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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

| March 9, 2021

WJFK-FM, Washington at Center of Washington Football Team Investigation Controversy. As Mike Florio reports in Yahoo! Sports, Entercom’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington reported on Friday (3/5) that the NFL-ordered investigation into the culture of the Washington Football Team organization – especially regarding allegations of sexual harassment from women – led by attorney Beth Wilkinson has concluded that owner Daniel Snyder should be forced to sell the team. However, yesterday (3/8) the station issued a retraction because the NFL says the story is untrue and it has not yet received the Wilkinson report. The question is whether WJFK-FM received a stolen copy of the report or if Wilkinson herself tipped the radio station. In its statement, WJFK-FM said, “We do believe in the authenticity of the documents we reviewed, and that they are from the Wilkinson investigation, but we are unable to confirm that the report was a final draft or that it had been delivered to the League Office. As soon as we are able to report anything further on this, we will let you know — both as to what occurred in our Friday report and regarding the Wilkinson investigation generally.”

Radio Hall of Fame Announces Nomination Period Is Open. The Museum of Broadcast Communications announces that the Radio Hall of Fame nominating committee is now accepting suggestions for 2021 nominees through March 31. Suggestions for Radio Hall of Fame nominees can be made in the following categories: Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more); Active Local/Regional (10 years or more); Networks/Syndication (10 years or more); Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more); Music Format On-Air Personality; and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin says, “We’re looking forward to celebrating the lifelong talents and career milestones of some of radio’s greatest! The first part of our annual process is fielding suggestions from listeners and industry members alike. It’s our priority to provide everyone the opportunity to be a part of this process.” Inductees will be honored at the annual Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony, with plans to be held live in Chicago at a date to be announced later this year.

AdLarge Promotes Two Executives. Two AdLarge vice presidents are being promoted to senior vice president. Donelle Brown rises to SVP of marketing insights & client relations and Ilwira Marciszek becomes SVP, head of revenue operations and digital sales. In her new role, Donelle Brown will continue to drive marketing strategy and messaging across terrestrial and digital audio channels, as well as overall company branding and communications. Ilwira Marciszek will continue to focus on sales operations, tech, and partner relationships that drive revenue for the company. AdLarge co-CEO Cathy Csukas says, “[Co-CEO] Gary [Schonfeld] and I are so fortunate to have not only one but two phenomenal leaders on our team that have played such a significant role in the success of this company. Their enthusiasm and diligence have been instrumental in our growth in both radio and podcasting. We could not be prouder to recognize their hard work, talent, and dedication.”

Edison Research: Ownership of Smart Speakers Up 22%. According to data from Edison Research’s Infinite Dial 2021, 33% of all Americans now own a smart speaker, a 22% increase from 2020, with those working from home even more likely to own one of the devices. Forty-nine percent of Americans who work from home own at least one smart speaker such as an Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or other brand. Edison will reveal more data from the research project at Thursday’s 2:00 pm ET webinar. It says The Infinite Dial 2021 report “provides the most up-to-date research on U.S. digital audio and podcast consumption, while reflecting the effects of a global pandemic and quarantine restrictions on audio and other digital media behaviors.” You can register here.

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold Unemployment Town Hall. News/talk WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting a digital-exclusive town hall this Thursday (3/11) at 7:00 pm to address the issue of out-of-work residents struggling to get unemployment benefits. The half-hour program will be hosted by New Jersey 101.5 morning news anchor and director of special projects Eric Scott featuring New Jersey Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo answering previously submitted questions from residents. Scott says, “Despite New Jersey distributing over $30 billion in jobless aid since the pandemic began, there are still tens of thousands who have received no benefits. Our goal is to connect those individuals with the help they need to get their claims processed.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk host Larry Elder is the subject of a piece in the monthly magazine Chronicles, published by the Charlemagne Institute – dedicated to “defending and advancing Western Civilization.” Salem Radio Network’s Elder is profiled in the piece and author Roger D. McGrath praises Elder’s recent documentary film Uncle Tom…..According to a story in the New York Post, Greg Kelly is joining Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to serve as early afternoon host while Curtis Sliwa is on a leave of absence while he runs for mayor of New York. Kelly is currently also host of the “Greg Kelly Reports” program seen at 7:00 pm ET on Newsmax TV…..iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler will participate in a question and answer session during Deutsche Bank’s “29th Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference 2021” tomorrow (3/10) at 1:00 pm ET.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Stimulus Bill, Voting Rights Issues, Andrew Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, Migrant Surge, Capitol Riot Investigation, Derek Chauvin Trial, Harry & Meghan Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/8). The rate of positive COVID cases in the U.S., worries about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the Biden COVID stimulus bill goes back to the House for a final vote; Joe Biden’s voting rights bill and bills being written to curtail voting accessibility in several states; the growing number of sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; the surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol riot; the Minneapolis trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin; and the Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

| February 27, 2020

Jack Sunday Retires from Full-Time KFGO, Fargo Role. Longtime Fargo talk radio personality Jack Sunday has retired from his full-time role as an on-air talk host on Midwest Communications’ news/talk KFGO-AM.  Sunday had been co-hosting the late morning show with Amy Iler, who wrote a nice piece about Sunday that you can see here.  Iler is now partnered with JJ Gordon on the “It Takes Two” program.  Sunday acknowledged his decision to leave the position was difficult and noted that he is caring for his wife who suffers from a rare neurological condition.  Sunday first joined KFGO in 1989 and over the course of 30 years served as program director, afternoon host, and midday personality.  He tells KFGO’s Joel Heitcamp, “I am convinced that there is probably no other radio station in the country like KFGO… we have 17 or 20 people who are on the air live as personalities for extended periods of time… a four-person news team, a meteorologist and sports.  We have two great sportscasters here, plus on-air personalities with producers that become personalities themselves.”  Sunday will develop a podcast to be part of the station’s podcast offerings.

Appeals Court Tosses Prager’s YouTube Lawsuit. The suit by Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager’s non-profit educational organization, Prager University, against Google’s YouTube platform was shot down by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday (2/26).  Prager University had sued YouTube claiming it had violated its First Amendment rights and the Lanham Act (false advertising), but the District Court dismissed the suit.  PragerU appealed and the Appeals Court agreed with the lower court.  At issue here was PragerU’s claim that YouTube’s Restricted Mode violated the conservative educational organization’s First Amendment rights by making certain of its video unviewable for those under a certain age due to its Restricted Mode guidelines.  It also claimed that YouTube’s promotional language touting the importance of people being able to “speak freely” while putting certain videos in Restricted Mode violated the Lanham Act.  Judge M. Margaret McKeown writes in the decision, “The panel held that despite YouTube’s ubiquity and its role as a public-facing platform, it remains a private forum, not a public forum subject to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment.  The panel noted that just last year, the Supreme Court held that ‘merely hosting speech by others is not a traditional, exclusive public function and does not alone transform private entities into state actors subject to First Amendment constraints.’  The panel held that the Internet does not alter this state action requirement of the First Amendment.  The panel therefore rejected plaintiff’s assertion that YouTube is a state actor because it performs a public function.  Addressing the false advertising claim under the Lanham Act, the panel held that YouTube’s statements concerning its content moderation policies do not constitute ‘commercial advertising or promotion’ as the Lanham Act requires.  Nor was YouTube’s designation of certain of plaintiff’s videos for Restricted Mode part of an advertising or promotion or a misrepresentation as to the videos.  Finally, the panel held that YouTube’s braggadocio about its commitment to free speech constituted opinions that are not subject to the Lanham Act.”

Former News Staffer Sues Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco.  A lawsuit filed in California Superior Court by former KCBS-AM, San Francisco news staffer Sheryl Raines accuses the station of retaliation, failure to prevent harassment, unlawful termination and more.  The complaint centers around allegations of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment on the part of engineer Dan Denton.  Raines says she reported Denton’s alleged behavior to superiors, but it continued.  She was terminated in May of 2019 and was told that the station wanted “a different sound.”  In her complaint, she states her replacement was a woman of similar demographic makeup with a “startlingly similar” on-air voice to her own.  She is seeking unspecified damages.

ABC Audio Appoints Lakeia Brown to Senior Producer, Race & Culture Audio Insights Post. The senior producer, race & culture audio insights position is a newly created one at ABC Audio and Lakeia Brown will assume that post on March 9.  She has been serving in the ABC News research department.  She has more than 15 years of experience in consumer insights and analytics for television networks including: ABC, Disney, Comedy Central, Nick @ Nite, TV Land and BET.  She starts with ABC Audio on March 9.  ABC Audio vice president and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku says that in this position Brown will “act as a storyteller, researcher, and social connector all rolled into one.  She’ll work closely with our amazing team to create and deliver new radio news products and podcasts, maximize sponsorship opportunities and participate in editorial story development, all while focusing on expanding Audio’s reach with multicultural audiences. Lakeia will also serve as ABC Audio’s in-house expert on all things research, connecting insights to actionable strategies that help drive reach and revenue for ABC Audio.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated home improvement radio show, “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford,” hits the 300-affiliate station mark as it celebrates its 10th year under the direction of Lipford.  Along with Lipford’s Emmy-nominated TV show, “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford,” airing in 91% of the U.S., Lipford is a familiar figure in the home improvement industry.  “Today’s Homeowner” radio dates back to 2009 when Lipford took over a small radio show called “Homefront.”  He re-branded the program, officially launching “Today’s Homeowner” radio which began airing on 60 stations.  Over the past decade, Lipford and his team have strategically grown the show’s footprint by 200%.…..In Virginia Beach, Max Media names Tim Donnelly executive producer of the Nick Cattles show on sports talk WVSP “ESPN Radio 94.1.”  Donnelly was most recently with Monticello Media’s WRAD-AM, Blacksburg, Virginia where he hosted his own sports talk show.  Max Media VP of operations and programming Rusty James says, “Tim lives and breathes sports and we are so excited to have his passion on ‘ESPN Radio 94.1.’”…..Townsquare Media’s sports talk WTMM, Albany adds another hour to the “Big Board Sports” show.   The program, hosted by Rodger Wyland and Chris Onorato, now airs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm…..Salem Radio Network assures us that nationally syndicated late morning talk host Mike Gallagher does not have the coronavirus, but he did test positive for influenza and has to miss the opening day of CPAC 2020 in Washington.  So, filling in for him is Kurt Schlichter (right) who is pictured below interviewing American Conservative Union president Matt Schlapp (left).

Lee Abrams Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most influential music radio programmers of the past 50 years, Lee Abrams, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Abrams was the chief architect of an approach to FM album rock radio known back in the seventies as the “Superstars” format and, as a consultant, guided hundreds of stations across the country to commercial success utilizing its systems and techniques. He went on to be one of the original programming forces behind today’s satellite radio during the first decade of its development and then served a couple of years with the Tribune Company helping that organization revamp its newspapers and television stations for the 21st century. Today, Abrams is the head of a newly launched, Chicago-based consultancy, MediaVision, which is focused on radio (terrestrial and beyond) and music for 40-plus consumers as well as revolutionary approaches to video news and television. Harrison and Abrams take a deep dive into the past, present, and future of pop culture including a retrospective on the days they spent as two of the top thought-leaders in AOR (album oriented rock) radio. This program is a must-listen for anyone in the radio business. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Talk Radio at CPAC. Numerous radio talk show hosts from around the nation are attending this year’s CPAC gathering in National Harbor, MD with many broadcasting from the conservative event’s radio row.  Pictured covering CPAC for her national commentary is Victoria Jones (l) executive director of DC Radio Company visiting the broadcast setup of John Fredericks (r) of the John Fredericks Radio Network.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Names FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Recipient of Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award. The recipient of this year’s Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America is Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai.  The honor will be presented at the Broadcasters Foundation Annual Breakfast on Wednesday, April 22 at the 2020 NAB Show in Las Vegas.  The Award is bestowed annually on an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.  The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award salutes its namesake and is underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation.  Past recipients include Bill Clark, Eddie Fritts, Cathy Hughes, Mel Karmazin, Jeff Smulyan, Dick Wiley, and others.

Coronavirus Pandemic Fears, Presidential Race, Financial Markets Activity/China Productivity, Deadly Milwaukee Brewery Shooting, and India Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/26). Concerns about Covid-19 developing into a global pandemic; the Democrats battling to face President Trump in the November election; the reaction of the world’s financial markets to the coronavirus and the virus’ effect on China’s productivity; a fired brewery worker returns to the plant in Milwaukee and kills five co-workers before killing himself; and the deadly sectarian violence in India 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. Air personality Scotty Kay is adding midday hosting duties at Entercom’s St. Louis CHR KNOU “NOW 96.3” to his responsibilities.  Kay also serves as co-host of the morning show at country WUSN-FM, Chicago “US99.”  Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “I’ve been a fan of Scotty and his unique ability to become one with his audience and we’re delighted to add him to our team.  Scotty will be a vital part of the puzzle as we continue to grow ‘NOW 96.3’ into the dominant contemporary hit radio brand in St. Louis.”…..iHeartMedia appoints Rex Long program director for Austin CHR KHFI “96.7 KISS FM.”  He was most recently with the company’s Salt Lake City cluster.  iHeartMedia Austin/San Antonio region president Matt Martin says, “Rex’s abundance of energy, his creative ideas to connect with listeners, combined with his strategic vison to be a fabric of Austin’s culture make Rex a perfect fit to continue building the ‘KISS’ brand.”…..Cumulus Media names Bev Rainey program director of country KRST, Albuquerque.  She’ll also host the late morning show.  Rainey served for the past 20 years with iHeartMedia’s crosstown country KBQI, the last seven as program director.  Cumulus Albuquerque VP and market manager Jeff Berry says, “KRST provides the very best in country music and entertainment for our listeners and unmatched results for our promotional partners.  I could not be happier to have Bev join this fantastic team.  She is known and loved by the audience and respected by the industry.  This is a great day for one of America’s great country brands.”…..Berkshire Broadcasting flips WAXB-AM/W233CF, Danbury, Connecticut “B945” from classic hits to classic rock as “945 The Hawk.”  Berkshire CEO Irv Goldstein says, “‘B945’ has been continuously evolving over the years.  Morphing from a traditional oldies station to an 80s based classic hits/classic rock mix.  We just felt that now was the right time to get off the fence and go all in.  ‘945 The Hawk’ is classic rock that really rocks.”

Monday, February 17, 2020

| February 17, 2020

Mike Broomhead Takes Over Morning Daypart on KTAR-FM, Phoenix. Phoenix media personality Mike Broomhead begins hosting the 8:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart on Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix, effective next Monday (2/24).  Broomhead, who was longtime morning host at iHeartMedia’s crosstown KFYI-AM, replaces “The Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes Show.”  Bonneville Phoenix SVP and market manager Scott Sutherland says, “We are extremely excited to add one of the most talented talk show hosts in the country to our powerful lineup.  Mike is a values-driven, influential thought leader who is committed to making a positive impact in our community, which is core to the KTAR mission.”  Broomhead comments, “I can’t wait to be on FM talking to a massive and diverse audience about important issues on the most historic radio station in Phoenix.  KTAR is Arizona and so am I.  I’m so excited to go to work with the talented news, talk, and digital teams.”  Broomhead also hosts a weekly show on cable’s AZTV.

Monday Memo: Crash For Cash!  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke says, “Rip-off this spot…I did!” Read it here.

Presidential Election, Impeachment Aftermath/Roger Stone Sentencing, Coronavirus, Dennis Smacks Britain, and Trump at Daytona Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November and next weekend’s Nevada caucuses; the president’s post-impeachment temperament and the controversy over changes in Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic; winter storm Dennis ravages Britain with high winds and flooding rains; and President Trump serves as grand marshal for the Daytona 500 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post reports that CBS is the target of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed in New York.  The suit seeks $10 million and class action status as complainant Jacquelyn Musiello – a former payroll staffer in the human resources department at CBS RADIO – alleges that she was forced to quit her position because of “physical and emotional distress” after being sexually harassed by talent.  She also states that she was witness to numerous other situations in which others were the victims of harassment.  Additionally, she describes uncomfortable incidents with former WCBS-FM, New York personality Dan Taylor.  He left the company last July after it came to light that New York Attorney General Letitia James initiated an investigation into the former CBS RADIO properties…..DMR/Interactive names Tony Bannon VP/marketing strategy.  He most recently served in the sales department at Cumulus Media’s Cincinnati station group.  He’ll serve with DMR/Interactive at its Covington, Kentucky offices.  President/COO Andrew Curran says, “Tony is passionate and knowledgeable about radio.  His experience in both Diary and PPM markets is truly an asset. Clients will benefit from his creative and analytical approach.”…..At the Podcast Movement Evolutions conference in Los Angeles last week, it was announced that new organization called The Podcast Academy is being created and will produce a “Golden Mics” award ceremony that will debut in early 2021.  The announcement was made by Wondery CEO Hernan Lopez.  The industry non-profit organization will be overseen by a 10-member board of governors.  Lopez says, “Film, television, music – all other major forms of art have long-ago established a member-based academy with the goal of fostering and celebrating creative excellence.  It’s time for podcasts to establish their own.  I am delighted to be joined by a diverse group of people who really care about excellence, from across the country, representing all kinds of podcasts, from public radio to independents and networks.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Chi is the new afternoon drive personality on NRG Media’s hot AC KQKQ, Omaha “Sweet 98.5,” effective today (2/17).  She’ll also serve as music director for NRG’s hip hop KOPW “Power 106.9.”  She was most recently an air personality and music director for SummitMedia’s crosstown CHR KQCH.  NRG general manager Mark Shecterle says, “We could not be more pleased with the addition of Chi to the NRG family.  Chi has a great reputation in the market with both listeners and clients.  She will be a great addition to our team, and we are blessed to have her.”…..Saga Communications brings Riley Reed aboard the Q Crew at CHR WQPO, Harrisonburg, Virginia  “Q101.”  He was most recently with Connoisseur Media at former alternative WWYY, Lehigh, Pennsylvania “Spin Radio 107.1.”  Saga Harrisonburg operations manager Paul “Uncle Pauly” McDaniel says, “I’ve known of Riley for 10-plus years and watched him on social media grow from an intern to a morning show host over the years.  He’s a digital machine and will complement the already-fantastic job HRG is doing with our station socials.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

| August 22, 2018

Report: New Allegations of Behavior Issues at CBS RADIO.  In today’s New York Post, a story by Kevin Dugan details allegations of inappropriate language on the part of WCBS-FM jock Dan Taylor in which he is accused of using racial and sexually demeaning terms in front of former producer Craig Lenti.  The allegations by Lenti are from a diary he kept of his experiences working at the station. This comes a month after sister station WFAN, New York (along with WCBS-FM now owned by Entercom) suspended midday personality Joe Benigno while it investigates allegations of sexual harassment against him made by former sales staffer Lauren Lockwood. The Post piece also notes that six former CBS RADIO staffers have contacted the paper in the last month supporting Lockwood’s claims.  The story includes a statement on behalf of Entercom by Sard Verbinnen spokeswoman Liz Zale, who says, “We are deeply offended by this mischaracterization of our culture and work environment.  This handful of allegations from former employees of CBS Radio does not reflect Entercom’s culture or work environment.”  Read the Post piece here.

Salem Host Joe Walsh Teams with WVON’s Maze Jackson for Live Event Series Titled, ‘Black and White, Uncomfortable Conversations.’ This series of live events featuring former U.S. Representative and current Salem Radio Network and Newsmax TV personality Joe Walsh and WVON, Chicago morning personality Maze Jackson is taking place at four locations around Chicagoland. It’s called “Black and White, Uncomfortable Conversations” and will “feature authentic, uncensored dialogue with respectful, no-holds barred conversation about the issues affecting black and white men and women of all ages throughout Chicago.”  Topics such as taxes, gun violence, reparations, religion, family structure, education, “and other political topics that have been hijacked by an agenda-driven media.”  Walsh adds, “The ‘Uncomfortable Conversations’ events will help us find common ground, which too many Americans have forgotten how to do.”  Jackson comments, “I’m looking forward to having some really uncomfortable conversations on race, politics, and culture with a very unlikely partner, former Congressman Joe Walsh.  I’m as pro-Black as you can be and Joe is as conservative one can be, so when we get together, fireworks will erupt.  But after we get through the bombastic words we’ll get to the core of finding solutions to benefit us all.”  The series takes place on consecutive Saturdays in September in Bolingbrook, Wauconda, Chicago’s south side, and Lake Forest, Illinois.

KSPN, Los Angeles Moves Sedano to Afternoons; Adds Travis Rodgers to Mornings. This new lineup takes effect on September 4.  Jorge Sedano, currently part of the morning show with Keyshawn Johnson and LZ Granderson, moves to the open afternoon drive slot hosting his own program from 3:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  “ESPNLA 710” is adding Travis Rodgers to the morning show for the newly renamed “The Morning Show with Keyshawn, LZ and Travis.”  The midday schedule remains the same with Stephen A. Smith from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and the “Mason and Ireland” show from 12:00 noon to 3:30 pm.  Sedano says, “There’s not a more exciting time to be in Los Angeles covering sports.  It’s an honor to take on the task of providing the best content possible for the city’s fans.  I’m pumped to be working with a great group both behind the scenes and on the air.”

TALKERS News Notes. On today’s edition of Westwood One’s “The Savage Nation” with host Michael Savage, popular social media personalities Diamond and Silk, a.k.a. Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, will appear as special guests.  The African American comedy duo, whose pro-Trump social media activity on their YouTube channel “The Viewers View” has more than 180,000 subscribers.  They will also interview Savage for their upcoming documentary…..Walter M. Sterling’s “Sterling on Sunday” program – nationally syndicated by Westwood One – is celebrating its one-year anniversary in national syndication. The show – billed as a mix of lifestyle, entertainment, and social conversations – airs live from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET and is now heard on more than 60 affiliate stations a year after its August 19, 2017 debut…..As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, former WGN-AM, Chicago sports anchor and reporter Sam Panayotovich is coming back to the Windy City airwaves on Entercom’s sports talk WSCR “The Score” with weekly appearances on the Mike Mulligan and David Haugh morning show.  Panayotovich is a host for Las Vegas-based VSiN (Vegas Stats & Information Network).  He says, “Following the betting markets really changes the way you watch sports. I can’t wait to go back home for 12 minutes every Friday.”…..NPR is launching a midterm election-focused radio show called, “The Politics Show from NPR,” featuring Scott Detrow, Tamara Keith, and Asma Khalid.  It debuts September 14 and runs through November 9.  NPR VP for programming and audience development Anya Grundmann says, “We are thrilled to be expanding our platform, particularly at a time when reliable news is vitally important.  The 2018 elections will be as consequential as any in recent memory.  This show will provide comprehensive fact-based coverage that will help voters make informed decisions at the ballot box.”…..The New York State Broadcasters Association is naming ABC’s “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir its 2018 Broadcaster of the Year.  The multiple Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist has been with ABC News since 2003 and served as the anchor for the overnight program “World News Now” and as a network correspondent.  On September 2, 2014 he became the sole anchor and managing editor of ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir.”  Muir will be honored at the New York State Leadership and Hall of Fame Luncheon on October 18 at the Javits Center in New York City at a luncheon held in conjunction with the NAB Show NY….Entercom’s news/talk KNSS, Wichita is a big winner at the Kansas Association of Broadcasters annual television and radio awards.  KNSS won first place for Complete Sportscast and for Station Website.  It grabbed second place honors for Complete Newscast.

WCBS-AM, New York Unveils New Logo and News ‘Anthem.’ The still shot above shows a scene from the recording of the new news “anthem” for Entercom’s all-news WCBS-AM, New York.  The station is introducing the new music as well as the new logo seen at bottom left of the photo.  WCBS director of news and programming Tim Scheld says the new look and feel are part of the radio station’s strategy to build a brand for the next 50 years.  He states, “2017 was all about celebrating the brand that is WCBS Newsradio 880 and 2018 was all about rethinking the brand.”  Assistant program director Alex Silverman says of the new music, “We didn’t want the traditional, in-your-face, self-important news music.  We wanted a sound that was going to communicate that we are a trusted friend.” The station says that what it got was “an anthem filled with energy, percussion, and the passion with which the news is delivered on New York’s iconic news radio station.”  Check out the story and the video of the recording of the new music here.

Paul Manafort Guilty on Eight Counts, Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty, Trump-Russian Investigation, Microsoft Finds Russian Hacking of Conservatives, Rep. Hunter Indicted on Campaign Funds Misuse, Mollie Tibbetts Case Arrest, Argento/McGowan #MeToo Issue, Western Wildfires/Air Quality, NFL Pre-season and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/21). Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is convicted on eight counts in fraud trial; former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty to breaking campaign finance laws; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; Microsoft reports discovering Russian hacking of conservative think tanks; U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter indicted on campaign fund misuse; Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts’ alleged killer is undocumented alien; the flap over Rose McGowan’s comments about Harvey Weintstein accuser Asia Argento’s reported payoff for having sex with a minor; the wildfires in the U.S. West and the region’s poor air quality; NFL pre-season action and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: Adult Hits. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on adult hits.  Some 67% of adult hits-formatted stations experienced 6+ AQH share growth from the June 2018 survey to the July survey.  Comparing ratings from July of last year to this year, about half the stations in the panel were up and the other half were down.  Five adult hits stations ranked in the top five in their respective markets with iHeartMedia’s KYOT, Phoenix; Emmis Communications’ KBPA, Austin; Midwest Communications’ WCJK, Nashville; and Entercom’s WSMW, Greensboro ranking #2 in the July 2018 PPM survey.  See the entire report here.

Friday, July 20, 2018

| July 20, 2018

Report: Silver Lake Offers $500 Million Investment in iHeartMedia. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, private equity firm Silver Lake has offered to invest $500 million in iHeartMedia, though the piece says the company’s largest creditor group led by Franklin Mutual Advisers and Pacific Investment Management Co. has not accepted the offer.  Silver Lake’s intent is to invest prior to iHeartMedia’s emergence from Chapter 11 reorganization, expected to happen in November.  Such an investment would give iHM more cash to disperse to creditors.  The WSJ piece says Silver Lake’s investment offer is in the form of convertible preferred shares that are a hybrid instrument of debt and equity.  Convertible preferred shares usually pay interest.  They are called convertible because they include an option to convert to common equity at a specified share price.

WFAN’s Joe Benigno Returns to Air on Monday.  After the Wednesday filing of a sexual harassment/hostile work environment suit against WFAN, New York and midday sports talk personality Joe Benigno, the station tells the New York Post that the company will fight the allegations made by former WFAN sales exec Laura Lockwood and that Benigno – on vacation this week – will be back on the radio on Monday (7/23).

Star City Broadcasting Launches Lafayette, Indiana News/Talk Station. The new station emanates from WSHY-AM and is simulcast on translator W282CJ.  It’s a flip from the previous sports talk format and is being branded “The Patriot 104.3 FM.”  It will feature Premiere Networks programs Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, as well as Westwood One’s Michael Savage.  Star City Broadcasting general manager Billy Huggins says, “This area is booming and there has been a huge demand for news and talk on the FM dial.  We will combine the power of top national talk shows, local personalities, and news from our growing TV stations to create a radio station that will most definitely be ‘The Voice of Greater Lafayette.’”  Huggins adds that the station is auditioning local voices “to make sure we cover the whole story and how it impacts Greater Lafayette.” Star City operations manager Ski Anderson comments, “Combining the resources of Star City’s four television stations and our well-established radio stations will give us a solid base to launch and grow news and talk, crystal clear on the FM dial.”

FCC Pushes Back Against Sinclair. Television operator Sinclair Broadcast Group appeared shocked by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s Monday (7/16) release in which he stated that he has “serious concerns” about the Sinclair-Tribune deal.  Two days later, the commission adopted a Hearing Designation Order in which the transfer applications for WGN-TV, Chicago; KDAF-TV, Dallas; and KIAH-TV, Houston will go before an administrative judge.  The commission’s concerns are outlined in the following paragraph from the Order.  “Among these applications were three that, rather than transfer broadcast television licenses in Chicago, Dallas, and Houston directly to Sinclair, proposed to transfer these licenses to other entities.  The record raises significant questions as to whether those proposed divestitures were in fact ‘sham’ transactions. By way of example, one application proposed to transfer WGN-TV in Chicago to an individual (Steven Fader) with no prior experience in broadcasting who currently serves as CEO of a company in which Sinclair’s executive chairman has a controlling interest.  Moreover, Sinclair would have owned most of WGN-TV’s assets, and pursuant to a number of agreements, would have been responsible for many aspects of the station’s operation.  Finally, Fader would have purchased WGN-TV at a price that appeared to be significantly below market value, and Sinclair would have had an option to buy back the station in the future.  Such facts raise questions about whether Sinclair was the real party in interest under Commission rules and precedents and attempted to skirt the Commission’s broadcast ownership rules.  Although these three applications were withdrawn today, material questions remain because the real party-in-interest issue in this case includes a potential element of misrepresentation or lack of candor that may suggest granting other, related applications by the same party would not be in the public interest.” This transaction would transfer ownership of news/talk WGN-AM to Sinclair, which currently owns three Seattle radio stations – talk KVI, all-news KOMO-AM/FM, and hot AC KPLZ – in addition to its television holdings.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention Videos All Posted.  Videos covering the entire nine-hour agenda of the recent TALKERS convention held on June 8 in New York City – from the opening breakfast to closing cocktail reception award ceremonies – are now posted here at Talkers.com.  Seventy-one industry luminaries spoke at the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention.  The videos – 19 in all – will remain posted for the rest of 2018 on a convenient page sponsored by Comrex Corp and are available for unlimited free viewing by TALKERS readers.  To see any or all of the speeches, workshops, panels, and presentations at this tremendously successful gathering, please click here.

Trump-Putin Meeting Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 16-20.  The Helsinki meeting between President Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia investigation and the related request by Russia to interrogate former Russia Ambassador Michael McFaul and financier Bill Bowder.  Coming in at #3 was the case of alleged Russian spy Maria Butina, followed by the fallout from President Trump’s recent NATO meeting 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. View this week’s entire chart here.

Adrian Cronauer Passes at 79.  The man whose military radio show entertaining the troops in Vietnam was loosely adapted into the movie Good Morning Vietnam– Adrian Cronauer – died on Wednesday at age 79.  Robin Williams’ portrayal of Cronauer got him an Academy Award nomination.  The real Cronauer had broadcasting in his blood.  After his military service, he worked in New York doing voice work for radio and TV.  He programmed a TV station and managed a radio station.  Later in life, he would again serve his country as a confidential advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) from 2001 through 2009.  He represented the POW/MIA Office at meetings within the Office of the Secretary of Defense and at various outside functions, including liaison with the leadership of veterans’ service organizations as well as family and activist groups.

Ralph Nader Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Iconic political activist, consumer advocate and five-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Nader – a Princeton and Harvard graduate – came to prominence in the mid-1960s with the publication of his book, Unsafe at Any Speed (Grossman Publishers, 1965), a critique of the safety record of American automobile manufacturers in general, and particularly the first-generation Chevrolet Corvair. In 1999, a New York University panel of journalists ranked Unsafe at Any Speed 38th among the top 100 pieces of journalism of the 20th century. Nader makes a case that news/talk radio – both commercial and public – no longer offers the American listener the level of ideological diversity that it did in years gone by before going in a “corporatist” direction. This has led him to launch a show of his own, “The Ralph Nader Radio Hour,” a weekly talk show broadcast on the Pacifica Radio Network, and available as a podcast on iTunes. Nader is joined by comedic co-hosts Steve Skrovan and David Feldman for what is described as a lively, informative hour of interviews with some of the nation’s most influential movers and shakers plus thought-provoking discussions of the week’s news. Harrison and Nader, whose friendship goes back about 30 years, gently spar – agreeing and disagreeing on a number of issues, including whether or not Nader’s refusal to withdraw from the historic 2000 presidential race prevented Al Gore from winning that election. A number of progressive media gatekeepers have held that against Nader for the past 18 years. Upon posting this interview, Harrison states, “Ralph Nader is one of the most influential Americans of the past century and has a voice that still deserves to be heard. His radio show on Pacifica is an excellent vehicle not only for his ongoing commentary but also as an alternative platform for provocative guests not often heard by the American public in today’s flash headlines-oriented media environment.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At country KGGO, Los Angeles, Amy Mangola-Soler exits the morning show where she’d been serving as a cast member alongside Graham Bunn and David Bugenske.  She’d been with the Mt. Wilson Broadcasters station since 2015…..iHeartMedia Las Vegas announces that Las Vegas radio personality Mark DiCiero joins the company to host weekend shows on adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5.”  He’d been a radio personality in the market for the past 18 years as co-host of the “Mark and Mercedes in the Morning” program on Entercom’s crosstown hot AC KMXB “Mix 94.1.”  KSNE program director Chris Pickett says, “Mark is a well-known and beloved personality here in Las Vegas.  He has developed a genuine bond with the market and we’re happy that our listeners can connect with him on the Valley’s most popular radio station.”…..The Premiere Networks-syndicated Bobby Bones morning show is being added to the program schedule at Community First Broadcasting’s country KKIA, Ida Grove, Iowa “The Moose.”  The show replaces “The Fish Tank” with host Matt Fisher.

PPM Analysis: Alternative. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a report on the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on alternative rock.  June was pretty good to alternative stations in PPM markets with 54% seeing their 6+ AQH rise.  Comparing June 2017 numbers to June 2018, 48% of alt rock stations enjoyed an increase AQH. Houston is the only market in which an alternative station ranks in the top five, with iHeartMedia’s KTBZ, Houston “94.5 The Buzz”  occupying the #5 spot with a 6+ weekly AQH share of 5.0%. See the whole report here.