Field Answers USTN Lawsuit: “Ridiculous allegations.” As we reported last Monday (Talkers.com, 7/30), in a complaint filed in Harris County, Texas District Court, United States Traffic Network is suing Entercom for material and punitive damages “in excess of $5 million.” USTN alleges that Entercom entered into negotiations to buy the company and walked away from the deal at the last minute with the intent of developing a directly competitive business. Yesterday (Monday, 8/6), Entercom president/CEO David Field addressed the lawsuit in an internal memo. He writes, “The truth is we have acted in good faith and made every reasonable effort and then some to assist USTN in fixing their challenging issues.” Entercom released a statement including the following quote on the situation: “We are relieved to no longer be mired by the difficult USTN situation that was inherited as part of the CBS Radio merger. We will move quickly to augment our strong internal sales organization to ensure that we realize the full value of this inventory. With leading news brands like WINS, New York; KNX, Los Angeles; and WBBM, Chicago, Entercom has the industry’s most valuable traffic inventory. We are pleased to be in control of our own destiny as we pursue opportunities in this attractive market segment.” In response to the lawsuit, Field states, “Entercom believes it is entirely baseless, frivolous and frankly insulting. Entercom has worked tirelessly and constructively with USTN over the past six months to help USTN work through its significant financial issues. Entercom is owed substantial amounts of money by USTN, and the company intends to defend itself vigorously and assert all of its rights.” In yesterday’s memo, Field states, “To say the least, it is disappointing to read the ridiculous allegations that USTN has made when the truth is that we have acted in good faith and made every reasonable effort and then some to assist USTN in fixing their challenging issues. In order to set the record straight and ensure that you have all the facts regarding our relationship with USTN, I have included a summary of the events over the past 8 ½ months.” Click here to read the rest of Field’s memo.
Bortnick Joins iHeartMedia D.C. as Senior VP/Sales. Six-year vice president of sales for Entercom Washington (D.C.), Danny Bortnick crosses the street to become senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s five stations in the Nation’s Capital. Region president Michael Preacher remarks, “We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Danny to iHeartMedia. Danny has earned a great reputation building client-centric sales organizations while creating a positive work culture. He is the perfect fit for us.” Bortnick adds, “I am thrilled to be joining some of the most iconic brands in [the market], as well as one of the most recognizable media brands in the country.” Bortnick, who has a marketing and management degree from the University of Miami – School of Business, began his radio career 13 years ago as an account executive at Katz Radio in New York City and Atlanta. After a year at Katz, he became an account executive – and later, digital sales manager – at New York City all-news outlet WINS and then, director of sales for Salem Media Group New York City.
Saga Reports 6.5% Q2 Net Revenue Increase. For the quarter ending June 30, Saga Communications net revenue increased to $32.2 million. Meanwhile, operating income increased 2.7% to $6 million and station operating expense increased 8% to $23.1 million. Free cash flow from continuing operations was $6 million for the quarter, compared to $4.8 million for the same period last year. On a same station basis, net revenue decreased .6% to $30.1 million; operating income increased 1.5% to $6 million; and station operating expense decreased 1% to $21.2 million. The company had $52.9 million in cash on hand as of June 30, and $53.3 million as of yesterday (8/6). The company’s total long-term debt was $25 million as of June 30. Results for the quarter and six-month period were affected by the sale of the company’s television stations and purchase of radio stations in Charleston and Hilton Head (South Carolina) on September 1, 2017. Saga’s 2018 Q2 conference call will be at 11:00 am (ET) today (Tuesday, 8/7). Saga owns or operates 75 FM and 33 AM radio stations.
Gregg Receives Salute to Excellence Award. For the second consecutive year, Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg is recognized by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). This time, she will receive a “Salute to Excellence Award” at the NABJ’s gala in Detroit. Entercom Philadelphia senior vice president and market manager David Yadgaroff states, “It comes as no surprise that Cherri has been recognized once again for the exemplary work she contributes to KYW. The hard work she has committed in less than a year demonstrates why she is deserving of this honor.” Gregg remarks, “I am honored and humbled by this great recognition. This acknowledgment validates the importance of creating conversation around social issues.” Gregg was recognized in the “Public Affairs” category in “Top 15 Markets, Radio.” The specific segment – “Police Transparency – When Should Names of Officers Who Kill Be Released?” – was from her weekly program “Flashpoint,” which airs Saturdays (9:30 pm) and Sundays (8:30 am). Launched in 2017, “Flashpoint” discusses community affairs, political news, civil rights and social issues. Last year, NABJ honored Gregg with a “Salute to Excellence Award” in “TV Investigative – Top 15 Markets” for her piece “Driving While Black,” a collaboration between Entercom and KYW-TV, Philadelphia (Channel 3). Gregg, who joined Entercom in 2010, was president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (2015 – 2016) and vice president of broadcast in 2013. A member of the Pennsylvania and Georgia Bars, she has an undergraduate degree (B.S.) from Boston University; a J.D. from Howard University School of Law; and an M.J. from Temple University’s College of Communications and Theater. Gregg was named one of the Philadelphia NAACP’s Most Influential Black Women and PABJ’s Journalist of the Year in 2013.
Remembering Bill Wattenburg. Cancer has claimed the life of 82-year-old Bill Wattenburg, who died last Thursday (8/2). For 39 years (1972 – 2011), “Dr. Bill” hosted a late night show on KGO, San Francisco where the former nuclear weapons designer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory would answer questions about everything from car repairs to physics. Show promos often referred to him as “The smartest man in the world.” The three-hour program (“Open Line to the West Coast,” 10:00 pm – 1:00 am) aired Saturday and Sunday nights and originated from his home in the Sierras. An occasional caller was Clint Eastwood, who gave Wattenburg a few cameos in the “Dirty Harry” movies. Using the nom de plume Will Harvey, the inventor and former physics professor at the University of California – Berkeley authored an early-1970s best-selling book “How to Find and Fascinate a Mistress.” The success of that book led to him being booked on numerous television talk shows where he debated the merits of feminism with people such as the Gabor sisters and Gloria Steinem. As an inventor, Wattenburg had eight patents to his credit, one reportedly being the first home alarm system using electrical wiring for its communication medium. A 2011 KGO format modification from news/talk to news resulted in several hosts – including Wattenburg – exiting the station. Shortly thereafter, Wattenburg hosted a show on Zwerling Broadcasting System news/talk KSCO-AM, Santa Cruz (California), which – after his death – aired a two-hour retrospective of his radio career.
Spanish Broadcasting System Forecasts Q2 Sales, OIBDA Increases. Preliminary estimated quarter two financial results for Spanish Broadcasting System estimates that consolidated net revenue will be between $34.5 million and $34.8 million, an increase of between 1% and 2% over the same period in 2017. Adjusted OIBDA, excluding non-cash stock-based compensation, is projected at $10.8 million – $11.6 million, an increase of 34% – 44% over last year. SBS chair/chief executive officer Raul Alarcon notes, “The company has continued its positive operational momentum throughout the second quarter with strong OIBDA growth and operating margins that continue to be among the highest in the industry. In addition, the announced $14 million sale of our surplus real estate in New York City has successfully closed, allowing for our move to newer and more suitable facilities in midtown Manhattan. A correlated and corresponding repayment of the company’s 12.5% senior secured notes from the net proceeds of the real estate sale has been undertaken, as previously envisioned. We maintain our positive view as to the continuing momentum in 2018 and will be filing our finalized second-quarter results within the next week.”
Ten Radio Groups Support NAB’s Owner Cap Modification Stance. Represented in this particular assemblage of group owners is “a cross-section of the industry” with minority-owned and family-owned entities that have stations in large and small markets. In alphabetical order by group owner, the open letter is signed by Alpha Media CEO Bob Proffitt; Connoisseur Media founder/CEO Jeff Warshaw; Emmis Communications chair/CEO Jeff Smulyan; Midwest Communications COO Michael Wright; Mid-West Family Stations president Thomas Walker; Neuhoff Communications president/CEO Beth Neuhoff; NRG Media president/CEO Mary Quass; Perry Publishing and Broadcasting chair Russell Perry; Townsquare Media co-CEOs Dhruv Prasad and Bill Wilson; and Zimmer Radio of Mid-Missouri president/owner John Zimmer. Read the entire letter here.
Round One of July 2018 PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 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 Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union. Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 survey period covered June 21 – July 18. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.
TALKERS News Notes. Following stints on New Jersey outlets WMTR and WCTC, Jonathan Friedman’s “Talking Sports” (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm) debuts this Saturday (8/11) on Salem Media Group New York City’s news/talk WNYM “AM 970, The Answer.” The 52-year-old New Jersey resident notes, “I wanted to bring the show to a bigger stage. Growing up in Atlanta and being a huge fan of the Atlanta Falcons, Hawks, and Braves, my love for sports started early in my life. No matter who I talk to, the topic always seems to go to sports; that’s how I connect with people.” A 30-year advertising executive, Friedman has been with Success Communications Group the last 15 years and created the “Gotta Go To Mo’s” campaign for Modell’s Sporting Goods ….. St. Louis-based Project 21 co-chair Stacy Washington is broadcasting “Stacy on the Right” live nationwide. The first hour of the weekday talk program is available on all 180 stations of the American Family Radio Network. The national hour is 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (ET) and can be streamed through the AFR website, TuneInRadio, Facebook, and YouTube. Decorated Air Force veteran and Emmy-nominated TV personality Washington began her broadcasting career several years ago as a fill-in host on news/talk KFTK, St. Louis and began a two-hour program on the Urban Family Talk Network in 2016 ….. Having added ten million listeners over the last few months, iHeartRadio officially surpasses 120 million registered users. It has over 20,000 podcasts in 20 different unique categories, including 750 iHeartRadio original podcasts ….. According to a report by Richard Deitsch in The Athletic, former NFL quarterback (St. Louis Rams, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals) Kurt Warner will succeed Boomer Esiason as analyst on Westwood One’s “Monday Night Football” broadcasts. Hall of Famer Warner – who has filled-in when Esiason wasn’t available – would work alongside play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan. According to Deitsch, a formal announcement of the deal is forthcoming ….. In a situation that will have him relocating to the network’s Chicago headquarters, Scott Krus – station manager of religious teaching WCRF “Moody Radio,” Cleveland – is promoted to general manager of the national Moody Radio Network. Three-month vice president, and former GM, Doug Hastings states, “Scott has the background, skills, and passion to take Moody Radio into our next season. He is very well known at Moody Radio; respected by staff and industry leaders; and has proven that he will effectively lead Moody Radio as general manager.” Krus, who begins his new duties in approximately four weeks (9/1), comments, “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our teams and [am] energized by the challenge of navigating this ever-changing landscape of media ministry. I believe that Moody is strategically-positioned to expand on its role as a leader in the industry and uniquely equipped to inspire listeners to take that next step in their walk with Jesus Christ. I am looking forward with great excitement to all that God will do in the days to come.”
Paul Manafort Trial/Gates Testimony, Kushner Deleted Stories, Midterm Races, California Wildfire, MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/6). The trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort highlighted by the juicy testimony of Rick Gates; claims that Jared Kushner deleted sensitive stories at his newspaper; the attempted drone assassination attempt of Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro; this fall’s midterm elections; the deadly California wildfire; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Premiere Promotes Silcock to VP/Affiliate Relations – Morning Shows. Six-year, New York City-based director of affiliate relations Casey Silcock receives vice president stripes from Premiere Networks. In the newly-created position of vice president of affiliate relations – morning shows, Silcock will oversee affiliate sales and serve as the syndicator’s brand manager for programs featuring Elvis Duran; Bobby Bones; Brooke & Jubal; Johnjay & Rich; and Kane. Senior vice president of affiliate relations/talk and morning shows Peter Tripi comments, “Casey has been a valuable member of our team for the past six years, and he has made significant contributions to the growth of our industry-leading morning shows. I’m confident his leadership, sound judgment, and solid relationships with affiliate stations and talent alike will drive continued success for our programming.” Silcock previously was head of promotion for Verve Music Group, a division of Universal Music Group, and held management promotion and marketing positions at Virgin Records America.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Weekend WTXF-TV “Fox 29,” Philadelphia sports anchor Sean Brace will appear each Friday at 8:20 am on iHeartMedia Philadelphia rhythmic hot AC WISX “Real 106.1” during “Chio in the AM.” In addition, Brace will contribute to the station’s website and host a Saturday night (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) music show. He formerly was heard on cross-town Greater Media (now Beasley Media Group) sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” ….. It is an eventful day for San Antonio air-on talent named “Cortez.” Taking to Facebook, Tony Cortez announces he is leaving his position as assistant program director/afternoon drive talent at Alpha Media’s CHR KTFM “Energy 94.1,” while “The Dana Cortez Show” was missing this morning at cross-town Univision Radio-owned rhythmic CHR KBBT “98.5 The Beat.” On Twitter, Dana Cortez tweets, “We have some exciting things in the works & want you to be part of.” ….. Promotions coordinator/night personality Edwin Guevara is elevated to promotions director/afternoon host at Townsquare Media Trenton, New Jersey CHR WPST “94.5 – Your New #1 Hit Music Station.” He replaces Tom Shinn, who exited last month. Guevara is approaching his third year at the station, arriving from Kemp Broadcasting Las Vegas rhythmic CHR KVEG “Hot 97.5” ….. Former Bonneville country KYGO, Denver program director Eddie Haskell is named senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Fort Collins (Colorado) stations. According to iHeartMedia Denver area president Amy Griesheimer, “I am thrilled to have someone of Eddie’s caliber and expertise partner with us to lead [our] Northern Colorado dynasty. Eddie’s passion and brand knowledge are unmatched.” Denver region senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim notes, “Eddie’s knowledge and experience in Colorado radio are second to none. His addition to the Fort Collins team will only help to increase our already strong footprint in Northern Colorado.” Haskell adds, “I am so stoked to join the team at iHeartMedia Fort Collins. We have great brands, great programmers, and a great management team.” His prior background includes being operations manager for Cumulus Media Albuquerque and he has held various programming roles in Detroit (WYCD) and Salt Lake City (KKAT-AM). The iHM cluster in Fort Collins includes country KXBG “Big 97.9”; classic hits-oldies KXBG-HD2 “B-107.3”; classic country KIIX “AM 1410 – Country’s Greatest Hits”; CHR KSME “96.1 – Kiss-FM”; classic rock KPAW “92.9 – The Bear”; alternative KPAW-HD2 “Radio 94.9”; and news/talk KCOL “Fox News Radio 600” ….. Grammy winner – and the first “American Idol” – Kelly Clarkson is filming a pilot for a daytime (TV) talk show. Clarkson has a deal with NBC Entertainment, but the pilot is currently not attached to any network; it is potentially being shopped for a fall 2019 debut.
Hillsdale College/TALKERS Magazine Presidential Election Talk Radio Debate in DC Aired Live on CSPAN2; Available on Talkers TV Soon. The Hillsdale College/TALKERS magazine Presidential Election Talk Radio Debate that took place in Washington, DC earlier today was aired live on CSPAN2. For those who wish to see the event, the video will be featured on Talkers TV in the coming weeks. The debate was moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and the panel of participants included: (in alphabetical order): Thom Hartmann, syndicated host, WYD Media; Hugh Hewitt, syndicated host, Salem Radio Network; Joyce Kaufman, afternoon host, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami; Joe Madison, morning host, SiriusXM “Urban View” channel; Larry O’ Connor, morning co-host, WMAL, Washington, DC; and Chris Stigall, morning host WPHT, Philadelphia. The event took place at Hillsdale’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship at 227 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DC.
Alpha Media Sells Salina-Manhattan, Kansas Cluster to Rocking M Radio. This divestiture of stations is the first on record for Alpha Media, as far as TALKERS can tell. The company is selling its stations in the Salina and Manhattan, Kansas markets to local operator Rocking M Radio for an undisclosed price. The five stations in the deal are: news/talk KSAL-AM, Salina; classic hits KSAL-FM, Salina; standards KABI-AM, Abilene; country KYEZ-FM, Salina; and adult contemporary KBLS-FM, North Fort Riley. Alpha Media CEO/president Bob Proffitt comments, “We’re happy for our employees in Salina to be joining such a great company. Rocking M Media is a strong force in Kansas radio and media.” Because Rocking M already owns three signals in the market, it goes over the FCC cap and is announcing that it will spin KBLS-FM to Manhattan Broadcasting Company for an undisclosed sum.
Emmis Finds Buyer for Texas Monthly. Just two days after Emmis Communications’ announcement that it found buyers for its stations in Terre Haute, Indiana, the company reports it has signed a deal with Genesis Park to sell the assets of Texas Monthly for $25 million, subject to working capital adjustments. The press release indicates that “Genesis Park is a regional private equity firm that has built successful communications and technology businesses in Texas for many years. Examples include CapRock Services, Alpheus Communications and Vivante GMP.” It was founded by Paul Hobby. Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan states, “Texas Monthly has been a member of the Emmis family for 18 years, so today is bittersweet. We want to thank all of our employees for their dedication and hard work. This transaction allows us not only to de-lever our balance sheet, but puts TM in the capable hands of one of Texas’ great families, the Hobbys.” Emmis is still exploring opportunities to sell four other publications and New York radio signal WLIB-AM.
The Presidential Race and Related Stories at Top of Talkers TenTM for Week of October 10-14. The presidential race was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was the Donald Trump hot-mic incident followed by the Wikileaks Hillary Clinton document dump at #3. Coming in at #4 was the Fox News report that FBI and CIA staffers questioned James Comey’s decision not to indict Hillary Clinton over the private email server matter. 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.
Odds & Sods. Chicago sports talk personality Terry Boers will be back on CBS RADIO’s WSCR “The Score” on October 24. Boers – the longtime on-air partner of Dan Bernstein – has been off the radio since June dealing with an undisclosed health issue…..After CBS RADIO elected not to re-up its deals with the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards, Hubbard Radio signs up its WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” to serve as the flagship station for the teams…..Speaking of hockey, with the start of the NHL season, fans can hear hockey action via TuneIn’s NHL radio station all season long with no subscription fee.
WBT, Charlotte Seeks Talk Host and Digital Content Editor. Charlotte’s heritage news/talker WBT-AM/FM is seeking a talk show host and management has clear ideas about what it wants and what it doesn’t want. Here’s what the station says: “Charlotte’s News Talk 1110 and 99.3 WBT is looking for personalities that can lead a conversation while being entertaining. Be serious when needed. Embrace the Carolina lifestyle. Someone who is not angry at the world. If you want to talk politics for 3 hours a day please don’t waste your time applying for this role. If you have to lean on guests to get through 3 hours a day we don’t want you. If you get your show prep from Drudge you won’t fit in. This is the perfect opportunity for you if you’re stuck on a cookie-cutter talk station or if you’re a music personality looking to extend your career. Show us what you got. Email your resume and a short aircheck to email@example.com now. No phone calls please.” Simultaneously, the station is also seeking a digital content editor. It says: “What do you get when you mix part writer, editor, news and political junky, student of social media and add a dash of video creator? The making of News Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT’s newest Digital Content Editor. Our new team member will be a self-starter that creates, aggregates and maintains content, including text, video, photos and graphics, driving traffic and conversations to our news-talk radio station website, social and mobile efforts and builds communities. Writing and editing succinct, fact-filled content in a compelling and active tone for wbt.com are at the core of this positions duties.” Also apply for that position at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cuts at Cumulus-Owned WestwoodOne Happening; SVP Amy Bolton Exits. The names of those being let go are coming out as Cumulus Media begins the cuts at WestwoodOne that have been expected since the acquisition of then-Dial Global closed. Numerous high-level executives are being shown the door – in many instances where there are duplicative positions between WestwoodOne and the Cumulus Media Networks. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey is promising investors he can realize $40 million in synergies and eliminating these positions is one of the ways he hopes to accomplish that. WestwoodOne SVP and general manager of news & talk Amy Bolton – who’s been with the organization going back when it was Jones Radio Networks – is let go. Also reportedly out in this round of cuts are: chief marketing officer Christina Albee; EVP/Eastern director Eileen Decker; and SVP of research Paul Bronstein.
Lionel Joins TalkersRadio in Development of New Show to Launch This Weekend. One of the most original personalities in the business, radio talk show host Lionel, is launching a new program on TALKERS magazine’s online radio station, TalkersRadio, tomorrow morning (2/1). The self-titled show “Lionel” will air live on the “experimental” talk show platform Saturday mornings between 9:00 am and 10:00 am ET and run as a regular weekly series. It will feature the intellectually stimulating talk media star in an hour of free-form conversation and reflection about the wide variety of topics that fall within his realm of interest. Lionel describes his plans for the new program as “spoken thought not spoken word” telling TALKERS, “The show will be the editorial cartoon versus the editorial. Broadcast idea topiaries. Stream of consciousness meets targeted subject selection. No left-right paradigm blather. No bumper sticker, playbook, echo chamber drivel. As I feel, as I want, as I please.” A veteran of such major outlets as WABC and WOR, New York among others, as well as being a podcast pioneer at lionelmedia.com, the quirky, satirical and extremely original observer of the human condition has been enjoying tremendous success conceiving, writing, producing and performing daily commentaries on the heritage WPIX-TV, Channel 11 in New York City. The ex-prosecutor Lionel has also added his insight and experience as its resident legal analyst. However, he has not forgotten his roots in and love for radio and promises that his 9:00 am to 10:00 am Saturday show will provide Lionel enthusiasts around the country with a version of his work that is “like nothing they have ever heard before. This will truly be Lionel unchained!” On making the announcement of Lionel’s joining the station, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein says, “Lionel joining this ‘audio workout space’ is a perfect example of what TalkersRadio is about and hopes to achieve – and that is to provide select people in this business as well as potentially outstanding newcomers with the opportunity to try and develop things that are not being done in the traditional on-air space for the sake of moving the industry forward.”
Cox Flips KONO-AM, San Antonio to Sports Talk. The AM side of the KONO-AM/FM simulcast flips to sports talk using the CBS Sports Radio Network after more than 20 years airing the classic hits format of sister KONO-FM. Cox Media Group San Antonio vice president and market manager Dan Lawrie states, “We’re excited to bring this level of quality sports programming to San Antonio. Additionally, South Texas sports fans should be glad to welcome the return of the Jim Rome show after a two-year absence in the market.” CBS Sports Radio program director Eric Spitz adds, “We’ve put together a tremendous lineup of experienced hosts with strong opinions and personalities who perfectly capture the passion and excitement of the sports fan. With sports, the action never stops, and CBS Sports Radio provides listeners with cutting-edge analysis, high-profile interviews and late breaking news.”
WCKG-AM, Chicago Names Leslie Harris Director of Community Programming. At the Matt Dubiel-run DuPage Radio LLC, market personality Leslie Harris is named director of community programming and host at the suburban talk station. Harris recently exited NextMedia’s suburban rocker WERV “95.9 The River” and Dubiel comments, “Leslie was the full addition I made at WERV and I am over the moon excited to have a Downers Grove rock mamma as part of our local team.”
Good Karma Sells Janesville, Wisconsin Stations to Local Operator. Two stations in the Janesville, Wisconsin market – rock WWHG “105.9 The Hog” and sports talk WTJK “ESPN Radio 1380” – are being sold by Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting to Scott Thompson who operates stations in nearby Monroe, Wisconsin and Freeport, Illinois. The Janesville Gazette reports that Thompson plans to keep the staff already in place at both stations and possibly add an employee. He tells the paper WTJK may air less ESPN content and more local news. Thompson takes over under an LMA while the transaction works its way through the FCC approval process.
WEEI-FM, Boston Begins Friday Night Promotion. In a partnership with local watering hole The Greatest Bar and local media sources Dirty Water TV and DirtyWaterNews.com, Entercom sports talk WEEI-FM begins broadcasting the “Planet Mikey” show with Mikey Adams live from The Greatest Bar Friday, February 7 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The show will feature celebrity guests from the world of sports and entertainment. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham, citing the bar’s proximity to the TD Garden, states, “It’s a natural fit to partner with the Dirty Water brand and The Greatest Bar. Combining Mikey’s unique entertaining style, the Dirty Water connections for guests and content, and the proximity to the TD Garden will make for a fun atmosphere and a great listen on ‘93.7FM WEEI’ and the WEEI Sports Radio Network.” Bill Fairweather is co-owner of The Greatest Bar and creator of Dirty Water TV. He says WEEI-FM is the perfect radio partner for Dirty Water’s growing array of media entities. “When we decided to add radio to the growing menu of media options that our brand delivers to Greater Boston and beyond, WEEI – with its strong sports focus – was a natural partner for us. Entertainment and celebrity mix very well with sports and The Greatest Bar is the perfect location to bring those topics together. We’re excited to have the opportunity to add these new dimensions to WEEI’s radio offerings.”
Odds & Sods. In honor of Rosa Parks Day on February 4, the Premiere Networks-syndicated Comedy 24/7 format will air special clips of comics of the civil rights era talking about the issue. African American comedians including Dick Gregory, Godfrey Cambridge and Slappy White were outspoken about necessary changes to be made in our society during that time and the format will air special tracks by these comedians and others as they spoke out in the language of the times at :57 after the hour all day on February 4…..Former NFL coach and executive Mike Holmgren will serve as a football analyst with Clear Channel’s sport talk KJR, Seattle next season after handling the same duties in 2013…..Milwaukee Brewers radio play-by-play voice Bob Uecker will step back a little bit from his duties with the team beginning this season as he’ll call fewer road games for flagship WTMJ, Milwaukee. Uecker, who turns 80 this year, will still call all home games and be present for spring training in Arizona.
Joy and Hope Amidst the Misery. Pictured here with children in Port Au Prince, Haiti is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup. He tells TALKERS he is there with Salem Radio News documenting conditions in Haiti on the fourth anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake that left 300,000 dead and millions homeless. He’s embedded with the relief organization Food for the Poor and has been visiting slums, orphanages and feeding centers for the news network’s five-part special series on “The Poorest of the Poor.” Tradup reports that Salem VP/director spoken word format Phil Boyce (who also is serving as operations manager of the New York stations) is there working on documenting the trip for a New York market broadcast.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. New York-based XtreMEDIA announces a number of affiliates joining three of the company’s offerings. First, the daily Kevin McCullough show is added to the program schedule at WCIS-AM, Morganton, North Carolina; WCST-AM, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia; WGEA, Geneva, Alabama; and KNLB-FM, Blythe, California. The nightly Steve Deace program joins the lineup at WGTK-AM, Louisville; WTOH-FM, Columbus; and WWTC, Minneapolis. Finally, the weekend “Baldwin/McCullough” show is now heard on WMRC, Milford, Massachusetts and WYPV-FM, Mackinaw City, Michigan…..The GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney joins the program schedule at WKVL, Knoxville.
The State of the Union Address Top Talk Radio Story This Week. According to the Talkers TenTM, the president’s State of the Union Address was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 27-31. At #2 this week was criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was new immigration legislation and the prospect of amnesty and at #4 was the extreme winter weather affecting much of the nation. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.