Mike Broomhead exits KFYI, Phoenix. In a social media post yesterday (1/5), morning drive talk show host Mike Broomhead told his listeners he will not return to the air after his holiday vacation and is leaving his talk host duties at iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFYI, Phoenix. Broomhead had been KFYI before moving into the morning drive slot 10 years ago after Barry Young retired from the station where he’d been on air for decades. Broomhead says in his post, “After 10 amazing years I have decided to leave KFYI. As sure as I am that God put me there I am as sure that this is the right decision for me. This is 100% my decision Thank all of you who have listened. I have some time to figure out what is next. Will keep you posted God Bless.” AZCentral reports that news anchor and morning show staff member Rob Hunter appears to be handling the morning show duties for now.
Steve Cortes to Host Afternoons on WIND-AM, Chicago. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, CNN political commentator Steve Cortes – also a member of Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council – is the new afternoon drive host at Salem Media Group’s WIND-AM, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer.” The 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show had been hosted by former U.S. Rep Joe Walsh (who also hosted the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show on the Salem Radio Network) who left his post to run for president as a Republican. In a statement, Salem Media Group RVP and general manager Jeff Reisman says, “The insight and political acumen that Steve will bring to our audience each day will be second to none. As we enter this election year, Steve will provide an inside perspective on what’s happening on the campaign trail.”
WPGG Talk Radio Host Harry Hurley Signs Multi-Year Contract Extension to Remain with Townsquare Media. TALKERS magazine Heavy Hundred member Harry Hurley signs a multi-year contract extension with Townsquare Media to continue to host his long-running “Hurley in the Morning” program. Hurley also serves as the senior programming consultant for WPGG. Hurley, who has been with Townsquare Media since July of 1992, says, “I am pleased to have enjoyed such rare longevity with one company. It’s a blessing that I have never taken for granted. I love the people that I have the privilege to work with at all levels of the company for nearly three decades. We are presently living history. I appreciate the opportunity to continue to be a part of the vital spoken-word format in our country.” Hurley presently serves as one of the rotating hosts for the FOX News Radio nationally syndicated radio show, “FOX Across America,” that airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and fills in on other FOX News Radio programs.
Mike Francesa’s ‘Mike’s On’ Show Debuts on RADIO.COM Today at 5:00 pm ET. We knew that New York sports talk radio star Mike Francesa was destined for Entercom’s RADIO.COM platform in addition to his half-hour show airing on WFAN. Now, Entercom reveals that his “Mike’s On” show will stream live from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm daily, with the 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm portion also airing on WFAN. Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “Mike Francesa is a pillar in sports radio who has played an integral part in driving sports conversations in New York. We’re excited to continue our partnership with Mike and offer the same unrivaled sports content our New York listeners love to a broader audience on RADIO.COM.” Francesa says, “I’m looking forward to working with RADIO.COM in a variety of new ways and continuing my tenure on WFAN. This new opportunity will allow me to connect with loyal listeners all over the country on both broadcast and digital and I’m looking forward to making this new show a success.”
Cumulus Flips Classic Country KBZU to FM Simulcast of KKOB-AM, Albuquerque. Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM already has a 50,000-watt “blowtorch” AM signal. That signal is getting an FM partner as Cumulus Media drops the classic country format on KBZU-FM and adds the class C signal to the KKOB broadcast. KKOB had been heard on FM translator K233CG at 94.5 FM. Cumulus says the station “will cover all of Albuquerque, as well as Santa Fe and the adjacent suburbs.” Cumulus Albuquerque VP and market manager Jeff Berry says, “KKOB is approaching its 100th year of serving New Mexico and what better way to celebrate than to expand our platform to a full-strength 100,000-watt FM signal? The KKOB News Radio ‘blowtorch’ will be blasted on both AM and FM signals, giving New Mexicans easy access for news, information, UNM football and basketball, and the best on-air talent in the business. This is a huge win for our listeners, advertisers, and partners.” In addition to the new FM signal, KKOB is upping the news programming with a new, 30-minute morning newscast called, “The KKOB Morning Briefing,” at 5:00 am starting next Monday (1/13). Spoken-word operations manager Jared Hart adds, “I feel fortunate to be a part of such an important moment for one of New Mexico’s biggest brands. There are so many potential listeners who never sample AM stations, so we can now put our amazing programs in front of the largest possible audience.”
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 December 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk. The period leading up to the holidays usually does not help spoken-word stations in the ratings battle and this year was no different, with 67% of sports stations in PPM markets faltering from the November survey to the December survey while just 20% improved. Stations showing increased weekly 6+ AQH shares were linked to successful football campaigns. Entercom’s WJZ-FM, Baltimore (the NFL’s Ravens) was up by six-tenths; iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis (the NFL’s Vikings) rose five-tenths; and Tegna’s WBNS-FM, Columbus (Ohio State Buckeyes) was also up five-tenths. However, comparing year-over-year ratings, 65% of sports talkers improved, led by KFXN, Minneapolis (up 2.1 shares); Entercom’s KWFN, San Diego (up 1.5 shares); and Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco (up 1.1 shares). KFXN was the only sports station to rank #1 in its market in December. WBNS-FM ranked #2 and Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia ranked #3. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Monday Memo: Pay Attention (They don’t). Broadcasters have never had more competition for listener mind-share. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke offers some NEWS Year’s Resolutions. Read it here.
U.S.-Iran Tensions, Trump Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, Financial Markets and the Economy, Weinstein Trial, and 2020 Golden Globe Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of the U.S.’ killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani; the impeachment articles against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November and the rise of Michael Bloomberg in the polls; financial markets activity and the state of the U.S. economy; today’s start of the trial of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein; and Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated Chad Benson show announces it is moving its live broadcast time to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET, effective Monday. January 20. Radio America says that a re-feed at 6:00 pm ET will continue. Radio America says, “Since launching Chad into national syndication in 2015, the show has increased in popularity and audience growth and has been a major factor in building audience growth on its affiliates in the A25-54 demo. As a result, many stations have requested the show’s live feed time be earlier in the day going into this important election year.” Stations wishing to upgrade to the new time slot may contact Radio America at email@example.com…..It appears as if President Trump tipped America that Rush Limbaugh and syndicator Premiere Networks have agreed to a new, four-year deal to continue the nationally syndicated “Rush Limbaugh Program.” At his Miami rally, Trump told the crowd that Limbaugh had signed the new deal. Premiere confirmed to CNN Business that there is a new contract but did not specify its length…..PodcastOne is announcing that three of its podcasts are reaching the 100-episode milestone. Celebrity/influencer-headlined podcasts, “House of Kim” with Bravo star Kim Zolciak; “Make Speidi Famous Again” with the reality TV couple Spencer and Heidi Pratt; and “Cold Case Files,” in partnership with A&E, all hit the 100-episode mark this month. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “PodcastOne’s great strength has always been picking the hits and future hits while building our network and creating financial success for our partners. Congrats to Kim, Spencer and Heidi, and A&E on this terrific achievement.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Philadelphia, Beasley Media Group names Matt Cord host of the midday show at classic rock WMGK, taking over for Debbi Calton, who retired last month after 26 years on the station. Cord has been on air in Philly on rock WMMR-FM and WBEN-FM. He says, “I’m so thrilled to continue Debbi Calton’s incredible legacy with the WMGK workplace audience. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work side-by-side with Philly radio legend John DeBella and longtime afternoon drive personality Andre Gardner!”…..Entercom ups Orphan Andrew to assistant program director and music director for CHR KUDL, Sacramento “106.5 The End.” He’ll continue to host the station’s midday show. Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “Since joining ‘106.5 The End,’ Orphan Andrew has demonstrated his passion for the station and our listeners, and his promotion to APD and music director is a direct result of that. His long-standing relationship with his audience and broad understanding of pop culture makes him the ideal candidate. I’m excited to continue to see his positive energy and spirit in the hallways and hear what he can add to one of America’s most successful top 40 brands.”…..Cumulus Media announces a new air talent lineup at country KRMD, Shreveport, Louisiana that includes morning show “Melinda and Mason” – with Melinda Coyer and Mason Stanfield. Stanfield joins Coyer and Cumulus Shreveport from Adams Radio Group in Las Cruces, New Mexico where he was afternoon personality and music director at country KGRT and morning host for classic rock KSNM. Current morning co-host Mike Martindale is moving to afternoon drive on KRMD…..WSYR-TV, Syracuse news anchor Christie Casciano is providing news updates three times each morning on Galaxy Media’s adult contemporary WZUN, Syracuse “Sunny 102.” Casciano will join morning host Rick Gary at 7:00 am, 7:30 am, and 8:00 am each day. She says, “Even though I anchor the late-night news on television, I still have a passion for morning radio – which is where I got my start in this business, thanks to Rick. Rick and I will be committed to delivering you up to date local news and events that touch our community, keeping you informed, and hopefully giving you a reason to smile on your way to work and school.”…..Reach Media launches the hip hop morning radio show, “The Morning Hustle,” now available in syndication. Reach calls it “the freshest program in broadcasting with an entertaining, humorous, and informative take on urban pop culture from the Millennial and Generation Z point of view – meant to wake up its audience to the beat of today’s hip hop. The talent lineup includes: HeadKrack, Angie Ange, “On-Air” Jordan, Lore’l, and Billy Sorrells.
TALKERS and The Epoch Times’ Co-Presented “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” Takes Place in NYC; Video Available for Viewing. A 90-minute panel discussion took place in New York today (10/1). The “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” was a panel discussion that included radio talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt of Salem Radio Network, John Batchelor of WABC, New York, and Tom Sullivan of Talk Media Network, as well as a group of experts on the present state of China and its increasingly strained relationship with the United States including Nan Su of NTDTV, Joshua Philipp of The Epoch Times and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times. The conversation focused on the US-China trade war, the Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, China’s military buildup, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more. See the video of today’s event here.
Ramsey Solutions Addresses National Student Loan Crisis. The company is working to help families avoid traps of student loans and show them a better way to pay for college. Ramsey Solutions chief executive officer/“Dave Ramsey Show” host Dave Ramsey declares, “Americans have been fed a lie that it is impossible to afford college without student loans. That lie has the average graduate burdened with over $35,000 in student loans from the moment they’re handed their diplomas. The system is broken, and we want people to know the truth: It is possible to pay cash for college.” Thought leaders Ramsey, Mark Cuban, and Seth Godin are among those interviewed in “Borrowed Future,” an eight-episode podcast series featuring real-life stories that explore the student loan crisis. Anthony ONeal, author of “Debt Free-Degree: The Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Your Kid Through College Without Student Loans,” remarks, “Parents and teens believe that student loans are the only option, but debt doesn’t open doors – it closes them. I travel the country speaking to thousands of people each year. I meet students all the time who are working hard, applying for scholarships and grants, and are actually graduating debt-free. I believe more parents and students can do this, but they need a plan. We’re here to provide that plan.”
NAB PILOT Program Announces Internship Grant Recipients. Launched this past spring, PILOT is the National Association of Broadcasters’ technology initiative which has thus far provided paid internships to 13 NAB member organizations for undergraduate students in radio and television engineering/technology positions. The program is provided in partnership with the NAB’s Leadership Foundation as part of an effort to grow technical and engineering talent for the industry. Grants for the spring 2020 term will be provided to the following NAB members: Michigan State University news/talk WKAR-AM, news/talk-classical WKAR-FM, and PBS affiliate WKAR-TV, East Lansing (Michigan); Butler County Radio Network (Butler, Pennsylvania) news/talk WISR, country WBUT, and rock WLER; Scripps Media Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV-TV; and Marquee Broadcasting Bowling Green, Kentucky’s WNKY-TV. NAB’s executive vice president and chief technology officer Sam Matheny notes, “We have been encouraged by the response to this program and are thrilled to continue it for a second year. PILOT and the NAB Leadership Foundation remain committed to assisting NAB member stations in attracting the best and brightest new candidates to a career in broadcast technology.” NAB Leadership Foundation president Michelle Duke adds, “The NAB Foundation is happy to provide opportunities with PILOT for students in the broadcast technology and engineering fields. Our intent is to continue to expand the pool of talent for our industry.” The program seeks to help NAB members that do not currently offer engineering or media-technology internships. It will provide resources to assist selected stations in identifying and supporting interns, as well as assistance for the selected interns to attend next year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.
TALKERS News Notes. Celebrities and politicians were omnipresent in Staten Island this past Saturday (9/28) at the nuptials of Salem Media Group New York news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” executive producer/talk host Frank Morano and his fiancé Rachel O’Brien. “This truly was the most unique assemblage of people ever to come to one party,” he maintains. It’s hard to argue that claim as Morano’s WNYM colleague, Joe Piscopo, got the afternoon started with a Frank Sinatra “New York New York”/“That’s Life” medley reminiscent of how Piscopo did it on “Saturday Night Live.” Morano is quick to note that Piscopo’s date for the affair was none other than supermodel Carol Alt. Among others spotted in the crowd were congressman Dan Donovan; former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey; billionaire businessman/New York City-based Red Apple Group chair/CEO (and new owner of New York City news/talk WABC) John Catsimatidis; former mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis; and criminal defense attorney Arthur Aidala, currently representing Harvey Weinstein. Syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher was in attendance as were talk host/author Kevin McCullough, Richard Bey, sportscaster Russ Salzberg, and Shelley Goldberg. There were no reports of fisticuffs or violence of any type at the wedding. That is actually quite remarkable and noteworthy, given that John A. Gotti and his sister, reality TV star/author Victoria Gotti, were there along with Guardian Angels founder/talk show host Curtis Sliwa. Things could have gotten particularly dicey as it was Gotti who was charged with ordering the 1992 kidnapping and shooting of Sliwa. Gotti went on trial four times with each trial ending in a hung jury. “Needless to say, we kept John and Curtis on opposite sides of the room,” Morano quips. “It did lead to one of the more interesting quotes of the evening. As Curtis was dancing, John remarked to me, ‘Do you think Curtis would mind if I cut in to dance with his wife?’” Also at the wedding was Maureen Gioeli, the wife of Tommy “Shots” Gioeli, who Morano describes as “the alleged acting boss of the Colombo crime family” ….. Six-year (2003 – 2009) Bernalillo County (New Mexico) sheriff Darren White will join Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB “AM 770 News Radio” as midday host (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm), beginning next Monday (10/7). Cumulus Media Albuquerque vice president/market manager Jeff Berry comments, “Darren is one of the best political minds around, with deep roots in the Albuquerque media market and New Mexico politics. KKOB delivers the best lineup in radio and Darren is going to help us fill out our already amazing roster.” White states, “I’m honored to join the legendary KKOB and host a show in a time slot between a national radio powerhouse in Rush Limbaugh and a radio legend in TJ Trout. I’m grateful to Jeff Berry for this amazing opportunity and excited to get behind the mic to continue the long tradition of engaging talk radio.” Formerly a correspondent for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV, White was secretary of New Mexico’s Department of Public Safety and Albuquerque’s chief public safety officer ….. Pre-game and post-game host of Cincinnati Reds games, Tommy Thrall, will succeed retired hall of famer Marty Brennaman as the team’s lead radio voice on iHeartMedia Cincinnati news/talk WLW. After calling minor league Pensacola Blue Wahoos games for six years, Thrall joined the Reds crew this season. He previously was the radio voice of the Quad Cities River Bandits ….. Three-year senior producer/audience development & engagement Stephanie Curtis is promoted to Minnesota Public Radio’s MPR News director of programming. Executive director of news & programming Nancy Cassutt comments, “Steph holds a clear vision for what needs to come next in our programming in order to be relevant and engaging with our audiences. She understands our newsroom and where we have the best opportunities to grow and better serve our listeners. Combined with her wealth of talents, this makes her a perfect fit for this role.” Curtis has been with MPR for over 25 years and is the “Movie Maven” on the weekly “Cube Critics” podcast ….. WFPL news editor Jonese Franklin is boosted to local host for NPR’s “All Things Considered” on the Louisville Public Media news/talk station. WFPL director of news and programming Erica Peterson notes, “Jonese brings a diverse depth of experience to the job, including years working as a journalist, editor and broadcaster. I’m excited to hear her on the air every day, and I know our listeners will be as well” ….. Beginning next Monday (10/7), iHeartRadio Broadway debuts “Show & Tell with Frank DiLella,” a weekly Broadway-focused original podcast. New episodes will be available every Monday via the iHeartPodcast Network. Host of “On Stage,” Spectrum News NY1 theater correspondent DiLella is an Emmy Award winning journalist. According to iHeartRadio Broadway director Sarah Jane Arnegger, “We’re thrilled to have Frank DiLella join iHeartRadio Broadway. Frank has been an integral part of the Broadway industry for years. With his built-in audience, this podcast will serve as an extension of what Frank does best with his comprehensive reporting style and celebrity theatrical interviews.” DiLella remarks, “I am truly excited to be teaming up with iHeartMedia and iHeartRadio Broadway as it expands its Broadway programming. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the folks who make up the theater community in New York and abroad. With this new opportunity, I look forward to bringing my in-depth conversations and commentary with the movers and shakers of the industry to a larger audience.”
Cumulus Media Cluster Sets Annual “Christmas For Our Troops.” The fundraiser and series of donation drives that will benefit our service personnel will commence one week from this Friday (10/11) and run through November 12. In partnership with Step Up For Soldiers, Cumulus Media Wilmington, North Carolina will collect items donated by the community for deployed servicemen and women and raise funds to ship the packages overseas in time for Christmas. Cumulus Wilmington vice president and market manager Eric McCart states, “In addition to collecting items, an important need we have is to collect money for our ‘Christmas For Our Troops Postage Fund.’ It costs $14.35 to send each flat-rate box overseas. The more monetary donations we receive, the more Christmas packages we can send to our troops. We will be accepting both ‘Postage Fund’ and suggested item donations while we’re on location at our collection sites. ‘Postage Fund’ donations can also be made online.” Items to be collected will include writing utensils, games, snacks, bottled drinks, and anything else that is easy-to-use, easy-to-wash, and easy-to-store. In addition to WAAV “980 The Wave – News, Talk, & Sports,” the company’s Wilmington, North Carolina cluster includes WWQQ “Double Q-101.3 Cape Fear’s Country Leader,” adult contemporary WGNI “102.7 GNI Today’s Hits & Yesterday’s Favorites,” urban contemporary WMNX “Coast 97.3,” and classic rock WKXS “94.5 The Hawk.”
Stations Go From One Backyard To Another. Headed by Van A. Michael, Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting of Pennsylvania, LLC closes on its purchase of seven Pennsylvania stations from … and here’s where it gets tricky … Daniel J. Farr’s (also) Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting PA, LLC. Neither of these Backyard entities has any other broadcast interests. Stations involved are sports talk WWPA “ESPN Radio 1340”; WWPA’s FM translator W267BJ at 101.3; WILQ “105.1 Today’s Best Country”; and hot AC WLMY – all in Williamsport; rock WZXR, South Williamsport; rock WCXR, Lewisburg (which simulcasts WZXR); and classic hits-oldies WBZD, Muncy. Kalil & Company, Inc. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Veteran consultant/programmer John Sebastian signs the first client for his “WOW Factor” format – KOAI, Phoenix – and as part of the deal, he will be the consultant and hands-on program director of the Riviera Broadcasting outlet. Riviera Broadcasting chief executive officer Michael Cutchall remarks, “John has been one of the most innovative programmers in the history of radio. There is no one better to connect with listeners and communities in his approach and philosophy to programming. His excitement to join our team is contagious and his desire to win is relentless.” Sebastian asserts that KOAI will be “the first of many ‘WOW Factor’ stations across America with an eclectic mix of music researched and curated for baby boomers.” His previous Phoenix programming background already includes KUPD, KSLX, and KDKB. Sebastian has programmed in other markets such as Los Angeles (KTWV, KHJ, and KZLA); Chicago (WJMK); Dallas (KPLX); Boston (WCOZ); Seattle (KISW); Minneapolis (KDWB); and Nashville (WSM-FM). According to Nielsen Audio PPM data, the February 2019 through August 2019 (6+) topline for classic hits-oldies KOAI is: 2.1 – 2.1 – 1.8 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.5. It ranks #25 in August 2019; iHeartMedia adult contemporary KESZ is on top (7.0, 6+). ….. Former Bohn Broadcast Services vice president of business development Chris Roth is appointed program director of Entercom Washington, DC classic hits-oldies WIAD “94.7 The Drive.” Roth will “work closely” with Entercom classic hits-oldies format captain Chris Ebbott, who programs Los Angeles’ co-owned/similarly formatted KRTH “K-Earth 101.” Entercom Washington, DC senior vice president and market manager Phil Zachary comments, “One year into the format, we are satisfied with the station’s position, but we are constantly seeking new ways to innovate and improve. Chris Roth brings the vernacular and market knowledge to finetune ‘94.7 The Drive’ to DC’s particular tastes. He’s uniquely-suited for this role; I am excited to see him help our station excel.” Roth notes, “Programming ‘94.7 The Drive’ is a dream job for me. I’m passionate about the classic hits format and I’m looking forward to making it the fun destination for DC listening.” Roth previously was an on-air talent at Baltimore adult contemporary sibling WLIF “Today’s 101.9”; director of programming for WAVA, Washington; a reporter at Washington’s all-news WTOP; and director of programming and operations for Winchester, Virginia hot AC WINC-FM ….. As noted in this space just last Friday (9/27), Scott Roddy exited his brand/content director post with Hubbard Radio St. Louis adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch” for a “yet-to-be-revealed position.” Well, it didn’t take long for the mystery to be revealed as Roddy will join Entercom Portland next Monday (10/7) as program director/operations manager for country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” and hot AC KRSK “105.1 The Buzz.” Entercom Portland senior vice president/market manager Kim Martinez states, “Scott has an impressive track record programming leading stations; we’re fortunate to add him to the team. I am confident his proven leadership will enable him to step in and immediately enhance the programming efforts for our stations.” Roddy notes, “I’m stoked to join the iconic ‘Wolf’ and to bring some electricity back to the ‘Buzz.’ Kim Martinez is building a world-class operation at Entercom Portland. Her passion for our industry, audience, investors, and local team is unparalleled. I’d like to thank Kim; [chief programming officer] Pat Paxton; [regional president] Doug Abernethy; and [senior vice president of programming] Dave Richards for the opportunity.” Prior to joining WARH in February 2016, Roddy programmed stations for Entercom Indianapolis, Oasis Radio Group Fort Wayne (Indiana), and Saga Communications ….. This Saturday (10/5) at 8:00 am, iHeartMedia Chicago urban contemporary WGCI-FM, urban AC WVAZ “V-103,” and gospel WGRB “Inspiration 1390” will hold the third annual “Sista Strut” 3K breast cancer charity walk to benefit the Chicago chapter of the Sisters Network. According to iHeartMedia Chicago director of urban programming Derrick Brown, “We are dedicated to serving the community in which we live and work. We remain committed to doing our part in being a source of support and encouragement for those battling and recovering from this disease.” WGCI-FM morning show member Kendra G and WVAZ midday talent Bionce Foxx will host the event. Special guests will include “Steve Harvey Morning Show” co-host Carla Ferrell ….. Forming the new morning team at Emmis Indianapolis’ country WLHK “97.1 Hank FM” are Caleb James and Mindy Winkler. James most recently programmed NRG Media Omaha rhythmic CHR KOPW “Power 106.9,” while Winkler arrives from WLHK’s adult contemporary sibling WYXB “B-105.7.” Former “Hank” morning driver Dave O’Brien is now doing similar duties at Entercom Denver classic rock KQMT “99.5 The Mountain” ….. Louisville alternative WGHL “Alt 105.1” program director/afternoon talent Phil “PK” Kukawinski tacks on programming duties for Alpha Media adult hits cluster-mate WXMA “102.3 Jack-FM.” He succeeds Sarah Jordan, who continues as marketing director and mid-day personality (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) on co-owned CHR WDJX “99-7 DJX” ….. To help raise funds, supplies, and awareness for rescue dogs, iHeartMedia Colorado Springs hot AC KVUU “My 99.9” will team with the Lovepup Foundation for the initial “Lovepup Family Fest” one week from Saturday (10/12, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) at Weidner Field. KVUU morning drive talent Johnjay of the syndicated “Johnjay and Rich” show will host the event. All money and pet supply donations will benefit local Colorado Springs animal rescue organizations ….. Meanwhile, KVUU cluster-mate KCYY “Y-96.9 #1 For New Country” and Oakwood Homes join forces four weeks from today (10/29) for the first-ever “Boo Bash” to benefit HBA Cares. Hosted by “Y-96.9” afternoon drive host Shawn Patrick, the event will feature entertainment from Matt Stell, Noah Schnacky, and Tyler Walker Band. “Boo Bash” proceeds will benefit local transitional and accessible housing in the Colorado Springs area, along with other local community projects. Doors will open at 6:00 pm at Boot Barn Hall ….. WCYQ “100.3 The Wolf” nighttime talent Paul Orr exits the SummitMedia Knoxville country station to focus on his voiceover business. Before joining WCYQ, Orr worked in Birmingham (WZZK); Oklahoma City (KTST); Fort Myers (WWGR); and Shreveport (KRMD) ….. A “goat” is loose in Hagerstown-Chambersburg (Maryland-Pennsylvania) as Verstandig Media transitions CHR WNUZ “Now 92.1” to classic hits-oldies WIKG “92.1 The Goat – The Greatest of All Time.” This comes after a weekend of stunting with all-Christmas music; the station is inviting listeners to “Take Your Goat To Work.” Continuing the theme, the “goat herd” is airing 20 songs in a row in its first week.
Delilah Honored With AFN Challenge Coin. For her unwavering support of service members and veterans, Premiere Networks’ adult contemporary host Delilah received the American Forces Network challenge coin last Thursday (9/26) at the Radio Show in Dallas. Military challenge coins have been issued to servicemen and servicewomen since World War I as a symbol of honor, respect, gratitude, and loyalty. Delilah is heard weeknights at 7:00 pm in Japan, Korea, and central Europe on AFN Radio’s “Today’s Best Hits Adult Contemporary” channel. Pictured left to right are: Tom Arnholt of AFN programming and operations, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Delilah, who co-hosted last week’s NAB Marconi Awards, and Curt Eckstein of AFN programming and operations.
KKOB, Albuquerque Celebrates 95 Years On Air. On Tuesday evening (4/5), Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB-AM celebrated 95 years on air with a birthday bash at the New Mexico Natural History Museum in Albuquerque that drew some 800 people, including listeners, clients and past on-air talent. The photo above is the station’s first studio at the original transmitter site in Las Cruces, where it signed on on April 5, 1922. The station moved to Albuquerque in 1932, and in July 1941 upped its power to 50,000 watts. Cumulus Media added the 94.5 FM simulcast on translator K233CG, Sandia in August of 2016.
Jeff Lyon to Lead Cumulus Media Abilene. Radio management pro Jeff Lyon joins Cumulus Media to serve as VP/market manager for the Abilene, Texas cluster that includes sports talk KTLT-FM, “The Ticket,” classic rock KHXS “The Bear,” country KBCY, and CHR KCDD “Power 103.” Lyon was most recently with Townsquare Media’s Victoria, Texas four-station cluster as president/chief revenue officer. Cumulus Media regional vice president Mark Sullivan comments, “We’re thrilled to have a manager of Jeff’s caliber joining our team in Abilene. Jeff brings a wealth of experience and knowledge that provides him with a strong foundation for success.”
Trump Campaign-Russia Investigation Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 3-7. The investigation into possible connections between Russian agents and Trump campaign personnel was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Neil Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination battle. Coming in at #3 was the deaths by chemical weapons of civilians in the Syrian conflict, and following at #4 was President Donald Trump’s meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Cox Launches COMET Programmatic Platform. The company says the launch of this programmatic platform – dubbed COMET (Cox Media Technology) – brings together data from Cox’s dozens of companies to connect buyers and sellers across all advertising channels, including desktop, mobile, video, and TV. Cox Enterprises EVP and COO Alex Taylor says, “Our company’s investment in COMET is an example of our commitment to drive innovation and enhance the customer experience. COMET’s technology will use customized data to establish meaningful connections to better serve the needs of the constantly evolving advertising ecosystem.” Cox Enterprises SVP and general manager of corporate strategy and investments Duncan O’Brien adds, “The world of advertising is transforming before our eyes, and the necessity to support this evolving marketplace is expanding. Cox is fusing technology with data, access and expertise to better serve the needs of the advertising ecosystem. We have a long, proud history in the media industry, and with COMET, we’re using this experience and knowledge to best prepare for the future of the advertising business.”
TALKERS News Notes. This weekend, Westwood One is presenting exclusive radio coverage of the 2017 Masters Golf Tournament through Sunday. In addition to hole-by-hole coverage, WW1 will be broadcasting hourly updates, and a nightly, half-hour preview and recap show, “The Masters Tonight.” Bob Papa and Charlie Rymer are the anchors for live coverage from Augusta National Golf Club along with WW1 broadcast crew members Mark Carnevale, Brian Katrek, Maureen Madill, Kevin Kugler, Whit Watson, and Ted Emrich…..CBS RADIO announces its plans for the Chicago Cubs home opener at Wrigley Field. On Monday (4/10), CBS RADIO Chicago will broadcast live from the ballpark with on-air personalities on site and present a series of live events for fans. All day (starting at 5:00 am!) and leading up to the first pitch, WSCR “670 The Score,” WBBM-FM “B96,” WXRT, WUSN “US99,” and WJMK “104.3 K-HITS” personalities will be entertaining game attendees and fans at Wrigley. Additionally, The Score’s Ron Coomer will be reporting on-field during the opening ceremonies and for the raising of the 2016 World Series Championship Banner.
Emmis Head Jeff Smulyan to Receive 2017 TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. The TALKERS editorial board has announced today (4/5) the recipient of the publication’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. The prestigious honor is going to Emmis Communications chairman, CEO and founder, Jeff Smulyan. Smulyan has contributed to radio in a wide variety of ways and on a number of fronts as one of the industry’s most visionary leaders. Among his many achievements, Smulyan is the father of the all-sports talk format which he boldly launched as then-owner of WFAN, New York in 1987. He built Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications into one of the 10 largest radio corporations in America with an ongoing reputation for being one of the most employee-friendly radio companies in the business. Today, Emmis owns and operates 16 FM and 3 AM radio stations in New York, Los Angeles, Austin, St. Louis and Indianapolis, as well as its hometown Indianapolis Monthly magazine. Emmis owns the two top hip hop brands in the world, KPWR “Power 106” in Los Angeles and “HOT 97” in New York City. On the news/talk front, the company owns and operates heritage station WIBC, Indianapolis. Smulyan is the leading advocate of getting FM-enabled wireless devices in smartphones. He shepherded the unification of the radio industry behind the installation of the Emmis-created NextRadio application in a broad array of FM-enabled wireless devices, allowing consumers to listen to their local radio stations without data charges. Upon making the announcement of Smulyan’s selection to receive this award, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Having the guts and foresight to launch all-sports talk radio is reason enough for this wonderful member of our industry to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. But that is only the tip of an iceberg of accomplishments attributable to his stellar career and it is but a small token of our appreciation for his continuing body of work when stacked up against all the many industry awards and honors he has received over the years.” Past recipients of the award include: Don Imus, Harvey Nagler, Norm Pattiz, Jim Bohannon, and Don Barrett among others. Harrison will personally present the award to Smulyan during their “Fireside Chat” scheduled to take place at TALKERS 2017: A New Era in New York City on Friday, June 2. For more information about the 20th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention, please click here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Morning drive personality Teri Ann Schlesser re-ups with iHeartMedia Fresno’s adult contemporary KSOF “Soft Rock 98.9” to continue co-hosting the “Jason & Teri Ann Morning Show” (with partner Jason Hurst). Schlesser comments, “I’m so excited to continue my journey with ‘Soft Rock 98.9’ and iHeartMedia. The past eight years have been wonderful and challenging and I’ve never had so much fun doing what I love!”…..Across the hall at iHeartMedia Fresno’s hip hop KBOS “B95,” Monisha Mann returns to the station where she once interned to host the evening show from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. The 15-year radio pro says, “I am beyond excited and grateful for the opportunity to do nights in my hometown at ‘B95.’ I look forward to bringing new music to our listeners and I thank the team here in Fresno for believing in me to uphold the standards and ratings of this heritage station.”.…..Philadelphia alternative rocker WRFF “Radio 104.5” is offering a local couple the chance to be married on stage during the station’s 10th Annual Birthday Celebration Presented by Bernie Robbins Jewelers at the BB&T Pavilion on Sunday, June 11. The wedding ceremony will be officiated by Reverend Mike Jones and the winning bride and groom will be serenaded by Andrew McMahon during their first dance. The couple will also be showered with gifts including a five-star, all-inclusive honeymoon at the Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau. The promotion is in conjunction with WRFF’s 10th Birthday Celebration concerts, taking place on May 13 and June 11. The June 11 lineup features: The Killers, Bleachers, Foster The People, Kaleo, Marian Hill and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness…..iHeartMedia announces the debut of “On the Move with Enrique Santos,” the company’s hallmark English-language, Hispanic-targeted content initiative. The company says that in 2017, 53% of the Hispanic population in the U.S. are primarily Spanish-language first households and 43% are primary English-language households and its goal is to deliver to both at scale across broadcast and digital platforms. “On the Move with Enrique Santos” is the first English-language radio program to feature Hispanic broadcast powerhouse Enrique Santos, chairman and chief creative officer of iHeartLatino, iHeartMedia’s new Hispanic platform. “The new, two-hour music-intensive CHR weekend program features what’s hot and moving in music, entertainment, lifestyle and current events targeted to the Hispanic community.” It will originate from Miami and debut the weekend of April 15 on more than 100 iHeartMedia stations nationwide…..KTJJ, Farmington, Missouri morning personality Mark Toti was recently honored by the Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce with its Lifetime Achievement Award. The country radio personality spends a lot of time at various charity events in the community. The Alpha Media station notes that the Lifetime Achievement Award is not an annual one, but an honor that is only given out when an individual stands out above the rest. Toti comments, “I am quite honored to receive this award. It is very humbling. Farmington has a number of people who give their time to the community and they deserve this award as much as me. I don’t do what I do so people will say ‘Good job!’ I do it because it’s the right thing to do. Having said that, I’m very grateful for the recognition.”
Envision Broadcast Network Merges with Rocking M Media. The Envision here is not the Danno Wolkoff-led syndicator and sales firm Envision Networks. This Envision – the Envision Broadcast Network – owns hot AC KKGQ, Newton, Kansas “Q92” (Wichita market) and its mission is to “grow and expand employment opportunities in the radio industry for people who are blind or visually impaired.” Manhattan, Kansas-based Rocking M Media owns stations across the state of Kansas. Envision SVP of foundation and mission services Heather Hogan states, “Having already employed individuals with vision loss at some of its existing stations, Rocking M Media shares Envision’s belief that people with all abilities should have access to meaningful career paths. We’re proud of our successes with the Envision Broadcast Network and ‘Q92.’ The fact that we found a radio group with the capacity to carry out our objectives on a much wider scale will propel our mission forward.” Q92’s current on-air personalities who are blind or visually impaired will be brought into the Rocking M Media family. In addition, Rocking M Media will collaborate with Envision to take the Envision Broadcast Academy model to its entire multi-state listening area. The Envision Broadcast Academy is a hands-on training program intended to equip youth and adults with vision loss with the skills and encouragement they need to explore high-tech careers in the radio industry.
Two Talk Radio Pros Take Their Craft to the Internet. Longtime KABC, Los Angeles talk radio personality Larry Elder debuts his new Internet-only talk show emanating from his website, LarryElder.com. The program streams live Monday through Friday from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT. In addition to the live stream, Elder offers fans an “Elderado” premium subscription tier that includes access to commercial-free podcasts and more. Elder exited KABC late last year as the station was tweaking its news/talk format. Albuquerque media personality Larry Ahrens – a longtime news/talk KKOB host – is leaving his current gig at uPublic TV’s “The Morning Brew” program to begin an Internet radio endeavor focusing on healthy living. According to Albuquerque Business Journals, Ahrens is joining the Phoenix-based Doublewide Networkout operated by Arizona radio personality Dave Pratt. The show is being titled, “Smart Living with Larry Ahrens” and is expected to launch later this month.
Townsquare Media Teases Positive Q4 2014 Growth. In an 8-K filing with the SEC, Townsquare Media – which went public back in July of last year – announces pretty good 2014 fourth quarter financial numbers. In issuing the preliminary financial results, the company says its fourth quarter pro forma net revenue jumped 9% to 10% compared to the fourth quarter of 2013. Further, pro forma adjusted EBITDA rose 5% to 9% compared to the fourth quarter of 2013. For the year of 2014 as a whole, Townsquare expects to report revenue of about $385 million – an increase of about 8% compared to 2013.
Round One of Holiday PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of Holiday 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was December 4 to December 31. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
New York Broadcasters Honor Barry Farber. Talk radio pioneer Barry Farber (right) was honored with induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame last fall, but his New York colleagues wanted to throw a special NYC bash for him as the cherry on the cake, and did so recently at The Statler Grill in Midtown Manhattan. Among the more than 100 media pros and friends to attend was WABC, New York personality Curtis Sliwa (left) who, during his remarks, cited Farber as one of the talk show hosts who gave the Guardian Angels, and its predecessor organization The Magnificent 13, early publicity and support. He also stated that it was because of Barry Farber, Barry Gray and Bob Grant that he was able to have a career in talk radio at all. Farber is still heard on the radio via CRN Digital Talk Radio weeknights at 8:00 ET.
Timely Live Event. Just before President Obama delivered the State of the Union address on Tuesday (1/20), WNDB, Daytona Beach afternoon talk show host Marc Bernier moderated a discussion with Fox News political analyst and author Charles Krauthammer at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as the latest in the school’s President’s Speakers Series. Krauthammer recently published his latest book, Things That Matter (2013 Crown Forum). Bernier tells TALKERS magazine that this event was the 117th in the series that dates back to 1993.
State of the Union Speech, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Paris Mayor Vows to Sue Fox News/‘No-Go Zones’ Controversy, Collapsing Oil Prices/World Financial Markets Activity, ISIS Holds Japanese Men for Ransom, Huckabee’s Beyonce Criticism, and NFL Deflated Balls Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20). Tuesday’s State of the Union address and President Obama’s pledge to tackle income inequality; the controversy over assertions of Muslim “no-go zones” in Europe and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s threat to sue Fox News; the continuing collapse of oil prices and the effects on the world’s financial markets; ISIS violence in the Middle East and the holding of two Japanese men for ransom; potential presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s criticism of Beyonce; and the controversy over deflated footballs used in the Patriots-Colts AFC Championship game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Michael Berry Show Now Heard in PM Drive on WRNO, New Orleans. Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry – the “Czar of Talk Radio” – adds another affiliate to his growing affiliate base this week as his show begins airing on iHeartMedia’s New Orleans news/talker WRNO. Berry’s program – emanating from flagship KTRH, Houston – replaces the show hosted by John Osterlind, who exits the company. Other stations around the country airing Berry’s program include: KEX, Portland; WGY, Albany; WGST, Atlanta; WJBO, Baton Rouge; and KFXR, Dallas.
KKOB, Albuquerque Again Rises to the Top. Program director Pat Frisch checks in to report that after having the station’s 55-book streak of #1 Nielsen Audio ratings finishes (persons 12+) ended in the spring and summer surveys in which it finished #2, Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB, Albuquerque returns to #1 in the Fall 2014 survey. Frisch reports that morning host Bob Clark is #1 in the market (12+), beating the next closest morning show by more than three full shares, while Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage finished in first place in the 12+, persons 25-54, and men 25-54 demos. The station finished #6 in the market in the persons 25-54 demo with a 3.6 share.
Mitch ‘Thunder’ Nelles Joins Sports WOKY, Milwaukee. The iHeartMedia sports talker announces that Mitch “Thunder” Nelles becomes part of sports talk WOKY “The Big 920” to serve as sports account executive and serve as an on-air contributor. Nelles most recently was with crosstown sports talk WAUK in the sales department. Until last spring, Nelles also worked on air with Steve “The Homer” True on WAUK’s “Homer & Thunder” program before he exited his on-air duties to focus on sales. Nelles joins WOKY on Monday, January 12. Program director Tim Scott states, “We are VERY excited that Mitch is joining our team. The addition of ‘Thunder’ just deepens our local commitment to Milwaukee sports fans.” Nelles will also contribute a blog and podcasts.
Sound Bites from CES 2015. Radio consultant Holland Cooke files another report from Las Vegas as he covers the International Consumer Electronics Show for TALKERS magazine. Today’s report delivers the takeaways from the numerous sessions Cooke has attended during the week that have something relevant for radio practitioners. Issues such as the importance of understanding the ways different platforms are used, the challenges of being creative in different media spaces, and effective use of YouTube are all covered in Holland Cooke’s report which you can read here.
Emmis Q3 Radio Revenue Rises 29%. Actual comparative figures are $34.8 million to $44.9 million. This includes reported revenue from New York City urban AC WBLS and gospel cluster-mate WLIB; Emmis started operating those two facilities under a Local Marketing Agreement about 10 months ago. In crediting his company’s employees, Emmis president/chief executive officer/chair Jeff Smulyan states that, owing to them, “Emmis’ stations again dramatically outperformed our markets, marking the 12th consecutive month of share gains.” Smulyan points out that Los Angeles rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106” is “up 18% in a flat market. Our New York cluster was up for the quarter and is now significantly outperforming the market. With an improving labor market and lower energy prices helping to put more money into the hands of consumers, we are excited about the economic backdrop as we head into 2015.” In October, Emmis-led industry initiative NextRadio launched a new version with “LiveGuide” and Smulyan explains, “NextRadio is pre-loaded in 33 Smartphone models and we’ve had more than 1.4 million activations. All major radio companies support the effort. I couldn’t be more pleased with the effort and the momentum we have.” Emmis’ Q3 operating income increases from $8.7 million to $13.1 million, while station operating income advances year-to-year by $4 million to $18.1 million.
Odds & Sods. Seattle sports talker KIRO-AM programming is being aired on Mapleton-owned KGA, Spokane. A deal between KIRO-AM owner Bonneville and Mapleton has KIRO-AM’s 7:00 am to 4:00 pm programming – including Brock & Salk, Michael Gray, and Bob & Groz – airing on the station. KIRO-AM also recently struck a deal to air the same programming on Ingstad Radio’s KJOX in the Tri-Cities, Washington market…..Noted broadcaster Pat O’Brien is debuting a new radio program to go into national syndication. Beginning early this year, O’Brien will host KLEAN Radio, a new, weekend mental health radio show broadcasting out of KABC, Los Angeles. A companion TV show – Klean Daily – is launching as well…..KXNO, Des Moines personality Ken Miller exits the station to pursue a yet-to-be-announced gig with former partner Marty Tirrell in the market. The two first worked together in Des Moines doing sports talk back in 1996.
Bubba’s Army Turns Up for ‘Bury the Bone’ Stunt. The image you see here is of a long line of what Bubba the Love Sponge estimates was the 650-plus cars (with some 1,000 loyal listeners) who showed up for his “Bury the Bone” stunt. Bubba and his staff – Manson, Ned, and 25 Cent – promised “Bury the Bone” tee-shirts to all who drove through the GoodFellas Pizza parking lot that sits just a few hundred yards from his old flagship station, Cox Media Group’s WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone.” WHPT dropped Bubba’s show from its lineup in September and filled the morning daypart with former Bubba intern and then-afternoon drive host Mike Calta. Bubba’s show began airing on Beasley Broadcast Group’s crosstown WHFS-FM earlier this week and Bubba has begun a “radio war” vowing to “bury” Calta in the ratings. Bubba and staff ran out of tee-shirts and bumper stickers so they took the names of those who didn’t get any and promised to print more and ship them to the listeners. Commenting on the stunt, Bubba says, “This is one of the proudest days of my broadcasting career. I am humbled; it’s more than we expected.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. The Dr. Joy Browne program – distributed by Genesis Communications Network – is added to the program lineup at WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island to air in the midday slot…..“Gun Talk” with host Tom Gresham joins the programming at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network as well as on KWSW, Eureka, California…..The GCN-distributed “Freedom Feens” show is added to the program schedule at WSLA, Slidell, Louisiana (New Orleans market) and current weekend affiliate WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi begins airing the show daily…..The wine-centric radio show “Grape Encounters Radio” becomes part of the lineup at KTSA, San Antonio.
Charlie Hebdo Massacre/Radical Islam Top News/Talk Story for the Week of January 5-9. The deadly assault on the Parisian satire paper Charlie Hebdo and the larger topic of radical Islam were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the new GOP-controlled Congress. Coming in at #3 was sinking oil prices and their effect on the world financial markets followed by the 2016 presidential prospects at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.