Michael Czarnecki | TALKERS magazine - “The bible of talk media.” : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Tag: "Michael Czarnecki"

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

| September 28, 2021

Binnie Media Names Michael Czarnecki Director of Brand Operations.  Radio programming pro Michael Czarnecki is named director of brand operations for Binnie Media, owner and operator of 15 signals in New Hampshire and Maine. Czarnecki joins the company from iHeartMedia where he most recently served as program director of WONK-FM (WWDC-HD2) Washington DC. Before that, Czarnecki was program director for iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston. At Binnie Media, Czarnecki will work alongside Binnie Media VP of programming Heath Cole, who says, “In his new role, Michael will work closely with our marketing, promotions, news/talk, and music initiatives in all formats. We are very excited to have Michael joining us on the programming leadership team.” Binnie Media president Massimo Rosati adds, “Michael’s skillset and energy combine to make him the perfect addition at Binnie Media.” Czarnecki, who began his radio career at WGIR in Manchester, New Hampshire, comments, “I am thrilled to be joining the Binnie media team. This is a return home for me, it’s full circle. Special thanks to Massimo Rosati and Heath Cole for making this incredible opportunity possible.”

SuperTalk Mississippi Unveils ‘SuperTalk Mississippi Outdoors with Ricky Mathews.’ The new weekly program “SuperTalk Outdoors with Ricky Mathews” will air on Mondays from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm across the 12-station SuperTalk Mississippi network. Mathews is the former publisher of the Times-Picayune, NOLA.com, Mobile Press-Register, and the Sun-Herald. He retired in 2016 as president of Advance Southeast before joining SuperTalk Mississippi Media as the host of “Coast Vue” in January of 2020. He says, “Enjoying the outdoors is a big part of our Mississippi heritage. It’s part of our DNA in this state. Hunting or fishing or just simply soaking up the endless number of other outdoor recreational activities is at the core of this great state. I’m thrilled to be the host of this new show.” SuperTalk Mississippi Media owner Steve Davenport states, “Ricky has been a compass for our company and always seeks to forge a path toward improving our great state. He understands the importance of Mississippi’s outdoors, one of our greatest resources. I am confident that he will use this opportunity to engage and educate the public and will work to lead the conversation in this state about Mississippi’s outdoors.”

2021 Radio Mercury Awards Finalists Announced. The finalists in this year’s Radio Mercury Awards have been announced and 149 radio/audio spots and campaigns made it to the finals of this year’s 30th anniversary awards. The Radio Advertising Bureau notes that this year marks the first time all categories were open to all languages. The submissions were created by advertising agencies, brands, production companies, radio stations and digital companies. The 2021 finalists range from regional to large advertising agencies and radio stations, as well as national and local advertisers from categories including automotive, consumer packaged goods, entertainment, government services, healthcare, insurance, nonprofits, quick-serve restaurants, telecommunications, travel and hospitality. Entries were judged on their creativity, originality, execution and effective communication of a brand’s message. Robin Fitzgerald is chief creative officer at BBDO Atlanta and chief judge for the 2021 Radio Mercury Awards. She says, “This year’s Radio Mercury Awards is celebrating the work that came through in 2021 and acknowledging the awards’ 30-year history. It was great to hear the amazing work, and I can’t wait to celebrate the winners in November.” RAB president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “Every year, the Radio Mercury Awards shines a light on the best of the best in radio creative, and this year is no different. This year’s finalists showcase a wonderful range of audio work that leverages the medium and delivers for the advertiser.” The Radio Mercury Awards winners will be presented at 6:00 pm ET on November 17 during a virtual ceremony. See more at www.radiomercuryawards.com.

Cumulus Media Creates Audio Active Group. The company calls the new division “an audio media and creative advisory group for marketers and agencies.” The Audio Active Group is being led by Pierre Bouvard, chief insights officer of CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One and that this is the “natural evolution from a sponsor-focused research and insights group to a true comprehensive marketing advisory. The company says the Audio Active Group partners with clients to measure the impact of the entire audio campaign (not just the CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One investment), specializing in the following areas: 1) Audio creative best practices: Advising on the development and testing of sonic logos and advertising creative; offering recommendations on how to optimize and enhance current creative; advising on how to deploy new creative strategies to meet campaign objectives; 2) Media planning: Providing recommendations on daypart mix, flighting, weight levels, podcast genres, and AM/FM radio programming formats to meet campaign objectives, based on audience analytics; 3) Strategic allocation within audio: Advising on the right mix of ad-supported audio platforms; and 4) Measurement of the entire audio investment: Advising on the right approach for brands to measure campaign effectiveness, including brand lift, sales effect, and search and site attribution. Cumulus EVP, marketing and president, Westwood One Suzanne Grimes states, “One-third of brands in audio today are new to the medium. As major brands discover audio, they have lots of questions about audio creative strategy, media planning, and campaign measurement, and we have a deep understanding of what audio campaigns can accomplish. Under Pierre’s deft leadership, we are the only company that measures the impact of the entire audio investment and uses our trove of creative-testing and campaign-effectiveness data to help guide clients’ media investments and creative strategy.”

Cumulus Media Wichita Falls Offices Burglarized Overnight. According to a report from Texomashomepage.com, the offices and studios of Cumulus Media on Call Field Road in Wichita Falls, Texas were burglarized sometime early this morning (9/28). The story notes that the Wichita Falls Police Department responded to a call from a Cumulus employee who arrived early this morning to find the building had been “burglarized and ransacked.” Authorities say “there is extensive damage to the office areas of Cumulus Media and Henderson Appraisals.” Additionally, a station vehicle was stolen from the parking lot.

COVID-19, Biden’s Infrastructure and Spending Plans, Debt Ceiling Issue, Afghanistan Withdrawal Hearing, Border Crisis, Trump Georgia Rally, Chips and Labor Shortage, and R. Kelly Conviction Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/27). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; this week’s debates on President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan and his $3.5 trillion spending plan; the battle over the U.S. debt ceiling and a possible government shutdown; today’s congressional testimony from Pentagon brass about the withdrawal from Afghanistan; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the status of Haitian migrants; former President Donald Trump’s weekend rally in Georgia and his role in the GOP; the global silicon chip shortage, supply chain woes, and the labor shortage; and singer R. Kelly is convicted of sex trafficking charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pioneering Radio Programmer Christine Cooper Spindel Dies at 97. The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the obituary of former WDIA, Memphis programmer Christine Cooper Spindel, who passed away in Urbana, Illinois last week at the age of 97. As her daughter Carol Spindel states, Christine Cooper Spindel was a pioneer both as a female program director at WDIA in 1948 and for hiring an all-Black programming staff. Spindel appeared in Martin Scorsese’s 2003 PBS documentary, “The Blues,” to talk about her role in hiring the Black DJ staff that included legendary bluesman B.B. King.  Memphis music historian Robert Gordon is quoted in Bob Mehr’s story saying, “Instead of caving in to the racist pressures all around her, she persisted, and we as a city — and also we as blues lovers — all benefitted. Chris Spindel is evidence of how ordinary citizens have the power to change the world.” The story goes on to say, “In 1948, WDIA was still a small struggling outlet, when [co-owner Bert] Ferguson, Spindel and the station’s production head Don Kern decided to take a risk and hire Nat D. Williams, a Black high school history and social studies teacher, to host an afternoon program directed at Memphis’ large Black radio audience. ‘It was an unprecedented thing to do. Although Black people were accepted as entertainers… to put a Black man on the air was actually to empower Black people. They could speak in their own right,’ recalled Spindel. ‘I heard this phrase a lot and I deplore the phrase, “We must keep these people in their place” and their place was not in front of a microphone. It was to be subservient to the white community. But we tried to change that.’”

Thursday, July 1, 2021

| July 1, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – “Programming News/Talk Radio in the ‘20s.” The fourth video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment explores the main challenges facing spoken-word commercial radio’s largest and most influential format as we move into the highly unpredictable third decade of 21st century. Introduced and sponsored by Doug Stephan of the “DJV Show” and moderated by Mike McVay, CEO of McVay Media Consulting, the panel includes Phil Boyce, senior VP/spoken word format, Salem Media Group/Salem Radio Network and VP/operations New York region; Michael Czarnecki, PD, WONK-FM, Washington, DC/iHeart Podcast ChannelDave LaBrozzi, SVP/programming, Red Apple MediaJosh Leng, CEO, Talk Media NetworkGreg Stocker, executive producer, Rich Zeoli Show and APD, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Joe Thomas, morning show host/PD, WCHV, Charlottesville, VA. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.

WFAN, New York Programmer Mark Chernoff Honored with Studio Naming. Yesterday (6/30) was Mark Chernoff’s last day on the job at Audacy’s WFAN, New York and the CBS Sports Radio Network. Chernoff retired from the company after an illustrious career in which he served as program director for legendary sports talk outlet WFAN for 28 years. In honor of his service, the company dedicated the sports newsroom as “The Mark Chernoff WFAN Newsroom.” Pictured above are (top l-r): Craig Carton, Chernoff, Al Dukes, and Eddie Scozzare and (bottom l-r): Boomer Esiason, Jerry Recco, and Chris Oliviero. The plaque reads: “Program Director 1993-2021. Influenced the sound of New York sports over four decades while nurturing the careers of many who traveled this space. Dedicated June 30th, 2021.” (Photo: Audacy)

WSB, Atlanta Meteorologist Kirk Mellish to Retire; Christina Edwards to Join the Station. A meteorologist dedicated just to a radio station is indeed a rare thing in today’s media landscape and Cox Media Group’s WSB Radio (WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta) has enjoyed the service of “first and only radio-only” meteorologist Kirk Mellish for 34 years. Mellish will retire at the end of July and transition into a consultant role through the end of the year. However, the station will not be without a meteorologist as Christina Edwards will assume the role. Mellish says, “When I joined WSB in Atlanta in July 1987 just three years after graduation, I never would have thought I’d stay this long. It has been a blessing to turn my childhood hobby into a career and to serve most of these decades as the first radio-only, full-time meteorologist in the country. This is the type of broadcasting innovation typical of WSB and CMG leadership in the industry. It has been an honor and privilege to work with so many great colleagues and big names in our business in management, on-air and behind the scenes. I look forward to the next chapter in my life and am excited to pass the baton, or should I say barometer, to Christina Edwards who will be a great fit for the tradition of weather coverage on 95.5 WSB.” About her new position, Edwards says, “I am thrilled to be joining the legendary 95.5 WSB Radio! I grew up in metro Atlanta, listening to Kirk Mellish’s weather reports during my family’s daily commute, and I continue to listen even today. I appreciate Kirk’s ability to break down complex weather forecasts in a way listeners can understand. And, of course, diving into the details online in his weather blog. I am thankful for Kirk’s service and weather forecasts. It is an honor to join 95.5 WSB Radio and continue in the footsteps of Kirk’s legacy.”

iHeartMedia and Audacy Honored by Philly Civic Organization. The Philadelphia operations of iHeartMedia have been named a 2021 honoree of The Civic 50 Greater Philadelphia by Philadelphia Foundation, in partnership with Points of Light and other local partners. Modeled after Points of Light’s national program, The Civic 50 Greater Philadelphia provides a standard for corporate citizenship and showcases how employers use their time, skills and resources to drive social impact in their communities and company. iHeartMedia Philadelphia director of news and community affairs Loraine Ballard Morrill says, “iHeartMedia Philadelphia’s six stations have a long history of community service, especially critical during this pandemic. We are deeply honored to receive this recognition. To quote President Barack Obama, ‘If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope.’” Audacy vice president of social impact Sarah Harris says, “We are honored to be recognized as one of the region’s most community-minded companies. And I am thrilled to share our national impact and commitment to supporting sound communities in our inaugural social impact report. Thank you to our employees, partners and neighbors for the incredible work you do to move people to action within our markets.” Pictured below at a ceremony for the honor are (from l-r): Michael Nutter, former Mayor of Philadelphia; Natalye Paquin, president & CEO, Points of Light Foundation; Sarah Harris, VP social impact, Audacy; David Yadgaroff, SVP / market manager, Audacy Philadelphia; Diane Melley, Points of Light board member & executive director, Philadelphia Foundation; Pedro Ramos, president & CEO, Philadelphia Foundation.

HOLIDAY DOUBLE HEADER: Mandy Connell and Vince Benedetto Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. KOA, Denver 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality Mandy Connell and Bold Gold Media Group founder/CEO Vince Benedetto are this week’s guests on a special Independence Week edition of the PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison states, “We wanted to do a short-but-sweet salute to the nation’s 245th birthday and the selection of Mandy Connell and Vince Benedetto really fits the bill. Mandy is a refreshingly objective conservative commentator and rising star in news/talk radio armed with facts, wit and goodwill. She articulates the subjective nature of today’s media and the role that it plays in perpetuating the wave of polarization gripping our republic. Vince Benedetto is a former Air Force pilot and U.S. intelligence agent with a remarkable wealth of scholarly knowledge about the founding fathers and the formative years of America’s development from Thomas Jefferson all the way through the mega-challenges faced by Abraham Lincoln. Together, but separately, Mandy and Vince present an informative and thought-provoking tribute to our nation’s past, present and future. Happy Birthday, America!” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here

iHeartMedia Unveils ‘NextUp’ Podcasting Initiative. The iHeartPodcast Network is launching an initiative called “NextUp” that takes up-and-coming and underrepresented diverse creators and gives them a chance to learn all about the world of podcasting from iHeartMedia. This initiative is being led by iHeartPodcast Network executive producer Anna Hossnieh and executive podcast producer Joelle Smith. Hossnieh says, “I’m excited to help launch ‘NextUp’ with the iHeartPodcast Network, an initiative that takes underrepresented diverse creators and gives them a chance to learn all about the world of podcasting from one of the largest global podcasting networks. Led by myself and fellow executive podcast producer Joelle Smith, the program will mentor two people in each of iHeart’s three major podcasting hubs: Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta. We believe by helping to elevate the voices of underrepresented storytellers and providing an incredible opportunity to be heard, iHeart will become the epicenter of compelling podcast talent and an industry leader in helping to address the market inefficiencies among underrepresented audio creators. The program will take place over five months and include a monthly stipend. ‘NextUp’ aims to empower participants by giving them the tools to succeed in the podcast industry – from developing and marketing a podcast to using industry-leading software. Participants in ‘NextUp’ will learn from some of iHeartRadio’s top creators and leave the program with at least three finished episodes and a polished pitch for their podcast. Submissions to apply for the program open July 5 – July 9 and can be found here.

Trump Org CFO Surrenders, COVID-19, Tucker Carlson NSA Allegations, Condo Collapse, Big City Violent Crime, Cosby Released, House January 6 Investigation, CCP Anniversary, Heatwaves, and Donald Rumsfeld Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30). Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg surrenders to authorities after being indicted by a grand jury; concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant and the slowing rate of vaccinations in the U.S.; FOX News host Tucker Carlson claims he’s being surveilled by the NSA on the Biden administration’s orders; the continuing rescue efforts at the collapsed condo in Florida; the soaring rate of violent crime in America’s large cities; Bill Cosby is released from prison after a PA court overturned his conviction; the U.S. House plan to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack; the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party and Xi Jinping’s warning to the West; the record-setting heatwaves in the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast; and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, May 3, 2019

| May 3, 2019

Milwaukee’s ‘97.3 The Game’ Brings Steve Czaban in for AM Drive. Sports talk radio personality Steve Czaban is the new morning drive host on iHeartMedia’s WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “97.3 The Game, Milwaukee’s Sports Talk That Rocks.”  “The Steve Czaban Show” debuts on Monday (5/6) and will air from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. With the arrival of Czaban, the current “Drew & KB” program moves to afternoon drive.  Czaban, who also hosts afternoon drive at Radio One’s WTEM, Washington, DC, most recently was a cast member at crosstown rock WHQG’s “Bob & Brian” show.  He’s also served with Sporting News, ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio, Yahoo Sports Radio, and SB Nation Radio.  He comments, “The chance for me to do more in Milwaukee was too good to pass up.  This is exactly the style and attitude of sports radio that I love to do.  Nobody hustles in front of a winning parade better than me!  I plan to celebrate the highs, curse the lows, and laugh at all the absurdity in between – just like I’ve always done.  The program lineup at ‘The Game’ is amazing and I’m humbled to be a part of it.”

WICC-AM, Bridgeport Announces New Local Shows. Yesterday, TALKERS magazine reported the departure of programmer Mike Bellamy from WICC-AM, Bridgeport, Connecticut as well as the pairing of Melissa Sheketoff with incumbent morning personality Tony Reno for the new morning show.  Connoisseur Media, now operating the station under an LMA as it waits to close on the swap with Cumulus Media, also announces it’s going local in afternoons with well-known market personality Paul Pacelli hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. Joining Pacelli to produce the show and provide local sports content is former Waterbury Republican and CT Post writer Aaron Johnson.  Pacelli states, “I’m thrilled and honored to be on board at a heritage powerhouse like WICC, a station synonymous with greater Bridgeport and Southwestern Connecticut.  My goal is to present a passionate, entertaining, and vital platform for local newsmakers, personalities, and residents.”  Station OM Keith Dakin adds, “For a station like WICC to have continued success on the AM dial it needs to fully embrace the community.  We want to make this station come alive on all levels from podcasting to social to an on-air product that the Bridgeport community can be proud to call their own.”

New Programming Announced for Entercom’s RADIO.COM Sports. Two new, original shows are debuting on Entercom’s RADIO.COM Sports.  Both “Big Time Basketball” and “Big Time Baseball” are twice-weekly shows that “feature expert analysis from RADIO.COM Sports insiders providing the most up-to-date news, commentary and happenings.”  “Big Time Basketball” is hosted by former NBA player, coach, and Celtics television commentator Brian Scalabrine and KGMZ-FM, San Francisco personality Matt Steinmetz.  “Big Time Baseball” is hosted by Jon Heyman, veteran play-by-play voice Josh Lewin, and a rotation of guest hosts, including Joe Girardi, Bob Nightengale, and others to be announced.  RADIO.COM Sports is also adding new football insiders, including Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger, and Philadelphia Eagles insider Eliot Shorr-Parks.  Shorr-Parks and Baldinger will host a weekly football digital show on May 14.  Entercom president of sports Mike Dee comments, “With the addition of these three new shows, RADIO.COM Sports continues to expand our digital content offering for fans across the country. We look forward to continuing to build the RADIO.COM Sports digital platform with more native content in the weeks and months ahead.”

Michael Harrison and TALKERS Debut New Weekend Radio Show on iHeart’s Washington’s WONK-FM.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison has agreed to host a one-hour, weekend magazine-style program on the recently launched iHeartMedia project WONK-FM, Washington, DC “Washington’s WONK-FM,” beginning tomorrow (5/4).  The program titled, “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation,” features interviews and commentary by the heritage broadcaster that provide a politically even-handed and balanced analysis of the most prevalent points of view being discussed each week in talk media per the research gathered by TALKERS.  Interviews are conducted with newsmakers, pundits and, of course, talk show hosts from around the country and subject matter reflects the information published each week on the TALKERS top topics charts.  Harrison, who was a major market and nationally syndicated air personality in both music and talk formats during the pioneering days of album rock and then the modern talk era, has been back on the air hosting shows for the past two years as a fill-in on such stations as WRKO, Boston; WMAL, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz; and several others, in addition to anchoring the weekend syndicated ensemble program, “A Touch of Grey: The Talk Show for Grownups” (hosted by Carole Marks).  Harrison says, “It all began when I started doing the weekly podcast, ‘The Michael Harrison Interview,’ with PodcastOne four years ago.  People in the business would say things like, ‘I didn’t know you could actually do radio like that!’  My juices began flowing again and not only have I been enjoying the experience as if I were 19 years old breaking into radio again, but the first-hand knowledge I have gained working in the trenches of the modern industry has significantly enhanced my understanding of how it actually operates in the real world and has helped me do my job at TALKERS with an even keener perspective.”  Harrison adds, “I love being part of this new WONK-FM experiment because it encourages me to follow my natural inclination to remain ideologically objective and independent and avoid the hyper-partisanship that comes with seeking victory at the expense of truth whereby you simply target audiences to affirm their preconceived notions.  I like what iHeartMedia is doing with this station and I love having the opportunity to collaborate with the station’s PD Michael Czarnecki (who is also PD of the iHeart Podcast Channel) – a young up-and-coming programming star with whom I happily crossed paths at WRKO over the past couple of years.”  “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation” airs on WONK-FM Saturday mornings at 9:00 am ET.  It is a production of Goodphone Communications in association with TALKERS magazine.

Griffin Communications Appoints Randy Smith Director of Radio Sales. Oklahoma media firm Griffin Communications announces Randy Smith joins the company as director of radio sales.  Griffin owned just television stations and digital platforms in Oklahoma City and Tulsa prior to acquiring five Tulsa radio stations – including news/talk KFAQ – from Scripps last summer for $12.5 million.  Griffin director of radio operations and programming Steve Hunter says, “Randy brings years of experience, an abundance of local connections, and a can-do spirit to our already winning team.  He is a clear standout in motivating people to maximize their potential and bottom-line impact, a skill that will prove invaluable as he joins our Griffin family.” Prior to joining Griffin, Smith served as director of sales-radio for Cox Media Group.

< href="https://www.talkers.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/valentinePodGOATS.png">

Valentine Podcast Sponsors NASCAR Driver. The picture above shows the logo of talk radio host Phil Valentine’s podcast, “PodGOATs,” on the hood of NASCAR driver Tommy Joe Martins’ Toyota Supra. “PodGOATs” is co-hosted by Valentine and his son, Campbell.  Valentine says they talk about everything from the history of alcohol to dating to advertising to the history of the mob – a unique blend of a wide array of topics from two different perspectives, from a Baby Boomer and a Millennial.  Valentine explains the sponsorship, “I know this may sound rather random, but Diamond Gusset Jeans – one of our main sponsors – approached us with this opportunity and it was just too good to turn down.  Somebody has to be a pioneer in podcast sponsorships in this arena. It’s fertile ground.”  The PodGOATs will be in the pit tomorrow (5/4) in Dover, Delaware for the Allied Steel Buildings 200.  Valentine’s radio talk show is heard daily on Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville “99.7 WTN” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

WGFX-FM, Nashville’s Jonathan Hutton Named ‘Man of the Year.’  Sports talk personality Jonathan Hutton was recently honored by the Tennessee Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as its 2019 Man of the Year.  Hutton led the effort by WGFX “104-5 The Zone” that raised $152,499.31 during the 10-week fund drive that included: an off-the-record event with Tennessee Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk, a HORSE-style basketball tournament, a Masters-themed golf competition at Top Golf, and a chalk talk draftee breakdown and dinner with NFL Films’ Greg Cosell.  Pictured above at the “Evening with Amy” event are (from l-r): Kenneth Adams, Titans Ownership Group; Eddie George, former Titan; Logan Ryan, current Titan; Hutton; Strunk; John McClainHouston Chronicle/WGFX analyst; Blaine Bishop, former Titan and WGFX morning host; Kevin Byard, current Titan; David Quesenberry, current Titan.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WSCR, Chicago “The Score” producer Eli Hershkovich is taking on a role with Entercom’s RADIO.COM as a producer/sports gambling analyst.  WSCR operations manager Mitch Rosen is quoted saying, “This is truly a great example of someone building, growing, and advancing their brand into a new, innovative position within Entercom and Radio.Com Sports, which is growing and expanding into the content creation business rapidly.”…..The Duluth News-Tribune reports that KDAL-AM/W280FB, Duluth, Minnesota talk host Kenneth Kalligher has been charged with misdemeanor domestic assault.  Kalligher, who hosts the “Midday Live” show on the Midwest Communications-owned station, pleaded not guilty.  The story reports that court documents indicate the female complainant said she and Kalligher “were arguing when he struck her in the right temple, causing her to ‘see stars’ and fall to the ground.”   Kalligher was off the air for two days but returned to his program yesterday (5/2). He’ll be back in court later this month…..B’nai B’rith International produces a podcast and on the current episode, Pamela Nadell, the Patrick Clendenen chair in Women’s and Gender History at American University’s Department of History and the author of America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today, is the guest with B’nai B’rith CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin for a discussion on the history of Jewish women in American life.  In this episode, Nadell and Mariaschin discuss the societal roles of Jewish women across classes, professions, and time periods, as well as their roles in pivotal social movements in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the labor movement, women’s suffrage and the feminist movement.  Check out the podcast here.

Barr Hearing/Mueller Report Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 29 – May 3. Wednesday’s appearance by Attorney General William Barr before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the related release of the Mueller Report were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential race and related politics.  Coming in at #3 was the San Diego synagogue shooting and the rise of anti-Semitism, followed by the UNCC shooting and gun violence at #4. The Talkers TenTM is weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Rising Radio Star and Master Storyteller Lee Habeeb Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The host and producer of one of the fastest-growing, syndicated properties in talk radio, Lee Habeeb, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  The nightly, two-hour program is called “Our American Stories” and since its launch three years ago, the spoken-word juggernaut is making waves on commercial news/talk stations as well as music formats across the nation.  Habeeb was inspired by public radio shows such as “This American Life,” which tap into the art of storytelling, in conceiving the highly researched and meticulously produced “Our American Stories.”  Although conservative in its values, the program is distinctly non-partisan and strives to bring Americans of all political ideologies together based on our cultural commonality. It explores popular culture, politics, business, science… the spectrum of topics, people and angles that make up the rich and intricate fabric of America, its history and its people.  The program is breaking new ground on many levels, not just in its programming approach, but in its business model as well, again tapping into the public radio paradigm. It is set up as a non-profit and investing a tremendous amount of capital in the quality of its original content programming. Habeeb describes “Our American Stories” as an innovation in the commercial talk radio sphere – no politics, no opinions, just stories.  He says, “We tell a story and the audience tells us their stories — with raw emotional power. Daily bringing the campfire scene to your ears.”   To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the daily TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.  Meet Lee Habeeb at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story in New York on Friday, June 7 where he will be discussing storytelling as a key component of successful radio.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The owner of classic rock WWRR, Scranton says the station has made radio history by accumulating more than 1 million Likes on Facebook.  Bold Gold Media Group says the Northeast PA station “has become a social media juggernaut over the past decade, mastering the art of leveraging on-air and social to rapidly grow its following. The station has become the most-followed social media page based within Northeast PA and one of the most-followed radio station social sites in the entire United States.”  Bold Gold president & founder Vince Benedetto says, “We’ve really enjoyed watching our stations become online influencers.  Our stations have always been unique… from our highly visible studio inside the Mohegan Sun Pocono casino, our state-of-the-art RadioBOLD mobile platforms, and with our engaging social media, we’ve tried to be a different and more entrepreneurial media group.  We’re thrilled to make some radio history and also bring some attention to the combined power of radio and social media.”…..Connoisseur Media announces that Storm N. Norman is returning to Westport, Connecticut adult contemporary WEBE to host mornings, beginning Monday (5/6).  Norman served on-air on WEBE for 30 years.  He says, “WEBE 108 has been my radio home for most of my adult life and I am thrilled to again wake up families in Southern Connecticut.  It’s a great opportunity to work with Jeff Warshawand the incredible folks at local Connoisseur Media.”…..Programming pro Miggy Santos joins Midwest Communications Battle Creek, Michigan station group as brand manager for country WNWN “WIN 98.5.”  He was most recently with Neuhoff Media as operations manager for CHR duo WWHX, Bloomington “HOT 100.7” and WSOY-FM, Decatur, Illinois “Y103.”…..iHeartMedia Milwaukee announces the deal with local furniture franchise Steinhafels in which the latter is sponsoring iHM’s new performance lounge (pictured below).  The new Steinhafels Relax Lounge is located in the iHeartMedia Milwaukee station headquarters and will showcase musical talent, live broadcasts, viewing parties, and more.  It will also be furnished by Steinhafels, allowing the store to showcase the latest contemporary furniture it offers.

Thursday, January 10, 2018

| January 10, 2019

iHeartMedia’s New WONK-FM in DC to Deliver ‘Inside-the-Beltway’ News and Talk. The new station will air on WWDC-HD2 (101.1) and W284CQ at 104.7 FM and is branded “WONK-FM, Smart People. News.”  iHeartMedia says the launch of the new station comes after its recent on-air and online celebration of “National WONK Day” – a day created for listeners that have a keen interest in inside-the-Beltway news – and WONK-FM will be “a news and talk station serving thought leaders, influencers, and stakeholders inside the Washington, DC beltway.”  The press release states, “The new station will broadcast renowned anchors Stacy Lyn and Alexandra Lane weekdays from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm and will feature the latest breaking news and headlines from Washington, DC.  In addition, WONK-FM will air instant reactions from opinion leaders and on-air talk personalities originating from iHeartMedia’s 130-plus news and talk stations throughout the United States.” iHeartMedia region president Michael Preacher comments, “WONKs are the behind-the-scenes people in DC who are innovators, experts, and are passionate about their work.  DC’s WONKs are the unsung heroes who solve the world’s most difficult problems and they deserve to have a dedicated platform.”  Programming the new station is current WRKO, Boston programmer Michael Czarnecki, who will work in Washington. He adds, “With the accelerated pace of today’s news cycle, we look forward to providing a contemporary approach to delivering a ‘wonk-centric’ and uniquely DC view of the news.  I’m thrilled to be joining the iHeartMedia team in Washington DC as part of Washington’s WONK-FM.”  You can see a video the company made to promote the station and their targeting of “wonks” here.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk.  The drop off in cume from end of the 2018 baseball season affected some sports talk outlets negatively as 61% of those stations in PPM markets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share diminish from the November to the December surveys.  However, year-over-year, 62% of sports talk stations realized improved 6+ numbers. In the market rank category, RadiOhio’s WBNS-FM, Columbus takes the blue ribbon, ranking #3 in the market with a 7.3 share.  Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia ranked #4 in December with a 6.3 share; and three stations – Beasley’s WBZ-FM, Boston; Entercom’s WFAN-AM/FM (Long Island); and Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh – all ranked #5 in their respective markets.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Emmis Communications Releases Fiscal Q3 Numbers; Pro Forma Revenue Up 5%. The third fiscal quarter for Emmis Communications Corporation ended November 30, 2018.  The company notes that, due to the recent sale of five stations (KPWR, Los Angeles in August 2017 and four radio stations in St. Louis on April 30, 2018), its reported results are not comparable year over year.  Emmis’ radio net revenue for fiscal Q3 was $28.7 million, down from $34 million in the prior year.   However, pro forma for all radio station sales, revenue “was up 5% in markets that were up 2%.”  Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “With this quarter’s strong performance, Emmis is now outperforming its markets through the first nine months of this fiscal year – quite an achievement.  Political revenues certainly helped, but we also saw growth in our core advertising categories, all of which contributed to Emmis having its strongest quarter in four years.  New York and Indianapolis both outperformed their markets and continue to produce strong ratings, which should help sustain Emmis’ revenue growth.  That certainly appears to be the case in January and February, where both months are pacing up mid-to-high single digits.”

#250 Working on Ways to Overcome Obstacles in Maximizing Direct Response Spot Success.  It is no secret that a significant percentage of talk radio advertising consists of direct response advertising and the results are tallied by the sponsors – making it even more imperative that the spots get measurable action.  Considering the fact that much of the listening is done while driving, it makes it even more of a challenge to get people to make the leap from hearing an 800 phone number and actually placing the call while the thought is top of mind.  The firm #250 – America’s Mobile Speed Dial has been making progress in simplifying this process for talk shows, stations and networks across the nation by creating simple word prompted codes and phrases designed to simplify the act of calling while behind the wheel.  Now they have taken it one step further addressing another problem.  #250 chief marketing officer Dave Robinett tells TALKERS, “Accomplishing the task of making your advertiser’s phone ring is tough enough.  But there are many points of ‘breakage’ after that.  Phone reps can be poorly trained or rude.  Client phone systems or call centers might have technical issues.  Long hold times might encourage abandonment.  The #250 platform recently solved a major-yet-unrealized problem for a Premiere Networks advertiser.  A timeshare exit company’s ad was working well – so well that when the spot ran and calls came pouring in, they exceeded the 15 available call center agents.  The ‘overflow’ callers then got a busy signal.  Since these callers came in via dialing #250, for the first time ever, this advertiser has visibility to how many calls they were blocking.  It was also revealed that only one in 15 of these blocked callers bothered to attempt to call the advertiser later that day or next day.  This was clearly significant lost revenue – that the advertiser never knew they were missing – since they never before had visibility to calls they never received!”  Robinett continues, “But #250 was able to implement a call saver feature to detect the busy signal, take back the call, and prompt the caller to leave their name and number for a callback.  This voice message was set up to be emailed immediately to a designated sales manager back at the advertiser.  The advertiser was extremely pleased with the proactive discovery of a way to increase revenue by the Premiere sales executive, John Buckley.  Loyalty established.  Media spend secured.”  Dave Robinett will be one of 55 industry leaders speaking at the forthcoming convention Talkers 2019: Telling the Story in NYC on Friday, June 7.  He can be reached at 816-559-0620.

2019 New York Festivals Radio Awards Issues Call for Entries. The 37th New York Festivals Radio Awards is open for entries.  Established in 1982, New York Festivals Radio Awards is an international audio awards competition in which entries are judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. New York Festivals enlists jurists from around the world to become members of their world-class Radio Awards Grand Jury.  Jurors include some of the world’s most recognizable voices and captivating content producers in the radio industry.  Building on last year’s category reorganization, the competition once again added new categories with respect to today’s robust radio industry. New categories for 2019 include: Best Audio Book – Children’s, Best Digital Esports, and Human Rights Documentary.  NYF expanded its Podcast categories to include Serialized Podcast, Companion Podcast, and Narrative/ Documentary Podcast.  NYF Radio Awards VP and executive director Rose Anderson states, “Listeners everywhere are embracing the expanded audio universe and they are clamoring for authentic storytelling experiences from direct-to-digital podcasts and documentaries, to audiobooks and esports coverage.  Our advisory board and industry leaders have been a great help as we continue to recognize innovation and excellence.”  The deadline to enter the 2019 Radio Awards competition is March 15, 2019 and you can do that here.  Winners will be honored at the annual gala in New York taking place on June 24.

TALKERS News Notes.  On Tuesday (1/8), iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman appeared on Bloomberg TV’s “Bloomberg Markets” program with Vonnie Quinn and addressed a number of radio business topics, including: iHeart’s exit from Chapter 11, the company being open to partnerships with other media companies, iHeart being ‘under-monetized’ compared to its reach, TSL and return on investment, and more.  Watch the segment here…..CRN Digital Talk Radio adds “The Dr. Mitch Show” to its network roster.  Dr. Mitchell Ghen hosts an interactive health talk show relying on his 38 years of experience in anti-aging, holistic, and integrative medicine to answer listeners’ health-related questions…..“Amazing Race” winner, “Big Brother” contestant, and reality star Jessica Graf launches a new podcast called, “Now What?” via PodcastOne.  Graf says, “Having a podcast for me is like having a very public diary!  And I’m really excited about that!  Up until now, I’ve really focused on staying active on Instagram, but there’s so much that goes on in life that I feel like Instagram doesn’t always provide the opportunity to share.  So now I have this brand-new podcast platform to be brutally honest on!”…..Reality TV stars Brandi Redmond and Stephanie Hollman of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Dallas” are jumping into the podcast world via YEA Networks.  The program, “Weekly Dose of B.S.,” is an “anything-goes, unedited, uncensored weekly podcast.”…..Cadence13 partners with “Comments by Celebs” founders Emma Diamond and Julie Kramer to produce a podcast of the same name.  The friends and recent Syracuse University grads took advantage of Instagram’s 2017 algorithm changes that make it easier to see comments by verified accounts across the platform to create the @CommentsbyCelebs account that captures the “cheeky and witty comments” celebrities post on one another’s posts. Since its inception, @CommentsbyCelebs has amassed a following of almost one million people and worldwide recognition, with media and celebrity followers including: Gwyneth Paltrow, Katie Couric, John Mayer, Kelly Ripa, and Chrissy Teigen.…..WBUR, Boston announces the public media stations selected to participate in BizLab’s initiative to design and conduct revenue experiments for public radio in the digital age.  The project is funded with $750,000 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and $250,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.  Each participating station will work with WBUR’s BizLab for six months, “using lean, user-centered design methodologies to identify and test new sources of revenue for that station.  By engaging audiences and quickly testing concepts in-market, each station will generate quantitative results to inform their near-term strategic investments. Collaborating stations will share results and best practices with each other and the broader public radio system.”  The selected stations are: WAMU, Washington D.C.; Louisville Public Media (WFPL, WFPK, WUOL); Capital Public Radio, Sacramento; WLRN-FM, Miami; Vermont Public Radio; and WDET-FM, Detroit…..Yesterday (1/9), Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs celebrated her 10th anniversary as a talk radio show host…..Appearing on Lou Simon’s “The Diner” program on SiriusXM’s “Volume” channel (talk programming dedicated to music and the music business) recently were legendary radio personalities John Records Landecker, Shotgun Tom Kelly, and Joey Reynolds, as well as “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo.  The three jocks were together for the Radio Dream Lunch in Los Angeles and, according to Vuolo, the show was so much fun that Simon is adding guests to his program. He’s already interviewed Paul Peterson of “Donna Reed Show” fame and singer/songwriter Jackie DeShannon.  You can see video of the show here.  Pictured below are Landecker (left) and Kelly (right) in the studio.

Trump’s Border Wall Address, Government Shutdown, Trump-Russia Investigation, 2020 Presidential Race, Ed Buck Case, Bezos Divorce, Showtime’s Roger Ailes Series, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/9). Tuesday night’s presidential address on the U.S.-Mexico border wall issue and President Trump’s battle against Democrats on the matter; the ongoing government shutdown; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; possible 2020 presidential candidates including Elizabeth Warren, Michelle Obama, and Kamala Harris; the case of Democratic donor Ed Buck and the recent deaths of men at his California home; Amazon chief Jeff Bezos and wife divorce amidst speculation about infidelity; the legal battles surrounding the Showtime series about late FOX News Channel chief Roger Ailes; and the NFL playoffs 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 nominees for the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards presented by iHeartMedia and Fox Broadcasting Company on Thursday, March 14 live from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles have been announced.  This is the sixth year of the iHeartRadio Music Awards and the 2019 telecast will feature live performances from today’s star performers, artist collaborations, celebrity guest appearances, and live award presentations in multiple categories.  iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes says, “It’s no secret why this year’s iHeartRadio Music Awards nominees are a Who’s Who of music.  These are the artists and the songs iHeartRadio listeners couldn’t get enough of this past year.  It’s going to be an unforgettable show.”  See the whole list here…..San Diego radio personality Chris Cantore is officially named morning drive host on Tegna Inc’s adult hits KFMB-FM “100.7 San Diego.” Cantore – who’s served with KPRI, KBZT, and XTRA-FM in the market – has been filling in hosting the morning show for several months.  KFMB-FM program director Mike V. Vasquez says, “Cantore has that cool, laid-back vibe that is so easy to connect with. He’s not only entertaining, but he’s an authentic guy who cares about our community.  He epitomizes all things San Diego and is an ideal ambassador for our station.  I’m thrilled to have him joining our ‘100.7 San Diego’ family!”…..iHeartMedia Sacramento announces that Paul Robins is the new afternoon drive host on KBEB “92.5 The Breeze, Sacramento’s #1 For Relaxing Favorites at Work,” effective Friday, February 1.  Robins also heads up William Jessup University’s Digital Communication and Design Bachelor of Arts degree program.  He’ll host his show from the university’s studio while giving his students the opportunity to earn hands-on training with broadcast and digital content for the station.  During his career, Robins has worked in Detroit, Dallas and Sacramento, including for 20 years as half of “The Paul and Phil Show” on KGBY “Y92.”…..Cumulus Media’s urban contemporary WLXC, Columbia, South Carolina “KISS 10-3.1” adds the Westwood One-syndicated “Rick and Sasha” program for morning drive. WWO just the launched the program starring Rick Party and Sasha the Diva into national syndication…..TALKERS magazine sends condolences to the family and friends of programmer pro Harve Alan, who passed away on January 6.  During his career he’s served with CBS RADIO, iHeartMedia, ABC Radio Networks, NextMedia, and Metro Networks.  He also operated his own consulting firm.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

| March 6, 2018

Will Tomorrow Be the Day iHeartMedia’s Future Becomes Clearer? On Sunday, iHeartMedia and Consenting Lenders entered into a Forbearance Agreement that put off iHM’s defaut on an interest payment on 14% Senior Notes until midnight tomorrow (3/7).  That gives both sides more time to work out a solution to the company’s $20 billion in debt and avoid putting the matter into the hands of a bankruptcy judge.  Analysts watching this case are taking note of the fact that John Malone’s Liberty Media purchased $400 million of iHM’s debt last week and now becomes a creditor in the event of a bankruptcy.  Just how important Liberty’s involvement as a creditor becomes remains to be seen but, remember that Liberty came to the aid of SiriusXM when it needed cash and now controls a majority interest in that company.  A lot of the consumer press stories covering the iHeartMedia debt saga that TALKERS editors have seen imply the company is on the verge of “failure.”  But the reality – borne out by its quarterly financial reports – is that the company is making money.  It’s just not making enough to cover interest payments on the massive debt.  The latest term sheet from iHeartMedia summarizes a proposed restructuring of the company that would reduce its debt (in exchange for equity) to $5.75 billion.  As part of the proposed terms, it would spin off Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings.

And ‘The Loop’ in Chicago Goes to…Educational Media Foundation!  At first, today’s FCC filing to transfer classic rock WLUP-FM, Chicago from Merlin Media to non-profit Christian broadcaster Educational Media Foundation for $21.5 million seems surprising, but EMF did recently acquire KSWD, Los Angeles from Entercom and, unlike many secular, commercial broadcasting companies, it has money in the bank.  If approved, it’s expected that EMF will install its “K-Love” Christian contemporary format on the station.  Unfortunately, the deal means the current staff – including morning personality Erich “Mancow” Muller – will be out of work.  The other Merlin Media station still on the block in Chicago is alternative rock WKQX.

Salem Media Group LMAs KPAM, Portland.  In a press release issued Monday (3/5), Salem Media Group acknowledges that it is operating news/talk KPAM, Portland and adult standards KKOV “Sunny 1550” – both stations in the process of being sold by Pamplin Broadcasting to Intelli LLC.  The presser is titled, “KPAM is Alive and Well” and notes that KPAM airs “live and local drive-time programs – ‘First Edition’ from 6am to 10am and ‘Afternoon Northwest’ from 3pm to 6pm – and syndicated programs such as ‘The Clark Howard Show,’ ‘The Schnitt Show,’ ‘The Michael Medved Show,’ and ‘The Joe Pags Show.’  Hourly news, weather, and sports as well as drive-time traffic are also featured.”

WRKO, Boston Adds Joe Pags Show for Evenings.  The WOAI, San Antonio-based Joe Pags show – hosted by Joe Pagliarulo – is joining the program lineup of iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston.  The Joe Pags show – heard in more than 100 markets across the country – airs in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot.  WRKO program director Michael Czarnecki says “We are thrilled to have Joe join the WRKO weekday line up.  Joe does so much more than just political talk.  He entertains, makes you think, makes you laugh, heck he even sings.  This makes him the perfect addition to the WRKO family.”  Pagliarulo states, “When you hear the call letters WRKO, you hear heritage – and a station most hosts can only dream of being on.  I’m psyched beyond words that my show is coming to this amazing station.  It’s an opportunity I cherish and simply cannot wait to talk with the great people of Boston on a daily basis.  Thank you so much to the management team for the trust and support!”

Saga Communications’ Fourth Quarter Net Revenue Rises 2.3%.  During 2017, Saga Communications executed the sale of its television stations and purchased radio stations in Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina.  Those transactions resulted in net income increasing $9.9 million during the fourth quarter of 2017 and $36.5 million for the year.  Saga reports that net revenue increased 2.3% to $31.5 million during Q4.  For the entire year, net revenue decreased 0.7% to $118.2 million.  For the fourth quarter, operating income decreased $433,000 to $5.3 million when adjusted for the $1.5 million charge for impairment of intangible assets.  Station operating expense increased 5.4% to $23.2 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations) primarily due to the acquisition of the Charleston and Hilton Head radio stations.  Free cash flow was $6.3 million compared to $7.6 million last year.  Same station net revenue decreased 4.2% to $29.5 million primarily due to a decrease in gross political revenue of $1 million and same station operating expense decreased 2.5% to $21.5 million for the quarter.

Urban One Reports Q4 2017 Net Revenue Down 4%.  The silver lining in this fourth quarter 2017 financial report from Urban One is that broadcast and digital operating income increased 2.8% compared to the same period in 2016.  But overall, net revenue was approximately $109 million, a decrease of 4% from the same period in 2016.  Adjusted EBITDA was approximately $38.7 million for the quarter, compared to $30.9 million for the same period in 2016, an increase of 25.6%.  Urban One president and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “Overall, we produced a strong quarter from an Adjusted EBITDA standpoint, and as a result we were able to show full year Adjusted EBITDA growth, despite the challenging market conditions.  Our core radio revenues were up slightly for the quarter, excluding the impact of political revenues.  Our TV advertising revenues suffered from weak ratings delivery, which was somewhat offset by growth in affiliate revenues.  Our digital business benefitted from the integration of our acquisition of the Bossip, Madame Noire and Hip Hop Wired brands, and was up significantly in both revenue and Adjusted EBITDA compared to prior year.  We were able to control costs, most notably at TV One and Corporate.  During the quarter, we repurchased a further $20 million of our 9.25% notes at a discount, and we remain strongly committed to reducing net leverage.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports giant ESPN announces James Pitaro is the company’s new chief, taking over for John Skipper, who suddenly stepped down from his position in December in order to address what was termed a long-time substance abuse issue.  Pitaro has been serving the Walt Disney company in an executive capacity in the digital realm.  Pitaro will also serve as co-chair of Disney’s television segment…..JVC Media’s Long Island news/talk outlet WRCN, Riverhead “LI News Radio 103.9 FM” is presenting a “Spring Back to Business” event designed to be a “networking social get-together” on March 26 at its studio operations at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma.  Station personality Frank MacKay will introduce FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio personality Brian Kilmeade who will take part in a Q&A with attendees.

Bill Lally Dies After Battle with Cancer.  Family, friends and the Southern California radio community are mourning the loss of Bill Lally, who passed away over the weekend after a long battle with cancer.  Lally was a longtime operations manager and APD at KFI, KLAC and KTLK in Los Angeles who exited the company in 2009 during the massive round of layoffs that took place at then-Clear Channel that year.  Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Lally had also served with WABC, New York; Westwood One; WMCA; and CBS RADIO during his career.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Sam Nunberg Subpoena, Financial Reforms Rollback, North Korea-South Korea Talks, Trump Tariffs/Trade War, Senate School Safety Bill, Netanyahu-Trump Meeting, the Oscars, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/5).  The investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents and the bizarre media tour by former Trump aide Sam Nunberg after being subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposes rolling back reforms enacted after the 2008 financial crisis; North Korea’s Kim Jong Un meets with South Korean officials; President Trump’s proposed steel and aluminum tariffs and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s move to block them; the U.S. Senate proposes a school safety bill in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida shooting; embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to Washington and his meeting with President Trump; Sunday night’s Academy Awards show; and NBA 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 morning show at iHeartMedia’s hip hop WUSL, Philadelphia “Power 99” adds Roxy Romeo to the cast.  She’ll join the “Rise & Grind Morning Show” featuring Mikey Dredd and Mutha Knows, effective March 12.  iHM Philly director of urban programming Derrick Corbett says, “To be able to add a talent the likes of Roxy to our staff is phenomenal.  She’s an incredible personality who has the ability to make you feel as if you’ve known her for years upon first listen. We’re excited to be able to share her voice with the city of Philadelphia, and that she’s chosen to make ‘Power 99’ her new home.”  Romeo was most recently midday jock, APD and music director at the company’s “REAL 103.9” in Las Vegas…..Nate Bell is named program director at iHeartMedia’s hip hop WJLB and urban contemporary WMXD “Mix 92.3” in Detroit.  EVP of urban/hip hop programming Doc Wynter says, “We are so excited to have Nate back in our urban programming brain trust.  He was missed, but it was destiny for him to come back to iHeartMedia.  Things are about to heat up in Detroit!”…..In Charlotte, iHeartMedia names Brooke Morrison afternoon personality for CHR WHQC “Channel 96.1.”  Station PD A.J. says, “We are very excited about what Brooke will bring to Charlotte.  Her high level of engagement, work ethic and passion for music and entertainment make her a superstar on and off the air.  I look forward to her joining the team as we build the next chapter of ‘Channel 96.1.’”