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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

| August 10, 2021

WNDB, Daytona Beach Host Marc Bernier Hospitalized with COVID-19. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier is in the hospital being treated for COVID-19. Like some other conservative talk radio hosts, Bernier has been a vocal critic of the vaccines, although station officials tell the paper they do not know Bernier’s vaccination status for certain. The report indicates that Bernier missed last week’s programs while home sick. He was diagnosed on Friday and was hospitalized on Saturday (8/7). WNDB operations manager Mark McKinney tells the paper, “I don’t have an update on him at this point, other than he has been hospitalized.” McKinney later added, “We will be airing announcements several times an hour (during Bernier’s program) that he is recovering from COVID-induced pneumonia and that we hope to have him back on the air soon.”

WSPD, Todelo’s Scott Sands Dealing with Breakthrough COVID-19 Case. Toledo talk host Scott Sands tells his story of contracting a breakthrough case of COVID-19 to WTOL-TV. Sands – who hosts the afternoon drive daypart on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WSPD-AM – says that he was vaccinated in April and is well enough to broadcast from home for the next two weeks. Sands tells WTOL-TV that he believes if he had not been vaccinated his symptoms would have been worse and he is encouraging his listeners to get vaccinated. “Even if it doesn’t protect you from getting COVID-19 at some point, I truly believe at some point it will mitigate the symptoms and help you recover much faster and if nothing else help slow the spread.”

Round One of July PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s July 2021 sweep covered June 24 – July 21. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. In New York, Audacy’s all-news WINS picks up one-tenth for a 2.7 share (weekly 6+ AQH share) good for the #12 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles sheds four-tenths to finish the survey with a 4.0 share and falls to the #6 rank. In Chicago, Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM takes back the #1 rank from urban AC WVAZ after adding seven-tenths for a 6.7 share finish. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta remains ranked #1 in the market after adding two-tenths and wrapping the survey with an 8.3 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets here.

1010 WINS Launches Spanish Audio Companion. The New York all-news outlet announces the launch of 1010 WINS Noticias.com, “a multiplatform, Spanish digital audio offering for 1010 WINS (WINS-AM), the most listened-to news station in the country.” Audacy says Audacy.com/1010WINSNoticias “will deliver the same energy, resources, and trusted content for news as 1010 WINS, providing original content, audio and video podcasts and a daily newscast for download – all in Spanish. Podcasts at launch include a rare sit-down conversation with Venezuela’s acting president Juan Guaido.”  WINS brand manager Ben Mevorach adds, “We could not be more excited about this new venture. No news brand is more respected or more New York than 1010 WINS. To be able to now share what we do with the Spanish-speaking news consumer represents an extraordinary opportunity for them, for us, and for advertisers.” Audacy says that 1010 WINS Noticias will also aim to create a unique value proposition for advertisers through multiple opportunities to reach consumers, included co-branded targeted social media posts, mobile app display ads and custom email newsletters, as well as homepage takeovers.

Gow Media’s ‘ESPN Houston’ Announces New Program Lineup. Houston sports talk outlet KFNC-FM/K223CW “ESPN 97.5 and 92.5 FM” unveils its new lineup. Gow Media says the new program schedule will take effect on August 16 and will “showcase a new direction, featuring new voices, and new shows with an emphasis on covering the teams and storylines that Houston sports fans care about. The all-local weekday lineup will continue to boast veteran hosts John Granato, Lance Zierlein, Charlie Pallilo and Joel Blank. New additions to the roster include Jeremy Branham, Jake Asman, Cody Stoots and Brad Kellner.” The lineup is as follows: 7:00 am to 10:00 am – “The Bench with John Granato & Lance Zierlein”; 10:00 am to 12:00 noon – “The Charlie Pallilo Show”; 12:noon to 3:00 pm – “The Killer B’s with Joel Blank & Jeremy Branham”; and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm – “The Wheelhouse with Jake Asman, Cody Stoots & Brad Kellner.” Additionally, longtime station host Fred Faour will continue to be part of the on-air team, joining shows throughout the week in a new role as the station’s sports betting analyst. CEO David Gow says, “Fred has a deep connection with our listeners, and will continue to be an important part of our on-air team. He will also lead the development of a new online offering that we’ll be launching soon.”

Libby Nolan Named SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia St. Louis. Radio sales pro Libby Nolan is named SVP of sales for iHeartMedia’s St. Louis market. The company’s St. Louis outlets include BIN: Black Information Network’s BIN103.7 plus four music brands. Nolan joins iHeartMedia St. Louis from Zimmer Radio in Springfield, Missouri, where she served as vice president and director of sales. Prior to that, Nolan acted as market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Quincy-Hannibal radio cluster. She spent almost 10 years of her career at Emmis St. Louis serving in several leadership positions. She also held leadership positions at Audacy-owned news/talk KFTK-FM. iHeartMedia St. Louis president John R. Beck, Jr. says, “I am very excited to have Libby on our team. Her diverse background and leadership skills are a perfect match for the amazing things we have to look forward to at iHeart St. Louis.”

Brenda Franco Named GM for JVC Media’s Fort Walton Beach Cluster. Radio sales and management pro Brenda Franco is named general manager for JVC Media of Florida’s Fort Walton Beach station group that includes WZLB-FM “Florida Man Radio 103.1” and three music brands. Franco was most recently key account manager and senior marketing consultant for Cumulus Media in the Fort Walton Beach/Destin market. JVC executive Shane Reeve comments, “JVC’s commitment to the Emerald Coast and all of our markets is to grow our culture of great LOCAL radio for our listeners and clients. The addition of Brenda as our general manager for JVC Fort Walton Beach is a win for everyone in the market. Brenda’s success in sales management up and down the Emerald Coast is due to her incredible knowledge and passion for her clients, listeners, and the industry. I was always so impressed with Brenda during my earlier tenure in Fort Walton Beach and I am thrilled to have someone of her caliber on board with the JVC family.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report by The Count, KFI, Los Angeles morning host Bill Handel is to undergo heart surgery. The Count says Handel called into the station last Thursday while hospitalized, saying he is to undergo heart valve replacement surgery, telling his fill-in, “Now they have to crack my chest. The valve is definitely infected.” Handel underwent surgery to replace the same aortic valve in 2011…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and the NCAA agree to a multi-year renewal, maintaining Westwood One’s place as the official network audio broadcast partner of the NCAA for many years to come. Westwood One has broadcast the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament since 1982 and every game of NCAA March Madness on multiple platforms since 2005. Under the terms of the deal, Westwood One retains exclusive broadcast radio, digital audio, distribution, and licensing rights for all 90 NCAA Championships, including the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments and the Final Fours…..WGN, Chicago reports that the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks released a medical update on Blackhawks radio color analyst Troy Murray, who says, “I want to let everyone know of the challenge that I’m currently facing. I have been diagnosed with cancer. With the love and support of my family, friends, the Wirtz family, the Chicago Blackhawks organization and WGN Radio I’m confident that together, we will beat this.” WGN vice president and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle says, “Troy is beloved by all our listeners and is a significant member of the WGN Radio family. It goes without saying that Troy and his family have our love and support as he begins his treatments. We are cheering for him and wish him well. Along with the Blackhawks, we ask that you respect his privacy during this time.”…..VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, announces that former NFLquarterback Shaun King is joining the network as co-host of “The Night Cap” in which he’ll co-host with Tim Murray to cover sports betting markets around the country each weeknight from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET. VSiN CEO Brian Musberger comments, “Shaun is an incredible talent, and we’re thrilled to add his unique perspective as a player to our sports betting content as we continue to expand VSiN’s programming and reach. His experience as an NFL quarterback coupled with the skills he honed as a former ESPN and NBC Sports analyst will be an incredibly valuable addition to our evening lineup.”…..Pictured below is Westwood One late night talk radio star Jim Bohannon (right) being inducted into the Missouri Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual gathering in Branson, Missouri.

COVID-19 Delta Variant & Masks Debate, Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, Infrastructure Bill, Climate Change/Wildfires, Prince Andrew Sexual Abuse Suit, Capitol Riot Investigation, and Obama Party Backlash Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/9). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the controversy over mask mandates for school children; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo digs in as sexual harassment allegations put pressure on him to resign; the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill; the UN’s IPCC-authored climate report and the wildfires devastating California and Greece; American Virginia Giuffre sues Prince Andrew for sexual abuse; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol riot; and criticism of former President Barack Obama’s birthday bash for flouting COVID-19 guidelines were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

| August 10, 2017

Bennett Helps WCBS-AM Note Its All-News Golden Anniversary. A special interview and performance this past Tuesday (8/8) by iconic singer Tony Bennett at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square highlighted a celebration of 50 years of news as CBS Radio New York’s WCBS-AM observed its 50th birthday as an all-news outlet. Wayne Cabot (29 years at WCBS-AM, the station’s longest-tenured anchor) and fellow news anchor Alex Silverman (who joined WCBS-AM in April 2011) hosted the event, which included a plethora of stories from WCBS-AM personalities and guests. Senior vice president and market manager for CBS Radio New York Marc Rayfield states that WCBS-AM “is a trusted New York City news outlet with a rich history and legacy of delivering up-to-the-minute news. We will continue to tell the stories of the people, places, and happenings from all around this great city. This special night gathered listeners, station personalities, and prominent figures to celebrate what the station has meant for the past 50 years and will continue to mean into the future.” In addition to Cabot and Silverman, other WCBS-AM personalities there Tuesday night included Craig Allen, Joe Connolly, Pat Farnack, Brad Heller, Tom Kaminski, Paul Murnane, Steve Scott, and Michael Wallace. Among those sharing their New York stories were Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes,” “Late Show with David Letterman” bandleader (“The World’s Most Dangerous Band” and “CBS Orchestra”) Paul Shaffer, and former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine. CBS News’ Anthony Mason conducted the Tony Bennett interview. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales (which ranged from $55 to $150 per person) was donated to Exploring the Arts Foundation, Bennett’s charity organization dedicated to transforming lives of young people through arts education. Following back-to-back 2.4 showings (6+) in Nielsen Audio’s April and May PPM reports, WCBS-AM has registered a 2.7 (6+) in June and July, moving up from #13 in June to #12. Entercom will continue to use the CBS Radio News brand for at least one year after it closes on all of CBS Radio’s AM and FM properties.

KIRO-FM Teams with Seattle Police to Provide “Beds for Kids.” The goal of a joint effort between Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM and the Seattle Police Department is to provide 600 needy local children with mattresses, bedframes, sheet sets, comforters, pillows and a Teddy bear. KIRO-FM afternoon drive (3:00 – 7:00 pm) hosts “Ron (Upshaw) & Don (O’Neill)” have been dedicated advocates for the “Beds for Kids” project since its inception, with O’Neill emphasizing, “Now, more than ever, we need to make sure that every child that needs a bed – gets a bed. When a child gets a good night sleep and something to eat, it is proven they stay in school and they do better in school. Help us help police help kids – it’s another way to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.” The “Beds for Kids” cofounder Jeremy Wade notes, “Over the last three years, we have been amazed to see how many kids in our community sleep on the floor. Through the ‘Beds for Kids’ program, we have provided over 500 local kids with a brand-new bed. This year’s goal of 600 beds is our most ambitious yet, but with the support of our partners and the public, we know it can be done.” The project was created in 2014 by Wade and fellow officer Ryan Gallagher, who responded to a 9-1-1 call and discovered two young girls had been sleeping on the floor. Wade and Gallagher returned to that home with new beds purchased with their own money. Since then, hundreds of people have stepped up to assist the two officers in providing beds for children in need. Elsewhere inside that Bonneville cluster, Seattle Seahawks coverage on sports talk KIRO-AM “710 ESPN” will include John Clayton (formerly with ESPN-TV), who will serve as a sideline reporter. In addition, Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, who called Seahawks pre-season games and was part of Westwood One’s NFL coverage the last two seasons, returns as radio analyst, a role he held for 13 seasons prior to 2015. Back as well for his 36th year on play-by-play is Steve Raible; Jen Mueller is in her ninth season doing sideline reporting.

Stigall Featured on “The Fox News Specialists.” Pictured above at the far right as he made his point yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, 8/9) on “The Fox News Specialists” is CBS Radio-owned WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” Philadelphia 5:30 am – 9:00 am talent Chris Stigall. Intently looking on (left to right) are another guest specialist Mike Baker, co-host Eboni Williams, guest-host Mark Steyn, and co-host Katherine Timpf.

PPM Data – Part Three. July 2017 ratings information has been released for Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Orlando, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s July 2017 survey period covered June 22 – July 19. View all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Gottlieb Kicks Off Training Camp Tour. Gearing up for the start of football season, Fox Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb hits the road for on-location coverage from several NFL training sites. The journey began this past Monday (8/7) with a broadcast from the Los Angeles Rams facility at UC Irvine. Still in Southern California (Oxnard-Ventura), Gottlieb is with the Dallas Cowboys today (Thursday, 8/10), and he will visit the Los Angeles Chargers’ camp at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa next Wednesday (8/16). Pictured left to right are Fox Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay.

LG To Activate FM Chips in its Smartphones. The announcement that LG phones in North America and Latin America will have FM chips activated moving forward comes from NextRadio parent TagStation, whose president Paul Brenner states, “We are proud and excited to partner with one of the world’s leading Smartphone providers to continue our mission of connecting and exposing users to a fully immersive radio experience. This alliance will give millions of consumers the opportunity to receive real over-the-air FM radio through their phone.” NextRadio will be pre-loaded on some models.

WQBA Named Dolphins’ Spanish-Language Radio Flagship. As part of the multi-year agreement, Univision Radio Miami Spanish news/talk WQBA will air all Miami Dolphins pre-season, regular season, and playoff games. Raul Striker Jr. will handle play-by-play duties, while Eduardo Martell will provide color analysis. WQBA will produce pregame and postgame shows, as well as a weekly show covering Dolphins-related news/events. Sports programming falls under the recently-launched Univision Deportes Radio sports network. WQBA senior vice president and general manager Claudia Puig comments, “We are excited to once again partner with the Miami Dolphins, offering them a terrific opportunity to reach their Spanish-speaking fans through Univision Deportes Radio. Our listeners will now be able to cheer their favorite football team ‘en español.’ The Dolphins broadcasts will be a perfect complement to Univision Deportes Radio’s outstanding sports programming lineup.” Miami Dolphins senior vice president and chief commercial officer Todd Kline adds, “We are proud to partner with Univision Deportes Radio WQBA 1140 AM and are confident they will deliver the most complete and up-to-date coverage of the Miami Dolphins to fans. The Dolphins have a 36-year commitment to broadcast games in Spanish in the South Florida market – this partnership delivers on our strong tradition.” Spanish-language broadcasts of Dolphins games were previously heard on crosstown Deportes Media Spanish Sports WNMA “ESPN Deportes Miami.” The team’s English-language flagships are CBS Radio Miami’s WQAM “Sports Radio 560” and co-owned WKIS “Kiss 99.9 New Country.”

TALKERS News Notes. Citing other media sources, The Tennessean reports that former Tennessee Titans tight end Frank Wycheck will leave his “Wake-Up Zone” morning show co-hosting duties on Cumulus Media Nashville sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone” in the next few weeks. Earlier, Wycheck announced he is stepping away from his role as analyst for Titans’ radio broadcasts for a year, owing to cognitive issues related to concussions from his playing days. It is reported, however, that Wycheck will remain with “The Zone” for swing duty ….. In other football-related news, iHeartMedia Tucson’s KTZR “Fox Sports 1450” joins the Arizona Cardinals radio network. Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Tucson David Adams comments, “As the new home for Fox Sports in Tucson; the future home of Dan Patrick; and the official broadcast partner of the Tucson Roadrunners, we couldn’t be more excited to solidify our position as ‘Tucson’s Sports Station’ by adding the Cardinals.” The team’s previous Tucson affiliate was Cumulus Media’s KCUB “Sports Radio 1290.”

Checkpoint Radio Adds Houston, Philadelphia, and St. Louis Affiliates. The latest to join Checkpoint Radio – the first nationally syndicated radio show dedicated to the world of e-sports and gaming – are GOW Media’s KFNC “ESPN 97.5 FM,” Houston; Beasley Media Group’s WPEN “97.5 FM The Fanatic, Philadelphia”; and Hubbard’s WXOS “101 ESPN, St Louis.” Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of corporate marketing Suzanne Grimes comments, “Checkpoint Radio is the only national show that connects radio stations and listeners to the explosive energy around e-sports. According to Newzoo, e-sports will grow to $696 million in revenue this year, a year-over-year increase of 41%. Brand investment is predicted to grow to $1.5 billion by 2020. This is a space you want to be in. Westwood One is the undeniable leader in sports programming – we know e-sports is an important sector for affiliates and advertisers.” Checkpoint Radio managing partner Rick Scott notes, “We are excited at the rapid growth of Checkpoint Radio in so many quality and big markets. It is a testament to the quality and appeal of the show and the passionate crew working to put it together.” Hosted by Nate Bender, Robbie Landis, Norris Howard, and Joe Sloan, two-hour weekly Checkpoint Radio features insights, news, interviews, and updates designed specifically for the video game and e-sports fan. In addition to the weekly show, Checkpoint also produces a podcast featuring content not heard on the radio program.

WKLB Elevates Santolucito to Director/Music and Marketing. Over and above continuing her oversight of the marketing/promotions department of WKLB “Country 102.5,” Dawn Santolucito is promoted to music and marketing director at the Beasley Media Group Boston property. Program director David Corey states, “Dawn’s passion, dedication, and organizational skills – plus a great ear for music – made her the ideal candidate for the position. We are proud to have Dawn in our ‘Country 102.5’ family.” Santolucito comments, “It truly has been a privilege being a part of the ‘Country 102.5’ family for the past seven years in my role within the marketing/promotions department. I am thrilled to begin this new chapter.” Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s just-released July 2017 PPM report, WKLB is flat at 4.5, but climbs from seventh in June 2017 to sixth, while cross-town format competitor – iHeartMedia-owned WBWL “101.7 The Bull – Boston’s New Hit Country” is up (modestly) for the third straight time (2.1 – 2.2 – 2.4 – 2.5, 6+) and inches up from #17 to #16. With a 7.7 (6+), WKLB classic hits-oldies sibling WROR “Boston’s Classic Hits” remains at #1 for the seventh successive sweep.

iHR, Understood.org Align to Help Kids Facing Learning/Attention Issues. One of every five children have a learning and attention challenge such as ADHD or dyslexia. A partnership between iHeartMedia and Understood.org explores and raises awareness of learning and attention issues, and breaks stereotypes about these often-misunderstood children. The partnership includes public service announcements voiced by iHeartMedia personalities Ryan Seacrest, Elvis Duran, Mario Lopez, and Bobby Bones, as well as a long-form public affairs show. Commenting about Understood.org, its executive leader/corporate partnerships & alliances Nancy Smith states, “This whole team is deeply committed to helping the millions of children with learning and attention issues get the support they need – support that can help them reverse any downward spiral in school.” From prior experience, Smith felt that iHeartRadio “has a strong belief in win-win partnerships and in helping the world be a better place. I knew collaboration with the iHeart team could take us to new levels of support for kids with learning and attention issues.” Aided by 15 nonprofit organizations, Understood.org launched nearly three years ago. “Today, it supports and empowers millions of parents through personalized resources, daily access to experts, a community of other parents and experts, and interactive tools,” Smith explains. “Many accomplished musicians including Justin Timberlake [ADHD], Lindsey Stirling [dyslexia], and Jewel [dyslexia] have learning and attention issues. Understood is happy to call iHeartRadio a partner in our mission to raise awareness of learning and attention issues. Having the support of a community of musical artists and fans who embrace differences can help build widespread acceptance for kids who are so often misunderstood. Together with iHeartRadio, we want to help even more children with learning and attention issues.”

Sun Broadcast Group Enters the “Country Fried Mix.” A sales and affiliation partnership with Sun Broadcast Group will bring “Country Fried Mix” with national touring artist and producer DJ Sinister to the network in three weeks (9/1). Sun chief executive officer Jason Bailey remarks, “One of the things we have always tried to do at Sun is find exciting and unique programs for our listeners and clients. When I heard ‘Country Fried Mix’ for the first time, I knew we had to have it in our lineup. There is simply nothing [else] like it on the radio – that’s why it is perfect for us. We are honored to represent this incredible product to the industry and the clients who support it.” According to DJ Sinister, “This new opportunity really takes us to the next level with partners that are willing to take risks,” while the program’s producer Charlie Pennachio adds, “Focus created this expansion; this opportunity gives us the ability to become a laser beam with a team.” The weekend show of mashed up/remixed country hits has aired since 2014 and has affiliates in (among other markets) Philadelphia, Miami, Detroit, Phoenix, and Nashville.

Opening “The Vault” Again in Montgomery. Jettisoning its top 40 format in order to return to rock as “107.1 The Vault” is Bluewater Broadcasting Montgomery, Alabama’s WQKS-HD3 W296AI. It abandoned “The Vault” four years ago in favor of classic jams “Yo! 107.1,” but as program director Rick Peters writes on his Facebook page, “The market has spoken and –  contrary to popular belief – we do listen. ‘The Vault’ will try to recreate album and progressive rock stations from the 1970s, such as [Los Angeles’] KMET and KLOS; [Chicago’s] WLUP [‘The Loop’]; [Philadelphia’s] WMMR; [Miami’s] WSHE; and [St. Louis’] KSHE. The format is freeform – the [on-air talent] can program what they like. Every day will be different – it’s a throwback. At the same time, it’s evolutionary for the day [but] it’s not designed to be mass-appeal. For those that ‘lived’ the music the first time, we will try to be worthy. For the rest of you, listen up [because] you might find something you love.” Among persons 12+ in Montgomery’s most recent Nielsen Audio book (spring 2017), WQKS-HD3 checks in at #16 with a .8, while iHeartMedia urban contemporary WZHT “Hot 105.7” is on top with an 11.2 (12+).

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Earlier this week, midday host Danny Dwyer of Alpha Media Portland country outlet KUPL “98.7 The Bull” raised $10,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in his inaugural golf invitational at Salem Oregon’s Creekside Country Club ….. A variety of tomato-themed activities will be included next Saturday (8/19) when Beasley Media Group Philadelphia classic rock WMGK morning personality John DeBella holds his three-hour (11:00 am – 2:00 pm) “Tomato Fest” in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Among the highlights are a biggest-tomato contest; a dunk tank manned by the show’s “Super Steve”; and bobbing for tomatoes. In addition, WMGK’s house band Kategory Five will perform, and there will be a classic car display. Donations of canned goods and fresh produce will be collected to benefit the South Jersey Food Bank. DeBella is said to have thought up the “Tomato Fest” concept while seeing a vast number of farm stands and pondering why the tomato wasn’t being celebrated ….. Three (four-hour) Westwood One Labor Day weekend music specials are in the pipeline. Imagine Dragons front man Dan Reynolds will host rock’s “Summer Wrap Up”; Louis Tomlinson does the same for the pop format’s “Last Big Summer Weekend”; and ACM-award winner Kelsea Ballerini has the honors for “Workin’ Hard Country.”

Ell Talks Up Her Latest “Project.” During her visit to Westwood One’s syndicated “Ty, Kelly, & Chuck” morning show, Lindsay Ell discussed touring with Brad Paisley and creating her new album “The Project” with producer Kristian Bush. Shown left to right are Ty Bentli, Kelly Ford, Lindsay Ell, and Chuck Wicks.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

| October 16, 2014

westwood one NEWWestwood One to Cease Production of NBC News Radio. Affiliates received the word yesterday (Wednesday, 10/15) by way of a note from senior vice president of affiliate sales Dennis Green that NBC News Radio newscasts and other programming will no longer be produced/distributed by Westwood One.  As a substitute, Westwood One will soon provide its own CNN-powered branded news network.  Green writes that Westwood One News will offer stations “enhanced programming, correspondent reports and news features.  Westwood One News is designed to help stations integrate their local branding into newscasts with greater flexibility, including selecting one- to five-minute newscasts based on need and preference.” Westwood One will halt production/distribution of the NBC News Radio network as of 12:00 midnight (ET) Monday, December 15.

merrillchrisChris Merrill Moves to iHeartMedia’s KFYI, Phoenix.  It turns out that Chris Merrill – most recently morning drive host at iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego – will not be banished to the evening slot there but will move to the company’s KFYI, Phoenix to take over the afternoon drive show being vacated by Mike Broomhead, who moves to mornings.  KOGO shifted to a newsier show format for its morning and afternoon drive dayparts and had slated Merrill to host the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show.  But with Barry Young retiring from KFYI and Broomhead taking over his mid-morning slot, an opening on the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm show was created that Merrill will fill beginning November 10.  KFYI program director Neil Larrimore states, “We are beyond thrilled to bring Chris into town!  He is an up-and-coming superstar who understands the evolution of talk radio.  With Chris joining the team, KFYI is perfectly positioned for much success in 2015 and beyond.”

salisburyseanSean Salisbury Gets More Air Time in Houston.  According to a report by the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron, Sean Salisbury will replace Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon on the KFNC, Houston “ESPN Houston 97.5” 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm program alongside station sports director Dave Tepper.  Salisbury also co-hosts the Yahoo! Sports Radio afternoon show with John Granato heard on KGOW in the market.  Solomon is leaving the radio show to focus on his news duties.

frantzbobBob Frantz Lands at Toledo Sports Talker.  After being ousted in July from iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland where he hosted the evening show, Bob Frantz finds a radio home at Cumulus Media’s sports talk WLQR, Toledo “106.5 The Ticket” on the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm show.  WLQR recently parted company with Norm Wamer who held down that daypart.  According to a story in the Toledo Blade, Frantz will broadcast from his home in Northeast Ohio as well as from the station’s Toledo studios.  The paper quotes Cumulus RVP and market manager Andy Stuart saying the program will be “a Northwest Ohio sports talk show” that will also cover Detroit, Cleveland and South Bend sports.

wtoplogoWTOP, Washington to Present Live Ebola Program from Newseum.  Washington all-news outlet WTOP is presenting a special town hall program on Monday, October 20 at 10:00 am live from the Knight TV Studio at the Newseum in DC.  The Hubbard station says it will examine the threat of Ebola in the U.S. and beyond.  The program will be hosted by WTOP anchors Bruce Alan and Debra Feinstein and will feature expert guests Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Jesse Goodman, professor of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center and active infectious diseases clinician at the Washington DC VA Medical Center and Walter Reed Medical Center.  The station also extended an invitation to the Centers for Disease Control to join the panel.  WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “WTOP is pleased to facilitate an in-depth discussion on this important subject.  The town hall format gives everyone a chance to ask questions directly of two preeminent physicians on the forefront of the battle against this deadly disease.”  The Knight TV Studio will seat 150 people for this broadcast.

salemcommunicationsPerez Appointed VP/GM of Salem Miami.  At the Salem Communications Miami cluster, Felix Perez is tapped to be vice president and general manager.  Perez – who has nearly 23 years of experience in Spanish media – was most recently vice president and general manager of Univision New York.  Salem radio division senior vice president Allen Power comments, “We are excited about having Felix at the helm in Miami.  His years of leadership in media; his focus in Spanish radio; and his track record for exploiting new opportunities and solving problems make him uniquely qualified for this role.”  Perez remarks, “Salem’s values and mission are a great match for my own personal business philosophy.  The company’s record of delivering for all of its constituencies while holding true to its mission makes it unique.”  Salem’s Miami cluster consists of Christian talk WHIM “The Answer”; Spanish Christian talk WKAT “Radio Luz”; Spanish variety WOCN “La Nueva”; and business talk WZAB “The Biz.”

word logoCool Job Opportunity.  Incredible talk show talent needed.  WORD 106.3, the news/talk leader in Greenville, SC, has a rare and immediate opening for an exceptional talk show personality.  The ideal candidate will be an excellent communicator able to connect with the conservative values of our on-air and social media audiences and will have the skills and desire to become a trusted talent that WORD 106.3 listeners can depend on for local, state and national topics.  You will have a team of like-minded professionals, with on-air skills.  You will work in a fast-paced, challenging environment and you will have unbridled desire to dominate your time slot and make your brand iconic in the 59th largest market.  You’ll work at the largest cluster in the State of South Carolina for Entercom, the best broadcaster in the radio space.  You’ll live in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina and have the support and tools you need to be successful and create a powerful local brand.  Is this you?  You have experience preparing and executing an interactive, engaging, successful talk show.  You are a master of creativity, imagination and professional judgment in writing, producing, interviewing and creating content.  You are wired to what’s important to your audience and know how to deliver it to your audience on air and with social media.  Required Experience: A demonstrated track record of on-air success that will translate to success at WORD 106.3.  Please submit your resume to greenvillejobs@entercom.com.  Entercom Greenville is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Ebola Pandemic Threat/CDC Criticism, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Financial Markets Activity/Falling Oil Prices, Battle Against ISIS, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/15).  The threat of an Ebola pandemic, criticism of the Obama Administration’s and CDC’s handling of the matter and concerns over the lack of travel bans from countries with Ebola outbreaks; the looming mid-term elections and talk about the prospects for the 2016 presidential race; the tumultuous global financial markets and falling oil prices; the battle against ISIS, and the two MLB championship series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

| September 23, 2014

mcmahonbillBill McMahon: Perhaps We Should Focus on What We are Good at and That Which the Public Still Wants and Needs.  In a new opinion piece posted in TALKERS today (9/23) by veteran radio consultant and talent coach Bill McMahon, the following questions are presented to radio broadcasters:  What business are you in?  Does your business have a future?  He says, “These seem like fundamental questions radio broadcasters should be asking themselves right now.”  In it McMahon adds his voice to the chorus of industry opinions supporting the preservation of audio-only media as one of — if not the — major products of “radio” in the emerging unified multi-media platform marketplace.  McMahon sarcastically says, “This vision for the future seems perfect for radio broadcasters who create precious little content of any kind. It makes total sense to go compete with everyone in the entertainment business.  Sure, why not? Go take on Disney and Live Nation.  You have all kinds of talent and experience creating video entertainment.  You’ll be great at creating and promoting massive concert events.  This is the kind of stuff your current customers have come to expect from you.  You have lots of resources ready to commit to these enterprises.  They’ll no doubt drive lots of additional listening to your AM and FM radio stations.  Like Nike says, you should ‘just do it!’”  He concludes on a serious note, “Yikes!  Let’s get real!  What’s wrong with the business you’re in right now?  What’s wrong with the audio entertainment business?  Doesn’t it have a future?  Audio entertainment is unique and powerful.  It involves the consumer in creating the experience it provides.  Sound generates pictures and emotions in minds and hearts.  The effect is deeper and more memorable than anything on a screen.  When you hear someone laughing or crying you don’t need to see them to fully experience their joy or sorrow.  Music can change your mood instantly.  The sound and the lyrics create a vibe.  Music is mind altering, heart penetrating, and memory making. Audio entertainment can be consumed while you’re doing other things like walking, running, driving, or making love.  Audio entertainment will never go out of style.  Americans spend more than four hours per day with audio entertainment according to the “Share of the Ear” study from Edison Research.  Audio entertainment has an enduring future as long as great audio entertainment is created.  Radio broadcasters are in the audio entertainment business.  Why not stay there?  Why not focus your limited resources on creating extraordinary audio entertainment? Why not be really good – even exceptional – at something, rather than average or mediocre at everything.  Your current consumers are predisposed to using and appreciating audio entertainment.  Why not concentrate on creating new audio entertainment content that surprises, amazes, and delights them.  Hire gifted artists who love creating content for the theater of the mind.  Create content in all shapes and sizes and distribute it on the platform that fits it best. That’s a future that makes sense for radio broadcasters.  To read Bill McMahon’s entire piece, please click here.

bloomberglogoiHeartMedia Goes Business Talk with Bloomberg on KNEW, San Francisco.  With the move of Premiere Networks talk shows Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck to Cumulus Media’s crosstown KSFO on Monday, September 29, the fate of the shows’ soon-to-be former affiliate station – KNEW, San Francisco – is now known.  The station will begin carrying Bloomberg Radio programming on Monday.  The station will also be simulcast on KOSF-FM’s HD2 channel.  Bloomberg Radio’s Al Mayers comments, “As part of Bloomberg’s new consumer media strategy, we’re excited about expanding Bloomberg Radio into the San Francisco Bay Area, a vital market for those who create, move global business and shape conversations about the innovations of tomorrow.”  iHeartMedia San Francisco market president Kathryn Wilcox adds, “Teaming up with Bloomberg was a natural fit.  It provides high-quality content and aligns nicely with the local business talk on KKSF 910.”

iheartmedia logoiHeartMedia Takes on More Debt.  The company formerly known as Clear Channel CommunicationsiHeartCommunications (and its radio-centric subsidiary iHeartMedia) – announces it is selling $250 million of 9.0% Priority Guarantee Notes (PGNs) that will come due in 2022.  Rating agency Fitch Ratings reports that the “notes are being issued as part of the same series as the $750 million of PGNs due 2022 that were issued on September 10, 2014, and rated ‘CCC/RR4’.  Proceeds from the offering are expected to be used to prepay $245.9 million in Term Loan B due 2016 and $4.1 million in Term Loan C due 2016 and to pay fees and expenses related to the offering.”  The iHeartCommunications debt stands at approximately $21.1 billion according to Fitch but the rating company reports it believes that the company has “adequate liquidity (including cash on hand, monetization of repurchased and outstanding notes, and asset sales) to meet its debt service obligations,” although it does foresee free cash flow to be negative over the next few years.

lionelLionel to Make Return Appearance at The Cutting Room in New York City.  Multimedia talker Lionel of LionelMedia.com has again been booked to play an evening of what he calls “Outspoken Word” sprinkled with bluegrass music at New York City’s famous nightclub, The Cutting Room.  The iconoclastic radio performer presents his difficult-to-categorize brand of stand-up commentary/observations along with several musical numbers by his Americana roots trio, Lock-n-Load in a program described by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as “fascinatingly original and intelligently eclectic to the core.”  The booking is set for Saturday, October 11 at 7:30 pm at the mega-hip showcase venue located at 44 East 32nd Street in the Big Apple.  Tickets are on sale, $30 in advance, $35 day of show, with a $20 food/drink minimum.  To reserve tickets, call 212-691-1900.  To view a video of Lionel discussing the forthcoming performance, please click here.

salemNYChostsyachtCelebrating Success.  Getting together to celebrate a year of success at Salem Communications’ New York properties news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA (and to celebrate the latter’s anniversary as a Christian talk station) are four talk hosts heard on the stations (from left to right): talk personality and XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough; Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher; GCN-syndicated host Dr. Joy Browne; and WNYM morning personality Joe Piscopo.  McCullough comments, “While the style and content of the shows couldn’t be more different nor come from more diverse perspectives, the camaraderie instilled by GM Jerry Crowley and VP Phil Boyce could not be more clear!  Fun people, doing fun radio, and having fun doing it!”

hughespatOdds & Sods.  Houston sports talk personality Barry Warner joins Yahoo! Sports Radio where he’ll serve as a national contributor and host of the “Barry Warner Classic Minute” daily feature heard on KGOW and KFNC-FM in Houston…..WGN, Chicago announces the WGN Radio Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony honoring Chicago Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes to take place on Wednesday, September 24 from 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm.  The ceremony will include a live broadcast interview with Hughes conducted by host Dave Eanet…..Internet talk radio platform LA Talk Radio announces it is adding live streaming video to its content options.  Founder Sam Hasson says LA Talk Radio “has waited until it could define how to deliver a polished radio broadcast that also appeals to the audience visually, with professional studios and eye-popping graphics.  The results are great-looking as they are streamed smoothly in high-definition to any computer or mobile device.”  The video function debuts October 1.

White House Intruder Case, Hillary Clinton 2016 Prospects, Mid-Term Elections/Congressional Majority, NFL Domestic Violence Troubles, U.S. ISIS Policy, Iran Nukes Talks, Ebola Pandemic Threat, and Lois Lerner Politico Story Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/22).  The man with a criminal past who hopped the White House fence and entered the building before being stopped; the prospects for a presidential bid by Hillary Clinton in 2016; the looming mid-term elections and discussion about the potential for majority changes in Congress; the NFL’s domestic violence issues; the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, Secretary of State John Kerry’s nuclear talks with Iran; the threat of an Ebola virus pandemic; and the Lois Lerner Politico interview addressing the IRS scandal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, December 7, 2012

| December 7, 2012

Broad Cuts at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Claim Talk and Sports Staffers.  The end-of-the-year cuts taking place within Clear Channel is claiming numerous people in the programming end of the company’s radio stations.  Some of the talk and sports personnel who’ve been let go include:  Eric Chase, afternoons at sports WDFN, Detroit; Rich (Michaels) Minaya, afternoons, talk WIOD, Miami; Josh Sabrowsky, producer, sports KJR-AM, Seattle; Mike Morris, morning co-host, sports KFXN, Minneapolis; Don Ayers, morning producer, talk KOGO, San Diego and Jeff More, afternoon producer, KOGO; Steve Versnick, program director, talk WFLA, Tampa, and sports WDAE, Tampa; Catherine Brown, program director, talk WTKS, Orlando; “Bull,” midday producer, WTKS; and “Cabin Boy,” nights, WTKS.  This list is not necessarily complete as more reports of affected industry people are still coming in.  We’ll continue to update this list as more information becomes available.

Day 2 from the Arbitron Client Conference.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke covered the two-day Arbitron Client Conference for TALKERS that concluded yesterday (12/6).  Three points that dominated yesterday’s discussions and presentations are – as Cooke describes them – scary talk about in-car, straight talk about sports, and plain talk about politics.  Read Holland Cooke’s report from Annapolis here.

Entercom’s WEEI, Boston Names Kevin Winter AM Drive Sports Anchor.  When Jon Meterperel left the Dennis & Callahan morning drive show on Entercom’s WEEI, Boston earlier this fall to pursue his play-by-play career, that opened up a prime sports anchor/on-air role at the sports talk giant.  Now, Entercom announces Massachusetts native Kevin Winter will serve in that role.  Winter worked at the crosstown Boston ESPN affiliate and has served in a variety of studio host capacities including national SportsCenter anchor for all ESPN Radio shows including “Mike and Mike in the Morning.”  Additionally, he has been the pre- and post-game host for ESPN’s coverage of college football and basketball.  He says, “I’m very grateful and excited for the opportunity to join WEEI, particularly ‘Dennis and Callahan.’  This opportunity presents new and exciting challenges for me and I’m anxious and ready to get started.  I’m coming home!”

Rush Limbaugh’s Two If By Tea Initiative Raises More than $1 Million for Charity.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Rush Limbaugh announces the charitable efforts of his Two If By Tea product initiative have surpassed his goal of $100,000 by 10 times, with $1 million going to charities including the Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation.  Limbaugh, who started the tea company with his wife Kathryn in June of 2011, says, “We ran the numbers, and we are thrilled to announce that because of you, Two If By Tea has donated over $1 million in product and monetary donations to incredible causes.”  Limbaugh says in starting the tea company he wanted to create an American business.  “I personally wanted to experience firsthand all of the requirements, the licenses, the fees needed to take a product to market from nothing.  Our goal was to create jobs and manufacture with all American-made products in a fun, unique way.”

Steve Deace Show Hits 50-Affiliate Mark.  The Iowa-based Steve Deace program announces it has hit the 50-affiliate goal in its first year in national syndication.  With the addition of KXBR, Duluth; KVOI, Tucson; and WYAB, Jackson, Mississippi, Deace’s independently syndicated evening talk show (9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET) climbs to the 50-station plateau.  Deace left his position at Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines (the station that remains his flagship affiliate) to pursue his goal of national syndication success.  He states, “I am honored and humbled to have achieved such success in such a short time.  When I left the award-winning and legendary WHO last year to find out what other opportunities were out there, I had no idea this was possible.”

Jeff Schechtman Steps Down at Wine Country’s KVON and KVYN, Napa, California.  With the possible sale of the news/talk and hot AC duo on the horizon, Wine Country Broadcasting owner Roger Walther and general manager Jeff Schechtman jointly announce Schechtman will step down from his role as GM in January to pursue other opportunities.  Schechtman states, “Ten years is a long time in any one job, and with the possible potential sale of the station, it seems an ideal time to move on to pursue some projects I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. There is always a tendency to get stale after too long in one job and in one place.”

Gow Communications Closes on KFNC, Houston.  Sports talk station 97.5 The Ticket has been operated by David Gow’s Gow Communications under an LMA since September.  Now, the company closes on the station it purchases from AR Broadcast Holdings for $5 million.

CBS Sports Radio Names Chris Moore and Brian Jones Evening Hosts.  The national sports radio network CBS Radio will debut on January 2 has been fitted with the final piece of the programming puzzle.  Hosting the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot will be veteran play-by-play announcer and talk host Chris Moore and former NFL player and current CBS Sports Network analyst Brian Jones, who have been named as co-hosts of CBS Sports Radio’s evening show.  Their program will emanate from CBS Sports Radio’s New York City studio in Tribeca and will be heard on several stations, including WIP-AM, Philadelphia, WFOM, Atlanta, WXYT-AM, Detroit, WJZ-AM, Baltimore, KJQS, Salt Lake City and WSJZ, Orlando.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 3-7.  The political fight in Washington over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the third straight week.  Coming in at #2 was Syria’s chemical weapons threat.  At #3 was the Egypt Morsi protests and following at #4 was the looming ObamaCare costs.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers .com.  See this week’s complete chart here.