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Monday, August 3, 2020

| August 3, 2020

Monday Memo: 2 Magic Words. Your Mom and Dad were right. “Please” and “Thank you” will distinguish you, particularly in these coarse, troubled times. And in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke makes the case for “two more ‘Magic words’” broadcasters and podcasters should use as often as possible. Read it here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Stimulus Bill, Presidential Race/Vote by Mail, Portland Protests, Tropical Storm Isaias/SoCal Apple Fire, Microsoft-TikTok Deal, and Pro Sports Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the stalled stimulus talks in Congress as the previous package expires; the November presidential election and President Trump’s remark that it should be delayed due to concerns about vote-by-mail fraud; the violent protests continuing in Portland; Tropical Storm Isaias hits the Southeast Coast and thousands are evacuated in Southern California due to the Apple Fire; Microsoft’s deal to acquire TikTok from its Chinese developer; and COVID-19 takes its toll on U.S. pro sports leagues were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Gone Too Soon. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about two radio professionals who passed away last week: Herman Cain and Bob McCurdy. Lapa says he knew both men and learned a lot about leadership, sales, and radio from them. Read it here.

Convention Coverage Unlike Any in History. News and management pro Tom Tradup (pictured below at the 2016 RNC) writes in an exclusive opinion piece for TALKERS magazine about the challenges facing radio news and radio talk show hosts covering the 2020 national political conventions. The Salem Radio Network V.P. of News/Talk Programming says, “Pity the responsibility of my network as well as our colleagues at ABC Audio, CBS Radio, and the soon-to-be-defunct Westwood One radio news as we have dodged and weaved as COVID-19 impacted the venerable institutions known as National Conventions for both the Republican and Democratic parties. (Full disclosure: most of us have long understood that the actual ‘news value’ of political conventions was zero, but we nevertheless turned out every four years to provide coverage of delegates from Wisconsin wearing dopey yellow foam triangles shaped like cheese on their heads as we dodged screams and urine from various protest groups.)” Read his entire piece here.

WXYT-FM, Detroit Personality Jamie Samuelsen Dies at 48. It was just last week that WXYT-FM, Detroit sports talk host Jamie Samuelsen announced to listeners that he’s been battling colon cancer since January of 2019 – something he kept to himself until the very end. On Saturday (8/1) Samuelsen passed away at age 48. The Detroit Free Press shares comments from Samuelsen’s friends and co-workers – a number of whom got the chance to visit with him last week after he made his diagnosis public. The Free PressAnthony Fenech writes that Samuelsen – who had been working from home since the COVID-19 outbreak – was not in pain toward the end but his energy was very low. He leaves behind his wife Christy and three children: Caroline, 16, Josh, 14, and Catherine, 11. Samuelsen had been co-hosting the morning drive show with Mike Stone on the Entercom sports talk station since August of 2016.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Adds Jesse Kelly Show. The nationally syndicated “Jesse Kelly Show” is now airing on Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte on Sundays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. The Key Networks-syndicated show debuted in April and airs live weekdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. WBT-AM/FM brand manager Mike Schaefer says, “Jesse Kelly represents the evolving sonic landscape of news/talk. Jesse’s informed, funny, and brings unique experience and wisdom to the listeners that has been earned as both a Marine Corps combat veteran and a congressional candidate. We’re excited to bring Jesse’s show to the listeners of WBT!”

Jim Bryant Leaving Hubbard Radio’s 2060 Digital. After heading up Hubbard Radio’s digital marketing agency 2060 Digital for the past eight years, Jim Bryant announces he leaving the company and his role as president of the division. He says, “I’m an entrepreneur at heart and feel like we’ve now built the business to a day-to-day operating level. My goal was to build the business, and I think we did that…and, quite honestly, 44 years in this business is about as much fun as one guy can handle. I appreciate the huge vote of confidence Ginny Morris and Hubbard Radio afforded me, allowing me to stretch out, take smart chances, and surround myself with the terrific talent required to keep moving this business forward.” Hubbard EVP and CFO Dave Bestler says, “There is no way our digital platform would be where it is today without Jim. His vision and leadership have made 2060 Digital one of the leading digital agencies in each of our radio markets. During the past two years, Jim has focused on expanding 2060 Digital services beyond our radio footprint to new markets, including Indianapolis, Nashville, Detroit and Columbus. His vision has come to life and we look forward to continuing to grow the 2060 business on top of the strong foundation that Jim built.” 2060 Digital general manager and Hubbard SVP of digital strategies Steve Goldstein is assuming Bryant’s duties.

Air Talent Shuffle at Entercom’s WFNZ-AM, Charlotte. The Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell reports that Entercom’s Charlotte sports talk station WFNZ-AM is swapping midday and afternoon drive shows. Effective today, “The Clubhouse with Kyle Bailey” moves to the midday daypart (10:00 am to 2:00 pm) and Nick Wilson and Josh Parcell move to the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot. According to the piece, Bailey is pleased with the move to middays saying it “aligns with a lot of things in my life right now.” Bailey also hosts the Charlotte Hornets pre-game show on the station.

Farkas Exits ‘101.3 The Game’ in Burlington. At VOX AM/FM’s Burlington, Vermont sports talk outlet WCPV-FM “101.3 The Game,” program director and air personality Brady Farkas exits after four years. Station GM Ken Barlow tells the Burlington Free Press, “These things are never easy. (Farkas) is a very good guy, a very knowledgeable sports guy, and in many aspects of the job he did just fine. But we felt the station was mired in the position it’s in and we need revenue to be able to have it grow an audience and the program director is one of the primary people responsible for that.” Farkas tells the paper he’s proud of his time at the station, “We went through an affiliation switch from ESPN to FOX Sports Radio in fall of 2018 and delivered a number-one-rated station in fall of 2019. I am proud of the work our staff accomplished in order to achieve that.”

TALKERS News Notes. Los Angeles sports talker KSPN “ESPN 710” unveils its new programming lineup that takes effect on August 17. The changes were necessitated in part by owner ESPN’s decision to promote Keyshawn Johnson to host of the network’s national morning show called “Keyshawn, Jay and Zubin” and co-starring Jay Williams and Zubin Mehenti. KSPN will air that program via delay (it’s to air live in morning drive Eastern Time) and Travis Rodgers – formerly part of the KSPN “Keyshawm, LZ and Travis” show – will serve as the local host. “Greeny” with Mike Greenberg airs from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, followed by Max Kellerman from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Steve Mason and John Ireland move from afternoons to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart and the new afternoon drive show is LZ Granderson and Jorge Sedano. San Diego-based Scott Kaplan hosts evenings when there is no play-by-play…..From August 10-14, legendary Chicago disc jockey John Records Landecker will fill in for Bob Sirott hosting the morning drive show on Nexstar’s WGN-AM, Chicago. Sirott says, “Listeners are going to discover that John’s middle name truly is ‘talk!’”…..Roanoke.com reports that the “Big Dawg Sports Talk” show with Rick Watson returns to the New River Valley for morning drive on Monticello Media’s WRAD-AM/FM. The program aired in the market from 2001 to 2010 when the previous station owner canceled the show. Watson serves as director of broadcasting for Radford University and that includes his work as the voice of RU athletics…..iHeartMedia Orlando announces the launch of “Financial Fix” – an online financial resource hub where financial advisors, realtors, tax professionals, bankruptcy lawyers, and more can be featured for the local community to connect with. iHeartMedia Orlando’s Chianna Ray says, “‘Financial Fix’ will be an important resource for our community. Many people do not know where to start when it comes to unexpected financial situations such as refinancing, retirement funds withdrawal, grants qualifications, and more. This hub will be a great place for the community to find solutions in one centralized place.” iHeartMedia Orlando is promoting “Financial Fix” on-air on all of its stations, as well as on social media and the stations’ websites.

iHeartRadio Announces ‘The Next Great Podcast’ Search. In conjunction with the content creation platform Tongal, iHeartRadio unveils its search for “The Next Great Podcast.” Now through August 27, creators around the world can pitch for the chance to produce a new podcast series of any genre and to work with The iHeartPodcast Network to launch the new series. Creators will be asked to submit a short synopsis and treatment that describes their podcast idea, along with links to past work and an optional audio trailer and pitch video. Pitches will be narrowed down by a panel of podcasters, led by head judge and broadcaster Dan Patrick, and 10 semifinalists will be awarded $1,000 to further develop their idea into a 10-minute pilot. These pilots will be shared on “The Next Great Podcast” feed in the fall for fans everywhere to listen and vote. One winner will be crowned “The Next Great Podcast,” featured on iHeartRadio stations across the country and work closely with Patrick and iHeartRadio’s team of expert podcast producers to develop their podcast into an original series for distribution by The iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “Audio is thriving and is the breeding ground for some of the best IP out there right now. Podcasting has always been an ideal place for cultivating new talent and we are excited to join forces with Tongal to reach their impressive community of creatives as we search for the next great podcast.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Milwaukee, the iHeartMedia cluster that includes urban contemporary WKKV “V100.7,” country WMIL, classic hits WRIT “95.7 BIG FM,” sports talker WRNW “97.3 The Game,” and WOKY-AM “The BIG 920” are launching “Brilliantly Black” – a community resource initiative to support local Black-owned businesses, restaurants, and non-profits. iHeartMedia Milwaukee president Colleen Valkoun says, “I want to congratulate our team on this grassroots opportunity to support Black-owned businesses. Please join us in supporting the Black business community. I am thrilled we can use our stations to impact and inform the public about this much-needed community resource.”…..iHeartMedia’s alternative WHKF, Harrisburg “ALT Rock 99.3” adds Premiere Networks’ “The Woody Show” to the morning drive daypart…..Condolences to the family and friends of Riverbend Communications CHR KFTZ, Idaho Falls morning drive personality Tara Longmore Moss, who died over the weekend after a brief, unexpected illness. Moss’ co-host Brad Barlow tells KPVI-TV, Pocatello, “Tara is that host that I never heard anyone say anything bad about. All I ever heard was how much people loved her and how much people thought of her as a friend.”

Friday, January 10, 2020

| January 10, 2020

Starnes Media Group to Purchase KWAM, Memphis. Conservative talk media personality and author Todd Starnes, via his Starnes Media Group, is acquiring historic radio station KWAM-AM, Memphis and translator W300DE, Memphis (107.9 FM) from Legacy Media for $685,000.  Starnes produces his daily talk radio show – currently heard on some 60 affiliate stations – and commentary feature that is distributed by Hamilton Strategies.  Starnes tells TALKERS magazine KWAM will be the flagship for his radio show.  “Memphis is my hometown.  And I’m glad to be coming back to the Mid-South.  Memphis deserves a locally owned and locally run talk radio station.  Our news, traffic and weather will be produced in Memphis by Memphians.  And I can promise that all-new ‘The Mighty 990’ is going to be a blowtorch for freedom across the Mid-South.”  Starnes parted ways with FOX News in October of 2019 after his contract expired and shortly thereafter launched his new radio programs and podcast.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. The new episode titled, “Wag the Tongue!” looks back at this past week of January 6-10, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Michael Berry, talk show host, KTRH, Houston; Bill Brady, talk show host, KFNX, Phoenix; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Lee Elci, talk show host, 94.9 News Now WJJF, Southeast Connecticut; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Christopher Ruddy, president/CEO, Newsmax Media. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on: WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Cumulus EVP/CFO John Abbot to Exit in March. An executive-level change takes place at Cumulus Media as executive vice president and chief financial officer John Abbot announces he’ll leave the company in the beginning of March, after the company reports its full-year 2019 financial results.  Meanwhile, the company is conducting a search for his successor.  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “On behalf of the board and the entire company, I would like to thank John for his many contributions to Cumulus and for the strong finance and accounting organization he has helped build.  After nearly four years of commuting to Atlanta from Connecticut, it’s understandable that John has decided to pursue new opportunities at a company based closer to his home.  We appreciate his continued support through the transition and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”  Abbot says, “It has been a privilege and tremendously rewarding to work with Mary and the rest of the Cumulus team and I am truly proud of our many accomplishments over these past several years.  I am confident in the company’s ongoing ability to achieve its objectives and I look forward to following Cumulus’ continued success in the years ahead.”

WABC, New York Renews Clint Arthur’s Sunday Night Talk Show. New York City news/talk WABC announces it has “extended its commitment” with “The Greatest Show of All Time,” the Sunday evening program that stars celebrity entrepreneur Clint Arthur, to continue to air at 9:30 pm through the end of 2020.  Arthur says, “The mission of this show is personal, professional, and spiritual transformation for entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs and anyone responsible for improving their own life and who wants to be more, do more, and have more.  As a native New Yorker, I am thrilled by this opportunity to give back to the city that made me who I am today.”  Arthur is the author of best-selling books: What They Teach You at The Wharton Business School; Speaking Game: 7-Figure Speaker Secrets; and The Greatest Book of All Time.  WABC is currently owned by Cumulus Media and is in the process of being sold to John CatsimatidisRed Apple Media for $12.5 million.

Management Changes at ESPN. After 15 years with the company, Traug Keller is retiring from his position as SVP of ESPN Audio.  He moved into that role in 2004 after having served as president of ABC Radio Networks.  He’ll officially exit the company next month.  Also retiring from ESPN Audio is vice president of national radio programming and production Marcia Keegan.  Assuming the leadership of the ESPN Audio division will be Dave Roberts, currently vice president of production, and Amanda Gifford, who holds the coordinating producer title.  At the same time, Tim McCarthy, who leads sports talk radio outlet WEPN-FM, New York as SVP and general manager for the company, is taking on the same responsibilities for ESPN’s sports talk KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPN 710.”

Kachinske Named OM for Cumulus Media Providence. Programming pro Mary Ellen Kachinske comes to Cumulus Media’s Providence cluster after most recently serving as program director at Hubbard Radio’s high-performing hot AC WTMX, Chicago “The Mix” for the past 18-plus years.  In Providence, she’ll be program director for adult contemporary WWLI “Lite Rock 105” and serve as operations manager for the cluster that includes news/talk outlets WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM and WPRV-AM and two other music brands.  Cumulus Providence vice president and market manager Holly Paras says, “After an exhaustive nationwide search, I am pleased to have Mary Ellen Kachinske joining the Cumulus Providence programming team.  The breadth of Mary Ellen’s experience will no doubt be felt immediately throughout the cluster. We look forward to her leadership and her ability to think strategically, in order to allow these well-established brands to continue to grow into the next decade.”

SummitMedia Ups Brannigan to SVP of Programming; Johnson to Lead Wichita Cluster. Being promoted from president and general manager of SummitMedia’s Wichita operations to senior vice president of programming for the company is Beverlee Brannigan.  As she moves into the corporate role, Todd Johnson is upped from general sales manager to president/GM for the Wichita station group.  Brannigan served as president/GM of Wichita for nearly six years.  Her previous programming experience has earned her a place in Country Radio Hall of Fame and she programmed country KFDI to a CMA Station of the Year Award.  She says, “I am honored to join Bill Tanner and John Olsen on the SummitMedia programming team.  We all share a commitment to radio that strongly connects with our audience.”

Iran Crisis Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 6-10. The killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by U.S. forces and its diplomatic aftermath was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the impeachment articles against President Trump.  Coming in tied at #3 was the presidential race and the political speeches at last Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, followed by the Australian bush fires and climate change 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.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Radio Sales Opportunity. Religious broadcaster Pillar of Fire International is seeking a full-time ad salesperson. The company says: “Star 99.1 is looking for our next great radio salesperson! This full-time position includes work in the office and travel throughout the NY metropolitan area to meet with customers and prospects. Over-achievers strongly encouraged to apply! A proven track record in radio or media sales is a pre-requisite and high standards of business integrity are expected. We offer a positive working environment and the satisfaction of doing a job that ‘counts.'” Qualified candidates should send letter and resume to jobs@star991.com or mail to Jobs, Star 99.1, P.O. Box 9058, Zarephath, NJ 08890. No calls please. Star 99.1 is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

PPM Analysis Extra: The ‘All Christmas’ Phenomenon. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a “bonus” PPM analysis based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 survey.  Kinosian says that the shift to all-Christmas music has been a ratings boon for stations that adopt the change.  “In our December 2019 ratings recap ‘extra,’ let’s see if playing wall-to-wall holiday hits is still growing strong or starting to wane.  The following breakouts reflect those stations in the 48 PPM-markets that either increased their 6+ stat by at least one full share or faltered by that margin in the December 2019 sweep (November 7 – December 4).  Hefty positive November 2019 – December 2019 movement is more often than not directly attributable to the all-Christmas music phenomenon.”  See the report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. New Haven urban AC WYBC-FM adds the “DeDe in the Morning” show to its program schedule, effective Monday (1/13).  WYBC is operated by Connoisseur Media.  The program is produced by Service Broadcasting’s KKDA, Dallas “K104” and is syndicated by Compass Media NetworksDeDe McGuire says, “It is an absolute honor to be part of the legendary WYBC and we can’t wait to wake up New Haven. Thank you, [director of operations] Juan Castillo and the WYBC team for your support and confidence.  We are going to have some fun together.”  As part of this move, Castillo – who had been morning host – moves to the afternoon drive daypart…..In Nashville, air personality and program director Zigz, a.k.a. Chris Cox, is leaving one of his positions with Cromwell Media’s alternative WBUZ “102.9 The Buzz.”  Zigz will continue to host the midday show but is relocating to Illinois as the result of his wife accepting a new gig.  In the interim, current afternoon drive host and digital/social media coordinator Hayley St. John is handling programming duties.  Station vice president and market manager Dennis Gwiazdon says, “Naturally, a decision like this didn’t come easy for Zigz and we most certainly had to respect his decision to be supportive of his wife’s career and the needs of his family.  There’s no question Zigz will be missed but the good news is he will remain a key part of our team, anchoring the midday show.”…..Pictured below is Ultra Records recording artist Chelsea Cutler (right) appearing in front of a roomful of listeners as air personality Mikey V (left) interviews her on iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108.”

Friday, August 30, 2019

| August 30, 2019

‘Mason & Ireland’ to Afternoons in KSPN, Los Angeles Program Changes. Longtime Los Angeles sports talk duo Steve Mason and John Ireland are moving from the early afternoon daypart to PM drive (3:00 pm to 6:30 pm) at ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA 710,” effective Tuesday (9/3).  Current afternoon host Jorge Sedano’s “The Sedano Show” moves to early evenings and Sedano continues his NBA duties for ESPN TV.  New to the lineup is ESPN Radio’s syndicated Will Cain show, to air in the early afternoon slot.  “ESPNLA” VP and general manager Scott McCarthy says, “We are excited to further strengthen an already powerful talk lineup by moving ‘Mason & Ireland’ to afternoon drive and capitalizing on the momentum of ‘The Will Cain Show.’ These two shows plus ‘Keyshawn, LZ and Travis,’ LA’s only local sports morning show, and the always compelling Stephen A. Smith will keep listeners updated on local and national major sports stories.  Jorge Sedano’s NBA expertise will prepare listeners for the night’s action and takes on greater importance with the high expectations surrounding the Lakers and Clippers.”  KSPN says that the “Mason & Ireland” show “is the highest-rated sports talk show in LA in any daypart over the past three years and is delivering some of its best audience numbers ever in 2019.”

TALKERS News Notes. The next Democratic debate takes place on Thursday, September 12 and ABC News Radio is providing live coverage anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky in Houston.  ABC News Radio will broadcast the debate in its entirety followed by post-debate analysis.  In the hour leading up to the debate, affiliates are being offered an exclusive one-hour program, “Preview to the Democratic Debate.”  Brad Mielke will host the award-winning podcast “Start Here” from Houston on Thursday and Friday (9/12-13), and a special edition of the “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, featuring Jonathan Karl and ABC News political director Rick Klein, will tape in Houston the week of the debate.…..The nationally syndicated “Sterling on Sunday” program (10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET), starring Walter M. Sterling, will stay on top of the status of Hurricane Dorian this weekend.  Sterling says that citizen reporters are ready to phone in their reports and that he’s done this in the past with dramatic impact.  Sterling adds, “It would be irresponsible to present anything but hurricane information.  I don’t know how any station on the East Coast could run infomercials or yell at the Democrats when a hurricane is endangering lives, stopping air traffic to all of Florida, and blocking the interstates.  We will have eye level reports from people in Florida.”…..Kentucky sports media figure Matt Jones – who hosts the regionally syndicated “Kentucky Sports Radio” program based at iHeartMedia’s WLAP-AM, Lexington – is considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Jones would run as a Democrat.  He tells “WAVE 3 News” reports that he is forming an exploratory committee to find out if he has enough support to challenge Democrat Amy McGrath in the primary and then incumbent Republican McConnell.  Jones says, “We’re in an era where people want you to be honest.  I think I said on the radio I almost wore a sweatshirt and shorts here today because that’s what I put on.  I think people like that.  It’s the biggest lesson of Donald Trump more than anything else.  It’s this idea that people like you to say what you think, be authentic.  Democrats don’t do that a lot.  I’m going to try to do it.”  Jones was let go by WLEX-TV, Lexington in July after his senatorial ambitions became known…..The recent changes at iHeartMedia’s sports talk KGME, Phoenix “FOX Sports 910” bumped “The Dan Patrick Show” off the schedule but the program is landing on another station in The Valley.  Hubbard Radio’s crosstown sports talk KDUS-AM “NBCSports 1060” is adding the show to the 6:00 am to 9:00 am daypart.

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour experimental weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “Fire and Rain!” looks back at this past week of August 26-30, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Graham Mack, program director, Fix Radio, London; Ross Kaminsky, morning host, KHOW, Denver; Dr. Mathew Knowles, CEO, Music World Entertainment (and Beyoncé’s father); and Bobbie Winston (“La Femme Bobbie”), American artist living in Rio De Janeiro.  This increasingly acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation point for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Katz Scores One-On-One with VP. Pictured above is WIBC-FM, Indianapolis morning drive host Tony Katz (right) with Vice President Mike Pence (left). Prior to his speech before the American Legion National Convention in Indianapolis, Pence did a sit-down interview with Katz.  In addition to his WIBC morning show, Katz syndicates the “Tony Katz Today” midday show (11:00 am to 1:00 pm ET).  Earlier in his career, Pence was a WIBC talk host whose program was syndicated across Indiana.

‘98.7 The Fan’ Adds ‘James Connor Show’ to Steelers Coverage. Since Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger decided not to continue his radio show on Entercom’s sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” this year, the station is adding running back James Connor to its coverage of the team.  The Steelers player will join “The PM Team with Poni and Mueller” each Monday at 5:00 pm, beginning September 9.  Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “We are excited to welcome James to the ‘93.7 The Fan’ family this season. James is one of the most beloved personalities in the region and we know he will bring unique insight and inspiration to the show.”

U.S.-China Relations Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 26-30. The battle of tariffs between the U.S. and China was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the activity in the world’s financial markets and economic reports warning of a recession on the horizon. Coming in at #3 was the aftermath of last weekend’s G7 Summit in France, followed by Boris, Brexit and the Queen 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.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Darlene Love Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the most prolific singers to emerge from the 1960s-era “girl groups” of record producer Phil Spector’s legendary Wall of Sound – Darlene Love – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Since being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 and accepting the Best Documentary Oscar for the 2013 film, “20 feet from Stardom,” and the GRAMMY for its soundtrack, her remarkable career has been full steam ahead.  At 78, she sells out shows worldwide, captivating audiences with her warm, gracious stage presence and sensational performances.  The New York Times describes Darlene Love as having a voice “embedded in the history of rock and roll as Eric Clapton’s guitar and Bob Dylan’s lyrics.”  Harrison says, “I am truly thrilled to have Ms. Love as a guest on the podcast.  Her life story is truly amazing.  She went from being a pioneer of the girl group genre to an unheralded and underpaid voice that launched some of the most iconic hits of all time to becoming a housekeeper to make ends meet to climbing her way out of obscurity and finally gaining worldwide recognition for her truly special contributions to popular culture – along the way also performing as a Broadway and film actress in a career that spans six decades of dynamic history!”  Harrison and Love discuss the early days of rock and pop, along with the singer’s experience as the daughter of a minister growing up in Los Angeles and Texas as a young African American female trying to establish a career in the music business.  In addition to her insights into race relations in America, Love talks about how she keeps herself in shape in her late-70s for the rigorous career that she continues to maintain.  By the way, today marks the 57th anniversary of the release of, “He’s a Rebel,” by the Crystals on August 27, 1962 which was actually recorded by Darlene Love and the Blossoms and never officially credited to them until years later.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS daily email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Cool Talk Radio Sales Opportunity. In New York City, Salem Media Group is seeking an account executive for radio and digital sales.  Here’s the ad: Salem Media Group is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer” and the legendary WMCA “AM570/102.3FM The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.”  Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills.  This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America.  Ideal candidate has a proven track record of success with radio and digital sales.  Interested candidates should apply online and email cover letter and resumes to Jerry Crowley’s attention.

Tom Joyner’s 17th Annual Family Reunion Takes Place This Weekend in Florida. This weekend at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida, nationally syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner is presenting the 17th annual “Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion.”  It is featuring performances and appearances from: Charlie Wilson, The Bonfyre, Brandy, Robin Thicke, Guy Torry, Erica Campbell, Rickey Smiley, Donald Lawrence, Keke Wyatt, Kierra Sheard, Sir The Baptist, Tye Tribbett, DJ Standout, Lonnie Hunter, Shanice Wilson, Ollie Gabriel, Brownstone, Erica Campbell, Bebe Winans, Isaac Carree, DJ Kool, DJ Kev-Ski, DJ Flemingo and more. Joyner says, “I am so proud of the fun, entertainment-filled atmosphere that we created all those years ago to truly celebrate Black families and what we love.  We gladly continue this tradition, and I know it will be our best year yet.”  This year’s “Family Reunion” is part of Joyner’s year-long celebration of his 25-year career.  Joyner will retire from broadcasting in December.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Denver market, iHeartMedia names John E. Kage program director for country KWBL “106.7 The Bull” in addition to his current role as programmer for CHR KPTT “95.7 The Party.”  Kage says, “I am beyond thrilled to make my return to country music on ‘106.7 The Bull.’  Country music has a special community with a unique bond between radio, the artists, and the listeners.  I missed it dearly and I’m very grateful for being able to be a part of it again.  A special thanks to iHeartMedia for giving me the opportunity and I look forward to working alongside the talented team here at ‘106.7 The Bull’ and contributing to the station’s ongoing success.”…..Chicago radio personality Erik Zachary leaves his position as evening host at iHeartMedia’s CHR WKSC “103.5 Kiss FM.” He says, “I have nothing but appreciation for the opportunities that iHeart has afforded me in my seven-plus years on the air and look forward to seeing the continued success of the amazing team at KISS FM.  With that said, I’m excited to shift the full focus of my work to the television and digital video space.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

| August 22, 2018

Report: New Allegations of Behavior Issues at CBS RADIO.  In today’s New York Post, a story by Kevin Dugan details allegations of inappropriate language on the part of WCBS-FM jock Dan Taylor in which he is accused of using racial and sexually demeaning terms in front of former producer Craig Lenti.  The allegations by Lenti are from a diary he kept of his experiences working at the station. This comes a month after sister station WFAN, New York (along with WCBS-FM now owned by Entercom) suspended midday personality Joe Benigno while it investigates allegations of sexual harassment against him made by former sales staffer Lauren Lockwood. The Post piece also notes that six former CBS RADIO staffers have contacted the paper in the last month supporting Lockwood’s claims.  The story includes a statement on behalf of Entercom by Sard Verbinnen spokeswoman Liz Zale, who says, “We are deeply offended by this mischaracterization of our culture and work environment.  This handful of allegations from former employees of CBS Radio does not reflect Entercom’s culture or work environment.”  Read the Post piece here.

Salem Host Joe Walsh Teams with WVON’s Maze Jackson for Live Event Series Titled, ‘Black and White, Uncomfortable Conversations.’ This series of live events featuring former U.S. Representative and current Salem Radio Network and Newsmax TV personality Joe Walsh and WVON, Chicago morning personality Maze Jackson is taking place at four locations around Chicagoland. It’s called “Black and White, Uncomfortable Conversations” and will “feature authentic, uncensored dialogue with respectful, no-holds barred conversation about the issues affecting black and white men and women of all ages throughout Chicago.”  Topics such as taxes, gun violence, reparations, religion, family structure, education, “and other political topics that have been hijacked by an agenda-driven media.”  Walsh adds, “The ‘Uncomfortable Conversations’ events will help us find common ground, which too many Americans have forgotten how to do.”  Jackson comments, “I’m looking forward to having some really uncomfortable conversations on race, politics, and culture with a very unlikely partner, former Congressman Joe Walsh.  I’m as pro-Black as you can be and Joe is as conservative one can be, so when we get together, fireworks will erupt.  But after we get through the bombastic words we’ll get to the core of finding solutions to benefit us all.”  The series takes place on consecutive Saturdays in September in Bolingbrook, Wauconda, Chicago’s south side, and Lake Forest, Illinois.

KSPN, Los Angeles Moves Sedano to Afternoons; Adds Travis Rodgers to Mornings. This new lineup takes effect on September 4.  Jorge Sedano, currently part of the morning show with Keyshawn Johnson and LZ Granderson, moves to the open afternoon drive slot hosting his own program from 3:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  “ESPNLA 710” is adding Travis Rodgers to the morning show for the newly renamed “The Morning Show with Keyshawn, LZ and Travis.”  The midday schedule remains the same with Stephen A. Smith from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and the “Mason and Ireland” show from 12:00 noon to 3:30 pm.  Sedano says, “There’s not a more exciting time to be in Los Angeles covering sports.  It’s an honor to take on the task of providing the best content possible for the city’s fans.  I’m pumped to be working with a great group both behind the scenes and on the air.”

TALKERS News Notes. On today’s edition of Westwood One’s “The Savage Nation” with host Michael Savage, popular social media personalities Diamond and Silk, a.k.a. Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, will appear as special guests.  The African American comedy duo, whose pro-Trump social media activity on their YouTube channel “The Viewers View” has more than 180,000 subscribers.  They will also interview Savage for their upcoming documentary…..Walter M. Sterling’s “Sterling on Sunday” program – nationally syndicated by Westwood One – is celebrating its one-year anniversary in national syndication. The show – billed as a mix of lifestyle, entertainment, and social conversations – airs live from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET and is now heard on more than 60 affiliate stations a year after its August 19, 2017 debut…..As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, former WGN-AM, Chicago sports anchor and reporter Sam Panayotovich is coming back to the Windy City airwaves on Entercom’s sports talk WSCR “The Score” with weekly appearances on the Mike Mulligan and David Haugh morning show.  Panayotovich is a host for Las Vegas-based VSiN (Vegas Stats & Information Network).  He says, “Following the betting markets really changes the way you watch sports. I can’t wait to go back home for 12 minutes every Friday.”…..NPR is launching a midterm election-focused radio show called, “The Politics Show from NPR,” featuring Scott Detrow, Tamara Keith, and Asma Khalid.  It debuts September 14 and runs through November 9.  NPR VP for programming and audience development Anya Grundmann says, “We are thrilled to be expanding our platform, particularly at a time when reliable news is vitally important.  The 2018 elections will be as consequential as any in recent memory.  This show will provide comprehensive fact-based coverage that will help voters make informed decisions at the ballot box.”…..The New York State Broadcasters Association is naming ABC’s “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir its 2018 Broadcaster of the Year.  The multiple Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist has been with ABC News since 2003 and served as the anchor for the overnight program “World News Now” and as a network correspondent.  On September 2, 2014 he became the sole anchor and managing editor of ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir.”  Muir will be honored at the New York State Leadership and Hall of Fame Luncheon on October 18 at the Javits Center in New York City at a luncheon held in conjunction with the NAB Show NY….Entercom’s news/talk KNSS, Wichita is a big winner at the Kansas Association of Broadcasters annual television and radio awards.  KNSS won first place for Complete Sportscast and for Station Website.  It grabbed second place honors for Complete Newscast.

WCBS-AM, New York Unveils New Logo and News ‘Anthem.’ The still shot above shows a scene from the recording of the new news “anthem” for Entercom’s all-news WCBS-AM, New York.  The station is introducing the new music as well as the new logo seen at bottom left of the photo.  WCBS director of news and programming Tim Scheld says the new look and feel are part of the radio station’s strategy to build a brand for the next 50 years.  He states, “2017 was all about celebrating the brand that is WCBS Newsradio 880 and 2018 was all about rethinking the brand.”  Assistant program director Alex Silverman says of the new music, “We didn’t want the traditional, in-your-face, self-important news music.  We wanted a sound that was going to communicate that we are a trusted friend.” The station says that what it got was “an anthem filled with energy, percussion, and the passion with which the news is delivered on New York’s iconic news radio station.”  Check out the story and the video of the recording of the new music here.

Paul Manafort Guilty on Eight Counts, Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty, Trump-Russian Investigation, Microsoft Finds Russian Hacking of Conservatives, Rep. Hunter Indicted on Campaign Funds Misuse, Mollie Tibbetts Case Arrest, Argento/McGowan #MeToo Issue, Western Wildfires/Air Quality, NFL Pre-season and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/21). Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is convicted on eight counts in fraud trial; former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty to breaking campaign finance laws; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; Microsoft reports discovering Russian hacking of conservative think tanks; U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter indicted on campaign fund misuse; Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts’ alleged killer is undocumented alien; the flap over Rose McGowan’s comments about Harvey Weintstein accuser Asia Argento’s reported payoff for having sex with a minor; the wildfires in the U.S. West and the region’s poor air quality; NFL pre-season action and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: Adult Hits. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on adult hits.  Some 67% of adult hits-formatted stations experienced 6+ AQH share growth from the June 2018 survey to the July survey.  Comparing ratings from July of last year to this year, about half the stations in the panel were up and the other half were down.  Five adult hits stations ranked in the top five in their respective markets with iHeartMedia’s KYOT, Phoenix; Emmis Communications’ KBPA, Austin; Midwest Communications’ WCJK, Nashville; and Entercom’s WSMW, Greensboro ranking #2 in the July 2018 PPM survey.  See the entire report here.

Monday, April 16, 2018

| April 16, 2018

Remembering Art Bell. The somewhat eerie fact that 72-year-old Art Bell died on Friday the 13th (4/13 in Pahrump, Nevada) certainly could not go unnoticed or overlooked. Bell was the founder and original host of the paranormal-themed “Coast to Coast AM,” which Premiere Networks syndicated on hundreds of North American radio outlets. Part of a Bell retrospective on that program’s website details that, “His love of radio led him to working for an English-language station in Japan, where he set a Guinness world record for broadcasting 116 hours straight. This was no mere radio stunt, however, as it served to raise funds to rescue over 100 Vietnamese orphans left stranded by the conflict in their home country.  Upon returning to the United States, he entered the world of talk radio with an overnight program on KDWN, Las Vegas.  After noticing that episodes covering conspiracy theories and paranormal topics generated considerable interest from listeners, Bell transformed the show from political talk to discussion of these often-verboten realms. Syndicated nationally in 1993 [by Talk Radio Network], ‘Coast to Coast AM’ soon became a radio phenomenon.  During the 1990s, when ‘The X-Files’ had people wondering about the world of high strangeness, Art Bell was the voice of that world, introducing millions of radio listeners to a vast array of paranormal topics and the researchers that studied them. As he begins his journey on the ‘Other Side,’ we take solace in the hope that he is now finding out all of the answers to the mysteries he pursued for so many nights with all of us.”  The Jacksonville, North Carolina born former Air Force medic “semi-retired” from “Coast to Coast AM” 15 years ago but could be heard hosting the program on weekends from 2003 – 2007 and was an occasional guest host through 2010.  Bell called his show “absolute entertainment” and did not necessarily accept every guest or caller’s claims but offered a forum where they would not be openly ridiculed. SiriusXM debuted “Art Bell’s Dark Matter” in September 2013 on its “Indie Talk” channel, but that four-hour (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, PT) Monday through Thursday venture ended after just six weeks. Approximately four-dozen stations carried his 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight PT “Midnight in the Desert” show, which launched on the Internet in July 2015 on Bell’s Dark Matter Digital Network. Three months later in October of 2015, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviewed him for his weekly podcast. The following is a brief excerpt from that long-form conversation in which Bell assesses the state of the radio industry and its future.  To listen to the clip, please click here.  Five months later though, Bell exited, citing concerns about his family’s safety.  Bell was replaced as weekday host of “Coast to Coast AM” on January 1, 2003 by George Noory, who reacted emotionally on air last Friday night to Bell’s passing. “I’m trying to get my composure here, folks,” a shaken Noory admitted. “Art and I were not that close.  We had our differences, but he was one of those instrumental in me being where I am right now.  He was a very heavy smoker and was hospitalized a year or so ago because of [that].  I don’t know if that played a factor in [his death] or not.”  In 1996, KTRS, St. Louis’ Tim Dorsey hired Noory to be “The Night Hawk” and as Bell decided he needed an emergency replacement, Noory gained national exposure by doing his first “Coast to Coast AM” show in April 2001. “As Art’s back problems became more severe, I started doing more shows, until he decided to retire from fulltime work,” Noory told Inside Radio’s then special features editor/current TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian.  Equating the experience of substituting for – and eventually succeeding – Bell on a fulltime basis to pinch-hitting for Babe Ruth, Noory maintained, “It’s sometimes an unreal feeling. I never showed it on the air, but replacing Art Bell was overwhelming for me. I realized there was no way I could replace him. It wouldn’t work if I tried to duplicate him.” The first time Noory heard Bell was in 1996 when he was driving to work at heritage St. Louis news/talker KMOX. “I said to myself that I wanted to do that program,” Noory confided to Kinosian. “After I concentrated on the show, strange events occurred that made it all happen.  Whatever’s out there in the universe that makes things happen for people is real.”  Now living in Lexington, Kentucky, noted spoken-word consultant/programmer Gabe Hobbs is a former vice president/programming – news, talk, & sports for Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia). “What a special talent Art Bell was – truly unique,” Hobbs declares.  “He helped talk radio evolve from the Larry King-era into the modern era of our format.  He is the man that made overnights meaningful and profitable in radio.”  Longtime iHeartMedia Los Angeles adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103” air talent Ted Ziegenbusch notes on Facebook, “I did a late-night show for about 20 years in the 1980s and 1990s. On a family trip to central California one night, I heard Art on a tiny radio station. That was long before he became popular and I was fascinated with his stories about UFOs; ghosts; pyramids on Mars; climate change; and all sorts of quirky subjects. His shows were almost always riveting and impossible to leave for even a moment. When I returned from my trip north, I told my general manager that Art Bell would be perfect for our AM station. Nobody had ever heard of the guy, so my suggestion fell on deaf ears. Later, he would join our team and score enormous success. The story doesn’t end there. Sadly, there were some real ups and downs in Art’s life and his career; [however], he was sure a trailblazer and one-of-a-kind entertainer.” Brian Whitman, who does morning drive in Los Angeles on Salem Media Group news/talk KRLA, recounts, “Many years ago when I was younger and less experienced, I was doing some on-air work at Premiere Radio Networks. I asked the boss if he would consider me to be a substitute host on ‘Coast to Coast’ when Art Bell was absent. I took the opportunity to mention that when those crazy people called, I’d goof on them and do a really funny show. The boss made me smarter [by telling me], ‘Brian, you don’t understand. On ‘Coast to Coast,’ when someone calls to tell you an alien landed in their swimming pool, you don’t make fun. You say, ‘tell me more.’ [That was] the genius of Art Bell. I always say that the most important thing for a radio performer is to find his voice.  Art Bell’s singular voice, brilliant mind, and master showmanship came together to create his own brand. He understood the intimacy that radio can create [and] the lives it can touch.”  An executive producer at iHeartMedia Los Angeles news/talk KFI, Michelle Kube, comments that, “Even if I thought some of the stories were crazy, you couldn’t deny [Art Bell’s] talent.” He was “a true radio pioneer and a great storyteller. He created ‘Coast to Coast AM’ – it’s his legacy.”  For the past 14 years, Kurt Kretzschmar has been director of affiliate marketing – Premiere Networks. The former executive producer of Los Angeles sports outlet KSPN and cross-town news/talk KABC asserts that tapes of Bell’s shows “that air on Saturday nights are some of the highest-rated weekend hours on several affiliates.” Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Northern Ohio region, which includes WHLO “640 Akron’s News Talk,” Keith Kennedy, was among programmers scheduling Art Bell tribute programming this past weekend. Kennedy wrote on Facebook, “Listen to ‘Somewhere in Time’ Saturday at 9:00 pm – we’ll rebroadcast one of his unique programs.”  Bell studied engineering at the University of Maryland in College Park, but dropped out to become a radio chief engineer/board op/occasional on-air talent.  In May 2008, he sold KNYE, Pahrump to station manager Karen Jackson for a reported $600,000. Inducted to the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame (2006) and National Radio Hall of Fame (2008), Bell received Radio & Records’ “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2007. A July 2016 posting on Bell’s website indicated he was hospitalized for pneumonia and that he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Nye County (Nevada) sheriff Sharon Wehrly described Bell as a “longtime resident” of the area and said an autopsy to confirm the cause of death would be performed later this week. Geller Media International Broadcast Consultants president Valerie Geller proclaims, “May his journey continue in peace.”

WWJ, Detroit Names Brooke Allen PM Drive Co-Host. Detroit all-news WWJ-AM “Newsradio 950” announces that Brooke Allen (right) is returning to the station to co-host the afternoon drive daypart (2:00 pm to 6:00 pm) with current afternoon host Greg Bowman (left).  Allen was most recently the producer and local host of “Morning Edition” on public news/talk WKAR-AM/FM, East Lansing, Michigan.  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “We are excited to welcome Brooke back to WWJ.  In addition to being an award-winning journalist, Brooke is devoted to our local community.   Her passion for the news and connection to the people of the metro Detroit area will be evident each and every day.”

Johnson Named VP of Sports Sales for iHeartMedia Denver. Denver sales pro Jeff Johnson is promoted at iHeartMedia to vice president of sports sales & partnerships.  In this new role, Johnson is charged with “growing and managing iHeartMedia Denver’s sports partnerships, including the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies, as well as its Broncos-centric station, KDSP-AM ‘Orange & Blue 760.'”  iHeartMedia Denver SVP of sales Ryan Clune states, “I’m thrilled for Jeff.  Watching him grow over the years from senior account executive to director of sports sales, and now vice president of sports sales & partnerships has been a highlight of my career.  Jeff’s ability to align advertisers with our exclusive sports content, along with delivering unmatched reach, brand affinity, and ROI for our partners makes him the ideal leader to step into this key position.”

Price: Are You Ready for Atlantic Hurricane Season? Former longtime director of business continuity & crisis management for ABC’s news and technology & operations divisions, Howard B. Price, writes today in a piece for TALKERS magazine about the need to be prepared for the Atlantic Hurricane Season.  Price says that tropical researchers at Colorado State University have issued their predictions for this year and have concluded that there will likely be 14 named storms between June 1 and November 30. Of those, researchers expect seven hurricanes, with three of those likely to be major storms (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5, with sustained winds of 111 MPH – plus).  Price provides this nine-point preparedness checklist for broadcasters who could be affected by an Atlantic hurricane or any other natural disaster for that matter.  See it here.

Padres Executive Chairman Opens Up About KEGY Format Tweak.  As reported in the San Diego Union Tribune writer Bryce Miller, San Diego Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler says the team had “significant input and impact” on the format and branding changes Entercom made to KEGY, but not so much as to dictate which air talent should go where.  Union Tribune reports Fowler and the Padres had issues with KEGY’s programming as “97.3 The Machine” before air personality Kevin Klein’s promotional Tweet that referenced the city’s Coronado bridge and its history as a site of hundreds of suicides.  Miller quotes Fowler referencing the station’s programming as “shock-jock” radio.  See Miller’s story here.

Comey’s ABC Interview/Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S. Strikes on Syria, Starbucks-Philly Arrests, Mexico Border Issues, Barbara Bush Health Status, MLB and NBA Playoffs Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Former FBI director James Comey’s interview on ABC-TV in which he discussed the investigation into the Hillary Clinton email matter and opined on President Trump’s fitness for office and the related investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the weekend’s U.S. military strikes in Syria; the controversy over the arrest of two black men for trespassing at a Philadelphia Starbucks; the issue of security at the U.S.-Mexico border; former First Lady Barbara Bush’s failing health; and Major League Baseball and NBA playoffs action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes.  According to the most recent list published by The Hollywood Reporter, Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity and multi-media personality Ryan Seacrest are two of the 35 most powerful media people in New York. Regarding Hannity, THR says that he regularly commands the largest audience of any cable news host on television, in addition to reaching millions of listeners on his national radio show.  “He also has the ear (and the eyes) of the president…and has the power to make or break Republican political candidates.”  As for Seacrest, the publication says that since Kelly Ripa tapped him as her co-host in May, viewership of ABC’s “LIVE with Kelly & Ryan” has “risen nearly 15% to 3.2 million viewers each day.”  See the whole list here…..Westwood One announces a strategic partnership with American Public Media to increase sales and promotional opportunities for season two of the investigative podcast, “In the Dark.”  The first season of “In the Dark” has driven nearly 12 million downloads to date and continues to receive downloads more than a year later at roughly 465,000 per month.  In this new relationship, Westwood One is providing broadcast radio show promotion and exclusive ad sales representation…..Pictured below is former White House national security adviser Dr. Sebastian Gorka (left) reviewing documents with Ken Lormand (right), Washington bureau chief of Salem Radio Network News.  As a former Trump adviser, Gorka has insight into administration personnel moves, including CIA director Mike Pompeo’s nomination to become the next U.S. Secretary of State.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! to Feature Presentation by Salem VP Phil Boyce Titled, “What Has Donald Trump Done to Talk Radio.” There is no doubt that the ascendancy of Donald J. Trump to the U.S. presidency has greatly impacted news/talk radio and its associated platforms of talk media. Salem Media Group SVP of the spoken word format Phil Boyce will deliver an address, backed up by Harker Research data, exploring this phenomenon in detail during the morning sessions of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! The presentation will be introduced by highly regarded programmer Greg Moceri, CEO of Moceri Media. The 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running, and most important convention takes place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. The day opens with back-to-back keynote “fireside chats” conducted by Michael Harrison with Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity and Beasley Broadcasting CEO Caroline Beasley. The conference will also include presentations by such industry notables as PodcastOne executive chairman, Norm Pattiz; former WFAN, New York sports talk superstar, Mike Francesa; Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein, panel appearances by Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes and an afternoon keynote address by Infowars and GCN maverick Alex Jones. There will be panels on programming, sales, digital convergence and more featuring a total of 50-plus speakers from all aspects of the talk media industry. The convention is on a fast-track to being an advance sellout and there will be no registrations sold at the door. For more information and the complete up-to-the-minute agenda, read the story below.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Agenda Posted. The TALKERS editorial board is pleased to post the basic agenda for the 21stannual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national convention – TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! takes 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 up-to-the-minute agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information can be seen here. If you are planning to attend, it would be wise to register NOW. This convention will be an early sellout.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Denver, iHeartMedia names Chelsea Thomas midday host for country KWBL “106.7 The Bull,” effective April 23.   iHeartMedia region SVP of programming JoJo Turnbeaugh says, “An on-air opening with iHeartMedia in Denver always generates strong interest from many talented personalities.  Chelsea was the clear winner. Her authenticity and unique ability to weave storytelling into her show made her the ideal match for the Bull Nation.”  Thomas was most recently music director and air personality at Alpha Media’s CHR WDJX, Louisville…..KAMP, Los Angeles “97.1 AMP Radio” music director and midday personality Michelle Boros exits her position with the Entercom CHR station after an eight-year stint…..Kristina Carlyle signs on with Albany Broadcasting’s country WKLI, Albany “100.9 The Cat” to co-host the morning show and serve as music director. Carlyle – most recently with Scripps’ KVOO, Tulsa – takes over for the departed Dana Race…..There’s a new morning host at California Radio Partners’ triple A KOZT, Fort Bragg “The Coast” as Dred Scott is tapped to work alongside news director Joe Regelski.  Station co-owner and program director Tom Yates says, “We did a job posting and got 41 responses in two days from some really good candidates.  But Dred is a really good fit with the ‘Coast’ crew.”…..At Ingstad Media’s country KXDD, Yakima, Washington, Lindsey Cleveland is promoted from part-time status to full-time as morning drive co-host with Brian Stephenson on “The Good Morning Gang with Brian & Lindsey.” Cleveland fills the role vacated recently by Carey Jacobson…..In Washington, DC, Kala Simmons is named morning show producer for WASH-FM’s “Toby and Chilli” morning show. Simmons has been with the iHeartMedia Washington cluster for the past three years as assistant digital producer for WIHT’s “The Kane Show.”