RTDNA Announces Winners of 2021 National Edward R. Murrow Awards. The Radio Television Digital News Association announces the national winners of the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Awards that recognize more than 100 outlets for outstanding work in digital, radio and television journalism in technical and editorial categories. RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley states, “A core pillar of RTDNA is celebrating the best in journalism, and one of the ways we do that is through the Edward R. Murrow Awards. This year especially, we are honored to recognize outstanding achievements in broadcast and digital journalism. The past 18 months have been some of the most challenging in the history of our profession, and these recipients — among thousands of other journalists — clearly fulfilled their obligations to serve the public.” There were more than 5,200 entries this year. In May, RTDNA recognized more than 750 winners of the Regional Murrow Awards, which automatically advanced to the national competition. Eight organizations received national awards for Overall Excellence in their categories, including ABC News in the Radio Network category. ABC News was also honored with wins for: Breaking News – COVID-19: President Trump Tests Positive, for its overnight coverage of President Trump’s positive COVID test; Continuing Coverage – A Nation Divided, for its reporting on the murder of George Floyd and the protests and anger that swept the nation; News Series – Pandemic: A Nation Divided, which covered the pandemic’s significantly worse impact on communities of color and working class America; and Investigative Reporting – Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein, for the ABC News Investigative Unit’s podcast on the investigation into Epstein. Two Audacy radio stations were winners with KRLD “Newsradio 1080” recognized for its coverage of the protests against the death of George Floyd and police brutality in the award’s Breaking News Coverage in Large Market Radio category and KMOX, St. Louis “News Radio 1120” receiving top honors in the award’s Newscast in Large Market Radio category for its “Total Information AM 7:00 a.m.” newscast on March 18, 2020. You can see the complete national winner list here.
iHeartMedia Flips KBRU-FM, Oklahoma City to Sports Talk as ’94.7 The Ref.’ In a deal with SportsTalk Media’s KREF-AM, Norman, Oklahoma, iHeartMedia flips its KBRU-FM, Oklahoma City from rock to sports talk and is simulcasting KREF’s 6:00 am to 6:00 pm schedule on KBRU and re-brands it “94.7 FM The Ref.” From 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, KBRU will air FOX Sports Radio programming including: Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon and Ben Maller. iHeartMedia area president for Oklahoma Jon Phillips states, “We are thrilled to enter the sports talk arena with such an outstanding lineup. This talent base is very aligned with Oklahoma University sports and we feel this will give us a unique advantage in creating content that is focused on the biggest sports entity in the state. Hats off to SportsTalk Media in Norman for collecting and producing such compelling radio. We feel this partnership will greatly benefit both parties and ensure that Sooner fans can get reliable, accurate and timely coverage.” The station’s lineup is: Toby Rowland and TJ Perry in AM drive, Chris Plank and Josh Helmer from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, Mike Steely and Parker Thune from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm, Teddy Lehman and Tyler McComas from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, followed by FOX Sports Radio shows “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker,” “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon,” The Ben Maller Show,” “Outkick The Coverage.”
Cumulus Media Dallas Announces Sales Promotions. There are a number of promotions and appointments to report from the Cumulus Media Dallas station group. With the retirement of the cluster’s director of sales Alec Drake at the end of this month, new positions effective September 1 include Dawn Girocco rising from her director of sales post for three of the cluster’s music outlets to VP of sales for the entire six-station group. Filling her role with the three music outlets is Dean Canter, who becomes general sales manager. On the spoken word side, RJ Lane rises from general sales manager for sports talk KTCK-AM/FM “The Ticket,” news/talk WBAP-AM, and news/talk KLIF-AM to director of sales for the stations. Also, Steve Holm is promoted from sales manager for the spoken word stations to general sales manager and Janet Dupree, digital sales manager, remains in charge of the station cluster’s digital sales efforts. Cumulus Dallas/Houston regional VP Dan Bennett says, “Dawn Girocco’s vast experience as a DOS and market manager made her a great choice to lead our Dallas sales operation as our new VP of sales. Dawn is an around-the-clock engaged manager who is accessible to our sellers 24/7. She has earned this opportunity and our sales team will benefit greatly from her leadership. I cannot begin to thank Alec Drake enough for his huge contributions over the years to our organization. He has been an incredible leader – especially through the Covid pandemic. Keeping Cumulus Dallas as the company’s top revenue market has always been our goal and Alec pushed the limits every day to ensure we kept that position. Thank you, Alec, from our entire team!”
Gracie Awards Gala Moves to Virtual Celebration. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces that the 46th annual Gracie Awards Gala, originally scheduled for Monday, September 27, is being moved to a fully virtual celebration. Details of the air date and streaming are being finalized to ensure the best experience to recognize all winners in an important year as AWM’s 70th anniversary. AWMF president Becky Brooks says, “Gracie winners are responsible for creating and telling the important stories of the most compelling content in our history. We were informed, enlightened, and entertained by women in media across all platforms. Our focus remains celebrating this incredible group of women who have demonstrated their commitment to sharing emotionally charged, timely, and compelling content. While our goal was to be in person in September, we are thrilled to bring our winners to the world.”
TALKERS News Notes. KIVA-AM, Albuquerque station owner and talk host Eddy Aragon is running for mayor of the city. According to KOAT-TV, Aragon has gathered enough signatures to run in this November’s election though he’s still waiting for certification from the county clerk. Aragon is challenging incumbent Mayor Tim Keller. Sheriff Manny Gonzales is also running as a Republican. If none of the three candidates get 50% of the vote, the two with the most votes face a run-off election. Aragon tells the station, “I just want to live in a better place. And, when there wasn’t anybody there that was speaking up for the conservatives, the Republicans and the independents out there, that’s when I immediately jumped on board.”…..Virtual News Center adds Legend Communications of Wyoming, LLC radio stations KLGT, KBBT, KZZS, and KHRW in Sheridan, Wyoming to its roster of affiliate stations. Virtual News Center will provide newscasts for all four stations anchored daily by Lisa Rodman and Jim Taylor. Virtual News Center CEO Joel Dearing says, “We are excited to expand with Legend Communications. We currently do news for their station in Gillette and have now added their stations that serve the Sheridan market. Brady Sasfranek has a strong cluster and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”…..Audacy and the NFL’s Washington Football Team have announced a new radio broadcast partnership in which Spanish hits WLZL, Washington “El Zol 107.9” will air the Spanish broadcast for all of the team’s regular and postseason games. Spanish broadcasts had previously aired on sister station WJFK-AM, “El Zol Deportes” for the past three seasons
Taliban Takes Afghanistan, COVID-19 Stats & Mandates, COVID Booster, Western Drought & Wildfires, and Gavin Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/17). The Taliban takes control of Afghanistan and former President Donald Trump’s media appearances blaming President Joe Biden; the rise of COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states and the controversy over mask and vaccine mandates; the expectation the U.S. will recommend COVID booster shots after eight months; the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
John R. Gambling Retires from WNYM, New York ‘AM 970 The Answer.’ The Gambling name is legendary in New York radio history – John B. Gambling started hosting mornings on WOR in 1925, his son John A. Gambling took over the show in 1959, and John R. Gambling joined his father as co-host in 1985. Now, the third Gambling is announcing his retirement from his radio show on Salem Media Group’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Gambling told his listeners at the start of today’s program (11:00 am ET) that he’s been dealing with problems recuperating from a broken knee cap that is hastening his decision to step down. Gambling retired from WOR in December of 2013 but later joined WNYM. WNYM general manager Jerry Crowley tells TALKERS, “His grandfather is often credited with inventing talk radio, his dad was # 1 in all radio ratings surveys and John somehow transitioned that genre to contemporary talk radio with a right-of-center view but absolutely never ticked a guest off. No one else ever pulled that off. Radio listeners knew this and appreciated his insightful, courtly way of conducting major league interviews and his amazing insights. When John left WOR the first time around, we were inundated with sacks of mail not for a day or week but months – amazing. When I brought him back to Salem NY You could almost hear the thunderous applause reverberate across the region. John was great in every way and we will all miss his calming, dulcet tones.”
Dave Ramsey Kicks Off the Fall Tour in Dallas. It’s the fall “Smart Money” tour, to be more precise. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey brought his fall edition of his ongoing live event tour to a sold-out crowd in Dallas yesterday (9/15) at First Baptist Church Dallas. The “Smart Money” program focuses on winning with money, getting out of debt and investing for the future. Best-selling author and financial expert Rachel Cruze joined Ramsey on stage. Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate KRLD, Dallas “News Radio 1080” to promote the event. CBS RADIO Dallas local sales manager Paul Davis states, “Dave’s appearances in Dallas are always a huge deal for our listeners, clients and staff. He spent quality, one-on-one time with our partners and then entertained us and about 3,000 others at the sold-out Smart Money event! We wish Dave could come to North Texas more often!” Pictured here are (from l-r): Ramsey; Paul Mann, KRLD news director; Davis and Cruze.
A Rare Golden Mic for Dan Gaffney. In honor of 30 years of serving southern Delaware, WXDE, Lewes “Delaware 105.9” morning personality Dan Gaffney is honored with a golden microphone gifted to him by Kevin Short, owner of local business Mid South Audio. Short acquired the golden mic from the same artisan who crafted the golden microphones for Premiere Networks talk superstar Rush Limbaugh and Premiere/KIIS, Los Angeles personality Ryan Seacrest.
Arnie States Hosts Afternoon Show at KUUB, Reno. The former member of the trio Rob, Arnie, and Dawn – Arnie States – is back on the air hosting a sports talk show on Lotus Communications’ KUUB, Reno “ESPN 94.5.” (Rob and Dawn still host mornings on rock KRXQ, Sacramento as “Rob, Anybody, and Dawn.”) States exited the trio in March of 2015. For a while he was part of KRXQ’s afternoon show before leaving that gig to return to Reno to care for his father. Now, he’s back on the radio doing sports talk.
Galaxy to Enter Events Consulting Biz. The New York State-based broadcasting firm Galaxy Communications announces it is starting up a division focusing on creating event partnerships with fellow radio and television broadcasters. The division is called Galaxy Events Consulting and reports it has commitments to enter 10 new markets in 2017. They include: Buffalo, Rochester, Binghamton, Watertown and Long Island in New York, plus Philadelphia, Charlotte, Raleigh and Sarasota, Florida. Galaxy president and CEO Ed Levine states, “This idea has been percolating for some time. As acknowledged industry leaders in this space, we’ve had many conversations with other radio and TV broadcasters. We think we’ve come up with a model that can generate guaranteed revenue for the partner broadcaster with no risk. Experiential/event marketing is a key element for both radio and television’s future revenue growth. We’ve been in this space for a decade and are now prepared to help other broadcasters navigate these waters.” Galaxy owns 14 radio stations in the Syracuse and Utica-Rome markets. Its Galaxy Events division is responsible for many of the biggest community events in Central New York, highlighted by ‘Taste of Syracuse,’ which draws 200,000 people annually.
The Presidential Race Again Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of September 12-16. For obvious reasons, the presidential race is likely to be the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio through the elections in November and this week was no different with the activities of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at #1. At #2 this week was the issue of each candidate’s health. Coming in at #3 was the United States’ refugee policy that calls for an additional 110,000 to be allowed into the country, followed by the National Anthem protests 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.
WGN, Chicago Renews Steve Cochran Through 2020. This is the latest in a series of contract renewals at Tribune’s news/talker WGN Radio. Morning drive host Steve Cochran’s pact with the station is extended through 2020. Station VP of content and programming Todd Manley says, “Steve makes it look easy with his affable brand of intelligence, but nobody works harder to gather and share the stories Chicagoans care about. He’s got the raw talent and work ethic we need for many years to come.” The Cochran morning show team includes co-anchor and reporter Andrea Darlas, news by Steve Grzanich, sports by Dave Eanet and traffic by Mary Van De Velde. Last week, the station made public new deals for afternoon drive star Roe Conn and, on Friday, an extension for programmer Manley. Cochran worked at WGN from 2000 through 2010 when he was let go. He rejoined WGN in 2013. In a story this morning by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cochran speaks glowingly about the new regime at WGN – and rather frankly about the one that fired him. You can read Feder’s piece here.
Melissa Harrison Named AM Co-Anchor at KRLD, Dallas. News pro Melissa Harrison becomes part of the KRLD Morning News alongside Mike Rogers and Scott Sams, beginning Friday, July 1. Harrison has most recently been working as a freelance reporter for KXAS-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth. She formerly worked as a television news reporter in New York, Birmingham, Jackson, Waco, and Abilene. KRLD director of news and programming Paul Mann says, “Melissa’s extensive journalism experience will further strengthen the award-winning KRLD news team. As with co-anchors Mike Rogers and Scott Sams, Melissa’s roots run deep in North Texas and she is passionate about our community.”
‘Brexit’ Vote/Financial Markets Activity, The Presidential Race, SCOTUS Immigration Ruling, Coming SCOTUS Abortion Ruling, Sacramento Rally Violence, and MLB Action and Copa America Final Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the reactions by the world’s financial markets; the activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton plus the hiring of former Trump aid Corey Lewandowski by CNN; the effects of the recent Supreme Court ruling halting President Obama’s immigration executive orders; this week’s expected ruling by the Supreme Court on Texas’ abortion laws; the violent clash of protestors at a ‘white power’ rally in Sacramento; and MLB action and the Copa America soccer final were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Radio personality Anthony Cumia has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges – third-degree assault and a charge of blocking someone’s breathing – related to an incident with his then-girlfriend in December of 2015. Cumia – former partner of Gregg “Opie” Hughes on both SiriusXM and AM/FM radio – currently hosts an internet talk program. Newsday is reporting that Cumia must complete six months of outpatient alcohol abuse treatment and a six-month batterer’s intervention program. Upon completion of those programs, he can get the charges reduced to non-criminal harassment counts…..Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup tips TALKERS magazine that Chicago media writer Robert Feder is celebrating his 36th year in the business of covering radio and television in the Windy City. Tradup and Feder recently shared a lunch in Chicago where Tradup was once president and general manager of news/talk WLS-AM…..SiriusXM is offering comprehensive live coverage of The Championships, Wimbledon 2016 beginning today through the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Finals on Saturday, July 9, and Sunday, July 10. The broadcasts are airing courtesy of rightsholder ESPN Audio…..Audio content aggregator TuneIn is now offering Scripps-owned Newsy’s daily news reporting. TuneIn premium subscribers can access two weekly podcasts focused on politics — “Newsy Politics” — and culture — “Givin’ Takes” – plus three daily podcasts focused on U.S. and world news; tech, science and health; and current events…..Alpha Media’s Salina, Kansas news/talker KSAL-AM “NewsRadio 1150” collects two honors in the 2016 Salina Journal Reader’s Choice Awards. KSAL was named “Favorite Radio Station.” KSAL personality Clarke Sanders was chosen “Favorite Radio Host.” Fellow staffers Rich Alexander and Mike Hammett were finalists in the host category. Alpha Salina market manager Bob Protzman says, “We’re very proud of Alpha Media’s representation in the 2016 Salina Journal Reader’s Choice Awards. Once again, ‘News Radio 1150’ KSAL takes ‘Favorite Radio Station’ showing that AM radio is alive and well – all it takes is quality local programming.”
BIA Kelsey Releases State of Radio Industry Report. As part of its state of the radio industry report, BIA Kelsey releases “The Position of Local Radio Stations: Trends for 2016 & Beyond.” Using data from Nielsen Audio, Edison Research, Miller Kaplan, and more, the study looks at AM/FM radio’s reach and revenue over the past five years and projects where radio is likely to be five years down the road. It notes recent industry-wide dips in local station revenue. “We believe local radio stations will be able to turn around this negative over-the-air revenue growth slightly. As long as the economy maintains moderate growth in the next few years, we expect total radio advertising to grow in the 1.0 % to 1.25 % CAGR range.” The BIA Kelsey study also points to digital and live events as pieces of the radio revenue pie that have helped AM/FM survive spot sales declines that will continue to be crucial to radio’s bottom line in the years ahead.
Williams to Program Denver’s KKFN & KEPN. Currently the program director of Townsquare Media Albany (New York) sports outlet WTMM-FM “104.5 ESPN The Team,” Armen Williams will join Bonneville Denver’s KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” and KEPN “1600 The Zone” in a similar capacity the middle of next month. According to Bonneville Denver vice president and market manager Bob Call, “Armen brings a perfect balance of winning sports radio programming, plus an exceptional knowledge of digital media. Armen has worked with a number of high-profile sports personalities through his career, plus he developed some solid NFL play-by-play network experience.” Williams – who co-hosts WTMM’s afternoon drive show in addition to his PD duties – states, “I am excited to be part of one of the best sports radio brands in the country. ‘The Fan’ is a first-class organization and Bonneville is a great company. I am looking forward to working with the extremely talented staff to continue giving Denver sports fans the highest quality of sports talk radio.” Before his tenure at Albany’s “Team,” Williams was a producer for CBS Radio-owned KRLD “The Fan,” Dallas, where he worked with the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network; he previously worked in the promotions department at KESN “ESPN Radio,” Dallas. According to 6+ stats from Denver’s most recent (November 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM results, KKFN ranks #16 (3.6, up one full-share from September‘s 2.6) and KEPN is #33 (.1); Entercom classic rocker KQMT “The Mountain” is #1 with a 6.3 (6+). The only stations listed in Nielsen Audio’s summer 2015 report for Albany are five iHeartMedia outlets.
Gallagher Meets Cruz on Campaign Trail; Salem Preparing for December 15 GOP Debate Coverage. While in South Carolina on the campaign trail, GOP presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) stopped to speak with Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher in Greenville. Gallagher (right) is pictured here conducting the one-on-one with Cruz (left). (A Monmouth University study has Cruz polling ahead of Donald Trump in Iowa right now with 24%.) Meanwhile, Salem Radio Network has exclusive radio distribution of the CNN/Facebook Presidential Debate at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. SRN says Bill Bennett, Gallagher, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt will all originate their programs from the hotel on December 14 and 15. SRN’s Hewitt will serve on the CNN debate panel as well. SRN SVP Phil Boyce will serve as live announcer for the network’s radio coverage, and SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup will be executive producer of all on-site SRN shows and the CNN/Facebook Debate coverage.
WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Raises $316,000 for Fisher House Foundation. Last Friday and Saturday (12/4-5), Cumulus Media news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington held its second annual “Operation Fisher House 2015 Radiothon” and raised $316,000 for the charity that builds and provides group homes for families of America’s wounded servicemen and women as they undergo treatment. The station reports that over the past 12 years WMAL listeners have donated almost $5 million dollars to the Fisher House Foundation. Station program director Bill Hess comments, “Our listeners step up year after year. Their response to our talent and the stories of these heroes and their families is incredibly rewarding.”
More Than $277,000 Raised at Annual WOAI Elf Louise Broadcast. The Elf Louise Christmas Project charity was founded in 1969 and this year iHeartMedia news/talk WOAI, San Antonio held its 20th annual two-day radiothon on December 4 and 5 to raise funds for the charity that helps buy Christmas presents for more than 19,000 children in the area. In addition to listeners donating money, several benefactors helped, including local attorney Thomas J. Henry whose family pledged to match 25% of every donation up to $200,000 and ended up donating $50,000. Pictured here at the broadcast are (from l-r): WOAI personalities Cari Laque, Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo and charity founder Louise Locker.
Odds & Sods. Programmer Jeff Beck is promoted to operations manager for the Alpha Media Fredericksburg, Virginia cluster that includes news/talk/sports simulcast WNTX-AM/W243BS at 96.5 FM…..Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle is hosting the 27th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon on December 10 to benefit the Treehouse, a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond. The past three years, KIRO Radio Foster Child Holiday Magic Program has raised more than $500,000 each year through listener donation and sponsor matching funds. “Ron & Don Show” co-host Don O’Neill says, “Each year at KIRO Radio we strive to give every foster child in Washington State a gift during the holiday season. A holiday gift is a symbol, a reminder to a young person that they are important, they are part of our village, and they have not been forgotten! We can’t wait to spread a little Holiday Magic again this year, with the help of all our great listeners throughout the Pacific Northwest!”
Obama’s San Bernardino Address, Trump Anti-Muslim Rhetoric/2016 Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, Turkey-Russian Tensions, Iran Missile Test, NFL Action, and New Star Wars Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7). Reaction to President Obama’s Sunday evening national address on the San Bernardino shootings; GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s post-San Bernardino statements about preventing any Muslims from entering the United States and the activities of the other candidates for president in 2016; the military campaign against Islamic State in Iraq, Syria and beyond; the ongoing tensions between Turkey and Russia; allegations Iran has fired a test rocket in violation of the recently signed nuclear deal; the weekend’s NFL action; and anticipation over the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Pioneering DC Sports Talker Ken Beatrice Dies at 72. A trailblazing radio sports talk host in Washington passed away at age 72 after a bout with pneumonia. Ken Beatrice hosted an evening sports talk show on WMAL-AM from 1977 through 1995. He worked another five years at crosstown WTEM, retiring in 2000. Beatrice is credited with providing WMAL with thorough and insightful coverage of the NFL’s Washington Redskins during the team’s successful years in the 1980s through early 1990s. Steve Repsher writes a homage to Beatrice in the Washington Post here.