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Talk Radio Rises to Coronavirus Challenge

| March 9, 2020

By Michael Harrison
TALKERS
Publisher

 

JUPITER, Fla. — This past weekend seems to have marked a tipping point in America regarding public anxiety over COVID-19, still commonly referred to as the coronavirus.  Fears and near-panic have infiltrated the beleaguered heath care systems of our communities, the stock market, and a number of inter-connected industries and public events.  Add to that, discourse about the problem in our politically oriented media have included the “weaponization” of issues per the troubling practice of each side tending to seek victory at the expense of truth.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

| November 5, 2019

Townsquare Media Q3 Net Revenue Up 6.2%.  Third quarter 2019 net revenue for Townsquare Media was $112.6 million, an increase of 6.2% over the same period in 2018.  (Net revenue was up 7.9% excluding political revenue.)  The company also is reporting year-to-date figures (the first three quarters of the year) and says that net revenue was up 6.7% over the same period in 2018.  Net income was up $29 million during the first three quarters of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.  Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says in a statement, “Townsquare’s third quarter results exceeded our expectations, with ex-political net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA increasing 7.9% and 12.9%, respectively, over the prior year.  In addition to the continued strong results of our digital marketing subscription business, Townsquare Interactive, which increased net revenue by 26.0% over the prior year, our Advertising business grew net revenue a very impressive 7.3% excluding political revenue over the prior year.  Both segments also achieved strong profit margins in excess of 30% in the third quarter and year to date periods, which as a result increased Adjusted EBITDA by a strong 11.5% in the first nine months of 2019.  Continued momentum in our revenue growth, coupled with our disciplined expense management, allowed us to reduce net leverage to 4.7x as of September 30th, a reduction of 0.6x year over year and the lowest net leverage level in our history.  The ongoing strong performance of Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite, our proprietary digital programmatic advertising platform, is contributing to digital revenue being 35% of our total net revenue and reinforces our belief that each of those digital divisions will generate $100 million in annual net revenue within the next two to four years.  We believe that our strong financial performance, talented teams, broad product suite of high quality, locally focused multiplatform offerings, and the size and strength of our digital businesses, further prove that Townsquare is not a traditional radio broadcaster, and has evolved to be a premier local media and digital marketing solutions company.”

‘ESPN Tucson’ Adds New Morning Show. The new, two-hour morning drive show on Arizona Lotus Corp’s sports talk KFFN-AM/K285DL in Tucson is hosted by Jeff Dean.  He’s a 20-plus year broadcast pro who has served as the PA announcer for University of Arizona Wildcats football and men’s basketball for the past six years.  Station operations manager Larry Mac says, “We are excited to have someone with the level of expertise that Jeff Dean will bring to the airwaves here in Tucson.  His love of the Wildcats, and his passion for sports will help make ‘ESPN Tucson’ the destination for local morning sports talk radio in the Old Pueblo.”  Dean, whose show will air Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 9:00 am, says, “It’s such an amazing feeling to be able to return home.  I really hope to strengthen the relationship between the University of Arizona athletic department and the great sports fans of Tucson.  It’s time for these fans to know the real U of A and I hope that I can help facilitate that.”

TALKERS News Notes. An 11-part series of reports in honor of the men and women who’ve served in the U.S. military is available from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One.  The Veterans Day report is approximately one minute long and features the men and women who make up the U.S. veteran population.  They include perspectives from national leaders and veterans of varying ages about how veterans view their service and the day set aside to honor it.  The series is reported and produced by Westwood One News reporter Chas Henry, himself a combat decorated veteran of the 1991 Gulf War…..A special episode of “The Adam Carolla Show” on PodcastOne was released yesterday (11/4) featuring Ford v Ferrari co-stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale.  PodcastOne notes that “perhaps the most ‘candid’ moment came after they finished recording the podcast as Carolla and Damon were overheard talking about Carolla’s longtime friend and colleague, and Damon’s long-time public nemesis, Jimmy Kimmel.”  Check it out here…..PBS is presenting a Christmas special that will air  a number of times in  this month and in December featuring some of the traditional popular holiday music written by such composers as Johnny Marks, who wrote “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”  Serving as associate producer of the project is Chick Pallotta, who specializes in producing mini-radio programs for the holiday season using the voices of that era to introduce the recordings of their well-known compositions.  Some 300 PBS stations will be airing the special…..SiriusXM announces host changes to its SiriusXM Progress channel leading up to the 2020 elections.  First, “Signal Boost with Zerlina and Jess,” co-hosted by Zerlina Maxwell and Jess McIntosh will expand to two hours, airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am ET.  Wrapping up the day’s news will be SiriusXM’s John Fugelsang, who joins the Progress channel’s primetime schedule from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  Fugelsang previously hosted a show on SiriusXM’s Insight channel.  In addition to regular appearances as a political expert on MSNBC, CNN, and FOX News, Fugelsang recently co-hosted the nationally syndicated television entertainment program “Page Six TV.”

Celebrating Brian Kilmeade’s New Book. Crews from New York news/talkers WABC, WOR, and FOX News were at Del Frisco’s steakhouse in New York City to celebrate the publishing of FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio personality Brian Kilmeade’s new book, Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory That Changed American History (2019, Penguin Publishing).  Pictured above are (from l-r): FNC’s Bill Hemmer, WABC executive producer Jill Vitale, WOR host Mark Simone, famed defense attorney and fill-in radio host Arthur Aidala, FOX News Radio affiliate relations account manager Tamara Karcev, Kilmeade, WABC program director Dave LaBrozzi, and WABC APD Matt Dahl.

Premiere Networks Offers ‘Early Edition’ of ‘Coast to Coast AM.’ An additional three-hours of “Coast to Coast AM” is being offered by Premiere Networks beginning this week.  The company says that “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory – Early Edition” is a partial re-broadcast from the previous night that is available to existing affiliates to air from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET, Monday through Friday.  In the same press release, Premiere reminds affiliate stations that “Coast to Coast AM” is continuing its long-standing tradition of providing live programming throughout the holidays, including music, special guest appearances, open lines and surprises on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Impeachment Process, Trump Tax Returns Ruling, Roger Stone Trial, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S. Withdraws from Paris Climate Deal, U.S.-China Trade Negotiations, and Popeye’s Chicken Stabbing Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/4). The impeachment process against President Trump and the speculation about who will testify; a federal appeals court rules President Trump must turn over 8 years of tax returns; longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone federal trial on obstructing a congressional investigation looking into Russian hacking during the 2016 campaign begins this week; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the U.S. begins the final stage of exiting the Paris Climate Accord; the U.S.-China trade negotiations, and the death of a Maryland man as the result of an argument at a Popeye’s Chicken restaurant were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Hail to the… Chef!  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher as he broadcast his nationally syndicated program on Monday (11/4) from Famous Hamburger Joe’s restaurant in Surfside Beach, South Carolina to thank owner Tony Cherney for a large donation to Gallagher’s “Food For The Poor” campaign.  Gallagher says it was “magical” to have a restaurant provide such a major donation to feed hungry children through “Food For The Poor.”

Alex Luke Appointed SVP of Digital Content for SiriusXM and Pandora. Music and media executive Alex Luke joins SiriusXM to take on the newly created position of senior vice president, digital content for SiriusXM and Pandora.  In this role, Luke will lead programming for Pandora and editorial content on the Pandora and SiriusXM digital platforms.  Most recently, Luke was global head of programming and content strategy at Amazon Music.  He’s also served with Napster and Apple.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “Alex is an expert in shaping the digital content experience for listeners, and we are excited to have him join us as we continue to advance and evolve how we create and present content for our listeners across our digital platforms.  It is vital we ensure that the great content we produce today, as well as what we create in the future, is done in the most attractive and consumer-friendly manner so that it drives growth in usage across our digital platforms.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Jack Shell exits the midday show at Cumulus Media’s country WFMS, Indianapolis after almost two years there.  He moved north from the company’s adult contemporary WLYF, Miami “101.5 Lite FM” in December of 2017.  In a Facebook post, Shell says, “Would like to thank those who listened to my show on 95.5 WFMS in Indianapolis, and I am proud to have accomplished quite a bit during my brief time here in terms of ratings and connecting with this audience.  Thanks to Cumulus for getting me back into country music radio and giving me a great station on which to perform these last two years.”…..Also leaving a Cumulus Media country outlet is Nathan Fast.  He leaves his morning gig at KPLX, Dallas “99.5 The Wolf” after a little more than a year there.  He’d been co-hosting the morning program with Lisa Taylor, who remains on the air in AM drive…..Entercom announces that 2019 CMA Awards nominee Luke Combs is hosting its exclusive one-hour “CMA Red Carpet Countdown” immediately preceding the televised CMA Awards beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, November 13.  The show will feature Luke Combs introducing additional content and a curated playlist from Nashville…..The lineup for night two of Entercom‘s RADIO.COM event “KROQ Absolut Almost Acoustic Christmas 2019,” taking place on Sunday, December 8 at the Honda Center in Anaheim is revealed.  Taking the stage that evening will be: Mumford & Sons, Twenty One Pilots, The 1975, The Raconteurs, Of Monsters and Men, The Interrupters, lovelytheband, Matt Mason, and DJ Jeremiah Red.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of tickets benefits Para Los Niños and the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center…..Pictured below is “NASH Nights Live” co-host Elaina Smith (left) with country star Miranda Lambert (right) after Lambert appeared as a guest on Smith’s podcast “Breaking Thru with Elaina.”  The interview will also be heard as part of Smith’s “With Elaina,” the Westwood One syndicated two-hour weekend country program for pop culture junkies, entertainment fans and country music lovers!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

| April 16, 2019

Round One of Nielsen’s March PPM Survey Released.  The first round of (6+) data from Nielsen Audio’s March PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations hereTALKERS magazine editor Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaways” from the March survey will appear at Talkers.com beginning tomorrow (4/17).

Francesa-Kay Battle at Center of New York Sports Talk Wars.  With the release of the March PPM survey data from Nielsen Audio yesterday, the battle between WFAN’s Mike Francesa and WEPN’s Michael Kay is back in the news.  Both afternoon drive sports talk shows are claiming victory in the “Winter Book” that uses the January, February and March PPM survey data.  The controversy lies in how one counts the numbers.  As Newsday reports, the issue here is whether not each station’s stream ratings are added to the over-the-air numbers.  Counting streams, Francesa beats Kay in Men 25-64 with 6.2 share to Kay’s 5.9 share.  But unlike WEPN, WFAN airs different spots in its stream and, WEPN would argue, WFAN doesn’t qualify for Total Line Reporting.  Taking away Francesa’s streaming numbers gives Kay a 5.9 to 5.5 (M 25-54) share advantage over Francesa.  No matter how one slices up the Nielsen numbers, neither host’s other avenues, such as Kay’s TV simulcast nor Francesa’s app data are taken into account in the “Winter Book” ratings.

Connoisseur and Cumulus Swap Stations in Allentown and Connecticut. This swap of assets gets Connoisseur Media two stations in the state of Connecticut in which it’s based – news/talk WICC-AM, Bridgeport and adult contemporary WEBE-FM, Westport – and it gives Cumulus Media four more stations for its Northeast Pennsylvania presence.  That group includes sports talk duo WEEX-AM and WTKZ-AM/W234AX, plus classic rock WODE-FM and alternative WWYY-FM.  The stations will begin being managed by the respective buyers under an LMA, effective May 1.  Connoisseur Media SVP and market manager Kristin Okesson says, “As a lifelong Connecticut resident and the former general sales manager of WEBE/WICC, it is my privilege to lead these stations.  The combined reach of our portfolio will offer exciting opportunities for our partners and to the communities we serve.”

WBRP, Baton Rouge Cuts Three Talk Personalities. Baton Rouge news/talk station WBRP “Talk 107.3” made what general manager Gordy Rush tells local TV outlet WAFB was a “business decision” and let go of morning show team Kevin Gallagher and Bill Profita as well as late morning talk host Clarence Buggs.  The Guaranty Media station’s morning show is cut to two hours and is now being hosted by program director Brian Haldane.  The late morning daypart is being filled by FOX News Radio host Brian Kilmeade from 8:00 am to 11:00 am, followed by Todd Starnes from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

SiriusXM Making Its Talk Hosts Available Via Podcasts on Pandora. This content sharing will make audio from SiriusXM’s talk talent – from its entertainment, talk, comedy, music, and sports programming – available to Pandora subscribers via the newly announced Podcasts on Pandora platform.  The service will use the company’s Podcast Genome Project technology to recommend podcasts. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We’re excited that some of our most popular talk shows are now being made available to Pandora users.  This will be a great opportunity for new audiences to discover these SiriusXM shows, while providing Pandora with great programming, as we continue to collaborate on content opportunities for both platforms.”

2019 Gracie Award Winners Announced. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the winners of the 44th annual Gracie Awards being celebrated at The Gracie Awards Gala in Beverly Hills on Tuesday, May 21 and at the Gracie Awards Luncheon in New York on June 26.   Some of the honorees include Sean Hannity radio show producer Lynda McLaughlinAngela Yee of the urban morning drive show “The Breakfast Club”; syndicated country radio star Elaina Smith; Jayde Donovan of “The Jayde Show”; Jillian Barberie of “The Morning Drive” on KABC-AM, Los Angeles and more.  Alliance for Women in Media Foundation executive director Becky Brooks says, “Our leadership is proud to honor the best of the best who embody the spirit and intention of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation’s Gracie Awards.”  Christine Travaglini, president of Katz Radio Group and chair of the board of directors adds, “In the more than four decades since the inception of the Gracie Awards – what stands out in 2019 is bravery.  The courage of storytellers to share poignant, relevant and compelling content. This will be a year of true celebration.” See all the winners here.

TALKERS News Notes. The KTRH, Houston-based Michael Berry show called on its listeners to assist military veterans with PTSD – seeking the donation of 1,000 suits – and brought in more than 5,000. Berry says, “The reason talk radio is a great format for advertisers is the reason it is the best platform for charitable events: community engagement.  It’s not a passive medium.  Listeners are engaged; they share our values.  They respond when we put out the call.  In this case, it was for our veterans, but it’s also the case when we endorse goods and services provided by people who share our values.” Berry is the national spokesman for PTSD Foundation of America, that operates Camp Hope, a residential treatment center committed to reducing the 22 suicides per day our veteran community is experiencing.  The suits are being donated to assist veterans who are seeking employment after coming home from a war zone…..Today is Chicago newsman Bob Roberts’ last day on the job at Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM.  Roberts is retiring after a long career in the radio news biz.  WBBM director of news and programming Ron Gleason says Roberts is “one of Chicago’s best reporters” and “an invaluable member of our team thanks to his tremendous knowledge of the Chicago area and its transit system.  He’s second to none during breaking news situations.”  See highlights from Roberts’ career here…..Pubcaster WHYY in Philadelphia is acquiring the digital news publication Billy Penn.   The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that the millennial-targeted publication’s staffers will become WHYY employees…..The podcast “Crime Junkie” expands on its relationship with cabana, the digital audio business of AdLarge Media, and is now the exclusive ad sales partner for “Crime Junkie.”…..The Omaha World-Herald reports the death of KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska talk show host Coby Mach.  He hosted the daily 5:00 pm “Drive Time Lincoln” program on the NRG Media news/talk station. He also served as the president of the Lincoln Independent Business Association.  The paper reports that he was ending his show due to his dealing with tinnitus and his wife’s ongoing battle with breast cancer.  Lincoln police are saying the death of the 53-year-old host was an apparent suicide.  He wrote in a Facebook post, “It’s time to slow down…Thanks to the KLIN crew for some great years and a lot of fun.  Thanks to the listeners and advertisers who made it all possible!”

KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Dori Monson Performs Sold-Out Stage Show. KIRO-FM midday talk show host Dori Monson (pictured above on stage) packed the Kirkland Performance Center on Friday (4/12) for his inaugural “What Are The Odds? An Evening with Dori Monson” one-man stage show.  The sold-out event did include guest appearances by other KIRO Radio talent, including news anchor Ursula Reutin, Monson’s longtime friend Dave Wyman, show producer Nicole Thompson and more.  KIRO-FM promoted the show with the following: “Sometimes a hustler. Frequently incorrigible. Often a rascal. What are the odds that an aimless kid from old-school Ballard would grow up to become Seattle’s most fiery and most-listened-to radio talk show host?  Find out when you reserve a seat as KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson introduces you to the remarkable people who helped shape his improbable career.”

Southern Border Issue/Sanctuary Cities Proposal, Redacted Mueller Report Expected, Notre Dame Fire, 2020 Presidential Politics/Weld to Challenge Trump for GOP Nom, ‘Game of Thrones’ Season Premiere, Tiger Woods’ Masters Victory, NBA Playoffs and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/15).  The Southern Border migrant issue and the related proposal by President Trump to transport migrants to sanctuary cities; the anticipated release of the redacted version of the Mueller Report; the fire at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Republican Bill Weld’s announced challenge to Trump’s GOP nomination; the premiere of the final season of “Game of Thrones”; Tiger Woods’ stunning Masters victory; NBA playoff action; and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Hannity, O’ Reilly and Rome Set to Keynote Talkers 2019: Telling the Story. The agenda continues to grow as the 22nd annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention takes shape for Friday, June 7 in New York City. Heading up a roster of more than 55 speakers will be Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity, Key Networks radio commentator, best-selling author and former FNC personality Bill O’Reilly, and CBS Sports Radio giant Jim Rome. Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. Radio Advertising Bureau CEO Erica Farber will moderate a special panel focusing on the challenges facing talk radio sales and marketing in 2019. Senior VP programming WFAN and Entercom NY and CBS Sports Radio, captain/sports format Mark Chernoff will participate in a discussion about the state of sports talk radio. A general programming discussion will include Mike McVay, EVP, content and programming, Cumulus Media and Justin Chase, EVP programming, Beasley Media Group; Some of the other speakers already set to participate in the program include (in alphabetical order): Dr. Asa Andrew, host, Asa RX; Greg Batusic, chief operations officer, PodcastOne; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, host, WAQY, Springfield, MA “Rock 102”; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Michael Berry, host, The Michael Berry Show; Grace Blazer, national brand coordinator, news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, iHeartMedia; Jim Bohannon, host, Westwood One; Phil Boyce, SVP spoken word format, Salem Media Group and VP/operations, Salem Radio Network, New York Region; Howie Carr, host, The Howie Carr Show; Kathy Carr, president, The Howie Carr Show; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Michael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC; Kate Delaney, host, NBC Sports; Alex Fife, VP/regional operations, Total Traffic & Weather Network – Southeast; Greg Foster, VP programming and national news/talk brand coordinator, iHeartMedia/PD, KOA, Denver; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steven Goldstein, founder/CEO, Amplifi Media; Sebastian Gorka, host, Salem Radio Network; Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; Lee Habeeb, host/producer, Our American Stories; Thom Hartmann, host WYD Media; Bill Hess, VP of news/talk, Cumulus Media and program director, WMAL, Washington, DC; Harry Hurley, host, WPGG, Atlantic City; Andrew Kalb, executive director of programming, ABC News Radio; Brian Kilmeade, host, FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel; Scott Lakefield, assistant program director, WOR, New York; Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media; John T. Mullen, operations manager, WRHU, Hofstra University; Bill O’ Reilly, commentator, Key Networks; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, host, The Joe Pags Show; Michael Riedel, host, WOR, New York; Dave Robinett, Chief Marketing Officer, #250 – America’s Mobile Speed Dial; Jim Rome, host, CBS Sports Radio; Sid Rosenberg, host, WABC, New York; Todd Starnes, host, Fox News Radio; Walter M. Sterling, host, Westwood One; Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks; Mike Thomas, program director, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston/brand manager for spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting; Rick Ungar, host, The Rick Ungar Program/editor-in-chief, TheDailyCentrist.com; Dr. Daliah Wachs, host, Genesis Communications Network; Brett Winterble, host KFMB-AM, San Diego; Dan Yorke, host, WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence; Rich Zeoli, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Michael Zwerling, owner, KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz. More speakers to be named in the days and weeks ahead along with a complete agenda. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, one-on-one conversations and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To take advantage of the hotel discount available to TALKERS convention attendees, contact the Hilton Fashion District Hotel located directly across the street from the venue at 152 W. 26th St, New York, NY 10001 by clicking here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  The big music radio story is Cumulus Media’s announced sale of classic rock KLOS, Los Angeles to Meruelo Media for $43 million in cash.  The deal was announced at the same time as the Connoisseur swap noted above.  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “These transactions are part of the continued execution of our portfolio optimization strategy.  Both transactions are accretive, and the sale of KLOS-FM to Meruelo Media at an attractive multiple allows us to generate substantial cash, which can be used to further pay down debt and invest in high-potential business opportunities.  The Connoisseur Media swap significantly strengthens our presence in Allentown and the Lehigh Valley.”  There’s no indication from Meruelo if it intends to make programming changes to KLOS or not…..Two big moves take place in the Seattle market as former Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick joins Hubbard Radio’s cluster there as brand/content director for country KNUC “98.9 The Bull.”  At the same time, Hubbard Radio Seattle VP/market manager Ann Marie Mulholland announces the return of “Fitz in the Morning” to the Seattle airwaves. Mulholland says, “The country audience in Seattle has been without their favorite morning show host for too long.  I believe the dynamic duo of Fitz backed by Scott Mahalick will change the face of radio in Seattle.”…..Back in Los Angeles, iHeartMedia’s hip hop KRRL “REAL 92.3” grabs J Cruz away from crosstown competitor KPWR to host the afternoon show.  “The Cruz Show” had been heard in mornings on Meruelo’s Media’s KPWR.  Joining Cruz on his show will be executive producerJeff Garcia, DJ Lechero and DJ Lezlee.   KRRL program director Doc Wynter says, “iHeartMedia is all about attracting the very best on-air talent and I’m excited to add J Cruz to the growing list of super talents in our thriving Los Angeles market.  Big Boy in the mornings and J Cruz in the afternoons – I get chills just saying it!”…..Entercom names Boston radio personality Karen Blake the new afternoon drive host at adult contemporary WMJX-FM “Magic 106.7.”  Blake was most recently morning drive host on WQRC, Cape Cod.  In Boston she’d previously served in drive time at WODS-FM and the old WQSX-FM (now WEEI-FM). Blake says, “It is a privilege to return to the Entercom family.  I am looking forward to being part of an air staff that I’ve admired for years and am thrilled to be continuing my career in my hometown of Boston.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

| May 23, 2017

Ron Kuby Exits WABC, New York.  So far, there’s no explanation from Cumulus Media about the sudden departure of Ron Kuby from the Curtis & Kuby midday show on news/talk WABC, New York.  The WABC website indicates Curtis Sliwa is staying on to host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show solo and it appears likely that Kuby’s departure is the result of budget cuts.  Sliwa and Kuby returned to WABC after a six-year absence back in 2014.  The liberal Kuby and conservative Sliwa had worked together successfully at WABC from 2000 until 2008 when their show was canceled.  Sliwa hosted a solo show at Salem’s crosstown WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” for a number of years between 2008 and 2014.

Clark Howard Suffers Near-Fatal Medical Episode.  Nationally syndicated consumer issues talk host Clark Howard tells WSB-TV, Atlanta that his doctors have a working theory that the antibiotic ciprofloxacin combined with his cholesterol medication may have been responsible for the life-threatening illness he recently suffered. Howard was prescribed the antibiotic as a precautionary measure to ward off infection after a routine biopsy to monitor his prostate cancer.  However, days later he was admitted to the hospital and ultimately diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis – and affliction that he says results in your muscles basically eating themselves.  Doctors flushed his system with IVs and he’s recuperated.

Three Fox News Staffers File Discrimination Suits.  Responding to the suits filed in District Court in New York, Fox News says, “We believe these latest claims are without legal basis and look forward to proving that Fox News at all times has acted appropriately, and lawfully, in connection with these matters.”  The suits were filed by the New York employment law firm Wigdor LLP on behalf of claimants Kathleen Lee, currently a shift editor at Fox News Radio, former accounts payable coordinator Naima Farrow, and former accounts receivables specialist Vidya Mann.  Lee claims that she suffered retaliation after reporting sexual harassment. Farrow alleges she was fired after notifying her supervisor that she was pregnant.  And Mann – who was not a full-time staffer – says she was let go after having her baby.  You can see the Bloomberg account here.

Joe Madison Re-Ups with SiriusXM. Talk radio pro Joe Madison is staying on with SiriusXM after signing a new, multi-year contract to continue hosting the 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET program on the satcaster’s Urban View channel.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein comments, “Joe is the foundation of our Urban View channel, a tireless campaigner for social change and one of the best interviewers working in radio today.  We are thrilled to have him exclusively on SiriusXM and look forward to many more years of great radio with Joe.”

Alpha Media Closes on Purchase of WFTL and WMEN in West Palm Beach.  The company had been operating news/talk WFTL and sports talk WMEN in the West Palm Beach market under an LMA from ACM JCE IV B LLC for almost two years.  Earlier this year, Alpha Media agreed to purchase the stations for $2 million.  The stations were acquired by ACM JCE IV B LLC from the bankruptcy restructuring of James Crystal Enterprises in 2013.  Alpha Media chairman Larry Wilson states, “We are delighted to add WFTL and WMEN to our dynamic group of stations in South Florida.  Elizabeth Hamma and her outstanding team are the best in the business and this acquisition represents our confidence in their ability to continue to dominate the Palm Beach market.”  Alpha also operates hot AC WRMF, AC WEAT “Sunny 107.9,” country WIRK, urban contemporary WMBX “X102.3,” and hip hop W242CI “Beatz 96.3.”

TALKERS News Notes. It’s a milestone for Compass Media Networks’ “Mike Lupica Podcast” as it passes the one million download mark.  The longtime New York sports writer and media figure was recently nominated for a 2017 Webby Award for Best Sports Podcast.  Lupica comments, “Doing this podcast has been even more fun than I thought it would be.  We’re a year in and already we’ve had really insightful conversations with some of the biggest names in sports, media and politics.”…..Edison Research announces it appoints Dr. Nino Japaridze to the new role of vice president for public affairs research.  Japaridze will be based in Washington to lead Edison’s public affairs and international research practice.  She more than 20 years of experience in the fields of public affairs and international research, most recently as vice president of public affairs at Ipsos North America where she led global media research and political risk practice areas and was responsible for partnering with technology-based companies to extend research capabilities across digital platforms…..WSGW, Saginaw, Michigan news director Ann Williams is named president of Michigan Associated Press Media Editors.  Williams was installed at the APME banquet in Lansing last month.  At the same event, the Alpha Media station was honored with three first place awards by the organization for Best Sportscast, Best Digital Presence, and Best Use of Photography.  WSGW program director Dave Maurer comments, “We are so proud of Ann.  She has done an outstanding job with her great attention to detail and her mentoring skills in our news department and now she will share her talents on a statewide basis in this top leadership position.”…..Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan” is hosting its 3rd Annual Sports Radio Open golf tournament on June 20 to benefit the Helene Foundation, which provides immediate support for mothers fighting cancer to positively impact their families.

New York Festivals Announces Finalists for International Radio Program Awards. The finalists have been announced for The New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards for 2017.  The Grand Jury selected 336 finalists from entries submitted from 32 countries across the globe.  Entries were judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity and use of the medium.  All entries achieving finalist status proceed to the medal round.  Entries from the U.S. moving on to the medal round come from companies including: ABC Radio Network, CBS RADIO Boston, ESPN, iHeartMedia, SiriusXM, Westwood One, and more.  The World’s Best Radio Programs will be announced at the 2017 awards ceremony on Monday June 19 Manhattan Penthouse in New York City.  See all the finalists here.

Trump in the Middle East, Trump Budget Proposal, British Concert Bombing, Trump-Russia Investigation, Ford CEO Fired, NC Redistricting Ruling, Confederate Monuments Removal, and MLB, NBA and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/22). President Donald Trump’s visits to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Palestinian territory; President Trump’s budget proposal and GOP leaders’ reactions; the deadly terror attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England; the investigation into possible links between Trump campaign operatives and Russia; Ford fires CEO Mark Fields and installs Jim Hackett; SCOTUS throws out North Carolina redistricting ruling it was based on racial gerrymandering; the tensions in the South over the removal of Confederate monuments; and MLB, NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Beasley Media Group Announces New Format Captains. Four Beasley Media Group programmers are adding format captain to their business cards.  The company is promoting WMMR-FM and WMGK-FM, Philadelphia program director Bill Weston to format captain for rock; Boston OM and WMJX-FM and WBQT-FM PD Cadillac Jack to format captain for CHR and AC; Las Vegas OM and KOAS-FM and KVGS-FM PD John Candelaria to format captain for urban; and WSOC-FM and WBCN-FM, Charlotte OM and PD DJ Stout to format captain for country.  Beasley EVP of programming Justin Chase, “Not only will these programmers offer additional insight and assistance for our other PDs, they will also create more synergy and leverage in order to better compete in the markets we serve.  We feel this team, with its unique strengths, will provide incredible support when situations arise.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. WLNK, Charlotte afternoon duo Matt Harris and Ramona Holloway sign a new, multi-year contract to remain with Entercom Charlotte’s hot AC station.  Entercom Charlotte VP and market manager Matt Hanlon states, “Matt and Ramona’s commitment to our listeners and the community set them apart from any other afternoon entertainment in Charlotte.  That is precisely why they continue to be the dominant ratings leader for WLNK-FM.  Their commitment to community, brilliant entertainment and passion for our listeners make them an ideal program for the culture we foster at Entercom Communications.”…..iHeartMedia Nashville is bringing market legend Gerry House back to the station to serve as its official voice talent for classic country W252CM “The BIG Legend at 98.3,” effective May 26.  House says, “The truth is, the good times, the spirit and the hits we played back when the House Foundation morning show was on the air will be on The BIG Legend at 98.3.”  House was heard on WSIX-FM, Nashville from 1983 to 2010…..Radio pro Jay Philpott is making a move within Cumulus Media to move from rock WNNX, Atlanta “Rock 100.5” to his hometown of Minneapolis to join rock KQRS “Q92” to host the evening show.  Philpott says he’ll exit WNNX on June 2 and start at KQRS on June 12.  He will continue to host his national show on the Westwood One network.….Myra Ellison announces she’s leaving her director of promotions, marketing & web gig at Entercom’s Madison cluster due to health issues…..Westwood One is kicking off the summer season with two exclusive Memorial Day Weekend music specials.  One is called “Get Out and Play” and is hosted by Ed Sheeran.  It celebrates the beginning of summer with four hours of music, information on this summer’s hottest tours, plus talk about the beach, summer vacation spots and new box office releases.  “Memorial Day Mania” is hosted by Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy and “ignites the summer season with tour and summer music festival talk, new music coming out this summer, road trips, and more.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

| December 15, 2015

siriusxmHoward Stern Renews with SiriusXM in Landmark 12-Year Audio/Video Deal.  The wait is over – Howard Stern and SiriusXM are announcing the two sides have agreed to an extension to keep Stern’s live program on the satellite radio service for another five years.  But the new deal also includes an agreement that will allow SiriusXM to use Stern’s extensive audio and video library –sternhoward drawn from performances, specials, and shows spanning his more-than-30-year broadcasting career – for the next dozen years.  The details of the video plans will be announced at a future date.  This will be SiriusXM’s first venture into the video realm.   Under the new deal, Stern’s show will continue to be broadcast live exclusively from 7:00 am to 11:00 am ET, with replays throughout the day, and on demand online and through the SiriusXM app.  Additionally, Stern will continue to produce his Howard 101 channel, which includes current and classic episodes of the Howard Stern show as well as original special programming throughout the day.  Stern is currently working a three-day week and the press release does not indicate any changes there so we’ll assume that remains the same.  Also, the financial details are not being meyerjimannounced.  Stern says, “As a broadcaster, it does not get better than working at SiriusXM and I’m truly excited for the future with this great company.  I happen to think that its best days are ahead…I am living a dream here on satellite radio and Jim Meyer is my life partner and the baby we are about to have is our new streaming video app.  The joy we are going to bring you in the very near future will make you feel like Christmas is every day.  Ho, Ho, Howard…out.”  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein comments, “Howard is better than ever.  Howard is a one-of-a-kind interviewer, who always delivers a provocative, engaging and headline-grabbing show.  We look forward to providing fans even more and deeper ways to experience Howard, and his world-class talent and insights.”  Noting that the deal has been worked on for months, Stern agent Don Buchwald adds, “Jim, Scott, and I have been discussing this arrangement for some time.  Obviously, the terms and conditions of a deal of this nature required a lot of give and take, as well as creative thinking on everyone’s part, and I am grateful to them both for the hard work they invested to make this deal a reality.  Howard and I are excited to enter into this cutting-edge and truly unique broadcasting agreement with SiriusXM that I believe will further the legacy of Howard Stern.”

bellart15Art Bell Tells TALKERS He Doesn’t Want to Be Off the Air.  Legendary late night talk host Art Bell abruptly quit his most recent return to a regular program on Friday (12/11), stating that he’s been the victim of attempts on his life that make it impossible for him to do the program.  The sudden end to “Midnight in the Desert,” which was steadily picking up affiliate stations, caused some in the business to think, “Oh no, here we go again.”  But Bell tells TALKERS magazine he wants to be on the radio.  Citing three incidents on October 21, November 23 and December 8, Bell says his wife has said, “Enough.”  Bell says, “If this jerk is caught I will be back, if not I will wait for some time to pass without incident and then do some non-scheduled shows.  I would like my fellow radio people to know this is not what I want.”

wilburkirbyKirby Wilbur to Host Late Morning Show on KVI, Seattle.  Last month, Sinclair-owned KVI-Seattle announced that market conservative talk pro Kirby Wilbur would return to the air and KVI in the New Year. Now, the station announces Wilbur will host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot, effectivekvilogo January 4.  Wilbur will be joined for the first hour by current morning drive host John Carlson, then host the next two hours solo.  The station is dropping Glenn Beck’s Premiere-syndicated show to make room for Wilbur.  KVI program director Rick Van Cise states, “It’s clear our listeners want more local conservative conversation on Seattle radio.  And who better to have back-to-back than two of the original Northwest conservative voices who made KVI great.”  Wilbur has been off the radio for the past six years.  Most recently he’s been the Washington director for Americans for Prosperity heading up the Washington, DC-based National Journalism Center.  Wilbur comments, “I’m glad to be back with a new knowledge of the workings of the other Washington as we address local and national issues affecting all of us here.”

wowo15WOWO, Fort Wayne Switches FM Frequencies.  This is a bit of a downgrade as far as market coverage is concerned since the move of news/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne’s FM simulcast is from class A FM WFWI to 75-watt translator W298BJ at 107.5 FM.  The heritage station has been heard on WFWI’s 92.3 frequency since Federated Media signed it on in March of 2012.  Program director Ryan Reker says, “It’s just a different place to listen to us.  The change from 92.3 FM to 107.5 FM means our listeners will need to update their radios to get the same news, weather and talk coverage they listen to now.”  WOWO-AM is heard very well throughout northeastern Indiana on its 50,000-watt 1190 kHz signal.  No plans have been announced for WFWI-FM’s new format.

delaneykateTalk Host Kate Delaney Talking Pete Rose Across the Country.  Nationally syndicated general issues show host Kate Delaney is guesting on scores of radio shows today (12/15) because of her sports expertise and her knowledge of the Pete Rose decision that came down yesterday from the Major League Baseball commissioner’s office.  The commissioner is continuing the ban on Rose working in baseball because of his cover-up of his gambling on baseball while manager of the Cincinnati Reds.  Prior to her “America Tonight” program, Delaney spent a good part of her career in the sports media world covering 15 Super Bowls, 10 Final Fours, 10 U.S. Opens and numerous other sporting events.  She also served as sports director of KRLD, Dallas and did a stretch at sports talk WFAN, New York.  In addition to her regular show Delaney currently does a weekend shift on the NBC Sports Radio Network.

Odds & Sods.  San Francisco all-newser KCBS-AM is being honored with a special finalist citation by the 2016kcbs-am logo Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards for reporter Doug Sovern’s “Unholy Water,” a series of investigative reports that exposed the San Francisco Archdiocese’s installation of an illegal plumbing system at St. Mary’s Cathedral that poured water on homeless people at night to keep them from sleeping in the cathedral doorways, in the middle of the worst drought in California rosefrancishistory.  The CBS RADIO-owned station will be recognized at a ceremony hosted by veteran newsman Tom Brokaw at Columbia’s Low Library on January19, 2016…..Former WFED, Washington afternoon drive personality Francis Rose is handling a lot of fill-in work this week and next.  Rose is sitting in for Larry O’Connor on WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s “Drive at Five” all this week, and Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday next week.  Rose is also in for Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon tonight and that company’s John Batchelor on Wednesday and Friday of this week…..The 27th annual Holiday Magic Radiothon on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle to benefit Treehouse raised more than $512,000.  Treehouse is asalemdebateMedved15 nonprofit organization that addresses the essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care…..In advance of tonight’s GOP primary debate, Salem Radio Network talk hosts Michael Medved (left) and Dennis Prager (right) are seen at right broadcasting from the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.  Salem Radio Network is partnering with CNN to provide the audio to radio stations across the country.  All five SRN daytime syndicated personalities are broadcasting from Las Vegas.  Additionally, SRN is presenting both pre- and post-debate programs co-hosted by Hugh Hewitt and Mike Gallagher.  Hewitt is also serving as one of the media panelists on the debate…..Premiere Networks announces it is broadcasting four college bowl games.  Available to sports stations nationwide, Premiere will distribute the live play-by-play for the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl, Zaxby’s Heart of albomRadiothon15Dallas Bowl and Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, all of which are produced by RedVoice Productions LLC…..Cumulus Media announces that the 2015 Mitch Albom S.A.Y. Detroit Radiothon raised $1,002,748 during last Thursday’s event.  Albom is afternoon drive host on the company’s news/talk WJR, Detroit.  This was the fourth year of the charity broadcast and included special guests Hugh Jackman, Paul Stanley, Billy Bob Thornton, Jane Pauley, JK Simmons, Craig Ferguson, Alice Cooper, Dr. Phil, Tim Allen, Howard Schultz, Dave Barry, John Pizzarelli, Mayor Mike Duggan, Bruce Cornblatt, Kevin Eubanks, Charles Woodson, Kirk Cousins, Matt Stafford, Stan Van Gundy, Brad Ausmus, Dan Gilbert, and Bernie Smilovitz.  Pictured here is Mitch Albom (at center) on the remote set during the radiothon.

2016 Presidential Race/Tonight’s GOP Debate, Government Shutdown Threat, Paris Climate Summit Agreement, Battle Against IS/Islamic Anti-Terror Alliance, Refugee/Immigration Issues, Looming Freddie Gray Verdict, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14).  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the build-up to tonight’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas; the temporary spending bill and the threat of a government shutdown; the agreement that came out of the Paris Climate Summit and the larger topic of global warming; the battle against Islamic State and the news of a Saudi-led anti-terror coalition; the status of Syrian refugees and the issue of immigration policy in the United States; the expected verdict in the first phase of the Freddie Gray trials in Baltimore; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.