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Monday, December 16, 2019

| December 16, 2019

Former Mega-Church Pastor Sues Mancow Muller for Defamation. In a complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois, WLS-AM, Chicago morning drive personality Erich “Mancow” Muller is being sued by James MacDonald, the former pastor of the Harvest Bible Chapel church.  MacDonald is seeking $50,000 in compensatory damages and punitive damages to be determined at trial.  The back story is that Mancow and MacDonald were once close, with Mancow a fan who publicly lauded MacDonald’s Chicagoland megachurch.  Over time, Mancow became disenchanted with MacDonald and ultimately recorded conversations in which MacDonald allegedly spoke of planting child porn on the computers of his enemies.  That got MacDonald fired from his position with the church.  MacDonald argues that Mancow used his radio show to destroy him and his surreptitious recordings were illegal.  The complaint also targets Cumulus Media for allowing Mancow to broadcast his speech about MacDonald and for “negligent hiring” – implying the history of defamation allegations against Mancow should have been enough to prevent him from being hired.

Monday Memo: Don’t list To-Do. “Assume that your listener is busier than you are,” cautions consultant Holland Cooke.  In this week’s column, he notes how some radio talkers seem to be over-estimating listeners’ attention.  Read it here.

Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, IG’s FBI Report, Chinese Diplomats Expelled, U.S.-China Trade Talks, Dem Congressman Flips, India’s Citizenship Rule, UK Election Aftermath, and Richard Jewell Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment proceedings against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the criticism of the FBI in the wake of the inspector general’s scathing report; two Chinese diplomats are expelled from the U.S. after suspicion of espionage; the trade talks between the U.S. and China; plans by New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew to leave the Democratic Party for the Republican Party; the controversy over India’s citizen rule that doesn’t apply to Muslims; the aftermath of Boris Johnson’s UK prime minister victory; and the poor weekend box office for the Richard Jewell film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

FOX News Talk Superstar Brian Kilmeade Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. Cross-platform, multi-media personality Brian Kilmeade is the guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” He is co-host with Ainsley Earhardt and Steve Doocy of the very popular daily ‘FOX & Friends” show on FOX News Channel from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET. Then he runs down the hall to host his daily 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated “Heavy Hundred” talk show on FOX News Radio. Both of his shows are famously among the favorites of the President of the United States and, of course, politically controversial. Kilmeade is the 2019 recipient of the prestigious TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award. As a best-selling author, he is proving himself to be an extremely contemporary and communicative storyteller of great events in American history. With co-author Don Yaeger, he penned George Washington’s Secret Six, followed by Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates and then Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans – all published by Sentinel. These three history books have already gone well past the million mark in sales. Now he has another book about American history, and it is extremely exciting and informative. It’s titled, Sam Houston & the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory that Changed American History (Sentinel, 2019). Harrison and Kilmeade engage in a lively dialogue about the nature of leadership, past and present as well as the rigors of hosting a live, three-hour radio show while major news – such as the impeachment hearings – is breaking in real time. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box that appears in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Joey Hudson’s ‘Breakfast Broadcasts’ on WGTK, Greenville Benefit the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign.  Morning drive talk radio personality Joey Hudson (pictured above at the mic) is making the rounds in Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina broadcasting his show from breakfast restaurants while ringing the bell and asking listeners to donate to the Salvation Army.  To date, Hudson’s listeners have raised more than $30,000.  Hudson’s show is based at Salem Media Group’s WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina “94.5FM The Answer.”  He says, “I have this wonderful platform to ask people to give generously and why not spend some time out in the communities we serve to raise funds and awareness of the wonderful work being done by the Salvation Army.”

Taylor Leads Townsquare’s Rochester, Minnesota Cluster. Management and sales pro Ben Taylor is named market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Rochester/Preston, Minnesota station group that includes news/talk KROC-AM and sports talk KLOM-AM “1520 The Ticket” and seven music brands.  Taylor was most recently VP of sales for iHeartMedia in Minneapolis.  Townsquare regional VP Kelly Quinn says, “Ben’s vast experience in radio and digital, both on-air and in sales, combined with his leadership experience as a coach and volunteer firefighter, make him an ideal fit to lead our team in Rochester/Preston.  We’re poised for a strong 2020, building on the growth we had in 2019, with incredible on-air ratings and digital content, and by continuing our ‘Local First’ focus.”

Townsquare Media Execs Receive New Contracts. In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Townsquare Media reveals it has entered into letter agreements that amend the employment deals with CEO Bill Wilson, CFO Stuart Rosenstein, COO Local Media Chief Erik Hellum and executive chairman Steven Price.  The agreements extend the terms of their deals through October 16, 2023 for Wilson and Rosenstein and through October 25, 2023 for Hellum. The letter agreements also provide that in the event of the executive’s termination by the Company without cause or by the executive for good reason, all outstanding, vested stock option awards will remain exercisable for 24 months following the executive’s termination date or, if earlier, until the original expiration date of the stock option award, and that all outstanding equity awards will fully accelerate and vest upon a change in control of the Company.

TALKERS News Notes. The best interviews from this year’s Howard Stern programs on SiriusXM are being packaged in a 19-episode podcast series on Pandora.  Titled, “Howard Stern: 19 from 2019” includes interviews with: Jennifer Aniston, Russell Crowe, Robert Downey Jr., and Kristen Stewart; musicians including The Black Crowes, Def Leppard, Billie Eilish, and Adam Levine; comedians including Jimmy Kimmel, Tracy Morgan, Seth Rogen, and Adam Sandler; and newsmakers such as Hillary Clinton…..There’s a webinar on Wednesday (12/18) from Edison Research that focuses on moms and social media.  Edison says, “The Infinite Dial study estimates that there are 15 million fewer Facebook users in the U.S. today than there were in 2017.  However, among Moms in the U.S., Facebook remains strong year over year.”   The webinar will “debut data from this study that explores moms’ usage, perceptions, and sentiments of all social media.  This is a new survey conducted in the second half of 2019 among a sample of moms in the U.S.  It includes why they use social media, what they use it for, and how they feel about using it – and how their feelings and actions don’t always align.”…..WTKN-FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina “Talk 94.5” is airing “The Jared Dillian Show,” hosted by self-made millionaire Jared Dillian.  He says, “I’m proud to be a part of the WTKN family and I couldn’t be more impressed by everyone’s professionalism in producing this show.”  The Jared Dillian Show is part of the 24/7 Smart Talk Radio Network, based in Chicago and distributed by Envision Networks…..Pictured at left is Salem Radio Network East Coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh in a still shot from Netflix’s The Irishman in which he plays a mob supporter of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa.  He tells TALKERS, “As someone who grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, I literally jump at any chance to be in a Martin Scorsese movie… it’s an offer you can’t refuse. LOL.”…..Entercom sports talker WSSP, Milwaukee “105.7 FM The Fan” helped raise more than $200,000 in cash and the value of toys to benefit Children’s Wisconsin and Robyn’s Nest during its 13th annual “WSSP Toy Drive.”  This marks a record-breaking year for the fundraiser, topping the $160,000 that the station raised in 2018…..Pictured below is Westwood One talk host Jim Bohannon reprising his role as Santa Claus for the Collins Children’s Home of Seneca, South Carolina.

Internationally Noted Artist Inspired by TALKERS Panels.  A world-renowned artist living and working in South America who is a fan of American talk media and reads TALKERS regularly has created a painting titled “Talking Heads” that she says was inspired by the convention and workshop panel discussions that she sees in this trade journal.  Clearly, this is an abstract work subject to interpretation.  Bobbie Winston (a.k.a. La Femme Bobbíe) is a multi-award-winning American artist living and painting in Rio de Janeiro since 1988.  She has a world-wide following that enjoys her highly identifiable style.  She paints wildly abstract portraits, full human figures, and imaginative, surrealistic scenarios marked by dramatic features and bold, striking colors.  Her perspective on the human condition is cosmic, inclusive, and evolved. Bobbie Winston’s Facebook page can be accessed here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programing pro Kelly Gueno is promoted from programming assistant to assistant program director for iHeartMedia Chicago’s urban programming.  In this role, Gueno will assist with brand support for all urban programming and digital operations for “V103,” WGCI and “Inspiration 1390.”  She reports to VP of urban programming Derrick Brown.  He says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled with Kelly’s expanded role.  She literally grew up at our stations and it has been absolutely gratifying to see Kelly’s progress from our promotions department, to being a programming assistant, and now, assistant program director for our iconic urban brands.  Kelly’s passion, skill and insight will be invaluable as we navigate our ever-changing media landscape.”…..Pictured below are the staff of Beasley Media Group’s country WKLB-FM, Boston at the Secret Superstar Holiday Jam last Thursday (12/12) at the House of Blues.  The station officially announced the show about six weeks ago and sold the venue out without divulging the names of the talent (Dan + Shay and Lauren Alain) that would be performing until the day before the show!  Pictured below are (clockwise from l-r): Summer Harlow, director, Northeast promotion, Mercury Nashville; Lauren Alaina; Dan Smyers; Shay Mooney; Dawn Santolucito, music and marketing director, WKLB; Kristen Williams, SVP radio & streaming, Warner Music Nashville; Heather Propper, regional manager, radio & streaming, WAR; and WKLB PD David Corey.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

| April 23, 2019

Entercom Files with SEC to Announce $300 Million Refinance. In the filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Entercom announces that subsidiary Entercom Media Corp. – the former CBS RADIO stations – is offering $300 million in aggregate principal amount of senior secured second-lien notes due 2027.  The company says it will use the net proceeds from the offering, cash on hand, and availability under its revolving credit facility to partially repay existing indebtedness under its senior secured term loan facility.  Also contained in the filing is preliminary operating results for the first quarter of 2019.  It reports net income should be between $1.3 million and $5.3 million, and adjusted EBITDA to be between $41.7 million and $43.7 million.  Entercom also says pacings for the second quarter of 2019 are up by more than 4% as of April 18, 2019 compared to the same period in the second quarter of 2018. During the first quarter of 2018, the company completed asset sales that generated $24.5 million in net cash proceeds. It used the proceeds, along with existing cash on hand, to repay $180 million in borrowings under its revolving credit facility.

New Myrtle Beach News/Talk Station to Launch on May 6. The station that is currently
adult contemporary WYEZ “94.5 The Tide” is flipping to news/talk with new calls WTKN as “Talk 94.5′ on May 6. The Byrne Acquisition Group station is bringing market radio personality Liz Callaway – formerly with Dick Broadcasting’s crosstown news/talk WRNN-FM – to host the morning show.  The rest of the lineup will include Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck; Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager, Sebastian Gorka, and Larry Elder; and Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro and the overnight “Red Eye Radio” show.

KKFN, Denver Names Nick Ferguson Host of Late Morning Show. On-air changes are taking place at Bonneville’s sports talk KKFN, Denver “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” The late morning “Pritchard and Cecil” show is giving way to a new show hosted by former Denver Broncos safety Nick Ferguson.  “The Safety Blitz with Nick Ferguson” will feature current on-air staffer John Davis as co-host.  Meanwhile, Cecil Lammey will remain with the station as digital talent in which he’ll focus on creating content for 1043TheFan.com and the station’s social media platforms.  Mike Pritchard will continue as a fill-in host, allowing him to focus on his own small business.  KKFN program director Raj Sharan says, “Nick is an absolute ball of energy that Broncos Country is going to fall in love with.  In his playing days with the Broncos, he would interact with fans and teammates while stretching at training camp.  He called it ‘The Nick Ferguson Show,’ and it was often the most entertaining time of practice.  Nick’s time as a recent NFL coach and former Broncos player combined with his incredible charisma makes him an extremely unique and valuable addition to our team.”

Premiere Networks Promotes Rush Limbaugh Show’s George Prayias. Digital pro George Prayias is promoted to vice president of digital for “The Rush Limbaugh Show.”  Prayias is based in New York where he reports to Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott.  She comments, “This is a well-deserved promotion.  George has been a valuable member of ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ team for nearly 20 years.  His vision and leadership have been instrumental to the continued growth and success of Rush’s digital business and helping maintain the award-wining program’s industry-leading status.”  The company says Prayias started his career with Premiere in 2000 when he conceived and launched the original website for the program.  Prior to joining Premiere, Prayias spent close to a decade in television and was one of the original producers at FOX News Channel.  He first met Limbaugh as a member of the production staff on the syndicated “Rush Limbaugh, The Television Show.”

Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo Inks Extension with SiriusXM. Sports media personality Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo signs a new, four-year deal with SiriusXM to continue leading his Mad Dog Sports Radio channel on the satellite radio service.  He hosts “Mad Dog Unleashed” each weekday from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  Russo’s show is also available to Pandora subscribers as a podcast.  Russo says, “Oh baby! Four more years, and I couldn’t be happier!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  There’s no place, NO PLACE, better than SiriusXM to do the kind of show I want to do, with the freedom to talk about the topics that I want to cover and the listeners want to talk about.  Now we’ll be reaching more fans than ever on SiriusXM and Pandora.”

Entercom Promotes Stacey Schulze to GSM for Greenville Station Group. Sales pro Stacey Schulze is being promoted to general sales manager for Entercom’s Greenville, South Carolina cluster that includes news/talk WYRD-FM “106.3 WORD,” sports talk WORD-AM “ESPN Upstate” and five music radio stations.  She was most recently digital sales manager for the cluster. Entercom Greenville SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “Stacey has done a tremendous job with our digital products and is an invaluable resource to our team and customers to navigate the sophisticated and fast-changing digital space effectively.  In her expanded role, she’ll also work with our team and customers with RADIO.COM, our seven radio brands, play-by-play sports and all digital products.”

TALKERS News Notes. Longtime New York City traffic reporter Jeff McKay announces he’s taking a new position with Westwood One News and will be relocating to Washington, DC. McKay posts on Facebook that he’ll be leaving his WINS, New York-based traffic reporting gig for DC next month.…..FOX Sports Radio says a new baseball podcast titled “”Inside the (Rob) Parker” – hosted by Rob Parker – will debut on The Herd Podcast Network.  Parker says, “Baseball is my first love, my true sports passion. If you think I have hot takes on the NFL and the NBA, wait until you hear them about the national pastime. For sure, it will be fun and informative.”  Parker continues co-hosting FOX Sports Radio’s 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard” that airs on close to 340 affiliate stations…..SiriusXM is providing subscribers with comprehensive coverage of the 2019 NFL Draft from Nashville, beginning with the first round on Thursday through the final round on Saturday.  SiriusXM NFL Radio’s on-site broadcast team at the NFL Draft will feature: Gil Brandt, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and former longtime player personnel executive for the Dallas Cowboys; Pat Kirwan, former NFL scout, coach and front-office executive; Jim Miller, former veteran NFL quarterback; Rick Neuheisel, former NFL quarterback and veteran coach; and Jason Horowitz, lead host for SiriusXM’s draft coverage.

Mueller Report Released/Impeachment Chatter, Trump Tax Returns Issue, 2020 Presidential Politics, Southern Border Crisis/New Mexico Militia, Iranian Oil Sanctions, Sri Lanka Bombings, NBA Playoffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/23). The release of the redacted Mueller Report and talk amongst Democrats of impeaching President Trump; the congressional requests for Trump’s tax returns and his suit to avoid being forced to comply; the 2020 presidential candidates and their policy proposals; the migrant status at the U.S.-Mexico border and New Mexico militia detaining migrants; the U.S. imposes sanctions on nations buying Iranian oil; the aftermath of the Sri Lanka bombings; the NBA playoffs; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Philadelphia, iHeartMedia announces that Khary Sharpe is named general sales manager for hip hop WUSL-FM “Power 99” and urban contemporary WDAS-FM.  iHeartMedia Philadelphia SVP of sales Jeff Moore says, “I am thrilled to add Khary to our growing team.  Khary is someone that I’ve admired in the market for a long time and his extensive knowledge of the industry and ability to create and grow relationships with our advertisers on the client level as well as internally will contribute to the work we’re doing in creating a great culture here at iHeartMedia Philly.”  Sharpe joined iHeartMedia from Entercom where he most recently served as the digital sales specialist for WOGL, WBEB and WTDY…..Lincoln, Nebraska morning personality Matt McKay, a.k.a. Matthew Rydberg, is on leave from Alpha Media’s CHR KFRX-FM after being charged with domestic violence as the result of an incident that took place on Saturday (4/20).  The Lincoln Journal Star is reporting that Rydberg is being charged with felony strangulation.  According to the Journal Star, “police went to Rydberg’s home on a report of a domestic assault witnessed by two children.  A 46-year-old woman reported she went to sleep in her children’s room after an argument with her husband, who had been drinking, when he became angry… the woman told police Rydberg pushed on her neck and she couldn’t breathe, pushed her face, bit her nose and shoved her.”  Alpha Media Lincoln market manager Julie Gade confirmed Rydberg is on leave from the radio station…..Westwood One says recent ACM-award winner and platinum-selling singer/songwriter – Warner Music Nashville’s Chris Janson – will host Westwood One’s Annual “Summer Kick-Off” special.  The four-hour broadcast is available for radio stations nationwide to air over Memorial Day weekend.  Janson will spin popular summertime hits from Luke BryanFlorida Georgia Line, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Jason AldeanCarrie Underwood, and some of his own hits, including his new single, “Good Vibes.”

Friday, August 10, 2018

| August 10, 2018

WEEI-FM’s Minihane Set to Discuss Depression. The genuine intimacy between a radio talent and the audience will most likely again be strongly in evidence when Entercom Boston sports talk WEEI-FM’s Kirk Minihane returns to the air today (Friday, 8/10) on the 5:30 am – 10:00 am “Kirk & (Gerry) Callahan Show.” In a tweet yesterday (8/9) at 2:47 pm, Minihane wrote, “I’ve talked a lot about my issues with depression, and I’ve battled it the last three months or so. Last Thursday night, I checked into the ER at Winchester Hospital with suicidal thoughts. I was then moved to McLean, where I was treated and released earlier this week.” One minute later (2:48 pm), he followed with, “I’ll be back at work tomorrow, and I’m a little nervous about it – but I’m not ashamed or embarrassed. We’ll do what we do – we’ll talk about it.” McLean Hospital in Belmont (suburban Boston) is regarded as one of the country’s best psychiatric facilities. Highly-controversial and opinionated Minihane joined what was then the “(John) Dennis and Callahan” show in 2013. He was suspended for “unsavory” language toward Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews. He later made headlines when he said the New England Patriots should “hire someone to murder” Roger Goodell over the NFL commissioner’s handling of “deflategate.” Earlier this year, Minihane claimed he would be taking a year off from sports talk radio, insisting he is “tired of being treated like a child” by station management. In Nielsen Audio’s just-released July 2018 Boston PPM results, WEEI-FM is up one-tenth to 4.2 (#8, 6+), while cross-town rival – Beasley Media Group-owned WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” regresses by one-half share (3.8, #10, 6+).

Stunner: Lanigan Logs Off WTAM. It’s one of those management nightmares when an on-air talent literally quits on the air. It happened in Cleveland two days ago (8/8) when John Lanigan announced Wednesday’s show on WTAM would be his last. For the past four years, Lanigan had done a one-hour (9:00 am – 10:00 am) program called “The Spew” on the iHeartMedia news/talk property. After a segment on the worst presidents in history, however, Lanigan according to a report on WEWS-TV “News 5,” Cleveland “diverted significantly from the show’s scheduled topics” approximately halfway through “The Spew.” Apparently out-of-the-blue, Lanigan ad-libbed to co-host Mike Trivisonno, “Can I talk to you for a second, quickly? I want to tell you what a privilege it has been working with you these last few years. You are the class act in radio. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it [but] I won’t be doing ‘The Spew’ ever again – I’m quitting today. I’m done – I won’t be back. I won’t be on ‘The Spew.’” The 75-year-old Lanigan went on to say (in a clip posted by WKYC-TV, Cleveland) that he’s no longer interested in what the NFL’s Cleveland Browns do and he doesn’t think he’s smart enough to discuss politics. “There’s too divisive an attitude in the country right now; I don’t think I’m qualified to tell listeners what they should be thinking,” Lanigan remarked. WTAM program director Ray Davis finished the rest of that day’s “Spew.” In 1971, Lanigan rather famously replaced Don Imus on Cleveland’s WGAR. For 29 years (1985 – 2014), Nebraska-born Lanigan – a 2013 National Radio Hall of Fame inductee – did morning drive with John Webster and Jimmy Malone on Cleveland classic hits-oldies outlet WMJI.

Entercom Now In TBA With WBEB. Prior to officially closing on its $57.5 million purchase of Jerry Lee Radio Philadelphia’s WBEB “101.1 More FM,” Entercom took over operation of the adult contemporary property yesterday (Thursday, 9/9) under a Time Brokerage Agreement (TBA). It marks the end of an era as WBEB was perhaps the lone genuine standalone property in a PPM-market – no sister station anywhere else. Entercom Philadelphia senior vice president/market manager David Yadgaroff remarks, “I am excited to welcome WBEB, one of the country’s most recognized and awarded stations, to our portfolio of Philadelphia radio stations. The addition of WBEB will be a great complement to our lineup that already includes KYW ‘News Radio 1060’; WIP ‘94 Sports Radio’; WPHT ‘Talk Radio 1210’; [adult contemporary] WTDY; and [classic hits-oldies] WOGL.” Elsewhere in the market, Beasley Media Group approximately three weeks ago (7/23) similarly assumed operations of Entercom’s WXTU “92.5 Philadelphia’s Country Station” under a TBA in advance of finalizing that station’s $38 million purchase. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 Philadelphia PPM report, WBEB regresses by seven-tenths (8.5 – 7.8) to slip from first to second, while WXTU (5.8, sixth to fifth, 6+) is without a loss for the seventh successive sweep for a cumulative gain of +2.2.

Univision Q2: Net Income Up, Radio Ad Revenue Down. For second-quarter 2018, Univision Communications’ net income rose from $106.1 million to $114.3 million; however, radio ad revenue dropped 3.6% to $61.7 million. Overall radio revenue fell 3.1% to $64.7 million, with total radio core revenue off 5.5% to $60.5 million. In addition, Univision’s aggregate revenue declined 2% year-to-year to $749.8 million with total core revenue (excluding political and content licensing revenue) down 3.1% to $730.3 million. Chief executive officer Vince Sadusky observes, “This is a company I have long admired as one of the great franchises in U.S. media and for its important mission to serve the Hispanic community. Despite a rapidly evolving media landscape, the company has a lot to be optimistic about and an incredibly strong foundation to build from. We provide unparalleled access to a coveted and fast growing consumer group with increasing buying power. While our foundation is strong, Univision has gone through a significant amount of change over the last few months. We are starting an exciting new chapter with a singular focus on our core business and mission – to inform, entertain and empower Hispanic America.” Sadusky succeeded Randy Falco as CEO in late-May (2018).

Final Round of July 2018 PPM Data Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 survey period covered June 21 – July 18. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Sir Charles In Charge. Once each year, Charles Barkley co-hosts all fours hours of Mike Missanelli’s afternoon drive show (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) on Beasley Media Group Philadelphia sports talk outlet WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.” The former NBA star did so yesterday (Thursday, 8/9) and discussed topics like the Eagles first preseason game; the expectations for the Sixers this season; and if the Phillies can keep up their great play. “The Round Mound of Rebound” spent the first eight years of his 16-year NBA career with the Sixers. He also played for the Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets. For the past 18 years, Barkley has been a studio analyst for Turner Network Television (TNT), appearing on the network’s NBA coverage during pre-game and halftime shows. Pictured in the photo at the right (from left to right) are Missanelli, Natalie Egenolf, Barkley, and Tyrone Johnson.

TALKERS News Notes. Adding radio duties as co-host (with program director Justin Acri) of “The Zone” (10:00 am – 1:00 pm) on Signal Media Little Rock sports talker KABZ “103.7 The Buzz” is Wess Moore, sports director of Little Rock’s KLRT-TV “Fox 16.” He succeeds Pat Bradley, who exits after 11 years to relocate to his native Boston; Bradley played college basketball for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. Acri comments, “We are going to really miss Pat in ‘The Zone,’ but certainly understand the draw of family. He has been a huge part of ‘The Buzz’ team and our success for more than a decade. He will continue to be a great featured contributor to the station going forward.  I know he will always consider Little Rock and Arkansas a second home – regardless of where he’s living.” Moore adds, “I am excited to be joining such a successful sports talk radio station with a rich history in Arkansas. ‘The Buzz’ has some of the best personalities in the business – I’m honored to get the opportunity to work alongside them. I look forward to being a part of ‘The Zone’ with Justin Acri, who has created an entertaining, smart show engaging sports fans on all levels.” Moore previously hosted “Game On with Wess Moore” for High Plains Radio Network’s Benton, Arkansas-licensed sports talk KAFN “Fox Sports Arkansas”; he begins his KABZ assignment next Monday (8/13) ….. In partnership with SiriusXM, the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) is establishing a permanent “Billy Graham Channel.” Headlined by messages of the late Christian evangelist, “The Billy Graham Channel” debuts one week from Monday (8/20), on SiriusXM Channel 460, becoming the satcaster’s fifth spoken-word “Religion” channel and the first featuring a continuous delivery of evangelistic content. BGEA chief executive officer Franklin Graham comments, “We are excited that SiriusXM will have a permanent Billy Graham channel. Many people have told us how much it has meant to them to hear my father’s timeless messages of truth.” Since last November, “The Billy Graham Channel” has appeared as a limited-run offering on four occasions, including a tribute channel in conjunction with Dr. Graham’s passing in February.

Week’s Top Topics.  The Trump-Russia investigation; Paul Manafort trial;  Ohio special election; various state primaries; midterm elections;  trade wars;  China tariffs;  Russia sanctions;  Rep. Chris Collins indictment;  Alex Jones and social media; LeBron James education initiative; California wildfires and their causes; New Mexico compound child abuse;  TribuneSinclair non-deal;  MLB action; and NFL training camps-pre-season games were the most-talked-about-topics on American news/talk radio this past week of August 6-10, 2018 according to the ongoing research of TALKERS magazine. To see the complete list of top topics and most-talked-about people of the week, please click here.

Harrison Podcast Resurrects 36-Year-Old Interview with Apple I and Apple II Inventor Steve Wozniak. In commemoration of Apple, Inc. reaching the historic milestone of a one trillion dollar valuation, TALKERS founder Michael Harrison dug up a 36-year-old interview that he conducted with Apple, Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak, the designer and inventor of the original Apple I and II personal computers. It is the centerpiece of this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Originally aired in 1982 on the pioneering national cable TV talk show “Harrison’s Mic,” the 24-minute conversation explores the beginnings of Apple Computer, Inc. (as it was then called) from what was a relatively recent perspective (it was only six years old). More importantly, it reveals the prescient thinking and perspective of one of the most important electronic designers and computer scientists of the digital era (and eventual philanthropist) when he was only 32 years old and society had merely scratched the surface of the revolution about to change the way people live and think. This fascinating interview is a must-listen for pop culture enthusiasts and media freaks. Michael Harrison states, “I am only first understanding the level of historical and intellectual gold that exists in the thousands of interviews, specials and broadcasts collecting dust in my archives that go back a half-century. We never realized when this content was being created in those early days that it would be of such historical interest and value. It just seemed like disposable pop content of the moment. This gem of a conversation with the great Steve Wozniak, which I hadn’t heard in more than three decades, is a prime example. I am so happy to share it in 2018 upon the milestone of Apple setting such astonishing records.” To listen to the interview in its entirety, please click here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Dubbed “The most-listened-to woman on radio,” Premiere Networks’ nighttime adult contemporary personality Delilah returned to New York City last Thursday (8/2) to host the annual summer performance, “Broadway in Bryant Park.” Presented by Delilah’s NYC affiliate, iHeartMedia AC WLTW “106.7 Lite FM,” the six-week event takes place at noon every Thursday (July 12 – August 16) and features performances of the biggest hits from the most popular shows on and off Broadway. Highlighted last week, for example, were “Aladdin,” “Frozen,” and “The Lion King.” An inductee of both the National Radio Hall of Fame and NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame, Delilah will be back next Thursday (8/16) to close out the series and welcome performances from “Be More Chill,” “Gettin’ The Band Back Together, “Once On This Island” and “School of Rock.” Pictured here from left to right are “Aladdin” cast members Major Attaway (“Genie”); Arielle Jacobs (“Jasmine”); Delilah, and Telly Young (“Aladdin”) …. Specifically targeting mainstream CHRs, rhythmic CHRs, and hip-hop stations, the five-hour “Dana Cortez Show” is the first result of a joint syndication and sales initiative that was announced four months ago between ABC Radio and Skyview Networks. An ensemble cast is led by one of the first Latinas to host a nationally syndicated show. ABC Radio vice president and general manager Steve Jones comments, “Dana is a transformational talent whose voice connects with a very broad audience and women in particular. We are extremely proud to syndicate ‘The Dana Cortez Show’ and help Dana, [her executive producer and husband] ‘DJ Automatic’ and ‘Anthony A’ [comedian Anthony Almanzar] entertain more listeners and drive affiliate revenue.” Skyview Networks president Ken Thiele remarks, “When we started this collaboration with ABC Radio, ‘The Dana Cortez Show’ is exactly the type of gold we were hoping to find – programs and personality with momentum on the rise. We welcome them to the family.” Cortez adds that, “Partnering with ABC Radio and Skyview Networks is the realization of a lifelong dream. From day one, Steve Jones and his team have championed having a female host as the lead for their morning syndication. It sends a very powerful message and I’m excited to help pave the way. Today’s audience expects authenticity, there are no secrets between us – nothing is off limits. Every morning is brimming with culture and content. Originality is at the core of everything we do. We believe our show is radio reimagined. It’s not what we do, it’s how we do it.” Cortez joined Univision Radio San Antonio rhythmic CHR KBBT “98.5 The Beat” three years ago from similarly-formatted KKSS “Kiss 97.3,” Albuquerque ….. Catapulting from his role of program director of iHeartMedia Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) CHR WWXM “Mix 97.7,” Ron Roberts takes on similar duties at Entercom Atlanta hot AC WSTR “Star 94.” He succeeds Tony Lorin, who exited earlier this year; a successor to Roberts at “Mix” is yet to be named … In iHeartMedia’s San Diego cluster, KGB-FM “San Diego’s Classic Rock” and KIOZ “Rock 105.3” program director Shauna Moran is promoted to director of rock programming for both stations. Meanwhile, KGB afternoon co-host Bob Buchmann becomes KGB’s operations manager/music director. According to Moran, “It has been an amazing week for KGB with the triumphant return home of DSC in mornings and the assembling of a powerhouse line up: Clint August in middays; Bob and Coe [Lewis] in afternoons; and Marc Coppola in nights. It also is a privilege to name Bob operations manager and music director for KGB.” Prior to joining KGB-FM and KIOZ in 1996, Moran spent five years in Denver as promotion director for KAZY, KRFX, and KBPI. Buchmann, who did mornings on KGB-FM before shifting to afternoons, has programmed WAXQ, New York; KLOS, Los Angeles; and was vice president of programming for WBAB, Long Island ….. Starting next month (9/4), changes at Bonneville Denver adult contemporary KOSI “Real-Music-Variety” will find three-year afternoon host Jackie Selby shifting to mid-days, replacing Denise Plante, who departed last month. The afternoon slot vacated by Selby will be taken over by Melissa Moore, who will cross the hallway from country sibling KYGO, where she handles mid-days. Selby’s previous Denver background includes alternative KXPK “96.5 The Peak,” hot AC KALC “Alice 106,” classic hits-oldies KXKL “Kool 105,” and adult standards KTNI “101.5 Martini on the Rockies.” Moore returns to KOSI, where she was morning co-host in the late-1990’s. Her resume includes Orlando’s WWKA “Country “K-92,” Minneapolis hot AC KSTP-FM “KS 95,” and afternoons on the contemporary Christian “WAY-FM” network …..Five-year Radio One Indianapolis CHR WNOW “100.9 Radio Now” integrated media specialist Tony Severino will join crosstown Sarkes Tarzian triple A WTTS “92.3 World Class Rock – Experience The Music” next Tuesday (8/14) as director of sales. “His enthusiasm for our industry and what we can do for clients is outstanding,” states WTTS president and general manager Geoff Vargo, while station manager Brad Holtz notes, “The passion he has for the opportunities that lie ahead for our unique brand of local radio was evident upon our first conversation.” Severino succeeds Daryl McIntire, who has left the station ….. To promote the addition of Premiere Networks morning talent Bobby Bones to its on-air lineup (5:00 am – 10:00 am), iHeartMedia Louisville’s WAMZ “97.5 Kentuckiana’s #1 for Country” partnered with “Field of Screams” to showcase a guitar-playing skeleton and “The Bobby Bones Show” logo. Including a six-acre corn maze, the annual haunted house event is open from September 16 through October 27 in Brandenburg, Kentucky ….. Alpha Media Canton, Ohio hot AC WHBC-FM “Mix 94.1” is the latest affiliate of Envision NetworksEnvisionVirtualServices. According to “Mix” program director John Stewart, [meteorologist] John Wetherbee is mindful of Ohio’s ever-changing weather pattern. If our weather changes, he updates his forecasts.”

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

| March 7, 2018

Steele Named OM for Dick Broadcasting’s Myrtle Beach Cluster. The Myrtle Beach cluster of Dick Broadcasting announces Charlie Steele is named operations manager, effective March 21.  Dick’s Myrtle Beach group includes news/talk WRNN-FM “Hot Talk 99.5,” classic rock WYAV, CHR WYMB, and alt rock WKZQ.  Steele says of his new gig, “I am very excited to join market manager John Sheftic and his team at DBC/Myrtle Beach and look forward to being a part of these great brands.  Thanks to COO Dick Harlow and EVP/programming Jason Goodman for this opportunity.”

Talk Host, Former Congressman J.D. Hayworth Ready to Return to Radio.  After what he calls “four great years back on TV at NewsmaxTV,” former KFYI, Phoenix talk show host J.D. Hayworth says he’s “rarin’ to return to radio!”  Hayworth – a former U.S. Representative from Arizona – has been serving with NewsmaxTV as an anchor for the past four years (see his television reel here) but he’s ready to re-ignite his radio career either on a fill-in or permanent basis.  Hayworth just completed a fill-in assignment at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte, sitting in for the station’s Vince Coakley.  Reach Hayworth at 602-615-6956.

Edison Research: ESPN Audio Grabs ‘Nearly Half of Sports Radio Listenership.’  Citing data from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” study, ESPN Audio is promoting the result stating ESPN Audio’s content – that includes the ESPN Radio Network’s national talk shows and live events, affiliated local broadcast radio stations, and podcasting – accounts for nearly half (46%) of all sports radio listenership in the U.S.  According to the study, ESPN Audio listening breaks down this way: 71% listened on terrestrial AM/FM radio, 46% listened via streaming audio, 26% heard ESPN content on SiriusXM, and 25% listened to podcasts.  (Numbers add up to more than 100% as users could cite multiple choices.)

‘The Union Edge’ Radio Show Ceasing Operations.  The labor issues-focused talk radio program “The Union Edge” – hosted by Charles Showalter – is ending production after 10 years due to cash flow problems.  In a message to supporters, Showalter says, “In recent months, we have not been able to raise the necessary funds needed to continue operations of our daily radio program.  With that said, ‘The Union Edge’ has financial obligations to our union Brothers and Sisters and vendors such as back pay, severance pay, benefits, and bills that need to be settled.  These individuals are the same Brothers and Sisters that stood with us and continued to work, without pay, during financially difficult times.  They truly believe in labor’s message and cause and for the last decade have carried water for labor, fighting the good fight.”  Showalter is seeking donations from the program’s supporters to pay the overdue wages and past due bills.  He can be reached here.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $250k at 2018 Golden Mike Award Event.  Pictured above at Monday evening’s 2018 Golden Mike Award ceremony in New York City are (from l-r): Nick Verbitsky, chairman and CEO, United Stations Radio Networks; Jim Thompson, president, Broadcasters Foundation of America; Pat McLaughlin, widow of Edward F. McLaughlin; and Dan Mason, chairman, BFoA.  As part of the evening’s program, Pat McLaughlin accepted the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her late husband Ed, who launched the syndication career of Rush Limbaugh via his EFM Media Management company.  As part of the event, the Broadcasters Foundation of America raised $250,000 to assist broadcasters in need.  Photo: Wendy Moger-Bross.

Westwood One: Study Shows 12 to 1 ROI for Personal Care Brand.  That 12-to-1 return on investment for a radio campaign comes from the results of the first Nielsen Catalina Solutions sales effect study conducted for an AM/FM radio campaign in the personal care brand category.  Cumulus Media EVP of marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “Westwood One has been very vocal that AM/FM radio delivers an impressive return on investment for brand marketers.  Today, we back that statement up with an NCS study for a major personal care brand, which shows a $12 return on advertising spend for every dollar of AM/FM radio advertising.  NCS is the gold standard for CPG sales measurement, and these findings show that a personal care brand can use radio to realize impressive sales lift and a powerful return on ad spend.”  The press release explains, “NCS calibrates the largest shopper dataset of over 90 million unique households, from Catalina, with Nielsen’s retail sales and consumer panel data, to represent nearly 100% of total US all-outlet CPG spend.  Using an advanced methodology, NCS can connect Nielsen’s gold-standard radio ratings data with shopper data to understand what advertising households were exposed to and how it impacted their purchasing.”  See more from Westwood One here.

FOX News Radio Presents Five-Part College Debt Series.  This series – titled “Forever in Debt” – runs next week (3/12-3/16) and is available to FOX News Radio affiliates. FOX News Radio’s Eben Brown explores the fact that $1.34 billion in student loan debt is owed by Americans.  The network says, “Some estimates suggest more than half of those student loans are in default. Borrowers face garnishment of paychecks and even their parents’ social security benefits, and what’s worse, nobody can resolve these loans in Bankruptcy.”  The five-part series will be fed in two versions approximately :60 seconds in length, and approximately :40 seconds.  Each segment will post to the Newsfeed section of the affiliate website by 3:00 am ET.  Eben Brown will also be available for two-ways with affiliate stations.

WJFK-FM, Washington and MLB’s Nationals Renew. Baseball’s Washington Nationals and Entercom’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” ink a renewal to keep the club on the station for the next five seasons.  Play-by-play announcers Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler continue their roles.  Post-game duties are being shared by Phil Wood and The Fan’s Nationals beat reporter, Craig Heist, with select post-game shows hosted by “106.7 The Fan” midday show hosts Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Economic Adviser Gary Cohn Exits, Trump Administration Sues California, Sam Nunberg Subpoena, Stormy Daniels Sues Trump, Sickened Russia Spy, North Korea-South Korea Talks, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/6).  The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; Trump Administration economic adviser Gary Cohn announces his exit over differences on tariffs issue; the Trump Administration sues California over its sanctuary status hindering ICE deportation efforts; the bizarre media tour by former Trump aide Sam Nunberg after being subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller; porn star Stormy Daniels sues President Trump over “hush agreement”; the case of the Russian double agent and his daughter sickened in the U.K. in suspected poisoning; the diplomatic talks between North Korea and South Korea; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Sacramento, Jenna Rae moves from middays to afternoon drive at Entercom’s country KNCI, filling the daypart opened by the recent departure of Dan Cheatham.   Taking over the midday show is Pacey, who steps into a full-time position after serving with the station in a part-time capacity…..Milwaukee Radio Alliance re-brands oldies WZTI-AM/W262CJ/W297BY, Milwaukee from Scott Shannon’s “True Oldies” to “Fonz FM” – referencing Henry Winkler’s character in the Milwaukee-set 1970s sitcom…..PR and marketing pro Jennifer Quiroz announces she’s opening her own firm, Jennifer Quiroz Marketing Consulting.  She calls it a “boutique, full-service agency offering a wide range of traditional and digital marketing services to clients nationwide.”  Quiroz previously served with iHeartMedia and Premiere Networks handling marketing for talent including: Ryan Seacrest, Mario Lopez, Delilah, Nikki Sixx and Bobby Bones…..Alpha Media’s KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” announces that the Eli Young Band will headline its CountryFest 2018 on June 3 at the Portland Rose Festival.  Also performing at the festival will be: Parmalee, Russell Dickerson, Carly Pearce and Mitchell Tenpenny.

Friday, January 12, 2018

| January 12, 2018

Most Talk Radio Programmers are Avoiding Use of the Term “Shithole” in Wake of Presidential Sh*tstorm.  Once again, President Donald J. Trump – for better or worse – has shaken up the standards of traditional broadcasting and journalism.  This time, with his controversial remark about immigration using the term “shithole” to describe countries from which he considers immigration particularly undesirable.  The controversial racist aspect of this story notwithstanding, FCC-regulated broadcasters have had to make the quick decision to directly utter the term on the airwaves or buffer it with less offensive and non-potentially rule-breaking words.  This decision has been made more difficult by the fact that many traditional, so-called mainstream cable outlets and online/print news media have chosen to use the word as the President said it.  In conversations around the industry this morning TALKERS has learned that the prevailing tact on terrestrial talk radio has been NOT to use the word directly.  Cumulus Media/Westwood One EVP Mike McVay tells TALKERS, “Despite cable television taking great joy in saying the ‘S’ word on TV, we are not saying the actual word on over the air radio. We recognize it as one of the seven words we cannot say. That has not stopped us from using it on our digital platforms.”   Salem Radio Network senior VP, Phil Boyce says, “The word ‘shit’ is one of the FCC-banned words and our hosts should never use it, no matter if the president did or didn’t.  My morning guy in Los Angeles, Brian Whitman, will be using the word “BLANK hole.”  We want our shows to be safe for the whole family.  No need to have listeners turn off the radio because kids are in the car.”  Bold Gold Media Group CEO Vince Benedetto – owner of a number of stations in Pennsylvania and upstate New York – adds, “We haven’t changed our policy – we still do not say anything on air that violates George Carlin’s ‘Seven words you can’t say on television.'”  ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones tells TALKERS, “ABC News Radio anchors and reporters are not speaking that word on air as it could be considered an FCC violation and it also might offend local community standards.  Instead, we are referring to the phrase as an ‘expletive’ or ‘profanity.’   We have 1,650 affiliates and the majority use our ABC ‘Newscall’ service – which provides on-demand audio of reporters and actualities.   We are more permissive in what we provide on that service because it is the decision of the station whether to run the audio – whereas as we control the newscast content and therefore have unilateral decision-making.  If audio existed of any president using a profanity, we would put it on ‘Newscall’ and let stations decide its usage.   If we determined language was so newsworthy we felt obligated to include it in a newscast, we would probably warn stations in advance.  But, that’s hard to effectively control and I don’t recall it being done in many years.”  Although the consensus is to avoid using the word directly on the airwaves, not everyone in talk radio fully agrees that the way to go.  Nationally-famous, station owner/operator (and industry maverick) Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOME, Santa Cruz tells TALKERS that he will use the word on his own show (“The Saturday Special”) but respects the rights of his air personalities to make their own decisions, “My position is to use the word on the air since it is a bona fide news story – but I just checked with the ‘Good Morning Monterey Bay’ staff [the station’s morning show] and was told they opted to say ‘s-hole’ and to play the Haitian national anthem.”  Zwerling continues, “Trump apparently has denied using that word (which is one of my favorites) but even if he was falsely accused of using it by the news media almost universally out to get him – it has nonetheless become a legitimate news story and therefore would fall into my category of okay to use on the air.  Besides, it moves our industry in the direction of parity with the ‘paid’ services that have been and are allowed to use profanity with impunity!”  Media consultant/TALKERS columnist/and RT America host Holland Cooke says, “It is a big topic with heavy phones at my client stations this morning.  My advice:  Ask listeners, ‘If he said that word, should we, here on the radio?'”  TALKERS legal editor and Bentley University law professor Steven JJ Weisman says, “It is my opinion that the use of the word ‘shithole’ in the context of discussing the president’s comments would be allowed.”  For Weisman’s full comments, please read the story below.

Steve Weisman’s Legal Take on Terrestrial Radio’s Use of Term “Shithole.”  TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman offers his educated view on the terrestrial radio “shithole” issue prompted by President Donald J. Trump’s use of the term.  To read the piece in its entirety, please click here.

Save the Date! Talkers 2018 Set for Friday, June 8, 2018 in New York City.  The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention.  Titled TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 8, 2018 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City.  This marks the second year in a row that the convention will be held at this very popular venue.  The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and dawn of a rapidly accelerating era.  This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization.  It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals.  The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will focus on the future.  There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities.  Good things happen at this convention.  We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!”  Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks.  As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students.  Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card.  Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person.  However, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 2.  To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Gwiazdon Goes to Beasley Media Group Las Vegas as VP/MM. Most recently vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ Nashville adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9”; adult hits WCJK “96.3 Jack FM”; and CHR WNFN “i106.7,” Dennis Gwiazdon began similar duties yesterday (1/11) for Beasley Media Group Las Vegas. According to Beasley Media Group executive vice president and chief operating officer Brian Beasley, “It is a privilege to welcome Dennis to the Beasley Media Group family. His proven track record and leadership skills are the perfect fit for our Las Vegas cluster as we continue to grow and expand our business in the market.” Gwiazdon, who was president of the Nashville Area Radio Association, states, “I am absolutely thrilled about joining the Beasley team. There is tremendous potential for us in Las Vegas and I’m grateful [to be given] the opportunity to make a difference.” Prior to his Nashville duties, Gwiazdon was president of San Diego-based Sales Insights. He previously held the vice president/general manager title at Seattle’s KRWM; San Diego’s KGB-FM and KPOP-AM; San Diego’s KMCG and KXGL; and Salt Lake City’s KKAT. With their Nielsen Audio December 2017 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, Beasley Media Group’s Las Vegas cluster includes classic hits-oldies KKLZ “96.3 70s, 80s, and More” (6.3, #2); urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” (4.0, #6); country KCYE “102.7 The Coyote” (3.7, #9); hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9” (2.8, #15); news/talk KDWN “AM 720” (.7, #26); and KCYE-HD2, which did not appear in the December 2017 sweep. The Las Vegas market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5” (10.6, 6+), while Midwest Nashville’s WJXA “Mix” is on top (6+) with a 9.9.

WBUR, Reddit Debut “Endless Thread.” That’s the name of the weekly Ben Brock Johnson-hosted podcast done in partnership with Boston University-owned news/talk WBUR and Reddit, “the front page of the internet.” Starting today (1/12), weekly installments will be available every Friday to stream or download. According to Johnson, “Reddit is one of the most formidable communities online. Its lifeblood is people from all over the world sharing and organizing around every imaginable topic, making it an incredibly valuable resource for anyone trying to understand our world. As a journalist, I’ve been fascinated by Reddit for years, but I’ve also become an avid ‘redditor.’ I’m always surprised at what a mystery Reddit is to people who don’t use it. I’m looking forward to solving that mystery for the uninitiated, and helping ‘redditors’ share their incredible, real life stories with the world.” Reddit creative development manager Michael Pope remarks, “Reddit is home to the most authentic conversations on the internet and we know there is a massive opportunity to host thoughtful conversations about these stories in audio form. As one of the leading NPR affiliates in the country, we can’t wait to see what happens when we pair the production polish and talent at WBUR with the most compelling stories online.” The first episode, “No No No No Yes,” explores harrowing tales through first-hand interviews with ‘redditors’ who lived to tell their stories.

TALKERS News Notes. After a brief hiatus from a national platform, Dave Ross returns next Monday (1/15) with a daily, 90-second, CBS News Radio commentary, originally scheduled for a February 5 start date. Heard weekdays (“Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross”) on Bonneville-owned KIRO-FM, Ross is a five-time Edward R. Murrow award winner for best writing … This time next month (2/12), previous morning host of St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y-98” Guy Phillips begins doing afternoons at news/talk KTRS “Big 550 The Talk of STL”; Julie Buck will be his co-host … Five Entercom Chicago stations – sports talk WSCR “670 The Score,” all-news WBBM-AM, CHR WBBM-FM “B-96,” triple A WXRT “93 XRT,” and country WUSN “US-99” – will be broadcasting from this year’s “Cubs Convention” today (1/12), tomorrow (Saturday, 1/13), and Sunday (1/14). Entercom Chicago senior vice president/market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We look forward to this event where our brands can interact with fellow Chicago Cubs fans. We are grateful for our continued partnership with the Chicago Cubs organization as the exclusive radio home of the Chicago Cubs.” This weekend’s event is taking place at Chicago’s Sheraton Grand Hotel. WSCR continues as the team’s radio flagship ….. Former Tribune Broadcasting White House correspondent and Long Island television news anchor/reporter Drew Scott joins JVC Media news/talk WRCN “Long Island News Radio 103.9” as a reporter. JVC Media president/CEO John Caracciolo comments, “Having someone like Drew is a complete win for us. His job will be to use the contact list he has developed over the years to help us open doors; get the story; and get the info Long Islanders need and want. This is live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be.” WRCN operations director Frank Brinka notes, “Drew is a great addition to our staff. His wealth of news reporting and knowledge of the Long Island landscape will be an asset to the station. He will deliver a wealth of information to our listening audience.” Scott adds, “I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic, live and local radio news organization. I am looking forward to helping ‘LI News Radio’ and JVC continue to grow and prosper.” ….. The flagship of MLB’s Minnesota Twins from 1961 – 2006, Entercom Minneapolis’ WCCO “News Radio 830,” returns in that capacity this year. The first of its 15-game spring training broadcast schedule will be (Thursday) February 22 when the Twins play the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Cory Provus, Dan Gladden, and Kris Atteberry comprise WCCO’s on-air team ….. Launching on SiriusXM next Wednesday (1/17) is “Barstool Radio,” the 24/7 channel for Barstool’s unfiltered approach to covering sports, men’s lifestyle, and popular culture. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy remarks, “We are excited to launch our Barstool channel. It has been a wild ride to get to this point and this is another big step in our plan for total world domination.” SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen comments, “In today’s crowded media landscape, Barstool stands out as a unique and compelling voice. Live radio thrives on the kind of spontaneous and entertaining content that Barstool delivers every day. We don’t know what they are going to say next, but Barstool Radio on SiriusXM will be the place to hear it live and talk about it.” Weekday call-in shows will include: “The Barstool Radio Show” with Portnoy and Kevin “KFC” Clancy (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET); “The Heartland Radio Showwith former NFL punter Pat McAfee (10:00 am -1:00 pm, ET); and “The Evening Yak with Dan “Big Cat” Katz (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, ET). Barstool Radio will be on SiriusXM’s “Power 85” and on the SiriusXM app ….. For over three weeks, Alpha Media Bakersfield (California) news/talk KNZR AM & FM “News-Talk-Dodgers,” mainstream CHR KLLY “Energy 95.3,” and urban-rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3” collected food and water for fire victims in Ventura and Santa Barbara. KLLY program director Danny Hill comments, “I am very proud of my community and I love the support they always show. Bakersfield constantly gives to others and is at the forefront of a lot of charity events.” A local veterans chapter helped to deliver the supplies.

British Talk Show Host and TalkersRadio Personality Graham Mack Forced to Apologize for On Air Statement that PM Theresa May “Has No Balls.”  It is always fascinating to compare and contrast American radio with broadcasting in other English-speaking countries when it comes to tolerance, freedom of speech and political controversy.  Well-known English talk show host Graham Mack, host of the popular BOB-FM, Herfordshire (greater London) breakfast show got himself into a sticky situation on Wednesday (1/10) by boldly stating that British Prime Minister Theresa May “has no balls.”  According to a report in the Hertfordshire Mercury, The comment came on yesterday’s (January 10)  breakfast show during a lengthy rant about May’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, in which he also claimed that she was the “weakest Prime Minister” the country had ever seen. Mack went on to berate the reshuffle, saying that not enough women and ethnic minority MPs had been promoted to justify promises made by the Prime Minister in the preceding days. However, the maverick radio host appeared to backtrack on his claims this morning (January 11), telling listeners that he had to “correct” his comments. Mr. Mack said that although his remark about Mrs. May’s lack of balls was “anatomically correct,” he should not have made it.  He also clarified that he could not be sure that May was the weakest Prime Minister the country had ever seen, as Clement Attlee or William the Younger could conceivably be weaker.  In a statement, Mr. Mack said: “We received a serious complaint yesterday about what I’d said on the air.  “Someone in a very senior position told me to make an apology. “I cannot reveal who made the complaint. The seriousness of the complaint did take me by surprise because a regular listener would realise that I take a swipe at all politicians regardless of which political party they represent.”  Mr. Mack concluded his on-air correction by issuing an apology directly to the Prime Minister, saying that as the leader of the nation she must be respected.  To listen to the segment of the program that got Graham Mack in trouble, please click here. Graham Mack also hosts “London Calling” a weekly program on TalkersRadioTALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Mack as “one of the best radio talk show aahosts in the English-speaking world.”

iHeartMedia, MoviePass Announce Media Partnership. The agreement includes a marketing campaign across iHeartMedia’s multiplatform network to help build further brand awareness of MoviePass and target new subscribers in select United States metros. In addition, iHeartMedia will be an authorized reseller of ad inventory across the MoviePass website and mobile app. According to iHeartMedia Ventures president Joe Robinson, “We have the capability to build significant brand awareness for MoviePass through our unparalleled scale and reach of more than 270 million monthly listeners across the country and our multiplatform assets. We see a unique opportunity with MoviePass, and its ability to understand and analyze audience trends and behavior which is a great asset for our advertisers, especially those looking to further engage with millions of movie-goers.” MoviePass chief executive officer Mitch Lowe comments, “We expect that our partnership with iHeartMedia will fuel our continued growth by targeting more profitable subscribers in low-cost markets, while also opening up a new revenue stream with digital advertising. We also expect that this relationship will be beneficial to movie exhibitors because we hope to drive more traffic into theaters and to advertisers through our strong working intelligence on the preferences and behaviors of a substantial amount of movie-goers. Our subscribers are going to twice as many movies a month as other consumers and are buying one in every 50 movie tickets in the U.S.” MoviePass launched its current $9.95 per month subscription plan this past August.

 

 

Wynter Boosted to iHM EVP Urban/Hip-Hop. Los Angeles urban contemporary KRRL “Real 92.3” program director Doc Wynter adds corporate iHeartMedia duties as executive vice president urban/hip-hop. President/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler states, “No one understands urban and hip-hop programming like Doc. We are thrilled that he is expanding his role leading iHeartMedia’s programming strategy for those key formats. He has been instrumental in launching several of our urban and hip-hop stations nationwide and we’re excited for him to be even more hands-on with all of our urban brands in our over 150 markets.” Wynter adds, “Urban radio has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Having worked with iHeartMedia for almost three decades, I know we have some of the best programmers and on-air personalities in radio. I can’t wait to help our region and market presidents provide their local urban and hip-hop music fans with one-of-a-kind listening experiences that only a company like iHeartMedia can create.” In this newly-created position, Wynter – most recently the company’s senior vice president of urban programming/urban brand manager – will report to chief programming officer Tom Poleman. Wynter began overseeing the company’s urban radio stations in late-1999 and launched several iHeartMedia brands such as “Power 105.1 FM” in New York City (on WWPR); “Real 92.3” in Los Angeles (on KRRL); “V101.5” in Jacksonville (on WSOL); and “The Beat” in various cities.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. After doing four years of night duty on iHeartMedia Los Angeles mainstream CHR KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM,” Freddy Rivera transfers to co-owned Dallas hot AC KDMX “102.9 Now” for afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm). KDMX program director Jay Shannon comments, “Freddy is an outstanding on-air talent and we are very fortunate to add him to our lineup. Freddy is very much looking forward to calling DFW his home.” Rivera, who starts at KDMX in a little over three weeks (2/5), notes, “I am very excited to write the next chapter in my radio career with ‘102.9 Now.’ I have heard so much about the food, nightlife, and community – I can’t wait to jump right in.” Los Angeles-born/Inland Empire-raised Rivera began his radio career as an intern for former “Kiss-FM” wakeup talent Rick Dees and worked on-air at Riverside-Bernardino-Ontario rhythmic CHR KGGI ….. Changes at Merlin Media-owned/Cumulus Media-operated alternative WKQX, Chicago find morning driver Brian Phillips handling mornings by himself as his former co-host – Lou Lombardo – segues to evenings. In addition, Lombardo adds “digital content captain” duties. Former WKQX evening talent “Marconi” left the station about two weeks ago ….. Two-year KMLE, Phoenix morning show host Chris Matthews departs the Entercom country outlet, but Nina D and producer “Badger Gabe” remain in place ….. Steve Guittari departs Cumulus Media Indianapolis; Guittari was operations manager of the cluster and program director of the company’s WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” ….. Also in the “Circle City,” according to the Indianapolis Business Journal, iHeartMedia Indianapolis sports talk WNDE pulls the plug on the Dave “Gunner” Gunn and Don Stuck-hosted morning show “Flagrant Foul.” Gunn (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and Stuck (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm) continue though on classic rock sibling WFBQ “Q-95.” Clay Travis’ syndicated “Outkick the Coverage” returns to WNDE’s morning drive slot ….. Added to the weekend lineup of iHeartMedia-owned New York City rhythmic CHR WKTU “103.5 KTU” is Astra – who formerly did afternoon drive on cross-town mainstream CHR WBMP “Amp 92.3.”

Odom Out at WRXQ. The evening talent on Coal City, Illinois-licensed WRXQ “100.7 Q-Rock,” Ray “Crazy Ray” Odom, is pink-slipped by the Alpha Media station for remarks he made on CNBC’s “The Profit.” On a promo for that cable television show, Odom said, “I’m a sexist, egotistical, racist pig on the radio.” Alpha Media market manager Brian Foster notes, “We do not condone the views he expressed in the program. The feelings portrayed are that of his own and not of Alpha Media or ‘Q-Rock.’ After an internal review, we have decided to cut ties.” Odom is co-owner of Rayjus Outdoors, but he was placed on leave from that Morris, Illinois business, the subject of Marcus Lamonis-hosted “The Profit,” which offers financial help to struggling businesses. Lamonis acknowledges that Odom had, “a side job. I thought it may be a distraction, but I didn’t realize that the focus of it was to demonize minorities and degrade women.” Odom confirmed the firing, saying he worked hard to keep his radio persona separate from his business. “What I said got taken out of context completely – now I don’t have a radio job over it.” A Rayjus statement on Facebook reads, “Unfortunately, we cannot allow these statements to go unchecked. While an integral part of our organization, Ray will be taking a leave of absence to spend time with his family and reflect on what is in the best interest of his family and company.” Regarding what he has said on radio, Odom tells the (Joliet, Illinois) Herald-News, “Everybody has a different sense of what is funny and not funny.”

Entravision Expands La Suavecita. The Grupero/Cumbia La Suavecita format will be heard in 11 more markets, in addition to its Los Angeles area simulcast of KSSE, KSSC, & KSSD. Entravision president and chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman remarks, “Since its launch a year ago, La Suavecita has built an incredible following of loyal listeners and received strong advertising support in Los Angeles. We are excited to share this unique and exciting format with listeners in 11 new markets and to bring a powerhouse line-up of some of the most recognized on-air personalities in radio to La Suavecita. Los Angeles is the largest Hispanic radio market in the U.S. We believe our format, programming, and talent changes will allow us to better connect with our audiences, and in turn, our advertisers with their customers. La Suavecita is backed by a strong slate of on-air personalities that will drive engagement across our radio and digital platforms.” Coinciding with the national rollout of the La Suavecita format, El Genio will be heard 4:00 am – 10:00 am; “Piolin” (Eddie Sotelo) 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; Armida y La Flaka 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm; and Mayra 7:00 pm -12:00 midnight. Targeting women 25 – 49 and adults 25 – 54, La Suavecita surfaces in Houston (KGOL); Phoenix (KVVA and KDVA); Denver (KJMN and KMXA); Sacramento (KXSE); Las Vegas (KRRN); McAllen (KNVO); El Paso (KINT-FM); Stockton (KTSE); Modesto (KCVR); Palm Springs, California (KLOB); and El Centro, California (KSEH).

Cutbacks at Dick Broadcasting’s Three New Clusters. Back in September, Dick Broadcasting announced it would acquire Alpha Media’s 18 stations and two translators in Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville (North Carolina); Myrtle Beach (South Carolina); and Savannah (Georgia) for $19.5 million. Staffing cuts have been made in all three markets. Exiting WXQR “Rock 105,” Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville are program director/afternoon talent Tina Smash and night host Ryan Daniels. Departures at the Myrtle Beach cluster include production director/WXYY “G-100.1” afternoon driver Mark ‘Shark’ Eddis and WFXH “Rock 106.1,” Hilton Head Island assistant program director/night talent Ryan Koch. The business manager position has been eliminated in the three aforementioned markets.