Monday Memo: Copy Worth Copying. “Make commercial copy you craft for local advertisers THIS crisp,” and, consultant Holland Cooke says, “you will make money.” In this week’s column, he rips-off…er, “compiles” examples. Read it here.
Pending Business: Checking In. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says that you’re more likely get a renewal from that advertiser if you check in regularly instead of adopting the “no-news-is-good-news” approach to gauging a campaign’s effectiveness. “Great sellers are like commercial airline pilots, or cruise ship captains. Everyone is prepared with specific goals, timelines, and once the journey (schedule) begins, ready to control the mission.” Read his column here.
The ‘Todd Starnes Podcast’ Joins Salem Podcast Network. Beginning April 5, the “Todd Starnes Podcast” joins the Salem Podcast Network. Salem Media Group SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “SPN is delighted to join in this partnership with Todd Starnes, one of the leading voices in conservative America. His courage in saying what needs to be said is unmatched. His knowledge and ability to explain what is really going on is his forte.” With this deal, the Salem Podcast Network assumes distribution, marketing, and sales representation duties for the “Todd Starnes Podcast.” Starnes also hosts a daily, syndicated radio program and he previously spent more than a decade at the FOX News Channel, hosting a daily radio program on the FOX Radio Network. He comments, “Salem is known for its cutting-edge platforms and excellence-driven programming. I’m honored to join such a well-respected industry leader like the Salem Podcast Network.”
WJR-AM, Detroit Takes Station of the Year Honor. Detroit news/talk WJR-AM is named “Commercial Radio Station of the Year” by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters for the 17th time since 2000. The Cumulus Media station also received 17 other awards, including eight “Merit Awards,” as well as nine “Best Awards.” Some of the “Best Awards” include: Regularly Scheduled Broadcast Personality/Team – “The Guy Gordon Show”; Sports – “Lions Pregame: Around the League”; Special Show Broadcast Personality/Team – “War of the Worlds” live stream event; and Continuing News Coverage – COVID-19 Replay.
iHeartMedia Names Barbara Latham Area President for Central Florida. Sales and management pro Barbara Latham is promoted to area president for iHeartMedia Central Florida in which she’ll oversee the Orlando and Melbourne markets that include talk WTKS-FM “Real Radio 104.1,” news/talk WFLF “WFLA,” sports talk WYGM “FM 96.9 The Game,” plus 10 music brands. She’s most recently been serving the Orlando cluster as SVP of sales. Latham reports to division president Linda Byrd, who says, “I am thrilled to be able to promote Barb to this position. We’ve worked together for 36 years and in many different capacities. She is one of the brightest and most competitive employees I know. Barb has always been a winner, and to her, there is no other option. No one deserves this opportunity more, and it makes me happy to put this team, that I’ve managed for the last 21 years in her capable hands.”
WABC, New York Recognizes Greek Independence Day. Pictured above (from l-r) are Chad Lopez, president of Red Apple Media and 77 WABC; Margo and John Catsimatidis, owners of Red Apple Media and 77 WABC, and Renee Cassis, owner of RC Communications Marketing on March 25 as the radio station hosted a celebration for the 200th anniversary of Greek Independence Day. The event was held in WABC’s event space, Studio 77. During his opening remarks, John Catsimatidis noted the diversity of America and stated that the celebration was for every ethnicity and race.
Josh Innes Returns to iHeartMedia as Morning Host at WNRQ-FM, Nashville. Sports radio talk host Josh Innes is joining iHeartMedia’s Nashville classic rock WNRQ-FM “105.9 The Rock” as morning drive host, effective April 5. The station says “The Josh Innes Show” will be a Nashville-focused blend of classic rock, news, sports and commentary and will broadcast weekday mornings from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. WNRQ program director Jonathan Shuford says, “Josh is wildly talented as a personality, idea generator, and storyteller. He’s unconventional, creative, and exceptionally compelling. We’re beyond excited to welcome him to Nashville and foster in the next great classic rock morning show!” Innes was most recently afternoon host on Gow Media’s sports talk KFNC-FM, Houston. He’s also served with iHeartMedia’s sports talk KBME-AM, Houston, and Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia. He hosts “The Josh Innes Show” podcast live on Twitch and heard on iHeartRadio.
iHeartMedia Issues Statement on FCC Ruling. The company’s statement issued on Friday (3/26) is in regard to the approval of its pending applications to acquire certain radio stations, and the temporary shareholder restrictions required by the FCC to be imposed upon Global Media & Entertainment Investments Ltd. The company says, “iHeartMedia values its shareholder relationships and we welcome all new shareholders to iHeartMedia. However, because GMEI is a foreign shareholder, its recent investment was inconsistent with the FCC’s foreign ownership rules and created an operating issue for us under the FCC’s regulatory framework. As background, GMEI’s purchase of an 8.7% position in our Class A Common stock, as reported in its Schedule 13D filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 5, 2021, caused a violation of the FCC’s foreign ownership regulations and the FCC’s November 5, 2020 declaratory ruling related to the company’s foreign ownership, both of which limit a foreign investor in GMEI’s position to 5% without prior FCC approval. To address this issue, over which iHeartMedia had no prior knowledge or control, we filed a remedial petition for declaratory ruling requesting FCC approval for GMEI to have the ability to increase its ownership to up to 9.99%. Notwithstanding the GMEI investment, the FCC has approved iHeartMedia’s acquisitions of certain stations, including stations for BIN: Black Information Network. However, the FCC has required that the company impose temporary shareholder restrictions on GMEI as a condition of approving those radio station acquisitions. To comply with the FCC order, iHeartMedia’s Board of Directors resolved to take action consistent with the FCC’s conditional requirements. These actions include imposing temporary voting and other shareholder restrictions on GMEI which will apply during the pendency of the Petition. iHeartMedia respects the FCC process and will, as a matter of consistent policy, ensure the company’s compliance with the FCC’s foreign ownership and other regulations.”
COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, CNN’s COVID War Special/WHO Origin Report, Suez Ship Jam, Border Crisis-Immigration Policy, Hedge Fund Failure-Financial Markets, Chauvin Trial, U.S. Afghanistan Operations, and Nashville Floods Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., rising cases in some states, and the rollout of vaccines; CNN’s Sunday special featuring the six doctors leading the U.S. COVID program and the WHO’s report concluding the coronavirus likely came from an animal at a Chinese wildlife market; the status of the container ship blocking the Suez canal and its effect on the global economy; the crisis of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; the failure of a major hedge fund causes problems for Credit Suisse and Nomura that could reverberate through the global economy; today’s beginning of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin; the United States’ Afghanistan operations and the Doha agreement that calls for U.S. troop removal by May 1; and the historic floods in Nashville and Middle Tennessee were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Monday Memo: Do You Copy? If you were the advertiser, how would you feel about being #5 in a 6-spot stopset? It’s a problem that now seems baked-into radio’s business model. But good commercials get results. And REAL good ones are actually welcome. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke shares tips from the experts, and actual phrases that got results for his client stations’ advertisers. Read it here.
Impeachment Process, 2020 Presidential Race, California Wildfires, McDonald’s CEO Fired, Hong Kong Violence, and Kanye West’s Sunday Service Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment process against President Trump and speculation about who will be called to testify; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the status of the California wildfires; McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook is fired for having a relationship with an employee; the violent clashes between protesters and police in Hong Kong; and rapper Kanye West’s Louisiana “Sunday Service” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Todd Starnes Launches New, Three-Hour Talk Show Today. Author, award-winning journalist, and former FOX News Radio personality Todd Starnes begins hosting his new, daily talk show today (11/4). “The Todd Starnes Show” airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and is premiering on more than 25 radio stations via syndication through Hamilton Strategies. Starnes says the program is a caller-driven format and weaves his unique, down-home humor with interviews featuring major newsmakers, entertainers, artists, and Christian leaders. He also covers breaking news and stories from across America. “I don’t spend three hours yelling at folks,” he adds. “Sure, I get riled up, but we also share plenty of laughs with our listeners. Callers are an important part of our program. Conservative or liberal, we give folks a fair shake.” In addition to the new show, Starnes also produces the daily, short-form feature, “Todd Starnes News & Commentary,” that includes unique, one-minute stories covering politics, culture, and heartland headlines. Starnes says, “I believe in taking care of our affiliates, taking care of our sponsors, and taking care of our listeners. I am first and foremost a radio guy. I love the format and I believe that radio will continue to have a lasting impact on the nation.” Interested stations can contact Hamilton Strategies via: Media@HamiltonStrategies.com or (610) 584-1096, ext. 101.
WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans Fires Seth Dunlap. WVUE-TV, New Orleans reports that Entercom news/talk WWL-AM/FM has fired evening sports talk host Seth Dunlap, almost two months after he took a leave from the station in the aftermath of the posting of a homophobic slur directed at him on the station’s Twitter account. The case is still in the hands of the New Orleans Police Department after Entercom requested it get involved following its own investigation. The station says it appears Dunlap posted the tweet himself, but his attorney says that, not only did Dunlap not have access to the station’s password for the Twitter account, he passed a polygraph test pointing to his innocence. Early last month the NOPD obtained a warrant for information from Dunlap’s cell phone. At the same time, according to a previous New Orleans Times Picayune story, Entercom alleged Dunlap is engaging in extortion after seeking a $1.85 million settlement. Dunlap’s attorney, Megan Keifer, alleges Entercom is not complying with requests for documents to “substantiate their defamatory claims” and also has not produced documentation for the NOPD.
TALKERS News Notes. Talk show host Joe Madison is the focus of a piece in the Los Angeles Sentinel the centers around his belief that ordinary citizens can make a difference in their government. The story also reveals that the SiriusXM Urban View host’s program was targeted by Russian trolls during the 2016 election. Madison tells the paper’s Nadine Matthews that after getting calls to the program from Blacks encouraging other Blacks not to vote, he discovered his show was being targeted. “We found out that the Russians had actually hired African Americans to target social media and Black news/talk programs.” Read the story here…..Sports talk host Josh Innes – formerly of WIP, Philadelphia and KILT-AM and KBME-AM in Houston – is filling in on the afternoon drive show on Gow Media’s KFNC-FM, Houston “ESPN 97.5” today (11/4). Innes has been off the AM/FM airwaves and has been focusing on his eponymous podcast since exiting KBME eight months ago…..Salem Media Group’s WNTP, Philadelphia re-brands the station as “Philadelphia’s AM 990 The Answer.” Salem Philly general manager Lorenzo Caldara says, “The change to ‘Philadelphia’s AM 990 The Answer’ more accurately reflects what we have always desired to be as a radio station – one that always went deeper into issues that matter to all of us, one that provides answers to the many questions we all have. With the addition of Chris Stigall in the mornings, we now have the added dimension to focus on local issues just as closely as we can on national issues. We’re proud of this city, and it’s time to serve it better than ever before.”…..Toledo’s “Talk Radio 100.7” is gone as Cumulus Media replaces the format with rock “100.7 The Zone” on WQQO-HD2/W264AK. The signals became the home of the news/talk format three years ago after the company moved the programming from WTOD-AM and turned in the station’s license…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway is doing double duty, filling in all this week on iHeartMedia’s sister news/talk WFLF, Orlando “Newsradio WFLA” in morning drive for “Good Morning Orlando” host Bud Hedinger in addition to his own program…..Envision Networks is offering stations 24 segments of its new “60 Seconds of Service” feature to air once per hour on Veterans Day (11/11). Stations are invited to broadcast “60 Seconds of Service” throughout the entire day, with each segment spotlighting men, women and even animals in uniform who have served their country and their communities. Program host Randy Miller says, “Veterans Day should be every day in the United States. We should never forget the sacrifice of the men and women who wear the uniform and give their all to protect our way of life. We do 60 Seconds of Service to remind everyone about the continuous commitment of the less than 1 percent who serve our country each and every day.”…..Pictured below is WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and WMCA “The Mission” talk show host Kevin McCullough with some of the guests that appeared on his Salem Media Group program that broadcast live from Bobby Vans “The Original” in the historic Helmsley Building in New York City. McCullough says more than 300 listeners packed the place for his 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm broadcast. Guests on the program included: Donald Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, and congressional candidates Mike Ghassali, Chele Farley, Nicole Malliotakis, and Fernando Cabrera.
Marianne Williamson Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. 2020 presidential candidate and prolific best-selling author Marianne Williamson guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Criticism of today’s media and journalism is not the exclusive domain of President Donald Trump. Nor is the observation that the national party committees are above putting their thumbs on the scale to help certain candidates of their own choosing. In a candid conversation conducted shortly after the most recent televised Democratic Party debate, Williamson tells Harrison that both today’s media journalism and political party machinery can use improvement when it comes to honesty, integrity, and competency. When asked what she has learned thus far from the experience of running for president, she states, “I’ve learned that the system is even more corrupt than I feared and that the people of the United States are even more wonderful than I hoped.” 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.
BFoA to Honor George Beasley with Lifetime Achievement Award. At the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s Golden Mike Award dinner on March 4, 2020, Beasley Media Group founder and chairman George Beasley will be honored with the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. The annual fundraising gala takes place at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “George is one of the forward-thinking pioneers of radio and a longtime supporter of our charitable mission. Starting off with radio stations in small market America and expanding to major cities, George built the company that bears his name with ingenuity, integrity, and innovation. We are delighted to recognize his leadership in our industry.” George Beasley comments, “I fell in love with radio early in my career, and I have been fortunate to be a part of this wonderful business as it has grown and expanded. Giving back is an important tradition in our family, and it is an honor to support the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to help those in our industry who need it most.”
News Gigs at FOX News. There are three positions that FOX News Radio and FOX News are seeking to fill. The first is an Overnight Freelance Anchor for Fox News Radio that includes on-air duties for FOX News Radio and the FOX News Headlines 24/7 channel on SiriusXM. See that job description here. The second is a Freelance Writer for Fox News Headlines 24/7 that involves writing news for the national news network, conceptualizing, writing, compiling enterprise stories, fact checking, and building show content newscasts for FOX News Headlines 24/7. See that job description here. The third position is a Freelance Producer/News Editor in which the successful candidate will supervise the staff for the FOX network radio news operation, FOX News Headlines 24/7. See that job description here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Mike Killabrew returns to Indianapolis to serve as SVP of programming and PD of classic rock WFBQ “Q95” and alternative WOLT “Alt 1033” for iHeartMedia, effective January 1. Killabrew had been SVP of programming in Indy until leaving for the company’s Washington, DC cluster to serve as program director for classic rock WBIG “Big 101” and alternative WWDC “DC101” earlier this year…..In March of this year, “Kevin & Bean” show co-host Gene “Bean” Baxter announced he would leave the program at KROQ, Los Angeles to re-locate to Great Britain. Now, we know that his last show will be this Thursday (11/07). The duo has been hosting the successful program on Entercom’s KROQ for the past 30 years. Kevin Ryder will continue to host the morning show on the alternative rock station…..At country KMNB, Minneapolis “102.9 The Wolf,” Lucas Phelan exits the station and the program director position he’s held for the past 18 months. Phelan was also the afternoon drive personality…..Program director and PM drive jock Mike Miller exits iHeartMedia’s CHR WZFT-FM, Baltimore “Z104.3” and embarks on a new career on the sales side of the business with the company’s Harrisburg, Pennsylvania cluster as an account executive…..Premiere Networks’ “Brooke & Jubal in the Morning” – co-hosted by Brooke Fox and Jubal Fresh – are this year’s recipients of the Radio Hall of Fame’s “One to Watch” award. The honor was created last year in honor of radio legend and 2012 RHOF inductee Art Laboe. Each year, the RHOF nominating committee selects a promising radio personality or team who has demonstrated ratings success, audience growth, and impact on one or more radio stations and their communities. RHOF chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “Brooke and Jubal exemplify the inspiration behind this award. While they’ve made ‘Movin’ 92.5,’ KQMV-FM their home in Seattle, the magic they create on the air continues to win audiences far beyond.”
Brad Lane to Program WTMJ and WKTI/WAUK in Milwaukee. Programming pro Brad Lane is named program director for Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ and sports talk duo WKTI-FM/WAUK-AM “ESPN 94.5” and “540 ESPN,” effective February 6. He was most recently program director as Hubbard Radio’s sports talk KSTP-AM, Minneapolis. Lane says, “This is a dream role to work with a legacy station like WTMJ and the powerful brand of ‘ESPN Milwaukee.’ I’m excited to work with the incredible team and resources available to make our content more engaging, relevant, and obtainable on all platforms, along with helping to cultivate and foster development of personalities on all our stations. I’m enormously grateful to Craig Karmazin, [VP/GM] Steve Wexler, and all of Good Karma Brands for the chance to lead these content teams and join one of the most innovative companies in the country.” Steve Wexler adds, “We are thrilled to welcome Brad to the Good Karma Brands family. His leadership, vision and creativity will help us continue to grow our news, sports and event marketing brands in Wisconsin.”
FNR’s New Podcast: ‘The Candidates with Bret Baier.’ A new podcast series is debuting from FOX News Radio called “The Candidates with Bret Baier,” beginning February 12. The weekly podcast will focus on the 2020 field of presidential candidates. Each week, Baier will be joined by a rotating panel of experts who will discuss “the latest on each candidate, their motivation towards entering the race, their possible campaign strategy and potential path to victory.”
iHeartMedia Debuts New Afternoon Show at ‘The Game’ in Orlando. Sports talk outlet WYGM-AM/W245CL “FM 96.9 The Game” announced the launch of the new “In the Zone with Brandon Kravitz and The Shot Doctor” program to air in afternoon drive beginning on February 11. The program will star Brandon Kravitz along with “The Shot Doctor” Austin Pistulka who serves as the executive producer. iHeartMedia RVP of programming for iHeartMedia North Florida Rick Everett says, “We’re extremely excited about the new era of ‘FM 96.9 The Game.’ When you’re looking for the best live sports talk, this is the place to tune in.” Kravitz says, “For the last several years, I’ve been honing my craft and working towards this goal. I plan to bring a fresh approach to afternoon drive, while engaging with our interactive audience. I cannot wait to link back up with The Shot Doctor – we have chemistry from two years of doing afternoon drive together in the past and I look forward to picking up where we left off and taking it to the next level.”
TALKERS News Notes. Houston sports talker KFNC-FM “ESPN 97.5” gets some love from the Houston Press as the Best Radio Station in its Best of Houston 2019 feature. The paper says of the Gow Media sports talk outlet: “After some rough patches, Gow has built a mini media empire in Houston that includes ‘ESPN 97.5,’ a station that not only has content from the biggest sports network on the planet, but has some of the most talented personalities in the city, including guys like Lance Zierlein and John Granato, still the best pairing of morning sports talk hosts in the city’s history, and Raheel Ramzanali and Del Olaleye, who managed to stick out the myriad number of changes at the various Gow stations over the years.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime WGN-AM news anchor Judy Pielach – who recently left the station after taking a Tribune Broadcasting-offered buyout – was on the air with new WLS-AM morning personality Erich Mancow Muller yesterday (1/29) auditioning for a contributor role with the program. Feder quotes Muller saying of Pielach’s performance, “I thought she was fantastic! A pro. Talent trumps all.”…..The Post and Courier is reporting that the South Carolina college sports-focused “SportsTalk” show with host Phil Kornblut is ending its run on the S.C. Radio Network because Learfield/IMG is shutting the network down, saying it has been “underperforming.” Kornblut has hosted a sports talk show on the network since it launched 35 years ago. The story indicated he is working to continue the show and for now it appears it’ll still air on Glory Communications’ WQXL-AM/W264DF “The Point” from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm nightly…..Back in the Windy City, William J. Kelly, host of the “Citizen Kelly Show,” announces his show will soon have an FM presence in the Chicagoland market. His show is heard on WCGO, Evanston and he says it will “soon be heard on Pollack Broadcasting’s soon-to-be launched FM talk station, 95.9 FM.”…..Nationally syndicated talk radio host, author, and clinical psychologist Dr. Ellen Kenner – who calls herself a “romance guide” – is celebrating her 22nd anniversary as a talk radio host this weekend. Dr. Kenner is also available for Valentine’s Day interviews…..Public media company KQED in San Francisco promotes Maria Miller to the position of chief administrative officer in which she’ll be responsible for “ensuring the efficient and effective performance of KQED by strategizing, developing, planning, and implementing effective operational and administrative functions.” Since June 2016 she has been vice president, human resources & chief labor/employment council.
PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on 6+ data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. The annual Holiday ratings period usually sees boosts for the music stations playing Christmas music and dips for spoken-word stations and that was the case for all-news as nine of the nation’s news stations declined (weekly 6+ AQH share). Comparing the Holiday 2017 data to Holiday 2018, it was a wash with half the stations improving and half declining. Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago and WWJ, Detroit, along with Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington all held onto their #2 ranking in their respective markets during the Holiday survey. See the whole report here.
FOX News Channel Marks 17 Years as Top Cable Newser; ‘Hannity’ Most-Watched, Non-College Football Cable Program in January. According to data from Nielsen Media Research, FOX News Channel was the most-watched cable news network for the 17th year straight, besting its competition – CNN and MSNBC – in total viewers and the 25-54 demo. January viewing figures indicated the prime time “Hannity” show with host Sean Hannity, was the most-watched, non-college football cable telecast during the month. Hannity was the top cable news prime time show with total viewers of 3 million-plus and 538,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo. For all of prime time, FNC averaged 2.2 million total viewers (beating MSNBC’s 1.97 million and CNN’s 1.2 million) and in the 25-54 demo averaged 382,000 (topping CNN’s 363,000 and MSNBC’s 349,000). It’s worth noting, however, that FNC’s January 2019 total day rating of total viewers – 1.32 million – was down from January 2018 by 11%. Primetime total viewers – 2.2 million – was also down 10%, year over year. For both total day and primetime in January 2019, FNC’s 25-54 viewers were down 20% from last year.
iHeartMedia Announces Ohio Management Promotions. Two sales pros rise at iHeartMedia as Jeff Rovinsky is promoted from his vice president of sales position at iHeartMedia North Ohio to market president for the Akron and Canton markets. At the same time, Matt Razzante is upped from his account executive position with the company’s Cleveland station group to general sales manager for the Akron, Canton, and Cleveland markets. iHeartMedia North Ohio SVP of sales George Allen comments, “I could not be more excited for Jeff and Matt. Jeff has a proven track record of success with iHeartMedia and he will excel as market president for Akron and Canton. Matt has demonstrated tremendous leadership abilities and this elevated role is well earned. Congratulations to both of them.”
Border Wall Battle, Trump-Russia Investigation, North Korea-Iran Report, U.S.-China Trade War-Huawei Allegations, Brokaw ‘Hispanic Assimilation’ Controversy, Record Cold Hits Midwest, 2020 Presidential Candidates, the AOC Movement, Venezuela Unrest, and Super Bowl LIII Build-Up Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/29). The political battle over President Trump’s plan for a U.S.-Mexico border wall; the indictment of Trump adviser Roger Stone and the Robert Mueller-led Trump-Russia investigation; the U.S. military intelligence report indicating North Korea still has active nuclear weapons projects and that Iran is not trying to build a bomb; the U.S.-China trade war and the charges against Huawei and CEO Meng Wanzhou; the controversy over newsman Tom Brokaw’s statement that Hispanics in the U.S. should try harder to assimilate; the record cold hitting the U.S. Midwest today; the 2020 presidential candidates; the attention being paid to freshman Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s socialist policies; the political unrest in Venezuela; and the build-up to Super Bowl LIII 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. A third personality joins the Westwood One-syndicated Ty Bentli country morning show based at Cumulus Media’s NASH campus. Tricia Jenkins will join Bentli and co-host Chuck Wicks in mid-February. She was most recently the midday personality and music director at Entercom’s country KMNB, Minneapolis. Late last year, Kelly Ford exited the formerly named “Ty, Kelly and Chuck” show and it was renamed the Ty Bentli show. Ford is back in NYC as morning host on Cumulus’ WNSH “NASH FM 94.7.” Speaking about Tricia Jenkins, Bentli says, “TJ is one of the most amazing women I know. Her value goes beyond the magic she will bring on-air with the Ty Bentli show – she’s hilariously honest, strategically focused, and innately curious about others. Tricia Jenkins, welcome to the Music City!”…..Quad Cities morning duo “Dwyer & Michaels” – Greg Dwyer and Bill Michaels – re-sign with Townsquare Media’s classic rock WXLP “97X” to continue hosting their program through 2023…..The Envision Networks-syndicated program “The Country Oldies Show” is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The program was launched by host Steve Warren in 1994 from studios in New York City. Warren says, “I guess when we first started the show, the country music world had tilted toward all the ‘hot, young, new’ artists. It was crazy. Since I started in country radio very young, my career was parallel to many of the superstars of an earlier era. Now, every week, as I sit in our studio to produce the show, I feel like I’m in the company of old friends.”
Zellner Promoted to President of Programming Operations at iHeartMedia’s National Programming Group. The company says that Jon Zellner is moving up from his EVP of programming operations to president of programming operations for its national programming group. In this new role he’ll continue to manage the division’s operations, “ensuring that iHeartMedia’s 850 local radio station brands in 150 markets are able to best utilize the company’s unparalleled national resources. In addition to managing iHeartMedia custom programming, daily connection to the local markets, on-air partner integration and event broadcast operations, Zellner will also now partner with other divisions within the company to expand programming technology and provide key support to iHeartMedia’s national team of programmers at market-leading radio brands that serve more than a quarter of a billion listeners a month in the U.S.” iHeartMedia chief programming officer Tom Poleman says, “Jon’s leadership in the growth of our custom programming and providing the delivery of our at scale national resources to our markets for their use at the local level has been invaluable to our company. We are excited that he’ll be taking on an even larger role in our company-wide programming initiatives.”
Tori Kahl Named Market Manager for iHeartMedia New Orleans. Radio sales pro Tori Kahl moves from iHeartMedia’s Mobile-Pensacola cluster where she was SVP of sales to New Orleans where she is the new market president for the station group that includes news/talk WRNO-FM sports talk WODT-AM plus six music radio outlets. iHeartMedia area president for Baton Rouge and New Orleans Michael Hudson says, “iHeartMedia is big on promoting our super stars within the company. Tori has done an incredible job growing our Mobile properties and its employees. I have no doubt that Tori Kahl will do great things for the New Orleans market.” Kahl comments, “As I join the iHeartMedia New Orleans team, I am humbled to have the opportunity to work alongside some of the most talented professionals in the industry, representing the power of iHeartMedia and the heritage of our brands in the market. The city of New Orleans, its culture, and its people are unparalleled. I am born and raised in Louisiana – it feels good to be home!”
News Anchor Kim Gordon Moves to PM Drive on WGN, Chicago. Twelve-year WGN news staffer Kim Gordon is named the new afternoon drive news anchor at Tribune’s WGN-AM, Chicago. The station says, “Gordon will assume a role as both a leader in the WGN Radio news room and an essential voice on ‘The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes.’” WGN director of news and operations Stephanie Tichenor adds, “For more than a decade at WGN, Kim has been a key player in our newsroom and in our hallways. Her ability to gather and deliver news with a Chicago filter makes her the best voice for our afternoon drive team.” Gordon started her career at legendary Louisville news/talk station WHAS.
A.J. Hoffman Appointed KFNC-FM, Houston PD. At sports talk KFNC-FM, Houston “ESPN 97.5,” A.J. Hoffman is promoted to program director. Hoffman currently co-hosts the Gow Media station’s afternoon drive program, “The Blitz,” with Fred Faour – a duty he will continue in addition to his new programming responsibilities. WFNC general manager Todd Farquharson says, “We are excited to elevate AJ to the PD position. He has demonstrated excellent programming instincts and we think his experiences and leadership abilities make him a natural for this opportunity.” Farquharson says “ESPN 97.5FM” has grown significantly over the past two years. “In a competitive Houston landscape, the station has finished #1 for M25-54 nearly every month of 2018. In the fall of 2017, we committed to a nearly all local lineup. We were able to bring back Lance Zierlein, reuniting John [Granato]and Lance in the mornings, and insert Charlie Pallilo in middays. With this talented group, our audience totals are up 50% year-over-year.”
Former WBAL-AM Morning Host Dave Durian Dies at 72. Former longtime WBAL-AM, Baltimore news and morning drive personality Dave Durian died yesterday (1/28) at 72 after suffering complications from cancer and a stroke. The Baltimore Sun’s obituary chronicles his career, especially his time at WBAL. The Iowa native arrived in Baltimore in 1982 as an anchor at WBAL-TV. After three years there, worked in public TV before returning to Hearst as morning talk show host for WBAL-AM. WBAL morning news anchor John Patti is quoted saying, “He was the smoothest reader of the news I’ve ever met. He could read it cold — you could give him a piece of news copy and he read it so effortlessly he made it sound like it had been news all morning.”
Border Wall Battle, Trump-Russia Investigation, Frigid Forecast for Midwest, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls-Schultz Considers Run, U.S.-China Trade War-Huawei Allegations, Brokaw ‘Hispanic Assimilation’ Controversy, Venezuela Unrest/Bolton Columbia Note, PG&E Files for Bankruptcy, SAG Awards, and Super Bowl LIII Build-Up Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The political battle in congress over President Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall; the report that Robert Mueller is close to wrapping his Trump-Russia investigation and the indictment of Roger Stone; the record cold set to hit the Midwest; the 2020 Democratic hopefuls and a possible run by Starbucks founder Howard Schultz; the trade tensions between the U.S. and China and the charges against Huawei and CEO Meng Wanzhou; the controversy over newsman Tom Brokaw’s statement that Hispanics in the U.S. should try harder to assimilate; the Venezuelan political crisis and the flap over national security adviser John Bolton’s ‘5,000 troops to Columbia’ note; PG&E files for bankruptcy in the wake of charges filed against it over the recent California wildfires; Sunday night’s Screen Actors Guild awards; and the build-up to Super Bowl LIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
iHeartCountry Festival Acts Announced. The iHeartCountry Festival at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas on Saturday, May 4 will be the sixth edition of the concert event produced by iHeartMedia. This year, the acts committed to performing include: Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line, Dan and Shay, Luke Combs, Little Big Town, Lauren Alaina, Old Dominion, Chris Janson, Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots, and Tenille Townes. Syndicated personality Bobby Bones will serve as host on the main stage. He says, “I look forward to the iHeartCountry Festival every year. It’s always special to have so much of the country music community together in one place, including some really talented new artists we have been supporting on Women of iHeartCountry.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programmer John E. Kage is named program director at iHeartMedia’s CHR KPTT “95.7 The Party.” He moves across town from his most recent position as program director for Bonnville’s country KYGO. Kage says, “I am excited to remain in my adopted home of Denver, Colorado where I have 20 years of deep roots and relationships. iHeartMedia’s unparalleled platforms provide a tremendous opportunity for present and future growth in a rapidly changing environment. I look forward to working with my team to help contribute to 95.7 The Party’s ongoing success.”…..The afternoon team of Matty Blake and Nick Stevens exits Entercom’s rock WAAF, Boston and are being replaced – at least on an interim basis – by Bob Hannah. Blake and Stevens took over the afternoon drive slot in 2017…..Cumulus Media announces that country KHAY, Oxnard-Ventura OM/PD Chris Cox is retiring from the station and the business after a 45-year career. He’s been with KHAY since 2012 and had worked in numerous markets during his career, including Los Angeles, Houston, Cincinnati, Louisville, and more. Cumulus regional VP Sommer Frisk says, “Oxnard-Ventura-Santa Barbara has been extremely fortunate to have benefited from Chris’s stewardship over the last seven years. What we will miss about Chris is his dedication, hard work, professionalism and relentless commitment to the success of our cluster. What we will miss MOST about Chris is his leadership, character and compassion. We wish him well in his much-deserved retirement.”…..As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Melissa McGurren is leaving the traffic reporting department at Hubbard Radio’s hot AC WTMX to begin an expanded role on the “Eric in the Morning with Melissa & Whip” show. As previously reported, Violeta Podrumedic is leaving WGN-AM to join WTMX as morning drive traffic reporter…..KJCK-FM, Manhattan, Kansas adds Westwood One’s Adam Bomb show to its programming lineup.
Peter Casey Exits WBZ-AM, Boston After 24 Years. Longtime director of news and programming Peter Casey exits all-news WBZ-AM, Boston. The Boston Globe reports that Casey has been let go by iHeartMedia, which is operating the station under an LMA until it closes on the station. WBZ-AM is joining iHeartMedia as part of a swap of assets with Entercom for the latter to comply with station ownership limits. Casey tells the paper he has nothing bad to say about iHeartMedia and calls the people he’s been dealing with “respectful and impressive.” Casey, who’s been director of news and programming for the past 21 years, wrote in a memo to staffers, “I will cherish the memories of this place, of all of you and those that came before you. I will keep those memories with me. I will keep them a part of me even as I walk out the door today on my very last day at WBZ NewsRadio 1030.” Assistant program director Bill Flaherty is serving as interim director of news and programming.
Lance Zierlein Returns to Houston Airwaves. Houston sports talk personality Lance Zierlein is back on the radio today at Gow Broadcasting’s KFNC-FM, co-hosting the 7:00 am to 9:00 am show with John Granato. The two will be joined by Raheel Ramzanali for the 9:00 am to 10:00 am hour that is being simulcast on KFNC-FM and KFNC-HD2. As part of his new gig, Zierlein will also write for the Gow-owned CultureMap and SportsMap digital publications. He exited iHeartMedia’s crosstown sports talk KBME back in July. During his tenure on Houston sports talk radio he also served with the former CBS RADIO station KILT-AM, where he worked with Granato for 10 years (1997-2007).
Westwood One Announces New Leadership Structure. National radio network Westwood One reveals strategic changes to the leadership and structure of its national sales team, effective immediately. The Cumulus Media-owned company says, “These organizational changes are designed to capitalize on Westwood One’s strong sales momentum, as well as to propel the organization to new heights in 2018 and beyond.” Bryan Forbes replaces the retiring Steve Shaw as president, sales at Westwood One. He’s responsible for leading the network and national spot sales organizations and reporting to Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes. Forbes was most recently with Katz Radio Group as SVP and general manager of Westwood One national sales. Current EVP strategic partnerships Mark Wildman is charged with launching the Audio Active Group – a newly established, dedicated business development team responsible for “creating integrated, brand-focused solutions that leverage the vast portfolio of assets across the company’s 446 radio stations and network platforms.” Pierre Bouvard continues in his role as chief insights officer at Cumulus/Westwood One. And Ari Molovinsky joins Westwood One as VP strategic planning & analysis, responsible for “supporting the leadership team with revenue-focused and general management initiatives.” Molovinsky was most recently with SiriusXM. Grimes states, “Westwood One has a top-notch sales organization in place, as demonstrated by our performance this year, and I am thrilled to welcome both Bryan and Ari to the team. With these new hires, as well as the exciting launch of the Audio Active Group and expansion of our actionable data and thought-leadership platform, Westwood One is poised to deliver significant growth as we continue to champion radio as the #1 mass reach medium that delivers exceptional results.”
Media Equality Project to Stage Event at National Press Club. The Media Equality Project is led by talk media pros Melanie Morgan and Brian Maloney. Joining them for Wednesday’s event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC is fellow talk radio pro Blanquita Cullum. A press release says the goal of the event is to pressure Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Congressmen John Conyers (D-MI) and Joe Barton (R-TX) to resign. Organizers say, “…We’re taking the Media Equality Project straight to Washington. Dozens of women and other victims of sexual harassment are joining together this Wednesday with this message: #ShowUsTheList of representatives or staffers who received taxpayer funded pay-outs totaling $17 million dollars. The Media Equality Project is bringing Bill Clinton’s victims, other luminaries, including Dr. Alveda King, niece of the late Martin Luther King, and others to Washington to confront Franken, Conyers, and Barton. We believe that this effort should be in a spirit of bi-partisanship in order to end sexual harassment on Capitol Hill and across the country…joining us at the podium at the National Press Club are Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, [and former Fort Smith, Arkansas TV reporter] Leslie Millwee.” The event takes place at 10:00 am in the National Press Club’s First Amendment Room.
Mike Golic Breaks Silence on ‘Mike & Mike’ Breakup; New ‘Golic & Wingo’ Show. Speaking to the Coloradoan, Mike Golic tells the paper that he was blindsided by the decision to end the show because now-ex-partner Mike Greenberg was taking on a new role on the TV side of ESPN. “When I went into see the bosses, I thought it was to talk about the next deal since our contracts were ending. We had talked the previous year about moving the show to New York and I thought maybe it was about that. Instead, they told me the show was going to end and that Greenie was going to do a show in New York and I was going to do a show with my son.” As regular industry watchers know, ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” morning drive show went on for about six months with the two knowing the show would wrap before the end of the year. Today (11/27), the new “Golic & Wingo” show launched (pictured above with NBA commissioner Adam Silver as their first guest) with Trey Wingo as co-host. Read the Coloradoan piece here.
DC Sexual Impropriety Allegations, Roy Moore Case, Thanksgiving Holiday, Mueller Investigation-Flynn Cooperation, Meredith-Time Inc. Purchase, CFPB Appointment, College Football Playoff Scenarios, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Holiday Weekend. The sexual impropriety allegations lodged against Al Franken and John Conyers; the sexual predation charges leveled at Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore; the Thanksgiving holiday; special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and reports of cooperation between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and the investigation; Iowa-based media company Meredith to buy Time Inc.; controversy over Consumer Financial Protection Bureau appointment; the weekend’s college football games and speculation about which teams will make the four-team tournament; and the weekend’s NFL games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KYW-AM, Philadelphia Awards Computers to Local Elementary School. This promotion was a partnership with Comcast which, along with Entercom’s all-news KYW-AM, Philadelphia, presented 10 new Dell Latitude Education Series laptops to General Philip Kearny Elementary School in Philadelphia. KYW director of news and programming Steve Butler states, “As the nation’s unrivaled leader in news, Entercom is committed to enriching the lives of local residents. KYW Newsradio’s partnership with Comcast, allows us to support local community organizations like General Philip Kearny Elementary School in their commitment to education.” Pictured above are KYW and Comcast representatives with students and teachers at the school.
TALKERS News Notes. National radio news service Westwood One News is reporting affiliate renewals for major market stations including: WINS, New York; KYW, Philadelphia; WBZ-AM, Boston; and WWJ, Detroit. The news network also announces its expanding reach as more than 70 new stations join the network, including: KKOB-AM, Albuquerque; KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; and KOKC-AM, Oklahoma City…..SiriusXM announces former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin and former Phoenix Suns front office exec Amin Elhassan are joining the roster of NBA experts on its SiriusXM NBA Radio channel. Griffin makes his debut tomorrow (11/28) from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET alongside host Joel Meyers and can be heard multiple times every week. Elhassan joins the roster on Sunday, December 10 and will be on regularly with host Jason Jackson.
Small Business Guru Jim Blasingame Joins Michael Harrison on This Week’s Installment of “Up Close and Far Out.” Noted small business expert and talk show host Jim Blasingame is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Blasingame is the tremendously successful independently-syndicated host of the long-running radio show, “The Small Business Advocate.” The program is celebrating its 20th anniversary on the air. He and Harrison discuss various aspects of entrepreneurism as we accelerate from the analog era of the 20th century deeper into the digital age of the 21st century focusing on the increasing disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street in our economy and society. Harrison says, “Blasingame is a unique player in the talk industry and a fascinating, bright man. He proves on every level that independent media and business can still be viable in this brave new world.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Classic rock WBIG and alternative WWDC, Washington program director James Howard is promoted to vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s DC station group that also includes CHR WIHT “HOT 99.5,” adult contemporary WASH-FM, and country WMZQ. Howard will continue to program WBIG and WWDC. iHeartMedia SVP of programming Jeff Kapugi states, “James has been a rock star for years. Now he gets to be an AC star, a country star and a top 40 star. This is a well-deserved promotion for one of the most creative programmers I’ve had the opportunity to work with.”…..Cox Media Group announces on-air changes at urban contemporary WALR-FM, Atlanta “KISS 104.1” The new morning show is called “Morning Groove” with Art Terrell and Roy Wood Jr. with news and information from Condace Pressley. CMG Atlanta VP of programming Tony Kidd says the show will include commentary, opinions and humor from voices like Clark Howard, Corey “Zooman” Miller, and Aaron Paxton Arnold. “The changes we’re making represent a new day dawning in Atlanta R&B music. This new programming lineup reflects what Atlanta’s African-American listeners want most from their favorite R&B station.” Also, Sasha the Diva takes over the afternoon drive daypart.