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Pete Spriggs Retires from WSB, Atlanta; Drew Anderssen to Assume PD Duties. Longtime Cox Media Group programmer Pete Spriggs is retiring as director of branding and programming for news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta. Current senior manager of programming and operations Drew Anderssen will step into Spriggs’ role, effective February 28. Spriggs began his career with Cox at Dayton’s news/talk WHIO-AM. He spent three years at the company’s WDBO-AM, Orlando before taking on programming duties at WSB, Atlanta in 2000. Spriggs says, “WSB will go down in history as one of the greatest radio stations in the world, and I’m humbled to have been the program director there for 19 years. I’ve worked with some of the finest talent in this business. Several of them are in either the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame or the National Radio Hall of Fame and we’ve all worked together to make life better for our listeners in Atlanta and Georgia. It has been an awe-inspiring experience for me, and I’m so grateful to CMG for trusting me with the ‘keys’ to such a great ‘kingdom.’” CMG EVP radio Bill Hendrich says, “I have had the pleasure of working with Pete for over 25 years. Along with being the best news/talk program director in the business, Pete is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Cox Media Group has benefited greatly from Pete’s leadership in Dayton, Orlando, Atlanta, and as our news/talk format leader. We are definitely a better company because Pete Spriggs was on our team. He will be missed, and we all wish him the best going forward.” Prior to joining WSB, Drew Anderssen spent years in programming and research for Cox Media Group in Orlando, Florida and Tulsa, Oklahoma. The company says, “Anderssen brings an immense amount of experience and devotion to his role and CMG looks forward to continuing their partnership to ensure WSB remains an industry leader.”
Newsmax TV Names Emerald Robinson White House Correspondent. Broadcast journalist Emerald Robinson joins Newsmax TV as White House correspondent where she’ll work alongside Newsmax chief White House correspondent John Gizzi. Robinson was most recently chief White House correspondent for One America News Network. Speaking about her new position, Robinson says, “Newsmax TV has become a major force in Washington’s media universe and I’m thrilled to be a part of its major expansion. Americans trust Newsmax to deliver truthful, unbiased reporting – and that’s what we do every day.” Robinson began her journalism career as host of “The Daily Orbit,” a syndicated science and technology news show. Her experience also includes entertainment, political, and economic beats. During her tenure on the White House beat, Robinson has covered presidential foreign trips including the Helsinki and Singapore Summits.
Dallas’ ‘The Ticket’ Moves Bob Sturm to ‘The Hardline’ Afternoon Show. In the wake of the recent retirement of longtime afternoon drive station personality Mike Rhyner, Cumulus Media’s KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket” announces midday co-host Bob Sturm moves to afternoon drive to partner with Corby Davidson as co-hosts of “The Hardline.” Danny Balis continues to produce the PM drive show. Sturm has co-hosted the midday “BaD Radio” with Dan McDowell since 2000. Filling Sturm’s role on “BaD Radio” is show producer Jake Kemp, who moves up to the co-host role. Cumulus Dallas/Houston RVP Dan Bennett says, “Bob Sturm has earned the trust and following from our listeners for over 20 years and is one of the finest sports talk talents in America. This move made perfect sense and we are excited to entertain our listeners with the new afternoon drive team of Bob Sturm and Corby Davidson, and with Jake Kemp and Dan McDowell for ‘BaD Radio’ in middays.” Sturm adds, “Our station lost an absolute icon in Mike Rhyner to retirement and we must all pull together to bridge that gap. I am honored to join forces with The Hardline’s Corby Davidson and Danny Balis to see what we can dream up from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and we can’t wait to get to our mighty challenge. Dan McDowell and Jake Kemp will make a fantastic duo themselves from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Dan McDowell is the closest friend I might ever find in this business and I owe him an immeasurable debt.”
SiriusXM Drops $75 Million into SoundCloud. Audio entertainment giant SiriusXM builds up its relationship with SoundCloud via a purchase of $75 million of securities for a minority stake in the open audio platform. SiriusXM, via subsidiary Pandora, began an ad sales relationship with SoundCloud in 2019 in which advertisers and brands could purchase SoundCloud’s U.S. ad inventory directly through Pandora, leveraging Pandora’s direct sales capabilities, targeting data, and audio programmatic platform. SiriusXM says that SoundCloud and Pandora’s combined U.S. audience constitutes more than 100 million unique listeners. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “SoundCloud’s unique platform serves a vital role in today’s music ecosystem where new artists are discovered and build their fan base, and established artists experiment and connect directly with their fans in highly effective ways. We admire SoundCloud’s loyal and growing audience, its offering for creators, and its reputation and popularity in global music communities. We believe this is another opportunity to continue creating value for SiriusXM stockholders by investing in expanding digital audio platforms.” As part of the minority stake acquisition, the SoundCloud board of directors will expand to include two individuals designated by SiriusXM.
World Radio Day Honor Goes to WTOP. In celebration of the forthcoming observance of World Radio Day coming up this Thursday (2/13), the American Academy of Radio – a subsidiary of the Academia Española de la Radio (Spanish Academy of Radio) – presented the World Radio Day “American Radio Station of the Year” award to Hubbard Radio’s all-news outlet WTOP, Washington, DC. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) executive board recommended to the General Conference the proclamation of World Radio Day, on the basis of a wide consultation process, carried out in 2011. The leader of the project, the Academia Española de la Radio, received support for the proposal from diverse stakeholders, including major international broadcasters and broadcasting unions and associations. The date of February 13, the day United Nations Radio was established in 1946, was proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO which proclaimed February 13 as World Radio Day. The objectives of the day are to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio; to encourage decision-makers to establish and provide access to information through radio; as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters. The jury appointed to judge stations for the American honor are: Heather Cohen, EVP of The Weiss Agency; Deborah Parenti, publisher of Radio Ink/RBR/TVBR/Podcast Business Journal; Francisco R. Montero, managing partner of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth; Paul MacLane, managing director of content, B2B media technology brands and editor-in-chief of Radio World; Michael Harrison, editor and publisher of TALKERS magazine; and Paul Rotella, president and CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association. In addition to WTOP, nominated stations were KIIS-FM, Los Angeles; WRHU, Hofstra University; and WFUV, Fordham University. Pictured at this morning’s (2/11) ceremony in the station’s offices and studios are jurists Frank Montero (l) and Paul McLane (r) delivering the trophy to WTOP general manager Joel Oxley (c).
Trump Budget Proposes Elimination of CPB Funding. In the Trump Administration’s budget for Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2022, the line item for funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be reduced from about $445 million to about $30 million. CPB president and CEO Patricia Harrison says, “We look forward to working with Congress in the continued pursuit of our statutory public service mission of supporting educational, informational and diverse content that addresses the needs of our nation’s citizens – a mission the American people overwhelmingly trust in and support. The federal appropriation to CPB is the foundation of our uniquely American, public-private partnership that supports our nation’s public media system – a system of more than 1,500 locally controlled and operated public television and radio stations across the country. This seed money pays invaluable dividends to millions of Americans and their families in the form of content and resources that educate, inform and inspire. Through public media initiatives such as American Graduate and Ready To Learn, stations provide high-quality educational content and community engagement that helps Americans prepare for success in school and career. As the most trusted news source in America, local public media stations offer journalism that elevates local stories to a national audience. Further, public media stations’ infrastructure provides critical communications functions during local and national emergencies to first responders and emergency management officials.” Of course, funding is ultimately left to Congress which has historically ignored such calls for CPB defunding.
TALKERS News Notes. Conservative media personality and author Todd Starnes has been chosen to moderate a Fathom Events panel discussion for the upcoming theatrical documentary, Patterns of Evidence: The Red Sea Mystery. The panel discussion was recently filmed at the Ark Encounter and will be shown nationwide in theaters on February 18. Starnes is host of the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio program, “The Todd Starnes Show” and the short-form “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” – both distributed by Hamilton Strategies. The long-form show recently added new affiliate stations KARN-FM, Little Rock; KWAM, Memphis; and KLUP-AM, San Antonio…..The “Always in Fashion” radio program, starring fashion industry pro Mark Weber (left) and his son Jesse (right), moves from Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to iHeartMedia’s WOR, New York. The show airs Saturday nights from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm and Sundays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Weber says, “Throughout my career, I have worked with the best and that’s precisely what has led me to iHeartMedia’s 710 WOR. We’re thrilled to join the number one audio company and broadcast on one of the leading talk stations in NYC.”…..Nashville sports talk hosts Derrick Mason and Braden Gall announce via Twitter that they have been let go from their morning show duties on The Cromwell Group’s sports talk WPRT-FM “102.5 The Game.” Back in December, third host Nick Kayal exited the station. The WPRT website offers no indication of the station’s intentions for the daypart. Mason played wide receiver for the Tennessee Titans from 1997 through 2004…..ABC Audio will officially launch the ABC Power Portal at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville on February 19. ABC says the ABC Power Portal is “the first on-demand, original video service for distribution to radio station websites, apps and social media platforms. ABC Power Portal will house a wide range of music and entertainment videos as well as breaking news and obituary content, all produced by ABC Audio. These new videos, along with social media teasers, will be available daily for download by Power Portal affiliates as white label content, allowing stations to add their own logos and sponsor ads to the videos prior to publication. ABC Audio executive director business strategies, programming and distribution Heidi Oringer says, “I’m thrilled to debut the ABC Power Portal and offer stations the type of digital content television outlets have had access to for so long. This turn-key platform is essential for radio’s digital expansion and allows affiliates to take advantage of ABC Audio’s unmatched array of content.” ABC Audio posted content from last Sunday’s Oscars. Below is an image of the Power Portal dashboard.
Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus, Trump Budget-Border Wall, Oscars Political Speeches, Russians Track U.S. Satellites, Chinese Equifax Hackers, and MLB Playoffs Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The New Hampshire primary and the Democrats’ race to take on President Trump in November; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus and the effects on China’s economy; President Trump’s budget and the cuts to services and increase in border wall funding; the political speeches at Sunday evening’s Oscars ceremony; the report the Russian’s are tracking U.S. military satellites; Chinese military hackers are accused of executing the Equifax breach; and MLB floats a new playoff format in which division winners get to choose opponents among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Shreveport, Louisiana programmer and air personality Nina Montgomery – who serves as PD and DJ on Cumulus Media’s urban AC KVMA “Magic 102.9” – was recently honored for her significant contributions to Shreveport’s African-American Community. Montgomery was recognized at the Shreveport-Bossier-DeSoto African-American Scholarship Awards Banquet. Cumulus Shreveport VP and market manager Aaron Criswell says, “Nina has been a spark of light for the African-American Community in Shreveport and Bossier City for many years. Nina has committed to spread this light to the community and listeners of urban AC powerhouse KVMA-FM, day in and day out.”…..Entercom appoints Lisa Powell SVP and market manager for its Greensboro, North Carolina cluster that includes hip hop WJMH “102 JAMZ,” country WPAW “93.1 The Wolf,” urban AC WQMG, adult contemporary WSMW “98.7 Simon,” and Gospel outlets WEAL-AM and WPET-AM. Entercom regional president Doug Abernethy says, “For over two decades, Lisa has faithfully led our sales efforts in the Triad and obtained outstanding results. We are excited to recognize her accomplishments with a well-deserved promotion and are confident in her ability to lead our cluster to further growth.”…..The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” cast member Kellie Rasberry is launching her second podcast, this one based on the morning show’s “Love Letters to Kellie” segment. It’s being produced by longtime show producer Robert Ehrman. Rasberry says, “Robert and I have been working on this project for quite some time and I’m so excited that we finally get to share it with the world! While we’ll be having a lot of fun on this podcast, I realize people are trusting me to give them advice that can often have serious consequences. I don’t take that lightly.” She already hosts a podcast titled, “A Sandwich and Some Lovin.’”…..SiriusXM announces that Harry Styles will perform for SiriusXM and Pandora on Friday, February 28 at a secret location in New York City. The intimate set for SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners will feature Styles performing songs from his recent sophomore album, Fine Line, released via Columbia Records. The event will also include an interview with Harry Styles and “The Morning Mash Up” hosts Ryan Sampson, Nicole Ryan, and Stanley T.
PPM Analysis: Holiday 2019 Extra. TALKERS magazine manager editor Mike Kinosian offers this “extra” look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey. This report looks at the weekly 6+ AQH share movement from the December 2019 survey to the Holiday 2019 survey, based on degree of improvement or loss, by format and more. See the analysis here.
Beasley Names Alan Stock KDWN, Las Vegas Morning Host. Longtime Las Vegas media personality Alan Stock is officially named morning drive host at Beasley Broadcasting’s news/talk KDWN. He takes over the show after the departure of Heidi Harris several weeks ago. KDWN program director John Shaffer says, “We are extremely excited to have Alan in morning drive on KDWN. He knows this town and the Las Vegas listeners can relate to him. Alan has done a great job for us in mid-mornings and we look forward to him leading the KDWN on-air team.” Stock spent more than a decade at KDWN’s crosstown competitor KXNT-AM/FM – and for several of those years partnered with Heidi Harris. Of his new gig, Stock says, “I’m happy and grateful to be at the most supportive station I’ve ever worked at since beginning my career in radio over 25 years ago. The warm environment at KDWN and Beasley makes everyone feel as if they are one big family. Having worked with Tom Humm for many years, I’m pleased to be back working with him, as well as with program director John Shaffer and director of sales Cory Cuddeback. Also, I can truthfully say that I’ve never worked for a radio station that allows as much freedom as I’m allowed at KDWN.”
Small Business Authority Starts Website to Assist Businesses Hurt by Conservative Talk Radio Assault. The Small Business Authority is a subsidiary of Newtek Business Services – a publicly traded company that provides services to businesses including insurance and payroll. It has started a website at defendsmallbusiness.com designed to help companies who’ve been negatively affected by Media Matters’ attack on conservative talk radio – especially those affiliated with the Rush Limbaugh program. On the site it states, “Well-funded professional activists, led by the left-wing pressure group Media Matters, are waging a campaign across America to hurt small businesses like yours through strong-arm tactics and intimidation…They are actually trying to shut down businesses – tying up phone lines, crashing websites, bombarding Facebook pages or Twitter accounts, and preventing real customers from getting through.” The site provides quick links to help small businesses and their supporters communicate with Media Matters about its tactics, reach out to legislators about how their businesses are being affected and contact the media with the same concerns.
Heavy Hundred Set for Monday, April 9. The 2012 edition of the “TALKERS 250 Featuring the Heavy Hundred” will be revealed here on Talkers.com on Monday, April 9. This new installment of the long-running annual feature – also titled “The Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – will be slightly different than those in the past in as much as this will be the first year in which it does not include sports talk show hosts. Rather, a unique and separate version of the presentation will debut later in June of 2012 totally devoted to sports talk show hosts. According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “Sports talk radio has become such an important subgenre within the talk radio universe, featuring so many outstanding local and national talents, that the editorial board of TALKERS feels compelled to create an entire Heavy Hundred totally devoted to it. This serves the dual purpose of opening the door for even more deserving hosts to be included in the traditional Heavy Hundred while allowing so many great sports talkers to finally get the recognition due them as well.”
NPR Accepts Grant from CPB for Foreign News Bureaus. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting recently awarded NPR $500,000 to help fund news bureaus in Beijing, Beirut, Cairo, Jerusalem and Shanghai. In a statement announcing the grant, Corporation for Public Broadcasting president and CEO Patricia Harrison states, “Never has public media’s mission of providing the American people with information they need to understand the world around them been more important. Journalism is a core mission for public media. We are proud to support NPR’s foreign reporters, many of whom are women, who put themselves in harm’s way to bring us the information we need to understand our world events.”
North Carolina Association of Broadcasters Assists in Presenting Vietnam Veterans Event at Charlotte Speedway. The North Carolina Association of Broadcasters is calling it “what will be the largest recognition of Vietnam Veterans in history” this Saturday, March 31 when the Victory Management and the Charlotte Speedway hosts the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Celebration.” The event is the culmination of work by Senator Richard Burr and the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters working with USO North Carolina. NCAB president John Idler states, “This celebration is the result of a great partnership. We can’t say enough good things about USO of North Carolina, Victory Management at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and, of course, Senator Burr, the driving force. Not only is the event itself historic, the state’s radio and TV stations will be broadcasting the event across the state ‘live’ and providing various special broadcasts saluting Vietnam Veterans before and after the broadcast.” North Carolina television and radio stations contributed over $1,000,000 in public service announcements to promote free tickets for all veterans and their families.
Supreme Court Hears ObamaCare Arguments, Trayvon Martin Case/Bobby Rush Hoodie Speech and GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28). The Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments on President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act, the issues surrounding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin including congressman Bobby Rush’s speech in a hoodie on the House floor, and the GOP primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign were some of the most-talked-about stories discussed on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mr. Bernier Goes To Washington. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here interviewing Senator John McCain (r) at the Senate Republicans’ radio row in Washington, DC on March 28. The interview occurred at the same time as the United States Supreme Court was hearing arguments about the legality of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act.