Monday Memo: Save Those Benjamins. Even with gas prices now inching down, almost everything else is “SO expensive that listeners (and we) are coping.” Wrapping-up his month-long series – “Inflation Hacks” – Holland Cooke presents 9 money-saving tips, “AND a fabulous radio prize!” Read it here.
Pending Business: The Great Resignation. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says “The Great Resignation” is having an effect on the radio/audio sales business, too. He writes, “The Pew survey says the top three reasons for ‘The Great Resignation’ are: low pay, lack of advancement opportunity, and feeling disrespected at work. Does it sound like the grumbling before the Monday morning sales meeting? My marketing work puts me in direct contact with sales reps across the country and ‘The Great Resignation’ did extend into our radio/audio sales community. On the radio side more so in the larger market stations.” He offers some suggestions for navigating this era of economic uncertainty. Read it here.
Radio HOF Welcomes Nine Inductees. A voting participant panel comprised of more than 800 industry professionals honorees determined six honorees; the other three were voted on by the Radio Hall of Fame nominating committee. Radio Hall of Fame co-chair Kraig Kitchin comments, “Our forthcoming inductees have made a wonderful impact on the lives of their listeners and our industry. We’re thrilled to be able to celebrate their respective careers and honor them with an induction to the Radio Hall of Fame.” According to co-chair Dennis Green, “This was our highest voter participation ever. The radio industry picked an amazing, diverse class of broadcasters and executives that we are proud to call Hall of Famers. These individuals have made a lasting impact on this amazing industry, cementing their place as part of the legacy that makes radio special.” In alphabetical order, the nine inductees are: radio executive Marv Dyson; “Country USA” host Lon Helton; iHeartMedia Los Angeles adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103” morning personality Ellen K; Audacy New York classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM “New York’s Greatest Hits” afternoon drive talent Broadway Bill Lee; “Gospel Traxx” host Reverend Walt “Baby” Love; iHeartMedia New York classic rock WAXQ “Q 103.4” talent Carol Miller; Sirius XM sports talk host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo; Emmis Communications president/chief executive officer Jeff Smulyan; and New York Yankees Radio Network announcer Suzyn Waldman. The 2022 Radio Hall of Fame inductees will be honored in-person November 1 at Chicago’s Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel. The Radio Hall of Fame was founded by the Emerson Radio Corporation in 1988; The Museum of Broadcast Communications took over operations in 1991. This year’s confidential ballot was conducted by Votem.com and overseen by Miller Kaplan’s Andrew Rosen.
Radio Resources Unit Debuts Today. Tailored for medium to small market owners and operators, Radio Resources was launched today (Monday, 7/25) by parent company Gen Media Partners. Director of products and services Alex Quintero notes, “Until now, radio station owners and operators had to deal with multiple providers and retrofit the pieces together. The Radio Resources toolkit offers broadcasters one central point of contact and stewardship for a wide array of products and services, streamlined across critical departments to deliver a more efficient, productive, and seamless experience. We’re the only company that can aggregate such a broad range of radio products and services and provide this level of multi-resource support. Our independent standing gives us the freedom to seek out the best providers to service our radio clients.” Among other things the Radio Resources suite includes: Programming and Content; Workflow Solutions; IT and Cyber Security; 24/7 Formats; Sales Strategy; Imaging and Production; Research; Online and Digital Integrations; and Back-Office Operations. Radio Resources products and services are available for cash, barter or a combination of both.
Pickup Truck Slams Into Cumulus Media Indy Building. Two vehicles were involved in a crash last Thursday (7/21) at approximately 5:45 pm with one, a pickup truck (pictured above), striking the Cumulus Media Indianapolis building on North Shadeland Avenue. No one in that structure was hurt, although the building received extensive damage. According to a Facebook posting, Cumulus Indianapolis continued from its backup studio. The driver of one vehicle in the accident was taken to a hospital and is listed in serious condition. In addition to sports talk WXNT “CBS Sports 1430 AM,” Cumulus Indianapolis consists of WFMS “95.5 The Country Station”; classic hits-oldies WJJK “Classic Hits 104.5”; WNDX “93.9 X – Indy’s Rock Station”; hot AC WNTR “107.9 The Mix”; and CHR WZPL “99.5 ZPL.”
Windy City Readying For Rock Radio Revisited. Longtime “The Larry King Radio Show” executive producer Pat Piper is producing The Museum of Broadcast Communications’ “Rock Radio Revisited,” which will be held August 14 at 3:00 pm at The Des Plaines Theatre. Museum of Broadcast Communications board chair David Plier notes, “The heyday of rock radio in the 60’s and 70s’ was centered around the booming personalities of [Chicago on-air talents such as] Larry Lujack, John Records Landecker, Yvonne Daniels, Bob Sirott and Steve King. Every city had their favorite local radio station and the voices behind them. This will be an incredible celebration of the personalities and music that made that era of rock and roll so memorable.” Landecker, Tommy Edwards, Bob Stroud and Dyana Williams will reminisce about “the golden age of rock radio.” In addition, there will be vintage airchecks, as well as stories about the on-air personalities, fans, and gimmicks. Those making special appearances include: Gary Burbank; “Cousin Brucie” Morrow; Kris Erik Stevens; and Connie Szerszen. Among the “presenters” of the Wendy Snyder-hosted event is Nexstar Media Group Chicago news/talk WGN “Radio 720”; cross-town Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WLS-AM “890 AM” is one of the “sponsors.”
TALKERS News Notes. Most recently working as ABC Audio’s manager of digital audio, Josh Cohan is promoted to director of podcast programming for ABC News. His first venture into podcasting was as part of the team that launched “10% Happier with Dan Harris” in 2016. He also helped create ABC’s flagship daily news podcast, “Start Here,” which won the 2022 Webby Award for “Best News and Politics” podcast. Cohan joined ABC News Radio in 2007 as an intern and served as a producer and coordinating producer before transitioning to podcasting … As a result of signing a multi-year contract, WHPT “102.5 The Bone” 6:00 am – 10:00 am talent Mike Calta continues his role at the Cox Media Group Tampa news/talk outlet. Regional vice president/general manager Keith Lawless remarks, “Mike is arguably one of the most successful and talented broadcasters on the air in America today.” WHPT’s director of branding & programming, John Brennan, comments, “Mike Calta is simply the best radio talent in Tampa. I couldn’t be more excited that he will continue to call ‘102.5 The Bone’ home for many years to come.” Calta – who joined WHPT in 2007 – adds, “I’m grateful and proud to be continuing my radio career with CMG in my home of Tampa Bay. At 50 years old, my window to being a male dancer has surely closed, so this contract is extra special to me and my family.” … Two-year Max Media Norfolk vice president/operations and programming Eddie Haskell exits the five-station cluster, which includes sports talk WVSP “94.1 ESPN” and business talk WGH-AM “Money Talk 1310 and 100.9.” He formerly was senior vice president/programming for nine iHeartMedia stations in Ft. Collins (Colorado).
Salem Media Group Seeks Producers. Attention producers! Salem Media Group is looking for producers. Salem has great radio stations, the Salem Radio Network, the Salem Podcast Network, and the Salem News Channel, and we always need producers to help us create our great products. If you have experience producing radio or TV shows, please send your resume and keep ‘em coming to: Phil Boyce, Senior VP of Spoken Word Formats, Salem Media Group Philip.firstname.lastname@example.org. Salem is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Radio Programming Legend Tom Bigby Dies at 77. The programming mind that helped build some of the most successful radio stations in modern history has died at the age of 77 after several years of heart issues. Tom Bigby programmed a number of stations with heritage calls – WIFI, WNEW, KOST, and WXYT – but he’s best known for being the PD behind Philadelphia sports talker WIP. In noting his passing, a piece on the WIP website says, “Known for his at times contentious relationship with talent and his radio-ready voice, Bigby is the most well-known, well-respected, and most iconic PD in the history of WIP. His legacy will include many things, but from a WIP perspective, his belief that the Eagles were the biggest thing in town, and that the fans should be heard will be two of the most lasting for WIP. His ‘two-minute rule’ and ‘once during the week, and once on the weekends rule’ for callers will not be far behind.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison says, “Tom was a program director in the true sense of the title as it existed in radio’s most recent golden age. He understood just about every aspect of radio and applied that knowledge and experience to the well-balanced intersection of programming, sales, promotion, and technology that marked the great stations of that era and inspired them to value their air product above all else. He was also a quirky friend, formidable negotiator, and larger-than-life individual the likes of which make him a true industry legend.” At WIP, Bigby worked with Philadelphia talent that included Howard Eskin, Rhea Hughes, Angelo Cataldi, Glen Macnow, Tony Bruno, Jody MacDonald, and Mike Missanelli, to name a few. A number of these posted their thoughts about working for Tom Bigby at the WIP website. You can read them here. Bigby leaves behind his wife Phyllis, two children and four grandchildren.
Salem Media Group Unveils Podcast Platform. With the new year comes a new venture from Salem Media Group as it announces the formation of the Salem Podcast Network – what the company calls “a new entity focused on bringing conservative content to more listeners and viewers.” The network’s first podcast partner is author and documentarian Dinesh D’Souza, whose new podcast “Pardon Me!” will debut on January 11 across all podcast platforms, as well as SalemNow.com, YouTube, and Rumble. Salem Media Group SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “This is a natural extension of the Salem brand, which is already considered one of the strongest in conservative media. Salem will be producing more content with meaningful names on the conservative side, so look for more big announcements soon. The future for podcasting is unlimited, and our efforts will tightly focus on hosts who will contribute to our brand and to the message.” The company announces that WIND-AM, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” program director Marcus Brown is taking on the additional role of director of content strategy for the Salem Podcast Network. Salem Broadcast Division president David Santrella adds, “Salem’s brand of podcasting will remain consistent with what Salem is best known for — content that approaches the issues through a biblical worldview and a politically conservative lens. Podcast listeners will know that when they come to the Salem Podcast Network, they’ll find content that addresses the issues they care most about.”
WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence to Drop Andy Gresh Show. GoLocalProv.com tips us that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence and evening sports talk host Andy Gresh are unable to come to terms and Gresh will exit the station after his Friday evening program (1/8). Gresh tells the news site, “Basically, we have a business disagreement.” GoLocalProv.com reports that former Providence Journal sports reporter Kevin McNamara will host a one-hour program from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot will be filled a by a syndicated program.
WNYM, New York Adds Ben Shapiro for Afternoons. New York news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” announces it is adding the Westwood One syndicated “Ben Shapiro Show” to its daily lineup. Salem Media Group says the program will air at 5:00 pm (except on Wednesdays when it airs at 9:00 pm). Shapiro’s podcast will air evenings at 9:00 pm. To make room, the station moves the Kevin McCullough program to a 7:00 pm start. Additionally, WNYM is adding “Real Estate Today,” the official radio program of the National Association of Realtors hosted by Stephen Gasque, to its program schedule. It will follow “Eye on Real Estate” hosted by New York City real estate expert Dottie Herman. Salem Media Group vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “We’re always looking for ways to make our lineup stronger, and these changes will do just that. Shapiro is a rising young superstar on talk radio. The real estate show will give our listeners great information and content. Kevin McCullough will continue to do the great show we know and love.”
TALKERS News Notes. Former WJFK-FM, Washington afternoon drive host Chad Dukes teases a new sports talk program that’s set to debut on Monday (1/11). Dukes was fired by Entercom in October for what the company called “racist comments” on the “Big O and Dukes” podcast. The new program appears to be a digital streaming venture. His website says of the new program, “The Chad Dukes Show is going to be exactly what you’re looking for if you’re a looking for a radio show from Chad Dukes. Discussion of movies, video games, food, booze, music, football, fighting and copious amounts of ball busting. You want politics? You want COVID discussion? You want middle relief pitching analysis? Look somewhere else.”…..WOBT-AM/W267AF, Rhinelander, Wisconsin flips from country to sports talk. The NRG Media station is airing the complete weekday lineup from iHeartMedia’s sports WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “The Game” – Steve Czaban, John Kuhn & Brian Butch, The Crossover, Drew & K.B. – as well as FOX Sports Radio content in evenings and on weekends…..iHeartMedia Cleveland is launching two initiatives that it believes will improve the bottom lines of local businesses in 2021. All this month, local Cleveland area small businesses are encouraged to register online for the opportunity to be featured in a $25,000 iHeartMedia marketing plan. iHeartMedia Cleveland president Keith Hotchkiss says, “Last year was brutal for small businesses in our community. We believe the significant reach of our media assets, combined with this meaningful marketing campaign, will be the difference maker for a local company here in Cleveland. There are 36% fewer local businesses operating in the area than this time last year, according to Crain’s Cleveland.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of on-air pro Connie Kellie of the “Connie & Fish Morning Show” on Townsquare Media’s hot AC WLHT, Grand Rapids “Mix 95.7.” Kellie died on January 4 after a brief battle with liver cancer. Her radio partner Fish Calloway says, “Over 25 years ago, this incredible, smart and strong woman allowed me the opportunity to be a part of her radio career. Our journey will not only be with those who were touched by her immense talent but engraved in my heart. Thank you, Connie, for this adventure. I look forward to the day we meet again.”
MIW Group Announces Applications Now Being Accepted for ‘Mildred Carter Mentoring Program.’ The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group announces that the application window for the 2021 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is open. MIW says its heritage annual mentoring initiative “connects mentees with accomplished women recognized as leaders, mentors, and game-changers within all aspects of radio broadcasting.” The program is being sponsored by vCreative for the second consecutive year. Four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry within the sales, marketing, programming, and digital disciplines will be selected for the 2021 program. The deadline to apply is January 29. See mentee criteria and instructions on how to apply here.
Georgia Runoff Elections, Electoral Vote Count/DC Protests, Trump GA Secretary of State Call, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Jacob Blake Case, and China Blocks WHO Scientists Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/5). Tuesday’s runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; today’s Electoral College vote count in the Senate and the protests taking place in Washington, DC; the aftermath of Donald Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State seeking a reversal of his loss in that state; the spiking number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of the vaccines; prosecutors in Wisconsin reveal no charges will be filed against officer in shooting of Jacob Blake; and China blocks two WHO scientists investigating the origin of the coronavirus from entering the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Mike Kinosian
Meanwhile though, it must never be forgotten that through it all, genuine heroes continue to surface and walk among us.
Precisely as in life itself, cream has a glorious tendency to rise to the top in the radio industry.