NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “The Air That We Breathe,” looks back at this past week of April 19-23. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Larry Elder, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Joan Michelson, talk show host / producer, Green Connections Radio; and Holland Cooke, media consultant / talk show host, RT America. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
KMOX, St. Louis Unveils New Live and Local Midday Show. Legendary St. Louis news/talk outlet KMOX-AM/K254CR goes local in the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm daypart. Audacy’s “News Radio 1120AM / 98.7FM” will debut “St. Louis Talks” featuring KMOX personalities Carol Daniel, evening talk show host Ryan Wrecker, and longtime St. Louis radio personality Bo Matthews on May 3. Audacy St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan comments, “Now is the time to expand our local content offering for the people of St. Louis, and we are thrilled to have three established, well known and trusted St. Louis voices to help usher in this new era for our station. We look forward to Carol, Ryan, and Bo working in tandem with the KMOX newsroom to report and react on local, regional and national topics that affect our community as we continue building on our position as the voice of St. Louis.” Daniel says, “This is a dream come true for me to host a show on a historic radio station with talented, funny, and curious people like Bo and Ryan. My goal is to bring listeners stories about the people, places and things in the region we all love but want so much more out of.” Wrecker states, “This is our chance to do something new and exciting through one of the most significant radio stations in America. I can’t wait to work alongside Carol and Bo.” Matthews, who’s been serving with the station part-time since 2019, adds, “Getting the opportunity to share the stories of St. Louis and hear about the people that make it the special place that it is will be an honor. To get to do that with Carol and Ryan makes it even better. This is proof that you can dream big, but God dreams even bigger and makes them come true.”
Round Four of March PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s March 2021 sweep covered March 4 – 31. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Although it drops 1.1 shares, Waterloo Media’s KLBJ-AM, Austin remains ranked #4 in the market with a 5.1 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share). Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis is steady at #3 losing a full share and posting a 7.2 share. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM declines 1.4 shares to finish the March survey with an 8.4 share and falls from #1 to #2 while Good Karma Brands’ crosstown WTMJ-AM sheds four-tenths and wraps the survey with a 5.6 share and stays in the #5 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets – along with his Takeaways from the first three rounds – here.
Midwest Communications’ WMBD, Peoria Makes Programming Changes. Peoria, Illinois news/talk WMBD-AM/W262BY is making changes to its program schedule. Effective May 3, the Peoria-based, Compass Media Networks-syndicated “Markley, Van Camp and Robbins” show – hosted by Jamie Markley, David Van Camp, and Scott Robbins – moves to the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm slot formerly occupied by Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh and former “Markley, Van Camp and Robbins” producer Craig Collins returns to the station to host the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. Additionally, WMBD is adding Radio America’s “The Dana Show” starring Dana Loesch in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daypart. About the changes, Midwest Communications Peoria VP and market manager Mike Wild says, “Trying to replace Rush Limbaugh with a similar type program is a really tall order. The approach of ‘Markley, Van Camp and Robbins’ is differentiated from Rush and we can clearly point to their very successful ratings track record.” He also addresses Collins’ new role in afternoons. “Craig was the natural choice for us there. Craig is passionate, he’s already a part of the community, and because he was part of our group in the past, we know how he can contribute to the culture and success of our entire operation.”
Salem and Charlie Kirk Renew Podcast Deal. The deal between Salem Radio Network and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk in which SRN distributes and handles ad sales for “The Charlie Kirk Show” podcast is extended for multiple years. SRN says “The Charlie Kirk Show” podcast has become one of the top 10 news podcasts in the country on the Apple Podcast rankings amongst nearly 1.7 million podcasts on the platform. Salem first began selling ‘The Charlie Kirk Show’ podcast in November and now will sell and manage the program through the Salem Podcast Network for years to come. Kirk says, “I am thrilled and excited to extend our relationship with Salem. Salem has become a giant in conservative media and is the perfect partner for our team.” Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce adds, “Charlie’s radio show is already doing a great job filling the void in the 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET daypart. This podcast already delivered over 100,000,000 downloads in the last 12 months, and is valiantly fighting the culture war that we face in conservatism.”
WKNR-AM, Cleveland Welcomes Back Danny Cunningham. Sports media pro Danny Cunningham is rejoining Good Karma Brands’ WKNR-AM, Cleveland “850 ESPN” as a content teammate in which he’ll handle producing, writing, hosting, reporting and social media duties. Cunningham comes to WKNR from his most recent position as Minnesota Timberwolves reporter and “Vikings Vent Line” co-host at Hubbard Radio’s KSTP-AM, Minneapolis “SKOR North.” After launching his career at WKNR in 2015, he served with Mid-West Family’s sports talk WOZN, Madison, Wisconsin. ESPN Cleveland director of content Matt Fishman says, “We’re thrilled to add someone of his skill and experience to the team.”
Roy Masters Dies at 93. According to a Facebook post from his son Alan Taylor, Roy Masters a pioneer in the self-help talk radio genre died yesterday (4/22) at the age of 93. Alan Taylor posted, in part: “It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my father Roy Masters, author, teacher and radio counselor to millions worldwide for nearly six decades. Following a storied American tradition, Roy was an immigrant who fell in love with this country from afar. Looking across the ocean from war-torn Britain, he was determined to make the ‘land of liberty’ his home. Since 1963 Roy Masters has been a radio counselor and for more than 50 years, the foundation he created has served and has continued to serve seekers worldwide on their journey to the eternal Truth that seeks us all.” Roy Masters was also the founder, along with now-retired radio executive Alan Corbeth, of Talk Radio Network which syndicated Roy Masters’ radio show for a period, and launched the syndication of Art Bell’s “Coast to Coast AM” as well as Michael Savage’s “Savage Nation. ” Masters’ son Mark Masters served as CEO of the company for many years.
Derek Chauvin Verdict and Race Relations Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 19-23. The trial and verdict in the case of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between police reform and the Columbus, Ohio police shooting death of knife wielding teen Ma’Khia Bryant and Lebron James’ threatening tweet, followed by mass shootings in America and gun control at #3. 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. See this week’s complete chart here.
SRN Places Full Lineup on KJJC, Salt Lake City. On Monday (6/3), KJJC Media Group is debuting the market’s new talk outlet, “The Place 1230 AM, KJJC, Common Sense Talk Radio.” The lineup will include Salem Radio Network programs including: Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Larry Elder, and Joe Walsh, and others. The station’s brand – The Place – is a reference to Mormon leader Brigham Young’s comment he made upon settling in the region. KJJC Media CEO Roger Lonnquist says, “There’s probably never been a time in our country’s history when the need for relevant talk radio programming has been so significant. KJJC Media Group recognized the opportunity for serving listeners with high-quality programming that is not only entertaining, but also reflects the values of our communities in the greater Salt Lake region.” Salem Media Group SVP spoken word formats Phil Boyce says, “Salt Lake City is home to the smartest and most engaged listeners to be found anywhere. Our hosts look forward to engaging with the Salt Lake radio listeners on the issues that have an impact on all of us.” Lonnquist says he plans to add an FM simulcast to the station’s signal by the end of summer.
FOX News Radio Names ‘Guy Benson Show’ Afternoon Program. The new “Guy Benson Show” replaces the “Tom Shillue Show” in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET daypart on the FOX News Radio network, effective Monday (6/3). Shillue remains host of “Quiz Show” (7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET on the subscription-based streaming service FOX Nation). Benson previously hosted the “Benson & Harf” show with former FOX News contributor Marie Harf. She left the company to take a position with the presidential campaign of Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA). The “Guy Benson Show” is based out of FOX’s Washington, D.C. operations. Benson, who joined FOX in 2013 as a contributor, also serves as the political editor of Townhall.com. Throughout his career, he has served as a Media Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.
Alpha Media and Compass Media Networks Double Down on ‘Markley, van Camp & Robbins’ Show. With the original co-host back on the show and a new, multi-year extension of the partnership for programming and syndication signed, Alpha Media and Compass Media Networks are moving full-steam ahead with the newly rebranded “Markley, van Camp & Robbins Show.” Based at Midwest Communications’ WMBD, Peoria and heard on more than 50 affiliate stations, the show features Jamie Markley, David van Camp, and Scott Robbins. Robbins was Markley’s original partner but a massive heart attack in 2015 forced him off the air. He recently returned to the show as a contributor and is now a full-time member of the show. Alpha and Compass say the addition of Scott Robbins accentuates the show’s focus on addressing topics from the perspective of a Baby Boomer, Gen Xer, and a Millennial by having a host from each generation. Alpha EVP of content Phil Becker says, “Markley, van Camp and Robbins have achieved the perfect blend of chemistry and humor. This is the show news/talk stations have been looking for.” The show airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.
Davis Media Expands ‘All-News 102’ on WBKQ-FM. In Eastern Virginia, Davis Media is dropping the classical music format on WBKQ-FM, West Point (southeast of Richmond) and will add it to the group of signals airing the “All-News 102” format. That brand is based at WXTG-AM/FM (1490 AM and 102.1 FM), Portsmouth and is also heard on W270DA at 101.9 in Hampton. Davis Media says, “The new format will be the historic district’s only all-news radio station powered by 10 journalists in the Southside, Hampton-Newport News region and Williamsburg.” The multi-media company publishes local print brands Southside Daily, Hampton Newport News Daily, and Williamsburg Yorktown Daily. It also has a content-sharing partnership with WVEC-TV, Hampton “13NewsNow.” Dee Patel, a former 10-year KYW, Philadelphia news director, serves as general manager and news director for “All-News 102.”
Four More to Enter WGN ‘Walk of Fame.’ The sixth class of inductees into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame has been announced and “includes four native Chicagoans, two of whom are present-day voices, one who hosted a show for 60 consecutive years, and a behind-the-scenes staff member with 52 years of service to the station.” The honorees are: Andrea Darlas, longtime WGN news director and now senior director of constituent engagement at the University of Illinois; 22-year WGN air personality and current midday host John Williams; “Tenpin Tattler” Sam Weinstein who hosted a bowling feature on the station for almost 30 years; and Marlene Wells, a member of the station’s marketing and sales team for more than 50 years. See more about the inductees here.
Alexander Hamilton Descendant to Speak at Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation Event. At this year’s annual event presented by the Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation, Douglas Hamilton, the fifth-generation great grandson of Alexander Hamilton, will speak to attendees. The Bold Gold Foundation’s 5th Annual Event – being held on June 12 in Mohegan Sun Pocono’s Keystone Grand Ballroom – will celebrate the life of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the founding of America, which, in addition to remarks by Douglas Hamilton, will include a special keynote address by Dr. Stephen Knott. Dr. Knott is a national security affairs professor at the Naval War College and is one of the nation’s leading scholars on Alexander Hamilton. He’s also author of the best-selling book, Washington & Hamilton: The Alliance That Forged America. Attendees of this very unique event will receive a signed copy of Dr. Knott’s book and have an opportunity to take photos with Dr. Knott and Douglas Hamilton. The Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation assists students in preparing for careers in broadcasting and media and proceeds from this event directly support those efforts. The organization was founded by Bold Gold Media president/CEO Vince Benedetto, who will be one of 67 industry speakers participating in a power-packed agenda at the sold out 22nd annual TALKERS convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story– next Friday, June 7 in New York City. He will also be this year’s recipient of the “Humanitarian of the Year” award. For details about the convention, please click here.
New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap” Now Posted. The recently launched one-hour weekend radio show, “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation,” analyzing the hot talk media topics of this past week (May 27-31) is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC. Hosted by TALKERS magazine’s iconic publisher, this week’s installment (titled “Mueller Speaks!”) features a lineup of guests that includes syndicated talk show hosts Howie Carr and Thom Hartmann along with Los Angeles Times columnist/podcaster and KPCC, Los Angeles host Patt Morrison; WFAN, New York host Richard Neer; DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey and TalkersRadio general manager/Caldwell University, NJ professor David Bernstein. The non-partisan program explores multiple opinions along the spectrum of contemporary American political and social thought. It has just been picked up by KSCO, Santa Cruz where it airs on Fridays at 6:00 pm. According to TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein, it is now available on a market exclusive basis to news/talk stations around the nation. Bernstein says, “We began this program as an on-air extension of TALKERS magazine research to be played on TalkersRadio and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The show is nothing short of fantastic and provides a great image-setter for any news/talk outlet. iHeart picked it up for its new WONK-FM in DC where it fits that station’s mission perfectly and number of stations have inquired about its availability. For more information about the program, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To listen to it in its entirety here.
WABC’s Joan Hamburg Hosts Pre-Tony Luncheon. Pictured above is WABC, New York personality Joan Hamburg (center) during her annual Pre-Tony luncheon at Arno Ristorante in New York with actor Santino Fontana (left) and Lilli Cooper (right), both nominated for Tony Awards for their roles in “Tootsie.” The sold-out audience witnessed appearances by Broadway stars including: Jeff Daniels, Tony Award-winning actor and Tony nominee this year for his role as Atticus Finch in the smash Broadway play, “To Kill A Mockingbird”; “King Lear” actress Glenda Jackson, who won the Tony last year for Best Actress in a Play for her work in “Three Tall Women”; Damon Daunno, Tony nominee for his work in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma”; and Susie Essman of television’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Highlights of the show will air on 77 WABC in two parts – on Saturday (6/1) and Saturday (6/8) at 1:00 pm. Part 1 will air this Saturday, June 1st, at 1:00 pm, while Part 2 will air the following Saturday, June 8th at 1:00 pm. The 2019 Tony Awards will air live on CBS on Sunday, June 9th, at 8:00 pm ET, from Radio City Music Hall in New York City. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “Joan Hamburg’s Pre-Tony luncheon is a must-attend for Tony nominees. The event is yet another example of the respect Joan has throughout New York’s theater community. We are fortunate to bring the best of Broadway to 77 WABC and our listeners.”
‘SVP & Russillo’ Returns in Podcast Format. For six years, ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo co-hosted the “SVP & Russillo” show on the ESPN Radio Network. That show ended in 2015, but now ESPN is putting the two back together for a one-hour podcast on its digital platform. The first program debuts on June 3. After three monthly editions, in September the show will become bi-weekly. Van Pelt says, “We just figured, if we are going to talk on the phone for 45 minutes, we might as well record it and make it a podcast. We enjoyed our time together on radio and it’s amazing the loyalty and appetite our listeners still have for us. I couldn’t be more fired up.” Russillo adds, “It’s been a few years since we stopped doing the show and I’ve always been amazed how many times people come up to me and say how much they still miss it. It was a daily part of people’s lives. Even people at ESPN who have different roles and positions today say how much they loved the show. We both knew we would do something again. I’m just happy it’s still with ESPN.”
Robert Mueller’s Justice Department Statements Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 27-31. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s news conference at the Justice Department in which he declined to say the president had not attempted to obstruct justice was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the intensification of impeachment talks among Democrats. Coming in at #3 was the increasing tensions between the U.S. and China over trade issues, followed by the new anti-abortion laws being passed in several states 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. See this week’s entire chart here.
Edison Research Analyzes Social Media Use; What’s Up (or Down) with Facebook? Using data from its national telephone survey from the 2019 Infinite Dial study, its own national online survey, and its own in-person, in-depth interview survey, Edison Research presents “The Social Habit 2019” study. Edison concludes that in the big picture, “there are now approximately 223 million social media users age 12+ in the U.S., and their original social media platform of choice, Facebook, is losing ground among users of all ages, for various reasons.” Facebook reportedly has 15 million less users in the U.S. in 2019 than it did in 2017. Edison SVP Tom Webster says, “Not only have millions of Americans stopped using Facebook entirely, nearly a third of Facebook users tell us they are using the service less. While Facebook remains the leading social media brand in America, it is being wounded on multiple fronts, as every demographic has their own reasons for spending less time there.” Some of the other findings are: 1) The “core users” of the different social media brands, (those who use that one ‘most often’) have different demographic profiles; 2) Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter have the highest composition of U.S. users age 12-34. Facebook and Pinterest have the highest composition of U.S. users age 55+; 3) In qualitative interviews, Edison Research spoke with social media users age 18-29 who report using Facebook less recently or have stopped altogether. Those users describe some of the reasons they are using Facebook less, including avoiding family members on Facebook, experiencing discomfort with some of the “attention-seeking” they see on social media, and gravitating to other, more photo-heavy platforms. Paradoxically, though, the same users articulate FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, as they scan social media platforms, and feel compelled to participate in social media. See more here.
Legendary Music Radio Programmer John Sebastian Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. He was one of the most prolific music radio PDs of the 70s, 80s and 90s – programming small-, medium- and large-market stations in the genres of top 40, AOR (album-oriented rock), classic rock, smooth jazz, and even country to notable success between Boston and Los Angeles. Then as the 21st century unfolded, he did some consulting and eventually went on to a viable career as a voice actor. But the itch to get back into music radio has prompted John Sebastian to go back to the drawing board and scratch out a brand-new music radio format targeting a familiar old segment of the population – the underserved 55-72 baby boomer demographic. He calls it “The Wow Factor” and he’s out there talking it up to everyone and anyone who owns an FM stick. Of course, today’s conventional wisdom in commercial radio is to follow the advertising agency money which is clearly aimed at the younger demos. But Sebastian says it is foolish to leave all the revenue on the table that can be generated by serving the baby boomer demo which remains active, affluent, and grew up listening to radio. Sebastian is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” This podcast is a must-listen for anyone who loves radio history and would be fascinated by a deep-dive analysis of the modern-day industry’s frustrating logic of underserved demographics. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Pictured in the photo at right is Big Al Mack from the YEA Networks nationally syndicated morning radio program, “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” (center) with country star Blake Shelton (left) and Gwen Stefani (right). Big Al was asked if he’d introduce Blake at the Memorial Day weekend Grand Opening of Shelton’s new live music venue, The Doghouse at Ole Red, in his hometown of Tishomingo, Oklahoma. Shelton told Big Al the reason he asked him was because, “Every time I look on Twitter, you’re always saying something nice about me!” Proceeds of more than $145,000 from the ticket sales went to benefit the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation…..In the photo below, Westwood One syndicated personality Blair Garner, host of “The Blair Garner Show,” poses at the private Center Point Road listening party for Thomas Rhett fans who won their way in to the special event at Cumulus Nashville’s country WKDF “NASH FM 103.3” last week. Listeners got to hear Rhett’s new album before its release and hear him speak about his life and career. From left to right are: Valory Music’s Ashley Sidoti, Chris Palmer, Rhett, Garner, WKDF PD John Shomby, Tyler Reese, and Kelley Brock.
iHeartMedia Announces Completion of Restructuring. Almost 14 months after entering into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, iHeartMedia announces it has “successfully completed its restructuring process. As a result of the comprehensive balance sheet restructuring, iHeartMedia’s debt has been significantly reduced – from $16.1 billion to $5.75 billion.” With the balance sheet reorganization comes the separation of iHeartMedia and Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings into two independent, publicly traded companies. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased that iHeartMedia now has a capital structure that matches our exciting operating business. The focused dedication of our employees and the unwavering support of our new owners and advertising partners enabled iHeartMedia to seamlessly complete the restructuring process and reach this final milestone. iHeartMedia enters this next phase of growth as a multi-platform audio company with a vastly improved financial profile. We are well-positioned to continue to innovate and offer cutting-edge technologies, products, and services to our audiences and advertisers.” Pittman continues to serve as chairman and chief executive officer of the new iHeartMedia, Inc. Rich Bressler continues to serve as president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer. A new board of directors has been appointed, including Bob Pittman, Rich Bressler, and the following members: Jay Rasulo, Gary Barber, Brad Gerstner, Sean Mahoney, and Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan.
David Field on Spoken-Word Radio and Sports Gambling. During the first quarter earnings call with analysts yesterday (4/30), Entercom president and CEO David Field talked about the value of his spoken-word formatted radio stations, saying the group – all-news, news/talk, and sports talk – account for “roughly about 40% of our revenue mix across our stations.” The company operates 235 stations and, by TALKERS‘ count, approximately 30% of its stations are spoken-word. Separately and responding to a question about the gambling category and the trend towards legal sports gambling across the country, Field expressed hopes for the future of the sports gambling advertising category, saying the company’s large group of sports talk stations should be able to capitalize on that. He stated, “We have seen estimates that the sports gambling advertising market could be in the neighborhood of $2 billion. If you think about radio getting a chunk of that, a reasonable chunk of it and Entercom’s prowess in the sports market, we think this could become a $1 million or $2 million category for Entercom over time. That is certainly a reasonable aspirational goal.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Subscribers can see the rest of the transcript here.
‘The O’Reilly Update’ Show Launches. This is the week “The O’Reilly Update” – the new, 15-minute daily radio program featuring Bill O’Reilly – debuts on more than 100 stations. Key Networks is syndicating the program and reports that inaugural affiliates include: WBAL, Baltimore; WDTK, Detroit; WHK, Cleveland; KUFO, Portland; and KTSA, San Antonio. Key Networks says the program is airing in four of the top 10 DMAs, nine of the top 20 DMAs and 18 of the top 50 DMAs. It is also being rolled out on 21 non-news/talk stations, including on country and classic hits outlets. The show – with all network spots included within the show and two minutes of local avails – is delivered daily at 11:30 am ET. WBAL president and general manager Cary Pahigian says, “Bill O’Reilly has a track record of insightful and unfiltered commentary on vital topics and issues. His familiar voice and dynamic point of view augments our lineup of outspoken hosts and commentators.” Alpha Media news/talk/sports content director Bruce Collins says, “Bill is a true natural storyteller. I’m extremely excited to have him on-air in Portland on ‘Freedom 970.’” Meet Bill O’ Reilly at the forthcoming Talkers 2019: Telling the Storywhere he will be delivering a special keynote address. The convention is rapidly nearing a sellout. For registration information, please click here.
TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT: Overcoming the Public’s Distrust of the Media Spotlighted at Forthcoming Talkers Convention. The highly polarized nature of today’s political climate has created a widespread public distrust of the media in general. Dealing with this complex issue has become one of the fundamental challenges facing news/talk hosts of all political stripes. It also creates new opportunities. Talkers 2019: Telling the Story, set for New York on Friday, June 7, is featuring a panel discussion addressing this concern and all matters of credibility titled “Overcoming Distrust of the Media.” Panelists include (in alphabetical order): Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, host, “The Joe Pags Show;” Doug Stephan, CEO/host, Stephan Multimedia; and Rick Ungar, host, “The Rick Ungar Program”/editor-in-chief, TheDailyCentrist.com. Don’t miss this session! The discussion will be moderated by Jim Bohannon, host, Westwood One. The conference is rapidly moving toward being an early sellout. To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and registration/hotel information, please click here.
Midwest Closes on Alpha Media Acquisitions. The $21.6 million deal between Alpha Media and Midwest Communications that gives Midwest six Peoria market radio stations closes. The station group includes news/talk WMBD-AM/W262BY and five music-formatted signals. The Duke Wright-led Midwest Communications owns 75 other radio stations in states including: Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. This is its first Illinois acquisition. At the time the sale was announced, Wright stated, “The first time my wife and I visited Peoria was to visit son Michael enrolled at Bradley University. We were most impressed with the city and its radio stations. My thought was that here was a market that would probably nicely fit into the Midwest Communications radio group.” KALIL & CO., INC. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.
Indiana’s Legendary WHBU-AM Relaunches as Talk-Music Hybrid. The Anderson, Indiana-licensed station is owned by Woof Boom Radio and the company is re-launching the “oldest commercial station” in the state to more intensely serve the Muncie-Marion market. The station will feature talk shows to focus on Anderson and Madison counties plus classic hits from the 60s and 70s. New morning host (and Hoosier native) Mitch Henck handles the 7:00 am to 9:00 am show. He says, “I am really excited to help launch a new morning news/talk show on WHBU. We really put Anderson and Madison county first. We want to capture stories about the special people who live here as they pursue their hopes and dreams every day.”
Dan Mason Named Chairman of VSiN. Longtime radio executive Dan Mason is named chairman of VSiN (Vegas Stats & Information Network) the media network dedicated to sports betting information. In this role, Mason will “work closely with VSiN’s management team to capitalize on the emerging growth and partnership opportunities in the sports betting and media space.” VSiN founder and CEO Brian Musburger says, “There are few media executives with both the experience and reputation that Dan brings to the table. He’s already brought invaluable guidance to our team as a senior adviser and investor, and we look forward to having even greater access to his unmatched depth of knowledge and relationships in this industry. We’re thrilled to work even more closely with this consummate leader and better leverage his C-level expertise to build on and accelerate the recent growth we are experiencing at VSiN.” Mason adds, “Brian and his team have caught lightning in a bottle here. Besides establishing itself on the satellite platform, recently extending its agreement with SiriusXM, VSiN has made tremendous inroads into the OTT space with Sling TV and fuboTV, as well as growing its own subscription offerings. We will now look to further expand our reach across video and audio channels, including terrestrial radio where sports have thrived for decades.”
TALKERS News Notes. The National Association of Broadcasters is announcing it is accepting nominations for the 2019 NAB Marconi Radio Awards through May 31. The NAB’s Marconi Radio Awards recognize overall excellence and performance in radio. Finalists will be announced in July and winners will be honored at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show at the Radio Show in Dallas on September 26. Stations and on-air personalities may nominate themselves in the categories of “Station of the Year by Market Size,” “Station of the Year by Format,” “Personality of the Year by Market Size,” “Legendary Station,” and “Best College Radio Station of the Year,” which has been renamed from “Noncommercial Station of the Year.” Nominations will also be accepted for new awards categories of “Legendary Manager of the Year” and “Best Radio Station Podcast.” Syndicators and affiliates may also submit nominations for the category of “Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year.” Nominations must be submitted online here…..Radio America‘s nationally syndicated “The Dana Show” starring Dana Loesch announces new affiliate stations WJJF-FM, Nassau (Long Island); WSIC-AM/FM Charlotte; WFTW-AM Ft. Walton Beach, Florida; and KPNW-AM/FM Eugene, Oregon all add the program to their daily lineups…..Bustos Media’s news/talk KVOI, Tucson announces that two of its programs – “Eye on the Ball” with Steve Rivera and “Around the Table” with Dawn and Jennifer English – are swapping dayparts. Rivera moves to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot and the English’s move to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot. Also, the station adds the independently syndicated Dave Ramsey show to the program schedule, airing from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm…..This month is being declared the Second Annual Maryland Podcast Month. Brian Griffiths founded Maryland Podcast Month last May in order to “bring together podcasts of all stripes and cross-collaborate and cross-promote in order to create more opportunities for podcasts to get new listeners.” It’s non-partisan and non-ideological and consists of all sorts of locally produced content, including podcasts about news, politics, sports, life, culture, food, wrestling, and other shows. Being featured in Maryland Podcast Month are a couple of shows from WBAL, Baltimore personalities…..Team Broadcasting‘s sports talk KQTM, Albuquerque “ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team” is partnering with local soccer club New Mexico United to bring 15 of the team’s matches to the station’s airwaves. New Mexico United is in its inaugural season in the USL Championship, a professional soccer league that has a partnership with Major League Soccer…..Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” recently hosted The Stanley Cup, the oldest trophy in professional sports, on the “Felger & Massarotti” show. Pictured below in the “Sports Hub” studio in Boston are (From l-r): host Mike Felger, 985thesportshub.com hockey writer Ty Anderson, WBZ-FM personality Big Jim Murray, and host Tony Massarotti.
Mueller Report Release/Barr Testimony Request, 2020 Presidential Politics, Trump Tax Returns/Business Earnings Issues, Venezuela Unrest, Deadly UNCC Shooting, Southern Border Crisis, NBA Playoffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30). The release of the Mueller report, Robert Mueller’s disagreement with Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the report and Barr’s requested testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee; the Democrats vying to run against President Trump in 2020; the request by New York State for Trump’s tax returns and the investigation into Trump business deals with foreign governments; the political unrest in Venezuela; the shooting at University of North Carolina Charlotte that took the lives of two and injured others; the migrant influx status at the U.S.-Mexico border; the NBA playoffs; and Major League Baseball 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. In Phoenix, midday personality and music director Tom Peake is leaving his on-air role with Entercom’s classic hits KOOL-FM. He’ll continue to serve as music director. Peake tells the Arizona Republic that it was not his idea to give up his air shift, but he understands the reasons and has no ill feelings. Peake started at the station as a part-time jock in 1979. He became the full-time evening personality in 1981…..Beasley Media Group’s hot AC WJBR, Wilmington, Delaware “The New Mix 99.5” names John Baublis, a.k.a.Johnny B, program director. Beasley EVP of programming Justin Chase says, “Johnny’s a programming veteran with years of proven success and past experience in the Wilmington market. Plus, he shares our values of great local radio with an emphasis on serving the community. We’re proud to have someone like Johnny on our team at JBR.”…..Two programming announcements from Midwest Communications. First, Ryan Fantozzi is named brand manager for rock WOZZ, Wausau, Wisconsin “Rock 94.7,” effective May 13. Fantozzi comes to Midwest from NRG Media where he was PD at rock WBWB, Bloomington, Illinois. Fantozzi replaces Terry Stevens, who is promoted to operations manager for the company’s Lansing, Michigan cluster. Stevens will oversee the operations of rock WJXQ, CHR WLMI, country WWDK and adult hits WQTX.
Midwest Communications Paying $21.6 Million for Peoria Stations. When broker KALIL & Co. announced the deal between Alpha Media and Midwest Communications on Tuesday, it did not include the price. Now that the contract is showing up in the FCC database, we know that Midwest will pay Alpha $21.6 million for the six-station cluster in the Peoria market that includes: news/talk WMBD-AM, hot AC WSWT-FM, country WXCL-FM, classic hits WPBG-FM, classic hip hop WNGY-FM and oldies WIRL-AM.
Media Exec Peter I. Morris Named CEO of PodcastOne. Media and business executive Peter I. Morris joins PodcastOne as chief executive officer in a new role in which he’ll manage all day-to-day operations while exploring growth opportunities, strategic partnerships, and new content initiatives. He joins the management team led by executive chairman Norm Pattiz and president Kit Gray. Morris comes to PodcastOne with 10-plus years of experience in senior management, business development, and business affairs across film, television, and digital media. He was most recently EVP of Barstool Sports. He’s also served as EVP of entertainment at IMAX, and head of business affairs & strategy and general counsel at Funny or Die. Morris says, “Personally, I’m a huge fan of podcasts and a strong believer in the power of the fan communities this medium champions. The opportunity to work with a legend like Norm Pattiz at PodcastOne, a market leader, is one I couldn’t pass up. I look forward to leading PodcastOne’s evolution and next chapter of growth.”
Entercom’s Radio.com Strikes Deals with CNN and Bloomberg. This content sharing deal between Entercom and CNN and Blomberg Media provides for Entercom’s RADIO.com platform to air 10 live simulcasts of CNN and Bloomberg programs, in addition to making podcasts from Turner Podcast Network available on the platform. Simulcast content will include: CNN International, CNN en Español, and HLN from CNN and Bloomberg Radio National as well as New York, D.C., Boston, Bay Area, and London editions. Entercom chief digital officer JD Crowley says, “We are thrilled to welcome CNN and Bloomberg to RADIO.COM as we increase our premium content offerings. Through our deep roster of industry-leading radio stations and premium live and on-demand content, RADIO.COM is quickly becoming an important part of the daily audio habit for the tens of millions of listeners we reach per month. These agreements further cement RADIO.COM’s position as the premiere destination for on-demand audio news, entertainment, music and sports content on a national scale.”
ABC News to Launch ‘The Investigation’ Podcast. Beginning next Tuesday (2/12), ABC News is tackling the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election in podcast form. The new podcast, “The Investigation,” is hosted by ABC News correspondent Kyra Phillips and the ABC News investigative team, led by senior executive producer Chris Vlasto. ABC says it will provide a weekly, behind-the-scenes look at Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and will focus on the lead-up to the highly anticipated report and explore its aftermath, analyzing the potential fallout and political consequences. ABC Radio vice president and general manager Steve Jones comments, “We’ve provided extensive coverage of the Mueller probe on our daily podcast ‘Start Here,’ but there’s so much more that Kyra Phillips and our investigative team can provide, that launching a dedicated podcast made spectacular sense. ‘The Investigation’ will break news, offer context, and make our growing ABC Radio podcast network even more attractive for advertisers hoping to reach an informed and engaged audience.”
TALKERS News Notes. Last Saturday evening, Hubbard Radio’s Washington, DC all-news WTOP-FM officially moved from its Idaho Ave studios in Northwest DC to its new studios on Wisconsin Ave in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Check out the video of the station making the flip from the old studio to the new one here…..WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia announces a special Saturday program to address the political scandals affecting Democratic politicians that have the state in the national discussion. WJFN is operated by conservative talk radio personality John Fredericks and he has been determined to broaden the conversation about Virginia politics by adding Democratic talk hosts to the program schedule. This weekend, Democrat Susan Platt, who hosts the “Find Your Roar” hourly interview program Saturdays at 9:00 am and Democrat Gene Rossi, host of the “Gene Rossi Show” on Saturdays at 12:00 noon, will team up for a special, two-hour show from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm to address the scandals involving Governor Ralph Northam, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, and Attorney General Mark Herring. Fredericks says, “At WJFN, our mission is to provide listeners with timely updates, behind-the-scenes details, and clear analysis about the world of Virginia politics. In the past week, Virginia has been rocked by three distinctive scandals related to race relations and sexual conduct. These are serious and sensitive subjects involving prominent public officials. Many Virginians are reeling from these revelations. In such highly charged moments, we recognize our responsibility to accurately inform our listeners as they put these events into context.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Newsweb Radio’s progressive talk outlet WCPT is losing the host of its 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily program as Los Angeles-based Norman Goldman’s program will end in the near future. Goldman has told his listeners that the show will end because it is losing money and has “no more money to lose.”…..A new podcast called “Mama Said with Jamie and Jenna” is launching on the LadyGang on PodcastOne Network. The program features “Sopranos” actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler and musician Jenna Parris as Sigler, a working and traveling mother, and Parris, a stay-at-home mom and avid researcher, bring together their different perspectives and delve into parenthood with celebrity guests…..iHeartMedia’s news/talk WERC, Birmingham is partnering with the Alliance of American Football club the Birmingham Iron to air all 10 of the team’s games. The inaugural season of the new football league begins on Sunday (2/10). Veteran broadcaster Thom Abraham serves as the play-by-play voice with former Alabama All-American Mike Johnson as the color commentator.
Trump-Russia Investigation, House Intel Committee Investigation, State of the Union Address, 2020 Presidential Hopefuls/Elizabeth Warren Native American Issue, AOC’s Green New Deal, Virginia’s Political Chaos, Border Wall Battle, Chicago Cubs Racism Troubles, Venezuela Unrest, James Brown Murder Allegation, and NBA Trade Deadline Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff’s expansion of his committee’s investigation into President Trump; Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address; the Democrats intending to run for president in 2020 and the related story of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s claim to be Native American; freshman Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” legislative agenda; the issues of racism and an allegation of sexual assault dogging Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, attorney general Mark Herring, and Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax; the political battle over President Trump’s plan for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; the racist emails associated with Joe Ricketts, patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs; the political unrest in Venezuela; the allegation that both James Brown and the legendary performer’s wife were murdered; and the deals taking place at the NBA’s trade deadline 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. In Atlanta, Cumulus Media names Corey Dylan co-host of the “Caddy & Corey” morning show on country WKHX, Atlanta “Kicks 101.5” alongside Cadillac Jack. Dylan has worked in radio at hot AC WMTX, Tampa and news/talk WFLA-AM, Tampa. She most recently has been on television’s TMZ and HSN as a guest host. WKHX program director Brian Thomas comments, “I feel so fortunate for Corey to join Cadillac Jack in mornings. Her multi-media experience will create one of the best country shows in radio.”
Alpha Media Sells Peoria Cluster to Midwest Communications. We don’t know the price yet, but Alpha Media has filed with the FCC to sell its six stations in the Peoria, Illinois market to Midwest Communications. The cluster includes news/talk WMBD-AM, hot AC WSWT-FM, country WXCL-FM, classic hits WPBG-FM, classic hip hop WNGY-FM and oldies WIRL-AM. The Peoria group was acquired by Larry Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting from Triad Broadcasting in 2013. L&L and Alpha merged a year later. Alpha has been in sell mode recently, having just closed on the $88 million sale of its West Palm Beach cluster to Hubbard Radio. It is selling its Biloxi, Mississippi cluster to TeleSouth for $2.5 million and last year closed on the $1.82 million sale of its Bluefield, West Virginia cluster to First Media Services. After this latest deal is consummated, Alpha will own 201 stations in 44 markets. Alpha Media CEO Bob Proffitt says, “It’s been an honor to work with Mike Wild and the great team in Peoria. They have been an integral part of Alpha and will be missed. We are sad to see them go but know they are in great hands with Duke Wright and the Midwest Communications family.” Midwest Communications owns 75 radio stations in Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.
Bo Jaxon Named OM at SummitMedia Springfield. At its Springfield, Missouri station group, SummitMedia names Bo Jaxon operations manager for the cluster that includes news/talk KSGF-AM/FM, CHR KSPW-FM, classic hits KRVI-FM, and country KTTS-FM. He’ll also serve as program director for KTTS. Jaxon was most recently with iHeartMedia as morning personality at country KBWL, Denver “The Bull 106.7.” SummitMedia Springfield president Janelle Moffett says, “Bo brings a ton of energy and great ideas to Springfield. I’m confident that under Bo’s leadership our stations will be an even greater source of entertainment and information for our community.”
WBZ-AM, Boston Legend Gary LaPierre Dies at 76. The man who anchored mornings on WBZ-AM, Boston for almost 44 years passed away on Monday (2/4) after a battle with leukemia. Gary LaPierre retired from his morning host role on WBZ-AM in 2006. His obituary on WBZ’s website notes that LaPierre’s “calm and steady voice prepared New Englanders for the day ahead.” LaPierre began his career in the mail room of WBZ in the 1960s and worked as a general assignment reporter before moving into the anchor booth.
TALKERS News Notes. The latest podcast from Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley features a conversation between her and iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman. In her “Beyond the Business” program, Beasley and Pittman discuss a variety of topics centered on innovation, ranging from the latest technology featured at CES 2019 to the state of the audio business and how the industry can best collaborate moving forward…..Tonight’s State of the Union Address is being covered for affiliate stations by ABC News Radio. The organization will provide live coverage of the address and response anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky. He’ll be joined by correspondent Karen Travers from the White House, correspondent Brad Mielke and ABC’s Ali Rogin from the Capitol, political director Rick Klein and contributor Steve Roberts from Washington, D.C., and contributors Alex Castellanos and Kristen Soltis Anderson. It will offer a one-hour preview program (8:00 pm to 9:00 pm)…..Talk radio pro Rob Carson inks a deal to present his more than 100 cooking videos on the internet destination Spoony.com – a platform dedicated to food, wine, and lifestyle…..Valdosta, Georgia station owner and morning drive talk show host Scott James, a.k.a. Scott James Matheson, announces he’s running for mayor of Valdosta this fall. James owns Smalltown Broadcasting, operator of news/talk WDDQ-FM – licensed to Adel, Georgia…..As reported by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, former television news anchor Joan Esposito is named the afternoon talk show host at Newsweb Radio’s progressive talk outlet WCPT, Chicago. She’s been the interim host since Ben Joravsky was let go from the station in December…..Nationally syndicated radio show “Free Talk Live” adds a new affiliate station as the program joins the weekend evening schedule at iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington. Also, several affiliate stations also expand their carriage of “Free Talk Live” as WGOW-FM, Chattanooga adds two hours of the program for weekday evenings and KHMO, Hannibal, Missouri and KBKW-AM/FM, Aberdeen, Washington add an hour of the program to their weeknight schedules…..Blaine Thompson at Indiana Radio Watch alerts us to the fact that Neuhoff Media is moving Jared Jesulaitis from his program director role at CHR WXXB-FM, Lafayette to sports director for the Lafayette operations and morning co-host at sports talk WASK-AM/W269DJ “101.7 The Hammer” alongside Kyle Charters. Meanwhile, assistant PD Joe LaCay moves up to program director for WXXB…..All this week, SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio is presenting “Players Week” – in which current major league players, including All-Stars and World Series winners, will join SiriusXM hosts for special extended feature segments. “These players will have a national platform, an hour of airtime, and the freedom to guide the conversation and discuss the teams and topics from baseball that most interest them.”…..Entercom’s news/talk KMOX, St. Louis showed its disdain for the Los Angeles Rams – the city is still bitter about losing the NFL franchise – by airing game six of the 2011 MLB World Series on Sunday evening as much of the rest of the country was paying attention to the Super Bowl. The move did, apparently, get a lot of local media attention. It was the game between the hometown Cardinals and Texas Rangers that went 11 innings as St. Louis pulled out a victory and went on to win the World Series.
State of the Union Address, Border Wall Battle, Trump-Russia Investigation, Ralph Northam Controversy, ‘Green New Deal’ Proposal, DC Circuit Court Nominee, U.S.-China Relations, and Super Bowl LIII Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). Anticipation of President Trump’s State of the Union Address; the political battle over President Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall proposal; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the charges of racism dogging Virginia Governor Ralph Northam; the “Green New Deal” proposal from freshman Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez; Democrats’ challenge to President Trump’s nominee to replace Brett Kavanaugh on the DC Circuit Court; the tense economic relations between the U.S. and China; and the aftermath of Super Bowl LIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
PLAN AHEAD, DON’T BE SHUT OUT! 2019 Talkers Convention Set for NYC. The 22nd annual installment of the longest-running, most-important national talk media convention has been set for Friday, June 7, 2019 in New York City. Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, one-on-one conversations and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To take advantage of the hotel discount available to TALKERS convention attendees, contact the Hilton Fashion District Hotel located directly across the street from the venue at 152 W. 26th St, New York, NY 10001 by clicking here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago country outlet WBGG, Chicago “BIG 95.5” announces afternoon personality Brooke Taylor is adding assistant PD duties to her responsibilities at the iHeartMedia station. Simultaneously, fill-in personality Trace Hamilton is named the station’s evening host…..Making the transition from television to radio is well-known television meteorologist Kim Adams. She joins Entercom’s adult contemporary WDZH, Detroit “987 The Breeze” as midday personality. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Kim Adams is an award-winning television personality and one of metro Detroit’s most recognizable faces. We’re excited to welcome Kim to our team and know she’ll help our listeners breeze through their day.” During her career, Adams has worked on air at WDIV-TV and WXYZ-TV in Detroit as well as WBNS-TV, Columbus…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that market radio personality Ramonski Luv returns to the radio as evening host on Future Vision Entertainment’s urban AC “95.1 FM Clubsteppin.’” The station emanates from the leased WLEY-HD2 signal of WLEY Licensing and is heard on translators W236CF and W236CG, both at 95.1 FM. Luv was most recently hosting weekends on urban AC WVAZ…..Radio One moves programmer Yonni “Rude” O’Donoghue from its Richmond cluster where he’s been OM since 2016 to Detroit where he’ll serve as operations manager for the three station group that includes hip hop WGPR “Hot 107.5,” urban contemporary WDMK and the three-signal Gospel format the Praise Network…..On-air pro Lady B, a.k.a. Wendy Clark, is the new midday host at Radio One’s rhythmic oldies WPPZ, Philadelphia “Classix 107.9.” In addition to the midday show, she’ll also co-host the “Basement Party” mix on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
KQED Names Blakley Executive Director/Radio Programming. Four-year Minnesota Public Radio program director Jonathan Blakley is appointed executive director of radio programming for Northern California Public Broadcasting news/talk KQED, San Francisco. The Western Michigan University graduate previously was a senior producer and editor at NPR and launched all-news on WKZO, Kalamazoo. He has also worked for all-news WWJ, Detroit and the Associated Press. In other station news, KQED promotes executive director of news Holly Kernan to chief content officer. She will now oversee news, arts, science, and education for radio and TV programming. Kerman joined the station in 2014 from San Francisco Unified School District news/talk KALW, where she was news and public affairs director. Meanwhile, managing editor Ethan Lindsey succeeds Kernan as executive director of news. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s September 2018 report for San Francisco, KQED is #1 for the eighth straight month. Its gain of four-tenths pulls the plug on five downward trends in a row that accounted for a -2.5 (8.9 – 8.4 – 8.1 – 7.1 – 6.7 – 6.4, 6+). In San Jose, KQED progresses from sixth to fourth. It finished first in that Bay Area market between January and June.
Harrison: Neither Side is as Bad as Political Opponents Claim. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, described by TV anchor/moderator/commentator Carol Costello as “the voice of reason” appeared today as a panelist on CNN’s Headline News channel (HLN) to discuss the impact of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation on the coming mid-term elections. He joined other panelists Republican Scott Jennings and Democrat Nomiki Konst. Jennings supported the President’s assertion that the Democrats and Liberals have become an unruly mob unfit to govern. Konst expressed the opposite view that working people have never faced the level of economic inequality that presently exists and that the Kavanaugh addition to the Supreme Court feeds into the “women are doomed” scenario. When asked by Costello if we as a nation are “going to remain as divided – men versus women, Democrat versus Republican – as we are now permanently forever more?” Harrison replied by saying “Hopefully not permanently. Let’s hope it ebbs and flows as it has through history. Both sides are extremely energized. The coming mid-term election promises to be as exciting, if not more, than a presidential election. But we can’t tell which side will feel that way in a few weeks on Election Day when it will be decided by voter turn-out. From a media standpoint, which is the lens through which I view this, even though both sides in ‘biased media’ express righteous indignation – and there is extreme bias on both sides in the media – both sides are loving this because this is a golden era for media that plays the news for the American public viewing it as a spectator sport. The demonization of the ‘other side’ is just that – excessive hyperbolic demonization. Nothing is going to be so terrible no matter how it plays out. Women are not doomed and the Democrats are not a mob. And if for some reason Trump loses his majority in Congress, he’ll work that to his advantage as well. It’ll be his excuse for not fulfilling all his campaign promises to his base.”
One Putt Lands O’Rorke as VP/GM. Ten-year Lotus Broadcasting Fresno market manager Kevin O’Rorke joins cross-town One Putt Broadcasting as vice president and general manager, succeeding Josh Riley. One Putt partner John Ostlund comments, “We are excited to have Kevin on our team. His passion for radio, [as well as his] experience with many of our clients and involvement in non-profit organizations, makes him a great fit.” Another One Putt partner – Chris Pacheco – notes, “I have known and worked with Kevin many times over the years – he brings tremendous experience to our team.” California State University-Fullerton alum O’Rorke adds, “Radio is an exciting industry, but locally-owned radio with the kind of community focus that Chris and John have demonstrated over the years is very unique. I am looking forward to getting started and making a difference.” One Putt’s Fresno cluster includes sports talk KFIG “940 ESPN Radio”; KFRR “New Rock 104.1”; classic rock KJFX “95.7 The Fox”; triple A KJWL “K-Jewel 105.5”; CHR KWDO “99.3 Now FM”; and classic hits-oldies KYNO-AM.
Daniel Joins Fresno’s KVPR and Bakersfield’s KPRX As News Director. News/talk KQED, San Francisco reporter Alice Daniel is appointed news director of similarly-formatted KVPR, Fresno and KPRX, Bakersfield. Valley Public Radio interim president Joe Moore comments, “Alice is a talented reporter and educator, who always finds a way to bring out something special or unexpected in her stories. Six years ago, we didn’t have any local reporters at the station; now, we have three. Our work is increasingly being recognized with awards at the regional and national level.” Daniel remarks, “I am excited by the prospect of working with other reporters to cover this diverse and story-rich region in a way that makes a difference for the community at large. I love the creative process of figuring out the best way to tell a compelling story. There is nothing I love more in journalism than finding that gem of a story that no one else has unearthed.” In addition to contributing to Success Magazine, Daniel – who has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University – has taught journalism for 17 years at Fresno State University.
TALKERS News Notes. In a presentation to be made this coming Saturday (10/13), Cumulus Media San Francisco news/talk KSFO morning host (5:00 am – 9:00 am) Brian Sussman will receive the Don Sherwood Award from the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame. The listener-voted honor recognizes the Bay Area’s favorite news/talk radio broadcaster for 2018. Sussman replaced Lee Rodgers in morning drive on KSFO in February 2010 ….. Beginning this Thursday (10/11), The New York Times debuts “The Argument,” a weekly opinion podcast hosted by three of the paper’s op-ed columnists – David Leonhardt, Ross Douthat, and Michelle Goldberg ….. As reported by the St. Louis Dispatch, “Real Housewife of Orange County” Meghan King Edmonds will appear with “Meghan’s Must Haves” every week on the Sunday morning edition of Rick & Tracey Ellis’ show on Entercom St. Louis news/talk KFTK “FM Newstalk 97.1.” The segment starts this Sunday (10/14). Edmonds is the wife of former St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels outfielder/current Fox Sports Midwest analyst Jim Edmonds ….. The former six-year general manager of Tri-States Public Radio and an adjunct instructor at Western Illinois University, Jonathan Ahl, will be a Rolla, Missouri-based reporter for University of Missouri-St. Louis news/talk KWMU. Ahl previously was news director and reporter at Iowa Public Radio ….. KTTC-TV, Austin (Minnesota) multimedia journalist James Bunner has been fired for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat while covering President Trump’s appearance last Thursday in Rochester, Minnesota. KTTC news director Noel Sederstrom said Bunner was let go for wearing campaign gear while covering the political event – not because of his personal politics. Sederstrom told BuzzFeed News, “[Bunner] violated our policy so he’s no longer with us. We don’t allow our people to wear campaign clothing while on assignment.” On the day of Trump’s inauguration, Bunner posted a video of himself on Facebook dancing to “Celebration” (Kool & The Gang). KTTC removed Bunner’s online profile from its website last Friday ….. Listeners will be able to use touch and voice to tune into live iHeartRadio radio stations on Portal and Portal+ – Facebook’s home video communications devices. The Portal comes with a variety of features such as AI-powered video cameras, smart sound technology, and crystal-clear audio. Powered by Amazon’s Alexa voice control system, the video chat devices were introduced today (10/8).
Richard Neer Pens Sixth Murder Mystery Book. Longtime TALKERS columnist Richard Neer, a 30-year sports talk veteran at WFAN, New York and former WNEW-FM, New York radio great, has released his sixth Riley King murder mystery, An American Storm (Amazon Digital Services, 2018). This one has a strong radio sub-plot as King’s cohort Rick Stone deals with a career crisis after moving from making big dollars at a large market station to a small labor-of-love outlet, attempting to create a free form talk and music format. He is frustrated by a dearth of callers and the aging demo. Neer is well-known for his landmark radio non-fiction FM, the Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) and is developing a large following as a writer of the mystery fiction genre. He can be reached for interviews at firstname.lastname@example.org. The new book is available at Amazon in both Kindle and paperback editions.
Kavanaugh Confirmation and Ensuing Protests Across the Nation Top the List of Stories Discussed on News/Talk Radio Over the Weekend. The U.S. Senate Confirmation and Swearing-in of controversial Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the protests that took place during and after the vote topped the list of stories discussed on news/talk radio over the weekend. These stories were followed by the US-China trade war; November midterm elections and the battle for control of Congress; the new USMCA deal; the disappearance of the head of Interpol after traveling to China; NFL action during week number five and the MLB divisional playoffs which were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Welsh, Porreca Join JAM Media Solutions. East Orange, New Jersey-based JAM Media Solutions names Donovan Welsh executive vice president of sales and Kerry Porreca executive vice president of finance. JAM Media Solutions closed on its media properties last Wednesday (10/3). They take over eight media properties in Outer Banks, North Carolina and Muscatine, Iowa. The Outer Banks properties include WCMS “Water Country”; hot AC WCXL “Beach 104”; WVOD “99.1 The Sound – The Outer Banks’ Alternative”; WZPR “Classic Rock 92.3”; and “The Outer Banks Voice.” The Muscatine properties include classic rock KMCS “Vintage Sound 93.1”; KWPC “The Voice of Muscatine; and “The Voice of Muscatine.” JAM Media Solutions president and CEO Jonathan A. Mason, Sr. remarks, “In the early years of my career in New York, I worked with Mr. Welsh and am honored that he has decided to join JAM Media to oversee our sales efforts. Mrs. Porreca is a veteran finance executive and has extensive knowledge of the Outer Banks. She is uniquely positioned to help us achieve our goal of giving back to the communities we seek to serve. I am humbled to step into the next phase of our collective journey. Our goal is to deliver a first-rate experience for the communities we serve. We love our radio local and our listeners will come to know that for themselves.” Most recently, Welsh was sales manager of Entercom New York sports talk WFAN. Porreca has spent the majority of her professional career in the manufacturing and advertising areas.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Additions at Entercom Los Angeles CHR KAMP “97.1 Amp Radio” find DJ Vice hosting “DJ Vice in the Mix” weekdays from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm and Krystal Bee joining the station’s weekend lineup. According to Entercom Los Angeles senior vice president and market manager Jeff Federman, “DJ Vice and Krystal Bee have been household names in the Southern California radio and music scene for more than 25 years collectively. We look forward to them delivering a fresh listening experience for fans.” DJ Vice remarks, “As someone who was born and raised in Los Angeles, it is an honor to be a part of the ‘97.1 Amp Radio’ family. This mix is so fulfilling to do for my city, and hopefully, I can ease the pain of our listeners as they sit in L.A. traffic.” Krystal Bee notes that, “[KAMP] has a vision for radio that is so exciting. I have loved working with the team and I am excited about everything the future holds for me, the station, and our amazing listeners.” In 2011, DJ Vice was named one of “America’s Best DJs” by DJ Times. Prior to joining Entercom, Krystal Bee held on-air roles for cross-town rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106” since 2011 ….. Following last week’s departure of brand manager/program director Ron Valeri, Entercom Boston-owned WAAF “The Only Station That Really Rocks” names Joe Galgaro, PD of Saga Communications Milwaukee’s WHQG “102.9 The Hog,” as Valeri’s replacement ….. Most recently doing mid-days for Beasley Media Group Tampa’s WQYK “99.5 New Country Hits,” June Knight joins Entercom Miami’s similarly-formatted WKIS “Country 99.5” as morning drive co-host, where she will pair with assistant program director/music director Tim “TC” Conlon as “TC & June. Knight previously worked in Boston at CHR WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” and WODS … As we reported last week, Louie Diaz is promoted to vice president/contemporary for the Cumulus Radio Station Group, continuing his role as operations manager for Cumulus Media Atlanta and as PD for CHR WWWQ “Q100.” Associated with that move, Cumulus Media vice president/contemporary programming (CHR and hot AC) Cat Thomas departs. Thomas joined Cumulus Media nearly three years ago, after a 27-year career with CBS Radio Las Vegas where he was vice president/programming. For approximately 20 years, he programmed that company’s Las Vegas CHR, KLUC ….. Morning co-host Brian Fowler exits WGAR. He joined “Country 99.5.” in 2011 to team with LeeAnn Sommers, who remains with the iHeartMedia Cleveland outlet ….. Next year’s iHeartRadio “ALTer Ego” officially sold out on the first day on sale. The second annual music event, which will broadcast live (1/19/2019) across over 70 iHeartRadio alternative and rock stations, reportedly sold out in less than a minute of being on sale to the general public. The “ALTer Ego” lineup at Los Angeles’ Fabulous Forum includes The Killers, Weezer, Rise Against, Twenty One Pilots, Muse, Bishop Briggs, and The Revivalists. Chief programming officer for iHeartMedia Tom Poleman notes, “It was remarkable to watch how fast tickets sold out. All tickets immediately went the moment we made them available. It speaks to the power of the lineup and how fast the ALTer Ego brand has grown in just two years.” Meanwhile, iHeartMedia president/national sales, marketing & partnerships Tim Castelli comments, “The lineup is incredible and reaches the millennial trend leaders who make up the mega-event’s core audience. Given such an amazing response, we are expecting this to break social chatter records like we have done with our lineup on our other iHeart marquee events” ….. Former WPIA “98.5 Kiss FM,” Peoria (Illinois) program director Jonathan Steele is named to a similar position at Martz Communications Pittsburgh urban contemporary WAMO …..Tennessee Senate candidate Phil Bredesen and congressional hopeful Jim Cooper have picked up a big-name endorsement – Taylor Swift. The singer usually doesn’t express her political beliefs but notes on Instagram, “Due to several events in my life and in the world the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.” Bredesen and Cooper are Democrats ….. At the box office, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s “A Star Is Born” remake took in $41.3 million. According to comScore, with $174.5 million in tickets sold at United States and Canadian theaters, it was easily the best October weekend ever…. Starting today (10/8), iHeartMedia Columbus CHR WNCI-originated “Dave (Kaelin) & Jimmy (Jam)” will air (6:00 am – 10:00 am) on Alpha Media Canton (Ohio) hot AC WHBC-FM “Mix” 94.1.” WHBC-FM operations manager Bo Matthews comments, “Dave & Jimmy are Ohio guys [who] celebrate the region with their content. They experience all the pain that comes with being Cleveland sports fans. I am super excited for the show they will be providing us every weekday morning.” According to Jimmy Jam, “Canton is my hometown so I have about 200 relatives [who] will be listening every day.”
‘99.9 The Fan’ in Raleigh to Broadcast Town Hall on Race Relations in Sports. As part of its ongoing “Fan Town Hall” series, Capitol Broadcasting’s Raleigh-Durham sports talker WCMC “99.9 The Fan” is presenting a live multi-cast of a town hall focusing on the question, “Do today’s African-American athletes bear any responsibility to commenting on today’s social issues?” The event takes place on Tuesday (8/30) at 7:00 pm. It is being moderated by WRAL-TV anchor/reporter Gerald Owens and features the following seven panelists: sport business professor at UNC-Charlotte Dr. Deborah Stroman, former ECU head football coach Steve Logan, former UNC and NBA player George Lynch, former NC State and NFL player Brandan Bishop, “99.9 The Fan” afternoon drive host Adam Gold, and “Buzz Sports Radio” morning drive hosts Erroll Reese and Kevin McClendon. The social media desk and interaction with Twitter will be managed by 99.9 The Fan’s afternoon drive host Joe Ovies. The program will air with live video and audio on WRAL-TV 2, “99.9 The Fan,” WRALsportsfan.com and the WRALsportsfan app. Capitol Broadcasting sports radio operations manager, program director and executive producer for the Fan Town Hall series, Dennis Glasgow, says, “This discussion is long overdue and we have a diverse and opinionated panel to tackle this polarizing topic. I’m also excited that our viewers and listeners can participate with their feedback and commentary in real time via Twitter.”
Colin Cowherd’s Digital Platform Launches. The launch of FOX Sports Radio and FS1 personality Colin Cowherd’s new digital platform is a cooperative effort between Cowherd, Premiere Networks, and Chris Balfe’s Red Seat Ventures. It’s called TheHerdNow.com and serves as “the digital home for content created and curated by Colin Cowherd including bold opinion pieces, viral news stories, exclusive podcasts, and original video series. The new site also serves as a portal for fans to find stories covering the best moments and interviews from Cowherd’s radio show, as well as the daily podcast and streaming audio of ‘The Herd.’” Cowherd says, “I’ve chosen to work with the best people in the industry and the support I’ve received has been like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I feel incredibly lucky to launch this venture for fans to connect with my best content whenever and wherever they happen to be.”
Hogenson Tapped by RNC for Help with Radio During Campaign. Consultant and radio expert Scott Hogenson is working for the Republican National Committee to consult on and assist with radio for the campaign election cycle. Hogenson started working with the RNC today (8/29). He also served as radio director for the GOP convention in Cleveland this summer. He is president of the Washington, DC public affairs firm Hogenson Communications, LLC. He served in the George W. Bush Administration as deputy assistant secretary for public affairs for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. During his career he has worked on three presidential campaigns as a senior member of the press office at the Republican National Committee.
New Sales Managers Named at Entercom Boston. Moving over from her sales manager position at Entercom’s news/talk WRKO to the same post at rock WAAF is Alison Harris. Assuming the open sales manager post at WRKO is Denise DiLuca, who returns to Entercom from her most recent gig with iHeartMedia as VP of sales in Providence. DiLuca worked in the business development department at Entercom Boston before joining iHeartMedia in 2012. Entercom New England VP/market manager Phil Zachary says both Harris and DiLuca embody the cluster’s inexorable work ethic. “Alison and Denise are natural sales leaders. Both are highly regarded in the marketplace for their uncompromising integrity, outstanding training skills, intensity of focus and ability to recruit the very best local sellers. I have no doubt our Boston cluster will continue to outperform the market with these proven professionals in key roles.”
Scott Robbins Easing Back into Radio on WMBD, Peoria a Year After Heart Attack. Before suffering a major heart attack a year ago, Scott Robbins and on-air partner Jamie Markley were co-hosting a three-hour talk show simulcast on Alpha Media’s WMBD, Peoria and KXL, Portland. But that major health issue put Robbins in the hospital for four months. The Peoria Journal Star, in a piece by Steve Tarter, reports that Robbins is back on the radio with a weekly show airing on WMBD Saturdays from 6:00 am to 8:00 am with co-host Joe Greenwood. After Robbins’ heart attack, David van Camp began filling in alongside Markley and was later named permanent co-host of the show.
Cumulus Ups Hach to VP, Digital for San Francisco. After serving as digital and integrated sales manager for Cumulus Media’s San Francisco and Minneapolis clusters, Justin Hach is promoted to vice president, digital for the company’s San Francisco station group that includes sports talk KNBR, triple A KFOG, classic rock KSAN, news/talk KGO, news/talk KSFO and Asian KSJO. Hach’s charge will be to lead a team that is responsible for all digital and social strategies, development, content and revenue. Vice president and market manager Justin Wittmayer says, “I’m really proud of the team that Justin has built and the way that they’re connecting our brands and fans. His content strategy is driving database growth, engagement, revenue and, most important, a better user/client experience.”
Nigel Burton Partners with Dan Sheldon on KPOJ, Portland for Mornings. Sports talk KPOJ-AM “Rip City Radio 620” adds Pacific Northwest sports analyst Nigel Burton to its morning show with current host Dan Sheldon. The new show is called “Rip City Mornings with Dan and Nigel,” airing weekdays from 6:00 am to -9:00 am. Burton is an analyst for Pac-12 Networks and a college football analyst for CSNNW. Newly appointed “Rip City Radio” program director Rich Moore says, “Adding Nigel Burton with his background and associations is very exciting and we are looking forward to partnering him up with Dan Sheldon in the morning.”
Jess Hanson to Head Up Horizon Broadcasting’s Central Oregon Station Group. Most recently with Townsquare Media’s Abilene, Texas operations, Jess Hanson heads north to join Horizon Broadcasting Group’s Central Oregon media properties as market manager/general sales manager. He’ll oversee the company’s five radio stations – classic hits KQAK-FM, hot AC KWPK “The PEAK 104.1,” AC KLTW “95.7 MY FM,” news/talk simulcast KBNW-AM/FM, and classic country KRCO – as well as the company’s digital assets and event productions. Horizon president and CEO Keith Shipman states, “I am pleased to hand over the day-to-day operations of our Central Oregon assets to an experienced and successful leader. Jess has demonstrated his passion for the radio industry over the past three decades and has built successful sales and programming teams throughout his career. He has a proven track record in broadcast, digital and event sales – all of which are key to our clients’ marketing plans.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes Announces 2016 Right Wisconsin Award Winners. WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes operates the digital news platform RightWisconsin.com and each year, he presents awards to conservatives in the state. This year – at a banquet to be held this Friday (9/2) – Sykes announces that former Governor Tommy Thompson and Mary Kohler will be presented lifetime achievement awards. Kohler will be presented the Margaret Thatcher Award and Thompson will receive the Ronald Reagan Award. The Thatcher and Reagan Awards are the top honors being given at this fourth annual event. The evening will be hosted by Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Sykes.
The Presidential Race, Dwayne Wade’s Cousin Killed in Chicago Violence, Italy Earthquake Aftermath, Kaepernick Sits Out National Anthem, Weiner Sexting Again, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the Chicago shooting death of Nykea Aldridge, cousin of NBA star Dwayne Wade; the aftermath of the deadly earthquake in central Italy; controversy over NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s sitting out the National Anthem in protest; former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner caught in another sexting case; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. There’s a new PM drive show on Entercom’s sports talk WROC, Rochester “ESPN Rochester.” Replacing “The Radio Press Box with Scott Pitoniak and Dan Borrello” is “The Sports Bar with Mike Danger and Gene Battaglia.” Danger is also programming WROC in addition to his programming role at sister CHR WPXY…..SiriusXM is enhancing its college sports play-by-play offerings with a new five-year broadcasting agreement with Learfield and IMG. The deal now includes both streaming and satellite radio broadcast rights and greatly expands the number of college games that will be available to subscribers on the SiriusXM app…..Alpha Media is announcing that adult contemporary KUIC, Vacaville, California has become an affiliate of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. KUIC will air full broadcast of all Warriors games including playoff games for the 2016-2017 season…..WUUB, Jupiter, Florida “ESPN West Palm” is dedicating its Friday night programming to the biggest high school football matchups in the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast. “Football Night in South Florida” on the Good Karma-operated station is sponsored by Papa John’s Pizza. Also the station adds ESPN’s Paul Finebaum show to its daily lineup, airing from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..The final chapter of the Todd Schnitt vs Bubba the Love Sponge defamation suit has been written, but it doesn’t involved either broadcaster – it’s about three of Bubba’s former attorneys. Regular TALKERS readers will remember that attorneys Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut – with the assistance of legal assistant Melissa Personius and then-cop Ray Fernandez – orchestrated the DUI of Schnitt attorney Philip Campbell in hopes of helping their case. (How would that help? We’re not really sure.) Regardless, Diaco tried to man up and voluntarily gave up his law license in hopes the Florida Supreme Court would go easy on his colleagues. No such luck. The Court has permanently stripped Adams and Filthaut of the right to practice law. For more on the case, see Fox13 News’ summary here.
Howie Carr Sits in on WOR, New York. Syndicated, Boston-based talk host Howie Carr made his New York City debut on Friday (8/26) filling in on the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on iHeartMedia’s 710 WOR for the vacationing “Mr. New York” Mark Simone. Carr’s program is syndicated on numerous signals throughout New England. Pictured above are Carr (left) and Simone (right) who met for the first time at TALKERS magazine’s annual conference in New York several years ago.
Red Sox-WEEI Streak Continues. While financial terms of the highly expected deal were not disclosed, Entercom Boston sports outlet WEEI will carry on its role as the radio flagship of the Boston Red Sox through (at minimum) the 2023 MLB season. WEEI and the Red Sox have been partners since 1995. Entercom chief operating officer David Field states, “WEEI and Entercom are delighted to be extending our outstanding relationship with the Boston Red Sox well into the future. It is a true privilege to be partnered with this extraordinary, iconic organization and their world-class team of professionals, both on and off the field. Red Sox fans across the country will continue to hear outstanding Sox play-by-play broadcasts and 24/7 team coverage on WEEI and WEEI.com, the home of Red Sox baseball.” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy comments, “We are pleased to extend our partnership with WEEI for another seven seasons. We look forward to this new phase of our partnership and sharing more winning baseball through the airwaves with our fans across New England.” The WEEI play-by-play crew consists of Red Sox Hall of Fame announcer Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett, who this year succeeded Dave O’Brien (now doing Red Sox telecasts on NESN); Hamden, Connecticut native Castiglione is in his 34th year in the Red Sox radio booth. In addition to WEEI, the Red Sox Radio Network consists of 55 affiliates throughout the six New England states. To see how WEEI-FM and 28 other MLB radio flagships performed in Nielsen Audio‘s March 2016 PPM sweep, please read today’s exclusive TALKERS special features piece which appears below.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian introduces Major League Baseball‘s 2016 radio flagships with a ratings overview based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2016 PPM survey period. Highlighted are each key station’s 6+ share; 6+ market rank; month-to-month and year-to-year fluctuations; and a special breakout chart featuring the flagships by league/division. See the first of Mike’s exclusive special feature pieces about MLB flagships here.
TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Is Nearing a Sellout! If you haven’t made your reservations to attend the forthcoming 19th annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention, now is the time to do so. It is nearing an early sellout and there will be no registrations sold at the door. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place three weeks from now on Friday, May 20 on the fabulous campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY (on Long Island, just outside of NYC). Featuring a powerful lineup of more than 60 luminous speakers, panel discussions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, closing reception, techno exhibits, live broadcasts and more – this is shaping up to be the most exciting and productive industry networking events of its kind in years. Registration cost is $299 per person and can only be arranged with credit card over the phone. The event is only open to media professionals and communications students. Please call 413-565-5413 for registration, sponsorship, and hotel information. Complete up to date agenda info can be found by clicking here.
Knapp, KCMO-AM Cut Ties. After more than five years as KCMO-AM, Kansas City’s afternoon drive host, Greg Knapp departs the Cumulus Media talk outlet. Regarding his dismissal, Knapp writes on his Facebook page, “I was told repeatedly it was not about my performance. My general manager was very kind in telling me how much she appreciated my show and my work [but] corporate decided it was cheaper to run syndicated programming than it was to pay me a salary. I have consistently had the highest ratings on the station; everyone at Cumulus Kansas City has been very good to me. The good news is I learned a long time ago to always have more than one source of income. I am now ramping up my personal development business [but] I am also looking for new opportunities in radio.” Knapp previously did afternoon drive on KLIF, Dallas; was a syndicated Radio America talk talent; and owned a guest-hosting service. Down or flat for the fourth successive sweep (1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5, 6+), KCMO-AM ranks #21 in Nielsen Audio‘s March 2016 PPM report for Kansas City; Entercom hot AC KZPT “The Point” is the market leader (6.5, 6+).
Presidential Race Tops “Talkers Ten” for Week of April 25 – 29. Activities of the presidential candidates and the battle for delegates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 were the European terrorism investigations and the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, tied with the United States’ Syria military policy. Coming in at #3 was the controversy over state laws affecting public restroom use and gender identification, followed by North Korea’s recent missile tests 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.
“Robbins & Markley” Becomes “Markley & van Camp.” Owing to health concerns that have sidelined Scott Robbins since late-August (2015), there is a title change for the weekday program on Alpha Media Portland’s KXL “FM News 101” and co-owned WMBD, Peoria (Illinois). David van Camp will permanently join Jamie Markley for the “Markley and van Camp Show,” which airs 9:00 am – 12:00 noon on KXL and from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm on WMBD. Alpha Media executive vice president of programming Scott Mahalick comments that, “David van Camp brings a unique perspective to the show and a great balance to Jamie Markley; together, they are magical.” The first official day of the newly-named “Markley and van Camp Show” will be next Monday (5/2).
SiriusXM Q1 Revenue Rises 11%. The increase is to a record $1.2 billion, with SiriusXM net income up 62% to $171 million; adjusted EBITDA improves 11% to $441 million. The satcaster adds nearly one-half million new subscribers, ending with almost 30.1 million. First quarter results exceeded expectations of chief executive officer Jim Meyer who comments, “I am especially pleased we were able to add 465,000 net new subscribers, leading to an 8% increase in subscribers over the prior year. With excellent subscriber growth so early in the year, we are raising our guidance for full year net subscriber additions to 1.6 million. We set first quarter records for revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow, and we are on track to achieve all of our financial goals this year. With a new full-time music channel from Kenny Chesney, live broadcasts from major music festivals, special popup channels for David Bowie, and Billy Joel, as well as new talk shows, and unmatched coverage of the presidential primaries, SiriusXM continues to be the leader in audio entertainment. We are always looking to deliver new, compelling content to our subscribers.” Chief financial officer David Frear notes that during the first quarter, “We reduced our outstanding share count by about 3%, spending $588 million to repurchase 159 million shares of our common stock. Our debt to adjusted EBITDA remained low at just 3.4 times, leaving plenty of flexibility to continue capital returns to our stockholders or make acquisitions while also making investments in our technology, content, and new satellite infrastructure.”
State of the New York Market Report Released. Among the findings from a New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD) overview is that several industries expanded their footprint in the New York area contributing to a strong first-quarter start. NYMRAD executive director Debbie Beagan remarks, “With luxury retailers and department stores opening locations across the Tri-State area, radio offers high-end businesses an engaging environment for reaching consumers with household incomes of $250,000 and higher. New York market radio reaches 91% of high-income households, $250,000+, [as well as] over 90% of those who own a second home; those planning on buying a luxury car; dined in upscale restaurants; purchased fine jewelry in excess of $500; and vacations in excess of $10,000.” The report addresses latest information about New York’s economy, commuting information, radio and politics, and national radio advertising/usage. Analysis of the New York marketplace is designed to help advertisers understand radio’s impact on consumers and its role in the local advertising landscape. NYMRAD’s “State of the Market Report” provides business trends as well as local information from a variety of sources including Nielsen Audio, Media Monitors, and The New York Times.”
Execs Named to Build Digital Content Network for TheBlaze. Three digital media industry veterans have been added to TheBlaze‘s leadership team. Former Core Media Group chief marketing officer Chris Gannett joins as senior vice president of marketing; previously with CNN and the weekend edition of ABC-TV‘s “Good Morning America,” Matt Frucci is appointed senior vice president of content & programming; and Lisa Fowler – from BET Networks – joins as vice president of talent and culture. TheBlaze president Stewart Padveen notes, “TheBlaze is investing heavily in our mission to redefine the way digital media is delivered and consumed. Chris, Matt, and Lisa are a significant part of a new high-performing culture and a diverse lineup of superstar talent.” Ironically, the additions at Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze come after cuts across offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington (D.C.), and Columbus, where a documentary group had been based. Sources tell TVNewser, between 35-45 staffers have been pinkslipped. These layoffs follow what a source calls a “brain drain” of talent over the last year. Chief executive officer Betsy Morgan left the company last summer and her interim replacement, former Premiere Networks chief operating officer, Kraig Kitchen, exited earlier this year. According to The Daily Beast, the latest cuts are meant to “satisfy the requirements of a multi-million dollar bank loan taken out recently to keep Beck’s revenue-challenged enterprise running.” TheBlaze is consolidating the company’s operations to its Irving, Texas headquarters.
NAB Issues Statement on Virginia TV Slayings. In response to the shooting deaths of WDBJ-TV Roanoke’s Alison Parker and Adam Ward this morning, the following statement was issued by NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith: “Today’s news of the tragic murders of broadcast journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward is heartbreaking and horrifying. These were two young journalists who were simply trying to serve and inform their communities. Our broken hearts go out to the families of Alison and Adam, to the staff at WDBJ, and to the employees of Schurz Communications.” Obviously, today’s attack and the subsequent search for the alleged killer and his relationship with the victims and the television station has been the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio today, according to TALKERS magazine.
PodcastOne Adds Five to Sales and Marketing Staff. In the aftermath of the recently announced deal with Hubbard Radio in which the broadcasting company acquired a 30% share in the Norm Pattiz-founded podcast platform PodcastOne, the latter announced five additions to its sales and marketing team. In a press statement, PodcastOne says “now that the recent investment from Hubbard Broadcasting is in the bank,” it is wasting no time as it welcomes Lori Spencer and Linda McHugh in the Los Angeles offices, Keith Goldstein in New York, Dave Boretti in Chicago and Joe Laffey in Dallas. At the same time, Dana Senit – who joined the company in February – is promoted to West Coast general sales manager. McHugh comes to PodcastOne from programmatic audience targeting platform Netmining, previously with GoldSpot Media and Maxim. Spencer joins the team after working with TargetSpot and Sirius XM. Goldstein held posts at ESPN Audio and Jelli and brings an entertainment and technology sales background. Boretti was most recently in an executive position at Spanish Broadcasting Solutions. He’s also previously held executive posts at Westwood One and Univision Radio. Laffey joins from EFG Companies, where he served as SVP, strategic partnerships. Previously, Laffey was a sales executive at Westwood One/CBS Radio Networks, and a partner in digital advertising agency, Slingshot, LLC. PodcastOne president Kit Gray comments, “I am excited to welcome our newest team members to PodcastOne. We’ve put together a talented and experienced group of people and I look forward to working with Greg Batusic, our COO, in leading the team to the many successes ahead.”
Beasley Names Dave Carney and Chad Forster KDWN, Las Vegas Morning Hosts. The official name of the show is “Live in Las Vegas with Dave and Chad” and it’s heard daily from 6:00 am to 9:00 am on KDWN “News Talk 720.” Dave Carney and Chad Forster have been on the air since the station parted ways with longtime Vegas talk radio pro Alan Stock several weeks ago, but now the station makes their appointment official. KDWN program director John Shaffer states, “Dave and Chad are two high-energy, creative talents, who are merging their terrific track records with a lively, diverse talk radio format that ‘asks the questions most dare not to ponder’ and our listeners respect and enjoy that kind of talk. These two are combining their experience, insight, wisdom and witty remarks, with large doses of comic relief, mixed with controversial commentary on issues ranging from sports to politics to breaking news!” Carney is a Las Vegas radio pro who’s also worked as the voice of the Las Vegas Wranglers pro hockey team and with ESPN Radio on the Jim Fassel show. Forster has worked in Las Vegas radio as a producer, air talent, and ops manager.
KXL, Portland and WMBD, Peoria Talk Host Scott Robbins Suffers Heart Attack, Awaits Open Heart Surgery. According to his radio show partner Jamie Markley (right), Scott Robbins (left) had a heart attack early Monday morning, was resuscitated by CPR and is currently in the hospital while doctors are stabilizing him for open heart surgery. Markley writes on the show’s Facebook page, “He’s pretty much sedated and out of it. While we could talk with him on Monday, yesterday he could only acknowledge different people’s presence but was not able to talk. The docs will keep him in this state until his condition improves to where he’s ready for open heart surgery.” Robbins and Markley co-host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show on KXL-FM, Portland that is also heard on Alpha Media’s news/talk WMBD, Peoria from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The duo recently inked a multi-year renewal with the company.
Kitroser to Gen Media Partners As VP/Integrated Sales. Regional director of corporate partnerships for The American Red Cross – Sharon Kitroser – joins Gen Media Partners as vice president of integrated sales. Gen Media Partners chief executive officer Kevin Garrity states, “I know the developmental work that Sharon does will deliver higher ROI for advertisers and new business for our media partner clients. She is known across radio and advertising circles for her innovative marketing programs. Programmatic buying is imminent; traditional avails are dwindling; and radio is too often being packaged as a commodity. Gen Media Partners is the only national representation company that monetizes localism across radio, high school sports, community events, shopping malls, and more. I am delighted that [Sharon] is bringing her talent to Gen Media Partners and Gen Media Connect.” According to Kitroser, “Today’s advertisers need to reach and connect with consumers at multiple touch-points throughout their day. With the wide swath of options in the Gen Media Partners’ suite of platforms, we have an opportunity to produce integrated campaigns that meet those needs and deliver results for advertisers and client partners.” Prior to working at American Red Cross, Kitroser was director of sales for ABC Radio/Disney (Interep), CBS, and Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia), as well as director of strategic alliances for Daniels & Roberts; Kitroser and Garrity worked together at ABC Radio/Disney.
Entravision’s CMNH Radio-thon Sets Record. Raising just shy of $2.9 million, Entravision Communications boasts the most successful Spanish-language radio-thon to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in 2015; the actual total ($2,856,182) surpasses last year’s $2.1 million tally. Entravision chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman remarks, “Now in our eighth year of collaborating with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, we are thrilled to have broadcast this phenomenal 72-hour radio-thon. We are very happy to know that its success will benefit more hospitals and children than ever before. The overwhelming accomplishments achieved in this year’s radio-thon reflect the vast reach of Entravision’s national radio platform, our growing digital presence, and our on-air talent and staff who rallied the great force of our Spanish-language listeners.” Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals vice president of Hispanic programs Joe Trevino declares, “We are once again extremely proud of the great partnership we enjoy with the entire Entravision team. This year’s radio-thon success is a testament to the personal dedication, creativity, and commitment by everyone involved to engage Entravision listeners to participate with the radio-thon. It was a comprehensive team effort by Entravision.” Entravision’s “Jose,” “Super Estrella,” and “La Tricolor” network formats kicked off the event, broadcasting from Children’s Hospital Orange County and the following day from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The event concluded from Children’s Hospital Phoenix. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals.
Pinky Kravitz Retires from WOND, Atlantic City After 57 Years. His last live program on Longwood Media’s WOND, Atlantic City was back on May 14, just before his open heart surgery. Now, 88-year-old Pinky Kravitz is officially retiring from the station at which he’s worked since 1958. Kravitz, host of “Pinky’s Corner,” decided to retire after careful consultation with his family following a prolonged recuperation from the surgery. Longport Media president Dave Coskey comments, “We’re obviously sorry to see Pinky leaving our air, but we support him in this decision. Pinky has always been instantly identified with Atlantic City, South Jersey and WOND. Pinky may be leaving our air physically, but he will always possess a special place here at WOND and in the hearts of his many listeners throughout South Jersey.” Kravitz became a fixture on South Jersey radio and television beginning in 1956, when he began hosting a live call-in program on WLDB-AM, now WBSS. Two years later, he found a new home at WOND. Kravitz also hosted a weekly television program, “WMGM presents Pinky!” for many years on WMGM-TV, and for years he wrote columns for a variety of publications, most recently for The Press of Atlantic City. WOND has not announced a permanent replacement for Kravitz on the station.
Trump Debates Hispanic Journo in Iowa, Immigration Policy Debate, Obama Blesses Biden Presidential Run, Hillary Clinton Email Server Investigation, Volatile Global Financial Markets, and Caitlyn Jenner Halloween Costume Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/25). GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s Iowa press conference at which he first ejected, then debated a Univision reporter; the ongoing debate over America’s immigration policy; Vice President Joe Biden gets approval from President Obama to run for the office; the investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; investor nervousness over the global markets sell-off and concerns about another recession; and the flap over a Halloween costume based on the Caitlyn Jenner Vogue magazine cover were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.