Eyes on iHeartMedia as Debt Restructuring Attempts Continue. Industry watchers continue to observe and report on the possible debt restructuring of iHeartMedia that would prevent the company’s bankruptcy. The New York Post is reporting that a group of lenders led by Symphony Asset Management has a proposal offered to iHM that would to just that. But the group won’t give final approval unless Franklin Advisers – which owns $2.3 billion of iHM debt – agrees to the package as well. The Post story indicates that Franklin is reviewing the offer. This proposal from the lender group would have them trade their debt for 49% of iHeartMedia. Read it here.
Final RTDNA Newsroom Research Project: Salary Survey. The ninth of nine reports for 2017 as part of Hofstra professor emeritus Bob Papper’s Newsroom Research Project focuses on the salaries of those working in the television and radio industries. How did radio newsroom salaries compare to last year’s? Tepid increases at best, writes Papper. “Radio salaries rose 2.3% from last year. That’s less than last year’s 3.1% increase… but far better than the two previous years. Factor in low inflation of 2.1%, and radio salaries barely budged in the last year.” Looking at median newsroom salaries, Papper notes, “Five- and 10-year salary comparisons show two entirely different pictures. Again. The last five years have been tough, overall, in radio news. Half the positions saw salary increases above the rate of inflation, but half were below. The 10-year picture shows mostly strong growth based on some very low salaries reported in 2007. We’ll see how these numbers hold up over time.” Read the RTDNA report here.
Translator Deal to Give WTMJ, Milwaukee FM Presence. The FCC filing indicates that translator W277CV at 103.3 FM – owned by Frank Glass McCoy – will soon move to Scripps’ tower that hosts transmitters for WTMJ-TV and WKTI-FM and will become an FM translator for news/talk WTJM-AM. The translator is currently licensed to Waukegan, Illinois with a construction permit to move it to Milwaukee. McCoy originally had talks with WRRD, Waukesha owner Michael Crute about leasing the translator to his station. It sounds as though Scripps offered more money for the signal. Vice president & general manager of WTMJ/WKTI-Milwaukee and VP, news/talk & sports Tom Langmyer tells TALKERS magazine, “WTMJ is ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station’ and Milwaukee’s leading news, talk and sports brand. We’re also the flagship for the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers and the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s important to make the station’s services available to listeners on additional platforms. The exclusive FM radio cume will now be especially well-served by our commitment to live and local talk – and our 24-hour newsroom.”
Media Equality Project to Hold Rally at CNN Headquarters. The Media Equality Project – an organization led by talk radio pros Melanie Morgan and Brian Maloney – is organizing a rally at the Atlanta headquarters of CNN this Saturday (7/22) from 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm. The organization says that Morgan and Maloney “will be joined by their volunteer leaders, local political activists and Atlanta talk show host Bryan Crabtree of ‘Biz1190’ and ‘AM920 The Answer’ to call for unbiased, balanced coverage of national issues that people care about.” Maloney adds, “For too long, CNN has been allowed to warp, misrepresent and outright manufacture news events out of thin air. Real damage has been done to the targets of CNN’s misreporting, not to mention the country as a whole.” Crabtree comments, “If there’s one anti-Trump protester standing in Times Square with a sign, CNN will rush a camera to the scene seizing the opportunity to make our president look defeated. It will be interesting to see if CNN will notice that real news is happening outside their front door as Americans gather to protest the hysteria and fake news being peddled by their network every day. Americans want real, truthful news and that’s why CNN is not even in the top 10 – even trailing Nick at Nite.”
TALKERS News Notes. The price Townsquare Media is paying for Berkshire Broadcasting’s and Gamma Broadcasting’s Western Massachusetts stations is $3.35 million. The deal, announced back on July 7, is for the six stations/translators: hot AC WBEC-FM, news/talk WBEC-AM, classic hits WUPE-AM/FM (and an FM translator at 94.1 FM), adult contemporary WNAW-AM, adult contemporary WSBS-AM (and translator W277CJ at 103.3 FM)…..Digital media pro Mike Orth joins Adams Radio as VP of sales for Adams Digital Media. Orth previously served with the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He comments, “I am very excited to bring to Adams Radio the knowledge base I have gained while working with one of the premier newspapers that has been a pioneer in developing digital assets for traditional media. Adams has wonderful radio assets and I believe we can leverage those into some amazing complementary digital tools that will assist our clients in further growing their businesses. At the end of the day that’s all that matters – when our clients grow, we grow.” Adams CEO Ron Stone adds, “Mike’s consultative sales approach and ability to partner with clients to bring them into the process goes beyond selling…Mike has developed exceptional interpersonal communication skills resulting in trusted relationships with his clients and peers.” Adams operates radio clusters in Fort Wayne; suburban Chicago/Northwest Indiana; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland…..SB Nation Radio announces the addition of a new weekend program to its schedule. “Realtree Radio” with host O‘Neill Williams will air live from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Saturdays. SB Nation Radio program director Craig Larson comments, “O’Neill Williams is a true pioneer and master of his craft. With a brilliant combination of humor and insight, ‘Realtree Radio’ will not only appeal to outdoor enthusiasts but any fans of great sports talk.”…..iHeartMedia Milwaukee’s six-station cluster – including news/talk WISN – held a water drive to benefit victims of Southeast Wisconsin’s recent flood. The cluster, with the help of generous listeners filled five large semi-trucks with bottled water for those whose wells were tainted by the floodwaters. iHeartMedia operations manager Kerry Wolfe states, “The iHeartMedia Milwaukee team and our listeners are committed to the people in the Milwaukee community. They saw their neighbors in need and jumped to action in a matter of hours.”…..Back on June 13, WBUR, Boston launched “Freak Out and Carry On,” a new politics and history podcast designed to address the “urgent issues of our time through a historical lens.” The program is hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author Ron Suskind and Boston College historian Heather Cox Richardson and examines the national political landscape and explores the historical context for today’s events…..On Friday (7/21), XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” morning personality Dan Sileo will host CBS Corp. chairman Les Moonves. Sileo says that topic of discussion will be the Entercom-CBS merger.
GOP’s Health Care Reform Failure, Undisclosed Trump-Putin Meeting, Huntsman Nominated for Russian Ambassador Post, Woman Slain by Minnesota Cop, Saudi Miniskirt Controversy, ‘Game of Thrones’ New Season, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/18). Analysis of the GOP’s failure to vote on its health care reform package and President Trump’s comments about letting ObamaCare fail; reports of a previously undisclosed 60-minute meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin at the recent G20 summit; President Trump nominates Jon Huntsman for Ambassador to Russia post; the investigation into the shooting death of a woman in Minnesota by a police officer; the arrest of a woman in Saudi Arabia for posting a video of herself wearing a miniskirt; Sunday’s season premiere of “Game of Thrones” including the cameo appearance of singer Ed Sheeran; 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.
TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/19) with Mike McVay, Julie Talbott and Steve Jones. The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day. Already posted are:
– The “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein).
– The special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan).
– The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon).
– The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo).
– The special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard).
– The special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell).
– The first, second and third in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” featuring conversations between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan Bearman, Bold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto and DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum, and nationally syndicated host Dr. Asa Andrew and TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein. All three sessions are facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter.
– A “one-on-one” dialogue titled “Radio That Makes a Difference” featuring the SiriusXM Satellite Radio husband/wife team of host Joe Madison and executive producer Sharon Madison (introduced by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio VP/GM talk programming Dave Gorab).
– A “Fireside Chat” featuring former CBS Radio president/CEO and Broadcasters Foundation of America chairman Dan Mason being interviewed by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley (with introduction by BOB-FM, London morning host Graham Mack).
– A “Fireside Chat” featuring Emmis Communications CEO/chairman Jeff Smulyan being interviewed by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (with an introduction by Bentley University professor/TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman).
– The first two in a series of four “one-on-one” dialogues titled “The Challenges of Doing Talk Radio in 2017.” They feature a conversation between WYD Media syndicated host Thom Hartmann and Cumulus Media corporate PD/WMAL, Washington PD Bill Hess, introduced by Moceri Media president Greg Moceri and a conversation between morning co-host of WAQY-FM (Rock102), Springfield, MA Mike “Bax” Baxendale and morning host of WOLB, Baltimore Larry Young (facilitated by ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones).
– TODAY (7/19), the third in the above series is posted featuring a conversation between Cumulus Media EVP programming and content Mike McVay and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (also facilitated by ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones).
Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year. The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone Networks, Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp. To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.
Todd Feinburg of WTIC, Hartford Guests on Harrison Podcast. The newest full-time member of the air staff of heritage talker WTIC, Hartford – Todd Feinburg – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne media series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Feinburg, a veteran New England radio talk show host whose decades-long broadcasting career included a five-year stint as morning co-host on WRKO, Boston, joined the legendary Connecticut CBS O&O in April hosting afternoon drive, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Feinberg talks to Harrison about his method balancing local and national stories in a way that is constantly relevant to the station’s geographical community as well as recognizing that the conservative “choir” to whom news/talk has traditionally been preaching can no longer be considered homogeneous since the political ascendancy of Donald Trump. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Personality Marley Sherwood officially joins Premiere Networks and CMT as a part of the “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” and “CMT Radio Live with Cody Alan” shows. She will serve as a correspondent – bringing pop culture and lifestyle stories to the country radio programs. She will continue in her role as associate producer of CMT’s signature music show “Hot 20 Countdown” with Cody Alan and Katie Cook. Alan states, “Radio is all about connecting with the audience and I’m looking forward to our listeners getting to know Marley. She’s genuine, magnetic, and fearless, so we’re going to have a lot of fun with our listeners every night!”.…..Cox Media Group appoints Christy Lendry to the general sales manager position for its seven-station Jacksonville cluster. Lendry – who was most recently with Cox as new business sales manager for WFOX-TV and WJAX-TV – will also serve as brand manager for CHR WAPE and adult contemporary WEZI “EASY 106.5.”…..Beasley Media Group’s alternative WBOS, Boston “ALT 92.9” announces the lineup for its “ALT Rocks Boston 2017” free summer concert series that will be headlined by: The Revivalists, American Authors and New Politics. The shows will take place at Copley Square Park on August 17, 31, and on September 9 at the SoWa Art & Design District Market.
NYPost: iHM Creditors Seek New Restructuring Adviser. According to a report published in the New York Post over the weekend, iHeartMedia creditors are requesting the company replace current restructuring adviser Moelis & Co. iHM did not comment specifically on the reported request other than to say, “Moelis continues to be the firm advising us in connection with our restructuring.” The story also states that a lead iHM institutional lender believes that iHeartMedia has “only a 50-50 chance of reaching a restructuring deal with creditors and avoiding a bankruptcy by early 2018.” The current restructuring offer from iHM that would pay 75 cents on the dollar, has been extended five times and has less than 1% of shareholders on board. But the Post story indicates the company plans to offer a new proposal to creditors within the coming weeks. See the Post story here.
Cooke: Are Your Weekends Hit… or Miss? Media consultant Holland Cooke says smart news/talk stations take advantage of programming that appeals to their listeners’ weekend mindsets. “At many talk stations, Saturday and Sunday are the most profitable days of the week. At smart stations, shows are ‘appointment listening’ that reflect listeners’ weekend routines and bring revenue the station wouldn’t otherwise get. At other stations, management shrugs, and doesn’t (dare) listen.” Yes, a lot of stations put home improvement and consumer-oriented shows on, but often they don’t end up selling them properly and the shows get forgotten by the sales department. Read what Cooke has to say about the potential for revenue with weekend programming here.
News/Talk Personalities Melanie Morgan and Brian Maloney Target Rachel Maddow Show with Online Campaign. Saying that their hand is being forced because of the Media Matters campaign against Sean Hannity’s Fox News Channel advertisers, news/talk media pros Melanie Morgan and Brian Maloney are spearheading a similar advertiser campaign targeting MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. The two operate the Media Equality Project and are using the hashtag #StopTheScalpings associated with Maddow’s show, urging people to complain if they disagree with her show content.
TALKERS News Notes. Exiting the news department at iHeartMedia Richmond’s news/talk WRVA is anchor/reporter Jeff Stapleton. He writes on his Facebook page, “After 26 plus years in the radio business, and almost 17 years here in Richmond, I was told today that my services were no longer needed. It was sudden and completely out of the blue and it was the day I got back from vacation—which made it very odd.”…..According to the New York Post, Mike Crispino will not return in the fall to call New York Knicks games after the MSG Networks elected not to renew his deal after 25 years with the company. Analyst Brendan Brown is expected to return to the broadcasts…..There’s been no official word from MSNBC, but The Hollywood Reporter is saying that president Phil Griffin – president since 2008 – has signed a new contract to remain in charge of the network. The Hollywood Reporter writes that MSNBC has done well in the early days of the Trump Administration, “To be sure, all three of the top cable news networks were up in the first quarter of the year. But MSNBC has bested even perennial leader Fox News Channel in the all-important 25-54 demographic during primetime in recent days. And ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ has been the No. 1 cable news program since March.”
Frank Deford Dead at 78. Legendary sports writer and longtime NPR contributor Frank Deford died Sunday in Key West, Florida at the age of 78. Deford contributed sports commentaries for NPR for 37 years before retiring from that position earlier this month. He spent much of his earlier career writing for Sports Illustrated.
Jared Kushner-Russia Connection Investigation, Trump International Trip Aftermath, Texas Sanctuary Cities Bill Protest, New North Korean Missile Launch, Baghdad Bombing, Memorial Day Holiday, Gregg Allman Dies, Tiger Woods DUI, MLB, NBA, and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Reports that the FBI is investigating whether President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner sought a secure communications line with Russians; the aftermath of President Trump’s nine-day trip abroad; the rowdy protests at the Texas State House over a bill prohibiting sanctuary city status in the state; North Korea launches a missile into the sea in Japanese territory; ISIS takes credit for deadly car bombing of a Baghdad ice cream shop; the Memorial Day holiday weekend; Allman Brothers founding member Gregg Allman dies at 69; golfing great Tiger Woods is arrested for DUI; and MLB, NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories over the holiday weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KKOB, Albuquerque PD Pat Frisch Member of Nevada Broadcasters Class of 2017 HOF. When the 22nd Nevada Broadcasters Association gala kicks off on August 19 at the Four Seasons Las Vegas, Cumulus Albuquerque programmer and OM Pat Frisch will be among the class of 2017 inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Frisch is OM/PD for heritage news/talker KKOB-AM, talk KTBL, and sports talk KNML in Albuquerque. From 1990 through 1999, he worked in the Lake Tahoe, Reno and Las Vegas markets in Nevada.
JT The Brick Emcees ‘Coaches vs Cancer’ Golf Event. Pictured above is FOX Sports Radio’s JT The Brick (at the podium) surrounded by college coaches as he emcees the official celebration of the 10th annual Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic in Las Vegas on May 21. This was JT The Brick’s fourth year emceeing the event. Fellow FOX Sports Radio personality Doug Gottlieb did his May 22 program live from the tournament that raised more than $1 million for the American Cancer Society.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. San Diego radio pro Robin Roth is named assistant program director at Midwest Television’s rock KFMB-FM. She’s also hosting the evening show. Program director Mike Vasquez comments, “Robin Roth is synonymous with rock and roll in San Diego and having her on our programming team on a full-time basis is going to make us stronger. She brings talent, knowledge and the will to do whatever it takes to win and I’m so thrilled to have her.” Roth has worked in the market at XHRM, XTRA-FM, and KIOZ…..Raleigh morning radio personality Bob Dumas signs a contract extension to continue hosting the “Bob and The Showgram” morning show for iHeartMedia’s CHR WDCG “G105.” The show cast also includes Erica and Brody. iHM Virginia/Carolina region president Dave Carwile says, “We are thrilled to sign Bob Dumas for another three years – Bob and the G105 brand are synonymous with Raleigh.”…..iHeartMedia flips classic rock WDTW-FM, Detroit to variety hits branded as “106.7 The D.”…..Over in St. Louis iHM leaves classic hits behind and brings the “Majic” brand back to the market as W279AQ becomes “Majic 103.7 – Today’s R&B and Throwbacks.” Core artists will include Mary J. Blige, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Maxwell and Janet Jackson. iHM St. Louis SVP of programming A.J. states, “The ‘Majic’ brand is no stranger to St. Louis and has been iconic in the market since 1979. With the launch of the new ‘Majic 103.7,’ we are resurrecting over 35 years of enriching lives and serving the St. Louis community.”