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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

| July 2, 2019

Mapleton Communications Sells 37 Stations in Seven Markets to Stephens Media Group. This is an exit from the radio business for California-based, Jim Shea-led Mapleton Communications.  The price for the 37 stations in Medford, Oregon; Merced, Monterey, and Redding, California; Spokane, Washington; and Alexandria and Monroe, Louisiana was not revealed in the press release.  But, with Mapleton previously agreeing to sell KSFN-AM, San Francisco and its Chico, California stations to Bustos Media, it will have divested of all of its radio assets.  The buyer in this transaction is Oklahoma-based Stephens Media Group, led by David Stephens.  Stephens begins operating the stations immediately under an LMA.  Stephens Media owns stations in Tulsa and Ardmore, Oklahoma; Watertown, Ogdensburg, Massena, and Rochester, New York; and Yakima and the Tri-Cities in Washington.  Several news/talk and sports talk stations are involved, including KYOS-AM, Merced; KQMS-FM and KNRO-AM in Redding; KCMX-AM in Medford; and KGA-AM in Spokane. You can see Mapleton’s stations here. KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

KMOX Promotes Amy Marxkors to Daily On-Air Role. Effective immediately, Amy Marxkors begins a regular on-air role with Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis joining station institution Charlie Brennan as a co-host of the “Total Information AM Overdrive” Mondays through Thursdays from 8:30 am to 9:00 am and will stay on the air for “The Charlie Brennan Show” from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Marxkors joined the station in 2018 as a sports reporter and host.  Prior to joining Entercom, she served as co-host of the St. Louis Blues weekly hockey show “Chili’s Week in Hockey” in 2016, that aired on KMOX.  She joined the Blues radio broadcast in 2017 and became the first woman to host the pre- and post-game of a radio broadcast for any St. Louis professional sports team in February 2019.  Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “Amy is a rising star in radio and has shown tremendous growth on air while covering everything from the Blues Stanley Cup run to discussing local and national issues during our long-form talk shows.  She has a very bright future and I’m looking forward to the impact she can make on KMOX.”  In addition to her role on the morning show, Marxkors will continue to cover the St. Louis Blues and the National Hockey League by hosting a weekly hockey podcast.

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continues Posting Today with Lee Habeeb of “Our American Stories” Delivering Official Welcoming Address.  TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story.  Today’s post presents the convention’s official opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by one of the industry’s great storytellers, Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the tremendously successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories.” The first two videos already posted today are of RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

News and News/Talk Radio Analysis. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an assessment of “the temperature of spoken-word stations as a complete entity in all 48 PPM-markets.”  Formats involved in this report are news/talk, all-news (including business or financial news), and public radio news/talk.  As this report is based on Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys, the rating metric is weekly, 6+ AQH share from subscribing stations.  Looking at the May PPM survey, the #1 market for news and news/talk is Washington, DC.  On the strength of Hubbard’s all-news WTOP-FM, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, and American University’s public radio news/talk WAMU-FM, the format garnered a 22.7 share in May.  Rounding out the top three markets are Milwaukee and San Francisco.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. Sources in Philadelphia tell TALKERS magazine that news/talk WPHT program director Jared Hart has exited Entercom.  We’ve reached out to Entercom Philadelphia for confirmation but have not yet heard back…..In addition to his work as a nationally syndicated talk show host for the Salem Radio Network, Hugh Hewitt also serves as president of the Richard Nixon Foundation.  In that capacity, he announces two coming events being held at the library in Yorba Linda, California centered around the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing in 1969.  On July 20, the “Earth to Moon: The Longest Distance Phone Call in History” celebration will commemorate Nixon’s call to the Apollo 11 astronauts on the surface of the moon.  Nixon White House officials Dwight Chapin, Larry Higby, and John Price – who were with Nixon the night he made the historic call will be in attendance.  Then, on July 23, the library will present the “Splashdown Celebration” with Dr. Buzz Aldrin to honor the legendary Apollo moonwalker…..ESPN’s annual ESPYS Auction benefiting the V Foundation for Cancer Research is again teaming up with eBay for Charity for its 15th year.  Bidding for the 80-plus VIP packages and experiences is now available on eBay and will remain open through July 10.  Senior vice president of ESPN Audio Traug Keller says, “Everyone at ESPN Radio is beyond proud to have played a role in raising funds for cancer research with the ESPYS Auction the last 15 years.  Seeing the support from fans bidding on experiences or directly donating to the V Foundation is truly something unique and special.”…..The nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” program reports the addition of new affiliate station WSLW-AM/FM in Lewisburg, West Virginia and the expansion of carriage of the show on existing affiliate KINN-AM/FM in Alamogordo, New Mexico…..The Houston Chronicle reports that longtime market radio news pro Charles L. “Chuck” Scott died on June 28 after complications from a fall and previously diagnosed lung cancer.  Scott most recently served with Houston Public Media’s KUHF-FM.  During his long career he worked in the news department KIKK-AM, KNUZ-AM, and KQUE-FM.  He also worked for a number of years in the late 1960s and early 1970s at WLS-AM, Chicago.

Simmons Takes Over for Ryan at Salem Boston. At Salem Media Group’s three-station Boston cluster, Pat Ryan retires as general manager and general sales manager Carole Howley Simmons is promoted to the GM position. Salem operates three Christian stations in the market – WROL-AM, WEZE-AM, and WWDJ-AM.  Salem regional VP Jeff Reisman says,  “Throughout Carole’s tenure she has proven herself to be a creative and compassionate leader, skills that will serve her well as GM.  Carole brings a wealth of local-market knowledge and tenacity that will be instrumental in growing the Salem Boston radio stations/digital services to their full potential.”

Trump’s Meeting with Kim Jong Un, U.S. Tariffs Strategy, U.S.-China Trade Talks, 2020 Presidential Race, Immigration Reform-Detention Facilities, and Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1).  The meeting in the DMZ between President Trump and Kim Jong Un; the U.S.’s tariffs strategy, including proposed tariffs on European Union goods; President Trump and China’s Xi Jinping enter into trade talks; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the Trump Administration’s immigration reform efforts and controversial reports of conditions at border detention centers; and Iran’s violation of the nuclear deal 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. Classic call letters are returning to California’s Central Coast as Cumulus Media announces the launch of classic hits KRUZ. At the same time, the company announces that classic hip hop KVYB at 103.3 FM signs off in the Santa Barbara market and moves to the 106.3 FM frequency in the Oxnard market.  Cumulus Oxnard/Ventura RVP and market manager Sommer Frisk says, “Everything good takes time.  And, after more than a decade, it’s time we bring KRUZ 103.3 FM back to the Central Coast!  It’s also the right time to move ‘106.3 The Vibe’ to Oxnard to give the fans what they’ve been begging for.  With the combination of KRUZ 103.3’s powerful signal, along with the synergy of its legendary sister brand ‘106.3 The Vibe,’ we will provide new and exciting ways for our listeners and marketing partners to engage with the fans up and down the Central Coast.”…..Entercom names Brian Shannon morning show co-host for classic rock KGON.  Shannon joins Terry Boyd on “Terry Boyd’s World,” effective July 8.  Shannon says, “I am incredibly excited to be going home to radio and to be working alongside one of Portland’s best, Terry Boyd. Radio is my happy place and I’m planning to be a part of this station and this city for a long time.”  Prior to joining Entercom, Shannon was an editor and anchor for KROI, Houston “News 92 FM.”…..iHeartMedia re-brands country WCKY-FM, Toledo as “Buckeye Country, 103.7 ‘CKY.”  Market president Shosh Abromovich says, “We’re so excited to once again be playing some of country music’s greatest songs from the 80s and 90s through today.  You may even hear some older classic country from time-to-time.”  The Bobby Bones show remains in morning drive.  Bob Delmont and Bob Pickett will split middays.  Meaghan Mick continues in afternoon drive.  Tom Travis handles evenings and “CMT with Cody Allen” airs in the overnights…..Speaking of Bobby Bones, his Premiere Networks-syndicated “Country Top 30 with Bobby Bones” program is now airing on the Chris Stevens-owned “Chris Country” format heard in numerous markets in the UK.  Also joining “Chris Country” is “Women of iHeartCountry,” an hour-long weekend program hosted by Bones and Amy Brown.  Each week on the show, they spotlight music from both established female country music artists and promising up-and-comers…..Last weekend, Premiere Networks-syndicated personality Delilah welcomed more than 100 guests to her home outside Seattle for the fifth-annual “Farm to Table” fundraiser for her non-profit foundation Point Hope.  2019 marks Delilah’s 15-year commitment to Point Hope, an organization she established as a voice for forgotten children everywhere. The immediate focus of the Foundation is supporting children in the U.S. foster care system, as well as refugee children in Ghana.  Pictured below is Delilah (left) and four-time Grammy Award-nominated artist Chris Daughtry, who performed for the dinner guests.

Monday, March 25, 2019

| March 25, 2019

Monday Memo: Welcome to the Spring Book. Consultant Holland Cooke offers some tips for radio stations in this week’s Monday Memo as the Nielsen Audio spring survey begins on Thursday (3/28). Cooke reminds programmers that the most important listeners are your P1s because research shows that less than 25% of a station’s cume contributes more than 50% of its Average Quarter Hours. The most efficient way to boost AQH share is to get more listening out of your P1s and he offers some ideas on how to do that.  Read it here.

Mike Francesa Hits Twitter in Response to NY Post Piece; Post’s Marchand Fires Back. Last week, TALKERS magazine alerted you to the New York Post story by Andrew Marchand alleging that Entercom’s WFAN, New York had been negotiating with sports personality Adam Schein to take over Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive slot on the station.  Over the weekend, Francesa took to Twitter to correct the “outrageous misinformation” and “outright lies” being spread about his status at the station.  Francesa reiterates he’s working without a contract right now, that Entercom has a long-term offer for him (he hasn’t signed it yet), and that he’s okay with adding a person to the show (in fact, it was his idea).  Francesa doesn’t mention Schein in his tweet but Marchand writes in his column that Francesa “essentially confirmed” last week’s story and asserts that Francesa knows his show needs help to avoid losing the now-tight ratings battle with crosstown WEPN-FM’s Michael Kay show.  Marchand speculates WFAN overnight host John Jastremski might be considered as a co-host.

Bill O’Reilly Returns to Radio with 15-Minute Program.  Titled, “The O’Reilly Update,” the new 15-minute radio program hosted by former, longtime FOX News Channel star Bill O’Reilly will launch on April 29.  The program is being syndicated by Key Networks for daily delivery at 11:30 am ET with all advertising included – no additional barter units – and two minutes of local avails in the feature.  In the press release, O’Reilly states, “More than ever before, Americans need accurate information and honest news analysis in order to make intelligent decisions.  It is all about protecting yourself and your family.  The daily ‘O’Reilly Update’ will arm you with facts and provide opinion based on those facts.  Can’t wait to get started.”  O’Reilly hosted the nationally syndicated program “The Radio Factor” from 2002-2009.  Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green comments, “On the Mount Rushmore of spoken-word talent you must include Bill O’Reilly.  It’s an honor to bring Bill back to radio to deliver appointment listening and revenue opportunities for affiliate stations in a unique format.”

Hugh Hewitt Named New Head of Richard Nixon Foundation. Nationally syndicated talk show host Hugh Hewitt is returning to his roots at The Richard Nixon Foundation as he’ll become president and CEO of the organization on July 1.  Hewitt will continue to host his Salem Radio Network program, make appearances on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and write op-eds for the Washington Post.  He’ll split his time between Washington and Yorba Linda, California, the site of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.  Forty years ago, Nixon hired Hewitt as a researcher.  Nixon Foundation chairman Dr. James H. Cavanaugh says, “The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum recently underwent a complete renovation, and the new, interactive museum galleries enjoy increased attendance and positive reviews.  Hugh will lead the Nixon Foundation in its exciting next phase of growth, expanding its presence through national programming with an emphasis on articulating the Nixon legacy of pragmatic realism in domestic and foreign affairs.”  Hewitt says, “Richard Nixon was a grand strategist and master diplomat, and his vision is exactly what is needed today as America faces challenges and opportunities with China, North Korea, Russia, throughout the Middle East and elsewhere. The world needs to be reminded of President Nixon’s lasting foreign policies, the strategic methods by which he assessed conflict and disagreement, and how he crafted strategies for resolution — building a more peaceful world.”

Noted Media Figure Rick Ungar Launches Independently Syndicated Progressive Talk Radio Show. “The Rick Ungar Show” launched on March 4, 2019, airing in the 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm ET time slot, on the following stations:  WCPT 820 AM, Chicago; KKSF 910 AM, San Francisco; KTNF 950 AM, Minneapolis; KABQ 1350 AM, Albuquerque; and KTRC, 1260 AM/103.7 GM, Santa Fe.  According to Ungar, while the program airs on a charter lineup of progressive stations, The Rick Ungar Show seeks to bring a more open minded, fair approach to the progressive radio landscape by continuing in the tradition of “Rational Radio” established during his years in partnership with Michael Steele on the Sirius XM Satellite Radio program, “Steele & Ungar.” Ungar tells TALKERS, “While my ideology certainly leans to the left, I have never been one who seeks to talk for the left.  My role is to convey the facts – even when they may not favor the left point of view – along with my opinions on those facts. It is then up to the audience to decide where they stand based on the facts presented. I never care if you agree with me or not. But when you are hanging out with your friends over the weekend and the talk turns to politics, I want my listeners to be the smartest, best informed, people in the room.”  The new show is reportedly experiencing call-ins from Trump supporters who are not calling to yell at the host but rather to rationally discuss the issues put on the table.  Ungar continues, “The plans are to be the first nationally syndicated program to be carried by conservative stations in a long time looking to provide their listeners with a view from the other side-presented in a way that is fair, open and welcoming to all viewpoints on the political spectrum.”  Rick came to the world of political talk radio from the entertainment industry where he was a writer and producer. He also served many years as the president of the Marvel Character Group. He additionally serves as the editor-in-chief of www.TheDailyCentrist.com, an on-line news and opinion site dedicated to publishing rational arguments on the issues of the day from all sides of the political spectrum.  To get in touch with Ungar please email rickungar@gmail.com.  Meet Rick Ungar at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story in New York on Friday June 7.

FCC Investigating Political Ad Rate Complaint at Entercom Buffalo. The Buffalo News reports that the Federal Communications Commission investigating whether a politician in the 2018 congressional race got the lowest unit charge as required by law.  Entercom was sent a letter of inquiry for documentation on paid election advertising on news/talk WBEN-AM, sports talk WGR-AM, and five other Buffalo market stations.  Entercom admitted that it had not posted the required information from the 2018 campaigns until just this January but said it was the result of an internal error.  It also told the paper it is working with the FCC on the matter and doesn’t plan further public comment.  The FCC is requesting information about paid candidate ads and non-candidate issue ads that aired on all of Entercom’s Buffalo stations by April 4.

TALKERS News Notes. High-profile psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Jordan B. Peterson joins the Westwood One Podcast Network with his new, eponymous podcast launching this week.  Peterson is joined by his daughter and co-host Mikhaila Peterson as the two break down the dichotomy of life and explain how individuals and culture are shaped by values, music, religion, and beyond…..Washington, DC AM signal WSPZ is being sold bySalem Communications Holding Corporation to Immaculate Heart Media for $750,000.  The 1260 AM signal has been simulcasting Salem’s Christian teaching format heard on WAVA-FM, Washington…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that sales pro Peter Bowen is exiting his role at Entercom’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago as director of sports sales after 10 months in the position.  Bowen wrote in an email to colleagues, “It was an honor and a pleasure to work with everyone over the past 10 months.  It was great to reunite with so many familiar faces and friends…and it was awesome to meet so many new people.”  Bowen had previously served in the market as Cumulus Media’s vice president and market manager…..Talk show host Bill Carroll – the Canadian who hosted a midday show on iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles for a number of years – is expanding the reach of his Bell Media program.  He’s currently based at news/talk CFRA, Ottawa and his 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program will now be syndicated across a number of Bell-owned news/talk stations every Friday afternoon…..Wisconsin radio personality Gary Douglas is retiring from the business and his current post with NRG Media as operations manager for the Fort Atkinson/Whitewater cluster and morning host for news/talk WFAW-AM. Douglas’ 46-year career has included stops at WIBA-AM, Madison and WDUZ-AM, Green Bay.  He’ll continue his role as play-by-play voice for University of Wisconsin-Whitewater sports broadcasts.

Tennessee’s Stonecom Radio Unveils New Facility.  Pictured above are two images from Stonecom Radio of its new, 10,000-plus square foot facility (left) in Cookeville, Tennessee that’s home to news/talk WUCT-AM/W231DG, country WKXD, rock WBXE, and AC WLQK.  At right is a news studio.  Stonecom unveiled the new building with a ceremony attended by state and local dignitaries.  Tennessee Association of Broadcasters executive director Whit Adamson was in attendance and stated, “Stonecom is led by a true team of broadcasters who are proud to serve the entire region they touch with their signal of each of the respective stations in the cluster.”

Mueller Report Delivered/Trump Claims Victory, Islamic State Victory, Border Wall Issue, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Brexit Redux, Us Film, NBA Action and NCAA Tournament Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Special prosecutor Robert Mueller delivers his report on the Trump-Russia investigation to the attorney general’s office and President Trump claims victory; U.S. troops’ taking of the last territory in Syria held by ISIS; the issue of the border wall and reports of another migrant caravan forming in Central America; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Prime Minister Theresa May’s last chance at getting her EU exit deal through Parliament; the box office success of Jordan Peele’s horror film Us; and the NBA and NCAA tournament action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. South Florida hot AC WMIA-FM announces the new “Mack in the Morning with Letty B” program will debut on April 1.   The show stars Miami on-air pro Mack, Los Angeles native co-host Letty B and producer Nick Pena.  Station PD Joey Brooks says, “I am excited to announce Mack, Letty B and Nick as 939 MIA’s morning team.  Not only is this group entertaining, but they are committed to the South Florida community. Individually, each of them brings a unique perspective to the show and I am confident that they will quickly earn listener loyalty.”…..On-air personality Kenny Walker re-ups with WMXJ-FM, Miami “102.7 The Beach” to continue hosting the morning show on the classic hits outlet.  Walker says, “The energy of this station stood out to me when I joined in 2016 and I am honored to continue being a part of our listeners’ daily routines.  I look forward to continue building our station’s brand and connecting with Miami-Ft. Lauderdale.”…..The world famous KROQ, Los Angeles us announcing the 11th annual “Kevin & Bean’s April Foolishness” event hosted by morning show duo Kevin and Bean.  The station says this special anniversary celebrates the prestigious legacy of April Foolishness that blends hysterical stars with the most talented up-and-coming names in all of comedy.  Special guests will include: Adam Ray, Felipe Esparza, Greg Fitzsimmons, Eddie Ifft, Jamie Lee, and Ray Romano.  The event will also feature “The Kevin & Bean Rap Battle” with beatboxer Joshua from “Drop the Mic.”…..Nationally syndicated urban morning radio star DeDe McGuire was in Milwaukee over the weekend appearing at “The Gathering” presented by affiliate station WJMR “Jammin’ 98.3.”  She’s pictured below (center) with listeners at the 17th annual event that gives fans the opportunity  to shop with local vendors, watch music, network,  and meet their favorite Jammin’ 98.3 hosts.  “DeDe in the Morning” is syndicated by Compass Media Networks.