Entercom Changes Corporate Name to Audacy. This change was teased by Entercom on Monday in a tweet but makes the news official today, marking the change from Entercom Communications Corp to Audacy, effective immediately. In a press release, the company says: “Over the past three years, the company has purposefully evolved into a scaled, multi-platform audio content and entertainment organization with the country’s best radio broadcasting group and a leadership position in virtually every segment of the dynamic and growing audio market—including broadcasting, podcasting, digital, network, live experiences, music, sports and news. Audacy is also the #1 creator of original, premium audio content.” Chairman, president and CEO David Field adds, “We have transformed into a fundamentally different and dramatically enhanced organization and so it is time to embrace a new name and brand identity which better reflects who we have become and our vision for the future. ‘Audacy’ captures our dynamic creativity, outstanding content, and innovative spirit as we aspire to build the country’s best audio content and entertainment platform.” The company says its evolution has been fueled by: the acquisition of the CBS Radio group, the launch of RADIO.COM and building the fastest growing digital audio platform, the acquisition of Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, enhancing its sports platform with the acquisition of QL Gaming Group and its partnership with FanDuel, and more. The company’s ticker symbol will change from ETM to AUD effective on or about Friday, April 9. Along with the name Entercom, effective today, the company will also sunset the RADIO.COM brand and align its direct-to-consumer platform under Audacy.
Alpha Media’s WSGW-AM/FM, Saginaw Adds ‘Markley, Van Camp & Robbins’ for Early Afternoons. Saginaw, Michigan news/talk WSGW-AM/FM announces it is filling the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart previously occupied by the Rush Limbaugh program with Compass Media Networks’ “Markley, Van Camp & Robbins Show” featuring Jamie Markley, David Van Camp, and Scott Robbins. The Alpha Media station says in mid-March it switched “from the Rush recordings to this new, live show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. WSGW wanted a show that would serve conservatives on the hot topics of the day in an informative and entertaining style. The MVC&R Show does that perfectly because they include a Millennial, Gen Xer, and a Baby Boomer. The range of audience listenership this trio brings closes the generation gap and provides a unique perspective that no other show can do. At the end of the day, it’s three friends hanging out and talking about everything! It is a great show and 100.5 & 790 Newsradio WSGW is excited to announce their addition to the lineup.”
WDUN-AM/FM, Gainesville, Georgia to Air Todd Starnes Show in Noon to 3:00 pm Slot. The Gainesville, Georgia news/talk outlet announces it will fill the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart with the “Todd Starnes Show.” Jacobs Media’s WDUN-AM/FM is overseen by EVP and general manager Bill Maine, who says, “We know our listeners will miss Rush. He was the absolute best at what he did, and no one can replace him. But we are fans of Todd Starnes and we think moving Todd into that time slot, as well as adding more locally produced programs gives WDUN an exceptionally strong lineup of news/talk programs.”
KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City Expands Local Shows in Talent Shuffle. Salt Lake City news/talk KSL-AM/FM announces a series of changes in its lineup that includes the expansion of three programs. The Bonneville station says that with the departure of Lee Lonsberry from this station, Boyd Matheson’s “Inside Sources” program moves from the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon slot to the new 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart. The “Utah’s Noon News” show expands from 30 minutes to a full hour from 12:00 to 1:00 pm and “The Dave and Dujanovic Show” grows by an hour to air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. KSL program director Kevin LaRue says, “Boyd is just too important of a voice to the community to only have him on KSL one hour a day. We’re excited to provide listeners a longer program to cover important issues. The thinking he offers about the news and current culture is unparalleled.” Matheson also serves as the opinion editor of the Deseret News. He says, “Having spent most of my career as an international business consultant really gave me a look at how things work, what leadership looks like, and how you pull people together. Then my time in Washington DC as a chief of staff understanding the behind-the-scenes things that go on where the real levers of power are in DC and of course our connection to politics here locally. ”
‘Free Talk Live’ Host and Co-Founder Ian Freeman Awaits Bail Ruling; Faces Fraud and Money Laundering Charges. The lead host and co-founder of the nationally syndicated talk radio program “Free Talk Live” – Ian Freeman– is awaiting a ruling from federal Judge Magistrate Andrea Johnstone on a bail request from his attorney, according to an article in the Manchester Union-Leader. Freeman is being charged with money laundering, fraud and conspiracy after a recent raid on his home by federal authorities. Assistant U.S. Attorney Georgina MacDonald alleges that Freeman and others operated a Bitcoin-dollar exchange program through churches with which they are affiliated and called Freeman a “sophisticated cybercriminal.” The Union-Leader reports the feds allege that Freeman used Shire Free Church accounts to convert dollars to Bitcoin and that those dollars came from “romance fraud, investment fraud, and your-friend’s-in-jail fraud.” MacDonald says Freeman “offered anonymity, didn’t ask questions and charged a 10% exchange fee” when “legitimate” exchange services charge 3% or less. In requesting bail, Freeman’s attorney, Mark Sisti, argued that Freeman is not a flight risk and that he’s known about the federal investigation for years because people agents interviewed would tell Freeman about their encounter with authorities. Sisti says Freeman could have fled before his arrest. Industry observers who follow this TALKERS Heavy Hundred program know that its main freedom-based theme and Freeman’s ongoing antagonistic position on laws he considers unconstitutional have provided it with provocative and compelling “reality show” type material even though it has been a source of irritation to both local Keene, New Hampshire (where the show is based) and federal law enforcement agencies. Part of the show’s formidable appeal to an ever-growing number of affiliates and loyal listeners has been the willingness of its primary host to “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk.”
Sam Tatum Promoted to VP, Integrated Marketing & Partnerships for Radio One and Reach Media. Rising from his director of sales for Radio One’s Washington, DC cluster to the newly created position of vice president, integrated marketing & partnerships for Radio One and Reach Media is Samuel Tatum. In this new role, Radio One and Reach Media say they are further unifying their sales and integrated marketing efforts across both divisions to help brands and agency partners effectively connect with the coveted and influential Black consumer through authentic and powerful multiplatform touchpoints. Tatum will lead a team of marketers and project managers in developing and implementing new innovative marketing solutions for national advertisers and agencies utilizing all of the Radio One and Reach Media assets. As the primary liaison between the national sales teams and other departments within Radio One, Reach Media, and other Urban One divisions, Tatum will streamline communications, ensure the continuity of national and corporate partnerships, and make sure the sales teams continue to provide their advertising partners with the absolute best-in-class cross-platform solutions. Tatum states, “I am humbled by the confidence Reach Media and Radio One has placed in me and am excited to continue to grow the legacy of our founder, Cathy Hughes, in this new role. Radio One and Reach Media have a rich portfolio of assets, and I am passionate about the opportunity to create, develop, and execute unique, on-brand, and culturally appropriate solutions that provide reach and engagement with the Black consumer for our advertisers and partners. Let’s blaze new trails!”
Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville Announces Content Partnership with A to Z Sports. Nashville sports talker WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” announces it has entered into a content partnership agreement with popular online sports information and entertainment destination, A to Z Sports. Cumulus Media says, “The agreement brings together the two biggest sports entertainment brands in Nashville and Middle Tennessee, allowing them to create and share unique, deep-dive sports content across their respective digital platforms, including streaming and on-demand content, podcasts, social media, and much more, plus live and local on-air programming on ‘104.5 The Zone’ and high-engagement live events for area sports fans.” Per the terms of the agreement, “104.5 The Zone,” the flagship home for the Tennessee Titans and Nashville affiliate for University of Tennessee Volunteers, will regularly feature A to Z Sports personalities, while “104.5 The Zone” personalities will appear regularly on A to Z Sports’ popular programs. The partnership will create shared and complementary original programming between the brands and their platforms to give fans more and better sports news and talk than ever before. WGFX program director Paul Mason says, “We are truly excited to partner with A to Z Sports! This opens up more doors for both WGFX and A to Z to be more creative and implement new ideas in the market. The true winner in this partnership is the Nashville sports fan.” A to Z Sports is co-owned by Zach Bingham and Austin Stanley. Earlier this month, “104.5 The Zone” signed sports journalist Buck Reising as its midday air personality (10:00 am to 1:00 pm). Reising had previously been a frequent guest host on WGFX, but is mostly known for his “615 Sessions” podcast and live weeknight show, “A to Z Sports Primetime,” heard on A to Z Sports Nashville.
Audacy Unveils New Relationship with BetMGM. The new Audacy, formerly Entercom, unveils another sports betting deal, this time with BetMGM. This relationship is a multi-year deal designating BetMGM as a betting partner of Audacy across its sports broadcast stations, the Audacy, and Bet QL apps and digital platforms, and the “BetQL Audio Network.” The partnership will bring BetMGM’s sports betting content to Audacy sports talk listeners and gives BetMGM preferred access to Audacy talent. The partnership comes on the heels of several recent moves made by Audacy in the sports betting space, including the acquisition of sports data and iGaming affiliate platform QL Gaming Group and the launch of the “BetQL Audio Network, both of which are fundamental components of this deal. Audacy president of sports Mike Dee says, “The advent of legalized mobile sports betting has presented an unprecedented opportunity to bring the action closer to the audience than ever before and, as a result, provide our partners with a direct line of sight to tap into an attentive, fully engaged audience of potential sports bettors. We are proud to partner with BetMGM and wish to thank them for their confidence in us as we become one of their largest media partners. In light of our BetQL acquisition and related offerings, we believe this commitment is the latest validation that no other media company offers the wide variety of ways to connect with the sports betting audience the way that we do on a multi-platform basis.”
COVID-19 Cases Rising/Vaccines, WHO Virus Origin Report, Derek Chauvin Trial, Biden Economic Stimulus Plan, Suez Ship Freed, Lil Nas X Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/29). The rising number of COVID-19 cases and the CDC’s warning of a fourth wave, plus the rollout of vaccines; the World Health Organization’s COVID origin report that suggests the coronavirus jump to humans from animals; the beginning of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; the Biden administration’s multi-trillion dollar economic plan that first focuses on infrastructure; the container ship that blocked the Suez canal for almost a week is freed; and the controversy over the new song from Lil Nas X and the accompanying “Satan Shoes” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WSCR, Chicago Announces Parkins & Spiegel New Afternoon Show. Chicago sports talker WSCR-AM “670 The Score” brings Matt Spiegel back to the air in a full-time capacity, hosting the afternoon drive show with former partner Danny Parkins. The two co-hosted the midday program in 2017 and 2018 before Spiegel was bumped to a part-time role and Parkins moved to afternoons alongside Dan McNeil, who was let go from the station back in September after tweeting disparaging comments about ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor. WSCR program director Mitch Rosen says, “Matt has always been part of the ‘Score’ team, but the fact that he is now reunited with Danny in afternoons is great news most for fans. Matt’s popularity with our audience throughout all of our platforms is unwavering. The content he delivers on a daily basis is thoughtful, entertaining, opinionated sports talk, and data shows from the previous time together that listeners love this tandem of Danny and Matt.” Spiegel comments, “This is where I’m supposed to be: talking sports and more with this audience, creating a daily space for connection and companionship. There’s nothing like it. Danny Parkins is a great host and a good friend. What he and I had found in terms of chemistry was special three years ago, and I’m super excited to resume, move forward creatively and see where we can go.”
Sports Talk Host Bill Michaels Back on the Air in Wisconsin. After exiting Entercom’s sports talk WSSP-AM, Milwaukee “1250 AM The Fan” on January 8, sports talk personality Bill Michaels has a new flagship station for his midday program. Starting today (2/9), Michaels is being heard on Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s WOZN, Madison “1670AM and 96.7FM The Zone” from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Mid-West Family VP of programming Randy Hawke says, “We are excited to have one of the biggest names in Wisconsin sports talk history as part of our growing sports properties. Bill is known and loved throughout the state as the authority on all things Wisconsin sports, pro and college. Bill is the trusted voice, and we already have radio stations calling to secure his show.” Michaels’ program is being heard on Mid-West Family radio stations WKTY, LaCrosse and WAYY-AM/W286CK, Eau Claire. Mid-West Family says it plans to make the show available on a market exclusive basis throughout all of Wisconsin immediately. Michaels comments, “I’m grateful for this opportunity with Mid-West Family and I’m even more excited to get back to doing what I love. In addition, I’m so thankful and appreciative to all of my family, friends, listeners and sponsors for encouraging me to come back. I can’t even begin to tell you what your support has meant to me. Let’s go!”
‘The Dana Show’ Now Heard on KXNT, Las Vegas. The Radio America nationally syndicated talk program “The Dana Show” – starring Dana Loesch – joins the program schedule at Entercom’s Las Vegas news/talk outlet KXNT-AM for the 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm hour. Entercom Las Vegas SVP and market manager Dan Kearney states, “We are excited to bring the energy and originality of ‘The Dana Show’ to our listeners throughout Las Vegas and the Valley. Dana’s bold personality and sharp opinion will fit perfectly in our superstar KXNT lineup.”
SummitMedia Announces Management Changes. Birmingham, Alabama-based SummitMedia, LLC announces it has made a number of changes to its programming leadership team. Company CEO Carl Parmer says, “Our goal is to bring each Summit brand experience to life and innovate in the media space. While the past year disrupted radio as we knew it as well as experiencing the recent passing of programming legend Bill Tanner, we recognize the incredible opportunities before us for those who can deliver fresh ideas to the industry.” Parmer announces that programmer Randy Chase, who joined the company back in July as SVP of programming, is the new EVP of programming, a role in which he’ll lead the company’s strategic and programming charge and oversee the company’s team of brand and content leaders. John Olsen, continues as SVP of programming managing rock, classic rock and alternative along with special projects. Maurice DeVoe, most recently operations manager for the Greenville, South Carolina cluster, moves into the brand and content leader role for the company’s rhythmic top 40, hip hop and R&B stations. Rick Thomas, formerly the vice president of programming for Max Media in Denver, joins the company as the new brand and content leader for top 40, hot AC and AC formats. Chase comments, “We have assembled a team with both incredible experience and a tremendous hunger to capitalize on the disruption in the media space and arrive first into the next normal. With this leadership team in place, I believe we will deliver highly engaging products for our consumers and set up every member of the SummitMedia team to perform at their full potential.”
Rob Finnerty Named Anchor of Newsmax TV’s ‘Wake Up America.’ Television sports and news pro Rob Finnerty is appointed anchor of Newsmax TV’s new morning program, “Wake Up America” that airs from 6:30 am to 9:00 am ET. Finnerty was most recently serving as an anchor and reporter for the CBS television affiliate in Tampa. Newsmax founder and CEO Christopher Ruddy comments, “Rob has the rock-solid journalistic credentials we look for here at Newsmax. Our viewers will be well-served by his honest, accurate reporting.” Finnerty, who also has served with New England Cable News; KCTV-TV, Kansas City; and KBAK-TV/KBFX-TV, Bakersfield; adds, “I couldn’t be more excited to join the network, especially at this moment in our history. Not only is Newsmax TV growing at an unbelievable pace, but with everything happening in our country politically, I don’t think there is a better place to be right now.’’
GeoBroadcast Solutions ZoneCasting Test Gets FCC Approval. The Federal Communications Commission grants approval for the fourth experimental operation to build and operate two new co-located on-channel boosters at two discreet locations to GeoBroadcast Solutions. The company calls the technology ZoneCasting and will conduct the test via Universal Media Access’ KSJO-FM, San Jose. This trial will demonstrate KSJO’s ability to add localized weather and traffic, news, advertising, and EAS tests during short parts of a broadcast hour. ZoneCasting allows the additional geo-targeting and geo-fencing of audio and graphical advertisements. GeoBroadcast Solutions says, “These emerging technologies give radio broadcasters the tools that are vital in order to compete in the face of innovations from online and other forms of message distribution.”
TALKERS News Notes. The Washington Post publishes a piece today (2/9) by Paul Farhi critical of the future of the talk radio business. Citing the stage 4 cancer diagnosis of Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh, Farhi’s story questions what the future of the format will be post-Limbaugh in a media world teeming with alternative platforms to radio, where the bulk of listeners are well beyond Madison Avenue’s coveted 25-54 demographic…..Public media’s WNYC, New York announces that Karen Rouse is promoted to newsroom editor where she will oversee a new audio, writing and editing training effort for reporters and editors, and work as part of a team of editors editing Gothamist and WNYC content. Rouse will also work with WNYC editor in chief Audrey Cooper and SVP of diversity, equity and inclusion Brenda Williams-Butts to develop a newsroom fellowship program aimed at bringing more Black and brown journalists into WNYC’s newsroom…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces the release of the first three episodes of “The Washies,” a 10-episode serialized fictional podcast from partner Omnicast Media. The serial is set in in the not-so-distant future of 2025, amid a backdrop of significant political unrest, in which a TV producer finds and promotes five millennials who happen to be direct descendants of George Washington. The three women and two men participate in a reality TV show that catapults them to both fame and infamy. As they struggle to slay their own personal demons, they also represent the paradox of George Washington — hero/slave owner. Through all this, they learn to love each other and truly become family, just as the country needs them most…..SiriusXM unveils a new, multi-part audio documentary titled, “Obsessive Comedy Disorder: Boomers – The Story of The ‘80s Comedy Boom and Bust,” that is airing all this week. As SiriusXM notes, the “comedy boom” of the 1980s was a critical time for stand-up comedy, as its popularity skyrocketed and new clubs emerged in New York, Los Angeles, and everywhere in between. This program is hosted and executive produced by Dan Pasternack, and chronicles this period, with major comedy stars offering their first-hand accounts, including: Chris Albrecht, Louie Anderson, Judd Apatow, Elayne Boosler, Tom Dreesen, Jeff Foxworthy, Gilbert Gottfried, Barry Katz, Robert Klein, Jay Leno, Larry Miller, Paula Poundstone, Kevin Pollak, Paul Provenza, Paul Reiser, Bob Saget, Jonathan Schmock, Yakov Smirnoff, Judy Tenuta, Jimmy Vallely, Marsha Warfield, and Keenen Ivory Wayans.
Trump Impeachment, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Stimulus Package Negotiations, Smartmatic Lawsuit, North Korea Hackers, and Super Bowl LV Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). Today’s beginning of the Donald Trump impeachment trial; the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the concern over variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the negotiations in Congress over the next COVID stimulus package; the Smartmatic lawsuit against FOX News and numerous Trump allies; North Korean hackers steal hundreds of millions to fund nuclear program; and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.