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Thursday, September 9, 2021

| September 9, 2021

WOR-AM, New York Announces 9/11 Anniversary Broadcast. New York City news/talk WOR-AM will present a two-part, special broadcast to mark the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001 that “will aim to honor the victims of 9/11 and the courageous first responders that risked their lives following the attacks, as well as the resilience of New Yorkers.” Tomorrow (9/10), from 6:00 am to 10:00 am, a special edition of “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” will reflect on the events of that day with special guests including David Lim, a retired Port Authority police officer who was one of 16 officers to survive the collapse of the North Tower of the World Trade Center; Jed Bernstein, head of the Broadway League and an instrumental force in getting Broadway back up and running after the attacks; and John Feal, founder of the Feal Good Foundation and 9/11 first responders advocate. On Saturday (9/11), from 8:30 am to 10:00 am, WOR-AM news director Joe Bartlett will anchor live coverage of the memorial ceremonies at the World Trade Center. The show will also feature the entire 710 WOR-AM morning team that was on the air on September 11, 2001, including host Ed Walsh, iconic 710 WOR-AM traffic reporter George Meade, news reporter Mara Rubin, and morning show executive producer Natalie Vacca. Tom Cuddy is program director for the iHeartMedia station, and he says, “These two special programs are being quarterbacked by Joe Bartlett and Natalie Vacca, two long term members of the WOR programming team who were both working on our morning show on 9/11/01. Preparing for these broadcasts has been emotional and heartbreaking for our entire staff.”

Joe Pags Releases 9/11 Memorial Song, ‘Tuesday Morning.’ Nationally syndicated, San Antonio-based talk radio host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo has released a song he wrote, sang, and played saxophone on that commemorates September 11, 2001. Titled, “Tuesday Morning,” the song describes the daily routines most Americans were beginning on that morning before the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked and before a group of brave Americans helped down a jet in Shanksville, Pennsylvania before it could hit its target. You can listen to the song and watch the video here.

Art Vuolo Presents Updated Edition of New York City Radio’s Coverage of 9/11. Radio’s Best Friend Art Vuolo has posted a new, updated version of the video he originally produced in February of 2002. That edition of the video was just under 13 minutes. This re-edit is just shy of 20 minutes in remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. As Art notes, this is how the events of that morning were covered from a radio perspective. See the complete video here.

Newsmax to Present, “9/11: The Day That Shook the World.” This Friday evening (9/10), Newsmax will air its new documentary “9/11: The Day That Shook the World” at 9:00 pm ET. Newsmax commissioned the film with Fox Tail Productions. Award-winning filmmaker Jack Thomas Smith serves as one of the executive producers and the film was directed by Mandy Del Rio. It includes exclusive interviews with many of the key officials and players at Ground Zero that fateful day, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, former FDNY Commissioner Tom Von Essen, former New York Congressman Peter King, founder of the Guardian Angels Curtis Sliwa, Chairman of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation Frank Siller, and other guests who share their personal stories of loss, grief, and heroism.

Round One of August PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s August 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s August 2021 sweep covered July 22 – August 18. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. Audacy New York’s all-news station WCBS-AM rises two-tenths to a 2.7 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and is now the #13 ranked station in the market while sister WINS-AM dips one-tenth to a 2.6 share and falls to the #14 rank. In Los Angeles, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI is up one-tenth to a 4.1 share but falls to the #7 rank while Salem Media Group’s crosstown news/talk KRLA is up four-tenths for a 2.4 share finish and the #16 rank. Nexstar Media’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago rises three-tenths for a 3.4 share and is ranked #9 in the market while Audacy’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM loses a full share for a 5.7 finish and falls to the #2 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways here.

Pittsburgh-Based Talk Host Wendy Bell Launches Show in Self-Syndication. Former KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh talk radio host Wendy Bell, who also served in the past as a television news anchor for KDKA-TV, has begun broadcasting a daily, three-hour talk radio program that’s available via streaming and on the radio. She’s developed an app to listen to her program online and her program has been added to the lineup at Lightner Communications’ WRTA-AM/W253CJ, Altoona, Pennsylvania “Talk Radio 98.5” in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart.

Tim McCarthy to Exit WEPN-FM, New York as ESPN New York Operations Evolve. According to a piece by Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, Tim McCarthy will exit his general manager role at ESPN’s WEPN-FM, New York “98.7 ESPN New York” at the end of this month. McCarthy has been with ABC/Disney more than 30 years and previously served as manager for news/talk WABC when the company still owned it. This comes as Good Karma Brands is expected to assume operations of WEPN-FM and KSPN-AM, Los Angeles as ESPN looks to completely get out of the radio station operation business. Good Karma recently entered into an LMA to control sports talk WMVP-AM, Chicago. Emmis Communications owns the WEPN-FM signal and leases it to ESPN. McCarthy tells the Post that Disney has been very good to him over the years. “While it is bittersweet to say goodbye, I am excited and ready to begin a new chapter. The adventure continues! I am certain that our paths will cross again.”

Doug Stephan is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Long-time syndicated news/talk radio morning host, content producer and independent farmer Doug Stephan is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Stephan discuss the evolution of talk radio as well as the present-day factors that influence the way food is produced and distributed in America including climate change and the Chinese takeover of U.S. industrial assets. They also discuss the introduction of legal cannabis as an American agricultural product. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

G Networks Names Brian Pollina Director of Network Sales. National radio network G Networks announces Brian Pollina joins the company’s Ad Sales Team under Rich Baum, as a director of network sales. Pollina began his career with Audacy’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago and served with Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM before joining United Stations Radio Networks in 2008 as VP of digital assets and Midwest sales.  Baum says, “We are thrilled to bring someone of Brian’s talent on board to the G Networks team as we find new ways to dynamically reach audiences through our full-service portfolio of networks and syndicated shows. We are aware of the importance of creating engaging and compelling stories for our clients across various platforms, and Brian will be an integral part of that expansion as we strengthen and grow.”

Media Bridge Advertising Names Shannon Knoepke SVP of Marketing. Radio sales pro Shannon Knoepke joins Media Bridge Advertising as senior vice president of marketing. During her career, Knoepke has served as senior vice president and market manager for Audacy, as well as senior managerial experience at Townsquare Media, Cumulus Media and iHeartMedia. In this new role, Knoepke will serve on Media Bridge’s leadership team and her executive responsibilities will include helping Media Bridge’s clients plan the right strategies, achieve the most value and achieve the best results, as well as mentoring and developing talent within the agency. Media Bridge founder and CEO Tracy Call states, “I’ve always been blown away by Shannon’s intelligence, professionalism and integrity. She’s the perfect fit for Media Bridge on many levels. She’s also the latest proof that some of our best talent comes from other side of the media table. She knows what clients want. She knows what media companies can do. And she’s the best in the business as putting those two things together efficiently.”

Melissa Colon Named VP of Client Investments for Focus 360. Marketing pro Melissa Colon is joining Focus 360 as vice president of client investments. In her new role, she’ll represent Focus 360’s suite of products and national networks to agencies and clients across the country. She most recently served with Havas Media and has also worked for Westwood One. Focus 360 founder and CEO Phil Brown comments, “This is such an exciting moment for me and the entire Focus 360 team. We’ve worked with Melissa very closely for many years and have always been grateful for her unwavering support. To have her now join our team and help spread the word on Focus 360, speaks volumes to what we’ve been able to build for all companies who turn to radio for results.”

TALKERS News Notes. The NFL’s 2021 season begins tonight and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One begins its 35th consecutive year as the exclusive network radio partner of the league. Westwood One Sports will provide play-by-play coverage of the NFL’s 2021 national regular season primetime games including Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, and Sunday Night Football plus Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, the entire postseason, including the Wild Card and Divisional Playoffs, the AFC and NFC Conference Championship Games, the Pro Bowl, and Super Bowl LVI on February 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Kevin Harlan and NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner return as the lead broadcast crew…..iHeartMedia New York and media mogul Charlamagne Tha God partners with Mental Wealth Alliance to recognize World Mental Health Day by hosting the Mental Wealth Expo, a free and open to the public event taking place on October 10, 2021, at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, New York City. Attendees will hear from experts on everything mental health, with curated panels on racial trauma and mental health, Black men’s mental health, Black women’s mental health and the role religion and spiritualty play in our mental wellness…..CNN Audio presents the first episode of season one of “Total Recall: California’s Political Circus with Dana Bash.” The first episode is titled, “Welcome to the Circus.” CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash takes listeners back to the origins of the 2003 California recall and talks with Arnold Schwarzenegger and the man he beat, Gray Davis, to learn why this election became such a circus.

COVID-19/Biden Speech, Afghanistan, Democrats’ $3.5 Trillion Reconciliation Plan, Texas Abortion Law, Justice for J6 Rally, Newsom Recall, and Jamie Spears Files to End Conservatorship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/8). The high rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the battle over mask & vaccine mandates, and President Joe Biden’s planned speech to address the situation; the announced release of Americans in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s return to iron-fisted rule; the debate over the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation plan that expands the social safety net; the blowback from the passage of Texas’ restrictive abortion law; public safety concerns about the planned September 18 “Justice for J6” rally in Washington, DC; the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom; and Britney Spears’ father Jamie files to end his conservatorship were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

| April 7, 2021

Gordon Smith to Leave NAB Leadership Role at Year’s End. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that president and CEO Gordon H. Smith will leave his position and transition to an advisory and advocacy role effective December 31, 2021. NAB’s chief operating officer Curtis LeGeyt will become the next president and CEO of NAB effective January 1, 2022. In a video message to members, Smith said, “It has been my great honor to give the lion’s roar for broadcasters – those who run into the storm, those who stand firm in chaos to hear the voice of the people, those who hold to account the powerful – and to stand with those of the fourth estate who have the hearts of public servants.” Smith joined NAB as president and CEO in November 2009. Previously, he served as a two-term U.S. senator from Oregon and later as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP. NAB joint board of directors chairman Jordan Wertlieb (president of Hearst Television) thanked Smith for his service to the industry. “Gordon is the ultimate statesman, bringing people together from both sides of the aisle to discuss ideas, find common ground and lead NAB to success on countless fronts. On behalf of the leadership of NAB, we extend our sincere gratitude for more than a decade of service to the broadcast industry. We look forward to continuing to work with Gordon and benefiting from his guidance for years to come. I am also delighted to share that NAB is in the enviable position of having cultivated top talent within the organization to provide for a smooth and stable transition in leadership. Curtis LeGeyt has the utmost confidence of the NAB leadership and staff to lead our association into the future.” LeGeyt has been with NAB for nearly a decade, during which time he led several highly successful legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of broadcasters, including the permanent reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR), inclusion of $1 billion in RAY BAUM’s Act to reimburse stations impacted by the spectrum auction repack, and successful passage of the Music Modernization Act. Prior to assuming his current role as chief operating officer, LeGeyt served for five years as NAB’s executive vice president, Government Relations. Before joining NAB, LeGeyt was senior counsel to then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (VT). He says, “I am honored and humbled to be named the next leader of this great organization. To represent the broadcast industry and the local stations that bind our communities together in a moment of such tremendous change across the media landscape is a privilege. Our stations’ role in communities across this country has never been more important, and I look forward to working every day to ensure their ability to grow and thrive.”

SCOTUS Declines to Hear Alex Jones Appeal. According to numerous media reports, including this one from NBC News, the U.S. Supreme Court will not hear the appeal requested by radio and internet personality Alex Jones of his sanction by a Connecticut court. Jones was sanctioned in 2019 for what he said on his radio show about an attorney for the relatives of the victims of the Newtown massacre and for violating numerous court orders to turn over documents to the families’ lawyers. Judge Barbara Bellis also barred Jones from filing a motion to dismiss the case and added she would order Jones to pay some of the families’ legal fees. Jones argued that his words were the exercising of his First Amendment rights. Jones is being sued by some of the families who lost loved ones in the shooting after Jones claimed that the shootings were a hoax and who consequently suffered harassment and threats from Jones’ fans. Jones earned the sanction after claiming on his radio show that an attorney for the families tried to plant child porn on his computer by sending it in encrypted email files. In Connecticut, that state’s Supreme Court ruled that sanctions were proper because Jones’ words were an “imminent and likely threat to the administration of justice.”

WHCU, Ithaca Adds SRN’s Dennis Prager to Early Afternoon Daypart. Ithaca, New York news/talk WHCU is adding Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager show to the lineup in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Joe Salzone is news director at the Saga Communications station, and he says, “We polled our listeners on a Rush Limbaugh replacement show over the past month and Prager was their top choice. While they know that Rush’s show was great, they also understand that radio is best as a live, topical medium and that running repeats of Rush segments was not what they ultimately wanted to listen to.” WHCU operations manager Chris Allinger adds, “Dennis will be a good fit for WHCU. He is intelligent, educated, and will bring those assets to the regional airwaves. Replacing a legend like Rush is not easy, but Dennis has been successfully doing his nationally syndicated weekday show in the exact same time period for over 20 years, so his track record is already proven.”

Todd Starnes Show Joins WMLB, Atlanta. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” is joining the program lineup on WMLB, Atlanta “Freedom 1690” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. The station is owned by Delmarva Educational Association but is being operated under an LMA by the Virginia-based John Fredericks Radio Network that owns conservative talk duo WJFN-AM/FM in the Richmond, Virginia market. John Fredericks says, “Now more than ever, as Leftist elites continue their unprecedented power grab and assault on Christians, Todd stands at the beachhead of defending people of faith everywhere.”

Nielsen: Consumer Sentiment About COVID-19 Recovery Improving. According to a new study by Nielsen that addresses American consumer sentiment about COVID-19 and media usage, people 18 and older are showing “increased confidence with respect to consumer behavior.” Nielsen says the survey looked at three segments reflecting attitudes about the pandemic. People who are “Ready to Go,” those who “Proceed with Caution,” and consumers who “Wait and See” when it comes to resuming normal behavior. The “Ready to Go” segment peaked at 61% in the March 2021 survey compared with 34% in April 2020. The more pessimistic group of Wait and See consumers dropped to 9% in March 2021 compared with 29% a year ago. Other key consumer sentiments include: 82% now say that stores that were closed have started to open again compared with only 40% in April of last year; 64% agree that it is safer than it was a month ago, compared to 38% in April 2020; and 72% agree that their town is starting to emerge from the crisis versus 44% a year ago. The study showed that heavy radio listeners are more likely to make big-ticket purchases within a year. Heavy radio listeners are 18% more likely to purchase or lease a new or used vehicle in the next year, and 64% are more likely to buy a house in the next twelve months, compared to total adults. Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly comments, “As Americans continue to navigate the pandemic, the future looks promising. Consumers are becoming more optimistic and resuming more normal activities, especially heavy radio listeners. AM/FM listeners are more likely to be out and about and spending more time in their vehicles.” You can see more in a Nielsen webinar here.

‘The Biz Tape’ Launches on Nashville Podcast Network. The Bobby Bones-led Nashville Podcast Network is launching a new program called “The Biztape” hosted by Colin McKay and Joe Wasilewski. “The Biztape,” formerly known as “That’s Showbiz Baby,” is a weekly podcast covering all things music business and media. Hosts McKay and Wasilewski are music industry professionals who provide insight into the business and technical side of these closed-curtain industries. McKay and Wasilewski say, “We searched for a long time to find a podcast that discussed the music business from the business side. We wanted more advice and more depth than just ‘work hard.’ We decided to fill the void by creating ‘The Biztape’ so we could get as nerdy as we always wanted to with it. Thankfully, with the help of Bobby Bones and the Nashville Podcast Network, we have the opportunity to continue that dream and we can’t wait to start creating with such a passionate and unique brand.”

iHeartMedia Debuts New Podcast ‘In Fact with Chelsea Clinton.’ A new iHeartRadio Original Podcast is being launched titled “In Fact with Chelsea Clinton” and hosted by the former First Daughter and public health expert. The podcast joins the iHeartPodcast Network that is already home to “You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton” and “Why Am I Telling You This? with Bill Clinton.” iHeartMedia says, “‘In Fact with Chelsea Clinton’ will pull back the curtain on some of the biggest public health challenges of our time. Each week on the podcast, Clinton — who holds a doctorate in international relations, a masters in public health, and teaches at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health — will sit down with experts, activists, and an assortment of surprising guests who share her passion for science, evidence and, of course, facts.” In the podcast’s debut episode, Clinton sits down with Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, who has been a vocal advocate for people with HIV/AIDS since publicly sharing his own HIV-positive status in 2019; activist Peter Staley; and Dr. Oni Blackstock, an HIV physician and health equity advocate, to explore the trajectory of HIV/AIDS from the early days of activism through modern day.”

New Kelly Osbourne and Jeff Beacher Show to Launch on PodcastOne. A new, eponymous podcast starring Kelly Osbourne and Jeff Beacher is debuting on PodcastOne in which Osbourne and Beacher will create a live theater experience and feature their dynamic and outrageous personalities and uncensored conversations with a diverse list of celebrity guests and famous friends. They will discuss everything from the latest current events to fitness, weight-loss, fame, stories of inspiration and beyond. Osbourne and Beacher will be joined by regular co-host Donny Davis, original star of “Beacher’s Madhouse” and one of the most well-known activists for little people. The podcast will record and film from the penthouse of the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – former home to “Beacher’s Madhouse” theatre. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Kelly and Jeff together are a showstopping dynamic. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome them to PodcastOne and know that their show will be destination programming for podcast audiences.”

‘104.5 The Team’ in Albany Names Dan Bahl Brand Manager. Two months after previous brand manager and on-air host Tom Gozlowski was let go from the station, Townsquare Media’s WTMM-FM, Albany “104.5 The Team” announces that Dan Bahl joins as the new brand manager and afternoon drive co-host. Bahl partners with incumbent air personality Jeff Levack on the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. Bahl has been operating his own sports website and podcast network. He says, “I am extremely honored and excited to join ‘104.5 The Team’ and the Townsquare Media family. I am really looking forward to having great debates and conversations with Jeff Levack and the ‘104.5 The Team’ listeners, as well as strengthening the brand on-air, online, and across social media.” Townsquare Media director of content Matty Jeff comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Dan to the Townsquare Media local team here in Albany. Dan’s leadership, acumen across all platforms, and passion for sports will broaden the reach of the great local on-air and digital content we create daily on ‘104.5 The Team.’”

COVID-19, Voting Legislation/McConnell Threat, Matt Gaetz Investigation, Biden Infrastructure Plan, Border Crisis, Derek Chauvin Trial, and China Military Exercises Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/6). The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; Georgia’s vote restriction law, the Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill, and Mitch McConnell’s threats to businesses that protest Georgia’s law; allegations U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz had relationships with underage girls; the battle in Washington over President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan; the large number of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; and China’s military exercises near Taiwan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

| September 10, 2020

Backbone Serving Broadcasters in Work-from-Home Era. The COVID-19 pandemic forced a lot of broadcasters to work from home beginning in the spring and many still are. Radio engineering departments scrambled to get equipment into the homes of hosts who required it. But Backbone has been busy providing high-quality audio connection to a number of broadcasters and educational institutions with its equipment-free service. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian talks with Backbone founder, president and CEO Richard Cerny in a piece that illustrates how the Backbone technology is being used. He tells TALKERS, “This is sort of the only way you can really revamp a station without having to buy all new equipment. Other than the tower and tower building, there is no brick and mortar here. Your bedroom is ‘the studio.’ You can have local hosts on the LUCIE (the pre-codex) that goes into New York. A producer working out of his house takes all the inputs; adds commercials; puts it back into the cloud; and [the final product] goes out to the tower. At the same time, it streams and makes podcasts – all of this stuff is automated. Unless you want to make edits, you just push a button to launch and publish a podcast wherever you want to send it.” Read the entire story here.

PPM Analysis: All-News. According to data from Nielsen Audio’s monthly PPM surveys, listening to news radio shot up in March when the COVID-19 pandemic hit American shores and although the 6+ AQH shares for news stations has bounced around a bit since March, 75% of all-news stations had higher AQH shares during the August 2020 survey than they did during the August 2019 survey. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian analyzes the format in today’s report. Comparing July 2020 and August 2020 data, exactly half of the news stations in PPM markets were down (6+ weekly AQH) and half were up. Looking at 6+ cume, although half of the news outlets were up during the August 2020 survey compared to the July 2020 survey, the average spike in cume was 67,244 while the average dip in cume was just 14,500. Check out Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

iHeartMedia to Acquire WWRL, New York; Black Information Network to Air on Station. As it continues to expand the reach of its newly created BIN: Black Information Network, iHeartMedia announces that the 24/7 comprehensive national audio news service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate, and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective will be heard on New York City’s WWRL-AM, effective November 2. That is when iHM begins operating the station under an LMA. The company has also entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement with current owner NJ Broadcasting LLC.  BIN: Black Information Network president Tony Coles says, “We are excited to welcome WWRL AM as the newest member of the Black Information Network family. This station has a long history of service in New York City, and in the ‘60s was an important voice for change for the Black community. At BIN, we are proud to continue that legacy, and to once again make AM 1600 a trusted source for the news and information that impacts Black New Yorkers.” The station is currently airing “Radio Mirchi,” a Hindi format operated by Entertainment Network Limited.

Radio America to Syndicate ‘The Best of Ricochet.’ A new, one-hour weekly program is being syndicated by Radio America beginning Saturday, September 19. Radio America says “The Best of Ricochet” is a “fast-paced digest of the Ricochet Audio Network’s bright and informative podcast streams. No orthodoxy, no party-line rants – we have a multitude of smart, engaging, iconoclastic thinkers who span the center-right spectrum. You’ll find college law professors, moms, libertarians, pop-culture addicts, vets, and the occasional note from the road from a truck driver.” The program is hosted by James Lileks, the longtime co-host of the “Ricochet Podcast” (alongside Peter Robinson and Rob Long), the author of several books (including the now legendary Gallery of Regrettable Food) and has been the sole contributor to lileks.com since 1997. He’s a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

45th Gracies Awards Streams Tonight. The Alliance for Women in Media are reminding the industry that this year’s 45th Anniversary Gracies Awards is being streamed live on the AWMF Facebook page at 7:00 pm ET. This year’s program is being hosted by “This Is Us” star Susan Kelechi Watson and supports the AWMF’s many educational programs, charitable activities, public service, and scholarship campaigns that benefit women in media. The evening will include Malin Akerman, Sanjay Gupta, Angélica Vale, Cassie DiLaura, and more as presenters, and will honor such luminaries as Katy Perry, Danai Gurira, Michelle Williams, Gayle King, among many others.

TALKERS News Notes. The National Association of Broadcasters announces it is moving the NAB Show scheduled for April 11-14, 2021 to October 9-13, 2021 in Las Vegas. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says in making the announcement, “With a new date set for the 2021 NAB Show we are looking at the entirety of the calendar next year with fresh eyes. We plan to continue bringing the industry together in a number of ways. In the short-term, we are excited about the online events planned for next month – the Radio Show (October 5–9) and NAB’s Sales and Management Television Exchange (October 14–15). These signature events, combined with our virtual NAB Show New York (October 19–29), offer dynamic content and engagement opportunities all month long to bring the industry together to restart, reengage and refocus.”…..The American Uncensored News Network announces it is actively seeking conservative radio and television shows for its AUN-TV network, “The Uncensored News Network.” AUN-TV says its mission is to create “uncensored” news, talk, and documentary programming from independent media and grassroots production. Content is distributed via its AUN-TV Network and its sister website www.aun-tv.com. At the same time, AUN-TV founder Dana Allen announces that Rick Trader – producer and host of the “Conservative Commandos Radio Show” – is named president and CEO of AUN Network…..NPR and a group of 12 public radio stations across the country announce they are launching the first localized daily news podcast, one that blends national stories and local reporting. The podcast is titled, “Consider This,” and NPR senior director for on-demand programming Neal Carruth comments, “This project is truly the best reflection of the public radio mission. ‘Consider This’ is now a collaborative podcast that will know where users are and deliver them the news of the day from their community and beyond. It demonstrates what only the public radio network has the ability to do.” Participating stations include: WGBH and WBUR in Boston; WNYC, New York; WHYY, Philadelphia; WAMU, Washington, DC; WBEZ, Chicago; WMPR, Minneapolis; KERA, Dallas; KPCC and KCRW, Los Angeles; KQED, San Francisco; and KOPB, Portland…..Cadence13 – part of Entercom’s Podcast Network – and actor/comedian Will Arnett are partnering to produce “The Journey is Now,” a new weekly podcast in which Arnett explores “human perspective, growth, and awareness.” Arnett will be joined on each episode by a well-known guest for a deep-dive into their story, struggles, regrets, and the obstacles they’ve overcome…..Pictured below is Salem Radio Network News White House correspondent Greg Clugston (right) conducting and exclusive one-on-one interview with Vice President Mike Pence (left). Clugston flew from D.C. to Pennsylvania with the vice president on Air Force 2 yesterday (9/9), then joined his bus tour across the region that included stops at a pro-life gathering, as well as an address to energy industry employees at PennEnergy Resources, LLC in Freedom, Pennsylvania.

ViacomCBS and iHeartMedia Enter into Podcast Deal. This three-year deal between ViacomCBS’ Entertainment & Youth Group and iHeartMedia calls for iHM to “create dozens of original podcasts, both new and those that leverage iconic intellectual property and extend powerhouse franchises from the biggest and most beloved brands.” Those brands include: MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, Smithsonian Channel, Pop TV, CMT, VH1, TV Land and Logo. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “These are some of the most iconic brands in the world. First and foremost – as fans of these brands – we wanted to see them have a really strong presence in podcasting. So our plan is simple: We will swing all of our resources behind these incredible brands – with support from our production teams, our huge distribution and marketing muscle, and the biggest and best audio sales team in the country – to make sure they get the audience they deserve in this incredible new medium.”

IBA Partners with AdLarge for Network Ad Sales. The Independent Broadcasters Association enters into a network radio ad sales partnership with AdLarge Media to create two new independent radio station networks. The IBA says its board approved the membership offering on August 17 and says, “The membership fee is designed so that every radio station can afford to participate and benefit from all the deliverables underway. The cost of membership is $100 per station annually plus one :60 unit of advertising per week, Monday – Friday 6a-7p.”  AdLarge co-founder and co-CEO Gary Schonfeld comments, “We are thrilled to work with Ron and the independent radio stations across the country that are joining the IBA. This partnership comes at a most opportune time, giving independent radio groups and stations more power and prominence in network radio advertising. Ron’s [Stone] industry leadership in creating the IBA will help thousands of radio stations nationwide generate additional revenue and we are honored to be a part of it.”

Bob Woodward’s Rage Book, the Presidential Election/Vote-By-Mail, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, California Wildfires, Kansas City Chiefs’ Fan Rules Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/9). The audio of tape of Bob Woodward’s interview with President Trump for his book Rage that reveals the president purposely downplayed the COVID-19 threat; the November presidential election and the controversy over voting by mail and the challenges facing the USPS; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and projections for future cases; the state of the California wildfires; and the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs ban Native American garb at games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rock radio pro Steve Dent joins Cumulus Media as morning drive personality for alternative WNDX, Indianapolis “93.9X.” Dent was most recently with iHeartMedia’s Dayton cluster as program director for alternative WZDA and classic rock WTUE. WNDX program director Steven Lewis says, “‘93.9X’ has continued to grow and establish its brand since it launched last May. Steve Dent brings years of experience in the format, a passion for the music, strong on-air skills, and the tools to take mornings to the next level. I couldn’t be happier to have him on the station and part of our Cumulus Rock family.”…..Beasley Media Group promotes Dawn Santolucito to assistant program director and marketing director for WKLB-FM, Boston “Country 102.5.” She has been serving as music director and marketing director at the station since August 2017. She says, “‘Country 102.5’ is a special station, near and dear to my heart. I am excited to take on this new role and I am looking forward to all the things our incredible team will accomplish together.” At the same time, Jim Clerkin rises to music director and producer for the “Jonathan Weir and Ayla Brown Morning Show.”…..In Chicago, iHeartMedia gets FCC approval to change the call letters of country-turned-rock WEBG-FM to WCHI-FM.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

| July 2, 2019

Mapleton Communications Sells 37 Stations in Seven Markets to Stephens Media Group. This is an exit from the radio business for California-based, Jim Shea-led Mapleton Communications.  The price for the 37 stations in Medford, Oregon; Merced, Monterey, and Redding, California; Spokane, Washington; and Alexandria and Monroe, Louisiana was not revealed in the press release.  But, with Mapleton previously agreeing to sell KSFN-AM, San Francisco and its Chico, California stations to Bustos Media, it will have divested of all of its radio assets.  The buyer in this transaction is Oklahoma-based Stephens Media Group, led by David Stephens.  Stephens begins operating the stations immediately under an LMA.  Stephens Media owns stations in Tulsa and Ardmore, Oklahoma; Watertown, Ogdensburg, Massena, and Rochester, New York; and Yakima and the Tri-Cities in Washington.  Several news/talk and sports talk stations are involved, including KYOS-AM, Merced; KQMS-FM and KNRO-AM in Redding; KCMX-AM in Medford; and KGA-AM in Spokane. You can see Mapleton’s stations here. KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

KMOX Promotes Amy Marxkors to Daily On-Air Role. Effective immediately, Amy Marxkors begins a regular on-air role with Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis joining station institution Charlie Brennan as a co-host of the “Total Information AM Overdrive” Mondays through Thursdays from 8:30 am to 9:00 am and will stay on the air for “The Charlie Brennan Show” from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Marxkors joined the station in 2018 as a sports reporter and host.  Prior to joining Entercom, she served as co-host of the St. Louis Blues weekly hockey show “Chili’s Week in Hockey” in 2016, that aired on KMOX.  She joined the Blues radio broadcast in 2017 and became the first woman to host the pre- and post-game of a radio broadcast for any St. Louis professional sports team in February 2019.  Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “Amy is a rising star in radio and has shown tremendous growth on air while covering everything from the Blues Stanley Cup run to discussing local and national issues during our long-form talk shows.  She has a very bright future and I’m looking forward to the impact she can make on KMOX.”  In addition to her role on the morning show, Marxkors will continue to cover the St. Louis Blues and the National Hockey League by hosting a weekly hockey podcast.

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continues Posting Today with Lee Habeeb of “Our American Stories” Delivering Official Welcoming Address.  TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story.  Today’s post presents the convention’s official opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by one of the industry’s great storytellers, Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the tremendously successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories.” The first two videos already posted today are of RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

News and News/Talk Radio Analysis. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an assessment of “the temperature of spoken-word stations as a complete entity in all 48 PPM-markets.”  Formats involved in this report are news/talk, all-news (including business or financial news), and public radio news/talk.  As this report is based on Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys, the rating metric is weekly, 6+ AQH share from subscribing stations.  Looking at the May PPM survey, the #1 market for news and news/talk is Washington, DC.  On the strength of Hubbard’s all-news WTOP-FM, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, and American University’s public radio news/talk WAMU-FM, the format garnered a 22.7 share in May.  Rounding out the top three markets are Milwaukee and San Francisco.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. Sources in Philadelphia tell TALKERS magazine that news/talk WPHT program director Jared Hart has exited Entercom.  We’ve reached out to Entercom Philadelphia for confirmation but have not yet heard back…..In addition to his work as a nationally syndicated talk show host for the Salem Radio Network, Hugh Hewitt also serves as president of the Richard Nixon Foundation.  In that capacity, he announces two coming events being held at the library in Yorba Linda, California centered around the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing in 1969.  On July 20, the “Earth to Moon: The Longest Distance Phone Call in History” celebration will commemorate Nixon’s call to the Apollo 11 astronauts on the surface of the moon.  Nixon White House officials Dwight Chapin, Larry Higby, and John Price – who were with Nixon the night he made the historic call will be in attendance.  Then, on July 23, the library will present the “Splashdown Celebration” with Dr. Buzz Aldrin to honor the legendary Apollo moonwalker…..ESPN’s annual ESPYS Auction benefiting the V Foundation for Cancer Research is again teaming up with eBay for Charity for its 15th year.  Bidding for the 80-plus VIP packages and experiences is now available on eBay and will remain open through July 10.  Senior vice president of ESPN Audio Traug Keller says, “Everyone at ESPN Radio is beyond proud to have played a role in raising funds for cancer research with the ESPYS Auction the last 15 years.  Seeing the support from fans bidding on experiences or directly donating to the V Foundation is truly something unique and special.”…..The nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” program reports the addition of new affiliate station WSLW-AM/FM in Lewisburg, West Virginia and the expansion of carriage of the show on existing affiliate KINN-AM/FM in Alamogordo, New Mexico…..The Houston Chronicle reports that longtime market radio news pro Charles L. “Chuck” Scott died on June 28 after complications from a fall and previously diagnosed lung cancer.  Scott most recently served with Houston Public Media’s KUHF-FM.  During his long career he worked in the news department KIKK-AM, KNUZ-AM, and KQUE-FM.  He also worked for a number of years in the late 1960s and early 1970s at WLS-AM, Chicago.

Simmons Takes Over for Ryan at Salem Boston. At Salem Media Group’s three-station Boston cluster, Pat Ryan retires as general manager and general sales manager Carole Howley Simmons is promoted to the GM position. Salem operates three Christian stations in the market – WROL-AM, WEZE-AM, and WWDJ-AM.  Salem regional VP Jeff Reisman says,  “Throughout Carole’s tenure she has proven herself to be a creative and compassionate leader, skills that will serve her well as GM.  Carole brings a wealth of local-market knowledge and tenacity that will be instrumental in growing the Salem Boston radio stations/digital services to their full potential.”

Trump’s Meeting with Kim Jong Un, U.S. Tariffs Strategy, U.S.-China Trade Talks, 2020 Presidential Race, Immigration Reform-Detention Facilities, and Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1).  The meeting in the DMZ between President Trump and Kim Jong Un; the U.S.’s tariffs strategy, including proposed tariffs on European Union goods; President Trump and China’s Xi Jinping enter into trade talks; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the Trump Administration’s immigration reform efforts and controversial reports of conditions at border detention centers; and Iran’s violation of the nuclear deal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Classic call letters are returning to California’s Central Coast as Cumulus Media announces the launch of classic hits KRUZ. At the same time, the company announces that classic hip hop KVYB at 103.3 FM signs off in the Santa Barbara market and moves to the 106.3 FM frequency in the Oxnard market.  Cumulus Oxnard/Ventura RVP and market manager Sommer Frisk says, “Everything good takes time.  And, after more than a decade, it’s time we bring KRUZ 103.3 FM back to the Central Coast!  It’s also the right time to move ‘106.3 The Vibe’ to Oxnard to give the fans what they’ve been begging for.  With the combination of KRUZ 103.3’s powerful signal, along with the synergy of its legendary sister brand ‘106.3 The Vibe,’ we will provide new and exciting ways for our listeners and marketing partners to engage with the fans up and down the Central Coast.”…..Entercom names Brian Shannon morning show co-host for classic rock KGON.  Shannon joins Terry Boyd on “Terry Boyd’s World,” effective July 8.  Shannon says, “I am incredibly excited to be going home to radio and to be working alongside one of Portland’s best, Terry Boyd. Radio is my happy place and I’m planning to be a part of this station and this city for a long time.”  Prior to joining Entercom, Shannon was an editor and anchor for KROI, Houston “News 92 FM.”…..iHeartMedia re-brands country WCKY-FM, Toledo as “Buckeye Country, 103.7 ‘CKY.”  Market president Shosh Abromovich says, “We’re so excited to once again be playing some of country music’s greatest songs from the 80s and 90s through today.  You may even hear some older classic country from time-to-time.”  The Bobby Bones show remains in morning drive.  Bob Delmont and Bob Pickett will split middays.  Meaghan Mick continues in afternoon drive.  Tom Travis handles evenings and “CMT with Cody Allen” airs in the overnights…..Speaking of Bobby Bones, his Premiere Networks-syndicated “Country Top 30 with Bobby Bones” program is now airing on the Chris Stevens-owned “Chris Country” format heard in numerous markets in the UK.  Also joining “Chris Country” is “Women of iHeartCountry,” an hour-long weekend program hosted by Bones and Amy Brown.  Each week on the show, they spotlight music from both established female country music artists and promising up-and-comers…..Last weekend, Premiere Networks-syndicated personality Delilah welcomed more than 100 guests to her home outside Seattle for the fifth-annual “Farm to Table” fundraiser for her non-profit foundation Point Hope.  2019 marks Delilah’s 15-year commitment to Point Hope, an organization she established as a voice for forgotten children everywhere. The immediate focus of the Foundation is supporting children in the U.S. foster care system, as well as refugee children in Ghana.  Pictured below is Delilah (left) and four-time Grammy Award-nominated artist Chris Daughtry, who performed for the dinner guests.

Friday, February 2, 2018

| February 2, 2018

TALKERS Convention Early Bird Discount Ends Today!  DON’T MISS THE DISCOUNT!  The opportunity to attend the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important convention at a significantly reduced registration fee comes to an end today (Friday, February 2) at 5:00 pm ET.  Those registering before the deadline will save $50.  TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will take place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan.  The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age.  This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations.  It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals.  Like its predecessors, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day!  Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students.  Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person.  However, those registering before 5:00 pm ET TODAY pay only $279.  The convention is already well on its way to being an early sellout.  To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Tim Clarke Upped to VP of Audience and Content for Radio at Cox.  In this new role, Tim Clarke will “set the overarching content strategy for radio — programming, new content development, content distribution, audience growth and measurement” for Cox Media Group.  Clarke has been serving CMG as senior director of digital audience for radio.  The company says that “vice president of programming Steve Smith will continue in his critical role to oversee CMG format leaders and work directly on radio programming with radio stations and brand managers.”  Smith will report to Clarke in this new structure.  Clarke says, “It is an honor to take on these expanded responsibilities.  Cox is truly an incredible organization and I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I have been afforded throughout my 13-year career here.  This is an exciting, transformative time for the media business and Cox Media Group has the best radio brands and digital products in local media.”

Cumulus and Merlin Agree to Path Forward for WKQX and WLUP-FM in Chicago.  With stations operator Cumulus Media in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and unwilling to buy the two Chicago rock stations for the previously contracted price of $50 million, stations owner Merlin Media and Cumulus have agreed to the following new terms.  Cumulus will continue to operate the stations under the local marketing agreement but will not be bound to purchase the alternative and classic rock outlets.  Merlin will continue to present the stations to prospective buyers.  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “We’re pleased to reach this mutual agreement, which establishes a clear path forward for these stations and our employees in Chicago following months of negotiations with Merlin.  We continue to be interested in permanently acquiring these stations on economic terms that make sense for our business.  In the meantime, as we have for the past several years, Cumulus will continue to operate WKQX-FM and WLUP-FM while Merlin seeks a new owner.  Importantly, nothing is changing in the near-term.  It is business as usual for team members, advertisers and partners, and we look forward to achieving a favorable outcome for all parties involved.”  The new agreement with Merlin provides for an approximately three-month extension of the LMA with additional extensions thereafter, exercisable upon mutual agreement by Cumulus and Merlin.

Bankruptcy Judge Relieves Cumulus of Contract Responsibilities. Yesterday, Cumulus Media was in court for a hearing before bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman.  As you’re aware, the company asked the court to let it out of some 20 contracts that it deemed were untenable – including the Merlin deal in Chicago noted above.  Judge Chapman agrees to let Cumulus out of all the deals – the Chicago Bulls had already arranged to move their radio play-by-play from WLS-AM to Entercom’s crosstown WSCR – except a content distribution agreement that Westwood One has with CNBC.

Alpha Media Names Format Captains; Greg Martin to Lead News/Talk/Sports.  Nine format captains are named by Alpha Media, with news/talk KTSA and sports talk KZDC, San Antonio operations manager and content director Greg Martin appointed to lead the news/talk/sports formats.  Alpha has this to say about Martin: He’s “spent the better part of his career doing top 40 at great stations such as KKSS, Albuquerque; KHFI, Austin, KQKS, Denver; and KTFM, San Antonio.  Several years after returning to San Antonio in 1999 to do afternoons on KTFM, Greg eventually transitioned into operations and programming ‘News Talk 550’ KTSA and ‘ESPN San Antonio’ day-to-day.”  Speaking about the new roles, Alpha Media EVP of content Scott Mahalick says, “We are always proud to promote from within Alpha.  Our format captains have been carefully selected based on their experience, format expertise, reliability, and performance.  I look forward to seeing great success happen from this collaboration.”  Other format captain appointments are: rock/alternative/AAA – Kenny Vest; classic hits/oldies – Rick Hirschmann; country – Joe “MoJoe” Roberts; hot AC/AC – Leo Baldwin; CHR – Ben Davis; urban/urban AC/Gospel – Darrick “Brown” Williams; rhythmic/throwbacks – Mark “TicTak” Allen; and Spanish – Alfonso Flores.

Former All-News KQV, Pittsburgh Sold for $55,000.  Once upon a time, KQV, Pittsburgh was a big-time CHR station serving the market.  Later it morphed into an all-news station operated by the Dickey family’s Calvary Inc. (not the Atlanta Dickeys of Cumulus fame).  Just before the holidays, Calvary revealed that the news format was just too expensive to continue operating the station and that, after much soul-searching, it would be selling the heritage signal.  Now we learn that Bob Stevens – a principal of Broadcast Communications Inc. – is buying the station for $55,000.  This deal is a “limited asset purchase agreement” and Stevens will move the transmitter location for the station to the one occupied by his current property, WEDO, McKeesport, Pennsylvania.

PPM Analysis: Public News/TalkTALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this analysis of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2017 PPM survey, today focusing on public news/talk.   Given that the Holiday survey period takes place at a time of year that pulls people out of their usual listening habits, it’s not surprising that “only about one of every five stations on this public news/talk panel are up December 2017 – ‘Holiday’ 2017 (22%, 6+) while 72% are down; the remaining 6% of the sample is flat.”  However, comparing Holiday 2016 6+ ratings to Holiday 2017, “more than six of 10 stations from our eligible public news/talk sample are up year-to-year (64%); 26% are down; and the remaining 10% are unchanged from a year ago.”  No public news/talk station ranked #1 in its market during the Holiday survey, but four ranked #2: KQED, San Francisco (and in the nearby San Jose market; KUOW, Seattle; KPBS, San Diego; and KOPB, Portland.  See the whole report here.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly Tips FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade.  White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (right) poses for a pic with FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade (left) after appearing on Kilmeade’s radio show and telling his listeners that President Trump will release the secret FBI surveillance memo very soon.  Kilmeade Tweeted out this pic and the scoop from Kelly.

TALKERS News Notes. It’s the end of an era for New Orleans Saints fans as local radio play-by-play legend Jim Henderson, a.k.a. Hondo, is retiring from his booth duties after 31 years with Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM.  Entercom New Orleans market manager Chris Wegmann says, “Jim has been a beloved member of our team at WWL in New Orleans for many years.  He made a very complex job look easy and raised the bar for sportscasters everywhere.  I speak on behalf of the entire WWL family when I say we will miss Jim dearly, as will all New Orleans Saints fans across the Gulf South and throughout the country.  We wish him the absolute best on his next chapter.”…..The compensation committee of Cumulus Media agrees to extend the contract of EVP of corporate marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes.  She’ll also be getting a raise, effective July 3, bumping her annual salary to $650,000.  The new deal puts Grimes under contract with the company through July 2020.  As with most corporate executives, her contract also includes a bonus structure and the ability to earn stock options…..The talk radio show “Vegas Never Sleeps with Steven Maggi” is going national via the Biztalk Radio Network.  Maggi calls his show a “weekly romp to Las Vegas, the capital of fun, food and entertainment” that provides “a look behind the scenes of world-class hotels, dining, gaming, special events and conventions.”  Maggi began hosting the program in 2016 and he says the Sunday 11:00 am ET show is “the perfect addition for stations looking for a weekend program that brings the excitement and energy of Las Vegas to their market.”

Trump’s State of the Union Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 29-February 2.  This week’s State of the Union Address from President Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia investigation and whether the president will talk with special counsel Robert Mueller.  Coming in at #3 was the controversy over the potential release of the secret FBI surveillance memo, followed by the status of the Obama-era DACA act and the administration’s immigration policy at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Programmer Jason Carr joins the iHeartMedia Cleveland cluster to serve as program director for alternative “ALT 99.1 FM” (WMMS-HD2/W256BT) and assistant program director for rock WMMS.  iHeartMedia North Ohio Region president Keith Hotchkiss comments, “Jason Carr comes to Cleveland after spending 10-plus years programming and running stations in Florida.  I’m excited for him to head north, experience the Cleveland winter, contribute to the growth of ‘ALT 99.1 FM’ and further strengthen the brand of ‘100.7 WMMS.’”…..Entercom announces a branding tweak and air-talent changes on some of its San Diego stations.  First, alternative KBZT leaves behind the “FM 94/9” brand and is now “ALT 949.”  The air talent moves are reflected in the new lineups at adult contemporary KYXY and classic hits KXSN “Sunny 98.1.”  KYXY’s new schedule is: Susan DeVincent in mornings, Dorothy Tran in middays, Joe Rosati in afternoons and Sherry Knight for evenings.  At KXSN, AJ and Sara host mornings, Dave Mason is in middays, Gene Knight hosts afternoons and Brooks O’Brian is the night personality…..As reported first by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Entercom’s triple A WXRT, Chicago announces plans to drop the 43-year-old Sunday night “Jazz Transfusion” program hosted by Barry Winograd.  The show’s final edition will be this Sunday at 11:00 pm.