WGN-AM, Chicago and Patti Vasquez Go Separate Ways. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story of WGN’s decision to part ways with late-night talk show host Patti Vasquez after a five-year run. Feder notes that Vasquez had been suspended several times during her stint with the station for various infractions of the rules but apparently the accidental airing of the f-word earlier this month proved to be the last straw. In a memo to the staff, WGN station manager and vice president of content Todd Manley wrote, “Patti Vasquez is no longer working with WGN Radio. Her departure is a private matter and will remain that way. We are grateful to her for her service to WGN Radio, and wish her the best.” The station will rotate various WGN personalities in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am daypart for now. In a separate matter, Vasquez has announced she will seek the Illinois 10th District State Senate seat.
Michael Savage’s Trump Criticisms Focal Point of NYTimes Piece. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Michael Savage is the subject of a piece in The New York Times that looks into Savage’s criticism of President Trump – such as his failure to secure a border wall deal and the ballooning federal budget deficit – and how Savage’s audience is reacting to that criticism. As the story indicates, Savage still supports Trump and will vote for him in 2020, but Savage has never been one to avoid criticism of any politician if he believes it’s deserved. What’s new is that Trump’s base appears to want none of that. The Westwood One personality tells Times writer Jeremy W. Peters, “I don’t think they care very much about issues. They’ll vote for him no matter what because he’s not ‘them.’ I think it’s come down to ‘them’ or ‘us.’” Read the story here.
Contrite Craig Carton Heads Off to Prison. Sports talk radio personality Craig Carton began his three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for fraud yesterday (6/17). Regular TALKERS readers are aware that Carton was convicted of defrauding investors of millions in a phony concert tickets re-sale business. Carton, who had insisted that he was innocent of the charges, now admits his guilt. He tweeted, “I made mistakes. Mistakes in judgments, decisions and how I was living my life. I was wrong. I have, will, and should continue to pay a dear price for those mistakes. I also though, believe in redemption and earning second chances…I will work tirelessly to repay those whom I have hurt and to regain the trust that you all had in me.” Carton was co-host of the morning show on WFAN, New York at the time of his arrest in September of 2017.
Gallagher Chats with Florida Trump Fans. Pictured above outside Amway Stadium in Orlando is Salem Radio Network talk radio host Mike Gallagher (center) with Donald Trump supporters “Kevin from Pompano Beach” and “Barry from Key West” — the first two people in line for tonight’s Trump 2020 kickoff rally. Gallagher and fellow SRN host Dr. Sebastian Gorka are broadcasting their Tuesday programs from the nearby Hairy Buffalo sports bar.
New York Festivals Radio Awards Announces Ceremony Presenters. The New York Festivals Radio Awards announces the prominent radio industry professionals slated to present awards at the 2019 Radio Awards ceremony at Manhattan Penthouse in New York on June 24. The 2019 ceremony segment presenters include: Richard Baker, senior investigative journalist, The Age, Melbourne, Australia; Jennie Cataldo, vice president of programming, BMP Audio, USA; Donal O’Herlihy, producer, “Documentary on One,” RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland; Tanya Springer, senior producer, CBC Podcasts, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada; and Mark Travis, associate director, media production, New York Philharmonic, USA. For more information on the 2019 NYF Radio Awards gala or to purchase tickets, please click here. See a complete list of all the 2019 New York Festivals Radio Award Finalists here.
Iran Nukes, 2020 Presidential Race, SCOTUS Virginia Gerrymandering Ruling, Illegal Immigration/Trump Announces Deportation Plan, U.S. Hacks Russia’s Power Grid, Stewart vs McConnell on 9/11 Victims Fund, and Raptors Victory Celebration Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/17). Iran’s statement of intent to violate the terms of the previous nuclear deal and the U.S.’s talk of military options; the Democrats running for president and Donald Trump’s kick-off of the 2020 campaign; the Supreme Court rules against Republicans in the Virginia gerrymandering case; the immigration issues at the Southern border and President Trump’s statement that ICE will begin deporting millions; allegations the U.S. has hacked Russia’s power grid; Jon Stewart’s challenge to Mitch McConnell to fully fund the 9/11 victims fund; and the shootings at the Toronto Raptors victory celebration were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Collecting Pennies for a Good Cause. KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (right) helped collect more than 1.6 million pennies – for a total of $16,743 – to benefit the Boise Rescue Mission. Pictured with Miller is Todd Christensen of Cap Ed Credit Union (left) and Reverend Bill Roscoe of the Boise Rescue Mission (center). To collect the pennies, Miller lived in a local Walmart for a week collecting coins, dollars, and other items.
Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Honor NBC TV 4, Los Angeles, Meteorologist Fritz Coleman. NBC4 meteorologist Fritz Coleman was honored with the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award for his many distinguished years as a “TV Icon Weatherman and Comic Entertainer” during a ceremony at the Airtel Hotel in Van Nuys last week (6/14). Pictured above at the event: TalkersRadio personality Meg McDonald (center) KFI, Los Angeles host Tim Conway, Jr. (left) and Pacific Pioneer Broadcaster board member and KTWV, Los Angeles host Mike Sakellarides (right). Photo: Roxanne Schorbach
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Providence country outlet WCTK-FM “Cat Country 98.1” moves midday personality Madelyn Grimaldi to mornings as co-host with Brian Mulhern. Taking over the open midday slot is Courtney Kelley, who’s been with the station as a part-time and fill-in jock. Hall Communications vice president of programming Bob Walker says, “Our philosophy is to hire great people and allow them to grow in our company and the industry. Being able to see these two talented personalities take on new challenges is what it’s all about.”…..Premiere Networks promotes Mary DelGrande from executive director of affiliate sales to vice president of affiliate sales. New York-based DelGrande continues to oversee affiliate sales for Premiere’s roster of national entertainment programs, including: Delilah, “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan,” “ON with Mario Lopez,” and more.
Alpha Media Deals in Chicagoland Market. Regular TALKERS readers are aware that Alpha Media has been wheeling and dealing – recently selling entire clusters such as West Palm Beach and Bluefield, West Virginia. Now it files to acquire two Chicagoland stations. FCC records indicate Alpha will pay $4.7 million for suburban classic rocker WFXF-FM, Dundee “103.9 The Fox” and adult contemporary WZSR, Woodstock “Star 105.5,” both serving the Northwest Suburbs. The company has been operating the stations under an LMA from Matrix Media, a company going through Chapter 11. In order to comply with FCC ownership regulations, Alpha Media will turn around and sell WFXF to religious broadcaster Education Media Foundation for $900,000 and spin-off rock WRXQ, Coal City (far southwest side) to Walnut Radio for $300,000. In the Chicago market Alpha also owns country WCCQ-FM, Crest Hill; classic hits WERV-FM, Aurora “95.9 The River”; adult contemporary WSSR, Joliet “Star 96.7”; hot AC WXLC, Waukegan; news/talk/sports WJOL-AM, Joliet; news/talk WLIP, Kenosha, Wisconsin; and Spanish sports WKRS, Waukegan “ESPN Deportes 1220.”
WIBA-AM, Madison Adds Dan O’Donnell Show. The WISN, Milwaukee-based Dan O’Donnell show is now heard in the Madison market on news/talk WIBA-AM “News Talk 1310” as iHeartMedia simulcasts the late morning program. The Dan O’Donnell show airs from 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily. On WIBA, O’Donnell takes over for Dan Conry, whostepped away from his daily show for health and family reasons. Conry will continue to host his Sunday program and serve as a fill-in host at the station. WISN program director Jerry Bott states, “Dan O’Donnell has made his mark with a hard-hitting show that is factually based, providing the foundation for Dan’s cutting-edge opinions, insights, and analysis. He’s tough, yet fair, and Dan explores all elements of current events, politics, public policy, and pop culture with unmatched energy.”
‘TheDailyCentrist’ Digital Platform Launches Targeting Independents. A new multi-media platform called TheDailyCentrist is being launched in a joint venture by Crossover Media Group, 921 Associates LLC, and media personality Rick Ungar. A press release says, “While there are no shortages of news and opinion destinations serving the interests of the far left and far right, there has – until now – been little available to appeal to those who identify in the middle: the center-right and the center-left of the political spectrum.” They say the platform is “crafted to serve the wide plurality of Americans who identify as political independents and the even larger numbers who, regardless of party affiliation, can be considered center-right and center-left Americans in search of solutions.” Rick Ungar will serve as editor-in-chief. He’s a one-time senior political contributor at Forbes.com, political analyst at Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and recently co-hosted the SiriusXM program “Steele & Ungar” with former RNC chairman and current MSNBC political contributor Michael Steele, who is among TheDailyCentrist’s contributors. Ungar says, “If you like to find company online at the far right or left wings of the political spectrum, you’ve got plenty of places to go. But when you look at the data it’s not simply a plurality but really a majority of Americans whose views are in the center-right/center-left bandwidth. We plan to be the water cooler for that great silent majority of Americans who are underserved by political opinion – or attitude – that speaks to their sensibilities. We will offer intelligent, thoughtful, provocative and fun conversation and engagement. And we will scrutinize and criticize commentators, personalities, politicians and candidates who embrace either extreme political pole.” TheDailyCentrist will offer daily columns, blogs, podcasts, and video clips from an array of political writers, commentators, and experts whose political perspectives reflect the center-right or center-left schools of American political thought.
Godwin Rises to SVP at Townsquare Media. Radio management pro Kevin Godwin is upped to senior vice president for Townsquare Media from his Northwest regional VP role and will leave his role as president of the Boise market operations. In this new post he’ll have multiple market oversight responsibilities. The Boise cluster consists of news/talk KIDO and sports talk KFXD-AM “630 The Fan” in addition to four music radio outlets. Taking over the Boise supervision duties is Grand Junction, Colorado market president Rick Carmean. That move requires a new manager in Grand Junction and current director of sales Natalie Redding is promoted to lead that station group.
John Wordock Named Executive Editor, Podcasting for Westwood One. This is a newly created position for Westwood One and its new executive editor, podcasting – John Wordock – comes to the company from The Wall Street Journal where he held the title, executive producer, podcasts. Wordock previously served as executive editor of The Wall Street Journal and Marketwatch.com Radio Networks when they were syndicated by Westwood One. Most recently, the Wordock-led division at The Wall Street Journal grew total monthly audience over 2000%, guided the multi-department team that launched the chart-topping podcast “The Future of Everything,” and developed “many other successful shows from planning to distribution.” Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “As the fastest organically growing podcast network in the U.S. in 2018, Westwood One is thrilled to welcome John to the leadership team. With almost 15 years of experience in podcast development, production, and distribution, coupled with his journalistic roots, John will help us expand our content portfolio with a commitment to quality and scale.”
Rare and Fascinating Air Check of Bruce Williams Surfaces. Since the death of talk show host Bruce Williams was reported this past weekend, TALKERS has received more than a dozen personal stories from our readers citing experiences they’ve had with the legendary radio personality. Among them, we received a fascinating air check submitted by KMZQ, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris that she recorded back in 1995 when she called in to Williams’ NBC Talknet program seeking advice about the sale of her pet snake. This took place prior to Harris’ radio career, when she was working as a cocktail waitress at a Las Vegas casino. It captures the feeling, style and tone of Williams’ work, not to mention a glimpse back at the way talk radio sounded almost a quarter century ago. To listen, please click here.
Federal Government Funding Deal, Trump El Paso Rally/Border Wall Battle, ‘Green New Deal,’ 2020 Presidential Hopefuls, Iran’s Anti-U.S. Rally, Rep. Omar Apology, Venezuela Unrest, Grammy Awards, Alliance of American Football Debut, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/11). The tentative deal to avoid another partial shutdown of the federal government; President Trump’s El Paso rally and the deal for 55 miles of U.S.-Mexico border fence; the controversial “Green New Deal” promoted by freshman Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez; the growing number of Democrats declaring their candidacy for president in 2020; the anti-U.S. sentiments expressed at Iran’s 40th anniversary celebration of the Islamic Revolution; Rep. Ilhan Omar apologizes for anti-Israel statement; the ongoing political unrest in Venezuela; Sunday night’s Grammy Awards show; the debut of the Alliance of American Football league; and NBA Action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. “The Big Interview” program hosted by legendary newsman Dan Rather is expanding into radio. Krantz Media Group announces that, via a successful partnership with AXS TV and its own KMG Networks, they will a expand the reach of the AXS TV series, distributing additional episodes to radio. Advertising sales will be handled by Westwood One. As part of the agreement, stations will receive an audio version of the archived AXS TV series in addition to a corresponding video segment, that stations may post on their websites, mobile apps, and social media channels. Radio stations will also receive customized promotional liners and promos from Rather. This year’s guest list features beloved music icons such as The Doobie Brothers, Geddy Lee, Steve Miller, Peter Frampton, Lindsey Buckingham, Robert Plant, John Mellencamp, Ringo Starr, and members of The Doors, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Kansas…..Radio pro Gary Alan reports that his podcast “The Sunday Express” – heard for the past seven years on Tmvcafe.com – is now airing on Salem Media Group’s Miami business talker WZAB-AM “The Biz.” Alan says that over the years he’s welcomed such guests as Loretta Swit, Ray Abruzzo, Tim Robbie and more to the program…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk radio personality Dr. Daliah Wachs is pictured below with the members of the Tenors of Rock at last Saturday night’s S.H.E.R.O Foundation Gala. The S.H.E.R.O. Foundation provides resources needed to support, sustain, and empower young girls and women under the age of 25 who have been abused, abandoned, and exploited. Dr. Wachs served as emcee for the event.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Source magazine is out with its annual “Power 30” list of the most powerful players in hip hop culture and the nationally syndicated urban radio morning show “The Breakfast Club” – hosted by Charlamagne Tha God, DJ Envy, and Angela Yee – was on top of the list for the 6th year in a row. Their entry says they “not only mix the music but also command the streets, represent their hoods, break new artists, deliver news and information, reign at the top of the ratings, and are social media influencers.”…..Blaine Thompson from Indiana Radio Watch tips us that Dave North exits his role as program director at Star City Broadcasting’s country WYCM, Attica, Indiana (Lafayette market) yet stays on with the company to serve as chief photographer for WPBI-TV.
New Entercom Names Format Captains; Newman, Butler and Chernoff to Lead Spoken-Word Formats. When the Entercom–CBS RADIO merger closes – as early as this Friday (11/17) – format captains for the new company will be in place. The spoken-word formats will continue to be led by Diane Newman (talk), Steve Butler (all-news), and Mark Chernoff (sports). Newman is the longtime operations manager and program director for Entercom’s WWL, New Orleans. Butler is director of news and programming at KYW, Philadelphia and vice president of news radio for CBS RADIO. Chernoff is the longtime program director at WFAN-AM/FM, New York who also holds the vice president of programming title. Other format captains include: Jimmy Gonzalez – Spanish Language, Brian Kelly – Top 40, Michael Martin – Alternative, Mike Moore – Country, Nikki Nite – Adult Contemporary, Dave Richards – Rock/Classic Rock, Reggie Rouse – Urban, Jim Ryan – Classic Hits, and Steve Salhany – Hot Adult Contemporary. Michael Martin will continue in his role as SVP of programming and music initiatives in the new organization. Format captains will report to president of programming Pat Paxton and EVP of programming Chris Oliviero. Paxton comments, “We are excited about the best-in-class programming team we are building at Entercom. This talented team of experts has the skills and experience to take our live, original and local audio content to new heights and compete at the highest level in the media industry.”
Report: Trio of Carlin, Scott and Gray to Take Over Afternoons on WFAN. The stories in the New York media – Newsday and the New York Daily News – indicate an official announcement from WFAN, New York could come today (11/14) regarding the fate of the afternoon drive show after Mike Francesa’s departure next month. They are reporting that current WIP-FM, Philadelphia afternoon personality Chris Carlin and former New York Jets player Bart Scott will team up with SI.com and CBS Sports Radio staffer Maggie Gray for the new show. WFAN program director Mark Chernoff had no comment on the reports, according to both papers. The stories also indicate that NBC Sports’ Chris Simms and the NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones both turned down offers by the station to be part of the new program.
Michael Savage Pens New Book: God, Faith and Reason. Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Savage says this new book is a result of his own spiritual journey and his belief that God wants us to question things. On his website, Savage says that publisher Hachette asked him to write another book after his last release, Trump’s War: His Battle for America. He says he agreed on the condition that he could “dedicate my next book to God, who has given me everything.” He also says, “I’m not a holy guy, I’m not a holy roller, I’m not an evangelist. I’m not better than the next man, I’m just really talking about my odyssey. I’m still questioning myself and my existence. What’s it all about? I believe God wants us to question.” See more here.
Roy Moore Allegations, Uranium One/Clinton Foundation Investigation, GOP Tax Plan, North Korea Nukes/U.S. Carrier Exercises, Saudi Arabia-Iran Tensions, Roger Goodell-Jerry Jones Battle, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/13). The allegations of contact with underage girls against Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore; Republicans’ request to investigate possible connections between the Uranium One deal and the Clinton Family Foundation; the details of the Republican tax reform plan; North Korea’s nuclear program and the presence of U.S. aircraft carriers in the region participating in drills with South Korea and Japan; tensions in the Middle East as Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of fomenting war; speculation that Jerry Jones leaked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s new contract requests in an effort put him in a bad light; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Democrats Request Probe into FCC’s Treatment of Sinclair. With the proposed acquisition of Tribune Media’s 42 television stations by Sinclair Broadcast Group (owner of 193 TV stations) hanging in the balance, U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Elijah Cumming (D-MD) are asking the FCC’s inspector general to look into whether FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is giving favor to Sinclair because of its perceived conservative slant. As Reuters reports, the advocacy group Free Press stated in an FCC filing that Sinclair’s stations “air pro-Trump propaganda” and then seek favors from the administration. Politico published a piece purporting that Sinclair struck a deal with then-candidate Donald Trump to get access in exchange for favorable coverage from its news departments. While this is largely a TV story, Sinclair owns three radio stations in Seattle it acquired in the Fisher deal. Two of them are all-news KOMO-AM/FM and news/talk KVI. Tribune owns Chicago news/talk WGN-AM.
KIDO, Boise’s Kevin Miller Talking Turkey. For the sixth consecutive year, KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller is living outside a local Walmart for an entire week to raise awareness of homelessness and hunger and to get donations to benefit the Boise Rescue Mission. Pictured above, Miller is dressed in a turkey suit while being interviewed by KTVB-TV’s Larry Gebert. Over the past six years, Miller has helped raise more than $400,000 in cash, food, and clothing.
TALKERS News Notes. In recognition of the current “Saturday Night Live” exhibition at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, Tribune’s WGN Radio will be doing a series of live broadcasts from the museum. Next Tuesday (11/21), the Steve Cochran morning show will produce a remote broadcast that will include special guests and former “SNL” cast members Nora Dunn, Tim Kazurinsky and Julia Sweeney. Later in January and February, “The Bill and Wendy Show,” “The John Williams Show,” and “The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes” will also originate live broadcasts from the “SNL” exhibit at the museum…..Crawford Broadcasting Company announces the addition of WMUZ-AM, Taylor, Michigan “1200 The Salt” to its lineup of Christian stations in the Detroit area. The company says the station will be ministry talk, featuring local and national pastors and teachers, including Alistair Begg and Dr. David Jeremiah…..The Coffee With Kenobi podcasting network is joining BlogTalkRadio, moving some four years of shows to the platform. Creator of the Star Wars-themed podcast outfit Dan Z says, “We are thrilled to bring members of our Coffee With Kenobi family network to BlogTalkRadio. If you love analysis and Star Wars conversation, this is the podcast you’re looking for!”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air and programming pro Rich DeSisto is appointed to the program director position at Beasley Media Group’s adult contemporary WJBR-FM, Wilmington, Delaware. DeSisto has been serving Beasley as APD and afternoon personality at adult hits WBEN-FM, Philadelphia and as a weekend jock on classic rock WMGK (a role he’ll continue). The company says that DeSisto has spent most of his 30-year radio career in the region, working at such stations as WYSP-FM, Q104.3-FM, WPST-FM, WZXL-FM and WSJO-FM. In addition, DeSisto served as the director of programming of the WMGM-FM/WJSE-FM/WTKU-FM cluster in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Beasley VP/market manager AJ Lurie says, “I have learned to hire people brighter than myself, and Rich is one of those people!”…..iHeartMedia promotes Jacob “Tight Pants” Bowling to assistant program director, music director and afternoon personality for alternative rock KTHR, Wichita “ALT 107.3,” effective November 20. iHeartMedia Wichita SVP of programming Jim Dorman says, “We are very excited at what ‘Tight Pants’ will be bringing to Wichita. His work ethic and passion for music is second to none and I am looking forward to working with him on ‘ALT 107.3.’ He truly deserves this promotion.”…..Curtis Media Group brings Morgan Thomas back to the Raleigh market to host the morning show on adult hits WBBB-FM “96.1 BBB.” Thomas co-hosted the successful “Mike & Morgan” show on the company’s country WQDR from 2001 through 2004. She left the market to take on the morning co-host role at KSON, San Diego, working there until 2010. Station SVP/general manager David Stuckey says, “Morgan is a proven major market personality and I am very pleased to welcome her back to Raleigh on ‘96.1 BBB.’”…..This year’s “The Night Before” show at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul (the night before Super Bowl LII) will feature the Dave Matthews Band. CBS RADIO and On Location Experiences are co-producing the show…..Content producer and syndicator Westwood One is presenting 12 holiday-themed, weekend music specials for affiliate stations to air from Thanksgiving weekend through Christmas weekend. The first is the four-hour “A Thanksgiving Weekend Celebration with Chris Young.” Christmas-themed shows are being hosted by such stars as Brett Eldredge, Gwen Stefani, Josh Groban, Kelly Clarkson, Dave Koz, and more…..iHeartMedia’s Phoenix adult contemporary signal KEZ brings the Premiere Networks syndicated “Delilah” show back to the program schedule for the evening daypart.