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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

| March 16, 2021

Cox Media Group’s ‘95.5 WSB’ Names Erick Erickson Early Afternoon Host. At news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta, Cox Media Group announces that the daypart long occupied by the “Rush Limbaugh Show” will be hosted by the station’s Erick Erickson, beginning on Monday (3/22). Erickson will move from his current 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot and the station’s early evening host Mark Arum will take over the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. WSB will air an hour of Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity program live at 3:00 pm and will air the rest of the show delayed from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. WSB director of branding & programming Drew Anderssen says, “With these lineup changes, 95.5 WSB will better serve Atlanta with more local programming. Erick Erickson and Mark Arum are both tremendous talents, and the move will continue to strengthen the extraordinary brand that is 95.5 WSB.” Erickson also hosts his own self-syndicated 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET talk radio show that has garnered almost 20 affiliate stations in its first year (although speculation has already begun that other syndication developments could be in the works that take into account the host’s new schedule).  Erickson says, “I would never have gotten into radio without encouragement from Rush Limbaugh who has been gracious over the years with a lot of great advice and guidance. It was an honor to fill in for him on his show, and it is overwhelming and humbling to move into the slot Rush occupied with such distinction for so long. I appreciate and intend to live up to the responsibility that comes with this time slot.” Mark Arum, who’s been with WSB since 1997, also serves as traffic anchor for WSB-TV’s “Channel 2 Action News This Morning.” Arum says, “When I was hired at 95.5 WSB over 23 years ago, I could never have envisioned that I would ever get the opportunity to host a drive time show on the best news and talk station in the nation. It’s a cliché, but this is truly a dream come true.”

WOKV-FM, Jacksonville Goes Local in the ‘Rush Daypart.’ As sister news/talk giant WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta is doing (see story above), Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville is filling the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart occupied by Rush Limbaugh for so many years with a local host, in this case current late morning personality Mark Kaye. CMG says that Kaye “has been growing his audience on 104.5 FM from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon for multiple years. Mark has gained a national following through multiple video streaming platforms, as well as a show on Newsmax TV.” Cox will fill Kaye’s current daypart with FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade whose radio show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Kaye comments, “As a life-long fan of Rush Limbaugh, I am still adjusting to a world without his voice. Producing a daily show in ‘Rush’s timeslot’ is a daunting task for any broadcaster, but I am grateful to the leadership team at CMG and 104.5 WOKV for placing their trust in me. With the audience’s help I promise to do my best to keep Rush’s spirit, energy, and unique brand of conservative entertainment alive. This is an incredibly bittersweet opportunity.”

iHeartMedia Names Paul Rogers Area President for North Florida. Media executive Paul Rogers is named area president for iHeartMedia’s newly configured North Florida area that includes Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Panama City. Rogers takes over for Nicky Sparrow who was recently promoted to SVP of multicultural sales for iHeartMedia Markets Group. Rogers reports to division president Linda Byrd. She says, “I’ve worked with Paul for over 35 years, in many different roles. His integrity, judgment, professionalism, and competitiveness are what any manager would look for in a market leader. He is the perfect choice as a successor, and I have no doubt that he will take this area to the next level. I also want to thank Nicky for the great work she has done in getting Jacksonville to where we are today and congratulate her on this exciting new opportunity to expand her role in iHeartMedia.” Rogers has been serving iHeartMedia as market president for Tallahassee and Panama City since 2017.

Townsquare Media 2020 Q4 Net Revenue Down 3.2%; Full Year Revenue Declines 15%. Compared the second quarter of 2020 when Townsquare Media’s net revenue was down 35% compared to 2019, the fourth quarter’s decline of just 3.2% was a source of joy for CEO Bill Wilson. While Q4 net revenue was $108.5 million (down 3.2%), net revenue for the full year was $371.3 million, down 15% from the full year 2019 ($431.4 million). What has Wilson pumped is Townsquare’s digital assets. He says, “Townsquare Interactive, our digital monthly subscription business, excelled throughout the year, accelerating year-over-year net revenue growth in Q4 to +16% and generating over $70 million of revenue for the full year (+14% YoY) at a profit margin of approximately 30%. In total, digital net revenue increased +6% year over year, driven by both Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite (our digital programmatic advertising platform), which grew net revenue by +11% year over year.  With $162 million of 2020 digital net revenue, digital now accounts for approximately 44% of our total net revenue, further differentiating us in the local media marketplace.” Wilson says that the company is proud of its roots and DNA in local radio, “2020 was the year Townsquare became a ‘Digital First’ company.” He says, “I am also pleased to reaffirm our expectation that Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite will each generate $100 million in revenue in two to three years. 2020 served to accelerate Townsquare’s transformation into a premier local media and digital marketing solutions company proudly super-serving markets outside the top 50 markets.”

TALKERS News Notes. One of WFAN, New York afternoon co-host Craig Carton’s fraud victims is petitioning the court asking that Carton’s restitution order be rewritten because Carton has returned to the Entercom sports talk station in what petitioner Gerard LoDuka says “is almost surely an extremely lucrative job,” according to a piece in the New York Post. LoDuka claims that the restitution order requiring him to pay 15% of his yearly income toward the nearly $5 million he owes victims should be rewritten because of his new, high-profile job. But Carton’s attorney says Carton makes “a fraction” of his previous salary as morning drive co-host…..Cumulus Media announces that for the second year in a row, news/talk KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno’s “Morning News” takes home the Golden Mike Award for “Best Newscast under 15 minutes” (Division B) from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California. KMJ news anchors Matt Otstot, Tony Manes, Liz Kern and Aaron Abeytia – along with sports anchor George Takata and weather anchor Kimberly Kolliner – teamed up for the winning newscast…..The National Association of Broadcasters is offering a new online training course for radio stations containing critical information and guidelines for complying with Federal Communications Commission regulations. The Radio Rules! A Guide to FCC Regulations for Radio Stations course is now available here. The scenario-based training course tests participants’ understanding of acceptable practices for FCC regulation compliance. The guide outlines compliance related to content, advertising, station operation and management, copyright, and public files and reporting in four learning activities.

Mildred Carter Mentoring Program Announces 2021 Participants. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group, a volunteer organization dedicated to developing management and leadership skills for women in radio broadcasting, introduces the MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program’s Class of 2021. They are (pictured above from left to right) The 2021 class is comprised of the following professionals, listed in alphabetical order: Lisa Kirkman, national accounts director, Ruby Radio, Northeastern Nevada; Jenna Miller, integrated sales manager, Cox Media Group, Tampa; Tonee Roper, on-air personality and promotions director, Neuhoff Media, Springfield, Illinois; and Ashley Wilson, director of country programming, iHeartMedia, Kentucky/Indiana Region. The program, now in its 20th year, matches up-and-coming women in radio with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of the industry. vCreative is serving as the lead sponsor of this year’s program. The MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is named in the memory of Mildred Carter who, along with her husband Andrew “Skip” Carter, founded the first African American-owned radio station in the U.S. in 1950, when they turned on KPRS, Kansas City.

Migrant Border Crisis, COVID-19, Cuomo Allegations, Stimulus Package, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Voting Bills, Georgia’s Trump Investigation, Gavin Newsom Recall Effort, North Korea Warns U.S., and the Grammy Awards/Oscar Nominations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/15). The Biden administration’s immigrant problem as thousands of parentless children amass at the U.S.-Mexico border; the number of COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, the removal of mask mandates in some states, and the rollout of vaccines; the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the fellow Democrats calling for his resignation; Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package becomes law; the voting bills in various states critics say will make voting more difficult; the investigation into Donald Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State asking for more votes; California Governor Gavin Newsom battles the recall effort against him; the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un warns the U.S. about military exercises with South Korea, and Sunday night’s Grammy awards and the unveiling of this year’s Oscar nominations were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, February 6, 2015

| February 6, 2015

hunterrobKFYI, Phoenix Names Rob Hunter News Host.  Moving to iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFYI, Phoenix from Bonneville’s crosstown KTAR-FM is news pro Rob Hunter who will become part of the morning drive Mike Broomhead program.  The station says Hunter will serve as news anchor during Broomhead’skfyifoxnews show and host the 5:00 am to 6:00 am “KFYI Download” program.  Hunter has worked in news/talk for the past 15 years but also has radio experience in the AC, hip hop, rock and sports talk formats.  KFYI program director Neil Larrimore states, “Rob is a great addition to KFYI mornings.  He is smart, versatile and a solid professional.  As soon as we heard he was available, we had to snatch him up.”  Hunter comments, “I’m beyond thrilled to begin the next chapter of my career at KFYI, one of the country’s great news/talk stations and to becoming part of the vast iHeartMedia family.  I’m looking forward to working closely with KFYI’s award winning newsroom, with talk show host Mike Broomhead and with the Valley’s early morning risers.”

kiernanpatPat Kiernan Exits WABC, New York’s ‘The Ride Home.’  Big Apple media personality Pat Kiernan leaves his gig with Cumulus Media at news/talk WABC to focus on his morning news program that airs on Time Warner Cable’s NY1 channel.  Kiernan had been co-hosting “The Ride Home” with television and radio news pro Rita Cosby.  Now, with Kiernan out, Cosby is hosting the 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm program solo.

otstotmattOtstot Named KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno Morning News Anchor.  The new morning news anchor at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno is Matt Otstot, who joins “Fresno’s Morning News” host Blake Taylor for daily broadcasts later this month.  Taylor says of Otstot, “Matt is an enormous talent with a wealth of experience on air.  But it’s his work off-air, in the community, which is invaluable.  I can’t wait for Matt to bring his energy to the massive KMJ audience.”  Otstot has worked at local television outlets KGPE-TV and KSEE-TV as an anchor and reporter.  Most recently he was community engagement coordinator at Valley Children’s Hospital.  Otstot says, “Working at Valley Children’s was an honor.  But, when you’re offered the chance to work for a place with the reputation and success of KMJ, you jump at it.  And I hope my passion and energy for morning news resonates with Valley listeners.”

NY FestivalsWorld’s Best Radio Programs Advisory Board Adds Critchlow, Geller. Those competing for New York Festivals’ “World’s Best Radio Programs” will have to impress TBI Media founding director Phil Critchlow and Geller Media president Valerie Geller: Both are named to thecritchlowphil international radio program awards advisory board and grand jury. Executive director of the NYF radio program awards Rose Anderson states, “These two thought leaders bring creative expertise and deep knowledge of today’s radio industry. Phil Critchlow and Valerie Geller will add tremendous vision and valuable insights as we engage the worldwide radio community and are responsive to what matters to them.” Critchlow comments, “We at TBI have been lucky enough to win a gellervalerienumber of New York Festivals awards, which always means a great deal to the team. I am delighted to become part of the NYF advisory board.” Geller remarks that, “It is stunning and so satisfying on every level to have the opportunity and honor to have the chance to hear the amazing work that news, documentary, and program teams throughout the world are producing/creating. It is an honor and a pleasure to serve as a judge for the NYF awards entries.” BBC-trained Critchlow joined Unique Broadcasting in 1994 and launched The Big Idea 12 years later. He formerly was chair of the UK Radio Independents Group (RIG) and is a fellow of the Radio Academy. Geller has coached radio, television, and internet broadcasters in 35 countries. The former WABC, New York program director and KIOI, San Francisco news director received the Conclave‘s Rockwell lifetime achievement award. Deadline for entering this year’s competition is in approximately six weeks (Thursday, 3/19). A New York City awards ceremony will be held (Monday) June 22.

Odds & Sods.  Joining digital podcasting platform BlogTalkRadio is digital media pro Denise Oliver who is named programming consultant and strategist for the organization. Oliver is widely recognized within the industry as a brightoliverdenise programming and consulting mind…..Yahoo! Sports Radio personality John Granato is pictured below (far right) celebrating his son J.T. (John Tyler) Granato’s (second from right) signing to the Rice University football team as starting quarterback this National Signing Day.  As a longtime radio and television granatoSigning15sports analyst, the Houston-based host has been grooming his son in the sports industry, and even invited J.T. to intern on his national show, “Prime Cut,” with former NFL quarterback Sean Salisbury this year.  John Granato comments, “This is a great day for our family.  We couldn’t be more proud.  Thank God J.T. has his mother’s brains – there’s no other explanation for him getting into Rice.”…..Westwood One syndicated talk host Phil Valentine is headed for the big screen.  Valentine has a supporting role in the upcoming film, The Secret Handshake, scheduled for release this spring.  Handshake is written and directed by Howie Klausner, who wrote the screenplay for the Clint Eastwood movie, Space Cowboys…..SiriusXM is launching a three-week series of live, call-in shows titled, “African Ancestry Radio,” in which hosts will try to help listeners and celebrities of African descent in their quest to reconnect with their heritage.  African Ancestry’s Gina Paige and award-winning producer Shirley Neal will host the program on February 8 with Louis Gossett, Jr. and Aunjanue Ellis as their first celebrity guests.

kirofmLiveShowThat’s Entertainment!  The photo you see here is a full-stage shot of a live production of KIRO-FM, Seattle’s “Tom & Curley” show that happened at The Triple Door on Friday, January 30.  The sold-out program was a live reenactment of the duo’s radio show done in the vein of an old-time variety show, complete with their weekly and daily features and guests, a local high school jazz band, as well as a certain degree of audience interaction and…one pet chicken.  The station billed the event featuring hosts John Curley and Tom Tangney as “a night of the best conversation you will ever listen in on as Tom and John bring their entertaining take on the news of the day to a select live audience.”

Longtime Buffalo Radio Newsman Ray Marks Dies.  Radio news pro Ray Marks (Markiewicz) died on February 4 after a two-and-a-half year battle with leukemia.  During his career, Marks served as news director at WJTN, Jamestown, New York and at heritage Buffalo AM signals WGR and WBEN.  WGRZ-TV, Buffalo reports that Marks also taught as an adjunct professor at St. Bonaventure University, Buffalo State College, and Medaille College.

kkobStieglerpilotHometown Hero Sets Balloon Records.  After Albuquerque resident and expert balloon pilot Troy Bradley set six new world records by flying across the Pacific Ocean with Russian co-pilot Leonid Tiukhtyaev, Cumulus Media news/talk KKOB got one of the first radio interviews.  Pictured here, KKOB PM drive personality Scott Stiegler (right) poses for a shot with Two Eagles pilot Bradley (left) at the radio station.  Bradley and Tiukhtyaev landed in the ocean about four miles from the California Baja last Saturday.

The Brutality of ISIS and Jordan’s Vow of Retaliation Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 2-6.  The increasingly cruel and violent tactics of ISIS and Jordan’s statement it will seek retaliation for the immolation death of its captured pilot were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the anti-vaccine controversy.  Coming in at #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects followed by the Obama tax hike proposal at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.