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Friday, March 27, 2020

| March 27, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “Lives versus Livelihood?” looks back at this past week of March 23-27, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkCurtis Sliwa, talk show host, 77WABC, New York; Dr. Daliah Wachs, physician/talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/webmaster, scamicide.com; Trevor Smith, radio content producer, Aloha Productions, Australia; Bobbie Winston (La Femme Bobbie), American ex-pat/artist, Brazil; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio CompanyDavid Clayton-Thomas, musician, songwriter/former lead vocalist, Blood, Sweat & Tears.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Adams Radio Reducing Salaries to Avoid Layoffs. In his announcement that Adams Radio Group staffers have agreed to take a temporary 10% pay cut in order to avoid layoffs, CEO Ron Stone says, “I could not be prouder of our employees.  Every employee of Adams Radio stepped up to do their part to ensure that no Adams employee would lose their position.  We are a family. Our goal is singular.  To ensure everyone in our company gets through this crisis with the least amount of harm.  This test of our country’s ability to weather a storm is unlike anything any of us have seen, but we will get through this together, and be stronger for it.  What seems like a huge sacrifice today, is miniscule compared to what our fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers sacrificed.  At least we are not weathering winter without coats or boots like Washington’s army at Bunker Hill.  We are not killing our brothers in a civil war.  And we are not living for weeks in foxholes in horrible winter conditions during the Battle of the Bulge. Things could be much worse.  I sincerely hope that any company, media or otherwise, will consider overall reductions in compensation on a temporary basis rather than terminate employees.  Our most important asset is our people, and we should do all we can to keep them whole.  I am so thankful for a staff that not only wants to participate in helping our company weather this storm, they are working tirelessly in our communities to keep our local businesses front and center in the minds of listeners.”

Backbone Offers Broadcast from Home Capability Free for 45 Days. In order to help the radio industry serve the public, digital remote broadcast provider Backbone is offering its Backbone CoHost with LUCI Global apps to radio stations for free for 45 days.  The company says, “We need to stay safe, and we need to stay on the air.  Working from home is no longer just a futuristic perk, it’s our current duty.  This should be easy and affordable, and it can be.  There is no need to outlay capital to survive, thanks to our unique, integrated Virtualization in the Cloud.  Backbone CoHost PL is a fast and easy way for stations to create an always-available ‘Party Line’ conference room for one or more hosts, guests, and correspondents to contribute live audio for your broadcasts.  These two-way conversations are enabled by using the groundbreaking LUCI Global service from Technica del Arte and their free, downloadable apps for iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows platforms.  LUCI enables these phones, pads, and computers to communicate with and using the same standard formats used by commercial hardware, including COMREX and TIELINE.  CoHost PL is a simplified, unswitched version of Backbone CoHost, allowing users to instantly join the broadcast with the touch of a finger.  There are no IT settings to configure, no port selections to worry about, and no equipment to purchase or forget in the car.  It all works with whatever device you’re carrying, and over any decent Internet access you can find.”  Backbone is offering a fully functional, unlimited demo of CoHost PL and LUCI Global to our existing phone and radio customers, as well as U.S.-based call-letter radio and TV stations, for 45 days, starting March 30.  Find out more here. To start a free 45-day trial, email your contact information and a brief note about your organization to: info@backbone.com

Dom Giordano Launches “Home Learning Tips” One-Minute Feature on WPHT, Philadelphia.  Recognized throughout the state of Pennsylvania as a master teacher prior to beginning his stellar, decades-long radio career on some of Philadelphia’s leading news/talk outlets, WPHT mid-morning host Dom Giordano has launched a series of one-minute tips on home schooling for parents to utilize in productively keeping their kids busy while they are home during the coronavirus crisis.  The feature runs once per hour between 1:00 pm and 7:00 pm every weekday.  Giordano tells TALKERS, “After hearing from listeners about the challenges of working with their kids at home due to schools being closed, I offered my station a one-minute daily combination pep talk and ideas to help their kids at home for parents.  The theme is you are your child’s first and best teacher.  I’m tapping into my credibility with listeners and my years as an education/parenting analyst and columnist.”

Cumulus’ Dallas Talk Stations Hosting Special Mark Cuban Broadcast Today. Dallas news/talk stations WBAP and KLIF-AM are presenting an on-air town hall with businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, titled, “Assisting DFW Businesses During the Coronavirus.”  The Cumulus Media stations will simulcast the program from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm CST.  The WBAP/KLIF Town Hall will be hosted by Brian Estridge and Rick Roberts and topics addressed will include: How can businesses survive during these times?; How would the government’s Coronavirus Spending Package assist?; and How can consumers help their local community businesses?

Weighing the Economy Versus Lives Is Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 23-27.  The ethical dilemma of whether to save the country’s economy by reopening businesses or keep them shut to limit the deaths and the toll on the health care system was the most-talked-about story on news/talk this week and sitting atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the stimulus deal being crafted in Congress and the activity on the world’s financial markets.  Coming in at #3 is the status of the U.S. health care system, followed by the presidential race and politics at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

iHeartMedia and Salem Media Group Withdraw Guidance on First Quarter of This Year. Not surprisingly, two of the radio industry’s corporations – iHeartMedia, Inc. and Salem Media Group Inc. – are announcing they are withdrawing their financial guidance originally provided on their 2019 fourth quarter earnings calls.  iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the duration and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the U.S. economy, we believe it is appropriate to withdraw our full-year 2020 guidance.  While we cannot determine the full extent of COVID-19’s impact on our business at this time, we are monitoring this rapidly evolving situation closely and look forward to discussing our business in greater detail as part of our first quarter 2020 earnings results investor call.”  iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “iHeartMedia had a strong January and February before the effects of COVID-19 began to unfold into a global pandemic in early March.  The challenges that COVID-19 has created for advertisers and consumers has impacted iHeart’s revenue in recent weeks, creating a less clear business outlook in the near term.  To maintain maximum financial flexibility during this period, we have drawn $350 million on our $450 million senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility (“ABL Facility”).  We believe that the additional funds from drawing on our ABL Facility, in combination with our cash balance, provides us with a prudent level of liquidity at this time. We fully appreciate the unprecedented challenges posed by this crisis, however, we remain confident in our business, our employees and our strategy. With our experienced management team and our leadership position in the audio sector, we are committed to navigating this period while serving our audiences and other constituents.”  Salem Media Group, Inc. says in a statement, “Based on current indications, Salem expects total first quarter 2020 revenue will be less than previously projected as a result of decreased revenues from advertising, programming, events and book sales.  Due to continuing uncertainties regarding the ultimate scope and trajectory of COVID-19’s spread and evolution, the effects of the pandemic on Salem’s audiences, programmers and advertisers, and current and potential future governmental restrictions that may be adopted in the markets in which Salem operates, it is impossible to predict the total impact that the pandemic may have on Salem’s business.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage is appointed by President Trump to the board of directors of the Presidio Trust for a term expiring May 4, 2023.  Along with the National Park Service, the Presidio Trust manages the Presidio of San Francisco, the former military fort that is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  The host of the Westwood One-syndicated “The Savage Nation” holds a doctorate in ethnobotanical research from the University of California and both a Master of Science in botany and a Master of Arts in anthropology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM station manager Todd Manley is producing a new podcast via his EarSight Studios that pairs Windy City communications consultants Lissa Druss and Thom Serafin for “The Crisis Cast.”  The episodes will be hosted by former WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM anchor Mariam Sobh.  EarSight expects to produce three to five podcasts per week…..Today (3/27), Cox Media Group’s Atlanta stations – led by news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM – is hosting a virtual food drive to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank as part of the Stronger Together ATL campaign.  Atlanta Community Food Bank continues to provide meals for children, families and seniors as access to nutritious food throughout the COVID-19 crisis, by working with more than 600 nonprofit partners and the new Text for Help program…..The Cumulus Media news/talk teams at WBAP and KLIF-AM in Dallas were well represented at this year’s Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Contest.   Reporter Clayton Neville won First Place for Spot News by a Reporter for his coverage of the August 2019 El Paso Shooting.  The WBAP news team was awarded Second Place for Spot Coverage by a Station for coverage of the North Dallas Tornadoes in October.  For the 6th year KLIF morning drive anchors Dave Williams and Amy Chodroff won First Place for News Anchor Team and WBAP’s Brian Estridge won First Place for Sports Play-by-Play.

PPM Analysis: Classic Rock. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on classic rock.  It was a mixed bag in February for classic rock stations in the PPM markets, with 44% of stations losing weekly, 6+ AQH share and 46% gaining.  Year-over-year, 50% of classic rockers lost share while 43% saw an increase.  Three classic rock outlets – all owned by iHeartMedia – ranked #1 in February: KRFX, Denver “The Fox” (5.7), WRFX, Charlotte “The Fox” (7.9), and WAQX, New York (in the Middlesex-Somerset-Union market) (7.4).  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro AJ Dukette joins Saga Communications’ classic hits WYNZ, Portland “Rewind 100.9” to host mornings, taking over for the recently retired Chuck Igo.  Saga vice president of programming Bob Lawrence says, “When learning that Chuck was retiring, we began an extensive search for the right person to fill his shoes and then – Voila! – AJ appeared late last week.  We could not be more thrilled to welcome such a talented, Portland icon.”…..Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the annual Mountain Jam Festival scheduled for May 29-31 at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, New York has been cancelled.  Acts scheduled to perform included Gov’t Mule, Trey Anastasio Band, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Head and the Heart, Grace Potter, and many more…..Empire State Realty Trust and iHeartMedia announce their partnership to “reach those sheltering at home” with WHTZ, New York Z100’s radio waves and Empire State Building’s world-famous tower lights.  Tonight at 9:00 pm, the tower of the Empire State Building will illuminate the New York City skyline and beam iHeartMedia’s Z100 with a light show synced to the modern era anthem of New York City, Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.”  The light show will replay on Saturday, March 28, and then again from Monday, March 30 through Thursday, April 2.  On Sunday, March 29, the Empire State Building will “shine in a dynamic heartbeat” from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm in support of the “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America.”

Thursday, March 19, 2020

| March 19, 2020

WGN, Chicago Parts Company with Evening Personality Justin Kaufmann.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, evening talk host Justin Kaufmann leaves Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM after the company elected not to renew his contract.  Kaufmann joined WGN in 2015 after spending 21 years as a show producer at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM.  Feder says his sources expect Ji Suk Yi to move from her position as host of the “Wintrust Business Lunch” noontime program to host of the evening show.  Since Nexstar took over operation of the station from Tribune Media, on-air changes have included the exit of morning host Steve Cochran – replaced by Bob Sirott – and midday duo Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – whose former daypart was filled with a combination of the move of John Williams’ show to late mornings and Anna Davlantes leaving the Roe Conn afternoon drive show to host her own early afternoon program.

WNIR-FM, Akron Host Jim Isabella Out with Coronavirus. According to a report at CantonRep.com, WNIR, Akron evening talk show host Jim Isabella is off the air after contracting COVID-19.  Isabella tells the news organization he had flu-like symptoms last week and was hospitalized for pneumonia.  It was there he was tested for coronavirus and two days later learned the test was positive. He’s quoted saying, “Obey what the people are telling you.  I don’t know where the hell I got it.  You have to be smart… this is not a drill.”  Isabella says he has a cough and a rattle in his chest that makes it hard to talk for very long.

The Coronavirus Pandemic, Financial Markets Activity/Recession Fears, Coronavirus Relief Package, and Democratic Primary/Presidential Race, Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18).  The status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S and across the globe; the world’s financial markets endure another sell-off on Wednesday and economists express fear of a global recession as a result of the coronavirus; the coronavirus relief package and potential stimulus packages being considered by the Trump administration; and Joe Biden’s growing lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Round Three of Nielsen’s February PPM’s Posted. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey is released for 12 markets, including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus.  The February PPM survey covered January 30 through February 26.  You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian posts his Ratings Takeaways from the second round.  Positive movement from these markets include: Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM, Washington adds four-tenths to finish the ratings period at a 7.3 share and the #3 rank in the market; Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington also added four tenths to wrap the month at a 7.8 share and tied for the #1 rank; Entercom’s all-news WWJ, Detroit tacks a half share onto January’s four-tenths to finish the February survey at a 4.8 share and the #6 rank; iHeartMedia’s conservative talk KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7” adds another three-tenths, posting a 3.6 share and the #13 rank; and Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore puts another half share on top of seven consecutive ratings gains for a 4.4 share and the #8 rank in the market.  See all of Mike Kinosian’s Takeaways here.

New York Festivals Radio Awards Announces 2020 Finalists. The 2020 New York Festivals Radio Awards International Grand Jury has selected the finalists in this year’s competition.  All finalists move on to the medal round of judging.  New York Festivals Radio Awards will announce the 2020 award winners on Tuesday, April 21.  The Grand Jury selected the finalists based on the following criteria: production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. New York Festivals says prominent broadcasters that took the lead include: RTÉ Ireland, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBS News Radio, and Radio New Zealand. You can see the complete list of finalists here. Meanwhile, other U.S. broadcasters of note to make the medal round include: in the Podcast category – “30 for 30 Podcasts: Season 6,” ESPN Films, “Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith” Spotify; “Dolly Parton’s America,” OSM Audio/ WNYC Studios; and “Sleepwalkers,” iHeartMedia.  In the Breaking News, Feature and Investigative categories: “75th Anniversary of D-Day,” Westwood One; “Protests Grip Hong Kong,” Bloomberg LP; “CBS World News Roundup” and “Notre Dame,” CBS News Radio.

TALKERS News Notes. The New Jersey Broadcasters Association announces it is canceling this year’s Annual Conference & Gala, originally scheduled for June 16 and 17 in Atlantic City.  President and CEO Paul Rotella says, “That’s not something we wanted to do, because we enjoy that event and we were very much looking forward to it.  Like you, we treasure the opportunity to shine a spotlight on our magnificent industry, especially this year when we were going to celebrate the century of service provided by broadcasters.  But our number-one priority at this time is health and safety, and the CDC’s guidelines make clear that gatherings over 50 people should be avoided for at least the next eight weeks, and of course that makes our planning futile. (It was going to be great too!) But, the show will go on my friends, if not this year, then next year.”…..John FredericksDisruptor Media LLC buys WNTW-AM, Chester, Virginia and translator W224EB, Chester at 92.7 FM in the Richmond market from Nancy A. Epperson’s Delmarva Educational Association for $240,000.  This pair will become part of the John Fredericks Radio Network based at his WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia…..Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois-based Big Radio is creating an online directory connecting consumers with the innovative ways that local businesses are continuing to serve them during the COVID-19 emergency.  The directory provides information on local restaurants, retailers, and other businesses that are offering services while still complying with the health emergency directives.  Listings are updated on a regular basis and are being provided free of charge to businesses in the Big Radio family of stations coverage area.  Big Radio co-owner Ben Thompson says, “Local businesses are the biggest supporters of our community and we wanted to find a way to help them publicize changes in their operations so that community residents could lend a hand by continuing to shop local.”  Big Radio is the business brand of Scott and Ben Thompson who own 10 stations and other businesses throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

KMZQ, Las Vegas Morning Host Heidi Harris Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Although every corner of the nation and world have been hit hard by the coronavirus, Las Vegas has been particularly impacted due to the preponderance of hospitality and travel-oriented industries that make the market tick.  KMZQ, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harris, a 22-year veteran of Las Vegas broadcasting, and Harrison take a conversational deep dive into the coronavirus-era machinations of the “gig economy” as well as state of the convention, travel, hospitality, and gambling industries in a fascinating, fast-paced program with lots of takeaways.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the New York market Mediaco Holdings appoints Jonathan Bates vice president of brand partnerships for hip hop WQHT “Hot 97” and urban contemporary WBLS.  Bates has been serving as executive vice president for The Shadow League, a “website dedicated to presenting journalistically sound sports coverage through the lens of culture.”  Mediaco SVP of revenue Victor Giacomelli says, “Jonathan is an exceptional digital sales and marketing leader whose 20 years of digital experience will enable us to accelerate opportunities for clients to benefit from the wide array of authentic ‘Hot 97’ digital content opportunities.  Jonathan is expected to recruit a team of multicultural digital marketing specialists to partner with clients on a variety of ‘Hot 97’ digital and social opportunities.”…..iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108” is presenting a Billie Eilish experience this evening to offer fans who would have attended Eilish’s canceled concert in town tonight (3/19).  At 7:30 pm, the station will play Eilish’s music, interview clips, and listeners sharing their Billie thoughts and stories.  Station PD Dylan Sprague states, “Since her show at the Garden has been postponed, it’s the best way for fans to join together in our love for Billie Eilish.  If we were at the show, we’d be all singing these songs together.  Why not belt ‘em out at home?”

Thursday, March 12, 2020

| March 12, 2020

Broadcasting Conferences Postponed/Cancelled; TALKERS Conference on for June 5. Radio industry watchers are by now aware that the National Association of Broadcasters has cancelled April’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.  That convention may be rescheduled for later in the year.  Radio trade publication AllAccess has postponed its Worldwide Radio Summit originally scheduled for later this month in Los Angeles to an unspecified future date.  Obviously, these decisions come on the heels of recommendations by health officials to avoid large crowds in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  At this point in time, the TALKERS magazine conference scheduled for June 5 in New York City will go on as planned, however according to publisher Michael Harrison, “That situation will ultimately be determined within the next month based on the facts at that time.”  The date of the conference is a full 12 weeks from tomorrow, and it is our hope that the coronavirus pandemic will be under control by then, making such a gathering a safe one to attend.  Please continue to monitor TALKERS magazine for new information about the conference agenda.

Saga Communications Reports 2019 Q4 and Full Year Financial Data.  Releasing its financial data for the fourth quarter of 2019 and for the full year of 2019, Saga Communications reports net operating revenue of $31.8 million for Q4, down 3.5% from the same period in 2018.  For the full year of 2019, Saga reports net operating revenue of $123.1 million, a decrease of 1.4% over the full year of 2018.  The company adds that station operating expense decreased $711 thousand to $23.1 million and operating income decreased $575 thousand to $5.4 million.  Net income decreased $454 thousand to $3.8 million for the quarter.  Saga reports it had $44 million in cash on hand as of December 31, 2019 and $47 million as of March 9, 2020.  The company’s total bank debt was $10 million as of the end of the year.

COVID-19 Declared Pandemic, Trump Suspends European Travel, NBA Suspends Season, Dow Plummets, Saudi Arabia Launches Oil War, and the Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11). The World Health Organization’s declaration that COVID-19 is a now an official pandemic; President Trump’s address to the nation and his suspension of travel from Europe; the National Basketball Association suspends its season after a player tests positive for the coronavirus; the Dow sinks even further as the world’s financial markets continue to be hit by the effects of the coronavirus; Saudi Arabia’s oil war against Russia and its effect on global oil prices; and the race between Democrats Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders for the nomination were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” is cancelling two of its upcoming remote broadcasts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The first cancellation is a live appearance by the ensemble cast of the show – including host Tom Griswold, on March 26 – for the Opening Day of the Cincinnati Reds baseball season.  That appearance was to have featured a live broadcast with Cumulus Cincinnati affiliate WOFX-FM.  The show has also canceled an April 3 live broadcast at a Charleston, West Virginia casino as part of affiliate WKLC-FM’s celebration of its 40th year as a classic rock station…..Talk host and digital media producer Alex Jones was arrested for DWI in Travis County, Texas early Tuesday morning.  This came about four hours after police were summoned to a home for a disturbance being reported by Jones’ wife.  The Austin Statesman reports that Jones’ wife told authorities the two had had a physical confrontation earlier in the day but were at that time having a verbal fight.  After Jones left the house, she called authorities told them he was driving and “was possibly drinking.”  Jones was later released on $3,000 bond…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” is adding NBC Sports Chicago anchor/reporter Chuck Garfien to its staff as a White Sox expert.  Garfien will appear on the “Kap & Company,” “Carmen and Jurko,” and “Waddle and Silvy” shows.  Feder also writes today that all next week, Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder will sit in for Big John Howell on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM afternoon show.  The duo – formerly in middays at crosstown WGN-AM – began producing a podcast for WLS last month.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Through a deal with Canadian syndicator Orbyt Media, Premiere Networks is bringing its hip-hop morning show “The Breakfast Club” to radio in Canada.  The show – hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God – debuts on Stingray Group’s CFXJ-FM, Toronto on Monday (3/16)…..On-air pro Taylor Dickson joins Townsquare Media’s alternative WRRV, Middletown, New York (Hudson Valley market) as morning drive co-host and music director.  WRRV brand manager Bill Dunn says, “Taylor was a rock star in our internship program a few years ago and I remember her asking all the right questions.  She’s worked hard to get to this point and has a very bright future ahead of her.”…..Morning personality Stephen Clark announces he’s leaving his position with Entercom’s classic hits WOMC, Detroit to pursue his career in country music.  He tweeted, “Two years ago, shortly after I announced my retirement from Channel 7, WOMC came to me with an offer to do the morning show in hopes of moving into a competitive position.  I had plans to focus more on my music in Nashville….but, hey, I like a challenge.  With the awesome team of JoAnne, Jason, Julia and me, in just two years we are now consistently in the top tier of morning shows… but I still have a music career to focus on and getting up every morning at 4:30 doesn’t mesh well with the late-night nature of live music.”…..Entercom announces the band Local Natives will perform at the RADIO.COM Live event series at the HD Radio Sound Space in Los Angeles tonight (3/12) at 8:00 pm ET.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “The RADIO.COM Live event series is excited to welcome Local Natives to the stage.  Our listeners from coast-to-coast will get a preview of the band’s performance before they go on tour in May.”

Friday, September 20, 2019

| September 20, 2019

Nexstar Closes on Tribune; Former Clear Channel Exec Sean Compton to Lead WGN-AM. Just a day after the FCC approved Nexstar’s acquisition of Tribune Media’s television stations and lone radio asset, WGN-AM, the company closed on the $6.4 billion deal.  At least for now, Nexstar appears it is going to continue to operate news/talk WGN-AM and not put it on the block.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Nexstar has named Sean Compton executive vice president in charge of its programming acquisitions, the WGN America and Antenna TV cable networks, as well as WGN-AM.  Regular TALKERS readers may remember that Compton was a Clear Channel (before it was iHeartMedia) programming executive whom Randy Michaels brought from Cincinnati to Chicago in 2008 to serve as SVP of programming and entertainment when Michaels was heading up Tribune.  Compton remained with Tribune after Michaels exited his leadership of the company in 2010.

ABC Radio Rebrands as ABC Audio. In a memo to staff, ABC Audio vice president and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku announces the company is now officially using ABC Audio instead of ABC Radio for its umbrella brand.  She says, “You’re all aware of the new platforms entering consumers’ lives, from podcast distribution to interactive voice and beyond. ABC Audio recognizes that technology is evolving, but the value of our work remains constant. So, this is as much a commitment to our listeners that they will find our storytelling anytime and everywhere, as it is to you that your excellent work will continue to find the audiences it deserves.”  At the same time, Deshishku announces that Heidi Oringer is promoted to executive director of business strategy, programming and distribution and Abe Velez is promoted to director of business development and strategy.  Oringer was most recently director of affiliate solutions.  Velez has been serving in the business development department.

Michael Savage Recounts Air Force One Experience.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage (above) was asked by President Trump to travel aboard Air Force One with him during his California trip this week.  The Westwood One personality tells a story about his lunch with the president: “While sitting with President Trump on Air Force One, two hot dogs are delivered for the president.  I’m starving at this point.  President Trump looks and he must have seen my eyes dart at the hot dogs, and he says, “You want one?” I said, “Sure.”  He takes one off his plate delicately onto another plate.  He says to me, “Would you like mustard or ketchup?”  Then he mentions, “No, you don’t want that ketchup with sugar on it.  Do you?” I don’t know how he knows this, but I found out that they know what I say on the radio.  President Trump then dollops out the mustard for me from his plate, showing a certain humility and generosity that you may not be aware of from him.  It is in the little things that you could see a person’s behavior.  Here’s the interesting part.  I’m from Queens but I grew up on the other side of Union Turnpike from the president.  He cut his hot dog in pieces and ate them with a knife and fork.  I ate it like I was at a baseball game because I never saw a hot dog eaten with a knife and fork.  That’s because he grew up on the other side of the tracks, but years later we wound up in the same place at the same time sharing his lunch because he’s a very generous and down to earth man.”

Giants Coach Cancels Radio Segment with WFAN’s Mike Francesa. As reported by NorthJersey.com, New York Giants coach Pat Shurmer has notified Entercom’s WFAN, New York that he is no longer going to do the weekly radio interview with afternoon drive host Mike Francesa.  The “Sports Pope” has been extremely critical of the Giants’ offseason moves and its performances in the first two games of the season and it appears Shurmer doesn’t want to be in the hot seat facing Francesa’s criticism each week.  That’s not how Shurmer put it, though.  He said yesterday, “Well, I think that was an organizational decision not to do that.  Most people aren’t aware of this, but I wasn’t contractually obligated to do that spot.  We did it as a courtesy and out of respect for our relationship with the radio station.  So, we just felt like for a while here we just put that to bed for a while and not do it and move forward.”  Francesa talked about it on his show saying, “Listen, not everybody’s cut out for handling what is the real intense spotlight that there is in the city, that comes with these jobs. Being the head football coach of the Giants is a very, very big job.  It gets a lot of attention.  It has a lot of light and heat in the center.  The Giants have unfortunately, from at least my estimation, have become very good at hiding and very good at losing.  That’s my take.  And they need to turn both around.”

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour experimental weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (9/20).  The new episode titled “Storm Clouds of Military, Trade and Partisan War!” looks back at this past week of September 16-20, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Joe Pags, host, Compass Media NetworksThom Hartmann, host WYD Media; Tom Sullivan, host Talk Media NetworkDr. Daliah Wachs, host GCN; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This increasingly acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation point for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeart Radio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

New “Scal & Pals’ Show to Stream on RADIO.COM. The new program will feature co-hosts Brian Scalabrine and Steve Ceruti and will stream live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm ET on Entercom’s RADIO.COM Sports Digital Network.  It launches Monday (9/23) and will be dedicated to coverage of the NBA.  Entercom president of sports Mike Dee says, “We are excited to launch a digital show that will have mass appeal to all hardcore basketball fans. The lineup of contributors headlined by Scal will feature an interesting and entertaining mix of personalities and perspectives.  We aspire to have this be the best basketball content fans can find anywhere and we are eager to engage with one of the most dynamic fan bases of any sport.”  Scalabrine spent 11 seasons in the NBA playing for the New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics, and Chicago Bulls.  Ceruti is a long-time producer at ESPN with experience working under Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo.  The new show will also feature commentary from former players such as Caron Butler, current players like Admiral Schofield of the Washington Wizards, longtime sportswriter and broadcaster Ric Bucher, former Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough and more.

Lauter to Lead iHeartMedia’s Madison Operations. Media executive Drew Lauter is named market president for iHeartMedia’s Madison brands.  Lauter, who will report to Minneapolis division president Jeff Tyler, will “oversee the market’s programming, advertising, and operations… as well as create new business and revenue opportunities.”  Tyler says, “I am very excited to welcome Drew’s experience and vision to iHeartMedia.  He’s excited about taking his family to one of the premier cities in the Midwest and I am thrilled that he will be leading a great team and some of our market-leading, legendary brands in Madison.”  Lauter has served with such companies as SonyLucent, Qello Concerts, and Qello Media.

U.S.-Iran Tensions/Saudi Oil Attack Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 16-20. The military tensions between the U.S. and Iran and the related Saudi oil facility attack was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Lewandowski hearings, tied with the Democrats’ impeachment strategy, and the intelligence Trump whistleblower report.  Coming in at #3 was the new Kavanaugh allegations, followed by U.S.-China relations, the economy, and the Fed rates cuts tied at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

National Radio Talent System Names Alexus Parker Institutes Director. The National Radio Talent System announces the hiring of new institutes director, Alexus Parker. In this position, she will work directly with the broadcasters, universities, and students of the Radio Talent Institutes, and manage social media. National Radio Talent System president Dan Vallie states, “We talked to quite a few people about the position, but Alexus came highly recommended and is very impressive. She is a great fit for our team as we continue to grow the National Radio Talent System and the Radio Talent Institutes across the country.” Previously, Parker was the marketing director for iHeartMedia’s Raleigh, North Carolina station group.

Elizabeth Smart to Keynote Gracies Leadership Awards. The Alliance for Women in Media announces that author and children’s advocate Elizabeth Smart will deliver a keynote address at the Gracies Leadership Awards on Thursday, November 21, 2019, at The Plaza Hotel in New York City.  Smart is known for her 2002 abduction and since then has founded the “Elizabeth Smart Foundation” and worked for change related to child abduction, recovery programs, and national legislation. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation executive director Becky Brooks says, “The Alliance for Women in Media is proud to honor women for their extraordinary accomplishments.  It is our honor to have Elizabeth Smart, a past Gracie winner, as this year’s keynote speaker, as her address will surely inspire and empower all in attendance.”  Find more information on this event and to reserve your seat here.

FOCUS ON HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE: Dr. Daliah Wachs Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  There are many aspects of health and health care in the news from vaping, vaccines, flesh-eating bacteria, opioid abuse, and the high cost of prescription medicine to political debate over which way to go regarding the entire American health care system.  Should we maintain the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and simply build upon it as Joe Biden suggests?  Should we go to single payer universal health care and Medicare for all as promoted by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders?  Or should we go in a completely different direction with a new plan that has yet to be designed by President Trump and the Republicans?  Nationally syndicated Genesis Communications Network (GCN) radio talk show host Daliah Wachs, M.D. is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Wachs, a member of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred,” is widely respected for her medical credentials and general political neutrality.  She and Harrison address today’s hot health issues and more from a non-political perspective.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Network News Opportunities. There are three news positions at FOX News open.  The first is an overnight freelance anchor at FOX News Radio.  The job description states: “We are looking for a Freelance Overnight News Anchor to join our Fox News family as on-air talent for FOX News Radio/FOX News Headlines 24/7 Sirius XM Channel 115. As a Radio News anchor you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a days’ notice.” See more and to apply here.  The company also has freelance writer position for FOX News Headlines 24/7 open – see that information here – and a freelance producer/news editor position open that you can learn more about here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Atlanta hot AC WSTR “Star 94.1” has a new program director as Entercom appoints Jerry McKenna to the position, taking over for Ron Roberts.  McKenna was most recently serving as program director for Cape Cod Broadcasting.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

| July 18, 2019

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” Panel.  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 (7/18) post presents the panel discussion “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Michael Berry, host, Michael Berry Show; Grace Blazer, national brand coordinator of news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, iHeart Media;  Karen Hunter, host SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Brett Winterble, host KFMB, San Diego; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; and Dan Yorke, host WPRO, Providence.   Posted yesterday (7/17): WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley saluting the Broadcasters Foundation of America and Vince Benedetto, CEO of Bold Gold Media Group receiving the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster (“Humanitarian of the Year”).  Also already posted: a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network; the panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and  Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video.  The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York.  Already posted: the special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx;  Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group;  Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with  Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOneSteven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi MediaMichael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” 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 where they will remain on view for the rest of the year.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Cumulus Media Charleston Market Manager Dollar Passes. After battling breast cancer, Cumulus Media Charleston (South Carolina) vice president/market manager Sherry Dollar died yesterday morning (Wednesday, 7/17). She was surrounded by her family, who ask for nothing more than prayers and to honor her last wish to, “be kind.” Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary Berner comments, “Sherry was a terrific market manager and a terrific human being. She will be sorely and deeply missed by all of us.” The company’s executive vice president of operations Bob Walker notes that, “Sherry’s passion for this business was only surpassed by her passion for life. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and I will forever be grateful to have worked with her.” Details about memorial services honoring Dollar’s life are forthcoming. The Cumulus Media Charleston cluster consists of news/talk WTMA “News Talk 1250”; classic hits-oldies WIWF “96.9 The Wolf”; urban AC WMGL “Magic 107.3”; CHR WSSX “95-SX Hit Music Now”; and urban contemporary WWWZ “Z-93 Jamz.”

Finalists: NAB Marconi Radio Awards. “Legendary Manager of the Year,” and “Best Radio Station Podcast” are the two new categories for this year’s NAB Marconi Radio Awards, honoring radio stations and on-air personalities for excellence in broadcasting. Additionally, “Best College Radio Station of the Year” has been renamed from “Noncommercial Station of the Year.” Here are the five finalists in each of the 23 categories.

Legendary Station of the Year”: KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KNX, Los Angeles, KRTH, Los Angeles, WBAL, Baltimore, and WBAP-AM.

Legendary Manager of the Year”: Ben Downs, Bryan Broadcasting, College Station, Texas; Charlie Morgan, WQHT-FM, WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM, New York; Dan Seeman, Hubbard Broadcasting, Minneapolis-St. Paul; Mark Anderson, WBZZ-FM and WDSY-FM, Pittsburgh; and Nick Martin, Big River Broadcasting, Florence, Alabama.

Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year”: Bob Lacey & Sheri Lynch, Now Media; Elvis Duran, Premiere Networks; Rickey Smiley, Reach Media, Inc.; Rush Limbaugh, Premiere Networks; and Ryan Seacrest, Premiere Networks.

Major Market Personality of the Year”: Ebro Darden, WQHT, New York; Ellen K, KOST, Los Angeles; Felger & Massarotti, WBZ-FM, Boston; Preston & Steve, WMMR, Philadelphia; and The Musers, KTCK-AM, Dallas.

“Large Market Personality of the Year”: Crisco, Dez and Ryan, KSTP-FM, Minneapolis; Jack Harris, WFLA-AM, Tampa; Mercedes Martinez, KMXB, Las Vegas; Mike Calta, WHPT, Tampa; and Mojo, WKQI, Detroit.

“Medium Market Personality of the Year”: Brent Lane, WYCT, Pensacola, Florida; Buzz Jackson, KIIM, Tucson; Harlen The Sports Guy and Pigskin Bob, KYKX, Tyler, Texas; Jeff and Amanda, WKRZ, Wilkes-Barre; and Mike Street, WBTJ, Richmond.

“Small Market Personality of the Year”: Brent Carl Fleshman, WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; Chris and Rosie, WUSQ, Winchester, Virginia; Glenner Anderson, KXLR-FM, Fairbanks, Alaska; Scotty and Catryna, KCLR-FM, Columbia, Missouri; and Shags & Trevor, KCMG-FM, Columbia, Missouri.

“Major Market Station of the Year”: KIIS-FM, Los Angeles; WKYS, Washington, D.C.; WTOP-FM, Washington, D.C.; WWPR, New York, NY; and WYCD, Detroit.

“Large Market Station of the Year”: KOA, Denver; KSTP-FM, Minneapolis; KQMV, Seattle; WMTX, Tampa; and WXTB, Tampa.

“Medium Market Station of the Year”: KIPR, Little Rock; KRMG, Tulsa; WHKO, Dayton; WKHK, Richmond; and WSSL, Greenville, South Carolina.

“Small Market Station of the Year”: KFGO-AM, Fargo, North Dakota; KROX, Crookston, Minnesota; KWYO-AM, Sheridan, Wyoming; WNDH, North Canton, Ohio; and WXLP-FM, Davenport, Iowa.

“Best Radio Podcast of the Year”: “Behind the Song,” WDRV, Chicago; “Denied Justice Podcast,” WCCO, Minneapolis; “Garage Logic,” Hubbard Broadcasting, Minneapolis; “On the Table,” NET, Lincoln, Nebraska; and “What Had Happened Was,” WHIO-FM, Dayton.

“Adult Contemporary Station of the Year”: KODA, Houston; KRWM, Seattle; WBZZ, Pittsburgh; WMAG, Greensboro; and WSHE, Chicago.

“CHR Station of the Year”: KRBE, Houston; KTXY-FM, Columbia, Missouri; WKZL, Greensboro; WQHT, New York; and WWPW, Atlanta.

“Classic Hits Station of the Year”: WMGK, Philadelphia; WMJI, Cleveland; WMMO, Orlando; WOGL, Philadelphia; and WXGL, Tampa.

“College Radio Station of the Year”: WHPC-FM, Nassau Community College, Garden City, New York; WMSC-FM, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey; WRCC-FM, Rider University, Lawrenceville, New Jersey; WRHU-FM, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York; and WSOU-FM, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey.

“Country Station of the Year”: KILT-FM, Houston; KSCS, Dallas; KUBL, Salt Lake City; KYGO, Denver; and
WQHK-FM, Fort Wayne, Indiana;

“News/Talk Station of the Year”: KIRO-FM, Seattle; KTMY, Minneapolis; WDBO-FM, Orlando; WINS, New York; and WKXW, Trenton, New Jersey.

“Religious Station of the Year”: KKFS, Sacramento; KKJM-FM, St. Cloud, Minnesota; KNWI-FM, West Des Moines, Iowa; KPWJ-FM, College Station, Texas; and WRVL-FM, Lynchburg, Virginia.

“Rock Station of the Year”: KISS, San Antonio; WCSX, Detroit; WIYY, Baltimore; WPLR-FM, New Haven, Connecticut; and WRIF, Detroit.

“Spanish Station of the Year”: KLNZ, Phoenix; KLOL, Houston; KLZT, Austin; WOJO, Chicago; and WYUU, Tampa.

“Sports Talk Station of the Year”: KFXN, Minneapolis; WBZ-FM, Boston; WIP, Philadelphia; WKRK, Cleveland; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.

“Urban Contemporary Station of the Year”: KBLX-FM, San Francisco; WBLS, New York; WGCI-FM, Chicago;
WHQT, Miami; and WPEG, Charlotte.

Winners will be announced at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show during the radio Show in Dallas (9/26).

London Contest Among Compass Media Networks’ 2019 NFL Highlights. A double-header will be heard on Compass Media Networks every Sunday over the course of the NFL’s 17-week regular season. Compass Media Networks general manager of sports Michelle Salvatore maintains, “NFL Gameday presented by Compass Media Networks has become a ‘destination listen’ across the country. Our long history with the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, and numerous other clubs across the country has enabled us to once again offer a full spectrum of NFL coverage, called by some of the greatest voices to grace the air. We are thrilled to count this as year 11 and are humbled by the success and reach our productions have. This will be an amazing season from anywhere you look – or listen.” Pre-season coverage includes Rams vs. Cowboys in Honolulu and Packers vs. Raiders in Winnipeg, Canada. The first five weeks of the regular season schedule has been finalized and includes Titans vs. Browns; Giants vs. Cowboys; Chiefs vs. Raiders; Steelers vs. 49ers; Packers vs. Cowboys; Jets vs. Eagles; and Bears vs. Raiders from London. Sunday afternoon NFL games will feature Chris Carrino and Jesse Agler (play-by-play); Brian Baldinger and Curtis Conway (analysts); and Jon Rothstein (studio host). Talent for Oakland Raider broadcasts are Brent Musburger (play-by-play); Lincoln Kennedy (analyst); Chris Townsend (sideline reporter); and Tim Cates (studio host). Games of the Dallas Cowboys (available outside the Cowboys’ home territory) will be handled by Kevin Ray (play-by-play); Danny White (analyst); and Jerry Recco (studio host).

King, Sundstrom Boosted at WWO. Two executives in Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One’s 24-hour formats division receive promotions. Specifically, vice president of country programming George King becomes vice president/general manager and will oversee all programming and affiliate management for the company’s 24-hour formats. King will report to Westwood One president of programming Kirk Stirland. Meanwhile, regional affiliate manager Eric Sundstrom is elevated to vice president of affiliate sales and will report to King. Stirland comments, “George is both a gifted, experienced, programmer and a big strategic thinker. He will bring both skills to bear with our customers at 24-hour formats. Very few people understand the local radio marketplace like Eric, which makes him a smart choice for this leadership role. With George and Eric at the helm, we’ll continue to bring high-quality radio to the traditional 24-hour format marketplace, as well make an impact in larger markets that require different features and qualities.” King remarks, “We are proud to be the leader in the field, and we will continue to deliver best-in-class 24-hour content to radio stations nationwide.” Sundstrom notes, “I’m honored to work even more closely with this world-class team of sales and programming talent. I look forward to developing an even deeper relationship with our valued partners and to connecting with new 24-hour format customers.” Prior to joining Westwood One five years ago, King was regional operations manager for Townsquare Media’s stations in Ft. Collins, Colorado. He also worked at country WMZQ, Washington (D.C.). Sundstrom has a more than 20-year affiliate management tenure at Westwood One. He previously held program management positions in Albuquerque at KRST, KRZY, and KKOB-FM.

Pride Media and iHM Team For LGBTQ+ Podcasts. The partnership between iHeartMedia and Pride Media kicks off today (Thursday, 7/18) with “The Outcast,” an iHeartRadio original podcast co-produced with Out Magazine and hosted by its deputy editor Fran Tirado. This weekly podcast will explore queer and queer-adjacent topics as they pertain to politics, pop culture, fashion, relationships, and money. President of iHeartMedia Podcast Network Conal Byrne states, “At iHeartMedia, our goal is to connect exceptional content with diverse audiences. Pride Media has been an authentic voice for the LGBTQ+ community for years, and this partnership would not be possible without their unique expertise. We are proud to partner with them to create and distribute exciting new podcasts for the LGBTQ+ community and beyond.” Tirado remarks, “Podcasting and audio storytelling, particularly in the LGBTQ+ space, needs more voices in it. I can’t wait to help elevate and uplift those voices.” Interim Pride Media CEO Orlando Reece notes, “We’ve seen the power of podcasting firsthand, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with the leading podcast platform to create shows that we know our audience will love. By combining our established brand with iHeart’s massive scale, we’ll be able to reach even more LGBTQ+ individuals across the country through audio.” Out editor-in-chief Phillip Picardi adds, “I’m so thrilled that Fran is blessing us with his unique talents in the podcasting space. Under his vision and direction, I’m hopeful that the stories we’re so proud to tell at Out will be given new dimension and texture.” Later this month, the iHeartMedia Podcast Network will launch Pride Media’s “Food 4 Thot,” which discusses sex, relationships, race, and identity.

Podcast Movement Unveils Content Site, Daily Newsletter. Billed as “the world’s largest conference for podcasters and the podcast industry,” Podcast Movement this week launches a content site for podcasting news, resources, and thought leadership. Guest articles from creators and critics across the industry will be published regularly, offering exclusive materials, information, and insights to podcasters and other podcast industry professionals. Meanwhile, morning-delivered newsletter PodMov Daily is designed to keep podcasters and industry professionals in the loop with news, curated topics, and community updates. Podcast Movement co-founder/president Dan Franks remarks, “While we love providing value to podcasters at our in-person events, we’re excited to now have a platform that provides that value year-round, and allows us to give back in an even bigger way to the community that’s shown us so much support.” The sixth annual Podcast Movement conference will be held next month (8/13 – 16) in Orlando.

LRF Bill Gains More Bipartisan Support. The “Local Radio Freedom Act” (LRFA) now has 184 co-sponsors in the House and 24 in the Senate. The latest four signing on as co-sponsors are representatives Deb Haaland (Democrat-New Mexico); Dan Crenshaw (Republican-Texas); and Van Taylor (Republican-Texas, as well). The additional Senate sponsor is Cindy Hyde-Smith (Republican-Mississippi). The resolution states, “Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over the air, or on any business for the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station broadcast over the air.” Principal co-sponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act in the House of Representatives (H. Con. Res. 20) are Kathy Castor (Democrat-Florida) and Michael Conaway (Republican-Texas). Senators Martin Heinrich (Democrat-New Mexico) and John Barrasso (Republican-Wyoming) are the lead co-sponsors of a companion resolution in the Senate (S. Con. Res. 5).

TALKERS News Notes. Celebrating its 50th season as the Denver Broncos’ flagship station, iHeartMedia Denver news/talk KOA “News Radio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” debuts “Broncos Country Tonight” tomorrow (Friday, 7/19, 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm). President of the iHeartMedia Denver region Tim Hager notes, the six-hour show “solidifies the strong partnership between the Denver Broncos, KOA and top sports on-air personalities such as [Broncos play-by-play announcer] Dave Logan and [Broncos color analyst] Rick Lewis. From the Denver Broncos training camp to behind-the-scenes preseason coverage, this show will attract a huge following and we’re excited to welcome it to our heritage station.” ….. To coincide with the listing of iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, iHM chair/chief executive officer Bob Pittman and president/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler rang today’s opening bell (Thursday, 7/18) at 9:30 am. The company’s stock began trading today under the ticker “IHRT.”

 

June 2019 PPM Data – Part Four. June 2019 ratings information has been released for Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, and Jacksonville, Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 survey period covered May 23 – June 19. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from all four of these PPM-markets. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Nashville

Spoken-Word Formats – Down a collective one-half share in three straight down or flat moves (3.6 – 3.6 – 3.2 – 3.1, 6+), Cumulus Media news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” ends the slide with a gain of four-tenths to 3.5   (#13 to #12, 6+). The repetitive March 2019 through June 2019 topline for iHeartMedia news/talk WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” is: 1.7 – 1.4 – 1.7 – 1.4 (#17 to #19, 6+).

Not only does Cumulus Media-owned sports talk WGFX have its 6+AQH-share carved roughly in half (-2.8) in three straight setbacks (5.5 – 4.8 – 4.2 – 2.7, 6+), “104.5 The Zone” slumps from #11 to #14. The last time WGFX was below a three-share (6+) was July 2017 (2.7, as well). Meanwhile, Cromwell Group-owned WPRT “102.5 The Game” is a combined -1.1 in May/June (1.9 – 1.1 – .8, #21 to #22, 6+).

Adding two-tenths to May’s +1.0 (5.4 – 5.6, 6+), Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN-FM “NPR News and Classical Music” progresses from seventh to fifth. The news/talk/classical hybrid outlet was -1.3 in March/April (5.7 – 4.8 – 4.4, 6+).

Nashville Music Formats – Without an increase three successive reports for an overall -1.2 (7.5 – 6.6 – 6.3 – 6.3, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WNRQ “105.9 The Rock” makes up 75% of the deficit with a +.9 to 7.2 (fourth to third, 6+). Over and above logging its best 6+-stat (4.5) since “Holiday” 2018’s 4.7, Salem Media Group’s WFFH “The Fish” is a collective +1.0 through four straight positive spikes (3.5 – 3.8 – 3.9 – 4.1 – 4.5, #12 to #11, 6+). Four setbacks in succession by Midwest Communications adult contemporary WJXA resulted in a collective -5.9 (14.1 – 10.6 – 9.3 – 8.8 – 8.2, 6+), but “Mix 92.9 – Your Life, Your Music” is now a combined +1.4 in May/June (8.2 – 9.2 – 9.6, 6+) and repeats at #1. Before forfeiting six-tenths in April, “Mix” had been on top the previous 15 ratings periods. Twelve recent WJXA fluctuations include: +1.0 (June 2018); +.9 (August); -.9 (September); -.7 (October); +.9 (November); +1.9 (December); +3.2 (“Holiday” 2018); -3.5 (January 2019); -1.3 (February); -.5 (March); -.6 (April); and +1.0 (May). “Holiday” 2018’s 14.1 is the highest 6+-share for any Nashville outlet since WJXA’s 14.4 in “Holiday” 2017. TBLC Media Spanish contemporary WNVL “Activa 105.1 & 1240 AM” has nearly quadrupled (+1.3) its 6+-stat in five bumps in a row (.5 – .6 – .8 – .9 – 1.5 – 1.8, #18 to #16, 6+). Directly after posting an April increase of seven-tenths (3.0 – 3.7, 6+), Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WLVU “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” falters by a combined -1.7 in May/June (3.7 – 2.8 – 2.0, #14 to #15, 6+) and posts its lowest 6+-stat (2.0) since February 2018’s 1.0. The March 2019 through June 2019 topline for iHeartMedia CHR WRVW “107.5 The River” is 5.3 – 5.9 – 5.9 – 5.3 (fifth to sixth, 6+). The market’s three major country FMs are separated by just three-tenths of a share. After posting a collective +2.2 in five straight gains (4.1 – 4.2 – 5.4 – 5.9 – 6.1 – 6.3, 6+), Cumulus Media’s WKDF “103.3 Nash FM” falters by one-half share in consecutive sweeps (6.3 – 5.8 – 5.3, flat at #6, 6+). Prior to March, WKDF last hit the six-share threshold in June 2013. Six consecutive sweeps without a loss by iHeartMedia’s WSIX “The Big 98 – Nashville’s #1 for New Country” (steady in eighth-place) net a +1.7 (3.5 – 4.7 – 4.7 – 5.0 – 5.2 – 5.2 – 5.2, 6+). It has a two-tenths advantage over Cumulus Media’s WSM-FM “95.5 Nash Icon,” which was up two-tenths in three successive up or flat moves (5.0 – 5.0 – 5.0 – 5.2, 6+) but squanders two-tenths to 5.0 (eighth to ninth, 6+). Dropping by one-half share in addition to WKDF is iHeartMedia urban contemporary WUBT “101.1 The Beat” (6.8 – 6.3, third to fourth, 6+) with 6.3, its lowest 6+-showing since February’s 6.1.

Providence

Spoken-Word Formats – Slipping from seventh to eighth, Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM “News Talk 630” is a combined -.7 in May/June (3.8 – 3.7 – 3.1, 6+).

Owing to four dips in succession, iHeartMedia-owned news/talk WHJJ “Providence’s News, Traffic, and Weather” forfeits eight-tenths (2.1 – 1.9 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.3, 6+) and drops from #13 to #14. Even though Cumulus Media’s WPRV forfeits two-tenths (.7 – .5, 6+), “AM 790 Talk & Business” is back in the top twenty (#21 to #20).

By picking up one-tenth in June to 3.6 (6) – after sputtering by one-half share in May – Entercom sports talker

WVEI progresses from eighth to seventh.

Down three-tenths in May/June (1.3 – 1.2 – 1.0, 6+), iHeartMedia Boston hybrid news – talk WBZ-AM “News Radio 1030” slips from #17 to #18.

Stuck on 2.0 (6+) in April and May,  The Wheeler School’s news/talk WELH is off one-tenth to 1.9 (6+) but stays at #10, while WGBH Educational Foundation Boston news/talk WGBH notches a 1.6 (6+) for the fifth time in the last seven reports (1.6 – 1.6 – 1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.6, #12 to #11, 6+).

Providence Music Formats – Busting out improvements of nine-tenths each are Hall Communications’ WCTK “Cat Country 98.1” (7.6 – 8.5, steady at #3, 6+) and iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WWBB “B-101” (7.2 – 8.1, fifth to fourth, 6+). When “Cat Country” surrendered two-tenths in May, it halted four straight gains that accounted for a +2.2 (5.6 – 7.2 – 7.4 – 7.4 – 7.8, 6+). That streak, however, followed a collective -3.1 via three declines in succession (8.7 – 8.2 – 6.9 – 5.6, 6+). “B-101,” meanwhile, has its best 6+-performance in nearly a year – matching July 2018’s 8.1. Reaching this Rhode Island market from Boston, iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” is up a collective four-tenths through four successive up or flat Providence moves (1.1 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.5 – 1.5, #14 to #13, 6+). In addition to bumping up two-tenths (10.0 – 10.2, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WHJY “94 HJY Providence’s Home of Rock & Roll” repeats at #1. An April loss of nine-tenths forced WHJY from the top spot after three straight months there. The decline halted four consecutive positive or flat moves that netted a +2.0 (8.5 – 9.8 – 9.8 – 9.8 – 10.5, 6+). Before taking over at #1 in January, WHJY was in the runner-up slot from September 2018 through “Holiday” 2018. Co-owned hot AC WSNE “Coast 93.3,” which cobbled together three consecutive improvements for a collective +1.2 (3.8 – 4.3 – 4.5 – 5.0, 6+), sputters by seven-tenths to 4.3 (6+) and remains at #6. In May, “Coast” reached the five-share level (5.0, 6+) for the first time since October 2018’s 5.5. Unlisted until February 2019, Hall Communications’ classic hits-oldies WNBH more than tripled (+.7) its 6+-stat in three straight upticks (.3 – .4 – .5 -1.0, 6+), but “Big 101.3” sees its 6+ AQH share sliced in half to a .5 (-.5, #18 to #20). In five straight negative or neutral reports, Townsquare Media CHR WFHN “Fun 107 – The South Coast’s #1 Hit Music Station” has lost roughly 60% (-2.6) of its 6+-share (4.2 – 3.7 – 2.6 – 1.9 – 1.9 – 1.6, flat at #11, 6+). Immediately in advance of this stretch, WFHN more than tripled (+3.0) its 6+-stat as a result of six successive up or flat moves (1.2 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.7 – 4.2, 6+).

Norfolk – Unchanged in fourth-place, WNOR posts a gain of eight-tenths to 6.8, the highest 6+ AQH share for the Saga Communications’ rocker since October 2018’s 6.9. In addition to more than doubling (+1.1) its 6+-stat in six straight reports without a loss (.8 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.9, 6+), iHeartMedia alternative WNOH “Alt 105.3” returns to the top ten (#11 to #8). Responding to March/April’s combined -2.4 (12.9 – 11.6 – 10.5, 6+) with a May +1.0 to 11.5 (6+), Entercom urban AC WVKL “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” drops one-tenth to 11.4 (6+) but is #1 for the sixth successive month. Just prior to logging a 10.5 this past April, WVKL had posted a 6+-share of 11.0 or higher 37 of 38 times. “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” had been on top 25 successive survey periods before segueing to the runner-up slot in “Holiday” 2018. Its August 2018 15.5 holds the record for highest 6+-performance by any Norfolk station in the PPM-era. Adult contemporary sibling WWDE “101.3 2WD,” however, erodes by -1.4 (5.8 – 4.4, fifth to sixth, 6+) and is below a five-share (4.4, 6+) for the first time since January 2018’s 4.3. An overall -1.0 in three straight negative or neutral moves (5.6 – 5.2 – 5.2 – 4.6, 6+), cluster-mate WNVZ “Z-104” improves by three-tenths to 4.9 (6+) and climbs from sixth to fifth. Ever since appearing in print in November 2018, its internet stream is trending .4 – .5 – .6 – .5 – .5 – .5 – .4 – .5 – .4 (flat at #14, 6+). WJOI “1230 AM – Great Songs/Great Memories,” which gained six-tenths in five straight up or flat trends (.8 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.4, 6+), surrenders half that increase (1.1, -.3, 6+) as the Saga Communications adult standards station falls from #11 to #13. Likewise, Norfolk State University urban contemporary WNSB improved by four-tenths via four consecutive sweeps without a loss (1.0 – 1.- 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.4, 6+), but “Hot 91.1” is off two-tenths to 1.2 (#11 to #12, 6+).

Jacksonville

Spoken-Word Formats – This marks the fifth consecutive sweep without an increase for Cox Media Group news/talk WOKV-FM, which is a collective -2.9 in that stretch (10.4 – 9.7 – 8.8 – 8.6 – 8.6 – 7.5, 6+). Moreover, “104.5 – Jacksonville’s News, Weather, and Traffic” segues from a first-place tie to a second-place tie. WOKV-FM had sole possession of first-place in April.

Without an increase the eighth consecutive time for a net loss of 75% (-.6) of its 6+-stat (.8 – .7 – .6 – .6 – .5 – .3 – .3 -.3 – .2, 6+), iHeartMedia sports talk WFXJ “930 The Game – Jacksonville’s Sports Leader” repeats at #19.

Off seven-tenths in three setbacks in succession (3.7 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 3.0, 6+), public news/talk WJCT falls from #11 to #12. Immediately prior to April, “Your Community – Your World” was a cumulative +1.5 in five increases in a row (2.2 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 3.0 – 3.5 – 3.7, 6+).

Jacksonville Music Formats – A lofty +1.4 (4.6 – 6.0, 6+) enables iHeartMedia urban contemporary WJBT “93.3 The Beat” to vault from eighth to fifth. On the strength of a +1.0, co-owned CHR WKSL “97.9 Kiss FM” crosses the five-share level (4.2 – 5.2, 6+) and bumps up from ninth to eighth. At the same time, Cox Media Group’s similarly-formatted WAPE falters by -1.0 and is down the third straight sweep for an overall -1.3 (7.3 – 7.2 – 7.0 – 6.0, fourth to fifth, 6+). In addition, “95.1 Jacksonville’s #1 Hit Music Station” has its weakest 6+-stat (6.0) since 5.2 in “Holiday” 2018. Its adult contemporary sibling, WEZI “Easy 102.9,” nets +1.4 in three successive upticks (4.5 – 4.9 – 5.1 – 5.9, 6+) and carries on in seventh-place. A combined +1.1 in January/February, WEZI surrendered roughly half that increase with a March loss of six-tenths. Despite being a collective -1.2 in three declines in a row (8.7 – 8.3 – 7.6 – 7.5, 6+), Renda Broadcasting’s similarly-formatted WEJZ “96.1 Jacksonville’s Official Work Station” advances from third to a second-place tie. Its “Holiday” 2018 16.3 is the highest 6+-mark for any Jacksonville station since “Holiday” 2015 when WEJZ notched a 19.5. Locked on 3.1 (6+) in April and May, iHeartMedia’s WWJK “107.3 Planet Radio – Jacksonville’s Rock Station” posts a one-half share gain (3.1 – 3.6, 6+) and enters the top ten (#12 to #10). After a March-only stay at #1, Cox Media Group classic hits-oldies WJGL segued to a second-place tie in April and then progressed to a first-place tie in May. Even though “96.9 The Eagle” drops one-half share in June (8.6 – 8.1, 6+), it has sole possession of first-place. An April loss of six-tenths interrupted three upticks in succession that resulted in a +1.6 (7.3 – 8.1 – 8.6 – 8.9, 6+). Immediately prior to that streak, “The Eagle” was an overall -2.0 in four consecutive slips (9.3 – 9.2 – 8.5 – 8.2 – 7.3, 6+). Off seven-tenths to 5.0, its lowest 6+-showing since 4.9 in “Holiday” 2018, iHeartMedia urban AC WSOL “V-101.5” slips from sixth to ninth. Showing decreases of six-tenths each are Cox Media Group-owned WXXJ “X-106.5 Jacksonville’s Alternative” (unchanged at #13); iHeartMedia gospel WKSL-HD3 (2.3, flat at #14, 6+); and Radio Training Network contemporary Christian WCRJ “The Joy FM” (1.6 – 1.0, #flat at #17, 6+). “X-106.5” has lost seven-tenths in three straight negative or neutral moves (3.1 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 2.4, 6+). Prior to the June sweep, WKSL-HD3 had shown a net increase of seven-tenths in four straight sweeps without a loss (2.2 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.7 – 2.9, 6+). “The Joy FM” was frozen on 1.6 (6+) in April and May. In nine straight sweeps without a loss, iHeartMedia Spanish contemporary WQIK-HD2 gained two-tenths (.1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .3, 6+) but is off one-tenth in June to .2 (unchanged at #19, 6+).

KLOS, KXOS Officially Added to Meruelo Media. The existing Meruelo Media Los Angeles cluster welcomes rock KLOS (from Cumulus Media) and regional Mexican KXOS (from Grupo Radio Centro). They join rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106,” Redondo Beach-licensed KDAY “93.5 Hip-Hop Back in the Day” and Ontario (California)-licensed simulcast KDEY, as well as KWHY-TV and KBEH-TV. The company’s current executive team takes over KLOS’ operations, with Meruelo Media president Otto Padron serving as interim market manager; Tomas Trujillo overseeing day-to-day operations; vice president of client solutions David Criscitelli leading sales; and vice president of marketing Dianna Jason dealing with communication and marketing. KLOS program director Keith Cunningham continues in that capacity. KWHY-TV general manager Irma Barrios adds KXOS to her existing duties and Emmanuel “DJ E-Man” Coquia takes over KXOS’ interim programming and music duties. Padron remarks, “Two closes in one day – we are thrilled to add KXOS and KLOS to the Meruelo Media family. This is the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in Los Angeles media. We are absolutely committed to the amazing heritage rock brand of KLOS. We are electrified to officially close on our purchase of the station and begin a new chapter of this legendary brand together with its amazing cadre of talented employees and iconic personalities. It will give Meruelo Media great scale and access to a highly desirable market sector, in addition to giving our clients and partners a newly energized local option. In turn, we will commit to KLOS our deep hyper-local operational and content resources that will drive significant audience growth for a larger share of advertising dollars. Regarding the other addition, he teased, “Stand by, exciting news about KXOS coming soon.” Meruelo Media plans to relocate KLOS’ Culver City operations to its Burbank facility later this year; KXOS already operates from there. The $43 million deal for KLOS was announced in April; it reportedly paid $35 million for KXOS. In addition to notching its sixth straight up or flat trend for a net gain of nine-tenths (2.4 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 3.3, 6+), KLOS cracks the top ten (#11 to #8, Nielsen Audio, June 2019, 6+). KXOS picks up three-tenths in June (.9 – 1.2, 6+) and finishes at #30 – tied with KDAY (flat at 1.2, 6+). “Power 106” gains two-tenths (2.9 – 3.1, #11 to #10, 6+) and has its best 6+-showing since September 2018’s 3.2.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Starting September 9, longtime “Extra” host – Mario Lopez – will join Kit Hoover and Scott Evans in a similar capacity on “Access Hollywood” and “Access Live.” In addition to his television work, Lopez hosts Premiere Networks’ “On With Mario Lopez” and the hot AC version of “iHeartRadio Countdown With Mario Lopez.” NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution executive vice president/creative affairs Tracie Wilson declares, “Mario is a multi-talented television personality. As an entertainment TV and radio host, actor, author, and – of course – a father and husband, Mario brings a fresh voice and perspective with creative ideas to our business. Our viewers know him and love him, and we are so excited to have him as a part of the NBCUniversal family.” According to “Access Hollywood” senior executive producer Maureen Fitzpatrick, “Mario has grown up in the business and is able to offer our viewers a unique insight on the latest Hollywood headlines. As a husband and father of three young children, he has a respect for the daytime audience looking for a break in their hectic lives with uplifting stories of everyday people transforming their lives and making a difference in their communities.” Lopez notes, “I have long admired the NBCUniversal team and all the shows being produced. I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to join in that success and develop scripted and alternative projects on their many creative platforms.” …. Founder/president of The WTA Group – a leader in development/marketing of faith-based film and publishing – Bill Reeves, succeeds the retiring Mike Novak as Educational Media Foundation’s chief executive officer. EMF is the parent company of contemporary Christian radio networks K-Love and Air 1. EMF has issued a letter of intent to acquire The WTA Group, which Reeves founded in 2009. EMF interim chief executive officer and president Alan Mason maintains, “God always sends the right person at the right time. Bill’s unique skill set and personality are a great match with our current and future needs. His vast media experience complements radio as we take our first step toward becoming a more diversified media ministry.” EMF board chair Mark Voltmann comments, “All of us at EMF are excited to welcome Bill into our family. Bill’s love for the Lord and ministry through Christian media is a great fit.” Reeves remarks, “K-Love and Air1 have tremendous impact on our culture. I look forward to continuing to grow that impact and reach both through the radio networks and through new media in the future.” WTA Group will remain in Nashville where it has operated since its inception ….. Five-year WRSA “Mix 96.9” “After Hours” night talent Blair Davis is boosted to middays (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) at the NCA Huntsville (Alabama) mainstream adult contemporary outlet. WRSA general manager Nate Adams comments that, “When it comes to radio, Blair has the ‘it’ factor. Her on-air ability is years beyond her experience. She not only understands how to deliver great content, she is focused on finding the right content for our audience. She brings a great level of energy to the workday listener and connects well with them.” Davis, who will also do a Saturday morning shift (6:00 am – 10:00 am), notes, “You never know what tricks I might have up my sleeve.” …..Windy City media authority Robert Feder is first to report that a new morning show could surface on Entercom Chicago’s country-formatted WUSN “US-99” early next month. Feder speculates that Jason Pullman and Katie Bright will constitute the wakeup team. The slot has been open since the departure two months ago of Dougie Stylz and Justin Roman (“Stylz & Roman”). Pullman’s previous on-air credits include iHeartMedia Los Angeles’ KYSR (when it was hot AC “Star 98.7”) and Atlanta country sibling WUBL “94.9 The Bull.” Bright has worked on-air in Nashville and was based in Music City USA as director/national promotion for Warner Music Nashville.