Tag: "Michael Zwerling"
Mike Thompson Named PD for NRG Media’s Omaha AM Stations. Programming pro Mike Thompson is joining NRG Media to serve as AM stations operations manager/program director for the company’s Omaha properties. He’ll oversee sports talkers KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2,” news/talk KOIL, and regional Mexican KMMQ-AM/K258DC “La Nueva 99.5.” NRG Media market manager Mark Shecterle says, “Mike will be a great addition to our already talented and award-winning staff. He has an outstanding programming mind as well as a strong sales mentality.” Thompson has served with ESPN in New York and Los Angeles, in addition to WCNN, Atlanta; KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas and WABC, New York. He says, “I am excited to join a great brand of sports and news talk with NRG Media in Omaha. NRG Media’s slogan is Great Local Radio – for me that’s what I am all about. Working with market manager Mark Shecterle and talented hosts and producers, it will be rewarding to always live up to that slogan.” Thompson has most recently been involved in acting and voice work in L.A. He begins at NRG Media Omaha today.
Scott Vowinkle to Lead Sales Effort at NRG Omaha. Sales pro Scott Vowinkle returns to the Omaha market to take on the director of sales position for NRG Media’s seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KOIL, and sports talk duo KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2.” Vowinkle was most recently with Cumulus Media as general sales manager in Beaumont, Texas. He previously worked in the Omaha market with Scripps.
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 January 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. Sports talk bounced back from the Holiday 2018 survey with 68% of stations going up (weekly 6+ AQH share), led by Boston sports talkers WEEI-FM (+1.7) and WBZ-FM (+1.6). About half the sports talk stations on the panel were up year-over-year and the two biggest gainers benefitted from the Kansas City Chiefs’ playoff success. Entercom’s KCSP was up 1.1 share and Union Broadcasting’s WHB was up an even 1.0 share. It’s rare that a sports talk station ranks first in its market, but Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia accomplished that by riding the Philadelphia Eagles’ playoff run to a #1 ranking with a 7.2 share. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Nielsen Q4 2018 Revenue Down 5.8%; Audio Ratings Segment Dips 2.3%. Financial data from the fourth quarter of 2018 and the full year are being released by Nielsen Holdings plc – the media ratings and consumer behavior research company. Looking at the fourth quarter, revenue for the entire company was $1.66 billion, down 5.8% compared to the same period in 2017. The company posted a net loss of $952 million in Q4, compared to 2017’s Q4 gain of $84 million. The audio ratings division operates within the company’s Watch segment. It earned $128 million during Q4, down 2.3% from 2017’s $131 million. For all of 2018, revenue from the audio ratings segment was off just 0.8% on earnings of $497 million, compared to $501 million for the full-year 2017. Nielsen CEO David Kenny states, “2018 was a challenging year but we delivered on our key operational metrics for the second half and positioned ourselves for 2019. I am excited to join Nielsen at such a pivotal time in the company’s history. Our focus for 2019 is on transforming into a truly product-driven, technology organization, able to make faster, bolder decisions. We expect these strategies to translate into improved performance in 2019 and beyond as we increase our value to clients.” Kenny also addresses the strategic review being undertaken that could see the company sold. “The strategic review is ongoing and the board is working with urgency on this process. As previously discussed, this could include continuing to operate as a public, independent company, a separation of either Nielsen’s Global Media or Global Connect segment, or a sale of the whole company. The process that we are undertaking will enable us to determine the best path forward in order to maximize value for all of our shareholders.”
Talk Radio Fact-Finding Tour of Ireland Planned. A group of diverse talk radio broadcasters is getting ready to take a comprehensive tour of Ireland in early April. The tour will include a six-day, guided visit to some of the Emerald Isle’s most iconic attractions and interview opportunities with some of Ireland’s most important leaders from the fields of politics, international relations, business, the arts, food, technology, and history. Organized by the DC Radio Company in conjunction with the Irish government’s tourism bureau, the project marks a return to the type of international fact-finding missions that were a talk radio staple in the 1990s and early 2000s. DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones tells TALKERS, “I am so excited to get the ball rolling again on these trips that provide hosts and their listeners with the opportunity to take a real deep-dive into the culture of other countries around the world. And now in the age of the Internet, tours like this give stations and networks the opportunity to tease the interviews with short clips on the air and full, long-form programs and specials on their websites. Plus, they are attractive content packages for local and national sponsorships.” Jones is a well-known talk radio figure who, in addition to having major market credentials at several top stations in Washington, Boston, Detroit, and Nashville, as well as in national syndication, served more than a dozen years as a senior White House correspondent for the Talk Radio News Service before launching the DC Radio Company last year. Her live commentaries are familiar to listeners in hundreds of markets. She has been involved with a number of the successful talk radio fact-finding missions that brought hosts to such diverse countries as Taiwan, Israel, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and more. Talk broadcasters signed up for the Irish tour include, Doug Stephan of the syndicated “DJV Morning Show,” Danielle Lin of the syndicated “The Art of Living and Science of Life,” Kate Delaney of the syndicated “America Tonight” program, Michael Zwerling, owner of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, and Scott Thompson, owner of Big Radio, a group of eight radio stations located in Monroe, Wisconsin; Freeport, Illinois; Janesville, Wisconsin; Beloit, Wisconsin; and, South Beloit, Illinois. Ireland’s 2019 tourism theme is “Fill Your Heart with Ireland.” According to Jones, more international trips of this nature are being planned as several nations have expressed strong interest in creating communication ties with American talk radio.
Comrex to Debut New Rackmount Audio Codec at NAB Show. This updated version of the popular rackmount Comrex ACCESS – the ACCESS NX Rack – will be unveiled at the NAB Show in Las Vegas taking place from April 6-11. Comrex says the industry standard Comrex ACCESS Rackmount (first released in 2005) is being updated to incorporate the technical advances from the last decade. The ACCESS NX Rack features completely new hardware, allowing for AES67, AES3, or analog audio I/O. ACCESS NX Rack can connect to Wi-Fi and 4G modems and supports a wide range of connection protocols and audio encoders. It’s driven via a new HTML5-based web user interface. Further, it is compatible with all Comrex IP audio codecs as well as the Comrex FieldTap smartphone app. ACCESS NX Rack also includes Comrex CrossLock technology, a proprietary suite of tools that solidify connections over IP networks. By sending two identical streams through two separate networks (redundancy mode), CrossLock provides a fail-safe in the event that the primary network falters. ACCESS NX Rack also includes HotSwap, a new function included with the latest version of ACCESS firmware. HotSwap allows users to designate one network as a backup that will only engage when the primary network has failed. Fall-over to backup happens in a matter of seconds, and fallback is seamless.
Broadcasting from CPAC. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher (left) posing for a pic with the newest member of the SRN syndicated talk show host family, Dr. Sebastian Gorka (right). The two are producing their programs live from the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference taking place in National Harbor, Maryland through Saturday.
TALKERS News Notes. WCCO, Minneapolis is getting its new imaging package from noted radio voice-over and imaging legend Sandy Thomas’ new company, CORE Voice Imaging and Sound Design (a division of Thomas Voice Imaging). The Entercom heritage news/talker is re-branding with the assistance of the new imaging package with reportedly positive initial results. The highly charged package features Thomas and his wife Rebecca. Check out a demo of the WCCO package here. Interested stations can reach Sandy Thomas at 800-516-3370 or email CORE@ThomasVoiceImaging.com…..The news of President Trump’s breaking off talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un came on short notice and SRN News vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS that their affiliate stations were able to hear it live, thanks to their coverage. Tradup says that via its longform news channel SNN Right, they were able to go live with the breaking news and deliver audio from the live news conference from Hanoi that had been moved up that included President Trump’s wide-ranging remarks on the summit, political battles facing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his reaction to Michael Cohen’s testimony, new negotiations with China on trade, and other breaking news…..WBUR, Boston produced “On Point” is presenting its first special four-part series from co-host Meghna Chakrabarti that explores the nation’s complicated housing landscape, titled, “Where We Call Home.” It debuts March 4. Chakrabarti will investigate the changing landscape of neighborhoods across America and the economic, social, aesthetic, and political forces that factor in to where and how Americans choose to live.
Michael Cohen Testimony, Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, India-Pakistan Tensions, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Trump-Russia Investigation, Border Wall/Emergency Declaration, Venezuela Unrest, and NBA/NCAA Hoops Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27). Wednesday’s congressional testimony by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; President Trump’s Hanoi meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the military tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the U.S.-Mexico border wall project and challenges to President Trump’s emergency declaration; the situation in Venezuela as Nicolas Maduro clings to power; and NBA and NCAA basketball 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. This season of ABC TV’s “American Idol” debuts on March 3 and iHeartMedia is joining ABC in promoting the show with a radio special hosted by Ryan Seacrest and broadcast across more than 90 iHeartMedia AC and hot AC radio stations nationwide. The thirty-minute special will air Sunday, March 3 and feature songs from current “American Idol” judges and past contestants, exclusive content and information about the iconic series…..Cumulus Media announces that Justin Taylor is the new operations manager for its Oxnard-Ventura, California cluster and program director for country KHAY. He’s taking over for the retiring Chris Cox, who will step down on March 4 after a 45-year career in radio. Taylor says, “I could not be happier to be joining [RVP] Sommer Frisk and her amazing team as the operations manager for Ventura /Oxnard, and even more excited to take over the ACM nominated K-HAY!”
WTAQ, Green Bay Talk Host Jerry Bader Exits. And he tells the Wisconsin State Journal that his critical coverage of President Trump is the reason he’s out, but he’s rather sanguine about it. Jerry Bader doesn’t appear angry about his exit from Midwest Communications’ WTAQ, Green Bay, saying, “I’ve always known it was (their) microphone that I used each day. I have no regrets on how I’ve handled the show the past two and a half years.” He’d been with Midwest Communications for the past 14 years. Bader was one of a number of Wisconsin radio talk show hosts critical of Trump’s personality and policies, going back to the primaries. Most of those hosts fell into line after the primary and general elections (or left the air like WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes). But Bader tells the paper, “I have always tried to tell what I believed is the truth and more recently to comport my behavior, on and off the air with my Christ-following faith, after I was saved in 2016.” Bader’s late morning program was also carried on Midwest’s Wisconsin news/talk outlets WHBL, Sheboygan and WSAU-AM/FM, Wausau. He transitioned to a part-time role with the company in 2016 to work full time with MediaTrackers.org. Read the whole story here.
KSCO, Santa Cruz Launches New Show Dedicated to Improving Public Education. The program is called “Edulution” and is hosted by Juan Cabrera, a corporate technology attorney and former teacher and who currently serves as the Superintendent of Schools at El Paso Texas Independent School District. He is the co-founder of the Texas Council of Urban School Districts and serves on the executive board of the Council of Great City Schools. The show will air weekly on Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on KSCO, Santa Cruz “NewsTalk AM 1080 and FM 104.1.” The call-in show is “designed to spark discussion on how to improve the quality of public education in the USA.” According to KSCO, “Cabrera believes that the success of our economy is predicated on the quality of our American education systems. Thus understanding, analyzing and discussing our education systems and how to improve them is critical to our future success.” Cabrera says, “We will not maintain our position as a global leader in this 21st century knowledge economy unless our education systems are designed to meet our economic needs.” KSCO owner Michael Zwerling adds, “In these unprecedented, polarized times, the high cost and poor performance of public education and health care are two issues we can all agree on, regardless of our political perspective. It’s always baffled me that talk radio — which can be such a positive force for civil discussion and problem-solving — has not been harnessed in this manner, which is a shame. Rather than pitting people against each other to ‘divide and conquer,’ let’s all work together using today’s tools of technology, coupled with integrity to engage in courteous discourse to solve our problems and move our country forward.” Juan Cabrera or Michael Zwerling may be contacted via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
WW1 and SiriusXM to Bring Winter Games to Radio. The 2018 Olympic Winter Games officially get underway tonight in PyeongChang, South Korea and Westwood One, in partnership with U.S. Olympics rights holder NBCUniversal, is presenting live radio coverage of the games this evening through the closing ceremony on Sunday February 25. Westwood One will broadcast – via affiliate stations and via SiriusXM Satellite Radio – throughout the Games as live events unfold, with around-the-clock Olympic updates three times per hour; live Team USA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey play-by-play; live coverage of various Olympic Winter events, including figure skating, speed skating, skiing, bobsled and luge; and a daily live show, “Today In PyeongChang.”
Dow Correction Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 5-9. The Dow Jones Industrial Average’s loss of more than 2,000 points in a week was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was Congress passing a new, $400 billion spending plan. Coming in at #3 was Nancy Pelosi’s marathon speech and the Trump Administration’s immigration policy, followed by the Trump-Russia investigation 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Bill O’Reilly Visits ‘Bernie & Sid’ at 77WABC. Conservative media personality Bill O’Reilly (center) stopped by the WABC, New York studios to chat with late morning hosts Bernard McGuirk (right) and Sid Rosenberg (left). O’Reilly promoted his digital platform on which he broadcasts daily, saying he’s free from the constraints of commercial cable news/talk. He added, “Our audience is looking for analysis they don’t get on cable television – or on talk radio, to be frank.”
The Federalist Publisher Ben Domenech Is This Week’s Guest on the Newly Rebranded Michael Harrison Podcast. He is a self-described contrarian, libertarian, and conservative whose independent, articulate positions have gained him a significant following among Washington insiders and followers of public policy discussion across the nation. Ben Domenech, publisher of the online political magazine The Federalist and host of the daily PodcastOne series “The Federalist Radio Hour” is this week’s guest on the award-winning series, “The Michael Harrison Interview” (formerly titled, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison”). Harrison and 36-year-old Domenech engage in a deep-dive conversation about the state of the American conservative movement during the age of Donald Trump. They share insights about the nature of Millennials as well as the rapid evolution of today’s media, publishing, and podcasting. Harrison describes Domenech (the son-in-law of U.S. Senator John McCain) as “one of the brightest, independent young voices in today’s political media.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” or “The Michael Harrison Interview” player boxes located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Former Boston Talk Host Janet Jeghelian Dies at 83. In addition to hosting talk radio programs at WBZ-AM and WRKO in Boston, Janet Jeghelian also ran for several statewide offices, including lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. Bryan Marquad of the Boston Globe notes that Jeghelian was a “pioneering Republican woman” who sought statewide offices and won. Jeghelian also sought the Republican nomination to challenge Ted Kennedy for his U.S. Senate seat in 1994 but failed in that bid (Mitt Romney was nominated). Jeghelian was a trained physical therapist who ventured into local politics. During the 1980s, she co-hosted the “Ted and Janet” morning show on WRKO alongside Ted O’Brien.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. It’s now official that Frank Ski is returning to Entercom’s urban contemporary WVEE, Atlanta “V-103” to co-host the morning drive program with Wanda Smith on the “Frank & Wanda in the Morning” show, effective Monday (2/12). Ski takes over for Ryan Cameron, who exited recently after choosing not to negotiate a new deal with Entercom. “V-103” says that Joe Taylor, a.k.a. Miss Sophia, is returning to the show with her signature “Girl Talk” segment and entertainment updates. As recently reported here, Ski and Smith co-hosted the morning show on the station from 1998 to 2012…..In the Norfolk market, iHeartMedia announces that Michael “DJ Fountz” Fournier is promoted to the program director position at hip hop WOWI “103 JAMZ” and classic hip hop and R&B WHBT “92.1 The Beat.” He’s also hosting the midday program on “103 JAMZ.” iHeartMedia Norfolk market president Angel Brown says, “DJ Fountz is a part of the ‘103 JAMZ’ fabric. He’s served as the station’s assistant program director for many years and we are excited to have him at the helm of the number one urban station in the Norfolk market and lead programming efforts at ‘92.1 The Beat.’”…..Salem Media Group names Mike Blakemore VP/programming, CCM format. Blakemore is PD at the company’s contemporary Christian WFSH, Atlanta “104.7 The Fish.” Salem says that in this new role, Blakemore will provide leadership to the company’s contemporary Christian music outlets. Salem Media broadcast division president Dave Santrella adds, “Mike’s success in Atlanta has been confirmed by WFSH ranking consistently in the top-tier of stations in our target demo of Women 25-54, often in the top five.”…..Country air personality Vanessa Ryan exits Midwest Communications’ WDEZ, Wausau, Wisconsin after a 17-year tour with the station…..iHeartMedia country station WSIX, Nashville “The BIG 98” is presenting the 6th annual “Songs & Stories for St. Jude” fundraising event on Sunday, April 8 at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. It’s a live concert and auction that benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It’s being hosted by WSIX personalities Amy Paige and Tige & Daniel and will include acclaimed songwriters Chris DeStefano, JT Harding, Jon Nite and Matt Jenkins.
PPM Analysis: A Closer Look at Holiday 2017. Managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a more in-depth look into the Nielsen Audio Holiday 2017 PPM survey and reports on some of the trends he’s noticed. In this report he delves into the myriad ups and downs associated with the annual Holiday ratings period. Check it out here.
ESPN Moves Craig to Network PD; Ups Hurley to WEPN, New York PD. Sports programmer Justin Craig is promoted from PD of WEPN, New York to senior director, programming and operations for the ESPN Radio network. The sports giant says that Craig will be responsible for all aspects of ESPN Radio programming and production, including oversight of “Mike & Mike,” “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” “Russillo & Kanell,” and nighttime and weekend programming. Craig is now based at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol and reports to David Roberts, vice president, ESPN Network Content. With Craig’s move to Bristol, WEPN APD Ryan Hurley is elevated to program director. Jonathan Winthrop, who has previously served as a producer at WEPN, adds APD duties and continues to produce the Stephen A. Smith show.
TALKERS Personality Profile: KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner, Michael Zwerling. One of the most colorful owner/operators of a local radio broadcasting company, Michael Zwerling, is the subject of an audio personality profile posted today (3/20) on Talkers.com. Since 1991, Zwerling (known to his friends and colleagues as “MZ”) has owned heritage news/talk 10k flamethrower KSCO-AM 1080. The station puts out a giant signal covering the Monterey Bay area as well as huge swath of Northern California territory. KSCO first went on the air in 1947. Zwerling has subsequently gained a national reputation for his unique ownership and management style that has turned KSCO into a dynamic combination of mostly locally produced content punctuated by carefully selected national programming. Under Zwerling’s guidance, KSCO is financially fueled by a potent combination of traditional advertising sales and the generation of non-traditional revenue. In the hour-and-a-half interview conducted by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, Zwerling discusses what it has been like operating a conservatively oriented station (featuring Rush Limbaugh) in a predominantly liberal market. He talks about his early, quirky days in broadcasting, the nuts-and-bolts of local radio station ownership in the modern era, the pros and cons of carrying Limbaugh over the years, his late mother and locally beloved broadcaster, Kay Zwerling, and his remarkably lucrative relationship with the multi-level marketing health products company, Youngevity. To listen to this candid dialogue with the man described by Michael Harrison as one of the most interesting and eccentric owners in radio today, please click here.
‘The Big Talker’ Returns to Wilmington, NC. Talk show host Chad Adams is reviving “The Big Talker” on WFBT-FM, Wilmington, North Carolina (licensed to Carolina Beach) under an LMA from Carolina Christian Radio. His Red Wolf Broadcasting will operate the station and his regionally syndicated talk show – also heard in Charlotte and Greensboro – will be heard from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. It will follow the local “Mornings With Pam and John” program with husband-and-wife team John and Pam Dismukes. Other shows to air on the station include: Radio America’s Dana Loesch, the Dave Ramsey show, SRN’s Mike Gallagher, and Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity and the overnight “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory. Originally, “The Big Talker” was heard on WNTB-FM and WUDE-FM. WFBT-FM’s frequency is 106.7. It was formerly WMYT and was put on the air by Curtis Wright’s and George Bell’s Talk Media TV in 2013.
TALKERS News Notes. The morning drive show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WGOW-FM, Chattanooga – hosted by Jeff Styles, Jim Reynolds and Bill Lockhart – expands by an hour to air from 6:00 am to 10:00 am, eliminating the Reynolds-hosted hour, “The Nth Degree.” At the same time, Styles – who had also been hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program, “Fred The Show,” gives up that program to new host Brad Giese…..WGN, Chicago launched a new weekend program on Saturday (3/18). The two-hour show “On the Road with Dane Neal” airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. WGN says that this program is more than just a car show, “Neal will explore the relationship of people and their cars. Topics will include motorsports, day trips, cruise nights, technology in the car and more.” His first guests were Food Network’s Guy Fieri, Expedia’s Sarah Gavin, and NASCAR champion Kevin Harvick. Neal comments, “I’m excited to be able to take a radio road trip with listeners each week. We’ll share great stories about racing, innovation in driving and the great car culture of Chicago.”
Rising Country Music Star Pens and Records Inspirational Patriot Song for Both Music and Talk Radio. Singer/songwriter Dede Wedekind is a rising star in country music circles (Indie Music Channel’s 2016 Best New Female Artist, plus a number of other music industry honors) and she is now attracting the attention of talk radio hosts doing interviews about her new soul-stirring, patriotic release titled “America United.” The song was originally written by Wedekind and her husband in a flash of inspiration coming from the pulpit while attending church on a Sunday in 2012. Garnering attention across her fan base for years, the couple then tweaked the song in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, resulting in another IMEA Award for the independent artist. She tells CCM Magazine, “To me, everyone who hears ‘America United’ seems to like and relate to the overwhelming message of this song—which is the necessity of uniting all Americans once again. This song isn’t about a particular political party, being conservative or liberal, or even being Democrat or Republican—it’s about making America a great nation once again. ‘One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.’” Wedekind continues, “In the original version written in 2012, it features President Ronald Reagan‘s message of making America great quoting the line, ‘Once again, make America Great. When President Donald Trump decided to run last year, my husband Larry and I had already decided to update ‘America United’ to make it a better song with a more concise message and better production. We then decided to also incorporate Trump’s slogan, which, again was completely based on Reagan’s original message. We repeated the slogan in the chorus of the 2016 version, since it was already a part of the original song, and more importantly felt strongly that God had given it to President Reagan, and now again to President Trump.” To listen to and download Dede Wedekind’s “America United” and obtain contact information to book an interview with her, please click here.
Trump’s Obama Wiretapping Accusations, Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings, GOP Health Care Bill, U.S.-Germany Relations, North Korea Missile Program, Rock Legend Chuck Berry Dies, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. President Donald Trump’s accusation that former President Barack Obama ordered wiretaps of Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign; Supreme Court judge nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings begin today; speculation about the fate of the GOP health care bill; President Trump’s belief that Germany owes the U.S. money for its NATO membership and his meeting last week with Angela Merkel; North Korea’s nuclear missile program and its threats to hit American targets; rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry dies at age 90; and the action during the first weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Stephanie Miller Announces ‘Sexy Liberal Resistance Tour’ 2017. Progressive radio talk show host and comedienne Stephanie Miller is announcing the 2017 version of her Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour – this year titled the “Sexy Liberal Resistance Tour 2017.” On this tour will be Miller, John Fugelsang and Frangela. A press statement from Miller reads, “Touring for several years as the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour, the election forced us to rethink early retirement and return to the stage for a multiple-city tour. We face Washington and laugh out loud at the tragic comedy of politics, to throw our finest, most scathing satire at the feet of our not-so-elected politicians. To fight on with comedy…to offer the real fake news…to offer true alternative facts.” The tour does 10 dates this year beginning in Madison on April 22 and ending in Maui, Hawaii on December 23. Cities include Phoenix, Albuquerque, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
SRN’s Tradup Promoting Brantley Rescue Documentary. Next Thursday night (3/30) is the one-night-only Fathom national movie theater screening of the film Facing Darkness. The film was the result of a trip to the Ebola virus “hot Zone” in Liberia last summer during which Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured at right) accompanied a film crew from non-profit charity Samaritan’s Purse to chronicle the successful, high-tech rescue of Dr. Kent Brantley during the deadly 2014 outbreak. Tradup, who is actively promoting the film via social media, says, “The courage of the Samairtan’s Purse team (including Dr. Brantley) who risked their own lives as the Ebola outbreak claimed thousands of lives all around them, is a truly inspirational story that is the centerpiece of a stunning documentary.”
TALKERS magazine Publishes the 2017 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. On Monday, March 13, we published the fifth annual TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – formally known as the 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. This annual list is compiled and ranked by the editors of TALKERS magazine – with input from industry leaders. As with our publication’s “sister list,” the 100 Most Important Talk Radio Hosts in America, the criteria are a number of hard factors – including ratings and revenue – as well as such soft factors as talent, recognition, impact, service and more. Executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This annual ranking of the most important sports talk radio hosts is one of the most difficult – but enjoyable – projects we undertake at TALKERS. The reason for that is the partially subjective nature of the criteria combined with the enormous number of talented and successful sports talk hosts working in America. Paring that pool of talent down to 100 is no easy task!” Casey also notes that TALKERS will be publishing the 2017 Heavy Hundred of News/Talk Radio in April. See the 2017 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Beginning this Friday (3/24), Entercom Austin is shifting its urban adult contemporary contemporary outlet to a new frequency as it changes translator K242CC from the 96.3 frequency to 95.9. Appropriately, the station’s new brand is “95.9FM RnB.” Entercom Austin VP/market manager Stephanie Callihan states, “We are looking forward to welcoming all of our loyal listeners at our new home on the dial. We continue to be committed to providing the unparalleled radio experience that our fans have come to expect from us and will keep delivering for our fans at our new frequency.”…..Bonneville’s country KYGO, Denver welcomes Guy David aboard as the new co-host of the morning drive show with current AM personality Tracy Dixon. David heads to Denver from his current position at RBH Enterprises-owned country WFON-FM, Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin “107.1 The Bull.”…..Wesley Miller returns to his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio to program adult contemporary WMXY “MIX 98.9” and CHR WAKZ for iHeartMedia. Miller was most recently with Forever Media’s WGYY, Meadville, Pennsylvania “Froggy 100.3” hosting the morning show and serving as program director…..CBS RADIO country outlet WDSY, Pittsburgh “Y108” is hosting its annual Wine & Boots Bash to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on Thursday, April 13 at The Twentieth Century Club in Oakland. The event will feature Warner Music Nashville country singer and songwriter Michael Ray. CBS RADIO Pittsburgh VP of programming Mark Anderson says, “Michael Ray was a part of Y108’s ‘Eight Man Jam’ concert two years ago. Michael’s career is on fire as he just achieved his second #1 hit single and we are thrilled to have him perform at Y108’s Wine and Boots Bash on April 13.” Ray broke into music as a contestant on The CW’s “The Next: Fame Is At Your Doorstep.” He co-wrote the 2015 Big & Rich hit “Run Away With You” and made his solo artist debut that same year with the #1 hit “Kiss You In The Morning.” He scored his second #1 hit just this week with his song, “Think A Little Less.”
Josh Turner Plays Stage 17 LIVE. The brand-new Cumulus Media New York performance space Stage 17 LIVE hosted country star Josh Turner on March 15. WNSH “NASH FM 94.7” air personality Jesse Addy spoke with Turner on the air the same day Turner spent his morning hosting the fourth hour of NBC TV’s “Today Show.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Jesse Addy, Josh Turner; WNSH program director John Foxx, and WNSH APD Mike Alan.
CBS RADIO Re-Ups KYW, Philly’s Steve Butler. Programmer Steve Butler signs a multi-year contract renewal with CBS RADIO in which he’ll continue to serve as vice president of news programming, and program director of all-news KYW. In his capacity as vice president of news programming and news format captain, Butler advises eight of CBS RADIO’s all-news outlets on on-air and digital content and strategy. In his KYW Newsradio role, he oversees the station’s production and content, as well as the on-air and newsroom staffs. CBS RADIO EVP of programming Chris Oliviero comments, “CBS RADIO continues to be the industry leader in providing many of the nation’s largest cities with the trusted and credible local news and information that millions of listeners depend on day in and day out. Steve’s expertise and influence has helped shape the ongoing success of our iconic, eight all-news stations and will be critical in the continued growth of these brands for years to come. We are thrilled to have him lead in this important position.”
Cumulus Names Tim Shickles to PD Role at Sports WTRX, Flint. At the Cumulus Media operations in Flint, Michigan, the company names August Wallace operations manager for the entire cluster. At the same time, Tim Shickles is promoted to program director for sports talk WTRX “Sports Xtra 1330.” Shickles is also now programming sister country station WFBE “NASH 95.1.” Shickles has been an on-air personality for Cumulus Media Flint for the past seven years and will continue in his on-air role with WFBE. Ed Leick, vice president/market manager Cumulus Media Flint, says, “Cumulus is fortunate to have such incredible talents working in our radio stations across the country and right here in Flint, Michigan. It is my great pleasure to assist in moving these two fine broadcasters to the next level in their careers.”
Remembering Kay Zwerling. One of talk radio’s original partisans and supporters has passed away at the age of 95. For approximately 20 years, Kay Zwerling became a familiar central California on-air talent via Zwerling Broadcasting System talker KSCO, Santa Cruz-Monterey- Salinas, where she would write/voice commentaries on a variety of topics, especially politics and current events. Those short-form features were broadcast several times throughout the day. A compilation of those commentaries was incorporated into a hardcover book, “For KSCO, I’m Kay Zwerling.” She and her husband Bernard encouraged and supported their son Michael’s acquisition of Class B AM KSCO in January 1991. Nearly 18 months ago, KSCO added a 255-watt simulcast on K218CA (104.1). Commenting on his mother, Michael Zwerling states, “She had a fine mind, a great, clear speaking voice, and a special flair to be direct, logical, and concise with her thoughts. Over the years, I had the pleasure to see mom evolve and grow into a most popular and certainly the most admired personality on our family-owned, independent news-talk radio station.” According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Kay Zwerling was the matriarch of a great radio broadcasting family that has made a real difference in the lives of the people of the Monterey Bay region for many decades. She was a savvy business person, locally-renowned author, and articulate on-air commentator. She should also be historically noted as an influential pioneer in advancing the position of women in the radio industry.” Listeners shared their thoughts and memories of Zwerling this past Saturday (1/7) in a two-hour KSCO special (10:00 am – 12:00 noon). Arrangements are pending for a family-only funeral for Kay Zwerling; a public celebration of her life will take place in the spring.
Today on TalkersTV: Consultant Holland Cooke presents a useful New Year’s Resolution – say more with fewer words. He says, “Life has become a wall of noise. In his latest TalkersTV video, he explains that “the best way to cut through the clutter is ‘word economy.’” Viewer warning: HC is a former high school English teacher. See the video in the TalkersTV box in the upper right-hand of this page.
Beasley’s Charlotte Deal Closes. The $24 million radio station deal that transferred ownership of news/talk WBT-AM/FM, sports talk WFNZ-AM and hot AC WLNK-FM from Beasley Media Group to Entercom has closed. If you remember, Beasley had to divest of some stations in Charlotte after the $240 million acquisition of Greater Media that closed at the end of last year.
The Yappy Tour Rolls Through Providence, RI. The recently published book, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016), by veteran talk radio producer Bernadette Duncan, continues to burn up the airwaves. The coast-to-coast book tour rolled through Providence, Rhode Island Friday (1/6) as the author was interviewed by the legendary talk radio personality Dan Yorke for both his local radio (WPRO) and television (Fox 12 and MyRI-TV) shows. (The two are pictured above on the set of the TV show.) Duncan tells TALKERS, “Dan Yorke is an amazing interviewer. He really cuts below the surface and gets to the psychological heart of the topic in an intimate and credible manner. Being on the airwaves of WPRO, which is so richly steeped in radio heritage, was deeply gratifying to me. I am so grateful to the hundreds of broadcasters and thousands of radio enthusiasts who have been giving this book such wonderful support.” Yappy Days recounts Duncan’s 26-year career as a producer of radio talk shows working with such big-name talents as Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Lou Dobbs, Tom Snyder, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and many more during modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.” Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature. Due to the strong response by hosts across the nation to the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the national “Yappy Tour” will continue to roll on through the Spring of 2017. Duncan has already appeared on more than 50 local and syndicated programs. Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Odds & Sods. On its recently acquired St. Louis AM signal KXFN, Salem Media Group debuts a station dedicated to health and wellness branded, “AM 1380 The Pulse.” The former sports talk station was purchased by Salem from Grand Slam Sports LLC’s receiver Detalus for $190,000. Shows airing on the station include “Dr. Asa on Call,” “Dr. Katherine Albrecht,” “The Dr. Daliah Show,” “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie,” and others…..At the Chicago operations of Salem Media Group, Michael Mann adds new duties as his title is expanded to director of sales strategy, broadcast media. Salem president of broadcast media David Santrella comments, “There has been a planned and deliberate ‘march’ since Michael joined us in Chicago which has resulted in consistent and impressive growth.”…..Tomorrow (1/10), Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is joining the “WTMJ Today” early afternoon program for an hour-long segment in which listeners will hear the mayor discuss the news of the day and issues important to him and the community. “WTMJ Today” is co-hosted by WTMJ executive producer for news Erik Bilstad and interim co-hosts including the representative for Wisconsin’s 37th Assembly District, John Jagler.
Deadly Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting, Trump-Intelligence Community Meeting/Russia Hacking Allegations, Future of ObamaCare, Deadly Attack on Israeli Soldiers, Iran’s Rafsanjani Dies, Sunday’s Golden Globes Awards, and NFL Playoff Action Among Top Stories Over the Weekend. The fatal shooting of five travelers at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport; the allegations of Russian hacking of DNC emails and the related story of President-Elect Donald Trump’s contentious relationship with the intelligence community over the matter; the future of the Affordable Care Act and the GOP’s plans to alter the health care legislation; the deaths of four Israeli soldiers in an attack by a Palestinian; the passing of key Iranian Islamic Revolution architect Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; Sunday evening’s Golden Globes Awards; and the NFL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Michael Harrison Podcast Explores “The Real History of Fake News.” The award-winning, weekly PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” kicks off 2017 with an engaging discussion about fake news with Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) staff writer and senior Delacorte fellow, David Uberti. Uberti recently penned an article in CJR titled, The Real History of Fake News. It traces the long-standing practice of newspapers in America publishing hoaxes, falsehoods and blatantly slanted stories to manipulate public opinion all the way back to the founding of the republic. The fake news phenomenon, now greatly amplified and accelerated by social media and digital technology, was one of the most-discussed issues on news/talk radio this past year and promises to continue to be an area of concern moving forward. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
AJ Lurie Named to Market Manager Role at Beasley Wilmington. Now leading the Wilmington, Delaware duo for Beasley Media Group is AJ Lurie, who is promoted from his most recent position with the company’s Fort Myers-Naples cluster as director of sales. As vice president and market manager, Lurie will oversee the operations of hot AC WJBR and gospel WTMR-AM (licensed to Camden, New Jersey). About his new position, Lurie comments, “I am honored to begin working with the talented team in Wilmington. I have had the privilege of serving for more than a decade with our amazing Fort Myers cluster, which has prepared me for this next step in my career. I want to sincerely thank Bruce Beasley, Brad Beasley and everyone who showed faith in my abilities to move into this market manager position.”
Tim Hattrick Returns to KNIX, Phoenix. The iHeartMedia-owned country station announces that former station personality Tim Hattrick will join its morning show alongside Ben Campbell and Brooke Hoover for the “Tim, Ben & Brooke Show.” Hattrick served with the station as half of the “Tim & Willy Show” with Willy D. Loon from 1998 through 2007. He says, “I’m thrilled to join Ben and Brooke and so honored to come home to KNIX. I look forward to serving Phoenix again and continuing to build upon the legacy that KNIX has built in the community.”
Marc Jason Joins WQYK, Tampa Morning Show. Tampa country outlet WQYK announces air personality Marc Jason joins Veronica Young and Kevin Ebel as the third co-host of the Beasley Broadcast Group station’s morning show. Operations manager Tee Gentry comments, “It’s a great feeling to start this new year with Marc on the ‘QYK morning team with Veronica and Kevin! Marc has been an on-air radio personality in some of America’s biggest and most iconic radio cities, including Nashville, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Washington, DC. We’re definitely hitting the ground running in 2017!”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Changes corporate structure at Cox Media Group mean corporate manager of radio and ratings research Paul Douglas exits the company after a 19 year stint…..Entercom brings Casey Osburn aboard to program hot AC KFBZ, Wichita “105.3 The Buzz.” Osburn, who will also work the afternoon drive shift at KFBZ, was most recently with Eagle Communications at its Hutchinson, Kansas operations…..CBS RADIO St. Louis announces that KEZK ,midday personality Trish Gazall signs a multi-year contract extension with the adult contemporary station. Gazall holds down the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm show that features her unique perspective on entertainment and current events, with a healthy dose of local community information. She also hosts the “Totally ‘80s Lunch” every weekday at noon…..iHeartMedia renews the contracts for the three hosts of the “Bama, Rob and Heather” morning show on country KVET, Austin. iHeartMedia Central Texas region president Breeanna Malik says of the trio, “We are so fortunate to have this amazing team in the iHeartMedia family. They are true Austin celebrities and we know our listeners and sponsors are ecstatic that they will be here for many years to come.”…..United Stations Radio Networks announces that programmer and on-air pro Steve Stewart is the new host of the syndicated country radio show “The Road.” Stewart also serves as PD and midday personality at iHeartMedia’s WEBG, Chicago “Big 95.5.”…..Adult contemporary WHUD-FM, Peekskill, New York (Hudson Valley market) adds the local “Night Rhythms” program hosted by Susan Browning for the evening daypart. Browning has been with the 6 Johnson Road Licenses-owned station on a weekends/fill-in basis for the past six years.
AC Augments Audience in Philly, Tampa, and Dallas. Managing editor Mike Kinosian takes note of the number of new adult contemporary stations signing on in top 20 markets. “The last time a major market station transitioned to adult contemporary was in April 2016, when iHeartMedia San Francisco’s urban-rhythmic oldies KISQ became “The Breeze.” Now that the all-Christmas music has come to an end, however, there are three new players under the AC banner.” He’s referring to “Star 102.1” in Dallas; “Today’s 96.5” in Philly; and “B 98.7” in Tampa. Read his report on these new stations here.
Talk Station that “Doesn’t Need to Sell Advertising to Make Lots of Money” Looking for Ad Sales Heavyweight to Make Lots MORE Money
By Mona Lipschitz
SANTA CRUZ — Michael Zwerling, the eccentric owner of one of the nation’s leading independent local talk radio stations, KSCO AM 1080, Santa Cruz/Monterey/Salinas/Silicon Valley, is looking for a general manager/sales manager to bring his station’s monthly ad billing up from “a laughable $30,000 per month” (his words not ours) to a “more respectable and completely doable $300,000 per month.”
Asked how a station billing only $30,000 in monthly ad revenue could be considered anything even REMOTELY deserving of being described as “one of the nation’s leading independent local talk radio stations,” Zwerling retorts, “Easy — ad sales have never been our focus in the past; we have done and continue to do very well, thank you, with our ‘royalties from radio’ revenue model we have employed for nearly 18 years. Yet we continue to serve our communities FAR better than most corporate-owned stations, and far better than most other independent stations that can’t AFFORD to serve their communities.”