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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

| July 20, 2021

iHeartMedia Voluntarily Prepays $250 Million Loan. The company announces that its indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary, iHeartCommunications, Inc., has successfully completed the previously announced voluntary prepayment of a portion of both its $2,070 million Term Loan and its $446 million Incremental Term Loan, utilizing cash on hand, while concurrently repricing the Incremental Term Loan at a new rate of LIBOR + 3.25%. The prepayment was applied to the Term Loan and the Incremental Term Loan on a pro-rata basis, resulting in $206 million being used to prepay the Term Loan and $44 million to prepay the Incremental Term Loan. The interest rate on the remaining $402 million balance of the Incremental Term Loan was lowered by 100 basis points, including the impact of a 25-basis points LIBOR floor reduction. The prepayment and the new rate are expected to save iHeartMedia approximately $13 million in interest expense on an annualized basis.

Emmis to Cease Broadcasting on WFNI-AM After Agreeing to Transmitter Site Deal. According to a report by Alex Brown at Inside Indiana Business, Emmis Communications will shut down the 1070 AM signal of sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis “The Fan” after August 1 because it has sold a part of the transmitter site. The company will continue to broadcast “The Fan” on WIBC-HD2 and FM translators W228CX at 93.5 and W298BB at 107.5. Emmis founder and chairman Jeff Smulyan says, “As long-time owners of 1070, we are working diligently on finding the next great use for the signal. We were offered a wonderful opportunity to monetize the property and felt it was our obligation to explore that. Ultimately, it made the most sense.” Emmis tells IIB that “it had the tower site rezoned for mixed-use commercial, office, and residential developments more than a year ago. The entire site covers 70 acres on Perry Worth Road near I-65 in Whitestown and additional parcels are currently listed for sale.”

Music Radio Royalty Update: Are Labels Hastening ‘The Day The (free) Music Died?’ — Battle lines are drawn over performance payments FMs fear. And dueling congressional actions demonstrate Washington-speak 101: “Fairness” vs. “Freedom.” On his TV show “The Big Picture,” consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke (above, center) discusses with Talkers Radio GM David Bernstein (left) and Texas station owner Paul Gleiser (right). And for Talk stations, how’s Life-after-Limbaugh? Panelists react to a clip from Michael Harrison’s Fireside Chat with Bill O’Reilly at the June 11 TALKERS 2021 Conference at Hofstra University. Watch it here.

SRN’s Eric Metaxas Interviews Mike Pompeo at Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network host Eric Metaxas (left) with former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during their live broadcast interview from Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit in Tampa yesterday (7/19). This year’s event attracted more than 3,000 high school and college activists and included speakers such as Pompeo, Congressman Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Salem Radio Network host Dr. Sebastian Gorka, and Turning Point USA founder and SRN talk host Charlie Kirk.

TALKERS News Notes. Denver talk radio host Steffan Tubbs was interviewed recently by KCNC-TV, Denver about his bout with COVID-19. Tubbs is afternoon drive personality on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KNUS, Denver and he told KCNC-TV that he was not vaccinated, spent a week in the hospital and missed 51 days of work. While he says he’ll not tell others to get vaccinated, he did say, “To those who think COVID is a hoax, you’re crazy”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Aisha Jefferson is promoted from her part-time digital content producer role at Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM to full-time producer. She joined the station in 2019. WBBM brand manager Ron Gleason writes in a memo to staffers, “Aisha has been with us for a couple years and has patiently awaited this well-deserved opportunity.”…..SiriusXM announces a week-long tribute to legendary comedienne Joan Rivers. The SiriusXM Comedy Greats channel will play exclusive, never-before-released recordings from the final 20 years of Rivers’ career. SiriusXM says that now, for the first time ever, each day throughout the week fans will get to hear some of Rivers’ best stand-up moments. The special will include material from Rivers’ performances in London, Boston, West Palm Beach and more…..The “Motley Fool Money” show starring host Chris Hill adds Midwest Communications‘ WHTC-AM/W259CO, Holland, Michigan as its newest affiliate station.

PodcastOne to Launch New Show ‘Cheating: When Love Lies.’ The new podcast from PodcastOne is called “Cheating: When Love Lies” and his hosted by Jillian Hamilton. PodcastOne says it’s a “deep dive into the complex emotions surrounding these secret unions.” Creator and host Hamilton delves into the taboo topic of cheating and asks the hard questions about affairs: how common are they, who’s having them, and why? These questions illicit unexpected answers that reveal both men and women as people actively seeking something – validation, escape, understanding, vengeance, thrill, love, sex, and romance – outside of committed partnerships. “Cheating: When Love Lies” resists the condemnation of affairs as uniquely wrong or bad and instead considers their usefulness in learning as much about relationships as we learn about ourselves.

Audacy Debuts New Podcast Starring Carmelo Anthony. Top-10 all-time NBA scorer, 10-time NBA All-Star, and three-time Olympic gold medalist Carmelo Anthony today announced that he and his multi-platform content company Creative 7 are partnering with Audacy’s Cadence13 to launch his viral, wine-focused YouTube series, “What’s In Your Glass?” On the podcast, Anthony invites listeners to sit in on intimate chats with leading guests from the worlds of sports, wine, business, entertainment, music, politics, and more over a glass (or two) of wine. Notable guests include Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, songstress Andra Day, Oscar-winning filmmaker Shaka King, rapper T-Pain, NBA star JJ Redick, and more.

COVID-19, Twitter Suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene, U.S. Blames China for Microsoft Hack, Voting Legislation/Texas Dems Case, Biden Infrastructure Bill, Urban Crime Wave, January 6 Investigation, Western Heat and Wildfires, Bezos Space Trip Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/19). The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in all 50 states and the stalled rate of vaccinations; Twitter temporarily suspends Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene for spreading COVID misinformation; the Joe Biden administration publicly blames China for the recent hack of Microsoft’s exchange email server; the numerous state laws toughening voting requirements and the Texas Democrats who fled the station to avoid voting on that state’s bill; this week’s debate on the $1 trillion Biden infrastructure bill; the soaring rate of violent crime in many of America’s big cities; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the sentencing of the first to be prosecuted; the heatwave and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and billionaire Jeff Bezos’ trip into space were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Salem Media Group Seeks Talk Host for Christian Talk KKLA-FM, Los Angeles. Salem Media Los Angeles is looking for the next host for its live daily talk show on Christian formatted 99.5 KKLA. The company says: “This is talk radio with a difference. It’s a Christian perspective on news of the day. The average length of time hosts have held this position is eight-plus years, and our current host is moving on to other ministry work. Affinity for and understanding of the target audience of Christians, or spiritual ‘seekers’ is necessary. Impacting the culture and lives can be deeply satisfying, so much more so than many typical ‘shows.’ If you are still reading this posting, tired of less meaningful hosting, if you are ready for a change, if you are intrigued by this opportunity, pray about it and don’t hesitate to get in touch for more details. This show can tend to be off the radar of ‘general market’ talk radio, so in case you are wondering, this is a legit afternoon drive talk show, topics, guests, listener calls. Salem is a public company, we are not a church, we are a commercial radio station. Most of us here have a background in competitive ‘general market’ radio. And we have been attracted to working for Salem because of the difference it makes in our own lives, and the lives of our audience base and communities. The show is heard in both Los Angeles and San Diego during afternoon drive each weekday. It’s a huge opportunity for the right person. We would enjoy speaking with you if you have any questions.” Contact KKLA program director Rodney Miller at: Rodney.miller@salemla.com.

KNBR, San Francisco Seeking Full-Time Writer/Web Producer. San Francisco sports talker KNBR is seeking a full-time writer and web producer. The station says: “As a member of the San Francisco Cumulus digital team, the writer and web producer will be responsible for covering Bay Area sports as a writer, reporter and content creator, while also supporting the KNBR digital team’s efforts in creating digital content related to the KNBR radio station. The job will include but is not limited to writing, on-site reporting, interviewing, editing, headline writing, social media skills, going on-air or on-camera, collaborating on digital content both within the department and with other departments such as programing, sales and promotions.” See more information about the position and apply here.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

| December 19, 2019

KNUS, Denver’s Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden Fired for School Shooting Joke. The midday “Chuck & Julie” show has been cancelled from the program lineup at Salem Media Group’s news/talk KNUS, Denver after Chuck Bonniwell’s ill-advised joke about school shootings.  Bonniwell, who co-hosts the show with his wife Julie Hayden, was transitioning from a break back into programming and said – in an effort to express his weariness with the impeachment story – “You wish for a nice school shooting to interrupt.”  Julie Hayden was quick to interject, “Don’t even – don’t even say that. No, don’t even say that.  Don’t call us. Chuck didn’t say that.”  Then Bonniwell added “…which no one would be hurt.”  Station management later issued the following statement: “Given the history of school violence that has plagued our community, 710 KNUS confirms that an inappropriate comment was made on the ‘Chuck & Julie’ show by co-host Chuck Bonniwell.  A programming decision was made to end the program immediately.”  For his part, Bonniwell said via Twitter: “I made an inappropriate comment meant as a joke.  I’m sorry it was not received that way.”

Jim Vicevich Retires from WTIC-AM, Hartford; Will Mariotti to Assume Late Morning Show. Hartford talk radio host Jim Vicevich is leaving his role as late morning talk host on Entercom’s news/talk WTIC-AM due to his ongoing battle with Lupus.  Today is his last show.  WTIC personality Will Mariotti will become the permanent 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host.  Entercom Hartford SVP and market manager Stephanie Perl says, “We would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to Jim, who has dedicated over 15 years of his career to the people of Hartford.  He has developed a strong bond with the local community through the show ‘Sound Off Connecticut’ and is a true media icon in the market.  We thank him for all of his contributions to our station and local community and wish him all of the best.”  Vicevich says, “While I’m sad to be leaving due to my Lupus, I’m happy that I’ve had the opportunity to entertain and interact with our audience for over 15 years.  I’m honored to be a part of this station’s great history.  Very few people have had the chance to get behind the same microphone of other WTIC greats like Bob Steele and Ray Dunaway.  Thank you to everyone who has played a role in making my time here special.”  Will Mariotti adds, “From the time I first filled in for Jim and all the way through working with him weekly in 2017 and 2018, I was always impressed by his knowledge and professionalism.  I know I have huge shoes to fill, but my time with Jim has prepared me for the next chapter of our daytime show.  I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to connect with our listeners every day.”

Chris Carlin to Host Nights at ‘ESPN New York.’ After months of speculation about what the New York City sports talk scene will look like in the New Year, another piece of the puzzle fits into place as former WFAN “The Fan” personality Chris Carlin will assume hosting the evening show at ESPN’s WEPN-FM “ESPN New York” on January 2.  “Carlin at Night” will air from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  Carlin was one-third of the show hired to replace Mike Francesa in afternoons on Entercom’s WFAN.  But Francesa returned to WFAN a few months after leaving and Carlin, Bart Scott and Maggie Gray were moved to the early afternoon daypart.  Then, in August Carlin was let go.  Back at WEPN, Alan Hahn is moving from nights to middays, reportedly to co-host with Bart Scott, who leaves WFAN and partner Maggie Gray this month to join WEPN.  Across town, WFAN has already announced that Gray and Marc Malusis are the new midday show and Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts are the new PM drive show.

Ivy Savoy-Smith to Lead Entercom Washington, DC. Vice president and director of sales Ivy Savoy-Smith is promoted to SVP and market manager for Entercom’s Washington, DC station group that includes sports talk WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan,” four music brands, and more.  She takes over for Phil Zachary, who exited the position last month. Entercom CRO and regional president Bob Philips says, “During her time here at Entercom, Ivy has embodied leadership, strategic thinking, accountability and hard work.  She is a forward thinker who has produced undeniable results and we are excited to have her lead Entercom Washington D.C. into the new decade.”  Savoy-Smith comments, “I’m grateful to Bob for giving me this opportunity to begin this new chapter of my career.  Working at Entercom has been an unbelievable experience and I look forward to putting my stamp on the D.C. cluster and leveraging the power of radio to continue to give back to the local community.”

Edison: Moms Have ‘Complicated Relationship’ with Social Media. According to a new study from Edison Research titled, “Moms on Social Media 2019,” mothers are big social media users – 92% of U.S. moms use social media compared to 79% to the 12+ U.S. population.  And although Facebook usage has fallen among users in the U.S. according to Edison’s “The Infinite Dial 2019,” moms are not dropping Facebook.  Eighty-one percent of U.S. moms use Facebook compared to 61% of the total U.S. population.  Edison says, “Moms have two major motivators for continuing to use social media: the emotional connection it provides and the practical ways it helps them in their busy lives.  The study finds that on the emotional side, moms are using social media to stay up to date with friends, share aspects of their lives, and share their opinions.  On the practical side, moms are using social media to get information on school events, details on extracurricular activities, health and parenting advice, and find product recommendations.”  Other findings from the study include: Pinterest and Instagram have seen significant gains year-over-year.  Among U.S. moms, 63% are using Pinterest in 2019 compared to 47% in 2017, and 53% are using Instagram in 2019 compared to 37% in 2017; 80% of moms on social media say they turn to it for product recommendations, and 58% of moms on social media said Facebook is the platform they turn to first for product recommendations; 53% of moms who use social medial say there is too much negativity on social media; and regarding how they feel about social media, 26% of moms on social media say they feel annoyed, 25% say they feel addicted, and 24% say they feel concerned.  See more from the study here.

PodcastOne Shows Named to CarMoney’s Top Podcasts List. Three of PodcastOne’s car-related podcasts were named to the international list of top car podcasts by the UK-based site CarMoney.  The shows named are: “Carcast” hosted by Adam Carolla and Matt D’Andria; “Everyday Driver,” with hosts Paul and Todd; and “Spike’s Car Radio” with car enthusiast and former “Seinfeld” writer Spike Feresten.  PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Adam Carolla is the king of podcasts, so I am not surprised to see his car show on the list. ‘Everyday Driver’ has been a great partner, and Spike knows cars and he knows funny.  That’s exactly the reason why his podcast has been a solid hit for the past 2 ½ years here at PodcastOne.  I’d say more, but I’ve gotta call Spike now for some car advice and laughs.”

House Votes to Impeach Trump, 2020 Presidential Race, Obamacare Ruling, FBI Report/FISA, U.S.-China Trade Talks, Financial Markets Activity, and New Obesity Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/19). The vote in the U.S. House to impeach President Donald Trump on two counts and the president’s response from his rally in Michigan; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020 and the build-up to this evening’s Democratic debate; an appeals court rules the Obamacare mandate unconstitutional; the aftermath of the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s use of the FISA; the Trump administration’s trade talks with China; the record setting performances of the financial markets; and the New England Journal of Medicine report indicating half of all American adults will be obese by 2030 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Tulsa news/talker KRMG-FM and KOKI-TV “FOX23” organized the 12th Annual Tulsa Holiday Blood Drive for the American Red Cross, taking place today (12/19).  In the past 11 drives, the program has collected 2,254 units of life-saving products (blood and platelets).  KRMG director of branding and programming Levi May says, “During the crazy holiday travel season, the American Red Cross sees a big drop in its scheduled donations and that could create a real problem for people seeking medical help during this time.  We are honored to partner with our news partners at ‘FOX23’ to help drive awareness and donations to help ensure that Green Country medical facilities have everything they need to treat our neighbors.”…..The NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and iHeartMedia Minneapolis’ KFXN, Minneapolis “KFAN 100.3” and news/talk KTLK have agreed to a five-year extension renewing the stations’ broadcast rights for Vikings preseason, regular season and postseason games.  The 2020 season will mark the 20th consecutive year “KFAN” will serve as the flagship station for the Vikings Radio Network.  iHeartMedia market president Jeff Tyler says, “My thanks to the Wilf family and all the great people we work with at the Minnesota Vikings.  They are at the top level of sports franchises and our entire team at iHeartMedia Minneapolis is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue our partnership for another five years.  Both organizations are dedicated to innovation and excellence which makes this partnership so unique and valuable.”…..SiriusXM is presenting live play-by-play broadcasts of all 41 Division I FBS and FCS bowl games this college football postseason, including ESPN Radio’s coverage of the College Football Playoff Semifinals and National Championship.  The schedule begins Friday, December 20 and concludes with the crowning of the national champion on January 13…..Former CBS News reporter and anchor Peter Maer was recently honored with a lifetime achievement award from the St. Louis Press Club.  During his more than 25 years covering national news for CBS, Maer received numerous awards, including an Edward R. Murrow Award, five Merriman Smith Awards, the IAF Cronkite Award, and more.  Maer retired from CBS News in 2015.  He was interviewed on CBS News Radio affiliate KMOX, St. Louis.  He’s pictured here (left) with St. Louis Press Club president Bill Greenblatt (right)…..Pictured below are ESPN Radio’s “Golic and Wingo” hosts Mike Golic (third from right), Trey Wingo (second from right), and Mike Golic Jr. (second from left) after teaming up with Mercedes-Benz Vans to benefit the Salvation Army.  ESPN employees in Bristol, Connecticut donated more than 300 toys and Mercedes-Benz Vans donated a new Sprinter Passenger Van for the Salvation Army to use to transport students to after-school activities. In addition to the Sprinter Passenger Van that was donated, Mercedes-Benz provided a Cargo Van that was utilized to transport the toys from ESPN’s Bristol campus to the Salvation Army.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Chicago triple A WXRT-FM, the longtime morning show with Lin Brehmer and Mary Dixon wraps, with Brehmer moving to the midday show and current midday personality Richard Milne moving to mornings.  Dixon, who according to a report in the Chicago Tribune was offered the evening/overnight news anchor position with sister all-news WBBM-AM/WCFO-FM but declined, leaves the station.  Brehmer says, “Like a veteran centerfielder who moves to first base, I look forward to batting second.  The exhilaration of being a morning companion to the families that support 93XRT offset the brutal schedule of someone who likes to go to concerts at night.  I’m not 29 anymore.  May the phrase, ‘Isn’t it past your bedtime?’ be applied to someone else for a while.”  Entercom Chicago OM and program director Greg Solk says, “93XRT has long held the reputation for playing Chicago’s finest rock, but also has enjoyed hosting Chicago’s finest jocks.  Lin Brehmer is a Chicago treasure.  All of us at the station are indebted to Lin for his 28 years of wrestling with his alarm clock.  His morning fans will now get to enjoy their best friend in the whole world sharing their workday as Lin accompanies their middle of the day rituals.  We are also blessed to have someone of Richard’s character, charm, music knowledge and wit to take over for Lin.  It’s Richard’s turn to get in early and Rock Chicago.”…..Classic hits KONO-FM, San Antonio morning drive personality Dave Rios is retiring from the station after 26 years in the position.  Prior to joining KONO-FM, Rios worked in the market as news director for rock outlet KXZL – now Spanish hits KZEP-FM…..Hubbard Radio personality Fitz is named the permanent host of “Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40.”  He becomes the third host in the 45-year history of the national radio show.  Kingsley died in October after a battle with cancer.  The new “Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40 with Fitz” airs on more than 300 stations worldwide and features audio from the Kingsley archives.  Skyview Networks is the exclusive network sales rep for the show.  Fitz says, “I listened to Bob Kingsley every weekend when I was a kid.  His loss is still sinking in, but I am honored to be taking the reins from the man who instilled in me a lifelong love of country music and the love of the ‘countdown.’  This moment is surreal, and I do not take the responsibility lightly.  I am excited and honored to carry his torch and hope that I can do for the next generation of country music fans what the legendary Bob Kingsley did for me…..Entercom announces that Zac Brown Band is headlining the 5th annual “The Night Before” concert at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida on February 1, 2020 – the night before the Super Bowl.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

| October 29, 2019

Round One of October PPM Ratings Released.  The first of four rounds of October 2019 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex (New Jersey).  The October 2019 rating period covered September 12 to October 9.  Some positive (6+) ratings gains of note include: Entercom’s WFAN, New York (+0.6) re-enters the market’s top 10 with a 3.8 share; Nexstar’s WGN, Chicago (+0.3) continues to ascend to #9 in the market with a 3.5 share; Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas marks six consecutive surveys without a dip and scores a 4.1 share; iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston has a another positive survey, now ranking #11 in the market with a 3.9 share; Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta earns a fourth consecutive positive survey (+0.6) and is #1 in the market with an 8.2 share; and Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia rises almost a full share from September to a 7.5 share.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian, as he does every month, presents his “Takeaways” from the performances of each market’s spoken-word and music stations. See his “Takeaways” from this first round here.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Bill O’Reilly Packs House at Boston Event. Pictured above at center is Key Networks syndicated radio personality and best-selling author Bill O’Reilly at last Saturday’s appearance in suburban Boston.  iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO airs the daily “The O’Reilly Update” program and hosted the “An Afternoon with Bill O’Reilly” event that drew a sellout crowd during which O’Reilly offered his “no spin” take on news, politics, the 2020 election, his experience being back on radio, and more.  He also talked about his latest book, The United States of Trump (2019, Henry Holt & Company).  Pictured with O’Reilly are WRKO talk show hosts Doug “VB” Goudie (left) and Jeff Kuhner (right).  Photo: Mario Jarjour.

TALKERS News Notes. With the release of the latest October 2019 PPM ratings from Nielsen Audio, the sports talk radio battle in New York between Entercom’s WFAN and ESPN’s WEPN is once again under scrutiny by the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.  He reports that in afternoon drive, WEPN’s Michael Kay grabbed a 7.4 share to take the #1 spot in that daypart while WFAN’s Mike Francesa had a 5.6 share – or a 6.0 share if his streaming numbers are included – to finish third or second, respectively…..Salem Media Group’s KNUS, Denver is presenting a live event titled, “Countdown 2020: War for America’s Soul,” at University of Colorado South Denver tonight (10/29).  It features Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager and author, FOX News contributor, and TOWNHALL columnist Michelle Malkin discussing such topics as “the march toward socialism,” “Iran waging war,” “restricted free speech and religious rights,” and “racial tensions.”…..Good Karma Brands fires up a new subscription service for content from its Wisconsin sports talk stations called, “Wisconsin On Demand.”  For $5 per month or $50 per year, subscribers get content on demand from WTLX-FM, Madison “ESPN Madison” and WKTI-FM and WAUK-AM, Milwaukee “ESPN Milwaukee” that includes limited commercials…..Condolences to the family and friends of former, longtime Syracuse traffic reporter Anthony Bombardo, Jr., who passed away on October 27 at the age of 78.  During his career, Bombardo worked as an aerial traffic reporter on WHEN, Syracuse as Captain Scott King.  Later, he provided traffic reports to numerous Central New York stations using his given name.  He retired in 2010.

Robin Fitzgerald to Serve as Chief Judge for 2020 Radio Mercury Awards. The Radio Mercury Awards announces that BBDO Atlanta chief creative officer Robin Fitzgerald will serve as the 2020 Chief Judge for the 29th annual Radio Mercury Awards.  Fitzgerald has been named one of Business Insider’s “Most Creative People in Social Media Marketing” and “Most Creative Women in Advertising.”  She has participated on juries for the Radio Mercury Awards, D&AD, One Show, Clios, Art Director’s Club and New York Festivals.  She says, “I’ve always loved radio. To me, it’s one of the most challenging platforms for creatives.  The Radio Mercury Awards are a champion of great ideas delivered in stereo.  It’s a pretty cool gig to be leading the charge on curating the best of the best for 2020.”

Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Scandal, Death of Baghdadi, California Wildfires/Power Blackouts, 2020 Presidential Race, Rep. Hill Scandal, and Trump Booed at World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/28). The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related allegations of Trump’s quid pro quo offer to Ukraine and Hunter and Joe Biden’s energy dealings there; the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi; the California wildfires that threaten some 25 million and the PG&E power blackouts; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the sex scandal that forced U.S. Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) to resign from the House; and President Trump being booed at the World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Nick Rivers joins Hubbard Radio’s West Palm Beach station group to serve as APD and music director for country WIRK and classic hits WEAT.  He is also hosting afternoon drive on WIRK.  He was most recently in the production and imaging department at Dick Broadcasting’s Greensboro, North Carolina station group.  Hubbard West Palm Beach OM and brand/content director Bruce Logan says, “We had a lot of fantastic candidates to join Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach, but Nick’s enthusiasm and the chemistry he had with the team truly set him apart from the others.  We are building something special at WIRK and Nick is another outstanding puzzle piece.”…..In Atlanta, Radio One promotes Derek Harper to operations manager for the cluster, taking over for Hurricane Dave Smith, who exited in August.  Harper has been serving as program director for urban AC WAMJ “Majic 107.5” and Gospel WPZE “Praise 97.5.”  He’ll continue to program WAMJ and serve as Radio One and Reach Media’s captain for the inspiration format…..Entercom’s KROQ, Los Angeles announces the lineup for the RADIO.COM event, “KROQ Absolut Almost Acoustic Christmas 2019” on December 7 at the Honda Center in Orange County.  The opening night of the two-day event will feature performances by: Cage The Elephant, Beck, Jimmy Eat World, Young the Giant, Angels & Airwaves, Cold War Kids, The Head and the Heart, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and DJ Jeremiah Red…..Non-commercial triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee” begins a search for a new executive director as Glenn Kleiman announces he’ll exit the position next spring.  Station board president Juli Kaufmann says, “The search will focus on seeking the next leader to continue our forward momentum of inspiring positive change in the community.  Through creative content and programming, Radio Milwaukee will continue to raise the social awareness and engagement of listeners while expanding our audience.”  Kleiman became executive director in April 2016 after previously serving as a station consultant.  He says, “I love this job, our team, and our mission.  I’m proud of the work we do, and I’ll miss leading our efforts.  But it’s time for me to slow down a bit.  I’m not retiring, just turning it down a notch.  I do hope to stay involved with ‘Radio Milwaukee’ in some capacity.”…..Christian broadcaster Brighter Media Group announces the addition of Molly Chambers to afternoons on Christian contemporary WRBS, Baltimore “SHINE-FM,” alongside longtime host Jack Larkin.  Program director John Lawhon says, “It’s amazing to see what God is doing with SHINE-FM.  Molly brings a new and fresh voice to the SHINE-FM team.  She represents a commitment to investing in the next generation of talent.  She is a rock star!”

Friday, October 9, 2015

| October 9, 2015

ramseyNashville15Dave Ramsey Packs the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey brought his Smart Money live event to his hometown of Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry House last night (10/8).  The program, which also included Ramsey Solutions personality and speaker Chris Hogan, was promoted with the assistance of local affiliate, iHeartMedia-owned news/talk WLAC.  iHeartMedia market president Dan Endom says, “Newsradio 1510 WLAC is extremely proud to be part of the Dave Ramsey Smart Money Tour stop in Nashville.  Dave has helped millions take control of their financial futures and, this event provides a live and in-person platform for folks, through a common sense approach, to achieve financial freedom.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Endom, Ramsey and Craig Hahn, SVP of sales iHeartMedia/Nashville.

wabc logoWABC Names Libertini Staff Announcer and Production Director.  On the heels of the retirement of New York radio legend Johnny Donovan back in May, Cumulus Media announces it is appointing veteran voice talent and creative audio production prolibertinichristopher Christopher Libertini staff announcer and production director for 77 WABC Radio.  Libertini’s resume includes stints with Howard Stern, NFL Radio, SiriusXM, ESPN, MLB, and CBS RADIO.  Currently, Libertini’s voice can be heard on Cartoon Network, The Biography Channel, New York Lottery ads and various documentaries.  WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “Though you cannot truly replace a legend like Johnny Donovan, you can find the next generation of production enthusiasts with indelible voices that resonate with your audience.  Chris is proof positive that the sonic element of a talk radio station is vital and worth investing in.”

brownejoyDr. Joy Browne Back on Daytime Live in New York Market.  The daily GCN-syndicated show hosted by perennial talk radio mainstay Dr. Joy Browne has been added to the lineup of WVNJ 1160 “The Voice” where it will be heard live between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.  This marks the first time the longtime TALKERS Heavy Hundred superstar has been on the air in the Big Apple during daytime hours since leaving WOR, New York several years ago when that station changed ownership from Buckley Broadcasting to then-Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) and revamped its programming lineup to suit the company’s direction.  Since then, Dr. Joy Browne has been heard in New York on Salem Media’s WNYM 970 “The Answer” but DB’d during the overnight hours.  Browne tells TALKERS, “I am so grateful to the wonderful folks at WNYM for keeping the show on the air in New York during this period… but live during the daytime is hard to resist.”  She adds, “I am thrilled to be back on the air live in New York where I have enjoyed so many years of fabulous support during my live and local days on WOR – and where I am very well-known and connected in the community.”  WVNJ is family-owned by Universal Broadcasting of New York. The station, licensed to Oakland, NJ pumps out a powerful 20,000 watts and can be heard throughout much of the Tri-State area including large swaths of New Jersey, New York City, Westchester and Long Island.

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Releases Tampa Bay PPM Numbers.  After a delay of more than a week, Nielsen Audio has released the September 2015 PPM survey for the Tampa Bay market.  The ratings were delayed after Nielsen determined there was evidence of tamper that was found to be executed by Bubba the Love Sponge, whose independently syndicated program airs on Beasley Broadcast Group’s WBRN-FM.  Bubba admitted to the charge and Beasley reports it is taking action against him but the program will remain on the station that’s been crafted around his morning drive program.  See TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaways” from the Tampa ratings at RadioInfo.com.

Odds & Sods.  Denver talk host Dan Caplis is interested in running for one of Colorado’s U.S. Senate seats,caplisdan according to Jason Salzman in the Huffington Post.  Caplis is an attorney who hosts the 9:00 am to 11:00 am show on Salem Media’s KNUS, Denver.  If he decides to take on Democrat Michael Bennet, he’ll know within the next six to eight weeks…..News/talk WVLK, Lexington, Kentucky adds an FM signal with the sign-on of translator W266AN at 101.1 FM.  Cumulus Media corporate program director Jim wvlkMahanay says, “We are extremely pleased to announce that our audience in Lexington can now enjoy WVLK’s exceptional news/talk programming — including Larry Kudlow, John Batchelor, Mark Levin and ‘The Savage Nation’ — on the all-new simulcast at 101.1 on the FM dial.”…..Hockey’s St. Louis Blues and CBS RADIO’s St. Louis stations extends the multi-year broadcast rights agreement for play-by-play and related programming.  The agreement expands the existing deal that includes Newsradio 1120 KMOX, hot AC KYKY “Y98” and adult contemporary KEZK.  One of the most significant changes under the agreement is the creation of new Blues-related programming on KMOX.  In addition to existing game coverage, KMOX will introduce three new weekly shows during the season and will also carry a 30-minute Blues postgame show.

talkersten logoRussia’s Syria Military Campaign Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of October 5-9.  The Russian military campaign in Syria was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Close behind at #2 was the related U.S. policy for battling ISIS.  At #3 were the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 followed by the Oregon college massacre and Hillary Clinton’s gun control plan tied 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.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, January 6, 2014

| January 6, 2014

longbrianLong Set To Program Clear Channel, San Diego Combo.  Former senior director of programming for Bonneville Seattle’s KIRO-AM “710 ESPN,Brian Long, has been tapped to program Clear Channel, San Diego’s news/talk KOGO-AM and KLSD “Xtra Sports 1360.” Vice president of programming John Peake comments, “Brian will bring a diverse perspective from multiple markets and stations to our spoken-word brands.  We are excited to add Brian’s management and broadcasting experience to the San Diego programming team.  We are confident that KOGO-AM and ‘Xtra Sports’ will prosper under his tutelage.”  Long previously was assistant program director and “In the Zone” host on Los Angeles’ KSPN “710 ESPN.”  Prior to that, the Kansas City native programmed in Palm Springs, California for KXPS “The Team 1010,” KFUT “Fox Sports 1270,” and KNWZ “K-News.”  Long begins his San Diego assignment in two weeks (1/21).

caplisdanCaplis to Host Late Morning Show on KNUS, Denver.  Salem Communications-owned news/talk KNUS, Denver adds local TV and radio personality Dan Caplis to the program lineup in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot.  Caplis – an attorney – most recently worked in radio at Clear Channel’s crosstown news/talk KHOW with co-host Craig Silverman.  KNUS general manager Brian Taylor says, “With the upcoming election cycle, plus the compelling local issues that have put Colorado in the forefront recently, it is significant for us to offer another powerful local voice like market veteran Dan Caplis.  Combined with Peter Boyles and Steve Kelley, 710 KNUS will now offer more daily, live local conservative talk programming than any other station in the Denver market.”

millerchrisNew Year Changes at Facebook That Affect You.  Digital media consultant Chris Miller informs us that Facebook recently made some important changes that affect how users get to show the content they do.  Miller writes, “The news and entertainment site Buzzfeed first picked up on it before Facebook made it official.  The folks at Buzzfeed noticed that, all of a sudden, online content publishers were getting a huge increase in hits.  That group of publishers includes a wide variety of content providers, but the way to think about it is ‘sites that find and write about stuff that others should find interesting.’”  Miller says that all social platforms are getting more sophisticated about how they determine what their users will see.  Facebook has adjusted their formula that determines what content we all get shown, emphasizing the interesting over the merely silly and self-serving.  Here’s how to help insure that more of your posts get shown to your fan base.  Read Miller’s column here.

cookehollandAnalysis: 2014 NMX Podcasters Conference.  Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas this week covering the New Media Expo and the enormous 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show.  First up, Cooke reports from the weekend’s happenings at 2014 NMX.  Cooke says the standing-room-only crowd was replete with people focused on talking targeted, passionate interests with its audience.  “And they’re not just talking to your geographical area.  And they are not merely, as clichéd station imaging assures, ‘talking-about what-you’re-talking-about,’” says Cooke.  “Instead of belaboring Benghazi, they’re bonding with ‘ovewhelmed adoptive moms, by telling the truth about the post-adoption journey, so they feel validated and encouraged for the road ahead.’  If more station websites offered narrowcast content that’s specifically appealing, and used transmitters to invite those moms to engage, new digital revenue would follow.”  Read Cooke’s entire report from 2014 NMX in Las Vegas here.

rantzjasonJason Rantz Promoted to Daily Evening Show at KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM ups Jason Rantz from his year-old weekend show on the station to the daily 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program effective this evening.  KIRO-FM program director Pete Gammell says, “Jason is an extremely knowledgeable and thoughtful host who always seeks opposing views to further listeners’ understanding.  We always strive to connect entertainment to value and discussion to understanding.  This is Jason’s strength and I’m sure listeners will agree.”   Speaking about his new gig, Rantz states, “I’m excited by the opportunity to talk with Western Washington as a part of KIRO’s weekday team.  I’ve enjoyed interacting and engaging the KIRO Radio listeners during my previous weekend show and now I’m thrilled to bring this same dynamic to weeknights.  There are so many important issues affecting our community and the nation, and it is vital that we come together to have a civil but challenging and vigorous discussion.  I hope my evening show will become that forum.”

ktar-am logoBonneville Gives Sports Talk KTAR-AM, Phoenix FM Simulcast.  Shuttering adult hits KPKX “98.7 The Peak,” Bonneville Phoenix gives sports talker KTAR-AM an FM signal on which to simulcast.  The company has been building multi-platform sports content destination “Arizona Sports” using the AM radio station and a local sports content-heavy website and now adds an FM signal to the mix.  Vice president and market manager Scott Sutherland states, “Putting ‘Arizona Sports’ on FM is an opportunity too big to ignore.  Our live, local and exclusive sports content has never been better.  We have world-class local talk personalities who deliver powerful opinions and insights that engage, entertain and positively impact the communities we serve.  We also have amazing team partners.  And all of this attracts a passionate and loyal audience, which in turn, attracts a lot of marketing interest from small and medium business owners, major brands and C-Suite decision makers.”  The stations serve as flagship broadcaster for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona State University and broadcasts Arizona Interscholastic Association prep sporting events from around the state.

czabansteveRed Zebra Re-Ups with Steve Czaban at ‘ESPN 980’ in Washington.  Red Zebra Broadcasting and sports talk host Steve Czaban have agreed to terms on a new three-year deal that will keep the afternoon drive co-host with WTEM, Washington, DC “ESPN 980” through 2016.  Czaban has been co-hosting the afternoon drive time slot for WTEM for the last 13 years.  Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza comments, “Czabe is integral to the success of our station.  We look forward to three additional years of Czabe, Cooley and Galdi.”  Steve Czaban co-hosts “The Drive with Cooley & Czabe” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and also hosts the golf program “Sunday Tee Time,” at 8:00 am on Sunday mornings during golf season.

theblaze logoGlenn Beck’s ‘TheBlaze Radio News’ Launces Today.    “TheBlaze Radio News” – the latest AM/FM program offering from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – hits stations on the AM/FM dial today after debuting on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel several months ago.  The service offers hourly newscasts from anchors and reporters around the nation providing news and information specifically targeted to talk radio listeners.  The casts draw on the reporting from TheBlaze television network and its website TheBlaze.com which it says “generates over 20 million unique visitors per month and is one of the 100 most trafficked websites in America.”  The service is airing today in markets including Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas and Birmingham, Alabama.

ingolddougCompass Names Ingold Sales Exec.  Compass Media Networks brings Doug Ingold aboard as senior director of affiliate sales for entertainment & music programming beginning January 20.  The company says Ingold “will be based in Los Angeles and assume a vital role in the expansion of Compass’ long-form entertainment and music shows including Big D & Bubba, “Free Beer & Hot Wings,” “Off The Record,” “Out of Order,” Rick Dees and “Skratch N Sniff.”  Compass VP of affiliate sales Adam Wilbur comments, “Our entertainment portfolio is growing rapidly and the time is right for us to add someone of Doug’s caliber to spearhead day-to-day affiliate marketing.”

mcmurraypeteMcMurray Show Expands at WGN.  According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, late night talk show host Pete McMurray’s show will expand with a new earlier start time at 10:00 pm (and end at 2:00 am), shaving an hour off David Kaplan’s evening sports talk program.  Feder quotes WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley saying, “Pete has become our all-purpose star in a variety of fill-in roles.  I think he gets what we’re trying to do very well, especially in providing lots of video content.  Between Pete and [producer] Scott Miller, they do an amazing job of booking great guests and being about the city.”  Read the story here.

hotchkisskeithHotchkiss Transfers to Charlotte as Director of Sales.  As of today (1/6), Keith Hotchkiss is Clear Channel Charlotte’s director of sales.  He joins that operation from Cleveland where he was general sales manager of Clear Channel-owned CHR WAKS “Kiss-FM,” news/talk WTAM, rock WMMS, and WMMS-HD2 “99X.”  Regional Market Manager Charlie Wilkinson remarks that, “Keith’s proven sales leadership will have an immediate impact in Charlotte.  I’m confident he will be an integral part of our success now and well into the future.”  Clear Channel’s five-station Charlotte cluster consists of alternative WEND “The End,” CHR WHQC “Channel 96-1,” country WKKT “The Kat,” adult hits WLKO “The Lake,” and classic rock WRFX “The Fox.”

smithlauraOdds & Sods.  WABC, New York radio personality Laura Smith is sitting in for the first few shows with new 5:00 pm program host Pat Kiernan starting today.  Smith currently hosts two weekend programs on WABC – “Living Better with Laura Smith” and “The Saturday Café.”  Kiernan is an anchor on cable’s NY1 and his show is part of the newly revised program lineup at the station…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Blackhawks Live” live broadcast promotion on Thursday, January 13 featuring defenseman Duncan Keith at the Old Town Pour House in Chicago.  “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management. Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests.

iheartradioFour New Integrations for iHeartRadio.  Clear Channel announces its iHeartRadio digital entertainment platform is headed to dashboards in three auto makes, including Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo and Kia.  In addition to these OEMs, iHeartRadio will also be available via platform solution provider Bosch.  The company states that in 2014, Jaguar Land Rover vehicles equipped with Bosch SoftTec’s innovative InControl Apps platform, Volvo vehicles equipped with the Sensus Connect infotainment solution and Kia vehicles with UVO will have access to iHeartRadio.

colemanjerry“Oh Doctor!” – Jerry Coleman Passes Away.  That was one of the favorite on-air expressions uttered by the 89-year-old Jerry Coleman, whose death was confirmed Sunday night (1/5) by the San Diego Padres, the MLB team for whom he called games since 1972.  A portion of the team’s prepared statement read, “On behalf of Padres’ fans everywhere, we mourn the loss of a Marine who was truly an American hero as well as a great man, a great friend and a great Padre.”  He played parts of nine seasons with the New York Yankees (1949 – 1957).  After retiring, he began a broadcasting career with CBS-TV (1960 – 1962), where he conducted pregame interviews on the network’s “Game of the Week” broadcasts.  He did play-by-play for the Yankees on WCBS-AM and WPIX-TV (1963 – 1969), Angels (1970 – 1971), and Padres (1972 to this past season).  He also called regular-season and postseason broadcasts for CBS Radio from the mid-1970s to the 1990s.  For three years of Coleman’s tenure with the Padres, his on-air partner was sitcom writer par excellence-music radio on-air talent Ken Levine, who writes on KenLevine.blogspot.com, “I loved Jerry.  He was your favorite uncle – always cheerful, always there for you.  His passion for the game of baseball was infectious and his zest for life was inspiring.  Other than having to broadcast meaningless spring training games, I cannot think of anything Jerry Coleman didn’t view in a positive light.  He was also incredibly humble.  When we were on the road, I picked his brain for hours, and he graciously and patiently answered all of my questions.  Jerry Coleman worked Padres games up until his death.  He led a rich full life and he would often point out how lucky he was.  So many of his friends had died young in a war – he lived to be 89 in relatively good health.”  In 2005, Coleman received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence; two years later, he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.  As of the 2010 season, he reduced his broadcast schedule to approximately 25 home day games.