Good Karma Brands Inks Deal to Operate ESPN’s WMVP-AM, Chicago. Yesterday’s announcement by sports talk radio WMVP-AM owner ESPN that Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Brands would begin operating “ESPN 1000” beginning next month took the industry by surprise. But as ESPN Audio SVP Traug Keller says, Karmazin’s company has a long track record with ESPN. “Good Karma has proven to be an excellent local affiliate that has shown expertise in local media operations and sales while being a strong steward of the ESPN brand.” Keller adds, “This is a smart business decision that allows us to continue to serve local sports fans with the compelling content they crave.” As a result of this long-term LMA between ESPN Radio and Good Karma, the latter will “expand its affiliate relationship with ESPN Radio and the station will retain the ‘ESPN 1000’ name. ESPN Radio Chicago will feature a lineup of local and national sports talk programming and ESPN Radio’s national play-by-play lineup that includes NBA, MLB, NFL and college football, including the College Football Playoff.” The LMA begins on September 29. Longtime ‘ESPN 1000’ VP and general manager Jim Pastor will exit his role. He says, “Few people will ever match the experience I’ve had over 27 incredible years with Disney, including the last 15 with ESPN. I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished at ‘ESPN 1000’ or be more supportive of the decision to affiliate with Good Karma. Walking away now becomes infinitely easier knowing [Good Karma Brands president] Steve Politziner, Craig Karmazin, and the rest of the Good Karma team will be running the show. For me, I’m ready to dial it back, spend more time with the family and go back to sitting in the cheap seats.” Craig Karmazin – whose company also owns operates ESPN-affiliated stations in Cleveland, Madison, Milwaukee, and West Palm Beach – says, “Our Midwest roots have afforded us the opportunity to see the passion of Chicago sports fans up close for over two decades. We are so excited to extend our commitment to being ESPN’s best-in-class local operator into what will now be our largest market.” ESPN Audio continues to operate WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN-AM, Los Angeles.
WJBC, Bloomington’s Laughlin Retires; Miller Takes Over AM Drive Show. At Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJBC, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, longtime morning personality Scott Laughlin is retiring from the station and afternoon drive personality Scott Miller will take over as morning drive host. Miller – who inked a new, multi-year deal with the company – will work with news director Katherine Murphy on the morning show. Back in May, Laughlin announced he was taking a leave of absence from the WJBC morning show for health reasons. He has since decided to make his leave permanent. He says, “I had planned to retire next summer. My circumstances have speeded up that plan.” Station operations manager Dan Westhoff says, “We wish nothing but the best for Scott Laughlin as he focuses on his health. Emotionally, it’s not easy to move forward in a situation like this, but we must. We look forward to having Scott Miller in the morning and know he will do a great job.” The station is searching for a new afternoon talk host.
‘FOX Sports 910’ in Phoenix Makes Drive Time Changes; Dan Sileo Joins for Afternoons. Beginning Tuesday (9/3), iHeartMedia’s KGME, Phoenix “FOX Sports 910” is moving afternoon drive personality Jody Oehler’s “The Drive” program to the 5:00 am to 10:00 am daypart, replacing FOX Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick. The station says that Oehler’s “‘The Drive’ has brought a signature blend of truth, humor and originality to the Phoenix airwaves. Throughout the run of the show, Oehler has had some of the biggest names in sports on-air regularly, including: Donovan McNabb, Jake Plummer, Ian Rapoport, Kent Somers, and Greg Amsinger, as well as everyone’s favorite radio segment, ‘Top 5 Thursday,’ which ranks the top five sports stories every Thursday.” Oehler says, “I’m incredibly excited to be moving to mornings. In a city like Phoenix with all the local teams and transplant residents, I relish the opportunity to offer my reaction to the biggest local and national sporting events. We’ll do it better than anyone in the market with truth, humor, and fun. And as a bonus, I won’t get into a near fist fight with myself on the air.” The station is expected to announce its plans for the afternoon drive daypart very soon. Taking over the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot is sports talk host Dan Sileo, most recently with Entercom at KWFN-FM, San Diego “97.3 The Fan.” The station says Sileo’s show “will feature engaging sports talk with features such as ‘Cardinals Rewind,’ where Sileo analyzes the Cardinals by recapping the biggest hits and misses from each game, and ‘Stump Sileo,’ a daily segment where listeners have the opportunity to challenge Sileo to a game of six degrees of separation, in which Sileo has to find a way to connect himself to the listener’s favorite sports icon.” Sileo says, “It’s an honor to come home to iHeartMedia, where I spent the majority of my 24-year radio career, for this amazing opportunity to host afternoons on ‘FOX Sports 910.’ I will promise my listeners this – we will have the most compelling sports show in The Valley. It will be a show for Phoenix, about Phoenix. We’re going to bring on the biggest stars in sports and entertainment and give listeners a show they’ll never forget.”
WLAC, Nashville Host Steve Gill Remains in Jail; ‘Terrified’ Wife Files for Divorce. More legal woes arise for embattled WLAC, Nashville talk radio host Steve Gill, who remains in jail in Williamson County, Tennessee for failure to pay $170,000 in child support to ex-wife Kathryn Gill. Now, Gill’s current wife – who is not named by The Tennessean in its report since she’s under an order of protection from the court – is filing for divorce from Gill and told the court in her request for the order, “I need protection. I am terrified. He is ‘influenced’ and ‘powerful’ and he used that to try to keep me from escaping.” As a witness in Gill’s child support case, she testified that he was lying under oath in court. The court has ordered Gill not to contact his current wife; to stay away from her home and workplace; to vacate the family home; undergo a certified batterers’ intervention program; and cannot possess any firearms (the order notes he has numerous weapons).
Palm Springs Morning Host Bill Feingold Off the Air for Cancer Treatment. Coachella Valley morning drive personality Bill Feingold is on medical leave from Alpha Media’s news/talk brand “K-News” – KNWZ-AM/KNWQ-AM/K232CX/K274DA – after being diagnosed with stage four liver cancer. Feingold tells the Desert Sun that he’s aware of the gravity of his diagnosis but is hopeful he can return to the air after undergoing chemotherapy, which begins on September 12. He and co-host Kevin Holmes have been together on the radio in Palm Springs since 2004. Feingold says, “Alpha Media is hoping for a semi-miracle so I can come back. I would come back in a second.”
TALKERS News Notes. Detroit journalist Bankole Thompson is returning to Kevin Adell-run WFDF-AM, Detroit “910AM Superstation” to host the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm program, beginning September 9. Previously, the Detroit News columnist hosted the program, “Redline,” on the station. Thompson says, “I’m happy to be back at ‘910AM Superstation’ and I’m looking forward to making Detroit’s recovery and poverty the front and center of our conversation.”…..The conservative Christian K-Star Talk Radio Network announces it is adding independent journalist and radio host Will Johnson’s newly syndicated talk radio program, “Fire Power News,” to its 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot, effective September 9. K-Star program director Angeline Marie says, “I am so excited to add Will Johnson’s program to the K-Star schedule. He is young, energetic, intelligent, and really passionate about making a difference.”…..Entravision Communications announces it’s bringing listeners “the most extensive Spanish-language radio broadcast coverage” of the upcoming 2019 NFL Centennial season. The company will broadcast 46 games across 17 U.S. markets on its owned-and-operated stations, as well as on affiliate stations across the country. Entravision president and COO Jeffrey Liberman says, “The start of the NFL season is always exciting and this year we’re especially proud to have the most extensive Spanish radio broadcast coverage of the NFL. The game of football has really found a home in the Latino market and there are more passionate NFL fans than ever.”…..Actors Gabrielle Carteris and Camryn Manheim have been chosen by SAG-AFTRA’s national membership to fulfill the respective roles of president and secretary-treasurer, two of the union’s highest ranking offices. Their two-year terms begin today.
Legendary Radio Executive Dwight Case Dies at 90. Earlier this month, Dwight Case – onetime publisher of Radio & Records and general manager of KHJ, Los Angeles – died at the age of 90. Case started in radio in 1948 KFRE-AM, Fresno. During his long career, he also managed KROY, Sacramento; served as president of RKO’s radio division; founded Transtar Satellite Radio Network; and served as publisher and CEO of R&R from 1983-1987. Read more at LARadio.com.
Trump vs the Media, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-China Trade War, Queen Suspends UK Parliament, Jessi Combs Dies in Crash, and Hurricane Dorian Heads for Florida Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/28). The president’s renewed frustration with the media’s coverage of his presidency; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the war of tariffs between the U.S. and China; the Queen agrees to suspend the UK Parliament; driver and television personality Jessi Combs dies trying to set a land speed record; and Hurricane Dorian’s projected path toward Florida 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. Media executive Winter Horton joins Meruelo Media as chief operating officer, reporting to president and CEO Otto Padron. Horton was most recently COO for LBI Media Inc. Padron says, “Meruelo Media has enjoyed extraordinary growth in the past few months. The task to solidify our L.A. super cluster position and continue our expansion is my highest priority. To achieve this, I’m proud to announce the addition of Winter Horton as our chief operating officer. Winter brings a wealth of experience and a unique skill set to help us create even greater value as we optimize our strategy of growth.”…..Cumulus Media’s rock WNDX, Indianapolis “93.9X” announces that Abe Kanan takes over as morning drive personality, effective September 3. Kanan has served with stations including WLUP-FM and WKQX in Chicago and WBGG in Miami, as well as on the Howard 101 channel on SiriusXM. He says, “If I could create my own radio station, it would sound just like ‘93.9X.’ In 2019, this is exactly how a rock station should sound. I am beyond excited and honored to be chosen as the first morning show host on the soon-to-be world-famous 93.9X!”…..SummitMedia names Sheba Foxx news & community affairs director for the Greenville, South Carolina cluster. Foxx takes over for Rhonda Rawlings who left the position to serve as South Carolina media rep for Cory Booker’s presidential campaign…..Alternative KTBZ, Houston “94.5 The Buzz” morning personality Dinah Powers is leaving the station’s Rod Ryan show after Friday’s broadcast. She tells the Houston Chronicle that she elected not to renew her contract and is leaving the radio business and hopes to go back to school and work in the mental health field…..After 62 years in the same Takoma Park, Maryland location, Washington Adventist University’s WGTS-FM, Washington, DC celebrates the grand opening of its new broadcast ministry center in Rockville, Maryland. The new 13,000 square-foot facility contains two identical on-air studios, three production rooms and a television studio. It replaces the 3,000 square-foot World War II-era building that has served as the headquarters of the ministry since 1957…..Former, longtime WDVE, Pittsburgh air personality Jack Maloy died yesterday (8/28). Maloy spent 36 years on the air at the iHeartMedia rock outlet, mostly in overnights. The station says Maloy loved the shift so much that when he was promoted to the evening show, he was miserable and requested to return to the overnight show where he stayed until his retirement in 2013.
NEW YORK — When star radio talent wants to expand their horizons and perform on other stages, most radio managers try to kill that ambition. Thinking analog, radio managers want their talent, preparing and performing shows on their stations — period.
The key to success in a digital world is affiliations and partnerships. That tends to be hard for radio vets to accept, it’s counter-intuitive.
A survey of major digital industry publications such as Media Biz, Bloggers, Mashable, and Media Post Publications reveals that a majority of the news covers partnerships, affiliation agreements and asset sharing. Most online companies understand that they cannot grow on their own, they require partners. The deals involve sharing revenue, views or promotions or all three. Those partnerships are how digital businesses can beat proven TV/AM/FM for audience and dollars.
WOR, New York’s John R. Gambling Announces Retirement. New York City radio legend John Gambling – who followed in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather in entertaining Big Apple radio listeners – told his audience this morning (11/11) that he will retire at the end of the year. Gambling has worked in radio for the past 40 years, 35 of that in New York City. He told listeners his last show will be December 20. John R. Gambling is the grandson of John B. Gambling who was the morning host on WOR, New York from 1925 to 1959 when his son, John A. Gambling assumed the morning host role at the station. John R. co-hosted the “Rambling with Gambling” show with his father John A. on WOR from 1985 to 1991. Gambling states, “I have done and accomplished so much. My radio career has given me the privilege to entertain and inform millions of New Yorkers. Each day, to watch the greatest city on earth from behind the microphone has been a thrill and I’ve been blessed with an audience that has been loyal and engaging. To say it has been exciting doesn’t come close to the joy I have had.” Clear Channel is beginning a search for a replacement morning show.
WPHT, Philadelphia Airs Veterans Day Broadcasts. CBS Radio news/talker WPHT, Philadelphia is airing a day of remote broadcasts in honor of Veterans Day. Today, Rich Zeoli broadcast from the Delaware County Veterans Memorial from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. Midday host Dom Giordano is doing his show live from the 54th Media, Pennsylvania “Annual Veterans Day Parade.” During afternoon drive, “Talk Radio 1210” personalities Dick Morris, Gary R’nel and Rich Zeoli are broadcasting live from The Green Parrot Restaurant in Newtown.
Veterans Day Offers Radio Broadcasters the Opportunity to be Heroes. RadioInfo (TALKERS magazine’s sister publication on the music side) music editor/director Duane Doobie says that although most of the radio industry is open for business as usual today (including the trades), “In the communications business – particularly radio — you can probably do more to honor the true meaning of a holiday as significant as Veterans Day by going to work and raising consciousness about the meaning of the holiday. It sure beats taking a day off and paying tribute to the purpose of the observation by having a backyard barbeque or going to the beach or a sporting event and drinking a lot of beer, watching endless hours of a Twilight Zone marathon… or buying a car, or worse, planning to camp out on the sidewalk in front of a box store fully prepared to stampede your neighbors in order to save money on a new flat screen television or smart phone with the latest bells and whistles.” In a special commentary posted today (11/11) Doobie continues, “Our publisher Michael Harrison has been speaking at major industry events calling upon radio broadcasters to ‘never miss any opportunity to be a hero.’ He says it is a principle of radio broadcasting that strikes a chord into the very heart of what we are all about – a practice that is good for BOTH business and the soul. Thus, I ask you to look around and ask yourself, is your radio station – are you on your show – doing something special today to be a hero? Are you doing anything special today to be a hero by honoring the true heroes in every single market in America… our veterans?” To read Duane Doobie’s entire column, please click here.
ESPN Audio Reorganization Puts Jim Pastor in Charge of ESPN Local. ESPN confirms the changes in the structure of its O&O radio stations and their websites. Former WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” general manager Jim Pastor is named SVP of ESPN Local. This puts him in charge of the company’s three O&O stations (WMVP, Chicago; WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN, Los Angeles) as well as their websites and ESPNDallas.com. Current WMVP VP/GM John Cravens will take the new title vice president of local revenue and KSPN VP/GM Scott McCarthy will become vice president of local content and will report to Pastor. The move separates the national and local sectors with SVP Mo Davenport overseeing ESPN Network Audio. ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller says, “We have identified two key areas – network and local business – to align leaders with division priorities to provide better services and products for our fans. The successful partnership of our ESPN local websites and owned radio stations has helped our local business thrive. Organizing by function will allow us to leverage individual and team strengths across the entire business.”
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s ‘High School Tour’ Brings Teen Issues to the Fore. CBS Radio news/talk station KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh continues its “High School Tour” on Thursday, November 14 as midday talk host Mike Pintek broadcasts live from Woodland Hills High School in Churchill, Pennsylvania. The station states that the “’The High School Tour’ is a chance for KDKA to talk with students in different areas of our region about current events and the issues that affect them. Some of the topics Pintek has focused on are social media concerns, bullying, texting while driving as well as events in the current news cycle. The schools select students that participate in the broadcast.” During the broadcasts, Pintek elicits the perspective of the school’s superintendent, principal or other faculty.
Two More Stops Added to Stephanie Miller’s ‘Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour.’ WYD Media Management nationally syndicated talk show host Stephanie Miller (center) is taking her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” out on the road again in 2014 and has added two more cities to the itinerary. Miller – along with fellow comedians and radio show contributors Hal Sparks (right) and John Fugelsang (left) – will be visiting the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin on March 29 as well as the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix on February 14. The tour begins in Seattle on December 14 of this year at the Paramount Theatre.
WXOS, St. Louis Adds Thompson and Wheeler to Air Staff. Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS “101ESPN” brings former MLB player Brad Thompson and sports talk pro Kevin Wheeler aboard the air staff. Wheeler begins hosting an eponymous show on November 25 to air in a yet-to-be-announced daypart. Thompson will join the afternoon drive “Fastlane” show alongside D’Marco Farr and Randy Karraker beginning in January. Thompson has been serving as a fill-in host for the station on its daily programs and most notably subbed for former St. Louis Cardinals star Chris Duncan during his recent recovery from brain surgery. Wheeler is coming to WXOS from his most recent position at crosstown news/talk KMOX where he hosted the “Sports Open Line” show as well as a pre- and post-game shows for both the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues. Program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “Both Brad Thompson and Kevin Wheeler bring unique perspectives and experience to the ‘101ESPN’ team, and I am looking forward to getting them both on the air to enlighten and entertain our listeners.”
Broadcast Engineer Legend George J. Capalbo Passes at 86. Pioneering broadcast engineer George J. Capalbo passed away on Friday, November 8. He is remembered for his contributions to the radio broadcasting industry. Capalbo’s many accomplishments include serving as chief engineer for WRKO, Boston when the station launched as top 40 outlet “Big 68” in 1967. He also built the FM station WAAF, Worcester, now owned by Entercom, that serves both the Boston and Worcester metros. Capalbo is credited by WRKO’s then-general manager Mel Phillips with putting together a state-of-the-art broadcast facility for television and radio “from scratch” at 7 Bulfinch Place in Boston, and with developing WRKO’s radio automation system. Capalbo served as president of engineering for the RKO Radio division and supervised seven AM stations and seven FM stations in markets including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. He is also credited with building the RKO Satellite Network, the first radio satellite delivery network. For the RKO Satellite Network, Capalbo designed the distribution network in New York City as well as the news bureau in Washington, DC. Capalbo enlisted in the Armed forces in 1944 at the age of 17 right out of high school and served for two years until the end of World War II. He left the service with a rank of Radioman Second Class.
WSRQ, Sarasota Partners with Gannett’s WTSP-TV for Content. Florida Talk Radio-owned news/talk WSRQ, Sarasota (also heard on translator W295BH, Sarasota) enters into a deal with Gannett’s WTSP-TV “10 News” to locate two staffers from the television station in the former’s Sarasota studios. Sarasota reporter Isabel Mascareñas, along with “10 News” photojournalist Tim Burquest will be based in the newsroom, allowing “10 News” to quickly cover breaking news and events in the Sarasota area. Additionally, WTSP will provide video, weather radar and custom Sarasota weather forecasts for WSRQ. WSRQ general manager Susan Nilon states, “Our goal is to focus specifically on Sarasota issues. This partnership with ‘10 News’ allows for even better coverage of the wonderful place we call home.”
Embattled Toronto Mayor’s Radio Show Ends. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s weekly radio program that aired on Bell Media’s CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010” has been eliminated from the station’s program schedule by a mutual decision, according to station management. Rob Ford and his brother, Toronto city councilor Doug Ford, hosted “The City with Mayor Rob Ford” that aired Sunday afternoons from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Rob Ford has been at the center of a drug use scandal that has been a major news story not only in Toronto and Canada but across the United States as well.
FCC Tightens Divestiture Trust Policy with Townsquare’s Cedar Rapids Application. The long period of time during which radio stations have sat in divestiture trusts while still putting money into the pockets of the “previous” owners has been a sore spot for some broadcasters, but that is changing as the FCC signals it’s not going to approve long-termed trusts. The commission is approving the transfer of two of Townsquare Media’s Cedar Rapids stations – KKHQ-FM, Oelwein and KOEL-FM, Cedar Falls – to the Cedar Rapids Divestiture Trust on the condition that the term of the trust is two years and the trustee file reports every six months describing the efforts to sell them. In discussing the matter, the commission notes that the economy, and therefore the climate for buying and selling radio stations, is in much better shape than it was in 2008 when Clear Channel created the Aloha Trust. It notes that five years later, 37 of the 57 stations put in the trust have been sold with the sale of two more pending. The commission concludes that “a reasonable limitation on the duration of a divestiture trust will best serve the public interest by requiring the parties to a trust agreement to meet a deadline to place the stations with a new operator to ensure long-term compliance with the requirements of the Local Radio Ownership Rule.”
Glenn Beck Visits Asheville. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Glenn Beck is pictured here with WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina afternoon drive talk show host Pete Kaliner at the WWNC studios. Beck did his radio program from the station on November 8 while in town for the celebration of Reverend Billy Graham’s 95th birthday. The event was attended by some 900 well-wishers including Donald Trump and Sarah Palin.