Emmis Announces Promotions at ‘The Fan’ and WIBC-FM in Indy. At Emmis Communications in Indianapolis, the company announces a series of promotions and changes in the programming department that largely affect sports talk “93.5 FM & 107.5 FM The Fan.” David Wood remains vice president of programming for the entire Emmis Indianapolis cluster and he adds programming responsibilities of both “The Fan” and news/talk WIBC-FM. Wood previously programmed “The Fan” from 2010-2013. Todd Meyer is promoted to assistant program director of “The Fan” from his previous role as executive producer. Matt Hibbeln continues in his role as assistant program director for WIBC-FM and will assume additional programming responsibilities. Emmis Indianapolis market president Taja Graham states, “Collectively, these three Emmis programming veterans have more than 60 years of experience at Emmis Indianapolis and have all shown an enduring commitment to these iconic Indianapolis brands. The continuity they bring, coupled with their creativity and hard work, will ensure Emmis Indianapolis continues to grow and serve as the market leader.”
Rachel Vigil Named Digital Host/Producer at ‘104.3 The Fan’ in Denver. Sports talk outlet KKFN-FM, Denver “104.3 The Fan” announces that Rachel Vigil joins the station as its new digital host/producer. Bonneville Denver says Vigil’s content will be distributed on the station’s social media platforms and website, DenverFan.com. She’ll also be making regular radio appearances with 104.3 The Fan’s on-air talent. Vigil was most recently serving with the Western Athletic Conference, where she spent the past three years as their on-air talent and broadcasting coordinator. Also, during the past three years, she worked as host and reporter for Kroenke Sports and Entertainment’s Colorado Rapids, including with Altitude Sports. KKFN-FM program director Raj Sharan says, “Rachel’s infectious personality and lifelong passion for Denver sports just explodes through the camera and onto your screen. We can’t wait to watch her creativity run wild creating all types of content as the face of The Fan’s digital brand.”
Edison Research: Streaming Accounts for 12% of Radio Listening. According to data from the most recent Share of Ear study from Edison Research, 12% of all AM/FM radio listening is being done via streaming, while 88% of listening is to an over-the-air radio signal. Edison Research director of research Laura Ivey says, “There are many outlets for Americans to listen to free broadcast radio, including the smartphones that we know are ubiquitous in our population. To realize growth, radio has to capitalize on its content being available beyond just a traditional radio receiver. We know that the pandemic has shifted U.S. listeners from their cars, where traditional radio is easily available, to their homes, where radio must be accessed on different devices. The challenge is how to convince listeners to follow radio content on different devices – radio not on ‘a radio.’” See more about Share of Ear here.
Radio Hall of Fame Announces 2021 Inductees Plus 33 Legends of Radio to Take Their Place in the HoF. The Museum of Broadcast Communications reveals the eight new inductees into the Radio Hall of Fame for 2021 as well as a new class of Legacy inductees. The 2021 Radio Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at the in-person 2021 Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday, October 28, at Chicago’s Wintrust Grand Banking Hall. This year’s inductees are: Brother Wease – Radio 95.1, Rochester, Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more); Elliot Segal – DC 101, Washington, Active Local/Regional (10 years or more); Dan Patrick – The Dan Patrick Show, Longstanding Networks/Syndication (20 years or more); Kim Komando – The Kim Komando Show, Active Network/Syndication (10 Years or more); Javier Romero – WAMR-FM/Amor 107.5, Music Format On-Air Personality; Preston & Steve – 93.3 WMMR, Philadelphia, Spoken Word On-Air Personality; Erica Farber, President and CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau; and Bill Siemering, Founding Director of Programming and Founding Member of the Board of Directors, NPR. In addition, to honor the 100th year of radio, the Radio Hall of Fame has established a Legends induction, recognizing the talents and efforts of air personalities, programmers and operators who although they have died, spent their lives contributing their talents to the industry. While the industry celebrates 100 years of existence, the industry’s Hall of Fame is only 33 years into existence. The centennial milestone provides an opportunity to recognize the talents and efforts of 33 individuals in 2021, as well. Late spoken-word broadcasters in this group include: Dr. Joy Browne, syndicated talk radio air personality based from WOR-AM, New York; Barry Gray, talk radio air personality in 1940-1980s in New York on WOR and WMCA; and Toni Grant, talk radio air personality in Los Angeles in 1970-1980s on KABC-AM and others via syndication. Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin states, “I’m thrilled to welcome this deserving Class of 2021 and look forward to celebrating their inductions in late October in Chicago. In addition, it’s my honor to announce and recognize the talents of individuals who provided the foundation for so much of our industry’s success but have not been yet recognized by this institution. These individuals have earned their place within the Radio Hall of Fame. We used the opportunity of this medium’s 100th anniversary to undertake a review of the industry’s past performers and operators, to identify a select group of industry legends that left us before they could be properly recognized. We honor their contributions and their memory by these inductions.” See more about the inductees here.
Glenn Beck Show Helps Raise $27 million for Rescue of Christians in Afghanistan. The nationally syndicated “Glenn Beck Program” is working with his Nazarene Fund to raise money to rescue the estimated 5,000 Christians – mostly women and children – trapped in Afghanistan. Last week, Beck asked listeners to his Premiere Networks show to “give until it hurts” with the goal of raising $20 million by Friday. Through Beck’s non-profit Mercury One, The Nazarene Fund works to rescue Christians and other religious minorities from persecution and slavery in the Middle East and across the globe. His listeners responded and by the end of Thursday’s radio program, donations reached $13 million, and by Friday morning, they exceeded $20 million. To date, the total raised is $27 million. Beck says, “In times like these, what I believe to be the greatest audience ever assembled, has given me, the Afghan people, and the world, something so important right now – HOPE. It’s the power of one.”
TALKERS News Notes. This Thursday (8/26), at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the latest in a series of Town Hall broadcasts to help New Jersey deal with the ongoing pandemic. New Jersey 101.5’s Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments in helping New Jersey get ready to return to the classroom after more than a year of remote and hybrid learning. He says, “From learning loss to social anxiety, students will be dealing with many issues as they go back to school. We will provide clarity on a variety of topics from mask mandates to after-school activities and sports.” The program’s on-air panel will feature: Richard Bozza, executive director at the New Jersey Association of School Administrators; Dr. Steven Tobias, a noted child psychologist and the director of the Center for Child & Family Development in Morristown; and representatives from the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union. Scott and his guests will also answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour…..Independent Broadcasters Association members will have the opportunity to hear from Michael Doyle “The Sales MD” this Thursday (8/26) at 4:00 pm ET during a sales webinar. IBA CEO Ron Stone says, “Michael Doyle is the man behind many of radio’s biggest sales success stories over the past 25 years and he will share his thoughts on how radio can take advantage of the sales landscape post COVID-19 in this IBA members only webinar.”…..SiriusXM talk personality Joe Madison will co-emcee this weekend’s March On For Voting Rights in Washington DC with R&B singer and radio host Al B. Sure! The two hosts will lead a day-long march through Washington, DC and the speaker’s program which will include human and civil rights leaders like Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, and many others who will issue a call to action to pass federal voting rights legislation.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces 2021 Leadership Awards. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces the recipients of the 2021 Leadership Awards that are given annually in recognition of career contributions to the broadcast industry and the community at-large. The Awards will be presented at the Broadcasters Foundation Annual Breakfast, 7:00 am, Tuesday, October 12 in the Brahms Room of the Encore Hotel in Las Vegas, during the NAB Show. This year’s honorees are: Byron Allen, founder, chairman, and CEO, Allen Media Group; Pierre Bouvard, chief insights officer, Cumulus Media; Ralph Oakley, president and CEO, Quincy Media; Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group; and Dennis Wharton, retired, EVP, media relations, National Association of Broadcasters. The Broadcasters Foundation will also present the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award during the Breakfast. That honoree will be announced shortly.
Afghanistan, COVID-19, Global Shipping Woes, Flooding & Wildfires, Newsom Recall, and Hochul Replaces Cuomo Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/23). The U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban’s takeover, and the blame being laid on President Joe Biden; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the battle over mask and vaccine mandates, and the Pfizer vaccine gets FDA approval; the COVID-affected global shipping network and its effect on retail supplies; the deadly flooding in Middle Tennessee and the wildfires ravaging California; the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom; and Kathy Hochul takes over for Andrew Cuomo as governor of New York were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pending Business: Rules. Sales pro Steve Lapa says the great “disruptors” of our time have one thing in common: they break the rules but in doing so deliver a clear benefit. Lapa says he encounters rules in the radio sales business that appear to be there to benefit only the seller – not the advertiser. “Makes you wonder if those rules are impacting the two R’s that help guide sales management: Revenue and Recruitment. Where are the sales disruptors in those organizations? Maybe those organizations stopped listening to the customer and just went with convenient old-school thinking.” Read his column here.
Monday Memo: Play the Hits. “If the last year-and-a-half has taught us anything,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons, “it’s that anything could happen, at any time, and disrupt the life routine of which we want our work to be the soundtrack.” So, barring the unforeseen, this week’s column recommends “four topics of extreme relevance.” Read it here.
COVID-19 Cases, Vaccinations & Mask Mandates/Obama Birthday Bash, Climate Change/Western Wildfires, Andrew Cuomo Harassment Allegations, Infrastructure Bill, 2020 Election Denial, and Taliban Surges in Afghanistan Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The fast-rising rate of COVID-19 cases in numerous places in the U.S., the issue of vaccine hesitancy, controversy over mask mandates for school kids, and former President Barack Obama’s 60th birthday bash on Martha’s Vineyard; the UN’s IPCC issues a report indicating the planet is heating up at a rate that’s pushing us closer to a “point of no return” and the wildfires in the Western U.S. and in Greece; the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo keep getting more intense as his top aide Melissa DeRosa resigns; the U.S. Senate shuts down debate and preps for a vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill; the continuing denial of the results of the 2020 presidential election by Donald Trump loyalists; and the Taliban seizes control of a number of cities in Afghanistan in the wake of the U.S. military’s exit were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Conservative Florida Media Personality Dick Farrel Dies of COVID at 65. According to a number of media reports, conservative media personality Dick Farrel – a native New Yorker who worked on air at WVIP-FM, Westchester, New York; WIOD-AM, Miami; WPBR, Palm Beach; WFLN-AM, Arcadia, Florida (now WCXS-AM); and as a fill-in host on Newsmax TV – has died at the age of 65 after contracting COVID-19. Farrel’s partner Kit Farley wrote on Farrel’s now-private Facebook page, “He was known as the other Rush Limbaugh. With a heavy heart, I can only say this was so unexpected. He will be missed.” Farrel was an unabashed critic of the vaccines. He called them “bogus,” referred to the pandemic as “scamdemic,” and spoke of Dr. Tony Fauci as a “lying freak.” His attitude changed after contracting the virus and he urged friends to get the vaccine.
Harrison Weighs in on Cumulus Studies Showing Radio Listeners More Likely to Be Interested in Sports Betting Saying They’re ‘More Serious Fans of the Sports.’ A piece written by Jeff Edelstein at Sports Handle addresses the recent studies commissioned by Cumulus Media that suggest radio listeners are more interested in sports betting than TV viewers. Released in synch with the news of Cumulus’ partnership with WynnBET, the studies find that “42% of radio listeners have placed an online sports bet, compared to 28% of TV viewers. Furthermore, 52% of radio listeners say they’re interested in online sports betting, compared to 28% of television watchers.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison is quoted extensively in the piece and says, “There’s probably a great overlap between the two, but the person that goes out of their way to listen to a game on the radio… well, you don’t see what’s going on. They are obviously, by nature, more interested in the information about the game than necessarily the pleasure of just watching it. And if you are more interested in information, you’re probably more prone to bet. A person who listens to sports is probably more prone to bet than a person who watches sports because they’re more interested in the data and the details than the eye candy of watching the game.” As the story notes, that fact that more than half of the people surveyed in states where betting is legal could not name a betting operator such as DraftKings or BetMGM means those operators need to promote themselves. Harrison adds, “I just think radio can do everything it possibly can to get in on the business of sports betting, using its influence over people as a communications medium as its leverage and its wedge to get into that business. Everybody who knows anything about human nature, the law, and business knows that this is going to continue to be a growth area. From a business standpoint, the legalization of sports betting is perfect for radio to be involved with, and radio is at a time now where it is seeking new streams of revenue to go beyond the standard advertising paradigm.”
Sports Talker Jeff Cameron Moves Down the Dial in Tallahassee. The Tallahassee Democrat reports that “The Jeff Cameron Show” begins airing on Magic Broadcasting II’s news/talk WVFT-FM, Tallahassee “Real Talk 93.3” today (8/9) in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart after having been heard on crosstown WTSM-FM “ESPN Tallahassee” since 2012. Horizon Broadcasting recently agreed to sell WTSM to religious broadcaster Radio Training Network Inc, prompting the move. Cameron tells the paper his program will also be heard at the Florida State University fan site Warchant.com. Continuing with the program will be producer/broadcaster Tom Lang and Matthew Hutchinson is resuming his co-production work with the show. Cameron says, “I’ve always wanted to do multi-media stuff where I can do a podcast, host the show, and do something on YouTube. Warchant and 93.3 agreed to take me on. We can take all of our advertisers to Warchant and 93.3.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Windy City media legend Garry Meier is hosting a weekly, Sunday night show on Cumulus Media’s KABC-AM, Los Angeles. His program airs at 10:00 pm and KABC program director Drew Hayes tells Feder, “Nobody tells a story — or views the world — like Garry. It’s great to be together again, now for a third time, on L.A.’s first talk station, KABC.”…..Today (8/9) at 9:00 am PT, KBLA, Los Angeles “Talk 1580” host and owner Tavis Smiley is scheduled to interview gubernatorial recall candidate (and Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host) Larry Elder, who is currently leading the polls to recall and replace California Governor Gavin Newsom…..Media personality Stephanie Miller announces she’s bringing her “Sexy Liberal Survivors’ Tour” back to the stage at the Barrymore Theater in Madison on October 23. Miller, along with John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks, and Frangela, will perform at the event. She’s also making the performance available to those who can’t make it in person via pay-per-view through Meathook.
Round Two of August PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s August 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s August 2020 survey period covered July 16 – August 12. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from these 12 markets. In the Washington, DC market, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM dips a half share to finish with a 7.9 share and falls to #2 behind Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM which added eight-tenths for an 8.6 share and the #1 rank. Beasley Media Group sports talker WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” climbs eight-tenths to a 4.9 share good for the #7 rank in the market while iHeartMedia’s crosstown all-new WBZ-AM “News Radio 1030” loses one-tenth, finishing the August survey with a 6.6 share but rises to the #3 rank. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM remains unchanged at a 7.1 share and continues its now six-survey run at #1. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaway from this report (and the first round!) here.
Cumulus Stations Sign Up with ABC Audio for News Service. With the shuttering of the Westwood One News service that took effect on August 30, Cumulus Media news/talk, sports talk and some music outlets were in need of a news affiliation. The company announces that 29 of its news/talk stations – including heritage signals such as WLS-AM, Chicago and KGO-AM, San Francisco — are now using ABC Audio’s news. At the same time, 12 of Cumulus’ sports and music stations are signing on to air ABC’s hourly newscasts. ABC Audio executive director of business strategies, programming and distribution Heidi Oringer says, “We’re excited to welcome these big stations back to the ABC Audio family after six years away. Through this partnership, our unmatched reporting including crisis coverage, breaking news, and special programming, will reach new listeners and help ABC Audio continue to be the best in the business.” ABC Audio VP and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku adds, “We’re in one of the biggest news cycles in history, with no end in sight. Our teams have worked nonstop to not only keep up with but also exceed listeners’ demand for trusted information. We’re thrilled that more stations are noticing our robust offerings and signing on to be part of our affiliate family.”
Pat McAfee Show to Air on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports. After exiting the CBS Sports Radio platform last month, former Indianapolis Colts punter and sports media personality Pat McAfee will be heard on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio channel live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET, beginning September 9. McAfee says, “I’m very thankful and honored for the chance to be on Mad Dog Sports Radio. SiriusXM is such an incredibly massive platform and the freedom it allows is perfect for our style of show. To say we’re grateful to Scott Greenstein, Steve Cohen, Andrew Moss and all of the other awesome folks at SiriusXM for this opportunity would be an understatement. Let’s do the damn thing. We hope you’ll join us daily.”
Trump Visits Kenosha/Protests/BLM Movement, Presidential Race, Pelosi Salon Flap, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, School Opening Debate/College Outbreaks, Melania Trump Book, and New Stimulus Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/1). President Trump’s visit to Kenosha in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake, the protests in Kenosha, Portland, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, and the Black Lives Matter movement; the November presidential election; the controversy over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pictured maskless in a closed San Francisco salon; the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools and the flareups on some college campuses; former Melania Trump aid Stephanie Winston Wolkoff’s book about the First Lady; and a new stimulus deal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Report: Radio Listening Returning to March Levels. This week’s Westwood One blog includes data from Nielsen Audio from the August PPM survey and the May-June-July diary markets survey that indicates radio listening is returning to its March 2020 levels. The Nielsen data cited notes that “benchmarking against the March PPM survey, August average quarter-hour audiences increased again, now generating 90% of the prior audiences. In terms of weekly reach, AM/FM radio in the PPM markets has recaptured 96% of March cume listening. In diary markets, AM/FM radio has retained 97% of prior weekly cume.” Further, Nielsen says, “In medium and smaller diary markets, AM/FM radio is ‘pandemic proof’: AQH listening in the just-released May-June-July survey is virtually identical to the January-February-March period as AM/FM radio retains 100% of prior listening.” In a sign that more people are back in their cars in the morning, Nielsen notes “in the just-released August PPM data, most of the AQH growth occurred Monday-Friday 6AM-10AM and on weekends.”
iHeartMedia Reveals Results of ‘Trustworthiness’ Study. Based on information from data & analytics firm Engagement Labs, iHeartMedia says that one of the key findings is that “listeners’ trust in radio and its on-air personalities continues to grow as social media has become far less trustworthy over the past year.” The survey of radio listeners found radio to be 79% more or just as trustworthy versus a year ago while social media is 50% less trustworthy during the same time period. In particular, sentiment for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter has plummeted in recent months, with Facebook down 56%, Instagram down 38%, and Twitter down 140%. The survey of radio listeners age 18-69 ranked media trustworthiness as follows: 75% trust radio, 66% trust television, 57% trust websites, 38% trust Twitter, and 37% trust Facebook. iHeartMedia chief marketing officer Gayle Troberman comments, “The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever for Americans to get information they trust and to find ways to connect with people – and these findings show that radio continues to deliver a much needed and sought out trusted companionship during this historic and uncertain time.”
TALKERS News Notes. Former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and iHeartMedia are partnering on a 20-episode podcast series in which the former South Bend, Indiana mayor will discuss “the issues and choices that will define America’s next chapter.” “The Deciding Decade with Pete Buttigieg” debuts on September 9. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “Pete created a groundswell of excitement during his presidential campaign run, and he is one of the most admirable and energetic young leaders of our time. We’re excited to bring Pete’s sharp intellect and remarkable eloquence to The iHeartPodcast Network.”…..A new podcast partnership between iHeartMedia and The Recount results in three new weekly shows: “Hell and High Water with John Heilemann,” “Just Something About Her with Jennifer Palmieri,” and “Battleground with David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt.” The Recount executive editor John Heilemann says, “The 2020 election is, without question, the most important election of our lifetime and this exciting trio of podcasts from hosts who’ve operated at the highest level of politics will help listeners cut through the bullshit and understand the big picture of what’s happening ahead of Election Day and beyond. Our content is resonating on our platform and across social media and we are excited to bring it to podcasting with iHeartMedia.”…..Pictured below is GCN nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs giving blood during National Blood Donation Week. Dr. Wachs tells TALKERS magazine, “We’re off to a great start to National Blood Donation Week. Multiple governors declared Blood Donation Months, all falling on September 4 (National Blood Donation Day). Not only does this week help raise much needed blood for our blood banks and medical centers that has been drastically lowered during the COVID pandemic, but it unites both Democratic and Republican governors in a common cause. Blood isn’t a political issue, it’s a human life issue and National Blood Donation week proves Americans can come together for a common cause.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Angelique Alston is promoted to brand manager for Entercom’s hip hop WPGC-FM, Washington. Since 2013, Alston has served WPGC as assistant program director, morning show producer and events producer. Entercom Washington SVP and market manager Ivy Savoy-Smith says, “Angelique has done a tremendous job elevating our team and I am excited to see her expand her career as brand manager. Her unique way of providing entertainment for our listeners, educating the community with viable content and her engagement with the sales management team tells me she will thrive in this new role. Her ability to multi-task, implore creative thinking, work hard and commit to excellence has led to great success and we are delighted to have her lead WPGC 95.5 FM.”…..Rochester country WBEE announces that air personality Chris Konya is joining “The All New Bee Morning Coffee Club” program alongside Terry Clifford and TJ Sharp. This is a return to Entercom Rochester for Konya. Entercom Rochester SVP and market manager Sue Munn says, “Chris was a fan favorite during his time producing ‘The Breakfast Buzz’ and we’re thrilled to welcome him back to our airwaves alongside Terry and TJ. His humor and wit make him a perfect fit as a co-host for our new weekday morning program and together the trio will create a dynamic show for our community.”…..Premiere Networks’ syndicated Delilah adds three new affiliate stations. Picking up Delilah for evenings are: iHeartMedia’s KBFP-FM, Bakersfield “Sunny 105.3,” Cumulus Media’s WBZE-FM, Tallahassee “Star 98.9,” and McKenzie River Broadcasting’s KMGE-FM, Eugene, Oregon “Mix 94.5.”…..An application has been filed with the FCC for transfer of country KZTL-FM, Paxton and rock KRNP-FM, Sutherland in Nebraska from Legacy Communications to Eagle Communications. Kalil & Co is serving as the exclusive broker.
Cumulus to Sell WABC, New York to Red Apple Media for $12.5 Million. As TALKERS magazine tipped earlier today, Cumulus Media Inc. is agreeing to sell New York City heritage AM WABC to John Catsimatidis-controlled Red Apple Media, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Red Apple Group, for $12.5 million in cash. Cumulus Media’s CEO Mary Berner says, “Today’s agreement with Red Apple is yet another step in the execution of our portfolio optimization priority to drive Cumulus’s long-term success. Consistent with our financial goals, we intend to use the sale’s net cash proceeds to pay down debt and invest in the company to better serve our 250 million listeners and the advertisers who want to reach them. We are also pleased that WABC’s excellent team will work with Red Apple following the transaction’s close to continue building this iconic station’s legacy.” Under the terms of the agreement, Red Apple will take responsibility for programming WABC immediately following the close of the sale, which is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2019. Catsimatidis says, “I am very pleased that Red Apple Media Inc. has agreed to acquire 77 WABC Radio. The station is a real New York legend with a rich history in broadcasting. I started a radio show five years ago which is now available in 14 states and on the internet. It has gained a large and loyal audience. Our purchase of 77 WABC Radio is the next step in building a new broadcasting business, and we look forward to considering the acquisition of more broadcasting assets. We plan to retain the excellent staff and talent working at the station now and look forward to working with them.” Catsimatidis is the owner, president, chairman and CEO of Gristedes Foods, a large Manhattan-based grocery chain and the Red Apple Group, a real estate and aviation company with about $2 billion in holdings in New York, Florida and Pennsylvania. He is also the chairman and CEO of the Red Apple Group subsidiary, United Refining Company. He hosts a Sunday morning talk radio show on a number of stations along the East Coast out of his flagship, Salem Media’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Catsimatidis was the runner-up for the Republican nomination for Mayor of New York in 2013.
Exclusive! TALKERS Publisher Michael Harrison Speaks with John Catsimatidis. Listen to Michael Harrison‘s conversation about his company’s acquisition of WABC, New York here.
Cox Enterprises Announces Sale of Cox Media Group Radio Assets to Apollo Global Management. This sale of the Cox Media Group radio station portfolio to private equity fund manager Apollo Global Management – the price not disclosed in the press release – will be less disruptive to the operations than a typical transfer of ownership of this size as it appears the new company will keep management in place. The deal calls for Cox Media Group’s radio station portfolio as well as its CoxReps and Gamut national advertising businesses to become part of a newly expanded media company called Cox Media Group, based in Atlanta, that acquired Cox’s broadcast television group and the company’s radio, newspaper, and television properties in Ohio back in February. Cox Enterprises is maintaining a minority stake in the new company. This deal affects some 52 radio brands in 10 markets – including heritage news/talk stations WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; WOKV-FM, Jacksonville; WDBO-FM, Orlando; and KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa. The new Cox Media Group will operate more than 60 radio stations across 11 markets. The presser states that “the buyer plans to maintain the successful operating structure of Cox Media Group’s television, radio, CoxReps and Gamut businesses and leverage these assets to continue building a national media company with station properties in key markets across the country.” However, the sale means Cox loses the grandfathered ownership status in Tampa and Orlando and will divest WPYO-FM, Orlando and WSUN-FM, Tampa in order to comply with FCC ownership caps. Cox Enterprises CEO Alex Taylor says, “We are happy our Cox Radio and national ad platforms will continue to be operated with our television group. Keeping these media businesses together gives us even more confidence in the future success of the new company. We have spent many years fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation across these businesses and are pleased to see that work will continue.” Apollo senior partner David Sambur adds, “We are thrilled to acquire the Cox Radio station portfolio, CoxReps and Gamut and combine them with the Cox Television business to form a new media company focused on quality local broadcasting. Cox has deep roots in the media industry and has stood for the highest quality in local journalism for the past 120 years. As we shepherd these businesses into the future, we are committed to investing in high-quality programming and fostering innovation in local media.”
‘Coach’ John Kentera Moves to Middays at ‘97.3 The Fan’ in San Diego. Market sports talk pro “Coach” John Kentera will take over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart at Entercom’s sports talk KWFN-FM, San Diego “97.3 The Fan,” effective July 1. Kentera will continue to host 97.3 The Fan’s pre- and post-game shows for Padres baseball games, “The Fan’s High School Football Show,” on Thursday nights in the fall, and serve as the color commentator on “The Fan’s Friday Night High School Football Game of the Week” broadcast. Kentera served with former sports talker XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090” from 2003 through 2015. His show replaces FOX Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb. Entercom San Diego SVP and market manager Bob Bolinger says, “We’re thrilled to add Coach Kentera to 97.3 The Fan’s weekday lineup. Coach has a rich history in San Diego and is truly beloved by the community, sports fans, and advertising partners alike.”
WGMN-AM, Roanoke Flips to News/Talk. The Roanoke Times reports that 3 Daughters Media has flipped WGMN-AM/W270CU, Roanoke from sports talk to news/talk. The station dropped its 21-year affiliation with ESPN Radio and is airing FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade show, Compass Media Networks-syndicated “Markley and van Camp” show, and the syndicated Tom Sullivan program. 3 Daughters owner Gary Burns tells the paper that more competitors in sports talk radio in the market have “watered it down.” He also says of the flip, “I just think there’s a larger available audience in Roanoke for talk radio…than there is for sports radio.”
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Thom Hartmann Show” is now heard on Genesis Communications’ “News/Talk Florida” – the duo of WIXC, Titusville and WWBA, Tampa — airing in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart…..Radio personality Susie Wargin – midday jock at iHeartMedia’s classic rock KRFX, Denver “103.5 The Fox” – is joining the radio broadcast team for Denver Broncos games this fall. Wargin will serve as a sideline reporter alongside play-by-play voice Dave Logan and color commentator Rick Lewis. Games air on iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOA and KRFX-FM…..cabana announces it has published its 2019 Guide to Buying Podcasts. The report includes new features, such as white-labeled case studies, “Ask an Ad Ops Expert” section, and insights into dynamic ad insertion. cabana VP of digital sales Ilwira Marciszek says, “We’re seeing bigger brands with different goals entering podcast advertising, so we wanted to speak to their concerns directly. Podcast advertising has worked for direct response, and it can work for all kinds of campaigns when used smartly.” You can download the Buying Guide here…..Coastal Broadcasting’s sports talk KLRZ-FM, New Orleans “ESPN 100.3” is the new flagship for New Orleans Pelicans basketball beginning with the 2019-20 season. Last season, games aired on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRNO-FM. Pelicans president Dennis Lauscha says, “We could not be more excited to begin this new era of Pelicans basketball with our new flagship radio partner and its devoted listening audience. ‘ESPN New Orleans’ offers a tremendous daily sports lineup with a significant focus on the Pelicans, along with all of the local professional, collegiate, and high school teams. This is an outstanding and natural alliance for our city and region.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM weekend talk host David Plier is taking over the interim chairman position with the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Plier has been and will continue to be a member of the museum’s board of directors. He assumes the role from Larry Wert, who has been interim chairman since 2016.
44thAnnual Gracie Awards Luncheon Held in New York City. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation presented the 44th Annual Gracie Awards Luncheon yesterday (6/26) at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. Sheinelle Jones, co-host of “3rd Hour of TODAY” and co-anchor of NBC News’ “Weekend TODAY,” led the program alongside presenters Angela Yee from Premiere Networks’ syndicated “The Breakfast Club”; supermodel, TV personality and podcast host Emme; Roula Christie of “The Roula and Ryan Show” on KRBE, Houston; and Duarte Geraldino from Al Jazeera Digital and “PBS NewsHour.” Winners in the Radio Local category included: Julie DiCaro and Maggie Hendricks, hosts of “The Julie and Maggie Show” on Entercom sports talker WSCR, Chicago; “The Jason & Alex Show” on Hubbard Radio’s KTMY, Minneapolis’; Jillian Barberie, morning personality on Cumulus Media’s KABC-AM, Los Angeles; and Tara Granahan, talk show on Cumulus’ news/talk WPRO-AM, Providence. See all the winners here. The National Gracie Award honorees were recognized at the Gracies Gala on May 21 at The Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills.
Democratic Debate/2020 Presidential Race, Immigration Policy/Detention Facilities/Wayfair Protest, G20 Summit, Mueller to Testify, Iran Tensions, and Dominican Republic Tourist Deaths Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26). Wednesday night’s debate featuring half of the Democrats seeking their party’s nomination; the Trump administration’s Southern border policies, the conditions at U.S. detention centers, and Wayfair employees’ protests over contracts to supply furniture to child detention centers; the G20 Summit in Osaka and President Trump’s plans to meet with Vladimir Putin; former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee; the diplomatic break between Tehran and Washington; and the deaths and illnesses affecting travelers to the Dominican Republic 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. Urban programming pro Kenny Smoov is promoted to vice president, urban formats for Cumulus Media, a role in which he will serve as a corporate programming resource for the company’s 37 urban outlets. Smoov has been with Cumulus since 2003 and is program director and morning host for urban contemporary WQQK, Nashville “92Q,” role in which he will continue…..Also at Cumulus Media, Patrick Scott is upped to program director for CHR WLTO-FM, Lexington, Kentucky “Hot 102.5.” For the past three years, he’s been promotions and marketing director for Cumulus’ five Lexington stations…..Adams Radio of Delmarva names Angela Caswell senior account manager for the five-station music radio cluster that includes rock WZBH, Millsboro, Delaware “The Beach”; CHR WOCQ, Berlin, Maryland “OC 104”; classic rock WGBG, Fruitland, Maryland “BIG 107.7”; country WUSX, Seaford, Delaware; and WOQC-HD2 “KOOL Oldies.” Caswell most recently served in the sales department at Delmarva Broadcasting, which recently sold its radio properties to Forever Media.