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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

| January 14, 2020

iHeartMedia’s New Markets Group Structure. The company says that the changes are being enacted as it modernizes “to take advantage of the significant investments it has made in technology and artificial intelligence (AI) and its unique scale and leadership position in the audio marketplace.”  iHeartMedia adds that it has “made significant technology investments to change everything from how it sells advertising to how it utilizes data and builds new businesses like its digital platform, podcast platform, and robust data platform.”  iHeartMedia explains it is now grouping “its markets by common needs and characteristics into three distinctly different divisions to make sharing of resources and experiences easier and more targeted.”  Greg Ashlock will continue to serve as president of the iHeartMedia Markets Group.  Now, the group breaks down as follows: The Region Division comprises the company’s largest markets, like New York and Los Angeles, that each reach hundreds of cities, communities, and trading areas for local businesses.  It will be led by division presidents Kevin LeGrett and Scott Hopeck; The Metro Division houses markets that are large areas that still encompass multiple communities – but are not regional hubs like the company’s largest markets.  The Metro Division will be led by division presidents Tom McConnell, Tony Coles, and Linda Byrd; The Community Division includes markets that focus on the shared needs of one community and one trading area for most businesses and advertisers and will also group markets into areas which are geographically close and culturally similar.  The Community Division will be led by division presidents Shosh Abromovich, Nick Gnau, and Dan Lankford.  iHeartMedia also says it will use “its new technology- and AI-enabled Centers of Excellence – which consolidate functional areas of expertise in specific locations to deliver the highest quality products and services – for every market, enabling each to take advantage of the company’s scale and shared resources across programming, marketing, digital, podcasts, sales and sales support to provide a better experience for listeners and business partners and a more efficient process for all of its employees.”  Additionally, the company is creating a new division “that cuts across all markets – the very successful Multi-Market Partnerships (MMP) Division headed by Julie Donohue, who is elevated to president of MMP with responsibility for this business.”  As part of these moves, the company’s Integrated Revenue Strategies group, led by president Hartley Adkins, will be merged into the iHeartMedia Markets Group and Adkins will become chief operating officer of the Markets Group working closely with Greg Ashlock.

Newsmax TV Launches ‘Greg Kelly Reports’ in Evenings. Former U.S. Marine and television news broadcaster Greg Kelly joins Newsmax TV as the network debuts his “Greg Kelly Reports” program at 7:00 pm ET.  After leaving the Marines, Kelly became morning news anchor at WIVT-TV, Binghamton, New York.  He worked for several years at FOX News before spending almost 10 years as co-host of “Good Day New York” on WNYW-TV “FOX 5.”  Newsmax TV EVP of programming Elliot Jacobson says, “Greg Kelly comes with compelling new skill sets to our network.  His military experience and his years as a frontline TV journalist differentiate him from prime-time hosts on other channels and allow him to examine the day’s news from a unique and insightful perspective.”  Kelly – the son of former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly – says, “I am very curious.  I find that many people in the media have lost their curiosity.  They just want to let you know what they know.  I like to take a different approach.”  The “Greg Kelly Reports” show debuts tonight (1/14).

Entercom’s Buffalo Market Manager and Sales Administrative Manager Exit. The Buffalo News has the story of the sudden departure of longtime Entercom Buffalo market manager Greg Reid and sales administrative manager Lynn Hooper.  The paper reports the two were fired suddenly – Reid was reportedly called while on vacation and let go – and wonders if their dismissal is related to the company’s admission that it inadvertently failed to post required political advertising information on its website in a timely manner, prompting the FCC to broaden its look into the company’s public file practices.  However, Entercom has been reducing expenses at local clusters for several months via downsizing and it’s possible Reid and Hooper were simply victims of budget cuts.  The News reports that general sales manager Tim Holly is serving as interim market manager.

Report: WGN-AM Cuts Ties with Crain’s Chicago Business. Windy City media reporter Robert Feder has the story here.  He writes that Nexstar’s WGN-AM, Chicago “abruptly severed its longstanding partnership” with Crain’s Chicago Business after the publication wrote a speculative piece about Nexstar prepping the radio station for a sale.  Nexstar acquired WGN-AM along with Tribune’s television stations and it is its only radio property.  Crain’s reporters made regular appearances on WGN shows and WGN’s website hosted the “Crain’s Daily Gist” podcast.  That has been removed.

TALKERS News Notes. Ratings and research giant Nielsen Holdings plc announces the hiring of two executives as it moves to separate into two publicly traded companies.  David Rawlinson is named chief executive officer of the consumer behavior analysis division Global Connect.  He was most recently president of global online business at Grainger.  Also, Linda Zukauckas is named the chief financial officer for Nielsen.  Both appointments become official on February 3…..Four of Alpha Media’s Chicagoland stations are expected to move into new digs at the Gurnee Mills mall in the far northern suburbs in February.  News/talk WLIP-AM, Kenosha and rock WIIL, Union Grove in Wisconsin and Spanish sports WKRS and hot AC WXLC in Waukegan, Illinois are moving as part of a deal to bring foot traffic to the mall.  The village of Gurnee is paying Alpha $200,000 to assist in the transition and the radio stations will host 32 events at the mall each year and provide $129,000 per year in radio ad time to the mall…..QUU – a company specializing in RDS/HD in-car stereo display technology – names Steve Newberry chief executive officer, effective April 1.  Newberry has been serving as EVP for industry affairs and strategic planning at the National Association of BroadcastersBeasley Media Group is among QUU’s investors.

Impeachment/Russians Hack Ukrainian Gas Co, 2020 Presidential Race, Iran Tensions, Pensacola Base Shooting Ruled Terror Attack, Megxit, and NFL Playoffs/College Football Championship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13). The articles of impeachment against President Trump and the allegation Russia hacked the Ukrainian gas company central to the impeachment issue; the rift between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and tonight’s debate in Des Moines; the domestic tensions in Iran and the White House’s rationale for killing Iranian general Qassem Soleimani; Attorney General William Barr rules the Pensacola naval base shooting was an act of terrorism and seeks Apple’s helping opening the assailant’s phones; the Sussex’s meeting with Queen Elizabeth over their stepping away from royal life; and the weekend’s NFL games and last night’s College Football Championship 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. The Westwood One nationally syndicated “Rick and Sasha Show” adds programmer and production pro “Smokin” Tony Richards to the team of the urban AC morning show now heard on more than 25 stations.  Richards has worked as a drive time personality and programmer in markets including New York, Houston, Philadelphia, DC, and Chicago.  He says, “This show is going to the moon, and I want to be a part of it.  Rick and Sasha are two people who I feel are the future of radio.  I am here unselfishly to help the team make it happen.”…..In Dallas, Entercom’s alternative KVIL “ALT 103.7” names Ian Camfield afternoon drive personality.  Camfield was most recently midday personality at Hubbard Radio’s alternative KDKB, Phoenix “ALT AZ 93.3.”  As a result of Camfield’s arrival, Mark moves from afternoons to AM drive.

Monday, November 6, 2017

| November 6, 2017

iHeartMedia Puts Three Stations in Divestiture Trust.  The deal that iHeartMedia struck with Entercom to swap stations in the Seattle and Boston markets is forcing iHM to put three stations in the newly created Ocean Station Trust LLC in order to comply with ownership caps.  Those stations are: alt rocker KFOO, Centralia, Washington (Tacoma market); rhythmic CHR KUBE, Eatonville, Washington (Tacoma market); and news/talk WKOX, Everett, Massachusetts (Boston market).

iHM Will Not Assume WBZ-AM, Boston’s SAG-AFTRA Contracts.  This is not the news that union staffers at CBS RADIO’s all-news WBZ-AM, Boston want to hear as they prepare to become part of the iHeartMedia family, under an LMA until the deal closes (probably in January).  That LMA could happen as soon as the 17th of this month.  According to a piece in the Boston Globe, SAG-AFTRA has received notice from iHeartMedia that not only will staffers at WBZ-AM have to interview for their current jobs, but iHM says it will not assume the two collective bargaining agreements between SAG-AFTRA and CBS RADIO.  SAG-AFTRA’s Boston-based official Tom Higgins tells the paper that iHM officials who visited the station said they want a “seamless” transition, but says that contract issue “doesn’t sound like seamless.”  Higgins says the union plans to meet with iHeartMedia officials this week. Read the Globe piece here.

Salem Names Ed Martin Afternoon Host at ‘The Answer’ in St. Louis.  He’s the co-author of The Conservative Case for Trump (Regnery 2016) and the former Missouri Republican Party chairman.  Salem reports that Ed Martin will assume the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm show on KXFN-AM/K287BY “1380 AM and 105.3 FM The Answer” next Monday (11/13).  It’ll be called “The Ed Martin Movement” and Salem St. LouisVP/GM Greg Lhamon states, “We looked at a lot of options for afternoons, but no other talk host had their finger on the pulse of national, statewide, and local politics like Ed Martin.  He’s smart and savvy and will force politicians to stay on their toes.  And as a CNN political contributor, he brings a global perspective to talk radio that is sorely missing in St. Louis.”  The press release also states: “Formally trained as a lawyer and ethicist, Ed is the hand-picked successor of Phyllis Schlafly as head of her ‘Eagles.'”

Bill Handel Records Apology to Rep. Wilson.  Under fire for referring to U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson (in connection with the TrumpMyesia Johnson story) as a “cheap, sleazy Democrat whore” on his KFI, Los Angeles morning radio show, Bill Handel recorded an apology that has aired on the station.  But lead critic Janmyne Cannick – a self-described commentator – says it’s too little, too late.  In a story published by LA Weekly, Cannick – who’s been leading the efforts to see Handel punished for his use of the word “whore” in connection with Wilson – tells the paper, “If KFI can suspend afternoon drive hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou (John and Ken) for one-week following their calling Whitney Houston a ‘crack ho,’ then Bill Handel – KFI’s prized morning drive host who called a sitting member of Congress a ‘cheap, sleazy, Democrat whore’ on live air – should get nothing less.”  Read the LA Weekly piece here.

‘Florida Sports Talk’ Duo Re-Brand as ‘Gainesville Ocala All Talk.’  The sports talk multi-cast that Florida Sportstalk LLC is operating in the Gainesville-Ocala market is re-branding and will take on a more “talk radio” approach.  The stations that made up “Florida Sports Talk” are” WMOP, Ocala; WGGG, Gainesville; translator W221DX at 92.1 FM; and WGOT-LP, Gainesville.  The station is now called Gainesville Ocala All Talk “The GOAT FM.”  On its Facebook page, the company says the change is being made “in response to [the stations’] growing voice in the region pertaining to news and social events and based on the feedback from followers and the fan base…[to assure that] our branding more accurately reflects our voice, impact, and prominence in the communities we serve.”  Former WSKY, Ocala talk host Chip Morris is being added to the programming lineup for morning drive.  Stations OM Don DePew Jr. comments, “We were thrilled to see our voice and impact grow as we provided a voice of calm and grace through recent social issues that crossed from sports to everyday life.  Our adjustment in brand to this new reality is a step forward in this regard.  We are further excited to have Chip Morris bring his experience and influence in our region to our team.  We look forward to the days ahead as we bring Gainesville Ocala All Talk to you, our listeners.”

iHeartMedia Promotes Ashlock and Adkins.  Executives Greg Ashlock and Hartley Adkins have been promoted by iHeartMedia in what the company calls “the next step in the evolution of the iHeartMedia Markets Group.”  Ashlock, who has been president of iHeartMedia Markets Group West Division, is upped to president of the iHeartMedia Markets Group.  Adkins, who most recently served as president of Northeast Division and Corporate Operations for the iHeartMedia Markets Group, is now president of Integrated Revenue Strategy.  Ashlock is now managing the entire iHeartMedia Markets Group, including the company’s more than 850 radio stations in over 150 markets.  The company says the consolidation under one leader will allow iHeartMedia to move quicker, be more responsive, communicate more clearly and best serve both listeners and advertisers based on each market’s unique needs.  In his newly created role, Adkins will join the corporate group in New York and will be responsible for working with group heads and other corporate leaders to help develop innovative revenue initiatives that scale across multiple platforms, as well as new strategic solutions specifically for the Markets Group that utilize the unique assets of iHeartMedia.

Beasley Broadcasting Group Reports Q3 Net Revenue.  The company says that its net revenue for the third quarter of 2017 at its legacy stations was “comparable to the net revenue for the same period in 2016” – so we can read that as “flat.”  However, Beasley’s acquisition of the Greater Media stations that took place in November of last year boosts the company’s revenue figures.  Third quarter net revenue jumped from $27.7 million in 2016 to $58.9 million in 2017 because of the 21 new stations in the Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, Charlotte, Philadelphia and New Jersey markets (it also takes into account the stations it sold to Entercom and CMG Coastal Carolina).

Traffic Pioneer Rod Carson Dies at 75.  Longtime KYW, Philadelphia traffic reporter and Shadow Traffic co-founder Rod Carson died over the weekend at his home in Pennsylvania at the age of 75.  CBS Philadelphia reports that “before getting into traffic reporting, [Carson] was one of the ‘Wibbage Good Guys’ on the former WIBG, and also did the ‘Rock and Roll Roots’ show on WMMR.”  Carson marked his 50th year in radio in 2007.

National Radio Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Pictured above at the November 2 induction ceremony for the National Radio Hall of Fame at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago are (from l-r): NRHoF chairman Kraig Kitchin, inductees John Records Landecker, Joseph Field, Bobby Bones, Tom Barnard, Bill Handel and MBC founder Bruce Dumont.  Not pictured is inductee Sean Hannity, who did not travel to Chicago for the ceremony.

Donna Brazile Hillary Criticism, Mueller Investigation-Possible Michael Flynn Indictment, Trump in Japan, GOP Tax Reform Plan, Kevin Spacey Sexual Assault Investigation, Texas Church Slayings, Saudi Purge, Rand Paul Assault, Kaepernick Collusion Suit, NFL Attendance-Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  Former interim DNC chair Donna Brazile’s criticisms of the Hillary Clinton campaign in her new book; the Robert Mueller investigation and the possibility of charges against former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn; President Trump’s trip to Japan and statements about strong rhetoric regarding North Korea; the details of the Republican tax reform plan; the UK authorities’ investigation of sexual assault charges against actor Kevin Spacey; the Sunday slaying of 26 at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas; Saudi Arabia arrests 15 ministers and princes in anti-corruption efforts; Senator Rand Paul suffers cracked ribs in assault at his home; Colin Kaepernick’s collusion suit against the NFL; the NFL anthem protests, declining game attendance, and Sunday’s action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wendell Potter is this Week’s Guest on the Harrison Podcast.  Former health insurance spin doctor Wendell Potter, who upon experiencing a “crisis of conscience” in 2008 became one of that industry’s most outspoken critics, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.”  In June 2009, Potter made national headlines with his scorching testimony before the Senate panel on health care reform. The former senior VP and head of PR at Cigna testified that health insurers make promises they have no intention of keeping, flout regulations designed to protect consumers, and skew political debate with multibillion-dollar PR campaigns to mislead the press and public.  Potter was a former journalist who walked away from a six-figure salary and two decades as an insurance executive because he could no longer abide the routine practices of an industry where he believes “the needs of sick and suffering Americans take a backseat to the bottom line.”  Since then, Potter has been active as an author and consumer advocate warning Americans of the danger inherent in corporate big money corrupting the nation’s democratic process.  Now, he is launching a non-profit, reader/listener/viewer funded, Philadelphia-based news organization called Tarbell (www.Tarbell.org) that will focus on non-partisan, investigative journalism.  Can such a venture succeed in today’s money-driven, politically polarized society where the quest for victory regularly obscures the search for truth?  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air radio pro Brian Peck is named midday personality at CBS RADIO’s adult hits WJMK “K-Hits.”  CBS RADIO Chicago has appointed Brian Peck to host middays at WJMK, 104.3 “K-Hits.” The opening became available when current midday jock Jeffrey T. Mason moved to afternoons with Gary Spears’ exit and relocation to Florida.  WJMK program director Greg Solk states, “Adding Brian to ‘K-Hits’ gives us a unique opportunity to re-set our on-air lineup with three veteran Chicago voices, all perfectly suited for their dayparts.”  The company says Peck joins “K-Hits” with a history of entertaining Chicago radio fans since 1992 when he co-hosted mornings with former MTV veejay Mark Goodman.  Other Chicago radio stops have included WSHE and WTMX…..Next Wednesday (11/15), Envision Networks is announcing another session of “Coffee With Envision Webinar: Program A Winning Morning Show.”  The free webinar takes place at 1:00 pm ET.  Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff states, “Mike Marino and Jason Hillery are experts at producing a winning morning show.  They consult, program, manage and write prep for radio talent daily so Mike and Jason literally wrote the playbook for morning shows to follow.”  Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.  Stations can register for the webinar by clicking here…..Gen Media Partners appoints radio executive Chuck Bortnick to the newly created position of SVP, integrated platforms.   Bortnick’s previous experience includes serving as COO of Westwood One; COO and president of Metro Networks; and regional vice president for Cumulus Media.