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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

| August 12, 2020

Sumner Redstone Has Died. According to a statement from ViacomCBS, its chair emeritus and chief executive officer of controlling shareholder National Amusements, Sumner Redstone, has died. Redstone served as Viacom CEO from 1996 – 2005, and was executive chair of the Viacom and CBS boards from 2005 – 2016. He since was chair emeritus for both companies. A statement reads, “Sumner Redstone was a brilliant visionary, operator, and dealmaker, who single-handedly transformed a family-owned drive-in theater company into a global media portfolio. He was a force of nature and fierce competitor, who leaves behind a profound legacy in both business and philanthropy. ViacomCBS will remember Sumner for his unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Redstone family today.” Sumner Redstone was 97 years old.

Beasley Study: Boston Consumers Optimistic. Results of Beasley Media Group Boston-commissioned/ Strategic Solutions Research-conducted polling indicate the majority of Boston-area consumers remain optimistic even during the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, a large percentage feel their spending is – or will soon be – back to normal. Beasley Media Group Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna comments, “The company’s study is meant to help guide marketing partners on how to craft the most effective messaging with their advertising and give Boston area businesses critical data as to local consumers’ current state-of-mind and planned future behaviors. It was important for us to conduct this research to get a pulse on Boston consumers for our clients. People in Boston are optimistic that we will make it through the pandemic. That optimism shows true ‘Boston Strong’ grit and determination. They also understand the seriousness of the situation: The great majority of listeners – nine of ten – support wearing a mask, and they expect others to do so as well.” Strategic Solutions Research partner Hal Rood notes that, while shopping patterns have had to shift online, “It does not spell the end of brick-and-mortar establishments. The overwhelming majority of listeners still plan on making in-person shopping part of their mix, and that includes people under 35.” The survey was conducted July 6 – 16 among 1,532 listeners of Beasley Media Group Boston’s five radio stations: sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub”; classic hits-oldies WROR “105.7 ’80s & More”; WKLB “Country 102.5”; WBOS “Boston’s Rock 92.9”; and rhythmic hot AC WBQT “Hot 96.9.”

Local Ad Revenue Estimates Lowered. Continuing economic fallout owing to the coronavirus crisis has led BIA Advisory Services to adjust its estimate for 2020’s total local advertising market to $140.4 billion, which is down from April’s $144.3 billion. Albeit with this year’s anticipated strong political advertising, BIA’s updated forecast estimate represents a 6.1% decline from 2019. BIA’s senior vice president/chief economist Mark Fratrik explains that, “To update our post-COVID forecast from April, we analyzed the continuing impact on local advertising by the weakened economy, continuing job loss reports, and the downturn in some key business verticals. We believe a realistic view of the economy overall and the advertising marketplace is that, after a dramatic decrease in the second-quarter and a bumpy start to the third, the remainder of the year will turn positive, but end up with an overall decline in local advertising for the year.” As political campaigns continue to drift to online rallies and events, presidential and down-ballot candidates are spending significant dollars in local broadcast and digital advertising. Ever since its April prediction, BIA increased the expected political ad spend from $7.1 billion to $7.3 billion. Distributed share to different media includes $5 million to terrestrial radio; $138 million to over-the-air TV; $40 million to cable TV; and $26 million to online/digital.

COVID-19 Concerns Cause BFA Golf Tourney Cancellation. Owing to coronavirus-related safety fears, the Broadcasters Foundation of America has scrubbed its celebrity golf tournament fundraiser. Another big BFA money driver – the Philip J. Lombardo Golf Tournament traditionally held in conjunction with the NAB Show in Las Vegas – was cancelled as well a few months ago. Broadcasters Foundation chair Scott Herman remarks, “Our colleagues who find themselves in acute need due to a debilitating illness or accident need our help. This year, we are helping more broadcasters than ever before, and it’s imperative that we continue to do so. We cannot turn our backs on our colleagues.” Broadcasters Foundation president Jim Thompson adds, “We have three major fundraisers a year, and the golf tournaments are two of them. Our grant recipients worked in radio or television stations in markets across America.” The two golf fundraisers, along with smaller events, generate over $450,000 a year. In hopes of negating the losses, the Broadcasters Foundation is launching a plea for donations. Personal contributions can be made to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund. Corporate offerings are accepted through the Angel Initiative, while bequests can be made through the Foundation’s Legacy Society.

Mr. Master Marks Milestone: Million Spots Per Week. The company behind Automation Import Manager (AIM) – Mr. Master – has processed and provided compliance for one million network spots per week nationwide. This coincides with Mr. Master announcing new AIM agreements with Neuhoff Communications (five markets/20 stations) and Forever Communications (three markets/26 stations). It has AIM renewal contracts with Entercom (44 markets/453 stations); Alpha Media (46 markets/226 stations); SummitMedia (nine markets/51 stations); and Forever Media (16 markets/63 stations). Mr. Master president Stu Jacobs states, “We are very proud that AIM has become such a widely accepted, and useful tool that helps networks, stations, and advertisers to quickly get the accurate information they need, whether they are working in-office or remotely. One million national network spots a week – 52 million spots a year – is a huge milestone for our company. We couldn’t have done it without our first-class team and the amazing clients who trust us with their accountability.”

Albuquerque’s KQTM Aligns With Cage Side Seat MMA Media. The multi-layered broadcast relationship between Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” and Cage Side Seat MMA Media includes weekly Jim “Gries” Grieshaber-hosted longform programming; daily UFC/MMA commentaries/features; and weekly guest appearances on live programming. KQTM president Joe O’Neill comments, “It’s great to work with Jim. He’s a national-level talent connected to the pulse of UFC/MMA. We look forward to bringing “Gries” to New Mexico.” Grieshaber adds, “We’re so pumped to partner with our friends at ‘The Team’ and the great MMA fans of Albuquerque. Albuquerque is hallowed ground in our sport. It is home of the mecca of MMA gyms Jackson-Wink MMA, the GOAT Jon Jones, and legends like Holly Holm, Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, ‘The Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson, and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. We’re coming strong with the best in MMA/UFC sports talk programming.”

Key Networks And Virtual Jock Partnering. In the barter basis arrangement, New Generation Radio product Virtual Jock will provide syndication company Key Networks access to its on-air talent and programming services. Virtual Jock founder/president/chief executive officer Jason Kidd explains that right before launching Virtual Jock five years ago, “Many stations were downsizing and losing strong local talent in the process. Fast forward to now and the need is greater than ever before. Teaming up with Key Networks will allow us to take things to an even higher level, expanding and offering our major market talent roster to radio stations across all formats. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with them.” Key Networks president and chief operating officer Jim Higgins comments, “The ongoing disruption from COVID-19 has severely impacted every radio company. All have eliminated some on-air positions and daypart shifts as cost-cutting moves in order to retain financial stability. Virtual Jock can now assist these groups and others by offering a no-cost barter option to fill some of these numerous holes and to also reconnect with those disenfranchised listeners. We want to work closely with stations to fill this void as radio is beginning to rebound.” Chief revenue officer Dennis Green notes, “Jason [Kidd] and his team have developed a concept that offers stations a chance to bring top-notch talent across all formats to markets from coast-to-coast. Key Networks is delighted to partner with Virtual Jock to provide a marketing opportunity that is cost-effective for stations both large and small to have dynamic and proven talent on their air.” In addition to 24/7 formats, Virtual Jock currently offers 40 full-time/in-house voice talents, as well as fully-produced audio programs and imaging. New York and Orlando-based Key Networks is a Sun & Fun Media-affiliated company.

Shondaland Audio, iHeartMedia Release Original Podcasts. As part of an arrangement between iHeartRadio and Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland Audio, three podcasts will debut this month: “You Down?”; “Criminalia”; and “Go Ask Ali.” Future podcasts will include “#Matter,” “American Coup,” and “Black Girl Lost.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “Shonda Rhimes is an absolute creative powerhouse. Developing these first few shows together has indicated what a strong partnership iHeartMedia and Shondaland have formed with Shondaland Audio. The breadth and depth of content that’s in progress as part of this partnership is unparalleled. We’re thrilled to work beside the Shondaland team to bring Shonda’s unique storytelling magic to podcast listeners everywhere.” Shondaland Audio chief design and digital media officer Sandie Bailey states, “Podcasts allow for innovative and intimate storytelling and that’s exactly what this slate offers – deeply human stories through a range of genres and formats aimed to engage the varied and ever- growing podcast listenership. iHeartMedia has been an incredible partner in forming Shondaland Audio. I’m thrilled that audiences will soon hear more from our collaboration with this new offering of shows.” Rhimes oversees development of the slate; Bailey manages day-to-day operations. Previously launched “Katie’s Crib,” a bi-weekly podcast following “Scandal” and “Waitress” actress Katie Lowes joined the slate three months ago. It releases a new episode tomorrow (Thursday, 8/13) that features actress Gabrielle Union.

Veritone One Signs On With Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Audio advertising and media agency Veritone One is now subscribing to Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Veritone One senior vice president of strategy and investment Conor Doyle comments, “As one of the largest podcast advertising agencies serving over 100 active clients across 15,000 podcasts, Nielsen’s research will help us refine our current placements and unlock market opportunities for new advertisers wanting to enter the medium. Access to consumption and audience data will attract brand advertisers who have been previously hesitant to enter the largely direct-to-consumer space. Integrating Nielsen’s unique insights along with our proprietary AI-based analytics and decades of experience will enable us to set a new industry standard in podcast advertising.” Nielsen Global Media executive vice president/managing director David Hohman notes, “Veritone One is an agency that is on the cutting-edge of advertising. We are excited to empower them as they turn their data into actionable intelligence with real-time campaign optimization. With more brand advertisers coming into the podcast medium, and Nielsen’s ability to analyze over 150 podcasts, Veritone One will be able to reach even greater success as an innovative industry leader.”

TALKERS News Notes. “Women To Watch” joins the lineup of Red Apple Media New York’s WABC “Talk Radio 77” this Saturday (8/15) at 8:30 am. It will commence as a 30-minute show, expanding to 60 minutes three weeks later (9/5) at a yet-to-be-determined time. The show’s founder/host Susan Rocco remarks, “I always wanted ‘Women to Watch’ to be the go-to media network for all stories related to women’s leadership and success. We are building a woman-owned, women-run media company to amplify the voices of women who are leading across all industries.” WABC’s senior vice president of programming Dave LaBrozzi notes his station, “is proud to support strong women by bringing this lively and inspiring weekly show to the NYC market.” The first guest featured on WABC will be The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen, who comments, “‘Women To Watch’ is the place to go to hear inspiring stories by inspiring women. Susan [Rocco] is the consummate professional and her interviews are spot-on.  I’m honored to be the first guest in the NY market.” Rocco states, “Heather Cohen is an exciting first guest for our new market. She’s a New Yorker, has worked in the industry and was recently elected chair of The Alliance For Women in Media.” Originated and still heard on Entercom Philadelphia’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” Women To Watch has expanded to a national podcast and digital platform … Separate from his duties as 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm host on Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB-FM, Erick Erickson today (Wednesday, 8/12) celebrates the one-year anniversary of doing self-syndication. His first affiliate was in Athens, Georgia (WGAU). Twelve months later, Erickson is on more than a dozen Georgia news/talk outlets. A one-man band, he does affiliate relations, and ad sales. Describing the experience as rewarding, Erickson explains, “Georgia’s swing state status makes a statewide program focused on the state a unique selling point. I try to be upfront, though, that I want to stretch outside the state after the election and keep growing nationwide.”  … As noted yesterday (TALKERS, 8/11), president Trump chatted on-air with Salem Media Networks host Hugh Hewitt. That wasn’t yesterday’s only radio stop for the chief executive though as he visited with Fox Sports Radio’s (6:00 am – 9:00 am, ET) “Outkick The Coverage” host Clay Travis. Regarding college football and the coronavirus, Trump told Travis, “People don’t realize it’s a tiny percentage of people that get sick and they’re old. It just attacks old people, especially old people with bad hearts, diabetes, some kind of a physical problem or a weight problem. These football players are very young, strong people. Physically, they’re in extraordinary shape, so they’re not going to have a problem. You’re not going to see people dying. You can’t have empty seats. I’m not sure college football can do it, but we’ll have to see.” On the return of the NFL and the NBA, he commented, “Well, they want to open and they want to open badly and they’ve been working with government. I would say this – if they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open. Other than that, I’d love to see them open and we’re doing everything possible to get them open. They can protest in other ways. I don’t think they should protest our flag or our country. Basketball ratings are down to very, very low numbers. People are angry about it. They have enough politics with guys like me. They don’t need more as they’re going up for the shot. There was a nastiness about the NBA and the way it was done. I think the NBA’s in big trouble — bigger trouble than they understand.” … Taking the place of annual in-person tours that SiriusXM’s “NFL Radio” channel usually conducts, it will present 32 virtual NFL training camp shows – one for each NFL franchise. Starting today (Wednesday, 8/12), “NFL Radio” channel hosts will interview players, coaches, and team executives via video conferencing. SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen states, “Like all NFL fans, we look excitedly ahead to the 2020 NFL season. Even amid these very unique circumstances in which teams are reporting to camp, we remain dedicated to giving our listeners the most in-depth and comprehensive preseason preview of their favorite teams. Our experts include some of the most knowledgeable and well-connected people covering the game today. They will deliver a level of analysis on teams and players that you can’t get anywhere else.” …  Numerous lineup changes next Monday (8/17) at Disney-owned/Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP will find “ESPN 1000 Chicago” airing two hours (5:00 am – 7:00 am) of ESPN Radio’s new national morning show with Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti. Shifting from 6:00 am – 9:00 am to 7:00 am – 10:00 am is David Kaplan. He will partner with Jonathan  Hood, who segues from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Meanwhile, Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic transition from 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm to 10:00 am – 12:00 noon, as ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg-hosted “Greeny” takes over the vacated 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm slot. Weekend hosts Chris Bleck and Adam Abdalla advance to 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, while Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman remain in afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) … Citing pandemic-caused budget issues, Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” parts ways with morning host Jim Villanucci and producer/host Sam Hauser. The station’s afternoon program – “Team Talk” – is being handled by a revolving set of hosts. Formerly an on-air talent at Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM, Villanucci joined KQTM two years ago. He previously worked at news/talk stations in Portland (KXL) and Las Vegas (KXNT). Before coming to “The Team” last year, Hauser served as sports director in Austin, Minnesota at KAUS and was a producer/board op in Miami at sports talk WAXY “790 The Ticket.”

Kamala Harris Receives VP Nod, Mail-In Voting Debate, School Opening Struggles, and Chicago Unrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/11).  The selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as Joe Biden’s running-mate topped the TALKERS list of most-discussed stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday (8/11).  It was followed by the debates over mail-in voting and the opening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other major topics included Chicago unrest, Russia’s vaccine, stimulus relief, and the cancellation of Big 10 and Pac-12 college football according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. With Ryan Seacrest’s television partner Kelly Ripa taking yesterday (Tuesday, 8/10) and today (Wednesday, 8/11) off, his “Live With Kelly & Ryan” co-host those two days is Sisanie, his radio partner. The two work together  on Premiere Networks’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” heard around the country from iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR flagship KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM.” Sisanie has filled in for Ripa several times the past few years … Last summer, Westwood One’s “Bob & Tom Show” asked David Rush, the world’s fastest juggler and breaker of over 150 Guinness World Records, to attempt shattering the record for most balloons popped in one minute using chopsticks. Rush established that mark in 2018 with 28 balloons, but that feat was subsequently broken. Rush set out to regain the title this past Sunday (8/9) – this time using hand pump-inflated, COVID-free balloon targets bearing “The Bob & Tom Show” logo. Halfway into the attempt, Rush recounts that he was “just barely on pace to beat the record,” but began throwing the chopsticks a little faster to pop 40 balloons in 60 seconds – a new world record. A big promoter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, Rush dedicates all his world records to that cause … WBVX “Classic Rock 92.1” names Dennis “Dead Air” Dillon program director/afternoon personality of the LM Communications Lexington (Kentucky) outlet. LM Communications owner/president Lynn Martin remarks, “We are pleased to welcome Dennis Dillon, who has a long history of presenting the very best classic rock music and now can present it to the best classic rock audience in Lexington. By introducing him to our locally-owned and operated radio group, we once again show that being a local voice rather than just a cog in a national wheel lets us provide something truly unique to the classic rock audience in Lexington. Dillon notes, “In a time when big corporations are moving away from local DJ’s in the community, I’m ecstatic to have found a home in the city I love with a locally-owned and operated company. I’ve always loved this genre and I’m already discovering that the ‘Classic Rock 92.1’ fans share that same passion.” Dillon previously worked in Cincinnati, Louisville, and Chattanooga … Former MusicMaster vice president of sales Jerry Butler joins Marc Radio Gainesville-Ocala as local sales manager for a cluster that includes alternative WHHZ “100.5 The Buzz”; country WPLL; rhythmic CHR WTGM “Magic 101.3”; classic hits-oldies WXJZ; and contemporary Christian WTMN & WRZN. Marc Radio general manager Dave Cobb comments, “Jerry brings the perfect mix of leadership, marketing, on-air personality, and programming savvy. He knows the radio industry inside and out. He is great at advising clients and introducing them to new products. He’s a great asset to our team.” Butler adds, “Our goal is to guide the local advertising community on how best to earn impressive returns on their investments in any, or all, of our radio station formats.” … After stunting by playing a weekend of all-Christmas music, Zimmer Midwest Communications Springfield, Missouri flips sports talk KWTO “The Jock” to adult contemporary “98.7 The Dove.” ZMC co-owner John Zimmer remarks, “It’s a great day for our company to enter the greater Springfield market with stations featuring the most powerful signals and largest coverage areas to serve the Ozark region. The greater Springfield region has been a great driver of growth in Missouri – we are proud to be of part of the expansion. We look forward to making a positive impact and difference for the community and businesses with our local solutions and stations to promote the economy of the Springfield region.” Kevin Howard and Liz Delany (“Kevin & Liz”) debut in morning drive next Monday (8/17). Core artists on “Lite Rock Favorites The Dove” include Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, and Sting.

Monday, July 10, 2017

| July 10, 2017

Entercom/CBS Radio Divulges Senior Management. Based on a memo from Entercom president/chief executive officer David Field, we are getting a clearer picture of the combined giant’s management team, but, as Field stresses, until everything becomes official, Entercom and CBS Radio remain separate companies. “I want to express my appreciation to everyone for their patience as we work through this process,” he writes. “We all want to see the deal close as quickly as possible, but these large mergers just take time. I am pleased to report that we are right on schedule and hard at work, making great progress in every area required to complete our merger successfully. There is nothing more important to our future success than the quality of our people. We have spent a great deal of time working to build a ‘best in class’ team composed of highly talented, high performance stars from CBS Radio and Entercom, plus a number of newcomers from outside of the industry who bring new perspectives and capabilities. The list is a work-in-progress and in the weeks ahead, as planning continues, we will announce additional members of the leadership team, as well as information on a wide range of other important topics as we continue to prepare for this game-changing event.” In alphabetical order, executives include: JD Crowley (EVP/digital); Mike Dee (president/sports); Michael Doyle (regional president and president/sales operations); Ruth Gaviria (chief marketing officer); Weezie Kramer (chief operating officer); Chris Oliviero (EVP/programming); Pat Paxton (president/programming); Bob Philips (chief revenue officer); Rich Schmaeling (chief financial officer); and Andrew Sutor (SVP/general counsel). Field adds, “I also want to add a special word of recognition to Scott Herman, who has done a terrific job over so many years in various leadership roles at CBS, culminating in his current position as chief operating officer. While we are disappointed that Scott will be moving on to pursue other personal and professional endeavors, we greatly respect his outstanding leadership contributions to the organization. “In addition, I want to share some further information on our programming leadership. Pat Paxton will oversee the music brands and Chris Oliviero will oversee the news/talk/sports brands. They will be working collaboratively, along with the programming team across the country to ensure that we continue to develop outstanding brands with the best personalities and content for our listeners nationwide.”

Cox Media Group Atlanta Taps Turcotte To Be GSM. Inbound from Midwest Communications Nashville where he was general sales manager, Mark Turcotte will join Cox Media Group Atlanta later this month (7/31) in a similar capacity. Cox Media Group Atlanta director of sales Jaleigh Long comments, “Mark Turcotte has an exceptional track record for converting vision into sales strategy and execution. This is the perfect time for Mark to join Atlanta’s talented sales leadership team.” Turcotte adds, “A return to Atlanta and Cox Media Group at arguably the most successful radio cluster in the country is such a tremendous honor. The values of the company and their leadership align perfectly with those I have tried to emulate throughout my career. This is a great opportunity to work with folks I consider to be among the absolute best in the profession.” With their May 2017 6+ Nielsen Audio PPM stats and rankings in parenthesis, Cox Media Group Atlanta includes news/talk WSB-AM (8.6, #1 for the 17th straight ratings period); classic hits-oldies WSRV “Classic Hits 97.1 The River” (6.7, #2); urban AC WALR “Kiss 104.1 – Atlanta’s R&B” (6.3, #4); and adult contemporary WSB-FM “B-98.5” (4.2, #10).

Kaufman Joins Cumulus Media As SVP, Revenue/Operations. Based in New York City, John Kaufman is named to Cumulus Media’s newly-created position of senior vice president, revenue strategy and operations. According to Cumulus Media president and chief executive officer Mary Berner, “John’s strategic and operational expertise [as well as his] deep understanding of the critical function that pricing and inventory management plays in maximizing revenue will be a tremendous asset to our operations. In this new leadership role, he will increase the company’s revenue management capabilities through intelligent and attractive pricing strategies and systems. John will support our team of more than 900 sales professionals in 90 markets as they serve our advertisers with local impact and national reach.” Kaufman remarks, “Seeing all the great change underway at Cumulus, I am so pleased to be joining Mary and her leadership team at this exciting time. I look forward to helping the company continue in its evolution.” With an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Kaufman was senior vice president of business operations for iHeartMedia, later advancing to president of business ops there. Three years ago, he started JK Steele Consulting and a year later was president and chief operating officer of start-up company ParcMate. Prior to that, he was executive vice president of revenue management & electronic marketing at Extended Stay Hotels and vice president of global revenue management for Starwood Hotels & Resorts.


Robinette Retires From WWL. Having hosted the three-hour (10:00 am – 1:00 pm) “Think Tank” on Entercom New Orleans news/talk WWL for the last 12 years, Garland Robinette is retiring. Off the air since mid-April battling pneumonia, Robinette will pursue his interest in painting. “Never did I think a boy from the swamps with little education could travel the world, meet presidents, kings, movie stars and see places I had only read and dreamed about,” Robinette reflects. “If we do come back to this world for multiple lifetimes, I think I’m in trouble because I’ve used up all my luck in this one. Ironically, even those of you who disliked me helped me. One thing I always tried to do was listen to people who disagreed, and in a large percentage of those debates, you were right and I was wrong. Each of those debates was a learning experience of which I emerged a little bit better educated, a little bit better able to see the world not as I wanted, but as it is.” WWL vice president and general manager Chris Claus remarks, “Garland means so much to WWL, to our community, and to the region. His voice, his leadership and undying passion will be greatly missed.” Operations and program director Diane Newman adds, “Magic happens on WWL when the talent is as big as the stage – Garland was that magic. He brought wisdom, passion, and guts to WWL at a time when our city, state, and region needed leadership. He was the voice of the people during Hurricane Katrina, the aftermath and recovery.  From that microphone, he drove the recovery and rebirth, speaking truth to power and accepting nothing less than the change necessary to protect and preserve the jewel that is New Orleans.” Prior to joining WWL in 2005 to replace the late David Tyree, Robinette was a 20-year news anchor/reporter for WWL-TV, New Orleans and headed a public relations firm. He and co-anchor Angela Hill were married in 1978 and were divorced nine years later, but continued their on-air partnership.

WODT Set to Expand Local Programming. In addition to Garland Robinette retiring from Entercom-owned news/talk WWL, New Orleans (see above), there’s more industry news from the Louisiana market as – starting next Monday (7/17) – iHeartMedia’s WODT “Fox Sports 1280” will quintuple its locally-originated programming to ten hours per day. The 8:00 am – 10:00 am slot will be filled by Chris Gordy, who will continue as assistant program director of co-owned KBME “Sports Talk 790,” Houston. Hosted by New Orleans Times-Picayune writers Jeff Duncan and Larry Holder, “Dunc & Holder: Smart Sports Talk for Serious Fans,” will follow from 10:00 am -12:00 noon. Another KBME, Houston staffer – Baton Rouge native Josh Innes – will oversee WODT’s 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm block. Based at Delta Media Lafayette’s KLWB “103.7 The Game,” former LSU basketball player/current football sideline reporter Jordy Hultberg is added at 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, while Kaare Johnson remains in-place from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm. The remainder of the WODT schedule, including Clay Travis (5:00 am – 8:00 am), will be filled by Fox Sports Radio network programming.

Remembering Claude Hall. Broadcasters of a certain era were fond of saying they had truly “made it in the business” when Claude Hall mentioned their name in his Billboard Magazine “Vox Jox” column. Just as we were approaching our deadline last Friday (7/7), TALKERS broke the news that – owing to injuries suffered from a fall earlier last week – Hall had died at Sunrise Medical Center in Las Vegas. Prior to his death, he continued “Vox Jox” in partnership with talk show host/radio station owner Rollye James as a weekly online newsletter specializing in the activities of older and retired radio broadcasters (www.voxjox.org). Among those commenting on Hall’s death was Randy West, who explains, “Claude had been in ill health for several years. He was an author of fiction books and non-fiction radio texts, and a great friend of the airwaves. He was beloved by hundreds of [on-air personalities] and returned that love by continuing to network and make connections among the survivors of radio’s greatest era. Claude took a whole era of radio with him. He championed, celebrated, honored, and escalated the business.” As Russ DiBello points out, Hall “took a series of scattered jobs, and with a gossip column, morphed them into a profession. That guy doing overnights in Boise whom you’d never met was now your colleague. If you never heard the stations in a market, you still had a good idea of what was going on in various outposts of American radio. Stations everywhere knew where the hot programming talent was hanging out, and whenever they moved, their creativity would cross-pollinate the industry with bits and air talents that would become the norm in programming and production. If all that doesn’t convince you, think of how many more columns like that – which were spinoffs of ‘Vox Jox’ – popped-up in other publications in subsequent years.” Lee Arnold adds, “To those of us in the record and radio business, Claude Hall was not just a legendary journalist, but a wonderful human being that spent most of his life promoting all that we hold dear in this business that we love. Claude, thank you for your friendship – you will be missed.” Mark Driscoll states, “Our industry lost a wonderful caring man who so loved broadcasting. I for one am devastated. May God bless Claude Hall’s soul.” Others noting Hall’s passing included Dan O’Day, who admits, “I don’t have the words to express my sadness as well as my gratitude to Claude” and Anita Bonita emphasizing, “Rest in peace, sir – you absolutely made a difference.” Clark Smidt succinctly described Hall as, “The Master.” Talkers publisher Michael Harrison recalls, “There was once a time when Claude Hall was the major source of all information pertaining to the radio industry. He is the founding father of the style of radio trade publishing that has set the tone of this business for the past five decades. I am lucky to have known him and remember what a thrill it was to appear in his columns back when I was a young PD in my 20s. His love of radio and contributions to this industry are incalculable – he’s number one with a bullet.” In February 2016, Hall wrote his own obituary and accidentally sent it to all his friends. His son – Andrew Clark Hall – shares that obit, complete with empty blanks. “Claude Hall, who was born in Brady, Texas and attended high school in nearby Winters, died of heart complications _(day)_____ at his home in Las Vegas. He was (age). The highlight of his career was 14 years with Billboard Magazine. Although he covered the news in music and radio, he was mostly known for a column called ‘Vox Jox,’ that was widely read in the United States and Canada and translated and read throughout Brazil. It was even read behind the then Iron Curtain and on islands in the South Pacific. Hall entered the University of Texas shortly after being discharged from the U.S. Army. He had served in Germany shortly after World War II. He graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism degree in 1958. His first newspaper job was with the El Paso Herald-Post, but he quit after a few months and hitchhiked to New York City. He spent two years on a trade magazine, American Druggist, published by Hearst, then two years with Cavalier, then a man’s adventure magazine published by Fawcett. Married and with a young son, he and his wife Barbara (she’d worked for Dr. Joyce Brothers at NBC) spent two years in New Orleans. He worked on the Times-Picayune, then considered one of America’s finest newspapers, and his wife finished up her master’s degree from Columbia University. Later, he landed a position with Billboard in New York where he was named radio-TV editor and spent the next 14 years. He also created and organized the International Radio Programming Forum for 10 years. After Billboard, he earned a master’s degree in education at a small Christian university in Oklahoma while serving as the school’s director of public relations. With his degree, he joined the State University of New York at Brockport as a journalism and public relations professor where he taught the next eight years before retiring. He has since authored more than two dozen novels. He and Barbara also wrote This Business of Radio Programming, considered by many to be the best book on radio programming ever written and once adopted as a textbook by 22 major universities. His books are available via Amazon Kindle Books. He leaves a wife and sons John, Darryl, and Andy. Two brothers and a sister previously passed on.”

Matt Patrick: Update. It was just last Friday (7/7) that we reported that KTRH, Houston morning drive personality Matt Patrick (real name Michael Ryan) had announced to his audience that he was ending treatment for an aggressive case of esophageal cancer. Sadly, after that two-year battle, Patrick passed away yesterday (Sunday, 7/9) in Katy, Texas; he was 58 years old. This news coincides with his six-year anniversary at the iHeartMedia news/talk station. Patrick was diagnosed with Stage IV mucosal melanoma on September 11, 2015. The Cleveland-born broadcaster earned a degree in psychology from John Carroll University and was a two-time Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame inductee. Prior to KTRH, he worked for almost 30 years at WKDD, Akron, followed by stints at WLW, Cincinnati and WTAM, Cleveland. Rubber City Radio Group vice president/director of operations Sue Wilson Cordle declares, “Matt was the voice of Akron. He woke us up for so many years as morning show host at WKDD. I was honored to work with him when we first changed WKDD from mellow rock to top 40. He was originally on middays in 1981, and then quickly moved to mornings where he remained for three decades. He will be missed so much. Thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and all who mourn his passing.” He is survived by (among others) his wife of 15 years, Paula; their son Jake; daughters Alexandra Ryan and Alanna Ryan; mother Marie; step-father John Drummond; and sisters Maureen Shell and Colleen Ryan Neubauer. A memorial service will be held in Houston, followed by a private family service and burial in Ohio.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/10) with Vince Benedetto, Ron Hartenbaum and Karen Hunter.  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day.  Already posted are the “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein); the special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor  Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo); the special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard); the special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell); and the first in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” beginning with a conversation between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan Bearman (facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter).   Today (7/10), the second in that series has been posted featuring Bold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto in conversation with DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum.  Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year.  The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone NetworksBroadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

Scully to Receive ESPY Icon Award. After having spent the past 67 seasons as the play-by-play voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the legendary Vin Scully called it quits when the 2016 season ended. Scully will be presented with the Icon Award at The 25th ESPYS. The honor is given to individuals whose careers have left a lasting impression on the sports world; actor Bryan Cranston will make the presentation to Scully. Easily one of the country’s best-known broadcasters, Scully started with the Dodgers when the franchise was located in Brooklyn. His career with the team marks the longest tenure of any broadcast with a single professional sports organization. Hosted by Peyton Manning, The ESPYS will be televised on ABC-TV this Wednesday (7/12) from Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater.

Confer Radio Talent Institute Begins Today. This is the fourth annual such “institute” at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Today’s headliner (Monday, 7/10) is Cumulus Media and Westwood One chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard. Handling the closing session in ten days will be Forever Media Group partner Kerby Confer, who comments, “We want to make a difference; to give back; and give this next generation a good firm foundation in how radio, television, and the internet work. We are going to birth a whole new generation of radio people.” National Radio Talent System founder/president Dan Vallie remarks, “This is the radio talent farm that we in the industry have always said we needed. It is true today more than ever.” Those in charge of leading sessions come from entities that include Beasley Media Group, CBS Radio, Cumulus, Entercom, Forever Media Group, iHeartMedia, and Seven Mountains Media. Various aspects of the medium will be addressed from sales to on-air; sports; news; production; promotions; digital; social media; and engineering. Students with a desire and drive to be in radio were accepted from nine different universities including Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Ohio University, Pennsylvania State University, Robert Morris University, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, Susquehanna University, and Temple University.

Haze Adds KMYI PD Duties. Effective immediately, KMYI “Star 94.1,” San Diego afternoon drive host Joe Haze is elevated to program director of the iHeartMedia hot AC. In addition to his new assignment, Haze will continue programming co-owned mainstream CHR KHTS “Channel 93.3.” Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s San Diego-Riverside region Rob Scorpio notes, “Haze has been instrumental in the success of ‘Channel 93.3’ since its inception. His passion for CHR and hot AC, along with his knowledge and experience, make him the ideal choice to continue [KMYI’s] dominance in the San Diego market.” Haze – who will carry on in PM drive on “Star 94.1” – comments, “I am very grateful to have the opportunity to program two powerful, iconic brands like ‘Star 94.1’ and ‘Channel 93.3.’ To be able to further my career in a market like San Diego is amazing.” Haze previously did nights at ‘Channel 93.3’ and he has worked in Phoenix (KZZP) and Jacksonville (WAPE and WJBT).

Steele Sets Sights on Washington. At a Houston press conference, author, lecturer and a member of the Texas Radio Hall of FameDayna Steele – has announced her candidacy for the congressional seat in Texas’ 36th district. She received an on-stage endorsement from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Joan Jett, who wore a “Dayna Steele For Congress” tee-shirt. “Joan did a very brave thing for me,” remarks Steele. “People with the courage to speak out are what inspired me to [seek this] office in the first place.” The former KLOL, Houston on-air talent and Seabrook, Texas resident will run as an independent Democrat. Steele is the author/publisher of the “101 Ways to Rock Your World” series and other books including: “LinkedIn: 101 Ways To Rock Your Personal Brand”; “101 Ways to Rock Your World: Everyday Activities for Success Every Day”; “Rock to the Top: What I Learned About Success from the World’s Greatest Rock Stars”; “Surviving Alzheimer’s with Friends, Facebook, and a Really Big Glass of Wine”; “Havana: 101 Ways to Rock Your World in Cuba”; “Welcome to College: 101 Ways to Rock Your World”: “In the Classroom: 101 Ways to Rock Your World for Teachers”; and “On the Golf Course: 101 Ways to Rock Your World.”

KSSX On-Air Lineup Adjusted. Starting today (7/11), iHeartMedia San Diego rhythmic CHR KSSX “Jam’n 95.7” music director/afternoon drive talent Frankie V moves to mornings, where he’ll team with current AM drive co-host Tati Pelegreen, while morning co-host Pablo Sato segues to afternoons. Meanwhile, Nina Chantele – who does afternoons on co-owned Los Angeles urban contemporary KRRL “Real 92.3” – adds a daily mid-day assignment on KSSX; Beto Perez will do night duty on “Jam’n.” According to iHeartMedia San Diego-Riverside vice president of programming Rob Scorpio, “In the last year, ‘Jam’n 95.7’ has experienced significant growth. With Frankie V and Tati in mornings; Nina in middays; and Pablo in afternoons, we expect to take over the market.” Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s May 2017 PPM, KSSX ranks #14, registering a 3.1 for the third time in the last four sweeps.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Recently diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, “Country Countdown USA” host Lon Helton is resting at home ….. As of now, the event’s location is still a “top-secret,” but iHeartMedia Nashville CHR WRVW “107.5 The River” is sponsoring a Demi Lovato-hosted “House Party” this Wednesday (7/12) to celebrate the singer’s “Sorry Not Sorry” single due out tomorrow (7/11). Lovato has two billion combined total streams and a social media following of over 153 million ….. Formerly with Alpha Media Louisville urban contemporary WGBZ “B-96,” Lashonda “Tropikana” Hatch joins Radio One St. Louis’ similarly-formatted WHHL “Hot 104.1” as music director/afternoon drive talent. In addition, “Tropikana” will voice-track for Radio One-owned stations in Cincinnati (WIZF “The Wiz 101.1”); Cleveland (WENZ “Z-107.9”); and Columbus (WCKX “Power 107.5”). She did similar voice-track duties for LM Communications’ WBTF “107.9 The Beat,” Lexington (Kentucky) ….. Mainstream CHR KGOT, Anchorage (Alaska) afternoon personality McConnell “Man at Large” Adams adds Saturday and Sunday night responsibilities as “McConnell” on co-owned (iHeartMedia) Portland adult contemporary outlet KKCW “K-103.”

Adams Radio Acquires Four Tallahassee Stations. The quartet of Tallahassee outlets Adams Radio is buying from Red Hills Broadcasting includes CHR WHTF “Hot 104.9”; country WWOF “103.1 The Wolf”; classic rock WQTL “106.1 The Path”; and adult hits WANK “99.9 Hank FM.” Adams president/CEO Ron Stone comments, “We are thrilled to be the next steward of these amazing stations and even more excited about the future of the stations under [Red Hills Broadcasting president Hank Kestenbaum’s] continued management alongside Adams Radio. This cluster is another rare opportunity to join forces with a company that has been under the same ownership and management for two decades. These stations are a great complement to our existing markets and will no doubt bring many great ideas into the Adams Radio Family.” Kestenbaum notes, “I want to congratulate Ron Stone and his team at Adams Radio on buying four great Tallahassee radio stations. Every day I’m privileged to work with a dedicated and talented group of people at serving our community with entertaining live and local radio. I look forward to leading these stations and this team into a new era of success, service, and prosperity under Adam’s ownership.” Adams Radio also owns/operates clusters in Las Cruces, New Mexico; Fort Wayne, Indiana; suburban Chicago (Northwest Indiana); and Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland. Brokering the Adams Radio-Red Hills Broadcasting transaction was Bill Fanning of MVP Capital LLC.