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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

| August 31, 2021

Bruce Collins Joins WBAP-AM and KLIF-AM in Dallas as PD. Programming pro Bruce Collins is named program director for Cumulus Media’s Dallas news/talk outlets WBAP-AM and KLIF-AM. Collins joins Cumulus from Alpha Media’s Portland, Oregon cluster where he was spoken word content director and operations manager for news/talk KXL “FM News 101,” talk KUFO-AM “Freedom 970,” sports talk KXTG-AM “The Game” and the Radio Northwest Network. Cumulus regional VP Dan Bennett says, “After a nationwide search, Bruce Collins’ history of winning in news/talk in Portland made him the obvious choice to lead our talented team in Dallas. His perceptions and analysis of our brands convinced me he should be our next programming leader.” Collins comments, “I cannot thank Dan Bennett enough for the opportunity to program two heritage stations like WBAP and KLIF. I look forward to working with the entire Cumulus Dallas/Fort Worth staff and producing stimulating, thought provoking, informative, entertaining content each and every day.”

Beasley Media Group and Three Partners Collaborate to Launch New Detroit Sports Talker. The new Motor City sports talk outlet dubbed “The ROAR, Motor City Sports Talk 93.5 FM and 99.1 FM” can be heard via Beasley Media Group’s WCSX-HD2 and two translators – W228CJ at 93.5 FM and W248CC at 99.1 FM. For this station, Beasley is partnering with Woodward Sports, the Michigan Sports Network, and SportsMap Radio Network for the content. Morning drive features “X’s & BrO’s with Anthony Bellino” from the Michigan Sports Network. The midday show (10:00 am to 3:00 pm) is “Morning Woodward & Big D Energy” from Woodward Sports and features former Red Wing Darren McCarty, former Lion Joique Bell, with host Neal Ruhl and Detroit sports personalities Braylon Edwards and former WXYT-FM personality Terry Foster. The afternoon drive show is “The HUGE Show with Bill Simonson” and the evenings and overnight dayparts are filled with programming from SportsMap Radio including: Kevin Dziepak, Anthony Pepe, and Bill Schmid. Beasley Detroit VP and market manager Mac Edwards says, “There’s a new sports animal in the Motor City – The ROAR! We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Chad Johnson from Woodward Sports Network as well as Marty Booher at MSN and the crew at SportsMap Radio to deliver some of the most compelling sports content Motor City fans have ever experienced!”

WABC, New York Ups Matthew Meany to Assistant Program Director. Rising from his position as executive producer for the “Bernie & Sid” show to his new role as assistant program director is Matthew Meany. Red Apple Media SVP of programming Dave LaBrozzi announces the promotion and says Meany will step into his new position immediately and play an integral role in the day-to-day operations of the radio station, working alongside the programming team. He adds, “Matt’s hand in the impressive growth of the morning show ratings and his desire to grow make this appointment an ideal match for him and the station.” Meany began his radio career at 77 WABC in 2014 as a part-time board operator and quickly rose through the ranks. Red Apple says he took over as executive producer of the “Bernie & Sid” show over a year ago and has piloted the show to its best ratings in years.

Bill Michaels Show Returns to Milwaukee Airwaves. After eight months not being heard in the Milwaukee market, Wisconsin sports talk host Bill Michaels is back on the air at iHeartMedia’s sports talk WOKY-AM in the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm daypart. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Michaels, who was ousted from Audacy’s WSSP-AM “The Fan” as part of the station’s programming changes back in January, is bumping FOX Sports Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart and consequently moves the Doug Gottlieb show out of afternoon drive on WOKY. Since exiting WSSP, Michaels’ show has been based at Mid-West Family Communications’ WOZN-AM/W244DR, Madison.

WWO Blog: Podcast Listeners Are Young, Educated and Employed. This week’s Westwood One blog reveals findings from the Westwood One 2021 Audioscape, a report that includes data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear study, CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One’s annual Podcast Download release, and Nielsen’s Scarborough USA+ studies that delves into the question of who is listening to podcasts? The report concludes that the podcast audience is young, employed, educated, and upscale. “At 34, the median age of the podcast audience is 14 years younger than AM/FM radio and much younger than broadcast television network audiences (54). 53% of persons who have listened to an audio podcast in the past 30 days are employed in a white-collar occupation. 39% hold management positions and 55% have a household income of $75,000-plus, making this group an audience advertisers want to reach.

WRVA, Richmond Talk Host Jeff Katz Honored with 2021 Father Figure Award. Talk radio host Jeff Katz is being honored by The Relationship Foundation of Virginia with its 2021 Father Figure of The Year award. Katz is one of 11 men nominated as “Funding Fathers” for their work raising funds for The Relationship Foundation of Virginia. Katz personally raised the most money in the history of the Funding Fathers program. The Relationship Foundation of Virginia is a regional, non-profit organization dedicated to fostering and educating men on fatherhood, and presents the award to Katz who, along with his wife Heidi, have three children ranging in age from 16 to 20 years. The Father Figure Award also recognizes Katz’s career as Central Virginia’s leading talk radio personality at WRVA, Richmond and his active role in serving the community. He serves on the board of directors of The Friendship Circle of Virginia, the Hanover County Sheriff’s Advisory Board and represents the Beaverdam Magisterial District on the Hanover County Community Services Board. He is also completing his term as Mayor of Beaverdam, Virginia. Katz volunteers with The Relationship Foundation of Virginia as teacher and mentor, helping men to be better fathers. He happily works with new dads with special concentrations in the areas of fathers to special needs children, fathers in recovery, and fathers who are incarcerated. Chris Beach, executive director of The Relationship Foundation of Virginia, says, “This was the biggest event yet. It wasn’t just an event it was really a celebration of amazing men. These eleven dads raised more than $77,000 collectively for fatherhood and marriage programs in our area. Jeff Katz, the dad who was crowned The Father Figure, raised more money than any dad in the history of this event by bringing in more than $18,000! To say that I am blown away by the hard work of these dads is an understatement.”

NAB Names Anna Chauvet VP of Public Policy. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that Anna Chauvet joins the organization as vice president of public policy. Chauvet reports to Shawn Donilon, executive vice president of government relations. She joins NAB from the U.S. Copyright Office, where she was most recently associate general counsel. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Anna enjoys sterling credentials as an expert in copyright law, including deep knowledge of the music licensing regime. Broadcasters will benefit from her experience as the industry navigates a range of critical policy issues affecting radio and television. We are excited to welcome her to the NAB team.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Houston operations of iHeartMedia – along with their listeners – are working to assist the people of New Orleans as they struggle through the destruction left by Hurricane Ida. Staffers from all seven radio stations are loading and deploying dozens of 18-wheeler trucks filled with critically needed items for the communities impacted by Hurricane Ida. KTRH-AM-based, syndicated talk host Michael Berry comments, “The people of Houston are very close to the New Orleans community. They came to Houston after Hurricane Katrina and they came and helped us after our last horrible Hurricane Harvey.”…..ABC News Radio is providing an hour-long special anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky in observance of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 titled, “9/11 Twenty Years Later – America Remembers” which will be available mid-week for affiliates to air on-demand. The special will also be available later as an episode of the “ABC News Radio Specials” podcast, available on major listening platforms. ABC News’ flagship daily podcas, “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will feature special coverage in the days leading up to the anniversary.

Afghanistan Withdrawal, COVID-19, Ida Aftermath, End of Unemployment Benefits, China Limits Online Gaming, Global Supply-Shipping Woes, and Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/30). Criticism of President Joe Biden’s quick withdrawal from Afghanistan and the recent deaths of U.S. military personnel; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Southern states dealing with full ICUs, and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the aftermath of Hurricane Ida leaves Louisiana without power; the looming end of federal jobless benefits from COVID aid packages; China announces limits on the time children can spend gaming online; retailers and manufacturers are suffering from lack of inventory and building components due to the broken global supply chain and shipping troubles; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, March 27, 2020

| March 27, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “Lives versus Livelihood?” looks back at this past week of March 23-27, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkCurtis Sliwa, talk show host, 77WABC, New York; Dr. Daliah Wachs, physician/talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/webmaster, scamicide.com; Trevor Smith, radio content producer, Aloha Productions, Australia; Bobbie Winston (La Femme Bobbie), American ex-pat/artist, Brazil; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio CompanyDavid Clayton-Thomas, musician, songwriter/former lead vocalist, Blood, Sweat & Tears.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  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.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Adams Radio Reducing Salaries to Avoid Layoffs. In his announcement that Adams Radio Group staffers have agreed to take a temporary 10% pay cut in order to avoid layoffs, CEO Ron Stone says, “I could not be prouder of our employees.  Every employee of Adams Radio stepped up to do their part to ensure that no Adams employee would lose their position.  We are a family. Our goal is singular.  To ensure everyone in our company gets through this crisis with the least amount of harm.  This test of our country’s ability to weather a storm is unlike anything any of us have seen, but we will get through this together, and be stronger for it.  What seems like a huge sacrifice today, is miniscule compared to what our fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers sacrificed.  At least we are not weathering winter without coats or boots like Washington’s army at Bunker Hill.  We are not killing our brothers in a civil war.  And we are not living for weeks in foxholes in horrible winter conditions during the Battle of the Bulge. Things could be much worse.  I sincerely hope that any company, media or otherwise, will consider overall reductions in compensation on a temporary basis rather than terminate employees.  Our most important asset is our people, and we should do all we can to keep them whole.  I am so thankful for a staff that not only wants to participate in helping our company weather this storm, they are working tirelessly in our communities to keep our local businesses front and center in the minds of listeners.”

Backbone Offers Broadcast from Home Capability Free for 45 Days. In order to help the radio industry serve the public, digital remote broadcast provider Backbone is offering its Backbone CoHost with LUCI Global apps to radio stations for free for 45 days.  The company says, “We need to stay safe, and we need to stay on the air.  Working from home is no longer just a futuristic perk, it’s our current duty.  This should be easy and affordable, and it can be.  There is no need to outlay capital to survive, thanks to our unique, integrated Virtualization in the Cloud.  Backbone CoHost PL is a fast and easy way for stations to create an always-available ‘Party Line’ conference room for one or more hosts, guests, and correspondents to contribute live audio for your broadcasts.  These two-way conversations are enabled by using the groundbreaking LUCI Global service from Technica del Arte and their free, downloadable apps for iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows platforms.  LUCI enables these phones, pads, and computers to communicate with and using the same standard formats used by commercial hardware, including COMREX and TIELINE.  CoHost PL is a simplified, unswitched version of Backbone CoHost, allowing users to instantly join the broadcast with the touch of a finger.  There are no IT settings to configure, no port selections to worry about, and no equipment to purchase or forget in the car.  It all works with whatever device you’re carrying, and over any decent Internet access you can find.”  Backbone is offering a fully functional, unlimited demo of CoHost PL and LUCI Global to our existing phone and radio customers, as well as U.S.-based call-letter radio and TV stations, for 45 days, starting March 30.  Find out more here. To start a free 45-day trial, email your contact information and a brief note about your organization to: info@backbone.com

Dom Giordano Launches “Home Learning Tips” One-Minute Feature on WPHT, Philadelphia.  Recognized throughout the state of Pennsylvania as a master teacher prior to beginning his stellar, decades-long radio career on some of Philadelphia’s leading news/talk outlets, WPHT mid-morning host Dom Giordano has launched a series of one-minute tips on home schooling for parents to utilize in productively keeping their kids busy while they are home during the coronavirus crisis.  The feature runs once per hour between 1:00 pm and 7:00 pm every weekday.  Giordano tells TALKERS, “After hearing from listeners about the challenges of working with their kids at home due to schools being closed, I offered my station a one-minute daily combination pep talk and ideas to help their kids at home for parents.  The theme is you are your child’s first and best teacher.  I’m tapping into my credibility with listeners and my years as an education/parenting analyst and columnist.”

Cumulus’ Dallas Talk Stations Hosting Special Mark Cuban Broadcast Today. Dallas news/talk stations WBAP and KLIF-AM are presenting an on-air town hall with businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, titled, “Assisting DFW Businesses During the Coronavirus.”  The Cumulus Media stations will simulcast the program from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm CST.  The WBAP/KLIF Town Hall will be hosted by Brian Estridge and Rick Roberts and topics addressed will include: How can businesses survive during these times?; How would the government’s Coronavirus Spending Package assist?; and How can consumers help their local community businesses?

Weighing the Economy Versus Lives Is Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 23-27.  The ethical dilemma of whether to save the country’s economy by reopening businesses or keep them shut to limit the deaths and the toll on the health care system was the most-talked-about story on news/talk this week and sitting atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the stimulus deal being crafted in Congress and the activity on the world’s financial markets.  Coming in at #3 is the status of the U.S. health care system, followed by the presidential race and politics at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

iHeartMedia and Salem Media Group Withdraw Guidance on First Quarter of This Year. Not surprisingly, two of the radio industry’s corporations – iHeartMedia, Inc. and Salem Media Group Inc. – are announcing they are withdrawing their financial guidance originally provided on their 2019 fourth quarter earnings calls.  iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the duration and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the U.S. economy, we believe it is appropriate to withdraw our full-year 2020 guidance.  While we cannot determine the full extent of COVID-19’s impact on our business at this time, we are monitoring this rapidly evolving situation closely and look forward to discussing our business in greater detail as part of our first quarter 2020 earnings results investor call.”  iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “iHeartMedia had a strong January and February before the effects of COVID-19 began to unfold into a global pandemic in early March.  The challenges that COVID-19 has created for advertisers and consumers has impacted iHeart’s revenue in recent weeks, creating a less clear business outlook in the near term.  To maintain maximum financial flexibility during this period, we have drawn $350 million on our $450 million senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility (“ABL Facility”).  We believe that the additional funds from drawing on our ABL Facility, in combination with our cash balance, provides us with a prudent level of liquidity at this time. We fully appreciate the unprecedented challenges posed by this crisis, however, we remain confident in our business, our employees and our strategy. With our experienced management team and our leadership position in the audio sector, we are committed to navigating this period while serving our audiences and other constituents.”  Salem Media Group, Inc. says in a statement, “Based on current indications, Salem expects total first quarter 2020 revenue will be less than previously projected as a result of decreased revenues from advertising, programming, events and book sales.  Due to continuing uncertainties regarding the ultimate scope and trajectory of COVID-19’s spread and evolution, the effects of the pandemic on Salem’s audiences, programmers and advertisers, and current and potential future governmental restrictions that may be adopted in the markets in which Salem operates, it is impossible to predict the total impact that the pandemic may have on Salem’s business.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage is appointed by President Trump to the board of directors of the Presidio Trust for a term expiring May 4, 2023.  Along with the National Park Service, the Presidio Trust manages the Presidio of San Francisco, the former military fort that is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  The host of the Westwood One-syndicated “The Savage Nation” holds a doctorate in ethnobotanical research from the University of California and both a Master of Science in botany and a Master of Arts in anthropology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM station manager Todd Manley is producing a new podcast via his EarSight Studios that pairs Windy City communications consultants Lissa Druss and Thom Serafin for “The Crisis Cast.”  The episodes will be hosted by former WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM anchor Mariam Sobh.  EarSight expects to produce three to five podcasts per week…..Today (3/27), Cox Media Group’s Atlanta stations – led by news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM – is hosting a virtual food drive to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank as part of the Stronger Together ATL campaign.  Atlanta Community Food Bank continues to provide meals for children, families and seniors as access to nutritious food throughout the COVID-19 crisis, by working with more than 600 nonprofit partners and the new Text for Help program…..The Cumulus Media news/talk teams at WBAP and KLIF-AM in Dallas were well represented at this year’s Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Contest.   Reporter Clayton Neville won First Place for Spot News by a Reporter for his coverage of the August 2019 El Paso Shooting.  The WBAP news team was awarded Second Place for Spot Coverage by a Station for coverage of the North Dallas Tornadoes in October.  For the 6th year KLIF morning drive anchors Dave Williams and Amy Chodroff won First Place for News Anchor Team and WBAP’s Brian Estridge won First Place for Sports Play-by-Play.

PPM Analysis: Classic Rock. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on classic rock.  It was a mixed bag in February for classic rock stations in the PPM markets, with 44% of stations losing weekly, 6+ AQH share and 46% gaining.  Year-over-year, 50% of classic rockers lost share while 43% saw an increase.  Three classic rock outlets – all owned by iHeartMedia – ranked #1 in February: KRFX, Denver “The Fox” (5.7), WRFX, Charlotte “The Fox” (7.9), and WAQX, New York (in the Middlesex-Somerset-Union market) (7.4).  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro AJ Dukette joins Saga Communications’ classic hits WYNZ, Portland “Rewind 100.9” to host mornings, taking over for the recently retired Chuck Igo.  Saga vice president of programming Bob Lawrence says, “When learning that Chuck was retiring, we began an extensive search for the right person to fill his shoes and then – Voila! – AJ appeared late last week.  We could not be more thrilled to welcome such a talented, Portland icon.”…..Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the annual Mountain Jam Festival scheduled for May 29-31 at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, New York has been cancelled.  Acts scheduled to perform included Gov’t Mule, Trey Anastasio Band, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Head and the Heart, Grace Potter, and many more…..Empire State Realty Trust and iHeartMedia announce their partnership to “reach those sheltering at home” with WHTZ, New York Z100’s radio waves and Empire State Building’s world-famous tower lights.  Tonight at 9:00 pm, the tower of the Empire State Building will illuminate the New York City skyline and beam iHeartMedia’s Z100 with a light show synced to the modern era anthem of New York City, Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.”  The light show will replay on Saturday, March 28, and then again from Monday, March 30 through Thursday, April 2.  On Sunday, March 29, the Empire State Building will “shine in a dynamic heartbeat” from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm in support of the “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America.”

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

| April 10, 2019

Salem Radio Network and Larry Elder Sign New Deal. Los Angeles-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Larry Elder and Salem Radio Network announce they have agreed to extend their relationship through 2022.  Elder’s show airs live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET and is heard on more than 350 affiliate stations.  As SRN notes in a press release, Elder “built a loyal local following in Los Angeles over 20 years with KABC.”  He says, “I can’t think of a better fit for ‘The Larry Elder Show’ than Salem Radio Network. Our national show has grown astronomically in the last three years, and I’m both thrilled and honored to continue broadcasting with the Salem Radio family.”  Salem SVP Phil Boyce states, “Larry has been a huge hit for the Salem Radio Network.  He is a leader in conservative thought and listeners all across the country have made an appointment with him every day to hear a voice of reason to cut through the noise of a world gone mad.  It has been an honor and privilege to work with a talk radio legend like Larry these last three years and we’re thrilled to continue our relationship.”

Sun & Fun Media and Key Networks Name Jennifer Newman Senior AE. Radio executive Jennifer Newman joins Sun & Fun Media and its affiliated radio syndication company Key Networks as senior account executive.  Newman was most recently market president for iHeartMedia’s Columbus and Albany, Georgia markets. Sun & Fun Media is a network radio company that offers radio stations a unique suite of products and services designed to increase sales, improve ratings, and reduce expenses for 100% barter. Key Networks recently announced it is syndicating Bill O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Update” to the radio industry.   Sun & Fun and Key Networks CEO and co-founder Rob Koblasz says, “As we continue to grow, we are delighted to add a sales professional who understands our business like Jennifer.  Her experience and knowledge of the value of our service to stations is the recipe for success.”

2019 NAB Crystal Radio Awards Announced; KFOR-AM/FM Honored with Crystal Heritage Award. Yesterday at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, the National Association of Broadcasters announced the 10 winners of the 32nd annual NAB Crystal Radio Awards.  The Crystal Awards recognize stations for outstanding year-round commitment to community service.  This year’s recipients were chosen from among 50 finalists.  This year’s winners include: KBHP-FM Bemidji, MN; KCVM-FM Cedar Falls, IA; KNDE-FM College Station, TX; KWBG-AM Boone, IA; WMBX-FM West Palm Beach; WMGK-FM Philadelphia; WRLT-FM Nashville; WTAM-AM Cleveland; WWPR-FM New York; and WYCT-FM Pensacola, FL.  Alpha Media’s news/talk KFOR, Lincoln, Nebraska was honored with the National Association of Broadcasters’ Crystal Heritage Award, given to radio stations that have won a total of five Crystal Radio Awards for exceptional year-round community service efforts.  Alpha Media Lincoln market manager Julie Gade says, “KFOR-AM/FM has proudly served the Lincoln, Nebraska region for over 94 years and our commitment to the community has never wavered.  We are so proud of our team’s accomplishments both on and off the air and are honored that this dedication is being rewarded with a coveted NAB Crystal Heritage Award.” Pictured below at the NAB Show in Las Vegas are (from l-r): Gade, director of sales Joy Patten, and OM/content director Rob Kelley.

Cumulus Dallas RVP Dan Bennett Featured in D Magazine Piece. Radio programmer-turned-executive Dan Bennett is the focus of a profile piece in Dallas’ D Magazine.  Bennett is the regional vice president for Cumulus Media’s Dallas and Houston markets.  According to the piece, Dallas is the company’s “biggest, strongest market” and Cumulus CEO Mary Berner says of Bennett, “He brings his A-game every day.”  Bennett was the program director at KFLI-AM, Dallas when he flipped it to news/talk in 1987.  He also was put in charge of sports talk KTCK-AM “The Ticket” when Cumulus bought it in 1996 and was instrumental in turning it into a money maker for the company.  Read the piece here.

Alpha Media Promotes Walton to Director of Sales. General sales manager Cressy Walton is promoted to director of sales at the Alpha Media Portland cluster that includes news/talk KXL-FM, sports talk KXTG-AM, and several music-formatted stations. Walton replaces Amy Leimbach, who leaves for a similar position with iHeartMedia Phoenix (see next story).  Alpha Media Portland SVP and market manager Lisa Decker says, “We have worked hard to create a strategic succession plan.  Elevating the talented Cressy Walton will make this transition seamless and poise us for continued success and revenue growth.  Cressy is creative, competitive, and has a drive to succeed – all qualities that correlate with Alpha’s core values.”

Leimbach to Lead Sales at iHeartMedia Phoenix.  Former Alpha Media Portland vice president of sales Amy Leimbach is assuming the SVP of sales position at iHeartMedia’s Phoenix cluster that includes news/talk KFYI, sports talk KGME and six music-formatted stations.  iHeartMedia Phoenix market president Linda Little states, “I am thrilled to have Amy lead our sales organization in Phoenix where she began her career.  After working with Amy here in the market, I know she will bring her incredible passion, energy, creativity and leadership talents to help us further grow our business and partnerships.”

Mueller Report Aftermath/William Barr Testimony, Waters-Mnuchin Exchange, 2020 Democratic Candidates, U.S.-Mexico Border Policy/DHS Shakeup, Trump Tax Returns Issue, Netanyahu Re-Election Bid, Brexit, Magic Johnson Leaves Lakers, and NBA and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). The aftermath of the Mueller Report and Attorney General William Barr’s testimony before a congressional subcommittee; the highly charged exchange between Rep. Maxine Waters and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the political battle over immigration and refugee policies at the U.S.-Mexico border and the related shakeup at the Department of Homeland Security; Democrats’ efforts to get Trump’s tax returns; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wins re-election; the political chaos in England over Brexit; Magic Johnson leaves the Lakers; and NBA and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS Magazine Publishes 2019 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk.  The annual list from the editors of TALKERS magazine officially titled, “The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America,” has been published.  The 2019 edition of the “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” is the seventh edition of this companion list to TALKERS’ long-running Heavy Hundred that ranks news/talk radio hosts.  Both lists are the work of TALKERS magazine editors and inclusion on the list is based on a number of objective and subjective factors, including ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent, potential, and uniqueness.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey says, “The Heavy Hundred of Sports talk – like its older sibling ranking news/talk radio hosts – is one of the most difficult tasks the TALKERS editors face each year.  The sheer number of qualified sports talk radio personalities in America, combined with the intense competition among them – especially in markets with two or more sports talk radio stations – makes this a challenging job for the editors.  We at TALKERS salute the hard-working sports talkers who made this year’s list.”  TALKERS magazine will publish the 2019 edition of the “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” in the coming weeks. See the 2019 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Danni Bruns will continue her run with Cumulus Media’s Memphis cluster after signing a new, multi-year agreement.  Bruns is the operations manager for the station group and PD and PM drive co-host (with Chris “The Jar” Jarman) for rock WXMX “98.1 The Max.”  She’s been with the cluster since 2007.  Cumulus Memphis VP and market manager Morgan Bohannon comments, “I’ll go to battle any day with Danni Bruns on my team.  Energetic, passionate, and talented are just a few of the words I would use in describing Danni.  She’s a fighter and has proven to be a great leader for our programming team.  I’m excited to know we have her committed for years to come.”…..Radio pro Tammy Ragusa returns to Premiere Networks to serve as a writer and producer for its country radio prep team. Ragusa will be based in Nashville and report to Ira Robbins, VP/editorial director for Premiere.  She’ll be responsible for creating and developing show news prep, music, and special event coverage, and holiday programming for 200 country radio affiliate stations across the U.S.  She held a similar position with Premiere from 2006-2012. Most recently, Ragusa was a senior correspondent and community manager for Rare Country…..SummitMedia Knoxville names Loyd Ford program director and afternoon drive personality for country WCYQ “Q100.3,” effective April 15.

Monday, December 17, 2018

| December 17, 2018

WLS-AM, Chicago Moves Big John Howell to PM Drive. Friday’s announcement by Cumulus Media solidifies the afternoon program schedule, but the question still remains who will end up hosting mornings on news/talk WLS-AM in the New Year.  Current morning drive personality Big John Howell is moving to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot – he’s following Westwood One syndicated talk host Ben Shapiro who’s on from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  Howell’s co-host Ramblin’ Ray Stevens appears headed out the door.  Rumors in the Windy City are that Erich Mancow Muller is negotiating to be the station’s next morning show host. Cumulus Chicago vice president and market manager Marv Nyren says, “As part of the new lineup at WLS-AM 890, keeping an experienced Chicago talent like John Howell solidifies the lineup and will give our audience a reason to stay tuned throughout the entire day.  John has been entertaining Chicagoland for over 30 years and his program will be the perfect way to wrap up the day on your way home.”  Before joining WLS-AM four years ago, Howell served with Salem Media Group on news/talk WIND-AM.  Prior to that he spent 17 years as a jock on country WUSN-FM. He says, “I’m very excited about hosting the new afternoon show at WLS-AM 890.  I intend to present Chicago with a quick-paced, informative, honest, and intelligent summary of the day’s biggest stories – an afternoon wrap of the day’s biggest events featuring prominent newsmakers, reporters, experts, and stars.  Of course, our town’s most colorful characters will also be welcome.  In addition, I’m looking forward to (finally) golfing when the sun’s in the east.”

Media Action Center Targets Alex Jones Saying Radio Show Violates FCC’s Hoax Rules. The Media Action Center was founded by journalist and activist Sue Wilson.  She was instrumental in forcing Entercom to give up the license for KDND-FM, Sacramento in the wake of the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest.  Now, Wilson’s MAC is encouraging people who live in markets that carry the Alex Jones radio show to file a complaint with the local station and the FCC that accuses Jones of violating the FCC’s hoax rules by insisting that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax.  You can see the form letter here that outlines the FCC’s language: “Section 73.1217 of the Federal Communications Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. § 73.1217, prohibits broadcast licensees or permittees from broadcasting false information concerning a crime or a catastrophe if: (1) the licensee knows this information is false; (2) it is foreseeable that broadcast of the information will cause substantial public harm; and (3) broadcast of the information does in fact directly cause substantial public harm.”  Wilson cites the parents of some of the victims whose pain has been worsened by harassment they’ve suffered from Jones’ listeners, thus the public harm.  MAC notes the FCC rules would permit Jones’ comments if the stations airing the program aired a disclaimer before the program clearly characterizing it as fiction. See the MAC site here.

WQAM, Miami Names New Midday Show. Replacing Orlando “The Big O” Alzugaray (who exited early last month) in the midday slot at Entercom’s WQAM, Miami is the duo of Alex Donno (left) and Josh Friedman (right).  The “Donno & Friedo” show airs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.  Friedman moves over to WQAM from sister sports talker WAXY-AM where he was evening host.  Alex Donno has been hosting the evening program on WQAM.  Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley states, “Alex and Josh both bring unique experiences that will lead to great content for this new show, which will touch on sports and beyond.  Their vast knowledge of Miami sports and high energy will undoubtedly resonate with South Florida listeners.”

Spector Upped to Program Director at Sports Talk KCSP, Kansas City. Rising from assistant program director and afternoon show producer to program director at Entercom’s KCSP-AM “610 Sports Radio” is Steven Spector.  Entercom Kansas City regional president and market manager Dave Alpert says, “I am very pleased to announce Steven Spector as the next program director of ‘610 Sports Radio.’  This is a well-deserved and well-earned promotion and I’m confident that Steven will continue to elevate ‘610 Sports Radio’ in the Kansas City market.”  Spector joined Entercom Kansas City in 2013 as a producer for 610 Sports Radio’s “Fescoe in the Morning.”  He began his radio career with WTEM, Washington in 2008.

Chuck Peterson Rises to Area President for iHeartMedia. Executive Chuck Peterson is promoted to area president for iHeartMedia’s Winchester, Harrisonburg, and Roanoke-Lynchburg, Virginia markets, effective immediately. The markets contain 16 news/talk, sports and music-formatted stations.  Peterson is promoted to area president after serving as market president for the Winchester and Harrisonburg markets.  He began his career at WFTR, Front Royal, Virginia and is a graduate of American University and William & Mary Law School.  He says, “iHeartMedia is the leader in the audio and mulit-platform space and I am thrilled to step into my new role in the Virginia/Carolina region. I am proud of our company’s commitment to growing our advertiser’s businesses and serving our communities.”

PPM Analysis: November’s Top-Ranked Stations. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian offers a tip of the hat to the stations that finished first and second (6+) in their respective markets in Nielsen Audio’s November 2018 survey.  In this report, you’ll find charts detailing the performances of the top two stations in each market, as well as a look at the top performers arranged by format.  Spoiler alert – adult contemporary stations comprised 22% of the #1 stations in the PPM markets while classic hits accounted for 22.9% of the #2-ranked stations. See the full report here.

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally-syndicated midday program “The Dana Show” with host Dana Loesch will air on Cumulus Media’s news/talk KLIF-AM, Dallas, beginning in the New Year.  KLIF-AM and WBAP program director Kevin Graham says, “We’re thrilled to bring Dana to 570 KLIF.  Dallas-Fort Worth listeners are really going to connect with her honest opinions and authenticity.  And the fact she lives here in the Metroplex will also allow our listeners to easily relate to her.”  “The Dana Show” is syndicated nationally via Radio America…..Premiere Networkssyndicated Buck Sexton show begins airing on WCBM, Baltimore in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm daypart, effective January 1.  The show will be followed by the Westwood One-syndicated Mark Levin program in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot.  The station currently airs Michael Savage in evenings and he departs the station after 16 years as his three-hour show is re-configured into a one-hour live show and a one-hour podcast. WCBM program director Sean Casey adds, “This is the next chapter in our endless pursuit to bring the most powerful names in talk to Baltimore.  We’re really pumped to add Buck, an up-and-coming star and to have Levin, a Hall of Famer anchor our evenings!  I’d like to thank Michael Savage for a great run and continued success in his new venture.”…..The unique town of Tangier Island, Virginia – population 460 and shrinking – is the subject of a five-part podcast series from Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington titled, “Going Under: The Story of Tangier Island.”  The series, hosted by WTOP’s Michelle Basch, takes an in-depth look at the “quirky, isolated place located smack dab in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay” that is gradually vanishing and could be uninhabitable in 25 years…..First Media Services closes on its purchase of two AMs and four FMs in the Bluefield, West Virginia market from Alpha Media for $1.8 million.  The stations are: news/talk WHIS-AM, hip hop WKEZ-AM, hot AC WHAJ-FM, country WHQX-FM, country WHKX-FM, and classic rock WKOY-FM.  First Media managing partner Bob Spencer says, “We feel extremely blessed and honored to have the torch passed to us from well-respected former owners, including Mike Shott and the Shott Family, and David Benjamin of Triad Broadcasting Company.  In my opinion, these stations have one of the best and most talented staffs in the region.  Many, of whom, have worked there for over two and even three decades.  It’s an amazing opportunity to continue great radio and first-class customer service throughout our corner of the Virginias.” Kalil & Co., Inc. was the exclusive broker for this transaction…..WNIC, Detroit morning personality Jay Towers and Capedwonder.com founder Jim Bowers are co-hosting a podcast series dedicated to all things Superman in “The Caped Wonder Superman Podcast.”  In the third podcast of the series, the hosts released never-before-heard audio of iconic Superman actor Christopher Reeve.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Border Wall-Government Shutdown, the Trumps vs the Media, ObamaCare Ruling, Financial Markets Activity/Recession Concerns, Aquaman Film, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; President Trump’s threat to allow the federal government to shut down if congress doesn’t fund the Mexico border wall; President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump’s complaints about the media’s treatment of them; a federal judge rules the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional; Friday’s Dow drops 400 points and talk about a recession in 2019; the new Aquaman film; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Jay Cruze joins the morning show at Bonneville’s adult contemporary KOSI, Denver alongside current morning host Jenny D.  Program director Jim Lawson says, “Jay’s experience, energy, and authentic personality is exactly what we were looking for to create compelling content in the morning.  Jay has been on our part-time staff and has been a tremendous asset.  He’s a natural fit.”…..An apparent abundance of programmers in the Entercom Philadelphia cluster has forced the company’s hand and longtime hot AC WBEB “B101” PD Chuck Knight exits the station.  Entercom acquired the station from Jerry Lee Radio back in September…..KDGS-FM, Wichita APD, music director, and afternoon host “Rolls” Royce Stevenson re-ups with Entercom to continue his work at the rhythmic CHR outlet.

Friday, April 14, 2017

| April 14, 2017

Cumulus Media Promotes Three to Executive Vice President. Three current Cumulus Media executives are promoted to newly created EVP positions: Mike McVay rises from senior vice president, content & programming to executive vice president, content & programming; Dave Milner, moves up from senior vice president, operations to executive vice president, operations; and Bob Walker is elevated from senior vice president, operations to executive vice president, operations.  Cumulus Media president and chief executive officer Mary Berner states, “These promotions recognize the strong performance of these key members of our senior leadership team.  Mike, Dave and Bob are terrific executives and have each been instrumental to the success we’ve achieved during the first year of executing our turnaround plan for the company.”

Ryan Wrecker Joins KMOX, St. Louis as ‘Overnight America’ Host. Talk radio pro Ryan Wrecker moves from his most recent gig as PD at Pathfinder Communications’ WOWO, Fort Wayne to CBS RADIO’s heritage St. Louis news/talker KMOX to host the station’s late-night program, “Overnight America,” beginning Monday (4/17).   The program airs from 10:00 pm to 3:00 am.  KMOX program director Steve Moore comments, “Ryan is a passionate advocate of local radio who comes to us from a legacy station and brings a great appreciation for KMOX and its role in the community.  In addition, Ryan understands how creating unique digital and social media content can quickly expand his reach in the market and grow his listener base.”  Speaking about his new gig, Wrecker states, “We’re going to have fun on ‘Overnight America.’  It’s a show that’s inclusive to new voices and topics.  Every night we will present fresh and unique ideas to the audience and explore them in a way that’s different from any other radio show.”  The “Overnight America” show had been hosted by Jon Grayson, who exited KMOX in February to host the midday show at crosstown news/talk KTRS.

Kaplan Promoted to Marketing Director for Cumulus Media Dallas. For the past two years, Rebecca Kaplan has been promotions director for Cumulus Media’s Dallas country signals KSCS and KPLX “99.5 The Wolf.”  Now, she is promoted to marketing director for the seven-station cluster that includes news/talk WBAP, news/talk KLIF-AM, sports talker KTCK-AM and KESN-FM, and CHR KLIF-FM “HOT 93.3.”  Cumulus regional vice president Dan Bennett states, “Rebecca has proven herself with outstanding event execution for our country stations KPLX and KSCS. Our seven-station cluster will benefit greatly from her involvement in the future with all our stations.”

TALKERS News Notes. The NBA Playoffs begin this weekend and ESPN Radio is presenting its coverage starting with the Cavaliers versus the Pacers Saturday at 2:00 pm ET.  Marc Kestecher and Jon Barry will call the action.  Sunday’s contest will be the Warriors vs Trailblazers with Adam Amin and P.J. Carlesimo on the call…..When the NHL’s new franchise the Vegas Golden Knights takes to the ice next fall, Lotus Communications’ KRLV, Las Vegas “FOX Sports 1340” will serve as the flagship station for radio.  Lotus plans to begin simulcasting the station on FM translator K255CT, Henderson, Nevada.  As part of the deal, some of the games will also be broadcast in Spanish on Lotus’ KENO-AM “1460 ESPN Deportes.”…..In podcasting news, Apple is changing the name of its podcast platform from “iTunes Podcasts” to “Apple Podcasts.”…..TALKERS magazine sends condolences to the family and friends of longtime Cleveland sports media personality Kendall Lewis, a.k.a. The BSK — the Big Sports Kahuna, who died on April 11 at the age of 56.  Lewis’ most recent work was on digital platforms, but for years he was a host on sports talk WKNR, Cleveland “ESPN 850.”  He also was a fixture at FOX Sports Net Ohio and served with WOIO-TV, Cleveland.

U.S.-Russia Relations/Syria Gas Attack Top News/Talk Stories This Week.  The tense relations between the U.S. and Russia over the Syria sarin attack and the U.S.’s airstrikes in Syria were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of April 10-14.  At #2 this week was the North Korea nuclear missile threats.  Coming in at #3 was the United Airlines passenger removal case and the resulting PR blowback, followed by the FBI’s monitoring of Trump adviser Carter Page 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.

Michael Harrison Interviews Judy Collins on this Week’s Podcast. Folk singing/pop music legend Judy Collins is this week’s special guest on the award-winning PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” In the words of Harrison, “Although she sings like an angel and performed on a number of hits and concert stages across the nation, creating a total of more than 50 albums along the way – not to mention authoring books, painting, and even directing a film – she lived a deeply troubled existence. We’re talking about severe depression and emotional disturbance that nearly drove her to suicide. We’re talking about substance abuse and eating disorders…and on top of everything, coping with the suicide of her son in 1992.” The TALKERS founder continues, “This amazing woman has survived to not only overcome these challenges but to be of great service and help to others, as well. She is a tireless advocate of those who suffer from similar emotional afflictions and has made significant contributions in bringing public awareness of mental illness out of the shadows and into the open.” On April 27, in recognition of her service to others, Collins will receive the 2017 Beatrice Stern Media Award at a major gathering in Los Angeles – The Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards. It is an annual event thrown by Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, a leading non-profit provider of free community mental health and substance abuse services for children and adults for over 75 years. Harrison and Collins engage in a remarkably candid and informative discussion about the state of mental illness in our healthcare system and culture. They also talk about the early days of her career, her relationship with rock legend Stephen Stills and her storied connection to his Crosby, Stills and Nash masterpiece, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Audio content syndicator Westwood One is partnering with dick clark productions to help promote the 2017 Billboard Music Awards and offer its broadcast partners branded, long-form and short-form content and promotions.  Westwood One will welcome more than 20 radio stations to its Westwood One Backstage at the BBMAs event with live performances and celebrity interviews during rehearsals the day before the 2017 Billboard Music Awards (Saturday, May 20) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.  Talent taking part in the Saturday event include WPLJ, New York personality Jayde Donovan; WPLJ and WPRO-FM, Providence host Ralphie Aversa; and syndicated personalities Adam Bomb and Zach Sang…..The three urban-formatted Philadelphia stations owned by iHeartMedia – urban contemporary WDAS-FM “Philly’s Best R&B & Throwbacks,” hip hop WUSL “Power 99,” and smooth jazz WDAS-AM “Smooth Jazz ‘JJZ 1480” – are organizing the inaugural “Sista Strut 3K Breast Cancer Walk” taking place on Saturday, June 17 at Xfinity Live! in Philadelphia.  Proceeds will benefit The American Association for Cancer Research.  The stations note that the walk aims to raise breast cancer awareness among African American women, who are 41% more likely to die from the disease than white women, making screenings and early detection crucial.  WDAS-FM personality Frankie Darcell comments, “As one of the founders of Detroit’s ‘Sista Strut,’ I’m ecstatic that nearly 20 years later the event will be held in our Philadelphia community.”…..Country KNIX, Phoenix and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire are cooperating on a “Rise From The Fire” Concert Flyaway Sweepstakes.  Consumers ages 21+ can enter for a chance to win a trip for two to New York for a benefit concert featuring a top music act.  The event concludes an 11-city iHeartRadio concert series to benefit firefighters and communities affected by fire. The Phoenix stop in the concert series will feature national recording artist, Brett Young, and will take place on April 19 at the Hall of Flame Fire Museum.  The sweepstakes and concert series are part of an effort by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire to raise funds in support of the Fire Family Foundation, an organization that offers immediate assistance to firefighters and their families, fire victims, fire departments and charities. The Foundation believes that by coming together as a “Fire Family,” assistance can be provided by those impacted by fire.