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Monday, May 6, 2019

| May 6, 2019

Cumulus Media Names Brian Philips EVP of Content and Audience; Mike McVay to Return to Consulting. Effective today, radio and television executive Brian Philips is being appointed executive vice president, content and audience for Cumulus Media, taking over for Michael McVay, who is returning to full-time consulting, with Cumulus as his first client.  Philips previously served as president of Viacom/MTV Network’s CMT channel.  The press release notes that there, Philips led “the music network’s successful forays into long-form script series, tentpole awards shows, concert specials, and feature films.  He also developed CMT’s successful national radio network.”  Prior to working in TV and film, Philips worked in radio programming with such stations as Cumulus’ WNNX-FM and WWWQ-FM in Atlanta, and KPLX-FM, Dallas.  Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner says, “We are excited that Brian is joining our leadership team.  A highly accomplished executive, leader, and innovator with substantial experience across today’s media landscape, he comes to us with an impressive and successful track record of growing ratings and expanding audiences.  We look forward to benefiting from the skills and expertise he brings to his new role. I would also like to thank Mike for his significant contributions to Cumulus and for being such a great partner to me.”  McVay underscores that the decision to leave Cumulus and return to consulting was entirely his.  In praising McVay, Berner adds, “Mike’s accomplishments since his appointment as EVP, content and programming in 2015 are too numerous to count.  To name just a few, under Mike’s leadership of the office of programming, we reversed four years of ratings share declines, and saw years of ratings share growth.  We are currently posting the best ratings since 2011 on some of our biggest and most important stations.  Mike has helped to expand Westwood One’s programming, participating in the launch of several new shows, including the very successful ‘The Ben Shapiro Show.’  Mike has also led us in increasing our reach beyond over the air listening to include smart speakers and all online listening.”

Monday Memo: Show Me Your Show. On smart talk stations, weekends are appointment listening and might be the two most profitable days of the week, “NOT incompatible goals” according to consultant Holland Cooke.  “Yet,” he notes, “programming Saturdays and Sundays can be high-maintenance for stations, and getting airtime is challenging for talent.” In this week’s Monday Memo, HC recommends a win-win road map to weekend airtime.  Read it here.

Simonson Named Director of Sales at Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach. Radio sales pro Gregory Simonson is appointed director of sales for Hubbard Radio’s recently acquired West Palm Beach station group that includes news/talk WFTL, Fort Lauderdale and sports talk WMEN, Royal Palm Beach “640 The Hurricane,” and four music-formatted stations.  Simonson was most recently general sales manager with Beasley Media Group’s Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster.  Hubbard Radio SVP and market manager Elizabeth Hamma states, “I’m very happy to welcome Gregory to the Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach family.  His extensive track record of success in traditional and digital media as well as his passion for helping sales people succeed make Gregory a perfect choice to lead our sales team to new heights.”  Last fall, Hubbard agreed to acquire the cluster from Alpha Media for $88 million.

‘Our American Stories’ Passes 180-Affiliate Mark. The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program from American Private Radio announces the addition of eight new affiliate stations to the program’s roster, putting over the 180-station mark. APR president and show host Lee Habeeb says, “Stations told us they wanted a radio program that wasn’t always about politics, to give listeners a break from the news cycle.  More importantly, they love the topics we share every night, and we take great pride in putting stories together that touch our listeners’ hearts and minds.  People walk away feeling better when they listen to ‘Our American Stories.’”  New stations include Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis-St. Paul.

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast is being launched starring iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman, titled, “Math & Magic: Stories From the Frontiers of Marketing,” on the iHeartPodcast Network beginning on May 14.  The program will feature interviews with “visionary executives from the media and entertainment industries.”  In the first two episodes. Pittman talks with Maurice Levy, who, during his tenure as CEO of Publicis Groupe, increased the value of the company by 100 times and expanded a French agency into a true global advertising and communications leader; and Scooter Braun, renowned talent entrepreneur, investor and entertainment executive who boosted the careers of international superstars such as Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and many others…..Boston Herald-based nationally syndicated columnist and Boston Herald Radio show host Adriana Cohen recently hosted President Trump on her weekly program. Cohen tells TALKERS that the almost-20-minute interview went viral after being picked up by Politico, Boston Globe, Newsweek, Fox News, The Blaze, The Hill, and others…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that staffers at Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM are getting some backing from fellow union members as they negotiate with the company for raises for the newsroom’s eight assistant producers.  The Writers Guild of America will rally outside the WBBM studios in the Prudential Building today (5/6)…..Washington University in St. Louis is awarding seven people with honorary degrees at a ceremony during the school’s 2019 commencement on May 17 and one of those is SiriusXM Urban View talk host Joe Madison.  The commencement address will be delivered by Michael Bloomberg.  Madison graduated from Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in 1971…..WTMJ, Milwaukee cleaned up at the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards Gala in Madison over the weekend.  The Good Karma Brands news/talk station won first place in 21 categories, including: News/Talk Large Market Station of the Year, Radio News Operation of the Year (Large Market); Social and Digital Operation of the Year (Large market); Best Newscast: Wisconsin’s Afternoon News; and more. Pictured below with the station’s awards are WTMJ staffers (from l-r): Nick Van Wagenen, Erik Bilstad, Jordan Gasiorowski, Steve Wexler, Steve Scaffidi, Jane Matenaer, Jay SorgiBrad Lane, Doug Russell, Melissa Barclay, and Mike Spaulding.

Mueller Report/Trump on Mueller Testimony, 2020 Presidential Politics, China Trade War Escalation, U.S.-Iran Tensions, North Korea Missile Test, Israel-Gaza Violence, ‘Game of Thrones,’ Avengers: Endgame, Kentucky Derby Disqualification, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of the release of the Mueller Report and President Trump’s tweets saying Robert Mueller should not testify before congress; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; markets react as Trump threatens to ramp up U.S.-China trade war; U.S. carrier group heads to Iran in response to reports of Iranian threats to U.S. interests in the region; reaction to North Korea’s latest missile test; the rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza; Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones”; the Avengers: Endgame movie sets new record; the Kentucky Derby winner is disqualified; and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

George Beasley Inducted into PA Radio Hall of Fame. Pictured above is Beasley Broadcast Group founder and chairman George Beasley at center with his wife Ann and surrounded by their family at the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters’ 2019 Gold Medal Awards Dinner yesterday (5/5) in Hershey where he was inducted into the PAB’s Hall of Fame.  Beasley was inducted with fellow honorees: comic and actor/director Bob Saget, Pittsburgh Steelers great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis, and C-SPAN correspondent Steve Scully.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Los Angeles alternative rocker KROQ announces the debut of the afternoon drive “Stryker and Klein” program featuring Ted Stryker (left) and Kevin Klein (right).  Entercom Los Angeles SVP and market manager Jeff Federman says, “Pairing Stryker and Klein is something we could never have imagined just a few years ago.  Individually, they’ve both had tremendous success throughout their careers.  Adding great content to our afternoon programming is something that we’re very committed to and these guys do a fantastic job connecting the music to fun and interesting conversations.”  Stryker has been with the station since 1999.  Klein hosted mornings on the company’s KITS-FM, San Francisco “Live 105.” He was slated to be the morning host at sports talk KWFN, San Diego but the infamous Coronado Bridge social media post bit derailed his gig on that station…..The search is on for the new morning show at Entercom’s country WUSN, Chicago “US99” after Doug Stylz and Justin Roman exited the station on Friday (5/3).  The duo previously hosted the morning show at sister CHR WBBM-FM, “B96” before taking on the morning show role at “US99.”…..Premiere Networks-syndicated evening personality Delilah recently hosted the “Our Town, Our Heroes Celebration,” a local event recognizing listeners for their outstanding work in the Wilmington, Delaware area, produced by Beasley-owned affiliate WJBR, Wilmington “Mix 99.5.”  In addition to helping honor local citizen’s Delilah was surprised by WJBR as the station honored her for her philanthropic efforts with her non-profit foundation, Point Hope, that serves as a voice for forgotten children in the U.S. foster care system and in West Africa.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

| September 28, 2017

FCC Chairman Pai Asks Apple to Activate FM Chips.  In a statement issued today (9/28), Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is asking Apple – the lone major smartphone manufacturer holdout – to agree to activate the FM chips installed in phones.  Pai says, “When wireless networks go down during a natural disaster, smartphones with activated FM chips can allow Americans to get vital access to life-saving information.  I applaud those companies that have done the right thing by activating the FM chips in their phones.  Apple is the one major phone manufacturer that has resisted doing so.  But I hope the company will reconsider its position, given the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.  That’s why I am asking Apple to activate the FM chips that are in its iPhones.  It is time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first.”  There has been no public response to Pai’s statement by Apple.

Price Tag for Entercom-EMF Deal: $57.75 Million. We know the price for the three Entercom radio stations sold to Educational Media Foundation after Entercom filed with the FCC.  These three stations are the first of the divestitures required to facilitate the merger of Entercom and CBS RADIO.  Educational Media Foundation is paying Entercom $57.75 million for KSWD, Los Angeles; KSOQ, Escondido (San Diego market), and WGGI, Benton, PA (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market).

WSB, Atlanta’s Condace Pressley Receives Local Honor.  The Atlanta Business League has just announced its 2017 list of “Atlanta’s Top 100 Black Women of Influence” and WSB Radio manager of program operations and community affairs Condace Pressley is honored as a member of this year’s list.  Pressley was recognized during the “Women of Vision” breakfast on Tuesday (9/26) at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel.  Since 1994, the list has reflected the names of black women in the metro Atlanta community who have reached senior level positions within their profession, are leading entrepreneurs in their industry, or have attained the ability to influence large public bodies politically and in government.  WSB-AM/WSBB-FM director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs comments, “Condace quietly and humbly moves through Atlanta’s communities and serves, mentors and leads every day.  And, she’s done that throughout her entire career with WSB and ‘KISS 104.’  I am so proud and pleased that she gets this kind of due fanfare.”

Financial Talker Ray Lucia Seeks Supreme Court Ruling to Get Back into Investment Business. Financial talk radio host Ray Lucia is taking his ouster from the securities industry by the Securities and Exchange Commission to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The San Diego Reader has a lengthy story on the matter here.  The short version is that Lucia was banned in 2013 after the SEC ruled that his “Buckets of Money” investment plan was not “backtested.”  He has appealed the ruling to no avail.  Now, he’s arguing that the administrative law judge responsible for the decision to kick him out of the industry was appointed unconstitutionally.  Lucia’s attorney tells the paper he believes the SCOTUS will hear the case.  Lucia’s program is syndicated via the Biz Talk Radio network.

TALKERS News Notes.  As part of its “Community Conversation” series, Scripps’ Milwaukee news/talk WTMJ’s news department is presenting a program addressing the controversy surrounding player protests during the national anthem at NFL games.   The uninterrupted, one-hour special takes place this afternoon (9/28) at 4:00 pm CT.  The conversation will lead directly into WTMJ Radio pregame coverage of the Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears game at Lambeau Field.  WTMJ director of programming and news Eric Brooks states, “The protests by NFL players during the national anthem have sparked debate and raised awareness of the issues of social justice in the country.  WTMJ Radio is the flagship station of the Green Bay Packers and the de facto town hall for the state of Wisconsin.  We feel it’s our duty to provide a high-profile place for all sides of the conversation to be heard.”  WTMJ hosts John Mercure and Melissa Barclay will moderate the special that is also being streamed at wtmj.com and via Facebook Live…..Dallas talk show host Jon-David Wells announces via Facebook that his talk show “The Wells Report” is soon to be heard in the market on Salem Media Group’s KVCE-AM, Highland Park as it flips from a simulcast of Christian teaching KWRD-FM to news/talk as “1160 AM KBDT – Big D Talk.”  Wells says his program, previously heard on Salem’s news/talk KSKY, is also being distributed via USA Radio Network…..Pictured at right is Salem Radio Network East Coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh in a still shot from a promo for this weekend’s season premiere of “Saturday Night Live.”  Bligh plays a security guard who won’t let guest star Ryan Gosling upstairs without a guest pass.  See the video here.  When Bligh is not scratching his acting itch (he’s appeared in motion pictures such as Man on a Ledge and Ricki and the Flash), he’s securing new affiliate stations for SRN’s Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Larry Elder and others.

PodcastOne and Former Staffer in Legal Tangle.  Former PodcastOne producer Raymond Hernandez and company founder and chairman Norm Pattiz have very different views of the issues surrounding Hernandez’s claims against Pattiz.  As reported first in Variety, Hernandez is suing PodcastOne for unlawful termination, claiming that he was let go for protesting instructions from Pattiz to “inflate download numbers” of the company’s podcasts.  PodcastOne attorney Marvin Putnam, however, says, “Mr. Hernandez was fired for stealing intellectual property from PodcastOne — a theft he has admitted to committing.”  In the complaint, Hernandez says Pattiz, who is a reserve sheriff’s deputy, set his revolver on a desk with the barrel pointing toward him in order to intimidate him.  Pattiz reponds, “This guy must be crazy.  I’ve never met alone with him.  I didn’t hire him or fire him.  I barely know who he is.  The fact that I’m a law enforcement reserve is well known as I have public service awards in my office.  I didn’t and would never act in the manner that’s been described… His allegations are absurd.”

Alliance for Women in Media ‘Women Who Lead’ Honorees Named.  At this November’s Women Who Lead luncheon, five women media executives are being honored by the Alliance for Women in Media at the Marriott Marquis in New York City.  The event “recognizes and celebrates women who have had a significant impact on the media industry, as trailblazers and extraordinary leaders in their chosen field.”  This year’s honorees are: Caroline Beasley, CEO, Beasley Broadcast Group; Amy Emmerich, chief content officer, Refinery29; Kathleen Finch, chief programming, content & brand officer, Scripps Networks; Susan Swain, co-CEO, C-SPAN; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks.  For more information about the event or to reserve your seat, click here.

Trump Tax Reform Plan, Roy Moore Victory, NFL Protests, Cost of Illegal Immigration, Puerto Rico Devastation, ObamaCare Repeal Efforts, Hugh Hefner Dies, Rick Pitino Corruption Case, MLB Playoff Push, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/27).  The outline of President Trump’s tax reform plan and his speech promoting the effort in Indianapolis; controversial former judge Roy Moore wins the GOP primary in the Alabama U.S. Senate race; ongoing debate over NFL players protesting during the singing of the national anthem; the FAIR study concluding illegal immigration costs taxpayers almost $116 billion per year; the lack of power, potable water and food in Hurricane Maria-stricken Puerto Rico; the efforts by the GOP to repeal the Affordable Care Act with the Graham-Cassidy Bill; Playboy founder Hugh Hefner dies at age 91; the federal investigation into corruption in Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino’s program; the final week of the regular season in Major League Baseball; and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Cool News Radio Opportunity.  WNRP seeks a morning drive news anchor/reporter.  “NewsRadio1620 ▪ FM92.3” in Pensacola, Florida has an immediate opening for an experienced AM drive radio news anchor.  Join the team that local newspaper readers have twice voted “Best Morning Show.”  Includes news on sister station “CatCountry98.7.”  Strong writer, fast audio producer, conversational style, plus a passion for local news gathering.  Seven Edward R. Murrow awards for local news coverage.  FOX Radio News affiliate.  Independent and locally owned.  Excellent employee benefits, including 401k plan and health/dental/vision insurance.  Great lifestyle near beaches in NW Florida panhandle.  EOE. Send audio with resume here.

 

 

Clive Davis Visits ‘Jonesy’s Jukebox.’  Music biz legend Clive Davis visited Cumulus Media’s classic rock KLOS, Los Angeles on Tuesday (9/26) to chat with “Jonsey’s Jukebox” host Steve Jones about his new documentary film, Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, that opened in LA at Cinerama Dome/ArcLight Hollywood.  From KLOS, Davis also spoke with Matt Pinfield for “Flashback”; with WKQX, Chciago’s Brian & Lou; and WLS-AM, Chicago’s Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Evan Saxon of film distributor Abramorama, Davis, Jonesy, and film and music promoter Elliot KendallPhoto: Mark “Mr. Shovel” Sovel.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  In Baltimore, rock programming pro Steve Huber moves from Hearst Communications’ WIYY “98Rock” to Times-Shamrock’s crosstown classic rocker WZBA “100.7 The Bay.”  The move lifts him from assistant PD to program director and takes effect on October 2.  WZBA general manager Jefferson Ward states, “We had a tremendous response to our open PD position and I had the chance to talk to a number of excellent programmers, people that might have easily been hired had Steve not come into our picture.  Steve is deeply passionate about radio and has a broad and strong skill set.  Those qualities along with his understanding of radio’s opportunities today and his vision about where radio can go made Steve a perfect fit for ‘100.7 The Bay.’”…..Alternative rock WRMR, Wilmington, North Carolina “Modern Rock 98.7” names Laura Lee program director and afternoon drive host.  Sunrise Broadcasting sought to replace Paul Cannell, who exited last month to join Cumulus Media’s New Orleans operations.   Lee was most recently with Adams Radio Group where she handled promotions director duties in Salisbury-Ocean City in addition to programming classic rock WGBG “BIG 98.5” and serving as music director and midday personality…..As reported in Billboard, Apple is now saying that it has hit the 30 million paid subscribers mark.  That compares with Spotify’s 60 million paid subscribers.  Neither service offers a free tier as do Pandora and iHeartRadio.  The story notes that income from the service is part of Apple’s larger Services segment that reported third quarter 2017 revenue of $7.3 billion, a year-over-year increase of 22%…..Superadio Networks announces an affiliation and sales agreement with Marvin Sapp’s Praise Place, LLC to syndicate his eponymous weekly Gospel radio show.  All affiliate and national advertising sales will be handled by Superadio and American Urban Radio Networks.