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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

| December 18, 2019

Cox Enterprises’ Deal with Apollo Global Management Closes. According to Jessica Saundersreport in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Cox Enterprises’ sale of its radio, TV, Ohio print brands, and affiliated businesses to an Apollo Global Management-controlled company has closed.  The new company goes by an old name – Cox Media Group – and Cox Enterprises maintains a minority stake in the new firm.  The company is led by president and CEO Kim Guthrie and Bill Hendrich is EVP of radio.  CMG now consists of 13 television stations in 10 markets; 54 radio stations in 10 markets; three Ohio newspapers, the CoxReps TV sales division; digital ad and OTT products and services segment Gamut; and the Northwest Broadcasting 20 TV station group.

Wilson Re-Ups with Entercom’s ‘Ticket’ in Miami. South Florida sports talk host Amber Wilson signs a multiyear contract extension to continue co-hosting the midday show on Entercom’s WAXY, Miami “AM 790 The Ticket.”  Wilson co-hosts the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm “Zaslow & Amber” show with Jonathan Zaslow.  She joined the station in 2016 after serving with CBS Television in Miami and SNY in New York.  She says, “I’m very fortunate to have a job that I enjoy doing every single day and I’m thrilled to be continuing my career at Entercom.  It is an honor that [program director] Len Weiner and [SVP/market manager] Keriann Worley continue to trust me to entertain South Florida with sports talk.”

Matthew Jarecki Named PM Drive Host at ‘FOX Sports 910’ in Phoenix. At iHeartMedia’s Phoenix sports talker KGME-AM “FOX Sports 910,” Matthew Jarecki is named host of the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm show.  Jarecki comes to KGME from his most recent position with Northern Arizona University’s KLJX-LP, Flagstaff.  He also handled play-by-play and color analyst work for Lumberjacks athletics.  KGME program director Aaron Trimmer says, “Matthew is a future superstar in the sport talk world.  His perspective and unique commentary on sports make him the perfect fit to lead afternoon drive on ‘FOX Sports 910.’  We are thrilled to have him join our lineup.”  KGME briefly hired Dan Sileo to host afternoons, but he lasted just a week in the role in early September after the Phoenix Coyotes hockey club objected to Sileo’s hiring based on some of his controversial social media posts.  KGME is the flagship for Coyotes play-by-play.

Nielsen: News/Talk Top 6+ Format in PPM Markets This Year. The data from Nielsen Audio’s year-end tally of the most-listened-to formats in radio in its PPM markets shows news/talk is #1 in the 6+ demographic (9.5% weekly AQH share).  In the 25-54 demo, news/talk ranked #4 (6.7%), behind only AC (7.7%), CHR (7.6%), and country (6.8%).  However, there is an asterisk of sorts associated with these figures as Nielsen includes non-commercial, public radio news/talk in its definition of the format.  Public news/talk skews younger than commercial news/talk.  Sports talk ranked #9 in the 6+ demo and #8 in the 25-54 demo.  Nielsen used an average of data from the January through November PPM surveys.

Magnum to Acquire Three Wisconsin Signals from NRG Media. The deal between Wisconsin’s Magnum Communications and Iowa-based NRG Media will transfer news/talk WFAW-AM and adult contemporary WSJC-FM in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, along with classic hits WKCH, Whitewater, Wisconsin to Magnum.  NRG president and CEO Mary Quass says, “We have been fortunate to have worked with the great people at the stations in Fort Atkinson for many years.  The dedicated broadcasters at the stations will continue to provide the Fort Atkinson community with great local radio and know they will contribute to the success of Magnum Communications going forward.”  Magnum chief Dave Magnum adds, “I’m a sentimental person so two aspects of these acquisitions really struck me.  First, my maternal grandmother grew up on a Fort Atkinson farm.  My Mom and her remaining siblings get together at Lake Ripley each summer in her honor.  Second, we’re again getting to work with NRG.  Back in the 90s, my late wife Lynn had the chance to speak with Mary Quass several times at conventions.  She considered Mary a role model.  In 2007, five years after Lynn passed, I acquired three stations from NRG.  That transaction went as smooth as silk.  We look forward to the same outcome with the acquisitions of WFAW, WSJY and WKCH.”  KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

KSCO, Santa Cruz Initiates Its Own ‘Person of the Year.’ On the heels of the controversy over youthful Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg being named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year,” Michael Zwerling-owned news/talk KSCO, Santa Cruz is creating its own “Person of the Year” award and naming President Donald Trump for the past four years.  Zwerling says, “I empathize with the president’s frustration of not being named Time magazine’s person of the year.  After all, the designation does not necessarily indicate an endorsement of its recipient’s policies – just acknowledgement that they have made the biggest impact on the news. Clearly, Donald Trump has been the most influential person in the news since 2016.  And that has not stopped.”  See all four “Person of the Year” covers here.

Impeachment, IG FBI Report Aftermath, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-China Trade Negotiations, Financial Markets Activity, Fiat Chrysler-Peugeot Merger Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/17). The impeachment against President Donald Trump; the aftermath of the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s use of the secret FISA court; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China; the record high Dow and activity in the world’s financial markets; and the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot to make the third largest auto firm were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Appearing on fubosportsnetwork.com’s “Call It A Night” program with host Julie Stewart-Binks, WFAN, New York and Radio.com sports talk personality Mike Francesa says he’ll delve into politics during his daily, one-hour Radio.com show.  Asked why, Francesa said, “There’s not a show, there’s no political coverage anywhere that is unbiased.  It’s all biased.  It’s either left or right.  It is so significantly left or right.  Give me a network, I’ll tell you – FOX is right, MSNBC is left.  Everybody has a bias. Everybody is one or the other, most on the left, there are some rights.  There’s nothing down the middle.” Francesa’s Radio.com show will stream from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET prior to his half-hour WFAN program airing at 6:00 pm ET…..Talk radio pro Phil Valentine and his son Campbell Valentine are celebrating the fact that their podcast “The PodGOATs” has been named one of the Top 10 History Podcasts for 2019 by Podbean – a global podcast hosting site.  “The PodGOATs” is produced by Comworld Media.  Phil Valentine says, “I’m in shock, to be honest with you.  Campbell and I have worked really hard this year on this podcast.  We bill it as ‘The History of Everything,’ which is a lofty goal.  We’re closing in on episode 100 and we have over 360,000 downloads, so we’re getting’ there.”  Comworld Media will launch two more Phil Valentine podcasts in 2020…..Westwood One adds “Esports 30 with Kevin Knocke” to its Westwood One Podcast Network.  The show is an original podcast covering esports news and in-depth interviews with industry personalities, celebrities, athletes, influencers, and enthusiasts. Knocke says, “Esports is now big enough that it can’t rely on the sunshine and rainbows perspective that it’s the ‘next big thing’ so we need to understand how to develop a sustainable infrastructure for the long term.  I’ll be inviting on guests with a broad viewpoint of the industry as a whole as well as game-specific experts who are willing to take an honest look at their game and reflect on improvements needed.”…..Longtime New York City radio news pro Pat Farnack retires from Entercom’s WCBS-AM “Newsradio 880.”  Farnack also served with KYW-AM and KYW-TV in Philadelphia as well as WWDB-FM, Philly during her career.  She joined WCBS-AM in December 2000.  The WCBS website notes that Farnack also “spent time at WNBC in New York delivering news in the days of Don Imus and Howard Stern and even did a several-month stint as traffic reporter in the flying ‘N’ copter.”…..iHeartMedia and NostalgiaCon, LLC are working together to produce the NostalgiaCon Miami ‘80s pop culture convention on April 25-26 at the MANA Convention Center in Miami’s Wynwood arts district.  iHeartMedia’s participation includes sponsorship collaborations for branded activations, VIP fan experiences, contests, giveaways, and grassroots promotions…..Pictured below are actors Jamie Foxx (left) and Michael B. Jordan (center) with SiriusXM Urban View host Mike Muse (right) chatting before a live audience at SiriusXM studios in New York.  Foxx and Jordan visited on a promotion tour for their new film, Just Mercy, hitting theaters on Christmas Day.  Photo: Cindy Ord/ Getty Images for SiriusXM.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programmer and air personality Adam “Kash” Kashner moves from Cumulus Media’s Indianapolis cluster where he was APD at country WFMS-FM to Pensacola where he’s the new program director for country radio station WXBM-FM “NASH 102.7 FM.”  At the same time, Cumulus adds APD stripes to current WXBM afternoon host Matt Fisher.  Cumulus Pensacola VP and market manager Gary Mertins says, “Kash is such an up-and-coming programming talent within Cumulus and we’re so proud to have him join us in Pensacola.  He’s really done some great things and proven himself in Indianapolis.  WXBM is a heritage country station and we know that we’ve found the right person in Kash to lead it to further greatness.”…..Air personality Amanda Valentine is leaving her radio gig at Hubbard Broadcasting’s country WUBE, Cincinnati “B105” to work full time on her fitness career.  Valentine was co-host of the afternoon show with Jesse Tack, who continues the show solo.  Valentine noted on her Facebook page: “Health and fitness is a huge passion of mine.  After going through a significant weight loss journey myself, helping others on their own journeys fills my heart in ways I can’t even describe.  So, I’ve made the decision to follow my heart and devote my time and energy into helping as many people as possible discover just how life changing a healthy lifestyle can be.”…..Milwaukee non-commercial triple A WYMS-FM “88Nine” bestowed honors on the winners of its 2019 Radio Milwaukee Music Awards last Saturday (12/14).  Winners of the awards covered a wide swath of musical genres.  WYMS-FM’s 12th annual music awards were based on 6,278 votes online by area music fans and selections of ‘88Nine’ music staff and local music writers.  Station program director Jordan Lee says, “This year’s awards reflect the strong avant-garde sound that is developing here in Milwaukee.  It’s really hard to put the music of Klassik, SistaStrings, or Browns Crew in a genre box.  These new sounds are defining the sound of our city in an exciting and inspiring way.”

Monday, July 8, 2019

| July 8, 2019

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continues Posting Today with “Radio Broadcasting and Podcasting” Panel Discussion.  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 (7/8) post presents the panel discussion titled, “Radio Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOneSteven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi MediaMichael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence.  The discussion is moderated by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS.  Already posted: The convention’s keynote chat in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation.  The two discuss a variety of topics including Hannity’s special relationship with President Donald J. Trump; what it takes to be successful on both radio and television talk media; the challenges facing talk radio in terms of ratings and marketing; Hannity’s feelings about his life and career; plus more.  The session is introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones.  Also already posted on the page:  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” as well as 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.

‘Delaware 105.9’ Ends Local Susan Monday Show; Adds Syndicated Programming. The new owner of news/talk WXDE-FM, Lewes “Delaware 105.9” is dropping local talk personality Susan Monday.  At the same time, early afternoon host Ed Tyll resigns from the station that Forever Media acquired along with nine other signals from Delmarva Broadcasting for $18.5 million earlier this year.  WXDE is adding Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher show in the late morning daypart and the Compass Media Networks-syndicated “Markley, van Camp and Robbins” show in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot.  Monday is ready for her next opportunity.  She can be reached at suemo1955@gmail.com.

SB Nation Radio Launches New Afternoon Show. Current SB Nation Radio personalities Cody Stoots and Jake Asman are being paired up to co-host “The Main Event with Cody Stoots and Jake Asman” show in the SB Nation Radio lineup.  The network is operated by Houston-based Gow Media.  Stoots has been with Gow’ Sportsmap and Asman has been hosting the network’s 7:00 pm ET “The Power Hour” program.  The new show airs from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET.  Gow Media and SB Nation Radio CEO David Gow comments, “It’s been a joy listening to Jake and Cody in various roles the last couple of years.  They both are so versatile.  The perfect combination of humor and constructive sports debate.  It’s going to be a very entertaining program.”

Levin Broadcasts from Israel. Pictured above is Westwood One nationally syndicated radio star Mark Levin (left) interviewing British intelligence and military officer Colonel Richard Kemp (right) in the Christian Broadcasting Network studios in Jerusalem. The two discussed Iran, the war in Afghanistan, and Kemp’s collaboration with the CIA and Israeli intelligence and defense agencies.  Kemp was one of a number of expert guests Levin interviewed during his international remote broadcast.

Confer Radio Institute Opens Today. Today at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, 25 students are beginning the 10-day Confer Radio Talent Institute in which they will learn from a group of more than 40 broadcast professionals, including: Kristin Cantrell, CEO of CapCity Communications and Seven Mountains Media and Jim Loftus, COO of Seven Mountains Media; Lynn Deppen, president of Forever MediaJoe Bell, VP/market manager of Beasley Media Group Philadelphia; Karen Richards, VP/sales, Cumulus Media Harrisburg; Jon Zellner, president of programming operations, National Programming Group, iHeartMedia New York; Shelly Easton, VP of music programming, Entercom Philadelphia; Brian Check, SVP of programming, iHeartMedia Philadelphia; Eric Johnson, program director of Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic,” and many more.  The institute is being underwritten by the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters and Kerby Confer to underwrite the institute.  Lifelong broadcaster Kirby Confer (pictured at right teaching at a previous institute) says, “We want to make a difference and give this next generation a firm foundation in the industry.  We are going to birth a whole new generation of radio people and are so pleased the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters offer both their time and financial support, investing in radio’s future.”  All students will be certified Radio Marketing Professionals after completing the RMP sales training course from the RAB.

Beasley Unveils New XP Studio in Detroit. The new Beasley Media Group broadcast space pictured above will serve as the official headquarters for Beasley’s nationally syndicated Esports lifestyle-driven program, “Checkpoint XP.”  The program is seen daily on Twitch and heard weekly on 74 affiliate stations via the Sun Broadcast Group network, and via a lineup of original content Esports-focused podcasts.  Seen sitting in the state-of-the-art studios are (from l-r): “Checkpoint XP” personalities Norris Howard and Joe Sloan, Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley, Checkpoint XP’s Robbie Landis and Nate Bender.

Media Staffing Network and Radio Ink Partner for 2019 Radio Sales Compensation Study. The 2019 Radio Sales Compensation Study results will be presented at this year’s NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  It’s a partnership between Media Staffing Network (MSN) and our friends at Radio Ink.  The study begins with a two-minute survey for managers and sellers that launches today (7/8) and runs through Friday, July 26.  The goal of the study is to guide radio owners, operators, and managers to develop sales compensation packages that attract – and keep – the best candidates, including those from younger demographics, in today’s highly competitive hiring landscape.  All survey participants will be entered in a random drawing to win one of three licenses to MSN’s Local Sales Recruitment Online Learning Program.  Radio Ink EVP and president/publisher Deborah Parenti says, “We are delighted to team up with MSN in a project that will hopefully help provide guidance, especially to smaller groups and individual stations, in crafting the kind of compensation packages that encourage young people to consider radio sales as a career path. With so much competition from digital media, making radio ‘sexier’ to prospective hires has to, first and foremost, include a more competitive pay structure.”  To access the survey, click here.

WTEM, Washington Adds FOX Sports Radio Programming. Washington, DC sports talker WTEM “The Team 980” adds evening and overnight programming from FOX Sports Radio to its daily program schedule. Effective immediately, the Radio One-owned station begins airing “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard and Rob Parker” in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot, “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon” from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am, and “The Ben Maller Show” in the 2:00 am to 6:00 am daypart.  The station also airs FOX Sports Radio’s full lineup of weekend programming when play-by-play sports is not on the schedule.

NAB to Honor Mary Quass with National Radio Award. At this year’s NAB Radio Show in Dallas, NRG Media chairman and CEO Mary Quass will receive the National Radio Award from the National Association of Broadcasters.  The award – given for “outstanding leadership in the radio industry” – will be presented during the September 25 luncheon program, “2020 and Beyond: Insights from the Top.”  NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “We are pleased to honor Mary Quass for her many achievements and impact on radio.  She is a true catalyst in our industry who exemplifies the meaning of the National Radio Award through her leadership, integrity and success.”

Trump’s Fourth of July Celebration, 2020 Presidential Race, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, California Earthquakes, U.K. Ambassador’s Trump Criticisms, Jeffrey Epstein Arrest, and U.S. Women’s Soccer Victory Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Washington, DC Fourth of July celebration, including President Trump’s speech and the military component; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; Iran’s uranium enrichment program and tensions with the U.S.; the earthquakes in Southern California since the July 4 temblor; British Ambassador Kim Darroch’s criticism of President Trump; the arrest of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein on sexual assault charges; and the U.S. Women’s Soccer team’s World Cup victory were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the holiday weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air personality Jasmine Lee is named co-host of the “Big Mama and the Wild Bunch” morning show on Beasley Media Group’s CHR WXKB, Fort Myers “B103.9.”   She was most recently morning host at Stillwater Broadcasting’s CHR KSPI-FM, Stillwater, Oklahoma.  WXKB operations manager Adam Star comments, “Jasmine has great charm and charisma on the air. Her energy and fun personality is infectious.  She is the final piece that we were looking to add to ‘Big Mama and The Wild Bunch Morning Show.’”…..In the Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland market, Don Harrison is the new brand manager at Adams Radio’s rock WZBH “The Beach” and classic rock WGBG “Big 107.7.”  He was most recently operations manager at Townsquare Media’s operations in the Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming markets.  Harrison says, “I’m honored to join Adams Radio Group and be working with the entire team.  It’s refreshing to be part of a company that believes in local radio, super-serving the community, and creating a great working environment.  I also can’t wait to team up with Lisa Layne – she’s a rock star.”…..iHeartMedia Boston brings Hisham Fayed aboard as director of marketing to work with the cluster’s music brands: WXKS-FM “Kiss 108,” WJMN-FM “JAM’N 94.5,” WBWL-FM “101.7 The Bull,” WZLX-FM, and WKAF-FM.  In this role, Fayed will work closely with the promotions, events, sales, and programming teams in developing and executing marketing plans.  iHeartMedia VP of marketing Adam Ralston says, “Hisham has a proven track record of impactful marketing campaign creation and execution in Boston. We are thrilled to add him to our superstar marketing team, and we know he will contribute to our brands’ ongoing success.”

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

| November 21, 2018

Shecterle to Lead NRG’s Omaha Cluster. In Omaha, radio executive Mark Shecterle is named market manager at NRG Media’s station group that includes: news/talk KOIL, sports talk duo KZOT-AM “1180 The Zone” and KOZN “1620 The Zone,” hot AC KQKQ “Sweet 98.5” rock KOOO “101.9 The Keg,” rhythmic CHR KOPW “Power 106.9,” and regional Mexican KMMQ-AM/K258DC.  Shecterle was most recently vice president of sales south for United States Traffic Network. He previously served with Radio One, Total Traffic & Weather Network, and Westwood One.  NRG president and CEO Mary Quass states, “We are thrilled to have Mark join NRG.  He brings extensive experience in management, sales, and marketing to the market.  He understands the importance of NRG’s mission to provide great local radio.  We are confident with Mark’s leadership, he will continue to develop innovative strategies for the market while providing great local radio.”

FCC to Begin 2018 Quadrennial Review of Media Ownership Rules.  Chairman Ajit Pai writes in his blog post at the FCC’s website that the agency will begin the 2018 Quadrennial Review of broadcast ownership rules and will “begin with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which seeks public input on the relevant rules, such as the Local Radio Ownership Rule, as well as several diversity-related proposals.”  That will begin at the FCC’s Open Meeting on December 12.  The ownership rules are a hot-button issue in the radio industry.  Some argue for liberal changes in the ownership regulations to help radio station owners compete in the audio arena with the largely unregulated digital audio and satellite radio services.  Other media industry players – most notably iHeartMedia – are against any further relaxation of ownership caps.  The National Association of Broadcasters is proposing changes that would allow companies operating in the top 75 radio markets to own up to eight FM stations and an unlimited number of AM signals.  Companies in markets 76 and up (and in unrated markets) would be allowed to operate with no limits.  The NAB also added a proposal related to the incubator program that would allow companies in that program to own up to 10 FM signals in the top 75 markets. When the NAB released this proposal back in June, FCC commissioner Michael O’Rielly said he was open to considering it, stating that marketplace definition is key for him.  “I’ve critiqued the Department of Justice and FCC merger reviews in the past – AM radio only competes with AM radio, FM radio only competes with FM radio and newspapers only compete with newspapers.  That’s a crazy perspective that no longer applies, if it ever did.”

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas. Pictured above is Genesis Communications Network syndicated talk radio personality Dr. Daliah Wachs standing beside the Christmas tree her program donates to the Magical Forest at Opportunity Village in Las Vegas – a charity that helps adults with disabilities gain employment and enjoy a variety of social services.

Trump Stands by Saudis, Dow Plummets, Democrats’ House Speaker Battle, Trump Answers Mueller Questions, Ivanka Email Case, California Wildfires; Avenatti Assault Allegation, Romaine Lettuce Warning, Thanksgiving Holiday/Eastern Cold Snap, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/20).  Reaction to President Trump’s decision to deny Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi; concern about the world’s financial markets as the Dow drops more than 500 points; the internal battle among Democrats over Nancy Pelosi as next speaker of the house; President Trump finishes his written answers to special counsel Robert Mueller; the controversy over Ivanka Trump’s use of her personal email account for government business; the devastation from California’s wildfires; the allegation of assault against Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti by a former girlfriend; the CDC’s warning about the safety of the romaine lettuce in the U.S.; the Thanksgiving holiday and the Eastern U.S. cold snap; and the week’s NFL action 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 death of legendary disc jockey and voice artist Casey Kasem is the subject of a CBS TV special this Saturday evening (10:00 pm ET) as “48 Hours: The Mysterious Death of Casey Kasem” looks at the claims of Kasem’s second wife Jean – who says his children by his first wife killed him in an attempt to get his money – and the Kasem children (KerriJulie and Michael), who say Jean Kasem is guilty of elder abuse.  Casey Kasem died in 2014 after a battle with Lewy Body Dementia.  Saturday’s edition of “48 Hours” is hosted by Peter Van Sant…..iHeartRadio strikes a deal with Waze for the latter’s traffic and map app to sync with iHeartMedia’s digital platform to provide both audio streaming and directions without having to leave the iHeartRadio app.  iHM says, “The integration enables users to sync their Waze and iHeartRadio apps to access their favorite iHeartRadio features within Waze navigation or access Waze navigation inside iHeartRadio.”…..Brew City non-commercial triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine” announces the results of its first “Backline” accelerator program from it and partner gener8tor that is assisting up-and-coming Milwaukee musicians Lex Allen, Crystal Knives, Abby Jeanne, and Zed Kenzo.  The 12-week music business immersion program helped the artists learn about the business and take part in collaborations in multiple cities, such as New York, Los Angeles and London.  The “Backline” program was created by WYMS to help Milwaukee musicians break out nationally.  Acceptance into the program for the four artists included $20,000 in equity-and royalty-free grant funding for each musician to be used toward furthering their careers.  The musicians have been using the grants to pay for equipment, recording sessions, travel, publicity services, photography and video. WYMS is owned by the Milwaukee Public Schools.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

| August 7, 2018

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 & JubalJohnjay & 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.