Tag: "Mike Mcvay"

Monday Memo: Lennon, McCartney, Marbourg

| March 22, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Paul McCartney mused, “You’ve got to admit, it’s getting better, a little better all the time.” John Lennon muttered, “It can’t get much worse.”

And in the words of now-retired radio traffic reporter Bob Marbourg – a rock star to heavy listeners when he was part of my WTOP crew in the 1980s – “Pick your lane and stay with it.”

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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

| January 26, 2021

Programming Consultant Greg Moceri Working with ‘Our American Stories.’ News and talk radio programming consultant Greg Moceri joins American Private Radio – producer of the extremely successful “Our American Stories” program – as strategy and content consultant. The “Our American Stories” nightly program is currently heard on more than 300 stations, including new affiliate KEIB-AM, Los Angeles “The Patriot AM 1150.” American Private Radio CEO and show host Lee Habeeb says, “We’re thrilled to have Greg as a part of the team. We’ve long admired his well-earned standing in the business, his ability to help stations and talent be better versions of themselves, and his all-around excellence and cheerfulness, too. He is already making a real difference.” Moceri, CEO of Moceri Media, LLC, comments, “I have always been about content. ‘Our American Stories’ exemplifies this. Uplifting, wonderful stories about our nation’s most connecting and emotionally gravitating people in our amazing past and present. Just uplifting daily reminders, from people you may know, and people you don’t. A perfect antidote to division, politics, and the anger of day. Honored to be part of this brand and product.”

It’s Official: Kim Gordon Joins WLS-AM, Chicago as News Anchor. Yesterday (1/25), TALKERS reported a tip from Chicago media writer Robert Feder that Windy City news pro Kim Gordon had exited Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM and would sign with Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM. Today, Cumulus announces Gordon’s joining the station as afternoon drive news anchor. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor states, “Finding the facts and reporting the news has never been an easy job. Doing it in this environment hasn’t made it any easier. You need experience and grit to craft a meaningful, accurate newscast and Kim Gordon has both of those qualities in spades. I’m delighted to have Kim join our 890 WLS-AM news team as the PM drive anchor. Her attention to facts and detail will enhance our news product and yes, she can probably teach John Howell a thing or two about golf.” Gordon comments, “I am thrilled to be joining the WLS news team and to be working with John Howell in the afternoons. It’s an honor to follow in the footsteps of John Dempsey. I’ve long admired his integrity and passion for news. I hope to continue that legacy at WLS.”

WECK-AM, Buffalo Owner Puts Republican Assemblyman’s Show on Hiatus; Denies Station Was Threatened by Antifa. The weekly, hourlong program on WECK-AM, Buffalo hosted by Republican New York State Assemblyman David DiPietro was put on hiatus by owner Buddy Shula but not because he received any threats from “leftists” to “burn the station down.” Shula tells the Buffalo News that it was a miscommunication between him and DiPietro over his rationale for the show’s hiatus. After DiPietro posted comments on Facebook suggesting that “leftists” threatened the station and forced Shula to cancel his show, Shula said, “I wanted to make sure I make it perfectly clear that Dave DiPietro did zero wrong in terms of me putting his show on hiatus. It was me being spooked by the Capitol events. That’s it. Nothing more.” Shula indicates he was speaking hypothetically about the station being attacked in the aftermath of the Capitol assault and believes DiPietro misunderstood him to mean that threats were actual. He adds he’d like to bring DiPietro back to the air with a Democrat on the other side of the table for balance.

New Affiliates Join Doug Stephan’s DJV Show. The nationally syndicated “DJV Show” – starring Doug Stephan and featuring Jen Horn and Victoria Keelan – adds new affiliate stations: WPMO, Pascagoula, Mississippi; KFOW, Waseca, Minnesota; KOMY, Santa Cruz-Monterey; KHOB, Hobbs, New Mexico; WTGB, Brownsville, Texas; WDOC, Pikeville, Kentucky; KBST, Big Spring, Texas; and KMAX, Colfax, Washington. Doug Stephan states, “I’d like to thank all of these new affiliates of the show. Our goal is to make our listeners lives better. We want them to be informed without having to sift through the vitriol.” McVay Media Consulting president Mike McVay adds, “What I like most about the ‘DJV Show’ is that it’s a talk show that is truly balanced in their opinions. It’s informative and fun. They’re a great first place to find what’s trending every day.”

Entercom Launches BetQL Audio Network; Unveils ‘The Bet’ Stations in Denver and LA. On the heels of Entercom’s acquisition of sports data and iGaming affiliate platform QL Gaming Group, the company is launching the BetQL Audio Network. The network is headlined by two daily shows – “You Better You Bet” with Nick Kostos and Ken Barkley and “BetQL Daily” with Joe Ostrowski and Ross Tucker.  Additionally, Entercom is debuting two radio stations to carry gambling-oriented programming. KEZW-AM, Denver is now “The Bet 1430AM” and KCBS-HD3 is now “The Bet 93.1 HD3.” Entercom president of sports Mike Dee comments, “With our acquisition of QL Gaming Group in November, we committed to leveraging our national scale to amplify the rapidly growing sports gambling landscape and deliver smart, data-supported sports-betting content to our listeners. By combining the BetQL brand and our deep collection of expert talent, this new network complements our industry-leading local sports broadcast portfolio and will further enhance our position as a leader for sports betting programming.” The new network is being promoted across Entercom’s 39 all-sports stations including WFAN-AM/FM, New York; WIP-FM, Philadelphia; and WSCR, Chicago “The Score.”

Newsmax TV and FreedomWorks Partner for ‘Save the Nation’ Program. A new, Sunday morning program titled, “Save the Nation,” is debuting on Newsmax TV via a partnership with FreedomWorks. The hour-long program – co-hosted by FreedomWorks president Adam Brandon and economist Stephen Moore – will premiere on February 7 at 11:00 am ET will provide “Americans with critical information they need on the economy, government policies, and the latest news.” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “We look forward to bringing our rapidly-growing audience exclusive content from respected economist Stephen Moore, Adam Brandon, and the team at FreedomWorks. It is one of the nation’s most effective and respected grassroots organizations in touch with the issues Americans care about.”

New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards Open for Entries. Entries for the New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards are now being accepted. NYF Radio Awards says that each year it carefully evaluates and updates the category roster to provide the most current categories to reflect the innovative content produced today. Vice president and executive director Rose Anderson says, “In a year marked by disruption of every kind, New York Festivals is implementing additional categories for social justice across all genres. These categories spotlight storytellers who are using all of their creativity to engage with their listeners on this critical topic.” New categories for 2021 include: Best Social Justice Report, Social Justice Reporting, Social Justice Documentary, Best Regularly Scheduled Social Justice Program, Best Social Justice Special, Social Justice Promo, Best Digital Social Justice Program, Social Justice Podcast, and Social Justice Student Content. See all of the 2021 Radio Awards Categories here. The New York Festivals is partnering with the NAB Show for the 11th year and again NYF will honor the winners in Las Vegas in October. Anderson adds, “Combined with our TV & Film Winners, it will be a celebration of innovative storytellers across all platforms.” For more information and to enter visit here.

TALKERS News Notes. Talk show host Ray Appleton returned to the air on Cumulus Media‘s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno on Monday (1/25) after a two-week suspension for a comment about news coverage of the January 6 Capitol attack in which he stated some news editors should be “hanged – maybe.” He said his words were tongue-in-cheek but station management meted out the suspension nonetheless…..New York news/talk outlet WABC is adding a new weekend program to its schedule. Fashion designer Joseph Abboud is joining the lineup of the Red Apple Media station beginning Saturday, February 6 at 5:00 pm as the host of “Threads,” a one-hour lifestyle program that looks at our world through the lens of fashion and design. WABC says, “From super models and fashion shows to the new world order of post pandemic fashion, Abboud will explore the evolution of one of the most creative and fascinating industries on the face of the earth, and how it weaves through our culture and our lives.”…..KQED, San Francisco “Forum” host Michael Krasny is retiring after his final broadcast on February 12. Krasny’s broadcasting career began in the late 1970s. He joined KQED in 1993 as host of “Forum.” To help commemorate his career on February 12, Krasny will be joined in his final broadcast by NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving who will co-host…..Two new affiliate stations – KCPS, Burlington, Iowa and KLMB, Roundup/Billings, Montana – add the “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” feature to their programming…..The GCN-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Wachs” program picks up new affiliates as KCPX-AM/K290CS, Spanish Valley, Utah and WHIR-AM, Danville, Kentucky add the show to their lineups.

COVID-19 & Vaccines Rollout, Senate Power Sharing/Battle Over Filibuster, Trump Impeachment, Social Media & Censorship, Dominion Sues Giuliani, and Biden Reverses Trans Troops Ban Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25). The number of COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variant strains, and the vaccine rollout problems; Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer agree to a Senate power-sharing deal and Democrats don’t have the votes to eliminate the filibuster; the impeachment case against Donald Trump; MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is permanently banned from Twitter; election process firm Dominion sues Rudy Giuliani for defamation and seeks $1.3 billion; and Joe Biden reverses Trump’s ban on trans people serving in the military were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, January 25, 2021

| January 25, 2021

INDUSTRY AND NATION MOURN: Talk Media Pioneer Larry King Dead at 87. According to a report on Facebook posted by the producers of his current syndicated television show, Ora Media, legendary star of talk radio and television, Larry King died this weekend at the age of 87. The statement says: “With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.” The statement continues, “For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster.” The cause of death was not indicated, however King had been reportedly hospitalized with COVID-19 earlier this month. King was a major player in the talk media world who ushered in the modern era of syndication in radio on the Mutual Broadcasting System and the cable news/talk show format on television at CNN. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following statement: “Larry King was not the greatest talk show host on radio or television in terms of skills, outrageous personality or direct and profound influence on public policy. He was, however, the most important pioneer who paved the way for today’s robust talk media presence on both radio and television. If there ever was a case of the right person at the right time, Larry King fit the bill and that’s all it took for him to be a mighty force. He was the modern era of talk radio’s first national celebrity born solely as a result of his work in the medium. And his contribution to today’s institutional cable news/talk TV format is undeniably fundamental to the medium’s current presence as America’s political and sociological meeting place. We have lost one of the greatest broadcasting presences of the first century of radio and television history as well as one of the quirkiest and most colorful individuals to ever sit behind a microphone.” Read TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian’s “Remembering Larry King” feature here.

Tributes to Larry King Pouring in from All Over the Industry.  TALKERS has received dozens of tributes, anecdotes, and comments from readers in all sectors of the broadcasting industry in reaction to the passing of Larry King on Saturday (1/23).  The following statements from people who knew him and worked with him reflect the basic sentiments expressed across the board. Westwood One legend Jim Bohannon rose to national prominence as Larry King’s fill-in host back in the early days of King’s career as the late-night “king of talk radio” on the Mutual Broadcasting System. Bohannon tells TALKERS, “Larry King was the first certified big shot for whom I’d ever worked, and I was all set for some screaming prima donna jerk. What I found was a funny, savvy, decent human being who was always very supportive of me. His best advice: Be yourself. My 11 years backing him up on the radio were always based on being a first-rate Jim rather than a second rate Larry.” This Friday (1/29) marks Bohannon’s 28th anniversary of hosting that very same show fulltime. Norm Pattiz, chairman of PodcastOne and founder of Westwood One, was instrumental in Larry King’s fabulous radio career. He tells TALKERS, “Larry King was a superstar on radio well before he became a talk show icon on television and his contribution in those media will never be duplicated. I first met Larry in 1985 when Westwood One Radio bought the Mutual Radio Network. Some said at the time that I bought the network just to get the ‘Larry King Show’ and I never corrected them. When CNN came calling, I was thrilled to share Larry with them and when his show became one of the most influential nightly talk shows in history it only confirmed what I had known all along. No one will ever match the style, compassion, and genuine love for a great interview that Larry had and the worlds of television, radio, and podcasting are worse today for his loss.” Tom Tradup, VP/news and talk programming, Salem Radio Network, tells TALKERS, “My favorite memory of Larry was when I was president/GM of WLS in Chicago and was meeting with Larry for lunch in the now-closed Cape Cod Room restaurant of Chicago’s Drake Hotel. Always upbeat and gregarious, Larry seemed just a little down. He revealed he was speaking to a business group that night and his hotel had lost his trademark suspenders. After lunch I ran over the Marshall Field’s on State Street and bought him a pair. Big smile from a broadcast legend whose talent endured for decades.” And media consultant, TALKERS columnist, and host of “The Big Picture” on RT America (which also carried Larry King’s syndicated TV show at the time of his death), Holland Cooke adds, “One year ago this week, Larry was my guest on the very first show produced at RT’s new Los Angeles studio. Larry’s gift was his curiosity; and his legacy to fellow talkers is the art of the short question. I remember him asking Bob Hope, ‘Who do YOU think is funny?’ And he asked David Duke, ‘Don’t you ever get tired of hating?’ Often, guests on book tours or who are otherwise timely are prepped with ‘safe’ answers, regardless of the questions asked. And they get away with it, because hosts ask verbose questions and don’t listen closely to responses. Larry’s short question would catch the guest off-guard – enough to yield an answer you wouldn’t hear elsewhere along the tour.

King and I: An Excerpt from Bernadette Duncan’s Landmark Book Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016).  I landed a part-time job with the Larry King Radio Show in 1986 because I was in the right place at the right time. My late shift at NBC Radio Networks where I produced the Neil Myers Show ended at 1:00 am and no other talk producer was on the premises. All that was required? Meet Mr. King in the lobby, escort him to the elevator, guide him down the hall to the nearest empty studio, check mics and audio, and then be prepared to do the same with the on-coming, big-name parade of guests scheduled for the night. Basically, I was a “handler” for an extra 75 bucks a shift. At the time, this pre-suspenders-wearing Larry King was one of the most successful radio talk show hosts in the industry who at the height of his show’s prominence had nearly 500 affiliate stations around the country. Just the year before, in 1985, he began hosting a nightly TV program on the new cable network called CNN (for Cable News Network) and “Larry King Live” was getting some buzz. In addition to television at 9:00 pm… then radio after midnight… he was in contract to write a book. Larry King’s career was hot. And it was this book deal with a New York-based publisher that brought him to the Big Apple four or five days a month to meet with his editor face-to-face. I became his New York producer/handler, working in coordination with his crew in Washington, DC. Little did I realize when I signed up with “the King of Talk,” I would dive into a world as quirky as what you’d find down Alice’s rabbit hole. To read the entire excerpt please click here.

Alpha Media Announces Pre-Arranged Chapter 11 Reorganization. The company says in a statement on its website that it has entered into a “restructuring agreement with certain of its lenders to reduce its debt, as well as raise incremental capital” to allow it “to successfully navigate current market conditions and pursue growth opportunities. The company expects no disruption to its broadcast operations, customers or employees. Management will remain in place and continue to maintain the company’s day-to-day operations.” Alpha Media says it has filed “a pre-arranged plan of re-organization, disclosure statement and voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. Certain of the company’s existing lenders have agreed to provide new capital in the form of committed debtor-in-possession and exit financing. These lenders, together with management, are expected to collectively own 100% of the equity of the re-organized company, subject to regulatory approvals from the Federal Communications Commission. The restructuring of the company’s balance sheet will require receipt of bankruptcy court approval and certain regulatory, including FCC, approvals and satisfaction of other customary conditions. The company expects to conclude the restructuring process in the first half of 2021.” Alpha chairman and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “We have made significant progress in aggressively deleveraging our business in recent years. As we proceed with our financial restructuring to improve our capital structure and manage through the ongoing downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the agreement we reached today will leave Alpha Media well positioned for a market recovery as a stronger and even more competitive company. Broadcast radio is the leading reach medium in the United States, with attractive ROIs for advertisers, and radio continues to be an indispensable communications platform nationwide. We believe the balance sheet restructuring will provide greater financial resources and flexibility to Alpha Media, enabling the Company to strengthen its position as a leading mid-market broadcaster in the United States, and invest in new digital capabilities to better serve our advertisers and communities. Our core business continues to perform well despite current market challenges. We will continue to invest in our talented teams to foster the unique culture that has been key to Alpha Media’s success in delivering dynamic, diverse and exciting content to our communities.”

Monday Memo: Time Management 2021. “Short version? Time will not be managed.” But in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke explains how “tasks can,” and that’s gotten trickier in pandemic shutdown mode. He outlines solutions for recurring distractions. Read it here.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccine Rollout Troubles, Trump Impeachment, Capitol Attack Investigation, Trump Third Party Launch, Tacoma Protest/Deadly Indianapolis Shooting, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the strategic troubles affecting the rollout of the vaccines; the Article of Impeachment against Donald Trump; the arrests being made during the investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol; the rumors that Donald Trump intends to launch a third political party; the Tacoma protest in which a police officer drove into a crowd and the shooting in Indianapolis in which five adults and an unborn child were killed; and Sunday’s NFL Conference Championship games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Value. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says, “Presenting the value proposition is a never-ending challenge, especially for the broadcast seller. I’ve seen too many sellers get hung up on product features that are station-centric – important to management, talent, and the seller. The truth is the advertiser doesn’t see it the same way.” The past year has taught us that the value perception of your station’s product has changed. For more on this, read Lapa’s column here.

WCCO-AM, Minneapolis Program Director John Hanson Exits. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis has let program director John Hanson go. Hanson had been serving as the station’s PD since the fall of 2018. Hanson is a native of the Twin Cities who worked on air as co-host of KSTP-TV’s “Twin Cities Live” afternoon talk show that launched in 2008. He joined Entercom in 2013 to program sports talk KCSP-AM, Kansas City. The reason for Hanson’s departure is not clear but the staff was alerted in a memo from market SVP Shannon Knoepke, who wrote on January 21, “Reaching out this afternoon to notify the staff that John Hanson is no longer with the company, effective today. More to come as we move forward and work to fill this position.”

WJBC, Bloomington-Normal Adds Michael Koolidge Show. The independently syndicated Michael Koolidge show is added to the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s WJBC-AM, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot. Koolidge says, “We couldn’t be more excited to join WJBC. I’ve been trying to break into the Bloomington-Normal market for years and I’m thrilled that Cumulus’ WJBC decided to pick up the show!” WJBC operations manager Dan Westhoff says, “We are very excited to be adding ‘The Michael Koolidge Show’ to our lineup. Michael’s been very successful throughout Illinois and the Midwest and we can’t wait to have him on WJBC.”

Marc Bernier Show Celebrates 30th Anniversary. Pictured above is WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Benier broadcasting live from DB Pickles restaurant in Ormond Beach, Florida celebrating his 30th year on air as a talk host. The celebration was also a benefit for Halifax Urban Ministries. January 21 was declared “Marc Bernier Show Day” with a flag flown over the state capitol and declarations declared honoring Bernier in the cities and county of Volusia. A number of local and state officials attended the broadcast.

WRHU Radio Hofstra University will Receive World Radio Day Award 2021.  In conjunction with World Radio Day coming up on February 13, the Academy of Radio Arts and Sciences of America has selected WRHU Radio of Hofstra University to receive the 2021 World Radio Day Award. The honor commemorates World Radio Day, established by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) and is celebrated annually on February 13. World Radio Day is intended to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio. WRHU is the first student-run station to receive this honor.  WRHU Radio 88.7 FM is the campus radio station of Hofstra University, a private university located on Long Island in Hempstead, NY. The station has been the recipient of numerous regional, state, and national awards, including three prestigious Marconi Awards from the National Association of Broadcasters (2014, 2017, and 2019).  With studios housed in Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, the station has been committed to training the next generation of radio professionals for more than 60 years in a wide variety of radio genres including news, sports, public affairs, community programming, and music. For the past decade, WRHU has exclusively produced and distributed radio broadcasts of New York Islanders hockey games, the first and only college radio station to have such an agreement with a professional major-league sports team.  “We are immensely honored to receive this award of recognition,” said Mark Lukasiewicz, dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication. “WRHU and its managers and staff deserve enormous credit for carrying on their work throughout the pandemic and providing vital information to the community.”  The annual World Radio Day Award honors a U.S. radio station that exemplifies the best attributes of the radio industry. Recipients may be large or small stations, commercial or noncommercial, located in any market, and broadcasting in any language. The award jury looks for stations that demonstrate ideals of localism, audience reach, community service, effective use of new digital platforms, diversity in program content and staffing, and financial and ratings success.  For this year’s award, the jury has highlighted the work done during the coronavirus pandemic, in light of UNESCO’s theme for the World Radio Day 2021 celebration, which is “New World, New Radio” in the sense that radio is a medium for resilience of our society. The jury of Academy is composed by eight highly qualified professionals of the broadcast industry (in alphabetical order): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Michael Harrison, founder/publisher, TALKERSPaul McLane, editor in chief, Radio WorldMike McVay, president, McVay Media ConsultingFrancisco Montero, partner, Fletcher, Heald & HildrethChris Oliviero, SVP/MM, Entercom New York; Deborah Parenti, publisher, Radio Ink; and Paul Rotella, president of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association. WRHU was recognized for its efforts during the crisis, expanding its content as student and community staffers worked and broadcast from their homes during a New York state lockdown. Hofstra University has been cited on the Best College lists of U.S. News & World ReportThe Princeton ReviewFiskeWashington Monthly, Forbes, LinkedIn and Payscale.com. It is the only university chosen to host U.S. presidential debates in three consecutive election cycles (2008, 2012 and 2016). The World Radio Day Award was initially created by the Spanish Radio Academy to spread awareness of World Radio Day. The annual February 13 commemoration was endorsed by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly and accompanied by the creation of the International Radio Committee, which collaborates with UNESCO to promote World Radio Day each year. Last year, the award went to all-news station, WTOP, Washington DC.  The 2021 World Radio Day Award will be presented to WRHU at Hofstra University in early February. For more information, click here.

Townsquare Media to Repurchase 10 Million Shares. In a press release, Townsquare Media, Inc announces it has entered into an agreement to repurchase a minimum of 10 million of the 12.5 million shares of Class A common stock, shares of Class B common stock and warrants held by funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management L.P., for $6.40 per security, which reflects a 19% discount from the closing price of the Class A common stock on Friday, January 22, 2021. The repurchase was approved by the board of directors following the recommendation of a committee of independent and disinterested directors. The aggregate purchase price is expected to be at least $64 million, subject to the company’s ability to elect to purchase additional securities at closing of the repurchase. At closing, the repurchased securities will be retired and, subject to the company’s election to repurchase additional securities, the company’s outstanding securities will be reduced from approximately 28 million to approximately 18 million. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “We appreciate the opportunity to facilitate this significant transaction with Oaktree and are excited about this repurchase, which secures the exit of a very long-term private equity majority shareholder that current and potential shareholders have described to me consistently as being an obstacle to investing more, or establishing a position, in Townsquare given the significant overhang Oaktree’s holding represented. This repurchase is immediately accretive to shareholders and we thank our board of directors for their vote of confidence in our medium and long-term business plan to grow revenue and profits.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM, Chicago afternoon news anchor Kim Gordon has resigned from the Nexstar Media Group station after 15 years. It’s rumored that Gordon will be joining Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WLS-AM to serve as the afternoon news anchor on the Big John Howell program. Back at WGN, Feder reports that Lauren Lapka will be the news anchor on the Steve Bertrand afternoon program…..iHeartMedia flips sports talk WFXJ-AM, Jacksonville “The Game” to Gospel as “Hallelujah AM930/93.3 HD2.”…..News and sports radio pro Mike Smith is leaving his gig with iHeartMedia’s WBEX-AM, Chillicothe, Ohio to pursue other career opportunities, The 43-year radio pro says, “Thanks to all the great listeners, which many, many of them became life-long friends, and I can say the same about my colleagues being life-long friends and that means more to me than any nice thing that anybody ever said about the job that I did.”

Monday Memo: Who Will Replace Rush?

| January 4, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — It’s talk radio FAQ #1. GMs – excuse me, “market managers,” overseeing more-stations-than-they-have-time-to-hear – are anxious, now forced to pay attention to 15 hours a week they’ve had on autopilot for decades.

Short answer: Nobody can

Thousands of our talk radio brothers and sisters will always owe him for leading the format that extended AM radio’s useful life. On my TV show I reminded Michael Harrison of a prediction he made at the TALKERS New York conference 20 years ago, that talk will eventually save FM, where music formats are now largely robotic and under assault from streaming and satellite competitors that users love. Many pay to subscribe.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

| November 13, 2019

Salem Third Quarter Revenue Down 2.2%. Total revenue for the third quarter of 2019 for Salem Media Group, Inc. was $64.1 million, down 2.2% from the same period in 2018.  It also posted an operating loss of $14.5 million in Q3 compared to operating income of $6.3 million a year ago.  Salem is reporting a net loss of $20 million, or $0.75 net loss per share, “impacted by a $17.5 million loss on the disposition of assets and a $1.9 million impairment of indefinite-lived long-term assets other than goodwill, compared to net income of $1.2 million, or $0.05 net income per diluted share in Q3 of 2018.  Salem breaks its divisions down into three segments: Broadcast, Digital and Publishing.  In the third quarter, net broadcast revenue decreased 2.3% to $47.7 million from $48.8 million.  Same station net broadcast revenue decreased 1.4% to $46.5 million from $47.2 million and same station SOI decreased 11.4% to $10.6 million from $12.0 million.  Digital was also down 12% for Salem to $9.1 million.   However, publishing revenue increased 15.3% to $7.3 million from $6.3 million.  Salem also reports a $17.5 million ($13.0 million, net of tax, or $0.49 per share) net loss on the disposition of assets which includes a $9.9 million estimated pre-tax loss for the pending sale of radio stations WAFS-AM in Atlanta, Georgia, WWDJ-AM in Boston, Massachusetts, WHKZ-AM in Cleveland, Ohio, KEXB-AM (formerly KTNO-AM) in Dallas, Texas, KDMT-AM in Denver, Colorado, KTEK-AM in Houston, Texas, KRDY-AM in San Antonio, Texas and KXFN-AM and WSDZ-AM in St. Louis, Missouri, a $4.7 million pre-tax loss from the sale of radio stations WWMI-AM and WLCC-AM in Tampa, Florida and WZAB-AM and WOCN-AM (formerly WKAT-AM) in Miami, Florida, a $1.6 million pre-tax loss from the sale of radio station WDYZ-AM (formerly WORL-AM) in Orlando, Florida and a $1.3 million pre-tax loss on the exchange of radio station KKOL-AM in Seattle, Washington for KPAM-AM in Portland, Oregon.

DeMann Named Director of Programming for JVC’s Florida Stations. Programming pro Stevie DeMann joins JVC Broadcasting as director of programming for the company’s Florida radio station group that includes talk WDYZ-AM, Orlando and WYGC-FM, Gainesville “Florida Man Radio 660AM/105.5FM” and five music brands.  DeMann was most recently operations manager for Cox Media Group’s Orlando cluster.  DeMann says, “I wanted to find the right situation before getting back into the business.  The team at JVC Florida is the best.  From management to programming, sales and promotions, they are all pros that love working together to create successful local content, events, and promotions.  I am thrilled and thankful to CEO John Caracciolo and EVP Shane Reeve for trusting me to ensure our on-air product is the best.”  Caracciolo comments, “Our company is in rapid-growth mode and we require someone with a significant and successful programming background to show that live and local radio is what listeners and clients want and can be done well.  Stevie’s history and background in Orlando allows JVC such a leg up on the competition in that market.  His experience in big markets like Boston, Orlando, and others will lend a tremendous hand with our already successful team in Gainesville-Ocala.  I am very excited about the future of JVC in Florida and across the country!”

TALKERS News Notes. In Miami, sports radio personality Brian “The Beast” London exits his position with Entercom’s sports talk WAXY-AM, Miami “790 The Ticket” where he was a cast member on the “Tobin & Leroy” morning show and assistant program director for the station…..Today, Lexington, Kentucky news talk WVLK “97.3FM/590 AM” is airing a nine-hour broadcast dedicated to addressing the opioid crisis and how it impacts Central Kentucky and the Commonwealth.  Titled, “Enough: Opioid Awareness Day,” the Cumulus Media station is partnering with Lexington city government, local organizations, and businesses to present the personal stories of addiction and recovery, city and state programs designed to help, the physical and physiological effects that lead to addiction, and alternatives to pain medications…..Envision Networks’ “GeekOut” celebrated the airing of its 500th episode this past weekend.  The daily audio and video vignettes are hosted by Peter Welpton, formerly managing director and resident technology “guru” for longtime, syndicated hosts “Lex and Terry.”  Envision says, “‘GeekOut’ is a daily vignette highlighting everything techies love.  Each episode covers a variety of topics including technology, movies, video games and all things geeky.”…..Lemonada is announcing its third original podcast, “Good Kids: How Not to Raise an A**hole,” is premiering on November 26 with five episodes.   Lemonada co-founders Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs say the new series “is a podcast for anyone in the trenches of parenting or anyone with an opinion on parenting (see: everyone).  For 15 minutes each week, a diverse set of parents, teachers, policy makers, and world shapers grab the mic and offer relevant advice, rants, and reflections on child-rearing today. It’s funny, touching, helpful, and exactly what the world needs right now.”  Earlier this year, Lemonada Media partnered with Cumulus Media’s Westwood One to distribute, sell, and build audiences across the Lemonada network…..There’s a new iHeartRadio Original podcast launching titled, “The Women.”  It’s hosted by Rose Reid and features “personal and candid interviews with some of today’s female changemakers – including artists, politicians, amateur kickboxers, mothers, and lovers – who didn’t back down in the face of resistance.”  Episode one features former CIA agent and current New Mexico congressional candidate Valerie Plame.  Plame revisits the year 2003, when she says the Bush administration blew her cover in retaliation for a critical op-ed written by her husband…..PodcastOne announces the debut of the “Adulting Like A Mother Father” podcast in partnership with The Direct Message Network.  New episodes each Tuesday feature actress and entrepreneur Daniella Monet and her fiancé Andrew Gardner navigating parenthood and defining what it truly means to “adult.”

Impeachment Process/Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, SCOTUS Hears DACA Arguments, Trump-Erdogan Meeting, Bitter Cold U.S. Weather, Hong Kong Violence, and the NFL’s Kaepernick Workout Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/12). The impeachment process against President Trump and allegations against him in the Ukraine affair; the Supreme Court hears arguments about the status of the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act; the controversy surrounding President Trump’s scheduled meeting today (11/13) with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; the unseasonably cold weather affecting the U.S. north and east; the violent protests in Hong Kong; and the NFL-organized workout for quarterback Colin Kaepernick were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Westwood One: AM/FM Radio Gets Out the Vote. The latest installment of the Westwood One blog uses Nielsen Scarborough data and Nielsen Media Impact to show that AM/FM radio is a consistently effective tool “for political campaigns needing to cut through the clutter.”  Some of the conclusions drawn include: AM/FM radio has mass reach: according to Nielsen Scarborough data, AM/FM radio reaches 88% of likely voters, more than the Internet (85%), TV (83%), and Facebook (62%). AM/FM radio also has significantly greater reach among likely voters than SiriusXM(18%), Pandora (17%), and Spotify (10%); AM/FM radio reaches Twitter users: with the recent announcement that Twitter will no longer take political ads leading up to the 2020 election, AM/FM radio steps in to fill the void. According to Scarborough, AM/FM radio (88%) outreaches Twitter (18%) among likely voters. Among likely voters, 90% of Twitter users are reached by AM/FM radio. By investing in AM/FM radio, political campaigns get virtually the entire Twitter audience for free; AM/FM radio reaches every key voting segment: 88% of Democrats, Republicans, and swing voters are reached weekly by AM/FM radio; and AM/FM radio makes your TV better: according to an actual U.S. Senate campaign run in Nielsen Media Impact for an October 2018 media buy, a TV-only media plan achieves a 79% reach. Reallocating 20% of the media budget to AM/FM radio boosts reach to 90%, a +14% increase in incremental reach versus just TV alone for the same budget.  Read the blog here.

NPR and Edison Research: Spoken-Word Audio Consumption Up 20% in the Last Five Years. During yesterday’s webinar, NPR and Edison Research revealed data from The Spoken Word Audio Report that examines listener behaviors and preferences related to spoken word audio – podcasts, news, sports, talk radio, and audiobooks – and includes five years of previously unreleased data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear study.  Among the findings of the report are: The share of time spent listening to spoken word audio has increased 20% since 2014, while time spent with music across the same period decreased 5%.  This shift is led by a dramatic increase in spoken-word audio consumption on mobile devices across age groups and increases in spoken word share among those ages 13-34.  Other findings include: 121 million Americans listen to spoken-word audio each day, an increase of 16 million people in the last five years; growth in spoken-word listening has been greatest among young people: those age 13-34 now spend 19% of their audio time with spoken-word audio (up 58% from 2014); mobile technology use is driving growth in spoken-word audio category: 22% of listening to spoken-word audio in 2019 is now on a mobile device, compared to 9% five years ago; and spoken-word audio yields deep connections and involvement from its consumers, with large percentages of consumers reporting they turn to spoken-word audio content for information, inspiration, entertainment, and companionship.  See the study here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Dylan Salisbury is appointed program director for Cumulus Media’s CHR KKMG, Colorado Springs “98.9 MAGIC FM.”  He moves west from the company’s Indianapolis CHR WZPL where he was serving as assistant PD and music director…..Envision Networks’ “Full Metal Jackie Radio” starring Jackie Kajzer adds Beasley Media Group’s rock WRXK-FM, Ft. Myers “96K-Rock” to its affiliate list as the station adds the program to its Saturday night program schedule. Kajzer is the KILPOP 2018 Metal Programmer of the Year and a four-time FMQB “Metal Host of the Year” recipient for her work on “Full Metal Jackie Radio.”…..Another round of on-air staff reductions at an Entercom cluster, this time in Miami as on-air pro Todd Durkin exits the morning show at country WKIS “99.9 Kiss Country,” classic hits WMXJ “102.7 The Beach” midday host Jade Alexander Mia leaves, and adult contemporary WLYF “101.5 LITE-FM” afternoon personality and APD Kimba is out…..In Madison, three on-air personalities are gone from the airwaves at Midwest Communications stations.  Julie Jacobs is gone from the midday gig at adult contemporary WMGN “Magic 98.”  Dave Ogden exits the middays/APD role at country WWQM “Q106,” and Jason Ryan loses his evening host/traffic reporter gig on “Q106.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One offers a four-hour, Thanksgiving country radio special hosted by CMA and ACM award-winning, multi-platinum artist Luke Combs.  Luke and his friends are going to talk food and traditions with a side of gratitude and a lot of music. Guests joining Combs on the show include: Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Old Dominion, and Kelsea Ballerini.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

| July 16, 2019

APOLLO 11 ANNIVERSARY:  CBS News Radio Correspondent Peter King is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing (7/20) and the stellar 45-year career of a CBS News Radio reporter who has been covering the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the past two decades, Peter King is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harrison (a passionate space enthusiast) and King discuss a wide variety of topics including NASA, US space exploration, memories of the Apollo 11 mission, their love of radio, and the state of journalism in America.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the daily TALKERS email newsletter and every page of Talkers.com.

Esiason Gets The Call to NY State Broadcaster’s Association HOF. Twelve-year Entercom New York City sports talk WFAN morning show co-host, Boomer Esiason, has been selected to the New York State Broadcaster’s Association’s Hall of Fame. The legendary former NFL quarterback will be inducted at the Broadcast Leadership and Hall of Fame luncheon during the NAB New York Show in October. Entercom New York regional president/market manager Susan Larkin remarks, “Boomer has been a cornerstone of this station since his arrival. This distinguished recognition represents his invaluable contributions to our station and industry overall.” In thanking the NY State Broadcaster’s Association “for this incredible honor,” Esiason comments, “It is extremely humbling to be recognized alongside hardworking, accomplished individuals in our industry.” He and Gregg Giannotti form “Boomer and Gio” weekday mornings on WFAN, which is the flagship of the Yankees, Giants, Brooklyn Nets, and New Jersey Devils. After his 14-year NFL career, Esiason debuted as a commentator on ABC-TV’s “Monday Night Football.” For nearly two decades, he has called games for Westwood One/CBS Radio Sports and served as a studio analyst for “The NFL Today” on CBS-TV and Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.”

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with Special Luncheon Address by Salem Radio Network Host Sebastian Gorka.  TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story.  Today’s (7/16) post presents a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network.  Yesterday’s (7/15) post presents the panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and  Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video.  The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York.  Already posted: the special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx;  Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group;  Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with  Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOneSteven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi MediaMichael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Preliminary iHM Q2 Results, NASDAQ Listing. Under the Global Select Market ticker symbol “IHRT,” NASDAQ approves the listing of iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock, par valued at $0.001 per share. Class A shares are expected to begin trading on NASDAQ this Thursday (7/18). Meanwhile, preliminary SEC-filed second-quarter financial show year-to-year revenue rose 2.4% to $913 million. Operating income (OI) was off $1 million to $180, while Adjusted EBITDA grew 3.1% ($255 million to $263 million). Preliminary results have not been audited or reviewed by the company’s independent accountants, and remain subject to review by iHeartMedia’s management and audit committee. Results may differ from actual results, which remain subject to completion of management’s and the audit committee’s final review, as well as the interim review by its independent accountants.

Study: Podcast Ads Least Likely To Be Skipped. Monthly podcast listeners skip digital ad formats the most – online pop-up ads, online banner ads, e-mail advertising, direct mail, and online video. That’s among the nuggets Westwood One uncovered when it teamed with Canadian media research consultancy Audience Insights in a study focused on podcast consumers and their listening habits. Fielded this past March, the report examines podcast consumption habits of 1,407 monthly podcast listeners. It addresses four distinct segments based on when people began listening to podcasts: 313 “Podcast Pioneers” who started listening four or more years ago; 415 who began listening two to three years ago; 327 who began listening in the past seven to 12 months; and 352 “Podcast Newcomers” who began listening within the last six months. Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing Suzanne Grimes states, “The finding that emerging podcast listeners are using a diverse number of platforms signals a turning point for the podcast industry. When compared to the ‘Podcast Pioneers,’ who use Apple Podcasts almost exclusively, ‘Podcast Newcomers’ are open to using multiple platforms to access podcasts.” Audience Insights president Jeff Vidler notes, “This podcast download report expands on much of what we have seen as we put our microscope on Canadian podcast listeners. Podcasting is uniquely engaging, on trend with on-demand content platforms like Netflix or paid music streaming services, but the only one accessible to advertisers.” Other study highlights include: Roughly three of ten (31%) “Podcast Newcomers” typically discover podcasts by hearing about them on terrestrial radio. While the average monthly podcast listener accesses 2.7 podcast platforms, “Podcast Newcomers” use 3.5 platforms. Two of three “Power” podcast listeners follow their favorite podcast hosts on social media. Podcast listeners equally use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to follow their favorite hosts. Approximately two of five (42%) “Power” podcast listeners follow their favorite podcast host on Twitter, compared to 22% of U.S. adults who ever use Twitter. Spotify and Google Podcasts are attracting consumers who recently began listening to podcasts. Among those listening to podcasts over four years, Apple is the leading destination.

SBG President: “Case Is Far From Over.” As we reported yesterday (TALKERS, 7/15), a Los Angeles superior court jury ruled unanimously in favor of independent syndicator of radio live play-by-play Sports USA in its multi-year violation of contract suit against Sun Broadcasting Group. The jury awarded Sports USA damages in excess of $2 million as compensation for Sun’s breach of its advertising representation agreement with Sports USA. Sun Broadcast Group president Jason Bailey, however, stresses, “This case is far from over. We were shocked and saddened by the verdict in Pacific West Radio Sports, LLC (d/b/a Sports USA) v. Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. Despite establishing wrongdoing by Sports USA from even before the inception of the agreement between the parties, the jury granted judgment in favor of Sports USA. The jury reached that verdict without the benefit of being able to consider key evidence of Sports USA’s wrongdoing. Sun was barred from introducing that evidence at trial on hearsay grounds. We remain determined to see that justice is done, and plan to pursue every available avenue to overturn this result so that Sports USA’s improper business practices are exposed and no other company falls victim. This verdict involves the old Sun, which has not traded since late 2018. It does not involve the current SBG-owned and operated by Gen Media Partners.” Bailey further notes, “This will be the only statement I will make on the matter while we work through the appeal process.”

Three Moody Radio AM Stations Are On The Block. With plans to exit the AM radio business, Moody Radio is set to spin off its three AM facilities. Chicago-based operator Moody Bible Institute will focus on FM network expansion. Senior vice president of media Greg Thornton writes, “Moody Radio seeks to transform the world for Jesus Christ, one listener at a time, by producing and delivering quality, creative, biblical content, which helps people take the next step in their journey with Jesus. In looking to the future, Moody Radio is committed to double [our] overall impact by  2030. Our strategic roadmap to achieving this bold vision includes audience growth through market expansion/realignment, and content development strategies.” Thornton recognizes “the limitations of AM broadcasting today, including [that] many AM stations only broadcast in the daytime.” Thus, Moody Radio will be selling Spanish religion WMBI W268AY “Moody Radio – AM 1110,” Chicago; Spanish religion WDLM “Moody Radio – AM 960,” East Moline/Quad Cities, Illinois; and Spanish religion WGNR “Moody Radio – AM 1470,” Anderson, Indiana. According to Thornton, “Listeners in these cities will still hear Moody Radio 24 hours a day on our strong FM signals. Proceeds from the sale of these three AM licenses will be used to further the expansion of Moody Radio through the addition of digital/online content, new apps in both English and Spanish, and the acquisition of select FM broadcast licenses.”

TALKERS News Notes.  As part of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing investigating charges of bias against conservatives, Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager will testify at 2:30 pm (ET) today (Tuesday, 7/16). Prager’s opening statement has already been submitted and, in part, he states, “I have been communicating this appreciation of America for 35 years as a radio talk show host, the last 20 in national syndication with the Salem Radio Network, an organization that is a blessing in American life.” According to Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup, videos from Prager’s “online Prager University have been blocked as ‘controversial’ by Google and other search engines. Google officials deny any political bias or filtering of conservative viewpoints.” Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz is the chair of today’s hearing ….. In two weeks (7/30 & 7/31), Westwood One News’ coverage of the Democratic National Committee-sanctioned/CNN-produced Democratic Presidential Debates will air from Detroit. Westwood One News correspondent Evan Haning will anchor, starting at 7:59 pm (ET) both nights, while Bob Costantini handles on-scene reporting and will be available for live Q&A from the Motor City. The network will offer stations an unanchored feed and one-minute special reports each night at the top and bottom of the hour (8:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) ….. Set to rejoin WTEM “980 The Team” in three weeks (8/5) is Kevin Sheehan, who wasn’t retained when Radio One acquired the Washington (DC) sports talk outlet late last year. Sheehan co-hosted mornings with Chris Cooley and will return for 7:00 am – 10:00 am duty. Radio One senior regional vice president Jeff Wilson comments, “I’m elated to have Kevin Sheehan back home on ‘The Team.’ His unique approach to the sports landscape, combined with his overwhelming passion, provides an entertainment destination for listeners throughout the Nation’s Capital.” Prior to departing last year, Sheehan had been with WTEM 14 years and states, “I’m looking forward to coming home – it’s great to be back.” ….. The first three Jim Rutt Show podcasts went live yesterday (Monday, July 15) on JimRuttShow.com. The series will examine “cutting-edge thinking” in science and technology, and the future of our economic, political and social systems and institutions. The past chair of The Santa Fe Institute; former chief executive officer of Network Solutions; and first CTO of Thomson-Reuters, Rutt was called “the internet’s bad boy” by The New York Times for his reputation for creative mischief. A complete collection of Rutt’s podcasts, including show transcripts, episode highlights, guest biographies, and links are available on the aforementioned website.

Line Drives. This past weekend, NBC Sports Radio produced seven radio shows from the driving range at Edgewood Tahoe golf course in Lake Tahoe (Nevada), site of the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament. Flanking MLB Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz (center) are Tim Murray and Michael Jenkins, hosts of NBC Sports Radio’s “The Daily Line.” Launched this past January in conjunction with Westwood One, “The Daily Line” is a weekday, 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm sports talk show, focusing on sports betting.

Trump’s Controversial Tweets; US Immigration Policy/Detention Facilities; 2020 Presidential Race; and US-China Trade War Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15). President Donald Trump’s Tweets attacking four Congressional Democratic women of color; conditions for migrants detained at the border; the relative standing and contributions raised by Democratic Party presidential candidates; and the US-China trade war’s impact on the Chinese economy were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

CRB Elects 2019 – 2020 Board of Directors. Returning as board president of the Country Radio Broadcasters is Townsquare Media’s Kurt Johnson; Cumulus Media’s John Shomby is elected vice president; and SummitMedia’s Beverlee Brannigan returns as secretary. Johnson remarks, “This is one of the strongest boards CRB has ever had. [I am] so proud to work with this group of radio and Music Row leaders to present country with the best CRS ever – February 19 – 21, 2020.” This year’s board of directors are: Chuck Aly (Country Aircheck); Beverlee Brannigan (SummitMedia); Becky Brenner (Albright & O’Malley & Brenner Consulting); Johnny Chiang (KKBQ-FM, Houston); George Couri (Triple 8 Management); Andy Denemark (United Stations); Ryan Dokke (Curb); Mike Dungan (UMG); John Esposito (Warner Music Nashville); Dan Halyburton (Falls Media); Debra Herman (Apple); Steve Hodges (Sony Nashville); Clay Hunnicutt, Dave Kelly (Big Machine Label Group); Jon Loba (BBR/BMG); Mike McVay (McVay Media); Charlie Morgan (Emmis Communications); Rod Phillips (iHeartCountry); Tim Roberts (WYCD, Detroit); Royce Risser (UMG); Bob Richards (Emmis Communications/WLHK, Indianapolis); Brittany Schaffer (Spotify); John Shomby (Cumulus Media); Lesly Simon (Pearl Records); Matt Sunshine (CFSS); Joel Raab (Joel Raab Country Radio/Media); Ryan Redington (Amazon Music); Kristen Williams (Warner); and Charlie Monk continues as a lifetime director emeritus.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Many stations are noting the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first-ever “moon walk” (July 20, 1969) with Apollo lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin. Without question, one of the cleverest promotions is being done by the program director of Cumulus Media Salt Lake City country-formatted KUBL “K-Bull 93” … Travis Moon. As part of the “Travis Moon Walk,” which began today (Tuesday, 7/16) at 7:00 am and is expected to end Saturday (7/20) coinciding with that history-making mission, Moon plans to “walk” more than 80 miles to raise money for Salt Lake City-based Shriner’s Hospitals For Children. Hoping to travel approximately 16 miles a day, Moon admits it will be a “long, tough walk. The exciting part is the unknown – if I can actually do this physically. I guess we will all find out.” While on foot from (Utah cities) Provo to Ogden, Moon will discuss the hospital’s purpose and invite listeners to make donations ….. “California Live,” a 30-minute lifestyle/entertainment show, which airs on Los Angeles’ KNBC-TV (as well as KNTV-TV, San Jose and KNSD-TV, San Diego) has added “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” co-host Sisanie as a correspondent. In her latest segment, Sisanie visits Los Angeles’ first cat cafe experience, where customers can drink coffee while cuddling rescue cats that are up for adoption ….. Starting next Monday (7/22), Sytonnia “Toni” Moore joins Cox Media Group Atlanta urban AC WALR “Kiss 104.1” as co-host/news anchor on the (5:00 am – 9:00 am) “Morning Groove” with Art Terrell and Corey “Zooman” Miller. The station’s director/branding and programming, Terri Avery, declares, “Toni Moore is the real deal. Her experience and passion for radio is beyond compare and will take ‘Kiss 104.1’ to new levels.” Moore remarks, “This is an incredible opportunity: I’m thrilled and honored to be joining the powerhouse that is Cox Media Group and ‘Kiss 104.1.’ It’s a dream I’ve had for a few years. It’s beyond exciting to see it come to fruition.” Moore previously was an on-air personality for cross-town Entercom urban contemporary and sports talk siblings WVEE “V-103” and WZGC “92.9 The Game,” as well as a sports reporter for the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Falcons ….. Continuing his role as afternoon-drive host, Andy Chanley adds music director duties at California State University – Northridge’s KCSN & Saddleback College’s KSBR, Mission Viejo (both California, simulcast on 88.5). General manager Patrick Osborn proclaims, “Andy has done it all in this market – mornings, middays, afternoon drive – and has vast experience in all the rock format genres. I’m happy to say we are operating at full strength with great, experienced broadcasters in every position.” Program director Marc “Mookie” Kaczor notes, “Andy is such an asset for us. He’s an incredible personality and he’s been a great sounding-board for me. We’re constantly bouncing ideas off of each other.” Chanley adds, “There’s no station in the world like 88.5 FM. It’s a special blend of music and people — on both sides of the transmitter — that makes radio fun again. I’m really proud to be on this team, and beyond excited at the opportunity to help steer the rudder even more.” KCSN and KSBR began simulcasting just over two years ago …. Three-year WUSN “US-99” nighttime talent Kimmie Caruba departs the Entercom country outlet. Caruba was previously heard in the same day-part in Phoenix on co-owned KMLE “Country @ 107.9,” and she did mid-days in that Arizona market on cluster-mate KALV “Live 101.5.” ….. A six-episode podcast on Milwaukee’s hip-hop history, “Backspin,” debuted yesterday (Monday, 7/15) on Radio Milwaukee triple A WYMS “88Nine.” Hosted by hip-hop expert Tyrone Miller (“DJ Bizzon”) and “88Nine” music director Justin Barney, “Backspin” provides an insightful view into black America in the late-1970s and early-1980s, through the lens of hip-hop. Miller comments, “The series is about so much more than who recorded Milwaukee’s first hip-hop song. It’s about the journey of getting to that song. Hip-hop is more than a genre: It’s connected everywhere – radio, movies, TV, and fashion. It’s in every piece of culture.” ….. After departing two months ago from Townsquare Media, “Taste of Country Nights” host Sam Alex surfaced yesterday (Monday, 7/15) on the eponymous “Sam Alex Show.” Affiliate licensing and sales for the syndicated program are being handled by Sun Broadcast Group. Alex notes (in Forbes Magazine) that he’s “so excited about this new chapter. The world of radio,” he opines, “has changed so much in the past decade, with continued consolidations, new technology, and increased competition to discover new music. This change positions me to have full creative control and reach listeners in new ways.” ….. KDVV “V-100 Topeka’s Rock Leader” 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm talent Randy Raley adds PD duties at the Cumulus Media rocker and classic hits cluster-mate KWIC “99.3 The Eagle.” Cumulus Topeka operations manager Amber Lee notes, “Randy brings significant on-air experience and format knowledge to these stations and to our programming team.” According to Raley, “I’ve been a radio geek since an early age – I’m happy to be taking the programming reins at the legendary ‘V-100.’ Amber Lee has put together an incredible staff and we’re going to do great things together.” St. Louis Classic Rock Hall of Famer Raley did afternoon drive on St. Louis’ KSHE  for 13 years and has worked in Kansas City at KYYS “KY-102,” and KCFX “101 The Fox.” ….. Among the latest affiliates for Envision Networks’ “The Wolfman Jack Radio Show” is Metro Radio Berkeley Springs, West Virginia classic hits-oldies WXDC. The show airs Saturday nights starting at 7:00 pm on “Cool 92.9 – Good Times/Great Oldies.”

 

 

June 2019 PPM Data – Part Four. June 2019 ratings information has been released for Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 survey period covered May 23 – June 19. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

| May 7, 2019

TALKERS EXCLUSIVE:  A Conversation with Mike McVay.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison engaged in an exclusive audio conversation earlier this morning (5/7) with outgoing Cumulus Media executive vice president of content and programming Mike McVay.  McVay, who will be staying on with the company in an executive capacity until July at which point, he will launch his own consultation firm with Cumulus being its first client, discusses the details of the transition and some of his personal sentiments about the change.  This excerpt will be part of a larger, deep-dive conversation between Harrison and McVay that will be posted in full on Tuesday, May 14 as next week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne presentation, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  To listen to this informational excerpt, please click 

      here
.

Rich Zeoli to Move to Mornings on WPHT, Philadelphia.  TALKERS magazine hears that current afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli is moving to the morning daypart on the Entercom news/talk station.  Zeoli would assume the position most recently held by Chris Stigall, who exited the station earlier this year.  Zeoli joined WPHT as a talk host in 2010.

Townsquare Media’s Q1 Report: Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 4.7%.  Revenue was up for Townsquare Media, Inc. comparing the first quarter of 2019 to the same period in 2018.  Net revenue for Q1 of 2019 was $ 93.7 million, up 6.5%.  On a pro forma basis (excluding revenue from the July 2018 acquisition of three Trenton market signals), net revenue was up 4.7%.  Breaking apart the company’s three segments – advertising, interactive, and live events – advertising revenue was up 3.9% over the same period in 2018, interactive jumped 31.6%, while live events dipped 8.6%.  Pro forma net loss for the first quarter decreased $21.5 million, or 81.8%, to a net loss of $4.8 million, compared to a net loss of $26.3 million in the same period in 2018.  Townsquare Media CEO Bill Wilson says, “Townsquare is off to a great start in 2019 with strong operational and financial performance, demonstrated by our first quarter Adjusted EBITDA growth of 8.3%.  We have continued the strong momentum we experienced throughout 2018, as our team once again delivered double-digit revenue growth in our Townsquare Ignite and Townsquare Interactive divisions, leading to total net revenue growth of 6.5% in the first quarter of 2019.  As a result of our continued growth and strength in digital, we are pleased to announce that for the first time in our history, digital revenue contributed over one-third of the company’s total net revenue.  Given our diversified revenue base, today and moving forward we believe Townsquare is best described as a premier local media and digital marketing solutions company. To that point, beginning in the first quarter of 2019 I am very pleased to share that we have provided segmentation of our financial results.  In particular this will allow you to see the strong profit that is generated by Townsquare Interactive, our digital marketing solutions business which currently serves approximately 16,200 monthly subscribers.  In the first quarter of 2019, Townsquare Interactive had net revenue growth of 31.6% and Adjusted Operating Income growth of 34.8%, operating at a 31% margin.  As noted previously, we believe that Townsquare Interactive, as well as our Townsquare Ignite division, will each generate $100 million in annual net revenue within the next three to five years.”

Brian Kilmeade Named 2019 Recipient of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award.  Described by Michael Harrison as “one of this era’s most prolific communicators in national talk media,” the TALKERS editorial board has selected Fox News Channel “Fox & Friends” co-host (6:00 am – 9:00 am ET)  and Fox News Radio syndicated program host (9:00 am – 12:00 noon ET) Brian Kilmeade as the publication’s 2019 recipient of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech.  Kilmeade is also a prolific best-selling author who has written a number of books about American history shedding new light on such figures as George WashingtonThomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson among others.  According to Harrison, “Brian Kilmeade is a hard working media pro who has been turning in six straight hours per morning on both radio and cable TV year after year tackling the most controversial issues confronting the nation on a very big stage and facing the heat that comes with sticking your neck out on a regular basis.  His books about largely overlooked but highly significant chapters in American history have also added to a greater understanding of where this country came from written in language that is clear and compelling to the average person.  This man understands the First Amendment and knows how to exercise it on a level that keeps it alive and well in a turbulent environment in which it is always under assault.”  The award recognizes broadcasting achievement in raising consciousness and awareness of the First Amendment, displaying courage and commitment in exercising First Amendment rights and contributing to the viability of the First Amendment through deed and example.  The non-partisan award, one of the most prestigious and high-profile honors presented to individuals in the talk media industry, has a colorful (and often controversial) history that goes back to the early 1990s when the modern era of talk radio emerged and the format became recognized as an influential forum of public policy and social change following the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine.  It was re-named in honor of talk radio pioneer Gene Burns upon his death in May 2013. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Gene Burns was the model by which the Freedom of Speech Award delivered at our national conventions was developed.  It is only fitting that this institution bears the name of this great champion of the ideals and foundation upon which contemporary spoken-word radio is built.”  Last year’s recipient of the Freedom of Speech Award was SiriusXM Satellite Radio “Urban View” channel personality Karen Hunter.  Recipients over the years include Rush LimbaughThom HartmannAl FrankenSean HannityAlan ColmesJim FarleyJuan WilliamsJoe Madison, Michael Savage, Norm PattizBill O’ReillyMatt DrudgeBob GrantG. Gordon Liddy, and Brian Lamb among others.  This year’s award will be presented to Brian Kilmeade at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story in New York on Friday, June 7.  The convention is close to being a sellout.  For registration information, please click here.

TALKERS News Notes.  KGLO, Mason City, Iowa news director Bob Fisher was recently honored by the Iowa Broadcast News Association during its 2018 Awards Contest.  Fisher picked up eight awards, including two first-place honors – one for Political Coverage and another for General Reporting.  Fisher and Alpha Media’s KGLO have received a total of 92 awards in the last 15 years. He just concluded serving as past-president of the Iowa Broadcast News Association’s board of directors and retired from the board after serving 14 of the last 15 years…..ABC Radio is offering three Memorial Day weekend specials for affiliate stations: “Country Summer Road Trip,” “A Decade of Rock Hits,” and “America Remembers 2019.” Country artist Luke Combs hosts the country music special, rock legend Don Felder is host of the rock hits show, and ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky reports on how combat, training, and suicide have taken a toll on American service members, in “America Remembers 2019.” ABC says, “Some have died afar, in the nation’s longest war or in another country’s civil war; some have died close to home in training exercises meant to prepare, not kill; and some have died at home, from the effects of an earlier deployment.  The three-hour ABC News special profiles these service members who lost their lives and the families they’ve left behind.”

Trump’s China Tariffs Threat, Mueller Report Aftermath/Trump Obstruction Letter, 2020 Presidential Politics, Trump Approval Ratings, Trump Tax Returns Fight, UN Species Extinction Report, U.S.-Iran Tensions, ‘Game of Thrones,’ Kentucky Derby Disqualification, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). The financial markets react to President Trump’s renewed tariff threat against China; the aftermath of the Mueller Report and the letter signed by some 400 former prosecutors stating President Trump’s action constituted obstruction of justice; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; a new Gallup poll shows Trump’s approval rating at 46%, his highest since taking office; House Democrats’ attempts to get Trump’s tax returns; the UN report concluding that plant and animal species are disappearing at a rapid rate; concerns about Iranian threats to U.S. interests in the region; Sunday’s episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”; the first-ever disqualification of a Kentucky Derby winner; and the NBA playoffs 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. Programming and on-air pro Joel Weiss joins Cumulus Media as APD and music director for its alternative KCJK “X105.1” and CHR KCHZ “95-7 The Vibe” in Kansas City.  Weiss was most recently with Beasley Media’s alternative WBOS, Boston, prior to its recent flip to rock. He’ll also host the evening program on KCJK.  Mike O’Reilly is PD for the stations, and he says, “The timing of being able to integrate Joel into our ‘X’ and ‘Vibe’ brands is truly remarkable.  It’s not every day you find such a creative, talented programming vet with Joel’s unique skill set and unanimous favor in the industry.”…..Mediabase promotes Gregg Miller to vice president of sales/client services.  Miller joined Mediabase in 1997 after management positions at Polygram Records, Enigma Records, and Broadcast Data Systems.  His current duties will focus on airplay reporting and music trends for Mediabase clients…..WAXQ, New York “Q104.3” morning drive co-host Shelli Sonstein was appointed to the rank of Honorary Battalion Chief by Fire Department of New York Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro for her continued support of the New York City Fire Department and her contributions to the community during a ceremony on Monday (5/6).  Nigro stated, “Shelli Sonstein is a tremendous advocate for the FDNY, in particular, our members battling illnesses related to their brave work during the World Trade Center rescue and recovery effort.  She is extremely active in the September 11th community, educating her listeners and raising awareness about the growing list of fallen heroes in our Department.”…..On May 3, radio and CMT personality Cody Alan took the stage at KASE, Austin’s “The Night Before” surprise concert with station personalities Anne Hudson and Anthony “The AntMan” Allen to help introduce the secret headliners: Waterloo Revival, Russell Dickerson, and Morgan Wallen.  The event was held at Maggie Mae’s in Austin and is a free, annual event leading up to the iHeartCountry Festival in Austin.  Pictured below (from l-r) are: Alan, “CMT After MidNite” and “CMT Radio Live” correspondent Marley Sherwood, Hudson, and Allen.

Monday, May 6, 2019

| May 6, 2019

Cumulus Media Names Brian Philips EVP of Content and Audience; Mike McVay to Return to Consulting. Effective today, radio and television executive Brian Philips is being appointed executive vice president, content and audience for Cumulus Media, taking over for Michael McVay, who is returning to full-time consulting, with Cumulus as his first client.  Philips previously served as president of Viacom/MTV Network’s CMT channel.  The press release notes that there, Philips led “the music network’s successful forays into long-form script series, tentpole awards shows, concert specials, and feature films.  He also developed CMT’s successful national radio network.”  Prior to working in TV and film, Philips worked in radio programming with such stations as Cumulus’ WNNX-FM and WWWQ-FM in Atlanta, and KPLX-FM, Dallas.  Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner says, “We are excited that Brian is joining our leadership team.  A highly accomplished executive, leader, and innovator with substantial experience across today’s media landscape, he comes to us with an impressive and successful track record of growing ratings and expanding audiences.  We look forward to benefiting from the skills and expertise he brings to his new role. I would also like to thank Mike for his significant contributions to Cumulus and for being such a great partner to me.”  McVay underscores that the decision to leave Cumulus and return to consulting was entirely his.  In praising McVay, Berner adds, “Mike’s accomplishments since his appointment as EVP, content and programming in 2015 are too numerous to count.  To name just a few, under Mike’s leadership of the office of programming, we reversed four years of ratings share declines, and saw years of ratings share growth.  We are currently posting the best ratings since 2011 on some of our biggest and most important stations.  Mike has helped to expand Westwood One’s programming, participating in the launch of several new shows, including the very successful ‘The Ben Shapiro Show.’  Mike has also led us in increasing our reach beyond over the air listening to include smart speakers and all online listening.”

Monday Memo: Show Me Your Show. On smart talk stations, weekends are appointment listening and might be the two most profitable days of the week, “NOT incompatible goals” according to consultant Holland Cooke.  “Yet,” he notes, “programming Saturdays and Sundays can be high-maintenance for stations, and getting airtime is challenging for talent.” In this week’s Monday Memo, HC recommends a win-win road map to weekend airtime.  Read it here.

Simonson Named Director of Sales at Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach. Radio sales pro Gregory Simonson is appointed director of sales for Hubbard Radio’s recently acquired West Palm Beach station group that includes news/talk WFTL, Fort Lauderdale and sports talk WMEN, Royal Palm Beach “640 The Hurricane,” and four music-formatted stations.  Simonson was most recently general sales manager with Beasley Media Group’s Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster.  Hubbard Radio SVP and market manager Elizabeth Hamma states, “I’m very happy to welcome Gregory to the Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach family.  His extensive track record of success in traditional and digital media as well as his passion for helping sales people succeed make Gregory a perfect choice to lead our sales team to new heights.”  Last fall, Hubbard agreed to acquire the cluster from Alpha Media for $88 million.

‘Our American Stories’ Passes 180-Affiliate Mark. The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program from American Private Radio announces the addition of eight new affiliate stations to the program’s roster, putting over the 180-station mark. APR president and show host Lee Habeeb says, “Stations told us they wanted a radio program that wasn’t always about politics, to give listeners a break from the news cycle.  More importantly, they love the topics we share every night, and we take great pride in putting stories together that touch our listeners’ hearts and minds.  People walk away feeling better when they listen to ‘Our American Stories.’”  New stations include Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis-St. Paul.

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast is being launched starring iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman, titled, “Math & Magic: Stories From the Frontiers of Marketing,” on the iHeartPodcast Network beginning on May 14.  The program will feature interviews with “visionary executives from the media and entertainment industries.”  In the first two episodes. Pittman talks with Maurice Levy, who, during his tenure as CEO of Publicis Groupe, increased the value of the company by 100 times and expanded a French agency into a true global advertising and communications leader; and Scooter Braun, renowned talent entrepreneur, investor and entertainment executive who boosted the careers of international superstars such as Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and many others…..Boston Herald-based nationally syndicated columnist and Boston Herald Radio show host Adriana Cohen recently hosted President Trump on her weekly program. Cohen tells TALKERS that the almost-20-minute interview went viral after being picked up by Politico, Boston Globe, Newsweek, Fox News, The Blaze, The Hill, and others…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that staffers at Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM are getting some backing from fellow union members as they negotiate with the company for raises for the newsroom’s eight assistant producers.  The Writers Guild of America will rally outside the WBBM studios in the Prudential Building today (5/6)…..Washington University in St. Louis is awarding seven people with honorary degrees at a ceremony during the school’s 2019 commencement on May 17 and one of those is SiriusXM Urban View talk host Joe Madison.  The commencement address will be delivered by Michael Bloomberg.  Madison graduated from Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in 1971…..WTMJ, Milwaukee cleaned up at the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards Gala in Madison over the weekend.  The Good Karma Brands news/talk station won first place in 21 categories, including: News/Talk Large Market Station of the Year, Radio News Operation of the Year (Large Market); Social and Digital Operation of the Year (Large market); Best Newscast: Wisconsin’s Afternoon News; and more. Pictured below with the station’s awards are WTMJ staffers (from l-r): Nick Van Wagenen, Erik Bilstad, Jordan Gasiorowski, Steve Wexler, Steve Scaffidi, Jane Matenaer, Jay SorgiBrad Lane, Doug Russell, Melissa Barclay, and Mike Spaulding.

Mueller Report/Trump on Mueller Testimony, 2020 Presidential Politics, China Trade War Escalation, U.S.-Iran Tensions, North Korea Missile Test, Israel-Gaza Violence, ‘Game of Thrones,’ Avengers: Endgame, Kentucky Derby Disqualification, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of the release of the Mueller Report and President Trump’s tweets saying Robert Mueller should not testify before congress; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; markets react as Trump threatens to ramp up U.S.-China trade war; U.S. carrier group heads to Iran in response to reports of Iranian threats to U.S. interests in the region; reaction to North Korea’s latest missile test; the rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza; Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones”; the Avengers: Endgame movie sets new record; the Kentucky Derby winner is disqualified; and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

George Beasley Inducted into PA Radio Hall of Fame. Pictured above is Beasley Broadcast Group founder and chairman George Beasley at center with his wife Ann and surrounded by their family at the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters’ 2019 Gold Medal Awards Dinner yesterday (5/5) in Hershey where he was inducted into the PAB’s Hall of Fame.  Beasley was inducted with fellow honorees: comic and actor/director Bob Saget, Pittsburgh Steelers great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis, and C-SPAN correspondent Steve Scully.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Los Angeles alternative rocker KROQ announces the debut of the afternoon drive “Stryker and Klein” program featuring Ted Stryker (left) and Kevin Klein (right).  Entercom Los Angeles SVP and market manager Jeff Federman says, “Pairing Stryker and Klein is something we could never have imagined just a few years ago.  Individually, they’ve both had tremendous success throughout their careers.  Adding great content to our afternoon programming is something that we’re very committed to and these guys do a fantastic job connecting the music to fun and interesting conversations.”  Stryker has been with the station since 1999.  Klein hosted mornings on the company’s KITS-FM, San Francisco “Live 105.” He was slated to be the morning host at sports talk KWFN, San Diego but the infamous Coronado Bridge social media post bit derailed his gig on that station…..The search is on for the new morning show at Entercom’s country WUSN, Chicago “US99” after Doug Stylz and Justin Roman exited the station on Friday (5/3).  The duo previously hosted the morning show at sister CHR WBBM-FM, “B96” before taking on the morning show role at “US99.”…..Premiere Networks-syndicated evening personality Delilah recently hosted the “Our Town, Our Heroes Celebration,” a local event recognizing listeners for their outstanding work in the Wilmington, Delaware area, produced by Beasley-owned affiliate WJBR, Wilmington “Mix 99.5.”  In addition to helping honor local citizen’s Delilah was surprised by WJBR as the station honored her for her philanthropic efforts with her non-profit foundation, Point Hope, that serves as a voice for forgotten children in the U.S. foster care system and in West Africa.

Friday, February 1, 2019

| February 1, 2019

Anderssen Adds Atlanta Duties at WSB-AM. Continuing as Cox Media Group’s news, talk, and sports format coordinator, Drew Anderssen is appointed senior operations/program manager for the company’s Atlanta news/talk outlet, WSB-AM. Director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs notes, “Drew and I have worked in lockstep for the last five years as format leaders for all of our outstanding Cox Media Group news/talk stations. He brings an overwhelming amount of experience and passion and I look forward to continuing our partnership to ensure [WSB-AM] remains a dominant leader in the radio space.” Anderssen comments that WSB-AM is “one of America’s strongest and most iconic radio stations. It has been a career-long dream of mine to become part of this award-winning team. I am thrilled to work one-on-one with Pete Spriggs and the entire team to help shape the future of the WSB brand.” Anderssen previously oversaw programming, news, digital, and social media planning as OM/PD at co-owned WDBO-FM, Orlando. Prior to joining Cox Media Group in 1998 as Tulsa news/talk KRMG’s operations manager, he spent several years in promotions, research, and programming in Texas and Oklahoma. WSB-AM – which had been #1 the past 37 Nielsen Audio sweeps – is a combined -2.1 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (8.6 – 7.9 – 6.5, 6+) as it segues to #2. Prior to November 2018, WSB-AM was a collective +1.1 in three straight gains (7.5 – 7.9 – 8.2 – 8.6, 6+).

Thrall To Call Some Reds Ballgames. Seven-year Pensacola Blue Wahoos play-by-play announcer Tommy Thrall bumps up from the Double A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds to “the show,” joining the Reds’ broadcast team on iHeartMedia news/talk WLW and the Reds’ radio network. After 45 years of calling Reds’ games, Marty Brennaman will be retiring after this season; Jeff Brantley will continue working alongside Brennaman as color analyst. Reds senior vice president of business operations Karen Forgus notes, “Tommy Thrall was added to our broadcast staff for 2019 as our ‘utility’ broadcaster. His duties will include hosting the ‘Reds on Radio’ post-game show and producing stories and interviews for the radio pre-game show. Additionally, he will fill-in on play-by-play for the games Marty is not working. We have no plans beyond 2019 at this time.” Blue Wahoos president Jonathan Griffith comments, “We are incredibly proud of Tommy for taking this well-deserved step in his career. Since Opening Day 2012, he has been an invaluable part of our organization and we are grateful for his numerous contributions to ‘Hoosville.’” Thrall and Brantley worked together on three games last September. They are scheduled to call the Reds – Chicago White Sox spring training matchup later this month (2/27).

Applications Now Accepted For Mildred Carter MIW Group Mentoring Program. In its 18th year, this experience pairs up-and-coming women currently working in the radio industry with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio broadcasting and media. Beasley Media Group is once again lead sponsor of the initiative for women interested in advancing their careers. Chair of the 2019 Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group’s mentoring committee/Entercom Chicago national sales manager Lindsay Cerajewski states, “This unique initiative provides an amazing opportunity for mentees to gain valuable insight, knowledge, and access to some of the most influential women in radio. It is very rewarding to watch our mentees grow professionally throughout the year.” MIW Group spokeswoman Denyse Mesnik adds, “We are absolutely thrilled Beasley Media Group has once again generously offered to serve as lead sponsor of MIW Group’s heritage Mildred Carter Mentoring Program; we look forward to another successful year.” Four candidates within the radio industry will be selected for this year’s program. At least one spot will be designated for a programming candidate, and one spot for a digital candidate. The MIW Group Mentoring Program is named in the memory of Mildred Carter, who, along with her husband, Andrew “Skip” Carter, founded the first African-American-owned radio station in the United States, when they signed-on Kansas City’s KPRS in 1950. Deadline to apply for the mentoring program is in less than three weeks (2/20).

Blues Skating To Hubbard St. Louis. Effective with the 2019-2020 National Hockey League season, games of the St. Louis Blues will shift from Entercom news/talk KMOX to Hubbard sports talk WXOS “101 ESPN.” According to Hubbard St. Louis vice president and market manager John Kijowski, “It has always been a dream to partner with the St. Louis Blues organization. The Blues management team is a class act and their fans are the best in professional hockey.” WXOS band content director Chris “Hoss” Neupert adds, “The ‘101 ESPN’ team is excited to be the new home for the St. Louis Blues. Our entire team is looking forward to our partnership with the St. Louis Blues and the opportunity to offer innovative content, exclusive interviews, analysis, and coverage for St. Louis fans.”

Veteran Talk Programmer and Communications Professor David Bernstein Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most seasoned radio programmers in the industry, David Bernstein, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Bernstein, who’s programmed such heritage outlets as WOR, New York; WRKO and WBZ-AM, Boston; WTIC-AM, Hartford; and WPRO-AM, Providence, is currently the general manager of TALKERS magazine’s experimental radio showcase TalkersRadio and has been serving as a professor in the Department of Communication at Caldwell University in New Jersey for the past three years. Harrison and Bernstein engage in an informal chat about his view of our changing society from the front-line perspective of teaching a college communications class. Check it out! To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and every page on Talkers.com.

FSR Sets Super Bowl Programming. Among the highlights on Fox Sports Radio’s schedule this Sunday (2/3) is a weekend edition of “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell,” who will be joined by betting experts Steve Fezzik and Brad Powers, as well as FSR personality Jonas Knox. Super Bowl Sunday, of course, is considered the biggest sports betting event of the year. The network’s complete lineup this Sunday includes: Andy Furman and Brian Noe (6:00 am – 9:00 am); Mike Harmon and Kelvin Washington (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell” (12:00 noon – 1:00 pm); Mark Willard and Rich Ohrnberger (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm); Steve Hartman and Ephraim Salaam (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm); Arnie Spanier and Chris Plank (throughout the Super Bowl game); and Jonas Knox (11:00 pm – 2:00 am).

RTDNF Tabs Klobuchar As “First Amendment Defender.” This year’s First Amendment Defender award from the Radio Television Digital News Foundation to Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar will be presented next month (3/13) in Washington, DC. RTDNF chair Scott Libin comments, “Senator Klobuchar has been a staunch defender of First Amendment freedoms over the years. She has supported cameras in courts; worked to advance government transparency; and pursued protections for the press through oversight, including her questioning of Attorney General-designate William Barr. Her record represents exactly the sort of leadership RTDNF seeks to recognize. As a constituent of Senator Klobuchar and as someone who has led Twin Cities newsrooms during the decades of her distinguished career, it is my honor to extend this recognition.”

WBUR’s CitySpace Opens Later This Month. The 8,700-square-foot, high-tech multipurpose facility at The Lavine Broadcast Center officially opens to the public in several weeks (2/28), but Boston mayor Marty Walsh joined executives of Boston University-owned public radio news/talk WBUR for a ribbon cutting at the Commonwealth Avenue site on Wednesday (1/30). WBUR general manager Charles Kravetz comments, “CitySpace will be the home for public conversation in Boston. It brings the best of WBUR and NPR to life – it is a destination where people can come together to engage in civic dialogue, to wrestle with big ideas, to be inspired, to be entertained, and to be educated on topics that impact our community and our lives.” Mayor Walsh notes, “The city of Boston is excited to welcome WBUR’s CitySpace, a convening space that will help bring diverse thinkers, innovators, and performers together to create an inclusive community for all that it serves. This new space will act as an important public hub engaging our residents on issues that are shaping Boston and the country.” The calendar of events already includes discussions with Boston Marathon champions; authors and chefs; brown-bag musical performances by Boston University students; trivia nights with WBUR staff; and adult spelling bees. The venue accommodates up to 275 people and has state-of-the-art audio and robotic high-definition video technology for live streaming and recording, robotically controlled theatrical lighting, a pneumatic stage, and a video presentation wall. First-year CitySpace guests scheduled to appear include comedian/former Air America host Janeane Garofalo, “The Good Place” creator Michael Schur, composer Philip Glass, and author Margaret Atwood.

Southern California Broadcasters Association Shares Its 2019 “Automotive Overview.” In an ongoing series, the Southern California Broadcasters Association delivers an in-depth analysis of a particular industry or topic directly relevant for its members and the radio industry. This particular report, available on SCBA’s website, “challenges the auto industry’s focus” on non-radio digital platforms by “making a compelling case” for broadcast radio and the influence radio advertising has on today’s car buyers. The overview reveals that “year-over-year vehicle sales have remained essentially flat to down the past four years, highlighting SCBA’s case that media reallocation and a true ROI analysis of current ad spending by the automakers is urgently recommended.” SCBA president Thom Callahan remarks, “Based on factual research, it is our view that broadcast radio is the underrated and undervalued workhorse for the auto industry. Not only will 23% of auto buyers visit a dealership after hearing a radio ad, but one in ten will actually buy a vehicle after hearing a dealer radio ad. The auto industry must reevaluate its dependence on digital since increased digital ad spending has not delivered increased retail sales. Spending 63% of automotive ad budgets with digital is not sustainable.” Previous SCBA reports include topics such as “E-Commerce Basics to Know,” “Consumer Response to Broadcast Radio versus Pandora,” and “Consumer Response to Broadcast Radio versus Digital and Social Media.”

Michael Harrison Addresses South Florida Art CommunityTALKERS publisher Michael Harrison served as special guest speaker addressing a gathering of approximately 70 emerging local artists last evening (1/30) at a workshop titled “The Thriving Art Exchange” at the CJR Fine Art Gallery in Royal Palm Beach, Florida.  The event was presented by the Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists and honored the work of Rickie Leiter, publisher of a Palm Beach County-based art industry trade publication, The Rickie Report.  In his speech, Harrison focused on opportunities available to independent artists in the rapidly evolving digital era in both the creative and marketing arenas.  He opened his talk with a humorous anecdote, “The last time I addressed a group of visual artists was when I served as keynote speaker at the first annual convention of the National Association of Cave Wall Painters.”  Harrison said, “It was a time when the standard method of painting was to put colored pigments on your hands and paint directly with your fingers onto the walls of caves.  The big issue that year was what to do about the introduction of a new gadget called the paint brush and whether images created with this new technology were truly ‘art.’”  Harrison concluded, “The argument became a non-issue when the stone tablet was invented shortly thereafter and paintings could be taken to places outside the cave.  That form of disruption was the first example of mobile media!”

 

“PodGOATs” Launches Today. The series of Comworld Media-produced “PodGOATS” podcasts features Cumulus Media Nashville news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) host Phil Valentine and his millennial son, Campbell Valentine. The elder Valentine remarks, “I can’t remember having this much fun doing something in a long time,” while recent University of Tennessee graduate Campbell counters, “You can’t remember – period.” The two will discuss everything from their top three picks of events that changed the world to what to do if an electromagnetic pulse took down the electrical grid. They talk spies, conspiracy theories, and anything else in today’s society and culture. Five episodes debut today (2/1) with a new podcast – available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, – released once a week each Sunday afternoon.

Grabbing Gronk. Preparing for its coverage of Super Bowl LIII this Sunday (2/3) when the New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams, the NFL’s exclusive network radio partner – Westwood One – has been interviewing players, coaches, and special guests for their weeknight “Road to Super Bowl LIII” program; “Super Bowl Preview”; and “Super Sunday” shows airing prior to Sunday’s big game in Atlanta. Seen above is the voice of NFL Films, Scott Graham, chatting with New England Patriots tight end Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski. This is the 32nd consecutive year – and 46th time overall – that Westwood One will broadcast the Super Bowl.

CBS News Radio Offers Radio Version of “Intelligence Matters” Podcast. Starting tomorrow (Saturday, 2/2), former CIA deputy director/intelligence analyst and CBS News national security contributor Michael Morell begins hosting a one-hour radio version of the “Intelligence Matters” podcast, which emanates from CBS News’ Washington, D.C bureau. CBS News Radio general manager Craig Swagler notes, “We are delighted to offer Michael Morell’s programs and expertise to our affiliates. Michael’s keen insight into the world of intelligence is a hot topic in today’s fast-moving world. It is the right time to bring his hugely successful podcast to radio audiences everywhere.” Leaders throughout the U.S. intelligence community will discuss national security policy and current events with Morell, a central figure in the most significant U.S. counter-terrorism efforts of the past two decades.

Rockcastle Media Networks’ Radio Nebraska Network Launches Next Monday. The national radio network expands by creating a Rockcastle Regional Networks division, with the Radio Nebraska Network scheduled to deliver its first newscasts via FTP download next Monday (2/4). Rockcastle Media Networks president/chief executive officer Will Sterrett comments, “When we learned the Nebraska Radio Network folded, our thoughts turned to serving those affiliates and listeners with high-quality radio news. We are excited to offer four newscasts each weekday with much more to come down the road.” As is the case with all other Rockcastle Media Networks programming, the Radio Nebraska Network is available on a market-exclusive, 100% self-contained barter basis. Prior to Rockcastle Media Networks, Sterrett worked in radio news at the CNN Radio Network; Texas State Network; Waitt Radio Networks, Omaha; KRLD-AM, Dallas; KTRH, Houston; and WLW, Cincinnati.

Border Wall Battle Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 27-February 1. The ongoing battle over funding for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers Ten.  At #2 this week was Robert Mueller‘s Trump-Russia investigation.  Coming in at #3 was President Trump‘s attacks on intel chief Dan Coats over his report on North Korea and Iran, followed by the record Midwestern cold snap at #4.  The Talkers Ten 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.  See this week’s entire chart here.

SiriusXM Finalizes Pandora Purchase. The $3.5 billion deal (at a ratio of 1.44 new SiriusXM shares for each Pandora share) creates a digital audio entity reaching 100 million North America listeners. The closing comes three days after Pandora stockholders approved the acquisition. The deal was okayed by the Department of Justice approximately six weeks ago (12/21). In a prepared statement, SiriusXM chief executive officer Jim Meyer – who now leads the combined company – notes, “This is a tremendous outcome for two organizations with complementary platforms and large audiences. We could not be more excited to be moving forward as one company. SiriusXM is a subscription-based national service of curated and exclusive content and programming, and Pandora is the largest U.S. streaming music provider with its highly personalized free ad-supported service. This is a powerful platform under one roof for consumers, content creators, and advertisers. We look forward to creating unique audio packages that combine our strengths and offer an even wider range of content to our listeners.” Pandora’s 16-month chief executive officer and Sling TV founder, Roger Lynch, is leaving the company, as are general counsel Steve Bene, chief financial officer Naveen Chopra, and chief human resources officer Kristen Robinson.

PPM Analysis: A Closer Look at “Holiday” 2018. Each month, managing editor Mike Kinosian takes an in-depth look at four formats and reports on some of the trends he’s noticed. Adult contemporary is in the spotlight today as Mike delves into the mostly ups – and occasional downs – AC experienced in the “Holiday” 2018 ratings period. The format that leads the way in the all-Christmas music programming strategy accounts for 77% of “Holiday” 2018 #1 finishers (6+). In addition, Bonneville-owned Salt Lake City AC KSFI is the only station in any PPM-market to reach the 20-share level (21.8, 6+) in “Holiday” 2018. Check out all the facts and figures here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Dallas contemporary Christian KAWA “Uplifting-Upbeat-Real” general manager Tim Dukes is named mid-south regional manager over parent company WAY Media properties in Nashville and Clarksville (Tennessee); Louisville and Bowling Green (Kentucky); and Birmingham and Huntsville (Alabama). WAY-FM Network chief operating officer Lloyd Parker states, “We are excited that Tim has accepted the role and challenge of managing our mid-south region. Tim is respected and uniquely-qualified for this position with his many years of mainstream radio experience, plus his time on the pastoral staff at Gateway Church in Dallas-Fort Worth and as chief operating officer of the Dallas-based Halftime Institute. He’s going to do a great job.” Dukes – who will continue to manage KAWA  until a new general manager is named – remarks, “Joining WAY-FM in 2015 has given me some of the most enjoyable, and certainly the most fulfilling, years of my career. Louisville is my hometown. I went to college in Nashville and started in radio there, so this is an especially exciting appointment to me.” His past programming credits include Chicago’s WLUP and Cincinnati’s WEBN, as well as being director of FM programming for Jacor San Diego ….. Today (2/1) on his syndicated show, Tom Joyner announced the “One More Time Experience” multi-city tour, which begins May 10 in Washington, DC and continues throughout the summer. Joyner states, “I hope everyone will be as excited as I am to celebrate with good music, good fun, and good hugs. We have 25 years’ worth of partying to achieve, so let’s do it together.” Confirmed dates and places so far – in addition to May 10 in Washington – include Cleveland (June 7); Indianapolis (June 8); Columbus (July 12); St. Louis (July 13); Raleigh (July 19); and Charlotte (July 20). Also on today’s “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker announced he is running for president ….. Starting next Thursday (2/7), Afentra – who formerly did mornings at Entercom Kansas City alternative KRBZ “The Buzz,” (“Afentra’s Big Fat Morning Buzz”) – will join cross-town Cumulus Media-owned KCJK “X-105.1 Kansas City’s Alternative” for 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm duty. Cumulus midwest region vice president Donna Baker states, “Afentra has the gift of observing life in a manner that is real, whether hilarious or poignant, and sharing that in a way that truly connects.” Cumulus Media and Westwood One executive vice president, content & programming Mike McVay comments, “The opportunity to bring Afentra to the Cumulus Kansas City cluster was one we simply couldn’t pass up. A talent with her skills, experience and market heritage is a rare find.” KCJK program director Mike O’Reilly notes, “Sometimes in a lineup strategy, you get lucky and make a big splash. Adding Afentra is more along the lines of a tidal wave for Kansas City alternative, while Afentra explains that KCJK “didnʼt just say they wanted me, they showed me. Wanting me – my thoughts and my experience –  speaks to my soul. I’m rested, excited, and ready to win.” ….. Assistant music programmer Brian Denicola is promoted to program director of SiriusXM’s “60s on 6” channel. Senior director of programming Lou Simon writes in an internal memo, “Brian has exemplified a great level of care and focus and has developed relationships with each of you, making sure he has what you need and providing you with inspiration for added creativity. His copywriting; attention to detail in editing logs; and his creativity have all led to this appointment. I will remain in a position of oversight and Bond Collard will remain as the channel coordinator, doing a spectacular job in that role.” Denicola had been programming the channel on an interim basis ….. Three-year WRQX “Mix 107.3,” Washington, DC afternoon drive talent Jason Kidd exits the Cumulus Media hot AC. “Mix” program director/Cumulus Media vice president of hot AC programming Rob Roberts is seeking Kidd’s successor ….. Mainstream CHR KYYY “Y-93” Bismarck (North Dakota) program director Joey Dee transfers to iHeartMedia Omaha sibling KISO “96.1 Kiss FM Omaha’s #1 For All The Hits” as program director/afternoon drive host. Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Omaha Erik Johnson comments, “We are extremely excited to welcome Joey Dee to the ‘96.1 Kiss FM’ team. His major-market experience and creative ideas will help make [KISO] a market leader.” Dee adds, “Making my pilgrimage to Omaha is a dream come true for me as a CHR programmer. I am incredibly excited to work with the entire iHeartMedia Omaha team and I look forward to taking ‘96.1 Kiss FM’ all the way to number one.” Dee previously was assistant program director for Hubbard Seattle CHR KQMV “Movin’ 92.5” and has programmed Bismarck’s KKCT ….. On-air lineup adjustments at Entercom Buffalo’s WLKK “Alternative Buffalo” find “Emily” in extended morning drive (6:00 am – 11:00 am); “Brandi” middays (11:00 am – 3:00 pm); Nik Rivers in afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); and “Axe” handling 7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight duties.

Friday, February 16, 2017

| February 16, 2018

Warner Wolf Files Suit Against Imus, Cumulus, and Others.  According to a story in today’s New York Post, Warner Wolf is suing Don Imus and several Cumulus Media and WABC, New York managers for age discrimination.  Warner Wolf served as the sports reporter on the “Imus in the Morning” program until he exited the show at the end of 2016.  According to the complaint, Wolf – who was 78 at the time of his departure from the show – says he was replaced by the younger Sid Rosenberg.  That move followed what Wolf claims was a number of comments from Imus about his age, including such Imus-like quips that Wolf needed “to be put out to pasture” and “shoot him with an elephant dart gun.”  Wolf also names Cumulus EVP of content and programming Mike McVay, Cumulus New York market manager Chad Lopez, and WABC program director Craig Schwalb.  Wolf says in the complaint that he took a large pay cut as part of a deal to work from his home in Florida and that Imus didn’t like the arrangement.  He also says he was denied his due severance.  He’s seeking $97,500 in severance plus damages.  Cumulus and WABC have not commented publicly about the suit.

Ryan Maguire to Leave WQAM to Program KIRO-FM, Seattle.  After spending the past three years in South Florida programming Entercom’s sports talk WQAM, Miami, program director Ryan Maguire is heading to the Pacific Northwest to take the PD role at Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Maguire announced the news via social media, saying, “Starting March 12th, I will be taking over as Director of News and Programming at @KIRORadio in Seattle. @angelblas17 and myself are excited to become part of the community. Thank you to everyone from @560WQAM for letting me share in your successes over the last 3 years.”  No word from Entercom yet about its plans to fill the program director post at WQAM.

WTIC-AM, Hartford Ends Relationship with UConn Sports.  This is surprising news out of Hartford, but Entercom Hartford SVP and market manager Phil Zachary says the bottom line is the company could not reach an agreement with University of Connecticut sports rights holder IMG Sports that made fiscal sense.  The current deal between IMG and WTIC ends at the conclusion of this college basketball season.  Zachary says, “I have the highest respect for UConn athletic director David Benedict and his goals for the university.  Having grown up in Connecticut, there’s a special place in my heart for UConn Basketball.  However, I couldn’t justify what they were seeking when compared to more successful partnerships Entercom enjoys with elite Power 5 institutions.”  Zachary says WTIC will continue to place a high priority on local sports coverage and will sharpen its focus on the Boston Red Sox, New York Giants, and New England Patriots, all of whose games are broadcast on the station.

TALKERS News Notes. Through a joint effort of AXS TV and KMG Networks, a radio version of “The Big Interview with Dan Rather” is being offered to stations.  Westwood One is handling sales efforts.  A press release from KMG says stations will receive an audio version of the series; a corresponding video segment to post on station websites, mobile apps, and social media channels; and custom liners and promos featuring Rather.  AXS TV CEO Jeff Cuban adds, “Stations around the country now have access to an impressive roster of unique, insightful, and candid conversations Dan had with some of the most influential figures in rock, including:   Crosby Stills & Nash, Gene Simmons, Carlos Santana, Pat Benatar, Heart, Gregg Allman, Bryan Adams, John Fogerty, Sammy Hagar, Neil Young, Billy Gibbons, and Roger Waters.”…..Two NPR personalities move into prime positions with the public radio network’s drive time news programs.  Noel King is joining “Morning Edition” and Ailsa Chang is now part of the “All Things Considered” air staff.  Both King and Chang have been serving as reporters for the “Planet Money” podcast…..Entercom sports talk WIP, Philadelphia is giving Eagles fans some programming with which to relive the NFL team’s Super Bowl championship.  The station is rebroadcasting Super Bowl LII in its entirety on Sunday (2/18) at 2:00 pm.  Immediately following the game, the station will air a one-hour special titled, “Long Time, First Time: The Story of the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles,” hosted by 94WIP’s Rob Charry.

Florida School Massacre Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 12-16.  The assault on students and faculty at a high school in Florida that took the lives of 17 people was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the status of the DACA Act and the Trump Administration’s immigration policy.  Coming in at #3 was the Trump-Russia investigation being conducted by Robert Mueller, and U.S. intelligence sources’ reports that Russian agents are trying to meddle in the 2018 mid-term elections was #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this 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.

CURB YOUR DOGMA! Podcaster David Smalley Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Speaker, activist, author, publisher, comedian, humanist, former evangelical Christian-turned-atheist and successful podcaster David Smalley is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Smalley hosts a long-running podcast series titled, “Dogma Debate,” in which he expresses his passion for skepticism and truth by respectfully challenging well-known, highly opinionated guests to defend their dogma. In this installment, Harrison presents another deep-dive interview into the rabbit hole between media and culture as he and Smalley discuss the age-old debate between science and religion, as well as number of contentious contemporary issues. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box for “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Comrex to Debut New EarShot IFB at NAB 2018.  This update in interruptible fold back technology was, according to Comrex sales director Chris Crump, something that needed to happen.  “We’d visit TV stations and see banks of old telephone auto-couplers connected to expensive analog phone lines.  Most other phone tech has transitioned to Voice-over-IP, but remote IFB audio remains stuck in the last century.”  Interruptible fold back is used by television and radio production facilities to allow producers to break into (interrupt) a talent’s audio feed – the fold back – and give direction.  The new Comrex EarShot IFB provides telephone-based, live studio program and IFB audio to field-based remote broadcasts.  Up to 30 users can listen to program or IFB feeds by calling into EarShot IFB with a mobile phone.  EarShot IFB can handle up to four program feeds, or two IFB feeds.  For higher fidelity, smartphone apps can be used to pull the audio in studio quality.  EarShot IFB can be connected to low-cost cloud-based VoIP service, or tied to a station’s VoIP PBX.  Comrex technical director Tom Hartnett adds, “With our years of experience in putting VoIP calls on air, it was a no-brainer to provide a simple hardware solution to the IFB problem.  The folks we talked to were sick of paying for a dozen or more POTS lines to provide this function.  EarShot IFB will pay for itself within a couple of months in phone service savings alone.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Texas radio pro Al Farb is named APD and afternoon drive personality at Cumulus Media’s country KSCS, Dallas.  Farb comes to Dallas from the Cox Media Group operations in Houston where he was most recently an executive producer and air talent at KKBQ-FM and KTHT-FM.  KSCS program director Mac Daniels states, “After a very extensive search, I’m confident that Al is the right fit for this position. KSCS will benefit greatly from his passion for radio, his knowledge of the format and his skill set. I’m very excited to have him as part of this team.”…..Upstate New York classic rocker WOUR, Utica is changing hands as Townsquare Media agrees to pay $3.95 million to Galaxy Communications.  Townsquare already owns classic hits WODZ “96.1 The Eagle,” adult contemporary WLZW Lite 98.7,” country WFRG “Big Frog 104,” and news/talk WIBX-AM in the Utica-Rome market…..On-air pro Marty Young is recruited by Scripps-owned country outlet KVOO, Tulsa to join “The Voo Crew” morning show, taking over the role vacated by Rowdy Yates, who exited last September.  Young was most recently part of the morning show at Curtis Media’s country WQDR, Raleigh-Durham…..Nationally syndicated morning radio personality Tom Joyner announces that the annual Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage cruise is welcoming family dining chain Denny’s as a presenting sponsor.  The Carnival Breeze cruise sets sail from Galveston April 29 through May 6, 2018.  The Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage will feature more than 60 live entertainment acts, including “An Evening with Anita Baker” and performances from popular artists Chris Brown, Tamar Braxton, The O’Jays, The Isley Brothers, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, En Vogue, 112, SWV and more. The cruise raises funds to support students in school at Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country…..Pictured below are the cast of KLOS, Los Angeles’ Frosty, Heidei & Frank morning show celebrating after the station raised $725,218 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the “St. Jude Rocks” event held Thursday, February 8, through Friday, February 9. The two-day live broadcast in Los Angeles capped Cumulus Media’s inaugural “St. Jude Rocks” fundraising partnership across 14 of its rock-formatted stations in markets across the U.S.  Below are (from l-r): Patrick Wesson, KLOS programming assistant; Frosty Stilwell; Heidi Hamilton; Frank Kramer; Sammi Marino, associate producer; Erik Scott Smith, executive producer; Lisa May, entertainment reporter and co-host; and Anthony Annese, Frosty, Heidi & Frank social media.

 

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