Nielsen Holdings Announces Q4 Up 6.3%; Audio Ratings Sector Rises 9.2%. As a whole, Nielsen Holdings plc reports that its fourth quarter 2017 revenue was $1.76 billion, an increase of 6.3% (or 4.2% on a constant currency basis) compared to the same period in 2016. For the full year of 2017, revenue was $6.5 billion up 4.2% (or 3.8% on a constant currency basis) compared to 2016. Nielsen calls its ratings segment Watch and within that is the audio ratings business. Nielsen reports audio rating revenue was up 9.2% in Q4. Nielsen CEO Mitch Barnes states, “In Watch, we had a strong year. Our teams were relentless in their efforts to enhance our Total Audience Measurement system and drive client adoption across all of its components. As the market further evolves due to ongoing media fragmentation, Total Audience Measurement will serve as the foundation for our future, providing the measurement capability, scale, and flexibility necessary to best meet our clients’ needs.”
Talk Host Paul Harris to Do ‘Last Show’ Tomorrow on KTRS, St. Louis. For the past five years, talk radio pro Paul Harris has been doing the Friday afternoon show on KTRS, St. Louis. But, that gig will wrap tomorrow (2/9) as former KYKY, St. Louis morning personality Guy Phillips will take over the afternoon drive show (Frank O. Pinion exited the Monday through Thursday role last fall). Harris says he was offered the gig but does not want to work full time. He says, “Having done this for my entire adult life, I know the stress that comes from waking up every day and immediately thinking, ‘What am I doing to talk about today?’ It may not seem like it, but hosting and planning a well-executed, informed, entertaining radio show takes an enormous amount of preparation and brain power. Since moving into semi-retirement a few years ago — working only one or two days a week – I’ve had a lot less of that stress, and have welcomed those mornings when I didn’t have to worry about developing enough content to fill three hours of airtime.” See his full comments on his last show here.
WCTC’s Bert Baron Nabs Regular Show with NJ Speaker of the Assembly. New Brunswick, New Jersey morning host and program director Bert Baron is announcing he’s arranged to host New Jersey Assemblyman Craig Coughlin every month for a one-hour, live call-in show on Beasley Media Group’s news/talk WCTC. The show will take place the second Tuesday of each month at 9:00 am, beginning February 13. Baron says, “This monthly show will serve as a platform for Speaker Coughlin to engage not only the residents of the district he was elected to serve, but also to provide real, honest information on all things Jersey politics. A Central Jersey lawmaker, appearing regularly on Central Jersey’s heritage radio station, is community synergy at its finest.”
iHeartMedia Seattle Announces Changes to KFNQ, Seattle and KHHO, Tacoma. Both stations have been sports talk outlets that complement KJR-AM, Seattle “Sports Radio 950” for iHeartMedia. Now, KHHO, Tacoma becomes “South Sound Talk 850, Tacoma’s Voice” and KFNQ re-brands from “1090 The Fan” to “1090 KJR, Seattle Sports Radio.” KHHO’s talk lineup will feature: Glenn Beck in mornings, “Armstrong and Getty” in late mornings, “The Schnitt Show” in early afternoons, “America Now with Buck Sexton” in afternoon drive, and “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis” in evenings. KFNQ’s new lineup is: Dan Patrick in mornings, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” in late mornings, Doug Gottlieb in early afternoons, “Reiter Than You” with Bill Reiter in afternoon drive, and CBS Sports Radio programming from 7:00 pm through the overnights.
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Tribune’s WGN, Chicago is making a few changes to its weekend staffing. The station is adding Joe Brand as Saturday morning sports anchor during Lou Manfredini’s “Mr. Fixit Show” and the John Williams show. Also, the station is putting Andy Masur in the sports anchor role during the Sunday morning Dean Richards show. Feder also notes that Tribune is negotiating for the rights to Chicago White Sox baseball. But, the price is going to have to be right as WGN let the Chicago Cubs go because the station could not justify the expense…..According to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis “KFAN” is adding a new, Friday evening program hosted by Carly Zucker – wife of Minnesota Wild player Justin Zucker – called “Overtime” that will delve into the personal and philanthropic lives of professional athletes. Zucker makes regular appearances on the station’s morning program and previously hosted on the Minnesota Timberwolves Entertainment Network and reported for CBS Sports and FOX Sports North…..iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati re-ups with Learfield to continue serving as the flagship for Xavier University men’s basketball through the 2022-23 season. As part of the deal, the weekly “Chris Mack” coach’s show will air on sister sports talk WCKY. In the event of a conflict, games will air on sister news/talk WKRC.
New Budget Proposal, Pelosi Marathon Speech-Immigration Policy, Dow Activity/Bitcoin Value Swings, Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump Requests Military Parade, Trump Approval Ratings Rise, White House Aid Resigns, FBI Texts Issue, Tesla Shot into Space, Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/7). The congressional budget proposal that would add $500 billion in spending; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks for eight hours in effort to force a vote on immigration policy affecting “dreamers”; this week’s Dow activity and the related fluctuating value of Bitcoin; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives; President Trump’s request for a military parade; President Trump’s approval ratings rise; White House aide Rob Porter resigns over allegations of spousal abuse; the release of the Nunes FBI surveillance memo and the suggestion that the FBI texting scandal involved Barack Obama; Elon Musk shoots a Tesla Roadster into space with successful launch of SpaceX rocket; the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
New Jersey Ex-Governor Chris Christie Chats on ABC Radio Podcast. New Jersey ex-Governor Chris Christie (left) is pictured here with “Powerful Politics” co-host Rick Klein (right) as the two discussed the Nunes memo, the Russia investigation, the Rob Porter resignation, and more on the weekly ABC Radio podcast.
Comrex Releases New Firmware for Opal Including Support for Mac OS and Safari. Broadcasters who are also Mac users will rejoice as Comrex announces it has released a new firmware version for IP audio gateway Opal that includes native Safari support for macOS and iOS11. Comrex says that once installed, Opal serves a web page to anyone who accesses it through an Internet browser on any device with a microphone and speaker. This web page allows a user to click a button and broadcast from their computer or phone in high fidelity. High quality return audio is also provided to the guest. Prior to the release of Opal 1.1, Opal was only compatible with Chrome, Opera, Edge, and Firefox browsers. Now, Opal users can connect using Safari, making it even easier to operate for Apple users. Comrex technical director Tom Hartnett says, “Up until this point we could support iPhone users with an app. But as simple as we made it, there was still a concern that even this step was too much for some guests. Now users can connect in studio quality from their iPhone without installing anything at all.” Opal users can download firmware v.1.1 for free from the Comrex website.
Beasley Philadelphia Honors Top Account Executives. Pictured above are members of the sales staff of Beasley Media Group’s Philadelphia station group at the January 31 President’s Club Dinner. At this event, the company’s monthly Philadelphia President’s Club winners, many of whom were also annual budget achievers, were recognized by their sales managers for their outstanding performance and dedication. At the same time, account executive Steve Simons was named the 2017 Annual President’s Club Champion for his commitment to excellence and for exceeding his goals throughout the year.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Providence morning duo Paul Fuller and Al Matthews sign a new, three-year deal with iHeartMedia’s active rock WHJY. According to WHJY, this new contract will take the two through their 30-year anniversary with the station. Operations manager Rob Anthony says, “‘94HJY’ continues to dominate Southern New England and Paul and Al have always been a major factor in its success.” Program director Doug Palmieri adds, “It’s a great day for ‘HJY. I’ve known them since 1993 and to see them continue to love what they do and do it this well is truly inspirational. We’re proud to bring three more years of live, local mornings to Southern New England.”…..The syndicated “2 Guys Named Chris” show – co-hosted by Chris Kelly and Chris Demm – is added to the program schedule at Alpha Media’s alternative rock WKZQ, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The morning show is based at Dick Broadcasting’s WKRR, Greensboro-Winston Salem-High Point.
Most Talk Radio Programmers are Avoiding Use of the Term “Shithole” in Wake of Presidential Sh*tstorm. Once again, President Donald J. Trump – for better or worse – has shaken up the standards of traditional broadcasting and journalism. This time, with his controversial remark about immigration using the term “shithole” to describe countries from which he considers immigration particularly undesirable. The controversial racist aspect of this story notwithstanding, FCC-regulated broadcasters have had to make the quick decision to directly utter the term on the airwaves or buffer it with less offensive and non-potentially rule-breaking words. This decision has been made more difficult by the fact that many traditional, so-called mainstream cable outlets and online/print news media have chosen to use the word as the President said it. In conversations around the industry this morning TALKERS has learned that the prevailing tact on terrestrial talk radio has been NOT to use the word directly. Cumulus Media/Westwood One EVP Mike McVay tells TALKERS, “Despite cable television taking great joy in saying the ‘S’ word on TV, we are not saying the actual word on over the air radio. We recognize it as one of the seven words we cannot say. That has not stopped us from using it on our digital platforms.” Salem Radio Network senior VP, Phil Boyce says, “The word ‘shit’ is one of the FCC-banned words and our hosts should never use it, no matter if the president did or didn’t. My morning guy in Los Angeles, Brian Whitman, will be using the word “BLANK hole.” We want our shows to be safe for the whole family. No need to have listeners turn off the radio because kids are in the car.” Bold Gold Media Group CEO Vince Benedetto – owner of a number of stations in Pennsylvania and upstate New York – adds, “We haven’t changed our policy – we still do not say anything on air that violates George Carlin’s ‘Seven words you can’t say on television.'” ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones tells TALKERS, “ABC News Radio anchors and reporters are not speaking that word on air as it could be considered an FCC violation and it also might offend local community standards. Instead, we are referring to the phrase as an ‘expletive’ or ‘profanity.’ We have 1,650 affiliates and the majority use our ABC ‘Newscall’ service – which provides on-demand audio of reporters and actualities. We are more permissive in what we provide on that service because it is the decision of the station whether to run the audio – whereas as we control the newscast content and therefore have unilateral decision-making. If audio existed of any president using a profanity, we would put it on ‘Newscall’ and let stations decide its usage. If we determined language was so newsworthy we felt obligated to include it in a newscast, we would probably warn stations in advance. But, that’s hard to effectively control and I don’t recall it being done in many years.” Although the consensus is to avoid using the word directly on the airwaves, not everyone in talk radio fully agrees that the way to go. Nationally-famous, station owner/operator (and industry maverick) Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOME, Santa Cruz tells TALKERS that he will use the word on his own show (“The Saturday Special”) but respects the rights of his air personalities to make their own decisions, “My position is to use the word on the air since it is a bona fide news story – but I just checked with the ‘Good Morning Monterey Bay’ staff [the station’s morning show] and was told they opted to say ‘s-hole’ and to play the Haitian national anthem.” Zwerling continues, “Trump apparently has denied using that word (which is one of my favorites) but even if he was falsely accused of using it by the news media almost universally out to get him – it has nonetheless become a legitimate news story and therefore would fall into my category of okay to use on the air. Besides, it moves our industry in the direction of parity with the ‘paid’ services that have been and are allowed to use profanity with impunity!” Media consultant/TALKERS columnist/and RT America host Holland Cooke says, “It is a big topic with heavy phones at my client stations this morning. My advice: Ask listeners, ‘If he said that word, should we, here on the radio?'” TALKERS legal editor and Bentley University law professor Steven JJ Weisman says, “It is my opinion that the use of the word ‘shithole’ in the context of discussing the president’s comments would be allowed.” For Weisman’s full comments, please read the story below.
Steve Weisman’s Legal Take on Terrestrial Radio’s Use of Term “Shithole.” TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman offers his educated view on the terrestrial radio “shithole” issue prompted by President Donald J. Trump’s use of the term. To read the piece in its entirety, please click here.
Save the Date! Talkers 2018 Set for Friday, June 8, 2018 in New York City. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. Titled TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 8, 2018 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City. This marks the second year in a row that the convention will be held at this very popular venue. The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and dawn of a rapidly accelerating era. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will focus on the future. There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities. Good things happen at this convention. We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!” Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks. 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, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 2. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Gwiazdon Goes to Beasley Media Group Las Vegas as VP/MM. Most recently vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ Nashville adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9”; adult hits WCJK “96.3 Jack FM”; and CHR WNFN “i106.7,” Dennis Gwiazdon began similar duties yesterday (1/11) for Beasley Media Group Las Vegas. According to Beasley Media Group executive vice president and chief operating officer Brian Beasley, “It is a privilege to welcome Dennis to the Beasley Media Group family. His proven track record and leadership skills are the perfect fit for our Las Vegas cluster as we continue to grow and expand our business in the market.” Gwiazdon, who was president of the Nashville Area Radio Association, states, “I am absolutely thrilled about joining the Beasley team. There is tremendous potential for us in Las Vegas and I’m grateful [to be given] the opportunity to make a difference.” Prior to his Nashville duties, Gwiazdon was president of San Diego-based Sales Insights. He previously held the vice president/general manager title at Seattle’s KRWM; San Diego’s KGB-FM and KPOP-AM; San Diego’s KMCG and KXGL; and Salt Lake City’s KKAT. With their Nielsen Audio December 2017 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, Beasley Media Group’s Las Vegas cluster includes classic hits-oldies KKLZ “96.3 70s, 80s, and More” (6.3, #2); urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” (4.0, #6); country KCYE “102.7 The Coyote” (3.7, #9); hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9” (2.8, #15); news/talk KDWN “AM 720” (.7, #26); and KCYE-HD2, which did not appear in the December 2017 sweep. The Las Vegas market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5” (10.6, 6+), while Midwest Nashville’s WJXA “Mix” is on top (6+) with a 9.9.
WBUR, Reddit Debut “Endless Thread.” That’s the name of the weekly Ben Brock Johnson-hosted podcast done in partnership with Boston University-owned news/talk WBUR and Reddit, “the front page of the internet.” Starting today (1/12), weekly installments will be available every Friday to stream or download. According to Johnson, “Reddit is one of the most formidable communities online. Its lifeblood is people from all over the world sharing and organizing around every imaginable topic, making it an incredibly valuable resource for anyone trying to understand our world. As a journalist, I’ve been fascinated by Reddit for years, but I’ve also become an avid ‘redditor.’ I’m always surprised at what a mystery Reddit is to people who don’t use it. I’m looking forward to solving that mystery for the uninitiated, and helping ‘redditors’ share their incredible, real life stories with the world.” Reddit creative development manager Michael Pope remarks, “Reddit is home to the most authentic conversations on the internet and we know there is a massive opportunity to host thoughtful conversations about these stories in audio form. As one of the leading NPR affiliates in the country, we can’t wait to see what happens when we pair the production polish and talent at WBUR with the most compelling stories online.” The first episode, “No No No No Yes,” explores harrowing tales through first-hand interviews with ‘redditors’ who lived to tell their stories.
TALKERS News Notes. After a brief hiatus from a national platform, Dave Ross returns next Monday (1/15) with a daily, 90-second, CBS News Radio commentary, originally scheduled for a February 5 start date. Heard weekdays (“Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross”) on Bonneville-owned KIRO-FM, Ross is a five-time Edward R. Murrow award winner for best writing … This time next month (2/12), previous morning host of St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y-98” Guy Phillips begins doing afternoons at news/talk KTRS “Big 550 The Talk of STL”; Julie Buck will be his co-host … Five Entercom Chicago stations – sports talk WSCR “670 The Score,” all-news WBBM-AM, CHR WBBM-FM “B-96,” triple A WXRT “93 XRT,” and country WUSN “US-99” – will be broadcasting from this year’s “Cubs Convention” today (1/12), tomorrow (Saturday, 1/13), and Sunday (1/14). Entercom Chicago senior vice president/market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We look forward to this event where our brands can interact with fellow Chicago Cubs fans. We are grateful for our continued partnership with the Chicago Cubs organization as the exclusive radio home of the Chicago Cubs.” This weekend’s event is taking place at Chicago’s Sheraton Grand Hotel. WSCR continues as the team’s radio flagship ….. Former Tribune Broadcasting White House correspondent and Long Island television news anchor/reporter Drew Scott joins JVC Media news/talk WRCN “Long Island News Radio 103.9” as a reporter. JVC Media president/CEO John Caracciolo comments, “Having someone like Drew is a complete win for us. His job will be to use the contact list he has developed over the years to help us open doors; get the story; and get the info Long Islanders need and want. This is live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be.” WRCN operations director Frank Brinka notes, “Drew is a great addition to our staff. His wealth of news reporting and knowledge of the Long Island landscape will be an asset to the station. He will deliver a wealth of information to our listening audience.” Scott adds, “I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic, live and local radio news organization. I am looking forward to helping ‘LI News Radio’ and JVC continue to grow and prosper.” ….. The flagship of MLB’s Minnesota Twins from 1961 – 2006, Entercom Minneapolis’ WCCO “News Radio 830,” returns in that capacity this year. The first of its 15-game spring training broadcast schedule will be (Thursday) February 22 when the Twins play the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Cory Provus, Dan Gladden, and Kris Atteberry comprise WCCO’s on-air team ….. Launching on SiriusXM next Wednesday (1/17) is “Barstool Radio,” the 24/7 channel for Barstool’s unfiltered approach to covering sports, men’s lifestyle, and popular culture. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy remarks, “We are excited to launch our Barstool channel. It has been a wild ride to get to this point and this is another big step in our plan for total world domination.” SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen comments, “In today’s crowded media landscape, Barstool stands out as a unique and compelling voice. Live radio thrives on the kind of spontaneous and entertaining content that Barstool delivers every day. We don’t know what they are going to say next, but Barstool Radio on SiriusXM will be the place to hear it live and talk about it.” Weekday call-in shows will include: “The Barstool Radio Show” with Portnoy and Kevin “KFC” Clancy (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET); “The Heartland Radio Show” with former NFL punter Pat McAfee (10:00 am -1:00 pm, ET); and “The Evening Yak” with Dan “Big Cat” Katz (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, ET). Barstool Radio will be on SiriusXM’s “Power 85” and on the SiriusXM app ….. For over three weeks, Alpha Media Bakersfield (California) news/talk KNZR AM & FM “News-Talk-Dodgers,” mainstream CHR KLLY “Energy 95.3,” and urban-rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3” collected food and water for fire victims in Ventura and Santa Barbara. KLLY program director Danny Hill comments, “I am very proud of my community and I love the support they always show. Bakersfield constantly gives to others and is at the forefront of a lot of charity events.” A local veterans chapter helped to deliver the supplies.
British Talk Show Host and TalkersRadio Personality Graham Mack Forced to Apologize for On Air Statement that PM Theresa May “Has No Balls.” It is always fascinating to compare and contrast American radio with broadcasting in other English-speaking countries when it comes to tolerance, freedom of speech and political controversy. Well-known English talk show host Graham Mack, host of the popular BOB-FM, Herfordshire (greater London) breakfast show got himself into a sticky situation on Wednesday (1/10) by boldly stating that British Prime Minister Theresa May “has no balls.” According to a report in the Hertfordshire Mercury, The comment came on yesterday’s (January 10) breakfast show during a lengthy rant about May’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, in which he also claimed that she was the “weakest Prime Minister” the country had ever seen. Mack went on to berate the reshuffle, saying that not enough women and ethnic minority MPs had been promoted to justify promises made by the Prime Minister in the preceding days. However, the maverick radio host appeared to backtrack on his claims this morning (January 11), telling listeners that he had to “correct” his comments. Mr. Mack said that although his remark about Mrs. May’s lack of balls was “anatomically correct,” he should not have made it. He also clarified that he could not be sure that May was the weakest Prime Minister the country had ever seen, as Clement Attlee or William the Younger could conceivably be weaker. In a statement, Mr. Mack said: “We received a serious complaint yesterday about what I’d said on the air. “Someone in a very senior position told me to make an apology. “I cannot reveal who made the complaint. The seriousness of the complaint did take me by surprise because a regular listener would realise that I take a swipe at all politicians regardless of which political party they represent.” Mr. Mack concluded his on-air correction by issuing an apology directly to the Prime Minister, saying that as the leader of the nation she must be respected. To listen to the segment of the program that got Graham Mack in trouble, please click here. Graham Mack also hosts “London Calling” a weekly program on TalkersRadio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Mack as “one of the best radio talk show aahosts in the English-speaking world.”
iHeartMedia, MoviePass Announce Media Partnership. The agreement includes a marketing campaign across iHeartMedia’s multiplatform network to help build further brand awareness of MoviePass and target new subscribers in select United States metros. In addition, iHeartMedia will be an authorized reseller of ad inventory across the MoviePass website and mobile app. According to iHeartMedia Ventures president Joe Robinson, “We have the capability to build significant brand awareness for MoviePass through our unparalleled scale and reach of more than 270 million monthly listeners across the country and our multiplatform assets. We see a unique opportunity with MoviePass, and its ability to understand and analyze audience trends and behavior which is a great asset for our advertisers, especially those looking to further engage with millions of movie-goers.” MoviePass chief executive officer Mitch Lowe comments, “We expect that our partnership with iHeartMedia will fuel our continued growth by targeting more profitable subscribers in low-cost markets, while also opening up a new revenue stream with digital advertising. We also expect that this relationship will be beneficial to movie exhibitors because we hope to drive more traffic into theaters and to advertisers through our strong working intelligence on the preferences and behaviors of a substantial amount of movie-goers. Our subscribers are going to twice as many movies a month as other consumers and are buying one in every 50 movie tickets in the U.S.” MoviePass launched its current $9.95 per month subscription plan this past August.
Wynter Boosted to iHM EVP Urban/Hip-Hop. Los Angeles urban contemporary KRRL “Real 92.3” program director Doc Wynter adds corporate iHeartMedia duties as executive vice president urban/hip-hop. President/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler states, “No one understands urban and hip-hop programming like Doc. We are thrilled that he is expanding his role leading iHeartMedia’s programming strategy for those key formats. He has been instrumental in launching several of our urban and hip-hop stations nationwide and we’re excited for him to be even more hands-on with all of our urban brands in our over 150 markets.” Wynter adds, “Urban radio has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Having worked with iHeartMedia for almost three decades, I know we have some of the best programmers and on-air personalities in radio. I can’t wait to help our region and market presidents provide their local urban and hip-hop music fans with one-of-a-kind listening experiences that only a company like iHeartMedia can create.” In this newly-created position, Wynter – most recently the company’s senior vice president of urban programming/urban brand manager – will report to chief programming officer Tom Poleman. Wynter began overseeing the company’s urban radio stations in late-1999 and launched several iHeartMedia brands such as “Power 105.1 FM” in New York City (on WWPR); “Real 92.3” in Los Angeles (on KRRL); “V101.5” in Jacksonville (on WSOL); and “The Beat” in various cities.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. After doing four years of night duty on iHeartMedia Los Angeles mainstream CHR KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM,” Freddy Rivera transfers to co-owned Dallas hot AC KDMX “102.9 Now” for afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm). KDMX program director Jay Shannon comments, “Freddy is an outstanding on-air talent and we are very fortunate to add him to our lineup. Freddy is very much looking forward to calling DFW his home.” Rivera, who starts at KDMX in a little over three weeks (2/5), notes, “I am very excited to write the next chapter in my radio career with ‘102.9 Now.’ I have heard so much about the food, nightlife, and community – I can’t wait to jump right in.” Los Angeles-born/Inland Empire-raised Rivera began his radio career as an intern for former “Kiss-FM” wakeup talent Rick Dees and worked on-air at Riverside-Bernardino-Ontario rhythmic CHR KGGI ….. Changes at Merlin Media-owned/Cumulus Media-operated alternative WKQX, Chicago find morning driver Brian Phillips handling mornings by himself as his former co-host – Lou Lombardo – segues to evenings. In addition, Lombardo adds “digital content captain” duties. Former WKQX evening talent “Marconi” left the station about two weeks ago ….. Two-year KMLE, Phoenix morning show host Chris Matthews departs the Entercom country outlet, but Nina D and producer “Badger Gabe” remain in place ….. Steve Guittari departs Cumulus Media Indianapolis; Guittari was operations manager of the cluster and program director of the company’s WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” ….. Also in the “Circle City,” according to the Indianapolis Business Journal, iHeartMedia Indianapolis sports talk WNDE pulls the plug on the Dave “Gunner” Gunn and Don Stuck-hosted morning show “Flagrant Foul.” Gunn (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and Stuck (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm) continue though on classic rock sibling WFBQ “Q-95.” Clay Travis’ syndicated “Outkick the Coverage” returns to WNDE’s morning drive slot ….. Added to the weekend lineup of iHeartMedia-owned New York City rhythmic CHR WKTU “103.5 KTU” is Astra – who formerly did afternoon drive on cross-town mainstream CHR WBMP “Amp 92.3.”
Odom Out at WRXQ. The evening talent on Coal City, Illinois-licensed WRXQ “100.7 Q-Rock,” Ray “Crazy Ray” Odom, is pink-slipped by the Alpha Media station for remarks he made on CNBC’s “The Profit.” On a promo for that cable television show, Odom said, “I’m a sexist, egotistical, racist pig on the radio.” Alpha Media market manager Brian Foster notes, “We do not condone the views he expressed in the program. The feelings portrayed are that of his own and not of Alpha Media or ‘Q-Rock.’ After an internal review, we have decided to cut ties.” Odom is co-owner of Rayjus Outdoors, but he was placed on leave from that Morris, Illinois business, the subject of Marcus Lamonis-hosted “The Profit,” which offers financial help to struggling businesses. Lamonis acknowledges that Odom had, “a side job. I thought it may be a distraction, but I didn’t realize that the focus of it was to demonize minorities and degrade women.” Odom confirmed the firing, saying he worked hard to keep his radio persona separate from his business. “What I said got taken out of context completely – now I don’t have a radio job over it.” A Rayjus statement on Facebook reads, “Unfortunately, we cannot allow these statements to go unchecked. While an integral part of our organization, Ray will be taking a leave of absence to spend time with his family and reflect on what is in the best interest of his family and company.” Regarding what he has said on radio, Odom tells the (Joliet, Illinois) Herald-News, “Everybody has a different sense of what is funny and not funny.”
Entravision Expands La Suavecita. The Grupero/Cumbia La Suavecita format will be heard in 11 more markets, in addition to its Los Angeles area simulcast of KSSE, KSSC, & KSSD. Entravision president and chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman remarks, “Since its launch a year ago, La Suavecita has built an incredible following of loyal listeners and received strong advertising support in Los Angeles. We are excited to share this unique and exciting format with listeners in 11 new markets and to bring a powerhouse line-up of some of the most recognized on-air personalities in radio to La Suavecita. Los Angeles is the largest Hispanic radio market in the U.S. We believe our format, programming, and talent changes will allow us to better connect with our audiences, and in turn, our advertisers with their customers. La Suavecita is backed by a strong slate of on-air personalities that will drive engagement across our radio and digital platforms.” Coinciding with the national rollout of the La Suavecita format, El Genio will be heard 4:00 am – 10:00 am; “Piolin” (Eddie Sotelo) 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; Armida y La Flaka 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm; and Mayra 7:00 pm -12:00 midnight. Targeting women 25 – 49 and adults 25 – 54, La Suavecita surfaces in Houston (KGOL); Phoenix (KVVA and KDVA); Denver (KJMN and KMXA); Sacramento (KXSE); Las Vegas (KRRN); McAllen (KNVO); El Paso (KINT-FM); Stockton (KTSE); Modesto (KCVR); Palm Springs, California (KLOB); and El Centro, California (KSEH).
Cutbacks at Dick Broadcasting’s Three New Clusters. Back in September, Dick Broadcasting announced it would acquire Alpha Media’s 18 stations and two translators in Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville (North Carolina); Myrtle Beach (South Carolina); and Savannah (Georgia) for $19.5 million. Staffing cuts have been made in all three markets. Exiting WXQR “Rock 105,” Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville are program director/afternoon talent Tina Smash and night host Ryan Daniels. Departures at the Myrtle Beach cluster include production director/WXYY “G-100.1” afternoon driver Mark ‘Shark’ Eddis and WFXH “Rock 106.1,” Hilton Head Island assistant program director/night talent Ryan Koch. The business manager position has been eliminated in the three aforementioned markets.
iHeartMedia and Debt Holders Continue to Negotiate But Differences Remain. The biggest hurdle in resolving the massive debt that iHeartMedia is shouldering is that the group of lenders led by Franklin Resources is seeking a pre-packaged bankruptcy that would leave senior bondholders and term loan lenders with the bulk of the shares of the radio and outdoor businesses. But, iHM wants to restructure about $15.5 billion of the $20 billion of debt out of court. iHM’s counter-offer reportedly includes about 50% equity in iHeartMedia and an even greater stake in Clear Channel Outdoor, but no “pre-pack.” The New York Post reports that “one person close to the talks said, with the current proposal not being well received, there is a 75 percent chance of a court-supervised restructuring.” The Wall Street Journal says that where the two sides are in agreement is that senior creditors holding some $12.8 billion in priority guarantee notes and term loans would receive between $6 billion and $7 billion in new secured notes.
CBS News Radio Reveals New Programming at First-Ever Upfront Presentation. This is the first upfront presentation – taking place at the CBS Broadcast Center in NYC – by CBS News Radio to advertising executives and it includes the unveiling of new original news, finance and entertainment programming. Among the new offerings that will launch on January 1, 2018 are: daily one-minute features from CBS Television programs “Entertainment Tonight,” “Inside Edition,” “The Doctors,” “Dr. Phil,” and “Rachael Ray”; a daily one-minute feature and a two-hour weekend show hosted by CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger called “Jill on Money”; a one-minute feature and two-hour weekend show produced by veterans for veterans and their families called “Eye on Veterans”; and a new 90-second commentary from Dave Ross. CBS News CFO Charles Pavlounis comments, “We’re excited to share these new and exclusive program offerings, as well as our continuing lineup of original reporting with our colleagues in the advertising community and our affiliate stations. These programs allow our affiliated stations to deliver original, engaging content to their dedicated listeners, while our clients are able to gain maximum exposure for their messages on news, talk and music formats around the country.” “Welcome Home” is the theme of the upfront event that is being co-hosted with Skyview Networks, the distribution, inventory management and sales partner of CBS News Radio.
Townsquare Media Signs Kevin Miller to Four-Year Extension. Talk radio pro Kevin Miller will continue serving as brand manager and morning drive personality at Townsquare Media’s KIDO, Boise for the next four years after signing a contract renewal with the station. The station says, “For Miller, radio is community, using his daily show and digital platform to find solutions for the many Treasure Valley community needs. He’s been known to go ‘all in’ on issues dear to his heart, including a week-long, live-in fundraising campaign for the Canyon County Animal Shelter when it faced the threat of closure. The ‘Kevin In the Kennel’ live broadcast was nationally recognized by Rachael Ray and the ASPCA, resulting in a $25,000 donation to save the shelter and thousands in pet adoptions.” Townsquare SVP Kevin Godwin comments, “Kevin Miller epitomizes what we look for in live and local talent. His work ethic, his commitment to providing quality local content to our audience and his ability to connect to those things most important to the community is second to none. The extraordinary current political, financial and cultural events of the time demand experience and a greater commitment to our listeners, advertisers, and the business community at large. I’m certain Kevin and ‘KIDO Talk Radio’ will continue to deliver on that commitment.”
Bob Ramsey Returns to St. Louis Airwaves on KTRS. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports that market sports media figure Bob Ramsey is returning to the radio after an absence of about 18 months. He’s joining the KTRS evening show hosted by sports director Brendan Wiese. It airs from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm and Ramsey is expected to be a co-host “two or three times a week.” Post-Dispatch sports columnist Ben Frederickson is also joining the program. Caesar reports that Ramsey has been working with crosstown KFNS owner Randy Markel as a “point man for a youth baseball complex…Markel is trying to develop near the Lake of the Ozarks.” Read the Post-Dispatch piece here.
TALKERS News Notes. The Sporting News’ Michael McCarthy is reporting that there are more job cuts on the horizon for ESPN – including the radio division – and the reason is the need for cost-cutting. McCarthy’s report says between 40 and 60 positions could be eliminated in late November or early December and that they could be both on-air TV/radio people and production staffers…..Legendary sports media figure Dan Patrick is getting his name on an institute of higher learning, specifically, his partnership with Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida will open the Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting at the college. Through the school, students will be able to earn undergraduate bachelor degrees. The FOX Sports Radio and NBC Sports personality consummated the deal via his agents at Playbook, Inc. Patrick is expected to call on his numerous contacts in the industry to participate in guest teaching roles…..Jacobs Media’s Seth Resler is launching a new podcast dedicated to the renaissance of Detroit titled, “The D Brief.” With co-host and local stand-up comic Mike Geeter, Resler will focus on the arts and entertainment scene, covering everything from concerts to comedy to film, festivals, food and drink. Fred Jacobs comments, “When Seth first moved to Detroit to join Jacobs Media, he took a six-month lease. He never envisioned living here permanently, but fell in love with Detroit. He’s been a podcaster since the early days, and marrying his passion for the Motor City with his podcasting skills is a perfect match.”
Trump Tax Cuts Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 23-27. The tax reform proposal from the Trump Administration and the GOP was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Clinton campaign and DNC funded Trump-Russia dossier story. Coming in at #3 was the variety of sexual harassment accusations being leveled against various public figures, followed by the Obama Adminstration’s deal with Russia-backed Uranium One 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. Boston triple A WXRV “The River” names Massachusetts native Annalisa its new afternoon drive host. Annalisa previously spent 20 years in the Bay Area hosting the midday show at Cumulus Media’s triple A KFOG. In the Boston market, she’s also served with rock WAAF and hosted the morning show at classic rock WZLX. WXRV general manager Donald St. Sauveur states, “Annalisa’s such a wonderful talent and a passionate professional. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of the thousands of artists and bands that ‘The River’ features on a daily basis. She shares stories about the songs that are the soundtrack of our audience’s lives in an irreverent and witty way that’s authentic and approachable.”…..Rock KISW, Seattle is presenting its third annual “Live Day” at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma on November 16. On this “Live Day,” both the morning drive “BJ & Migs” and the PM drive “The Men’s Room” will be performed completely live – nothing at all will be recorded – commercials, sound effects, nor music. The show hosts will be assisted by a cast of local musicians, Foley artists (the ones who make sound effects), and comedians. Entercom Seattle VP, programming and operations Dave Richards states, “Doing two full shows completely live clearly wasn’t enough of a challenge for KISW. This year, we’ll take ‘Live Day’ to a full stage production in front of a live audience.”…..Beasley Media Group announces Gregory Simonson is named the general sales manager for the company’s Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster that includes: adult contemporary WAZZ, country WKML, urban contemporary WZFX, rhythmic oldies WUKS, and adult hits WFLB. Most recently, Simonson has been Southeast regional VP at Inc.’s iAd division…..Milwaukee’s hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix” hopes to cheer up Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers – out for the season nursing a broken collarbone – by getting fans to sign the banner you see at left being held by morning show hosts Elizabeth and Radar…..WAY Media Network program director Todd Stach announces that Steve Shore is named network music director. Shore is a WAY Media and Christian music radio industry pro, having served in various roles at WAY-FM for the past 15 years. He will continue his role as assistant network program director while adding music director duties.
Freddie ‘Boom Boom’ Cannon on KTHO, Lake Tahoe. Rock ‘n’ roll legend Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon (right) is pictured in the studios of KTHO, South Lake Tahoe, California with the station’s Insane Darryll Wayne (left). Wayne says, “Freddy’s latest single, ‘Svengoolie Stomp is fangtastic! Boom Boom’s stories of Elvis, Frank, Led Zeppelin, and of course MeTV Horror host Svengoolie, lit up our airwaves. Freddy ‘Boom Boom’ Cannon, creeps it real.”
Todd Schnitt Leaves WOR, New York Morning Show. WOR, New York listeners woke up to morning personality Len Berman hosting the show solo after the departure of Todd Schnitt from the station yesterday (10/19). Berman explained that Schnitt and iHeartMedia weren’t able to come to terms on a new contract. Schnitt – who also hosts a separate, successful syndicated afternoon drive talk show for Compass Media Networks – joined WOR in 2015 as morning drive host.
Charges Against Former KOA, Denver Host Steffan Tubbs Dropped. The charge of suspicion of domestic violence, disturbance by phone filed against Steffan Tubbs back in July cost him his job as co-host of “Colorado Morning News” at iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOA, Denver. Yesterday, he revealed via social media that the charge has been dropped by prosecutors. Denver alt-weekly Westword reports that the charge stemmed from his July 30 arrest for the content of voice messages that contained “vulgar language” with the “intent to annoy the victim.” Tubbs reportedly had been in a relationship with the person for a period of time. Saying he is the victim of domestic abuse, he Tweeted a photo of himself wearing a purple tie with the caption, “Always innocent. Prosecutors dismissed charges against me today. I wore this on #PurpleThursday for all DV victims, including me. End it.” See the Westword story here.
Former Producer Sues St. Louis Talker Frank O. Pinion. The unnamed plaintiff alleges that St. Louis talk host Frank O. Pinion discussed the plaintiff’s stint in a rehab facility on his radio show on several occasions, thereby violating his privacy. The allegations stem from Frank O. Pinion’s time at CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis (named as a co-defendant for failing to prevent the O. Pinion from talking about the matter). O. Pinion, a.k.a. John Craddock, was not an employee of KTRS. He brokered his show and the plaintiff was his employee. (He currently is brokering his services to crosstown KFNS-AM.) In the complaint, the plaintiff says that while in a rehab facility in August, he heard that his situation was being discussed by O. Pinion and it was also being posted on social media. He’s seeking “in excess of” $50,000. Read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch coverage here.
Boston Herald Radio Talk Show Host, Adriana Cohen’s Star Continues to Rise. Boston Herald newspaper columnist and Boston Herald Radio conservative talk show host Adriana Cohen has been added to Creators Syndicate’s all-star lineup boasting 44 million daily readers. She will continue to write her popular exclusive columns for the Herald as well. Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca tells TALKERS, “We’re very proud of Adriana’s work and so pleased she is getting this well-deserved national recognition.” David Yontz of Creators Syndicate describes Cohen’s column as “dynamic, provocative and thoughtful.” He adds, “Hers is an important voice in today’s political climate.” In today’s Herald Cohen says, “I’m proud that in the very liberal state of Massachusetts I have not been afraid to support our president or express my conservative opinions. I’m equally proud of the Herald, our top-notch editors and publisher for truly protecting free speech by not muting me or watering down my opinions in fear of losing readers or offending someone. The fact that a conservative columnist’s content is resonating, even in the bluest state in the nation, is proof that there is a strong thirst for diverse opinions beyond what educational institutions and mainstream media spoon-feed us on a daily basis.” In addition to her column, Cohen is host of Boston Herald Radio’s “The Adriana Cohen Show.” She is a regular guest on Fox News and mentors Harvard University female undergraduate business students.
Jim Bohannon to Host WW1 Vietnam Special on Veterans Day Weekend. Vietnam veteran Jim Bohannon is hosting a Westwood One News special radio program titled, “Pain & Pride: Remembering Vietnam – 50 Years Later,” available to Westwood One News affiliates, Westwood One music format stations, and Cumulus-owned stations for air the weekend of Veterans Day. In their own voices, combat veterans share their stories with Vietnam War veteran and Westwood One talk host Jim Bohannon, and former Westwood One executive, White House press secretary, and NBC News Vietnam War correspondent, Ron Nessen. Bohannon will look back 50 years on his own war experience and will cull new perspectives on the war in assorted interviews, including one with filmmaker Ken Burns, director of the recently broadcast, 10-part documentary, The Vietnam War.
CBS News Radio Brings Interview Show ‘The Takeout’ to Network Radio. Host Major Garrett says the program “The Takeout” is “a dream come true for me.” The CBS News chief White House correspondent and CBS News political director Steve Chaggaris co-host the weekly, one-hour program about politics, policy and pop culture. The show was a podcast first and launches on radio tonight at 10:00 pm ET. This show is produced in a casual atmosphere – each episode recorded over a meal in a Washington, DC restaurant. Recent guests have included: Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget; Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT); Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX); Sen. Al Franken (D-MN); Carly Fiorina; Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD); Corey Lewandowski; and comedian Samantha Bee. Tonight’s guest is Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. Garrett says, “‘The Takeout’ is a conversation, not an interrogation. And we edit nothing. Our guests never have to fidget about context. They are heard fully. We discuss news of the week and try to translate Beltway buzzwords so America can join the conversation. I never stop learning from and enjoying this humble audio odyssey.” It’s debuting on CBS RADIO’s KMOX, St. Louis; WCCO-AM, Minneapolis; KXNT, Las Vegas and others.
TALKERS News Notes. WABC, New York is adding a new show to the Sunday evening lineup featuring New York businessman Tom Maoli as host. Titled, “Go Big or Go Home,” the program gives Maoli the platform to “spread his entrepreneurial, business and lifestyle messages to listeners all across the Northeast.” Maoli says, “I was approached by WABC to do a radio show. At first, I was unsure, but the more I thought about it, I began to think that with so many young people, not to mention mid-career executives, starting to think about starting their own businesses, the idea of doing a radio show would provide me with an opportunity to reach that audience and tell them about my story and how they can do the same.” The program airs on the Cumulus Media news/talker at 7:00 pm.…..It’s a homecoming for the radio stations owned by News-Gazette Media in Champaign, Illinois as its three radio stations move into the same building with the News-Gazette newspaper. Seventy years ago, WDWS-AM was co-located with the newspaper, but not since then. Now, news/talk WDWS – named for then-publisher of the News-Gazette, David W. Stevick – along with sister stations adult contemporary WHMS and classic hits WKIO are moving into new, digital studios…..SiriusXM and Formula 1 announce a new, multi-year deal for the former to serve as the exclusive North American radio broadcaster of all Formula 1 races, starting with this weekend’s United States Grand Prix from Austin, Texas. Listeners will hear the BBC 5 live radio broadcast for the races.
Trump Tax Reform Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 16-20. The effort of the Trump Administration to present its tax reform plans was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing in the #1 position on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the deaths of four American servicemen in the deadly ambush in Niger and the related controversy over presidential condolences to the families of fallen soldiers. Coming in at #3 was the Harvey Weinstein sexual predation scandal and the #MeToo movement, followed by North Korea’s threats against the U.S. 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.
Rascal Flats Surprises at Vegas Strong Fundraiser Concert. Pictured above at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas last night (10/19) are (from l-r): Beasley Media Group EVP of programming Justin Chase, FOX News Channel/Premiere Networks superstar Sean Hannity, Rascal Flatts lead singer Gary LeVox, and KKLZ-FM PD/morning host Mike O’Brian. Beasley Media Group organized the “Vegas Strong: A Night of Healing” concert featuring Big & Rich and Cam. Country legends Rascal Flatts surprised the crowd with an unannounced appearance. The proceeds from the concert benefit the Steve Sisolak Las Vegas Victims’ Fund.
Kip Moore Drops by ‘NASH Nights Live.’ Country artist Kip Moore (center) poses for a pic with “NASH Nights Live” hosts Elaina Smith (left) and Shawn Parr (right). Moore stopped by the show to talk about “everything from his latest single to Halloween.” Parr and Smith are decked out in the pink they were wearing to a breast cancer awareness event.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country legend and radio personality Kix Brooks is hosting Westwood One’s tribute to the men and women throughout America’s history who served and are still serving in the U.S. armed forces. The program is “A Salute to Our Military Veterans,” and is available for air Friday, November 10 through Sunday, November 12. Brooks is joined by friends including: Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, Chris Young, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, and more, who talk about their appreciation for the nation’s military…..SiriusXM announces a performance by Grammy Award-winning superstar Kelly Clarkson at a special, invitation-only show for SiriusXM listeners on Friday, November 3. The performance will take place at the Highline Ballroom in New York City and will feature songs from her new album, Meaning of Life, along with some of her biggest hits. The performance premieres on Wednesday, November 8 at 5:00 pm ET on SiriusXM Hits 1.
Heidi Harris Exits KXNT, Las Vegas After Post Critical of Gay Adoption. The report from KVVU-TV, Las Vegas “FOX 5” notes that talk show host Heidi Harris’ exit from CBS RADIO news/talker KXNT came just days after she posted to Facebook a critique of a local ad promoting adoption that featured a gay couple. Harris told KVVU-TV that the company is not renewing her contract but “couldn’t say whether it was because of her Facebook post.” Harris’ Facebook post took aim at an ad for the Clark County Department of Family Services promoting adoption that showed two gay men holding a child. She wrote, in part, “Another not-so-subtle attempt to normalize something that is NOT normal. Even if it is normal for YOU it is not the best thing for the baby…Babies who are eligible for adoption should go to MARRIED people of the opposite sex. That is the IDEAL situation for a baby, and political correctness, changing laws or attitudes cannot alter that REALITY.” Neither CBS RADIO nor Harris would comment about whether the post had anything to do with the station’s decision to not renew her contract. But Harris posted a Bible verse clearly aimed at addressing the matter. Her post: “Though they intended evil against you and devised a plot, they will not succeed. (Even though they think they have) Psalm 21:12.” Since Harris’ departure, afternoon personality Alan Stock is hosting the morning show. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following comment in response to Harris’ exit from the station, “Certainly CBS has the right to employ or terminate talent based on whatever political or positioning sensibilities are in vogue at the moment. However, it continues to be an unfortunately perilous situation for talk talent to be hired and encouraged on one hand to take controversial positions that fit either the left or right paradigm that constitutes radio ‘stationality’ and then cut loose for doing that exact thing if they just happen to step over the constantly moving and ever-subjective line of political correctness. Heidi Harris is a longtime, major and important player in this business and the issue of gay adoption is one that has been openly and legitimately discussed in this medium for years. Considering the fact that her contract was coming up for renewal, perhaps there is a financial component to this story. There is also the possibility that they buckled in the tyrannical face of advertiser pressure. Regardless, I strongly advise those corporations that are serious about playing in the talk radio arena to be prepared in advance to take the heat of controversy that is a normal part of doing business and stand behind their talent in these instances.”
Guy Phillips to Exit KYKY, St. Louis AM Show to Host Afternoons on Crosstown KTRS. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, morning personality Guy Phillips is leaving CBS RADIO’s hot AC KYKY, St. Louis and will take over the afternoon show at CH Holdings’ crosstown news/talk KTRS. The paper reports that Phillips will leave KYKY in November and will likely start at KTRS in January. KTRS afternoon personality Frank O. Pinion recently exited KTRS and will join crosstown sports talk KFNS on October 2 (though O. Pinion will host a general issues program). Currently hosting the afternoon show at KTRS are KMOV-TV meteorologist Kent Ehrhardt and local radio pro Paul Harris. The Post-Dispatch says that the rest of the current KYKY morning show – Courtney Landrum, Jen Myers, Kevin Berghoff and Lance Hildebrand – will remain on as hosts of the wake-up program.
Francesa to Leave WFAN in December as Scheduled. New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa will do his last show for CBS RADIO’s WFAN on December 15 as scheduled, according to the New York Daily News. Francesa had said, in the immediate wake of the Craig Carton matter, that if the station needed him to stay on for a period to avoid revenue losses in both drive time dayparts, that he would consider it. But that’s apparently not necessary as Francesa told his listeners he’ll leave in December and that “the station is comfortable with that (decision) and I am, too.” Read the Daily News piece here.
Tedd Webb to Retire from WFLA, Tampa. The Tampa Bay Times reports that market radio pro Tedd Webb will retire from radio and his current gig as co-host of the morning show on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WFLA-AM, Tampa at the end of January. The 68-year-old Webb has been plagued by health issues – congestive heart failure and diabetes – and those issues have intensified recently. Webb tells the paper, “I had a heart attack. I’m on dialysis three times a week. I’m drained. My heart wants to go on, but my body won’t let it.” Webb works with radio partner Jack Harris and personality Aaron Jacobson. Harris says, “It’s going to be tough without Teddy. It’s like Sonny without Cher, Cheech without Chong.” Read the Times piece here.
Buchanan Exits Connecticut Talker. Afternoon drive talk show host Jim Buchanan announces via Facebook that he’s exited Cumulus Media’s Bridgeport, Connecticut news/talk station WICC, where he anchored the “Talk of the Town” program. Buchanan had hosted the afternoon drive daypart at WICC since 1982. The nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey show is now airing in the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot.
TALKERS News Notes. A new, improved version of CBS RADIO’s Radio.com mobile app has been made available to consumers. CBS says it has “a fresh new look and logo to complement an easy-to-navigate experience now with higher streaming quality.” CBS EVP of digital J.D. Crowley states, “Audiences want choice and that’s exactly what we’ve given them with this relaunch of the Radio.com app. By combining their favorite local radio stations and on-demand content, we are catering to the distinctive tastes of mobile-first audiences, giving them control over when and where they engage with our content through a free, best-in-class experience.”…..The nationally syndicated “America Outdoors Radio” program announces that it has surpassed the 50-affiliate mark after just 15 months on the air. The John Kruse-hosted show is a weekly, one-hour look at fishing, hunting and the shooting sports…..As reported in SportsBusinessDaily, college sports marketing and media rights firms Learfield and IMG College are agreeing to a merger. Learfield president and CEO Greg Brown will lead the combined companies, estimated by some to be worth $2 billion. After completion, the new company will control the media rights to some 200 schools.
Trump UN Speech, North Korea Threats, Cassidy-Graham Health Care Bill, Hurricane Maria, Climate Change Debate, Hillary Clinton Book Tour, Trump-Russia Investigation, ‘Sanctuary’ Issue, MLB Payoff Push, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19). Tuesday’s speech by President Trump before the UN General Assembly; North Korea’s threats against the U.S.; the move to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with the Cassidy-Graham health care plan; Hurricane Maria threatens a direct hit on Puerto Rico; the recent spate of hurricanes and the renewed debate over climate change after experts suggest it intensified the storms; Hillary Clinton’s What Happened book tour; the investigation into Paul Manafort by the special counsel as part of the Trump-Russia probe; Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ battle against the various “sanctuary” policies; the Major League Baseball playoff push; and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cleveland Radio Personality John Webster Dead at 74. Legendary Cleveland radio personality John Webster passed away recently at the age of 74. Webster was one half of the morning show duo “Lanigan and Webster” with John Lanigan on WMJI from 1984 to 1997. He was also a talk radio pioneer who served on morning shows on WERE and WHK. Cleveland programming icon (and oWOW Internet radio chief) John Gorman commented on Facebook: “When I arrived in Cleveland I was blown away by John Webster’s creation: The ‘People Power’ tabloid-style news/talk format on WERE with Gary Dee (and Webster) in mornings and other characters including George Forbes – when he was the controversial Cleveland City Council president. At the height of the ‘people power’ format, Webster pulled the plug. He later told me that he felt he went as far as he could go with the format…” Cleveland.com reports that Webster’s stepson Jason Fox said “Webster died during the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Florida. He said Webster was recovering from hip surgery when the hurricane hit, knocking out power to his home for over a week. ‘I think that was the final straw for John.’”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Chicago, classic hits WLS-FM morning show producer Daniel Wolfe is promoted by Cumulus Media to assistant program director. He’ll continue to serve as producer for “The WLS Wake Up Call.” WLS PD and Cumulus VP/classic hits programming Brian Thomas says, “This puts Dan one step closer to his goals of becoming a PD at Cumulus after doing a great job as morning show producer. I am looking forward to working with Dan in this new role.”…..At Cumulus Media’s West Michigan CHR WHTS, Coopersville (Grand Rapids market), air personality Ken Evans is partnered with current morning host Rachael Gray on the “105.3 Hot FM Morning Show.” Evans previously hosted mornings in the market at iHeartMedia’s crosstown CHR WSNX. Cumulus Grand Rapids market manager Jeff Cartwright comments, “We are excited at the direction ‘105-3 Hot FM’ will take with Ken now in our Cumulus Grand Rapids family.”…..Las Vegas radio pro Connie Breeze joins the MannGroup-syndicated weekend hip hop program “The Mack Attack” (with host Greg Mack) as chief entertainment correspondent. Breeze also serves with Beasley Media Group at rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” as APD, music director, and afternoon personality.