Tag: "Mike Lucas"

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

| January 15, 2020

iHeartMedia Begins Massive Layoff of Air Talent. The exact number of personalities let go is not known at this point, but as iHeartMedia issued a press release yesterday explaining its new Markets Group management structure designed to “take advantage of the significant investments it has made in technology and artificial intelligence and its unique scale and leadership position in the audio marketplace,” it was firing local air personalities it deems not necessary to the company’s future success.  iHeartMedia, like every other radio company, faces intense competition for listeners from digital music services and digital spoken-word platforms.  Dayparts that aren’t crucial to a station’s revenue – usually nights and overnights – are often seen as not needing live, local jocks, especially when the company produces quality national programs to fill those hours.  As for news/talk and sports talk hosts, the cost of maintaining a show with two or more personalities plus a producer is sometimes more than income from spot sales and other revenue streams can provide.  iHeartMedia’s statement on the “employee dislocation” is as follows: “We are modernizing our company to take advantage of the significant investments we have made in new technology and aligning our operating structure to match the technology-powered businesses we are now in.  This is another step in the company’s successful transformation as a multiple platform 21st century media company, and we believe it is essential to our future – it continues our momentum and adds to our competitiveness, our effectiveness, and our efficiency with all our major constituencies.  During a transition like this it’s reasonable to expect that there will be some shifts in jobs – some by location and some by function – but the number is relatively small given our overall employee base of 12,500.  That said, we recognize that the loss of any job is significant; we take that responsibility seriously and have been thoughtful in the process.”  Some of those in the spoken-word formats who’ve exited the company include: Kerry Belkin, producer, WFXJ, Jacksonville; Leland Conway, host, WHAS, Louisville and WLPA, Lexington; Big Jim Donovan, host, WSYR, Syracuse; Andrew Downs, program director, KXNO, Des Moines; Jim Fisher, host, WOC, Quad Cities; Seth Harp, programmer and host, WFXJ, Jacksonville; Carl Harris, creative services director, Tampa Bay cluster; Travis Justice and Heather Burnside, hosts, and Sean Roberts, producer, Pete Kaliner, host, WWNC, Asheville, NC; Dave Levora, morning host, WOC, Quad Cities; Mike Lucas, host, WTSO, Madison; Ross Peterson and Chris Williams, hosts, KXNO, Des Moines; Jake Query and Derek Schultz, hosts, WNDE, Indianapolis; Chip Ramsey, weekend producer, WERC, Birmingham; John Ramsey and Mike Rutherford, hosts, WKRD, Louisville.

Brian Sussman Exits KSFO, San Francisco. Eighteen-year KSFO, San Francisco talk show host Brian Sussman announces he’s leaving the Cumulus Media station where he’s been hosting the morning drive show.  Sussman says that in April of 2019 he resigned due to an impasse in contract negotiations, but soon thereafter reached a temporary agreement to host the show four days per week through December (his brother, Brad Sussman, hosted the fifth day).  But in October, Sussman was required to go on medical leave through the remainder of the year.  That affected his plans for continuing into 2020.  He tells TALKERS magazine, “Fortunately, I’m feeling great, but clearly all those years of scant sleep and starting show prep at 3:00 am finally caught up with me.  The KSFO listening family – both locally and nationally – are such a loyal band of patriots.  But what I’ll miss the most about our show is working with the best producer in talk radio, Sheri Yee, and my lovely and super-hilarious sidekick, Katie Green.  Thankfully, Brother Brad has been doing a great job filling in for me and I hope he’s the future!  Meantime, I appreciate KSFO’s management team for having been so considerate these past few months.”

Impeachment, Presidential Race/Democratic Debate, Iran Protests, U.S.-China Trade Negotiations, Royal Family Controversy, Philippine Volcano Eruption, and MLB Sign Stealing Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/14). The impeachment articles against President Trump set to move to the Senate; the Democrats hoping to challenge Donald Trump in November and last night’s debate in Des Moines; the protests in Iran over the Islamic Republic’s accidental shooting down of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752; the Trump Administration’s progress in trade negotiations with China; the controversy over Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s stepping back from royal life; the deadly eruption of Taal Volcano in the Philippines; and the MLB’s handling of the sign stealing scandal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Comrex Announces New Firmware in Conjunction with ACCESS MultiRack. News from Comrex Corporation reveals that the company has released firmware version 4.5p2, a new update for its line of IP audio codecs.  This new firmware version is being released in conjunction with ACCESS MultiRack – a new multi-instance codec that provides seamless integration of all functions with legacy single-instance ACCESS codecs.  This new firmware simplifies CrossLock connections between the new ACCESS MultiRack and legacy Comrex IP audio codecs.  It replaces an older Adobe Flash-based GUI with an HTML5 web-based GUI as the default user interface.  This new interface avoids the security risks posed by Adobe Flash, and is supported by all browsers.  Users can upgrade their Comrex IP audio codecs using the free Device Manager application which can be downloaded here.  If a user is updating a device from FW version 2.7.1 or earlier, they can contact Comrex Support for assistance.

TALKERS News Notes. Pictured here is Westwood One News correspondent Steve Kastenbaum covering last night’s Democratic presidential debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder notes that the hosts of WSCR, Chicago’s weekly golf show, “The Scorecard on The Score,” – Ed Sherman and Steve Olken – are leaving the station.  The two have hosted the show at the Entercom sports talk station for the past 10 years.  WSCR is expected to name new hosts for the show before it returns to the air in March…..KTBB, Tyler, Texas is the newest affiliate of FOX News Radio, subscribing to the FOX 5 Minute News Service on January 6…..FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade visited affiliate station WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta in December and senior operations and program manager Drew Anderssen says, “Few syndicated hosts, if any, create the kind of impact with affiliates and their communities that Kilmeade does.  Brian participated in our 29th annual drive to provide Georgia foster children with gifts at Christmas.  His impact helped us fulfill wish lists for over 9,000 foster kids, in partnership with St. Vincent de Paul Georgia and the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services!”  Pictured below (clockwise from top left) are: Anderssen, “Kilmeade & Friends” senior producer Alyson Mansfield, Kilmeade, WSB traffic anchor Ashley Frasca, and WSB-FM “B95.5” morning personality Tad Lemire.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Beasley Media Group’s urban contemporary WDMK, Detroit “105.9 KISS-FM,” the nationally syndicated “Rickey Smiley Morning Show” is now heard in the 6:00 am to 10:00 am slot.  Station program director John Candelaria says, “We are thrilled to have Rickey Smiley join ‘105.9 KISS FM.’  I have watched Rickey ascend to national superstar over the past 20 years and we are excited to have him leading the lineup for the ‘All New 105.9 KISS FM.’  Detroit is ready for a fresh new morning show!”

Thursday, January 3, 2013

| January 3, 2013

johnkenKFI, Los Angeles’ John and Ken Appear on WOR, New York.  New WOR, New York owner Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has begun airing talk radio duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou in the evenings on the station.  On Wednesday night, a simulcast hour from the final hour of the pair’s highly rated KFI, Los Angeles wor710program aired at 9:00 pm followed by a 10:00 pm hour of custom programming for the New York station.  John and Ken are no strangers to the region having grown up in the New York area and having gotten their start on radio stations in the Tri-State Area.  They rose to prominence during their stint at Trenton-based “New Jersey 101.5” (WKXW).  John and Ken have been syndicated in the past.  During a brief period in the late 1990s, the duo began a national syndication effort under Fisher Entertainment but that ended when they moved to KABC, Los Angeles to take the morning drive slot.

nbcsportsradioPeacock Sports Network Playing the Hits.  In TALKERS magazine’s second part of its three-part series on the new sports talk radio players (and the growing field in general), managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian gets inside the heads of those involved in the new NBC Sports Radio Network that is launching its weekend programming this weekend and its full daily slate in April.  NBC Sports Radio kinosianmikeprogrammer Jack Silver tells TALKERS his network is focusing on finding talent it believes is the next generation.  “The weekday and weekend lineups mirror the network’s mission statement, which is to be a new wave of sports talk.  We did not hire the more traditional names.  The developmental mindset we have is to find new sports talk talent.  CBS Sports Radio has veterans like Jim Rome and Scott Ferrall.  We are looking for the next versions of people like that, as well as Dan Patrick and [ESPN Radio morning personalities] ‘Mike [Greenberg] & Mike [Golic].’  We are producing this sports network like a rock station, with in-your-face production.  To my ear, it feels like an FM talk station – which is my specialty. It is based on opinions and talk show topics.”  Read Mike Kinosian’s entire piece here.

cumulusCumulus Media Returns 44 Markets to Arbitron Diary Service.  After three years with no Arbitron diary ratings service, Cumulus Media-owned stations in 44 markets will resume subscription to the service effectivearbitron immediately.  Cumulus Media and Arbitron announce they have agreed to a multi-year contract that brings Cumulus stations in the 44 markets back into the fold and renews the company’s PPM ratings service deal in the 17 PPM markets in which it operates.  Arbitron states that the deal covers all 450 Cumulus stations in the 100 Cumulus radio markets currently surveyed by Arbitron.  It also renews ratings agreements in 39 diary markets.  In addition to diary and PPM local market ratings, the agreement also provides Cumulus with access to Arbitron software applications, Scarborough consumer profile services, dickeylewand national and network radio ratings for Cumulus Media Networks.  Cumulus has also agreed to collaborate with Arbitron on cross-platform services that would quantify the total impact of the Cumulus radio brand.  Cumulus chairman and CEO Lew Dickey says, “With this agreement, Arbitron and Cumulus are demonstrating a long-term commitment to collaborate for the benefit of the radio industry.  We will work closely with Arbitron on its ongoing quality and service enhancement initiatives.  Specifically, we look forward to participating in the development of an integrated, total radio audience service that gives broadcasters full credit for our audiences regardless of how listeners access our content.”

cainhermanHerman Cain is Coming and Consultant Holland Cooke Predicts Success.  Businessman, talk show host and one-time presidential candidate Herman Cain is prepping to take over the WSB, Atlanta and Cox Media syndication of the Neal Boortz program when Boortz retires this month.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke predicts Cain will succeed and offers eight reasons why, beginning with: “He’s a radio natural, as we heard when he filled-in for Sean Hannity last summer.  Even if Cain’s primary run hadn’t made it so familiar, his voice jumps-out-of the speaker.  And he speaks in sound bites that are made for AM radio.”  There’s more.  Read Cooke’s piece here.

mendtelarryLarry Mendte Exits Merlin’s WWIQ, Philadelphia.  Announcing his departure from the Philadelphia talk outlet via his Facebook page, talk personality and former market TV news anchor Larry Mendte states the reason was not due to ratings as his show was “by far the highest-rated local show.”  But Mendte, who joined the station in May of last year, says in his post that he believes his exit will spur rumors the station is for sale.  He says he hopes that’s not true as he believes the station “fills an important void.”  Mendte was hired to work the morning show alongside programmer and co-host Al Gardner.  Earlier in the fall, New York-based multi-media star Lionel was brought in to work with Gardner for a portion of the morning program.  WWIQ’s website lists both Gardner and Lionel as co-hosts of the 5:00 am to 9:00 am program.

woky logoClear Channel to Flip WOKY, Milwaukee to Sports Talk.  Beginning Monday, January 7, Clear Channel-owned classic country WOKY, Milwaukee will become a sports talk outlet as “The Big 920.”  The station will feature regional sports talk personalities as well as Fox Sports Radio Network syndicated programming including Dan Patrick and Jay Mohr.  According to a report in The Business Journal, the station will run the same programming that airs on CC’s Madison sports talk station WTSO “The Big 1070.”  The station will air a talk show featuring morning drive hosts Mike Lucas and Matt Lepay from 6:00 am to 8:00 am.  It will be in competition in the market with Good Karma’s WAUK and Entercom’s WSSP.

wqrtlogoWQRT, Cincinnati to Drop Talk; Station Will Go Dark, Launch New Format in February.  The Cincinnati market sports and talk station WQRT “Real Talk 1160” will go dark after the broadcast of the BCS National Championship game on January 7 and take the rest of the month to prepare for a new format.  Christian Broadcast System owner Jon Yinger tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter the station did not perform as the company had hoped despite hiring numerous local personalities over the course of the past few years to challenge competitors in the market.  Local staffers including morning host Dean Miuccio, news staffer T.C. Summers, afternoon sports talk hosts Dennis “Wildman” Walker and Jeff Piecoro have been let go and the station will air syndicated programming until it signs off.  The station recently lost operations manager Rob Williams and sports talk host and producer Rick Ucchino who left to join Cumulus Media’s crosstown WCFN which debuted the CBS Sports Radio Network format on Wednesday, January 2.

currenttvAl Gore’s Current TV Bought by Al Jazeera.  The Al Gore– and Joel Hyatt-owned Current TV cable news/talk channel has been purchased by the Qatar-based Arab world cable news operation Al Jazeera for a reported $500 million.  Bloomberg reports Gore and Hyatt paid $60 million for the media outlet in 2004.  Bloomberg notes in its report that Time Warner Cable Inc., the second-biggest U.S. cable company, said it would stop carrying Current TV with the ownership change.  “Our agreement with Current has been terminated and we will no longer be carrying the service…We are removing the service as quickly as possible.”  Time Warner Cable currently carries the Al Jazeera English-language programming in New York City however it does not offer Al Jazeera in the Los Angeles market.  The Associated Press reports the acquisition will give Al Jazeera access to about 40 million more homes.  It also states that Al Jazeera – owned by the government of Qatar – plans to gradually transform Current TV into a network called Al Jazeera America by adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus beyond the five it has now and hiring more journalists.  More than half of the content will be U.S. news and the network will have its headquarters in New York City.

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Fox Sports Radio Network’s Jay Mohr Debuts on 70-Plus Stations.  The new late-morning program on the Fox Sports Radio Network hosted by long-time FSRN fill-in host, comedian and actor Jay Mohr hit the ground running with about 70 affiliates yesterday.  Fox Sports reports the show aired in markets including: Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Portland and Pittsburgh.  Mohr’s program fills the slot held for so many years by Jim Rome who left Premiere Networks for the new CBS Sports Radio Network.

keelerbillBill Keeler to Host Mornings on WIBX, Utica.  Local media personality Bill Keeler will begin hosting the morning drive program on Townsquare Media’s news/talk WIBX, Utica, New York on Monday, January 14, according to WKTV-TV, Utica.  Keeler, who has been hosting a restaurant program on WKTV-TV, has also worked in the market in radio at CHR WSKS and rock WXUR.  He says, “I am so excited about doing mornings on WIBX.  This is a heritage radio station that’s been around for 87 years and it remains one of the top stations in the market.  I can’t wait to get on the air and get started.”  Keeler will be joined by news anchor Kristine Bellino.

mcmichaelsteveWMVP, Chicago Personality Steve McMichael Pulled from Broadcasting After Equal Time Request.  Former Chicago Bears great and WMVP, Chicago sports talk personality Steve “Mongo” McMichael was yanked from Sunday’s program prior to the final Bears game of the season after the mayor of Romeoville, Illinois filed an equal time request with the station.  McMichael filed papers on December 26 to get on the ballot to run for mayor of Romeoville in April and one of his opponents, current Mayor John Noak, filed the request citing equal time regulations.  McMichael tells the Chicago Tribune, “I was ready to go on and talk football.  I by no means used that pre-game show as a political platform this year.  But if that’s the law, it’s the law and I have to accept it.”

wtmjJournal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces Record Results for Holiday Toy Drive.  WTMJ, Milwaukee program director Joe Scialfa announces the Journal Broadcast Group station collected more than 19,000 toys during its 2012 “Kids to Kids Christmas”  Scialfa says more than 50 schools in the region participated in the charity drive that encouraged children to shop with their parents for toys to donate to those less fortunate.  Scialfa states, “The listeners of Newsradio 620 WTMJ are amazing.  Again this year, they have shared the message of giving with their kids in a record setting way!  We couldn’t be prouder to come to work each day to inform and entertain this great audience.”

‘Fiscal Crisis’ Bill Signed, Hurricane Sandy Aid Controversy, Financial Markets Activity, Hillary Clinton Health Status and Gun Control Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/2).  The aftermath of the bill signed to avert the “fiscal crisis”; the anger over Congress’ bypassing Hurricane Sandy aid; financial markets respond to “fiscal crisis” legislation; the health status of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and ongoing debate of gun laws in the United States were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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