WBZ-AM, Boston Cuts Four Air Staffers in ‘Employee Dislocation.’ News of which on-air personalitiesiHeartMedia has let go in its “employee dislocation” program continues to become known. The Boston Globe reports that Boston’s heritage all-news WBZ-AM is losing four news staffers. Gone are political commentator Jon Keller (who continues to serve with CBS TV at WBZ-TV), morning drive news anchor Deb Lawler, sports anchor Tom Cuddy, and talk show host Bradley Jay. It’s not clear yet if the station will ask other staffers to share those duties or if they will be handled remotely.
More iHeartMedia Cuts. In addition to the downsizing noted in the story above, here are more of the broadcasters who lost their gigs with iHeartMedia stations whom TALKERS magazine has learned about: Joe Concha, “WOR Tonight” host, WOR, New York; Cliff Avril, sports talk host, KJR, Seattle; Chris Merrill, talk host, KOGO, San Diego; Marilyn Harris, host, WKRC, Cincinnati; Jarred Diglio, APD, WRKO, Boston; Dale Donovan, host, WKRC, Cincinnati; Lori Schmidt, sports reporter, WTVN, Columbus; Dario Melendez, sports talk host, WRNW, Milwaukee; Shea Raftus, producer, WRNW, Milwaukee; Dan Nawrocki, PD and host, WSPD, Toledo; Jerry Pickering, morning show staffer, WSPD, Toledo; Don Zellers, morning show staffer, WSPD, Toledo; Joe Gallagher, weekend host, WGY-AM/FM, Albany; Tank Spencer, host and news anchor, WWNC, Asheville; Tony Bristol, program director, WTAG, Worcester; Carl Falk, sports talk host, WHTK, Rochester; Cameron Hendricks, news director, WKIP/WJIP, Poughkeepsie; Dianne Zanin, reporter, WKIP/WJIP, Poughkeepsie; Alex Womer, host, asst. production director, WFNN, Erie; Bill Hickok, sports talk host, KBMR, Bismarck; and Steve Bortstein, program director, KCQL, Farmington, New Mexico.
iHeartMedia Ups Three Programmers to EVP. In conjunction with iHeartMedia’s new Markets Group structure, the company promotes three of its senior programming executives to division executive vice presidents of programming for the iHeartMedia National Programming Group, effective immediately. Jeff Hurley, Tony Travatto, and Angela Watson Charles join current EVPs of programming Andrew Jeffries, Thea Mitchem, Maynard, and Gene Romano. They report to National Programming Group COO Brad Hardin. Each member of the EVP of programming team will partner with the company’s division presidents, “collaborating with each Division to provide national programming assets, services and resources.” Here’s how it breaks down: Mitchem and Jeffries will work with Kevin LeGrett and Scott Hopeck and the Region Division, comprised of the company’s largest markets (i.e. New York and Los Angeles); Romano and Maynard will work with division presidents Tom McConnell, Tony Coles, and Linda Byrd and the Metro Division. Travatto, Hurley, and Watson Charles will work with division presidents Shosh Abromovich, Nick Gnau, and Dan Lankford and the Community Division. iHeartMedia chief programming officer Tom Poleman says, “We’re excited to add Angela, Jeff and Tony to our already extremely talented executive vice president of programming team. They each have deep experience building great local brands with a blend of math and magic, and they’ll provide excellent leadership to our programmers in our Community Division markets.”
Doug MacGunnigle Rises to PD for WPRO and WPRV in Providence. At Cumulus Media’s Providence station group, programmer Doug MacGunnigle is promoted from assistant program director to program director for news/talk stations WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM and WPRV-AM under new operations manager Mary Ellen Kachinske. MacGunnigle has been APD since October of 2017. Cumulus Providence VP and market manager Holly Paras says, “Doug MacGunnigle is a tremendous asset to our news/talk stations. With 20 years’ experience in Providence radio, Doug knows the market and stations inside and out. He was the natural choice to lead WPRO and WPRV moving forward.” MacGunnigle comments, “I grew up listening to WPRO and it is truly a humbling honor to be given an opportunity to lead this legendary radio station. I look forward to helping bring these stations into the future, while continuing to protect and grow WPRO’s legacy as one of the great news/talk stations in the country.”
Joe Pags Fills Afternoon Role at KXNT, Las Vegas. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is the new host of the afternoon drive show on Entercom’s KXNT, Las Vegas. Pags’ program is based at iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio and is syndicated via Compass Media Networks. Entercom Las Vegas SVP and market manager Dan Kearney says, “We are excited to bring the energy and passion of Joe Pags to our listeners throughout Las Vegas and the Valley. With Americans facing another crucial election year in 2020, his common-sense approach to current events and natural ability to navigate breaking news will fit perfectly in our already superstar KXNT lineup.” The Joe Pags Show also recently added iHeartMedia’s WKBN-AM, Youngstown, Ohio and Alpha Media’s KFOR-AM, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Phil Valentine’s New Podcast Takes Off. WWTN-FM, Nashville afternoon drive host Phil Valentine says his newest podcast, “I’m Calling Bovine Scatology,” is already charting on news and politics formats on Apple Podcasts. He reports the show is ranked at #130 on the news chart and #35 on the politics chart. Valentine jumped into podcasting a year ago with his son, Campbell, on their podcast, “The PodGOATs.” It was a top 10 History podcast for all of 2019 on Podbean. Valentine says, “Look, podcasting is to radio what FM was to AM in 1968. I worked for the first FM talker in the country – the late WWDB in Philadelphia. WTN, where I am in Nashville, was one of the first FM talkers. I’m used to being on the cutting edge. Trust me, podcasting is where everything is going.” Valentine, who says his show finished 2019 as the #1 talk show in Nashville with a 12.9 share with Men 25-54, inked a new deal with Cumulus Media last year that includes a deal to sell advertising on his podcasts.
WSB, Atlanta Broadcasting in HD. Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM is now broadcasting in HD on the 95.5 frequency. Cox Media Group moved WSB’s transmitter and antenna in August of 2019 from Flowery Branch to East Atlanta. WSB director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs says, “Combined with the recent transmitter and antenna move, listeners will get an even more enhanced sound coming from their speakers on HD-enabled radios. The addition of HD is another part of the ongoing strategic move WSB has made to offer our listeners the best possible listening experience and our advertisers the best possible exposure for their goods and services.”
TALKERS News Notes. Former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth is serving as guest host on the nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” today and tomorrow (1/16-17). Hayworth served six terms in Congress and for years hosted his own daily talk radio program in Phoenix. He’s also filled in for such national hosts as Mark Levin, Michael Savage, and Mike Huckabee. The “Todd Starnes Show” is heard on some 60 affiliate stations and is distributed by Hamilton Strategies…..WGCL-TV, Atlanta reports that Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has named talk radio personality Martha Zoller – along with two other appointees – to a seven-year term on the Georgia state Board of Education. The body makes policy for Georgia’s 1.8 million public school students. Martha Zoller currently hosts the 9:00 am to 10:00 am show on Jacobs Media’s WDUN-AM/FM, Gainesville, Georgia. In addition to her radio career, Zoller was an aide to U.S. Senator David Perdue from 2014 to 2018. She served on Governor Kemp’s campaign. She left her radio career to run for Congress in 2012 but lost in the Republican primary to Doug Collins, who won the seat…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports on what he calls the “musical chairs” in the news department at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM. He says the station wanted to move current afternoon drive news anchor Lauren Cohn to middays, along with news director John Dempsey’s move from mornings to afternoons and Nick Gale’s move from middays to mornings. But Cohn apparently viewed the move as a demotion and fought it. As it turns out, Dempsey will move to middays and Gale will anchor during Erich Mancow Muller’s morning show…..Nationally syndicated host and clinical psychologist Dr. Ellen Kenner celebrates her 22nd radio anniversary on February 1. She’s also the author of The Selfish Path to Romance (2011, Winans Kuenstler Publishing, LLC) and she can be booked for interviews in advance of Valentine’s Day by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org…..Affiliates of Envision Networks’ nationally syndicated financial talk show “The Jared Dillian Show” – hosted by self-made millionaire Jared Dillian – can receive the show’s podcasts to include as part of their program offerings on their websites. Dillian says, “I’m pleased we’re able to make parts of the show available in one of my favorite formats.” “The Jared Dillian Show” is part of the 24/7 Smart Talk Radio Network based in Chicago and distributed by Envision Networks.
Dan Brady Promoted at Dr. Laura’s Take On the Day LLC. Media pro Dan Brady is promoted to director of podcast operations & program audio for Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s Take On the Day, LLC. In this role, Brady will be responsible for managing the Dr. Laura podcasts, including the “Call of the Day,” as well as the Dr. Laura Family Premium podcasts. Take On the Day co-owner Geoff Rich says, “Dan has been critical to the success of Dr. Laura’s ‘Call of the Day’ podcast, growing it to over 2.5 million listens per month in two years and making it a top 10 podcast in Apple Podcasts Kids and Family and Parenting categories. It’s a thrill to tap into Dan’s knowledge, experience and creativity.”
British Broadcaster Graham Mack Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran British talk personality and program director of FIX Radio in London, Graham Mack, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Mack take a deep dive into the major international news stories emanating from the United Kingdom – including the rise of Boris Johnson and the latest developments regarding Brexit as well as Megxit – the crisis facing the Monarchy in the wake of the Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex bombshell. Don’t miss this fun, fascinating, and informative conversation! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.
Impeachment Moves to Senate, Presidential Election, Putin Power Grab, U.S.-China Trade Deal, Record Dow/The Economy, and MLB Sign-Stealing Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/15). The articles of impeachment are delivered to the Senate and Lev Parnas’ interview on CNN; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November and the row between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders; the Russian government resigns as Vladimir Putin seeks constitutional changes to remain in power; Trump’s trade deal with China; the Dow closes over 29,000 and the roaring U.S. economy; and the MLB’s sign-stealing scandal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
New Studios for Griffin Communications’ Radio Stations in Tulsa. The five Tulsa, Oklahoma radio stations owned by Griffin Communications have moved to the company’s eight-year-old facility on North Boston Road. The stations – including news/talk KFAQ and four music brands – join the company’s television properties. The facility was constructed in 2011 for the television stations with room left over for the future expansion that it would ultimately use for the radio stations. Griffin CEO David Griffin says, “We are very excited to bring these stations home. Combining radio with our TV stations, billboards, websites, and digital products deepens our commitment to the Tulsa market and provides an unmatched footprint. Additionally, it provides these radio stations with new, state-of-the-art studios and synergy opportunities so that they can continue to serve Green Country with exceptional content and broadcasting capabilities.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Tomorrow night (1/17), Coldplay will perform at the inaugural RADIO.COM Live event series in front of a small audience of KROQ, Los Angeles listeners to mark the grand opening of the new HD Radio Sound Space – a state-of-the-art entertainment hub – in the heart of Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile on Wilshire Boulevard. Entercom’s RADIO.COM will stream the special performance live nationwide starting at 7:00 pm PT/10:00 pm. RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “We’re honored Coldplay will kick off the RADIO.COM Live event series at the grand unveil of the HD Radio Sound Space. We are excited to offer fans exclusive access to this once-in-a lifetime performance, live via the RADIO.COM app and website nationwide as well as on select HD Radio stations. This is the first of many events that we will be hosting live from the heart of the city and we are looking forward to giving fans everywhere insider access.”…..Entercom names “Nick and Kristen” (pictured at left) the new morning show on country KWJJ, Portland “99.5 The Wolf,” effective January 22. The duo was most recently the morning drive show at Bonneville International’s adult contemporary KOIT, San Francisco. They say, “We are so thrilled to work alongside [SVP/MM] Kim Martinez and [OM/PD] Scott Roddy. Both are dynamic and inspiring leaders in our industry who elevate their staff and their stations. We’re equally as excited to share our lives and bring the best new country to Portland.”…..Air personality Kacie Kozman is officially named midday host at Hubbard Radio’s alternative KDKB Phoenix. Kozman has been hosting the daypart since Ian Camfield exited last month to join Entercom’s alternative KVIL, Dallas.
Legendary Radio Personality Dan Ingram Dies at 83. New York all-news WINS-AM reports that legendary radio jock Dan Ingram died on Sunday evening (6/24) at his home in Florida after several years of dealing with health issues. He was 83. Ingram is widely considered to have been the greatest disc jockey in the history of American top 40 radio. Ingram first got into radio during his student days at Hofstra University on Long Island. He worked at WABC-AM during its heyday as a top 40 powerhouse (from 1961 to 1982). After that, he did several weekly syndicated radio programs and, in 1991, joined the air staff at WCBS-FM, New York. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, who shared the honor of being one of the charter inductees into the Hofstra University Radio Hall of Fame with Ingram, issued the following statement, “Dan Ingram was larger than life on WABC in its pop music heyday. He was, in my opinion, the greatest top 40 radio disc jockey of all time – not just being a master of compacted content delivered by an awesome voice with a remarkable range, but a genius practitioner of timing that made the flow of elements, including his announcing, that rushed out of the speakers truly symphonic in nature. He raised the presentation of pop radio formatics to an art form. His influence on our industry’s music presenters and talk show hosts alike was absolutely profound.” Industry chronicler Art Vuolo created a tribute video to Ingram that you can see here.
Scripps Strikes Deal to Sell Tulsa Cluster. Regular TALKERS readers are aware that E.W. Scripps recently announced it is in the process of selling off its radio assets to focus on being a television company. Now, we learn that Scripps has entered into a deal with Oklahoma City-based Griffin Communications to sell its Tulsa radio cluster to the company for $12.5 million. The stations include: news/talk KFAQ, CHR KHTT, country KVOO, country KXBL, and classic hits KBEZ. Although Griffin operates a statewide radio network, these will be the first radio stations it has owned in many years. It currently operates television stations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa as well as outdoor companies. Scripps has a total of 34 stations to sell, including the Tulsa group.
TALKERS Begins Posting Videos Today of the Recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention – First Up: SiriusXM Host Karen Hunter Receives the Freedom of Speech Award. Today (6/25) TALKERS magazine begins posting individual events from the recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! convention held in New York City on June 8. Each day, another session will be posted in the order that they originally took place. Today’s first installment features the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (“Freedom of Speech Award”) by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian to SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, book publisher, Hunter College professor, and former New York Daily News/Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Karen Hunter. The presentation was captured on video at the convention’s opening breakfast. To view the video, please click here.
National Radio Hall of Fame Inductees Announced; Public Votes in Mark Levin and Industry Panel Honors Six Talk Personalities. The public cast more than half a million votes for the two categories open to them for induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame: Spoken Word Format On-Air Personality and Music Format On-Air Personality, and Westwood One syndicated host Mark Levin will be inducted in the former category while Kid Kelly was honored in the latter category. Four of the categories were decided by a voting participant panel comprised of nearly 1,000 industry professionals. Those inductees are: Jonathon Brandmeier, Active Local/Regional, 10+ years; Jim Kerr, Longstanding Local/Regional, 20+ years; Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg, Active Network/Syndication, 10+ years; and Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Longstanding Network/Syndication, 20+ years. The NRHOF nominating committee also decided to induct four individuals for their contribution to the industry. They chose: Nanci Donnellan, a.k.a. The Fabulous Sports Babe; longtime WFAN, New York sports talk host Mike Francesa; New York broadcast legend (WOR-AM and WABC-AM) Joan Hamburg; and classic rock programmer and consultant Fred Jacobs. NRHOF chairman Kraig T. Kitchin says, “It’s our mission to recognize the most impactful personalities and individuals to our medium and honor them. We’re proud to induct these individuals for their contributions into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2018, our 30th year.” The induction ceremony takes place November 15 at Guastavino’s in midtown Manhattan.
Glenn Beck Walks Off Camera During Segment with CNN’s Brian Stelter. Before Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Glenn Beck unclipped his lavalier mic and walked off the set, he was already frustrated with CNN’s Brian Stelter and the way the segment was going. But when Stelter brought up Friday’s Daily Beast piece titled, “Glenn Beck’s Media Empire Implodes. Again,” Beck had had enough. See the video here. The story cites sources that report there’s been another round of layoffs at Beck’s TheBlaze. That news comes as Beck told his listeners he’s selling his Dallas-area house because he fears the economy and doesn’t “want to be sitting with a big huge house.”
Financial Talker Ray Lucia Wins at SCOTUS; to Get New Hearing in ‘Buckets of Money’ Case. Financial talk radio personality – and investment adviser – Ray Lucia won a major battle at U.S. Supreme Court that will have repercussions on how the Securities Exchange Commission will work going forward. Five years ago, an SEC administrative judge barred Lucia from the investment adviser industry and ordered him to pay a $300,000 fine related to his “Buckets of Money” strategy that the judge ruled misled investors. Lucia challenged the constitutionality of the administrative judge system and won a 7-2 decision at the Supreme Court as it ruled that administrative judges appointed by low-level staffers are unconstitutional. The doesn’t get Lucia off the hook in the “Buckets of Money” case, but it gets him a new hearing.
Michael Harrison Appears on HLN’s ‘Opinion Nation’ Hosted by Carol Costello. Pictured above is TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison on HLN’s “Opinion Nation” discussing the topic, “Should we publicly shame people over their politics?” The other panelists were former Bernie Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver and GOP strategist Kevin Madden. Weaver and Madden argued over whether the separating of families at the border is egregious enough to warrant the kind of public displays against administration officials that we’ve been seeing in the news. Weaver said yes. Madden said no. Harrison said we must practice civility in public and engage in constructive dialogue over our differences and stop demonizing those with whom we disagree, or we’ll never reach consensus or the kind of compromise necessary to run a civilized democratic society. He said, “The place to settle these differences is the ballot box, not the street, theaters, or public restaurants.”
SRN’s Mike Gallagher Broadcasts Live from Rio Grande Border. With illegal immigration policy the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio, Salem Radio Network star Mike Gallagher (above) spent the weekend talking to people in the Rio Grande valley in advance of his live broadcast from the region today (6/25). SRN calls it “a ground-level, three-hour exclusive report from the sizzling U.S./Mexico border…as only Mike Gallagher can deliver!”
TALKERS News Notes. WABC, New York morning personalities Bernard McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg are broadcasting live from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on Thursday and Friday (6/28-29) to celebrate the entertainment destination’s grand opening…..Westwood One News is exploring the music, movies, and TV shows of the year 1968 via the special “1968: Turn on, Tune in, Change Channels.” WWO says it’s a “half-hour news special, featuring archive audio and new analysis,” available to Westwood One News affiliates for the Fourth of July holiday and the following weekend. It will also replace “The Week in Review” July 7-8..…Indiana Radio Watch publisher Blaine Thompson reports that Doug Zook has exited his role as host of “Anderson Live” on Woof Boom Broadcasting-owned news/talk WHBU, Anderson, Indiana. Weekend talk host Steve Guinn is assuming hosting duties for the 7:00 am to 9:00 am program…..WTMJ, Milwaukee is presenting its inaugural “Brewers Classic” game celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Milwaukee Brewers’ dramatic 2008 season-ending win against the Chicago Cubs with a re-broadcast of the play-by-play on July 18…..WCHV Charlottesville, Virginia’s Joe Thomas was awarded the “Outstanding Feature Reporting” award by Virginia Association of Broadcasters for the station’s live coverage of the August 12, 2017 riots in Charlottesville…..In the public media sphere, WNYC, New York chief content officer Dean Cappello exits the station after a 21-year career there. Prior to this year, Cappello was in charge of the organization’s national shows and podcast efforts, but he recently pulled back and was focusing solely on New York’s WNYC-AM/FM.
Trump Illegal Immigration Policy/House Immigration Bill, Sanders-Nielsen Restaurant Incidents/Maxine Waters Speech, Stormy Daniels Meeting Canceled, Saudi Women Drivers, Glenn Beck-Brian Stelter Interview, Erdogan Wins ‘Re-Election,’ and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The controversy over the separation of parents and children during enforcement of immigration violations and the related House immigration bill; Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kirjsten Nielsen’s public restaurant experiences and Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ speech encouraging people to harass administration officials in public; Stormy Daniels’ attorney’s public complaint about canceled meeting with special counsel investigation; women in Saudi Arabia begin legally driving cars; Glenn Beck walks off the set of an interview with CNN’s Brian Stelter; Recep Tayyip Erdogan is “re-elected” leader of Turkey; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
PPM Analysis: Urban AC. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on urban AC. Comparing numbers from Nielsen’s May 2017 to this year’s survey, 51% of urban AC stations saw their weekly (6+) AQH go up and 46% declined. Nine urban AC outlets ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets in May, including by iHeartMedia’s WVAZ, Chicago, which has been #1 for the past five surveys. Radio One’s WFXC, Raleigh notches its 12th #1 rank in a row. See the story here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Tracy Dixon inks a multi-year extension to continue with Bonneville’s country KYGO, Denver where she co-hosts the “Tracy & Guy” morning program with Guy David. Program director John E. Kage comments, “‘Tracy & Guy’ have been steadily rising in the ratings and are poised for great things in the Denver market. Tracy is an all-around media threat with her great work leading the morning show, her natural presence on TV with CBS, and her incredible social skills and onstage presence. Her work in the community, as well as with St. Jude, makes all of us at Bonneville proud.”…..Great Plains Media brings on-air pro Joshua James aboard to host middays on CHR KKSW, Topeka “105.9 KISS.” KKSW program director Beth Cruise states, “We are thrilled to welcome Joshua James to the ‘105.9 KISS’ family. His enthusiasm and love for the community will be a perfect fit with our long-term relationship with the University of Kansas Jayhawks and our listeners in Topeka and the western suburbs of Kansas City.”