KKOB-AM/FM, Albuquerque Names John Summers News Director. Radio news and programming pro John Summers is named news director for Cumulus Media’s heritage news/talk KKOB-AM/FM, Albuquerque. Cumulus says Summers is an award-winning journalist who was most recently brand manager and news director for Saga Communications’ WHCU-AM/FM, Ithaca, New York. Prior to that, he was regional program director and news director for the Northwest News Radio Network and the Washington Ag Network. Cumulus Albuquerque operations manager Jared Hart says, “We are thrilled to welcome John to the News Radio KKOB family. He’s a great fit to lead this iconic Albuquerque station into an exciting new chapter and to help capitalize on our recent expansion of the KKOB brand.” Summers says, “I’m thrilled to become part of the awesome Southwest legend, KKOB. I really appreciate Jeff Berry and Jared Hart’s confidence in my journalistic vision for the giant AM/FM signals involved – and I love New Mexico. This is going to be fun.”
Disruptor Radio LLC Acquires WNTW-AM, Richmond. Virginia media company Disruptor Radio, LLC announces it has closed on the purchase of WNTW-AM and translator W224EB – both licensed to Chester, Virginia in the Richmond market. Disruptor Radio is operated by John Fredericks, whose radio show airs in morning drive on the simulcast and is based at Disruptor’s WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia. It’s distributed by the John Fredericks Radio Network. Fredericks says the combination of the three signals “gives JFRN the largest footprint and most coverage in central Virginia.” John Fredericks says, “As of June 17, we have the most dynamic and engaging news/talk network lineup in America right here in central Virginia. Our combined three-stick radio reach now goes to Petersburg in the south, Fredericksburg to the north, west to Charlottesville, southwest to Longwood University in Farmville and east to Newport News and the Northern Neck. We now have a bigger footprint then-rival legacy station WRVA in Richmond and we look forward to the opportunity to offer central Virginia radio listeners an exciting alternative in the news/talk arena.” Fredericks adds he’s not shy about further expansion potential and he’s bullish on the future of talk radio.
Firings at U.S. Agency for Global Media Draw Rebuke from Democrats. The U.S. Senate confirmation of conservative filmmaker Michael Pack and his subsequent firing of four news organization chiefs has drawn the ire of congressional Democrats. According to Edward Wong’s story in The New York Times, those let go on Wednesday evening were: Bay Fang of Radio Free Asia, Jamie Fly of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Alberto M. Fernandez of Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Emilio Vazquez of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, and Libby Liu of the Open Technology Fund. The story adds that Pack also “disbanded the bipartisan boards that govern and advise those five organizations. He replaced the members, which are the same across the organizations, largely with Trump administration political appointees, including himself as chairman.” On Monday of this week, Radio Free America director Amanda Bennett and deputy director Sandra Sugawara resigned their positions.
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the sports talk format. Obviously, without any sports contests being played since March, the format has suffered, but the downward trend the format experienced in March and April is leveling off. Sixty-two percent of sports talk stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up, led by Bonneville’s KKFN, Denver (+1.0, 3.1share). Comparing May 2019 to May 2020, just 32% of stations are up with 65% down. The year-over-year gainers are led by iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis (+1.8, 5.9 share). No sports talker came close to ranking #1 in its market in May. Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia was the top ranker in the format, finishing at #4 with a 5.9 share. Read Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.
John Bolton Book, BLM Protests/Rayshard Brooks Case, Trump Police Reform Order, COVID-19 Statistics/Beijing Outbreak, Aunt Jemima Retired, Presidential Race, China-India Clash, and Return of the NBA Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/17). The controversy and legal battle over former national security adviser John Bolton’s yet-to-be-released book; the Black Lives Matter protests and the officers being charged in the death of Rayshard Brooks; President Trump issues a police reform executive order; the COVID-19 statistics in the U.S., the states seeing increases, and the outbreak in Beijing; the Aunt Jemima brands are retired by PepsiCo; the November presidential election; the deadly clash between China and India over a disputed Himalayan border region; and the NBA prepares to return to action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Scott Herman Elected Chair of Broadcasters Foundation of America. The board of directors of the Broadcasters Foundation of America elects radio executive Scott Herman chair of the charitable organization. Herman served for years with CBS RADIO and Group W and he’s currently CEO of SHH Media Management. He takes over for Dan Mason, who remains on the board of directors. Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb is re-elected as vice chair. Additionally, Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones is elected to the board. Dan Mason says, “It has been an honor to serve the broadcasting industry as chair of the Broadcasters Foundation, and I look forward to continuing my involvement as a board member of this unique charity that helps our colleagues. I am pleased to turn over the chair seat to Scott, who I know to be both capable and caring. He loves this industry as much as I do and will work tirelessly to help those in our business who need it most.” Herman is a longtime member of the Foundation’s board and has served as vice chair since 2017.
DOUBLE HEADER: ‘Two Men, Two Games’ – Sean Spicer and Colin Cowherd Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. Former White House press secretary and current Newsmax TV host Sean Spicer and FOX Sports Radio/Television host Colin Cowherd are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” In a two-part program titled, “Two Men, Two Games,” Harrison discusses a wide array of current issues with two of the most colorful individuals in talk media focusing on the impact that today’s turbulence is having on media, business, sports, and society. Harrison and Spicer talk about the seismic changes that have taken place in the relationship between the presidency and the press during the Donald Trump administration in addition to ongoing debate over government regulation of social media. Spicer also offers his perspective on the Black Lives Matter movement and offers a few tips on how to approach this president in an interview or ask him questions at a press conference. Harrison and Cowherd (who is ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio) discuss the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on professional sports, the delicate art of simulcasting a talk show on radio and television, the responsibility team owners have to the fans, as well as a fascinating breakdown on the political leanings of sports talk radio listeners. Don’t miss this power-packed installment of one of the world’s most-respected, media-oriented podcasts. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. After last week’s exit from SummitMedia by SVP of programming Beverlee Brannigan, the company announces that Randy Chase is joining the company in the same capacity. SummitMedia says Chase joins the leadership team and will oversee all country music stations. He’ll report to EVP of programming Bill Tanner. SummitMedia chairman and CEO Carl Parmer states, “Randy’s experience across all formats and his passion to serve our listeners make him an excellent addition to our team. His ability to innovate in our industry and drive consumer engagement are attributes we are particularly excited about.” Chase has served with the Educational Media Foundation as VP of radio for the past seven years. Prior to that he led national country branding and programming for Cox Media Group. Chase will be based in Knoxville and will also serve as program director for country WCYQ, Knoxville “100.3 The Wolf.”…..Hubbard Radio makes changes to the air staff at Chicago hot AC WTMX “101.9 THE MIX.” Eric Ferguson remains in mornings but everything else changes. Sixteen-year afternoon drive personality Kevin “Koz” Koske leaves that daypart and will be director of creative services for both WTMX and sister AC WSHE. He’ll also handle some weekend and fill-in shifts. Taking over afternoon drive is evening host Chris Petlak and midday jock Lisa Allen. Taking over Allen’s midday slot is music director Nikki Chuminatto. Weekend personality Jordan “Dash” Weiss is upped to evening personality…..In Charlottesville, Virginia, Saga Communications lets classic rock WWWV morning host and imaging director Max Hoecker go and replaces his show with the Westwood One syndicated “Bob & Tom” Show…..United Stations Radio Networks announces a new program hosted by Grammy and Emmy award-winning musician Kenny Loggins. Titled, “Kenny Loggins: The Real Thing,” the program will debut at a yet-to-be-finalized date this summer and will be delivered as completely flexible segments allowing stations to build their imaging and music around voice tracks supplied by Kenny Loggins.
WFAN, New York Officially Announces New Lineup. On New Year’s Eve, Entercom announced the new lineup for sports talk WFAN, New York “The Fan” that takes effect on Monday, January 6. As had been reported in numerous New York media outlets, the station goes from four to three daytime shows with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts moving from late mornings to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot, replacing Mike Francesa. He will host the 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm “Mike’s On” program as well as “host special programs, remote broadcasts, and contribute to other shows on WFAN.” Maggie Gray remains with the station in midday, reunited with longtime WFAN personality Marc “Moose” Malusis for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm “Moose and Maggie” show. Prior to her joining WFAN in 2018 with co-hosts Bart Scott and Chris Carlin, she served with CBS Sports Radio co-hosting a Saturday morning show with Malusis. Malusis currently serves as the host of “Football Sunday” on WFAN with former New York Giants player David Diehl. The rest of the lineup remains the same, with “Boomer and Gio” in AM drive, Steve Sommers in evenings and John Jastremski in overnights. Entercom New York SVP of programming Mark Chernoff says, “This is quite an impressive lineup of talent on WFAN as we remain the one and only place to talk New York sports all day, every day. Combined with our play-by-play of New York Yankees baseball, New York Giants football, Brooklyn Nets basketball and New Jersey Devils hockey, as well as our slate of National Football League games, we look forward to expanding our position as the flagship station for New York sports fans.”
KABC, Los Angeles Adds Two Evening Shows to New Lineup. Los Angeles news/talk outlet KABC adds two one-hour programs to its evening lineup, effective today (1/2). Former Secret Service Agent and NYPD officer and New York Times best-selling author Dan Bongino hosts his eponymous 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm show and Andrew Klavan brings his “distinctive brand of political satire, cultural commentary, interviews and more” to the 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm hour. Both Bongino and Klavan host podcasts of the same name on the Westwood One Podcast Network. Cumulus Media’s KABC recently announced its daily lineup consisting of “Armstrong & Getty” in AM drive, Washington-based Larry O’Connor from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, John Phillips from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Ben Shapiro from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm and “The Savage Nation” with Michael Savage from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. KABC general manager Drew Hayes says, “We are thrilled to add Dan Bongino and Andrew Klavan to our built-for-election year lineup. Both Dan and Andrew have strong, thoughtful opinions and huge followings that will make nights on KABC a real destination for common sense listeners in 2020 and beyond.”
Ratings Takeaways from December PPM Survey. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 PPM survey that covered November 7 to December 4, 2019. Some positive 6+ weekly AQH share ratings movement for spoken-word stations during the survey includes: Hearst’s news/talk WBAL-AM, Baltimore adds three-tenths to its five-survey uptick to finish at a 3.2 share and the #11 rank in the market; Entercom’s crosstown sports talker WJZ-FM, Baltimore rises six-tenths to a 4.9 share and #8 in the market; Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland adds two-tenths to its fifth survey without a loss to stand at 5.4 share and the #4 rank in the market; and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis adds three-tenths to finish with a 6.7 share and the #4 rank in the market. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here and check out all of Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaways” from the December survey here.
A TRIBUTE TO DON IMUS Presented on This Week’s Harrison Podcast. This week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview” presents an uninterrupted reposting of a remarkably candid 2016 conversation between TALKERS founder Michael Harrison and the legendary talk media personality Don Imus who passed away this past Friday (12/27/19) at the age of 79. It was an illuminating conversation in which Imus candidly discussed the highlights as well as lowlights of his colorful life and career – including his rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol; his regret over the Rutgers incident and the lessons he learned from it; his opinion of Al Sharpton and certain radio management figures who played key roles in his career; his ability to generate radio ad revenue that dramatically exceeded ratings expectations; his deep love for his wife Deidre and the significant role she played in his life; his tremendous work in supporting kids with cancer; the handful of radio guests he found most interesting; his view (back then during the primaries) of the 2016 presidential race and for whom he intended to vote … plus a whole lot more. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.
Tegna to Sell KFMB-AM and FM to Local Media San Diego. Television company Tegna is entering into a deal to sell its two San Diego radio stations – news/talk KFMB-AM and adult hits KFMB-FM – to Local Media San Diego for $5 million. Tegna acquired the radio stations with its $325 million purchase of KFMB-TV from Midwest Television in February of last year. Interestingly, a proviso of the pact with LMSD is that Tegna is keeping the KFMB-AM and FM call letters and the stations will have 30 days to wind down use of the call letters and a year to cease using the calls in relation to sales deals with agencies or local advertisers. Local Media San Diego operates three Tijuana, Mexico signals in the San Diego market: CHR XHITZ, alternative rock XETRA, and rhythmic AC XHRM. In February of last year, executives Norm McKee, Gregg Wolfson, and Steve McNeely led a management buyout of Local Media San Diego.
Donald Trump Impeachment, Attacks on U.S. Embassy in Iraq, 2020 Presidential Race, New Year/2019 Retrospectives, Hanukkah Attack, Texas Church Shooting, and North Korea Nuclear Ambitions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/1). The articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump; the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Iraq and President Trump’s blaming Iran; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in November; retrospectives of 2019 and the “teens” decade; five are wounded at a Hanukkah celebration in New York; the Sunday shooting at a Texas church that claimed the lives of two parishioners; and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
iHeartMedia Extends Deal with Alfred ‘Big Al’ Williams. Denver radio personality Alfred “Big Al” Williams and iHeartMedia sign a new, five-year deal for the former to serve as an air talent for news/talk KOA “850 AM & 94.1 FM.” Williams joined KOA in September of 2019 after a long career alongside Darren McKee on Bonneville’s crosstown sports talker KKFN “104.3 The Fan.” iHeartMedia Denver president Tim Hagar comments, “Big Al has set the standard for afternoon drive radio. This long-term renewal is a testament to Al’s impact and importance to iHeartMedia, KOA, our partners and his legion of fans throughout Colorado. Not only is he a tremendous talent and a great man, but he is the type of guy who you want on your team no matter what you are doing and we are so glad he’s a part of our team.”
Paige Rockwell Named VP of Sales at iHeartMedia Binghamton. Sales pro Paige Rockwell is named vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Binghamton, New York stations. She was most recently director of digital strategy at Townsquare Media’s Utica cluster. iHeartMedia area president Robert Morgan states, “I am thrilled to have Paige lead our sales organization in Binghamton. I know she will bring her passion, tireless energy, creativity, and leadership talents to help us further grow our business and expand upon our partnerships.”
TALKERS News Notes. After a two-year absence, CBS News Radio is back providing news programming for Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington. The station had been using ABC Radio News since 2018. WTOP director of news and programming Julia Ziegler says, “WTOP’s mission is to deliver news that matters to the people in our community, 24/7/365. It’s a mission we take very seriously. Our partnership with CBS News and the talented journalists who work there helps us accomplish this goal. We are thrilled to be working once again with the CBS team.”…..The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that evening host Jay Kanzler exits CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after more than two years as a full time host. Kanzler is also a full-time practicing attorney. He tells the Post-Dispatch, “I managed to do it for a couple of years, but it was just a tough schedule to keep.”…..Entercom names Alex Gold (right) and Cody Tapp (left) the new co-hosts of the midday show on KCSP-AM, Kansas City “610 Sports Radio.” The “Cody & Gold” show takes over for the former “Show and Vern” program with Ron “Show” Hughley and Josh Vernier. Hughley exited the station while Vernier moves to Royals insider and host of Royals pre- and post-game shows for the station…..Mary Zatina is named general manager of Wayne State University’s WDET, Detroit. Zatina served as assistant GM for business and development for the station from 1985-88. She says, “It’s been a while since I worked at WDET, but I have maintained my strong belief in the station’s mission and the critical role it plays to serve metro Detroiters. I’ve never stopped listening to and supporting WDET. I am excited to be coming home and am looking forward to working with this dedicated and dynamic team of professionals.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Isaac “Brooks” Wenzel is named music director and afternoon drive host for country WFMS, Indianapolis. Cumulus Media brings Wenzel to Indy from its Madison operations where he was midday host on country WMAD-FM and promotions director for the six-station group. Wenzel says, “I feel extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to join a station with such long-lasting success in an amazing city like WFMS in Indianapolis. Thanks to Cumulus for giving me this incredible opportunity.”…..iHeartMedia announces former hot AC WMYI-FM, Greenville, South Carolina becomes adult hits “102.5 The Lake.” Station PD and region SVP of programming A.J. says, “‘102.5 The Lake’ is going to bring listeners a variety of music from a diverse group of artists. The philosophy of our programming is that we’ll play anything and you never know what you’ll hear next.”…..Westwood One’s “The BOB & TOM Show” moves from Townsquare Media’s rock WGBF to crosstown The Original Company’s classic hits WJPS-FM in the Evansville, Indiana market…..Flood Communications West closes on the purchase of adult contemporary KSID-FM and country KSID-AM, Sidney, Nebraska. The company paid $300,000 to seller Dead-Short Broadcasting. Jason James of Patrick Communications was the exclusive broker…..Condolences to the family and friends of former country KVOO, TULSA morning drive host Andy Oatman, who passed away on December 30 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Oatman retired from KVOO in 2008.
KXL-FM, Portland Talk Host Lars Larson Names Whistleblower on FOX News Channel. KXL-FM, Portland talk radio host Lars Larson – who also hosts a nationally syndicated show via Compass Media Networks – was doing a segment on FOX News Channel’s “Outnumbered Overtime” yesterday (11/7) when he revealed who he believes the whistleblower in the Ukraine affair is. Larson told KGW-TV, Portland, “I believe all of Washington knows, all of the press corps knows, and the only people in the dark are the American people. If you’re talking about removing the president, chosen by the American people, you have an obligation of telling them who’s accusing [the president].” FOX News tells the Hollywood Reporter that it has not confirmed nor independently verified the name of the whistleblower.
Entercom Third Quarter Net Revenue Up 2%. Third quarter 2019 financial data from Entercom Communications is released and the company reports net revenue of $386 million, an increase of 2% over the same period in 2018. Operating income for the quarter was $79.5 million, compared to $78.7 million in the third quarter of 2018. For the first three quarters of 2019, net revenue was $1.07 billion, an increase of 2.3% over the same period in 2018. Entercom chairman, president and CEO David Field comments, “I am pleased to report that Entercom delivered strong organic growth in the third quarter with Adjusted EBITDA up 13% and Adjusted Net Income Per Share up 23%. Revenues increased 2% (just under 3% ex-political) driven by digital, national, and network. In October, we announced the launch of DVR-like functionality for live radio on our RADIO.COM app, becoming the first company to offer that important product feature. This new feature and our recent acquisitions of podcasters Cadence 13 and Pineapple Street Studios highlight the multiple ways we are working to enhance our product line and grow our relationships with our listeners and customers.”
NPR and Edison Research to Unveil Spoken Word Audio Report. The data from the new Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research will be made available via a free webinar on Tuesday (11/12) that you can sign up for here. The study – derived from a national quantitative survey, one-on-one interviews, and five years of previously-unreleased data from Edison Research’s U.S. Share of Ear study – explores consumer behavior in the spoken word audio category. It details: How the spoken word audio category has changed in the last five years; how the balance between music and spoken-word content consumption is shifting; the role spoken word audio plays in consumers’ lives today – from where people listen to when people listen; and what people are looking for from spoken-word content on different platforms. The study concludes that the share of time spent listening to spoken-word audio has increased 20% since 2014.
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 (11/8). The new episode titled “Hearings and Smearings!” looks back at this past week of November 4-8, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Howie Carr, talk show host, Howie Carr Radio Network; Renee Kohanski, M.D., forensic psychiatrist/medical podcaster; Holland Cooke, media consultant/talk show host RT America; Duke Brooks, talk show host, WGMD-FM, Rehoboth Beach, DE; Daliah Wachs, M.D., medical doctor, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network; Joshua Philipp, senior investigative reporter, The Epoch Times; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as well as other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; and KBKW, Aberdeen, WA as a special week-in-review and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and 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.
National Campaign Launched to Protect Press Freedom. The nonprofit organizations the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Committee to Protect Journalists, along with a coalition of 23 media, technology and nonprofit partners, including Barron’s, CBS, Comcast-NBC Universal, CNN, Facebook, Los Angeles Times, McClatchy, The New York Times, NPR, Reuters, Scripps, Sinclair, Twitter, The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones, and The Washington Post, yesterday (11/7) launched the “Protect Press Freedom” campaign to mobilize the public to stand up for press freedom and actively protect their right to be informed. Through video, radio, digital, print, and social media assets, the campaign communicates the message: In order to be free, we must be informed. The creative illustrates the crucial role the free press plays in everyday life by depicting a world in which people are unable to access news about issues that are important to them. On the campaign website, visitors can learn more about the threats to press freedom, explore key moments for the free press in America’s history, and take a quiz to assess their knowledge. “Americans across the country rely on diverse news sources to help them make informed choices every day, but many don’t see the threats that are putting that information at risk,” Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press tells TALKERS. “When one journalist or news source is threatened — whether it’s verbally, physically, or legally — it threatens a fundamental American freedom that’s essential to understanding and participating in our communities. We’re proud to bring news outlets and organizations together to have a conversation with the public about press freedom and encourage people to stand up for their right to information.” Attacks on journalists’ safety and the public’s right to know occur with troubling regularity. According to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, of which the Reporters Committee and CPJ are partners, there were at least 35 physical attacks on journalists last year, most notably the murder of five people working at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. So far in 2019, at least 28 journalists have been denied access to government events that are traditionally open to or attended by the press, leaving members of the public without crucial information about their government’s activities. Relentless disparagement of the media contributes to an increasingly dangerous climate for journalists. For more information about this please click on the website www.ProtectPressFreedom.org. To listen to a conversation about the campaign between Bruce Brown and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison click
Miltz Named Director of Marketing and Promotions for Bonneville Denver. Marketing pro Melanie Miltz is named director of marketing and promotions for Bonneville’s Denver station group that includes sports talk KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan,” sports KEPN-AM “ESPN Denver,” country KYGO-FM, and adult contemporary KOSI-FM. She most recently held the same position at Hubbard Radio’s hot AC KSTP-FM, Minneapolis. Bonneville Denver senior regional vice president and market manager Bob Call states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Mel join Bonneville Denver and take over the leadership of our marketing and promotions department. Mel is well-recognized and highly respected as a promotions and marketing professional with a high level of branding expertise, attention to detail, and follow-through on both the strategic and tactical elements of marketing. Mel’s wealth of experience make her the perfect choice for Bonneville Denver.”
TALKERS News Notes. At the end of this year, Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze will shut down its cable television channel. A story in The Hollywood Reporter says that TheBlaze will focus on its subscription video-on-demand service, its website, and the radio program. The piece notes that because TheBlaze is largely a digital enterprise and its contracts with cable operators prevent much of the video content presented via cable from being shared online, it makes business sense to focus on the VOD space. Blaze Media CEO Tyler Cardon tells THR, “Given our record growth this year on our direct-to-consumer SVOD business, podcasts, various web properties and other digital distribution channels, it has become a conflict to continue programming a traditional, legacy cable channel.”…..Entercom announces that its RADIO.COM platform with its collection of premiere sports, entertainment, news, and music audio content is being made available to Samsung’s Bixby scalable intelligence platform. RADIO.COM will be available in Bixby Marketplace, where Samsung smartphone users in the U.S. can add the capsule to enhance their Bixby experience. Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “This is an exciting integration with Samsung to bring the RADIO.COM listening experience wherever and however our listeners want it. With Bixby, we are able to bring RADIO.COM to millions of listeners, making it easier than ever to discover and engage with our premium audio content as part of our listeners’ daily audio habit.”…..ESPN Radio says its October PPM numbers for its daytime sports talk radio shows (men 25-54) are up 7%. For instance, the morning drive “Golic and Wingo” show saw a monthly increase across platforms of 13% compared to the September 2019 PPM survey and “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” was up 25% over September on terrestrial radio…..Westwood One Podcast Network’s “Think About This with Shelly Palmer and Ross Martin” hosted Facebook VP global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson to discuss the personal and corporate responsibility of the social media platform. Responding to a question about why Facebook runs political ads with false claims, Everson stated, “For decades, political advertising has not been monitored. The FCC has made it very clear by law that broadcasters are not allowed to censor or change political advertising, and we have chosen to follow that, even though we are not required to do so by the FCC – as have all of the other platforms – because we think it’s very dangerous for a tech company, a CEO, or any private or public company to determine what is true and what is false.”…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa welcomed FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio superstar Brian Kilmeade to town today (11/8) for a listener event and book signing for Kilmeade’s new book, Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory That Changed American History (2019, Penguin Publishing). KRMG director of branding and programming Levi May comments, “KRMG is proud to be able to bring one of our most popular radio and TV hosts to Tulsa for an opportunity to interact with our listeners and give people a chance to see what goes on as part of his live broadcast.”
The Impeachment Process and the Ukraine Affair Tied for Top News/Talk Story of the Week. The impeachment process against President Trump and the related Ukraine quid pro quo allegations was the top news/talk story for the week of November 4-8, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Tuesday election results in Virginia and Kentucky and the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election. Coming in at #3 was court ruling that President Trump must turn over eight years of tax returns to a Manhattan Grand Jury, followed by U.S.-China trade negotiations and the U.S. economy 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 chart here.
PPM Analysis: Country. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on country. From the September 2019 survey to the October 2019 survey, about 60% of country stations in PPM markets are down (weekly, 6+ AQH share). The year-over-year comparison is split a bit more evenly, with 47% of stations seeing an increase and 51% seeing a decrease. Just two country stations ranked #1 in their respective markets in the October survey – Bonneville’s KYGO, Denver (6.1 share) and iHeartMedia’s WCOL, Columbus (10.7 share). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Entercom’s CHR KNOU-FM, St. Louis “Now 96.3,” program director and midday personality Scott Ellis leaves the station to return to Springfield, Missouri with his girlfriend. Ellis previously worked on air and as PD for CHR KSPW-FM, Springfield. Assuming his programming duties at KNOU is cluster operations manager Cat Simon…..A round of job cuts at Entercom Seattle include three from the programming department. Jean Ashley leaves her morning co-host and APD gigs at adult contemporary KSWD “94.1 The Sound.” Midday personality and rhythmic AC KHTP “HOT 103.7” assistant program director Jamie “Tanch” Tanchykh exits, as does alternative KNDD “107-7 The End” evening personality Cody Whistler.
Mike Thomas Exits Boston’s ‘Sports Hub’ for WMVP, Chicago Market Manager Role. This move means a program director role at one of the top-performing sports talk radio stations in America is open. Beasley Media Group announces that it is “looking for the Bill Belichick of sports radio” as it seeks a PD for WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.” Mike Thomas, who also serves as Beasley Media Group’s national spoken word and podcast brand manager, announces he’s leaving Boston to accept a new position in Chicago – market manager for Good Karma-operated WMVP “ESPN 1000” – in order to be closer to his family and fulfill a career goal of becoming a market manager. Beasley says he will continue to remain as a consultant to the station and actively participate in the search process. Thomas says, “This was an incredibly difficult decision. This radio station is a once-in-a-career station, with a once-in-a-career staff. I would like to thank Caroline and Brian Beasley and the entire corporate team for everything. Locally, Mary Menna, Cadillac Jack, and Buzz Knight have been fantastic to work with! I also want to thank every single ‘Sports Hub’ employee for 10 years of winning! I know our relationships won’t end here.” Beasley Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack says, “I want to thank Mike for the instrumental part he has played in leading our award-winning brand throughout its first decade and wish him continued success in his next chapter. They’re big shoes to fill and we look forward to meeting a lot of great talent in the process as the coming days and weeks unfold.”
Ex-FOX News Radio Personality Todd Starnes Launches Syndicated Commentary. Former FOX News Radio personality Todd Starnes – who exited the company last week – announces he’s unveiling a syndicated commentary that “more than 750 radio stations have signed on to carry.” The “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” short-form program is produced by his Starnes Media Group and syndicated by Hamilton Strategies. Additionally, a three-hour, caller-driven radio talk show will debut on November 4. Starnes says that program will feature major newsmakers, entertainers, artists, and Christian leaders. He says, “I am first and foremost a radio guy. I love the format and I believe that radio will continue to have a lasting impact on the nation. We are also deeply committed to super-serving our radio affiliates with first class service.” The commentaries are broadcasting on Bott Radio Network, American Family Radio, CSN Network, and a number of commercial radio stations. For information about broadcasting Starnes’ commentaries or his talk show, contact Deborah Hamilton at Media@HamiltonStrategies.com.
Tammy O’Dell Assumes VP/Market Manager Role at Cumulus Columbia. Sales and management pro Tammy O’Dell is named vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Columbia, South Carolina cluster. This is a return to Cumulus after serving most recently as local sales manager for Spectrum Reach in Cary, North Carolina. She was formerly Cumulus’ VP/MM in Charleston, South Carolina. The Columbia cluster includes sports talk duo WNKT-FM “107.5 The Game” and WISW-AM “1320 The Fan” and three music brands. Cumulus Media EVP of operations Bob Walker says, “We are excited to welcome Tammy back to the Cumulus family in Columbia. Her passion for the Carolina region and her success in building a winning sales culture make her a great addition to the team in Columbia.”
SiriusXM Woos Denise Karkos from TD Ameritrade. Marketing pro Denise Karkos is joining SiriusXM as the new chief marketing officer, a position in which she’ll be responsible for brand and digital marketing of both the SiriusXM and Pandora brands and helping support and drive the growth of SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners. Karkos was most recently CMO at TD Ameritrade where she was named 2019 CMO of the Year by Ad Age. SiriusXM president, sales, marketing and operations Jennifer Witz says, “Denise is exceptionally innovative and forward thinking and we are very pleased and excited that she will be leading our marketing efforts as we continue to grow the SiriusXM and Pandora brands. She and her team will execute a cohesive marketing strategy to drive brand relevance and consideration through to customer conversion, with a deep focus on digital, social, and mobile marketing.”
FOX Sports Radio Reports Digital Audience Gains. Citing data from August and September of this year, FOX Sports Radio – a division of Premiere Networks – is announcing audience growth “across several digital platforms, including podcasts, streaming and www.FOXSportsRadio.com.” FOX Sports Radio says it set a new record for total monthly podcast listens in September, reaching more than 11 million monthly listens. It also notes total podcast listens have grown nearly 60% since January. FSR says it experienced its third-highest streaming audience in the history of the network with the streaming numbers growing 8% from August of 2018 to August 2019 and a 25% increase over August 2017.
Cumulus CEO Mary Berner to Receive Gracies Leadership Award. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation is honoring Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner with a 2019 Gracies Leadership Award. The Gracies Leadership Awards are presented annually to women executives who have made a significant impact on the media industry, while also spurring to action and emboldening other female leaders. The award will be presented to Berner and five other female media executives at the Gracies Leadership Awards luncheon at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Thursday, November 21, 2019. AFWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “The Alliance for Women in Media is proud to showcase female executives for their extraordinary accomplishments and deep contributions across the media landscape. The Gracies Leadership Awards are one way AWM recognizes and connects women who serve in all areas of the media and entertainment industry. By honoring these outstanding women, including Mary Berner, we are empowering all women, at every level, to take that next step in elevating their careers and their contributions.”
TALKERS News Notes. In Denver, Bonneville brings former Denver Broncos offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus aboard as co-host of “The Drive” on sports talk KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” Polumbus joins hosts Darren “DMac” McKee and Nick Ferguson on the afternoon drive show. He takes over for Tom Nalen who exits the station for personal reasons…..A “Free Talk Live” co-host is making news as he takes on two other candidates for mayor of Keene, New Hampshire. But there’s more to the story. In August, Rich Paul filed in New Hampshire probate court to change his name to Nobody. Today’s ballot gives voters three choices for mayor: Mitchell “Mitch” Greenwald, George S. Hansel, and Nobody. “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman tells TALKERS magazine Nobody’s mayoral campaign is just the beginning. He’s already announced his 2020 campaign to take on New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and is even considering a presidential run in a few more years. Check out his campaign website: ElectNobody.com…..Edison Research is making three of its presentations originally delivered at the recent NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas available to the industry at its website. Available for your perusal are: “The Top 10 Findings from Edison Research in 2019 (so far)”; “The Secret to Longer TSL”; and “What Does it Mean for Radio to Be Local.” Check them out here…..In Northern Michigan, an application is filed with the FCC to transfer the licenses of eight stations from Sovereign Communications, LLC to AMC Partners Escanaba, LLC. The stations are: news/talk WMIQ-AM, classic rock WIMK-FM, and hot AC WZNL-FM in the Iron Mountain/Escanaba area and news/talk WDMJ-AM and WIAN-AM, country WJPD-FM, classic rock WUPK-FM, and oldies WNGE-FM in the Marquette area. Sovereign Communications is headed by Bill Gleich. AMC Partners Escanaba is a Wisconsin-based company headed by Terry Shockley and Chris Bernier. KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction…..The University of San Francisco and Cumulus Media San Francisco announce a multi-year agreement for KTCT-AM “KNBR 1050 The Sports Leader” to serve as flagship station for the school’s men’s basketball games. Pat Olson will serve as play-by-play voice for broadcasts of the USF Dons games.
Impeachment Inquiry, Bidens Investigation, Trump’s Syria Decision, 2020 Presidential Race, Omar Files for Divorce, NBA-China Rift, and Joker Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/7). The impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the report of a second whistleblower; the reported activities of Joe and Hunter Biden with regard to business in foreign countries; President Trump’s decision to remove U.S. troops from Northern Syria in deference to Turkey; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar files for divorce amidst rumors of an affair with a Democratic operative; the rift between the NBA and China over the Houston Rockets’ general manager’s comments; and the Joker film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Bay Area sales pro David Drutz is named vice president and market manager for Alpha Media’s San Jose duo KBAY-FM and KEZR-FM. Drutz was most recently vice president of sales for Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco. Drutz says, “I’m incredibly excited to be part of a company as visionary as Alpha Media and lead classic hits KBAY and hot AC KEZR. Both brands not only dominate Silicon Valley but also have tremendous reach throughout the Bay Area. It’s going to be great fun in managing these stations to even more success!”…..Programming pro JT Bosch is promoted to senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Greensboro station group, effective October 14. Bosch will also serve as program director for rock WVBZ-FM “105.7 MAN UP!” Bosch has been with iHeartMedia since 2001 and most recently served as the assistant program director, music director and afternoon show host for country WKKT, Charlotte “96.9 The Kat.” He says, “The opportunity to lead our programming efforts in Greensboro is so incredible. We are ushering in a new era and I’m honored to be a part of it. Thanks to the entire iHeartMedia senior leadership team for their continued support.”…..Cumulus Media announces that it has appointed Mike Moore program director for country WKHX-FM, Atlanta “Kicks 101.5.” Moore comes to Atlanta from his most recent position as VP of programming for Entercom’s Portland cluster where he also programmed country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf.” Cumulus EVP of content and audience Brian Philips states, “As we met a strong field of senior candidates for WKHX, Mike Moore pushed his way to the front with thoughtful ideas and hard-driving enthusiasm. His wartime country radio leadership experience will enable him to build the team that changes the Atlanta landscape.”
Legendary Talk Show Host Bruce Williams Dead at 86. “Welcome my friends, welcome to my world.” It was with those words radio talk show host legend Bruce Williams began his nationally syndicated show for more than 29 years. Williams died on Saturday (2/9), at his home near Tampa, FL after a brief illness. Spanning a career that lasted more than three decades, Bruce Williams created a loyal listenership of hundreds of thousands of people strong with his informative and entertaining program, delivered in his signature deep, warm, welcoming voice. But, one of the most unusual and remarkable facts surrounding Williams’ National Radio Hall of Fame career is that it did not begin until he was well into his 40s. Born February 18, 1932, Williams grew up in East Orange, NJ. Blessed with an innate sense of business, at age 11, he devised a way to address one of the many shortages common at the end of World War II by melting down lead pipes and casting them into toy soldiers. Eyes wide open, he was off and running, pursuing every avenue where he believed a profit could be made. After serving in the US Air Force during the Korean conflict and graduating from Newark State College (now Kean University), he opened a pre-school named after his children. He spent time driving an ice cream truck in New York City. He was also a taxi driver and drove a beer truck. For 70 years of his life, he spent the holiday season selling Christmas trees in New Jersey. On the white-collar side, Williams sold insurance, owned a flower shop, a car rental agency, a barber shop and he owned and operated several nightclubs. There was even a whirlwind tour into the world of politics where the Honorable Bruce H. Williams was elected to the Franklin, NJ Township Council, as well as serving terms as Deputy Mayor and Mayor between 1967 and 1975. It was the weight and wealth of these life experiences that Williams relied on throughout his accomplished radio career and gave depth to his on-air persona. His outstanding career began in 1975 at WCTC 1450 Talk Radio, The Voice of Central New Jersey, where Williams hosted a show called “At Your Service.” After some time, his success took him to WMCA, New York where his momentum and audience continued to build. Williams’ growing popularity brought him to the attention of radio executives at NBC who were searching for a host of a national nightly advice-oriented talk show. After a long selection process, Williams was chosen and his program launched in November of 1981. It was from this platform, his reputation as a broadcaster blossomed. That blossom was almost nipped a year later, when a plane he was piloting crashed into some trees during an aborted landing attempt. Critically injured and nearly dead when he arrived at the Medical Center of Princeton, Williams rallied and was back on the air broadcasting again from his hospital room, just four weeks after the accident. Over the next three decades, Williams’ voice was heard coast-to-coast as he became one of the most listened to talk show hosts in radio history. The industry recognized Williams’ accomplishments in 1999 when he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago. TALKERS magazine also honored Williams in 2002 by including him at Number Six in its list of the Greatest Radio Talk Show Hosts of all Time. He authored six financial and real estate advice books as well as a syndicated advice column called Smart Money. Bruce Williams was 81 years old when he hung up his head phones for the final time in 2013, signing off as he always did by saying, “Keep in touch.” Upon learning of Williams’ death, TALKERS founder Michael Harrison stated, “He was one of a kind and represented a breed of radio talk show host that made the genre truly special among all formats – a seemingly ‘regular guy’ who simply knew the answer to just about every problem that people face in day-to-day life and was happy to share it in completely understandable terms when asked for advice.” Radio consultant Valerie Geller shared the following thoughts about Williams with TALKERS, “Bruce influenced my career. In the early days he kindly and generously spent time encouraging me. This man was the original radio late night ‘companion, personality and expert…’ helping thousands of listeners with personal advice, business advice and more importantly, being a ‘friend in the night.’ A powerful storyteller and powerful communicator, we have lost a true talent.”
More on the Great Bruce Williams. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the profile piece he did on Bruce Williams years ago while writing for Inside Radio. In the piece, Williams is very frank about the success he achieved in the talk radio business and talks openly about the ups and downs he experienced in radio. Williams told Kinosian at the time, “I don’t know many people who’ve been successful who haven’t also failed. We’re blessed to be in a society where failure isn’t a condemnation.” Read this insightful piece here.
Monday Memo: PPM Myths Debunked. Consultant Holland Cooke presents this week’s Monday Memo in which he offers some advice on station identification and keeping listeners in order to maximize ratings. In some circles, post-PPM thought was that the meter diminished – or even eliminated! – the need to say the calls/frequency because now the meter registered “true” listening. Cooke says there are still very good reasons to ID the station. Read his memo on this matter here.
WLS-AM, Chicago Program Director Peter Bolger to Retire. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, five-year WLS-AM operations manager and program director Peter Bolger announces he’s retiring from the station and the radio business, effective March 15. There is no predestined successor to Bolger. Cumulus Media Chicago vice president and market manager Marv Nyren says, “I cannot begin to tell you how appreciative I am for all that Peter has done for this station over the years and the recent rebuild of the on-air lineup. I can only thank him for all he’s done and wish him the best as he enjoys life. With many years in radio…he has been a proponent of our medium and we will miss his calm personality and talent in the hallways.” As Feder notes, the last five years have seen a lot of change at the venerable AM signal and there’s nowhere else to go but up for struggling news/talker. Read Feder’s thoughts on the matter here
Raj Sharan Rises to Program Bonneville’s Denver Sports Talk Duo. Assistant program director and executive producer Raj Sharan is promoted to program director for Bonneville’s Denver sports talk stations KKFN-FM “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” and KEPN-AM “ESPN Denver 1600,” effective immediately. The PD position opened after Armen Williams joined Entercom’s sports talk KILT-AM, Houston. Bonneville Denver VP/market manager Bob Call states, “I couldn’t be happier to give Raj the opportunity to program Denver’s biggest sports brand, ‘104.3 The Fan.’ Raj has a natural leadership quality that is apparent the moment you meet him. His creativity, superb coaching skills, and knowledge of winning sports content makes him the perfect choice to lead ‘104.3 The Fan’ into the future.”
Chris Ganoudis to Lead Curtis Media’s Raleigh News/Talk and Oldies Duo. Moving from JVC Broadcasting’s Orlando operations to Curtis Media Group’s Raleigh offices is radio sales and management pro Chris Ganoudis. He assumes the general manager position for the company’s news/talk WPTF, oldies WPTK-AM/W284CP “Just Right Radio,” and Triangle Traffic Network. Curtis Media Group president/COO, Trip Savery comments, “I am very pleased to welcome Chris to North Carolina and Curtis Media Group. Chris brings a proven track record of success and is a great addition to our Raleigh management team. I am confident he will lead these brands to even greater success.”
Entercom Launches Digital Sports Platform ‘Radio.com Sports.’ A new digital sports platform is being unveiled by Entercom called RADIO.COM Sports. Entercom says this will serve “to magnify the company’s unmatched local business to a more prominent national scale in order to better serve its listeners and advertisers. RADIO.COM Sports will sit atop Entercom’s deep roster of leading local sports stations and will also be fully integrated into RADIO.COM.” Entercom president of sports Mike Dee adds, “RADIO.COM Sports is a strategic initiative to further elevate our existing portfolio of local brands and personalities and provide a more robust and unified experience for fans coast to coast. The platform also offers our advertisers an efficient way to tap into Entercom’s scale and multiplatform content.” As part of the launch, RADIO.COM Sports will kick off its RADIO.COM Sports Insiders program, a network of experts across all major sports who will make appearances on Entercom sports stations nationwide to provide insight and commentary. This premium content will also be available on demand. Sports Insiders will include Joe Girardi, former Major League Baseball player, manager and current analyst for the MLB Network; Ross Tucker, former National Football League offensive lineman and current national sports broadcaster; Bob Nightengale, USA Today MLB columnist; Jason La Canfora, CBSSports.com NFL columnist; Armando Salguero, Miami Herald sports columnist; as well as others who will soon be added. Dee says, “We are going to be aggressive to expand our depth chart of new talent as well as use our existing stars in new ways on multiple distribution channels outside of their home market, and in many cases, on our expanding digital and editorial platforms.” Entercom inks Mercedes-Benz as its launch partner.
Beasley Reveals Q4 2018 and Full-Year Financial Data; Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 9.9%. The fourth quarter and 2018 full-year financial report for Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc indicates net revenue for Q4 was $75.6 million, an increase of 29.1%. For all of 2018, net revenue was $257.5 million, an increase of 10.3% over 2017. These numbers reflect the sale of Beasley’s six-station Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville cluster, the exchange of WMJX-FM and $12 million for sports talk WBZ-FM in Boston, and the acquisition of country WXTU-FM, Philadelphia from Entercom. The company’s pro forma net revenue cited here reflects the operations and results from WBZ-FM in the three and 12 months ended December 31, 2018 and WMJX-FM in the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2017, prior to its divestiture. The results also reflect a full quarter’s contribution from WXTU-FM in the three months ended December 31, 2018 and approximately five months of contribution from WXTU-FM in the 12 months ended December 31, 2018 and four months of contribution from the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations in the 12-month period ended December 31, 2017. Beasley’s pro forma net revenue for Q4 was up 9.4%. For the full year of 2018, pro forma net revenue was $263.5 million, an increase of 4.7% over 2017. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Our record 2018 fourth quarter and full-year revenue and strong operating results, despite the benefit of non-cash transaction related and tax items in the 2017 period, highlight the value being created as we execute strategies to expand our scale, diversify our revenue mix, and leverage the value of our local brands in our core and ancillary verticals. Actual fourth quarter revenue rose by 29.1% on a year-over-year basis driven by net revenue increases at 10 of our clusters, recent acquisitions and station swaps and approximately $3.9 million of fourth quarter gross political revenue. While we remain focused on diversifying our operating base, our fourth quarter pro-forma revenue rose an impressive 9.9%. Fourth quarter net income declined from 2017 levels solely because of gains and tax benefits in the year-ago period that did not recur in the 2018 fourth quarter.”
Jeff Foxworthy Visits Old Pal Jim Villanucci on ‘101.7 The Team’ in Albuquerque. Pictured above is comic Jeff Foxworthy with afternoon drive talk show host Jim Villanucci at Team Broadcasting’s sports talk KQTM-FM, “101.7 The Team” studios. Foxworthy is an old friend of Villanucci’s from the stand-up circuit and stopped by to chat on Villanucci’s radio show while appearing in the Albuquerque area. Pictured above are (from l-r): Villanucci, Foxworthy, show special correspondent Sam Hauser, and show producer Robert Maler. Hauser is new to Villanucci’s show, officially joining today as special correspondent from his most recent gig with Alpha Media’s Austin, Minnesota station group where he managed the sports department at its news/talk outlet for three years.
Border Wall Battle, New Government Shutdown, Warren in Iowa/2020 Presidential Hopefuls, Ilhan Omar Anti-Israel Statements, Virginia Political Chaos, Venezuela Unrest, Grammy Awards, Alliance of American Football Debut, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The political battle over President Trump’s plan for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; the threat of another federal government shutdown; Senator Elizabeth Warren announces presidential campaign and the related story of the Democratic field of contenders; the flap over Muslim U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s accusation AIPAC buys off U.S. politicians to support Israel; the political chaos in Virginia over the blackface scandals involving Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring and the sexual assault accusation against Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax; the unstable political situation 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 over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
SEAN HANNITY TO KEYNOTE: 2019 Talkers Convention Set for NYC. The 22nd annual installment of the longest-running, most-important national talk media convention has been set for Friday, June 7, 2019 in New York City. Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. It has just been confirmed that Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel superstar Sean Hannity will reprise his long-standing role as the morning breakfast host and kickoff speaker for this convention. Hannity will be joined by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison in the event’s annual one-on-one opening keynote conversation. The rest of the stellar agenda of speakers and sessions will begin to be announced next week. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, one-on-one conversations and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To take advantage of the hotel discount available to TALKERS convention attendees, contact the Hilton Fashion District Hotel located directly across the street from the venue at 152 W. 26th St, New York, NY 10001 by clicking here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. A new rock outlet debuts in Columbus as iHeartMedia flips WXZX-FM from sports talk to classic rock as “105.7 The Brew, The New Generation of Classic Rock.” iHeartMedia Columbus VP of programming Michael McCoy says the station’s playlist will focus on rock from the 80s into the 2000s, including songs from core artists such as AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Tom Petty, Soundgarden, Van Halen, Metallica, Mötley Crüe, and Guns N’ Roses. The station is bringing Columbus radio personalities Mark Blazor and DaveMan aboard. McCoy says, “We are excited to offer a unique station for Columbus’ rock listeners. The Brew’s mission is to provide one great rock song after another and that’s why we call it the new generation of Classic Rock.”…..Programmer Randy Hawke is promoted to vice president of programming at Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s Madison, Wisconsin cluster. He’s been serving as PD for rock WJJO and OM for the cluster that includes rhythmic CHR WJQM “93.1 Jamz,” alternative WRIS “106.7 The Resistance,” and sports talk WOZN. In this new role, he’ll serve as PD for adult contemporary WMGM “Magic 98,” country WWQM “Q106,” and classic country WHIT “Hank.” At the same time, the company ups APD/MD Jennifer “Ski” Crowell to program director for WJJO…..On-air pro Bill Mitchell adds to his morning gig on Magnum Media’s country WMBZ, West Bend, Wisconsin by also handling the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at the company’s country WVTY, Racine, Wisconsin. Magnum Media owner Dave Magnum says, “Factoring in market-wide remote broadcasts and promotions, we wanted some personality cross pollination between ‘Buzz Country’ and ‘VTY Country.’ With [morning host] Mitch Morgan and Bill Mitchell on both stations, we’ve achieved that objective.”…..A number of staff changes take place at Griffin Communications’ Tulsa cluster. First, Dave “Wavy Davy” Michaels joins the company as PD and afternoon personality at classic hits KBEZ “92.9 The Drive.” Wavy Davy comes from Cox Media Group’s crosstown classic rock KJSR “103.3 The Eagle.” Second, Tanner Messer is promoted to host of the afternoon drive shift at classic country KXBL “Big Country 99.5” and the evening jock at country KVOO. Finally, Nikki Reid is now host of afternoons on KVOO and night jock at CHR KHTT “K-HITS 106.9.”…..Pictured below is the staff of rhythmic oldies XHRM, San Diego “Magic 92.5” bestowing the first-ever “Magic 92.5 Lifetime Achievement Award” to radio legend Art Laboe. The award recognizes Laboe’s many achievements over his legendary 75-year radio broadcasting career and was presented in front of an audience of more than 6,000 people at the station’s 2019 Valentine’s Super Love Jam concert on February 9. Pictured (from l-r) are: Magic 92.5’s Greg Mack, Rick Nuhn, Xavier “The X-Man,” R Dub!, Laboe, Jagger & Kristi, Sheryl Love, Hurricane Andrew, Jammin’ Jay Michaels, Kelly Cole, and Billy Blast. Photo: Alan Hess