Tag: "Rob Hart"
Salem Media Group’s Ed Atsinger Transitions to Executive Chairman; David Santrella Rises to CEO. Current Salem Media Group CEO Edward G. Atsinger III will transition to the newly created role of executive chairman of the board of directors, effective January 1, 2022 and David Santrella – currently president of broadcast media – will become chief executive officer. At the same time, David Evans – president of digital media and publishing – is promoted to chief operating officer. Salem Media Group’s current chairman, Stuart W. Epperson, will resign from Salem’s board of directors, transitioning to the position of chairman emeritus and Stuart W. Epperson, Jr. will join the board of directors, filling the vacancy created by Mr. Epperson Senior’s resignation. In the executive chairman role, Atsinger will be chairman of the board, assuming leadership of the board of directors while providing oversight and guidance to both the CEO and COO. Atsinger will continue to be engaged full-time and focus more of his attention on macro strategy and planning, M&A, external relationships, government affairs and leadership development. He comments, “I am pleased to serve as executive chairman and to oversee the succession to the next generation of leadership of our company. I am looking forward to working with the executive team to continue Salem’s vitally important mission of serving the media needs of the audiences interested in Christian content and public policy programming with a traditional conservative focus. With Salem well-positioned for continued growth into the future, now is the right time to take the next step in implementing our long-term leadership transition. We have a tremendously talented, deep and dedicated leadership team at Salem. David Santrella and David Evans each have played a critical role in developing and executing the strategy in place today, and I am confident they have the vision, skills, experience and capabilities necessary to provide continued leadership of Salem well into the future.” Speaking about his new role, David Santrella states, “I am deeply honored to have been appointed as Salem’s next CEO. I look forward to working in close partnership with David Evans to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that exist in today’s media landscape, to further the mission of our company and to grow our business. I am blessed that I will have Ed alongside me in my new role.”
WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago Names Cisco Cotto Morning Drive Anchor. Chicago all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM appoints Cisco Cotto the morning drive news anchor, taking over for Pat Cassidy, who recently announced his retirement. Audacy Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson comments, “We are excited to welcome Cisco into morning drive. He has proven to be a true professional and teammate for the last seven years both reporting and anchoring on WBBM. Not only does he bring a bright energy but is a great communicator and strong journalist – the perfect combination as Chicagoans wake up each morning.” About his new role, Cotto says, “Pat and Felicia [Middlebrooks] spent many years as voices Chicagoans trusted to wake them up with all of the most important stories to start their day. I’ll work hard to maintain what they built. Thanks to Ron Gleason, Greg Solk, and Rachel Williamson for trusting me with such an important show on this great station. I look forward to continuing to be a small part of the award-winning news team on WBBM for many years to come.” Assuming the midday and noon business hour anchoring position is Rob Hart, who has been with WBBM since 2016.
WGAC, Augusta and Talk Host Austin Rhodes Sued for Defamation. A suit has been filed in Gwinnett Superior Court in Georgia by James Faller II who says in the complaint that WGAC, Augusta talk host Austin Rhodes defamed him through “false, malicious and defamatory” statements. Faller appears to be representing himself as the complaint is not signed by an attorney representing him. Faller alleges that Rhodes called him a “fraud,” “weirdo,” and “felon” and says Rhodes spoke with local politicians and warned them about associating with Faller. A story in the Augusta Press indicates that Faller admits to having served two years in federal prison on a felony conviction but says that he’s actually a whistleblower and he went to prison due to a government conspiracy against him. Faller also alleges that Rhodes’ refusal to allow him to appear on his radio show violates his First Amendment rights. Beasey Media Group is also named in the suit and it’s expected the company will seek to have the suit dismissed.
KHTK-AM, Sacramento Announces On-Air Changes for the New Year. A series of talent moves at Bonneville’s Sacramento sports talk KHTK-AM will take place beginning January 4, 2022. Current afternoon drive host Jason Ross will move to mornings to join Carmichael Dave. At the same time, Justin Marshall will move away from the on-air portion of his role to solely focus on his duties as assistant program director and morning show producer. The afternoon drive show will be hosted by program director Nick Cattles who will be joined by a rotating cast of co-hosts each day from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
BIA Advisory Predicts Radio Ad Spend Will Rise 5.5% to $13.54 Billion in 2022. Looking ahead to 2022, BIA Advisory Services reveals it has increased its U.S. Local Advertising Forecast for the year to $173.3 billion from its earlier estimate of $161.5 billion issued in the late summer. The 2022 forecast indicates an 11.4% increase over 2021 due to faster than anticipated growth in digital advertising and a strong political year. Traditional media ad revenue still maintains a slight advantage over digital at 50.8% of the ad spend ($88 billion), while digital media will get 49.2% of the ad spend at $85 billion. Looking at the radio industry, BIA predicts that radio ad spend will be $13.54 billion, a 5.5% increase over 2021’s $12.79 billion. For 2021, radio’s ad spend on over-the-air will be $10.91 billion with $1.88 billion coming from digital (website, streaming and mobile apps). Next year, radio ad spend is forecast to be $11.37 billion for over-the-air and $2.17 billion for digital. BIA SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik says, “2021 has been a year of fluctuations. The first two quarters of the year saw strong growth, with some stalling in Q3 once the Delta variant appeared late summer. We’ve taken pandemic concerns plus inflation and supply chain issues into account to prepare our local media estimates and, overall, we are bullish on ad revenue for 2022.”
WTOP-FM, Washington Was Top Radio Biller for 2020. As a sidebar to the previous story about BIA Advisory Services’ Local Advertising Forecast, the company has revealed the top radio billers for last year. The top-billing station for 2020 was Bonneville’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington with $62 million. Rounding out the top 10 were: iHeartMedia’s KIIS-FM, Los Angeles and WLTW-FM, New York with $38.9 and $30.8, respectively; Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was #4 with $30 million; Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago was #5 with $29.7 million; Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston was #6 with $29.6 million; iHeartMedia’s KBIG, Los Angeles and WHTZ, New York were #7 and #8 with $29.35 million and $29.3 million, respectively; Audacy’s all-news WINS-AM was #9 with $28.1 million and Audacy’s sports talk WFAN, New York was #10 with $28 million.
COVID-19, Build Back Better, 2022 Midterm Elections, Trump Sues NY AG, January Investigation, Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, and Potter/Maxwell Trials Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20). The Omicron coronavirus variant sweeps across the U.S., the push for booster shots, and the pushback against mandates; Senator Joe Manchin’s blow to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan; Republicans savoring early predictions of taking back Congress in the 2022 midterm elections; former President Donald Trump sues New York attorney general Letitia James to prevent investigation of his businesses; the investigation into the January attack on the Capitol; Russia’s ongoing military aggression at the Ukraine border; and the trials of former police officer Kim Potter in the shooting of Daunte Wright and Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Joe D’Ambrosio Joins WTIC, Hartford Morning Show. Connecticut sports media pro Joe D’Ambrosio begins his new role with Entercom’s news/talk WTIC-AM as part of the “Mornings with Ray Dunaway” program from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, effective today (5/31). D’Ambrosio is an award-winning sportscaster who has been with WTIC for 27 years. He has been recognized with the Sports Media Association’s “Connecticut Sportscaster of the Year Award” a record nine times and is the recipient of the 2018 “Dean of Sports Award.” Entercom Hartford SVP and market manager Phil Zachary says, “Joe’s deep connection with and expertise of Connecticut’s sports landscape make him among the most respected voices in the field. We are pleased to announce this next phase of our relationship with him. Southern New England has known and respected Joe’s work for nearly three decades and we are looking forward to his full-time presence in WTIC’s masthead morning program.”
Video Game Manufacturer Looking to Partner with Talk Media Stations and Shows. Video game manufacturer, Fowl Play Entertainment, Inc. announces the release of PIGEON HIT SQUAD, an intriguing news/talk media-friendly mobile game designed for Apple and Android devices. It is a game in which players use pigeons to “fire” on a parade of annoying cartoon characters that passes underneath the birds. Proprietary software allows players to paste onto the cartoon targets their own real-life photos of anyone from “frenemies” to politicians or celebrities. The game is free to download and play. Photos cost 99 cents to upload. Broadcasters who wish to use the game as a promotion will receive an exclusive license for promotions within their market or coverage area at no charge. This license includes use of the game name, character likenesses, sfx, and original music tracks, all at no charge. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
NRHoF Public Voting Begins Monday. The general public will have two weeks to vote for their favorite radio personalities for induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Beginning Monday (6/4) and running through June 18, consumers can vote in the Music Format On-Air Personality and Spoken Word Format On-Air Personality categories. Spoken Word nominees this year are: Mark Levin, Joe Madison, George Noory, and Jim Rome. Music Format nominees are: Ellen K, Kid Kelly, Angie Martinez, and John Tesh. NRHoF chairman Kraig T. Kitchin says, “Since reinstituting the nationwide public vote in 2015, we’ve seen a tremendous increase in listener participation which is a testament to the remarkable relationship each nominee has with his or her audience.” Winners of the two categories will be announced June 25.
TALKERS News Notes. In Chicago, changes take place at Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM. Windy City media writer Robert Feder reports that newscaster David Roe is retiring from the station where he was evening anchor after a 25-year career there. The station announces that part-time anchor/reporter Mariam Sobh will take over anchoring that daypart. At the same time, the station makes anchor/reporter Rob Hart a full-time staffer. Hart joined WBBM Newsradio two years ago after having served with Tribune’s crosstown WGN-AM…..Dan Mason tells SportsBroadcastJournal.com that he expects to make an announcement about a new sports-related venture “within the next few weeks.” Since retiring from CBS RADIO in 2015, Mason has been dabbling in his passion for sports, calling games (this past year for Coppin State University) as well as serving with the Broadcasters Foundation of America. He tells the site that the new venture is “sports business related.” Read the interview here.…..San Diego Padres radio play-by-play voice Ted Leitner is taking time off the team’s broadcasts after having been diagnosed with cancer. ESPN is reporting that Leitner is having a kidney removed and that doctors say the cancer has not spread. Tony Gwynn Jr. is filling in on game broadcasts…..AdLarge operated digital audio division cabana is declaring this “the summer of female voices,” and as such, has chosen its favorite female-hosted or female-focused podcasts from cabana’s 200 podcast catalogue and posted them in today’s medium post. cabana says the team of women to run the digital audio division based their choices on “lots of cool stats and emerging trends in audio.”…..Westwood One is reporting that the newly added podcast “83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff” – launched last month – has “rocketed to the top of the Apple Podcasts charts every week” The show features wrestling legend Eric Bischoff and popular wrestling podcaster Conrad Thompson taking a deep dive into the highs and lows of Eric’s unparalleled success in the wrestling business. Westwood One SVP of digital Tim Sabean says, “My goal is to build and acquire the Mount Rushmore of content here at the Westwood One Podcast Network. ‘83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff’ fits that role as we strive to create the best in class of podcasting!”…..High 5 Media, parent company of Dallas-based YEA Networks, announces that it has acquired a majority interest in Spoke Media, a growing podcast company based in Dallas that specializes in branded content. High 5 Media notes that Spoke Media was founded by Keith Reynolds, an award-winning audiobook director who has created audiobooks for Audible, Hachette, Harper Collins, Penguin Random House, and others. Spoke Media says its mission is to “tell great stories and provide a microphone to those who often go unheard.”
‘Roseanne’ Cancellation Controversy, North Korea Summit, Trump-Russia Investigation, ‘Murdered’ Russian Journalist Case, Illegal Immigration/MS-13, Kardashian Visits Trump, MLB Action, and NBA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/30). The controversy surrounding ABC-TV’s cancellation of the “Roseanne” re-boot; the status of the possible talks between North Korea and the United States; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the case of the Russian journalist whose death was faked by Ukrainian authorities in order to capture those planning his death; U.S. illegal immigration policy and the threat posed by the MS-13 gang; Kim Kardashian West visits the White House to talk prison reform; Major League Baseball action; and the NBA Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Luck Be a Lady Tonight! Nationally syndicated talk radio host Mike Gallagher is pictured above in final rehearsals for the Lyric Stage’s production of “Guys & Dolls” at the Irving Arts Center in Irving, Texas. The Salem Radio Network personality is cast in the role of Nicely-Nicely Johnson.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Longtime Boise radio personality Mike Kasper has exited Townsquare Media’s hot AC KCIX “MIX 106” where he’d been hosting the morning show for almost 16 years. Prior to that, he’d worked at crosstown hot AC KZMG “Magic 93.1.”…..Sad news from the Steve Harvey program orbit as Bryan Cooke – an assistant to program cast member Kier “Junior” Spates – passed away last Sunday in Atlanta. He was reportedly found in his hotel room after Spates requested hotel staff check in on him…..SiriusXM is presenting broadcast performances and backstage interviews from this weekend’s Governors Ball Music Festival in New York. The exclusive radio broadcast will include backstage interviews and live performances from not only Post Malone and Jack White, but also CHVRCHES, Manchester Orchestra, Margo Price, Vic Mensa, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and many more…..Pictured below is nationally syndicated morning host Rickey Smiley (right) with Birmingham, Alabama student Corey Patrick (left) standing in front of the graduating high school senior’s new car. Patrick – who routinely got up at 4:00 am to catch a 5:00 am crosstown bus to his high school – became an Internet sensation after a bus driver taking Patrick to his graduation ceremony posted a story about the young man’s determination. The Rickey Smiley Show heard about it and, with the help of R&B artist Tyrese and Summit Media’s WBHJ, Birmingham “95.7 JAMZ,” helped get him a new car from University Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Anniston.
ESPN Responds to CBS Sports Radio Announcement. Well, not specifically to last week’s announcement by CBS of its planned CBS Sports Radio network division, but it may have been a factor (wink, wink). ESPN sends a reminder to the industry underscoring it how pervasive the sports media organization’s audio content is, signed by SVP production, business divisions Traug Keller, who states, “We’re used to competition. ESPN Audio has built an unparalleled mix of high-quality events and national sports talk programming over the last 20 years. We are well positioned in the marketplace through our diverse audio platforms.” The release goes on to note it counts 700 affiliate stations in the U.S. – 300 of which it terms full-time affiliates. It also says it reaches 24 million listeners each week.
Programming Changes at Merlin Media’s WIQI-FM, Chicago; Greg Jarrett to AM Drive. According to Chicagoland Radio and Media, Merlin Media is making changes to the lineup at “FM News 101.1” beginning today with the arrival of Greg Jarrett in AM drive. Jarrett, the news pro who most recently served as morning host at Tribune’s crosstown WGN, joins the morning drive program co-anchoring with Monica DeSantis. The move bumps Rob Hart and Mary Ellen Geist to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon shift. The site also reports Merlin is adding some “expanded news” programming – apparently a euphemism for “talk show” – to the schedule with John Czahor beginning a 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show. And there is still a lot of chatter in Chicago about Erich “Mancow” Muller getting an afternoon talk show on the station. He, and others including Jeff Pinkus, Kevin Matthews and Jim Laski, have been taking turns hosting talk shows in the afternoons on the station. But so far there is no official word about the permanent addition of any talk show to the lineup.
New York Public Radio Names NY Times Editor Jim Schachter News VP. WNYC-FM, New York announces The New York Times associate managing editor Jim Schachter will exit the paper and become the pubcaster’s vice president of news on July 9. He’ll be responsible for WNYC, the New Jersey Public Radio stations it recently acquired, the data news unit and the political site, It’s A Free Country. President and CEO Laura Walker says of Schachter, “He has a vibrant vision, an appetite for innovation, and a keen understanding of engaging audiences. This will bolster our ambitious plans to grow our news content and increase our reporting capacity across all platforms. We’re delighted that he is joining us at a moment when the need for serious journalism has never been more urgent.”
Digital Audio Service TuneIn Adds Fox News Radio and Bloomberg to Its Stable. The global digital audio service is quickly reaching deals with major radio and internet audio content providers and now announces it has added Fox News Radio and Bloomberg Radio to its affiliate list. TuneIn tallies more than 20 major broadcast groups as partners and the addition of Fox News Radio means TuneIn users can hear the network’s top- and bottom-of-the-hour newscasts as well as longform talk shows “Kilmeade and Friends,” John Gibson, Tom Sullivan, Alan Colmes, “Fox Across America with Spencer Hughes” and more. TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “We are committed to achieving the varied goals of our broadcast partners, whether they’re growing their audiences, monetizing their streams or growing their digital footprint. Broadcasters have already responded enthusiastically to our current offerings. We will continue to innovate – as we always have – to ensure the best experience for broadcasters, and listeners, everywhere.”
Six Leading Radio Networks Organize Network Radio Compliance Council. Six of the top American radio networks are announcing the formation of the NRCC – Network Radio Compliance Council – whose mission is to “establish best practices, providing advertisers, agencies and radio stations with better tools for the placement and reporting of commercial audio.” The NRCC consists of the six RADAR-rated network organizations: American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Dial Global, Premiere Networks and United Stations Radio Networks. The council elects Meg Montury of Premiere Networks as chair and Chris Buehler of Dial Global as vice chair. In a statement, the council will host quarterly meetings with invited guests, including radio vendors, ad agencies and additional network radio companies. Montury says, “Given the vast industry experience of members of this council, we are excited to be working together as an industry to enhance the accountability of network radio. Technology over the past five years has enabled us all to deliver even more precision and accuracy for our clients. The NRCC can only further solidify these efforts.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles is honored with two Southern California Journalism Awards for editorial excellence from the Los Angeles Press Club at yesterday’s 54th Southern California Journalism Awards dinner. KNX won in the “News” category for its “Shutdown Occupy L.A.” piece and in the “Investigative” category for “The Strange Case of Dr. Ehab Mohamed.”…..La Crosse Radio Group flips WLFN, La Crosse, Wisconsin from standards to talk with local host Bob Schmidt in AM drive, WIBA, Madison-based Vicki McKenna in PM drive plus Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish…..CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is sponsoring a lunch and live broadcast to honor first responders and benefit the St. Louis County Police Welfare Association. Along with local sponsors Lane House Construction and CiCi’s Pizza, the former will buy lunch for all first responders who join the event on Thursday, June 28 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm during which the station’s Martin Kilcoyne and Trish Gazall will broadcast live and donations to the association will be accepted…..Boston jazz buffs are lamenting the imminent disappearance of WGBH-FM, Boston’s evening jazz programming as the non-com announces it will add more spoken-word content to the program schedule this summer. There’s no official evening programming schedule announcement yet but the station has recently added expanded programming from NPR…..“Car Clinic” radio host Bobby Likis says he’s extended his collaboration with the Renewable Fuels Association on its ethanol educational outreach. The outreach includes the “Calling All Technicians…20 Facts About Ethanol” feature on the Car Clinic Network, which is designed to enlighten, educate and energize automotive technicians with verifiable facts, studies and statistics on ethanol…..Galaxy Communications’ classic rock simulcast of WTKW-FM, Bridgeport, New York and WTKV-FM, Oswego, New York are the new central New York affiliate stations for Buffalo Bills football games this season…..Al Warren retires from his weekend morning program at Cumulus Media’s WICC, Bridgeport, Connecticut on July 1. Warren began working with WICC in 1965.
KDOW, San Francisco Producer Wins Award for “Phil’s Gang” Promotion. Salem Communications’ KDOW, San Francisco producer Mark Morris is recognized in the 2011 International Radio and Production Awards for his production work on the “Waltzing with Phil Grande” promotion. The business talk-formatted station carries the nationally syndicated “Phil’s Gang” talk program hosted by Phil Grande. Grande states, “We are proud of Mark and thankful for all his hard work for the ‘Phil’s Gang’ radio show. This high-level award is the crème of the industry and everyone at ‘Phil’s Gang’ congratulates Mark on this leading international award honoring his excellence in broadcasting.”