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Thursday, October 21, 2021

| October 21, 2021

Blake Thompson Transitions to EVP of Ramsey Network. After nine years at the helm of Ramsey Network, Brian Mayfield accepts a new role at Ramsey Solutions, creating the opportunity for broadcast veteran Blake Thompson to step into the role as the network’s executive vice president. Thompson began his career as Dave Ramsey’s first producer in 1996. As EVP, in addition to serving on the Ramsey Solutions operating board, Thompson will be responsible for distribution and content development of all programs and platforms for The Ramsey Network. That includes “The Ramsey Show,” “The Dr. John Delony Show,” “The Ken Coleman Show,” “The Christy Wright Show,” “The Rachel Cruze Show,” EntreLeadership, as well as new feature podcast productions such as “The Fine Print,” “Everyday Millionaires,” “Ramsey Call of the Day,” and “Work Matters with Ken Coleman,” and the newly released documentary film, Borrowed Future. Thompson says, “I look forward to this new opportunity to serve our listeners and viewers with programming that brings hope. Brian has done a stellar job leading the Ramsey Network, and I look forward to continuing to partner with him in his new role.” As EVP of strategic alliances under Ramsey’s newest brand, Ramsey Trusted, Brian Mayfield will continue to serve on the Ramsey Solutions operating board. He will also lead the team responsible for overseeing the more than 5,000 relationships comprised of national advertisers and the endorsed local provider network. He comments, “It’s been an absolute honor serving as EVP of Ramsey Network. I have been blessed to make a lot of friends in the industry as well as experience the development and tremendous growth into what Ramsey Network is today. I can’t wait to see where Blake takes it with his expertise in content development. I’m equally excited to continue my journey with Ramsey Solutions as part of the development of this new brand within our organization.”

Zoe Burdine-Fly Named Regional President for Alpha Media. Media executive Zoe Burdine-Fly joins Alpha Media as regional president, effective November 1. Burdine-Fly most recently served as regional VP with Townsquare Media. In her new role with Alpha Media, she’ll oversee the operations, talent management and the strategic growth of 13 Alpha Media markets, including Amarillo, Bakersfield, Lincoln and Topeka. She’ll play a key role supporting the development of the company’s growing digital engagement platform. Alpha Media chairman and CEO Bob Proffitt says, “I am pleased to welcome Zoe as the newest member of Alpha Media’s senior leadership team. We conducted a thorough search process, and Zoe stood out as possessing the right leadership experience, sophisticated expertise and deep radio industry knowledge to guide our markets and support our long-term growth strategy. Zoe will help us further expand our digital capabilities across our nationwide platforms so we can continue to deliver excellent results and value in partnership with our advertiser partners. I look forward to all we will accomplish together.” Burdine-Fly comments, “Alpha Media continues to deliver incredible programming in all of its communities, and I am thrilled to join the Alpha Media family at a pivotal moment in the company’s growth. I am eager to get to work with Alpha Media’s team as together we continue to strengthen our market presence, serve our advertiser partners and honor the company’s legacy of engaging content and relevant local programming.”

Quick: And Now, the News. Consultant Jon Quick writes in a column for TALKERS published today (10/21), “The world of radio news writing and presentation has changed over the decades… Newscasts today tend to be shorter and more direct. They are written more concisely and in a more conversational style. There is more sound, and sometimes even music is used. For better or for worse, people don’t have as much time as we exist in a faster-moving world with many more options for getting our information.” Quick presents his “Effective Ways to Improve Your Radio News Writing and Presentation in Today’s World.” Read about them here.

Connecticut Court to Sanction Alex Jones Attorneys. According to a report in the Hartford Courant, Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis says she’ll sanction the defense attorneys representing media figure Alex Jones in the civil lawsuit filed against him by parents of children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. Judge Bellis says she’ll “impose new sanctions on Jones’ attorneys for violating a court order when they included information from a confidential deposition this summer in a motion seeking to question former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, suggesting Clinton had arranged the families’ lawsuit as a vendetta against Jones after her 2016 loss to former President Donald Trump. Bellis also will consider additional sanctions over what she called ‘highly inappropriate’ and ‘abusive questioning’ by Jones defense attorney Jay Wolman during a September deposition, during which he demanded the man being deposed search email records on his phone even though the subpoena issued by the court did not require it.” This comes after yesterday’s (10/20) two-hour virtual hearing. Judge Bellis is also accusing Jones’ attorneys for violating a “very straightforward protective order that (defense) counsel themselves filed and asked the court to approve.” The order makes information from depositions entirely confidential but Jones’ attorneys, in their filing to depose Clinton, included “two sentences that make reference to an unnamed plaintiff and witness — information available only from the deposition being taken that day that was supposed to be entirely confidential.” Judge Bellis issued previous warnings to Wolman earlier this year and said she is “‘leaning toward’ issuing a sanction herself, but that she will decide at a hearing scheduled for early November.”

Oklahoma Talk Radio Host Pat Campbell Dies After Battle with Brain Cancer. Former KFAQ, Tulsa and WFLF, Orlando talk radio personality Pat Campbell passed away on October 20 after a long battle with brain cancer. Griffin Communications owns sports talk KTSB-AM, Tulsa – previously news/talk KFAQ – and company VP and COO Rob Krier says in a memo to staff, “Pat joined 1170 Talk Radio (KFAQ) in 2008 and immediately his voice developed a loyal following in Green Country. He got his start in radio as a talk show caller. Prior to KFAQ, Pat worked at WFLA 540 in Orlando. He also made numerous appearances on ‘FOX & Friends,’ ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’ ‘Tucker Carlson’ and others. In 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 he was named one of TALKERS magazine’s most important talk show hosts and was also recognized as one of Oklahoma’s best radio personalities by Oklahoma magazine. Pat will be greatly missed and we and ask that you please keep Pat’s family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.” Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe commented, “I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and long-time radio personality Pat Campbell. I will never forget how last summer, Pat called me up and told me he was working through his bucket list, and one of the items was that he had always wanted to fly upside down with me in my airplane. On September 5, 2020, Pat was able to cross that off his list, and I was honored to be a part of it. Pat – always larger than life – had a profound impact on television and radio, proudly representing Tulsa and Oklahoma locally and nationally. Yet, more than being a pioneer for Conservative values in America, he was a friend. This loss will be felt for years to come. I am praying for peace for his loved ones during this difficult time.”

TALKERS News Notes. “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman says one of his program co-hosts – a man legally known as Nobody – is out of custody. Freeman writes, “After being held in jail for nearly six months after our studio was raided in March, ‘Free Talk Live’ host Nobody was released last month on insanely restrictive bail conditions. While I am being held on home confinement with an ankle monitor, Nobody does have the freedom to move about, however he is unable to speak publicly and is currently off-the-air as a result. The restrictions prevent him from being interviewed by any media or publicizing his opinions, a clear violation of his right to free speech. Though we are accused of victimless financial ‘crimes’ and have not been convicted, our liberties have been stripped from us. We are even barred from speaking with each other.” Freeman goes on to say, “However, not all the news is bad. Free Talk Live’s family of broadcast stations nationwide now expands to 186 with the addition of Townsquare Media stations ‘Newstalk 98.3 FM’ and KGVO in Missoula, Montana and KLYQ in Hamilton, Montana to our live Sunday night edition.”…..The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation is recognizing nine distinguished industry leaders and celebrities for lifetime achievement on November 9 during its Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts virtual awards ceremony. Being honored are: Emily Barr, president CEO, Graham Media Group; Frank Boyle, president & CEO, Frank Boyle & Co; Bob Costas, Hall of Fame sportscaster; Russell Perry, founder & president, Perry Publishing & Broadcasting Co; Robin Roberts, co-anchor “Good Morning America,” president, Rock’n Robin Productions; Marion Ross, actress; Neal Shapiro, president & CEO, The WNET Group; Sen. Gordon H. Smith, president & CEO, NAB; and Jordan Wertlieb, SVP, Hearst Communications, president, Hearst Television…..Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is hosting the 17th season of his “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” program for SiriusXM. The show features Coach K and co-host Dave Sims discussing basketball as well as the headline stories from the larger sports world and interviewing successful people from many different walks of life.  On today’s debut, Krzyzewski’s guests will be seven-time Olympic Gold Medal-winning swimmer Katie Ledecky and Jeff Vinik, owner of the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning…..ESPN Podcasts debuts a new, signature series, “Swagu & Perk,” on Monday, October 25. The weekly podcast will be led by its namesake hosts, former NFL veteran and analyst Marcus Spears, a.k.a., Swagu and NBA champion and analyst Kendrick Perkins. ESPN says, “The duo will take fans inside the latest news across the NFL, NBA and beyond with their own unique, personal insight and expert, in-depth analysis with new episodes every Tuesday morning. Spears and Perkins will also bring listeners inside their lives, career journeys and so much more with can’t-miss conversations and welcome in top sports and celebrity guests.”

January 6 Investigation/Bannon Case, COVID-19, Biden Social Spending Bill, Supply Chain Woes/Inflation, Afghanistan Withdrawal Investigation, Southern Border Crisis, and Chinese Military Aggression Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/20). The investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the move to charge former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon with criminal contempt; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; President Joe Biden considers reducing his $3.5 trillion social spending bill to $1.9 trillion; the effects of the supply chain breakdown on the availability of consumer goods and soaring retail prices; the State Department inspector general’s investigation into the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan; the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border; and China’s development of hypersonic weapons and its aggression against Taiwan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Fresh Edition of ‘The Fisher House Story’ Available for Veterans Day and the Holidays. There’s new programming from the Fisher House Foundation for this Veterans Day as well as for the holiday season. The Jeff Wyatt Group has produced a fresh edition of “The Fisher House Story” for 2021 available for download. “The Fisher House Story – Peace of Mind and a Place to Heal” is a radio special provided in varying lengths for news/talk radio stations as well as a 30-minute public affairs show for all formats in the U.S. and around the world. Fisher House Foundation provides a home away from home for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. Fisher Houses provide temporary free lodging so families can be close to their loved ones during a medical crisis because “A Family’s LOVE is Good Medicine.” The program is available in three-hour, one-hour, 25- and 30-minute radio special versions and is hosted by long-time radio personality Jeff Wyatt. It features stories of America’s heroes, the families who serve by their side, and how Fisher House plays a role in their journey. This informational talk show will leave listeners feeling inspired during Veterans Day weekend (Veterans Day is Thursday, November 11) and through the holiday season, sharing stories of amazing service members, veterans, and their families. Host Jeff Wyatt’s love and respect for our military will only amplify these radio specials, scheduled to deliver Oct. 28 for potential airing Veterans Day weekend, during the holiday season, and for Memorial Day and 4th of July weekends as well. You can hear a demo and see the clock at: radio.fisherhouse.org. For more information on this radio special, available cash and barter free, contact Jeff Wyatt at 301-518-3640 or jw@thejeffwyattgroup.com.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

| May 11, 2021

Saga Communications 2021 First Quarter Net Revenue Down 15.5%. The 2021 first quarter financial report from Saga Communications reveals net revenue for the period was $22.3 million, a decrease of 15.5% from the same period in 2020. Net income was $758,000, a decline of 75% from the net income of $1.68 million posted in Q1 of 2020 (although Saga was one of the few audio companies to post income and not a loss). Station operating expense decreased $3.3 million to $18.9 million for the quarter compared to the same period in 2020. Station operating income was $4.7 million for the quarter compared to $5.5 million for the first quarter last year.  Free cash flow increased 21.4% to $1.8 million for the quarter. Saga Communication’s balance sheet reflects $56.3 million in cash on hand as of March 31, 2021 and $57.4 million as of May 3, 2021. The company’s total bank debt remained at $10 million as of the end of the first quarter 2021.

KCBS-AM, San Francisco Sports Anchor Steve Bitker Announces Retirement. After 30 years as morning drive sports anchor for Audacy’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco, Steve Bitker is retiring after the May 14 broadcast. After graduating from University of California Berkeley, Bitker served as a news writer for KSFO, San Francisco. He worked in Tokyo for three years as a news/sports anchor for Japan’s only English-language TV station – Japanese Cable Television. After returning to the States, he worked for seven years at KNBR, San Francisco before joining KCBS in April of 1991.

Wendy Bell Off WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh for Now. According to a story by WPXI-TV, talk host Wendy Bell is off the air of St. Barnabas Broadcasting’s WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh and Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck show is airing in its place. Bell was an anchor at WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh until 2016 when she was let go after making racially insensitive comments in the wake of a shooting that left five dead. She hosted a talk show at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh and agreed to exit that station after being suspended for suggesting park rangers “shoot on sight” anyone seen defacing park monuments. The story quotes St. Barnabas Health System director of marketing Michele Bradac saying Bell is off the air due to a personnel matter. “Until the company and she resolve their personnel matter, there’s no way to say” when she might return.

Newsmax TV to Launch ‘Cortes & Pellegrino’ Prime Time Show; Produce Town Hall with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. There’s a new prime-time program launching on Newsmax TV this evening (5/11) at 9:00 pm ET starring former presidential advisor, commentator, and financial expert Steve Cortes and former White House correspondent Jenn Pellegrino. About the new “Cortes & Pellegrino” show, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy says, “We were the only major cable news network to see an overall ratings increase from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021, and we did it without a full prime-time. ‘Cortes & Pellegrino’ completes our nightly lineup and will continue our unprecedented growth.” Also at Newsmax, “Spicer & Co” co-hosts Sean Spicer and Lyndsay Keith will air an exclusive Town Hall with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis tomorrow (5/12) at 6:00 pm ET. The event takes place at The Villages – the 55-plus community in Sumter County, Florida that boasts almost 80,000 residents – and will feature discussions with a live studio audience of American voters. Sean Spicer says, “Governor DeSantis has proved his resolve and confounded his skeptics over the past year, leading his state to excellence in fostering a thriving economy, rolling out the COVID vaccine, and guarding religious liberty. This Town Hall will give Newsmax viewers deeper insight into the reasons why DeSantis is a true governor of the people.”

TALKERS News Notes. This Memorial Day weekend ABC Audio has the special program “Honor, Hope and Healing,” hosted by correspondent Aaron Katersky, available for affiliate stations. The special honors America’s heroes including military members who died in the line of duty, pandemic front-line workers, grieving families, and others affected by last year’s events. The program dives into the significance of Arlington National Cemetery and features interviews with its regular visitors who come to pay respects to their family and friends…..SiriusXM announces the launch of the “Let’s Get After It with Chris Cuomo Podcast” culled from Cuomo’s SiriusXM show on the P.O.T.U.S. channel that airs daily from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. The podcast will be available three times a week and features the opening longform segment from the program as a podcast…..Audacy is partnering with independent podcaster Aaron Lammer on today’s release of the first two episodes of his newest project, “Exit Scam: The Death and Afterlife of Gerald Cotten,” a documentary podcast series exploring the 2018 death of Cotten, the founder of Canadian digital currency platform QuadrigaCx. The first episode is available right now everywhere podcasts are available, while the second episode is available exclusively on Audacy. This unique windowing strategy will allow listeners who want more of this thrilling true crime series to get their fix immediately on Audacy where listeners will get early access to episodes before all other platforms…..Blavity Inc., the diversified digital media company behind “AfroTech,” “21Ninety,” “Travel Noire,” “Shadow and Act,” and “Blavity News,” partners with Charlamagne Tha God’s and iHeartMedia’s The Black Effect Podcast Network to distribute its podcast for Black entrepreneurs and moguls in the making titled, “Black Tech Green Money with Will Lucas.” Lucas is an entrepreneur, content creator, and the brand manager at Black tech digital platform AfroTech, the world’s largest Black tech digital platform. The podcast presents the stories of successful Black entrepreneurs and technologists, as well as actionable advice and wealth-building strategies from a Black perspective…..Audacy’s Cadence13 is partnering with bestselling author, activist, and thought leader Glennon Doyle for her “We Can Do Hard Things,” podcast on which she will share stories of her life and explore topics including love, relationships, parenting, mental health, recovery and more.

COVID-19, Cheney vs GOP/Influence of Trump, Pipeline Hack, Gaza Strikes, Gates Divorce Controversy, Golden Globes Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/10). The rate of positive COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, vaccine hesitancy, and India’s death toll; U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s battle with the GOP over the “stolen election” and Donald Trump’s influence over the party; the hack of the Colonial Pipeline Networks by DarkSide and the effect on gas supplies in the Eastern U.S.; the battle between Israel and Hamas over the potential eviction of Palestinians from Jerusalem; the growing controversy over the divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates and the Jeffery Epstein connection; and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Awards lose NBC’s broadcast in 2022 over diversity problems were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

| April 26, 2017

2017 NAB Show: Cars, Congrats, and Commish #1. Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the 2017 NAB Show for TALKERS magazine.  In today’s report, Cooke covers yesterday’s Radio Luncheon where attendees heard Ford Motor Company’s Scott Burnell speak and witnessed Premiere NetworksDelilah inducted into the NAB Hall of Fame.  Also yesterday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai delivered the keynote address and reassured attendees that he remains “‘fundamentally optimistic about the future of broadcasting’ because of the ‘localism, diversity, and public service’ that distinguishes diligent broadcasters.”  Read Cooke’s entire report here.

Hannity Plans Legal Action Against Debbie Schlussel. On his Fox News Channel program last night (4/25), Sean Hannity led off the program by addressing the allegations being directed against him by attorney and conservative media figure Debbie Schlussel.  Detroit-based Schlussel stated during an interview on KFAQ, Tulsa’s Pat Campbell program that Hannity propositioned her after a book signing event in Detroit about a decade ago and that, after she rebuffed his advances, she was blacklisted from being a guest on Fox News Channel.  Last night, Hannity said, “I have to start tonight by addressing a well-orchestrated effort by the intolerant left in this country that is designed to silence every conservative voice and by any means necessary.  Now, I’m speaking out tonight so that you, our audience, will understand what is really happening and what is at stake when it comes to freedom of speech in this country.”  He said in a prepared statement that he is planning legal action against Schlussel.  “This individual is a serial harasser who has been lying about me for well over a decade.  The individual has a history of making provably false statements against me in an effort to slander, smear and besmirch my reputation.  The individual has not just slandered me over the years, but many people who this individual disagrees with.”  Schlussel told NBC News she doesn’t believe Hannity will sue because, “If he did, it could spur other people to come forward and he wouldn’t want that.”  NBC News notes that Schlussel is a polarizing media figure, having suggested that President Barack Obama is a “secret Muslim” and that death camps in occupied Poland during World War II were run by Poles and not Germans.  Read the NBC News piece here.

Emmis to Sell $80 Million in Assets. Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications will be a different company in July of 2018.  The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that under pressure from lenders, the company will shed $80 million worth of its radio assets in order to pay down debt.  This is the result of recently renegotiated terms with lenders JPMorgan Chase Bank and Bank of New York Mellon.  Emmis CFO Ryan Hornaday tells the IBJ, “We’re confident that we can achieve the $80 million [divestiture] without selling a substantial portion of the portfolio.  We do still have some very desirable assets.”  The company owns 19 radio stations in five markets: New York, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Austin, and Indianapolis.  The IBJ reports that Emmis’ total debt was $221 million as of February 28, 2017.  Read the story here.

Nielsen Explores All-News, News/Talk Listening Trends Over Seven Years. There’s been a lot of scrutiny of the audiences for all-news, news/talk, and talk oriented public radio leading up to and since the 2016 election.  Over all, according to ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys of radio listening, the three formats have realized increased listenership of late.  Now, Nielsen shows how listening to the all-news and news/talk formats has changed over the past seven years, based on PPM data. (Remember, Nielsen includes public talkers in the larger news/talk category.)  The result is that listening to all-news has remained fairly steady during that time across the three demos cited – persons 6+, 18-34, and 25-54.  For news/talk, the format scored a 10.6 share in March of 2011 (6+), and a 10.2 share in March of 2017.  In the 25-54 demo, 2011 saw an 8 share compared to this year’s 7.6 share.  And probably buoyed by younger public radio listeners, the 18-34 demo rose from a 4.2 share in 2011 to a 4.6 share this year.  See the whole report here.

ESPN Layoffs Coming Today.  The names of those who are exiting sports media giant ESPN will begin to trickle out as time passes, but for now only a few of the estimated 100 ESPN staffers – mostly television and radio personalities – are known, with reporter Ed Werder tweeting that he’s been let go.  It’s unclear how many of the cuts are from the radio and the television sides of the operation, but ESPN chief John Skipper says in a memo to staff, “A necessary component of managing change involves constantly evaluating how we best utilize all of our resources, and that sometimes involves difficult decisions…we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent — anchors, analysts, reporters, writers and those who handle play-by-play — necessary to meet those demands.  We will implement changes in our talent lineup this week.  A limited number of other positions will also be affected and a handful of new jobs will be posted to fill various needs.”

TALKERS News Notes. We now know the trial date for the Nielsen vs Bubba the Love Sponge suit in Florida.  U.S. District Court Judge James D. Whittemore has scheduled the case to start on January 2, 2018, with a pre-trial conference on December 8, 2017.  Judge Whittemore also ruled on Bubba’s motion to exclude Nielsen Audio expert witness David Haas, denying it…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that WGN, Chicago director of marketing and digital innovation Jackie Paulus will exit the station and join Jimmy deCastro’s new sports marketing and rep firm After The Whistle as a partner…..Public radio icon Robert Siegel announces he’s retiring as host of NPR’s “All Things Considered” in January of 2018.  Siegel assumed that position in 1987.  He’s been with NPR since 1976…..Here are some more winners of 2017 regional Edward R. Murrow Awards:  In Seattle, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO “News 1000/FM97.7” is honored with the award for Overall Excellence.  The station also took first place for Breaking News for its coverage of the Seattle May Day protests.  CBS RADIO’s WCBS-AM, New York; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; WBZ-AM, Boston; WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago and five other stations amassed 25 awards with the four mentioned being honored for Overall Excellence.  Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix picked up three Murrows, including Overall Excellence.

U.S.-North Korea Tensions, Trump’s First 100 Days, Sanctuary Cities Ruling, Canadian Lumber Tariff, Mexican Wall, Trump’s Proposed Tax Cuts, Michael Flynn Case, Ivanka in Berlin, and MLB, NBA, and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/25). The military tensions between North Korea and the United States and concerns about a full-blown war starting; the judging of the Trump Administration’s first 100 days; a California judge blocks part of President Trump’s sanctuary cities order; talk about the effects of Trump’s tariff on Canadian lumber; debate over whether President Trump’s Mexican wall will actually get funded and built; the tax cuts being proposed by the Trump Administration; comments from House members that it appears Michael Flynn broke the law in accepting payments from Russia; Ivanka Trump attends European conference with Angela Merkel and IMF managing director Christine Lagarde; and MLB, NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Former WJMN, Boston personality Bobby Blaze is joining Beasley Media Group’s crosstown rhythmic AC WBQT “HOT 96.9 FM” to host the afternoon drive show, effective tomorrow (4/27).  Blaze says, “I’m so excited to be back on Boston radio and being surrounded by the most talented on-air team in Boston.  You only become great when you’re surrounded by great people and that’s what ‘HOT 96.9’ represents.”…..Morning personality Fitz exits Entercom’s country KKWF, Seattle “100.7 The Wolf” and the “Fitz in the Morning” program.  Entercom states, “‘Fitz in the Morning’ will no longer be on air on 100.7-FM The Wolf in Seattle as of Monday, April 24.  Fitz has been an important part of the station for nearly 12 years, but we have decided to part ways.  We wish him well, and we will be conducting a nationwide search for the station’s next morning show.”  In the interim, morning personalities Ellen Tailor and Randy The Biscuit will host the program…..The afternoon drive Zepp & Terri show – featuring Brian Zepp and Terri Traen – exits Cumulus Media’s classic rock KQRS, Minneapolis.  The two had been partnered on the show for the past year.  Traen was formerly part of the Tom Barnard morning show.  As a result of the move, Ray Erick is now hosting the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot…..With the departure of Brett Hall from the stations – and the radio biz – Saga Communications names Tom Scott morning drive host at hot AC KJBX, Jonesboro, Arkansas and to voice track the night show at sister country KDXY.

Karaoke for a Cause.  Pictured above at Cumulus Media’s Stage 17 in New York City are members of the band Ocean Park Standoff and staffers from Voss Foundation.  The band performed for an intimate group of listeners on Monday (4/17).  Afterward, WPLJ personality Ralphie Aversa sang karaoke to the group’s new single “Good News” competing against a winning listener.  “Karaoke for a Cause” is raising awareness of Voss Foundation and VOSS Water’s annual #31Days to Make a Difference initiative.  Voss Foundation is dedicated to providing access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene as a means to enable community-driven development in Sub-Saharan Africa and raising awareness of the ongoing need in the region.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

| April 21, 2015

littlelindaLittle Rises to President of Phoenix Market for iHeartMedia.  Assuming the position left briefly vacant by Scott Hopeck after he was promoted to the same post at the New York City cluster is Linda Little.  She moves up from her SVP of sales position with the station group.  Prior to that, she was GSM for adult contemporary KESZ and country KNIX.  She also served as integrated media business development manager.   She comments, “I have had the privilege of building my media career in Phoenix and am very fortunate to have worked for a company that has given me many opportunities to grow while constantly evolving with the industry.” In this position she’ll oversee news/talk KFYI, talk KOY, and sports talk KGME.

schreiberjonathanSchreiber Promoted at Mercury Radio Arts.  Moving up from his head of strategy and special projects position with Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts to president of the company is Jonathan Schreiber.  In this new post, Schreiber will oversee Mercury’s divisions including digital, radio andmercuryradioarts logo publishing and its continued growth in film, television and “digital content across different genres beyond politics and current events.”  The company says Schreiber will continue to serve as an advisor to TheBlaze, the company’s news, information and entertainment network led by CEO Betsy Morgan.  Schreiber has an 18-year pedigree in the tech, mobile and entertainment businesses.  Beck says, “I personally recruited Jonathan to help take our company to the next level.  Since joining Mercury, he has played an integral role in both the strategy and execution at Mercury Radio Arts and my overall business philosophy and approach.  He is a trusted advisor and this title reflects the leadership position he has and will continue to assume in this new era for both me and our business.

quayledonIndustry Mourns Don Quayle. The first president of National Public Radio (NPR) has died: Don Quayle was 84 years old. NPR’s Susan Stamberg recalls that Quayle gave her her first radio job. “It was the early-1960s and he was head of the Educational Radio Network – the precursor of NPR – a little network of 12 east coast stations that developed a daily drive-time news show. He hired me to help produce it. When this national network arose, he was an obvious choice to run it. Don was principled, decent, and astute. In the euphoric tumult of our first years, he navigated the choppy seas of building a public radio system. He knew NPR had to serve our listeners, above the competing needs of stations, boards, and funders.” The program to which Stamberg alludes, of course, is “All Things Considered,” which Quayle debuted on NPR in 1971. He headed the network – which now has more than 900 member stations – from 1970 to 1973. Prior to that (1960 – 1962), Quayle managed Boston public outlet WGBH. Five years ago, the Logan, Utah native received an honorary doctorate of humane letters for his “significant contributions” to public broadcasting from his alma mater, Utah State University.

theblaze radio networkPremiere and TheBlaze to Present Memorial Day Special.  The annual Memorial Day radio special produced by Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network returns in 2015 with Premiere Networks handling affiliate relations.  The three-hour program – titled “Reflections from a Gratefulpremierenetworks Nation” – features the hosts, writers and editors of TheBlaze and TheBlaze.com, including: Doc Thompson, Skip LaCombe, Buck Sexton, Jay Severin, Chris Salcedo, Mike Broomhead and others.  In addition to special appearances by award-winning actor Gary Sinise, “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak and members of the military, listeners will hear personal stories and conversations about the meaning of the holiday in this special tribute to those who fought and gave their lives to defend America’s freedom.  It’s available to news/talk stations for airing from May 23-25.  Interested stations can phone Premiere at 818-377-5300.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison Interviews Boston Herald Editor-in-Chief Joe Sciacca on Weekly Podcast, ‘Up Close and Far Out.’  In a candid and informative interview on the popular weekly podcast “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” Boston Herald editor-in-chief  Joe Sciacca discusses his views on a wide variety of media-related topics that include, among others:  the state of the newspaper industry in a changing media landscape; the impact of the digital era on journalism; and his experience in being involved with his newspaper’s pioneering effort in online news/talk/sports radio broadcasting – Boston Herald Radio.   During the extensive conversation, Sciacca – a 37-year veteran of the newspaper business as a reporter, columnist and editor — tells TALKERS magazine publishersciaccajoe Michael Harrison that the biggest challenge facing journalists in the newspaper business today is “keeping their print product relevant.”  He tells Harrison, “I believe this is the greatest time to be leading a news organization in America even though resources are challenging and newspapers are experiencing difficult times in terms of revenue.  There really is a great window of opportunity to be creative – to reinvent our business.  So when I became editor five years ago after being at the Herald for 32 years, I embraced the challenge because even though I knew the road was going to be difficult to navigate, we have done some incredible things over the last five years and we’ve really transformed what was purely a print organization into a multimedia news organization.”  This transformation, of course, includes the launch of Boston Herald Radio – the newspaper’s online talk station that produces 11 hours of original, live content every weekday from a studio located right next to the newspaper’s newsroom.  It has proven to be a major source of breaking stories, not only for Boston-area news consumers, but for the media across the country and around the world.   Harrison and Sciacca delve into media theory and discuss differences in the psychology between reading stories online as opposed to the printed page.  They also analyze the impact of video cameras inside a radio studio and the differences between what Harrison describes as “great radio or bad television.”  Sciacca discusses the Boston Herald’s commitment to getting the stories right, rather than just being first – a pressure amplified by the competition generated by the 24 hour non-stop, digital news cycle and he recalls how coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing was particularly challenging because of all the false information that was out there in the general news media’s frenzy to stay on top of the breaking story during its early hours and days.  Harrison describes his theories about the emergence of what he calls “stickless” radio broadcasting (meaning radio without the traditional license, transmitter and tower) and the development of the online “media station” in the 21st century.  To hear the entirety of this fascinating conversation between two seasoned, front-line media visionaries, please click here, or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” box in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

clipinteractiveFour More Smartphone Models Can Have FM Chip Activated Via Clip Interactive.  According to Clip Interactive, more consumers can exercise the FM chip listening option as it has expanded the phones that can use its technology to include the HTC One M9, HTC Desire 610, Sharp Aquos Crystal and LG G3.   Clip Interactive says its application technology connects to this chip, allowing the listener to tune into local stations without having to stream, which depletes data allowances and consumes more battery life.  FM chip activation through Clip Interactive mobile apps allows stations to optimize listening options for users.  Clip Interactive chief technology officer Peter Shoebridge says, “Activating the FM chip on more devices benefits the listener as they can reduce data usage and enjoy the real-time broadcast.  The industry can expect more announcements about additional devices in the coming weeks as we continue our mission to provide interactive radio to the masses.”

Odds & Sods.  Appearing in the KFAQ, Tulsa studios this morning is a crew from “Good Morning America” as morning host Pat Campbell interviews attorney Clark Brewster.  Reserve Sheriff Deputy Robert Bates hiredcampbellpat Brewster to represent him in the case of the fatal shooting of Eric Harris that took place during a drug sting.  Bates has been cleared by the FBI of violating Harris’ civil rights but faces a second-degree manslaughter charge for accidently using his pistol instead of a taser on Harris.  Pat Campbell tells TALKERS magazine, “Our station has been ground zero for many exclusives on this story, including the foxsportsradio logoonly sit-down interview with Sheriff Stanley Glanz.  KFAQ news director Tami Marler has been all over this since day one, getting scoops and guests other outlets can’t secure.”…..FOX Sports Radio is presenting “FOX Sports Live 2015 NFL Draftcast” – a multi-platform NFL draft special featuring Jay Glazer, Joel Klatt, Peter Schrager, Mike Garafolo and Don Bell in Chicago.  It will air on the network’s more than 400 affiliates nationwide beginning at 8:00 pm ET on Thursday, April 30…..The last Buckley Broadcasting property – KIDD-AM, Monterey, California – has been sold to Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson Broadcasters for $50,000.  Buckley took KIDD-AM dark a few months ago and recently tore down its aging tower structure.

ISIS Violence, Iran Nuclear Program Controversy/U.S. Naval Presence in Yemen, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Police Shootings Controversies, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/20).  The reports of ISIS executing Christians; the controversy about negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and the United States’ naval presence in the waters off Yemen; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the cases of police shooting citizens in Baltimore, Tulsa and elsewhere; and the weekend’s Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

| January 16, 2013

michaelsrandyRandy Michaels Speaks About Tribune Company in Newspaper Piece.  Sam Zell declined to be interviewed for a four-part series in the Chicago Tribune about the parent company’s financial and legal odyssey but former Tribune CEO and radio executive Randy Michaels did contribute to the story.   The piece charges that both Zell and Michaels never really understood the business (newspaper) or the culture of the place they were trying to save.  But Michaels tells the Tribune he believed he had to get the newspaper’s staff to move quickly adapting to the digital age or it would be too late.  Michaels says, “I cared a lot about that company, and while I recognize that there’s plenty that people might disagree with, I worked hard to keep those brands relevant in a changing world.  We thought that by knocking down some of the walls, by bringing in a looser culture and getting rid of all the bureaucracy, that we had a chance to outperform.  I thought it was my role to challenge everything.”  The piece cites the reluctance among the Tribune staffers to accept the forced change in culture and highlights some of the resentment felt when Michaels’ former radio colleagues were brought into executive positions.

methenykevinProgrammer Kevin Metheny Named WJR, Detroit PD.  Programming pro Kevin Metheny is the new program director at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR, Detroit.  Metheny had been interim program director at Clear Channel’s country KMNB, Minneapolis “Buz’n 102.9” after leaving WGN, Chicago in November of 2010.  Prior to his stint at WGN, Metheny was operations manager a Clear Channel’s Cleveland cluster.  Metheny states, “I’ve long admired WJR from 90 miles across Lake Erie where I put 760 on a button the day I landed in Cleveland. ‘The Great Voice of The Great Lakes’ is a gold standard collection of impossible-to-duplicate treasures and I’m thrilled to join the Cumulus team.”   Cumulus news/talk/sports corporate programmer Jim Mahanay adds, “Kevin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the spoken-word format to the legendary WJR.  We are excited to have him on the team!”

trn logoTalk Radio Network Unveils Seven New Weekend Programs.  In what Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters calls a focus “on helping our affiliated stations make more money,” the company launches seven new programs this weekend, beginning with “Making America Laugh with Louie Anderson.”  The comic brings “his brand of humor and warmth to the radio airwaves – covering topical news, taking listener calls, and riffing withandersonlouie comedic and celebrity guests.”  Other programs lifting off this weekend include: “Nutzz & Knight Radio” hosted by Gordon “Lug Nutzz” Stewart and actor Christopher Knight (Peter Brady from “The Brady Bunch”).  TRN calls it “a hysterical, fast-paced, and irreverent action/motorsports lifestyle and entertainment radio program, featuring interviews with personalities from NASCAR, the NHRA, and IndyCar to action sports athletes, musicians, and the entertainment industry.”  “All Action Sports Radio” is dedicated to complete coverage of the action sports industry – surfing, skateboarding, BMX, Motocross, skiing, snowboarding, and more.  “The Brian Oxman Show” features the former high-profile attorney for Michael Jackson and the Jackson family.  “Blueprint of a Champion Radio Show” is a proprietary goal-setting and success program for student athletes brought to life through radio hosted by Neil Mason, a standout college athlete, Olympic coach and successful entrepreneur.  “The Anthony Vultaggio Show” is a general issues talk program.  “The Hibbard Show” is hosted by husband and wife team, Dave and Marhnelle Hibbard and is geared toward helping people in both their professional lives and in their personal lives.

wspd logoScott Sands to Program WSPD, Toledo.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces programmer Scott Sands will take over the program director role at news/talk WSPD, Toledo and sister rock outlet WIOT.  Sands most recently was involved in launching CHR WWHX, Bloomington, Illinois with Vallie/Richards/Donovan.  He also partnered with Vallie/Richards/Donovan to launch and program Main Line Broadcasting’s modern rock WCLI, Dayton “Click 101.5.”  Until earlier in the fall, Brian Wilson had been serving as program director and afternoon drive host.

coxmediagroupCox Media Settles with Todd Schnitt; Jury Seated in Complaint Against Bubba the Love Sponge.  The Tampa Bay Times reports that the defamation suit by talk show host Todd Schnitt against long-time Tampa market rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) continues as a jury was seatedschnitttodd yesterday morning.  However, Schnitt’s suit against Cox Media (Clem’s employer) has been settled.  The paper reports that Cox Media and Schnitt reached a settlement on Friday, the terms of which were not disclosed.  Cox Media Tampa market manager Keith Lawless is quoted telling the Times, “(The settlement) was a business decision, but in no way reflects that we are not in support of Bubba.  It’s not such a bad thing that all our focus is now on defending Bubba.”  Meanwhile, a jury of six with four alternates has been seated in Schnitt’s suit against Clem but not without some drama as the Times reports both sides initially agreed to the make-up of the jury, then Schnitt’s lawyers asked to reconsider.  Immediately Clem’s attorneys asked for a mistrial but the judge declared the jury selection final and swore in the jurors.

campbellpatOdds & Sods. With Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt tied up in court in his suit against Bubba the Love Sponge, he’ll be missing some time on the radio.  KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell is subbing for Schnitt on his 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program on Thursday, January 17…..Former WTKK, Boston talk host Michael Graham fills in for crosstown WRKO afternoon drive host Howie Carr on Thursday…..The big Oprah Winfrey interview with Lance Armstrong will air on Winfrey’s OWN cable channel on Thursday evening but SiriusXM will get the firstgrahammichael crack at distributing the audio of the interview on Friday on its Oprah Channel…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s  WTOP, Washington is hosting a special “Ask The Doctor” program featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, today at 10:00 am to help listeners learn more about the flu.  The hour-long Q&A session will answer a number of concerns related to this year’s harsh flu season and more with WTOP mid-day anchors Mark Lewis and Debbie Feinstein hosting and taking calls from listeners…..Michael Patrick Shiels, host of “Michigan’s Big Show,” will broadcast his syndicated morning show live from Monte Carlo, in the principality of Monaco, on Friday, January 25.  The special, international broadcast will originate from the historic Hotel de Paris next to the famed Casino de Monte-Carlo and guests on the program will include: actor Roger Moore, singer Shirley Bassey, residents of Monaco, as well as a representative of Monaco’s Royal Family.

dial global sportsDial Global Sports Distributes NFL Conference Championships.  The NFL’s conference championship weekend takes place on Sunday and Dial Global Sports brings affiliate stations exclusive radio play-by-play of the San Francsico 49ers vs Atlanta Falcons matchup and the Baltimore Ravens vs New England Patriots game.  The NFC Championship game is being called by Dave Sims alongside Hall of Famer James Lofton as analyst and Tony Boselli on the sidelines.  The AFC Championship game is being announced by Kevin Harlan with the play-by-play, Hall of Famer Dan Fouts as analyst and Mark Malone on the sidelines.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago and NHL’s Blackhawks Agree to Five More Years.  Now that NHL hockey is set to return, Tribune’s WGN, Chicago and the Chicago Blackhawks have announced they will extend their deal for the station to be the exclusive market radio home of the team’s play-by-play broadcasts.  The new, five-year deal will keep WGN as the team’s flagship station through the 2018-19 NHL season.  WGN Radio DOS and interim general manager Jeff Hill says, “We are proud to extend our relationship with the Blackhawks and bring the excitement of hockey play-by-play to our listeners.  The fast pace of the broadcasts provide an incomparable energy and we look forward to delivering the best hockey broadcasts for the next six years.”

Debt Ceiling Debate, Gun Legislation Proposals, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Controversy, ObamaCare Costs, and Lance Armstrong ‘Oprah’ Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/15).  The battle between the Obama Administration and Congress over raising the debt ceiling; threats by the president to use executive powers to write new gun legislation; the controversy over the movie “Zero Dark Thirty”; the costs brought about by the Affordable Care Act; and Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.