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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

| June 22, 2021

Round Four of May PPM Survey Results Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM sweep has been released for 12 markets: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from these markets. After ballooning by more than four full-shares in April 2021 (5.6 – 9.7, +4.1, 6+), the highest (6+) gain by any station in all 48 PPM markets (March 2021 – April 2021), Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ relinquishes one-half share to 9.2 (6+). Even so, “Wisconsin’s Radio Station” is the solitary mainstream news/talker from these 12 metros to achieve #1 status (May 2021, 6+). Cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WISN “News Talk 1130” forfeits eight-tenths (7.4 – 6.6, fourth to third, 6+). In other head-to-head news/talk battles, iHeartMedia Raleigh’s WTKK “106.1 FM Talk” improves by two-tenths (5.0 – 5.2, seventh to sixth, 6+), while Curtis Media Group-owned WPTF “News Radio 680” gains three-tenths (1.8 – 2.1, #16 to #14, 6+). Nashville’s format share dips a combined seven-tenths: Cumulus Media’s WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” (7.1 – 6.7, third to fourth, 6+) and iHeartMedia-owned WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” 2.2 – 1.9, flat at #17, 6+) drop four-tenths and three-tenths, respectively. At the same that Cumulus Media Providence’s WPRO-AM & WEAN “News Talk 630 AM & 99.7 FM” sheds two-tenths (4.8 – 4.6, sixth to seventh, 6+), cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WHJJ “News Radio 920” improves by that margin (.7 – .9, #21 to #19, 6+). West Palm Beach is a completely mixed bag: iHeartMedia’s WJNO “News Radio 1290” is up one-half share (3.0 – 3.5, ninth to seventh, 6+); cluster-mate WZZR “92.1 Real Radio” surrenders eight-tenths (2.0 – 1.2, #13 to #17, 6+); and Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WFTL “News Talk 850” is flat at 2.0 (steady at #13, 6+). Three Hartford news/talk facilities populate the top 20: Audacy’s WTIC-AM “News Talk 1080” (5.1 – 4.7, -.4, flat at #8, 6+); Red Wolf Broadcasting-owned WDRC-AM “The Talk of Connecticut” (1.0 – .8, -.2, stays at #15); and iHeartMedia’s WPOP “News Radio 1410 AM & 100.9 FM” (unchanged at .2, #18 to #17, 6+).  Read Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (and the three previous market groups) here.

Saga Communications Declares A Quarterly Cash Dividend Of $.16 per share. The dividend will be paid in about four weeks (7/16) to shareholders of record on June 30, 2021. It will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet. Including this dividend, Saga Communications will have paid over $72 million in dividends to shareholders since the first special dividend nine years ago (2012). Saga currently intends to pay regular quarterly cash dividends as declared by the board of directors. Going forward, the board may also consider declaring special cash dividends, stock dividends, and stock buybacks.

Media Consultant (and TALKERS columnist) Holland Cooke Ties-the-Knot.  Moments after filing this week’s TALKERS Monday Memo column, noted media consultant and TV talk show host Holland Cooke was married to his longtime friend, Sarah Collins. The happy couple is pictured at their private ceremony in Key West, Florida. Ms. Collins is a financial analyst and fellow New Englander.

Audacy Expands Crooked Media Partnership. It does so by carrying “Lovett or Leave It” across Audacy original station Channel Q and the LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network. The podcast will be heard each Monday from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm on Channel Q stations in 32 markets and via the Audacy app, effective next week (6/28). “Lovett or Leave It” is hosted by former President Barack Obama’s speechwriter Jon Lovett and features guests that include comedians, actors, journalists, activists, and politicians. Audacy executive vice president of programming Jeff Sottolano remarks, “The show’s quick and witty flair for discussing the most relevant topics surrounding today’s political and pop culture landscapes is what differentiates itself; we look forward to welcoming the show to the Channel Q family.” Crooked Media senior vice president of programming Sandy Girard states the podcast is “where Jon Lovett talks about everything from the most pressing political and social issues to what everyone is bingeing on TV, to the latest trends in scientific advancement – all with his incredibly intelligent and hilarious point of view. We’re so excited to expand our partnership with Audacy to bring ‘Lovett or Leave It’ to even more listeners around the country and to kick it off with our special Pride episode ‘Out of The Closets and Into the Streets.’” Popular “Lovett or Leave It” segments include “The Rant Wheel,” where each guest delivers a prepared rant to a hot cultural topic, and “The High Notes,” where listeners share personal anecdotes about finding optimism in these challenging times. Lovett co-founded progressive media company Crooked Media with Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor in 2017. He co-created the NBC-TV comedy “1600 Penn” and wrote speeches for former New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Newsmax Adds Ellis, Gidley. Former senior legal adviser/personal counsel to Donald Trump Jenna Ellis – and onetime top official in the Trump White House – J. Hogan Gidley – join Newsmax as on-air television contributors. Newsmax chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy comments, “Jenna Ellis brings a sharp mind and pointed legal commentary and constitutional analysis to the workings of our court system as it works to defend our liberties and freedoms. She is a strong addition to our growing lineup. Few know the media, Washington and the future of the GOP better than Hogan Gidley – we’re glad to have him on Newsmax to offer our viewers his valuable insights.” Ellis opines, “Newsmax consistently gives viewers an independent perspective on the news of the day. I look forward to continuing to be part of their coverage and bringing the truth as Americans strive to have their voices heard.” Gidley adds, “I’m extremely grateful to Mr. Ruddy and Newsmax for this new and exciting opportunity. I will draw from my experiences in public service to provide Newsmax viewers my detailed analysis and unvarnished opinion regarding so many difficult issues facing the American people.” Ellis is special counsel with the Thomas More Society and allied attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom. Once the deputy district attorney in Colorado’s Weld County, she hosts a daily podcast, “Just The Truth.” Gidley was deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy White House press secretary in the Trump Administration. In 2020, he joined the Trump re-election campaign as national press secretary. He previously was communications director to Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, senators Elizabeth Dole and Rick Santorum; and was executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party.

Komando To Deliver More Tech Insider Tips. Stemming from an increase in listener demand, Kim Komando will debut a one-minute “Komando Digital Life Tech Tip” in three weeks (7/21). The daily vignette will be offered to stations and streaming services without charge and will carry a 60-second commercial. Komando’s digital insider tips will reportedly include: how to stop robocalls by changing one smartphone setting; ransomware prevention secrets; and the best parental control smartphone apps. Talent management firm Sound Mind’s founder/president Kraig Kitchin comments that Komando – who writes a column for “USA Today” – is “entertaining and helpful; Kim continues to make great radio.” In addition to her weekend three-hour call-in “Kim Komando Show,” which airs on 420 stations (and the American Forces Radio Network) to an estimated 6.5 million listeners, she hosts “Daily Tech Update” seven mornings a week on 389 stations.

TALKERS News Notes: A three-hour CBS Audio Independence Day Special will be available for airing July 2 – 5. Among the topics/guests on the Gil Gross-hosted celebration of America’s Birthday are: Family-safe alternatives to DIY fireworks; behind the scenes of the Capitol Fourth of July Concert with the National Symphony; “The Men Who Lost America” author Andrew O’Shaughnessy on how Great Britain’s bad decision-making helped us win The Revolutionary War; Broadway/TV star Betty Buckley shares her thoughts about “1776, The Musical” reopening with an all-female cast; and  Polish General Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s role in winning the war and his attempt to buy Thomas Jefferson’s slaves in order to set them free … Meanwhile, one of three ABC Audio specials to affiliates for use over the July 4th weekend includes ABC News Radio entertainment correspondent Jason Nathanson-hosted “Press Play.” The three-hour special deals with ways  Americans are having fun this summer as the country begins to reopen. It explores how people are entertaining themselves through the shows they’re watching, the music they’re listening to, and the activities they’re doing. In addition, “Press Play” highlights America’s most rapidly growing sport—Pickleball—and introduces listeners to some of its biggest fans.

Facebook Establishes Live Audio Rooms. Next steps were revealed yesterday (Monday, 6/21) as Facebook pushes into the social audio and podcasting spaces, taking aim at (among others) Clubhouse, iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Twitter Spaces. Per an Adweek report, the social media platform is “rolling out Live Audio Rooms on iOS for public figures and select Facebook groups in the United States, as well as making select podcasts available to U.S. listeners.” Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms offer a standard set of features. Event hosts appear in profile icons at the top of the screen; listeners appear in the bottom half as smaller icons. There is no limit on the number of listeners allowed in and as many as 50 people are able to speak at once. In addition to live captions, notifications are made when friends or followers join a room. Facebook will use automated technology and human reviewers to moderate content in Live Audio Rooms. According to CNET, “Users who repeatedly violate Facebook’s rules won’t be allowed to create or speak in a Live Audio Room.” Facebook is building new audio tools for creators to develop and launch “Soundbites,” or short-form audio clips that will launch later this year.

Monday, December 9, 2019

| December 9, 2019

Monday Memo: Start in the Middle?  If you’re a radio newscaster, consultant Holland Cooke warns that “this week’s column is like a solar eclipse.  Look away!”  But for DJs, hosts, and commercial copy writers, he has a curious suggestion.  Read it here.

More Than $500,000 Raised in WMAL Fisher House Radiothon. Commenting on Cumulus Media Washington DC’s just-concluded two-day radiothon for the Fisher House, WMAL PD/Cumulus Media vice president of news/talk, Bill Hess, remarks, “Wow, listeners once again have come through with their support for the wonderful work of the Fisher House Foundation, donating $523,866 to this year’s radiothon. I say ‘thank-you’ from the bottom of our hearts. The Fisher House is recognized as one of the premiere nonprofits working to support quality-of-life for our military and their families. Ever since its inception (30 years ago next month), it has saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $451 million in out-of-pocket costs for lodging and transportation; more than 32,000 families were served in 2018. Over the past 17 years, WMAL listeners have donated more than $7 million to the Fisher House Foundation. Pictured left to right are Hess, WMAL on-air talents Larry O’Connor, Chris Plante, and Vince Coglianese, and Fisher House president Dave Coker.

Cumulus Media Transfers Howell To Little Rock. Inbound from Oklahoma City where he was an on-air talent at Cumulus Media sports talk WWLS “98.1 The Sports Animal” and executive producer of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s radio broadcasts, Toby Howell arrives as program director at co-owned Little Rock news/talk KARN-FM “News Radio 102.9,” sports talk KARN-AM “920 The Sports Animal,” and the Arkansas News Network. He will also program religious KAAY. Cumulus Media Little Rock market manager Keith Liesman remarks, “We are very happy to get a guy like Toby with his radio background and look forward to watching him grow [our brands] across the Little Rock community.” Howell notes, “I’m very lucky to be able to work with the Cumulus Media group in Little Rock. To be in the news format at a time like this with 2020 on the horizon is very exciting.” He replaces Peter Thiele who exited roughly nine months ago.

Hubbard Radio Talent Institute Coming To Northern Arizona University. Along with support from the Arizona Broadcasters Association, the Hubbard Radio Talent Institute is set to launch next summer (July 13 – 22) at Northern Arizona University. Hubbard Radio chief executive officer Ginny Morris comments, “All of us at Hubbard are proud to partner with Dan Vallie and the Arizona Association of Broadcasters on bringing this proven program to Northern Arizona University. The program is a great asset for the industry and a wonderful and expansive experience for the students that participate.” Vallie founded the National Radio Talent System in 2013 so radio stations can recruit young talent from their own region or nationally. Arizona Broadcasters Association President/CEO Chris Kline states, “There’s nothing more important to the future of broadcasting than helping to build the next generation of media leaders. The Hubbard Radio Talent Institute is exactly what we need in Arizona to ensure that new ideas continue to flood into the radio industry from young broadcasters. We couldn’t be more excited to support this program, to meet the participants, and to build new relationships.” NAU Media Innovation Center director Brian Rackham remarks, “We are delighted to be part of this prestigious opportunity for our students. There are jobs out there waiting for our graduates and the Hubbard Talent Institute is a great pipeline to the industry. We look forward to partnering with a great radio group like Hubbard, and the experts at the National Radio Talent System.” Sessions during the ten-day talent institute include on-air, production, news, sports, social media, podcasting, promotions, videography, sales, engineering, and includes the RAB’s radio marketing professional course. Applications are being accepted from college students/young talent from all universities in the region. Final application deadline is March 6, 2020; only 25 students will be accepted.

TALKERS News Notes. After an 11-year run on WTOP-FM “Washington’s Top News,” Chris Core will retire from the Hubbard Broadcasting DC all-news operation one week from Friday (12/20) following his “Core Values” commentary. He previously spent approximately 25 years at cross-town news/talk WMAL as a newscaster and sports anchor ….. This week, former Arizona congressman and Newsmax anchor JD Hayworth is doing his first live and local Phoenix news/talk show in approximately ten years. Guest-hosting today (Monday, 12/9) through Wednesday (12/11) for Seth Leibsohn in afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) on Salem Media Group-owned KKNT “AM 960 The Patriot,” Hayworth was Mike Huckabee’s “designated guest-host” and has filled in for Michael Savage, Mark Levin, Mike Gallagher, and Laura Ingraham ….. Tomorrow’s (Tuesday, 12/10, 6:00 am – 7:00 pm) 12th annual Toy Field presented by Cumulus Media Nashville and Planet Fitness will benefit The Salvation Army’s “Forgotten Angels” program. Toys collected at Nissan Stadium will help fulfill the dreams of many “forgotten children” this holiday season. The Salvation Army will reach nearly 8,500 “angels” – less fortunate children and elderly. According to Salvation Army Nashville area commander Ethan Frizzell, “Thousands of toys have been donated throughout the years and we hope to see the same enthusiasm this year. We would not be able to provide for all these children, without the support of Cumulus Media and our community.” In addition to news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7 WTN” and sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone,” Cumulus Media Nashville consists of country outlets WSM-FM “Nash Icon 95.5,” and  WKDF “103.3 Nash FM,” and urban AC WQQK “92-Q.” ….. According to The Des Moines Register, former Des Moines sports talk host Marty Tirrell (KBGG, KXLQ, KXNO) has pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in federal court. Indicted this past February, Tirrell accepted a plea deal Friday (12/6) and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced at a hearing April 7; nine other counts were dismissed. He was charged of scamming victims out of $1.5 million in a sports ticket reselling scheme …. The Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters is accepting entries for its annual “Excellence in Broadcasting Awards” competition, which recognizes outstanding performance among radio and television stations. All entries must be submitted electronically – the deadline is January 6 (2020). Winners will be showcased during the “Excellence in Broadcasting Awards” luncheon March 30 at The Hotel Hershey. Meanwhile, the Colorado Broadcasters Association is inviting radio and television stations in that state to compete in over 50 categories; entry deadline is (Friday) January 10 (2020). The “Awards of Excellence” celebration will take place (Friday) April 17th in downtown Denver at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

iHM Charleston Fundraiser Brings in Over $176,000. The 12th annual iHeartMedia Charleston “Cares for Kids” radiothon raised over $176,000 to benefit Medical University of South Carolina Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. According to iHeartMedia Charleston area president Alene Grevey, “We’ve anticipated broadcasting from the brand new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital for 12 years. Seeing this labor of love come to fruition thanks to the generosity of iHeartMedia Charleston’s listeners and advertisers is so inspiring.” This year’s two-day, fundraising “Cares for Kids” broadcast was held last Thursday (12/5) and Friday (12/6) from 6:00 am – 7:00 pm. The event featured iHeartMedia Charleston on-air talents Ric Rush, Brian Cleary, Kelly Golden, and Gary Goldman, as well as WCSC-TV personalities Justin Biegel, and Kaitlin Stansell. The radiothon featured more than 40 stories from MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital patients and their families. In addition to WSCC “94.3 The Lowcountry’s News Station,” iHeartMedia Charleston is comprised of adult contemporary WXLY-FM “Y-102.5 Better Music For A Better Workday,” and WEZL “103.5 Charleston’s #1 Station for New Country.”

PPM Analysis: Urban Contemporary. The music-intensive format in the spotlight this month is urban contemporary. Based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2019 PPM survey period, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian notes that approximately half the stations on his urban contemporary panel improve (49%) October 2019 – November 2019 (6+). Meanwhile, a virtually identical 51% of urban contemporary panelists show November 2018 – November 2019 growth. Five urban contemporary stations ranked second (6+) in November 2019; the typical format finish was #11.41 (6+). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Beasley Media Group Holiday Soiree Features Lady Antebellum. As part of the company’s third annual “Holiday Soiree” client party last Thursday (12/5) in New York City, Beasley Media Group welcomed performances by Lady Antebellum; Joe King and Issac Slade from The Fray; and actor/musician David Duchovny. Beasley Media Group chief executive officer Caroline Beasley, president Bruce Beasley, and chief operating officer/executive vice president Brian Beasley thanked guests for their ongoing support. Shown from left to right are Big Machine Label Group senior vice president of promotion Mathew Largis; Dave Haywood (Lady Antebellum); Beasley Media Group national country brand manager/country WKLB, Boston program director David Corey; Hillary Scott (Lady Antebellum); Beasley Media Group executive vice president of programming Justin Chase; and Charles Kelley (Lady Antebellum).

 More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Twenty-six year WMGK “Classic Rock 102.9” midday personality Debbi Calton officially retired from the Beasley Media Group Philadelphia outlet last Friday (12/6). Prior to joining WMGK in 1993, Calton spent 10 years at cross-town rocker WYSP ….. Per The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, morning host Courtney Landrum and evening talent Jill Devine have departed Entercom St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y-98.” A member of the station’s morning show the past 20 years, Landrum was promoted to top billing (“Courtney & Company”) two years ago when Guy Phillips left the station after a 38-year run. Jen Myers, Kevin Berghoff, Lance Hildebrand, and Tim Convy remain at the retitled “Y-98 Morning Show.” Devine joined “Y-98” eight years ago. She previously worked in the market for CHR KSLZ “Z-107.7”; country KSD-FM “93.7 The Bull”; and hot AC WVRV “101.1 The River” ….. In celebration of their 20th year in radio syndication, “Big D & Bubba” were treated to a surprise party last Friday (12/6) at Silverfish Media’s Nashville studios where company president Patrick Thomas recalls that, “On December 6, 1999, The Big D & Bubba Morning Show first aired in Amarillo [Texas]. That marked the beginning of syndication for the show, which was based at WYNK, Baton Rouge. Syndicated mornings in the country format was widely known to be an impossible task.” According to Patrick, it is the country’s longest-running syndicated morning show and has more than 75 affiliates. Helping to note the occasion in person were Compass Media Network chief executive officer Peter Kosann, and fellow syndicated country talents Lorraine Crook & Charlie Chase (“Crook & Chase), Evan Paul, and Amber Atnip ….. Wrapping up last week’s (12/2 through 12/6) “Stuff-A-Bus” toy drive to benefit the Marine Corps “Toys for Tots” program, iHeartMedia Pittsburgh CHR WKST “96.1 Kiss FM” collected 70 school buses worth of new unwrapped toys. Senior vice president of programming David Edgar notes, “[This] is one of our biggest events throughout the year. The overwhelming response from ‘Kiss’ listeners and the Pittsburgh community will help many children have a great holiday this year.” ….. Through the Smiley morning show’s 23rd annual, 36-hour “Make-A-Wish Request-A-Thon,” Cumulus Media Indianapolis CHR WZPL “99.5 ZPL – Indy’s Number One Hit Music Station” raised $839,638 for central Indiana children with life-threatening illnesses. Listeners called in last Thursday (12/5) and Friday (12/6) to request their favorite songs in exchange for a Make-A-Wish Foundation donation. Throughout the broadcast, WZPL shared inspiring wish stories from local Make-A-Wish kids and their families. Cumulus Media Indianapolis vice president/market manager Chuck Fredrick comments, “What a great way to head into the holiday season helping so many kids’ wishes come true in our community.” Operations manager JR Ammons adds that, “Thanks to the generosity of listeners and sponsors, we were able to surpass last year’s record total of $736,298. As a result, Make-A-Wish will be able to grant 83 wishes for kids here in central Indiana with life-threatening illnesses.” Over the course of the last 23 years, WZPL has helped raise more than $7.5 million for Make-A-Wish ….. Rosemont, Illinois’ Allstate Arena was the site of this past Saturday’s (12/7) 20th annual “B-96 Pepsi Jingle Bash” presented by Entercom Chicago CHR WBBM-FM. Katy Perry headlined the event. Entercom Chicago senior vice president and market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “The ‘B-96 Jingle Bash’ has been a must-see holiday event in Chicago for two decades and has become a highly anticipated night of pop music and a beloved holiday tradition.” ….. Concluding today (Monday, 12/9) is iHeartMedia Atlanta CHR WWPW’s fourth annual “House of Toys,” a six-day “Power 96.1” fundraising event to help collect toys for the “Toys For Tots” program. Morning drive personality PK notes, “We want to be sure every child has the best holiday they can. We are thrilled to team up with our listeners once again and help underprivileged children receive the joy of a new gift this holiday season.” WWPW’s fundraiser is presented by Delta Community Credit Union ….. Filling the midday spot at Adams Radio Group Fort Wayne, Indiana’s country WBTU “US-93.3” is Erica Gray, who most recently had the same responsibilities in Gainesville (Florida) at Gillen Broadcasting CHR WYKS “Kiss 105.3.” ….. The inaugural “Not So Silent Night” benefit concert featuring local artists will be held this Friday (12/13) at Panama City, Florida’s Salty Hobo. Proceeds from the event – sponsored by iHeartMedia Panama City’s WDIZ “96 Rock” – will benefit the Toys for Tots Program. Program director Paco notes, “We look forward to an evening filled with music and holiday giving.”

Thursday, April 16, 2015

| April 16, 2015

kdkaKDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Names Mangino and Duffy Afternoon Hosts.  Pittsburgh news/talker KDKA-AM announces two new personalities will lead its “KDKA Afternoon News” program beginning April 27.  Current KDKA-AM evening talk show host Robert Mangino will team with Shelleymanginorobert Duffy, who moves across the hall from her current gig as co-host of sister hot AC’s Bubba Show.  Duffy has been a part of morning shows with CBS RADIO Pittsburgh for the past 25 years.  The station says, duffyshelley“The paring of Mangino and Duffy will augment the award-winning news and information programming on Pittsburgh’s news/talk leader.  Mangino and Duffy join veteran newscaster Rose Ryan-Douglas, field reporter Joe DeStio and sports director Jeff Hathhorn on a fast-paced afternoon news magazine format that features traffic and weather together on the fives and business reports at :20 and :50 past the hour every week day.”  KDKA-AM program director Jim Graci comments, “Robert is a great quarterback to tie it all together while Shelley has a unique perspective about life in Pittsburgh.”

wqamlogoRyan Maguire Named WQAM, Miami Program Director; Jim Graci Adds Pittsburgh Sports Talker Programming Duties.  Moving from CBS RADIO’s Pittsburgh sports talker KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan,” programmer Ryan Maguire takes overmaguireryan the PD role at WQAM, Miami, effective May 4.  CBS RADIO acquired WQAM as part of a swap of stations between it and Beasley Media Group.  CBS RADIO VP of programming Rob Morris comments, “Ryan is passionate about radio, competitive, a terrific strategic thinker and possesses great leadership skills.  We very much look forward to Ryan joining WQAM and our CBS RADIO Miami team.”  Maguire states, “I’m thrilled at the opportunity given to me by CBS RADIO to take this leadership role at one of the greatest gracijimheritage sports stations in America.  I can’t wait to get working with our diverse and dynamic team in South Florida as we shape and build on a leading sports brand.”  The company says that during Maguire’s tenure in Pittsburgh, KDKA-FM “set ratings and revenue records in 2012 and 2013, reaching #1 P6+, and was also nominated for a National Association of Broadcasters‘ Marconi Radio Award in 2014.”kdkafmlogo  Simultaneously, the company announces that sister news/talk KDKA-AM program director Jim Graci will serve as program director for “The Fan” and KDKA-AM news director and executive producer PJ Kumanchik will also serve as executive producer for “The Fan.”  CBS RADIO Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Young says, “Jim and PJ are a strong and very competent managerial team.  They have performed very well in developing and executing the programming vision of KDKA-AM.  With much synergy already existing between KDKA-AM and KDKA-FM, I believe their expanding programming roles at ‘Sports Radio 93-7 The Fan’ are a natural progression, and will benefit our various audiences.”

connellmandyMandy Connell Adds New Show to Duties in Return to Louisville.  Talk show host Mandy Connell will continue to host the morning program on iHeartMedia’s KHOW, Denver but she’s also taking on another program responsibility when she begins hosting the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show on her alma mater WHAS, Louisville.  Starting May 18, Connell’s new show will replace Lachlan McLean’s evening sports talk show.  Connell joined iHeartMedia in 2010 from her morning gig at WINK, Naples/Fort Myers when she took over the midday show on WHAS previously occupied by the late Francene Cucinello.

huckabeemikeMike Huckabee to End Daily Talk Radio Features; SRN’s Mike Gallagher to Assume Host Duties.  The decision to stop producing his daily talk radio feature, “The Mike Huckabee Report,” is being confirmed by Huckabee’s production partner WYM Media Management.  Though WYM offers no specific reason for the end of the programming, speculation is that Huckabee intends to focus on hisgallaghermike possible run for president in 2016.  In a memo to affiliate stations, WYM states that the last report hosted by Huckabee will air on May 1 and, effective May 4, Salem Radio Network personality Mike Gallagher will begin as host of the daily feature with the new title, “Gallagher Online.”  The show will be syndicated by WYM, the affiliate sales division of by Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Media,  which also had the rights to “The Huckabee Report.”  Gallagher comments, “I’m honored to be walking on the commentary path blazed by Governor Mike Huckabee.  I just hope this doesn’t mean folks will expect me to run for president myself!”

cookehollandCooke: Report from Las Vegas – Day 4.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke files his final report from Sin City where he’s been covering the NAB Show and the co-located NMX for TALKERS magazine/RadioInfo.  In today’s report, there’s plenty of advice for podcasters from Grant Baldwin; some notes from the standing-room-only keynote from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and some chilling realities about your smartphone’s ability to spy on you from security software baron John McAfee.  Read Holland Cooke’s report here.

FAIRHold2015DC Radio Row Addresses Complex Immigration Issues.  The ninth annual Hold Their Feet to the Fire radio row produced by the Federation for American Immigration Reform moves into the second and final day today.  Taking place at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill, the event has drawn some 45 radio talk show hosts to the Nation’s Capital for live broadcasts addressing the topic of U.S. immigration policy.  Appearing on the radio programs are members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border.  Attending the event and appearing as a guest on numerous shows discussing talk radio’s role in the immigration issue and the relative First Amendment component is TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison.  From the scene in WashingtonharrisonLarsKaufmanHTF15 Harrison says this year’s radio row was an interesting blend of well-known hosts and newcomers to the scene.  “Everyone with whom I spoke on air was extremely thoughtful and solutions-oriented in dealing with this complex and sensitive issue.”  Harrison (right) is pictured here with WFTL, Fort Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman (center) and KXL, Portland and Compass Media Networks-syndicated host Lars Larson (left).

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Releases Third Round of March 2015 PPM Data.  The third of four rounds of March 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus.  The March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25.  You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

wkxw‘New Jersey 101.5’ Finds Pirate Radio Operator; Authorities Shut Station Down.  After receiving complaints from listeners about interference with its signal, Townsquare Media talk station WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” investigated on its own and discovered the illegal signal was operating at 101.3 FM out of a home in Linden, New Jersey.  According to a story at NJ.com, after being told by the FCC that an investigation could take a couple of weeks, the station appealed to local authorities.  The homeowner subsequently was told of complaints and the zoning codes being violated and the 20-plus foot antenna was removed and the station ceased to operate.

Odds & Sods.  This year’s National Headliner Awards have been announced and CBS Radio News picked up four first-place finishes.  CBS Radio News was honored in four categories: Broadcast Radio Networks and Syndicators Breaking News or Continuing Coverage — First place, “Police Killings,” CBS Radio News staff; Broadcast Radiocbsradionews logo Networks and Syndicators Newscast — First place, “CBS World News Roundup,” Steve Kathan and Paul Farry; Broadcast Radio Networks and Syndicators Feature and Human Interest Story — First place, “Beatles 50th Anniversary,” Dave Barrett; Broadcast Radio Networks and Syndicators News Series — First place, “Midterm Election,” Barry Bagnato…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington and sister station WFED, Washington were honored with National Headliner Awards in the radio wtop logo NEW 1-15station categories.  WTOP was recognized in four categories: Radio stations Newscast, all markets – First Place for “September 4th, 6 p.m.”; Radio stations Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event – Second Place for “Gaithersburg Plane Crash”; Radio stations Feature and Human Interest Story, all markets – Second Place for “If This Violin Could Talk” by Jamie Forzato; and Radio affiliated Website:  – First Place for WTOP.com.  WFED was honored in two categories: Online-Only Writing – First Place, Mike Causey; and Best Radio-Affiliated Website – FederalNewsRadio.com…..The new producer for the Salem Radio Network-syndicated Eric Metaxas show is Chris Himes.  SRN calls him “a seasoned digitalhimeschris media producer with a passion for curating world-class content.”  Prior to joining SRN, Himes served as supervising digital producer at NBC, working 7 seasons on “Saturday Night Live,” managing the show’s digital footprint on NBC.com and on their social media platforms.  In 2010, he began overseeing “Late bayneianNight with Jimmy Fallon” as well and eventually would supervise web production operations for “30 Rock,” “Grimm,” “Law and Order: SVU” and several other prime time shows…..Illinois talk radio personality Ian Bayne makes his Chicago debut tomorrow (4/17) when he fills in for Joe Walsh on his afternoon show on Salem‘s WIND “AM 560 The Answer.”  Bayne hosts the morning program on WRPW, Bloomington, Illinois “Cities 92.9.”

2016 Presidential Prospects, the Obama Administration Amnesty Order, Tax Day, ISIS Activity in Iraq, Aaron Hernandez Guilty Verdict, Spring Break Gang Rape Case, Obama’s Cuba Policy, Iran Nuclear Negotiations Controversy, and Gyrocopter Capitol Lawn Landing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/15).  The potential candidates for president in 2016; the effects of the amnesty order signed by President Obama; chatter about the taxes Americans pay each year; the report that ISIS is close to taking control of Ramadi, Iraq; former NFL star Aaron Hernandez is convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole; the case of a gang rape on a Panama City, Florida beach during spring break, President Obama’s changing policy toward Cuba; the controversial negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; and the case of a retiree landing a gyrocopter on the lawn of the Capitol building in Washington were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 5, 2015

| January 5, 2015

bubbaBubba the Love Sponge Returns to Tampa on WHFS-FM.  Via an official press statement issued today (1/5), Beasley Broadcasting confirms the news a local advertiser spilled on Friday about the return of Bubba the Love Sponge to the market on the company’s newly-acquired Tampa signal WHFS-FM.  The former FM sports talk outlet will make public its new format at some point in the future but after signing on this morning at 6:00 am, Bubba the Love Sponge announced the station would air his program continuously for the next few weeks or so before debuting WHFS-FM’s new format.  Bubba aired in the market on Cox Media’s crosstown WHPT “102.5 FM The Bone” before being ousted from the station in August and replaced by then-afternoon drive host Mike Calta.  The move pits former station-mates Calta and Bubba against each other in mornings.  Last week, Ker’s WingHouse debuted Bubba Style Wings and announced Bubba’s return to the market on WHFS-FM.  Beasley says listeners are still voting for their format choice at the station’s website — thenew98.7.com — and the new format is expected to be announced within weeks.

carrhowieHowie Carr’s New England Regional Juggernaut Keeps Gaining Steam – New Stations Signed and GSM Brought Aboard.  The independent talk radio network recently launched by Boston-based, multi-media icon Howie Carr continues to gather major affiliates throughout the six New England states and sets a shiningly optimistic model for what can be created and accomplished in the often-tenuous arena of regional spoken-word syndication.  The latest stations joining the Howie Carr Radio Network (HCRN) include WCAP, Lowell, MA (which started last week); WBEC, Pittsfield, MA (which starts tomorrow 1/6); and WFEA, Manchester, NH (which begins on 1/19), bringing the total number of affiliates to 19.  Also, HCRN VP of sales & marketing, Kathy Carr announces the hiring of sales heavyweight Ross Holt as the company’s new general sales manager.  Holt, who is moving back to his home in New England, was most recently part of the sales team at CBS O&O WINS, New York and has sold Carr in the past while at WGAN, Portland.  The sheer power of the loyal-listener-generating Carr program in market after market across the Northeast segment of the US has proven to be a strong advertising lure for such regional blue chip sponsors as Subaru of New England and a long list of others.  Commenting on the growth and impact of the Howie Carr show in its independent regional incarnation (since the host left Entercom’s WRKO, Boston this fall and replaced it as his flagship with Beantown’s reconstituted WMEX) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is not easy doing what Howie and Kathy Carr are accomplishing with this network – and that is creating a pertinent local flavor that resonates with listeners across a very large and diverse expanse of markets and works in terms of both ratings and revenue.  There are lessons for the industry to learn from this extremely interesting endeavor.  Of course, you must have the right host to pull this off and this guy is a true rarity.  If New England were to suddenly declare itself a single state, Howie Carr would be elected its first governor.”

cohenshattuckBoston Herald Radio and WMEX, Boston Share New Morning Show.  The morning drive show on the Boston Herald’s digital platform – Boston Herald Radio – is now hosted by Adriana Cohen and Tom Shattuck (pictured here).  The program airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am and is also being heard on Blackstrap Broadcasting-owned and Wallis Communications-operated WMEX.  Shattuck, who also serves as executive producer of Boston Herald Radio, says in the compay’s paper, “We’ve always been straight with our audience.  This is the city of Jerry Williams, Gene Burns and David Brudnoy.  We are lucky enough now to have an opportunity to be custodians of those same airwaves and we will do it humbly, tirelessly and with the utmost respect for the listener.”  WMEX grabbed longtime Boston afternoon personality Howie Carr after his contract with Entercom’s crosstown WRKO expired in November.

proftdanWLS-AM, Chicago Breaks Up Proft and Wolf Morning Show.  As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the morning show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago will be hosted by Bruce Wolf solo after the company parted ways with Dan Proft.  Wolf and Proft had worked together at the station, first in middays, before moving to mornings after longtime duo Don Wade and Roma exited due to Don Wade’s health issues.  (Wade later died from complications from a brain tumor.)

dealgordonNEWbannerFormer WSJRN Programming Evolves and Continues as Compass Media Networks Content.  As TALKERS reported last month, Compass Media Networks is advancing the business news radio programming abandoned by the Wall Street Journal after the latter chose to get out of the radio business at the end of 2014.  Today, Compass debuts breaking business and money news under the “Your Money Now” brand.  The one-minute reports are fed to affiliate stations twice per hour at :20 and :50 from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm ET Monday through Friday.  Anchors for the reports are former WSJRN morning drive anchor Jennifer Kushinka, former CEO Radio, WSJRN and BusinessWeek Radio anchor Ray Hoffman in middays, and former WSJRN evening anchor Bruce Vale in afternoon drive.  Also, Compass is continuing the morning drive program hosted by Gordon Deal for the WSJRN as the show is renamed “This Morning, America’s First News with Gordon Deal.”  Compass says the show continues to air on some 250 affiliate stations as well as on numerous digital platforms.

salemcommunicationsSeven Salem News/Talkers Assume ‘The Answer’ Brand.  Adding to the number of Salem Communications news/talk stations already using “The Answer” brand are seven more of the company’s like-programmed outlets, including:  KCBQ-AM, San Diego; KLFE, Seattle; KZNT, Colorado Springs; WGKA, Atlanta; WGUL, Tampa; WGTK, Louisville; and WLSS, Sarasota. WNYM, New York began using the “Answer” brand in 2012.  Salem SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce comments, “We discovered that our listeners are information seekers, always craving the answer to every possible question, from why am I stuck in traffic to who won the November election.  This branding allows our stations to cut through in markets where they are competing with more established stations that only need their call letters as a brand.  We needed something more, and this works.”

union edge logo‘The Union Edge’ Radio Show Releases New App.  Pittsburgh-based radio talk show “The Union Edge,” hosted by Charles Showalter with executive producer and co-host Angela Baughman and co-host/communications director Brittany Sheets, unveils its new app created with partner Jack of Trade Apps.  The new app allows listeners to stream the daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program live as well as listen to podcasts on demand and “demonstrate some serious solidarity by sending in photos showing their everyday union actions.”  Listeners can also use the “speak out” voice recorder function to react to the show and expand on their thoughts and feelings about issues that impact their lives.  Jack of Trade Apps president Andrew Davis says, “What this app does is allow union families to organize in a way that surrounds this already great programming that heralds issues that directly impact them.  We are excited to be able to give them such a valuable tool, to help them achieve their growth and spread their message in a new way.”

Odds & Sods.  Former Arkansas governor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee gives up his weekend talk program at Fox News Channel.  Huckabee – still heard on the radio via his “Mike Huckabee Report” dailyhuckabeemike commentaries now distributed by WYD Media – says he’ll make an announcement about whether he intends to run for president in 2016 sometime in the first part of this year…..Salem Communications expands the “Cats Roundtable” program heard on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.”  The Sunday morning show, hosted by New York City businessman John Catsimatidis is now heard from 8:30 am to 10:00 am…..KBGG, Des Moines sports talk host Larry Cotlar exits the station as it transitions from “The Zone” to “The Champ.”  Cotlar’s show is being replaced by CBS Sports Radio Network’s Doug Gotleib…..Dr. Frank Wright exits Salem Communications where the former National Religious Broadcasters chief served as president and chief operating officer.  Dr. Wright will receive his salary in the form of severance for the next six months…..Beasley Broadcasting’s WHFS-AM, Tampa drops the CBS Sports Radio Network-programming on the station and flips the station to business talk using programming from the company’s WSBR, Boca Raton, Florida.  Beasley acquired the station from CBS RADIO in a swap.

St. Joseph, Missouri’s KFEQ Joins “Market Rally”Affiliate Network. The daily analysis of farm commodity markets airs 4:06 pm – 5:00 pm on the Eagle Communications-owned talker. KFEQ general manager Gary Exline comments, “Ever since Farm Journal launched ‘Market Rally’ [in March 2014], we have taken a wait-and-see attitude [but] when farmers in our region started asking for it – we knew we couldn’t wait any longer. ‘Market Rally’ is the perfect programming solution as we set out to reboot our afternoon drive lineup.” According to Farm Journal Radio vice president and general manager Mark DePrez, “Market Rally” host Chip Flory “already has more than 6,500 Twitter followers, a clear signal that farmers and ranchers are highly engaged in his entertaining and educational approach to the markets.” When Illinois outlets WRHL, Rochelle and WAIK, Galesburg begin carrying the program early this year, “Market Rally” will be heard on 42 affiliates in nine states.

cookeholland

2015 International CES; What Next?  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the huge 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.  As Cooke notes, video and pictures are paramount to viral media.  “Major recent news stories demonstrate how profoundly technology impacts our lives.  More pictures and video are now shot with smartphones than cameras.  When Eric Garner’s take-down for selling untaxed cigarettes turned fatal, bystander video turned an already painful national conversation about race even more-painful.  When video of North Korea’s hack attack against Sony Pictures spooked movie theaters, The Interview was released on YouTube.”  Read more here.

sabowalterSabo: Biggest Trends Affecting Radio.  Media consultant Walter Sabo, in a piece published in TALKERS today (1/5), writes about seven trends in media that have been influential over the past year and will continue to be so through 2015.  From NextRadio to sports talk on FM to online audio platforms, Sabo suggests avenues radio practitioners can explore to build new and profitable content ventures.  Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

| December 17, 2014

mcintyredougDoug McIntyre Sticks with KABC, Los Angeles.  “McIntyre in the Morning” host Doug McIntyre signs a new deal to remain with Cumulus Media’s news/talk KABC, Los Angeles “TalkRadio 790” for at least the next year.  In addition to his radio work, McIntyre tells TALKERS magazine he’ll also be writing a new weekly column for The Daily Beast in addition to the two columns per week he currently is writing for the LA Daily News.

cataldiangeloCataldi Morning Show Re-Ups at WIP, Philly.  Longtime Philadelphia sports talk personality Angelo Cataldi inks a long-term renewal of his contract to remain morning host at CBS RADIO’s “SportsRadio 94WIP.”  Prior to joining WIP in 1990 as the wake-up personality, Cataldi was the Eagles beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer.  He was named to the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk this year, occupying the #9 spot.  In a related announcement, the station also signed two members of Cataldi’s morning show ensemble — Al Morganti and Keith Jones — to new contracts.  About his new deal, Cataldi says, “It’s a true thrill and honor to know that all my years on the radio will be working for WIP.  It’s a rarity for an on-air personality to have their entire broadcasting career, spanning nearly three decades, all at one station.  I am grateful to have a great supporting cast and privileged to work for CBS RADIO which trusts me with the morning show on the best sports radio station, in the greatest sports town anywhere.”

huckabeemike‘Huckabee Report’ to Be Distributed by WYD Media.  With the start of the New Year, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee – also host of his own weekend show on Fox News Channel – is continuing his daily feature, “The Huckabee Report,” to be distributed by WYD Media Management.  The program will be repped by WYD Media Ad Sales.  The show is currently syndicated to more than 500 radio stations via Westwood One but that relationship will end after December 31.  Huckabee comments, “We’ve had tremendous success over the last six years with ‘The Huckabee Report’ thanks to the great partnerships with hundreds of radio stations.  I’m excited about my new partnership and this is a great way to kick off 2015!”  WYD says that the feature will retain its current format with morning, midday and afternoon delivery of three unique, modular reports that allow stations to carry one or three minutes of content per report.  WYD Media Ad Sales president John Murphy says, “Mike Huckabee is truly a beloved national icon with a powerful following.  His ability to connect with his audience and influence public opinion is incredibly valuable to our advertising partners.”  In addition to airing on news/talk affiliates, “The Huckabee Report” is also cleared on country- and classic rock-formatted stations.

hurleyharryWPGG, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley Serves Up Radio Chat with Governor Christie After ‘Cowboys’ Controversy.  While much of New Jersey’s Philadelphia Eagles fan base was up in arms over Governor Chris Christie sitting in Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ luxury box on Sunday evening cheering on the Cowboys over the Eagles, WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley cut the governor some slack during an exclusive radio interview the following morning.  Hurley is a big Eagles fan but, unlike many New Jersey fans – and the news media – Hurley excused the governor for cheering for his favorite team and noted that many politicians wear whatever “sports cap” they think will help them get votes.  Speaking of votes, Hurley asked Christie if he’s going to run for president and Christie said he and his wife are talking about his options and he’ll decide in 2015 whether to run in 2016.

trn logo2Fourth Hour and New Affiliates for ‘America’s Morning News.’  The Talk Radio Network Entertainment-syndicated “America’s Morning News” program – hosted by radio news pro Matt Ray – adds a fourth hour to its daily broadcasts and now airs live from 5:00 am to 9:00 am ET.  TRNE also announces a number of recent affiliate additions now carrying the programming that’s heard in more than 160 markets across the country.  New stations include:  WJAS, Pittsburgh; KFNY, Riverside; KDWN, Las Vegas; KGED, Fresno; WPNN Pensacola; KMJM, Cedar Rapids; WNZF, Daytona Beach; WGNS, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; KGGF, Coffeyville, Oklahoma; WRTA, Altoona, Pennsylvania; KMED, Medford, Oregon; and four Wisconsin stations in the Heartlands group – WERL, Eagle River; WATW, Ashland; WFER, Iron River; and WPFP, Park Falls.  TRNE CEO Mark Masters comments, “‘America’s Morning News’ continues to deliver a great product every morning to over 160 markets across the U.S., including markets like San Francisco (Cumulus Media’s KSFO AM 560), Seattle (Bonnevilles’ KTTH AM 770) and San Diego (Midwest Television’s KFMB AM 760).  We are very proud of our morning news offering, and its growth is a testament to its quality.”

cbssportsradiologoCBS Sports Radio to Broadcast New College Hoops ‘Classic.’  The inaugural “CBS Sports Classic” college basketball showcase will air on the CBS Sports Radio Network on Saturday, December 20.  The event produced by CBS Sports will be live from Chicago’s United Center and pits North Carolina against Ohio State in the 1:00 pm ET game followed by UCLA versus Kentucky.  It’s the first of three events in the series, as announced earlier this year by CBS Sports.  Gary Cohen, current play-by-play announcer for Mets baseball, Seton Hall men’s basketball and Westwood One’s NCAA men’s basketball coverage, will provide play-by-play for the games.  He will be joined by analyst Alaa Abdelnaby, current college basketball studio and game analyst for CBS Sports Network.  Lance Meadow will contribute to pre-game programming beginning at 12:45 PM, ET, as well as halftime and post-game updates.  CBS Sports Radio director of programming Eric Spitz says, “This showcase is noteworthy for CBS Sports Radio as it marks the first time we will broadcast live game coverage across our stations.  CBS Sports has assembled a group of legendary college basketball teams, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that our play-by-play debut is happening with this distinguished event.”

compasslogoCompass Media Announces Business Programming for New Year.  In a communication with affiliate stations currently carrying Wall Street Journal Radio Network programming (set to cease via WSJRN on 12/31), Compass Media Networks announces it will continue to produce and distribute business and money reports and details the programming.  Anchors for business and money news reports will be Jennifer Kushinka in morning drive, Ray Hoffman in middays and Frank Miller in afternoons.  Kushinka has served as morning drive news anchor for “The Wall Street Journal Reports” for the past nine years.  Hoffman has anchored CEO Radio short-form reports, aired exclusively on WCBS-AM, New York for the past nine years and was the lead talent for BusinessWeek Radio.  Miller has worked for the past six years with Compass providing custom reports to all-news and news/talk stations.  Compass also says that Ron Insana, currently with Compass and senior contributor for CNBC, is available for money news reports and commentaries.

Odds & Sods.  A new face sits on the board of directors at Business Rockstars, LLC.  The corporation announces Andy Schuon has made an equity investment and his joining the board reunites him with Business Roackstars chairman Steve Lehman.  Schuon is co-founder of REVOLT Media & TV with Sean “Diddy” Combs.  He served on theconwaysimon Premiere Networks board in the past…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway now has a national platform via iHeartRadio.  Conway tells TALKERS that with the 2016 presidential race about to get underway, he’s excited to have his own podcast page on the iHeartRadio platform.  Simon calls his program on WHO “an essential and repeated stop on the campaign trail in the ‘First in the Nation’ state for all presidential wannabes.”…..Comic and television star Jimmie Walker is sitting in for Ray Appleton on KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno today and tomorrow (12/17-18) on the midday program.  Walker is available for fill-in work.  PDs can reach him via his Facebook page.

Obama Amnesty Action, Taliban School Slaughter, Sydney Café Siege, Plummeting Oil Prices/Unstable Russian Economy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Congressional Budget Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/16).  Controversy over President Obama’s executive amnesty action and the court ruling declaring some of it unconstitutional; the slaughter of children and teachers in Pakistan by the Taliban; the aftermath of the siege of a café in Sydney by a self-styled cleric; sinking oil prices and their effect on the Russian economy; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the congressional budget deal being criticized by conservative Republicans were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.