WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Moves Larry O’Connor to Afternoon Drive. Air personality Larry O’Connor has been heard during the 5:00 pm hour on Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington since 2014, while also serving as co-host of the morning drive show “Mornings on the Mall” alongside Brian Wilson. Now, O’Connor will give up the morning co-host gig and host the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart solo, effective January 2. WMAL program director and Cumulus VP, news/talk Bill Hess comments, “Larry’s success, both on our morning and 5:00 pm shows, has positioned him perfectly to re-open the local afternoon daypart on WMAL. He’s smart, entertaining, and an engaging storyteller who will anchor a program built on the stories of the day, with expanded service elements for our busy DC commuters.” O’Connor adds, “During this time of unprecedented change and interest in Washington DC, it’s an exciting and humbling opportunity to help facilitate an entertaining and provocative conversation on a station as important and influential as WMAL. During the four years I’ve been here in the Nation’s Capital, I’ve been so impressed with this community’s engagement in not only our government, but with issues that hit our kitchen tables every day – like pop culture, faith, and parenting.” WMAL is not renewing “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage which is currently airing from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Meanwhile, the station is seeking a new co-host for the AM show. Interested personalities should send resumes to Bill Hess at: Bill.Hess@Cumulus.com.
iHeartMedia Flips Alternative WXZX, Columbus to Sports Talk. Using the brand “Sports Radio 105.7 The Zone,” WXZX, Columbus leaves alternative rock behind for sports talk. iHeartMedia is using FOX Sports Radio programming plus a local morning drive program hosted by Bruce Hooley and featuring Maddie Spielman (daughter of Chris Spielman, former Buckeye All American, NFL All Pro linebacker and Fox Sports announcer). The show will announce another co-host at a later date. Former WTVN, Columbus sports anchor Matt McCoy will provide special reports. The station will air play-by-play for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cincinnati Bengals. iHeartMedia Columbus VP of programming Michael McCoy comments, “Columbus has one of the best sports fan bases in the country and they finally a have a new destination for Columbus-based sports and entertainment radio in the morning, plus the best national lineup available the rest of the day.
Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy Takes Call from President-Elect Trump. Conservative news pioneer Chris Ruddy – CEO of Florida-based Newsmax – tells TALKERS magazine he received a phone call from President-Elect Donald Trump, who praised Newsmax’s coverage of the presidential race. Ruddy says he’s known Trump for about 20 years and, while the content of his conversation with the president-elect is private, says their talk revealed a man who is “remarkably relaxed and focused.” Ruddy gives his readers a preview of how Trump and his administration might operate, saying, “Trump has the best retail political skills of any politician I have seen. Only Bill Clinton comes close. This will serve him well in the sausage-making process of getting his policies through Congress.” Read Ruddy’s entire piece here.
Cubs Baseball Was Very Good to WSCR, Chicago. WSCR, Chicago program director Mitch Rosen checks in with TALKERS magazine to report that the historic Chicago Cubs season – culminating in the club’s first World Series crown since 1908 – was a boon to the CBS RADIO station in its first year as the team’s flagship station. Rosen reports that on November 2, more than 1 million people listened to WSCR throughout the day, including the extra-inning game seven. “There were times in game seven that half of all Chicago radio listeners were tuned into ‘The Score’ to hear the hometown call of Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer. What an amazing first year it’s been for WSCR as the radio home of Chicago Cubs games. To experience the World Series on this station as we approach our 25th anniversary makes this even more momentous. When ‘The Score’ first launched, the station was a day-time only frequency, now the same brand is the home of The World Champion Chicago Cubs.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Round One of November 2016 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of November 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The November 2016 survey period covered October 6 to November 2. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. This Thursday and Friday, morning talk personality Doug Stephan and his crew will be live on the nationally syndicated “On Air with Doug, Jen & Victoria” program. Stephan is no stranger to working holidays, giving local morning hosts all over the country time off. On Thanksgiving, Doug, Jen Horn and Victoria Keelan will again broadcast live and, while others are out spending their money on Black Friday, Doug and his team will be giving away an HP Laptop with a special Black Friday contest…..Genesis Communications takes back the operation of WIXC, Titusville, Florida and is airing the news/talk format also heard on its WWBA, Tampa on WIXC. Meanwhile, John Harper’s “WMEL” talk format – which had been heard in WIXC – moves to Astro Enterprises-owned WWBC, Cocoa Beach-Melbourne.
Former WOAI, San Antonio PD Pat Rodgers Dead at 67. The programmer who is credited with creating the modern version of WOAI, San Antonio died on Monday (11/21) at age 67 after complications from a massive heart attack. The station published a bio of Pat Rodgers on its website. It notes that Rodgers came to WOAI after a number of years at then-MOR/full service WTMJ, Milwaukee with the charge of turning WOAI into a contemporary news and talk powerhouse. “Rodgers built a powerful news operation and a stable of talk show hosts which included Carl Wiglesworth, and well as Eliza Sonneland, who was his co-host on the chatty ‘Morning Magazine’ program, as well as news legends Bob Guthire and George Jennings, and sports talk host Jay Howard. In fact, Pat created the Ticket Sportsradio 760.” Rodgers left the station in 1998 to pursue his dream of becoming a Roman Catholic deacon. He edited the Archdiocesan newspaper, managed Catholic Television, and was the press secretary to three Archbishops.
96-Year-Old PR Pioneer Leo Pearlstein Guests on Special Thanksgiving Harrison Podcast. If you are looking for a simple, great approach to preparing a Thanksgiving meal with turkey and all the trimmings, check out this week’s fun installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” 96-year-old Leo Pearlstein, founder and CEO of the groundbreaking LA public relations firm Lee & Associates was a pioneer in the promotion and marketing of food during the second half of the 20th century. Pearlstein specialized in representing specific food industries (such as the egg farmers, salmon raisers and prune growers) and tying in celebrity endorsements to his remarkably creative PR campaigns. He was especially influential in elevating turkey meals from being primarily a Thanksgiving custom to becoming a mainstay of people’s diets all year round. He launched that campaign with celebrated sexy 1950s movie icon Jayne Mansfield. He even played a role in inventing the heat-resistant plastic turkey thermometer that pops up when the meat reaches a safe 180 degrees in the oven. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Trump Transition, Pence-‘Hamilton’ Incident, Trump Meets with Television News Figures, Weekend Police Shootings, Kanye West Incident, Russian Military Build-Up, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/21). The process of the transition of the Trump Administration; the hullabaloo over VP-Elect Mike Pence’s encounter with the cast of “Hamilton”; President-Elect Donald Trump chews out television news figures at meeting at Trump Tower; the spate of deadly attacks on police officers that took place over the weekend; Russian military maneuvers and tensions over Vladimir Putin’s build-up of the nation’s forces; hip hop star Kanye West’s political rants and the sudden cancellation of his current tour; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Phil Hendrie Takes Legal Action to Protect Digital Platform Business. Radio personality and TV actor Phil Hendrie is suing as-yet-unnamed defendants for what his legal camp says are attempts to disrupt his new digital audio service by spreading false information about the membership platform. In the complaint, Hendrie says impersonators are using his name and other information to create social media accounts to spread false information about his business. “These communications have been made in an effort to humiliate, threaten and intimidate Hendrie and with the specific intent of causing him emotional distress and damaging Hendrie’s commercial endeavors including, but not limited to, the disruption of and dissemination of false information regarding the Backstage Pass memberships offered through the Website.” The complaint further alleges that some of the posts advised members to cancel their Backstage Pass memberships saying the site had been hacked. Other posts said the accounts would be suspended. Hendrie is asking for punitive and exemplary damages, as well as injunctive relief on claims the defendants misappropriated his name and likeness, internet impersonation in violation of California law, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Hendrie left the AM/FM radio business earlier this year to go internet only with his audio content.
Walt Perkins Exits WBZ-AM, Boston. Thirteen-year WBZ-AM, Boston staffer Walt Perkins exits the CBS RADIO news and talk outlet where he’s been serving as morning sports anchor since market legend Gil Santos retired in 2009. According to Chad Finn’s report in the Boston Globe, Perkins says the decision to depart was mutual and something he’d been thinking about since the morning drive clock had been adjusted and reduced the amount of time he was allotted for his sports reports. He tells the paper, “I was given 70-90 seconds for my sportscasts. In a market that supports two full-time sports talk stations, it was discouraging. But that is the direction the station wanted to go in.” WBZ-AM’s sister station is sports talker WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.”
Round Three of November PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of November 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was October 9 through November 5. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Joe Madison Travels to Atlanta with AG Holder for Community Meeting. Attorney General Eric Holder is traveling to Atlanta today for a 5:30 pm roundtable discussion with law enforcement, local officials, community leaders, student leaders, and faith leaders as part of an Interfaith Service and Community Forum at Ebenezer Baptist Church. SiriusXM talk personality Joe Madison is traveling with Holder and will interview Holder on the return flight home from Atlanta this evening. He’ll broadcast the discussion on Tuesday. The Atlanta meeting comes on the heels of President Obama’s call to hold regional meetings focused on building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
Two Radio Legends Pass. St. Louis radio and TV personality Bob Hille died on Sunday at age 95. Hille was one of the first radio announcers on KXOK, St. Louis when the station first went on the air in 1938. He transitioned to television when KSDK-TV launched. He worked both radio and television for a while and then stayed part of the TV station’s news staff until he retired in the 1980s…..Cleveland broadcaster Carl Reese died on November 26 at age 83 after a long illness. Reese began his career in Cleveland on WTAM and its co-owned television station WNBK-TV. During his career he worked the overnight show on WERE in the 1950s as well as pop radio giant WHK, WBBG, WRMR, and WCLV-AM.
DCCC Attorney Responds to Rush Limbaugh’s Demand for Apology. Though the full text of the letter from an attorney for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has not been released (or leaked!) yet, it’s clear from DCCC spokesperson Emily Bittner’s statement to the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple saying, “Our attorney sent a response letter noting that Limbaugh’s claims are absurd.” If you remember, Limbaugh – who rarely responds to critics in this way, unless it’s fodder for show content – through attorney Patricia Glaser demanded an apology and a retraction for what she termed civilly actionable defamation for using part of Limbaugh’s discussion of campus sexual assault out of context to bring in donations to the committee. Whether Limbaugh’s camp takes any further action remains to be seen. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman commented recently about what Limbaugh’s lawyers would need to do in order to prevail in court in a defamation case. He said, “Specifically, as a public figure, in order to be successful in a defamation action, Limbaugh would have to prove that the DCCC acted with malice – that is that they knew what they were saying was a lie or that they acted with a reckless disregard for its truth. Even more problematic for Limbaugh would be that he would have to prove that he was harmed by the comments. In order to be successful in his lawsuit he would have to show that he lost sponsors and/or listeners.”
Beasley Begins to Fill Management Roles in CBS Markets. The transfers of the following Beasley Broadcast Group managers to the soon-to-be-acquired CBS RADIO properties in Tampa will be effective upon the closing of the assets exchange agreement between the two companies. First, Kent Dunn will leave Beasley’s Augusta, Georgia cluster to serve as the vice president and market manager for the new Tampa-St. Petersburg station group. At the same time, Tee Gentry becomes operations manager for the five-station cluster that includes: sports talk duo WHFS-AM and WHFS-FM, hip hop WLLD, country WQYK, classic hits WRBQ, and Spanish WYUU-FM . Dunn has been VP and market manager in Augusta while Gentry’s been serving as operations manager in Augusta.
O’Kelley Moves Up to OM a Beasley Augusta. With the above-mentioned promotion of Tee Gentry from the Augusta, Georgia station group to Beasley’s future Tampa cluster, Chris O’Kelley is upped to OM from his current music director and APD post for country WKXC. The Augusta station group also includes: news/talk WGAC, “580 AM and 95.1 FM News Talk,” CHR WHHD, “HD 98.3, WDRR, adult hits “93.9 BOB FM” WDRR-FM; rock WCHZ-AM and W238AU, “95 Rock,” WGUS-FM “The Southern Gospel Station at 102.7 FM and 93.1 FM,” and news/talk WRDW. He’ll report to new VP and market manager Mark Haddon.
Round Two of November PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of November 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was October 9 through November 5. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Howard Stern Turns Over SiriusXM Channel to Graham Nash. This afternoon at 3:00 pm ET (11/26), Howard Stern will break the format of his SiriusXM channel “Howard 101” to present a special show, “Howard Stern Presents: Graham Nash.” Nash will be playing music from the live boxed set, CSNY 1974, and will “share personal stories and memories about the group’s historic 1974 summer tour. The special will also include an exclusive in-studio acoustic set by Nash, including a performance of ‘Teach Your Children,’ and a new song written in tribute to The Band’s late drummer, Levon Helm.” The program will be re-broadcast over the course of the holiday weekend.
Grand Jury Decision/Ferguson Rioting, Executive Amnesty Order, Obama Ozone Emissions Plan, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Iran Nukes Negotiations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/25). The protesting and rioting in Ferguson and across the country after the grand jury’s decision not to charge officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown’s death; controversy over President Obama’s executive order for amnesty for illegal aliens; the new proposal from the Obama Administration for cutting ozone emissions; the potential candidates for president in 2016 and the nuclear negotiations with Iran were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.