Will Art Bell’s Suit Against Michael Savage Be Successful? On Friday (12/2), TALKERS magazine reported that talk show host Art Bell and his wife are suing fellow talker Michael Savage in U.S. District Court in Northern California for defamation after Savage said the following on his Westwood One nationally syndicated program: “I generally avoid gun questions. I know this from the first day in radio. I learned you never do certain topics where you can destroy your show. Third rail… You say UFOs, you wind up in the Philippines with a 10-year-old hooker and you are off the radio after a number of years. You can’t do UFOs. That’s an in joke, by the way, for people who understand the business. There are other topics you can’t do…” For his take on Bell’s chance of success, we turned to TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman. He says, “It is hard for public figures to win defamation lawsuits because they have to prove actual malice or a reckless disregard for the truth. More telling in this case, however, may be for Bell to prove that he was harmed. Rodney Dangerfield once won a defamation case against a tabloid that said he snorted cocaine with hookers in a hot tub. He won the case, but only was awarded a dollar because the judge said his reputation wasn’t harmed.”
Former Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver Joins WGAC Talk Host Lineup. Nine-year Augusta, Georgia Mayor Deke Copenhaver exited the mayor’s office in 2014. Now, he’ll join the on-air staff at Beasley Media Group’s news/talk WGAC, Augusta to host “There It Is” from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daily. The station says that Copenhaver “will bring an exciting brand of talk radio through his relationships with local, regional and national government officials, as well as high-level executive decision makers throughout the Southeast and beyond. Beasley Augusta VP/market manager Mark Haddon comments, “We are delighted to have Deke join us on the air at WGAC. He brings a fresh approach to the current issues of the day that are important to our local community. We think Deke will have a little something for everyone, so it should be enlightening and entertaining…a great way to keep up with what’s going on in the Central Savannah River Area.”
Trans-Atlantic Conversation on the American Election and Brexit. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison engages in an in-depth discussion about the election of Donald Trump and the UK’s recent public vote approving Brexit with award-winning British talk show host Graham Mack. The two compare notes on both the American and English points-of-view regarding the surprising state of world affairs as we wrap up the politically and culturally mind-bending year of 2016 on both sides of the Atlantic. It takes place on the latest installment of the hit PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Harrison states, “My dear friend Graham Mack really has his finger on the pulse of British public opinion and brings a refreshing objectivity and honesty to the discussion about the complex events taking place there following the Brexit referendum. He also offers a fascinating look at the election of Donald Trump from the English perspective.” Harrison adds, “This installment of the podcast also gives me the opportunity to express my own personal assessment of this past election and the impact it is having upon politics, journalism and the media in the US.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Chiasson to Lead Cumulus Lafayette. At the Lafayette, Louisiana cluster of Cumulus Media, Scott Chiasson is named vice president/market manager. The company says Chiasson is a Lafayette native with 18 years’ experience in broadcast sales and operations management. He’s previously served with E.W. Scripps in Wichita, iHeartMedia in Colorado and Florida, Metro Networks in Orlando, Cox Media in Lafayette, and CBS RARIO in Tampa/St. Pete. Cumulus Media SVP Jeff Brown states, “Scott is a great radio guy and a Lafayette native. That combination is a terrific match for our powerful brands and our talented team.”
Beasley Media Group Names Jami Beasley Associate General Counsel. Attorney Jami Beasley joins the family business as associate general counsel for Beasley Media Group. Beasley has most recently been serving as partner in Kopelowitz Ostrow P.A.’s Ft. Lauderdale office, where she focused on commercial and complex litigation, as well as her previous experience in real estate litigation. She comments, “It’s an honor to serve Beasley Media Group as associate general counsel. This is an exceptional opportunity and I am eager to contribute to the corporate team.” General counsel Joyce Fitch adds, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Jami to Beasley’s corporate headquarters. Jami’s experience will greatly enhance the legal department and I will rely on her talent and skills as we move forward in our dynamic, growing company.”
WMAL, Washington Raises $491,000 for Fisher House. The 13th Annual WMAL Fisher House Radiothon, benefiting Fisher House Foundation, raised a record-setting $491,064 from the station’s generous listeners in the Washington, DC area over the past weekend. The two-day event concluded with a live broadcast from The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. WMAL program director and Cumulus VP of news/talk Bill Hess states, “I remain in awe of WMAL listeners. They have generously donated some $5.4 million over the last 13 years in support of this wonderful organization and its mission.” Fisher House Foundation provides homes away from home for the families of injured servicemen and women while their partners are undergoing treatment and rehabilitation. Pictured above are (from l-r): WMAL morning co-host Larry O’Connor, mid-morning personality Chris Plante, and morning co-host Brian Wilson.
Steve Deace Book Gets Movie Deal. Talk show host and conservative media figure Steve Deace is getting a movie deal for his novel, A Nefarious Plot (2016 Post Hill Press). Believe Entertainment principals Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman – producers of the film “God’s Not Dead” – have purchased the film rights to Deace’s book and will begin developing the story for a film to be released in 2018. Konzelman states, “We’ve been looking for the right story to expand into the imaginative and compelling horror-thriller genre and we knew it was Deace’s book as soon as we read it. We’re into developing movies with spiritual themes, and A Nefarious Plot represents a way to explore those themes in a whole new way for the faith-and-values audience.” Deace, who writes about issues exclusively for Conservative Review, says of this project, “My goal with A Nefarious Plot was to literally scare the hell out of people. I’m very excited to see how Believe Entertainment will do exactly that.” A Nefarious Plot centers around a demonic force which has long sought to manipulate American history to the ruination of the world’s lone superpower.
Trump Names Carson HUD Secretary, Al Gore Visits Trump Tower, Trump Calls Taiwan President, Fake News/DC Pizzeria Incident, Iran Nuke Deal Status, Mistrial in Cop Shooting Death of SC Man, Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire, Dakota Access Pipeline Case, College Football Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5). The Trump Administration transition and the naming of Ben Carson as nominee for HUD Secretary; Vice President Al Gore’s controversial visit to Trump Tower in New York; President-Elect Donald Trump breaks protocol and speaks with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen; the ongoing controversy over “fake news” and the incident in which a North Carolina man fired a gun in a DC restaurant that he believed may have been operating a child sex ring run by Hillary Clinton; Iran’s concern over the status of its nuclear deal with Trump soon to be president; a mistrial is declared in the case against former officer Michael Slager, who shot unarmed black motorist Walter Scott to death in South Carolina; the aftermath of the deadly warehouse fire that took the lives of 36 people; the Dakota Access pipeline controversy and the recent Army Corps of Engineers’ ruling requiring the pipeline be re-routed; the four-team college playoffs tournament; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Northwest Missouri State to Host Radio Talent Institute. The Missouri Broadcasters Association is working with six radio companies to bring the Radio Talent Institute to Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville July 31 through August 9, 2017. The Institute is a 10-day radio immersion program bringing broadcasting students together with more than 30 broadcast professionals for on-air training in music radio, news and sports, as well as digital/social media, production, promotion, sales and more. Students will also become certified Radio Marketing Professionals by the Radio Advertising Bureau. Missouri will be one of six states in the country hosting an institute with the National Radio Talent System. Other locations are the Kellar Radio Talent Institute Appalachian State University in North Carolina, Confer Radio Talent Institute Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute Western Kentucky University, GAB Radio Talent Institute University of Georgia, and Hubbard Radio Talent Institute Central Washington University. Missouri Broadcasters Association president Mark Gordon states, “We are pleased to bring in a program taught by industry professionals that will help fill job openings at broadcast stations with quality employees who have a true understanding of how fun and rewarding a career in our industry can be.” Broadcasting companies taking part include: Hubbard Radio, Eagle Communications, Emmis Communications, Zimmer Radio and Marketing Group, iHeartRadio, and Mid-West Family Broadcasting.”
Sunday Night at CBS RADIO Philadelphia. On Sunday evening, WPHT, Philadelphia talk host Walter Sterling spoke with guests about Satan and the history of rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are (from l-r): Sterling, former WYSP program director Tim Sabean, classic hits WOGL program director Anne Gress, and Get the Led Out author Denny Somach.