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; Tribune–Sinclair 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 Networks’ EnvisionVirtualServices. 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.”
Entercom Q2: “Great Progress.” Owing to the addition of CBS Radio, Entercom Communications’ second-quarter net revenue jumped, but fell on a same-station basis. Revenue nearly tripled from $125 million to $372.1 million; however, on a same-station basis, it decreased from $405.7 million to $372.1 million. Meanwhile, net income dropped from $6.4 million to $1.6 million. Entercom president and chief executive officer David Field notes, “We have made great progress across multiple fronts as we continue our work to capitalize on our transformational merger. We have signed a definitive agreement with Bonneville to complete our last required station divestitures; successfully launched the Entercom Audio Network with strong early revenues; terminated our painful relationship with United States Traffic Network; achieved rapid growth on our burgeoning Radio.com platform; and delivered a 5% reduction in Q2 expenses as we realize our merger-related synergies. Second-quarter revenues were down 8%, exacerbated by the loss of $12 million in revenues from USTN, but revenue performance is improving. We are currently pacing down 2% in the third-quarter, excluding the impact of USTN. For the fourth quarter, we are pacing up 3% on an unadjusted basis. I am proud of the outstanding team we have built and the terrific work they are doing to capitalize on our abundant scale-driven opportunities.”
Local Nielsen Media Impact Debuts. The planning system allows users to understand cross-media reach, frequency, and duplication on a local scale using advanced audience segments from Nielsen Scarborough. In addition, it enables advertisers, agencies, and media owners to reach their desired audience in the country’s 25 “Local People Meter” (LPM) Designated Market Areas (DMAs). Local Nielsen Media Impact is built with respondent level data to allow in-depth cross-platform analyses for both local television and radio separately, as well as TV and radio together. Beasley Media Group vice president of sales Bob McCurdy comments, “Local Nielsen Media Impact offers empirical data supporting radio’s ability to amplify and complement TV campaigns. This is the first time radio is included in this type of multi-channel media mix that enables users to derive cross media insights with currency grade accuracy. Nielsen Scarborough data within the NMI solution allows us to assess campaign scenarios against consumer insights.” According to Nielsen vice president of product leadership Jay Nielsen, “Local Nielsen Media Impact offers a unique lens to the industry, enabling effective decision-making about where and when to engage audiences with content and advertising on local levels. Similar to the solution clients have widely adopted on the national level, this local solution unlocks access to new insights on media allocation and schedule optimization to better reach a cross platform-based audience.”
Q2: Townsquare Media “Exceeds Previously Issued Guidance.” Second-quarter net revenue for Townsquare Media rose 1.9% to $11.96 million. Owing to the divestiture of North American Midway Entertainment, however, net income decreased by 70.6% to $1.6 million; net income from continuing operations improved 29.2% to $10.1 million. Co-chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks, “Our second-quarter financial results exceeded our previously issued guidance, continuing the momentum we experienced in the first-quarter of the year. In the first six months of 2018, net revenue increased 2.6%, and 2.2% excluding political revenue; Adjusted EBITDA increased 6.6%. Our second-quarter and year-to-date revenue growth was primarily the result of continued stability in our broadcast products and strong revenue growth of our digital solutions.” Co-CEO Dhruv Prasad notes, “Through internal reorganization and the divestiture of North American Midway Entertainment, we have concluded the strategic reset that we initiated in late-2017 and have largely reoriented the company towards the stability, profitable growth, and cash generation of the advertising, marketing solutions, and live events businesses in our local market footprint. Our strong performance in the first half of this year reinforces that this was the right strategy, and we remain committed to this plan moving forward.”
Rush Limbaugh’s Impact on Radio and America Examined by News Site, Who. What. Why. (whowhatwhy.org) Veteran talk radio programmer and executive Jeff Schechtman of Napa Broadcasting interviews TALKERS founder Michael Harrison about Rush Limbaugh and the state of talk radio for this week’s WhoWhatWhy.org podcast. It is part of an article titled “The Mouth that Roared – How Rush Limbaugh Changed America” posted yesterday (8/7) marking the milestone of the talk radio superstar’s syndicated radio show reaching its 30th anniversary last week. Schechtman and Harrison discuss the impact of the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, Limbaugh’s major contributions to the rise of news/talk radio, how talk radio has changed over the decades, the driving factors behind those changes, the influence of the video screen on communications devices, and the general future of talk media. To read the article and listen to the podcast, please click here .
Making Music Great Again. It seems the talented Mike Gallagher isn’t the only member of the Salem roster of talk show hosts blessed with extraordinary gifts as a musical entertainer. These two super-suave lounge lizards pictured above are none other than Salem Radio Network host Larry Elder (left) and WNYM (“AM 970 The Answer”), New York morning man Joe Piscopo (right). The two are off-air buds and like hanging out together when they find themselves on the same coast. This bit of show biz magic was captured last night (8/7) as the two serenaded thrilled diners at Vitello’s, a swingin’ hot spot in Studio City, California. The song they were performing – Louis Armstrong’s classic, “What a Wonderful World.”
Sinclair Q2 Revenue Up 11.9%. While stats for its Seattle radio properties (KOMO “News Radio 1000 & 97.7, KVI “Talk Radio 570,” and hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5) are not broken out in its earnings release, Sinclair Broadcast Group saw second-quarter revenue increase 11.9% year-to-year to $730.1 million; net income attributable to the company fell from $44.6 million to $28 million. Regarding the pending acquisition of Tribune Media Company, Sinclair president and chief executive officer Chris Ripley states, “We are working with them to analyze approaches to the regulatory process that are in the best interest of our companies, employees, and shareholders.” In terms of Q2 results, Ripley notes, “[They] came in well ahead of guidance in all key financial metrics, and we expect the second half of the year to continue to be robust, underlined by increasing distribution revenues and strong political advertising spend. This year’s mid-term elections are expected by many to have the most spending in U.S. history with broadcast television a primary beneficiary.”
Urban One Second-Quarter Net Revenue Down 2.1%. The year-to-year total slips to $115.2 million although broadcast and digital operating income is up 6.1% to $44.3 million. Overall operating income doubles to $24.8 million and net income improves from $802,000 to $23.6 million. Attributed to results in Atlanta, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Raleigh, radio advertising fell 6% to $52 million. There was radio growth, however, in Dallas, Washington (D.C.), and Cleveland. Digital advertising, cable TV advertising, and event revenues are all off, as well; cable TV affiliate fees saw increases. Keeping pace with 2017, Tom Joyner’s 19th “Fantastic Voyage” took place in the second-quarter and generated $9.4 million. Company president and chief executive officer Alfred C. Liggins, III remarks, “Our Q2 radio performance was in line with expectation. After a tough April, the quarter improved sequentially, and we are currently pacing approximately flat for third-quarter. We are launching a new network in January 2019 that will target African-American females and feature lifestyle and entertainment programming. The addition of a second network will help us continue to grow our TV business in the longer term, and has great potential synergy with our existing platform. Our digital segment came in below expectation for Q2, but has had a very strong start to third quarter and we remain optimistic for the back half of the year.”
Lotus Acquires Scripps Stations in Tucson and Boise. Eight stations are involved in the $8 million transaction between (buyer) Lotus Communications and (seller) The E.W. Scripps Company. Lotus president Jim Kalmenson remarks, “We are looking forward to getting to know the many talented professionals at these Scripps radio stations. Both companies share a genuine passion for producing excellent local radio and serving the public.” Scripps president and chief executive officer Adam Symson adds, “Lotus Communications’ commitment to serving local communities – with a focus on western region markets in particular – makes it a natural fit to run the Tucson and Boise stations. This deal sets up the stations for continued success.” In Tucson, Lotus picks up and will keep adult contemporary KMXZ “94.9 “Mix FM” and sports talk KFFN “ESPN Tucson,” but will spin urban-rhythmic oldies KTGV “106.3 The Groove” and news/talk KQTH. Its Boise acquisitions include classic rock KJOT “J-105”; rock KQXR “100.3 – The X”; triple A KRVB “94.9 The River”; and classic hits KTHI “107.1 K-Hits.”
TALKERS News Notes. Longtime New York City (WMCA, WINS, WCBS-AM) newscaster and talk host Ralph Howard has died. According to Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup, “Ralph personified New York City – vibrant, charming, a little edgy, and nonstop energy; I will miss him greatly.” Tradup produced “Ralph & Ryan” on WMCA in the early-1980s; “Ryan” was longtime NBC-TV newsman Bill Ryan. In addition to New York City credentials, Howard worked in Chicago at WIND, WBBM-AM, and WCFL, as well as for The Associated Press and ABC Radio. Until he retired in May 2013, he was a news anchor for Howard Stern, hosting “Howard’s World,” covering Stern’s SiriusXM exploits. This Sunday (8/12) at 3:00 pm, a celebration of Ralph Howard’s life will be observed at New York City’s Riverside Chapel; Howard was 76 years old ….. Alpha Media Portland’s KXL “FM News 101” adds Envision Networks’ two-hour Nik Miles-hosted “Our Auto Expert” to its Sunday afternoon lineup (2:00 pm – 4:00 pm). Alpha Media executive vice president of programming Scott Mahalick remarks, “When it comes to personality and compelling automotive talk, nobody does it better than Nik Miles. We are excited to share ‘Our Auto Expert’ with the world as part of our commitment to bring the best live & local programming to our listener community.” KXL operations manager Bruce Collins notes, “Nobody knows more about the auto industry than Nik. He is both informative and entertaining – we welcome Nik and his show to KXL.” Miles adds, “I am so excited be working with the country’s most forward-thinkers in radio. Being live and local every week gives listeners an opportunity to be the first to hear about groundbreaking automotive stories and stay informed.” ….. The former general manager of Ohana Media Group’s six Anchorage (Alaska) stations – Tom Oakes – is named operations manager for Scripps Radio’s five-station Springfield, Missouri cluster, which consists of KTTS “94.7 Country’s Best”; CHR KSPW “Power 96.5”; adult hits KRVI “106.7 The River”; and KSGF AM & FM “News/Talk 1260 & 104.1.” In addition, he will be the program director of KTTS. Springfield Operations vice president and general manager Rex Hansen notes, “Tom Oakes brings years of experience in all formats we operate here in Springfield. Our listeners, team, and advertisers will benefit greatly from his expertise. His coaching skills will make a difference for our air staff immediately.” Oakes remarks, “A busy fall lies ahead as we prepare for not only the next ratings sweep, but continue to work with our on-going projects, promotions and programming needs across the entire cluster.” Oakes previously was vice president of programming for Ohana’s 11 stations in Alaska and Oregon; worked for New Northwest Broadcasters in a variety of upper-management roles with their stations in Alaska, Montana, Oregon, and Washington; and has experience in Omaha, Madison, and South Bend (Indiana) ….. The annual Public Radio Program Directors (PRPD) content conference will be held later this month (8/20 – 8/23) at Austin’s Hyatt Regency Hotel. “Pixels and Place” author Kate O’Neill will be a keynote speaker. PRPD is the only national gathering devoted solely to public radio content and programming and this year’s conference, “will be the most format-inclusive in the organization’s history. As every public radio station grapples with consumption, relevance and sustainability, the PRPD is committed to creating a setting where content leaders can learn, network and advance their careers.” ….. Owing to a strategy change regarding original podcasts, Amazon’s Audible Originals senior vice president of original content development Eric Nuzum is departing. The former NPR executive made the announcement in an email earlier this week. Several other Audible Originals staffers – including the entire unit responsible for original spoken-word podcast content – are also exiting, according to published reports. After releasing high-profile shows in its short existence, Audible Originals has more recently shifted to signing major authors to audiobook-first deals.
Round Two of July 2018 PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including Washington (D.C), Boston, Miami, Detroit, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Denver, Tampa, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 survey period covered June 21 – July 18. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.
TEGNA Releases Q2 Financials. The former television division of Gannett, Virginia-based TEGNA, reports that its second-quarter net income from continuing operations was up 87.8% to $92.5 million. “Subscription,” which is the company’s term for television retransmission consent revenue, was up 16%. President/CEO Dave Lougee notes, “Our progress in the quarter gives us confidence that our growth strategy is on track. Our business mix continues to evolve toward predictable and profitable subscription-based revenue streams. Contrary to conventional wisdom, our paid subscriber base is very stable, and in fact, our total number of paid subscribers was up year-over-year for the first time in recent years.” TEGNA owns or operates 47 TV stations in 39 markets. Results for its San Diego radio properties, news/talk KFMB-AM “AM 760 Talk & Breaking News” and rock KFMB-FM “100.7 KFM-BFM,” are not broken out in its earnings releases. The company completed its acquisition of KFMB-AM, KFMB-FM, and KFMB-TV from Midwest Television six months ago for a reported $325 million.
Ohio Special Election/Primaries, Manafort Trial/Gates Testimony, California Wildfire and the Environment, Trump China Tariffs, Alex Jones/InfoWars Banned by YouTube and Facebook, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Discussed Yesterday (8/6). The cliffhanger special election in Ohio and key primaries in several states, the trial of former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort highlighted by the damaging testimony of Rick Gates; the deadly California wildfire and its connection to the environment; Alex Jones and InfoWars being dropped by several major social media platforms and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (8/7), according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Co-host of “The Bob & Tom Show” – Tom Griswold – will host two evenings of live comedy featuring Greg Hahn, Pat Godwin, and Josh Arnold one week from Friday (8/17) at Indianapolis’ Irving Theater and the following night (8/18) at Lafayette, Indiana’s Lafayette Theater. All proceeds from both shows will go to The Nora Dane Fund, which helps defray the costs of medical treatment and related expenses for two-year-old Nora Dane, who is being treated for a rare, aggressive malignant brain tumor. Griswold states, “Three of my favorite comedians are stepping up to help little Nora. I promise a great night of comedy to support the amazing efforts being made to help this wonderful little girl.” Preferred seating tickets for each show are $75 and include early access to the venue; a meet-and-greet with the featured talent; a photo; VIP laminate; and choice of seating. Griswold and co-host Bob Kevoian originate their Westwood One syndicated show from Cumulus Media Indianapolis flagship WFBQ “Q-95 Indy’s Classic Rock.” ….. In honor of mid-day talent Pat Martin’s 30th anniversary with Entercom Sacramento’s KRXQ “98 Rock,” The Pat Martin All-Star Band will perform tonight (Wednesday, 8/8, 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm) as part of a free concert at Folsom, California’s Powerhouse Pub. Guest band members Jeff Keith from Tesla, composer Robert Sabino, and UFO’s “Atomik” Tommy McClendon are among others scheduled to appear. Martin currently fronts the longest consecutive running radio show in Sacramento history ….. As part of an exclusive long-term partnership with Saga Communications, Mediabase and BuzzAngle Music will provide Saga with comprehensive music listening and consumption data for more than 130 radio stations nationwide. Saga Communications vice president of programming Bob Lawrence comments, “Mediabase and BuzzAngle have proven to be essential tools for our many markets and programmers over the years. When presented with the opportunity to put them in our arsenal on a group-wide level, we simply could not resist.” Mediabase president and RCS Worldwide president/CEO Philippe Generali remarks, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be chosen by the very talented programming team at Saga Communications. This partnership will expand the list of markets covered by Mediabase and complement it with the BuzzAngle sales and streaming data for all Saga stations.” Meanwhile, Jim Lidestri, chief executive officer of Border City Media, the makers of BuzzAngle Music, adds, “Mediabase’s airplay monitoring and BuzzAngle’s extensive consumer analytics is a powerful combination for programmers. We are delighted to partner with Saga to give them the most comprehensive tools to connect with – and engage – their listeners through music.” ….. Tickets go on sale this Friday (8/10) for Stephens Media Group Tulsa alternative KMYZ “Z-104.5 The Edge,”-sponsored “The Edge Halloween Haunt.” The October 31 event will feature The Struts, Meg Myers, and Albert Hammond, Jr. ….. After a four-year hiatus, Corey Garrison will return to Binnie Media Portland, Maine country outlet WTHT “99.9 The Wolf” later this month (8/20) as music director and afternoon driver. Operations manager Stan Bennett notes, “Corey has a great passion for country music. I could not be happier to see him return home and help an already veteran team keep ‘The Wolf’ Maine’s most-listened to country station.” Prior to working for three Blueberry Broadcasting stations in Lewistown-Augusta-Bangor, Maine (WABK, WBAK, and WBKA), Garrison was assistant program director/music director/afternoon talent at “The Wolf” (2007-2014). He takes over for J.C. Coffey, who left WTHT late last month ….. This past Saturday (8/4), 24-year-old Eric Manias was a victim of a home invasion at his New Albany (Ohio) apartment. Manias is a family member of Digi-Dude Nate, who is part of “Bailey and Southside,” the morning team on Cumulus Media Atlanta’s WNNX “Rock 100.5.” Manias was shot twice, beaten, and robbed. Transported to Grant Hospital, he is in critical condition with a fractured jaw and arm; broken hip; and numerous cuts and bruises; he’s had four surgeries thus far. Manias was born with pulmonary atresia, a heart disease in which the pulmonary valve is not properly formed. Shortly after his birth, he had three open-heart procedures. As of noon yesterday (8/7), a fund to help with his medical bills raised more than $5,700 toward a $10,000 goal ….. WOCQ-HD2 “Kool Oldies,” Salisbury-Ocean City (Maryland); WQTL “Kool Oldies 106.1,” Tallahassee (Florida); and KWML “Kool Oldies,” Las Cruces (New Mexico) are the latest affiliates of Envision Networks’ “Wolfman Jack Radio Show.” All three are Adams Radio Group properties. Its president & chief executive officer Ron Stone states, “We are thrilled to bring ‘The Wolfman’ back in our markets where we have great oldies stations playing the best music of all time. We believe the audience our oldies stations target are going to fall in love with ‘The Wolfman’ all over again.”
Emmis Extends Walsh. A contract extension given to Patrick Walsh will keep the Emmis Communications president and chief operating officer in-place through July 2019. As far as particulars of the pact that officially began the first day of this month are concerned, Walsh will earn $625,000 a year with annual increases of up to 2.5%; Emmis can allocate up to 10% of the base in its common stock. He will be entitled to annual incentive pay, with the target for each year 100% of the base salary. In addition, Walsh will be eligible for a performance bonus at the end of the contract with a fair market value of $300,000; $500,000; or $700,000 based on stock price. Other perks are included as well for Walsh, who joined Emmis from iBiquity Digital in 2006 as chief financial officer; he was promoted to chief operating officer and chief financial officer two years later (2008). Emmis owns three radio properties in New York City; four in St. Louis; four (and Network Indiana) in its Indianapolis hub; and seven stations in Austin. The sale of Emmis Los Angeles’ KPWR “Power 106” to Meruelo Media became final just last week. The rhythmic CHR had been programmed by Meruelo Media since July 1 under a Local Marketing Agreement.
NYMRAD Names Morgan Treasurer; Hopeck Boosted to Secretary. In a pair of executive committee moves, the New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD) appoints Emmis New York’s Charlie Morgan treasurer, and promotes iHeartMedia New York president Scott Hopeck to secretary. NYMRAD chairman/CBS Radio New York senior vice president and market manager Marc Rayfield notes, “I am very excited about working with Charlie in this seamless transition of the executive committee. Charlie has brought energy in his contributions to board meetings. Under his leadership, we will continue to develop initiatives that will advance radio in the vibrant New York marketplace.” Morgan comments, “Working with [executive director) Deborah Beagan and my talented New York radio peers in this period of time where radio has more to offer advertisers than ever before is invigorating. It is a privilege to play a role in advancing radio’s profile and value proposition.” Prior to joining Emmis New York in January 2016 as senior vice president and market manager, Morgan performed the same duties for eight years at the company’s Indianapolis stations and spent more than 21 years before that as vice president and market manager for Susquehanna’s Indianapolis cluster. He succeeds Univision New York vice president and general manager Ramon Pineda, who becomes senior vice president and regional general manager for that company’s stations in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Puerto Rico, Cleveland, and Raleigh.
“ESPY Day” Raises $5.2 Million. This marked ESPN’s fourth annual such “ESPY Day” that solicits funds for the V Foundation cancer charity. ESPN president John Skipper notes that he is “grateful to Bristol-Myers Squibb, whose charitable contribution to the V Foundation, including support of the Sports Humanitarian Awards, helped push this year’s fundraising efforts to be one of our best ever.” The 2017 total of $5.2 million is a 32% increase from last year’s event. Half the money ($2.6 million) will go to the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund. The event included ESPN Radio’s ESPY Day Auction, the 17th annual ESPY Celebrity Golf Outing, and the third annual Sports Humanitarian Awards. Elsewhere at ESPN, senior writer Seth Wickersham receives a contract extension, while Buzzfeed News senior writer Joel Anderson and ESPN The Magazine/“ESPN Insider” college football contributor Phil Steele are added to its reporting and analyst staff. The three will appear on ESPN Radio, as well as ESPN’s linear television and digital platforms. ESPN vice president/editorial director, domestic digital content Chad Millman comments, “Seth has long been one of our most talented journalists whose stories on the inner-workings of the NFL have elevated our coverage and delighted fans. Re-signing him as well as adding Joel and Phil increases what’s possible for our editorial team and elevates our ability to serve fans.”
Osgood to be Honored with NATAS Lifetime Achievement Emmy. The host of Westwood One’s long-running “The Osgood File” (which airs on 386 radio outlets throughout the United States) – Charles Osgood – will be honored by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with the 2017 “News & Documentary Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement.” The honor is given to a journalist or filmmaker who has “made a lasting and distinguished contribution to broadcast journalism or documentary film.” After a 22-year run as anchor of CBS-TV’s “Sunday Morning,” Osgood retired from that role in September 2016. His special recognition will take place in New York City in approximately two months (10/5). Charles Osgood Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/CBS©2009 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
WYDE Shuffles Its Weekday Lineup. Modifications on Crawford Broadcasting Birmingham news/talk WYDE “Superstation 101.1” start in morning drive (6:00 am – 10:00 am), where Michael Hart and Jessica Borklund team up for “AM with Michael & Jessica,” produced by Mickey Bell, who hosts “The Dixie Gospel Caravan” on sister gospel property WXJC-FM. Scott Beason segues from 9:00 am – 11:00 am to 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, while “Yellowhammer Radio” moves from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm to 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm. Airing from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm is Andrew McLain and Jim Moore-hosted “The Line with Andrew & Jim.” WYDE operations director Josi McCurdy remarks, “We are excited to introduce our new lineup to the Birmingham listening audience. In keeping with our tradition of bringing the best in conservative talk radio, we are always looking for ways to build on our team of amazing talent. The new show host combinations have a powerful dynamic, which we feel will prove to be both informative and entertaining. As always, we will continue our focus on being local, relevant and current.” None of Crawford Broadcasting’s five Birmingham stations appeared in Nielsen Audio’s spring 2017 book for that Alabama market.
WRNN-FM and Coastal Carolina University Athletics in Partnership. The agreement reached between Alpha Media Socastee-Myrtle Beach, South Carolina’s WRNN-FM “Hot Talk 99.5” and Coastal Carolina University is through the 2019 – 2020 season. It will include the school’s football, men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball contests, with some games bumped to sister sports talk WRNN-AM “ESPN Myrtle Beach.” Alpha Media Myrtle Beach general manager Josh Gertzog comments, “We are thrilled to be part of the growth happening at Coastal Carolina University. Being the radio partner of one of only three NCAA Division I [Football Bowl Subdivision] FBS programs in South Carolina is an honor. With a wonderful athletic pedigree, including a baseball national championship, it is great to be able to broadcast [CCU] Chanticleer games and to partner in other ways. Our motto is ‘Live and Local,’ and there is no more local university to the Myrtle Beach-Grand Strand than CCU.” Coastal Carolina University director of corporate sales and sponsorships Rhett Graham adds, “We are excited about this new partnership and the opportunity for Chanticleer student-athletes to be featured across the strong signal and market-leading listenership of WRNN.” Sister Alpha Media Myrtle Beach outlets (CHR) WMYB “Energy 92.1,” alternative WKZQ “96.1 New Rock,” and classic rock WYAV “Wave 104” will promote Chanticleer games as well.
Recent Station Sales. The previously announced $2 million transaction of Radio One news/talk WCHB, Detroit to Crawford Broadcasting is now complete. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s June 2017 PPM sweep, WCHB finishes at #23 (.3). Meanwhile in Reno (Nevada), Times-Shamrock Communications has agreed to sell three stations to Lazer Broadcasting and one to John Burkavage’s Bighorn Media. Lazer will acquire CHR KWNZ “All Hit Radio”; FM news/talk KNEZ; and KZTI “Z-105.3 Rock Hard,” while Bighorn will purchase KRZQ “The Real Alternative.” Lazer president Alfredo Plascencia states, “We are delighted to be acquiring these fine stations from our friends at Times-Shamrock as an addition to our existing cluster to better to serve the Reno market.” Previously the general manager of Times-Shamrock Reno, Burkavage remarks, “Station ownership is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for me and I am excited by the opportunity.”
Young and Younger. KGO, San Francisco Gen X midday talk host Ethan Bearman (l) recently invited Westwood One syndicated Millennial music radio host Zach Sang of “Zach Sang and the Gang” (r) into his studio for some inter-generational on-air chat. Heavy Hundred member Bearman tells TALKERS, “Zach is deeply connected to what Millennials are thinking about culturally. There has been so much talk about Justin Bieber cancelling his tour because of his newfound religion and I needed to get to a source who knows Bieber. Best of all, Zach is one of the nicest guys around and is simply magical behind the mic!” The two up and coming broadcasters met at a TALKERS convention in New York, stayed in touch and work together when they can for the benefit of their audiences.
TALKERS News Notes. After a 36-year run, anchor/reporter Barbara Boylan exited CBS Radio Pittsburgh news/talk KDKA-AM last Friday (8/4). Boylan joined KDKA-AM in July 1981 from crosstown WKTQ (now WJAS) as a reporter-producer-talk show host ….. Very sad to note the passing of Darren “Dutch” Daulton, who died yesterday (Sunday, 8/6) after a battle with a recurrence of brain cancer. The former Philadelphia Phillies and Florida Marlins catcher hosted “Talkin’ Baseball” on Beasley Media Group Philadelphia sports talk WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic” from 2010 – 2013. After surviving the first round of brain cancer, he established the Darren Daulton Foundation, which provides financial assistance to brain cancer patients. According to Phillies chairman emeritus Bill Giles, “Darren was a true leader of men. The Phillies would not have gone to the 1993 World Series without his leadership. In addition to being an outstanding clubhouse leader, he was also a fighter. I really enjoyed watching him for 14 years in uniform. Darren was a super human being. His teammates loved him and I loved him like he was one of my own.” Glioblastoma has also claimed the lives of other notable baseball players, including Gary Carter, Tug McGraw, and Johnny Oates. Daulton was just 55 ….. Hole-by-hole coverage of the PGA Championship, co-produced with Westwood One, will be broadcast later this week (8/10 – 8/13) from 12:00 noon – 7:00 pm (ET) each day on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. The broadcast team from Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club will include: Fred Albers, Doug Bell, Mark Carnevale, John Maginnes, Dennis Paulson, Bob Rosinski, Charlie Rymer, and Taylor Zarzour ….. As detailed in The Chicago Tribune and RobertFeder.com, former Chicago talk radio host Ted Lauterbach, 70, died July 31 after battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. Lauterbach’s on-air “Windy City” credits include WIND (1982 – 1983); WCFL (1984); WLS-AM (1989 – 1990); and co-hosting WMAQ’s “Sports Huddle” with Steve Olken and Tom Greene in 1994. In addition, he was general manager and program director of Tele-Communications, a cable system.
Univision Q2 Radio Revenues Down 8.6%. Compared to $73.1 million for a similar period in 2016, second quarter revenue for Univision Communications’ radio division declined 8.6% to $66.8 million. National, network, and local advertising dips led to radio’s advertising revenue falling by 9.2% to $64 million from $70.5 million in 2016. Univision Communications president and chief executive officer Randy Falco notes that for the company as a whole, total revenue in the quarter was nearly $765 million and core revenue was up 5%. “Net income increased $31 million and we continue to deliver as evidenced by our reduction of net debt by approximately $200 million over the first half of the year.”
Westwood One Hall of Famers. Last night (8/6) in Canton (Ohio), Kurt Warner (left) and Jason Taylor (right) were enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Warner is one of Westwood One’s “Monday Night Football” analysts and Taylor was just named the new “Sunday Night Football” analyst. The NFL season kicks off in just over four weeks (Thursday, September 7).
Washington-Based Executive Producer and Radio Engineer Sought by Courtside Entertainment. Two positions are currently open at Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment. The first is an executive producer position based in Washington, DC. This position is with “one of the nation’s most popular conservative talk radio programs” and requires a “driven, intelligent, and organized person to oversee the day-to-day production of the show.” For application information and to see more about this position, click here. The second opening is for a radio engineer. That person “shall install, configure, and maintain radio broadcasting equipment as needed.” The candidate must have “relevant technical knowledge with good people skills and have excellent written and verbal communication skills.” For application information and to see more about this position, click here.
KEGL Announces “The Freakers’ Ball.” The annual concert sponsored by iHeartMedia Dallas rocker KEGL “The Eagle” will take place October 15 at Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie (Texas). Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Dallas Patrick Davis notes, “Freakers’ Ball has become one of fall’s best rock lineups around the country. We couldn’t have asked for a better lineup around Halloween than to include Marilyn Manson, In This Moment and more [including Beartooth, and Greta Van Fleet].” Program director Don Davis comments, “Our Eagle ‘Rockaholics’ have come to expect a great themed show for our annual Freakers’ Ball. Who better to headline our annual event than Marilyn Manson?” A special ‘Rockaholic’ pre-sale will take place this Thursday (8/10) from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. Listeners can also win tickets for a “Win It Before You Can Buy It” promotion today (Monday, 8/7) through Friday (8/11).
Entercom Miami Schedules Riptide Music Festival. More than 20 alternative, pop, rock, and adult contemporary acts will perform (Saturday) December 2 and (Sunday) December 3 at Entercom Miami’s Riptide Music Festival at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park. Marketing director and Riptide executive producer Von Freeman states, “It was an incredible success last year with over 25,000 festival-goers. There is just nothing better than seeing people hanging out in December on the sands of Fort Lauderdale [as they] sing every word to every song. The festival embraces the brands of our four top notch radio stations that reach over two million listeners per week and we will be giving away trips all over the United States and the world.” Riptide is produced by the staffs of alternative WSFS “104.3 The Shark”; classic hits-oldies WMXJ “102.7 The Beach”; adult contemporary WLYF “101.5 Lite FM”; and sports WAXY “790 The Ticket.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Having already launched this summer’s “World of Dance” starring Jennifer Lopez – and with Carson Daly-hosted “The Voice” a mainstay on its roster – NBC-TV is reportedly developing a music reality series for 2018. The new program will be one of at least two more music reality genre series scheduled for next year, along with “American Idol” (moving from Fox to ABC and with KIIS “Kiss-FM,” Los Angeles morning talent Ryan Seacrest remaining in-place as host) and Fox developing an adaptation of the singing competition format “The Final Four” ….. Jury selection begins today (8/7) in the trial between former KYGO, Denver air talent David Mueller (air name “Jackson”) and singer Taylor Swift in Denver. Mueller filed suit against Swift in U.S. District Court two years ago (September 2015), seeking lost wages for allegedly getting fired from the then Entercom-owned country station (now a Bonneville property) after the singer claimed that he lifted her skirt and grabbed her during a meet-and-greet before her June 2013 concert. Swift filed a countersuit claiming sexual assault against Mueller; she is expected to testify. The case is expected to last two weeks, with opening statements beginning as soon as tomorrow (Tuesday, 8/8). Swift is seeking damages of $1, “serving as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts,” while Mueller – also expected to testify – is seeking $3 million in lost wages ….. Changes at Entercom San Diego adult contemporary KXSN “Sunny 98.1” find midday talent Dawne Davis and evening personality Nick Upton leaving their on-air shifts to focus on production and digital, respectively. Program director Brooks O’Brian segues from morning drive to take over for Davis in middays, while Dorothy Tran replaces Upton at night. Until a successor to O’Brian is found in morning drive, part-timer Dave Mason will cover that daypart ….. Morning show co-host Melissa Moran will depart Hall Communications country WPCV, Lakeland (Florida) this Wednesday (8/9) in order to focus on her voiceover business, which she started three years ago. Operations manager and program director Mike James comments, “Melissa is a phenomenal radio and voice talent. It is no surprise that her audio book and voiceover career has become so successful. We will miss her greatly and wish her the absolute best.” Moran joined WPCV in 2008.
Alpha Media Closes on Digity Purchase. This is no ordinary acquisition as Alpha Media balloons to approximately 250 stations in 50+ markets by closing on in excess of 110 Digity properties. Over and above that, Alpha Media becomes the country’s third-largest broadcast company in terms of number of markets and fourth-largest regarding station count. Alpha Media chair Larry Wilson comments, “We are very pleased to get this remarkable transaction done. In our fold is now an exceptional stable of diversified stations and markets, serving not only their towns but surrounding areas and communities. It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with respected broadcaster [Digity chief executive officer] Dean Goodman and his management team. We look forward to joining forces with the phenomenal people at Digity doing radio the right way.” Goodman remarks, “I have been honored to work with the great broadcasters of Digity. They know their roots are in live and local and their future is dynamic. They will excel with Alpha as individual and collective entrepreneurs. We hand off a thriving company, up this year at the top of the industry. I wish Larry [Wilson] and his team all the best; they have assembled a great platform.” Only two of the 28 Digity markets are PPM-metros – San Jose and West Palm Beach. The other facilities are in Missouri: (Bethany-Cameron, Clinton, Farmington-Festus, Moberly-Macon, and Waynesville-Lebanon); Iowa (Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell-Newton, and Mason City); Minnesota (Albert Lea-Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls); South Dakota (Brookings, Madison, and Watertown); Illinois (Aurora and Joliet); Nebraska (Columbus and Lincoln); Michigan (Saginaw-Bay City-Midland); North Carolina (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville); Ohio (Canton); South Carolina (Myrtle Beach); Texas: (North Dallas-McKinney); and Wisconsin (Kenosha-Waukegan). When this deal was first announced in August 2015, the purchase price was reported to be $264 million.
WFAN and Brooklyn Nets Extend Broadcast Rights Agreement. The multi-year deal between CBS Radio New York sports outlet WFAN “The Fan” and the NBA‘s Brooklyn Nets goes beyond NBA basketball to cover other parts of the business at Barclays Center, including select college basketball games, concerts, and live events. As it has since the 2004 – 2005 season, WFAN will continue as the team’s radio flagship. According to CBS Radio president Andre Fernandez, “CBS Radio is proud to continue our association with the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. We have defined our position in sports broadcasting by delivering the most extensive coverage of local programming and events. We continue to make aggressive investments in exclusive content our audiences can’t find anywhere else.” Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment chief executive officer Brett Yormark comments, “Our relationship with CBS Radio continues to give us a major voice in the nation’s largest market. This new agreement comes on the heels of our recent extension with YES Network, providing the team with premium exposure on two of the country’s most popular sports outlets.” WFAN news sibling WCBS-AM will be the Nets’ secondary radio outlet. Prior to relocating to Brooklyn, the team was called the New Jersey Nets. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for New York City, WFAN ranks ninth (3.8, 6+); iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW “Lite FM” leads the field with a 6.7 (6+).
Hyde Heads to Entercom Sacramento as GSM. Fourteen-month Pandora account executive Corey Hyde joins Entercom Sacramento as general sales manager. Vice president and market manager Lance Richard comments, “It is exciting to add Corey to our team. He has an impressive track record of success and he brings experience in developing dynamic, integrated campaigns and long term partnerships for local clients. His leadership skills and experience in this market make him the perfect fit for Entercom Sacramento.” Hyde remarks, “I am thrilled to be joining Lance Richard and the team at Entercom Sacramento. Radio is stronger than ever, and we have the best local stations in the market. I look forward to using our wide array of marketing assets to drive real results for our clients.” In his 13-year radio career, Hyde spent nearly 10 years with CBS Radio Sacramento as a senior account executive and three years with iHeartMedia Sacramento as an AE. Entercom Sacramento consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320″; CHR KDND “The End”; alternative KKDO “Radio 94-7”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; classic rock KSEG “The Eagle”; and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”
Baldwin Exits Weekend “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” Effective immediately, actor Stephen Baldwin departs “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” The two-hour syndicated weekend program carried by approximately 250 affiliates on Kevin McCullough‘s eight-year-old XtreMEDIA and simulcast on BizTV is rebranded “Radio Night LIVE.” As Baldwin’s work schedule increased the past few months, McCullough explains, “The more difficult it has become for him to make the show. For the past eight years, we have enjoyed the liveliest and – on most nights – the funniest weekend radio broadcast in America. Our listeners will immediately feel the impact of Stephen’s absence from the talk radio airwaves. To be realistic, however, because of his filming schedule in 2015, his workload severely prevented him from being with us even one out of two weeks. This is great for him because his passion is acting. Our staff, our sponsors, and listeners will miss Stephen’s unique humor and spunk. His personality is one-of-a-kind and Stephen will always be welcome to a microphone we have named in his honor; we are thrilled though at this chance to take our broadcast to another level. ‘Radio Night LIVE’ will take the signature humor we have developed over the years, add cutting edge ‘next generation’ guests, experts, and entertainers and explode Saturday night in ways previously unseen.” Baldwin comments, “God has been so good to me and all I want to do is to follow where He is leading me. My time doing the show is something I will always remember. Our listeners brought much laughter and insight into my life.” It is possible that McCullough will utilize a series of rotating guest hosts such as KRLA, Los Angeles’ Elisha Krauss; Karol Markowicz of The New York Post; YouToo America‘s Gina Loudon; as well as Ashley Papa and Kayleigh McEnany. McCullough continues hosting his weekday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm “After Hours” show on Salem Media Group New York’s WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”; the “Kevin McCullough Show” for Salem Media Group; and “News That Makes You Think.”
Four More Years: WGN, Northwestern Extend Rights Agreement. The union between 50,000-watt WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University will keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the Tribune talker through the conclusion of the 2019 – 2020 season. In addition, the voice of Wildcats football since 1990 and men’s basketball since 1996 – Dave Eanet – signs a four-year contract. WGN Radio president and general manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We are proud to present Northwestern basketball and football anchored by Dave ‘Mr. Cat’ Eanet. We look forward to bringing our listeners the excitement of Chicago’s Big Ten team in the years to come.” According to Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips, “The Northwestern Wildcats and WGN Radio have forged a special relationship over the last two decades. WGN not only is a broadcasting force, but a true Chicago institution. We have shared many thrilling moments through the years, and we look forward to many more memories with WGN Radio as the home of Chicago’s Big Ten team.” Eanet was inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame last year. Former Chicago Bear Ted Albrecht is WGN’s football analyst on Wildcat broadcasts, while former college and pro head coach Joey Meyer provides analysis on basketball broadcasts. WGN has been the radio home of the Wildcats since 1996. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for Chicago, WGN ranks fifth with a 4.2 – its best showing since last June’s 4.3; CBS Radio‘s all-news WBBM-AM is on top with a 6.8 (6+).
Louisville Lineup Changes at WHAS, WKRD. Starting next Monday (2/29), former WKXW “New Jersey 101.5,” Trenton personality Mary Walter will oversee a weeknight 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm program on iHeartMedia Louisville talker WHAS. Of Walter, director of iHeartMedia Louisville’s AM programming Kelly Carls comments, “She is always prepared; keeps her finger on the pulse of the news; and she does a great job connecting with listeners. We are delighted she will be offering her unique perspectives every day.” A WHAS fill-in beginning in 2009, Walter remarks, “I am so excited to be with the WHAS audience on a regular basis. I have grown to love the local listeners over the years. They are so engaged and informed that it makes the job fun.” She previously worked at radio stations in Washington, DC; Phoenix; Denver; and Omaha. Meanwhile, at co-owned all-sports WKRD “790 KRD,” Howie Lindsey is named 7:00 am – 10:00 am host; contributors Matt Willinger and Katie George will join him. Another change there will find TheCardinalConnect.Com founder Nick Coffey taking on 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm duty. “We are very excited to expand our local sports coverage on WKRD,” notes Kelly Carls. “Mornings, mid-days and afternoons, we now have local sports fans covered with updates, insights, and compelling conversation about the teams and games that really matter.” Lindsey and Coffey will debut one week from Monday (3/7). Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book, WHAS ranks #1 (7.4) and WKRD is #12 (1.2).
Cumulus Media Dallas Sets Fourth Spring Job Fair. Jobseekers and hiring companies will come together in less than two weeks (3/9) as Cumulus Media Dallas presents its fourth annual Putting Texans Back to Work Spring Job Fair at the Plano Centre. In attendance will be representatives from over 100 companies in search of quality candidates from the Dallas, Collin, and Denton County areas of North Texas. No registration is required for job seekers; however, registration deadline for companies looking for qualified individuals is one week from Monday (3/7). The Cumulus Dallas cluster includes sports KESN “ESPN Radio 103.3”; talk KLIF-AM; CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3”; country KPLX “The Wolf”; KSCS “New Country 96.3”; sports KTCK “The Ticket; and talk WBAP.
BTC Begins HD Radio Data Services in Canada. A partnership between the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC) and exclusive mapping and technology data partner HERE leads to Canada’s first in-vehicle HD Radio Traffic service. Honda is the first brand to offer the service to its customers on certain 2015 and 2016 models. Broadcaster Traffic Consortium president Paul Brenner comments, “The BTC and all of our member stations are excited to be the first to market for HD Radio data services in Canada. Honda and HERE are valued partners that expect constant innovation and quality services regardless of our borders or radio station ownership. Unified broadcasters, collaborating to deliver a common service, bringing innovation solutions to automakers is better for the strategic and long-term viability of the broadcast radio industry. BTC is proud to be a leader in this space.” HD Radio Traffic enables drivers and passengers to view detailed information on local traffic conditions in real time on their vehicle’s audio display screen. The BTC has stations providing coverage in most areas within greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary; the service is expected to expand to additional Canadian markets. Originally founded in 2007 with eight broadcast groups – Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications; Greater Media; NPR; and Radio One – BTC has grown to include 23 broadcast groups in the United States and Canada. It builds a nationwide terrestrial broadcasting network to distribute local traffic and other map-related data via FM and HD Radio technology.
Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 22-26. Primary races and activities of presidential candidates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was Apple’s refusal to hack the phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists. At #3 was the battle over the timeline for replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, followed by Islamic State’s reported threats against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week; it is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View this week’s entire chart here.
BFA to Fete Fritts with “Excellence in Broadcasting” Award. Former 23-year National Association of Broadcasters president and chief executive officer Eddie Fritts is named this year’s Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s recipient of the Lowry Mays “Excellence in Broadcasting” award. Underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation, the award is given each year to a broadcaster, “whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.” Fritts’ past recognition includes “Broadcaster of the Year” awards at both the New York State Broadcasters Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. In addition, he is the past recipient of the Broadcasters Foundation’s “Golden Mike” and “Chairman’s” awards. Inducted into the Giants of Broadcasting’s Hall of Fame in 2010, he received the NAB’s “Distinguished Service” award one year later. Fritts – who launched The Fritts Group in March 2006 – will be honored with this particular acknowledgement in approximately two months (4/20) during the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars to thousands of broadcasters and their families. Individual donations can be made to the Guardian Fund. Corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative; bequests can be arranged through the Legacy Society.
Cumulus Media Florida Outlets Aid in Tornado Recovery. Personal and household items, as well as monetary donations, are being collected by 14 Cumulus Media stations in Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Mobile, and Pensacola (Florida) for those affected by this week’s tornadoes in Century and Pensacola. Radio station staffers will be at various locations for six hours today (Friday, 2/26), nine hours tomorrow (Saturday, 2/27), and four hours on Sunday. Listeners are being asked to help tornado victims with water, personal hygiene items, household cleaning items, tarps, laundry detergent, diapers, wipes, book bags, crayons, pens, pencils, paper, clothing, and non-perishable food items. Cash donations should be directed to the Gulf Coast recovery effort through the American Red Cross and the United Way.
Cool Job Opportunities at CBS, Los Angeles. TALKERS has learned that CBS Radio Los Angeles is now looking to fill the following positions as soon as possible at all-news KNX 1070: news reporter, writer, and news production assistant. For more details and to apply, please click here: WWW.CBSRADIO.COM/CAREERS.
Odds & Sods. Pittsburgh-based “The Union Edge” adds suburban Minneapolis talker KTNF “AM 950 The Progressive Voice of Minnesota” as its 27th affiliate. KTNF president Chad Larson comments, “KTNF has been a longtime union advocate, covering labor issues since 2004 in the Twin Cities. We look forward to carrying another program focused on the many accomplishments labor has made for our nation as well as the modern threats facing working families and our ability to collectively bargain in the workplace.”