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.