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Monday, October 26, 2020

| October 26, 2020

Monday Memo: Listeners’ Mindset, Advertisers’ Message. Notwithstanding the president’s hope that “pandemic fatigue” will buoy his message that “we’ve turned the corner,” survey data presented at the NAB/New York virtual convention – now underway and available on-demand – describes how Americans really feel, and how our advertisers can relate. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke’s conference notes, and specific tips for improving results from endorsement spots. Read it here.

Pending Business: A Secret of Success. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in his column today, “Every dominant business understands how important it is to set a standard, stick to it, improve it, own it and infuse it into the culture of the organization. Does your radio station strive to set industry-leading sales standards? You don’t need the highest-rated radio station to set a standard for sales performance and service. You don’t need the highest rates, or the most revenue. You need commitment, and the relentless pursuit of setting and improving standard-setting performance.” Read more here.

Nexstar Media Group’s Operational Realignment Ups Sean Compton to President, Networks. On Thursday (10/22), Nexstar Media Group announced a combination of its two primary subsidiaries – Nexstar Digital LLC and Nexstar Broadcasting into a new subsidiary called Nexstar Inc. In this new alignment, Karen Brophy becomes president, digital; Timothy Busch is now president, broadcasting; and Sean Compton rises from executive vice president to president, networks in which he’ll oversee WGN America, Antenna TV, and WGN Radio. All three will answer to Nexstar Media Group president, COO and CFO Thomas Carter. He says, “The operational realignment we are announcing today will accelerate Nexstar’s growth by leveraging our leading local content and positioning the company to become an even more nimble and competitive organization, thereby creating new value for shareholders… We completed the highly accretive acquisition of Tribune Media a year ago and quickly and efficiently integrated their assets, resulting in first year operating synergies exceeding $185 million. At the same time, we converted the Tribune enterprise to Nexstar’s operating, sales and other protocols and successfully and cost-effectively launched ‘News Nation’ on WGN America. As a result, we are leveraging our industry leading scale, diversified business model and solid operating execution to deliver record 2020 financial results as we dynamically manage the business to offset the impacts of the pandemic, reduce leverage and return capital to shareholders through quarterly cash dividends and share repurchases. Our decision to reorganize the business’ operating structure at this time reflects our view that there remains tremendous upside to be realized by maximizing the value of our assets, content and strong consumer engagement with our digital properties.”

iHeartMedia Birmingham Launches ‘BIN 92.7.’ The Birmingham, Alabama market joins the growing number of iHeartMedia markets airing the BIN: Black Information Network format as the company unveils “BIN 92.7” on FM translator WW224CK, Vestavia Hills. The company says “BIN 92.7” will broadcast 24/7 national and local news focused on serving the Black community and providing an information window for those outside the community to help foster communication, accountability and a deeper understanding. The station will feature top national on-air anchors and correspondents including award-winning broadcaster Ed Gordon and renowned journalist Roland Martin. Black Information Network president Tony Coles says, “BIN’s goal has always been to be the most trusted source for news in the Black community, and part of that strategy is, of course, to be available on both broadcast and digital stations across America. We’re thrilled to bring BIN, a full-time news service by and for the Black community, to Birmingham and provide listeners there with both the national and local news that impacts their lives.”

TALKERS News Notes. The FCC issues a Public Notice announcing the Access to Capital Working Group of its Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment and the FCC’s Media Bureau will co-host a virtual symposium titled “Path to Media Ownership and Sustainability” on November 6, 2020 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET.  The symposium will examine access to capital for small and diverse broadcasters.  The event will be convened virtually via WebEx and will be available to the public streaming via the Internet at www.fcc.gov/live. It will feature broadcasters and lenders discussing how to obtain financing for broadcast station transactions in today’s challenging financial circumstances, as well as experts discussing the history of the previous broadcast tax certificate policy and the potential for a new tax certificate policy to increase broadcast ownership diversity.  The symposium will also include presentations from Nielsen Global Media on ratings measurements for multi-ethnic broadcast stations, and a discussion of how small and diverse broadcasters can attract increased advertising revenue.  Finally, congressional staff members will provide updates on pending legislation intended to increase diverse media ownership…..Talk media personality Tom Donahue announces he has returned to Tom Donahue Reports to produce his program as a podcast in which he’ll no longer conform to a formatted show, thereby allowing him “greater versatility and creativity in producing audio content.” He continues to stream his show on Talk Stream Live. Also, Donahue is launching a commentaries service in the form of capsules made available to stations as one- or two-minute episodes. “America’s First News with Matt Ray” recently added the reports to his show twice weekly…..Pictured below is Salem Radio Network syndicated talk radio personality Sebastian Gorka (center) with SRN V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) and Breitbart Washington political editor Matt Boyle (right) at a celebration of Gorka’s birthday in Alexandria, Virginia. Among the guests were: Salem executives David Santrella and Phil Boyce; former White House press secretary (and Newsmax TV personality) Sean Spicer; WMAL-FM, Washington talk host Larry O’Connor; and KABC, Los Angeles radio and political commentator Joseph DiGenova.

New Orleans Talk Radio Pioneer Keith Rush Dead at 89. WWL-TV, New Orleans reports that Keith Rush, a conservative talk radio icon who worked in the market for 60 years, died last Thursday (10/22) at age 89. According to WWL-TV, Rush was best known for his talk radio program on WSMB-AM that aired during the 1970s and 1980s. Local politician Lawrence E. Chehardy is quoted in the piece saying of Rush’s program, “It was a great forum because you could go on and discuss the issues with him and take phone calls from listeners. It was a way for elected officials to be able to converse with their constituents, long before the days of social media.” Rush began his radio career in the mid 1950s as a disc jockey. He transitioned to talk in the 1970s.

The Presidential Election/‘60 Minutes’ Interviews, Early/Mail-In Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Pence Office Outbreak, Hunter Biden Emails Case, Social Media ‘Censorship,’ Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation, California Power Outages and Wildfire Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November 3 presidential election and Sunday night’s appearances by Donald Trump and Joe Biden on “60 Minutes”; reports of record numbers of early and mail-in votes; the rising number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and around the world and projections for the fall/winter seasons, as well as the outbreak among the staff of Vice President Mike Pence; the leaked emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop; allegations by conservatives that Twitter and Facebook are censoring their political messages; the confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; and the power outages in California as high winds threaten more wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Phoenix, Entercom promotes Chris Hernandez to operations manager for the cluster. In this role, Hernandez will lead operations efforts for classic hits KOOL-FM, country KMLE-FM, and CHR KALV-FM “LIVE 101.5.” At the same time, the company ups Daniel Valentine to music director for “LIVE 101.5.” Entercom Phoenix SVP and market manager Dave Pugh says, “Chris Hernandez has consistently shown amazing drive that leads to substantial results and I’m confident in his ability to take our collection of stations to higher levels. Daniel Valentine has proven his extensive music expertise over the years and I’m looking forward to watching his career grow as he leads LIVE’s music operations. Both are veterans in our company, and I’m honored to elevate two hard working individuals.”…..The programming lineup for iHeartMedia’s “HBCU Homecoming Celebration on iHeartRadio” is taking place on November 12. It will include Angela Yee, co-host of the morning show “The Breakfast Club,” and special guests exploring female entrepreneurship and the art of brand building as the modern-day self-CEO as part of the iHeartRadio Beautiful Possibilities presented by Ulta Beauty.  During the discussion, the panel participants will share their personal stories of success and explore how they rise above challenges to define their careers. The panel aims to uplift, inspire and pave the way for the next generation of Black women leaders and will be followed by a performance by singer and songwriter H.E.R. “Breakfast Club” co-host DJ Envy will emcee the iHeartRadio HBCU Homecoming Party on the Yard, presented by McDonald’s. The virtual event will include celebrity guest and McDonald’s owner/operator interviews, legendary HBCU Homecoming highlights, and several special surprise moments. The event will culminate with a performance from global superstar Khalid across all iHeartMedia hip hop and R&B stations…..Legendary Chicago jock Ron Britain, a.k.a. Ron Magel, has died in his hometown of Louisville at the age of 86. Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes about the career of the man who was known as King B on the radio. During his more than 50 year radio career, Britain worked at some 21 stations but achieved the peak of his fame at former CHR outlet WCFL-AM which he joined in 1965.

Self-Syndication Has Been Berry, Berry Good

| October 13, 2020

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor

 

HOUSTON — Seldom are talk radio hosts at a loss to fill two or three hours of airtime.

Situations though have become wildly frenetic in a calendar year that has already seen among countless other things:

  • January impeachment trial of a first-term president that concluded with a February acquittal
  • (Hopefully only) a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic that has taken a toll of American lives rapidly approaching 215,000, cratered the economy, and erased millions of jobs
  • Presidential campaign unlike any other
  • Significant racial injustice, protests, and rise of the “Black Lives Matter” movement
  • West Coast wildfires and East Coast hurricanes
  • Controversy over the evenhandedness of nominating a Supreme Court justice only weeks before a presidential election
  • Brief/mysterious hospitalization of the sitting POTUS who tested positive for the coronavirus

Still to come in 2020’s more than two-and-one-half remaining months are the presidential election itself, not to mention the already anticipated precedent-setting intensity possibly contesting it.

Read More

Information Source Supplying Hope & Pride

| September 22, 2020

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor

 

CHICAGO — It is a completely reasonable leap for the average non-broadcaster to assume the June 30th debut of iHeartMedia’s Black Information Network (BIN) was an instantaneous response to George Floyd’s one-month earlier murder (5/25), and/or the rapid rise of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

Clearly though, those deeply rooted in the industry are acutely aware that a full 24/7 all-news entity is a highly thorough, meticulous proposition that hardly springs up overnight.

Read More

Monday, November 18, 2019

| November 18, 2019

Talk Host Craig Silverman and KNUS, Denver Have Different Takes on His Departure.  Only this appears to be agreed upon by former Denver chief deputy district attorney Craig Silverman and Salem Media Group’s news/talk KNUS, Denver – he exited during his Saturday program.  Silverman claims he was ousted in the middle of his show after a segment critical of President Trump aired.  But KNUS general manager Brian Taylor tells FOX 31 Denver that he was removed after appearing on a competing station.  Taylor says, “He decided that it was important to work across town and so on Saturday on his program he announced that, and that’s what prompted our decision to take him off the air.  The notion that he was relieved from his program because he criticized President Trump is absolutely untrue.  We’ve never told Mr. Silverman the position to take on his impeachment.”

Monday Memo: What’s really ‘Official?’ With AM/FM broadcasters now competing with SO many audio competitors, the timing couldn’t be worse to blend-into the blah-blah-blah with dated-sounding station imaging.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke warns against what he calls “the most-abused word” in promo copy.  Read it here.

iHeartMedia Announces $500 Million Private Offering. Via a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission,iHeartMedia, Inc. announces its intent to offer, $500 million aggregate principal amount of Senior Secured Notes due January 2028 in a private offering to qualified institutional buyers.  Proceeds from the notes – guaranteed on a senior secured basis by iHeartCommunications’ direct parent, iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC, and the subsidiaries of iHeartCommunications that guarantee iHeartCommunications’ term loan facility – are intended (together with cash on hand) “to prepay at par a portion of the outstanding borrowings under its term loan facility, to pay accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but excluding, the date of prepayment, and to pay fees and expenses related to the offering of the Notes and the use of proceeds therefrom.”

Dunlap Maintains Innocence; Has New Attorney. On Friday (11/15), the Times-Picayune’s Ramon Antonio Vargas wrote an updated story on the case of former WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans sports talk host Seth Dunlap, who was fired from the Entercom station on October 31 in the aftermath of in investigation into the September 10 posting of a gay slur on the radio station’s Twitter account.  If you’ve been following this story, you are aware that Entercom, based on its own investigation, believes Dunlap sent the text himself several days after posting to his own Facebook page an open letter to New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees complaining about Brees’ work with Focus on the Family, an organization that is not LGBTQ-friendly.  Dunlap also went public with his own struggles in the radio biz as an openly gay man.  Several days later the anti-gay slur appeared on the WWL Twitter feed.  Entercom turned the investigation over to the New Orleans Police Department and recently, a judge denied the NOPD a warrant for Dunlap’s arrest on extortion charges.  The request for a warrant was based in part on WWL’s statement that Dunlap sought $1.8 million from the station for him to drop his planned lawsuit against it for allowing a hostile workplace.  Dunlap has since changed lawyers.  Megan Kiefer no longer represents him.  Dunlap tells the Times-Picayune that Billy Gibbens is his attorney.  Another new development is that Dunlap says he no longer has the iPhone from which WWL and police believe he accessed the station’s Twitter account.  The NOPD says their investigation is ongoing and Dunlap says he is still considering suing the station.

Jimmy de Castro ‘Retiring’ from Entercom. In a memo to staffers last Friday, Entercom COO Weezie Kramer announced that Jimmy de Castro – senior vice president and market manager for the company’s Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison station groups – is retiring from his position with the company.  He’s expected to leave in mid-December.  Kramer says of de Castro in her memo, “Jimmy was tasked with breathing new energy and positivity into the organization as we embarked on our journey as a new team.  And Jimmy delivered.  His spark, creativity, experience, and business acumen were just what was needed to improve our brands, our culture, our business, and our building in Chicago.”  De Castro tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder that he’ll continue to operate sports marketing and consulting firm After The Whistle LLC and his firm The Content Factory, and through the latter he hopes to get into sports betting and gaming content.

Place Assumes Mornings on New Hampshire’s WNTK-FM.  The Valley News reports that market on-air pro Jason Place is taking over the morning drive show on Sugar River Media’s news/talk WNTK-FM, New London, New Hampshire.  Place takes over the program from former host Keith Hanson.  Hanson – a local Republican committee chairman – exited the station in October after his controversial use of profanity on social media in defense of his decision to bring Jihad Watch author Robert Spencer to the area for a presentation caused a stir.  Though the Valley News says station officials deny his exit had to do with that incident.  Place tells the paper he isn’t hosting the show to espouse a certain political philosophy; he wants to have conversations with listeners.  “What matters is what the listener thinks.  Hopefully, we can get a conversation going, learn something. and have some fun. … God, I just hope I don’t take myself too seriously.”

TALKERS News Notes. St. Louis news/talk KMOX “News Radio 1120” announces it signs a contract extension to continue to serve as the flagship radio station for St. Louis Cardinals games through the 2024 season.  Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “We are honored to continue to work with the world class St. Louis Cardinals.  ‘News Radio 1120 KMOX’ and the Cardinals are synonymous institutions here in this great city and we couldn’t be more excited to continue this fantastic partnership.”…..Westwood One Podcast Network announces that “The Dan Bongino Show” adds a once-weekly interview show to its daily lineup.  The new program launched with an interview with President Trump.  During the interview, the president shared thoughts about why he uses social media, the impeachment hearings, the whistleblower’s identity, Ukraine’s new president, looking forward to the new Inspector General report, draining the swamp, tax cuts, the economy, capital gains indexing, Obamacare, and more.  Bongino is a former Secret Service Agent, former NYPD officer, and a New York Times best-selling author…..AdLarge Media announces that Dave Boretti is named its vice president of Midwest sales.  Boretti comes to AdLarge from a similar position with PodcastOne.  Chicago-based Boretti says, “I’ve had conversations with Don for a few years about moving to AdLarge and this came together at the perfect time.  AdLarge is an exciting company with leadership that consistently is ahead of emerging trends in audio.  I look forward to marshalling their assets to help AdLarge’s advertisers achieve their goals.”

Impeachment Testimony/Ukraine Allegations, 2020 Presidential Race, Deadly Fresno Football Party Shooting, Hong Kong Protests, China’s Muslim Detention Docs, Prince Andrew Interview, Iran Protests, Venice Flooding/Climate Change, and Kanye West at Osteen Church Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment testimony against President Trump and the related allegations of impropriety with regard to Ukraine’s military aid money; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Michael Bloomberg’s entrance into the race as a Republican; the shooting at a football watching party in Fresno that took the lives of four; the protests at Hong Kong Polytechnic University; the revelation of Chinese documents indicating detention of Muslims; Prince Andrew’s awkward interview with the BBC regarding his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein; protests in Iran over the doubling of gas prices; the city of Venice suffers its third flood in a week that officials are blaming on climate change; and Kanye West’s appearance at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

2019 Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts Honored. Pictured above are the nine distinguished members of the media industry who were honored Friday (11/15) at the 17th Annual Library of American Broadcasting Foundation’s Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts awards ceremony held at New York City’s famed Gotham Hall.  Clockwise from top left are: CW Television Network president Mark Pedowitz, Urban One CEO Alfred C. Liggins III, Patrick Communications founder and CEO Larry Patrick, CBS Television Stations president Peter Dunn, Advanced Television Systems Committee president emeritus Mark Richer, PBS president & CEO Paula Kerger, journalist Connie Chung, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. Photo: Wendy Moger-Bross

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Albuquerque CHR outlet KKOB-FM re-brands as “93-3 The Q.”  Cumulus Media Albuquerque VP and market manager Jeff Berry comments, “‘93-3 The Q’ is the natural evolution of 93.3, a highly rated radio outlet with compassionate personalities, an enormous fan base, and market-leading, multi-platform content.  ‘93-3 The Q’ brings renewed passion for and connection with the city of Albuquerque and its people. It is a reflection of our commitment to Albuquerque listeners and we couldn’t be more excited to grow and expand the brand when it is healthy and take it to the next level.”…..iHeartMedia Asheville announces the debut of “The Woody & Wilcox Show” on its WKSF-HD3/W266CP “ALT 101.1.”  iHeartMedia Asheville SVP of programming Brian Hall says, “We are pumped to add ‘The Woody and Wilcox Show’ to the lineup.  Woody and Wilcox can’t deliver food to your door, but they will deliver a morning wake-up call that Asheville listeners will love.”

Monday, November 11, 2019

| November 11, 2019

2019 Radio Hall of Famers Inducted. On Friday evening at Gotham Hall in New York City, nine radio broadcasters were enshrined in the Radio Hall of Fame.  Inductees Jim Rome, Joe Madison, Sean Hollywood Hamilton, Harry Harrison, Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter, John Tesh, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Ryan Seacrest represented the class of 2019 at the ceremony that included 2018 Radio Hall of Fame inductee Mike Francesa as Master of Ceremonies.  Fellow RHOF inductees Jim Bohannon, Jim Kerr, and Kid Kelly were in attendance along with celebrity introducers actor Christian Slater (for Hollywood Hamilton), actress Connie Selleca (for husband John Tesh), and “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon (for his friend Ryan Seacrest).  Jim Bohannon served as announcer of the event.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and his wife, professor/author Bernadette Duncan, were among the hundreds of industry luminaries, friends and family in attendance.  “It was a truly memorable evening in a dazzling setting that was a heartfelt celebration of radio and the special breed of talented people who have literally been breathing life into it golden age after golden age,” says Harrison. “We salute the dedicated work of Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin, vice chairman Dennis Green, and the entire nominating committee for organizing and presenting such a deeply meaningful event honoring an indisputably deserving Class of 2019.”  Harrison adds, “One of the most noble deeds any organization, platform or individual can perform for an artistic community such as our beloved radio industry – especially as it reaches the extraordinary milestone of its 100th anniversary in a rapidly changing world – is to give credit where credit is due.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): Jim Rome, Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton, Ryan Seacrest, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Joe Madison, Kevin Ryder, Gene “Bean” Baxter, Harry Harrison (seated), and John Tesh.  Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Radio Hall of Fame

From the 2019 Radio Hall of Fame Induction. Above, wheelchair-bound Harry Harrison in the audience watches his children Patti and Patrick make an emotional presentation inducting him into the Radio Hall of Fame.

From the 2019 Radio Hall of Fame Induction. Inductee Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio with his old friend, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison.

Louisiana Judge Denies Felony Arrest Warrant for Former WWL, New Orleans Sports Talk Host Seth Dunlap.  The Times-Picayune reports that last week, a New Orleans Police Department detective investigating the case involving former WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans sports talk host Seth Dunlap was denied a warrant to arrest him on a felony count of extortion.  Regular TALKERS readers who’ve been following this case remember that after the official WWL Twitter account posted a gay slur against the openly homosexual Dunlap on September 10, an Entercom investigation appeared to indicate Dunlap sent the tweet via his phone, although Dunlap’s lawyer says Dunlap did not have access to the account and didn’t have its password.  She also says Dunlap took a lie detector test and passed.  Subsequent talks between Entercom and Dunlap’s legal team reportedly included Dunlap’s request for $1.8 million to settle his charge against the station of allowing a hostile workplace environment.  Entercom turned the case over to the NOPD and the cops got a warrant to search Dunlap’s phone.  In last week’s ruling, Magistrate Commissioner Robert Blackburn said the evidence presented didn’t rise to the level of the definition of felony extortion.  The NOPD says the case is still “active and ongoing.”  Dunlap, through his attorney, has vowed to sue WWL over the hostile workplace matter.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format.  Less than 25% of news/talk stations suffered a (weekly 6+ AQH share) ratings drop-off from the September survey to the October survey.  Gainers were led by Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City (+2.4).  Comparing year-over-year numbers, 51% of stations on our panel are down, while just 37% see their ratings go up.  News/talkers up over last year include: Entercom’s WCCO, Minneapolis; iHeartMedia’s WJNO, West Palm Beach; Cumulus Media’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City; and iHeartMedia’s WREC, Memphis.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Monday Memo: That First Call.  As programming cutbacks continue, smart on-air people are involved in advertising sales.  In this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke shares tips for getting – and making the most of – face time with prospects.  Read it here.

Impeachment Proceedings/Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, Hong Kong Protests, Veterans Day Holiday, Berlin Wall Falls Anniversary, Looming Bitter Cold Weather, and Australia Bushfires/Climate Change Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment process against President Trump and the testimony about President Trump’s alleged quid pro quo offer to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the weekend’s violent protests in Hong Kong; the Veterans Day holiday; the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; the bitter cold temperatures forecast for parts of the U.S. this week; the devastating bushfires affecting Australia’s eastern coast and the role of climate change in that country’s drought were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that Stephen A. Smith has inked a new deal with ESPN – a five-year pact that will pay him about $8 million per year.  As TALKERS reported last week, Smith is giving up his midday radio show on the ESPN Radio network at the end of the year.  He’ll continue to appear on the cable channel’s “First Take” and will make more appearances on “SportsCenter” and on NBA coverage…..The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Rob Tornoe writes that Philadelphia sports media personality Rob Ellis is returning to local TV as co-host of a new show on KYW-TV called, “Odds On,” with station sports anchor Pat Gallen.  The sports-betting themed, 30-minute program will air Sundays at 8:30 am.  Ellis will continue to handle fill-in duties for Entercom’s WIP-FM.  He’s been sitting in for the convalescing Big Daddy Graham on the overnight show.  He previously served with NBC Sports Philadelphia for 17 years…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime WVON, Chicago afternoon talk host Cliff Kelley is being honored in “An Amazing Tribute to Cliff Kelley” on Saturday (11/16) at Parkway Ballroom, in Chicago.   Kelley spent 25 years with the Midway Broadcasting urban news/talk station in both the morning and afternoon drive dayparts.  He retired from the station last March.

WRKO, Boston Raises $230,000-plus for Disabled American Veterans. Last Friday (11/8), iHeartMedia Boston news/talk “AM 680 WRKO, The Voice of Boston” raised more than $230,000 to benefit the Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts during the DAV radiothon that took place from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm.  iHeartMedia Boston VP of news/talk Rob Sanchez says, “Since our nation’s inception, our military men and women have sacrificed their own lives for our freedom.  It’s an honor for AM 680 WRKO to have this opportunity to show respect for our veterans with the help of our generous listeners.  And to raise $233,593 this year is incredibly gratifying.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): DAV-AM director of public relations Robert Lynch, WRKO APD Jarred Diglio, DAV-MA adjutant/CEO Dan Stack, and WRKO morning host Jeff Kuhner.

KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner Michael Zwerling is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The long-time owner of news/talk heritage station KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA, Michael Zwerling, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Zwerling, known throughout the radio industry as one of the last of the fiercely independent owner/operators, is described by TALKERS publisher Harrison as “an extremely colorful, quirky, eccentric, and intelligent lover of radio – a refreshing counterpoint to the budget-obsessed, community-indifferent, mega-corporate mentality that has consumed the decision-making processes of much of today’s industry.”  In a free-wheeling conversation between two old friends, MH and MZ discuss the changing nature of Freedom of Speech and challenges facing the First Amendment in the 21st century digital era, plus more.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of the TALKERS email newsletter.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. WPXY-FM, Rochester air personality Brianna “Breezy” Sloth is promoted at the Entercom CHR outlet to morning drive co-host alongside morning radio pro Corey James on the “#TeamPXY” show.   Entercom Rochester SVP and market manager Sue Munn comments, “Breezy has an undeniable work ethic and tenacity while delivering her one-of-a-kind, friendly and outgoing personality on the air.  She has a real familiarization with our station, this market and its devoted listeners, and we’re thrilled to have her on board.”  Breezy joined ‘98 PXY’ as an intern for the station’s morning show in 2017. Following her graduation from SUNY Oswego, she assumed various roles for the station, including in promotions and programming as WPXY’s evening show host, morning show fill-in host, and morning and evening drive traffic reporter…..Entercom assigns programming duties for country KMNB, Minneapolis to WUSN, Chicago PD Kenny Jay in the aftermath of the recent departure of KMNB PM drive host and programmer Lucas Phelan.  Jay will continue to work from the company’s Chicago offices…..Programming pro Dylan Salisbury is leaving his APD/music director role at Cumulus Media’s CHR WZPL-FM, Indianapolis for a gig soon-to-be-announced.  Cumulus Indy operations manager J.R. Ammons says in a memo to staff, “During his two years at ZPL, Dylan has proven to be a smart, strategic, passionate programmer and I will miss our music arguments every Monday.  Please join me in congratulating Dylan on this well-deserved promotion; his last day will be next Friday the 15th. Until a permanent replacement is named, Zakk Babb will be filling in on ZPL.”…..Pictured below in New York City on Friday night (11/8) is pop radio icon Ryan Seacrest being inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame  by “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon.