WGN, Chicago Names Bob Sirott Morning Drive Host. The legendary Chicago media personality Bob Sirott will take over for Steve Cochran on Nexstar’s news/talk WGN-AM, effective January 6. At the same time, Mary Sandberg Boyle is promoted to general manager. She’s been acting GM since September 20 in addition to her director of news and operations position. WGN notes that Sirott started as a morning radio show personality in 1971. “His acclaimed broadcasting career has spanned nearly five decades and has included stints at WMAQ, WBBM-FM, WLS, WGN and various television stations. In 2015, Sirott was recognized for his achievements in the media industry and inducted into the Silver Circle by the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.” This move is the latest in a series that finalizes the station’s programming going into 2020. Sirott’s 5:00 am to 9:00 am show is followed by John Williams (9:00 to 12:00 noon), the “Wintrust Business Lunch with Ji Suk Yi” (12:00 noon to 1:00 pm), Anna Davlantes (1:00 pm to 3:00 pm), Roe Conn (3:00 pm to 7:00 pm), Justin Kaufmann (7:00 pm to 11:00 pm), Nick Digilio (11:00 pm to 4:00 am), and a WGN Radio simulcast of WGN-TV “Early Morning News” from 4:00 am to 5:00 am.
Dan Proft Named Night Host on Salem Radio Network. Chicago-based talk host Dan Proft is the new host of the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show on the Salem Radio Network. Proft, who has been co-hosting the WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” morning show with Amy Jacobson since 2015, fills the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot that opend up when Joe Walsh entered the 2020 presidential race. Prior to joining WIND in 2015, Proft co-hosted a talk show on crosstown WLS-AM with Bruce Wolf from 2010 through 2014. SRN SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Dan Proft is incredibly intelligent, insightful, and full of knowledge. We are delighted to have a host of his quality available to take over the night slot on the lineup. I think stations will love having his wit and humor every night.” Proft, who has a JD from Loyola University, Chicago Law School, will continue his morning drive duties on WIND.
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, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (12/20). The new episode titled, “Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Persons!” looks back at this past week of December 16-20, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; John Caracciolo, president/CEO, JVC Broadcasting; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Casey Hendrickson; talk show host, WRTC, South Bend, IN; Trevor Smith, president, Aloha Media Productions, Byron Bay, Australia; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; 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 iHeartRadio 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.
KMJ, Fresno Unveils New Afternoon Team ‘Philip & Skip.’ Fresno news/talk KMJ-AM/FM brings Frances “Skip” Echeverria (right) aboard to co-host the afternoon drive show with Philip Teresi (left). Echeverria was most recently morning drive personality at One Putt Broadcasting’s crosstown rock outlet KFRR. Teresi moved into the afternoon drive slot at the Cumulus Media station after talk host Chris Daniel resigned from the show in early September after a 10-year stint. “Skip” says, “You’d be hard pressed to find someone in this valley that doesn’t know the legend that is KMJ. When I started radio in 2001, I didn’t anticipate this opportunity. But having been born and raised in Fresno, a graduate from Fresno State, and having chosen to raise my own family and base my mental health practice locally, I have a vested interest in the continued success of my community. I absolutely love this valley and its people. I’m honored and excited to join the KMJ team and am looking forward to conversations about topics that are important to us.” Teresi adds, “I’m elated to be a part of the next step at KMJ. Skip makes a brilliant, powerful addition to the station. Bringing Skip to KMJ benefits the audience, the sponsors, and the station as a whole.”
Will Sterrett Joins KMBZ’s ‘Kansas City’s Morning News’ as Co-Anchor. On-air pro Will Sterrett makes the move to morning drive co-host on “Kansas City’s Morning News” alongside Ellen Schenk. He takes over for E.J. Becker, who dials back his responsibilities with the Entercom news/talk stations. The “Kansas City’s Morning News” program airs on both KMBZ-FM and KMBZ-AM. Both stations air separate programming outside of AM drive. Sterrett had been a contributor to the afternoon drive “Dana & Parks” show on KMBZ-FM. He says via Twitter, “I have big shoes to fill as outgoing anchor E.J. Becker will stay on with the show as a special contributor. My final day with ‘Dana & Parks’ is Friday and I can’t thank Dana and Scott enough for their votes of confidence earlier this year and their support as this new opportunity took shape. Many thanks, too, to [PD] Alan Furst for the opportunity and for putting up with all the back and forth that comes with it.”
Hobnobbing for Charity. Pictured above are Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen (right) and RC Communications Marketing owner Renee Cassis (left) with Red Apple Media chief John Catsimatidis (center) at the NYC Police Athletic League Luncheon. The monthly luncheon – chaired by Catsimatidis – raises money for the PAL Kids charity. Catsimatidis hosts the weekly “Cats Roundtable” talk show (heard on 14 affiliate stations) and his media company is in the process of purchasing WABC, New York from Cumulus Media.
TALKERS News Notes. Former Arizona Congressman and radio talk show host J.D. Hayworth (left) chats over a meal in Phoenix with Salem Radio Network v.p./news & talk programming Tom Tradup (right) about SRN’s strategy for covering the upcoming impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate. Tradup says Hayworth offered perspective from his six terms in Washington on what is likely to unfold in the historic Senate trial scheduled to begin in January…..WPG, Atlantic City morning drive host Harry Hurley scored a coup as he interviewed New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew on his radio show today. Van Drew made headlines recently after promising to switch parties from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. Hurley says, “Van Drew becomes only the 24th congressman in American history to switch political parties and my initial research indicates he’s the first to switch from the majority party to the minority…..iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV announce the third installment of the “Monster” podcast series, “Monster: DC Sniper,” premieres on January 2, 2020. “Monster: DC Sniper” takes listeners back in time to the tragic killing spree of the D.C. Sniper, “one of the most tangled, intricate true-story killing sprees to ever take place.” The podcast also fast forwards to the present as the Supreme Court considers whether or not to amend the sentence of one of the two men convicted for the crime…..SiriusXM is giving sports fans a “comprehensive and in-depth look back at the Defining Moments of the Decade in their favorite sports” via a series of specials that examine the memorable moments and trends in professional and college sports from the last 10 years. SiriusXM will present these specials across 11 of its dedicated 24/7 sports channels. SiriusXM SVP of sports programming Steve Cohen says, “Over the past 10 years, SiriusXM has aired so many of these great moments live, and we’ve covered all of these important stories and trends across our channels more extensively than anyone else in radio. We’re proud to be the place where all fans can not only hear all about their favorite sport but can call in and talk about it as well.”…..Last Friday (12/13), Sinclair Radio’s Seattle stations all-news KOMO-AM/FM, news/talk KVI, and hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5” – along with Sinclair TV outlets KOMO-TV and KUNS-TV – held their annual Toy Drive benefitting the Salvation Army. The campaign resulted in the collection of $125,000 – including a $50,000 matching donation from the Wold Family Foundation – and more than 7,000 toys. Sinclair Radio Seattle station manager Gary Greenberg says, “The toy drive has been a nine-year tradition for our stations. Our team builds an amazing campaign every year and our listeners continue to come out to support the Salvation Army in a big way. It’s what local radio is all about.”
The Articles of Impeachment Against Donald Trump Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 16-20. The U.S. House’s vote to levy articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential race and last night’s Democratic debate. Coming in at #3 was the Australian heat wave-drought-bushfires and the related topic of climate change, followed by the Obamacare mandate ruled unconstitutional and health care reform 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. See this week’s entire chart here.
Triton Digital to Issue Podcast Reports. There will be another firm rating the performances of podcasts in the New Year as Triton Digital announces it is launching Podcast Reports in the U.S., powered by its Podcast Metrics measurement service. Triton says, “The reports will provide a ranking of the top networks and top podcasts in the U.S., as measured by Podcast Metrics. Reported entities will be ranked by Average Weekly Downloads, in accordance with the latest IAB Podcast Technical Measurement Guidelines.” Podcast publishers signed up for the new service so far include: NPR, Entercom’s RADIO.COM, Stitcher, and Cumulus Media. Triton Digital president of market development John Rosso adds, “We are pleased to leverage our 10-plus years of digital audio measurement expertise to provide reliable and informative data around podcast consumption in the U.S. Our Podcast Reports will provide buyers with the trusted, third-party podcast measurement they need to make informed decisions around podcast advertising. Furthermore, our reports will provide podcast networks with the reputable consumption data they need to grow their podcast strategies, gain a better understanding of their listening audiences, and increase their advertising revenue.” The first U.S. Podcast Report will debut in March 2020. Triton currently publishes Podcast Reports in Australia and Latin America and has announced that the Netherlands will follow in early 2020.
Two News Positions Open at FOX News Radio and FOX News. There are two news posts that FOX News is seeking to fill. The first is Overnight Freelance Anchor for FOX News Radio in Washington, DC or New York City. FOX says, “As a radio news anchor you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a days’ notice.” See more about that position and apply here. The second position is a Freelance Writer for FOX News Headlines 24/7. The company says, “We are looking for a freelance writer to join the FOX News Headlines 24/7 team. As a writer, you will be a crucial member of our broadcast team. You will write news for our national news network, conceptualizing, writing, compiling enterprise stories, fact checking, and building show content newscasts for FOX News Headlines 24/7. You may be the right candidate if you have the right attitude and understand the level of commitment required to be successful in this role. Your passion for national and international news is bar none! See more and apply for this position here.
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Seeks News Anchor. Charlotte news/talk WBT-AM/FM has an immediate opening for a full-time news anchor. The Entercom station says, “You’re an engaging, experienced on-air personality. You’re a great storyteller. You know how to get to the heart of a story and make it relatable to the listener. You’re never satisfied with knowing just the “Who?, What?, Where?, and When?” of a story; you always seek to know “Why?” If this sounds like you, News Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT/Entercom Charlotte would like to hear from you. We are seeking a full-time news anchor for our programming team. Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to: Writing and on-air delivery of news reports based on programming clock; editing and preparation of news audio; filing of two to three recorded reports per day to be aired outside the live daypart of the shift; on-air interaction with the talk show host and personnel; and coverage and reporting of breaking news events in real-time. Interested candidates should visit the Entercom site here. EOE.
Cool Job Opportunity. An experienced guest booker/researcher is needed to find/book four to five top-tier guests per week to do telephone/Skype interviews for a top-ranked podcast. This is a work-from-home job with a great potential for advancement. This person will also research other interesting content for the podcast “Something You Should Know,” primarily a self-help, news-you-can-use program. This is an excellent opportunity for someone with experience producing/booking talk radio programs. Resumes should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In St. Louis, Marty Linck is named brand content manager for Hubbard Radio’s adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch” and rock KSHE. Linck previously served in the market as OM for Entercom’s hot AC KYKY, AC KEZK and CHR KNOU. He’s most recently been brand director for the JACK-FM format. Hubbard St. Louis VP and market manager John Kijowski says, “Marty is a dedicated leader whose professionalism and experience has achieved outstanding results. He also brings many years of success in managing high-performance radio brands that focus on live and local talent. We are excited to add him to our team.”…..On-air pro Alex Waters is joining Max Media’s CHR WVHT, Norfolk “Hot 100” as afternoon drive personality, effective January 6. He’s been serving as the evening jock at Bahakel Communications’ CHR WDOD-FM, Chattanooga “Hits 96.”
KQED Names Blakley Executive Director/Radio Programming. Four-year Minnesota Public Radio program director Jonathan Blakley is appointed executive director of radio programming for Northern California Public Broadcasting news/talk KQED, San Francisco. The Western Michigan University graduate previously was a senior producer and editor at NPR and launched all-news on WKZO, Kalamazoo. He has also worked for all-news WWJ, Detroit and the Associated Press. In other station news, KQED promotes executive director of news Holly Kernan to chief content officer. She will now oversee news, arts, science, and education for radio and TV programming. Kerman joined the station in 2014 from San Francisco Unified School District news/talk KALW, where she was news and public affairs director. Meanwhile, managing editor Ethan Lindsey succeeds Kernan as executive director of news. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s September 2018 report for San Francisco, KQED is #1 for the eighth straight month. Its gain of four-tenths pulls the plug on five downward trends in a row that accounted for a -2.5 (8.9 – 8.4 – 8.1 – 7.1 – 6.7 – 6.4, 6+). In San Jose, KQED progresses from sixth to fourth. It finished first in that Bay Area market between January and June.
Harrison: Neither Side is as Bad as Political Opponents Claim. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, described by TV anchor/moderator/commentator Carol Costello as “the voice of reason” appeared today as a panelist on CNN’s Headline News channel (HLN) to discuss the impact of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation on the coming mid-term elections. He joined other panelists Republican Scott Jennings and Democrat Nomiki Konst. Jennings supported the President’s assertion that the Democrats and Liberals have become an unruly mob unfit to govern. Konst expressed the opposite view that working people have never faced the level of economic inequality that presently exists and that the Kavanaugh addition to the Supreme Court feeds into the “women are doomed” scenario. When asked by Costello if we as a nation are “going to remain as divided – men versus women, Democrat versus Republican – as we are now permanently forever more?” Harrison replied by saying “Hopefully not permanently. Let’s hope it ebbs and flows as it has through history. Both sides are extremely energized. The coming mid-term election promises to be as exciting, if not more, than a presidential election. But we can’t tell which side will feel that way in a few weeks on Election Day when it will be decided by voter turn-out. From a media standpoint, which is the lens through which I view this, even though both sides in ‘biased media’ express righteous indignation – and there is extreme bias on both sides in the media – both sides are loving this because this is a golden era for media that plays the news for the American public viewing it as a spectator sport. The demonization of the ‘other side’ is just that – excessive hyperbolic demonization. Nothing is going to be so terrible no matter how it plays out. Women are not doomed and the Democrats are not a mob. And if for some reason Trump loses his majority in Congress, he’ll work that to his advantage as well. It’ll be his excuse for not fulfilling all his campaign promises to his base.”
One Putt Lands O’Rorke as VP/GM. Ten-year Lotus Broadcasting Fresno market manager Kevin O’Rorke joins cross-town One Putt Broadcasting as vice president and general manager, succeeding Josh Riley. One Putt partner John Ostlund comments, “We are excited to have Kevin on our team. His passion for radio, [as well as his] experience with many of our clients and involvement in non-profit organizations, makes him a great fit.” Another One Putt partner – Chris Pacheco – notes, “I have known and worked with Kevin many times over the years – he brings tremendous experience to our team.” California State University-Fullerton alum O’Rorke adds, “Radio is an exciting industry, but locally-owned radio with the kind of community focus that Chris and John have demonstrated over the years is very unique. I am looking forward to getting started and making a difference.” One Putt’s Fresno cluster includes sports talk KFIG “940 ESPN Radio”; KFRR “New Rock 104.1”; classic rock KJFX “95.7 The Fox”; triple A KJWL “K-Jewel 105.5”; CHR KWDO “99.3 Now FM”; and classic hits-oldies KYNO-AM.
Daniel Joins Fresno’s KVPR and Bakersfield’s KPRX As News Director. News/talk KQED, San Francisco reporter Alice Daniel is appointed news director of similarly-formatted KVPR, Fresno and KPRX, Bakersfield. Valley Public Radio interim president Joe Moore comments, “Alice is a talented reporter and educator, who always finds a way to bring out something special or unexpected in her stories. Six years ago, we didn’t have any local reporters at the station; now, we have three. Our work is increasingly being recognized with awards at the regional and national level.” Daniel remarks, “I am excited by the prospect of working with other reporters to cover this diverse and story-rich region in a way that makes a difference for the community at large. I love the creative process of figuring out the best way to tell a compelling story. There is nothing I love more in journalism than finding that gem of a story that no one else has unearthed.” In addition to contributing to Success Magazine, Daniel – who has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University – has taught journalism for 17 years at Fresno State University.
TALKERS News Notes. In a presentation to be made this coming Saturday (10/13), Cumulus Media San Francisco news/talk KSFO morning host (5:00 am – 9:00 am) Brian Sussman will receive the Don Sherwood Award from the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame. The listener-voted honor recognizes the Bay Area’s favorite news/talk radio broadcaster for 2018. Sussman replaced Lee Rodgers in morning drive on KSFO in February 2010 ….. Beginning this Thursday (10/11), The New York Times debuts “The Argument,” a weekly opinion podcast hosted by three of the paper’s op-ed columnists – David Leonhardt, Ross Douthat, and Michelle Goldberg ….. As reported by the St. Louis Dispatch, “Real Housewife of Orange County” Meghan King Edmonds will appear with “Meghan’s Must Haves” every week on the Sunday morning edition of Rick & Tracey Ellis’ show on Entercom St. Louis news/talk KFTK “FM Newstalk 97.1.” The segment starts this Sunday (10/14). Edmonds is the wife of former St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels outfielder/current Fox Sports Midwest analyst Jim Edmonds ….. The former six-year general manager of Tri-States Public Radio and an adjunct instructor at Western Illinois University, Jonathan Ahl, will be a Rolla, Missouri-based reporter for University of Missouri-St. Louis news/talk KWMU. Ahl previously was news director and reporter at Iowa Public Radio ….. KTTC-TV, Austin (Minnesota) multimedia journalist James Bunner has been fired for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat while covering President Trump’s appearance last Thursday in Rochester, Minnesota. KTTC news director Noel Sederstrom said Bunner was let go for wearing campaign gear while covering the political event – not because of his personal politics. Sederstrom told BuzzFeed News, “[Bunner] violated our policy so he’s no longer with us. We don’t allow our people to wear campaign clothing while on assignment.” On the day of Trump’s inauguration, Bunner posted a video of himself on Facebook dancing to “Celebration” (Kool & The Gang). KTTC removed Bunner’s online profile from its website last Friday ….. Listeners will be able to use touch and voice to tune into live iHeartRadio radio stations on Portal and Portal+ – Facebook’s home video communications devices. The Portal comes with a variety of features such as AI-powered video cameras, smart sound technology, and crystal-clear audio. Powered by Amazon’s Alexa voice control system, the video chat devices were introduced today (10/8).
Richard Neer Pens Sixth Murder Mystery Book. Longtime TALKERS columnist Richard Neer, a 30-year sports talk veteran at WFAN, New York and former WNEW-FM, New York radio great, has released his sixth Riley King murder mystery, An American Storm (Amazon Digital Services, 2018). This one has a strong radio sub-plot as King’s cohort Rick Stone deals with a career crisis after moving from making big dollars at a large market station to a small labor-of-love outlet, attempting to create a free form talk and music format. He is frustrated by a dearth of callers and the aging demo. Neer is well-known for his landmark radio non-fiction FM, the Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) and is developing a large following as a writer of the mystery fiction genre. He can be reached for interviews at email@example.com. The new book is available at Amazon in both Kindle and paperback editions.
Kavanaugh Confirmation and Ensuing Protests Across the Nation Top the List of Stories Discussed on News/Talk Radio Over the Weekend. The U.S. Senate Confirmation and Swearing-in of controversial Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the protests that took place during and after the vote topped the list of stories discussed on news/talk radio over the weekend. These stories were followed by the US-China trade war; November midterm elections and the battle for control of Congress; the new USMCA deal; the disappearance of the head of Interpol after traveling to China; NFL action during week number five and the MLB divisional playoffs which were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Welsh, Porreca Join JAM Media Solutions. East Orange, New Jersey-based JAM Media Solutions names Donovan Welsh executive vice president of sales and Kerry Porreca executive vice president of finance. JAM Media Solutions closed on its media properties last Wednesday (10/3). They take over eight media properties in Outer Banks, North Carolina and Muscatine, Iowa. The Outer Banks properties include WCMS “Water Country”; hot AC WCXL “Beach 104”; WVOD “99.1 The Sound – The Outer Banks’ Alternative”; WZPR “Classic Rock 92.3”; and “The Outer Banks Voice.” The Muscatine properties include classic rock KMCS “Vintage Sound 93.1”; KWPC “The Voice of Muscatine; and “The Voice of Muscatine.” JAM Media Solutions president and CEO Jonathan A. Mason, Sr. remarks, “In the early years of my career in New York, I worked with Mr. Welsh and am honored that he has decided to join JAM Media to oversee our sales efforts. Mrs. Porreca is a veteran finance executive and has extensive knowledge of the Outer Banks. She is uniquely positioned to help us achieve our goal of giving back to the communities we seek to serve. I am humbled to step into the next phase of our collective journey. Our goal is to deliver a first-rate experience for the communities we serve. We love our radio local and our listeners will come to know that for themselves.” Most recently, Welsh was sales manager of Entercom New York sports talk WFAN. Porreca has spent the majority of her professional career in the manufacturing and advertising areas.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Additions at Entercom Los Angeles CHR KAMP “97.1 Amp Radio” find DJ Vice hosting “DJ Vice in the Mix” weekdays from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm and Krystal Bee joining the station’s weekend lineup. According to Entercom Los Angeles senior vice president and market manager Jeff Federman, “DJ Vice and Krystal Bee have been household names in the Southern California radio and music scene for more than 25 years collectively. We look forward to them delivering a fresh listening experience for fans.” DJ Vice remarks, “As someone who was born and raised in Los Angeles, it is an honor to be a part of the ‘97.1 Amp Radio’ family. This mix is so fulfilling to do for my city, and hopefully, I can ease the pain of our listeners as they sit in L.A. traffic.” Krystal Bee notes that, “[KAMP] has a vision for radio that is so exciting. I have loved working with the team and I am excited about everything the future holds for me, the station, and our amazing listeners.” In 2011, DJ Vice was named one of “America’s Best DJs” by DJ Times. Prior to joining Entercom, Krystal Bee held on-air roles for cross-town rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106” since 2011 ….. Following last week’s departure of brand manager/program director Ron Valeri, Entercom Boston-owned WAAF “The Only Station That Really Rocks” names Joe Galgaro, PD of Saga Communications Milwaukee’s WHQG “102.9 The Hog,” as Valeri’s replacement ….. Most recently doing mid-days for Beasley Media Group Tampa’s WQYK “99.5 New Country Hits,” June Knight joins Entercom Miami’s similarly-formatted WKIS “Country 99.5” as morning drive co-host, where she will pair with assistant program director/music director Tim “TC” Conlon as “TC & June. Knight previously worked in Boston at CHR WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” and WODS … As we reported last week, Louie Diaz is promoted to vice president/contemporary for the Cumulus Radio Station Group, continuing his role as operations manager for Cumulus Media Atlanta and as PD for CHR WWWQ “Q100.” Associated with that move, Cumulus Media vice president/contemporary programming (CHR and hot AC) Cat Thomas departs. Thomas joined Cumulus Media nearly three years ago, after a 27-year career with CBS Radio Las Vegas where he was vice president/programming. For approximately 20 years, he programmed that company’s Las Vegas CHR, KLUC ….. Morning co-host Brian Fowler exits WGAR. He joined “Country 99.5.” in 2011 to team with LeeAnn Sommers, who remains with the iHeartMedia Cleveland outlet ….. Next year’s iHeartRadio “ALTer Ego” officially sold out on the first day on sale. The second annual music event, which will broadcast live (1/19/2019) across over 70 iHeartRadio alternative and rock stations, reportedly sold out in less than a minute of being on sale to the general public. The “ALTer Ego” lineup at Los Angeles’ Fabulous Forum includes The Killers, Weezer, Rise Against, Twenty One Pilots, Muse, Bishop Briggs, and The Revivalists. Chief programming officer for iHeartMedia Tom Poleman notes, “It was remarkable to watch how fast tickets sold out. All tickets immediately went the moment we made them available. It speaks to the power of the lineup and how fast the ALTer Ego brand has grown in just two years.” Meanwhile, iHeartMedia president/national sales, marketing & partnerships Tim Castelli comments, “The lineup is incredible and reaches the millennial trend leaders who make up the mega-event’s core audience. Given such an amazing response, we are expecting this to break social chatter records like we have done with our lineup on our other iHeart marquee events” ….. Former WPIA “98.5 Kiss FM,” Peoria (Illinois) program director Jonathan Steele is named to a similar position at Martz Communications Pittsburgh urban contemporary WAMO …..Tennessee Senate candidate Phil Bredesen and congressional hopeful Jim Cooper have picked up a big-name endorsement – Taylor Swift. The singer usually doesn’t express her political beliefs but notes on Instagram, “Due to several events in my life and in the world the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.” Bredesen and Cooper are Democrats ….. At the box office, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s “A Star Is Born” remake took in $41.3 million. According to comScore, with $174.5 million in tickets sold at United States and Canadian theaters, it was easily the best October weekend ever…. Starting today (10/8), iHeartMedia Columbus CHR WNCI-originated “Dave (Kaelin) & Jimmy (Jam)” will air (6:00 am – 10:00 am) on Alpha Media Canton (Ohio) hot AC WHBC-FM “Mix” 94.1.” WHBC-FM operations manager Bo Matthews comments, “Dave & Jimmy are Ohio guys [who] celebrate the region with their content. They experience all the pain that comes with being Cleveland sports fans. I am super excited for the show they will be providing us every weekday morning.” According to Jimmy Jam, “Canton is my hometown so I have about 200 relatives [who] will be listening every day.”