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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

| January 29, 2020

Talk Hosts Cover Trump’s Wildwood Rally. Talk radio hosts from the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York areas were in attendance at last night’s Trump rally at the Wildwoods Convention Center at the Jersey Shore.  Above at left is WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley with a front row view as President Trump speaks.  At top right is WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Rich Zeoli (right) talking with the first person in line to get a ticket for admission, Duke (left).  At bottom right is WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” afternoon personality Kevin McCullough (right) with Republican National Committee spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany (left).  Rally organizers say some 175,000 tickets were requested for the event although the venue holds 7,000.  McCullough tells TALKERS magazine campaign officials are considering another rally at a future date in Northern New Jersey at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

Staffs of News/Talk KFMB-AM and Adult Hits KFMB-FM in San Diego Given Notice.  Some 45 staffers at Tegna’s two radio stations in San Diego have been given their two-week notice in advance of the stations’ transfer of ownership to Local Media San Diego after February 7.  The San Diego Reader reports that the staffers were told that new owner LMSD is keeping four salespeople and one commercial production person.  Tegna says that it’s now up to LMSD to decide if it wants to hire any of the dismissed employees back.  From news/talk KFMB-AM, local talk personalities Brent Winterble, Mike Slater, and Mark Larson are among the casualties.  It’s unclear at this time what LMSD’s format plans are for the two stations.  The hosts are still working through February 7 at which time all employees will receive their severance packages.  Tegna acquired the radio stations in 2018 along with two television stations from Midwest Television for $325 million.

PodcastOne Partners with Spotify for Podcast Distribution. Podcasts by such stars as basketball icon Shaquille O’Neal, WWE legend Steve Austin, bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, and comedian Adam Carolla will soon be available worldwide via Spotify.  Spotify’s Lauren Jarvis says, “We are thrilled to bring PodcastOne’s 400-plus hours of fresh, weekly content to Spotify’s global listeners.  From longtime-running favorites like ‘The Adam Carolla Show,’ ‘Ladygang,’ and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s ‘Off the Vine,’ to shows from superstars like Shaquille O’Neal and T.I., we know that we are adding podcasts for diverse listener tastes to Spotify’s catalogue.”  Spotify listeners worldwide will be able to enjoy each of PodcastOne’s 300-plus programs, including original content produced by PodcastOne Global.  Eventually, Australian fans will be able to stream PodcastOne’s content as well, with the addition of PodcastOne Australia content in partnership with Southern Cross Austereo.  PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris comments, “PodcastOne is thrilled to make our extensive catalogue available to the Spotify audience.  Combining the power, talent, and reach of the leading ad-supported podcast network, PodcastOne, with Spotify’s best-in-class technology, and listening and user experience is a can’t miss.  This partnership creates new cross-promotional opportunities for us both and increases the accessibility of PodcastOne’s hundreds of programs for our listeners.  It’s been great to work with Lauren Jarvis and the Spotify team, as we launch our new partnership.”

Erika Beasley Promoted to VP of Digital Content for Beasley Media Group. At Beasley Media Group, Erika Beasley rises from her corporate digital content director position to vice president of digital content.  In this new role, she’ll be responsible for overseeing content creation on the company’s many digital platforms.  Beasley Media Group chief content officer Justin Chase says, “Erika’s outstanding work throughout the years, in a variety of different roles, speaks for itself.  Her many contributions to the company’s digital transformation has moved us forward in profound ways.  I look forward to Erika partnering with our vice president of digital market, Jennifer Williams, and the company’s highly talented digital content team to further expand our digital footprint.”

Impeachment, Trump Wildwood Rally, Presidential Race, Coronavirus, and Trump’s Middle East Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the large crowd gathered at last night’s Trump rally in Wildwood, New Jersey; the Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November; concerns about a global epidemic of the Wuhan coronavirus; and the Trump Administration’s unveiling of its Middle East peace plan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Cable news/talk outlet FOX News Channel is celebrating its ratings success.  In an internal memo, FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president and executive editor Jay Wallace say, “We passed CNN at the end of January 2002 in viewership in the key 25-54 demo in both Today Day and Primetime and never looked back.  There is no other network in cable that can lay claim to this level of consistent dominance with one of the most loyal and passionate audiences in the country.”…..WSCR, Chicago morning drive personality David Haugh has exited his gig with the Chicago Tribune where he was a sports columnist.  Haugh, who co-hosts the “Mully & Haugh” show with Mike Mulligan, spent 17 years with the Tribune – the last 10 as a sports columnist – according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Trenton, New Jersey-based Penn National Gaming is acquiring a 36% interest in the sports media firm Barstool Sports for $163 million – $135 million in cash and $28 million in non-voting convertible preferred stock.  Kennedy Rose has the story in the Philadelphia Business Journal.  In addition to its digital content that enjoys 66 million unique visitors per month, Barstool broadcasts radio shows via its own channel on SiriusXM…..Pictured below is KQTM-FM, Albuquerque “101.7 The Team” afternoon drive personality Jim Villanucci (right) with KQTM personality Sam Hauser (left) and Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Zach Gentry (center).  Gentry — a star high school football player in Albuquerque and a big fan of the station — stopped by the studios to say hello.  “101.7 The Team” airs a regular slate of high school football games during the season.

Legendary Jock Harry Harrison Dies at 89.  Top 40-era New York radio legend Harry Harrison died yesterday (1/28) after complications from numerous health issues.  Harrison worked on air at WMCA – one of the WMCA Good Guys – and at WABC, as well as later at WCBS-FM.  He retired from the latter in 2003.  He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last fall.  Photo: Art Vuolo Jr.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. An administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Stephens Media Group violated labor laws when it let a number of air personalities go from its Watertown and Massena, New York stations in 2018.  Judge Charles J. Muhl ruled that not only must Stephens hire the fired staffers back but must compensate the affected workers for financial losses and tax consequences.  Stephens tells NNY360 that it plans to appeal certain aspects of the ruling…..The entire staff – both on-air and off – of adult hits KFMB-FM, San Diego was given its two-week notice as owner Tegna prepares to close on the sale of the station (and sister news/talk KFMB-AM) to Local Media San Diego.  Out of work are Chris Cantore, Meryl Klemow, Cha Cha Harlow, Robin Roth, and Rick Lawrence.  They are working through February 7, at which point they will receive their severance packages.  It’s not clear what LMSD’s plans are for the station, which as part of the sale contract, must give up the KFMB-FM call letters…..In Duluth, Minnesota, Patti Banner joins J.D. Justice as co-host of the morning show on Midwest Communications’ country KTCO-FM “Kat Country 98.9.”  She was most recently with Cherry Creek Radio’s adult contemporary KONA, Tri-Cities, Washington as morning drive co-host.  She takes over for Brookie the Rookie, who leaves for a gig outside the radio business…..This year’s iHeartCountry Festival taking place on May 2 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin will feature the following acts: Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum, Dustin Lynch, Kelsea Ballerini, Kane Brown, Jon Pardi and Chase Rice, plus Hot Country Knights, Bobby Bones and more.

Monday, October 22, 2018

| October 22, 2018

Jim Villanucci Returns to Albuquerque Air on ‘ESPN 101.7 The Team.’ Former longtime KKOB-AM, Albuquerque talk show host Jim Villanucci returns to the air in the market on Team Broadcasting’s sports talk KQTM-FM “ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team” today from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Villanucci left KKOB in 2013 after 14 years on the air there.  After exiting KKOB, he hosted shows at KXNT, Las Vegas and KXL, Portland.  Team Broadcasting president Joe O’Neill says, “The range of this show is as unlimited as Jim’s talent.  Of course, there will be sports but Jim will jump into current events, pop culture, and anything a listener – or Jim – wants to talk about.”  Villanucci’s show fills the slot left by the recent retirement of Bob Brown, host of “The Locker Room.”  O’Neill adds, “This is an exciting and dynamic addition to our station.  We are fortunate to have a person with Jim’s talent, intellect, and humor who also is familiar with the Albuquerque and New Mexico culture.  I’m certain that Jim’s thousands of fans share our excitement.” Villanucci says, “It’s great to be back in New Mexico.  I’m humbled by this opportunity.  I’m excited to catch up with the audience I gained over my 14 years of radio here.  Trust me, the best is yet to come.”

Hofstra University Communications Students Spend Day at iHeartMedia New York. On Friday (10/19), a group of students from The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University spent the day with industry professionals at iHeartMedia’s New York station group.  The group included members of the two-time NAB Marconi Radio Award-winning college station WRHU “88.7 FM Radio Hofstra University” as well as students enrolled in the Department of Radio, TV, Film’s “Radio Industry in the Digital Age” course. The students toured the iHeartMedia studios and met with vice president of digital operations Tony Molaee, digital content coordinator Allie Gold, WLTW local sales manager Hetal Raythattha, senior account manager Jody Berger Wenig, WAXQ program director Eric Wellman, WKTU program director Rob Miller, iHeartRadio associate producer Mark Wiener; WHTZ “Z100” personalities Maxwell, Brady, and Shelly Rome, WWPR jock DJ Whutever, WOR talk host Mark Simone, promotions director Danielle Dellilo, The Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen, and iHeartMedia Markets Group division president Scott Hopeck.  (Berger Wenig, Wiener, DJ Whutever, Dellilo, and Cohen are all Hofstra alumni.)  The visit also included a performance by current Herbert School student Jenna Rose at the iHeartRadio Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee Lounge.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Adria Marlowe, associate dean, The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication; Wiener; Hopeck; Cohen; Mark Lukasiewicz, Dean, The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication; John Mullen, Director of Operations, and Dellilo.

Inaugural iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Takes Place on January 18. This first-ever iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will take place on Friday, January 18 at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles and will be hosted by “Stuff You Missed in History Class” co-host Holly Frey, “Breakfast Club” cast member Charlamagne Tha God, morning personality Bobby Bones, and syndicated host Mario Lopez.  The panel of judges will include industry leaders from Gimlet, iHeartMedia, NPR, Parcast, PRX, Tenderfoot TV, Wondery, and others.  iHeartMedia podcasting division president Conal Byrne states, “Podcasting has roared onto the audio scene creating the most excitement since the advent of streaming music services.  The iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will provide a forum to celebrate the high-caliber, creative content that has made podcasting a major new audio category – and that truly reflects America’s favorite podcasts, voted by the listeners themselves.  We look forward to hosting this transformative, annual event and encouraging everyone in the podcasting industry to push the envelope and inspire even more creators in this space.”  Voting by listeners will decide 17 of the 22 categories with the panel of judges to select the winners in the following five categories: Podcast of the Year, Breakout Podcast, Best Branded Podcast, Best Social Impact from Podcast/Host and Podcast Innovator Award.

Sean Spicer-Katie Pavlich Podcast Launches Today on Radio.com. This podcast is a continuation of the pilot episodes launched by the duo in June.  Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and political commentator Katie Pavlich are debuting the “Everything’s Going to be All Right” podcast today on Entercom’s Radio.com platform.  The 12-episode weekly podcast will feature Spicer and Pavlich discussing the latest political news and issues surrounding the country as Americans prepare to head to the polls in three weeks. The program is being produced by Entercom program director Joe Zarbano.  Entercom SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “We are excited to welcome Sean and Katie back to Radio.com and hear their informative take on current events.  Their intimate knowledge of today’s political landscape and expertise will provide listeners with a timely and diverse perspective.”

TALKERS News Notes. When the 2018 World Series gets underway tomorrow night in Boston, ESPN Radio will be broadcasting the game between the AL champion Red Sox and the NL champion Dodgers with Dan Shulman and Chris Singleton calling every pitch and on-field reports coming from Buster OlneyMarc Kestecher will lead into each broadcast with 60-minutes of pre-game coverage that will include reports from Tim Kurkjian and Olney.  ESPN Deportes Radio is presenting coverage in Spanish with Orlando “El Duque” Hernández, Renato Bermudez, and José Francisco Rivera…..This Wednesday (10/24), Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with iHeartMedia, is hosting the unveiling of the modernization project of iHeartMedia’s WLW-AM, Cincinnati “NewsRadio 700.”  WLW is one of 77 stations across the country that serve as National Public Warning System (NPWS) Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations, participating with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during, and after incidents and disasters.  As directed by Congress in the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Modernization Act of 2015, FEMA, which manages IPAWS, launched an effort to upgrade PEP stations.  These stations are designed and hardened to withstand various natural and man-made events to ensure continuity of operations.  WLW-AM is the second station in the country to complete the upgrade, which includes increased sheltering capabilities, expanded broadcast capacity, and sustainable power generation for all types of hazardous events.

BFoA’s 2019 Golden Mike Award Goes to Perry A. Sook.  The president and chief executive officer of Nexstar, Perry A. Sook, will receive the 2019 Golden Mike Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America at a ceremony at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.  Upon learning of this honor, Sook said, “There is no greater testament to broadcasters’ commitment to public service than in times of emergency.  From hurricanes to wildfires, news teams across the country consistently brave extremely dangerous conditions to deliver lifesaving news coverage and information to local communities.  Many of us at Nexstar have experienced firsthand the devastating effects and extensive damage caused by severe weather and other unforeseen events.  That is why we are proud to support the important work of the Broadcasters Foundation in providing both one-time emergency aid and ongoing monthly grants to help our colleagues most in need.  I would like to thank Dan Mason and the Broadcasters Foundation for this prestigious Golden Mike Award and the more than 9,000 Nexstar employees who share in this great honor for the work they do each day to make a positive difference in their local communities.”  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “Perry has led the growth of Nexstar with vision and resolve that has benefited the entire television industry.  As a member of our Board, he has championed our mission of helping broadcasters in acute need and spread the word about the assistance we can provide. He is admired among his colleagues, and it is a privilege to honor him.”

Legal Gender Definition Issue, U.S. to Exit Nukes Treaty, Trump-Russia Investigation, Migrant Caravan, the Khashoggi Death Case, Midterm Elections, New Halloween Film, NFL Action, and MLB Playoffs-World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Trump Administration’s plan to create a legal gender definition based on a person’s genitalia at birth; the U.S. plan to leave the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia; the Robert Mueller-led Trump-Russia investigation probes Roger Stone’s Wikileaks contacts; the growing Honduran migrant caravan enters Mexico; the aftermath of the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi; the November midterm elections and the battle to control the House and Senate; the latest Halloween installment rules the weekend box office; the weekend’s NFL action; and the MLB playoffs and the World Series 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. At Twin Cities CHR KDWB, owner iHeartMedia extends its deal with morning show host Dave Ryan (center) and co-hosts Steve-O (right) and Falen (left). Ryan celebrated his 25th anniversary as morning host of the station back in June and iHeartMedia says this deal will keep the “Dave Ryan in the Morning Show” on air as “one of the most popular shows in the Twin Cities.” Ryan will also continue his role as a talent mentor for iHeartMedia where he is “helping to develop the next generation of on-air talent and personalities.”  KDWB program director Rich Davis adds, “Dave Ryan is a Twin Cities institution and I’m so glad he will continue to anchor mornings for KDWB.  He’s a true talent whose hard work, entertaining topics, and views on pop culture have kept him beloved by listeners and fans and at the top of the ratings for so many years.”…..At Townsquare Media’s country KAWO-FM, Boise, brand manager Rich Summers exits the station after four years.  Operations manager Jeff Connell is handling programming duties while Summers’ replacement is sought.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

| May 31, 2012

Harris Poll Respondents Say TV and Radio Talk Shows Have Too Much Political Influence.  A recent poll by Harris Interactive – an April telephone poll of 1,016 adults – suggests 65% of Americans believe television and radio talk shows have too much political power and influence. That’s a 14-point shift from the 51% who believed the same thing when the poll was first conducted in 1994 and a 12-point jump from just last year. This is obviously a poll about perception and groups that are perceived by the public to have power and money, in general, ranked high in the “too much” influence in Washington category while those traditionally perceived to be less wealthy and “for the people” ranked lower in that regard. For example, small business, public opinion and non-profits were deemed by the respondents to have “too little” power and influence in Washington. Churches and religious groups and opinion polls fell somewhere in the middle. It’s clearly difficult for anyone to gauge the exact influence any group has in Washington across the large spectrum of issues that arise over time.

Cox Media Group Sets Sights on Young Americans with iHigh Investment. The announcement that Cox Media Group is investing $11.7 million in the Kentucky-based tech company iHigh signals its interest in finding ways to reach young demos via digital media. iHigh provides free web-based tools and live video streaming capabilities that enable organizations to connect to their audiences by broadcasting live content on the internet to PCs, smartphones, tablets and any other internet-connected device. Developed initially to support high school athletics and having spread to colleges and other affinity groups, iHigh enables students, coaches, boosters and other school supporters to easily connect with parents, their communities and local and national advertisers, anywhere and at any time. Cox Media Group president Doug Franklin states, “This strategic investment in iHigh is a long-term opportunity for Cox Media Group, and aligns with our mission of creating scalable content and advertising services businesses. We believe iHigh’s solutions – giving audiences the ability to watch any event live over desktops, tablets or smartphones – are uniquely designed to help organizations reach a devoted and distributed fan base, while giving advertisers a highly targeted and hyper-local approach to reaching their customers. We’re looking forward to growing with iHigh, reaching new markets and expanding opportunities for dedicated fans and advertisers alike.”

Steve Bryant Joins KHTK, Sacramento’s Don Geronimo Morning Show. Versatile media talent Steve Bryant will become part of the AM drive show on CBS Radio‘s sports talk KHTK, Sacramento hosted by Don Geronimo. Bryant most recently handled weekend duties at WGMD-FM, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. He was a longtime host on home shopping channel QVC and is known for crafting song parodies which have aired on Geronimo’s program. Bryant will begin his new duties on June 11.

CNN Adds New Personality to Early Morning Show. The cable news/talk network brings John Berman aboard to join Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin as hosts of its “Early Start” show that airs from 5:00 am to 7:00 am ET. Berman had been a correspondent with ABC News contributing to “Good Morning America.” He’ll also contribute to other CNN programs including “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” CNN EVP Ken Jautz states, “We are so fortunate to have this talented and seasoned journalist join our morning show and become a regular presence on our air throughout the day. John is a skilled reporter with a passion and personality that shines through, whether he’s covering the political season or his beloved Red Sox.”

Copper Thieves Knock Sports KQTM-FM, Albuquerque Off the Air.Team Broadcasting‘s KQTM-FM, Albuquerque – ESPN Radio 101.7 – is on backup power for at least another day after copper thieves ripped some 200 feet of copper out of the ground by affixing it to the back of a vehicle and driving away. Station general manager David Dominguez tells KKOB-TV he’s very surprised no one was hurt because they cut live wires and could easily have been electrocuted. Repairs at the sports talk signal are estimated to be around $20,000.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WGY-AM/FM, Albany renews with IMG College to continue to broadcast Syracuse University men’s basketball and football play-by-play through the 2016-17 season. The company’s sister sports talker WOFX will also carry select games…..Salem Radio Network News goes “across the pond” next week to cover Queen Elizabeth II‘s Diamond Jubilee. The network is using part-time British resident and former Chicago TV executive Fred Weintraub to cover the event……CNBC names Kelly Evans co-host of “Worldwide Exchange” alongside Ross Westgate. Evans replaces Christine Tan who remains with the cable network to host its “Managing Asia” program…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment names Nick Gnau president and market manager for its Detroit operations. Gnau replaces Til Levesque.

2012 Presidential Race, Donald Trump-Wolf Blitzer Flap, Syria Civilian Massacre, Wisconsin Recall Election and Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/30). The battle between President Obama and Mitt Romney; the tense CNN segment with Wolf Blitzer interviewing Donald Trump; the aftermath of the Syrian civilian massacre; next week’s recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the ongoing concern over Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to research from TALKERS.