Cumulus Makes $50 Million Debt Prepayment. This latest debt payment by Cumulus Media is in the amount of $50 million and was funded by the net proceeds from the previously announced sale of KLOS-FM, Los Angeles to Meruelo Media that closed last week (7/17), plus cash on hand. Cumulus says, “With this prepayment, the Company has reduced its debt by approximately $250 million since emerging from Chapter 11 on June 4, 2018, bringing the Company’s total debt to approximately $1.05 billion.”
Monday Memo: Say What? Part Deux. Consultant Holland Cooke writes in this week’s Monday Memo about things you and your on-air talent should never say on the radio. From expressions that are dated to common English-language snafus, HC lists some of the most-often-heard mistakes that broadcasters should never make. See his column here.
WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Adds Another Hour to ‘Hammer and Nigel’ Show. The Indianapolis Business Journal published a big piece on WIBC-FM, Indianapolis’s afternoon drive program, “Hammer and Nigel,” hosted by Jason Hammer and Nigel Laskowski revealing the Emmis Communications news/talk station is adding the 3:00 pm hour to the show’s current 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm air time. The reason for adding the hour is the show’s outstanding success has created such a demand for local advertising that the station wants more inventory. Quoted in the piece is Kristine Warski, a media director for the local ad agency MKR, who says, “‘The Hammer and Nigel Show’ is a bit different from your traditional news/talk show. They’ve fused news and entertainment and, by doing so, are attracting a younger audience than news-talk has traditionally.” See the IBJ piece here.
The New Yorker Piece Looks at Allegations by KABC’s Leeann Tweeden The Brought Down Al Franken. A lengthy story by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker takes an in-depth look at the case of former U.S. Senator — and one-time Air America talk radio host — Al Franken, who resigned his senate seat after a photo showing him pretending to grab the breasts of KABC-AM, Los Angeles talk host Leeann Tweeden appeared in the media. Now, more than 18 months after Franken left the senate, he’s interviewed for the story that addresses due process, the #MeToo movement, and whether Franken should have resigned at all. (Spoiler alert: Franken regrets resigning his position.) See the story here.
Is Talk Radio Responsible for the Tone of Today’s National Conversation? Former longtime talk radio host Tom Becka (KMBZ and KCMO, Kansas City; KFAB and KOIL, Omaha) expresses his feelings about his responsibility as part of the talk radio industry for the polarized state of public discourse in America. Becka, in an op-ed on KPTM-TV, Omaha “FOX 42,” says, “ I don’t think I personally contributed to what is going on, but I worked for stations with syndicated shows that did – shows that stoked fears about Muslims, stoked fears about minorities, shows that stoked fears about liberals and others that were different than them.” See his entire commentary here.
Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with the Presentation of the Freedom of Speech Award to Brian Kilmeade. TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story. Today’s (7/22) post features the presentation of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech award to Brian Kilmeade of Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel. Posted Friday (7/19): discussion “Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; Greg Foster, VP/programming and national news/talk brand coordinator, iHeart Media/PD, KOA, Denver; John T. Mullen, operations manager, WRHU, Hofstra University; Sid Rosenberg, morning co-host, WABC, New York; and Rich Zeoli, host, WPHT, Philadelphia. The session is moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS. Already posted: discussion “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Michael Berry, host, Michael Berry Show; Grace Blazer, national brand coordinator of news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, iHeart Media; Karen Hunter, host SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Brett Winterble, host KFMB, San Diego; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; and Dan Yorke, host WPRO, Providence. Also already posted: WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley saluting the Broadcasters Foundation of America and Vince Benedetto, CEO of Bold Gold Media Group receiving the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster (“Humanitarian of the Year”); a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network; panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video. The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York. Also already posted: special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOne; Steven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi Media; Michael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history. TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year. To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.
Siegel: Talk Radio Can Impact Regime Change in Iran. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Mike Siegel writes in a piece today about the efforts to foment regime change in Iran and what role talk radio hosts in America can play in helping achieve that goal. Siegel says, “Now there is a real and tangible option being offered as a new government in Iran by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Led by Madame Maryam Rajavi, this organization has grown in stature and respect over the years and has offered an option of peaceful government living as a civilized neighbor to other countries in the Middle East.” Read Siegel’s piece here.
WABC’s John Batchelor Broadcasts from Tokyo This Week. WABC, New York’s late-night John Batchelor show is broadcasting live from the center of Tokyo all this week (7/22-26). The broadcast is being sponsored by global digital technology company Scala Inc. in conjunction with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. All week long, Batchelor will travel widely to meet with and interview leaders from across Japanese culture, including: the Nippon Professional Baseball Association; the Japanese Space Agency’s Hayabusa2 asteroid probe program; the celebrated Cherry Association maintaining the pantheon of Japanese cherry trees; Toyota’s Autonomous Vehicle development; and the Central Japan Railway’s MAGLEV project. Also scheduled to appear on the show is Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kano.
TALKERS News Notes. The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports Saga Communications’ news/talk WHMP, Northampton, Massachusetts has named its studio the Barbara J. Kuschka WHMP studio in honor of station traffic manager Barbara Kuschka, who recently celebrated 50 years of service to the radio station. The article says, “Since she began work in 1969, Kuschka has been a behind-the-scenes figure, who one person described as the glue that holds the station together in her work as traffic manager.”…..Entercom Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Athletics announce they’ve signed a new, multi-year extension of their broadcasting partnership. As part of the deal, sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” will serve as flagship station for Panthers football and men’s basketball. Sister stations news/talk KDKA-AM “News Radio 1020,” hot AC WBZZ “100.7 Star,” and country WDSY “Y108” will provide coverage and promotional support.
Mueller Testimony, New Trump Impeachment Talk, 2020 Presidential Race, Iran Alleges CIA Arrests, Immigration Reform/Border Wall, and Summer Heatwave Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. This week’s testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller; House Judiciary chairman Jerrold Nadler’s “high crimes and misdemeanors” charge against Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Iran’s claims it has arrested 17 CIA spies; the Trump Administration’s immigration reform efforts and the border wall status; and the weekend’s hot weather in much of the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Josh Wolff is named program director for iHeartMedia’s CHR WAEB “B104” and rock WZZO in Allentown, Pennsylvania. This is an internal move for Wolff, who was most recently marketing director and APD at the company’s Phoenix station group for adult contemporary KKEZ and adult hits KYOT “95.5 The Mountain.” Wolff takes over for Derrick Cole, who accepted a role with the company’s National Programming Group as contemporary hit radio program director…..At non-commercial triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee,” morning personality Dori Zori is named assistant program director. WYMS PD Jordan Lee comments, “Dori’s 20-plus years in non-commercial radio make her the perfect fit for the role. Dori will also lead some new and exciting programming plans that are in the works at ‘Radio Milwaukee.’”
Will Entercom Add News/Talk WTMJ, Milwaukee to its Brew City Cluster? According to industry rumors and now picked up by the Milwaukee Business Journal, Entercom is the leading contender to acquire Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ and sister country outlet WKTI-FM. E.W. Scripps recently announced that it is selling its 34-station radio group and will focus on its television business. Currently, Entercom owns three stations in the market: CHR WXSS “Kiss FM,” hot AC WMYX, and sports talker WSSP-AM/W289CB “105.7 The Fan.” The addition of WTMJ and WKTI would not violate the FCC ownership cap. If this rumor becomes reality, Entercom would add WTMJ’s play-by-play rights for Green Bay Packers football, Milwaukee Brewers baseball, and Milwaukee Bucks basketball to its sports offerings and be an excellent complement to the sports talk on “105.7 The Fan.”
WABC, New York Adds Juliet Huddy to ‘Bernie & Sid in the Morning.’ Journalist and television personality Juliet Huddy joins the cast of the “Bernie & Sid in the Morning” program on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York. The show made its debut as the morning program replacing the “Imus in the Morning” show today. The station says that Huddy – former host of “Good Day New York” on WNYW-TV “FOX 5” and former FOX News Channel personality – joins Bernard McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg on the new morning show. WABC program director Craig Schwalb comments, “Juliet is a natural performer and is equally comfortable talking entertainment and life as she is talking politics. Juliet is an amazing addition to the show and to 77 WABC.”
Talk Pro Pete Mundo Joins KCMO-AM, Kansas City for Mornings. News/talk and sports talk pro Pete Mundo joins Cumulus Media as assistant program director and morning air personality on the “KCMO Morning Show” on KCMO-AM/K279BI. Mundo began his career in Woodward, Oklahoma. He moved to New York in 2013 and served with CBS RADIO at WCBS-AM, WFAN-AM/FM, and CBS Sports Radio. He also hosted shows on FOX News Radio. Cumulus Media Midwest Regional VP and Kansas City market manager Donna Baker states, “In our extensive national search for the right talent to connect with our loyal KCMO news/talk audience, Pete emerged as the clear choice. We are excited to welcome him back to the Midwest to lead 103.7-710 KCMO to a new level of success for our listeners and advertisers.” Mundo adds, “I’m thrilled by the opportunity to return to the nation’s heartland to host mornings on the legendary KCMO and to assume programming responsibilities as assistant program director. Bringing a fresher perspective to news, political, sports and local topics and how they affect the Kansas City community on KCMO-Talk Radio 103.7/710 is something I’m very much looking forward to.”
Kevin Klein Remains MIA on KEGY, San Diego. As of Monday morning, it remains unclear just what the status of KEGY, San Diego “97.3 The Machine” morning personality Kevin Klein is. Though the station’s website lists Klein as the morning host, he was not on the radio today (4/2). His show was supposed to launch on MLB Opening Day (3/29), but the station has continued to air the mix of comedy bits and rock music in AM drive that is the overnight programming. As we reported previously, the San Diego Padres – for which the station serves as its flagship for play-by-play – took issue with Klein’s Twitter promotion that poked fun at the city’s Coronado Bridge and its history of being the site of hundreds of suicides throughout its history. The team is also reportedly not thrilled with the general tone of the station. It’s assumed that Entercom officials and the Padres are in talks about where the two sides go from here and Klein’s status may be part of that.
Alex Jones’ Son Rex Challenges Parkland Student to Gun Laws Debate. The son of Internet and radio personality Alex Jones is challenging Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg to a gun control debate. Hogg is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and, along with fellow student Emma Gonzalez, has become the media face of students seeking gun control measures in response to the deadly shooting. Jones’ son Rex is 15 years old and, according to Inquisitr.com, has been provided by his father with “a platform to express an alternative view of gun control from a teenager’s perspective.” See the Inquisitr.com story here.
PPM Analysis: News/Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from the February 2018 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio, today focusing on news/talk. Approximately 45% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their 6+ AQH shares rise from the January survey to February, while 28% are down and 27% remained flat. Year-over-year comparisons indicate that 42% of stations realized 6+ gains from the February 2017 survey to February 2018. Forty-eight percent saw their 6+ number dip. While 12 news/talk stations ranked in the top five in their respective markets in the February survey, just two stations – Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta and Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” – ranked #1 in their respective markets. See the entire report here.
TALKERS News Notes. Las Vegas conservative media figure Heidi Harris has a busy week of events that will feature her new book, Don’t Pat Me On The Head! Blowback, Setbacks and Comebacks in Vegas Radio. Harris says the new book “covers my various life experiences before radio, my nearly 20 years in radio, and 15 years as a cable TV talking head. I discuss how to pick topics, callers, and guests, and share some great behind-the-scenes stories, as well as how I’ve survived treacherous colleagues and the politically correct, who sometimes want to slit my throat.” This week, Harris is speaking at the Vegas Does Business luncheon at Gordon Biersch, Flamingo and Paradise on Thursday (4/5). Later that evening she’ll be signing books at the Sun City Siena Conservatives meeting. On Saturday (4/7), she’s doing a book signing at Avery’s Coffee. That evening she’ll appear on the “Jesus and Tim” show on KKVV, Las Vegas…..The Boston Globe reports that market news pro Rod Fritz exits iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston “NewsRadio 1030.” The paper reports that an internal memo from the station’s Jon MacLean stated, “Rod Fritz is moving on and will no longer anchor here at WBZ. We thank Rod for his years of service and wish him all the best.
Trump DACA and NAFTA Statements, Russia Diplomatic Breaks, Trump-Russia Investigation, Author Claims Conway White House Leaker, Trump Tariffs, Parkland Students vs Ingraham/Nugent, Ready Player One Film, Final Four, MLB Season Opens, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. President Donald Trump’s statement on no DACA deal and the threat to NAFTA if Mexico fails at border security; Russia expels 59 diplomats from 23 countries; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; author Ronald Kessler suggests Trump aide Kellyanne Conway is the biggest White House leaker; China hits back at U.S. with tariffs on U.S. goods; the feud between Parkland students seeking new gun laws and FOX News Channel’s Laura Ingraham and Ted Nugent’s attack on them; the new film Ready Player One; the weekend’s Final Four games; the opening of the Major League Baseball season, and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. As reported last week by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Entercom names DreX, a.k.a. Kevin Buchar, and Nina co-hosts of the new morning drive show on its CHR WBBM-FM “B96.” The “DreX and Nina” show will also feature Gabe Ramirez, who was a cast member on the station’s previous morning program, “The J Show.” DreX says, “I’m honored, privileged, and humbled for this opportunity to come home to the Chicago audience. I’d like to thank Entercom, Jimmy de Castro, Todd Cavanah, Erik Bradley and the entire ‘B96’ crew for welcoming me with open arms. I am very much looking forward to teaming up with my two new partners Nina and Gabe in America’s greatest city.” DreX previously worked in Chicago at WKSC-FM from 2002 to 2010. Nina most recently worked mornings at WBMP-FM, New York City…..Radio pro Larry Wilson is the new morning host on Marc Radio’s country WPLL, Gainesville-Ocala “I Am Country.” Wilson will also serve the company as host of the afternoon show sister classic hits outlet WXJZ. Wilson had been hosting his “Livin’ Large with Larry” in the Billings, Montana market. He says, “After half of my 36 years on the air spent up north, Marc Radio is a ‘sunny’ change that I am looking forward to. My show will stream online, so I can still share the sunshine with my Montana friends.”
WPRO-AM, Providence and Talk Host John DePetro Go Separate Ways. During the month of December, the late morning talk show hosted by longtime WPRO-AM personality John DePetro was handled by a rotating cast of fill-in hosts. DePetro had referenced a “health situation” on his website. Then, just before Christmas, DePetro notified listeners via his website of his departure from the station. He wrote, in part, “At this time, I have decided to conclude my entertaining weekday 9:00 am -12:00 noon radio show on WPRO. Thank you to all my listeners for making 2016 my best year ever in radio, with my coverage of the Trump campaign, my many exclusives, plus my national work on ‘The Savage Nation’ and CNN. I am very grateful for the many loyal listeners who have been entertained by my program on WPRO over the past 10 years.” So far, WPRO has not named a replacement host, nor has the Cumulus Media news/talk station officially addressed DePetro’s departure.
Programming Moves at iHeartMedia Denver. This affects both news/talk KOA and sports talk KDSP. First, at KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM,” the new afternoon show is Lewis & Logan from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm featuring Rick Lewis and Dave Logan. The duo will be joined by Kathy Lee as co-host and Robbyn Hart as news anchor. In June of 2014, iHM tweaked afternoons by bringing Denver TV and radio pro Susie Wargin aboard to co-host with Logan for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm hours and the show moved away from being sports-centric. Wargin then co-hosted a newsy program with Mike Rice from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Wargin moves to the company’s classic rock KRFX. Also at KOA, Cory Lopez is the new host of “PrimeTime Sports,” airing weeknights from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. At sports talk KDSP, “Denver Sports 760,” Mike Rice hosts the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show. The new duo of Ed McCaffrey and Andy Lindahl will co-host the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm program.
KCMO-AM, Kansas City Announces New Program Lineup. There are two talk personalities returning to Cumulus Media’s news/talk simulcast KCMO-AM/K279BI as the station announces its new, 2017 program lineup. Longtime Kansas City talk personality Greg Knapp is back on the station after a nine-month absence to host the morning drive program. Knapp hosted the afternoon show at KCMO until late April of 2016. Westwood One’s rollout of the national Chris Plante program brings him back to KCMO in the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot. Tom Becka remains in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot, while Mike Ferguson moves from middays to afternoon drive (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm) with co-host and producer Jared Carter. Nationally syndicated superstar Dave Ramsey also remains in his current 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm timeslot. Knapp takes over mornings for Rob Carson, who exited late last year.
‘PowerTalk’ in Fresno Launches New Early Evening Program. Fresno news/talk simulcast KALZ-FM/KRZR-AM “PowerTalk 96.7 and AM 1400” announces the debut of the Guillermo Moreno program, this evening from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The iHeartMedia station says Moreno “will take a conservative approach to local and national issues – including politics, business headlines and pop culture – from the perspective of a Latino millennial and for listeners of all ages.” Moreno comments, “I’m excited to continue breaking the political and radio establishment mold and thrilled to be among the first young Latino millennial hosts in the Central Valley. Fresno is the greatest city in America and I’m honored to continue my passion for politics with my generation here at home.”
December PPMs: Some Notable Occurrences. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at some significant happenings, from a ratings perspective, relative to Nielsen Audio’s December PPM survey. Among them are the return to earth for CBS RADIO’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago and iHeartMedia’s WTAM, Cleveland – both of which benefitted mightily from the performances of the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians leading up to and including the World Series. See more interesting highlights here.
165 THOUSAND of us – from 150 countries – are heading to the massive, mind-boggling Consumer Electronics Show.
This year is the 50th annual CES. Back in 1967, there were ooohs and ahhhs for console color TVs. Are you old-enough to remember the handsome woodwork? Some had built-in stereo systems…but only for the vinyl you played on the turntable. Stereo TV sound? Someday.
50 years ago, only 14 companies were showing-off their stuff, in 100,000 square feet of exhibit space. Back-to-the-future: Today, when they cut the virtual ribbon, four THOUSAND companies will display in 2.4 MILLION square feet of Las Vegas Convention Center. Picture FIFTY football fields.
And that’s just inside. Outdoors, there’ll be drones up above, and down-below we’ll be test-driving cars with no gas tank, and cars with no driver.
Technology accounts for 15 million American jobs. Not everyone becomes a billionaire, by inventing, for instance, the smartphone. But someone became a millionaire by accessorizing it with the Selfie Stick.
Much of what we’ll see here this week is here-today-gone-tomorrow. Many of these companies didn’t exist a couple years ago, and many won’t be around a couple years from now. Innovation is the-name-of-the-game, and that makes CES a welcome pump-up for radio broadcasters attending.
Look for my reports here in TALKERS all this week, and listen for updates on “America in the Morning” and “The Jim Bohannon Show,” or at www.HollandCooke.com.
Terry Foster Returns to WXYT-FM, Detroit’s Afternoon Drive Show. After missing a lot of time on the air during the latter part of 2016 due to a stroke caused by high blood pressure, Terry Foster is returning to the “Valenti and Foster” program with co-host Mike Valenti on sports talk “97.1 The Ticket.” Program director Jimmy Powers states, “We are excited that Terry is returning to the ‘Valenti and Foster’ show. His humor and insight have been missed not only by his co-workers, but by the listeners. I sincerely appreciate and would like to thank Jeff Riger for sitting in for Terry while he was out; the show didn’t miss a beat.” Foster comments, “I have been on the sidelines for too long. I missed a lot of good stories and a lot of good times. I’m glad to be back on the train again. I want to thank all of the listeners and my co-workers for their encouraging words, they got me through a tough time.”
Dan Lovallo Joins AM Show on Connoisseur’s ‘Talk of CT.’ The news/talk multi-cast heard on Connoisseur Media’s “The Talk of CT” (WDRC-AM, Hartford; WMMW, Meriden; WWCO, Waterbury; and WSNG, Torrington) is adding well-known Connecticut radio personality Dan Lovallo to the Brad Davis morning show. Lovallo has been with the stations in various capacities over the years. In addition to news duties on the company’s sister classic rock WFOX, Southport (Bridgeport-Stamford market), Lovallo will also host his own Connecticut politics-focused show, “CT On The Hill,” on “The Talk of CT” every day at 9:00 am. This is one of a number of changes at the Connecticut operations of Connoisseur and OM Keith Dakin comments, “These changes, across our portfolio, indicate a strong commitment to localism. Radio will continue to be vibrant if it remains a true fabric of the community with more local morning shows, local news and people from Connecticut behind the microphones.”
Free Talk Live Hosts Prevail at NH Supreme Court. This case goes back three years to a suit filed against “Free Talk Live” hosts Ian Freeman and James Cleaveland by the City of Keene, New Hampshire. The long-running courtroom saga of the “Robin Hood of Keene” all started when Freeman and Cleaveland began plugging the parking meters of citizens whose time was running out and were about to get parking tickets issued by the city’s parking enforcers. The city sued, alleging among other things that Freeman and Cleaveland were “threatening, intimidating, and harassing” the parking enforcers – something the court ruled the city was unable to prove. The pair won their case at the superior court level but the city took the case all the way to the state supreme court. Freeman informs TALKERS that “the supreme court agreed with the superior court that the city’s proposed injunction, which would keep us away from their enforcers, was unconstitutional. It’s a victory for freedom of speech in the public streets.”
‘Kilmeade & Friends’ Adds 24 New Affiliates. The nationally syndicated “Kilmeade & Friends” late morning show hosted by Fox News personality Brian Kilmeade and produced and distributed by Fox News Radio, adds 24 new radio affiliates. Some of the stations adding the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET program include: WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton; WOKV, Jacksonville; WRHI, Charlotte; WMMI, Flint, Michigan; KZRG, Joplin, Missouri; WFIN, Toledo; and WNIX-AM, Greenville, Mississippi.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated, San Antonio-based talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is now heard on an number of new affiliate stations across the country, including: KZRG, Joplin, Missouri; KHVH, Honolulu; KMBZ, Kansas City; KSTE, Sacramento; WATX, Cookeville, Tennessee and more…..Syndicated morning show “Walton & Johnson” changes affiliates in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The program is moving from Entercom classic rocker WKBU to iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRNO in New Orleans and from Guaranty’s classic rock WDGL to iHM’s news/talk WJBO in Baton Rouge…..Westwood One is celebrating the 25th anniversary of “The Dave Ross Show” and announces it is extending its relationship with Ross (who also serves as morning news host at KIRO-FM, Seattle). The daily feature is heard on more than 200 stations nationwide including: WCBS-AM, New York; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM, Chicago; and WTOP-FM, Washington. Ross also guest hosts for Charles Osgood on “The Osgood File.”…..Robert K. Tanenbaum, trial attorney, author of 31 books, and former mayor of Beverly Hills, will be featured in a new segment titled, “Book Buzz,” on Patzi Gil’s “Joy on Paper” radio show, which airs twice weekly on Radio Works’ WTAN, Clearwater, Florida…..Executive vice president Paul Cramer exits Triton Digital after 16 years with the company and its predecessors. He’s excited about his next challenge in the digital solutions space and can be reached at PaulCramer@Outlook.com or 716-508-4104.
Music Radio Trade Publication RadioInfo to Be Absorbed into TALKERS Magazine. Beginning today, January 3, 2017, the music radio industry trade publication RadioInfo is folded into an expanded incarnation of TALKERS magazine (www.Talkers.com and the daily TALKERS email newsletter) and ceases to be distributed as a stand-alone entity. According to TALKERS/RadioInfo VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This has been a transition in the works for a number of months now. Because, RadioInfo has shared main headquarters and staff with TALKERS for the past five years, there has been a significant degree of duplication between the publications, especially regarding general industry stories that cover all formats. It makes sense from a standpoint of economy, proficiency and expediency to combine these into one ‘super’ trade journal. We will continue to provide RadioInfo readers and newsletter subscribers with the latest news events and personnel changes in music radio within the pages of TALKERS. We also are expanding our coverage of the talented talk-oriented hosts heard across America on music station morning programs that we categorize as ‘pop culture talk.’” Subscribers to the daily RadioInfo email newsletter, not already signed up for TALKERS, will be added to the TALKERS list so they will continue to receive the service. RadioInfo was founded as a set of radio discussion boards and an accompanying general online industry news platform in 1999 by young radio enthusiast and entrepreneur Doug Fleming who tragically passed away in 2005 at the age of 25. The entity, known as Radio-Info.com, continued to be published by Doug’s parents Diana and Rick Fleming until 2012. At that time, the discussion boards were acquired by trade publication Radio Ink’s parent corporation Streamline Publishing and eventually discontinued. The trade publication side was acquired by TALKERS magazine’s parent company Talk Media, Inc. and transitioned into the music radio incarnation of RadioInfo.
Talent Moves at KRFX, Denver. At iHeartMedia’s Denver classic rock KRFX “103.5 The Fox,” 25-year morning personalities Rick Lewis and Kathy Lee renew and extend their contracts with the station. At the same time, the station announces Denver radio and TV pro Susie Wargin is the new midday personality and market radio pro Uncle Nasty assumes the afternoon drive daypart.
Talent Moves at Connoisseur Connecticut. At the Connecticut operations of Connoisseur Media, operations manager Keith Dakin announces changes to a number of the company’s stations designed to increase their commitment to focus on “being more local and involved in the community.” First, Ken Tuccio is named the new morning drive host at classic rock WFOX, Southport (Bridgeport-Stamford market). He’ll be joined by news broadcaster Dan Lovallo with Fairfield County-centric news updates every 30 minutes. The station will air local news throughout the day during the shifts of new midday host Pam Ciaburri and afternoon host Allan Lamberti. Additionally, Cari Edwards is the new evening personality. At rock WPLR, New Haven, Kevin Begley adds programming duties for the station to his current responsibilities serving as PD for hot AC WEZN “Star 99.9” and WFOX. Finally, at classic rock WDRC-FM, Hartford “102.9 The WHALE,” Allan Lamberti takes over the programming duties (in addition to hosting evenings). The jock lineup consists of: Michael Picozzi in morning, Suzi Klonk in middays, and Keith Dakin in afternoons.
iHeartMedia Adds ‘Mojo in the Morning’ to CHR WSNX, Grand Rapids. The AM drive show “Mojo in the Morning” – featuring Mojo, Shannon, and Spike – based at iHeartMedia’s CHR WKQI, Detroit “Channel 95.5,” is the new morning show at the company’s West Michigan CHR WSNX, Grand Rapids, effective January 16. Mojo says, “We love Michigan and are so excited to have the show heard in West Michigan. As a big fan of SNX, we are honored to be on the two best CHR radio station brands in Michigan!”
KKHH Hits ‘The Spot.’ Among stations making format modifications over the holidays was CBS RADIO Houston CHR KKHH “Hot 95-7,” which transitions to adult hits “95.7 The Spot.” Supplementing “The Spot” identity is the slogan “Your Place – Your Music – Your Way – A Radio Station Unlike Any Other in Town.” The format change means Cumulus Media’s KRBE will now have the market’s CHR lane to itself. CBS RADIO senior vice president and Houston market manager Sarah Frazier comments, “We worked exhaustively to understand what Houston listeners were missing from their local radio stations. They told us they wanted their own ‘spot’ to hear their favorite music hits, a ‘spot’ to relax and energize at work, and a ‘spot’ to feel comfy and complete.” Representative “Spot” artists include Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, and U2. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s December 2016 PPM report, KKHH is flat at 2.7 (#18), while KRBE gains two-tenths to 3.5 (#14); iHeartMedia adult contemporary KODA “Sunny 99.1” is #1 (7.3, 6+).
JVC Goes True Oldies in the Palm Beaches. This change is the result of a partnership with Scott Shannon’s True Oldies format. JVC Broadcasting announces that WBGF, Belle Glade, Florida flips from rock as “93.5 The Bar” to oldies as “True Oldies 93.5.” JVC Broadcasting of South Florida vice president and general manager Matt Goldapper says, “True Oldies is the perfect fit for the West Palm Beach market – lots of jingles, lots of voices and all the hits all the time. This music is just missing from the radio here in South Florida and with our sister stations ‘95.9 The Palm’ and ‘900 AM The Talk of the Palm Beaches,’ we are just super-serving this market. The best part of this radio mix is the partnership with radio legend Scott Shannon who is the genius behind this entertaining and upbeat radio format.”
More Career Moves and Music Radio News. At the Kansas City cluster of Cumulus Media, the company announces that the Premiere Networks-syndicated Steve Harvey show is now airing in mornings at urban contemporary KMJK “Magic 107.3.” Meanwhile, at sister classic hits KCMO-FM, Kansas City radio pro Steve-O assumes the afternoon drive host duties, following Lance Tidwell, who takes over the middays program…..The syndicated “Ace & TJ Show” announces the official return of former cast member Guenn (Peterson) Schneider. She was previously part of the Ace & TJ team from 2007-2011. Following her departure from the show, Guenn worked with various media outlets in Charlotte…..Alpha Media launched a new contemporary rock outlet on translator W259CL, Orangeburg, South Carolina at 99.7 FM in the Columbia market on December 27. The station will feature such core artists as Green Day, Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink 182, and the Foo Fighters. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “Alpha continues to grow and invest in Columbia with our latest addition of a contemporary rock station. ‘Rock 99.7’ will be a great companion to our classic rock station ‘Fox 102.3’ WMFX.”…..Refuge Media closes on its purchase of classic rock KMFG, Nashwauk, Minnesota. Refuge bought the station from Midwest Communications, Inc.
WJR, Detroit Brings Motor City Broadcast Pro Guy Gordon Aboard for New Talk Show. Longtime market television journalist Guy Gordon will debut a new talk show on Cumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm beginning January 3. Cumulus notes that Gordon has been a fixture on Detroit television news for more than 30 years and was recognized with two Emmy Awards for Best Anchor and six Emmy Awards for Best Writing, Reporting, and Documentary. Cumulus Detroit VP/market manager Tom O’Brien states, “We are thrilled to have a media professional of Guy’s caliber join the WJR team and to kick off 2017 with this vibrant new program. Guy has covered many of the biggest stories affecting Metro Detroit and its residents over the past three decades and has experienced the triumphs and challenges of our great city from a truly unique perspective and vantage point. WJR listeners will be captivated by what is sure to be a lively and provocative two hours with Guy and his guests each weekday afternoon.” Gordon’s show replaces “The Savage Nation” with Michael Savage.
WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces New Year Lineup. With the New Year come changes at E.W. Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee. With the retirement from radio of longtime WTMJ personality Charlie Sykes, the station moves midday personality Jeff Wagner to the 8:30 am to 12:00 noon daypart. Hosting the “WTMJ Today” show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on an interim basis will be WTMJ alumnus John Jagler, who is now serving as a Representative for Wisconsin’s 37th State Assembly District. Previously, Jagler co-hosted “Wisconsin’s Morning News” with Gene Mueller until 2010. Jagler will work on air with WTMJ’s Erik Bilstad.
‘Brock & Salk’ Show to Air on Alpha Media’s KXTG-AM, Portland. The KIRO-AM, Seattle-based sports talk show “Brock & Salk” – featuring Brock Huard and Mike Salk – is branching out to another Northwest market as the show begins a run on Alpha Media’s Portland sports talker KXTG-AM “750/102.9 The Game,” effective Monday, January 2. The show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and lead into KXTG’s “The Bald-Faced Truth with John Canzano.” Dave Pridemore, who manages KIRO-AM “710 ESPN” for owner Bonneville International, comments, “We are excited to expand our Seattle Sports Radio Network into the greater Portland area.”
Cumulus Pays Bonuses to Execs John Abbot and Richard Denning. Two of Cumulus Media’s executives have received one-time bonuses, according to a filing with the SEC. The Cumulus board of directors approved one-time, discretionary bonuses for EVP, treasurer and CFO John Abbot ($421875) and SVP and secretary and general counsel Richard Denning ($165,000). The filing notes that the bonuses are for “exceptional efforts and contributions made by those executive officers during 2016, both individually and as members of the management leadership team, in the initial phase of the company’s operational turnaround plan and ongoing operational and financial restructuring.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Round Two of December 2016 PPM Data. The second of four rounds of December 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The December 2016 survey period covered November 3-30. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
‘Dogma Debate’ Launches on PodcastOne. The popular podcast produced by author and media figure David Smalley is joining the offerings at PodcastOne. “Dogma Debate” is described by Smalley as “fast-paced with a liberal slant…featuring discussion and debate on topics like atheism, science, politics and civil rights” and “priding itself on respectful debates, the show will make you laugh, cry and, most importantly, think, as you dive into taboo territory with Smalley and his guests each week.” Smalley comments, “For years, I’ve been aware of the quality and growth Norm Pattiz delivers, so I’m very excited about the future possibilities ‘Dogma Debate’ can have with PodcastOne.”
‘The Union Edge’ Talk Show Partners with the League of Women Voters. The nationally syndicated labor-oriented radio talk show “The Union Edge” announces a new partnership with the League of Women Voters that will mean League leaders will participating in regular radio segments to discuss voting rights, public policy issues and advocacy. Program host Charles Showalter says, “We are excited to partner with the League of Women Voters for their strong commitment to voter engagement, voter protection and education. Union members are Democrats, Republicans and Independents; all should have the unimpeded chance to vote their conscience. As a non-partisan organization, the League always brings a fresh perspective on the critical issues facing working people across the country.”
Talk Personality Rob Carson Building Digital Platform. Since recently exiting Cumulus Media’s KCMO, Kansas City, radio personality Rob Carson has been building his own digital platform for his various projects based out of his new home-based broadcast studio. He tells TALKERS that in addition to his digital content, he’s doing talk radio fill-in work (he’ll be on WTMJ, Milwaukee and WLS-AM, Chicago next week). “I now have a fully functional broadcast studio in my home. Since leaving KCMO a month ago, I was able to crowd-fund a new studio, complete with a Comrex Bric II. I have built a podcast and am working on a one-stop website for my podcasts, syndicated comedy, social media and dozens of comedy/lifestyle/cooking videos. As things grow, I’ve already started to talk to food processors and distributors about food products of my design to sell in stores and over the air.” Check out some of his cooking videos here.
Odds & Sods. January’s East-West Shrine Game – the nation’s longest-running college all-star football game – is airing on more than 100 stations via SB Nation Radio. Program director and COO Craig Larson states, “It’s a great honor to air the East-West Shrine game on SB Nation Radio. I have long supported the amazing work of Shriners Hospitals. This is a wonderful opportunity to spotlight many outstanding student-athletes and a tremendous organization.”…..One of the busiest talk radio hosts in America is at it again. WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway will host that show, his regular morning show on WMT, Cedar Rapids as well as subbing in morning drive on iHeartMedia sister station WFLF, Orlando today (12/21) through Friday…..The GCN nationally syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs show is added to the program schedule at D.J. Broadcasting’s WKDE, Altavista, Virginia…..Sports media personalities Woody Paige and Jay Mariotti are launching a daily, 30-minute podcast titled, “Unmuted: The Daily Sports Podcast.” Paige and Mariotti are well known for their work on ESPN’s “Around The Horn” program.
Trump Transition, Obama Drilling Ban, Berlin Terror Attack, Russian Diplomat Assassination Aftermath, U.S. Embassy in Israel Move, Pulse Victims’ Families Sue Social Media, and NFL Pro Bowl Players Announced Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20). The transition of the Trump Administration and President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees; President Obama issues order banning drilling in Arctic and Atlantic Oceans; the search for the person responsible for the deadly truck attack in Berlin; the assassination of Russian diplomat Sergey Lavrov in Ankara and its effect on international relations; controversy over the Trump plan to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; the planned suit against Facebook, Twitter and Google by families of the victims of The Pulse nightclub massacre; and the announcement of the NFL’s 2016 Pro Bowl players were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money Tour Hits Kansas City. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey brought his “Smart Money” event to KC this week, presenting last night (10/20) at Church of the Resurrection. Ramsey also hosted his EntreLeadership 1 Day event in KC on Wednesday. Ramsey, along with best-selling author Chris Hogan and Ramsey personality Christy Wright, presented common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 550 team members. This is the first time EntreLeadership 1 Day was made available by live stream and was broadcast to more than 13,000 participants. Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate news/talk KCMO to promote the event. Pictured above are Cumulus Media Midwest regional VP Donna Baker (left), Ramsey, and Cumulus KC operations manager Lance Tidwell (right). Baker comments, “The KCMO “Talk Radio” team continues to expand relationships with our audience and clients thanks to our partnership with Dave, resulting in sold-out events both days in KC! Our ‘Evening with Dave’ event is a special opportunity to bring like-minded clients together. We hear feedback about how much it means to share time with Dave, make new friends and business contacts, and spend a fun evening with our programming and sales teams. This event ranks high on our list of favorites and has a meaningful impact on increasing revenue and ratings.”
Hooley to Exit WKNR, Cleveland. Afternoon personality (and former Cleveland Plain Dealer sportswriter) Bruce Hooley Tweets that he’s exiting Good Karma’s Cleveland sports talk outlet WKNR “ESPN 850 Cleveland” for a new gig that’s yet to be announced. He did indicate that he’ll be heard in Cleveland “and elsewhere.” Hooley handled the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show, sandwiched between “Golden Boyz” with Aaron Goldhammer and Emmett Golden (heard from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm) and Mark “Munch” Bishop’s “Cleveland Tonight.” There’s no word from Good Karma what its plans are to fill the gap.
Sports Talker KKSE, Denver Announces New Program Lineup. In Denver, KSE Radio Ventures-operated KKSE “Altitude Sports Radio 950” has a new air talent lineup. The “Vic and Kyle” show breaks up with Vic Lombardi moving from afternoons to the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show and Kyle Keefe exiting the radio side (he remains an “Altitude Sports TV” personality). Scott Hastings and Tom Helmer leave the morning daypart to host 10:00 am to 1:00 pm in place of the syndicated Rich Eisen show. Marc Moser is partnered with Julie Browman for the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show, and the afternoon show hosted by Nate Kreckman and Tom Nalen moves to 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
The Presidential Race/Wednesday’s Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 17-21. The 2016 presidential race remains at the top of TALKERS magazine’s weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. Related stories follow with voter fraud and election tampering concerns at #2 and the lingering backlash of the Hillary Clinton email server case at #3. Coming in at #4 was the military campaign against Islamic State in Iraq to retake the city of Mosul. The Talkers Ten TM is published every Friday at Talkers.com. You can this week’s entire chart here.
Odds & Sods. Longtime, former WOR, New York general manager Bob Bruno is taking to the airwaves for a weekly, two-hour show on Whitney Media’s WVOX-AM, New Rochelle, New York. Bruno’s program is titled “The Best of Everything” and he promises “eight fabulous decades of the greatest pop music ever recorded from Sinatra to Springsteen.”…..The weekly, Doug Stephan-hosted “American Family Farmer” talk program is added to the schedule at KRFE-AM, Lubbock, Texas.
Talk Host Jerry Doyle Dead at 60. TMZ is reporting that Jerry Doyle – talk show host and star of the 1990s TV sci-fi series “Babylon 5” – is dead. The site reports that he was found unresponsive at his home in Las Vegas and that no foul play is suspected. Doyle rose to fame in the talk radio business in the mid-2000s after his show was syndicated by Talk Radio Network. He continued to host a daily show produced by America’s Talk Network and distributed by Talk Radio Network Enterprises until his death. TRNE CEO Mark Masters said in a statement, “I am stunned and saddened by the news of Jerry’s sudden death. He was a dear friend and a prince of a human being. We have worked together for the last 12 years and no host was more loyal at my side.” Doyle was a graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He worked for many years on Wall Street prior to getting into acting and, ultimately, talk radio.
Daily Radio Feature Starring Greg Knapp Launches. The name of the program is “The Motivation Minute with Greg Knapp” and it’s being syndicated by Kansas City-based Rockcastle Media Networks. The company describes the show, launching August 1, as a weekday feature designed to inspire and empower adults across all formats. Rockcastle Media Networks president/CEO Will Sterrett says, “Greg Knapp is an exceptional talent with a real passion for helping others maximize their potential. The self-improvement industry is worth an estimated $10 billion in the US each year, and it’s a largely untapped segment for radio. We’re proud to partner with someone so exceptional to create ‘The Motivation Minute with Greg Knapp’ and help stations unlock additional opportunities.” Knapp has hosted talk shows at KCMO, Kansas City; KLIF, Dallas; and his own nationally syndicated “Greg Knapp Experience” program. He’s also author of Go!: How To Find And Pursue Your Passionate Purpose.
Powerful Revenue Panel Video from TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Posted Today. One of the highlights of the recent TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention – “Generating Revenue in the Digital Era” – is posted today (7/28) on Talkers.com. The panel discussion was part of the 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention that took place May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. Moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, the panelists include (in alphabetical order): Dr. Asa, host, Dr. Asa Network; Kathy Carr, VP sales and marketing, Howie Carr Radio Network; Bill Hess, VP, news/talk, Cumulus Media/ PD WMAL, Washington, DC; Brian Landau, EVP digital sales and strategy, DGital Media; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM Milwaukee radio operations/VP news, talk, sports programming, E.W. Scripps Company; Tom Leykis, CEO/founder, The New Normal; and Doug Stephan, host Stephan Multimedia. To view the panel discussion in its entirety, please click here. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more videos from Talkers 2016: Bridging the Generations that will be posted in the days and weeks to come.
The Presidential Race/Democratic National Convention, ISIS Church Attack, John Hinckley to Be Released, the Zika Virus, Freddie Gray Case, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/27). The action taking place at the Democratic National Convention and the activities of candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the execution of a priest during an ISIS inspired attack in Northern France; Ronald Reagan would-be assassin John Hinckley to be released; fears the Zika virus is infecting Americans who have not traveled abroad; charges against final three officers in the Freddie Gray case are dropped and five of the six officers charged to sue prosecutor Marilyn Mosby; 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.
KCMO, Kansas City Morning Anchor Dennis Rooney Dies. After a two-year battle with cancer, KCMO, Kansas City morning news anchor Dennis Rooney died on Wednesday (7/27). Prior to joining Cumulus Media’s KCMO, Rooney was news director and anchor at Union Broadcasting in Kansas City. The station notes that Rooney was a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and that while there, he worked 40 to 50 hours a week driving a truck while attending classes. Cumulus Media Midwest regional vice president Donna Baker states, “For nearly 20 years, thousands of KC radio listeners have listened to and loved Dennis Rooney. His brilliant writing and trusted voice as news anchor, combined with his signature quick wit, made him a legendary on-air personality beloved by listeners and team members alike. Our deepest condolences to his family. Dennis will be greatly missed but never forgotten.”
Odds & Sods. NFL training camps are open, signaling the beginning of the 2016 campaign and FOX Sports Radio’s “Jay Mohr Sports” will hit the road to report from three team camps. He’ll broadcast from Dallas Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, California on August 2; from the Denver Broncos camp in Englewood, Colorado on August 4 and 5; and from the Los Angeles Rams camp at UC-Irvine on August 8…..For the fourth straight season, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will join KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “SPORTSRADIO 93.7 THE FAN” for weekly appearances on the station’s Cook & Poni show. The Ben Roethlisberger show will take place Tuesday’s at 11:00 am…..NFL great Brett Favre is joining SiriusXM NFL Radio to host a show this season. It will be Favre’s first regular sports media role since retiring after the 2010 season. Favre will host a series of hour-long broadcasts during this season. He’s being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton next month and the debut show on August 5 will be a special, “Town Hall”-style program from Canton, Ohio.
Cool Job Opportunity. West Virginia Radio Corporation has an immediate opening for an afternoon drive radio talk show host on a 13-station network. The ideal candidate will mix sports, popular culture and news to deliver a fast-paced, compelling and entertaining show, while interacting with callers and listeners through social media. The position also includes opportunities for radio and TV play-by-play. WVRC is a family-owned heritage radio company with state-of-the-art equipment, excellent benefits and a highly professional work environment. Send a cover letter, resume and audio samples to: email@example.com. WVRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Cumulus Makes Change at CFO Role; Abbot Succeeds Hannan. There has been chatter in the industry lately about looming personnel changes in the corporate tier at Cumulus Media and now the company reveals a new face in the chief financial officer post. John F. Abbot is appointed executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer effective July 1. He replaces Joseph P. “J.P.” Hannan, who the company says resigned his position after six years in order to pursue other interests. Hannan will assist the company for several months to ensure a smooth transition. Abbot comes to Cumulus from his most recent position as EVP and CFO of Telx Holdings Inc., a provider of connectivity, co-location and cloud services in the data center industry. Abbot’s experience also includes spent as EVP/CFO for cable’s Insight Communications Company, Inc. and as managing director for the Global Media and Communications Group of the investment banking division at Morgan Stanley. Abbot says, “I am excited to join Mary [Berner] and the senior leadership team at this important juncture in the company’s evolution. I join Cumulus with an appreciation for the headway that has already been made around the company’s four key strategies as well as a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. I look forward to using my skills and experience to help maximize value as we work to deliver on the turnaround.”
Day One of FAIR’s Immigration Radio Row Underway. This year’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row in Washington, DC is the ninth annual such event and this Federation for American Immigration Reform production is comprised of 50 talk show hosts from all over the country broadcasting their shows and debating immigration policy while interviewing members of congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. FAIR says that “this year’s event will focus on the aftermath of President Obama’s amnesty and his continued abuse of executive power, the GOP’s internal battle over how to tackle immigration and the ongoing border crisis with its implications for national security risks.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison is at the event today speaking with hosts about talk radio’s role in the national discussion of immigration issues. He reports back that “it’s very apparent from the very beginning of this event that there is a more thoughtful attitude toward immigration reform among the hosts and expert guests this year. It seems to be understood that, even among Republicans and conservatives, there are many points of view with regard to the issues surrounding the security of our nation’s borders.” Pictured here at today’s event are some of the talk show hosts taking part in day one – Rob Carson from KCMO, Kansas City; Gary Sutton from WSBA, York; and Tom Marr from WCBM, Baltimore. At bottom left are Michael Harrison (left) and FAIR’s Bob Dane (right).
WEEI, Boston Parts Ways with Evening Personality Mike Adams. Longtime WEEI, Boston personality Mike Adams – host of the evening “Planet Mikey” show on Entercom’s sports talker – exits the station after almost 11 years in the daypart. The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that Entercom Boston VP and market manager Phil Zachary did not cite ratings or any other specific measuring stick regarding the decision to change the evening show, but said, “We made a tough call on Mike but, at the same time, we feel there are some innovative opportunities we’d like to explore over the next few months. As you know, WEEI has extensively – and successfully – revamped every major weekday show over the last three years. The time is right to extend that thinking to nights.” During baseball season, Red Sox baseball airs in the evening daypart most nights, so the station has some time before unveiling anything permanent. Read Finn’s Globe piece here.
The Presidential Race, Former Secret Service Agent’s Clinton Book, ‘Brexit’ Vote, Battle Against Islamic State, Orlando Massacre Investigation/Gun Legislation, and Olympics-Zika Virus Concerns Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22). The activities of the candidates for president; former Secret Service agent Gary Byrnes’ tell-all book about the Clinton White House; tomorrow’s vote by Britons on whether to leave the European Union or not; the ongoing military campaign to fight Islamic State in the Middle East and the charge domestic authorities face in preventing attacks in the U.S.; the ongoing investigation into the events at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub massacre and the attempts at gun legislation changes in Washington; and the increasing number of athletes choosing not to compete in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics over concerns about the Zika virus were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Fashion Figure Mark Weber to Host WABC, New York Weekend Show. This Saturday (6/25) is the debut of the new weekend program “Always in Fashion” on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York. Hosted by fashion industry business leader Mark Weber, WABC says, “The one-hour weekly business talk program features luminaries from fashion’s most successful and innovative brands. Weber and his guests share insights from the heights of the glamorous, fast-paced and highly competitive business of fashion in an exciting, engaging and highly entertaining talk format.” The show is airing on 77 WABC at 10:00 pm ET. Weber says, “Throughout my entire career I worked and commuted to New York City. 77 WABC was my pre-set on my radio and people like Don Imus and Michael Savage are my role models. I listened and learned from these storytellers, and now I have my own stories and lessons that can teach, inspire and entertain listeners interested in business and fashion. I am thrilled to be on the air at 770 WABC!” WABC is the first station of a planned syndication rollout through KMG Networks, a division of Krantz Media Group, in association with Sungate Partners, Inc.
More Murrow’s to Announce. Yesterday, TALKERS magazine wrote about a number of winners of Edward R. Murrow Awards bestowed in 2016. Here are a couple of more: For the fourth year in a row, CBS Radio News wins the Murrow award for “Best Newscast.” The RTDNA recognizes excellence in numerous categories. This award is for CBS’ “World News Roundup” from June 19, 2015, covering the aftermath of the Charleston church shootings. The first section of the broadcast was anchored from Charleston by CBS EVENING NEWS anchor Scott Pelley. It was a comprehensive look at the investigation, the suspect, the victims and how the city was coping. The rest of the broadcast was anchored from New York by CBS Radio News anchor Steve Kathan and covered the Colorado movie shooting trial and the manhunt for two escaped prisoners in Northern New York. Also, CBS RADIO O&O WBZ-AM, Boston – in the Large Market category – received the top honor for “Best Newscast” for its morning report, which included updates on the 2015 snow storm. The company’s WBBM-AM, Chicago was awarded “Best Breaking News Coverage” for its continued coverage following the public release of the video capturing the shooting of Laquan McDonald.
WABC’s Joan Hamburg Honored with Lifetime Achievement Gracie. The 41st Annual Gracie Awards Luncheon took place at Cipriani on 42nd in New York yesterday (6/21). The ceremony was presented by The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. Host Robin Meade led the program alongside presenters Beverly Bond, Emme, Erica Hill and Ginger Zee. The Gracie Awards were presented to honorees which were previously announced on March 21 in recognition of their successes in the media industry. Lifetime Achievement Honoree Joan Hamburg was presented her award by close friend Alan Alda (pictured at right). Ginger Zee was not only a presenter but an acceptor for Good Morning America’s win for Outstanding Talk Show- News. In presenting Hamburg with her honor, Alda said, “In a media industry where talk radio is overwhelmingly dominated by men, Joan is a woman’s voice that is graceful and lively but authoritative.” As part of the program, Canadian singer/songwriter Ruth B performed her viral hit “Lost Boy” and her unreleased single “In My Dreams.”
Odds & Sods. According to a report in the New York Daily News, radio personality Zev Brenner was hit with a fine of $2,500 and will serve a year’s probation for failure to file income tax returns. Brenner hosts an online radio show. He was previously with WMCA, New York hosting his “Talkline” program. The Feds charged Brenner with failure to file for tax years 2003 through 2011. He’s already paid $63,764 in restitution…..The audio of NBC Sports Radio – the NBC Sports Group/Westwood One joint venture – is now available for live-streaming via Apple Music. NBC Sports Ventures SVP Rob Simmelkjaer says, “Now, through Apple Music, with its broad reach and immediate availability, NBC Sports Radio content is even more accessible.”…..Lisa Gillespie joins Louisville Public Media’s WFPL, Louisville as the station’s health and innovation reporter. She was most recently working in Washington for Kaiser Health News. Her beat with WFPL will be public health and health care policy…..Pictured here is nationally syndicated “Gun Talk” host Tom Gresham (right) with the host of television’s “Into the Wild,” Jack Hanna (left). The two appeared at the Professional Outdoor Media Association’s annual conference in Kalispell, Montana where Hanna spoke about the role of hunting in conservation and his belief that hunters are the original conservationists.
Tom Becka Returns to Kansas City as KCMO Re-Vamps Lineup. Last week, Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM/K279BI, Kansas City cut ties with 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm personality Greg Knapp. It turns out that was phase one of a programming lineup restructure. Talk host Tom Becka – who previously worked in the market at crosstown KMBZ – joins the station to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show. Local host Rob Carson remains in the morning drive slot. Current KCMO personality Mike Ferguson moves to the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm slot, followed by Dave Ramsey from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Westwood One’s Michael Savage from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Cumulus Media Midwest regional VP and market manager Donna Baker comments, “KCMO talk radio takes an exciting step forward today. Welcoming Becka back to KC, Mike Ferguson continuing local community conversations over the lunch hour, and Dave Ramsey returning to three hours in the afternoon are powerful additions to our talented lineup.”
Report: ‘Nearly 40’ Laid Off at TheBlaze. According to a published report by Lloyd Grove in The Daily Beast, close to 40 staffers have been let go from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – just a year after numerous staffers were laid off in May of 2015. Grove’s piece says this is part of a restructuring required by the covenants of a “multimillion-dollar bank loan” recently taken out to keep the company going. Layoffs reportedly affect some 20 at offices in New York, 12 in Washington, five at a dozen in Washington, five at a documentary studio in Columbus, Ohio, plus several in a Los Angeles office. Back in February, Kraig Kitchin stepped down from his CEO role with TheBlaze to focus on “existing commitments.” Director of advertising sales Jeremy Price and director of marketing Liz Julis also exited at that time. The story says these changes do not affect Beck’s Premiere Networks-syndicated show. Read Grove’s piece here.
Kenetta Bailey Named SVP of Marketing for CBS RADIO. Joining CBS RADIO as senior vice president, marketing is Kenetta Bailey. She was most recently heading up her own consulting firm – KB Consulting – in which she worked with a variety of start-up businesses on subscriber growth, social media and branding. She also serves as an adjunct instructor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. CBS RADIO president Andre Fernandez states, “I’m thrilled to welcome Kenetta to our leadership team, and look forward to introducing her creative energy and brand expertise into everything we do. We have a tremendous opportunity to expand the strength of our brands locally and nationwide, as well as define our long range position in the marketplace. I know Kenetta will play an instrumental role in the telling of our story to the industry.” Bailey will be responsible for the marketing and brand positioning of the company, its stations and its digital products. She’ll also provide business-to-business marketing support and work with the division’s market managers and station management to develop and coordinate strategy for their local marketing efforts.
When Your Station IS the News. Last week’s attempted takeover of a media outlet in Baltimore by an allegedly deranged man happened at a television station. But, it could just as easily have been a radio station group. ABC Television Network director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes in a column published today (5/2), that “comprehensive, well-resourced and well-rehearsed emergency planning not only assures your continued ability to operate in times of crisis, but more importantly, shows your staff and clients how much you care.” He notes that the Sinclair-owned station and its staffers were prepared and it showed in how the situation was dealt with. Read Price’s valuable advice for preparing for potential emergencies here.
2015 Acquisitions Help Entercom to Q1 Net Revenue Hike of 23%. During 2015, Entercom added stations to its portfolio in deals with Lincoln Financial Media and Bonneville. Those deals helped the company’s first quarter 2016 net revenue soar to $96.1 million. Company CEO David Field says, “But the bigger news is that we had another great quarter of organic revenue growth. Same station revenues increased 6% for the quarter… In sum, it was a terrific quarter. What is important to note is that is part of an increasingly consistent pattern of Entercom delivering solid growth quarter-after-quarter. This now marks the fourth consecutive quarter of accelerating organic revenue growth for Entercom.”
The Presidential Race/Trump Protests, Iraq Parliament Protest, Seattle May Day Violence, 9/11 Report Controversy, White House Correspondents Dinner, and NFL Draft Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president and the California Donald Trump protests; the storming of the Iraqi Parliament by anti-government protestors; Sunday’s violent May Day protests in Seattle; controversy over the validity of the contents of the 9/11 report and Saudi Arabia’s threat to the U.S. if blamed for the terror attacks; the various political jabs from speakers at Saturday’s annual White House Correspondents Dinner; and the 2016 NFL Draft were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Reports Record Attendance. The immigration-oriented radio row scheduled for June 22-23 in Washington is filling up with radio talk show hosts fast. The “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event is produced by Federation for American Immigration Reform and executive director Bob Dane calls it an all-time high attendance record and adds that it’s “no surprise given immigration is the hottest issue in a high-profile, turbulent campaign.” FAIR says there are three remaining broadcast slots up for grabs. The event on Capitol Hill pulls together talk hosts, lawmakers, law enforcement and media. FAIR covers all expenses and engineering. Call for details at 202-328-7004.
Odds & Sods. Sports talk KDCO, Denver adds an FM presence in the market via translator K284CI at 104.7 FM. Mile High Sports Radio operates the stations under an LMA from Kona Coast Radio….. The Red State Talk Radio Network-based talk show “Standing Ground” hosted by Jeremy Leahy adds new affiliate station WJHC, Jasper, Florida (between Jacksonville and Tallahassee). The show airs at 11:00 pm on Sunday evenings…..Alpha Media’s Mason City, Iowa stations news/talk KGLO and standards KRIB pick up 11 honors in the Small Market Division of the 2015 Iowa Broadcast News Association awards. KGLO’s Bob Fisher won four first-place awards for Best Newscast, Sports Play-by-Play, Political Coverage, and Public Affairs.
CBS to Explore Options for Radio Division. The company has always enjoyed the cash flow that the CBS RADIO division brought to its bottom line but CEO Les Moonves has often indicated that radio is not a core business for CBS Corp. Yesterday’s announcement by Moonves at a CBS investor day that the company will explore “strategic options” for the radio division in order to “hone its asset portfolio” is being greeted by the radio industry with mixed emotions. Potential buyers are thrilled by the thought of acquiring CBS’ heritage, major market signals, but few operators have piles of cash on hand and it will require taking on debt to buy these stations in a climate where debt can be difficult to pay off. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison offers the following comments on the Moonves announcement, “Broadcast (FM/AM) radio can still be a very viable business if stations can be acquired at realistic prices. There is still a lot of life left in the medium if it can run within a business model that makes sense per the times. Also, broadcast radio has a large audience and provides a vital set of services for millions of Americans. It just needs to be relieved of stifling debt. Radio has to be able to afford to do radio. Fresh capital within a realistic debt structure and the influx of invigorated, passionate ownership will create a much better product for radio which will further add years of vitality to the industry.” However, Harrison points out, “CBS has been and still is one of the better-run major companies in radio, so its decision to get out – although advancing the cause of de-consolidation – is not an act of desperation as much as it is indicative of their long-term asset strategy.” Moonves told investors that it views CBS TV and Showtime as its premium brands. The company is focusing intently on its digital efforts CBS All Access and Showtime via the Internet to cater to consumers’ growing on-demand preferences. CBS owns 117 signals in 26 markets, many of those clusters are in major markets. Given what CBS hopes to get for the stations it is unlikely that one buyer will be able to swallow the whole group. Since radio is not considered a growth industry by investors, finding favorable financing for radio station acquisitions – especially in light of the enormous debt fellow operators iHeartMedia and Cumulus are dealing with – will be a challenge. Moonves said all options are on the table, meaning the company would consider a spinoff or a split as well as an outright sale. CBS RADIO’s net revenue for the fourth quarter of 2015 was down 5% compared to the same period in 2014.
American Broadcasters Participate in Radiodays Europe. Several prominent US radio broadcasters participated as speakers in the just-concluded seventh annual installment of Radiodays Europe – the growingly popular international radio convention that took place March 13-15 in Paris. Among them were TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison who delivered a speech titled “Lessons Learned by American Radio During the Dawn of the Digital Era” and moderated a “Fast and Curious” roundtable discussion titled, “Making Radio Indispensable;” Jacobs Media CEO, Fred Jacobs who participated in a group presentation titled, “”Radio in Car: Dashboard Disaster;” Geller Media International president Valerie Geller who conducted a workshop titled “Create Powerful Radio,” spoke in a group session titled “30 Ideas in 45 Minutes” and debuted the brand new French language edition of her book Creating Powerful Radio; iHeart Media syndicated personality Elvis Duran and VP of talent development Dennis Clark who both appeared on the panel titled “Morning Radio Superstars – In Talent We Trust; NPR producer Bianca Giaeve, who presented a session titled “Storytelling in New Medias” and appeared in the group session titled “30 Ideas in 45 Minutes;” and Futuri Media CEO Daniel Anstandig who presented a session titled “Winning the First Tune-In Occasion of the Day.” It was announced that next year’s Radiodays Europe will take place in Amsterdam. Pictured at right is Valerie Geller with her Puissance Radio French publishing team (l-r) Philippe Chapot, Francois Quairel and Frederic Bruhaltour at the debut of the French version of her classic Creating Powerful Radio.
Cumulus Kansas City Names Lance Tidwell Cluster OM and KCMO PD. Programmer Lance Tidwell joins Cumulus Media’s Kansas City station group to serve as cluster operations manager and program director for news/talk KCMO-AM. He’ll also supervise the Chiefs Radio Network. Tidwell was previously SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s San Antonio cluster. On KCMO-AM, Tidwell replaces Steve Sutton who recently exited the PD and talk host roles at the station.
Odds & Sods. The photo at right shows a billboard in the Tampa market for “102.5 The Bone” morning personality Mike Calta. Cox Media Group-owned talk outlet WHPT is also promoting the afternoon drive Drew Garabo show with a similar ad. “Bone” program director John Brennan comments on the Trump-inspired boards saying, “We’re kicking off 102.5 The Bone’s ‘CamPAINFUL’ coverage and have launched a series of parody billboards ‘Trumped’ in ridiculousness only by the 2016 Election itself.” Calta will appear at the Talkers 2016: Bridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University on May 20 on the “Millennials and the Media” panel…..It’s being reported that the Marilu Henner talk radio show will wrap after its last broadcast on March 31. The program is no longer listed on the Sun Broadcast Group site. It is distributed by Genesis Communications Network. “Free Talk Live” principal Ian Freeman reports the news to affiliate stations. His show is also distributed by GCN…..Speaking of “Free Talk Live,” the show announces it has added new affiliates in WWHP-FM, Bloomington, Illinois; KQQQ, Pullman, Washington; simulcast KEIR, KEII, and the four translators in Idaho Falls, Blackfoot, and Pocatello, Idaho; and WSDT, Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee…..Greg Janoff returns to CBS RADIO New York as director of news sales for all-newsers WINS and WCBS-AM. Janoff was most recently with Townsquare Media as regional VP for New Jersey.
Round Two of February PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of February 2016 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was January 28 – February 24. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Super Tuesday II/Presidential Race, Syrian Conflict-Russian Involvement, Scalia Replacement, U.S Immigration Policy, and ‘Pawn Stars’ Cast Member Bust Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/15). Yesterday’s Super Tuesday II primary elections and the issues surrounding the presidential race; the Syrian conflict and Russia’s announcement it is removing its troops from the region; the controversy over the replacement of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; debate over the immigration policy in the U.S.; and the arrest of “Pawn Stars” cast member Chumlee were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.