Gregg Henson Named WRVA and WRNL, Richmond Program Director. Talk radio pro Gregg Henson is named program director for Richmond stations news/talk WRVA and sports talk WRNL “FOX Sports 910.” Entercom Virginia SVP Bennett Zier comments, “We are very excited about the addition of Gregg to the Richmond team. Entercom is the leader in news and sports radio and we’re confident Gregg’s extensive industry experience will ensure that we continue to bring the most engaging content to our listeners.” Henson has worked in sports talk in Detroit as well as in news/talk in markets including Dallas, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
Townsquare Media Sells North American Midway Entertainment Back to Previous Owner. Three years ago, Townsquare Media, Inc paid $75.5 million for North American Midway Entertainment and it was the lynchpin of the company’s Entertainment division. Now, Townsquare is selling the mobile amusement company back to previous owner Danny Huston for $23.5 million. Townsquare has made no secret of the fact that the investment hasn’t panned out, so the sale is not surprising. In addition to the cash sale price, Townsquare also stands to benefit if Huston sells the company within the next 10 years. It would get a 15% residual interest in any future proceeds of a sale. Townsquare says it will hang on to the net proceeds from this sale, “pending future investment.” For the year ended December 31, 2017, NAME generated net revenue of $92.2 million and a net loss of $33.7 million.
Alex Jones Sued by Sandy Hook Families. The anger in Newtown, Connecticut – and beyond – over talk show host and InfoWars chief Alex Jones’ assertions that the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax has boiled over into a new lawsuit against the broadcaster filed by four families of the slain children, two families of killed educators, and one FBI agent. The suit also names Wolfgang Halbig and Cory Slanka – who assisted in video production and website management – as well as Jones radio syndicator Genesis Communications Network. The suit – filed in state court in Connecticut – alleges that Jones does not believe that the massacre was a hoax but continued to promote the narrative on his program and on his website. “Jones is the chief amplifier for a group that has worked in concert to create and propagate loathsome, false narratives about the Sandy Hook shooting and its victims and promote their harassment and abuse…the Jones defendants concoct elaborate and false paranoia-tinged conspiracy theories because it moves product and they make money. Not because they truly believe what they are saying, but rather because it increases profits.” The five counts in the suit are: invasion of privacy by false light; defamation; intentional infliction of emotional distress; negligent infliction of emotional distress; and unfair trade practices. Jones addressed the suit on his radio program this week saying the allegations in the suit are “out of context.” Jones is also being sued in Texas state court by two other families of Sandy Hook victims.
Entercom Promotes Nine in Senior Management. President and CEO David Field says, “We are fortunate to have such a talented team of leaders at Entercom and it is a pleasure to be able to promote several of them today in recognition of their increasing roles and responsibilities. These are exciting times at the company and as we roll ahead with our investments and execute our transformational plans, we will continue to offer meaningful professional growth opportunities for our top performers.” The promotions include the following: Fred Bennett, senior vice president, Traffic Weather Information Network; JD Crowley, chief digital officer; Mike Dash, senior vice president and deputy general counsel; Liana Huth, senior vice president, programming innovation; Jen Morelli, senior vice president, events and experiences; Jenny Nelson, senior vice president, ad sales marketing; John Pacino, senior vice president, product and engineering; Sam Rogers, senior vice president, national sales; and Jeff Sottolano, senior vice president, radio and Radio.com programming. Chief operating officer Weezie Kramer adds, “This is a strategic move to position ourselves for success in the long-term. We are making great progress and we are excited about where we are headed. With this new, elevated leadership structure, we are poised to maximize our capabilities and scale as one of the best radio broadcast operators in the industry.”
Canceled North Korea Summit Top News/Talk Story This Week. The canceled summit between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia Investigation. Coming in at #3 was U.S.-China trade and military relations, followed by the state of the Iran nucleal deal at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS News Notes. June 30 is the last publication day for most Cox Media Group’s sports verticals, including SECCountry.com, Landof10.com, and Diehards.com. CMG has not explained the reason behind the move. Usually, lack of revenue is the reason for shutting down a business, but SEC Country’s Christopher Smith tweeted, “The Cox Media Group sports verticals grew traffic 36.9 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. We were rocking it. Even our Facebook traffic was up.”…..This morning (5/25), WFAN, New York morning team Boomer Esiason and Greg Gionnatti broadcast their show live from Headliner in Neptune, New Jersey for their “Boomer and Gio’s Kickoff to Summer” show. The program featured the live music of Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot. It also included a “Hairiest Back Contest” during the broadcast…..In conjunction with NBC Sports and NBC Sports Radio, Westwood One is presenting live play-by-play of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals. Kenny Albert and Joe Micheletti are booth announcers for the series and former NHL center Ray Ferraro will serve as rinkside reporter with Florida Panthers announcer Steve Goldstein hosting the pre-game, intermission, and post-game reports.
Brian Kilmeade Scores Exclusive POTUS Interview. When President Trump spoke at a forum in the Long Island community of Bethpage Wednesday (5/23) discussing the problem of violent MS-13 gang-related activity in that town and across the country, FOX radio and TV talk personality Brian Kilmeade was on hand to cover it. In the process, Kilmeade scored an exclusive stand-up interview with the president that covered a variety of issues pertaining to gang violence and the broader topic of border security and immigration reform. The president defended his recent comment describing gang criminals as “animals” by describing MS-13 members as being “stone cold killers…vicious killers.” The extensive interview ran yesterday on the FOX News Channel’s morning show “Fox & Friends” co-hosted by Kilmeade along with Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt.
Radio Historian and Videographer Art Vuolo Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Noted radio historian and videographer Art Vuolo is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Vuolo has been chronicling radio conferences for nearly 30 years and archiving the very best radio personalities on video since 1979. He has recorded video of some of the greatest on-air legends in studio doing their shows. In many cases, these are the only recorded documents of these figures in existence. His entire library will be featured in a permanent exhibit soon to be unveiled at the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago. Harrison describes Vuolo as “the biggest devotee of American radio that I have ever met.” He was aptly dubbed “Radio’s Best Friend” by legendary DJ (and current WCBS-FM, New York morning host) Scott Shannon in the early 1980’s… a moniker that has stuck over the years. On June 8, Vuolo will be the recipient of the prestigious 2018 Lifetime Achievement award at the annual TALKERS convention in New York City, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Harrison and Vuolo take a deep-dive conversation into the golden era of radio’s top 40/personality stations and then some. This interview is a radio freak’s delight. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
TALKERS Magazine Posts the 2018 Heavy Hundred. The 2018 edition of TALKERS magazine’s “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” has been posted. This annual list – compiled by the editors of TALKERS and known informally as the Heavy Hundred – ranks American radio talk show hosts in importance from one to 100. Today, TALKERS presents the 24thedition of this prestigious list in which the editors use a number of hard and soft factors in creating the ranking, including: ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, recognition, service, talent, and uniqueness. TALKERS magazine executive editor Kevin Casey says, “Our editorial staff works very hard to consider all of the numerous personalities who qualify, and then whittle it down to just 100… a difficult task. This list is admittedly subjective to one degree or another but we at TALKERS take the task very seriously. Congratulations to all of the radio talk show hosts who made this year’s Heavy Hundred!” See the list here.
PPM Analysis: Classic Hits-Oldies. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on classic hits-oldies. Kinosian reports that 59% of qualifying classic hits-oldies stations in PPM markets saw their 6+ numbers go up from April 2017 to April 2018. There were nine stations that ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets and 21 that ranked in the top three. iHeartMedia’s WWSW, Pittsburgh “3WS” wears the April crown for the highest 6+ market share at 11.2%. See the whole report here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The campaign to get a Detroit street named after Bob Seger continues as Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WCSX-FM promises to play 24 hours of Seger’s music on June 2 to drum up support for the effort. The “Big Jim’s House Morning Show” challenged WCSX-FM program director Jerry Tarrants, saying they could get more than 9,470 likes on the brand new “Make Bob Seger Boulevard” Facebook page. Within only a few days, Bob Seger fans from all over the world made their voices known with likes for the page going well over the 9,470 likes needed. As a result, listeners will be able to enjoy 24 hours of Seger on the station…..In Rochester, Entercom’s classic rock WCMF is hosting the annual Roc City Rib Fest – a BBQ and music festival featuring nationwide and local food favorites. The four-day, family-friendly festival will feature live music from Sean Patrick McGraw, Branded, and Kid Kurry, among others…..iHeartRadio is presenting holiday weekend-themed content. Today it launched a suite of playlists “perfect for kicking back and enjoying this weekend. From playlists to enjoy the unofficial start of summer to patriotic anthems to reflect and honor those who give everything for our freedom, iHeartRadio has what you are looking for.”
Nielsen Audio Tells Clients it Won’t ‘Support Voltair.’ During today’s subscriber webinar, Nielsen Audio reported that its testing of the audio processor Voltair revealed nothing substantial to indicate the unit positively affects the ability of the PPM units to pick up the watermarked audio signal under normal circumstances. According to sources taking part in today’s webinar, Nielsen reports the unit could improve the reception of the watermarks in some cases but it’s difficult to determine if that reflects “true listening.” The result is that the company says it will not “support Voltair.” It is stopping short of requiring the Voltair unit be removed from subscribers’ audio chains as Canada’s Numeris ratings agency has done. It’s not clear from a legal standpoint whether Nielsen could require stations to remove the units in the U.S. Today’s webinar also addressed improvements to the PPM technology and told subscribers that it is rolling out a new encoding monitor that will be delivered to all subscribers in 2016.
Kay, WEPN-FM Agree to Three-Year Extension. The just-signed pact with afternoon drive host (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) Michael Kay will keep the television voice of the AL East New York Yankees at WEPN-FM “98.7 ESPN,” New York through 2018. As it has since February 2014, “The Michael Kay Show” (with co-host Don LaGreca) will continue to be simulcast on the YES Network. WEPN-FM general manager Tim McCarthy comments, “Mike has been the cornerstone of ESPN Radio New York the past 14 years and his audience is growing. He is a familiar and friendly voice for the New York sports fan. His credibility and passion each day provide New York listeners an entertaining and informative choice for their commute home. He is one of the best in the sports business and I am proud he will remain part of the 98.7 FM team.” Kay remarks that after 14 years, he is “thrilled to remain with 98.7 FM and [have] this opportunity to continue doing sports talk radio in a fun, entertaining way. Don and I do not take our positions or the loyalty of our listeners who spend their afternoons with us for granted. They are part of our family – and we treat them that way. I am really excited about [the station’s] future and I am very happy to remain with such a great company, ESPN.” Bronx native/Fordham University graduate Kay covered college basketball and the New Jersey Nets for the New York Post. He got his first television job in 1989 with MSG Network, where he won three Emmys. Three years later, he became a Yankees’ broadcaster on WABC-AM and the team’s play-by-play announcer when YES launched in 2002.
Wainwright Officially Named WSYR, Syracuse Morning Host. Talk pro Mark Wainwright became the go-to guy when the late Joe Galuski first became ill and was required to take time away from the mic, and now Wainwright has been hired as the morning drive host at iHeartMedia’s “Newsradio 570 WSYR.” Galuski was diagnosed with cancer in September of 2014 and died in May. Wainwright first did fill-in work at the station in March of 2013. iHeartMedia SVP of programming Rich Lauber comments, “Mark Wainwright has become a familiar voice to our listeners and he has developed great relationships with our staff and clients.” Wainwright spent more than 25 years in radio before leaving the business in 1997. He says, “I felt right at home here after my first hour on the air at WSYR. Our late colleague Joe Galuski spent more than two decades building a successful and highly regarded morning program, and I am committed to continuing that success. I just wish this all came under happier circumstances, as Joe Galuski is dearly missed by me – and the Central New York community.”
WOLF-AM, Syracuse Flips from Classic Hits to Sports. Using Fox Sports Radio Network for programming, Wolf Radio Inc.-owned WOLF-AM, Syracuse drops the classic hits format for sports talk branded as “Fox Sports 1490 Syracuse.” Shows airing on the station include: “Jay Mohr Sports,” the Dan Patrick show, the Rich Eisen show, “Steve Gorman Sports!,” “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North,” JT “The Brick,” and the Jason Smith show. Station manager Sam Furco states, “This is very exciting for Central New York. We have done a lot of research and testing for this format. We have every confidence this format will be a hit for listeners and local businesses.”
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents this report analyzing Nielsen Audio PPM survey data for stations serving as flagships for MLB play-by-play broadcasts. In this report, Kinosian looks at the performances of those outlets over the past four PPM surveys, fluctuations from June 2014 to June 2015, where those stations rank in their markets, leaders in market share and much more. See this entire report here.
Compass Media Networks Begins Syndicating Joe Pags’ Show. San Antonio-based talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo broadcasts from flagship station WOAI and is heard on a number of iHeartMedia news/talk stations. His 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm CT daily program is now being syndicated by Compass Media Networks which says it will handle exclusive syndication of the show. Pags comments, “I love entertaining and am thrilled to bring my unique brand of talk radio to a wider audience with Compass Media Networks.”
Sports Talk Show Host, Author and Album Rock Radio Pioneer Richard Neer Interviewed by Michael Harrison on “Up Close and Far Out.” Actually, it is more of a startlingly intimate conversation between two old friends than a formal “interview” per se. WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer returns to the Podcast One weekly international hit “Up Close and Far Out” hosted by TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison for the second installment of an intermittent, ongoing conversation between the two about their days together during the formative years of album rock radio. This series of conversations between them will appear on the podcast in approximately two-month intervals. In this latest chapter posted today (7/21), they dredge up personal memories and juicy details about the 10 months they spent together launching and building the progressive rock format at the legendary WLIR, Long Island between 1970 and 1971 – during which period they were catapulted from being obscure 21 year old college students playing beautiful music on a struggling station to becoming well-known personalities and music programmers at one of the leading FM rock outlets in America – WNEW-FM, New York. They talk about the nature of the times, the emergence of the counter-culture and the challenges they faced in programming a free-form, “underground” station within a highly competitive, contentious, and uncharted environment. It is a story about drugs, groupies, music, street-cred, politics and generational upheaval. According to Harrison, “Richard successfully broke ground on chronicling some of these colorful, historic events in his landmark book, FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001), but this new series of candid, uninhibited conversations presented within the context of my podcast draws upon the spontaneous spoken word to really dig up and display the amazing details, color and emotions of those very special, long-gone times.” This marks the 20th installment of “Up Close and Far out with Michael Harrison.” The podcast is targeted to an audience described as “media freaks around the world.” Initial guests include radio’s Sean Hannity, Mike Francesa, Mark Levin, Thom Hartmann, Ronn Owens, Nick Michaels, Dr Joy Browne and Alan Colmes; music legend Linda Ronstadt; space pioneers Buzz Aldrin and Dr. Alan Stern (of the New Horizons mission); teenage celebrity interviewer Pavlina Osta, techno-biologist Rebecca Costa; cybersecurity expert Steve Weisman as well as leading edge, multimedia journalists Chris Ruddy and Joe Sciacca. To listen to the entire Harrison/Neer episode, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of TALKERS.com.
Former TheBlaze Staffers Launch Autonomous Publication. A number of former staffers with Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze are launching a new publication on the Medium blog-publishing platform called Autonomous. As reported by CapitalNewYork.com, former TheBlaze vice president of digital content Steve Krakauer is leading the venture that will include other former Blaze staffers Raj Nair, LaVern Vivio, and Chris Knowles. Also involved will be former Blaze CEO Chris Balfe. The story also notes that this will not be a full-time job for any of the participants, at least initially. Read the piece here.
Odds & Sods. WGIR, Manchester, New Hampshire personality Jack Heath will participate in the “Voters First Forum” at which Republican candidates for president will appear. Heath will moderate the forum – note it’s not being called a debate – that will be aired on C-SPAN…..At Curtis Media’s news/talk WPTK, Raleigh, Doug Kellett exits his morning show role there after three years with the station…..In San Diego, financial advisor George Charles Cody Price is ordered to pay more than $1 million in fines and restitution in a settlement agreed to in U.S. District Court. Price had hosted a financial advice program on Midwest TV’s KFMB, San Diego in 2011. He was accused of defrauding investors.
WAUK, Milwaukee’s Steve Haywood Dead at 49. Milwaukee native and longtime sports media personality Steve Haywood died on July 19 after a 15-year battle with various health issues including Type 2 diabetes, cardiomyopathy, and kidney problems. Haywood co-hosted “The Game” with Bill Johnson on Good Karma-owned sports talker WAUK, Milwaukee “ESPN Wisconsin.” The station’s website features a piece by Drew Olson in which Good Karma CEO Craig Karmazin states, “Steve distinguished himself with his passion, knowledge and relationships with his beloved Milwaukee Bucks, and the city of Milwaukee. In doing so, he created a partnership between ‘ESPN Milwaukee’ and the Milwaukee Public Schools, which brought attention and advocated for student athletes throughout the city. He will be missed.”
Iran Nuclear Deal, Obama Race Database, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Climate Change-Western Drought, Social Security-Gun Surrender Proposal, ISIS Atrocities, Chattanooga Attacks Aftermath, and Immigration-Sanctuary Cities Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/20). The UN’s approval of the Iran nuclear deal and the Islamic state’s subsequent threat to “trample upon America”; the Obama Administration’s building of a racial database of Americans; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and John Kasich’s hint he’ll enter the race; the subject of climate change and the ongoing Western drought; President Obama’s proposal to require Social Security recipients who don’t manage their own affairs to surrender their guns; atrocities being perpetrated by ISIS; the aftermath of the attacks on Chattanooga military facilities and the state of mind of Mohammod Abdulazeez; and the issues of illegal immigration and the policies of sanctuary cities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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Big Executive Sports Talk Moves Elevate Martin at iHeartMedia and Takes Gilbert to Cumulus. These two position changes for sports radio pros Don Martin and Bruce Gilbert are related as Gilbert exits iHeartMedia where he was most recently SVP of sports operations and joins Cumulus Media and Westwood One as SVP/sports. Back at iHeartMedia, the company promotes current SVP of sports Los Angeles Don Martin by expanding his duties to include Premiere Networks and Fox Sports Radio. As SVP of sports programming for Premiere Networks, Martin will oversee the creation, development and direction of sports programming and content at the company, as well as the FSRN. Martin will continue his SVP of sports Los Angeles role – which includes supervising KLAC – and report to iHeartMedia Southern California president Greg Ashlock. For his new duties, he’ll report to Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. At Cumulus, the company says Bruce Gilbert will lead the curation, development and execution of all sports content initiatives and will oversee the strategic direction of the company’s owned-and-operated sports stations. He will report to EVP of programming and content John Dickey. Corporate sports PD Jim Mahanay remains in his post reporting to Gilbert. Of this hiring, Dickey comments, “Bruce Gilbert brings years of experience in sports broadcast programming and management to our senior programming team and we’re pleased to welcome him aboard. Bruce will drive the continued growth and development of the industry-leading sports platform at Cumulus and Westwood One, which together comprise the largest pure-play sports radio network in the world and align with the best brands in the business. His addition furthers our commitment to creating and delivering the most exciting content to sports fans and delivering incomparable opportunities for our partners and advertisers.”
WARM-AM, Scranton Returns as Sports Talker. There’s a new sports talker in the Wilks-Barre/Scranton market as Cumulus Media adds WARM-AM to the large mix of signals (10 in all, including simulcasts and translators) airing sports content. The station – last an oldies outlet – had been off the air for three months engineering rehab and emerges today as “Sports Radio 590” using CBS Sports Radio Network programming.
Sydney Siege Illustrates Need for Plan for Broadcasters. The hostage situation in Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia shows – very dramatically – why broadcasters need a plan in place before an unexpected crisis situation occurs. ABC Television director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes, in an exclusive piece for TALKERS, “In the aftermath of 9/11, many places – New York City chief among them – redrew regulations requiring building operators and their tenants to develop so-called ‘emergency action plans,’ to deal with fire and non-fire emergencies. Among other things, these plans call for the formation and training of ‘emergency action plan directors’ and fire safety teams; some organizations with expansive buildings or campuses have designated site coordinators, and site response teams who may have advanced first aid training and emergency provisions to sustain a lockdown/shelter-in-place order for hours, or even days.” Price asks broadcasters if they – like Channel 7 TV in Sydney – have a plan in place to evacuate their primary business and engineering office if they are required to do so. Read Price’s important piece here.
Odds & Sods. Last Friday, NRG Media-owned news/talker KOIL, Omaha produced its 17th Annual Child Saving Institute Radiothon fundraiser, broadcasting live from Regency Court Mall during which the station raised $73,020…..Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle and Treehouse (a nonprofit education organization for foster children) more than $505,000 for the charity during its 26th Annual Holiday Magic Radiothon on December 11…..Jobs cuts have hit iHeartMedia news/talk WOAI, San Antonio as the San Antonio Express-News’ Jeanne Jakel reports news staffers Michael Main (a near-30-year employee), anchor/reporter Berit Mason, and multimedia journalist Stephanie Narvaez have all been let go from the station.
MediaTracks to Celebrate 25 Years. Next Monday, MediaTracks Communications – the “nation’s leading producer of radio public affairs programming,” is celebrating its 25th anniversary. MediaTracks president and co-founder Shel Lustig says, “High quality public affairs programming is of vital importance to stations nationwide. With today’s smaller staffs and tighter budgets, the need for our programming continues to play an essential part in helping stations meet and exceed their public affairs obligations. We’re extremely proud of our contributions to the industry and our affiliates over the last 25 years.”
Fisher House Foundation Holiday Show Available. Again this year, Fisher House Foundation is making available a news/talk-formatted holiday program that brings attention to wounded warriors, veterans and military families. Fisher House is offering the three-hour, highly produced public affairs show for air between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The show, “Zachary’s Gift,” tells the inspiring story of Fisher House founder Zachary Fisher through heroes served by the foundation’s growing network of no-cost comfort homes built on the grounds of VA and military base hospitals. The radio show is designed to build awareness, not solicit donations. The show is free – neither contract nor barter. Stations may air it multiple times. Executive producer Marshall Adams says, “Many stations are using ‘Zachary’s Gift’ to fill a local, three-hour show on Christmas or New Year’s Day.” The host is Mark Watkins, a radio newsroom vet who recently retired from the anchor booth at WBAP and KLIF Dallas. Jeff Davis is the show’s promo voice. Jonathan Shaffer from WSM Nashville is leading production and imaging. Westwood One is handling affiliate relations pro-bono. To sign up, send a note with your planned air times to Stuart Greenblatt at firstname.lastname@example.org. Marshall Adams can answer questions about content at (412) 856-3400 or email@example.com.
Pros Turn Out for WRHU-FM Alumni Night. WRHU-FM Radio Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York held its fifth annual alumni night at the New York Islanders NHL game on Saturday evening (12/13) at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum. It was a gala celebration attended by industry people including WINS, New York morning news anchor Lee Harris, who won a team autographed hockey stick in a drawing (pictured); WINS, New York morning sports anchor Marc Ernay; WOR, New York evening host Pete McCarthy and afternoon drive traffic reporter Greg Rice; Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen; NASH FM, New York air talent Jason Goldstein; CBS Radio New York marketing director Frank Iemmiti; NY1 news senior editor Dave Fleischer; Hofstra Dean Evan Cornog; Radio Hofstra University director of operations John Mullen; WRHU professional in residence Ed Ingles; and Islanders radio play-by-play voice Chris King and color commentators Julian Coltre, Rich DeKorte, Dan Savarino, and Mark Weiner. WRHU-FM is in its fifth year as the flagship radio station of the New York Islanders and is the only college station in America that serves as the flagship for a professional major league sports franchise. 2014 has been a good year for WRHU-FM. The station was awarded the NAB Marconi for Best Non-Commercial Station of the Year and was ranked number one — best college radio station – by the Princeton Review.
Sports Talker Dan Sileo New AM Host at ‘The Mighty 1090’ in San Diego. Sports talk personality Dan Sileo – who’s been working at stations in Florida for the past several years – joins Broadcasting Corporation of the Americas-operated XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” where he’s the new morning drive host beginning today (2/3). Sileo most recently was hosting a show at James Crystal Radio’s WMEN, West Palm Beach but was fired from that station in early November of 2013 after shooting off a controversial tweet. Sileo has also worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami and Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa. He takes over the morning show at “The Mighty 1090” from market pro Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton who will remain with the station in another capacity. Program director Mike Shepard says, “I am thrilled to welcome Dan to ‘San Diego’s Sports Leader, The Mighty 1090.’ Dan is a passionate, outspoken, engaging and incredibly knowledgeable sports radio personality. His track record of major market success is remarkable and Dan is a perfect addition to the Mighty 1090’s top-rated, all-star lineup.”
New Talk Station to Air in DC Market. The Laurel, Maryland-licensed WILC flips from Spanish music to a hybrid of talk and oldies. The ZGS-owned signal is being operated by Wallis Communications under an LMA and the new format debuts today (2/3). In a statement, the company says the program schedule is not complete but the station will be “libertarian and conservative talk radio.” Chief operating officer and general manager Bryan Berner says, “All of us at WILC and Wallis Communications look forward to serving the people of the region and bringing a common sense, fresh perspective to talk radio in the Washington, DC market.” Programming will include Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Wallis Communications’ “The Dr. K Show,” “The Capitol Hill Show with Tim Constantine” and WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller. Overnights will showcase vintage radio as the digitally remastered Wolfman Jack will air.
Mike Gallagher Causes Stir with Hoffman Death Observations. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher’s observations in the aftermath of the untimely death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman caused such reaction that his post to his MikeOnline.com site logged more than 50,000 views and drew threats to him, his family and even his dog. Speaking about the suspected heroin overdose that took Hoffman’s life, Gallagher stated, “Another senseless death. This time, one of the greatest actors of our time. I wonder if he started with marijuana…If you want to get pot lovers mad, dare to even ask the question if an Oscar-winning movie star who is found dead in his bathroom with a needle stuck in his arm started with marijuana.” Gallagher has stood firm in his stance against the legalization of marijuana as some states move to legalize and decriminalize the drug.
To Get Listeners to Your Website, Don’t Threaten to Bore Them! Digital media consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller wonders why we tend to turn the marketing part of our brains off when we go “online.” We can write good, tempting ad copy for radio but all we’ve learned goes out the window when it comes to our websites. Miller says that one of the worst ways to get someone to your website is to offer them “all of the details” when they get there. Not very tempting is it? More details. Instead, put your marketing skills to work in the same way you would with a spot. “A good commercial will do a better job getting business through a client’s front door than a bad commercial will. It’s the exact same thing getting people to go from your broadcast to one of your digital platforms…or move from one digital platform to another. Opportunity is knocking.” Read Miller’s entire piece here.
Clear Channel Tweaks Lineup at WVOC, Columbia. The South Carolina news/talk station drops the early evening “Sports Talk” show syndicated by Learfield Sports that aired in afternoon drive and adds Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity for the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot. The “Sports Talk” program is hosted by Phil Kornblut, Kevin McCrarey and Tom Hayes. According to The State, Learfield’s “Sports Talk First Edition” – which aired on CC’s sister sports talk station WXBT “560 The Team” from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm – is also being replaced. A local sports talk show featuring former South Carolina footballer Rick Sanford will air in the time slot instead. Learfield tells the paper it is working to place the shows on new affiliates in the market.
Mike Francesa Fans (and a Few Critics) Gather for FrancesaCon in NYC. Sports talk pioneer Mike Francesa – afternoon drive host on CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York – said after learning of the weekend event that the participants would probably be half fans, half critics. How the numbers came down is unclear but the fact that an estimated 400 gathered at an Upper East Side bar on Saturday (2/1) to celebrate, imitate and even mock Francesa, shows how big he is in New York. A piece by Jim Baumbach in Newsday tells the story but the short version is as follows: 23-year-old friends Michael Leboff and Ron Haraka came up with the idea of FrancesaCon as a gathering of Mike Francesa fans. Little did they know that not only would people show up in droves, but they came dressed as Francesa, carried the appropriate props (Diet Coke cans), and did some very good imitations of the man himself. Some even came dressed as Francesa’s longtime former partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and classic Francesa-Russo back-and-forths took place in the bar. Check out Baumbach’s story in Newsday here.
FCC Grants Tribune Cross-Ownership Waivers. The license renewals for several Tribune-owned television stations were being challenged by the United Church of Christ, the Media Alliance and the Teamsters. The commission handed down rulings on Friday that granted renewals for the licenses though it also granted the petition for reconsideration to the UCC and Media Alliance. The FCC also reaffirmed the permanent waiver for Tribune in the Chicago market where it owns the Chicago Tribune newspaper, WGN-TV, and WGN-AM. In making the decision, the commission ruled that “Given the ‘uniquely long-term symbiotic relationship between [Tribune’s] broadcast stations’ and the Chicago Tribune that provides a special benefit of continued cross-ownership, coupled with the slight cost to diversity in Chicago’s massive media market of continued cross-ownership, Tribune has in fact shown sufficiently ‘unique or special circumstances’ to justify the granting of a permanent waiver of the NBCO (newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership) Rule to its Chicago licensees.”
L&L Closes on Border Media Trust Stations. Seven Texas radio stations that were in the Border Media Trust are now owned by Larry Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting. The stations include San Antonio-licensed outlets news/talk KTSA, sports talk KZDC, adult hits KJXK “Jack 102.7 FM,” regional Mexican KLEY-FM, Jourdanton, regional Mexican KJAH-AM/FM, Pearsall, and CHR KTSM, Floresville. The station group cost L&L $31 million and puts the company into market #28.