Mike Thompson Named PD for NRG Media’s Omaha AM Stations. Programming pro Mike Thompson is joining NRG Media to serve as AM stations operations manager/program director for the company’s Omaha properties. He’ll oversee sports talkers KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2,” news/talk KOIL, and regional Mexican KMMQ-AM/K258DC “La Nueva 99.5.” NRG Media market manager Mark Shecterle says, “Mike will be a great addition to our already talented and award-winning staff. He has an outstanding programming mind as well as a strong sales mentality.” Thompson has served with ESPN in New York and Los Angeles, in addition to WCNN, Atlanta; KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas and WABC, New York. He says, “I am excited to join a great brand of sports and news talk with NRG Media in Omaha. NRG Media’s slogan is Great Local Radio – for me that’s what I am all about. Working with market manager Mark Shecterle and talented hosts and producers, it will be rewarding to always live up to that slogan.” Thompson has most recently been involved in acting and voice work in L.A. He begins at NRG Media Omaha today.
Scott Vowinkle to Lead Sales Effort at NRG Omaha. Sales pro Scott Vowinkle returns to the Omaha market to take on the director of sales position for NRG Media’s seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KOIL, and sports talk duo KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2.” Vowinkle was most recently with Cumulus Media as general sales manager in Beaumont, Texas. He previously worked in the Omaha market with Scripps.
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. Sports talk bounced back from the Holiday 2018 survey with 68% of stations going up (weekly 6+ AQH share), led by Boston sports talkers WEEI-FM (+1.7) and WBZ-FM (+1.6). About half the sports talk stations on the panel were up year-over-year and the two biggest gainers benefitted from the Kansas City Chiefs’ playoff success. Entercom’s KCSP was up 1.1 share and Union Broadcasting’s WHB was up an even 1.0 share. It’s rare that a sports talk station ranks first in its market, but Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia accomplished that by riding the Philadelphia Eagles’ playoff run to a #1 ranking with a 7.2 share. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Nielsen Q4 2018 Revenue Down 5.8%; Audio Ratings Segment Dips 2.3%. Financial data from the fourth quarter of 2018 and the full year are being released by Nielsen Holdings plc – the media ratings and consumer behavior research company. Looking at the fourth quarter, revenue for the entire company was $1.66 billion, down 5.8% compared to the same period in 2017. The company posted a net loss of $952 million in Q4, compared to 2017’s Q4 gain of $84 million. The audio ratings division operates within the company’s Watch segment. It earned $128 million during Q4, down 2.3% from 2017’s $131 million. For all of 2018, revenue from the audio ratings segment was off just 0.8% on earnings of $497 million, compared to $501 million for the full-year 2017. Nielsen CEO David Kenny states, “2018 was a challenging year but we delivered on our key operational metrics for the second half and positioned ourselves for 2019. I am excited to join Nielsen at such a pivotal time in the company’s history. Our focus for 2019 is on transforming into a truly product-driven, technology organization, able to make faster, bolder decisions. We expect these strategies to translate into improved performance in 2019 and beyond as we increase our value to clients.” Kenny also addresses the strategic review being undertaken that could see the company sold. “The strategic review is ongoing and the board is working with urgency on this process. As previously discussed, this could include continuing to operate as a public, independent company, a separation of either Nielsen’s Global Media or Global Connect segment, or a sale of the whole company. The process that we are undertaking will enable us to determine the best path forward in order to maximize value for all of our shareholders.”
Talk Radio Fact-Finding Tour of Ireland Planned. A group of diverse talk radio broadcasters is getting ready to take a comprehensive tour of Ireland in early April. The tour will include a six-day, guided visit to some of the Emerald Isle’s most iconic attractions and interview opportunities with some of Ireland’s most important leaders from the fields of politics, international relations, business, the arts, food, technology, and history. Organized by the DC Radio Company in conjunction with the Irish government’s tourism bureau, the project marks a return to the type of international fact-finding missions that were a talk radio staple in the 1990s and early 2000s. DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones tells TALKERS, “I am so excited to get the ball rolling again on these trips that provide hosts and their listeners with the opportunity to take a real deep-dive into the culture of other countries around the world. And now in the age of the Internet, tours like this give stations and networks the opportunity to tease the interviews with short clips on the air and full, long-form programs and specials on their websites. Plus, they are attractive content packages for local and national sponsorships.” Jones is a well-known talk radio figure who, in addition to having major market credentials at several top stations in Washington, Boston, Detroit, and Nashville, as well as in national syndication, served more than a dozen years as a senior White House correspondent for the Talk Radio News Service before launching the DC Radio Company last year. Her live commentaries are familiar to listeners in hundreds of markets. She has been involved with a number of the successful talk radio fact-finding missions that brought hosts to such diverse countries as Taiwan, Israel, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and more. Talk broadcasters signed up for the Irish tour include, Doug Stephan of the syndicated “DJV Morning Show,” Danielle Lin of the syndicated “The Art of Living and Science of Life,” Kate Delaney of the syndicated “America Tonight” program, Michael Zwerling, owner of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, and Scott Thompson, owner of Big Radio, a group of eight radio stations located in Monroe, Wisconsin; Freeport, Illinois; Janesville, Wisconsin; Beloit, Wisconsin; and, South Beloit, Illinois. Ireland’s 2019 tourism theme is “Fill Your Heart with Ireland.” According to Jones, more international trips of this nature are being planned as several nations have expressed strong interest in creating communication ties with American talk radio.
Comrex to Debut New Rackmount Audio Codec at NAB Show. This updated version of the popular rackmount Comrex ACCESS – the ACCESS NX Rack – will be unveiled at the NAB Show in Las Vegas taking place from April 6-11. Comrex says the industry standard Comrex ACCESS Rackmount (first released in 2005) is being updated to incorporate the technical advances from the last decade. The ACCESS NX Rack features completely new hardware, allowing for AES67, AES3, or analog audio I/O. ACCESS NX Rack can connect to Wi-Fi and 4G modems and supports a wide range of connection protocols and audio encoders. It’s driven via a new HTML5-based web user interface. Further, it is compatible with all Comrex IP audio codecs as well as the Comrex FieldTap smartphone app. ACCESS NX Rack also includes Comrex CrossLock technology, a proprietary suite of tools that solidify connections over IP networks. By sending two identical streams through two separate networks (redundancy mode), CrossLock provides a fail-safe in the event that the primary network falters. ACCESS NX Rack also includes HotSwap, a new function included with the latest version of ACCESS firmware. HotSwap allows users to designate one network as a backup that will only engage when the primary network has failed. Fall-over to backup happens in a matter of seconds, and fallback is seamless.
Broadcasting from CPAC. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher (left) posing for a pic with the newest member of the SRN syndicated talk show host family, Dr. Sebastian Gorka (right). The two are producing their programs live from the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference taking place in National Harbor, Maryland through Saturday.
TALKERS News Notes. WCCO, Minneapolis is getting its new imaging package from noted radio voice-over and imaging legend Sandy Thomas’ new company, CORE Voice Imaging and Sound Design (a division of Thomas Voice Imaging). The Entercom heritage news/talker is re-branding with the assistance of the new imaging package with reportedly positive initial results. The highly charged package features Thomas and his wife Rebecca. Check out a demo of the WCCO package here. Interested stations can reach Sandy Thomas at 800-516-3370 or email CORE@ThomasVoiceImaging.com…..The news of President Trump’s breaking off talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un came on short notice and SRN News vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS that their affiliate stations were able to hear it live, thanks to their coverage. Tradup says that via its longform news channel SNN Right, they were able to go live with the breaking news and deliver audio from the live news conference from Hanoi that had been moved up that included President Trump’s wide-ranging remarks on the summit, political battles facing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his reaction to Michael Cohen’s testimony, new negotiations with China on trade, and other breaking news…..WBUR, Boston produced “On Point” is presenting its first special four-part series from co-host Meghna Chakrabarti that explores the nation’s complicated housing landscape, titled, “Where We Call Home.” It debuts March 4. Chakrabarti will investigate the changing landscape of neighborhoods across America and the economic, social, aesthetic, and political forces that factor in to where and how Americans choose to live.
Michael Cohen Testimony, Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, India-Pakistan Tensions, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Trump-Russia Investigation, Border Wall/Emergency Declaration, Venezuela Unrest, and NBA/NCAA Hoops Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27). Wednesday’s congressional testimony by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; President Trump’s Hanoi meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the military tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the U.S.-Mexico border wall project and challenges to President Trump’s emergency declaration; the situation in Venezuela as Nicolas Maduro clings to power; and NBA and NCAA basketball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. This season of ABC TV’s “American Idol” debuts on March 3 and iHeartMedia is joining ABC in promoting the show with a radio special hosted by Ryan Seacrest and broadcast across more than 90 iHeartMedia AC and hot AC radio stations nationwide. The thirty-minute special will air Sunday, March 3 and feature songs from current “American Idol” judges and past contestants, exclusive content and information about the iconic series…..Cumulus Media announces that Justin Taylor is the new operations manager for its Oxnard-Ventura, California cluster and program director for country KHAY. He’s taking over for the retiring Chris Cox, who will step down on March 4 after a 45-year career in radio. Taylor says, “I could not be happier to be joining [RVP] Sommer Frisk and her amazing team as the operations manager for Ventura /Oxnard, and even more excited to take over the ACM nominated K-HAY!”
Surprise Buyer for Scripps’ Milwaukee Duo Is Good Karma. Numerous industry watchers expected E.W. Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI-FM to go to a larger operator – such as Entercom. Today’s announcement that the stations are being sold to Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Brands for $16 million is sure to surprise many. Good Karma already owns Milwaukee market ESPN affiliate WAUK-AM, as well as Madison sports outlet WTLX-FM. Scripps president and CEO Adam Symson states, “Good Karma Brands’ focus on Milwaukee makes the company an ideal home for these important local radio stations. The company’s expertise in connecting audiences and advertisers, particularly with sports marketing, means these stations will be well positioned for the future.” Scripps has put all of its radio assets on the market and Symson adds, “At Scripps, we are on track for the sale of our entire radio station group as a component of our enterprise-wide strategy to divest of non-core assets and focus on improving our near-term operating performance while fostering the growth ahead.” The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year. Good Karma owns six sports talk stations (including WAUK). WTMJ has the rights to Green Bay Packers football, Milwaukee Bucks basketball, and Milwaukee Brewers baseball – right up Good Karma’s alley – but it also operates a personnel-heavy news and programming department and one has to wonder if staffers there are concerned about the owner-to-be’s commitment to a big news department. At the same time, there are those who will applaud the sale of these stations to a smaller operator and not one of the big conglomerates. Kalil & Co., Inc. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.
New Jersey 101.5’s Dennis & Judi Suspended for 10 Days. You have to give credit to Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” management for getting out front on this and 1) quickly decrying the words of hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco, 2) immediately suspending the duo while conducting an internal investigation, and 3) swiftly deciding the punishment and making it public. This, of course, stems from their show segment during which they referred to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal – a practicing Sikh – as “turban man” and disparaged his name. The station pulled Malloy and Franco from Wednesday’s program and promised quick action. It then announced they will be suspended for 10 days. It also released the following joint apology from Malloy and Franco: “It was a mistake we both deeply regret. We respect all cultures and beliefs and are deeply sorry for the pain caused to the Sikh community, our co-workers and our beloved listeners.”
Salem Radio Network Host Mike Gallagher is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. In addition to being a top-10 member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred and a major radio talent, syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is a devoted theater fan and part-time stage actor. The Salem Radio Network star has compiled quite an impressive list of credits over the years performing leading and supportive roles in musicals at professional regional theaters across the country including a brief guest stint on Broadway in the production of “Memphis.” He’s even dabbled successfully in the risky business side of theater and has a Tony Award to prove it for his investment in the Broadway and road show revivals of “Pippin.” Gallagher is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview” in which he and the founder of TALKERS take a deep dive into the world of theater. They explore what being a stage actor has meant to the talk star in addition to the state of the theater in general touching upon its role in today’s politically polarized and contentious environment. Don’t miss this fascinating look into the multi-layered personality of one of talk radio’s most successful players. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Podcast” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
TALKERS News Notes. Portland-based Alpha Media sells three of its Missouri stations for $250,000 cash. To be transferred to Clayton and Brittany Radford-owned Radford Media Group are: agriculture-formatted KDKD-AM “Ag 1280,” country KDKD-FM, and classic rock KXEA “104.9 The Eagle.” These are the first radio properties for Radford. The broker for the seller is Kalil & Co. and representing the buyer is Patrick Communications…..Louisville Public Media names Stephen George president and general manager for its public radio outlets WFPL, WUOL, and WFPK. He’s been serving as interim president since January and takes over for previous president Michael Skoler.
Cohen Recordings and Trump-Russia Investigation Tied for Top News/Talk Stories This Week. The recordings of conversations between former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and Donald Trump discussing a payment to Playboymodel and the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of July 23-27, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the threat by GOP congressmen to begin the impeachment process against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Coming in at #3 was the meeting between President Trump and the E.U.’s Jean-Claude Juncker over trade issues, followed by the status of the second meeting between President Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin 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 the entire chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. There’s a new voice joining iHeartMedia’s and Premiere Networks’ “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” on September 17. Medha Gandhi becomes co-host, moving to New York from her most recent position as executive producer and co-host of the “Matty in the Morning” program on the company’s WXKS-FM, Boston “KISS 108.” Cast member Bethany Watson left the program in February to pursue an acting career. Duran says, “We fell in love with Gandhi within the first five minutes of meeting her. When you have a show as long established as ours, it’s very important to continue to keep it fresh and in Gandhi we have found the perfect co-host to do that. I can’t wait for her to join our dysfunctional family!” The program emanates from WHTZ, New York “Z100” and airs on some 80 affiliate stations…..Entercom’s Portland country outlet KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” brings Toni-Marie aboard as midday personality and assistant program director. Most recently, she was music director and air personality at Buck Owens Broadcasting’s KUZZ and KRJK in Bakersfield. Entercom Portland SVP and market manager Bill Ashenden says, “Toni-Marie brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to these roles and I’m looking forward to seeing her connect with our audience in the Northwest.”…..Beasley Media Group names Scotty B evening personality on rock WDHA, Dover, New Jersey. Scotty B was most recently a part-time air personality and production staffer at the company’s rock WRAT, Point Pleasant, New Jersey. WDHA program director Terrie Carr comments, “Rockturnal with Scotty B,” which airs weeknights from 7:00 to 12:00 midnight, will focus on his strengths – interacting with rock fans, getting out in the community, and being host of the party! I am thrilled to have Scotty’s energy, attitude, and huge presence on our airwaves and as part of our family.”…..Jeffrey Jameson exits Entercom’s hot AC WNEW-FM, New York “NEW 102.7,” he announces in a brief tweet. Co-host Karen Carson will handle the morning show solo for now…..Iliad Media Group appoints James Garner regional operations manager for its Boise and Twin Falls station groups. The company says that in this new position, the 11-year staffer will oversee the programming, production, and promotions at the 13 stations in Boise and Twin Falls…..Kenny Chesney’s exclusive SiriusXM channel, “No Shoes Radio,” is a live Town Hall with Chesney at Soldier Field in Chicago this weekend. The show is being hosted by Storme Warren. Chesney will give fans the opportunity to hear songs from his new album with track-by-track commentary, audience members will learn about the album’s inspiration, the recovery efforts from Hurricane’s Irma and Maria, and his Love for Love City Fund.
Marske Named PD at WOC, Quad Cities. Moline native Kirk Marske is named program director for iHeartMedia’s Quad Cities news/talk WOC. Marske has served with the cluster for 17 years, producing programs on WOC, classic rock WCQQ “Q106.5” and CHR KUUL “101.3 Kiss FM.” In this position, Marske will program WOC and be part of the “AM Quad Cities” morning show hosted by Dave Levora with contributions from Dan Deibert. Marske takes over for Dan Kennedy, who retired from the station in May after 20 years there. iHeartMedia SVP of programming Jim O’Hara says, “Kirk is just the guy to program WOC. Born and raised in Moline – and with more local connections than anyone – he has a real passion for news/talk radio.”
Beasley Media Group Files with SEC Announcing Sale of Up to $250 million in Stock. In an S-3 filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Beasley Media Group announces its intent to offer securities for sale on the Nasdaq Global Market using a “shelf” registration process that allows the company to “sell securities from time to time and in one or more offerings up to a total dollar amount of $250,000,000 …” This is Class A common stock has one vote per share. Class B common stock is owned only by the Beasley family and enjoys 10 votes per share. What would Beasley use the influx of cash for? Acquisition of more radio stations is the popular bet. Although iHeartMedia – currently in Chapter 11 reorganization – has said it’s not in sale mode, the company has been willing to deal in recent years. And then there’s the Scripps stations currently on the block. Stay tuned.
Doug Hall Named Digitial PD for iHM San Francisco. There are just two spoken-word stations in iHeartMedia’s San Francisco cluster – progressive talker KKSF “Real Talk 910AM” and KNEW-AM “Bloomberg Radio” – but the company says that its San Francisco cluster has “been an innovator in podcast content creation, generating 30 podcasts locally with nearly 100 episodes each week published.” It will be part of new digital program director Doug Hall’s charge as he moves from iHeartMedia Miami to the Bay Area for his gig. iHeartMedia San Francisco SVP of programming Don Parker says, “After an extensive search inside and outside of the industry, Doug stood out as the clear choice to lead our digital and social efforts in the Bay Area. With Doug’s knowledge of our goals and priorities along with his sense of urgency and enthusiasm, I’m confident he will grow iHeartMedia San Francisco.” Hall takes over for Matty Staudt, who was recently elevated to vice president of podcast programming at iHeartMedia.
TALKERS Continues Posting Videos Today of the Recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention – Today’s Post: Fireside Chat Between Michael Harrison and Brian Kilmeade. Today (6/27) TALKERS magazine continues posting individual events from the recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! convention held in New York City on June 8. Each day, another session will be posted in the order that they originally took place. Today’s third installment features the Fireside Chat between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel mega-star Brian Kilmeade with an introduction by Westwood One syndicated host Walter Sterling and special remarks by Sean Hannity. Yesterday’s post presents opening remarks by the convention’s co-emcees, TalkersRadio GM, David Bernstein and Good Day Networks/DJV Show CEO/host, Doug Stephan. In addition, KGO, San Francisco host, Ethan Bearman delivers the event’s welcoming remarks and Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host, Brad Shepard introduces Bearman. Already posted this week: the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (“Freedom of Speech Award”) by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian to SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, book publisher, Hunter College professor, and former New York Daily News/Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Karen Hunter. To view the page, please click here.
Going for the Gold. The fourth annual fundraising dinner for the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation took place last night (6/27) at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The sold-out event featured FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel personality and best-selling author Brian Kilmeade as keynote speaker, with TALKERS founder Michael Harrison warming up the crowd with special remarks. Kilmeade delivered an inspirational speech discussing the ups and downs of his career as well as a number of others making the point that facing the challenges that life throws at you head on while remaining humble and grateful is one of the keys to achieving and maintaining success. Harrison discussed the importance of education in preparing future generations of broadcasters to live up to the responsibility of preserving the First Amendment and the vibrant free marketplace of ideas in the rapidly evolving digital era. The Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation is a dynamic non-profit working to raise funds to support the education of young broadcasters. It has been instrumental in helping develop the outstanding program offered at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, including the building of the school’s award-winning radio station WRFH. Pictured at the event (l-r): Harrison, Kilmeade and Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation president Vince Benedetto. Benedetto is also the CEO of the Bold Gold Media Group, with a growing roster of news/talk, sports talk and music radio stations in Northeast Pennsylvania and Upstate New York.
Report: Colin Cowherd Renews Deal with iHeartMedia and FOX Sports. According to Andrew Marchand’s column in the New York Post, sports media personality Colin Cowherd has inked a renewal deal with iHeartMedia and FOX Sports that will pay him in the neighborhood of $6 million per year. Marchand’s piece reports that Cowherd’s three-hour radio show will continue (and remain simulcast on TVs’ FOX Sports 1), but he will exit the “Speak for Yourself” television program co-hosted by Jason Whitlock. Cowherd is expected to continue hosting the “FOX NFL Kickoff” TV show that returns in September.
iHeartMedia and Anna Faris Strike Deal for Expansion of ‘Unqualified’ Programming. Actress and podcaster Anna Faris – who produces her “Anna Faris Is Unqualified” podcast via her Unqualified Media production company – is partnering with iHeartMedia to bring her show to CHR broadcast radio and the iHeartRadio Podcast Network. “Unqualified” features interviews with celebrities and cultural figures who tackle a variety of topics such as dating and relationships, in addition to taking phone calls from listeners seeking relationship advice. Faris created the podcast with her longtime friend and co-host Sim Sarna, who produces the show and runs the production company. The deal will have Unqualified Media produce a long-form “Anna Faris Is Unqualified” radio program that will air weekends across CHR broadcast radio stations nationwide. In addition, iHeartMedia will create short-form content that will air weekdays promoting “Anna Faris Is Unqualified” nationwide.
TALKERS News Notes. On Monday, news/talk WGOW-FM, Chattanooga released a statement regarding the status of morning drive personality Jeff Styles, who was arrested on June 15 after a road rage incident left Styles with a gunshot wound to the arm and the other party with damage to his car left by Styles’ weapon – a military-grade tomahawk. Cumulus Media has placed Styles on paid leave while the incident is investigated. Meanwhile the station says, “Gary Mac has filled in for Styles in the past and did so last week and he will continue to do so. He has other obligations, however, for the next two weeks and afternoon host Brian Joyce will be hosting ‘The Morning Press’ along with Jim Reynolds.”…..Talk show host Tom Donahue is returning to the radio airwaves on July 1 as he launches a weekly, Sunday evening program available via Talk Stream Live and distributed to radio stations by Salem Radio Network. The program will air live at 11:00 pm ET. Donahue says, “I am thrilled to have this broadcast opportunity that has eluded me for some time. I will independently syndicate my show distributed by SRN and TSL, thus allowing me to reach a broader audience with satellite access and delivery to so many radio stations and markets. To be an impactful player in talk radio, your game plan must include broadcast stations. In recent years, my program has been confined mostly to online streaming, digital, and podcasting platforms, with the exception of a few independent stations. I plan to make the most of my airtime each week! I will be open to show expansion based on demand.”…..Boston morning show duo Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb, a.k.a. “Toucher & Rich,” were honored by readers of Boston Magazine with the “Radio Personalities of the Year” award in the 2018 Best of Boston poll. Toucher & Rich anchor mornings on Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” Beasley EVP of programming Justin Chase comments, “We are so proud to have Toucher & Rich on our team in Boston. They are so amazing at all of the things that we truly value at Beasley – community and top quality local content. I’m thrilled that Boston Magazine recognized them!”…..Two sale closings to report that involve Salem Media Group. First, the International Church of the Grace of God closes on the $1.73 million acquisition of WBIX, Boston from Salem. Since Salem bought the signal in 2015 it had been airing its syndicated conservative talk programming on the station with not a lot of success. Second, Salem closes on its purchase of KDXE-FM, Cammack Village, Arkansas from Flinn Broadcasting for $1.1 million. The station serves the Little Rock market and Salem airs much of its Salem Radio Network conservative talk programming on the station branded “101.1 FM The Answer.”…..Cumulus Media appoints radio management pro Chuck Poet vice president and market manager for its Erie, Pennsylvania cluster that includes four music outlets and sports talk WRIE-AM/W242CU.
Illegal Immigration Policy, SCOTUS Travel Ban Ruling, Harassment of Administration Officials, Tuesday Primaries, Germany’s Migrant Issues, Tariffs-Trade War Concerns, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26). The U.S.’s policies in enforcing immigration laws; the Supreme Court upholds President Trump’s ban on travel to the U.S. from predominantly Muslim countries; the aftermath of U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters’ call to harass administration officials when they appear in public; Tuesday’s primary races and the ouster of New York Democrat Joe Crowley at the hands of Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Germany’s Angela Merkel deals with political pressure to reverse policy welcoming migrants; the Trump tariffs and concerns about a trade war; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
JAM Media Buys Outer Banks, NC and Iowa Radio Clusters. Originally founded as a media planning and buying agency, JAM Media Solutions, LLC is entering the radio station ownership business with the acquisition of two clusters of stations – one in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and one in Muscatine, Iowa. JAM has entered into an agreement to acquire Max Radio’s four music-formatted radio stations in the Outer Banks region, as well as the company’s interest in North Carolina E Paper, LLC, publisher of The Outer Banks Voice. The radio stations are: country WCMS-FM, hot AC WCXL-FM, triple A WVOD-FM, and classic rock WZPR-FM. The price tag for those properties is $1.85 million. In Muscatine, Iowa, JAM enters into an agreement to buy Prairie Communications’ classic rock KMCS-FM and farm news KWPC-AM/K236CF, plus newspaper The Voice of Muscatine for $965,000. JAM Media Solutions president and CEO Jonathan. A. Mason Sr. says “Having worked in radio since 1995, let me state for the record that I believe in the power of local radio. Our goal is to unite local on-air personalities, local salespeople, and local advertisers together in an effort to deliver a first-rate experience for our local listeners. JAM Media Solutions will also be very committed to the local communities in which we exist. A portion of our income will be donated to non-profits dedicated to making a difference in the lives of the people our stations touch. We are thankful for this opportunity and look forward to making the concerns of the listeners our top priority.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air staff tweaks at Entercom Las Vegas include the addition of Audrey Lee to CHR KLUC as midday personality, effective July 2. Also, music director and on-air host Yung Jon Que will host KLUC’s afternoon drive from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, effective immediately. This role is in addition to his current position as assistant program director and music director for KLUC-HD2. Finally, Hector ‘DJ CO1’ Minjarez has been elevated to the role of APD at sister urban contemporary KXQQ “Q100.5” in addition to his role as evening personality. Lee was most recently with iHeartMedia’s Lexington, Kentucky cluster…..The North American syndicated rock radio show and website “IN THE STUDIO with Redbeard: The Stories Behind History’s Greatest Rock Bands” celebrates its 30th year of national radio syndication. “IN THE STUDIO” first launched the broadcast week of June 27, 1988 with rock legends Crosby, Stills & Nash as inaugural guests and program host Redbeard. He says, “When original ‘IN THE STUDIO’ executive producer Stephen R. Smith conceived 30 years ago of bringing the superstars of rock to radio every single week through one-on-one interviews about the stars’ most popular music, he was keenly aware that the rock audience had matured. Now, the audience wanted an intimate, direct relationship with the musicians who actually created the soundtrack to their lives, lifting the curtain on the ‘wizards of rock.’ Over that time, the innate desire of the fans to get closer to the flame of inspiration has only intensified.” The hourlong, weekly show is heard on 35 affiliate stations nationwide.
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk. More than half of the sports talk stations in PPM markets saw their 6+ weekly AQH shares rise compared to the April survey (54%). Better still, 65% of sports stations realized positive 6+ movement compared to the same ratings period a year ago. There are no sports talk stations ranking #1 in their market (6+), however Entercom’s WFAN, New York ranked #3 in the Long Island market and the company’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh also ranked #3. See the entire report here.
Bloomberg: iHM Still Open to Takeover Talks After Shooting Down Liberty. According to a report today by Bloomberg, Liberty Media officially retracted its $1.8 billion takeover offer to iHeartMedia (on 6/15) after some creditors apparently balked at the offer for a 40% equity stake in the company, saying it wasn’t enough. However, iHeartMedia is still open to takeover talks – including with Liberty Media – as it tries to work its way through Chapter 11 reorganization. Experts quoted in the piece say they expect Liberty to come back with another offer because Liberty hasn’t been acquiring iHM debt in order to get a fraction of that back in bankruptcy reorganization. It wants leverage at the bargaining table.
Beasley Adds FM Translator to News/Talk KDWN, Las Vegas. Las Vegas news/talker KDWN-AM officially begins life on the FM band today (6/21) as Beasley Media Group adds translator K268CS at 101.5 FM to the station’s transmission. At the same time, the station re-brands as “The New 101.5FM/720AM The Talk of Las Vegas.” The translator is located “high atop the Stratosphere in Las Vegas. The decision to create a simulcast broadcast stems from the company’s market research and a desire to offer Las Vegas residents an alternate way to hear KDWN’s locally originated programming, along with a venerable line-up of personalities that will include Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.” Beasley Las Vegas VP and market manager Dennis Gwiazdon adds, “We’re truly excited about this new opportunity to expand KDWN’s presence in the Las Vegas market. Not only does this provide our listeners with an additional choice to enjoy KDWN’s programming, but an FM simulcast immediately adds value to our advertising customers.”
TRN Seeks Permission to Appeal Case Against Westwood One. Radio company Talk Radio Network is asking Southern District of New York bankruptcy court Judge Shelley Chapman to give it relief from the automatic stay so it can appeal the Oregon federal court dismissal of its case against Westwood One and others. TRN says it filed a timely appeal of the previous dismissal but Cumulus Media’s entry in to Chapter 11 last fall put an automatic stay in place that prevented the Eleventh Circuit Appellate Court from taking up the case. Now that Cumulus has exited Chapter 11, TRN wants to continue the appeal process. It’s also asking for an extension in which to file its Opening Brief in the Westwood One case. Fellow defendants in the case are: Compass Media Networks, WYD Media Management, WYM Media Management, Lew Dickey Jr., and Charles Steinhauer. Mark Masters-led TRN has claimed in a number of previous suits that Westwood One and the other defendants all conspired to monopolize the radio syndication ad sales market and that Westwood One also committed breach of fiduciary duty, among other allegations.
TALKERS News Notes. Award-winning hospitality figure, New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur, and television personality Jon Taffer is partnering with PodcastOne to present his new podcast, “Jon Taffer: No Excuses.” The new program debuted this week with fan-voted guest Big Cat from Barstool Sports. The weekly show “features the Bar Rescue star’s trademark straight talk and unapologetic approach to daily topics, current events and celebrity interviews. In addition to his genuine opinions and in-your-face analysis on these topics, Jon will offer tough-love advice to fans in the interactive program.”…..Conservative media figure Armstrong Williams – who had a long career hosting a radio talk show on AM stations – is putting his SiriusXM program to bed. Williams tells the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal that he will focus all of his attention on his television station company, Howard Stirk Holdings. He’s not exiting the performance side of the business entirely as he’ll continue to host his eponymous TV show and will keep producing his podcast…..Scripps executive Tom Langmyer is being honored by the Buffalo Broadcasters Association with entrance into its Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2018. Langmyer, who currently serves as VP of News, Talk and Sports and GM for news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI in Milwaukee, is a Buffalo native and former WGR-AM traffic reporter. He’s being honored with the Buffalo Bob Smith Award bestowed upon a native broadcaster who achieves national prominence…..WBUR, Boston announces the winner of its Next Great Show Content and has selected “McSweeney’s Presents.” The program was submitted – and beat about 400 other program pitches – by McSweeney’s Internet Tendency editor Chris Monks as a way of bringing the online magazine’s humor and insight to radio. Monks says, “I am thrilled that WBUR chose my idea for the Next Great Show contest. I look forward to making a radio version of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and the challenge of not bringing shame upon my family of avid WBUR listeners.” The program is said to be a “satirical look at the world, from pop culture, to politics, to the playground, featuring work of the country’s best established and up-and-coming writers and comics.”
Illegal Immigration Policy/Peter Fonda Tweet, Trump Trade War, U.S.-North Korea Meeting, Cops Kills Black Teen in Pittsburgh, World Cup, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/20). The controversy over the separation of children from parents in the crackdown on illegal immigration and the related case of Peter Fonda’s Tweet about separating President Trump’s son from his family; the tariffs being tacked on foreign goods and concerns about global trade war; the aftermath of President Trump’s meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the death of an unarmed black teenager at the hands of a police officer in Pittsburgh; the World Cup tournament in Russia; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Detroit radio personality Lauren Crocker signs a new contract with Cumulus Media’s hot AC WDVD where she’s co-host of the ‘Blaine Fowler Morning Show.” She joined the program in 2015. Program director Robby Bridges says, “It sounds clichéd, but it is the absolute truth. When Lauren first walked in and interviewed with me seven years ago, I knew then she was going to be a superstar. To see her flourish as co-host of ‘The Blaine Fowler Morning Show’ alongside Blaine and Matty, become a fixture in the Detroit market, work with local charities and appear on ‘Dish Nation’ and WDIV-TV’s ‘Live in the D’ is just terrific. Lauren’s star is still on the rise and I’m so glad she’ll be with us at Cumulus into the next decade!”…..In Chicago, Cumulus signs alternative WKQX personalities Walt Flakus and Lauren O’Neil to multi-year contracts. Flakus is assistant program director, music director, and evening personality. He’s been with WKQX since 2014. Midday personality O’Neil is entering her seventh year with the station. Cumulus Chicago VP and market manager Marv Nyren states, “There’s no greater joy than being able to work with incredibly talented people, and Walt and Lauren are two of the most creative, hard-working, and talented people I’ve had the privilege to work with. They are an essential part of what truly separates us from our competition every day. Together, Walt, Lauren and the entire staff make 101WKQX one-of-a-kind.”…..WBBM-FM, Chicago morning personality Kevin Buchar, a.k.a. DreX, is off the air as he recovers from complications that arose from a previous surgical procedure. In the interim, co-host Nina and producer Gabe Ramirez are handling the show duties…..Colorado Springs classic rock KKFM “Classic Rock 98” appoints Jonathan “J.P.” Peletis afternoon drive host and promotions director. Cumulus Media Colorado Springs operations manager Bobby Irwin says, “J.P. brings to KKFM and our station cluster an awesome mix of radio rock show, digital marketing and promotions experience, with passion for the Colorado lifestyle.”…..Longport Media agrees to sell Atlantic City CHR WWAC “AC 102.7” to Educational Media Foundation for $570,000. EMF will convert the station into a non-profit and flip it to a Christian music format…..iHeartMedia and MediaLink combined to host the seventh annual intimate VIP Dinner in Antibes, France during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. On Tuesday evening (6/19), the VIP Dinner included a special performance by Jon Bon Jovi. Attendees included corporate officers from such firms as Unilever, AT&T, Google, Vivendi, Conde Nast and others. Katie Couric and Ryan Seacrest were also in attendance. Picture below are (from l-r): Gayle Troberman, chief marketing officer for iHeartMedia; Tom Poleman, chief programming officer for iHeartMedia; Rich Bressler, president, COO and CFO of iHeartMedia; Jon Bon Jovi; John Sykes, president of entertainment enterprises for iHeartMedia; Bob Pittman, chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia; and Tim Castelli, president of national sales and marketing partnerships for iHeartMedia.