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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

| April 3, 2018

Day Four of Where’s Kevin Klein?  The website for Entercom’s sports/guy talk/rock hybrid still lists Kevin Klein as morning drive host.  In fact, it says he’s on the air now.  But, he’s not; the station is still playing rock music as of this morning.  Klein was supposed to start his morning show stint on KEGY, San Diego “97.3 The Machine” last Thursday.  But, after the ill-fated Tweet poking fun at the city’s Coronado Bridge and its history as a site of so many suicides, Klein’s fate appears to be up in the air.  The station is the flagship for San Diego Padres baseball, but the team was upset with the Tweet as well as the station’s general tenor, according to recent local media reports.  Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler last week told the Union Tribune that the team would get through the opening series of the season and then “sit down and evaluate it,” meaning the team’s relationship with the station.  It seems safe to assume that Entercom and the Padres are still in discussions about their deal.  Programming execs may be re-evaluating the station’s image, or they could be waiting for the issue to blow over.

FNC Backs Laura Ingraham with Strong Statement. Despite reports of advertisers fleeing FOX News Channel’s “The Ingraham Angle” program starring Laura Ingraham, FNC co-president Jack Abernethy issued a strong statement in support of her.  As talk media watchers are aware, Ingraham’s social media comments about Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior David Hogg’s college applications drew criticism from some quarters.  Hogg posted a list of Ingraham’s advertisers, suggesting a boycott, and the feud gained momentum.  Ingraham is on a planned vacation this week, and Abernethy issued the following statement: “We cannot and will not allow voices to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts.  We look forward to having Laura Ingraham back hosting her program next Monday when she returns from spring vacation with her children.”  Read Variety’s take on the matter here.

Former WWTN-FM, Nashville Morning Host Ralph Bristol to Run for Nashville Mayor.  According to a report in The Tennessean, former WWTN-FM, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” morning host Ralph Bristol will run as a Republican in the August election for the Nashville mayoral position.  Megan Barry recently resigned from the mayor’s office after pleading guilty to felony theft over $10,000 in connection with her extra-marital affair with her former security chief.  The 68-year-old Bristol tells that paper that he left his gig with Cumulus Media’s WWTN due to and “editorial difference of opinions” with station management.  (Brian Wilson recently assumed AM drive duties at the station.)  Bristol is opposed to a $9 billion transit bill that is intended to alleviate Nashville’s traffic problems and is banking on his opposition to the controversial proposal to fuel his campaign.

Longtime Washington News Pro Connie Lawn Dies at 73.  News pro Connie Lawn died this morning at her home in Falls Church, Virginia at age 73 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.  Lawn was the longest-credentialed member of the White House press corps, having served for 50 years.  Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says Lawn served with him during the 1990s at USA Radio Network and, more recently, worked for SRN News on a part-time basis.  Tradup says he told his staff, “All of us at SRN News and TOWNHALL News send our condolences to Connie’s husband, Dr. Charles Sneiderman, and to her many friends and colleagues throughout the radio news industry.  She was one-in-a-million.”

TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow (4/4), SiriusXM is honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King on the anniversary of his assassination in Memphis 50 years ago.  SiriusXM host and human rights activist Joe Madison will broadcast his daily show live from Ben’s Chili Bowl.  The popular D.C. restaurant was frequented by Dr. King during his life and remained open during the riots that ensued following his assassination.  Other programming will take place across the satcaster’s Progress and POTUS channels…..Westwood One is presenting coverage of the 2018 Masters Tournament this Thursday through Sunday.  In addition to hole-by-hole coverage, Westwood One will present hourly updates and a nightly, half-hour preview and recap show, “The Masters Tonight.”  Bob Papa and Charlie Rymer are the anchors for live coverage from Augusta National Golf Club…..ESPN Deportes Radio (WEPN-AM, New York) launches a new, local afternoon show called “Zona NYC,” airing from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm, hosted by Tenchy Rodriquez and Nestor Rosario.   ESPN says the show will focus on the sports themes most relevant to the New York City Hispanic community.  Rodriquez brings years of experience as a reporter in the Dominican Republic covering MLB and Dominican League Baseball.  Rosario serves as Spanish-language color commentator for the New York Mets and as play-by-play announcer for the New York Giants.

Trump Mexico Criticism, U.S.-China Tariffs, Financial Markets Activity, Trump-Russia Investigation, Ingraham-Hogg Feud, Iran Nukes Deal, Steven Bochco and Winnie Mandela Die, NCAA Championship Game, and MLB and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/2).  U.S. immigration policy and President Trump’s criticism of Mexico’s policing of illegal immigration; China slaps tariffs on U.S. goods in response to President Trump’s tariffs on Chinese exports; Monday’s sharp Dow drop and the financial markets’ responses to U.S. policy; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the feud between FOX News Channel personality Laura Ingraham and Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg; criticism of the Iran nuclear deal from Israel and Saudi Arabia; the deaths of television producer/writer Steven Bochco and Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Mandela; Monday night’s NCAA championship game between Villanova and Michigan; and MLB and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERSmagazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Detroit on-air and programming pro Jessica Tyler adds music director duties for Cumulus Media’s hot AC WDVD to her responsibilities at the cluster.  Tyler continues to serve as APD, music director, and midday jock at sister country outlet WDRQ-FM “NASH FM 93.1.”  Cumulus Detroit director of programming Robby Bridges says, “Jessica’s passion for music and her relationships with artists and the label community is unparalleled.  I’m pleased she’ll work with me, APD Kendall Taylor, and our corporate team on the sound of Detroit’s 96.3 WDVD going forward!”…..At Connoisseur Media’s Connecticut operations, Allan Lamberti is named morning host at rock WFOX, Stamford/Norwalk “95.9 The FOX.”  He’s been with the cluster since 2003 in a variety of positions.  Station PD Kevin Begley says, “Allan is a walking trivia night.  He knows more about pop culture and music than anyone I’ve ever met.  Being a lifelong resident of Fairfield County, Allan is a perfect person to entertain ‘FOX’ listeners on their way to work in the morning.”  Begley adds that Lamberti leads a re-tooled lineup that includes the addition of Keith Dakin in afternoons…..Cumulus Media promotes programming pro Dayton Kane to operations manager and program director for country WPKR-FM and alternative WWWX-FM “96.9 The Fox.”  Kane was most recently program director for the company’s classic rock WKRU and classic hits WOGB in Green Bay.  Cumulus VP and market managerJohn Rowe says, “Dayton has demonstrated strong programming leadership qualities and produced outstanding results within Cumulus Wisconsin. We’re excited to expand his role and take advantage of his success and experience.”

West Coast Jock John Mack Flanagan Dies at 71.  As reported in LARP.com, John Mack Flanagan, who spent most of his career at KFRC, San Francisco – but also did part of 1975 at KHJ, Los Angeles – passed away after a battle with congestive heart failure on March 31.  In addition to his work at KFRC, he also worked on air at KWSS, San Jose; KSFO, San Francisco; KYA, San Francisco; and KBGG-FM, San Francisco.

Monday, April 2, 2018

| April 2, 2018

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.”

Friday, March 30, 2018

| March 30, 2018

KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City’s Doug Wright Wrapping Daily Radio Show.  After a 40-year career at Bonneville’s heritage news/talk KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City, Doug Wright is stepping away from his daily late morning show duties.  The station says Wright will continue at the station as a special news consultant and correspondent, providing insight and commentary on top news stories for both KSL-TV and KSL Newsradio.  He’ll also continue to host the popular and long-running “KSL Movie Show” on Fridays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Station GM Tanya Vea says, “Doug Wright is synonymous with KSL.  His show is the place where thought leaders go to talk and tune in to listen.  Doug’s insights and interviews have made a significant impact in this state.  He is an irreplaceable part of the KSL legacy.”  KSL is filling the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart with the new “Dave and Dujanovic” program.  The talk show, currently airs at night, hosted by longtime KSL-TV investigative reporter Debbie Dujanovic and former news and sports producer Dave Noriega.  Dujanovic says, “It’s impossible to fill Doug’s shoes.  However, we’ll emulate Doug by doing our best to be inclusive, understanding, and most importantly – by bringing to light the issues affecting Utahns the most.”  For two months beginning Monday, April 2, KSL will introduce “Dave and Dujanovic” Monday through Thursday from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon following a two-hour Doug Wright show.  Then, after Doug’s 40th anniversary and last daily show on Friday, June 1, “Dave and Dujanovic” will expand to a full three hours.

Status of KEGY, San Diego’s Kevin Klein Show Unclear.  The new morning drive show on Entercom’s recently flipped sports/hot talk hybrid “97.3 The Machine” starring Kevin Klein was supposed to launch yesterday – opening day for the San Diego Padres.  But, after Klein’s ill-advised promotional Tweet that got serious blowback for being insensitive to suicide, his show did not debut after all.  If you’ve been following this story, you are aware that the San Diego Padres were incensed about their new flagship station’s morning show promo and alluded to being concerned about the general tenor of the station in a recent piece in the San Diego Union Tribune.  The station has not publicly addressed the matter – other than issuing Klein’s profuse apology for the lapse in judgement.  It’s a safe bet that Entercom and the Padres are in serious talks about how to move forward and Klein’s status may be a part of that discussion.

Trump-Russia Investigation and Diplomatic Expulsions Tie for Top News/Talk Stories This Week.  The ongoing investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the diplomatic expulsions by Russia, the U.S. and the U.K. ties for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Stormy Daniels litigation and her ‘60 Minutes’ interview.  Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s rising approval rating, followed by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ op-ed opinion calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

PBS NewsHour’s Steve Goldbloom Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  He is a writer, producer, filmmaker and performer known for creating “Brief but Spectacular,” the weekly interview series for “PBS NewsHour.”   Steve Goldbloom is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne weekly series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Goldbloom is a young, multi-media practitioner who has developed several comedy series for digital platforms, including “Everything But The News” for PBS and “On The Brink Of Greatness” for AOL.  He has also contributed to the “PBS NewsHour” as a special correspondent in addition to his work on “Brief but Spectacular.”  Thirty-four-year-old Goldbloom also serves as host of the weekly PodcastOne series “Forbes Under 30.”  In this important program, produced in conjunction with Forbes magazine, he talks to outstanding entrepreneurs under the age of 30 who are shaking things up and creating disruption in the new digital marketplace of the 21st century.  Harrison and Goldbloom talk about this exciting new business arena as well as the ambitious young people who are fueling its dynamics.  They delve into the fascinating characteristics of the Millennial generation.  To listen to this podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on “The Michael Harrison Interview” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

NAB Names Officers for Radio Board. The National Association of Broadcasters announces the results of the 2018 NAB Radio and Television Board elections.  These are two-year terms and they begin in June.  NAB Radio Board members are (* denotes new member): Hartley Adkins, president of integrated revenue strategy, iHeartMedia; David Bevins, chief operating officer, Connoisseur Media; *Justin Chase, executive vice president of programming, Beasley Media Group; Larry Fuss, president, South Seas Broadcasting; Kim Guthrie, president, Cox Media Group; Margaret Perkins, president and CEO, First Natchez Radio Group; *Dhruv Prasad, co-chief executive officer; Townsquare Media; Tony Richards, vice president, Federated Media; Tom Walker, president, Mid-West Family Broadcasting; Jim Watkins, general manager, WHUR-FM, Washington; and *John Zimmer, president, Zimmer Radio.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  From the Windy City, media writer Robert Feder reports that because of “specific safety and security concerns,” the WGCI-sponsored “TakeOver Jam” concert at the Chicago Theater was cancelled abruptly before it was to happen last night.  The event was to be a third anniversary celebration for morning show team Kyle Santillian, Kendra Gilliams, and Leon Rogers.  The public was not made aware of what the specific safetly concerns were, but theater owner Madison Square Garden Entertainment made the announcement hours before showtime…..Toledo radio personality Tricia Courtney Tischler is exiting her role on the Denny Schaffer show on Cumulus Media’s hot AC WQQO, Toledo “Q 105.5.”  Tischler is leaving the show to spend more time with her family but she acknowledges that she set out to prove she could still do her radio work every day after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  She’s been with the Denny Schaffer show since Schaffer’s return to the Toledo radio scene in September of 2014…..Hubbard Radio St. Louis’ hot AC WARH “106.5 The Arch” and WIL “New Country 92.3” teamed with CBS’ KMOV-TV to hold a 12-hour radio telethon yesterday (3/29) and raised more than $136,000 for Shriner’s Hospital in St. Louis.

Ryan Seacrest Accuser Files Police Report.  Former Ryan Seacrest hair stylist Suzy Hardy says she’s not going away and has taken her sexual harassment claims against radio and television superstar Ryan Seacrest to the police.  Hardy says she was fired by NBC after an investigation by the network into her allegations that concluded there was no evidence to support her accusations.  NBC contends her contract ended when Seacrest’s work at “E! News” wrapped.  Seacrest maintains his innocence.  You can read Hardy’s The Hollywood Reporter piece (with NBC’s statement) here.

PPM Analysis: Classic Rock.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on classic rock.  More than 60% of classic rock stations saw their 6+ AQH share go up from the January 2018 survey to the February 2018 survey.  Thirty percent were down and 9% remained flat.  Comparing February 2017 to February 2018, 58% of stations were up whereas 40% declined.  Just three classic rock stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets in February – iHeartMedia’s KZPS, Dallas “Lone Star 92.5”; Entercom’s KSEG, Sacramento “Eagle 96.9”; and Cumulus Media’s KCFX, Kansas City “101 The Fox” all landed on top.  Fifteen other classic rock outlets finished in the top five in their respective PPM markets.  See Kinosian’s entire report here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

| March 28, 2018

MLB’s Padres Critical of Flagship Morning Host’s ‘Insensitive’ Tweet. On-air pro Kevin Klein begins his new gig as morning drive host at Entercom’s sports/hot talk KEGY, San Diego “97.3 FM The Machine” tomorrow, but he’s already irked the San Diego Padres and some of the general public with his Tweet promoting his new show.  The Tweet used an image of the Coronado bridge (with its history as a site of numerous suicides) and the text “JUMP! To a new morning show.”  The Padres – whose games emanate from KEGY as flagship station – among others, complained about the “insensitive and completely unacceptable” nature of the Tweet.  Klein removed the offending images and apologized for his error in judgement, writing, “I’d like to sincerely apologize to San Diego and listeners of 97.3 for a distasteful and insensitive social media post…The comment was reprehensible and inexcusable.  I’ve failed at making a good first impression, but I hope that you will give me another chance to provide entertainment and good-natured laughs when I go on the air on Thursday morning.  Once again, I apologize to all the listeners and the city of San Diego.”

Report Indicates Padres “Evaluating” Relationship with KEGY.  Apparently, it’s not just the above-mentioned Tweet snafu, but the MLB club is not thrilled with the station’s overall programming philosophy.  The San Diego Union Tribune’s Bryce Miller reports that Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler has issues with the programming tenor on the team’s flagship radio station.  “We’re going to get through this first home stand, then sit down and evaluate it.  We’re going to assess our legal obligations.  We just want a good radio partner that’s not offensive to the community.”  He also called the programming since the station flipped “almost shock-jock radio” and “not what we intended to be involved in.”  No doubt Entercom is working hard to save this relationship as the cume that baseball is likely to bring to the station is crucial to its successful launch.   Stay tuned.

PPM Analysis: Sports TalkTALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his report on the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio.  As the sports world moved into the post-NFL portion of the calendar, sports talk stations took a hit to their AQH share.  Only 9% of sports talkers saw their 6+ numbers go up, while almost 70% suffered a decrease compared to the January 2018 survey.  But, year-over-year comparisons show about half of the sports talk stations in PPM markets saw their 6+ shares increase from February 2017.  Just one station – Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles flagship WIP, Philadelphia – ranked #1 in its respective market; and just one other – New England Patriots flagship WBZ-FM, Boston (#3) – ranked in the top five.  See Kinosian’s whole report here.

Cumulus to Place Four FMs in Divestiture Trust.  In its latest FCC filing, Cumulus Media reveals, among numerous other things, that it will divest of four FM stations in markets where it is currently over the FCC’s ownership limits.  The company says that it currently holds a grandfathered attributable interest in more radio stations than is permitted under the Commission’s local radio ownership rules in the Albany, Georgia; Columbia, Missouri; Green Bay; and Toledo markets.   Cumulus is therefore filing an application with the FCC to assign the licenses of country WNUQ-FM, Albany; classic hits KJMO-FM, Linn, Missouri; country WPCK-FM, Denmark, Wisconsin; and sports talk WTOD-FM, Toledo.

Craig Carton to Launch Daily Show on FNTSY Sports Network.  Former WFAN, New York morning personality Craig Carton is starting a daily program on SportsGrid’s FNTSY Sports Radio Network tomorrow (3/29).  The “Carton and Friends” streaming program will air from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm via TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and others.  FNTSY calls the show “innovative, irreverent, entertaining, compelling and a must listen…Craig and his group of celebrity friends together with a fresh group of off the wall real-life characters broadcasting live from Studio 34 in heart of Manhattan.”  Carton is in a legal battle with the Feds after being charged with fraud in connection with an alleged concert tickets Ponzi scheme.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post reports that sports personality Dan Patrick is not going to return to NBC’s “Football Night in America” program.  He says he is going to renew his deal with AT&T/DirecTV – the TV show that is simulcast for radio and syndicated by FOX Sports Radio.  Patrick says he was offered a new, five-year deal to continue with the NBC TV show but says he wasn’t sure he wanted to commit to the program for that long…..The new host of the Public Radio International-syndicated, New York Public Radio-produced talk program “The Takeaway” is Tanzina Vega.  The CNN news pro is taking over the permanent position from longtime host John Hockenberry, who left in December after allegations of inappropriate behavior.  Todd Zwillich has been hosting the show in the interim.  Vega begins on May 7.  NYPR president and CEO Laura Walker states, “At this critical moment in our nation’s history, when America is so polarized, public media has an opportunity and a mandate to bring people together to debate, discuss, and share experiences and perspectives that have been buried for too long.  With her deep expertise unpacking tough subjects with thoughtful insight and analysis, Tanzina is the perfect person to lead this urgent national conversation.”…..ABC Radio promotes Josh Cohan to the manager of digital audio position.  ABC News vice president and general manager Steve Jones says, “In his new role, Josh will help lead our expansion of podcasts and other programming across digital audio platforms while continuing to play an important role in our newsroom operations and editorial.”…..iHeartMedia Albany’s sports talker WOFX-AM “FOX Sports 980” renews its deal to serve as the market’s affiliate station for Boston Red Sox baseball through the 2020 season.  “FOX Sports 980” has aired Sox games since 2012…..Sun Broadcast Group announces that Paul Capodanno joins the firm as vice president of marketing and digital.  In the past, Capodanno has served with Zimmerman Advertising where he worked on major campaigns including: Office Depot, Party City, Michaels, and AutoNation…..Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz announces that Emmy Award-winning NBC News executive Mark Lukasiewicz is appointed dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication.  The school says that Lukasiewicz brings “deep experience as a broadcast journalist, production executive and transformational newsroom leader known for his innovative methods of integrating digital media and traditional television platforms.”  He begins July 1.

Mark Simone Welcomes Geraldo Rivera.  710 WOR, New York midday personality Mark Simone (right) poses for a pic with news and talk legend Geraldo Rivera (left) in the iHeartMedia New York studios.  Rivera appeared on Simone’s show to kick off his book tour for The Geraldo Show: A Memoir (2018, BenBalla Books).

Trump-Russia Investigation, Justice Stevens Calls for Second Amendment Repeal, 2020 Census Citizenship Flap, California Sanctuary Cities Controversy, Kim Jong Un in China, Stephon Clark Shooting Death Protests, the NCAA’s Final Four, NFL Rule Changes, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/27). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ call for a repeal of the Second Amendment; the controversy over the questions about one’s citizenship on the 2020 U.S. Census; the tensions between California and certain of its cities over sanctuary policies; North Korea’s Kim Jong Un visits China; the protests in Sacramento over the police shooting death of Stephon Clark; the NCAA Men’s tournament Final Four; free agency signings in the NFL; Thursday’s MLB season openers; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Longtime Detroit TV newsman Stephen Clark is tapped for the new morning show on Entercom’s classic hits WOMC.  The company says the new show debuts on Monday (4/2) with Clark and a co-host to be revealed on Thursday, April 5.  Clark recently retired from WXYZ-TV after 16 years as anchor of the 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm newscasts.  But, he was a disc jockey and radio reporter before moving into TV.  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Stephen is an integral part of the fabric of Detroit and we are thrilled to have him open this new chapter in the station’s rich heritage.  Stephen’s connection with our local community, his personality and love of music make him a great fit to take the helm of the new WOMC morning show.”…..On-air pro Chad Pitt (left) is joining iHeartMedia’s WMGF, Orlando “Magic 107-7” as co-host of the “Magic Morning Show,” effective April 2.  Pitt will work on air with incumbent personality Leslye (right).  Station PD Brian Mack says, “Although, nothing will replace our beloved John Forsythe when he embarks on his well-deserved retirement after 50 years of radio, we can take solace in reunification with an old friend.”  Pitt returns to iHM Orlando after working on air in markets including Memphis, Tampa, and Houston…..Envision Networks’ “The Country Oldies Show with host Steve Warren” is added to the program schedule at WJJM, Lewisburg, Tennessee.  “The Country Oldies Show” features a half-century of the greatest country hits from the 1950s to the 1990s.  Warren has been the host and producer of the program since its inception…..Milwaukee Public Schools-owned non-commercial triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee” is unveiling the grant and educational initiative “Backline” designed “to help Milwaukee musicians succeed, establish Milwaukee’s reputation as an emerging music city, and help Milwaukee companies attract and retain young employees.”  The station is working with business accelerator gener8tor.  “Backline” will recruit four Milwaukee area musicians or bands for its first 12-week session this summer, modeled on gener8tor’s nationally ranked business start-up accelerator.  Selected musicians and groups will be eligible to receive grants of $20,000 for financial support and initiatives identified through the accelerator process, such as recording, promotion and touring…..iHeartMedia announces the lineup for the Daytime Village at the iHeartCountry Festival on Saturday, May 5 will feature live performances by: Luke Combs, Brett Young, Lauren Alaina, Dylan Scott, and Danielle Bradbery.

Monday, March 5, 2018

| March 5, 2018

iHeartMedia Gets Breathing Room to Settle Debt Issue.  Industry watchers were expecting iHeartMedia to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection over the weekend as the default on a missed $103 million payment on 14% Senior Notes was about to kick in.  That didn’t happen and iHeart announces that yesterday (3/4) it “and certain lenders party thereto (the ‘Consenting Lenders’) entered into a Forbearance Agreement (the ‘Forbearance Agreement’), with respect to the Credit Agreement, dated as of May 13, 2008, as amended and restated as of February 23, 2011 (as further amended or supplemented from time to time, the ‘Credit Agreement’), among iHeartCommunications, as the parent borrower, the subsidiary co-borrowers and foreign subsidiary revolving borrowers party thereto, iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC, as a guarantor, Citibank, N.A., as administrative agent, swing line lender and letter of credit issuer, and the other lenders from time to time party thereto.  The Consenting Lenders constitute the lenders required under the Credit Agreement to grant a forbearance.  Pursuant to the Forbearance Agreement, the Consenting Lenders agreed to temporarily forbear from accelerating the obligations under the Credit Agreement or otherwise exercising any rights or remedies thereunder as a result of any actual or prospective event of default under Section 8.01(e) of the Credit Agreement resulting from iHeartCommunications’ failure to make an interest payment beyond the applicable grace period with respect to its 14.00% Senior Notes due 2021 that was originally due on February 1, 2018.  The forbearance became effective upon all parties’ execution thereof and will terminate immediately and automatically upon the earliest to occur of (i) March 7, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. Central time and (ii) an event of default under the Credit Agreement other than those that resulted in the entry into the Forbearance Agreement (the ‘Forbearance Period’).”

Erick Erickson Signs New Deal with WSB, Atlanta.  Afternoon drive personality Erick Erickson has signed a new contract with Cox Media Group news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta to continue his work with the station through 2020.  Erickson joined the station in 2011 and moved into a prime daypart in less than one year.  WSB director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs states, “We are excited to have Erick as part of our radio family for the long term.  He came into radio having never expected to be on radio and has thrived.  The contacts in his phone are a ‘Who’s Who’ of newsmakers and power brokers.  Atlanta is genuinely listening to the most connected man in radio.”  In addition to hosting “Atlanta’s Evening News with Erick Erickson,” weeknights from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, he also provides political analysis for “Atlanta’s Morning News” and occasionally fills in for WSB’s Herman Cain.  Erickson says, “I fell into radio by accident, and it has been fun to really move from being a blogger and TV pundit into the role of talk radio host.  These last couple of years were not at all what I expected, but I get up every day excited to keep Atlanta entertained and informed with what is happening locally, nationally, and around the globe.”

Entercom Officially Announces Launch of ’97.3 The Machine’ in San Diego; Kevin Klein to Host Morning Drive.  Last week, TALKERS magazine reported Entercom’s plans for former CHR KEGY, San Diego – to turn it into a hot talk/sports hybrid with former XEPRS sports talker Dan Sileo in middays and the KISW, Seattle-based “The Men’s Room” show in afternoon drive.  Now, Entercom sends out an official presser announcing former alternative KITS, San Francisco personality Kevin Klein will be morning drive host, effective March 29.  Until that time, the station will air rebroadcasts of “The Men’s Room” in mornings.  As previously reported, the station will be the flagship for San Diego Padres baseball.  Entercom says the station will present a “unique mix of compelling personalities, comedy, sports and curated classic rock music…evenings and weekends when not broadcasting Padres baseball, ‘97.3 The Machine’ will provide music fans in San Diego with a true classic rock curated playlist ‘That Rocks,’ framed by entertaining comedy.”

Author Suing Sid Rosenberg and WFAN for Fraud.   Today’s New York Post is reporting that author Joseph DeBlasi is suing WABC, New York talk show host Sid Rosenberg and WFAN, New York for $20 million.  DeBlasi alleges in his complaint that Rosenberg was paid $5,000 to get DeBlasi interviews on the radio to promote his book, Polarized: Sex, Lies and Family Betrayal.  Rosenberg’s lawyer says the allegation is a lie and that Rosenberg was never given any money.  DeBlasi’s complaint states that the June 2014 deal was supposed to get DeBlasi on Geraldo Rivera’s program on WABC.  It further states that after Rosenberg attempted to get him the interview, DeBlasi learned that the deal with Rosenberg was illegal, violating payola laws.  DeBlasi did appear on WFAN three times when Rosenberg was filling in on the morning show.

‘The Conservative Cartel’ Now Syndicated by USA Radio.  Beginning today (3/5), “The Conservative Cartel” – co-hosted by Matt Locke and Chris X – is being syndicated by USA Radio.  The Fort Worth-based program airs live from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET daily.  The program continues to be distributed via TheBlaze Radio Network for weekends.  The program will debut in 15-plus markets.  USA Radio general manager Janet Bro says, “We’re extremely excited to announce the addition of ‘The Conservative Cartel’ to the daily lineup of shows available from USA Radio.  Matt Locke and Chris X are the perfect addition to syndicated radio and the USA Radio family.”

WBEN, Buffalo Airing 12 Hours of Talk About School Safety and Guns.  Calling it “#12Voicesin12Hours,” WBEN, Buffalo program director Tim Wenger says in a blog post that today’s 6:00 am to 6:00 pm broadcast addressing school safety and guns may “make you uncomfortable at times…But to advance change, meaningful and helpful change, you need to understand those who disagree with you and hear them out.”  Wenger says, “The hard part about this ‘conversation’ is that while most people want to have it, most walk away from it as soon as ideas are presented that go against their own personal thoughts and beliefs on the issues.  Most ‘cable news’ conversations go ‘ugly’ in a hurry and simply build a brick wall between two warring sides.  Unless that changes, nothing changes…this broadcast is, by design, not laden with politicians who are looking for a spotlight.  But it will, in the end, include some thoughts from some willing members of our Congressional delegation who may well be charged with advancing legislation that could impact us all.”  Wenger notes that each hour of the broadcast will be saved as a podcast for listeners to check out later.

TALKERS News Notes. In New York, Salem Media Group is launching a news weekly program featuring John Catsimatidis called “Cats At Night” on WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.”  The show debuts on Wednesday (3/7) and airs from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Catsimatidis also hosts a Sunday morning interview program called “The Cats Roundtable” that airs on WNYM and six other stations.  Catsimatidis says, “I love doing radio.  It’s the most enjoyable hour of my week.  I am excited about expanding my radio presence to drive time with ‘Cats at Night’ and the opportunity to share my views on what’s really going on in New York and the world.  My thanks to Jerry Crowley and his team at WNYM for their ongoing support.”…..WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley tells TALKERS magazine that he recently had the pleasure of interviewing Atlantic County resident Helen Turner, who will turn 111 on April 1.  Hurley says he reached out to Atlantic County executive Dennis Levinson live, on the air requesting he make April 1, 2018 Helen Turner Day and he agreed.  Turner is also a huge fan of FOX News Channel star Tucker Carlson.  Hurley reached out to Carlson to see if he would announce Turner’s birthday on FNC and provide an autographed photo for her and he also readily agreed…..WTMJ, Milwaukee’s WTMJ Cares “Game Night for Stars and Stripes Honor Flight” recently raised a total of $54,758 to fund WTMJ Honor Flights for 150 veterans to see their memorial in Washington, DC.  The unique partnership with the NBA‘s Milwaukee Bucks featured a pre-game party at historic Turner Hall where guests met Vietnam Veterans.  After the party, the group enjoyed the Bucks game against the Washington Wizards.  The event was the finale of a three-week on-air campaign led by WTMJ Radio afternoon host, John Mercure.  Mercure’s “WTMJ Cares” fundraising project told stories of the service of Vietnam Veterans in the area. To complete the fundraising, WTMJ held a radiothon where WTMJ listeners donated $32,758 in three hours…..TribLive.com is reporting that the new owners of KQV, Pittsburgh hope to restore the all-news format that aired on the station prior to the previous owner’s shutting it down and selling it.  Robert and Ashley Stevens – principals of Broadcast Communications Inc. – are paying $55,000 for the station and its assets.  Stevens tells the news outlet, “We would like to be able to do the news.  I would like to be able to do it as a news station very similar to the way it was.  We just need to make sure we can do it in a way that would be financially feasible.”…..Northpine.com is reporting that WRRD, Milwaukee majority owner Michael Crute has entered into a deal with Good Karma Broadcasting to lease WTTN, Columbus, Wisconsin (Madison market) in order to air the “Resistance Radio” progressive talk format currently airing on WRRD.  WTTN’s primary signal is northeast of Madison but Crute has applied for an FM translator at 92.7 that would cover much of Madison.  Crute also has a construction permit for a 250-watt translator at 101.7 in the Milwaukee market.

Trump Tariffs/Trade War Talk, Trump Admires Xi Jinping, NRA Membership Spikes/Gun Control Issues, Russian Election Hacking, Sunday Night’s Oscars Awards, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  Reactions to President Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and the related issue of trade wars; President Trump’s comments about Chinese president Xi Jinping’s elimination of term limits for his position and suggestion that the U.S. should do the same; the NRA reports a spike in new memberships and the related issue of gun control measures; the allegations of Russian hackers targeting U.S. elections; Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony; 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. After last week’s departure of afternoon drive personality Cara Carriveau from Hubbard Radio’s adult contemporary WSHE, Chicago, the company announces the new afternoon team and several other air talent moves.  Former FOX TV Chicago personality Jenny Milkowski, a.k.a. Jenny Milk, is teaming up with Jay Styles to host the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm program.  Styles moves from his role as the Chicago producer of the “Brooke & Jubal Morning Show” on WSHE.  Filling his shoes there is evening jock Robb Rose.  His 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight shift is now being hosted by station weekend personality Brian Middleton…..After moving country KIIX from the 96.1 frequency in Spokane to KZFS-AM/K257FX, iHeartMedia launches new alternative rock outlet “ALT 96.1.”  The station is airing Premiere Networks’ Los Angeles-based “The Woody Show” in morning drive…..The nationally syndicated Tino Cochino program is airing in evenings on Alpha Media’s CHR WNGY, Peoria “G 102.3.”  Cochino comments, “I’ve been a fan of the ‘G’ brand from the beginning.  Alpha took a different, much needed approach and it’s clearly working.  To partner our show with ‘G 102.3’ is beyond exciting to say the least!  I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to extending our brand in the Peoria market.”.….iHeartMedia announces Taylor Swift will present the world premiere of her new video for the hit single “Delicate” at the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards this Sunday (3/11).  The event will simulcast live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET in addition to airing on numerous iHeartMedia radio stations…..The sale of four radio stations from MTS Broadcasting to Draper Media closes.  Draper acquires Maryland stations country WAAI-FM, Hurlock; oldies WTDK-FM, Federalsburg; adult standards WCEM-AM, Cambridge; and adult contemporary WCEM-FM, Cambridge for $700,000.  Greg Guy of Patrick Communications was the exclusive broker…..Premiere Networks and Viacom’s CMT announce a multi-year extension of their deal that syndicates CMT personality Cody Alan’s “CMT After MidNite” country music show.  As part of the deal, CMT and Premiere Networks will continue to collaborate and develop programs and events for multiple platforms.

PPM Analysis: Rhythmic CHR.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on rhythmic CHR.  In this report, Kinosian compares 6+ share fluctuations from the Holiday 2017 survey to January 2018, January 2017 to January 2018, and more.  See the whole report here.