KXNO, Des Moines Cutbacks Reversed; PD and Hosts Rehired. According to a report by WHO-TV, Des Moines, after some serious blowback from listeners about the firing of six programming staffers from sports talk KXNO as part of a company-wide downsizing, iHeartMedia Des Moines market manager Joel McCrea sought from corporate and was granted permission to bring them back to their positions. Program director Andrew Downs; “The Morning Rush” personalities Travis Justice, Heather Burnside, and Sean Roberts; and “Sports Fanatics” hosts Chris Williams and Ross Peterson will return to their jobs. The story says in addition to the re-hiring, KXNO will be simulcast on (currently alternative) KDXA-FM at 106.3 FM beginning next week.
Newsmax TV Reports Increasing Viewership. According to recently released Comscore data, Newsmax TV shot past Bloomberg Television in total household reach, household coverage area rating, and average audience for the week of December 9, 2019. It also topped C-SPAN in household coverage area rating for the same week. Comscore’s data indicates that for the week of December 9, 2019, Newsmax TV had a total reach of 2.64 million households compared to 1.63 million for Bloomberg Television. Comscore reports Newsmax had 1.03 million weekly viewers as of August 26, 2019. By the broadcast week of December 9, 2019 Newsmax TV’s household reach had increased to 2.65 million households, reflecting both an increase in distribution of 21% and a disproportionate increase in reach. Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “This is a major milestone for us. Our content is resonating with Americans across the nation who are hungry for a fresh alternative to FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, and other news channels.” Ruddy adds that the network will make major lineup changes, announcing new programs in the coming weeks and months.
NOW POSTED: New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The vibrant one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled “The Weight of History in an A.D.D. World!” looks back at this past week of January 13-17, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; Michael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; Graham Mack, program director, FIX Radio, London, UK; Trevor Smith, radio presenter, Aloha Media Productions, Byron Bay, Australia; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeart Radio App. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.
Kilcoyne Exits KFNS, St. Louis. Sports media pro Martin Kilcoyne has left his on-air role with Randy Markel’s sports talk KFNS-AM, St. Louis co-hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show with Frank Cusumano. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports that Kilcoyne, who also works as sports director at KTVI-TV, says his television duties have expanded. He adds that the time spent producing podcasts with St. Louis Cardinals television announcer Dan McLaughlin played a role in his decision. Prior to rejoining KFNS, Kilcoyne did a five-year stint with CH Holdings’ crosstown news/talk KTRS, St. Louis as a general issues host.
Allegretto to Lead Cumulus in Fort Walton Beach. Sales and management pro Ashley Allegretto rises from her regional sales manager, digital position with Cumulus Media’s Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola markets to vice president and market manager for the Fort Walton Beach station group that includes news/talk WFTW-AM “NewsTalk 1260” and four music-formatted stations. Cumulus regional VP Pete De Simone says, “We are thrilled to promote Ashley Allegretto to lead this cluster. Her passion for this community and her understanding of how to use our brands and our digital assets to help clients grow their businesses make her an effective leader.” Allegretto adds, “Over the past 13 years I have seen firsthand the positive impact that our radio stations can have for local businesses and organizations in our community. I am eager to build on our past accomplishments and lead this group into our next round of success.”
TALKERS News Notes. Ocala, Florida morning show hosts Larry “The Giant” Whitler and Robin MacBlane are leaving their posts at Generations Broadcasting Corporation’s news/talk WOCA-AM/W242CA after today’s program. They have been doing mornings at WOCA since 2002. They’d previously worked together hosting a children’s show on WTMC – a signal that went dark in 2004. The Ocala Star Banner reports that the two will continue to work together collaborating on children’s books and music…..Entercom all-news KYW, Philadelphia is inviting listeners to its “Executive Briefing” event, presented by Independence Blue Cross, Thursday, January 23 at 7:45 am. KYW says this invite-only event “offers listeners the opportunity to listen to and take part in an in-depth discussion about the biggest issues facing the Philadelphia area and the nation in 2020.” KYW Newsradio afternoon drive host Ian Bush will moderate the discussion that includes station anchors and reporters: Pat Loeb, city hall bureau chief; Mike DeNardo, education reporter; Cherri Gregg, community affairs reporter; Jim Melwert, KYW suburban bureau chief; and Kristen Johanson, crime and justice reporter. Guests will have the opportunity to ask the panel questions during the final 20 minutes of the event. Breakfast will be served courtesy of Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar prior to the start of the event. Listeners interested in attending the event can register online…..Beasley Media Group announces Chris Ornelas is named general counsel for the company, effective February 1. Ornelas was most recently with the National Association of Broadcasters as chief operating and strategy officer in which he was responsible for overseeing the operations of and providing strategic guidance to NAB’s advocacy teams in addressing the legal and regulatory issues facing broadcasters today…..Lemonada Media announces a new podcast called “Mouthpeace with Michael and Pele Bennett,” hosted and executive produced Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Michael Bennett and his wife Pele. Lemonada, whose programs are distributed and repped by Westwood One, says “the series explores personal and provocative topics ranging from love, sex, parenting, the NFL, and politics.” The first episode drops on January 31…..Entercom is being honored at the Project Voice Awards with the “Samsung Bixby Capsule of the Year” for its RADIO.COM integration. The awards honor global best-in-class achievement across the emerging voice and AI realm and took place at the organization’s annual conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee on January 15. Entercom VP of corporate business development David Rosenbloom says, “We’re honored to be recognized among industry leaders by Project Voice. This award is a testament to our ongoing commitment to innovating in voice and to enhancing the consumer experience. With Bixby, we were able to expand the reach of RADIO.COM to millions of listeners and engage with them whenever and wherever they are with an optimized presence.”
Cox Media Group Gets Deadline Extension to Sell Ohio Newspapers. Due to a ruling by a three-judge panel at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Cox Media Group must divest of its Ohio newspapers to avoid said newspapers having to reduce publication to three days per week. Even though the company had been operating a radio station and newspaper in the southwestern Ohio region since 1935, the Court revived the rule prohibiting operating both. The FCC appealed the three-judge ruling to the entire Third Circuit Court of Appeals, but the appeal was denied. Now, CMG has until March 16 to complete a sale to a party that can publish the Dayton Daily News seven days per week. Cox Media Group CEO Kim Guthrie says, “We applaud the decision by the FCC and are grateful for the extension. News does not conveniently schedule itself three days a week and we felt a reduced print schedule would negatively and severely impact the newspapers, our employees and the communities we serve. CMG and Apollo have been pushing for this outcome because we feel that maintaining a daily publication schedule is the absolute best way to continue to produce the solid and timely journalism that our readers deserve.”
Impeachment Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 13-17. Not surprisingly, the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump were the most talked about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race and the Democratic debate from Des Moines. Coming in at #3 was the Iran crisis and U.S. foreign policy, followed by the U.S.-China trade war and the economy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Omaha hot AC KQKQ “Sweet 98.5,” NRG Media launches an all-female morning show with current morning host Nikki Oswald and afternoon drive time personality Laura Blenkush. The company says it will be the only all-female duo morning show in Omaha. KQKQ program director Jay Michaels says, “Taking two of our highly talented personalities, and pairing them together for an all-female morning show is the obvious move when targeting women.” Oswald was most recently partnered with Matt Tompkins, who recently moved over to NRG’s classic hits KOOO “THE NEW 101.9 The KEG” to host the morning show…..Two nationally syndicated programs land on Cumulus Media stations in South Carolina. First, the Premiere Networks-syndicated “The Breakfast Club” with Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy is the new morning show at hip hop WDAI-FM, Myrtle Beach. Programmer and air personality Mike “BigMMike” Bell says, “We are excited to bring ‘The Breakfast Club’ to The Grand Strand. As Myrtle Beach’s source for hip hop and R&B, what better way to enter a new era than with the “World’s Most Dangerous Morning Show?” Second, the Compass Media Networks-distributed “DeDe in the Morning” show with DeDe McGuire, Lady Jade, Rudy Rush, and comedian Michael Shawn assumes the morning drive daypart at Cumulus’ hip hop WYNN, Florence. Bell, who also programs WYNN and handles afternoon drive, says, “We are excited to bring a fresh morning show to Florence. As the market leader, it was important that we went with a brand that can be trusted to deliver great entertainment our listeners will love. DeDe is a seasoned vet and I’ve been a fan of her work for years.”
iHeartMedia and Debt Holders Continue to Negotiate But Differences Remain. The biggest hurdle in resolving the massive debt that iHeartMedia is shouldering is that the group of lenders led by Franklin Resources is seeking a pre-packaged bankruptcy that would leave senior bondholders and term loan lenders with the bulk of the shares of the radio and outdoor businesses. But, iHM wants to restructure about $15.5 billion of the $20 billion of debt out of court. iHM’s counter-offer reportedly includes about 50% equity in iHeartMedia and an even greater stake in Clear Channel Outdoor, but no “pre-pack.” The New York Post reports that “one person close to the talks said, with the current proposal not being well received, there is a 75 percent chance of a court-supervised restructuring.” The Wall Street Journal says that where the two sides are in agreement is that senior creditors holding some $12.8 billion in priority guarantee notes and term loans would receive between $6 billion and $7 billion in new secured notes.
CBS News Radio Reveals New Programming at First-Ever Upfront Presentation. This is the first upfront presentation – taking place at the CBS Broadcast Center in NYC – by CBS News Radio to advertising executives and it includes the unveiling of new original news, finance and entertainment programming. Among the new offerings that will launch on January 1, 2018 are: daily one-minute features from CBS Television programs “Entertainment Tonight,” “Inside Edition,” “The Doctors,” “Dr. Phil,” and “Rachael Ray”; a daily one-minute feature and a two-hour weekend show hosted by CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger called “Jill on Money”; a one-minute feature and two-hour weekend show produced by veterans for veterans and their families called “Eye on Veterans”; and a new 90-second commentary from Dave Ross. CBS News CFO Charles Pavlounis comments, “We’re excited to share these new and exclusive program offerings, as well as our continuing lineup of original reporting with our colleagues in the advertising community and our affiliate stations. These programs allow our affiliated stations to deliver original, engaging content to their dedicated listeners, while our clients are able to gain maximum exposure for their messages on news, talk and music formats around the country.” “Welcome Home” is the theme of the upfront event that is being co-hosted with Skyview Networks, the distribution, inventory management and sales partner of CBS News Radio.
Townsquare Media Signs Kevin Miller to Four-Year Extension. Talk radio pro Kevin Miller will continue serving as brand manager and morning drive personality at Townsquare Media’s KIDO, Boise for the next four years after signing a contract renewal with the station. The station says, “For Miller, radio is community, using his daily show and digital platform to find solutions for the many Treasure Valley community needs. He’s been known to go ‘all in’ on issues dear to his heart, including a week-long, live-in fundraising campaign for the Canyon County Animal Shelter when it faced the threat of closure. The ‘Kevin In the Kennel’ live broadcast was nationally recognized by Rachael Ray and the ASPCA, resulting in a $25,000 donation to save the shelter and thousands in pet adoptions.” Townsquare SVP Kevin Godwin comments, “Kevin Miller epitomizes what we look for in live and local talent. His work ethic, his commitment to providing quality local content to our audience and his ability to connect to those things most important to the community is second to none. The extraordinary current political, financial and cultural events of the time demand experience and a greater commitment to our listeners, advertisers, and the business community at large. I’m certain Kevin and ‘KIDO Talk Radio’ will continue to deliver on that commitment.”
Bob Ramsey Returns to St. Louis Airwaves on KTRS. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports that market sports media figure Bob Ramsey is returning to the radio after an absence of about 18 months. He’s joining the KTRS evening show hosted by sports director Brendan Wiese. It airs from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm and Ramsey is expected to be a co-host “two or three times a week.” Post-Dispatch sports columnist Ben Frederickson is also joining the program. Caesar reports that Ramsey has been working with crosstown KFNS owner Randy Markel as a “point man for a youth baseball complex…Markel is trying to develop near the Lake of the Ozarks.” Read the Post-Dispatch piece here.
TALKERS News Notes. The Sporting News’ Michael McCarthy is reporting that there are more job cuts on the horizon for ESPN – including the radio division – and the reason is the need for cost-cutting. McCarthy’s report says between 40 and 60 positions could be eliminated in late November or early December and that they could be both on-air TV/radio people and production staffers…..Legendary sports media figure Dan Patrick is getting his name on an institute of higher learning, specifically, his partnership with Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida will open the Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting at the college. Through the school, students will be able to earn undergraduate bachelor degrees. The FOX Sports Radio and NBC Sports personality consummated the deal via his agents at Playbook, Inc. Patrick is expected to call on his numerous contacts in the industry to participate in guest teaching roles…..Jacobs Media’s Seth Resler is launching a new podcast dedicated to the renaissance of Detroit titled, “The D Brief.” With co-host and local stand-up comic Mike Geeter, Resler will focus on the arts and entertainment scene, covering everything from concerts to comedy to film, festivals, food and drink. Fred Jacobs comments, “When Seth first moved to Detroit to join Jacobs Media, he took a six-month lease. He never envisioned living here permanently, but fell in love with Detroit. He’s been a podcaster since the early days, and marrying his passion for the Motor City with his podcasting skills is a perfect match.”
Trump Tax Cuts Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 23-27. The tax reform proposal from the Trump Administration and the GOP was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Clinton campaign and DNC funded Trump-Russia dossier story. Coming in at #3 was the variety of sexual harassment accusations being leveled against various public figures, followed by the Obama Adminstration’s deal with Russia-backed Uranium One at #4. 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Boston triple A WXRV “The River” names Massachusetts native Annalisa its new afternoon drive host. Annalisa previously spent 20 years in the Bay Area hosting the midday show at Cumulus Media’s triple A KFOG. In the Boston market, she’s also served with rock WAAF and hosted the morning show at classic rock WZLX. WXRV general manager Donald St. Sauveur states, “Annalisa’s such a wonderful talent and a passionate professional. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of the thousands of artists and bands that ‘The River’ features on a daily basis. She shares stories about the songs that are the soundtrack of our audience’s lives in an irreverent and witty way that’s authentic and approachable.”…..Rock KISW, Seattle is presenting its third annual “Live Day” at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma on November 16. On this “Live Day,” both the morning drive “BJ & Migs” and the PM drive “The Men’s Room” will be performed completely live – nothing at all will be recorded – commercials, sound effects, nor music. The show hosts will be assisted by a cast of local musicians, Foley artists (the ones who make sound effects), and comedians. Entercom Seattle VP, programming and operations Dave Richards states, “Doing two full shows completely live clearly wasn’t enough of a challenge for KISW. This year, we’ll take ‘Live Day’ to a full stage production in front of a live audience.”…..Beasley Media Group announces Gregory Simonson is named the general sales manager for the company’s Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster that includes: adult contemporary WAZZ, country WKML, urban contemporary WZFX, rhythmic oldies WUKS, and adult hits WFLB. Most recently, Simonson has been Southeast regional VP at Inc.’s iAd division…..Milwaukee’s hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix” hopes to cheer up Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers – out for the season nursing a broken collarbone – by getting fans to sign the banner you see at left being held by morning show hosts Elizabeth and Radar…..WAY Media Network program director Todd Stach announces that Steve Shore is named network music director. Shore is a WAY Media and Christian music radio industry pro, having served in various roles at WAY-FM for the past 15 years. He will continue his role as assistant network program director while adding music director duties.
Freddie ‘Boom Boom’ Cannon on KTHO, Lake Tahoe. Rock ‘n’ roll legend Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon (right) is pictured in the studios of KTHO, South Lake Tahoe, California with the station’s Insane Darryll Wayne (left). Wayne says, “Freddy’s latest single, ‘Svengoolie Stomp is fangtastic! Boom Boom’s stories of Elvis, Frank, Led Zeppelin, and of course MeTV Horror host Svengoolie, lit up our airwaves. Freddy ‘Boom Boom’ Cannon, creeps it real.”
Heidi Harris Exits KXNT, Las Vegas After Post Critical of Gay Adoption. The report from KVVU-TV, Las Vegas “FOX 5” notes that talk show host Heidi Harris’ exit from CBS RADIO news/talker KXNT came just days after she posted to Facebook a critique of a local ad promoting adoption that featured a gay couple. Harris told KVVU-TV that the company is not renewing her contract but “couldn’t say whether it was because of her Facebook post.” Harris’ Facebook post took aim at an ad for the Clark County Department of Family Services promoting adoption that showed two gay men holding a child. She wrote, in part, “Another not-so-subtle attempt to normalize something that is NOT normal. Even if it is normal for YOU it is not the best thing for the baby…Babies who are eligible for adoption should go to MARRIED people of the opposite sex. That is the IDEAL situation for a baby, and political correctness, changing laws or attitudes cannot alter that REALITY.” Neither CBS RADIO nor Harris would comment about whether the post had anything to do with the station’s decision to not renew her contract. But Harris posted a Bible verse clearly aimed at addressing the matter. Her post: “Though they intended evil against you and devised a plot, they will not succeed. (Even though they think they have) Psalm 21:12.” Since Harris’ departure, afternoon personality Alan Stock is hosting the morning show. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following comment in response to Harris’ exit from the station, “Certainly CBS has the right to employ or terminate talent based on whatever political or positioning sensibilities are in vogue at the moment. However, it continues to be an unfortunately perilous situation for talk talent to be hired and encouraged on one hand to take controversial positions that fit either the left or right paradigm that constitutes radio ‘stationality’ and then cut loose for doing that exact thing if they just happen to step over the constantly moving and ever-subjective line of political correctness. Heidi Harris is a longtime, major and important player in this business and the issue of gay adoption is one that has been openly and legitimately discussed in this medium for years. Considering the fact that her contract was coming up for renewal, perhaps there is a financial component to this story. There is also the possibility that they buckled in the tyrannical face of advertiser pressure. Regardless, I strongly advise those corporations that are serious about playing in the talk radio arena to be prepared in advance to take the heat of controversy that is a normal part of doing business and stand behind their talent in these instances.”
Guy Phillips to Exit KYKY, St. Louis AM Show to Host Afternoons on Crosstown KTRS. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, morning personality Guy Phillips is leaving CBS RADIO’s hot AC KYKY, St. Louis and will take over the afternoon show at CH Holdings’ crosstown news/talk KTRS. The paper reports that Phillips will leave KYKY in November and will likely start at KTRS in January. KTRS afternoon personality Frank O. Pinion recently exited KTRS and will join crosstown sports talk KFNS on October 2 (though O. Pinion will host a general issues program). Currently hosting the afternoon show at KTRS are KMOV-TV meteorologist Kent Ehrhardt and local radio pro Paul Harris. The Post-Dispatch says that the rest of the current KYKY morning show – Courtney Landrum, Jen Myers, Kevin Berghoff and Lance Hildebrand – will remain on as hosts of the wake-up program.
Francesa to Leave WFAN in December as Scheduled. New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa will do his last show for CBS RADIO’s WFAN on December 15 as scheduled, according to the New York Daily News. Francesa had said, in the immediate wake of the Craig Carton matter, that if the station needed him to stay on for a period to avoid revenue losses in both drive time dayparts, that he would consider it. But that’s apparently not necessary as Francesa told his listeners he’ll leave in December and that “the station is comfortable with that (decision) and I am, too.” Read the Daily News piece here.
Tedd Webb to Retire from WFLA, Tampa. The Tampa Bay Times reports that market radio pro Tedd Webb will retire from radio and his current gig as co-host of the morning show on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WFLA-AM, Tampa at the end of January. The 68-year-old Webb has been plagued by health issues – congestive heart failure and diabetes – and those issues have intensified recently. Webb tells the paper, “I had a heart attack. I’m on dialysis three times a week. I’m drained. My heart wants to go on, but my body won’t let it.” Webb works with radio partner Jack Harris and personality Aaron Jacobson. Harris says, “It’s going to be tough without Teddy. It’s like Sonny without Cher, Cheech without Chong.” Read the Times piece here.
Buchanan Exits Connecticut Talker. Afternoon drive talk show host Jim Buchanan announces via Facebook that he’s exited Cumulus Media’s Bridgeport, Connecticut news/talk station WICC, where he anchored the “Talk of the Town” program. Buchanan had hosted the afternoon drive daypart at WICC since 1982. The nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey show is now airing in the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot.
TALKERS News Notes. A new, improved version of CBS RADIO’s Radio.com mobile app has been made available to consumers. CBS says it has “a fresh new look and logo to complement an easy-to-navigate experience now with higher streaming quality.” CBS EVP of digital J.D. Crowley states, “Audiences want choice and that’s exactly what we’ve given them with this relaunch of the Radio.com app. By combining their favorite local radio stations and on-demand content, we are catering to the distinctive tastes of mobile-first audiences, giving them control over when and where they engage with our content through a free, best-in-class experience.”…..The nationally syndicated “America Outdoors Radio” program announces that it has surpassed the 50-affiliate mark after just 15 months on the air. The John Kruse-hosted show is a weekly, one-hour look at fishing, hunting and the shooting sports…..As reported in SportsBusinessDaily, college sports marketing and media rights firms Learfield and IMG College are agreeing to a merger. Learfield president and CEO Greg Brown will lead the combined companies, estimated by some to be worth $2 billion. After completion, the new company will control the media rights to some 200 schools.
Trump UN Speech, North Korea Threats, Cassidy-Graham Health Care Bill, Hurricane Maria, Climate Change Debate, Hillary Clinton Book Tour, Trump-Russia Investigation, ‘Sanctuary’ Issue, MLB Payoff Push, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19). Tuesday’s speech by President Trump before the UN General Assembly; North Korea’s threats against the U.S.; the move to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with the Cassidy-Graham health care plan; Hurricane Maria threatens a direct hit on Puerto Rico; the recent spate of hurricanes and the renewed debate over climate change after experts suggest it intensified the storms; Hillary Clinton’s What Happened book tour; the investigation into Paul Manafort by the special counsel as part of the Trump-Russia probe; Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ battle against the various “sanctuary” policies; the Major League Baseball playoff push; and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cleveland Radio Personality John Webster Dead at 74. Legendary Cleveland radio personality John Webster passed away recently at the age of 74. Webster was one half of the morning show duo “Lanigan and Webster” with John Lanigan on WMJI from 1984 to 1997. He was also a talk radio pioneer who served on morning shows on WERE and WHK. Cleveland programming icon (and oWOW Internet radio chief) John Gorman commented on Facebook: “When I arrived in Cleveland I was blown away by John Webster’s creation: The ‘People Power’ tabloid-style news/talk format on WERE with Gary Dee (and Webster) in mornings and other characters including George Forbes – when he was the controversial Cleveland City Council president. At the height of the ‘people power’ format, Webster pulled the plug. He later told me that he felt he went as far as he could go with the format…” Cleveland.com reports that Webster’s stepson Jason Fox said “Webster died during the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Florida. He said Webster was recovering from hip surgery when the hurricane hit, knocking out power to his home for over a week. ‘I think that was the final straw for John.’”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Chicago, classic hits WLS-FM morning show producer Daniel Wolfe is promoted by Cumulus Media to assistant program director. He’ll continue to serve as producer for “The WLS Wake Up Call.” WLS PD and Cumulus VP/classic hits programming Brian Thomas says, “This puts Dan one step closer to his goals of becoming a PD at Cumulus after doing a great job as morning show producer. I am looking forward to working with Dan in this new role.”…..At Cumulus Media’s West Michigan CHR WHTS, Coopersville (Grand Rapids market), air personality Ken Evans is partnered with current morning host Rachael Gray on the “105.3 Hot FM Morning Show.” Evans previously hosted mornings in the market at iHeartMedia’s crosstown CHR WSNX. Cumulus Grand Rapids market manager Jeff Cartwright comments, “We are excited at the direction ‘105-3 Hot FM’ will take with Ken now in our Cumulus Grand Rapids family.”…..Las Vegas radio pro Connie Breeze joins the MannGroup-syndicated weekend hip hop program “The Mack Attack” (with host Greg Mack) as chief entertainment correspondent. Breeze also serves with Beasley Media Group at rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” as APD, music director, and afternoon personality.
Slaten Exits KFNS, St. Louis; Teases Move to Political Talk. Incendiary St. Louis sports talk personality Kevin Slaten has exited the Randy Markel-owned sports talk station KFNS and told listeners on Friday (8/12) that he’s planning to join one of the Bob Romanik-operated stations in the market – either talk-oldies KZQZ or talk-country KQQZ – to host a political talk program. This comes as KFNS is preparing to bring market sports talk pro Tim McKernan aboard on September 1 to serve as director of day-to-day operations. McKernan is also becoming part owner of KFNS. Markel tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar that the brokered business model is not making money for him and that has to change. According to Caesar’s report, the Romanik-Slaten deal is not a sure thing. Slaten said if he and Romanik can work something out, he expects to launch a new show in two weeks. Slaten’s co-host Owen Schroyer is moving to Texas to join Alex Jones’ Infowars.com as a reporter.
Daunic Joins Midday Show at WPRT, Nashville. Sports talk personality Willy Daunic is remaining with The Cromwell Group’s WPRT, Nashville “ESPN 102.5 The Game” after his afternoon drive co-host George Plaster recently announced his exit from the station – and the business – to take a position with Belmont University. Last week, the station revealed that Jared Stillman and former Plaster co-host Floyd Reese are the new afternoon drive team. Now, we learn that Daunic is moving to middays to work with Darren McFarland and Derrick Mason on the “3D” show.
The Vertical Podcast Network Programming to Air on SiriusXM. A new programming relationship between SiriusXM and Yahoo Sports’ The Vertical Podcast Network franchise has begun that brings the popular pro basketball driven series, featuring stars Woj, J.J. Redick, and Chris Mannix to SiriusXM. The Vertical Podcast Network is “powered” by DGital Media. SiriusXM VP of sports programming Steve Cohen says, “Adrian, Chris and J.J. offer pro basketball fans exceptional reporting and insight, making ‘The Vertical Podcast’ an excellent addition to SiriusXM. We’re pleased to work with Yahoo Sports and DGital Media to deliver this dynamic content to our subscribers and further enhance SiriusXM as a premier destination for fans who want to get closer to their sport.”
Odds & Sods. KLSD, San Diego “Fox Sports Xtra 1360” launches its new program lineup that consists of Hardwick & Richards in AM drive featuring former San Diego Chargers center Nick Hardwick and station personality Judson Richards; Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd; the Mark & Rich show with market media pro Mark Willard and former Chargers guard Rich Ohrnberger; and the Loose Cannons remaining in afternoon drive…..Sports media pro Morgan Patrick is back working Carolina Hurricanes radio shows co-hosting “The Stormfront” with Hurricanes play-by-play man Chuck Kaiton and co-hosting “The Aftermath” with Hurricanes TV analyst John Forslund. Patrick co-hosted the team’s pre- and post-game shows from 1999 through 2006…..AdLarge Media is adding popular podcast “The 5 AM Miracle with Jeff Sanders” to its roster of shows for which it provides exclusive ad sales representation…..CBS RADIO is presenting a special edition of “The Taz Show: Bodyslams & Beyond airing after wrestling’s summer premiere event on Sunday, August 21 from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am ET. Taz will host a live, three-hour program on CBS Sports Radio and various CBS RADIO sports stations…..Good Karma Brands’ WUUB, Jupiter and WEFL, Tequesta will air Miami Dolphins football play-by-play in the West Palm Beach market this season. English broadcasts will air on WUUB, and WEFL will air the games in Spanish…..Daniel McDonald, former executive director of programming and consumer research at National Geographic Channels, is the new vice president of research for the National Association of Broadcasters. He takes over for Tanya Van Pool.
The Presidential Race, Milwaukee Violence/Protests, Rio Olympics, NYC Imam Slain, Louisiana Floods, and MLB Action Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the violence and protests in Milwaukee after police shoot and kill an armed black suspect; the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro; the murder of a NYC imam and his aid; the historic floods ravaging parts of Louisiana; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Take Me Out to the Ball Game. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (r) paid a visit yesterday (8/14) to the WEEI, Boston broadcast booth at the legendary Fenway Park before the start of an interleague 16-2 Red Sox blowout of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Harrison is pictured with Phil Zachary (l), Entercom Communications’ VP/market manager for its New England cluster. Harrison was shown around the historic stadium by Zachary, including the press box where he met iconic Boston Globe sports writer and Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Dan Shaughnessy (c). Harrison says, “WEEI does an excellent job of presenting the Red Sox games and the way they maximize their connection to the team in terms of promotion and marketing is nothing short of extraordinary. It is the model radio/baseball relationship in one of the nation’s outstanding sports markets.” When asked why he wasn’t wearing a Red Sox cap, Harrison said, “As you know, although I have a soft spot in my heart for the New England clubs, I try to remain non-partisan – even in sports. Instead, Harrison was wearing a cap promoting “a team we can all get behind – the Broadcasters Foundation of America.”