Tag: "Mike Dee"
Legendary Talk Show Host Bruce Williams Dead at 86. “Welcome my friends, welcome to my world.” It was with those words radio talk show host legend Bruce Williams began his nationally syndicated show for more than 29 years. Williams died on Saturday (2/9), at his home near Tampa, FL after a brief illness. Spanning a career that lasted more than three decades, Bruce Williams created a loyal listenership of hundreds of thousands of people strong with his informative and entertaining program, delivered in his signature deep, warm, welcoming voice. But, one of the most unusual and remarkable facts surrounding Williams’ National Radio Hall of Fame career is that it did not begin until he was well into his 40s. Born February 18, 1932, Williams grew up in East Orange, NJ. Blessed with an innate sense of business, at age 11, he devised a way to address one of the many shortages common at the end of World War II by melting down lead pipes and casting them into toy soldiers. Eyes wide open, he was off and running, pursuing every avenue where he believed a profit could be made. After serving in the US Air Force during the Korean conflict and graduating from Newark State College (now Kean University), he opened a pre-school named after his children. He spent time driving an ice cream truck in New York City. He was also a taxi driver and drove a beer truck. For 70 years of his life, he spent the holiday season selling Christmas trees in New Jersey. On the white-collar side, Williams sold insurance, owned a flower shop, a car rental agency, a barber shop and he owned and operated several nightclubs. There was even a whirlwind tour into the world of politics where the Honorable Bruce H. Williams was elected to the Franklin, NJ Township Council, as well as serving terms as Deputy Mayor and Mayor between 1967 and 1975. It was the weight and wealth of these life experiences that Williams relied on throughout his accomplished radio career and gave depth to his on-air persona. His outstanding career began in 1975 at WCTC 1450 Talk Radio, The Voice of Central New Jersey, where Williams hosted a show called “At Your Service.” After some time, his success took him to WMCA, New York where his momentum and audience continued to build. Williams’ growing popularity brought him to the attention of radio executives at NBC who were searching for a host of a national nightly advice-oriented talk show. After a long selection process, Williams was chosen and his program launched in November of 1981. It was from this platform, his reputation as a broadcaster blossomed. That blossom was almost nipped a year later, when a plane he was piloting crashed into some trees during an aborted landing attempt. Critically injured and nearly dead when he arrived at the Medical Center of Princeton, Williams rallied and was back on the air broadcasting again from his hospital room, just four weeks after the accident. Over the next three decades, Williams’ voice was heard coast-to-coast as he became one of the most listened to talk show hosts in radio history. The industry recognized Williams’ accomplishments in 1999 when he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago. TALKERS magazine also honored Williams in 2002 by including him at Number Six in its list of the Greatest Radio Talk Show Hosts of all Time. He authored six financial and real estate advice books as well as a syndicated advice column called Smart Money. Bruce Williams was 81 years old when he hung up his head phones for the final time in 2013, signing off as he always did by saying, “Keep in touch.” Upon learning of Williams’ death, TALKERS founder Michael Harrison stated, “He was one of a kind and represented a breed of radio talk show host that made the genre truly special among all formats – a seemingly ‘regular guy’ who simply knew the answer to just about every problem that people face in day-to-day life and was happy to share it in completely understandable terms when asked for advice.” Radio consultant Valerie Geller shared the following thoughts about Williams with TALKERS, “Bruce influenced my career. In the early days he kindly and generously spent time encouraging me. This man was the original radio late night ‘companion, personality and expert…’ helping thousands of listeners with personal advice, business advice and more importantly, being a ‘friend in the night.’ A powerful storyteller and powerful communicator, we have lost a true talent.”
More on the Great Bruce Williams. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the profile piece he did on Bruce Williams years ago while writing for Inside Radio. In the piece, Williams is very frank about the success he achieved in the talk radio business and talks openly about the ups and downs he experienced in radio. Williams told Kinosian at the time, “I don’t know many people who’ve been successful who haven’t also failed. We’re blessed to be in a society where failure isn’t a condemnation.” Read this insightful piece here.
Monday Memo: PPM Myths Debunked. Consultant Holland Cooke presents this week’s Monday Memo in which he offers some advice on station identification and keeping listeners in order to maximize ratings. In some circles, post-PPM thought was that the meter diminished – or even eliminated! – the need to say the calls/frequency because now the meter registered “true” listening. Cooke says there are still very good reasons to ID the station. Read his memo on this matter here.
WLS-AM, Chicago Program Director Peter Bolger to Retire. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, five-year WLS-AM operations manager and program director Peter Bolger announces he’s retiring from the station and the radio business, effective March 15. There is no predestined successor to Bolger. Cumulus Media Chicago vice president and market manager Marv Nyren says, “I cannot begin to tell you how appreciative I am for all that Peter has done for this station over the years and the recent rebuild of the on-air lineup. I can only thank him for all he’s done and wish him the best as he enjoys life. With many years in radio…he has been a proponent of our medium and we will miss his calm personality and talent in the hallways.” As Feder notes, the last five years have seen a lot of change at the venerable AM signal and there’s nowhere else to go but up for struggling news/talker. Read Feder’s thoughts on the matter here
Raj Sharan Rises to Program Bonneville’s Denver Sports Talk Duo. Assistant program director and executive producer Raj Sharan is promoted to program director for Bonneville’s Denver sports talk stations KKFN-FM “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” and KEPN-AM “ESPN Denver 1600,” effective immediately. The PD position opened after Armen Williams joined Entercom’s sports talk KILT-AM, Houston. Bonneville Denver VP/market manager Bob Call states, “I couldn’t be happier to give Raj the opportunity to program Denver’s biggest sports brand, ‘104.3 The Fan.’ Raj has a natural leadership quality that is apparent the moment you meet him. His creativity, superb coaching skills, and knowledge of winning sports content makes him the perfect choice to lead ‘104.3 The Fan’ into the future.”
Chris Ganoudis to Lead Curtis Media’s Raleigh News/Talk and Oldies Duo. Moving from JVC Broadcasting’s Orlando operations to Curtis Media Group’s Raleigh offices is radio sales and management pro Chris Ganoudis. He assumes the general manager position for the company’s news/talk WPTF, oldies WPTK-AM/W284CP “Just Right Radio,” and Triangle Traffic Network. Curtis Media Group president/COO, Trip Savery comments, “I am very pleased to welcome Chris to North Carolina and Curtis Media Group. Chris brings a proven track record of success and is a great addition to our Raleigh management team. I am confident he will lead these brands to even greater success.”
Entercom Launches Digital Sports Platform ‘Radio.com Sports.’ A new digital sports platform is being unveiled by Entercom called RADIO.COM Sports. Entercom says this will serve “to magnify the company’s unmatched local business to a more prominent national scale in order to better serve its listeners and advertisers. RADIO.COM Sports will sit atop Entercom’s deep roster of leading local sports stations and will also be fully integrated into RADIO.COM.” Entercom president of sports Mike Dee adds, “RADIO.COM Sports is a strategic initiative to further elevate our existing portfolio of local brands and personalities and provide a more robust and unified experience for fans coast to coast. The platform also offers our advertisers an efficient way to tap into Entercom’s scale and multiplatform content.” As part of the launch, RADIO.COM Sports will kick off its RADIO.COM Sports Insiders program, a network of experts across all major sports who will make appearances on Entercom sports stations nationwide to provide insight and commentary. This premium content will also be available on demand. Sports Insiders will include Joe Girardi, former Major League Baseball player, manager and current analyst for the MLB Network; Ross Tucker, former National Football League offensive lineman and current national sports broadcaster; Bob Nightengale, USA Today MLB columnist; Jason La Canfora, CBSSports.com NFL columnist; Armando Salguero, Miami Herald sports columnist; as well as others who will soon be added. Dee says, “We are going to be aggressive to expand our depth chart of new talent as well as use our existing stars in new ways on multiple distribution channels outside of their home market, and in many cases, on our expanding digital and editorial platforms.” Entercom inks Mercedes-Benz as its launch partner.
Beasley Reveals Q4 2018 and Full-Year Financial Data; Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 9.9%. The fourth quarter and 2018 full-year financial report for Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc indicates net revenue for Q4 was $75.6 million, an increase of 29.1%. For all of 2018, net revenue was $257.5 million, an increase of 10.3% over 2017. These numbers reflect the sale of Beasley’s six-station Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville cluster, the exchange of WMJX-FM and $12 million for sports talk WBZ-FM in Boston, and the acquisition of country WXTU-FM, Philadelphia from Entercom. The company’s pro forma net revenue cited here reflects the operations and results from WBZ-FM in the three and 12 months ended December 31, 2018 and WMJX-FM in the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2017, prior to its divestiture. The results also reflect a full quarter’s contribution from WXTU-FM in the three months ended December 31, 2018 and approximately five months of contribution from WXTU-FM in the 12 months ended December 31, 2018 and four months of contribution from the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations in the 12-month period ended December 31, 2017. Beasley’s pro forma net revenue for Q4 was up 9.4%. For the full year of 2018, pro forma net revenue was $263.5 million, an increase of 4.7% over 2017. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Our record 2018 fourth quarter and full-year revenue and strong operating results, despite the benefit of non-cash transaction related and tax items in the 2017 period, highlight the value being created as we execute strategies to expand our scale, diversify our revenue mix, and leverage the value of our local brands in our core and ancillary verticals. Actual fourth quarter revenue rose by 29.1% on a year-over-year basis driven by net revenue increases at 10 of our clusters, recent acquisitions and station swaps and approximately $3.9 million of fourth quarter gross political revenue. While we remain focused on diversifying our operating base, our fourth quarter pro-forma revenue rose an impressive 9.9%. Fourth quarter net income declined from 2017 levels solely because of gains and tax benefits in the year-ago period that did not recur in the 2018 fourth quarter.”
Jeff Foxworthy Visits Old Pal Jim Villanucci on ‘101.7 The Team’ in Albuquerque. Pictured above is comic Jeff Foxworthy with afternoon drive talk show host Jim Villanucci at Team Broadcasting’s sports talk KQTM-FM, “101.7 The Team” studios. Foxworthy is an old friend of Villanucci’s from the stand-up circuit and stopped by to chat on Villanucci’s radio show while appearing in the Albuquerque area. Pictured above are (from l-r): Villanucci, Foxworthy, show special correspondent Sam Hauser, and show producer Robert Maler. Hauser is new to Villanucci’s show, officially joining today as special correspondent from his most recent gig with Alpha Media’s Austin, Minnesota station group where he managed the sports department at its news/talk outlet for three years.
Border Wall Battle, New Government Shutdown, Warren in Iowa/2020 Presidential Hopefuls, Ilhan Omar Anti-Israel Statements, Virginia Political Chaos, Venezuela Unrest, Grammy Awards, Alliance of American Football Debut, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The political battle over President Trump’s plan for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; the threat of another federal government shutdown; Senator Elizabeth Warren announces presidential campaign and the related story of the Democratic field of contenders; the flap over Muslim U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s accusation AIPAC buys off U.S. politicians to support Israel; the political chaos in Virginia over the blackface scandals involving Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring and the sexual assault accusation against Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax; the unstable political situation in Venezuela; Sunday night’s Grammy Awards show; the debut of the Alliance of American Football league; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
SEAN HANNITY TO KEYNOTE: 2019 Talkers Convention Set for NYC. The 22nd annual installment of the longest-running, most-important national talk media convention has been set for Friday, June 7, 2019 in New York City. Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. It has just been confirmed that Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel superstar Sean Hannity will reprise his long-standing role as the morning breakfast host and kickoff speaker for this convention. Hannity will be joined by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison in the event’s annual one-on-one opening keynote conversation. The rest of the stellar agenda of speakers and sessions will begin to be announced next week. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, one-on-one conversations and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To take advantage of the hotel discount available to TALKERS convention attendees, contact the Hilton Fashion District Hotel located directly across the street from the venue at 152 W. 26th St, New York, NY 10001 by clicking here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. A new rock outlet debuts in Columbus as iHeartMedia flips WXZX-FM from sports talk to classic rock as “105.7 The Brew, The New Generation of Classic Rock.” iHeartMedia Columbus VP of programming Michael McCoy says the station’s playlist will focus on rock from the 80s into the 2000s, including songs from core artists such as AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Tom Petty, Soundgarden, Van Halen, Metallica, Mötley Crüe, and Guns N’ Roses. The station is bringing Columbus radio personalities Mark Blazor and DaveMan aboard. McCoy says, “We are excited to offer a unique station for Columbus’ rock listeners. The Brew’s mission is to provide one great rock song after another and that’s why we call it the new generation of Classic Rock.”…..Programmer Randy Hawke is promoted to vice president of programming at Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s Madison, Wisconsin cluster. He’s been serving as PD for rock WJJO and OM for the cluster that includes rhythmic CHR WJQM “93.1 Jamz,” alternative WRIS “106.7 The Resistance,” and sports talk WOZN. In this new role, he’ll serve as PD for adult contemporary WMGM “Magic 98,” country WWQM “Q106,” and classic country WHIT “Hank.” At the same time, the company ups APD/MD Jennifer “Ski” Crowell to program director for WJJO…..On-air pro Bill Mitchell adds to his morning gig on Magnum Media’s country WMBZ, West Bend, Wisconsin by also handling the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at the company’s country WVTY, Racine, Wisconsin. Magnum Media owner Dave Magnum says, “Factoring in market-wide remote broadcasts and promotions, we wanted some personality cross pollination between ‘Buzz Country’ and ‘VTY Country.’ With [morning host] Mitch Morgan and Bill Mitchell on both stations, we’ve achieved that objective.”…..A number of staff changes take place at Griffin Communications’ Tulsa cluster. First, Dave “Wavy Davy” Michaels joins the company as PD and afternoon personality at classic hits KBEZ “92.9 The Drive.” Wavy Davy comes from Cox Media Group’s crosstown classic rock KJSR “103.3 The Eagle.” Second, Tanner Messer is promoted to host of the afternoon drive shift at classic country KXBL “Big Country 99.5” and the evening jock at country KVOO. Finally, Nikki Reid is now host of afternoons on KVOO and night jock at CHR KHTT “K-HITS 106.9.”…..Pictured below is the staff of rhythmic oldies XHRM, San Diego “Magic 92.5” bestowing the first-ever “Magic 92.5 Lifetime Achievement Award” to radio legend Art Laboe. The award recognizes Laboe’s many achievements over his legendary 75-year radio broadcasting career and was presented in front of an audience of more than 6,000 people at the station’s 2019 Valentine’s Super Love Jam concert on February 9. Pictured (from l-r) are: Magic 92.5’s Greg Mack, Rick Nuhn, Xavier “The X-Man,” R Dub!, Laboe, Jagger & Kristi, Sheryl Love, Hurricane Andrew, Jammin’ Jay Michaels, Kelly Cole, and Billy Blast. Photo: Alan Hess
FCC Bids Adieu to Cross-Ownership Ban. As expected, at yesterday’s meeting of the Federal Communications Commission, the 42-year-old regulation that prevented (in all but a few grandfathered cases) the cross-ownership of broadcast facilities and newspapers was eliminated on a party line vote of 3-2. The majority under Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai say the change will “provide broadcasters and local newspapers with a greater opportunity to compete in the digital age.” The Commission also struck the Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule, and the Television Joint Sales Agreement Attribution Rule. In his statement, Chairman Pai says, “It’s a simple proposition: the media ownership regulations of 2017 should match the media marketplace of 2017. That’s the proposition the FCC vindicates today — nothing more, nothing less. And it’s about time. For few of the FCC’s rules are staler than our broadcast ownership regulations. Notwithstanding the congressional command that we review and update these rules every four years, they have remained stuck in the past. After too many years of cold shoulders and hot air, this agency finally drags its broadcast ownership rules into the digital age.” Lastly, in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission decides to establish, and seeks comment on how to implement and structure, a new incubator program in which established broadcasters would help facilitate entry by new voices into the marketplace by providing access to capital and/or technical expertise to new entrants and small businesses. The program has broad support and will help promote ownership diversity in the broadcast industry.
The Entercom-CBS RADIO Merger Closes. The deal that merges the venerable CBS RADIO stations with Philadelphia-based Entercom has closed. The merger that’s been the subject of so much industry news – and a lot of speculation throughout the process – creates a new Entercom that operates 235 radio stations. For some industry watchers, the fact that it also means the end of the CBS RADIO company as we’ve known it for all these years brings about some mixed emotions. Though certainly the end of an era, the general consensus is that the CBS radio stations were languishing in a company whose stated main focus is video content. In announcing the closing, Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “We are thrilled to officially close our transformational merger with CBS RADIO and welcome their talented employees and iconic brands to Entercom. We look forward to capitalizing on our unique positions in sports, news, music, podcasting, live events, digital and more to provide outstanding experiences for our listeners and compelling integrated marketing opportunities for our advertisers. We now have the scale and capabilities to drive meaningful growth and to compete more effectively with other media for a larger share of advertising dollars. We also look forward to helping to elevate the radio industry, which remains massively undervalued by advertisers despite having emerged as America’s #1 reach medium, delivering outstanding ROI to customers.”
Entercom Grabs Twins Baseball for WCCO-AM. After several years airing on alternative KQGO (owned by the Pohlad family’s Northern Lights Broadcasting), Minnesota Twins baseball play-by-play is returning to news/talk WCCO-AM, beginning with the 2018 season. The Pohlad family also owns the team and apparently was ready to admit that their own alt rock station and Twins baseball weren’t a great match. Entercom says that sister stations adult hits KZJK “104.1 Jack FM” and country KMNB “BUZ’N @102.9” will also cover Twins’ players, coaches and broadcasters year-round. Entercom president of sports Mike Dee states, “We are thrilled to welcome the Twins back to their iconic home on WCCO. As the unrivaled leader in local audio sports rights across the nation, Entercom is committed to growing our play-by-play roster where it makes smart, strategic sense. Clearly the Twins are a blue-chip franchise on the rise. As a newcomer to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul market, we are especially grateful to the Pohlad family and [Twins president and CEO] Dave St. Peter for their confidence in us. With the addition of the Twins, we are proud to be the flagship home for 45 professional teams across the four major sports, including 14 in Major League Baseball.”
Entercom Unveils New Business Practices. Among the numerous press releases regarding format flips on the first day of the new Entercom (see those below in the music radio section), the company says it is implementing three new business policies which “better reflect radio’s strong value proposition as America’s #1 reach medium and Entercom’s position as the leading provider of live, original, local audio content. These policies will enable the company to provide greater value for advertisers while improving the listener experience.” The changes are: 1) Reduce commercial advertising inventory by 5% in order to improve the listener experience and increase the entertainment to ad ratio for Entercom’s advertising partners; 2) Prohibit cash infusion advertising deals which the company views as a poor business practice and inconsistent with its strategic goals; and 3) Eliminate future sales of advertising with spot resellers which like cash infusion deals, the company views as a poor business practice and inconsistent with its strategic goals. Entercom COO Weezie Kramer adds, “With our enhanced platform and scale, Entercom is committed to evolving our business practices for the benefit of Entercom’s listeners and advertising partners.”
Matt Shepard Returns to WDFN, Detroit. As reported by the Detroit News, Motor City sports media personality Matt Shepard is returning to the airwaves at iHeartMedia’s sports talker WDFN, some seven months after he exited the station. His “Shep, Shower ‘N’ Shave” program will air from 6:00 am to 9:00 am daily. Shepard had been on the station since 2001, but was ousted in a round of budget cuts back in April. iHeartMedia Detroit SVP of programming Tony Travatto states, “We’re excited to have Matt back on WDFN. Nobody in Detroit sports radio has more access to what’s really happening in the locker rooms than Matt.”
ESPN Wraps 18 Years of ‘Mike & Mike.’ Industry eyes are all over the Entercom–CBS RADIO closing and some of the immediate changes the new Entercom is making, but another end-of-an-era event took place today as Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic did their last morning radio show together, signing off the ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” show. In addition to talking sports, the duo also aired messages of well-wishes from fans, including Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and Michael Strahan, Adam Schefter, Dick Vitale, Dan Patrick, President Bill Clinton and more. ESPN president John Skipper appeared on the program to announce that ESPN and The Walt Disney Company will build a children’s playground in honor of Mike & Mike at a location to be determined, in collaboration with the non-profit organization KaBOOM. On November 27, the new “Golic & Wingo” show will debut featuring Mike Golic, Trey Wingo and Mike Golic Jr. (who joins for the 6:00 am hour). Mike Greenberg is staying with ESPN for television duties.
Emmis Names New Indy Execs. In its home-base market, Emmis Communications announces Bob Richards is the new vice president and market manager for Indianapolis. The city is home to heritage news/talk WIBC-FM, sports talk WFNI “1070 The Fan,” country WLHK “97.1 Hank FM,” and adult contemporary WYXB “B105.7.” At the same time, Taja Graham rises from director of sales for music to vice president and director of sales for the entire cluster. Emmis president Patrick Walsh comments, “Bob’s leadership has been instrumental in building our dominant position in the Indianapolis market. His reputation for building great teams and winning content strategies is legendary. We look forward to Bob applying his ample skills to fortify our culture and performance in the coming years.” Richards takes over for Chuck Williams who had joined Emmis Indianapolis as VP/market manager in August of 2016.
Courtemanche Appointed DOS at Alpha Media West Palm Beach. At the West Palm Beach cluster of Alpha Media stations, Jason Courtemanche is named to the director of sales position, effective December 4. The station group includes news/talk WFTL and sports talk WMEN “640 The Hurricane.” During his career, Courtemanche has been a VP of sales for Cumulus Media in Los Angeles and iHeartMedia in Chicago. He also held the sales manager title at WBBM in Chicago. Alpha Media West Palm Beach market manager Elizabeth Hamma says, “Jason is a natural leader who brings a depth of knowledge in marketing, digital and events that will help us further drive results for our listeners and clients. His vision, leadership, enthusiasm and innate ability to coach will take our cluster to the next level.”
Kilmeade at WPHT Speaker Series. Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli (left) chatting with FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade (right) before a live audience as part of the 1210 WPHT Speaker Series. In addition to talking about issues, Kilmeade promoted his new book, Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America’s Destiny (Sentinel, 2017). Kilmeade signed every attendee’s copy of the book.
Roy Moore Sexual Conduct Allegations Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 13-17. Accusations of sexually predatory behavior by Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, ranking #1 on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week is the various celebrities and Al Franken sexual assault allegations. Number three on the chart is the Republican tax reform plan, followed by the GOP proposal to eliminate the ObamaCare individual mandate 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.
New New Entercom Flips Two CHRs – WBMP, New York and KVIL, Dallas – to Alternative. Two of its first major moves post-closing for Entercom is to drop the CHR format on WBMP “AMP 92.3” and KVIL “AMP 103.7” and replace them with alternative rock. Regarding the NYC flip, the company announces, “Alternative rock returns to radio for the first time since 2011 in the largest media market in the country with the launch of ‘ALT 92.3 FM, New York’s New Alternative.’” Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton states, “In a city where alternative music is a way of life, we are thrilled to finally fill the void in radio in New York City. With the launch of ‘ALT 92.3,’ we will cater to the passionate audience who have helped define the genre for decades – and we couldn’t be more excited to turn up the volume.” KVIL is being branded “ALT 103.7” and both stations are playing 10,000 commercial free songs in a row.
Chicago’s WJMK Drops Classic Hits for Classic Hip Hop. Another format flip by post-merger Entercom comes in Chicago where WJMK becomes classic hip hop and R&B as “The New 104.3 JAMS, Chicago’s #1 for Throwbacks.” The station aims to “capture the essence of Chicago from when the Bulls won six NBA championships, to when locals like Oprah and Barack Obama became homegrown heroes.” Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton says, “The time has come to usher in a brand new chapter in Chicago radio — a station that is designed by Chicagoans exclusively FOR Chicago.”
John DeBella Celebrates 35 Years on Air. Philadelphia radio legend John DeBella – pictured above with the staff of Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WMGK-FM – celebrates 35 years on the air in the City of Brotherly Love. The staff, led by program director Bill Weston and Beasley Media Group Philadelphia vice president/market manager Joe Bell burst into the studio and surprised DeBella while he was on the air. Weston says, “It’s a testament to John’s talent and passion that he continues to connect with his audience in such a powerful way and is still going strong 35 years into the game.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Des Moines CHR KKDM “107.5 KISS FM,” iHeartMedia names Eric White afternoon personality, music director and imaging director, effective November 27, 2017. iHM Des Moines SVP of programming Greg Chance says, “Eric has skills in a lot of different lanes of our business. We look forward to working with him, driving his passion for radio and to build his career. I trust this will be another great chapter and member of ‘107.5 KISS FM.’” White has been serving the company at its Philadelphia cluster…..Bonneville International – operating CHR KMVQ, San Francisco “99.7 NOW” under an LMA from the Entercom Divestiture Trust – names “Jazzy” Jim Archer program director. He’s been serving as APD and music director of the station since 2011…..The results of the #Change4Change Radiothon produced by the Premiere Networks-syndicated urban morning show “The Breakfast Club” are in and more than $700,000 was raised to benefit the The Gathering for Justice social justice advocacy organization. The radiothon featured on-air personalities DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God encouraging listeners to donate in support of the organization that sponsors movements including The Women’s March, Justice League NYC and Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp…..SiriusXM announces the coming launch of a classic hip hop channel programmed by LL Cool J. The channel, expected to launch in early 2018, will feature a wide range of classic hip hop content, music, interviews and in-depth retrospectives curated and presented by LL Cool J, as well as other innovators of hip hop music.….ABC Radio is offering a three-hour, country music special, “My Kind of Christmas Countdown,” hosted by Grammy Award-winning country superstar Reba McEntire. In the program, McEntire will count down to Christmas by looking at seasonal favorites, including traditions, decorations, presents, and some of this year’s best holiday music. In addition, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Brett Eldredge, Kelsea Ballerini, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood share their own holiday favorites and memories.
Duane Doobie Jr’s Occasional Picks: Don’t Miss This Exciting New Christmas Album from Australian Sensations, The TEN Tenors – and the Proceeds Benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital. When Australia’s world famous musical export, The TEN Tenors, decided to make a Christmas album, they weren’t content with just putting out an album of their wildly popular blend of traditional and seasonal favorites – they decided to make it a fundraising tool to help children. Partnering with Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, the album shot to #1 and has gone on to raise over $1 million. Now, the group brought the project to America, partnering with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital contributing to their joint mission as well as charting top 10 on the Billboard classical and crossover charts. St. Jude Children’s Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Support from musical groups like The TEN Tenors helps ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. The Ten Tenors are returning to the United States this December for an 18-date tour of the East Coast and Midwest. The Australian vocal group, whose voices generate “pure electricity and undeniable drama” according to the Los Angeles Times, will be performing repertoire from their album Our Christmas Wish. Selections from this great and timely album include traditional standards such as “Joy to the World” and “O Holy Night,” as well as John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” “Feliz Navidad” by José Feliciano, “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin, and “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” the Mariah Carey hit that’s become a holiday evergreen. Watch TTT perform a medley of songs from Our Christmas Wish by clicking here. Now enjoying their 20th year together, The Ten Tenors playfully blend rock, pop and opera, and are “truly incandescent when performing at the full strength of 10,” according to Variety. The New York Times says their “unique mix of the traditional and unconventional offers a fresh and highly-original take on the staid traditions of opera.” To download songs from Our Christmas Wish for airplay on your station, please click here.
Entercom Names Sports Exec Mike Dee to New President Post. Named to this newly created position – president of Entercom sports – is professional sports executive Mike Dee. He comes to Entercom’s Philadelphia headquarters from San Diego where he was president and CEO of the MLB’s Padres. He’s also served as president and CEO with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and as COO of the Boston Red Sox. In this new position with Entercom, Dee will be working on “creating value for the company’s sports business enterprise…with a focus on revenue development from national sales and marketing programs, new platform opportunities, key partnerships, expanded sports distribution, direct-to-consumer offerings and other entrepreneurial initiatives at the national level. He will be responsible for elevating Entercom’s position as a leading sports media partner in support of the company’s expansive suite of local sports radio stations and personalities and sports play-by-play relationships.” After the closing of the Entercom-CBS merger, the new company will have an increased portfolio of sports talk stations and affiliated digital platforms. Entercom CEO David Field states, “Mike is a highly talented and accomplished executive with over 20 years of leadership experience with some of the most respected organizations in the world of sports. The creation of this new role underscores our commitment to leveraging our sports platforms to compete more effectively with other media as we drive new opportunities and expand our customer base. Mike is uniquely equipped to help us develop cohesive national opportunities across sports and we are delighted to welcome him onboard.”
Ernie Brown New Host of ‘Trending Today.’ After the recent departure of host Rusty Humphries, Liftable Media announces it brings talk radio pro Ernie Brown aboard as the new host of “Trending Today USA.” Brown has worked in markets such as Houston, Austin, Cleveland, Las Vegas, and San Diego, as well as for seven years in mornings at KRLD, Dallas and five years at KOMO-AM, Seattle. Liftable Media CEO Patrick Brown says, “We are innovating and attempting something new in audio programing. We are creating a social media news feed program and placing that programing in traditional broadcast radio. We see over-the-air radio as a natural addition to the distribution points for the content we create every day.” The program is syndicated by the USA Radio Networks.
Beasley Broadcast Group Reports on First Quarter. This 2017 first quarter financial report from Beasley Broadcast Group is a bit more complicated due to the company’s acquisition of the Greater Media stations and the pending deal to sell the Charlotte stations. In reporting the 2017 and 2016 first quarter pro-forma results, these numbers reflect the legacy Beasley Broadcast Group broadcasting and digital operations and the results from the Greater Media stations, excluding the divested Greater Media Charlotte stations, as if the transaction had been completed January 1, 2016. Chief executive officer Caroline Beasley reports, “Our first quarter revenue, SOI and net income growth reflect the contributions from the Greater Media stations, partially offset by the absence of political revenue and softer national revenue trends. On a reported basis, the 95.7% increase in consolidated first quarter net revenue drove SOI growth of 31.1%. Pro forma revenue was down 5.7%, or $3.3 million, of which approximately $1.0 million was attributable to the lack of political revenue, with the remainder attributable to transitional matters related to the Greater Media stations as well as lower national revenues. This was partially offset by a 5.7% reduction in pro-forma first quarter operating expenses…On a stand-alone basis, Beasley legacy station revenue declined by $2 million, with approximately 35% of the decline related to the absence of political revenue and the remainder partially attributable to the reformatting of a station in Tampa-St. Petersburg market. The Greater Media properties had a first quarter revenue decline of approximately 4% on a stand-alone basis, which was attributable to the political spending levels, as well as certain specific integration-related issues particularly in Philadelphia and declines in national revenues.”
Hannity Denies He’s Trying to Get Out of Fox News Channel. In the immediate aftermath of the exit of Fox News Channel co-president Bill Shine, there was speculation in the form of a Mediaite piece citing Fox insiders who said Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity is negotiating his exit from the company and would probably be out by Friday. Hannity responded via Tweet to an Independent Journal Review story reporting that he is not negotiating an exit, writing, “If I have anything to say about @FoxNews, I will say it tonight at 10 est. All I’ll say now is this is true,” referring to the IJR report that he’s not leaving. With the recent ouster of Bill O’Reilly, and the exits of Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteren, there’s been a lot of chatter about wholesale changes at Fox News Channel, even a potential shift in programming philosophy. However, even as Fox adjusts its prime time programming, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of major changes.
Beasley Retains Lori Burgess as Integrated Marketing Strategy Consultant. Working in area of content and advertising alignment, Lori Burgess is being retained by Beasley Media Group as an integrated marketing strategy consultant. The company says that Burgess’ expertise is a “focus on building revenue through creative multi-platform marketing and new media solutions.” In the past she’s worked with such brands as The Hollywood Reporter, Prevention Magazine, Conde Nast’s Mademoiselle and House & Garden; Elle Magazine; Seventeen Magazine, and Niche Media.
Salem Tweaks Lineup at KCBQ, San Diego. Saying it wants to use its two top-rated hosts in mornings, Salem Media Group adjusts the morning drive lineup on news/talk KCBQ-AM, San Diego “AM 1170 The Answer.” Beginning May 15, the Hugh Hewitt show will be expanded and air from 3:00 am to 7:00 am, followed by two live hours of the Mike Gallagher show from 7:00am to 9:00 am. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce states, “Salem Radio Network now provides live news and issue-oriented programming from 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight ET with some of the best hosts on radio. This new lineup will be well received in San Diego and will allow us to properly use the Salem assets at our disposal in the most efficient way. These two hosts are at the top of their game, and we’re delighted to give them more time in such an important market.”
TALKERS News Notes. Legendary Dallas station WBAP-AM is celebrating its 95th year on the air today (5/2). The Cumulus Media news/talk signal is one of the oldest radio stations in Texas. It was founded by Fort Worth businessman Amon G. Carter, creator and publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and debuted on May 2, 1922, when stations in Texas were still given call signs beginning with a “W” instead of a “K.” Pictured at right is one of the station’s first remote broadcast vehicles…..There were a number of cuts at iHeartMedia stations yesterday (5/1), including KOA, Denver sports director Mark Johnson. He exits the station after 13 years there. He continues his duties as the radio play-by-play voice of the University of Colorado Buffaloes via his deal with Learfield Sports…..Also exiting an iHeartMedia station is sports talk host Matt Shepard, who departs WDFN, Detroit after 16 years there. The Detroit News reports that there were also cuts at the company’s Grand Rapids station group…..New York radio personality Sid Rosenberg – co-host of the Bernie & Sid midday show with Bernard McGuirk – is venturing back into the sports talk realm and will start hosting a weekend show on the CBS Sports Radio network on May 20 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Trump’s First 100 Days, Trump’s Andrew Jackson-Civil War Statements, Status of New Health Care Bill, Trump Budget, UT Stabbings, Trump’s Kim Jong Un and Duterte Meetings, Climate Change Controversy, May Day Protests, and MLB, NBA and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1). The assessment of the first 100 days of the Trump Administration; President Donald Trump’s historically questionable statements about Andrew Jackson and the cause of the Civil War; the status of a new GOP-authored health care bill; analysis of the Trump Administration’s federal budget proposal; the deadly stabbings at the University of Texas; President Trump’s statements about desiring meetings with Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the reinvigorated debate over climate change and the flak The New York Times is taking for an op-ed by Bret Stephens on the matter; violent May Day protests across the world; and MLB, NBA and NHL 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. There appears to have been reductions in forces across numerous iHeartMedia clusters yesterday (5/1), including the company’s parting of ways with Cincinnati programmer Bo Matthews, who was responsible for rock WEBN and CHR WFKS “Kiss 107.”…..Multi-media urban superstar Steve Harvey and iHeartMedia agree to an “exclusive, long-term” contract extension to keep him at the helm of the Premiere Networks-syndicated “Steve Harvey Morning Show.” Additionally, Harvey will work with iHeartMedia on a variety of projects, including development and creation of new programming and promotions, community and charitable initiatives, as well as multimedia projects and events. He will also continue to serve as a spokesperson for the company. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Steve is a tremendous talent and has an incredible connection with audiences across multiple platforms, which make him a great asset for iHeartMedia. We are excited to extend our partnership with Steve, continuing to deliver the most engaging content and top personalities to our listeners nationwide.”…..Hearst’s rock WIYY, Baltimore “98 Rock” announces that Marianne Sierk is joining Kirk McEwen for the afternoon drive show. “Kirk and Marianne” are now heard weekdays from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm pm. Sierk has headlined comedy clubs across the country and has done numerous television shows, including VH1’s “I Love the 80s,” Tru TV’s “World’s Dumbest,” and “The World Stands Up” for the BBC. WIYY PD Rick Strauss says, “Kirk was already flying high in afternoons, but when Marianne was a guest on his show a few months ago, it was so much fun that we had to make it permanent.”…..Alpha Media’s triple A KINK, Portland announces the station’s new show lineup that’s designed to “reflect and enhance KINK’s more progressive music stance.” Corey and Mitch are in AM drive, Jared Aman hold down middays, program director Sean Demery hosts afternoons, Jeff Allen is night jock and Shauna Steele is the overnight personality…..SiriusXM launches a new channel dedicate to the work of The Beatles. On May 18, the satcaster will debut the channel “created by SiriusXM to present unique and exclusive programming in collaboration with and fully authorized by The Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd. The Beatles Channel will also be available online and through the SiriusXM app.
PPM Analysis: Adult Contemporary. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a review of the performances of adult contemporary-formatted stations based on data from the March 2017 Nielsen Audio PPM survey. iHeartMedia’s “Sunny 106.5” in Las Vegas led the pack in improvement (6+ Mon-Sun) in which “roughly half the stations (51%) on our adult contemporary sample falter between February 2017 – March 2017 (6+); 44% improve; and the remaining 5% of the panel is steady (6+).” Comparing last March to March of this year, with Milwaukee Radio Alliance’s WLDB “B93.3” leading the gainers, “50% of this adult contemporary panel regresses year-to-year and 46% improve; 4% of the panel is unchanged from March 2016.” Meanwhile, eight adult contemporary stations ranked #1 in their respective markets in March. See all the data here.
Getting It Partly Wrong and Absolutely Right. Disaster preparedness expert Howard B. Price – director, business continuity for ABC Television – writes in a piece in TALKERS today (1/27) that even though parts of the Northeast escaped the dire predictions of Winter Storm Juno, it’s better that people were overprepared. For those upset with officials for shutting down roads and, in some cases, entire cities, Price says, “No one should EVER blame the messengers for decisions governments and businesses take based on scientific facts that were trumped – as they sometimes are – by the forces of nature. Better to plan for what turns out to be unnecessary, then to be caught flat-footed when circumstances are worse than you anticipated.” Keep in mind that as we publish this piece on Tuesday, parts of New England are indeed getting a lot of snow, combined with high winds. Read more from Price here.
Carolyn Fox: My Prescription for Radio Success. Radio pro Carolyn Fox writes about the key tenets to help personalities succeed in the radio business – even in this era. In this piece she presents five points radio personalities should understand in order to have success in a business that’s contingent upon connecting with listeners. “Great radio is nothing more than real humans connecting with other real humans aurally,” Fox says, “Don’t overcomplicate the message because my kid is banking on you to resuscitate radio so he too can pay back his college loans.” Read Carolyn Fox’s piece here.
Tom Leykis’ The New Normal Reports 2014 Profit. It’s been three years since Tom Leykis – free from the confines of his old contract with CBS RADIO – debuted his own internet talk program via a digital platform operating within his company The New Normal LLC. Leykis says that his gross revenue for 2014 was $524,952, an increase of 60% over 2013’s gross, and a net profit of $2,187. He goes on to say that this profit “will most likely exceed the combined net profits of the radio industry’s two largest companies (representing 1,310 or 11% of all US commercial radio stations).” Pointing to the balance sheets of large radio operators iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media, Leykis says “iHeartMedia has not earned a net profit since at least 2008 according to its own 10K report. Despite recent claims of ‘accelerated growth,’ iHeart’s best showing since 2008 was the second quarter of 2010 when it showed a net of negative $204.2 million…Cumulus Media, which is number two to iHeartMedia in stations owned, has shown a slight profit in 2014, with earnings per share for 2014 so far reported at $0.04 per share and net revenue of $159.34 million as of the third quarter of 2014.” TALKERS editors note that while profits are certainly a challenge for companies with large debt service, it can be argued that the two companies mentioned (and the others not) employ thousands of people, support workers’ families and in turn contribute to the economy in a bigger way than a small company that actually earns a profit. Still, Leykis says his point is that it doesn’t take big corporate backing to produce a successful media venture. “In the end, this news doesn’t exactly make my day. I made a fantastic living in the radio business and I still have many friends in the industry who are afraid of what the future holds. I could have retired young and lived comfortably forever. This project is to show radio folks that there’s a future for them if they’re willing to work hard.”
Westwood One to Recognize Excellence in Audio Creativity. It has become an annual event for the syndicator to recognize the best radio commercials within perhaps the year’s biggest sporting event – the Super Bowl. Westwood One‘s senior vice president of sports sales & marketing Brandon Berman explains that the Cumulus Media division created the “Sound Awards” to “connect with – and to encourage – marketers, creatives, and brands to join forces and showcase the power of sound. Our Super Bowl broadcast is the perfect environment for advertisers to leverage their commercial creative, thanks to our incredible reach and sheer volume of audience across platforms. Following the crowning of a Super Bowl Champion, we look forward to crowning an advertising champion.” Westwood One’s play-by-play coverage of Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks originates this Sunday (2/1) from suburban Phoenix (Glendale). The “Super Bowl Sound Awards for Excellence in Audio Creativity” will feature national ads airing on Westwood One’s Super Bowl XLIX broadcast, as well as SiriusXM Radio, NFL.com/Audiopass, NFL Mobile from Verizon, and on the American Forces Radio Network. Last year’s winner, Motel 6, earned the top spot with a parody on how to use AutoCorrect. Other top vote getters were Tilted Kilt, Subway, Exergen, and Taco Bell. Voting opened yesterday (Monday, 1/27) at 3:00 pm (ET) and runs through next Tuesday (2/3) at 12:00 noon; winners will be announced next Wednesday (2/4).
XEPRS-AM, Padres Extend “Mighty” Agreement. The pact between Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports outlet XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090” and the National League West San Diego Padres covers this year’s MLB season and next year. BCA president Mike Glickenhaus comments, “We are very excited to continue our relationship with the Padres. We believe very strongly in the [team’s] vision for the future and we are looking forward to being a part of it.” Padres president Mike Dee remarks, “We are thrilled and excited because this really is a good partnership. ‘The Mighty 1090′ is where San Diego fans go for their sports and the Padres are glad to be part of it.” XEPRS-AM has been the Padres’ flagship since 2004; the station is licensed to Rosarito Beach, Baja California (Mexico).
Odds & Sods. Former Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Mike Rogers joins Hudson Institute as a Distinguished Fellow. In this role, he’ll focus on cyber-warfare and security, counterterrorism, and national security policy. Rogers currently hosts the nationally syndicated feature “Something to Think About with Mike Rogers” for Westwood One and is a CNN national security contributor…..At the Omaha cluster of NRG Media, AM radio operations manager Neil Nelkin announces he’s leaving the position and the station group he’s been at for more than two decades. The company’s Omaha AM properties include: sports talkers KZOT and KOZN, news/talk KOIL, and Spanish-language KMMQ…..There’s a changing of traffic reporters at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago as the station informs traffic service Radiate Media that it’s dropping 10-year personality Leslie Keiling and will replace her with Judy Pielach, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Ashley Lopez is named political reporter for Kentucky Public Radio’s WFPL, Louisville.
Johnjay and Rich Suggest Non-Traditional Super Bowl Accommodations. Capitalizing on the fact that this Sunday’s Super Bowl is being played in their flagship market, Phoenix-based syndicated morning talents Johnjay and Rich maintain they are prepared to rent out their studio. Emphasizing they are offering the “full Super Bowl experience,” the duo cites computers, buffet breakfasts/lunches, convenient parking, and color television as tongue-in-cheek selling points to would-be renters. According to a video they shot, the 3.5-day rate to rent their studio is approximately $160.
Busy Week in Arizona for Westwood One. Pictured here is the crew that covered last weekend’s NFL Pro Bowl game at University of Phoenix Stadium – also the site of this weekend’s Super Bowl XLIX. Westwood One is the exclusive national radio partner of the NFL. From left to right are: producer Aaron Cummins, announcer Scott Graham (the voice of NFL Films), executive producer Howard Deneroff, and NFL Hall of Famer Rod Woodson.
Obama Tax Plan, ‘American Sniper’ Film Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, East Coast Blizzard, and Super Bowl/DeflateGate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/26). The proposal by President Obama to hike taxes on the rich to assist the middle class; the controversial responses to the film “American Sniper”; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the blizzard hitting the East Coast; and Sunday’s Super Bowl and chatter about the DeflateGate issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.