided for at least the next eight weeks, and of course that makes our planning futile. (It was going to be great too!) But, the show will go on my friends, if not this year, then next year.”…..John FredericksDisruptor Media LLC buys WNTW-AM, Chester, Virginia and translator W224EB, Chester at 92.7 FM in the Richmond market from Nancy A. Epperson’s Delmarva Educational Association for $240,000.  This pair will become part of the John Fredericks Radio Network based at his WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia…..Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois-based Big Radio is creating an online directory connecting consumers with the innovative ways that local businesses are continuing to serve them during the COVID-19 emergency.  The directory provides information on local restaurants, retailers, and other businesses that are offering services while still complying with the health emergency directives.  Listings are updated on a regular basis and are being provided free of charge to businesses in the Big Radio family of stations coverage area.  Big Radio co-owner Ben Thompson says, “Local businesses are the biggest supporters of our community and we wanted to find a way to help them publicize changes in their operations so that community residents could lend a hand by continuing to shop local.”  Big Radio is the business brand of Scott and Ben Thompson who own 10 stations and other businesses throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

KMZQ, Las Vegas Morning Host Heidi Harris Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Although every corner of the nation and world have been hit hard by the coronavirus, Las Vegas has been particularly impacted due to the preponderance of hospitality and travel-oriented industries that make the market tick.  KMZQ, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harris, a 22-year veteran of Las Vegas broadcasting, and Harrison take a conversational deep dive into the coronavirus-era machinations of the “gig economy” as well as state of the convention, travel, hospitality, and gambling industries in a fascinating, fast-paced program with lots of takeaways.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the New York market Mediaco Holdings appoints Jonathan Bates vice president of brand partnerships for hip hop WQHT “Hot 97” and urban contemporary WBLS.  Bates has been serving as executive vice president for The Shadow League, a “website dedicated to presenting journalistically sound sports coverage through the lens of culture.”  Mediaco SVP of revenue Victor Giacomelli says, “Jonathan is an exceptional digital sales and marketing leader whose 20 years of digital experience will enable us to accelerate opportunities for clients to benefit from the wide array of authentic ‘Hot 97’ digital content opportunities.  Jonathan is expected to recruit a team of multicultural digital marketing specialists to partner with clients on a variety of ‘Hot 97’ digital and social opportunities.”…..iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108” is presenting a Billie Eilish experience this evening to offer fans who would have attended Eilish’s canceled concert in town tonight (3/19).  At 7:30 pm, the station will play Eilish’s music, interview clips, and listeners sharing their Billie thoughts and stories.  Station PD Dylan Sprague states, “Since her show at the Garden has been postponed, it’s the best way for fans to join together in our love for Billie Eilish.  If we were at the show, we’d be all singing these songs together.  Why not belt ‘em out at home?”

Thursday, November 21, 2019

| November 21, 2019

Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder Out in New WGN, Chicago Program Schedule. Two months after new management ousted station manager Todd Manley from his role at WGN, Chicago and hinted more changes were on the horizon, the Nexstar-owned news/talk outlet announces its new programming lineup and late morning duo Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder are the odd couple out.  After the close of the Tribune-Nexstar deal, Sean Compton became executive vice president and director of news and operations Mary Sandberg Boyle was named interim programming manager.  Yesterday (11/20), Boyle announced the changes via internal email.  Among the changes effective December 2 are: Steve Cochran’s morning show starts an hour earlier, airing from 5:00 am to 9:00 am; John Williams moves from his current 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Ji Suk Yi takes over hosting the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm “Wintrust Business Lunch” show; and Anna Davlantes leaves the co-host role on the afternoon drive Roe Conn program to host her own 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm talk show.  Conn remains in afternoons, followed by Justin Kaufmann from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, followed by Nick Digilio from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am.  WGN will simulcast the “WGN-TV Early Morning News” from 4:00 am to 5:00 am.  Read Chicago media writer Robert Feder’s coverage here.

WPHT, Philadelphia’s Rich Zeoli Interviews President Trump. Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive personality Rich Zeoli interviewing President Trump in the Oval Office as part of Tuesday’s White House Radio Row on the United States Mexico Canada trade deal.  The president also talked about the 2020 election and the impeachment hearings.  Zeoli says, “The president was incredibly gracious with his time and said how much he loves talk radio.”  Photo: Andrea Hanks

John Fredericks Show Interviews VP Mike Pence. At Tuesday’s White House Radio Row on the USMCA treaty, Virginia talk station owner and statewide talk radio personality John Fredericks (right) posed for a photo with Vice President Mike Pence (left) and Fredericks’ wife, Anne (center), who serves as CFO of the John Fredericks Network.

Cumulus Inks ‘The Ticket’ Morning Show ‘The Musers’ to Multiyear Extension. Dallas sports talkers George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith – collectively known as “The Musers” – sign contract extensions to continue hosting the morning drive show on Cumulus Media’s sports talk KCTK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket.”  The Cumulus Dallas-Houston regional vice president Dan Bennett says, “For 25 years, the Morning Musers’ George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith have performed at a market dominant level and we are excited that will continue for many more years in Dallas!”  The Musers comment, “We are very pleased to continue our longstanding relationship with Cumulus and the wonderful leadership of the Dallas/Fort Worth market.  This company has made us feel appreciated and we are extremely thankful for their support of such a special station.  ‘The Ticket’ in Dallas/Fort Worth is our home and the bond that we have with our listeners is something we will cherish for as long as we breathe.”

Salem Covers A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Premiere. Above is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) interviewing director Marielle Heller (right) at last night’s premiere of the SONY Pictures film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.  The film stars Tom Hanks as television icon Fred Rogers.  The premiere took place in Pittsburgh where the “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” TV show was produced at WQED-TV.

Skyview Networks Sponsors Panels at MLB Rightsholders Conference. The photo above shows the participants in this year’s MLB Audio Rightsholders Conference in Las Vegas.  More than 20 teams and organizations participated in panels covering technology, audio sales strategies, and the future of emerging non-terrestrial mediums.  Digital content captured the main focus of the conversations as franchises shared strategies for monetizing this evolving platform.  Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones says, “Skyview Networks is proud to return as the title sponsor of this conference, which hosts an innovative group of baseball and broadcast executives as they discuss the critical role radio and digital audio play in fan engagement.  We look forward to developing additional technology to serve our partners in this evolving audio space.”  Additional panel topics included maximizing ad sales with an emphasis on innovative features and creating awareness for franchises’ ancillary digital content, especially concerning podcasts.  As the digital listenership rapidly increases, the franchises are hyper-focused on monetizing the platform.

TALKERS News Notes. The NM Political Report says that KIVA-AM/K229CL, Albuquerque owner Eddy Aragon is considering running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Tom Udall, who is not running for re-election.  Aragon – a staunch conservative – hosts the afternoon show on the station branded, “the Rock of Talk.”  He tells NM Political Report this is something he’s only considering at this point. “You have to imagine the tremendous sacrifice that I have to consider.  Being off [the air] during the year Donald Trump is running in 2020, that’s a sacrifice to my radio station.”…..KIDO, Boise morning drive talk host Kevin Miller is pictured below talking to KTVB-TV, Boise news about his annual Miller’s Mission Turkey Drive to help provide the hungry and homeless in Boise with a warm dinner for the holidays.  The goal is to collect 3,000 turkeys for the Boise Rescue Mission Ministries.  Each year Miller dons his turkey suit and broadcasts live from a local Walmart parking lot to collect turkeys and cash donations.

Impeachment Testimony, 2020 Presidential Race/Atlanta Debate, Epstein Case/Prince Andrew Troubles, U.S.-China Trade Talks/Hong Kong Human Rights Act, and Mexicans Sue Walmart Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/20). Wednesday’s impeachment hearing with testimony from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Wednesday’s Atlanta debates; the investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s death and the aftermath of Prince Andrew’s BBC interview; U.S. trade talks with China and the U.S. House’s Hong Kong Human Rights Act; and Mexicans’ suit against Walmart over the mass shooting in El Paso were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Robyn Simone exits Cumulus Media’s urban contemporary WLXC, Columbia, South Carolina “Kiss 103.1” where she’d been serving as program director for the past year.  She says, “Working at Cumulus Media in Columbia was a challenge, but I gained a lot of knowledge in my short time there.  As the program director/air talent for ‘Kiss 103.1,’ I’m a stronger and more knowledgeable PD because the experience.  I would like to thank [VP programming operations] John Dimick and VP/urban programming Kenny Smoov for the opportunity and their commitment to set new standards for urban radio.”

Friday, March 8, 2019

| March 8, 2019

WGN, Chicago Brings Back ‘Extension 720’ with Host Justin Kaufmann. The original “Extension 720” was hosted by the late Milt Rosenberg for 40 years but was canceled by station management in 2012.  Now, the Tribune Media station announces that Justin Kaufmann will leave his role with the morning drive Steve Cochran program to take over hosting the new 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm show.  Pete Zimmerman will serve as producer.  WGN station manager and VP on content Todd Manley says the new show will honor the format of Rosenberg’s program with long-form interviews.  Kaufmann will also “meet Chicago voices on location in the communities and neighborhoods where they live and work and will focus on a variety of topics, from arts & culture to politics and innovation.”  Monday evenings will still belong to “Andrea Darlas & The Reporters” and sports play-by-play will bump the show from time to time.  Kaufmann has been with WGN since joining from public media outlet WBEZ-FM in 2015.  He says, “I’m honored and humbled to be at the helm of one of the best radio shows in Chicago history.”

WHO, Des Moines Goes ‘All-Female’ in Honor of International Women’s Day. In recognition of today’s International Women’s Day, iHeartMedia news/talk WHO, Des Moines is presenting a lineup of entirely female hosts.  WHO’s International Women’s Day program lineup will include: Bonnie Lucas, Leila Rush, and Heather Burnside-Parizek from 1460 KXnO as hosts for “Van and Bonnie in the Morning,” with WHO personality Adrianne Branstad and WHO news director Wendy Wilde as hosts for “Need to Know with Jeff Angelo,” and WHO news anchor Sue Danielson as the host for “The Simon Conway Show.”  WHO program director Michael Dorwart says, “As a company we aim to celebrate the contributions of women in music and radio year-round and on International Women’s Day we are highlighting our accomplished radio personalities even more as we support and promote gender balance in the workplace and the world.”  The station adds that in addition to broadcasting 1040 WHO’s most renowned on-air personalities and hosts, the International Women’s Day programming will showcase a variety of different topics that inspire women – ranging from sports, business, and agriculture.  Cristen Clark, a successful farmer and founder of agricultural website Food and Swine, will be featured on-air with several successful women in Iowa agriculture and will be joined by co-host and producer, Morgan McEnany.  To end the day, 1040 WHO will also broadcast coverage of the nationally ranked University of Iowa women’s basketball team as they play their first game of the Big 10 Conference Tournament.

KYW, Philadelphia Personalities Seek Federal Mediator in Union Negotiations. A report by Philadelphia Business Journal’s Jeff Blumenthal indicates that the SAG-AFTRA-represented on-air staffers at Entercom’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia are asking for federal mediation to resolve their issues in contract negotiations with the company. As TALKERS reported previously, SAG-AFTRA publicly called out Entercom for what it is now calling “low-balling” during negotiations for the all-news stations previously owned by CBS RADIO.  Entercom responded, saying: “These discussions include contracts that had been open for years prior to our merger with CBS RADIO, as well as more recently expired agreements.  We prefer to negotiate directly with SAG-AFTRA and our employees, not publicly, and do not intend to comment further.”  Local SAG-AFTRA president Sam Clover tells the PBJ, “We’ve bargained for years with CBS RADIO and never had to take this step, but now we’re dealing with a new company who won’t compromise, so we’re reaching out for help.”  Most cutting to KYW talent is the company’s desire to cut severance benefits by 50% to 90%, according to the story.  Read it here.

PPM Analysis: January 2019 Pacesetters. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian looks at the January 2019 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio to see which formats/specific stations are in the lead (#1 and #2) positions in their respective markets.  Interestingly, while no news/talk station finished #2 in its market, five news/talk stations ranked #1 (6+) in the market during the January survey.  They were: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento and WLW, Cincinnati; Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5”; and Cox’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville. See the whole report here.

PodcastOne and Law & Crime Network Team Up. A new deal between PodcastOne and the Dan Abrams-founded Law & Crime will include a series of new podcasts focusing on the worlds of law and true-crime.   Law & Crime is a 24/7 linear and OTT live trial network.  The first podcast to debut is the self-titled “Dan Abrams Podcast,” set to release new episodes every Thursday.  Abrams says, “Law & Crime is excited to expand its distribution to yet another important medium.  Our partnership with PodcastOne will allow us share some amazing stories with expert legal analysis to a new audience.”

TALKERS News Notes. Boston sports media personality Kirk Minihane is the subject of a profile piece in Boston Magazine.  Last fall, Minihane refused to sign a document promising to not attack the Boston Red Sox or the Boston Globe and to “not be mean-spirited” on the radio and that led to his departure from the WEEI, Boston morning show with co-host Gerry Callahan.  But, he’s still with Entercom, working on his own program emanating from the company’s RADIO.COM platform.  The piece recounts Minihane’s battle with depression and how WEEI changed its morning show…..Envision Networks and the GAB Radio Network are partnering to distribute 14 of the latter’s talk programs to radio stations.  GAB’s shows cover topics including news, sports, music, lifestyle, and more.  GAB general manager Chuck Duncan says, “GAB Radio has become one of the premier production and distribution companies in network radio.  Partnering with Envision was the natural progression to our growth strategy.  Their unbridled vision and outstanding team are an extension of GAB Radio Network.”…..iHeartMedia announces Annette Geiser is promoted to SVP of sales for its Colorado Springs and Pueblo markets that include news/talk KCSJ, Pueblo.  Geiser was most recently a senior account executive.  Market president Jessica Farias says, “I’m excited to have Annette step up and take on this leadership role as the senior vice president of sales.  Annette’s depth of knowledge in the Colorado Springs and Pueblo markets along with her deep relationships are key in leading a best-in-class sales team at iHeartMedia Colorado Springs and Pueblo.”…..Entercom sports talker WIP, Philadelphia is presenting the annual live event “SportsRadio 94WIP Birds Town Hall” – a discussion about the state of the Philadelphia Eagles led by WIP on-air personalities and featuring various NFL and Eagles experts.  It’s taking place all day at MaGerks Pub & Grill in Horsham, Pennsylvania…..Podcast company Cadence13, is presenting the SXSW Podcast Stage at this year’s SXSW in Austin taking place today through March 17. The SXSW Podcast Stage presented by Cadence13 will host podcasts across a number of genres — music, film, technology, comedy, politics, and more — recorded in front of a live audience during the SXSW conference…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Wachs” show is added to the daily lineup of Spirit Broadcasting’s WINT-AM, Willoughby, Ohio (Cleveland market).

Cohen Sues Trump Organization Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 4-8, 2019. Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s suit against the Trump Organization and his congressional testimony about President Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the U.S. House investigation into President Trump for obstruction of justice and more.  Coming in at #3 was the Trump-Russia probe and the related sentencing of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, followed by the state of the U.S.-Mexico border 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 and Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Morning Talk on a Classic Rock Station: Mike “Bax” Baxendale is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The co-host of what is pound-for-pound one of the most successful talk shows on American radio, Mike “Bax” Baxendale, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  For the past 24 years, Baxendale has co-hosted the “Bax & O’ Brien Show” with his team-mate, John O’ Brien in mornings on the Saga Communications powerhouse classic rock station, WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts.  The all-talk show is an eclectic blend of local and national politics, regional issues, pop culture, lifestyle trends, frivolous “locker room” banter and compellingly candid insights into the personal lives of the show’s participants.  “Rock 102” boasts a “flame thrower” signal that radiates far beyond Springfield and Western Massachusetts to blanket the neighboring market of Hartford, Connecticut – going far north into Vermont, south to New Haven and west into parts of New York State.  Michael Harrison says, “Saga doesn’t need to subscribe to the ratings to sell advertising on this gem of a property in its primary listening area – the team of Bax and O’ Brien are superstars in this heavily populated region of New England.  Their success and impact are self-evident.  They are household names and two of the most beloved ‘bad boys’ I’ve ever seen in radio.  They are examples of the sheer power of this medium when done properly with authenticity and consistency.  They are also wonderful examples of the growing number of ‘all-talk’ shows that have popped up over the years on FM music stations – shows that defy the narrow, self-imposed restrictions that have come to define programming on traditional AM news/talk outlets.”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right hand-column of the TALKERS email newsletter or on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Jacksonville station WWJK-FM flips from adult hits to rock as “107.3 Planet Radio,” anchored by the morning drive “Lex and Terry” show.  The station is featuring core artists such as: AC/DC, Nirvana, Metallica, Linkin Park, and Sublime. iHeartMedia Jacksonville SVP of programming G-Wiz says, “Planet Radio is Jacksonville’s best rock station ever.  The legendary Planet Radio not only features Jacksonville’s highest rated morning show, ‘Lex and Terry,’ but has the hardest working, 24/7 radio staff.  I’m excited to have ‘Planet Radio’ back at its original frequency 107.3.”…..In San Francisco, morning personality Elvis Medina exits Entercom’s alternative KITS “ALT 105.3” and co-host Daena “DK” Kramer continues as solo host.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

| June 6, 2018

Ron Hartenbaum, Sue Freund and Scott Calka Launch New Ad Sales Company with Offices in New York and Los Angeles.  Three high-profile industry veterans have formed a new company, Crossover Media Group Sales, specifically developed to provide advertising-sales representation across multiple platforms for an array of established and emerging program personalities and formats.  Managing members are Scott Calka, a veteran of advertising sales for organizations including Comcast SpotlightDirecTVFox Sports and Madison Square Garden; sales pro Sue Freund, who most recently served for a decade as VP of sales for the Western Region for SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and who is opening the Los Angeles office of Crossover Media Group Sales; and well-known impresario Ron Hartenbaum, a veteran of advertising agencies including Needham and Grey, later serving as VP of sales for Westwood One before becoming a founding partner of MediaAmerica and CEO of Jones Radio Networks. The new company is an extension of New York-based Crossover Media Group, which was launched by Hartenbaum and Calka in 2017 as a content-creation and advertising-sales consulting firm.  “Until relatively recently, media personalities and content providers have not had a strategy to monetize their efforts fully beyond a single platform,” Hartenbaum tells TALKERS.  “Crossover Media Group Sales is equipped to help content creators maximize their ad revenue regardless of delivery platform.”  Calka states, “We believe we have developed the first truly cross-platform ad-sales structure to best serve the needs of content partners whose origins are in the audio and digital-video sectors.  The future of ‘TV’ revolves around non-linear video consumption.  To monetize the millennial audience, personalities, content providers and brands need to have a strategy for this platform.”  Freund states, “There is a strong and surprisingly untapped market for advertising to support personalities and brands seeking to maximize revenue potential across all the platforms available to them.  If you have an audio presence, we can be your video partner.  If you have a video brand but have had difficulty breaking through the clutter, we can help.  We understand cross-platform branding, promotion and monetization, and how to serve the needs of content providers, media buyers and brands alike.”   Crossover Media Group Sales’ initial clients include a variety of radio and podcast products by Stephanie Miller, audio personalities Thom HartmannDean Obeidallah, and the team of Michael Steele and Rick Ungar, all of whom have programs on SiriusXM.  The company’s video-streaming program-network partners include Political Voices Network, co-launched this year by former CNN and MSNBC executive David Bohrman, and Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN), which also is carried on SiriusXM and which was launched by veteran sportscaster Brent Musburger and his nephew Brian Musburger.  VSiN has been cited in press reports among the significant potential beneficiaries of the Supreme Court’s recent decision permitting states to have legal sports betting.

WGN, Chicago Makes Changes to Morning and Evening Shows.  From the Windy City, Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago is tweaking the on-air lineup in.  Evening personality Justin Kaufmann – host of “The Download” from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm – is becoming a permanent contributor to the Steve Cochran morning drive program.  Now, the morning program will consist of Kaufmann, Dave Eanet, Mary Sandberg Boyle, Steve Grzanich, Mary Van De Velde, Joe Romano, and Pete Zimmerman. At the same time, morning show personality Andrea Darlas moves to evenings where she’ll co-host and handle news duties on the Patti Vasquez show that moves into the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm slot.  Cochran comments, “I have mixed emotions. I’ll miss Andrea but I’m excited for her and Patti. And it will be great to have Justin on the show.  He’s smart, funny, and inexplicably willing to get up at a ridiculous hour.”

Hudson Valley Talk Host Tom Sipos Honored by Council of Industry. WKIP, Poughkeepsie, New York morning host Tom Sipos has been honored by the Council of Industry with its 2018 Manufacturing Champions Public Sector Award for “relentlessly calling attention to the important role manufacturing plays in our regional and national economy.”  Sipos was co-owner of Sipos Insurance for nearly 40 years and now hosts “Hudson Valley Focus LIVE” on the iHeartMedia news/talk station.  He served on the boards and was past chairman of the Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation and Workforce Investment Board, and chairman of the SUNY New Paltz School of Business Advisory Council.  He currently serves on the advisory board of the Dutchess B.O.C.E.S Career and Technology Institute and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County.  He was the founder of The Dutchess Alliance for Human Needs.  Sipos says, “What a great thing it is to be honored by the Council of Industry, The Manufacturers Association of the Hudson Valley.  I truly appreciate this award and will continue to promote manufacturing and technical education as key components of a healthy, dynamic economy.”

Entercom Stations Grab 17 New York State AP Association Awards. Three of Entercom’s New York all-news and news/talk stations garnered a total of 17 2017 New York State Associated Press Association awards.  The organization’s annual newspaper and broadcast contest honors important journalism. Forty-six radio and television stations submitted more than 524 entries in the annual awards.  All-news WCBS-AM, New York and sister WINS, New York picked up 11 first and second place awards.  News/Talk WBEN-AM, Buffalo took home six first and second place awards.

TALKERS News Notes. Charlotte sports talk personality Chris Kroeger is leaving his position with Beasley Media Group’s WFNZ “The Fan” to become the radio play-by-play voice of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.  As reported in the Charlotte Business Journal, Kroeger will take over for Steve Martin, who retired following the regular season.  Kroeger is a Charlotte native who beat out 10 finalists (from a pool of “hundreds”) to get the gig.  He says Martin voiced some of his own personal best sports moments. Kroeger continues, “Steve Martin narrated so many of those memories on radio and television.  It truly is the opportunity of a lifetime to be his successor and to broadcast a new era of Hornets basketball for the next generation of fans.”…..ABC News Radio says its coverage of the U.S.-North Korea Summit from Singapore will begin on Sunday (6/10).  It will be anchored by Karen Travers with reporting by Tara Palmeri.  The ABC News Radio team says it will provide live coverage as needed, one-hour specials, special reports and one-minute status reports…..NBC Sports Radio and Westwood One are presenting national radio coverage of the 150th Belmont Stakes – the final leg of this year’s Triple Crown on Saturday (6/9).  The broadcast is in conjunction with the Horse Racing Radio Network. Mike Penna will anchor and be joined by Kurt Becker.  Longtime horse race owner and radio executive Dan Mason and horse racing reporter Tom Leach and Steve Goldstein will contribute to the coverage, while former jockey Jeff Bloom will serve as trackside reporter. NBC Sports’ Larry Collmus will call play-by-play of the race…..Former Alpha Media programmer Jeff Beck – who served with the Fredericksburg cluster that included news/talk WNTX – died on Monday (6/4) after a lengthy illness.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Manafort Allegations, U.S.-North Korea Summit, Trump Uninvites Eagles, Clinton-Lewinsky Flap, Facebook’s Data Sharing with China, Tuesday Primary Elections, the NBA Finals, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/5).  The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents and allegations Paul Manafort has tampered with witnesses; the scheduled summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore; the controversy over President Trump uninviting the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles to the White House; former President Clinton’s response to his Monica Lewinsky affair viewed through the #MeToo movement light; Facebook accused of sharing data with four Chinese firms; Tuesday’s primary elections; the Warriors-Cavaliers NBA Finals; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programmer and air personality Trevor Morini is moving from Tulsa – where he’s been PD and afternoon host at iHeartMedia’s “92.1 The Beat” – to Austin to program the company’s CHR KHFI “96.7 KISS FM” and alternative KASE-HD2 “ALT 97.5.”  Morini says, “I am beyond excited for the opportunity to work with the great team in Austin and can’t wait to get started!  I can’t thank Don Cristi and Jon Phillips enough for everything they’ve done for me in Tulsa.  I would not be ready for this next chapter without their guidance and support.  I’d also like to thank Tony Coles, Brian Gann, and Matt Martin for allowing me the honor of programming such a legendary station as KHFI!”…..On Monday and Tuesday (6/4-5), Premiere Networks engaged more than 120 iHeartCountry music radio stations and Premiere-syndicated affiliates at the exclusive 2018 CMT Music Awards radio remote broadcast in Nashville.  Pictured below at the event are CMT and Premiere staffers with country outfit Old Dominion.  From left to right: CMT Radio executive producer Ashlee McDonald, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Old Dominion’s Trevor Rosen and Matthew Ramsey, CMT After MidNite/CMT Radio Live host Cody Alan, Old Dominion’s Geoff Sprung and Whit Sellers, CMT After MidNite/CMT Radio Live correspondent Marley Sherwood and Old Dominion’s Brad Tursi.