Talk Radio Legend Michael Jackson Passes at 87. Talk radio host Michael Jackson, who achieved legendary status during his career in Los Angeles, died on Sunday (1/16) at his home in L.A. at the age of 87. Jackson, who retired from radio in 2007, had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for the past 10 years. He is best remembered for his iconic work at KABC, Los Angeles that lasted from 1966 to 1998. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison (who served as a talk show host on rocker KMET in Los Angeles between 1975 and 1986) issued the following statement: “Michael Jackson was one of the all-time greats – a founding father – of talk radio. During his 32-year run at KABC, his very presence gave the station prestige and national stature as one of – if not THE – first very rare commercial outlets fully committed to the spoken-word format. Michael Jackson and KABC were synonymous with the phrase ‘talk radio.’ It should also be pointed out that his heyday in the format began prior to the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 which, in my opinion, marked the beginning of the modern era of talk radio. That made him the member of an exclusive club of radio performers whose historical relevance and influence on things to come in the broadcasting industry are incalculable.” Jackson’s longtime producer Lyle Gregory remembers Jackson in a piece you can read here.
Monday Memo: Podcasting ‘Will Continue to Explode.’ In a marketing piece to the advertising community, iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman sees “no signs of growth abating.” In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke outlines opportunities at the station level. Read it here.
Pending Business: Early Warning. According to the “sales calendar,” January is over, and the first quarter is headed toward spring. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says it’s time for an early review of your sales game plan. “Like any other performance skill, practice, evaluation and repetition makes for improvement. The skills required for success in today’s sales environment may be different from the last few years.” Read about Lapa’s six questions you can ask yourself here.
Chicago Sports Personality Les Grobstein Dead at 69. Windy City sports media personality and WSCR “The Score” overnight talk host Les Grobstein was found dead at his home in suburban Elk Grove Village on Sunday, according to a report from Chicago media writer Robert Feder. He reports that WSCR operations director Mitch Rosen said Grobstein had been away from his show since last Wednesday due to illness. During his career, Grobstein was sports director at WLS-AM, Chicago for 10 years. He served at sports talk WMVP from 1991 to 1997. He began his overnight stint with WSCR in 2009.
Pioneering Talk Host Susan Bray Dies at 79. A number of news outlets are reporting that former talk host Susan Bray (pictured here on C-SPAN) died in her native Australia last week at age 79. The Des Moines Register has a nice story written by her longtime friend Julie Gammack, who would replace her on WHO-AM. During her career, Bray worked at such outlets as WHO-AM, Des Moines and WWDB-FM, Philadelphia. She earned the nickname the “Saucy Aussie” because of her ribald sense of humor. After a long talk radio career in the U.S., Bray, who had married American Ed DeLong, returned to her hometown of Mudgee, Australia where she and DeLong ran a bed and breakfast.
Maine Station Fires Sportscasters After Body Shaming Incident. The owner of Houlton, Maine radio station WHOU-FM has fired two sportscasters who were caught on a hot mic body-shaming female basketball players during a game between two high school teams. Jim Carter and Steve Shaw were calling the game while watching it on a livestream and made comments about the weight of some of the teenage girls. Carter is a former coach from another school and Shaw had been the athletic director at one of the schools playing in the contest that night. Carter told the Portland Press-Herald that he has apologized to the superintendent of one of the schools, adding, “I don’t even know what to say. Hopefully everybody can get through this and be OK.” Northern Maine Media owner Fred Grant posted a notice of the pair’s dismissal on the station website saying, in part, “Our mission has been to highlight the best of our communities, our schools, the programs we love, and most importantly – our students. Last night, two broadcasters made comments that were not only inappropriate, they were also blatantly wrong. Those broadcasters were terminated… We’ve heard from many of you, and many have shared clips of the event in question. While it’s wrong that it happened, I’m going to ask each of you to help us shift the focus back on the excellence we see every day in our students. If you’ve shared the video post, I’m hoping you will take it down, not to downplay the incident, but to better help all of our students move on to the important work and events in their lives.”
MIW Names Three to Board of Directors. Three new members are joining the board of directors for Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio. Haley Jones of MRC Data, Melissa Mitchell of Bonneville International, and Brittney Jackson of Urban One/Radio One are joining the board of the organization that “consists of top-level female radio professionals who use their experience, influence, and resources to help other women in radio develop management and leadership skills.” Jackson currently serves as the general and digital sales manager for Urban One/Radio One in Richmond where she is responsible for recruiting and developing new talent, leading multi-platform sales efforts, and increasing annual revenue. Jones serves as head of independents for MRC Data where she oversees independent labels, small radio groups, and managers with music intelligence for today. Mitchell is Bonneville International’s director of finance, corporate controller and is based in their Denver market. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff says, “We are extremely fortunate to have not one, but three powerhouses join our board. Their success speaks for itself; it’s their willingness to pay it forward for the good of women and our industry that makes each so special and appreciated. I’d be remiss in not thanking the three members leaving our board as their terms end: Kay Olin, principal of Olin & Associates, and past MIW spokeswoman, whose constant leadership, dedication, and long term participation profoundly impacted MIW and me personally; Valerie Blackburn, principal at VKB Consulting, whose financial expertise led MIW through the arduous process of establishing a formal 501(c)(3) status; and Beth Neuhoff, president & CEO Neuhoff Media who provided invigorating energy and challenging ideas that MIW will push ever forward.”
Cowboys Great Chad Hennings Takes Part in SRN News Series. Pictured here is Salem Radio Network VP of news Tom Tradup (left) with three-time Dallas Cowboys Superbowl champion Chad Hennings. Hennings is in the SRN studios working with Tradup on a special, week-long series on SRN News aimed at getting men involved in Christian ministries. The five-part series titled, “Get Off the Bench,” begins airing today (1/17)
Tuscaloosa Sports Talker Jay Barker Arrested on Assault Charges. Former University of Alabama star quarterback Jay Barker was arrested in Nashville and charged with aggravated assault after allegedly trying to ram the car his estranged wife was riding in. Barker hosts the midday show on Townsquare Media’s sports talk WTUG-HD2/W256CG, Tuscaloosa “Tide 100.9” and is married to country artist Sara Evans. She filed for divorce from Barker in August.
COVID-19, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, Texas Synagogue Assault, Djokovic Booted from Australia, NFL Playoffs, Winter Weather, and Martin Luther King, Jr Day Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The high rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the Supreme Court’s rejection of the Joe Biden vaccine mandate; the battle for control of Congress in November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence in the GOP; the Texas synagogue hostage incident; Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic is kicked out of Australia ahead of the Australian Open after violating the country’s COVID protocols; the NFL’s Wild Card weekend; intense winter weather hitting the Eastern U.S.; and the Martin Luther King, Jr weekend and holiday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Beasley Broadcast Group 2019 Q4 Net Revenue Dips 4.6%; Full Year Net Revenue Up 1.6%. In reporting 2019 fourth quarter financial results, Beasley Broadcast Group states that “the $3.5 million, or 4.6%, year-over-year decrease in net revenue during the three months ended December 31, 2019 reflects the cyclical impact of strong political advertising revenue recorded in the prior year period, partially offset by fourth quarter 2019 revenue increases in six of the company’s market clusters.” The decrease in operating income in Q4 reflects “the year-over-year decrease in station operating income, in addition to higher corporate expenses related to digital growth investments and a $12.4 million non-cash impairment charge related to Beasley’s AM stations in Boca Raton and Atlanta and a $1.3 million impairment loss on an investment, partially offset by a $17.1 million gain from land and tower sales during the period.” Net revenue for all of 2019 was $261.1 million, an increase of 1.6% over 2018. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Fiscal year 2019 was an active and productive period for Beasley as we continued to make significant progress rolling out our digital expansion and transformation initiatives across the company, while advancing our revenue diversification strategies and actively managing our local radio platform to drive long-term SOI growth and margin expansion. Beasley’s fourth quarter net revenue decline of $3.5 million primarily reflects a $2.8 million reduction in political advertising revenue compared to the prior year period. While we were not able to fully offset the cyclical impact of political revenue, the fourth quarter radio advertising environment remained healthy with six of our markets generating year-over-year revenue increases. By opportunistically divesting several non-core land and tower assets in 2019, Beasley generated a 31% increase in full year free cash flow over the prior year period, which enabled us to complete several strategic growth and diversification investments in our broadcast, digital, technology and esports platforms throughout the year. Our fourth quarter results highlight the value we have begun extracting from our digital transformation strategy investments. In the fourth quarter, Beasley generated digital revenue growth of approximately 44% on a year-over-year basis, with digital now accounting for 9.2% of total revenue, compared to 6.1% of total revenue in the prior year period. With our focus on quality content production and consumer engagement, we are growing audience share across our digital platforms while delivering multi-platform turnkey marketing solutions to advertisers and brands. Overall, we are pleased with the momentum and trajectory of our digital initiatives and look forward to this growth trend continuing in 2020.”
Jim Louth Rises to APD at Boston’s ‘98.5 The Sports Hub.’ Eleven-year station programming staffer Jim Louth is promoted from midday show executive producer to assistant program director at Beasley Media Group’s sports talker WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.” During his career, Louth produced New England Patriots broadcasts for 16 seasons, spent six years as a producer at sports talk WSKO-AM, Providence “790 The Score,” and two years at ESPN in Bristol. The APD position opened after Rick Radzik was promoted to program director following Mike Thomas’ departure for WMVP-AM, Chicago “ESPN 1000.” Radzik says, “Jim has been with the station since day one. He’s done a great job, not only producing our midday programming, but also overseeing our New England Patriots game day broadcasts over the past decade. His institutional knowledge of the Sports Hub’s operation and relationships with the staff make Jim the perfect choice for the APD position.”
TALKERS News Notes. A new report from marketing firm Claritas and sales force Market Enginuity concludes that “podcast advertising campaigns result in an average 10 times lift relative to print, digital, and TV.” The white paper reports that “new marketing tools are allowing advertisers and marketers to gain deeper insights into the effectiveness of podcast channels. In November 2018, Claritas acquired the omni-channel attribution platform Barometric and has since collected and reported on campaign results across more than 100 advertisers, which drove a deeper analysis in the channel’s effectiveness as compared to non-podcast channels. This analysis, across industries such as consumer packaged goods, automotive, direct brands, finance and insurance, shows that while non-podcast channels historically result in a 2.6% lift in conversions – with common channels such as digital display at 1.1% lift, print at 2.4% and linear TV at 3.1% – podcast channels are driving 34% lift on average.” See more here…..Cadence13 announces an exclusive partnership with The Dolan Twins – brothers Ethan and Grayson Dolan – for the launch of their first-ever podcast, “Deeper with The Dolan Twins.” The Dolan Twins have a combined following of over fifty million followers across all platforms, have won five Teen Choice Awards in three years, and earned a spot on Time magazine’s list of Most Influential Teens. The weekly podcast debuts on Tuesday, February 25…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One News has once again won the Golden Mike Award from the Southern California Radio Television News Association. Pictured at right is Los Angeles-based correspondent Jim Roope, who traveled to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. This is the fifth consecutive year that Westwood One News and Roope have won the Golden Mike award.
Presidential Race, Covid-19 Pandemic/Locust Plague, DOJ Contoversy, Boy Scouts File for Bankruptcy, and U.S. vs Huawei Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17). The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and tomorrow night’s debate in Las Vegas; the coronavirus pandemic and the locust plague that affected East Africa moves to China; the controversy over Attorney General William Barr’s administration of the Justice Department and accusations it’s reducing Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation under pressure from President Trump; under financial pressure from sex abuse lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy; and the U.S.’s battle against China’s Huawei over its 5G platform were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Girls Night Out. A great conversation between longtime radio pals took place along the waterway in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida as Compass Media Networks senior director of news/talk affiliate sales Susan O’Connell visited TALKERS South during her travels through the Sunshine State. Pictured (l-r): Former ABC Radio Networks executive Gloria Briggs, O’ Connell, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, and author/professor, Bernadette Duncan.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Detroit’s “Mojo in the Morning” show is celebrating its 20th anniversary at iHeartMedia’s WKQI “Channel 955” with a special broadcast on Friday (2/21). The program, hosted by Mojo and Spike with co-host Shannon, will be broadcast live on WKQI as well as sister stations WSNX, Muskegon, Michigan and WVKS-FM, Toledo “92.5 KISS-FM.” Also appearing on the special broadcast will be original cast members Sara Fouracre, Chad Mitchell, and Eric Harthen. iHeartMedia Detroit SVP of programming Tony Travatto says, “‘Mojo in the Morning’ is the Mount Rushmore of Detroit radio. The talented cast and show are continually striving to do bigger and better things than before and have evolved over the years to connect even more with the Detroit community. ‘Mojo in the Morning’ is one of the most accessible, cutting-edge, and successful shows in Detroit and we’re honored to have it on our program lineup.”
WCBM, Baltimore Announces Programming Changes. Charm City news/talk outlet WCBM “Talk Radio 680” announces a number of coming programming changes. Starting in morning drive, longtime newsman and co-host Frank Luber exits the show but will stay with the station to help with special projects and to continue to serve as a spokesman for some of its major advertisers. WCBM says that Luber and Nicholas Mangione were “instrumental in establishing WCBM as a major news/talk presence in Baltimore.” Beginning November 4, late morning talk host Bruce Elliott joins Sean Casey (who continues to serve as the station’s PD) for “The Morning Drive with Casey & Elliott.” Stepping into the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk host role is Derek Hunter, who returns to Baltimore after having served in recent years with the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, and as managing editor at The Daily Caller. The station also adds “The FOX News Rundown” for the 5:00 am to 6:00 am hour and Key Networks’ “The O’Reilly Update” with Bill O’Reilly to air from 11:45 am to 12:00 noon.
Monday Memo: Pronouncers for Announcers. How-you-say what-you-say makes a difference, and (obvious) former high school English teacher Holland Cooke explains in this week’s column. Read it here.
ISIS Leader Dead, Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Scandal, 2020 Presidential Race, Rep. Katie Hill Resigns, California Wildfires/Power Blackouts, and Brexit Extension Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi is reported by President Trump; the impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related allegations of illegal actions against Trump, and Joe and Hunter Biden with regard to the Ukraine; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020, U.S. Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) resigns her seat after being accused of improper relations with a campaign staffer; the wildfires in California and PG&E’s shutting off electricity to almost 1 million customers; and Boris Johnson gets an extension to January 31 for Britain’s exit from the EU were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Newsmax TV Presents Presidential Town Hall. In conjunction with the League of United Latin American Citizens, Newsmax TV presented a two-hour Presidential Town Hall with top Democratic candidates last Thursday (10/24). Taking part in the Newsmax Town Hall at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines were candidates Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, Tulsi Gabbard, and Julian Castro. The live Newsmax TV production reached 70 million cable homes.
FOX News Radio Makes ‘Rundown’ Available for Radio Stations. “The FOX News Rundown” launched in 2017 as a podcast hosted by Dave Anthony, Lisa Brady, and Jessica Rosenthal. Now, FOX News Radio is making the program available as an early morning weekday news hour “perfect for setting the stage for your local morning show.” FNR says, “‘The Rundown’ takes a deeper dive into the stories that are important to you and your listeners. Hosted by the anchors of FOX News Radio, the ‘Rundown’ also features voices from FOX News Channel, FOX Business Channel and the world of politics and entertainment.”
Ben & Skin Exit ‘105.3 The Fan’ in Dallas. The midday duo Ben & Skin – Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade – have resigned their positions with Entercom’s sports talk KRLD-FM, Dallas for an opportunity elsewhere. They are being replaced in the station lineup by evening duo Kevin Hageland and Cory Mageors. It’s not known if this is a permanent move or not. Regardless, morning drive co-host Shan Shariff tweeted that the duo was not fired and was moving on to another opportunity.
TALKERS News Notes. Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will serve as the keynote speaker at the 2020 Todd Starnes Faith and Freedom Celebration to be held at Truett McConnell University in Cleveland, Georgia on April 18, 2020. The annual event has raised more than $300,000 in scholarship money for students at the Christian school. Starnes says, “I can’t say enough great things about Sarah. Our media company is committed to super-serving the communities that broadcast my programs and bringing nationally known speakers to our event is a part of that effort.”…..WODS, Boston morning drive personality TJ Taormina has launched a podcast on Entercom’s RADIO.COM platform called, “Meet My Wife.” Taormina tells TALKERS, “It was an opportunity for me to step up to a blank canvas and create something from scratch. It starts in a music recording studio with a full band and travels from grocery store parking lots, to the middle of Boston Common, to my home living room. I wanted to take a unique approach to the rapidly growing podcast arena and make it something that could complement my daily live radio show.”…..Entercom’s board of directors have approved a clawback policy for five of its highest-paid executives. A clawback is a provision in an employment contract that states money paid to an employee may have to be returned. It’s usually for highly compensated executives and is intended as a sign of goodwill toward investors. In Entercom’s case, stock ownership guidelines were included with this move and require president and CEO David Field to hold Entercom shares equal to at least six times his base salary. It requires CFO Rich Schmaeling, COO Weezie Kramer, chief revenue officer Robert Philips, and EVP/general counsel Andrew Sutor to hold shares of at least two times their base salaries…..Boston public radio news/talk WGBH-FM is adding the NPR-distributed program “1A” to its lineup, airing from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The program is hosted by Joshua Johnson and focuses on First Amendment issues “related to policy, politics, technology, pop culture, sports, and humor.” The program’s goal is to “act as a national mirror — taking time to help America look at itself and to ask what it wants to be.”
WHAT IS REAL? Former WWE Champion Mick Foley Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most theatrical professional wrestlers of the modern era who blurred the line between reality and fiction as much as anyone who ever played the game, Mick Foley, guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Foley created several of wrestling’s most memorable characters, including Cactus Jack and Mankind, participating in physically damaging stunts that took his body past the limits of safety and protection. Although he played brutish, psychotic characters, Foley went on to become a best-selling author, public speaker, and articulate supporter of a variety of charities and social causes. In a fascinating one-on-one conversation, Harrison and Foley discuss the nature of reality TV and the role it plays in today’s political circus citing Donald Trump’s participation in the WWE prior to his presidency as an early example of the Commander in Chief’s penchant for mixing over-the-top theatrics with the semblance of real life storylines. Don’t miss this! 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 or on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Steve Hoffman is named program director for Beasley Media Group’s hot AC KVGS-FM and assistant program director for sister urban contemporary KOAS, effective October 14. Hoffman has been consulting for the past few years. He was previously on air at KSWD, Los Angeles and programmed KCAL, Riverside for 15 years. Beasley Las Vegas VP and market manager Peter Burton states, “We have been interested in bringing Steve into the fold for quite some time. I had the pleasure of working with him in Los Angeles for five years. Hiring Steve allows us to continue to surround ourselves with the best in the industry.”…..At Entercom’s CHR KAMP, Los Angeles, Chris Booker shifts from the afternoon drive show to AM drive where he’ll work with co-host Chelsea Briggs and Krystal Bee. The new show replaces Edgar “Shoboy” Sotelo. He’d been paired with Brian Moote and Briggs. Briggs exited the station in August. Taking over Booker’s afternoon drive show is midday personality Yesi Ortiz. Moving to middays from weekends is Christen…..iHeartMedia names Adam Rivers program director for its four-station cluster in New Haven. He’d been serving as APD and music director at CHRs WKCI “KC101” and WKSS “KISS 95-7.” He’s now also programming news/talk WELI and sports talk WAVZ “ESPN 1300.” iHeartMedia Hartford Region president Steve Honeycomb says, “Over the past several years, Adam has truly been the backbone here at ‘KC101’ and a staple in Connecticut radio. Adam’s years of experience and the way he engages with his listeners go far beyond his afternoon drive show and we couldn’t be happier to see him evolve into this new role here in New Haven, Connecticut.”
Legendary DJ “Cousin” Bruce Morrow to Receive TALKERS 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award. Legendary radio personality “Cousin” Bruce Morrow– an icon from the golden era of hit radio on WABC, New York and current star of SiriusXM’s 60s on Six channel – has been selected by the TALKERS editorial board to be the recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award. Morrow’s impressive career includes not only his work as a radio personality on some of America’s biggest stations but radio station ownership and television work, as well. TALKERS magazine executive editor Kevin Casey says, “Bruce Morrow is a symbol of the great disc jockeys of the golden era who paved the way for radio to connect to people’s hearts and minds and that set the stage for modern talk radio to be the bastion of personality that keeps this medium so vital. The fact that ‘Cousin Brucie’ takes calls and does such wonderful interviews is a tribute to this man’s talent, pertinence, and longevity.” Morrow says, “I am honored to receive this award from TALKERS, especially since so much of my show and work at SiriusXM now consists of talking to callers and artists on the air about their lives and careers and what the music and culture has meant and continues to mean to them. This is tremendously gratifying.” The “Lifetime Achievement” award will be presented to “Cousin” Bruce Morrow at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story on Friday, June 7 in New York City. The convention is just a day away from being completely sold out. To register, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or click here for more information.
Report: WMVP, Chicago Not Happy with Nielsen Ratings Error. Chicago media reporter Robert Feder has the story. Yesterday, TALKERS alerted you to Feder’s initial report about Nielsen Audio admitting it failed to include the online listening for sports talk WMVP “ESPN Chicago” in the April PPM survey and it issued new numbers for the station yesterday. While the ESPN-owned station went up from a 1.2 to a 1.3 share with Persons 6+, vice president and general manager Jim Pastor says in the key demo – Men 25-54 – certain shows were affected by as much as 50%. Moreover, Pastor tells Feder, “The real story here is that it’s remarkable Nielsen’s PPM device captured any digital listening at all. By their own admission, PPM technology is inadequate at best when it comes to measuring digital.” Read Feder’s account here.
TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER: Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Nearing a Sellout! The 22nd annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention is on the verge of being sold out. The final deadline for registrations being accepted is today (5/24) at 5:00 pm ET. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “In order to maintain the intimacy and effectiveness of this heritage event, it must be open only to members of the media industries and be in a special type of venue with limited seating and capacity. We have resisted the impulse to grow this event beyond that level of efficiency. That is one of the reasons it is so popular and has enjoyed such amazing longevity.” To obtain registration information and avoid being shut out before the deadline, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. For an up to the minute agenda, please click here.
ESPN Radio Changes Roles for Jason Fitz and Sarah Spain. Next week, ESPN personalities Jason Fitz and Sarah Spain expand their roles at the sports media giant. Fitz becomes a regular part of ESPN Radio’s weekday morning lineup as a regular contributor on the morning drive “Golic and Wingo” show that features Mike Golic, Trey Wingo, and Mike Golic Jr. Fitz will continue to contribute to ESPN’s live, on-site digital presence at major events. Spain begins hosting a new weeknight radio show, “Spain and Company,” that will air nightly from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. Co-hosts on the show will include ESPN Radio’s Jason Goff and ESPN college basketball analyst Jordan Cornette. Fitz says, “Working with Sarah has been incredible and it has – frankly – made me better being partnered with her every day. Looking ahead, I’m beyond excited to bring my energy and voice to the fans in the morning with the amazing ‘Golic and Wingo’ team and before that, provide an hour of my perspective on ‘First and Last.’” Spain comments, “I’ve really enjoyed working with Jason, creating a fun and unique show based on our shared sensibilities and interests. Going forward, it’s a thrill for me to lead the way on ‘Spain and Company’ with a great cast of co-hosts.”
Sterling: Women in Talk – Is This an Issue? Nationally syndicated talk radio host Walter M. Sterling bristles at the question, “Is this the year of the woman? (in talk radio)” He says the better question is, “Is this the moment when men will get out of the freakin’ way and let the proven success of women in talk radio flourish again?” The two women in the photo at right were superstars of New York City talk radio in 1955. Find out who they were and read the rest of Sterling’s piece here.
Five Appointed to NAB Radio Board of Directors. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that, in accordance with its by-laws, Radio Board chairman Randy Gravley makes five appointments to the NAB Radio Board of Directors, effective at the beginning of the June Board meeting, to be held June 10-12. Reappointed for another two-year term as Designated Representatives are: Amador Bustos, president, Bustos Media Holdings, LLC; David Field, chairman, president, and CEO, Entercom Communications Corp.; and Bill McElveen, regional president, Alpha Media LLC. Appointed for a new two-year term as Designated Representatives are: Mary Berner, president and CEO, Cumulus Media and Kevin Perry, vice president/general manager, Perry Publishing and Broadcasting Company.
TALKERS News Notes. Progressive talk radio personality Thom Hartmann is credited as writer/consultant on the new film, Ice on Fire, that addresses the melting of the polar ice cap and global warming. The film features actor Leonardo DiCaprio as narrator and will air on HBO on June 11. Hartmann, DiCaprio, and director Leila Connors also worked together on the 2011 film The 11th Hour. See The Hollywood Reporter’s review here…..Chicago public radio news/talk outlet WBEZ-FM announces a new local program to air in middays. Windy City media writer Robert Feder reports that the Chicago Public Media radio station is debuting a local talk show starring Jenn White to air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. White moves from “The Morning Shift,” a position she’s been in since January. CPM CEO Goli Sheikholeslami says, “Midday listening is becoming increasingly important as people check in on what’s happening in the world, particularly with the rise in streaming audio. We’re meeting this need by investing in new, indispensable programming that will drive the daily Chicago conversation during the key midday listening hours.”
Premiere Networks Celebrates Gracie Winners. Pictured above celebrating their Gracie Awards victories are “The Sean Hannity Show” producer Lynda McLaughlin and “The Breakfast Club” host Angela Yee. They were honored along with all the other winners at the 44th annual Gracie Awards at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles. McLaughlin won the National Talk Radio Producer honor and Yee won in the National Radio Host/Personality category. Pictured (from l-r) are: Premiere Networks EVP and director of personality sales Dan Metter, McLaughlin, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, and Yee.
Trump’s Stonewalling Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 20-24. The president’s refusal to answer to subpoenas as the Democrats continue to try to investigate him was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the effort by the state of New York to provide the president’s state tax returns to congress. Coming in at #3 was the Democrats’ increased momentum to begin impeachment proceedings against the president, followed by the 2020 presidential race 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.
Progressive Talk Host and Pundit Bill Press Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the major players on the struggling liberal side of commercial talk radio, Bill Press, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Press is a pioneer in the “progressive” genre on both radio and cable TV. He was the liberal voice in the historic CNN debate show “Crossfire” from 1996 to 2002. Today, he is a regularly featured talking head on MSNBC as well as CNN and is an opinion contributor to the DC-based political publication, The Hill. He is also a prolific author and critic of conservative talk radio who writes about the virtues of the Democrats and the dangers of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Press announced last week that he is about to conclude a 14-year run hosting a daily morning radio talk program that been heard on a variety of terrestrial and online platforms and has attracted a respectable critical mass of loyal listeners. In its place, he will be devoting his energies to podcasting and has every intention of continuing to be an active voice in the national conversation as we approach the 2020 election. Harrison and Press talk about the difficulties that have faced the liberal brand of commercial news/talk radio, the emerging field of podcasting and the growing field of candidates looking to make Donald Trump a one-term president. 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. Gone is Cumulus Media’s CHR WYRG, Indianapolis “Energy 93.9” and in is classic rock “93-9X, Indy’s Rock Station.” Cumulus picked up fellow CHR WZPL back in February in a swap with Entercom. WZPL has consistently outperformed WYRG over the years so the format change is not a surprise. Cumulus corporate PD Troy Hanson says, “We are excited to expand the successful ‘93X’ brand to Indianapolis with the new ‘93-9X.’ Shout out to [KXXR/MSP program director] Derek Madden, our brainchild on this project, as we fill a hole in the marketplace with a much-needed rock station. The partnership opportunities this brand adds to our Indy cluster portfolio and rock platform are limitless.”…..San Antonio hot AC KSMG “Magic 105.3” welcomes Tony Cortez to its airstaff as evening personality. Cortez joins the Cox Media Group from his most recent position with Alpha Media’s crosstown CHR KTFM “Energy 94.1.” Cox San Antonio director of operations Jeff Garrison says, “Tony’s style, experience, and love for our great city make him the perfect addition to our Magic team. He’s sure to bring a new level of fun and energy to our evening listeners.”…..Country radio pro Jessica Tyler – most recently with Cumulus Media’s WDRQ, Detroit “NASH FM 93.1” – is joining Townsquare Media’s New Hampshire country duo WOKQ, Portsmouth and WPKQ North Conway to serve as assistant brand manager for both stations and midday personality on WOKQ.
PPM Analysis: Classic Hits. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the classic hits format. From March to April, weekly 6+ AQH share movement was split fairly even, with about half the stations on the panel going up and the other half going down. Gainers were led by Cumulus Media’s WJJK-FM, Indianapolis (+1.7) and iHeartMedia’s WWBB, Providence “B101” (+1.6). Year over year, about 70% of the stations on our panel enjoyed a ratings increase, with WJJK showing an impressive 3.2 share increase and iHeartMedia’s KLTH, Portland and Bonneville’s KRSP, Salt Lake City both notching 2.5 share gains. Meanwhile, 10 classic hits stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets in the April survey. Find out which stations they are by reading the whole report here.