iHeartMedia Gets Breathing Room to Settle Debt Issue. Industry watchers were expecting iHeartMedia to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection over the weekend as the default on a missed $103 million payment on 14% Senior Notes was about to kick in. That didn’t happen and iHeart announces that yesterday (3/4) it “and certain lenders party thereto (the ‘Consenting Lenders’) entered into a Forbearance Agreement (the ‘Forbearance Agreement’), with respect to the Credit Agreement, dated as of May 13, 2008, as amended and restated as of February 23, 2011 (as further amended or supplemented from time to time, the ‘Credit Agreement’), among iHeartCommunications, as the parent borrower, the subsidiary co-borrowers and foreign subsidiary revolving borrowers party thereto, iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC, as a guarantor, Citibank, N.A., as administrative agent, swing line lender and letter of credit issuer, and the other lenders from time to time party thereto. The Consenting Lenders constitute the lenders required under the Credit Agreement to grant a forbearance. Pursuant to the Forbearance Agreement, the Consenting Lenders agreed to temporarily forbear from accelerating the obligations under the Credit Agreement or otherwise exercising any rights or remedies thereunder as a result of any actual or prospective event of default under Section 8.01(e) of the Credit Agreement resulting from iHeartCommunications’ failure to make an interest payment beyond the applicable grace period with respect to its 14.00% Senior Notes due 2021 that was originally due on February 1, 2018. The forbearance became effective upon all parties’ execution thereof and will terminate immediately and automatically upon the earliest to occur of (i) March 7, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. Central time and (ii) an event of default under the Credit Agreement other than those that resulted in the entry into the Forbearance Agreement (the ‘Forbearance Period’).”
Erick Erickson Signs New Deal with WSB, Atlanta. Afternoon drive personality Erick Erickson has signed a new contract with Cox Media Group news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta to continue his work with the station through 2020. Erickson joined the station in 2011 and moved into a prime daypart in less than one year. WSB director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs states, “We are excited to have Erick as part of our radio family for the long term. He came into radio having never expected to be on radio and has thrived. The contacts in his phone are a ‘Who’s Who’ of newsmakers and power brokers. Atlanta is genuinely listening to the most connected man in radio.” In addition to hosting “Atlanta’s Evening News with Erick Erickson,” weeknights from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, he also provides political analysis for “Atlanta’s Morning News” and occasionally fills in for WSB’s Herman Cain. Erickson says, “I fell into radio by accident, and it has been fun to really move from being a blogger and TV pundit into the role of talk radio host. These last couple of years were not at all what I expected, but I get up every day excited to keep Atlanta entertained and informed with what is happening locally, nationally, and around the globe.”
Entercom Officially Announces Launch of ’97.3 The Machine’ in San Diego; Kevin Klein to Host Morning Drive. Last week, TALKERS magazine reported Entercom’s plans for former CHR KEGY, San Diego – to turn it into a hot talk/sports hybrid with former XEPRS sports talker Dan Sileo in middays and the KISW, Seattle-based “The Men’s Room” show in afternoon drive. Now, Entercom sends out an official presser announcing former alternative KITS, San Francisco personality Kevin Klein will be morning drive host, effective March 29. Until that time, the station will air rebroadcasts of “The Men’s Room” in mornings. As previously reported, the station will be the flagship for San Diego Padres baseball. Entercom says the station will present a “unique mix of compelling personalities, comedy, sports and curated classic rock music…evenings and weekends when not broadcasting Padres baseball, ‘97.3 The Machine’ will provide music fans in San Diego with a true classic rock curated playlist ‘That Rocks,’ framed by entertaining comedy.”
Author Suing Sid Rosenberg and WFAN for Fraud. Today’s New York Post is reporting that author Joseph DeBlasi is suing WABC, New York talk show host Sid Rosenberg and WFAN, New York for $20 million. DeBlasi alleges in his complaint that Rosenberg was paid $5,000 to get DeBlasi interviews on the radio to promote his book, Polarized: Sex, Lies and Family Betrayal. Rosenberg’s lawyer says the allegation is a lie and that Rosenberg was never given any money. DeBlasi’s complaint states that the June 2014 deal was supposed to get DeBlasi on Geraldo Rivera’s program on WABC. It further states that after Rosenberg attempted to get him the interview, DeBlasi learned that the deal with Rosenberg was illegal, violating payola laws. DeBlasi did appear on WFAN three times when Rosenberg was filling in on the morning show.
‘The Conservative Cartel’ Now Syndicated by USA Radio. Beginning today (3/5), “The Conservative Cartel” – co-hosted by Matt Locke and Chris X – is being syndicated by USA Radio. The Fort Worth-based program airs live from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET daily. The program continues to be distributed via TheBlaze Radio Network for weekends. The program will debut in 15-plus markets. USA Radio general manager Janet Bro says, “We’re extremely excited to announce the addition of ‘The Conservative Cartel’ to the daily lineup of shows available from USA Radio. Matt Locke and Chris X are the perfect addition to syndicated radio and the USA Radio family.”
WBEN, Buffalo Airing 12 Hours of Talk About School Safety and Guns. Calling it “#12Voicesin12Hours,” WBEN, Buffalo program director Tim Wenger says in a blog post that today’s 6:00 am to 6:00 pm broadcast addressing school safety and guns may “make you uncomfortable at times…But to advance change, meaningful and helpful change, you need to understand those who disagree with you and hear them out.” Wenger says, “The hard part about this ‘conversation’ is that while most people want to have it, most walk away from it as soon as ideas are presented that go against their own personal thoughts and beliefs on the issues. Most ‘cable news’ conversations go ‘ugly’ in a hurry and simply build a brick wall between two warring sides. Unless that changes, nothing changes…this broadcast is, by design, not laden with politicians who are looking for a spotlight. But it will, in the end, include some thoughts from some willing members of our Congressional delegation who may well be charged with advancing legislation that could impact us all.” Wenger notes that each hour of the broadcast will be saved as a podcast for listeners to check out later.
TALKERS News Notes. In New York, Salem Media Group is launching a news weekly program featuring John Catsimatidis called “Cats At Night” on WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.” The show debuts on Wednesday (3/7) and airs from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Catsimatidis also hosts a Sunday morning interview program called “The Cats Roundtable” that airs on WNYM and six other stations. Catsimatidis says, “I love doing radio. It’s the most enjoyable hour of my week. I am excited about expanding my radio presence to drive time with ‘Cats at Night’ and the opportunity to share my views on what’s really going on in New York and the world. My thanks to Jerry Crowley and his team at WNYM for their ongoing support.”…..WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley tells TALKERS magazine that he recently had the pleasure of interviewing Atlantic County resident Helen Turner, who will turn 111 on April 1. Hurley says he reached out to Atlantic County executive Dennis Levinson live, on the air requesting he make April 1, 2018 Helen Turner Day and he agreed. Turner is also a huge fan of FOX News Channel star Tucker Carlson. Hurley reached out to Carlson to see if he would announce Turner’s birthday on FNC and provide an autographed photo for her and he also readily agreed…..WTMJ, Milwaukee’s WTMJ Cares “Game Night for Stars and Stripes Honor Flight” recently raised a total of $54,758 to fund WTMJ Honor Flights for 150 veterans to see their memorial in Washington, DC. The unique partnership with the NBA‘s Milwaukee Bucks featured a pre-game party at historic Turner Hall where guests met Vietnam Veterans. After the party, the group enjoyed the Bucks game against the Washington Wizards. The event was the finale of a three-week on-air campaign led by WTMJ Radio afternoon host, John Mercure. Mercure’s “WTMJ Cares” fundraising project told stories of the service of Vietnam Veterans in the area. To complete the fundraising, WTMJ held a radiothon where WTMJ listeners donated $32,758 in three hours…..TribLive.com is reporting that the new owners of KQV, Pittsburgh hope to restore the all-news format that aired on the station prior to the previous owner’s shutting it down and selling it. Robert and Ashley Stevens – principals of Broadcast Communications Inc. – are paying $55,000 for the station and its assets. Stevens tells the news outlet, “We would like to be able to do the news. I would like to be able to do it as a news station very similar to the way it was. We just need to make sure we can do it in a way that would be financially feasible.”…..Northpine.com is reporting that WRRD, Milwaukee majority owner Michael Crute has entered into a deal with Good Karma Broadcasting to lease WTTN, Columbus, Wisconsin (Madison market) in order to air the “Resistance Radio” progressive talk format currently airing on WRRD. WTTN’s primary signal is northeast of Madison but Crute has applied for an FM translator at 92.7 that would cover much of Madison. Crute also has a construction permit for a 250-watt translator at 101.7 in the Milwaukee market.
Trump Tariffs/Trade War Talk, Trump Admires Xi Jinping, NRA Membership Spikes/Gun Control Issues, Russian Election Hacking, Sunday Night’s Oscars Awards, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Reactions to President Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and the related issue of trade wars; President Trump’s comments about Chinese president Xi Jinping’s elimination of term limits for his position and suggestion that the U.S. should do the same; the NRA reports a spike in new memberships and the related issue of gun control measures; the allegations of Russian hackers targeting U.S. elections; Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. After last week’s departure of afternoon drive personality Cara Carriveau from Hubbard Radio’s adult contemporary WSHE, Chicago, the company announces the new afternoon team and several other air talent moves. Former FOX TV Chicago personality Jenny Milkowski, a.k.a. Jenny Milk, is teaming up with Jay Styles to host the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. Styles moves from his role as the Chicago producer of the “Brooke & Jubal Morning Show” on WSHE. Filling his shoes there is evening jock Robb Rose. His 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight shift is now being hosted by station weekend personality Brian Middleton…..After moving country KIIX from the 96.1 frequency in Spokane to KZFS-AM/K257FX, iHeartMedia launches new alternative rock outlet “ALT 96.1.” The station is airing Premiere Networks’ Los Angeles-based “The Woody Show” in morning drive…..The nationally syndicated Tino Cochino program is airing in evenings on Alpha Media’s CHR WNGY, Peoria “G 102.3.” Cochino comments, “I’ve been a fan of the ‘G’ brand from the beginning. Alpha took a different, much needed approach and it’s clearly working. To partner our show with ‘G 102.3’ is beyond exciting to say the least! I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to extending our brand in the Peoria market.”.….iHeartMedia announces Taylor Swift will present the world premiere of her new video for the hit single “Delicate” at the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards this Sunday (3/11). The event will simulcast live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET in addition to airing on numerous iHeartMedia radio stations…..The sale of four radio stations from MTS Broadcasting to Draper Media closes. Draper acquires Maryland stations country WAAI-FM, Hurlock; oldies WTDK-FM, Federalsburg; adult standards WCEM-AM, Cambridge; and adult contemporary WCEM-FM, Cambridge for $700,000. Greg Guy of Patrick Communications was the exclusive broker…..Premiere Networks and Viacom’s CMT announce a multi-year extension of their deal that syndicates CMT personality Cody Alan’s “CMT After MidNite” country music show. As part of the deal, CMT and Premiere Networks will continue to collaborate and develop programs and events for multiple platforms.
PPM Analysis: Rhythmic CHR. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on rhythmic CHR. In this report, Kinosian compares 6+ share fluctuations from the Holiday 2017 survey to January 2018, January 2017 to January 2018, and more. See the whole report here.
TALKERS Convention Early Bird Discount Ends Today! DON’T MISS THE DISCOUNT! The opportunity to attend the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important convention at a significantly reduced registration fee comes to an end today (Friday, February 2) at 5:00 pm ET. Those registering before the deadline will save $50. TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will take place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. However, those registering before 5:00 pm ET TODAY pay only $279. The convention is already well on its way to being an early sellout. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Tim Clarke Upped to VP of Audience and Content for Radio at Cox. In this new role, Tim Clarke will “set the overarching content strategy for radio — programming, new content development, content distribution, audience growth and measurement” for Cox Media Group. Clarke has been serving CMG as senior director of digital audience for radio. The company says that “vice president of programming Steve Smith will continue in his critical role to oversee CMG format leaders and work directly on radio programming with radio stations and brand managers.” Smith will report to Clarke in this new structure. Clarke says, “It is an honor to take on these expanded responsibilities. Cox is truly an incredible organization and I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I have been afforded throughout my 13-year career here. This is an exciting, transformative time for the media business and Cox Media Group has the best radio brands and digital products in local media.”
Cumulus and Merlin Agree to Path Forward for WKQX and WLUP-FM in Chicago. With stations operator Cumulus Media in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and unwilling to buy the two Chicago rock stations for the previously contracted price of $50 million, stations owner Merlin Media and Cumulus have agreed to the following new terms. Cumulus will continue to operate the stations under the local marketing agreement but will not be bound to purchase the alternative and classic rock outlets. Merlin will continue to present the stations to prospective buyers. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “We’re pleased to reach this mutual agreement, which establishes a clear path forward for these stations and our employees in Chicago following months of negotiations with Merlin. We continue to be interested in permanently acquiring these stations on economic terms that make sense for our business. In the meantime, as we have for the past several years, Cumulus will continue to operate WKQX-FM and WLUP-FM while Merlin seeks a new owner. Importantly, nothing is changing in the near-term. It is business as usual for team members, advertisers and partners, and we look forward to achieving a favorable outcome for all parties involved.” The new agreement with Merlin provides for an approximately three-month extension of the LMA with additional extensions thereafter, exercisable upon mutual agreement by Cumulus and Merlin.
Bankruptcy Judge Relieves Cumulus of Contract Responsibilities. Yesterday, Cumulus Media was in court for a hearing before bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman. As you’re aware, the company asked the court to let it out of some 20 contracts that it deemed were untenable – including the Merlin deal in Chicago noted above. Judge Chapman agrees to let Cumulus out of all the deals – the Chicago Bulls had already arranged to move their radio play-by-play from WLS-AM to Entercom’s crosstown WSCR – except a content distribution agreement that Westwood One has with CNBC.
Alpha Media Names Format Captains; Greg Martin to Lead News/Talk/Sports. Nine format captains are named by Alpha Media, with news/talk KTSA and sports talk KZDC, San Antonio operations manager and content director Greg Martin appointed to lead the news/talk/sports formats. Alpha has this to say about Martin: He’s “spent the better part of his career doing top 40 at great stations such as KKSS, Albuquerque; KHFI, Austin, KQKS, Denver; and KTFM, San Antonio. Several years after returning to San Antonio in 1999 to do afternoons on KTFM, Greg eventually transitioned into operations and programming ‘News Talk 550’ KTSA and ‘ESPN San Antonio’ day-to-day.” Speaking about the new roles, Alpha Media EVP of content Scott Mahalick says, “We are always proud to promote from within Alpha. Our format captains have been carefully selected based on their experience, format expertise, reliability, and performance. I look forward to seeing great success happen from this collaboration.” Other format captain appointments are: rock/alternative/AAA – Kenny Vest; classic hits/oldies – Rick Hirschmann; country – Joe “MoJoe” Roberts; hot AC/AC – Leo Baldwin; CHR – Ben Davis; urban/urban AC/Gospel – Darrick “Brown” Williams; rhythmic/throwbacks – Mark “TicTak” Allen; and Spanish – Alfonso Flores.
Former All-News KQV, Pittsburgh Sold for $55,000. Once upon a time, KQV, Pittsburgh was a big-time CHR station serving the market. Later it morphed into an all-news station operated by the Dickey family’s Calvary Inc. (not the Atlanta Dickeys of Cumulus fame). Just before the holidays, Calvary revealed that the news format was just too expensive to continue operating the station and that, after much soul-searching, it would be selling the heritage signal. Now we learn that Bob Stevens – a principal of Broadcast Communications Inc. – is buying the station for $55,000. This deal is a “limited asset purchase agreement” and Stevens will move the transmitter location for the station to the one occupied by his current property, WEDO, McKeesport, Pennsylvania.
PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this analysis of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2017 PPM survey, today focusing on public news/talk. Given that the Holiday survey period takes place at a time of year that pulls people out of their usual listening habits, it’s not surprising that “only about one of every five stations on this public news/talk panel are up December 2017 – ‘Holiday’ 2017 (22%, 6+) while 72% are down; the remaining 6% of the sample is flat.” However, comparing Holiday 2016 6+ ratings to Holiday 2017, “more than six of 10 stations from our eligible public news/talk sample are up year-to-year (64%); 26% are down; and the remaining 10% are unchanged from a year ago.” No public news/talk station ranked #1 in its market during the Holiday survey, but four ranked #2: KQED, San Francisco (and in the nearby San Jose market; KUOW, Seattle; KPBS, San Diego; and KOPB, Portland. See the whole report here.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly Tips FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (right) poses for a pic with FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade (left) after appearing on Kilmeade’s radio show and telling his listeners that President Trump will release the secret FBI surveillance memo very soon. Kilmeade Tweeted out this pic and the scoop from Kelly.
TALKERS News Notes. It’s the end of an era for New Orleans Saints fans as local radio play-by-play legend Jim Henderson, a.k.a. Hondo, is retiring from his booth duties after 31 years with Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM. Entercom New Orleans market manager Chris Wegmann says, “Jim has been a beloved member of our team at WWL in New Orleans for many years. He made a very complex job look easy and raised the bar for sportscasters everywhere. I speak on behalf of the entire WWL family when I say we will miss Jim dearly, as will all New Orleans Saints fans across the Gulf South and throughout the country. We wish him the absolute best on his next chapter.”…..The compensation committee of Cumulus Media agrees to extend the contract of EVP of corporate marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes. She’ll also be getting a raise, effective July 3, bumping her annual salary to $650,000. The new deal puts Grimes under contract with the company through July 2020. As with most corporate executives, her contract also includes a bonus structure and the ability to earn stock options…..The talk radio show “Vegas Never Sleeps with Steven Maggi” is going national via the Biztalk Radio Network. Maggi calls his show a “weekly romp to Las Vegas, the capital of fun, food and entertainment” that provides “a look behind the scenes of world-class hotels, dining, gaming, special events and conventions.” Maggi began hosting the program in 2016 and he says the Sunday 11:00 am ET show is “the perfect addition for stations looking for a weekend program that brings the excitement and energy of Las Vegas to their market.”
Trump’s State of the Union Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 29-February 2. This week’s State of the Union Address from President Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia investigation and whether the president will talk with special counsel Robert Mueller. Coming in at #3 was the controversy over the potential release of the secret FBI surveillance memo, followed by the status of the Obama-era DACA act and the administration’s immigration policy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programmer Jason Carr joins the iHeartMedia Cleveland cluster to serve as program director for alternative “ALT 99.1 FM” (WMMS-HD2/W256BT) and assistant program director for rock WMMS. iHeartMedia North Ohio Region president Keith Hotchkiss comments, “Jason Carr comes to Cleveland after spending 10-plus years programming and running stations in Florida. I’m excited for him to head north, experience the Cleveland winter, contribute to the growth of ‘ALT 99.1 FM’ and further strengthen the brand of ‘100.7 WMMS.’”…..Entercom announces a branding tweak and air-talent changes on some of its San Diego stations. First, alternative KBZT leaves behind the “FM 94/9” brand and is now “ALT 949.” The air talent moves are reflected in the new lineups at adult contemporary KYXY and classic hits KXSN “Sunny 98.1.” KYXY’s new schedule is: Susan DeVincent in mornings, Dorothy Tran in middays, Joe Rosati in afternoons and Sherry Knight for evenings. At KXSN, AJ and Sara host mornings, Dave Mason is in middays, Gene Knight hosts afternoons and Brooks O’Brian is the night personality…..As reported first by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Entercom’s triple A WXRT, Chicago announces plans to drop the 43-year-old Sunday night “Jazz Transfusion” program hosted by Barry Winograd. The show’s final edition will be this Sunday at 11:00 pm.
Pittsburgh’s All-News KQV to Shut Down at Year’s End. According to a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the news does not mean a format change or sale to a new operator – the Dickey Family-owned station is signing off at the end of the year after 42 years as a news operation. Robert W. Dickey Jr. (no relation to the Atlanta and Cumulus Dickeys) tells the paper, “Candidly, I think it’s a sad day for broadcasting.” The Dickey family has owned or co-owned the station since 1982. The historic signal has been on the air for almost 100 years. Dickey Jr. adds, “It’s fair to say we’ve been trying to provide a community service. The bottom line is I just can’t sustain the business model. We’re an independent, labor-intensive format, and we were happy to take it on as long as we could financially do it.” Barring some interest from a buyer or investor, the station – which employs about 20 people – will shut down on December 31.
Hubbard Announces Changes to Digital Leadership. At the corporate offices of Hubbard Radio, EVP/chief financial officer Dave Bestler announces that Jeremy Sinon is being elevated to VP/digital strategy and Steve Goldstein is being named senior director of digital sales strategy. Sinon was most recently the director of digital strategy for Hubbard Radio. He will work closely with Bestler, Hubbard Radio president/COO Drew Horowitz, and Hubbard Radio chair Ginny Morris to oversee day-to-day corporate digital initiatives as well as the strategy for Hubbard Radio’s long-term digital goals. Goldstein will split duties in Washington, DC where he also oversees the local digital sales effort as director of digital sales. Goldstein has been at WTOP and WFED in Washington, DC for the past 11-and-a-half years. As senior director of digital sales strategy, Goldstein will work with the local Hubbard markets to utilize best practices and maximize digital sales opportunities.
WBEN-AM, Buffalo’s Tom Bauerle Recovering from Successful Bypass Surgery. The Entercom news/talk station reports on its website that afternoon drive talk host Tom Bauerle underwent successful quadruple bypass surgery at Gates Vascular Institute on December 8. Previously, TALKERS magazine reported that Bauerle had been experiencing chest pain and, at the insistence of his co-host David Bellavia and Bauerle’s fiancé, he went to a local urgent care clinic and was then transferred to Gates where his heart condition was being evaluated. At that time, Bauerle stated he believed he’d miss time on the air to recuperate and may not return until later in January.
TALKERS News Notes. Embattled public TV personality Tavis Smiley says PBS “made a huge mistake here” – referring to the pubcaster’s decision to cut ties with his firm to distribute “The Tavis Smiley Show” to PBS affiliates after allegations of sexual misconduct were leveled against him. Speaking during a live, sit-down interview on “Good Morning America,” Smiley said he’s never groped women nor has he coerced any women into relationships with him. He admits to romantic relationships with women while working on his show but says the relationships were consensual and he can prove that. See the ABC News story here…..An MSNBC spokesperson is saying that NBC made a “separation-related payment” to a former staffer of talk show host Chris Matthews after a complaint of sexual harassment against him. The amount paid as part of a severance package for the unnamed, former assistant producer for the “Hardball” program is in dispute, but the company says after a review of the accusation, Matthews was reprimanded. The Daily Caller reports that MSNBC deemed Matthews’ behavior “inappropriate and juvenile,” but not to be taken seriously as propositions…..Singer-songwriter and Sportsman TV Channel host Andy Ross has just released a new song – one that perfectly touches on the intersection of the holiday season and the turbulent political times – titled, “Make Christmas Great Again.” Ross, who has been a successful host of “Maximum Archery” on the Sportsman TV channel for years, was inspired to release the new song given the political climate. You can hear the song here. Ross makes a great guest on talk radio and is available for interviews. To book him, call Janet Fallon at 703-469-3766 or email her at Janet.Fallon@gmail.com.
California Wildfires, Mueller’s Trump-Russia Investigation, GOP Tax Reform Bill, Sen. John McCain Health, ATL Airport Power Outage, North Korean Nuclear Program, Pope Speaks on Media ‘Sins,’ The Last Jedi, and NFL Action Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The now two-week-old Southern California wildfires; Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations of the Trump campaign’s connections with Russian agents and Mueller’s acquisition of key emails; the state of the GOP tax reform bill; Arizona Senator John McCain’s health as he returns to Arizona for treatment for brain cancer; a power outage at the Atlanta airport causes massive U.S. air travel problems; North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and threats against the U.S.; Pope Francis says sensational journalism and fake news are sins; the latest Star Wars film The Last Jedi, and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
“Yappy Tour” Rolls in the UK. Pictured above being interviewed by famed British talk personality (BOB-FM, BBC) Graham Mack in London, England is Bernadette Duncan, author of one of the most-discussed radio books in the talk media industry, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Boozers, Schmoozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016). Duncan, a former producer, chronicles her 26 years as the woman behind the glass on shows hosted by such legends as Sally Jessy Raphael, Larry King, Tom Snyder, Lou Dobbs, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and others covering a large swath of modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.” Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of quirky guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature including: Donald Trump, Omarosa Manigault, David Letterman, Joe Biden, Mike Huckabee, Geraldo Rivera, Joan Rivers and dozens more. Due to the strong response by hosts across the nation and now internationally to both the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the “Yappy Tour” will continue to roll on into 2018. Duncan has already appeared on more than 125 local and syndicated programs since the book’s release in September of 2016. Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Guam Radio Broadcaster Ray Gibson of Choice Broadcasting’s ThePOINT is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Guam, a small tropical island in the Western Pacific, is the farthest outpost from the US mainland of all American territories. Aside from its active tourism industry, Guam is home to a major US military presence and has long played a very important role in American geopolitical interests. It is the American “tip of the spear” in terms of present-day heightened tensions between the US and North Korea. In spite of its remote location, Guam has always been an active market for American-style popular media – especially radio – with a colorful history of outstanding deejays and popular music formats ranging from old-style, top 40 to CHR and adult contemporary. Talk radio in Guam has mostly focused on local civic and lifestyle issues – until now. In recent weeks, Choice Broadcasting has soft launched a new format called “ThePOINT” on KUSG 1350 AM and 93.3 FM that emulates the traditional American conservative news/talk radio featuring a local show in the morning and syndicated national stars throughout the day. Such notables as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Jim Bohannon, John Gibson and others have begun airing in this exotic land of Asian, Spanish and American culture located on the other side of the International Date Line. The morning show that launches in January will be hosted by Choice Broadcasting managing partner and veteran Guam radio personality Ray Gibson who has been spearheading this initiative. Gibson, a Guam native and second-generation radio personality (the son of Bill Gibson), is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Don’t miss this fascinating and informative almost-8,000-mile telephone conversation! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country programming pro T Gentry is moving from Beasley Media Group’s operations manager in the Tampa market (where he also programmed country WQYK) to the company’s Augusta, Georgia cluster where he’ll be operations manager and program director for WKXC “Kicks 99,” effective today (12/18). Beasley Augusta VP and market manager Kent Dunn says, “T has done a tremendous job over the past 17 years at Beasley Media Group. He did great in Tampa, but has decided to return to Augusta to be closer to his family. We are absolutely thrilled to welcome him home to lead our team and ‘Kicks 99!’” Chris O’Kelly remains on staff as assistant program director and music director of “Kicks 99.”…..Charlotte country outlet WSOC announces the 11th Annual Stout Pull Guitar Pull is taking place on Tuesday, January 9 at Coyote Joe’s in Charlotte. The live event will feature Dylan Scott, Midland, and Devin Dawson. Beasley Media Group says the annual show draws country music fans from across the Carolinas to see their favorite artists collaborate in an intimate stage setting. The concert benefits Loaves and Fishes and ACM Lifting Lives, the charitable arm of the Academy of Country Music. WSOC program director DJ Stout says, “The Stout Pull has become a staple in Charlotte for country music lovers. It’s a unique environment with all artists performing on the stage at the same time. We keep the cost of the tickets low, so not only is it affordable, but we also give back to the community through music. It’s a great deal all around.”…..Classic rock WCSX, Detroit received a visit from rock legend Bob Seger last Thursday (12/14). He appeared on the “Big Jim’s House” morning show during which he talked about his new album, I Knew You When, his late friend Glenn Frey, and more. Pictured below are (from l-r): “Big Jim’s House” host Jim O’Brien, co-host Erin Vermeulen, Seger, and midday personality Juline Jordan.
TALKERS Top News/Talk Stories and People of 2011. The editors of TALKERS are publishing the annual lists of the most-talked-about stories and people of 2011 as heard on America’s news/talk radio stations. The year-end lists are compiled from data from TALKERS ongoing research that is used for the weekly charts of news/talk radio’s top stories and people during the year. It’s important to underscore that many consumer media outlets publish annual lists of top news stories and people and those are often the results of data culled from Western news organizations. TALKERS data is unique in that it reports popular stories and people talked about on American news/talk radio stations. See the TALKERS year-end charts here.
Penn State Scandal Tops the TALKERS 10 Most Talked About Stories on Sports Talk Radio in 2011. Like any list, this one comes with qualifications. What constitutes a major story in New York might get precious little attention in Chicago. Although we talk in terms of “national pastimes,” the truth is that for the most part, sports interest is local. With that in mind, the following is the TALKERS list of the most talked about sports stories of 2011.
1. Penn State Scandal. This story dominated sports talk radio throughout the late fall. A legendary coach is fired and shocking testimony is unveiled — documenting unspeakable acts against minors. The Syracuse basketball program is rocked in a similar case, but as of this writing, the alleged perpetrator has escaped legal action. To read Richard Neer’s full list click here.
WAXY, Miami PD Marc Hochman Steps Down from Programming Role to Focus on Dan LeBatard Program. For the past two years, Marc Hochman has been serving in the dual role as program director for Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY, Miami and executive producer and second co-host for the station’s Dan LeBatard PM drive show. Now Hochman says he’ll leave the PD post to concentrate on his role with the program, “It became obvious to me that I would be serving the radio station and radio show better if I were to focus only on one. There are many opportunities presenting themselves to ‘The Dan LeBatard Show’ so I’ve decided to focus 100% of my attention on the show and its future. Lincoln Financial Media has been super supportive of my decision. They’re thrilled I’m going to remain part of the radio station and they’ve asked me to remain in the PD position until they are able to find a replacement.” WAXY is beginning a search for a new programmer immediately.
Sports KILT, Houston Debuts New Local Midday Show; Premiere’s Jim Rome Exits. CBS Radio Houston debuts a new midday show called “Mad Radio” featuring Mike Meltser and Brad Davies in the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot. Meltser has served as the morning show news anchor on KILT and Brien Straw will take over that position according to the Houston Chronicle. Brad Davies previously worked at crosstown sports talker KBME-FM. Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome was one of the first major market affiliates for the program when it leaped from its Southern California base to national syndication in 1997 and has been a mainstay of KILT for those 14 years. But program director Gavin Spittle says it’s simply a matter of ratings and Rome’s program is the only one that doesn’t beat its three sports talk radio competitors in the market. “This is a performance-based business, and we have exhausted our options. We like Jim and thank him for all he has done for the station. He has been a huge fan of Sports Radio 610, and we have been huge fans of Jim Rome. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the ratings in Houston have slid to the point where a change is necessary.”
Former Marketing Director Sues CBS Radio Philadelphia for Sexual Harassment and Discrimination. As reported in the Philadelphia Daily News, former KYW, Philadelphia marketing director Shelley Kanther is suing the company alleging suffering “severe and pervasive” sexual harassment and discrimination and being fired after speaking up about it. Kanther’s attorney, Samuel First, writes in the suit that work environment at CBS Philadelphia was “toxic” with male co-workers telling Kanther “to wear skirts more often, swat at her butt and considered offering her money to make out with another worker.” The suit singles out SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield as the “worst offender” and alleges he fired Kanther when she complained. The suit also says VP and general sales manager David Yadgaroff failed to take action when asked to do so. CBS Radio is not commenting on the suit.
KQV, Pittsburgh to Air Robert Dickey Retrospective Today. Calvary senior partner and KQV, Pittsburgh president and general manager Robert Dickey passed away last week at age 84. KQV anchor PJ Maloney has produced a 50-minute retrospective of the man who dedicated his professional life to radio. The station says, “This special will include tributes from broadcasters, staff, friends and public officials…people who have known and worked with Bob Dickey during his 60-plus years in broadcasting.” The special airs this morning (12/30) at 10:10 am on KQV and is being repeated at 11:10 to allow staff to attend this morning’s funeral mass.
Bart Ritner, Pioneering North Carolina Radio Talker, Dies at 76. According to reports, the 39-year veteran of WPTF, Raleigh died on Wednesday (12/28) after a long battle with abdominal cancer. He was a regional pioneer of the call-in style of talk radio famous for impartiality and tremendous interviewing skills. According to the Greensboro News and Record, his interviews covered the gamut including President Lyndon Johnson, arsenic killer Velma Barfield and North Carolina Ku Klux Klan leaders. His reputation for even-handedness led to him serving as a mediator who helped resolve a dangerous standoff at Raleigh’s maximum-security Central prison.
Radio Talk Host Lynn Samuels Dies at Age 69. Longtime New York talk radio host Lynn Samuels passed away at her home in Queens on December 24 of apparent natural causes. Samuels, who had been working at Sirius XM, was found by police after she failed to show up for her radio show earlier on Saturday. There was no sign of foul play and friends tell authorities e-mails sent Friday indicate she didn’t appear troubled. Samuels broke into commercial talk radio in the 1980s after working at Pacifica’s hard-left non-com WBAI, New York. She hosted the Saturday 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program at Buckley Broadcasting‘s WOR, New York for a period of time. Then-PD John Mainelli was overhauling the programming at WABC, New York in 1988 when he brought her aboard. He tells TALKERS she was working for nothing at WBAI when he found her, “She used to say that WBAI considered her ‘too conservative’ for them but she pulled in more money than anybody during the fund-raisers so they kept her on. She was back-to-back with Rush Limbaugh on WABC for the first few years and their ratings grew precisely in tandem.” Mainelli says subsequent management moved Samuels around the WABC schedule, eventually to weekends, before letting her go. She held a daily show at Sirius XM for a number of years before being moved to the weekend. Mainelli says that, like many other talk hosts, she cut her teeth calling in to talk shows, “In Lynn’s case, she frequently called Bob Grant and always got him so mad that he would ultimately hang up on her with his trademark, ‘Get off my phooooooooone!’ She was a grenade-armed sweetheart and steel-clad softie, incredibly mentally alert and curious about everything. Endearingly quirky and funny as hell. Listeners could never predict how she’d approach brand new topics, which is so unlike the knee-jerk partisan predictables of 2011.” SiriusXM is honoring Samuels on a special edition of The Alex Bennett Program this morning (12/27), live from 7:00 am to10:00 am ET on SiriusXM Left/ch.127. Veteran broadcaster Richard Bey, a longtime friend and colleague of Samuels, is filling as guest host of the show December 27-29 while Bennett is on vacation. On Wednesday (12/28), they will join forces — with Bey continuing to serve as guest host and Bennett returning from vacation for one day to join him in studio — to salute Samuels’ life, ideas and legendary broadcasting career, throughout which, according to a SiriusXM spokesperson, “She spoke without a filter and with honesty, humor and passion.”
Kevin McCullough Appears on TALKERS TV. Kevin McCullough, host of the daily nationally syndicated “Kevin McCullough Show” and co-host of the weekend “Baldwin/McCullough Show” with Stephen Baldwin, is interviewed by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey on TALKERS TV. The conversation took place at the recent “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row presented by TALKERS in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and Liz Claiborne, Inc. to raise awareness about the widespread societal problem of domestic violence. The seventh annual installment of this major talk media event took place in the fashion showroom at Liz Claiborne, Inc.’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters. McCullough shows Casey and the TALKERS TV audience his fascinating array of portable remote equipment conveniently set up to allow him to communicate with his audience via several venues – radio and television – utilizing audio, video and digital elements, all operable by the host himself. This informative must-see video can be viewed on the right side of this page.
Rumor: Strong FM Signal Coming for WGST, Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho is reporting that Clear Channel may be moving toward a new FM simulcast situation for news/talk WGST, Atlanta. The station is currently simulcasting on a translator at 92.3 but the signal does not penetrate the northern suburbs of Atlanta. Ho reports Clear Channel is quietly cutting the staffing at Regional Mexican “El Patron” – WBZY-FM at 105.3 – possibly with plans to move the station to a different signal and simulcast WGST on the 105.3 frequency. Ho notes that WGST had an FM simulcast at 105.7 in the 1990s but that ended in 1999.
Clear Channel Combines Two FMs with AM in Mansfield, Ohio for WMAN-AM/FM. Gone are classic hits FMs WXXR-FM and WSWR-FM as Clear Channel combines them with existing AM WMAN (1400) to create WMAN-AM/FM. Market manager Bill Clark tells the Mansfield News Journal, “The motivation to make these changes is simple. Younger radio listeners, those under 35, rarely visit the AM band. Most were raised never having been aware that the AM band existed. This gives us the opportunity to expose younger listeners to the spoken word format.” In addition to Premiere Networks programs Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, the station also airs local morning drive host Rusty Cates and the early evening sports talk show “Sports Grill” with Aaron Hines.
KQV, Pittsburgh President and GM Robert Dickey, Sr. Dies at 84. All-news KQV, Pittsburgh was purchased by Robert Dickey, Sr. and Richard Mellon Scaife in 1982 when they formed Calvary, Inc. to operate the station they believed they were saving from extinction. Calvary has operated the station ever since with many of the station’s employees having worked there for decades. Dickey died at his home in Oakland, Pennsylvania on December 24 after suffering a brief illness. Dickey started in radio at KDKA, Pittsburgh in 1954. He worked his way up in the business and eventually became general manager of WINS, New York and earned his place as part of the management team that created the “You give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world” news format. Dickey moved back to Pittsburgh in 1976 to manage Taft’s WDVE-FM and KQV. When KQV’s all-news format appeared to be in trouble, he and Scaife formed Calvary and bought the station.