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Monday, March 15, 2021

| March 15, 2021

Monday Memo: Radio Has a 100-Year Head Start. Who ISN’T doing a podcast? “Your advertisers,” who consultant Holland Cooke notes, “are, increasingly, diverting radio dollars to digital shiny objects much less productive than assets stations can craft.” In this week’s column, HC outlines a strategy. Read it here.

Pending Business: Attitude Is Everything. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column that a seller’s attitude is even more important now. “Negotiating any deal to a win-win can be delicate surgery. The economic variables, personalities, and now the lack of body language feedback can make the process frustrating.  As we move to a hybrid sales-work environment of online, in-person, Zoom, and mobile, negotiating takes on a new dimension.” Read his piece here.

Rita Cosby Returns to WABC, New York for Late Night Show. Talk and news media pro Rita Cosby makes a return to the WABC, New York airwaves as host of the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show, effective tonight. She fills the slot that opened when Red Apple Media recently dropped the “John Batchelor Show” from the late-night slot. Red Apple CEO John Catsimatidis says, “Rita Cosby is the best in the business, with a tremendous following and incredible background. ‘The Rita Cosby Show’ will bring a new and exciting dynamic to our important evening programming, with Rita’s top-notch interviewing skills, impeccable record in journalism, and deep ability to connect with our listeners. We are proud to welcome such a respected host to 77 WABC Radio and anticipate big success for ‘The Rita Cosby Show.’” Cosby – an Emmy-winning TV host who’s anchored programs on FOX News Channel and MSNBC – previously served with WABC from 2014-18 as a host and political editor. She says, “I am honored to be joining 77 WABC’s terrific lineup and working with legendary New York icon John Catsimatidis and his team. During this pivotal and unpredictable moment in our nation and communities, 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight will be a nonstop voice of reason and truth you will not want to miss.”

WEEI Officially Names Andy Gresh Midday Co-Host. As TALKERS reported last week, longtime Boston sports media personality Dale Arnold’s replacement on the midday show at Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM is Andy Gresh, the company announces. Arnold left the station after Friday’s program, capping a 30-year career on WEEI. Gresh partners with Rich Keefe for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm “Gresh & Keefe” show, starting today (3/15). Entercom Boston regional president Mark Hannon says, “Andy Gresh has a vast amount of experience covering the Boston sports scene, making him a perfect addition to our midday programming. We’re excited to team him up with WEEI’s Rich Keefe to bring listeners a dynamic midday show that will reflect what sports fans are talking about day in and day out.” Gresh, who exited Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence earlier this year, says, “I’m excited to be back on the radio in Boston. I think people know I’m pretty familiar with this time slot, but it’s time to present something new and fresh, with energy, focus and fun. Rich Keefe and I have always had a cool relationship that I truly believe will translate through the speakers.” During his career, Gresh has hosted at “790 The Score” in Providence; WFAN, New York; ESPN Radio; SiriusXM; WTIC-AM, Hartford; and WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.”

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TALKERS News Notes. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Stephanie Miller’s first Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour show in Madison, Wisconsin, the entire cast is getting together on April 10 at 8:00 pm ET for an online Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour show featuring a look back at the last 10 years (plus all-new comedy just for the occasion). Joining Miller on the live event will be John Fugelsang, Frangela, and Hal Sparks…..Skyview Networks – the exclusive radio network sales and affiliate sales partner of VSiN, the sports betting network, announces six new stations in Phoenix, Palm Springs, Jacksonville, and Toledo sign on for VSiN’s content…..Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants and Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, San Francisco agree to a multi-year extension to keep Giants games on KNBR through 2025. Cumulus San Francisco VP and market manager Doug Harvill says, “We’re elated that Giants baseball and KNBR will continue to be the Bay Area’s favorite summer soundtrack for years to come. Between KNBR’s powerful AM/FM signals and our streaming platforms, we look forward to providing fans with multiple options to enjoy every Giants game.”

Migrant Crisis at the Border, Cuomo on the Ropes, Stimulus Package, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Breonna Taylor Marches, Voting Bills, Georgia’s Trump Investigation, Everard Vigil Arrests, Deadly Myanmar Violence, and the Grammy Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Biden administration’s immigrant problem as thousands of parentless children amass at the U.S.-Mexico border; the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the fellow Democrats calling for his resignation; Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package becomes law; the number of COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, the removal of mask mandates in some states, and the rollout of vaccines; the protests in Louisville and other cities on the one-year anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s slaying; the voting bills in various states critics say will making voting more difficult; the investigation into Donald Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State asking for more votes; the violence at the UK vigil for Sarah Everard; the deadly violence in Myanmar; and Sunday night’s Grammy awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, March 20, 2017

| March 20, 2017

ESPN Moves Craig to Network PD; Ups Hurley to WEPN, New York PD.  Sports programmer Justin Craig is promoted from PD of WEPN, New York to senior director, programming and operations for the ESPN Radio network.  The sports giant says that Craig will be responsible for all aspects of ESPN Radio programming and production, including oversight of “Mike & Mike,” “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” “Russillo & Kanell,” and nighttime and weekend programming.  Craig is now based at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol and reports to David Roberts, vice president, ESPN Network Content.  With Craig’s move to Bristol, WEPN APD Ryan Hurley is elevated to program director.  Jonathan Winthrop, who has previously served as a producer at WEPN, adds APD duties and continues to produce the Stephen A. Smith show.

TALKERS Personality Profile: KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner, Michael Zwerling. One of the most colorful owner/operators of a local radio broadcasting company, Michael Zwerling, is the subject of an audio personality profile posted today (3/20) on Talkers.com.  Since 1991, Zwerling (known to his friends and colleagues as “MZ”) has owned heritage news/talk 10k flamethrower KSCO-AM 1080.   The station puts out a giant signal covering the Monterey Bay area as well as huge swath of Northern California territory.  KSCO first went on the air in 1947.  Zwerling has subsequently gained a national reputation for his unique ownership and management style that has turned KSCO into a dynamic combination of mostly locally produced content punctuated by carefully selected national programming.  Under Zwerling’s guidance, KSCO is financially fueled by a potent combination of traditional advertising sales and the generation of non-traditional revenue.  In the hour-and-a-half interview conducted by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, Zwerling discusses what it has been like operating a conservatively oriented station (featuring Rush Limbaugh) in a predominantly liberal market.  He talks about his early, quirky days in broadcasting, the nuts-and-bolts of local radio station ownership in the modern era, the pros and cons of carrying Limbaugh over the years, his late mother and locally beloved broadcaster, Kay Zwerling, and his remarkably lucrative relationship with the multi-level marketing health products company, Youngevity.  To listen to this candid dialogue with the man described by Michael Harrison as one of the most interesting and eccentric owners in radio today, please click here.

‘The Big Talker’ Returns to Wilmington, NC.  Talk show host Chad Adams is reviving “The Big Talker” on WFBT-FM, Wilmington, North Carolina (licensed to Carolina Beach) under an LMA from Carolina Christian Radio.  His Red Wolf Broadcasting will operate the station and his regionally syndicated talk show – also heard in Charlotte and Greensboro – will be heard from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.  It will follow the local “Mornings With Pam and John” program with husband-and-wife team John and Pam Dismukes.  Other shows to air on the station include: Radio America’s Dana Loesch, the Dave Ramsey show, SRN’s Mike Gallagher, and Premiere NetworksSean Hannity and the overnight “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory.  Originally, “The Big Talker” was heard on WNTB-FM and WUDE-FM.  WFBT-FM’s frequency is 106.7.  It was formerly WMYT and was put on the air by Curtis Wright’s and George Bell’s Talk Media TV in 2013.

TALKERS News Notes. The morning drive show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WGOW-FM, Chattanooga – hosted by Jeff Styles, Jim Reynolds and Bill Lockhart – expands by an hour to air from 6:00 am to 10:00 am, eliminating the Reynolds-hosted hour, “The Nth Degree.”  At the same time, Styles – who had also been hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program, “Fred The Show,” gives up that program to new host Brad Giese…..WGN, Chicago launched a new weekend program on Saturday (3/18).  The two-hour show “On the Road with Dane Neal” airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  WGN says that this program is more than just a car show, “Neal will explore the relationship of people and their cars.  Topics will include motorsports, day trips, cruise nights, technology in the car and more.”  His first guests were Food Network’s Guy Fieri, Expedia’s Sarah Gavin, and NASCAR champion Kevin Harvick.  Neal comments, “I’m excited to be able to take a radio road trip with listeners each week.  We’ll share great stories about racing, innovation in driving and the great car culture of Chicago.”

Rising Country Music Star Pens and Records Inspirational Patriot Song for Both Music and Talk Radio.  Singer/songwriter Dede Wedekind is a rising star in country music circles (Indie Music Channel’s 2016 Best New Female Artist, plus a number of other music industry honors) and she is now attracting the attention of talk radio hosts doing interviews about her new soul-stirring, patriotic release titled “America United.”  The song was originally written by Wedekind and her husband in a flash of inspiration coming from the pulpit while attending church on a Sunday in 2012.  Garnering attention across her fan base for years, the couple then tweaked the song in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, resulting in another IMEA Award for the independent artist.  She tells CCM Magazine, “To me, everyone who hears ‘America United’ seems to like and relate to the overwhelming message of this song—which is the necessity of uniting all Americans once again. This song isn’t about a particular political party, being conservative or liberal, or even being Democrat or Republican—it’s about making America a great nation once again. ‘One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.’” Wedekind continues, “In the original version written in 2012, it features President Ronald Reagan‘s message of making America great quoting the line, ‘Once again, make America Great. When President Donald Trump decided to run last year, my husband Larry and I had already decided to update ‘America United’ to make it a better song with a more concise message and better production. We then decided to also incorporate Trump’s slogan, which, again was completely based on Reagan’s original message. We repeated the slogan in the chorus of the 2016 version, since it was already a part of the original song, and more importantly felt strongly that God had given it to President Reagan, and now again to President Trump.”  To listen to and download Dede Wedekind’s “America United” and obtain contact information to book an interview with her, please click here.

Trump’s Obama Wiretapping Accusations, Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings, GOP Health Care Bill, U.S.-Germany Relations, North Korea Missile Program, Rock Legend Chuck Berry Dies, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  President Donald Trump’s accusation that former President Barack Obama ordered wiretaps of Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign; Supreme Court judge nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings begin today; speculation about the fate of the GOP health care bill; President Trump’s belief that Germany owes the U.S. money for its NATO membership and his meeting last week with Angela Merkel; North Korea’s nuclear missile program and its threats to hit American targets; rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry dies at age 90; and the action during the first weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Stephanie Miller Announces ‘Sexy Liberal Resistance Tour’ 2017.  Progressive radio talk show host and comedienne Stephanie Miller is announcing the 2017 version of her Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour – this year titled the “Sexy Liberal Resistance Tour 2017.”  On this tour will be Miller, John Fugelsang and Frangela.  A press statement from Miller reads, “Touring for several years as the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour, the election forced us to rethink early retirement and return to the stage for a multiple-city tour.  We face Washington and laugh out loud at the tragic comedy of politics, to throw our finest, most scathing satire at the feet of our not-so-elected politicians.  To fight on with comedy…to offer the real fake news…to offer true alternative facts.”  The tour does 10 dates this year beginning in Madison on April 22 and ending in Maui, Hawaii on December 23.  Cities include Phoenix, Albuquerque, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

SRN’s Tradup Promoting Brantley Rescue Documentary.  Next Thursday night (3/30) is the one-night-only Fathom national movie theater screening of the film Facing Darkness.  The film was the result of a trip to the Ebola virus “hot Zone” in Liberia last summer during which Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured at right) accompanied a film crew from non-profit charity Samaritan’s Purse to chronicle the successful, high-tech rescue of Dr. Kent Brantley during the deadly 2014 outbreak.  Tradup, who is actively promoting the film via social media, says, “The courage of the Samairtan’s Purse team (including Dr. Brantley) who risked their own lives as the Ebola outbreak claimed thousands of lives all around them, is a truly inspirational story that is the centerpiece of a stunning documentary.”

TALKERS magazine Publishes the 2017 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. On Monday, March 13, we published the fifth annual TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – formally known as the 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. This annual list is compiled and ranked by the editors of TALKERS magazine – with input from industry leaders. As with our publication’s “sister list,” the 100 Most Important Talk Radio Hosts in America, the criteria are a number of hard factors – including ratings and revenue – as well as such soft factors as talent, recognition, impact, service and more. Executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This annual ranking of the most important sports talk radio hosts is one of the most difficult – but enjoyable – projects we undertake at TALKERS. The reason for that is the partially subjective nature of the criteria combined with the enormous number of talented and successful sports talk hosts working in America. Paring that pool of talent down to 100 is no easy task!” Casey also notes that TALKERS will be publishing the 2017 Heavy Hundred of News/Talk Radio in April. See the 2017 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Beginning this Friday (3/24), Entercom Austin is shifting its urban adult contemporary contemporary outlet to a new frequency as it changes translator K242CC from the 96.3 frequency to 95.9.  Appropriately, the station’s new brand is “95.9FM RnB.”  Entercom Austin VP/market manager Stephanie Callihan states, “We are looking forward to welcoming all of our loyal listeners at our new home on the dial.  We continue to be committed to providing the unparalleled radio experience that our fans have come to expect from us and will keep delivering for our fans at our new frequency.”…..Bonneville’s country KYGO, Denver welcomes Guy David aboard as the new co-host of the morning drive show with current AM personality Tracy Dixon.  David heads to Denver from his current position at RBH Enterprises-owned country WFON-FM, Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin “107.1 The Bull.”…..Wesley Miller returns to his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio to program adult contemporary WMXY “MIX 98.9” and CHR WAKZ for iHeartMedia.  Miller was most recently with Forever Media’s WGYY, Meadville, Pennsylvania “Froggy 100.3” hosting the morning show and serving as program director…..CBS RADIO country outlet WDSY, Pittsburgh “Y108” is hosting its annual Wine & Boots Bash to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on Thursday, April 13 at The Twentieth Century Club in Oakland.  The event will feature Warner Music Nashville country singer and songwriter Michael Ray.  CBS RADIO Pittsburgh VP of programming Mark Anderson says, “Michael Ray was a part of Y108’s ‘Eight Man Jam’ concert two years ago.  Michael’s career is on fire as he just achieved his second #1 hit single and we are thrilled to have him perform at Y108’s Wine and Boots Bash on April 13.”  Ray broke into music as a contestant on The CW’s “The Next: Fame Is At Your Doorstep.”  He co-wrote the 2015 Big & Rich hit “Run Away With You” and made his solo artist debut that same year with the #1 hit “Kiss You In The Morning.”  He scored his second #1 hit just this week with his song, “Think A Little Less.”

Josh Turner Plays Stage 17 LIVE.  The brand-new Cumulus Media New York performance space Stage 17 LIVE hosted country star Josh Turner on March 15.  WNSH “NASH FM 94.7” air personality Jesse Addy spoke with Turner on the air the same day Turner spent his morning hosting the fourth hour of NBC TV’s “Today Show.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Jesse Addy, Josh Turner; WNSH program director John Foxx, and WNSH APD Mike Alan.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

| February 2, 2017

CBS RADIO to Merge with Entercom; Move Creates 244-Station Company, Second Largest Based on Revenue.  The rumors of a CBS RadioEntercom merger turn out to be true as the two firms announce a stunning deal to make Entercom the second largest radio company – based on revenue – in the nation with 244 Stations, including 23 of the top 25 markets.  CBS Corp’s plans for spinning off the radio division via an IPO never really took off, probably due to the fact that radio is not viewed by investors as a growth industry.  This merger will be tax free for CBS as it’s being accomplished through a Reverse Morris Trust.  Here’s how it will work: CBS shareholders will have the opportunity to exchange all, some, or none of their CBS shares for CBS Radio shares.  Immediately following the completion of this exchange offer, CBS Radio will merge with an Entercom subsidiary, with the new CBS Radio shareholders receiving Entercom shares in exchange for their CBS Radio shares in the transaction.  After completion of the merger, CBS Radio shareholders will receive approximately 105 million Entercom shares, or 72% of all outstanding shares of the combined company on a fully diluted basis.  Existing Entercom shareholders will own 28% of the combined company on a fully diluted basis.  The big question for CBS Radio staffers at the corporate level is how this merger – expected to close sometime during the second half of this year – affects their positions.  Obviously, there will be redundancy at the corporate level, but how Entercom will ultimately choose to organize its corporate staff remains to be seen.  Media consultant Holland Cooke monitored this morning’s investors conference call during which Entercom president and CEO David Field stated that the company expects to realize “$25 million in synergies [cost cuts] within 12-18 months,” mostly in corporate administration.  Field noted that there will be 15 divestitures in markets where CBS and Entercom together own more stations than permitted under the FCC ownership cap.  As for the news/talk and all-news stations soon to be owned by Entercom, Field called them “trusted pillars of their local communities” and “seven of the most-trusted all-news stations in the U.S.”  He referred to the local, on-air talk talent as “major influencers with strong connections to their audiences.”  From today’s press release we know that Andre Fernandez will remain president of CBS Radio through the closing.  The presser also stated that the combined company will be known as Entercom and will be headquartered in Philadelphia, “with a significant ongoing presence in New York.”  Upon closing, the company’s Board of Directors will consist of nine members: five current Entercom directors, including David Field as Chairman of the Board, and four directors nominated by CBS Radio.  Entercom president and CEO Field states, “These two great companies, with their impressive histories, complementary assets, and premier content and brands, are a perfect strategic and cultural fit, enabling us to deliver local connection on a national scale and drive accelerated growth.  We look forward to welcoming our talented new colleagues at CBS Radio, and we have the utmost respect for their significant contributions to the industry.  Radio reaches more Americans than any other medium, and offers advertisers outstanding ROI and local activation.  This transformational transaction creates scale-driven efficiencies and opportunities to compete more effectively with other media to better serve our listeners and our advertisers.  The combination of a compelling strategic fit, an excellent balance sheet, and robust free cash flow generation, position us to create significant shareholder value for our investors.”

Cumulus Names Brian Joyce PM Drive Host at ‘NewsRadio 106.7’ in Atlanta.  Beginning Monday, February 13, talk radio personality Brian Joyce will begin hosting the afternoon talk show on Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta “NewsRadio 106.7.”  Joyce is currently the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm host at the company’s WGOW, Chattanooga “Talk Radio 102.3.”  He will continue in that role as well.  It’s unclear if Joyce will move to Atlanta or remain in Chattanooga and do the WYAY show from there.  The current afternoon show is “Atlanta News” featuring news pro Cheryl Castro and station program director Greg Tantum.  It’s unclear if Castro will remain with the new show.  Cumulus Media Atlanta vice president and market manager Sean Shannon states, “We live in a world where dialogue on matters of substance has become increasingly difficult, with politically slanted news/talk outlets and social media platforms that feed consumers with stories that confirm their existing political belief systems.  ‘NewsRadio 106.7’ breaks that confounding and polarizing mold.  We are committed to delivering a forum ruled not by any agenda or by an algorithm, but by the unique value we can create for our listeners.  We present multiple sides of the story when we’re delivering the news, ensuring we both inform existing opinions and provoke opposing opinions on every side of the story.  In the process, we create a rare media experience facilitating respectful and spirited discourse where there is as much value in listening as there is in talking.”  Speaking about this new position, Joyce says, “I’m looking forward to joining [hosts] Shannon [Burke], Kimmer and the rest of the team at ‘NewsRadio 106.7!’  These guys have built a unique and entertaining lineup for the listeners of Atlanta, and it’s my hope that my show will continue to build on the great programming and strong ratings they’re known for.”

CNN Dips into a Slice of Conservative Talk Radio to Get a Read on Caller Opinion About Trump Moves.  Last night’s installment of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” presented a string of listener calls on WPHT, Philadelphia talk host Dom Giordano’s show presenting an array of opinions about Donald Trump’s moves as president focusing on the role of key strategist Stephen K. Bannon.  To view the segment, please click here.

Stephanie Miller Show Joins WMLB, Atlanta.  WMLB, Atlanta is owned by JW Broadcasting, airs a variety format and is branded “AM 1690 The Voice of the Arts.”  Beginning February 20, the WYM Media Management-syndicated Stephanie Miller show begins airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Miller’s program aired on the station in the past when it was an Air America affiliate.  WMLB general manager Jeff Davis comments, “Given recent events, the timing is perfect for a progressive voice on Atlanta radio.  We’re thrilled to have a recognized professional who’s built a reputation for standing up for liberal causes.”  On a related note, Stephanie Miller is preparing to embark on her second consecutive year touring as the headline of the Stephanie Miller Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour.  The 2017 tour is titled, “The Sexy Liberal Resistance Tour.”

Cody Welling to Lead Cumulus Media’s Shreveport Cluster.  This move takes sales and management pro Cody Welling from Cumulus Media’s Toledo cluster where he’s been serving as director of sales to the company’s Shreveport, Louisiana station group consisting of sports talk KRMD-AM/K264AS “The Ticket,” hip hop KMJJ, CHR KQHN “i97.3,” urban contemporary KVMA “Magic 102.9,” and country KRMD-FM.  Cumulus regional vice president Mark Sullivan says, “This is a terrific move for the company and for Cody.  Cody’s strong track record of success and dynamic management style are already paying dividends in Shreveport and I look forward to his success and professional growth as our VP/market manager.”

TALKERS News Notes.  This year’s 5th annual “Larry Richert Honors our Hometown Heroes,” presented by the KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning drive personality, takes place on Thursday, March 2, at the Lexus Club at PPG Paints Arena.  Each year, the event honors five individuals who are giving back to the local community in extraordinary ways.  The keynote address will be presented by CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett.  This is Garrett’s second appearance at “Larry’s Heroes.”  In 2015, Garrett was scheduled to appear but a late winter storm kept him in Washington, D.C.  Instead, he addressed attendees via video from the snow-covered White House lawn.  Richert states, “It’s our fifth year to shine the spotlight on ordinary individuals in the community doing extraordinary things.  This year’s edition may be one of our strongest collections of heroes assembled.  Their contributions to our community are awe inspiring.”…..This is the fourth consecutive year that Westwood One is presenting the Westwood One Sports Sound Awards in which it challenges its advertisers to push their creative boundaries to create the best commercials to air during its Super Bowl LI broadcast.  WW1 is driving fans and a panel of advertising professionals to TheSoundAwards.com to vote for their favorite ads, all leading up to the big reveal of the top five the day after Super Sunday.  Voting runs through Monday, February 6…..WIP-FM, Philadelphia’s Wing Bowl 25 gets underway tomorrow (2/3) at 6:00 am at the Wells Fargo Center and will feature an appearance by special guests professional wrestler Ric Flair and Grammy Award-winning artist Coolio.  Wing Bowl 25’s “Legends Division” (with legendary Wing Bowl eaters returning from the past) will feature a head-to-head competition between five-time champ El Wingador and two-time champ Molly Schuyler for a prize of $5000.  National recording artist and retired Navy Petty Officer First Class Generald Wilson will perform the National Anthem.  WIP morning show host Al Morganti, who co-founded Wing Bowl 25 years ago with radio partner Angelo Cataldi says, “Trust me.  Just be here.  That’s all I can say.  Be here.”

Gorsuch SCOTUS Nomination, DeVos Nomination Status, Tillerson New Secretary of State, Iran Missile Test, Beyonce Pregnancy Pic, and Super Bowl LI Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/1). President Donald Trump’s nomination of U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court and speculation about how Democrats will handle it; two senators announce they will not support Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary, possibly endangering her chances of assuming the post; Rex Tillerson is confirmed and sworn in as the new Secretary of State; the U.S. puts Iran “on notice” for its latest missile test; Beyonce posts a nude photo of herself to announce she’s pregnant with twins; and the build-up to Super Bowl LI 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 MovesTucson.com reports that Tucson market radio pro Bobby Rich was let got from his afternoon drive gig with Scripps Broadcasting’s hot AC KMXZ “94.9 MIXfm.”  Rich posted a Facebook message explaining that he “made a big mistake and said something I should not have said.  Even though I regret it and apologized, I own it, and now it becomes necessary for my association with ‘MIXfm’ and Scripps Tucson to conclude.”  Rich would not elaborate on what he said – or in what context…..Curtis Media Group brings Jud Heussler aboard to program CHR simulcast “Pulse FM” – WWPL, Goldsboro/WPLW, Hillsboro, North Carolina (Raleigh-Durham market).  Heussler has been with Entercom’s Bufflo CHR WKSE “KISS 98.5” serving as APD, music director and afternoon personality…..In the Corpus Christi, Texas market Convergent Broadcasting II, LLC announces its intent to sell CHR KKPN, classic rock KPUS, and classic hits KAJE to ICA Radio Ltd. for a sum yet to be announced…..iHeartMedia’s urban contemporary WKKV, Milwaukee “V100.7” is presenting the 6th Annual Family Affair Expo on Saturday, March 11at The Wisconsin Center.  The event will feature local exhibitors in the areas of health & wellness, finance, education, small business, and recruitment to help make a positive impact on Milwaukee families.  Station PD Bailey Coleman says, “I love our Family Affair Expo because it’s fun and free, plus it brings our listeners together with the resources their families need to succeed.”

NOW PLAYING: A Video Tribute to Herb Oscar Anderson.  “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo produced a wonderful tribute to the recently departed New York City radio legend Herb Oscar Anderson, who died on Saturday (1/28) in Bennington, Vermont.  Anderson was a radio performer who cut his teeth in the big band era but transitioned to rock ‘n’ roll radio in the 1950s.  He worked at WABC during the late 1950s and 1960s – leaving in 1968.  He most recently hosted a standards show on WOSC, Vero Beach, Florida.  View Vuolo’s video tribute in the Talkers TV box in the upper right-hand of this main page.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

| October 18, 2016

Entercom to Acquire Four Charlotte Signals from Beasley for $24 Million.  In order to stay under the FCC ownership cap in the Charlotte market, Beasley Broadcast Group has to sell some of its holdings that would wbtwlnk-duo-logoput if over the cap after the previously announced Greater Media acquisition deal closes.  Now, Beasley announces that Entercom will acquire news/talk WBT-AM/FM, hot ACwfnz WLNK-FM (all three currently owned by Greater Media) plus sports talk WFNZ-AM and its accompanying FM translator.  The company says that Entercom will begin operating WBT-AM/FM and WLNK-FM upon the closing of the Greater Media deal, pursuant to a time brokerage agreement.  Back on July 19, Beasley and Greater Media entered into a definitive merger agreement whereby Beasley will acquire all of the outstanding stock of Greater Media for an aggregate consideration of approximately $240 million, subject to adjustments.

Westwood One to Syndicate WMAL, Washington-Based Chris Plante Show.  Over the years, the WMAL-AM/FM, Washington-based Chris Plante show has aired on other Cumulus Media news/talk stations – it still is heard on the company’s KARN-FM, Little Rock.  Now, the company is getting serious about going beyond DC with the show and Westwood One begins syndication efforts for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET program beginningplantechris January 2, 2017.  About the conservative talk personality, WW1 says, “A third-generation media pro, Plante began his radio career at WMAL in 2005 after 17 years inside the Washington bureau at CNN, where he moved up the ranks from researcher and assignment editor to Pentagon correspondent.  During his tenure at CNN, he crisscrossed the globe, covering events from Vietnam and Albania to Jakarta.  He was the director of the U.S. westwood-one-newtelevision network pool operations in Saudi Arabia for three months following Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.  Plante won the Edward R. Murrow Award from the RTDNA for his live coverage of the terrorist attack on the pentagon on September 11, 2001.  He was the first to report that the Pentagon had been attacked. He was also recognized by the Television Academy for his September 11 reporting.  He makes regular appearances on the Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network.”  Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “Chris Plante takes the news of the day and breaks it down in his signature direct, funny, and fearless style.  He engages a legion of devoted fans who tune in every day whether they agree with him or not.  He’s a captivating storyteller who makes great radio.  It’s the kind of programming we are proud to add to our best-in-class talk lineup.”

WABC, New York and Westwood One Renew Don Imus.  When January 2, 2017 rolls around, the only difference in morning drive at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York and its Westwood One radio network will be imusdona 9:00 am ET signoff time for New York radio legend Don Imus (right now it’s 10:00 am).  Cumulus announces it has re-signed Imus and his crew to a new multi-year deal for the show to air on 77 WABC Radio from 6:00 am to 9:00 am.  It’s been nine years since WABC inked Imus to a morning radio deal after CBS RADIO dropped him from crosstown WFAN in the wake of the “nappy-headed hos” scandal.  Cumulus SVP, content andwabc-logo programming Mike McVay states, “Don Imus is not a media icon.  He is much more than that.  He is an American Icon.  Mr. Imus brings his ‘A’ game every day. And if you miss one day, you miss a lot.  We are thrilled to have Don continue with Westwood One, Cumulus and WABC.”  The cast of executive producer Bernie McGuirk, comedians Rob Bartlett and Tony Powell, producer Lou Rufino, sportscaster Warner Wolf, and news anchor Connell McShane will also remain with the show.  The program is currently followed by “The Bernie & Sid Show” with McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg.  Whether WABC expands that program to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon remains to be seen.

WPRO-AM, Providence’s John DePetro Hosts Red Sox Great Curt Schilling; Former Pitcher Intends to Challenge Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.  During a long interview on the John DePetro program on Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence, former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling (whoschillingcurt currently hosts a weekend syndicated talk show distributed by the Howie Carr Radio Network) spoke deptrojohnat length about the failed video game company 38 Studios that received a large Rhode Island state loan to locate in Providence.  The company went belly-up and the issue has been a sore spot for a number of politicians in the state, not to mention segments of the public.  During the interview, Schilling also told DePetro that he’s decided – pending approval from his wife Shonda – that he will challenge Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for her U.S. Senate seat.  Shonda Schilling later called in to the station to say she has not decided if she’s willing to give approval.  WPRI-TV, Providence reports that a recent WBZ/UMass poll put Warren at 47% and Schilling at 28%.

Entercom to Refinance Debt.  The Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania-based broadcaster announces it is meeting with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc., RBC Capital Markets, LLC and entercomWells Fargo Securities, LLC today to discuss a refinancing of its senior and senior unsecured debt.  In a press statement, Entercom Communications says it expects to enter into a $520 million senior secured credit facility that will include a $60 million revolving credit facility with a five-year maturity, plus a $460 million term loan with a seven-year maturity.  Entercom will use the term loan to refinance $225 million in existing senior secured bank debt, plus it will buy back $220 million in 10.5% senior subordinated notes.

harrisonupclosefaroutsmallCBS News Icon Charles Osgood Is the Subject of this Week’s Harrison Podcast.  Legendary CBS News radio and television giant Charles Osgood is the guest on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” posted today (10/18).  Osgood has been hosting (and continues to host) the four-osgoodcharlestimes-per-weekday morning feature “The Osgood Files” via Westwood One on radio stations across the nation since 1971.  He also retired several weeks ago from a 24-year stint as the anchor of television’s CBS News “Sunday Morning” program. Harrison and Osgood talk about changes in media and journalism over the years culminating with a provocative analysis of the current presidential election. To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

The Presidential Race, Trump’s Media Conspiracy, Hillary Clinton Emails Scandal, Battle Against ISIS in Mosul, Police Chiefs Group Apology, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17).  The race for the presidency; Donald Trump’s statements that the election is in jeopardy of being stolen by the media conspiracy against him; allegations that State Department Under-Secretary Michael Kennedy engaged in a quid-pro-quo with the FBI to have some of Hillary Clinton’s emails declassified during the investigation of her use of a private email server for State Department business; the ongoing battle against Islamic State in Iraq and the fight to retake Mosul; International Association of Chiefs of Police president Terrence Cunningham apologizes for generations of mistrust between police officers and minority communities; the Major League Baseball playoffs; 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 magazine.

giordanodomElection 2016: TALKERS Magazine in the Trenches – WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano Interviews Michael Harrison About the State of Talk Radio During Current Cycle.  WPHT, Philadelphia midday host Dom Giordano engages in an in-depth conversation with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about the disruptive effect Election 2016 has been having upon conservative talk radio during the current presidential election cycle.  The two talk about how the concept of targeting audiences and preaching to the choir – a modern day strategy of political talk broadcasting – has hit speedbumps on the right with the emergence of Donald Trump and even to a degree on the left with revelations about Bernie Sanders’ candidacy. Harrison says, “We have gone from playing checkers to three dimensional chess.”  To hear the conversation in its entirety, please click here.

Odds & Sods.  Progressive talk media personality Nicole Sandler returns to work after taking time off to treat her cancer.  She says, “It’s been a long couple of months during which my world changed completely.  I had no idea howsandlernicole long my detour to deal with cancer would last, but I’m ready to head back into the land of electoral insanity with just three weeks to go before election day.  If a life-threatening illness had to sideline me for a few months, it surely picked the right time.  And if I wasn’t already sick, covering this year’s presidential madness would have certainly made me ill.  But as we approach the finish line, I have to admit that I’ve been getting a bit antsy in recent days.  Talking back to the TV just wasn’t helping.”  She starts streaming her show – starting one hour from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET – at nicolesandler.com and Progressive millerstephanieVoices Network…..Stephanie Miller’s final “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” date for this year takes place in Los Angeles at the Saban Theater on November 5.  It will be broadcast in movie theaters across the country via Fathom Events on November 7.  Also, Miller’s book, Sexy Liberal! Of Me I Sing, wins the 2016 Wild Card Book Award in the Northern California Book Festival…..Following yesterday’s news about Galaxy Communications’ acquisition of Berkshires Media Group, it’s worth noting that Galaxy has applied to the FCC to move the FM translator it recently bought in South Burlington, Vermont to the Western Massachusetts region to serve as the translator for news/talk WBEC-AM, Pittsfield at 93.9 FM…..DGital Media issues a presser listing some of its recent content partnerships – including relationships with Tony Kornheiser, Peter King, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, IMG, The MMQB, and more.  Chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “We are extremely proud to add so many wonderful partnerships to our business.  The power of on-demand audio only continues to grow.  We are well poised for what lies ahead, bringing together our new and existing partners with a rapidly growing audience of millions of fans who tune in on a daily basis.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

| January 26, 2016

rosenbergsidWABC, New York Names Sid Rosenberg and Bernard McGuirk Midday Hosts.  There’s no official word from Cumulus Media but TALKERS magazine is hearing the new show starts tomorrowmcguirkbernard (1/27).  Filling in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart left vacant by the November departure of Geraldo Rivera are the duo of Sid Rosenberg and Bernard McGuirk.  Of course, McGuirk is the longtime executive producer of the WABC-based “Imus in the Morning” and Rosenberg was a longtime cast member on the Imus program.  Most recently though, Rosenberg had been a personality on sports talk WMEN, Ft. Lauderdale where he hosted morning drive.  He exited that station in December.  Rosenberg and McGuirk did some fill-in work together at WABC and apparently passed the audition.

cumulus logoNew Cumulus Media Programming Management Philosophy Gives Local PDs ‘Control Over the Day-to-Day Programming of Their Stations.’ Today’s missive from Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner includes announcements about newbernermary corporate level programming personnel plus the news of VP stripes for many of the company’s corporate level programmers.  But the monumental shift in local management philosophy is noted front-and-center.  In announcing the addition of new staffers in the “key areas of research, strategy and format-specific expertise,” Berner states, “Who knows their markets better than the people who live and work there?  We believe that the injection of more local insight and more effective corporate support into our programming decisions will drive improved ratings outcomes for our stations.  Consistent with cohendredthis view, Cumulus program directors will now report to market managers and will have control over the day-to-day programming of their stations which has not been the case in the past.  Our corporatehamanddoug programming team, with its specialized resources and expertise, will be led by Mike McVay and will support the markets in the execution of this content strategy and in the creation of programming that surprises and delights — and delivers ratings.”  Joining Cumulus are radio pros Dr. thomascat 2Ed Cohen, vice president, ratings and research; Doug Hamand, vice president, programming operations; Cat Thomas, vice president, CHR and hot AC; Ralph Cipolla, vice president, analytics; and Ken Johnson, vice president, urban.  Cohen joins from Nieslen Audio.  Hamand was an SVP of programming with iHeartMedia.  Thomas was VP ofcipollaralph programming in Las Vegas for CBS RADIO. Cipolla operated his own Cipolla Analytics.  And Johnson comes from Cumulus’ own WUHT, Birmingham.  At the same time, the company shuffles some managers around and gives VP stripes to others.  They are: Val johnsonkenGarris, former vice president, programming, is promoted to vice president, analytics; Greg Frey, former corporate program director, is promoted to vice president, programming operations; Aaron Roberts, former vice president, programming partnerships, is promoted to vice president, programming communications/partnerships; Emily Boldon, former vice president, Stratus music programming and corporate program director, is promoted to vice president, AC. Troy Hanson, former corporate program director, rock formats, is promoted to vice president, rock; Brian Thomas, former corporate program director, country and classic hits, is promoted to vice president, classic hits; Charlie Cook, former operations manager, Cumulus Nashville, is promoted to vice president, country; Bill Hess, former corporate program director, news/talk, is promoted to vice president, news/talk; Scott Jameson, former corporate program director, classic rock, is promoted to vice president, classic rock; Bruce Gilbert remains SVP, sports for both Cumulus Media and Westwood One; and John Kilgo continues as vice president, label relations.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison and Herman Cain Dissect Politics, Economics, Race Relations, Talk Radio, the Media Circus, and How to Make a Great Pizza.  WSB-AM, Atlanta and nationally syndicated radio talk star Herman Cain (WYM Media Management) joins TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on the hit PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.”  The two talk about a variety of today’s hottest subjects tapping into Cain’s wide-ranging experience as a former front-running GOP 2012 presidential candidate, businessman (CEO, Godfather’s Pizza; VP, Pillsbury;cainherman president, National Restaurant Association; chairman, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City), political strategist (member, Jack Kemp Commission; advisor, Bob Dole presidential campaign), best-selling author, newspaper columnist, and radio talk show host.  They discuss politics, economics, race relations, and the media circus that surrounds elections and distracts the public, elected officials and the candidates from focusing on the truly important issues.  Cain has just written a new book, The Right Problems: What the President, Congress, and Every Candidate Should Be Working On (Post Hill Books, 2016) in which he provides a blueprint for voters to ask the right questions of candidates and hold them (and the media) to higher standards in dealing with the crucial issues facing America.  To hear the entire interview, click here or click the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

cainbook16Herman Cain Releases Pertinent New Book and Launches Talk Radio Tour.  As indicated in the story above, WSB-AM, Atlanta and WYM Media Management syndicated talk show host Herman Cain has released a new book, The Right Problems: What the President, Congress, and Every Candidate Should Be Working On (Post Hill Books, 2016), in which he provides a blueprint for voters to ask the right questions of candidates and hold them (and the media) to higher standards in dealing with the crucial issues facing America.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who just interviewed Cain on the weekly Podcast One program “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” (see story above), “Herman is a fantastic guest and this is a wonderful time to tap into him as a resource for talk shows looking to lift the conversation above the mudslinging and professional wrestling-style dialogue that has marked the 2016 presidential election even more so than any in recent memory.  His experience and current successful career on radio makes him ‘one of us’ and regardless of whether or not you agree with his conservative ideological stand, he touches on the really important issues and does so with and intelligent, gentlemanly charisma that made him such an unexpected standout in the last presidential cycle.  I loved talking with him on ‘Up Close and Far Out.’”  To arrange a radio interview with Herman Cain, please contact Lisa Reichert at 678-565-5335 or lisa@hermancain.com.

millerstephanieStephanie Miller Begins Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour 2016.  Syndicated talk show host Stephanie Miller announces the launch of her 2016 Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour kicking off at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison on February 27.  Miller will be joined by John Fugelsang and the comedy duo Frangela.  She says, “America has spoken.  The 2016 Republican presidential field has officially become so ridiculous that it has created a national comedy state of emergency that only America’s #1 Comedy Tour, Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour can answer. We hear your cry USA, and we’re on our way!”  Miller says additional dates for the tour will be announced shortly.

bermanschnittanniv16Len Berman and Todd Schnitt Celebrate One-Year Anniversary.  The WOR, New York morning team of Len Berman and Todd Schnitt celebrated their one-year anniversary on the job together.  The program received a number of congratulatory calls from such celebs as: veteran WNBC-TV, New York news anchor Chuck Scarborough; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio;  and Radio Hall of Famer (and former Schnitt employer) Scott Shannon.  Pictured here are (from l-r): WOR program director Tom Cuddy, executive producer Natalie Vacca, assistant program director Scott Lakefield, Schnitt, and Berman.

Presidential Race/Democratic Town Hall, Battle Against Islamic State, Missouri Professor Charged, Planned Parenthood Videos Case Twist, Sinking Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, Oscars Boycott, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25).  The activities of the candidates for president and Monday evening’s Democratic Town Hall in Iowa; the fight against Islamic State and new intelligence on other militant Islamic organizations in the region; University of Missouri assistant professor Melissa Click is charged with assault for confrontation with reporter during the November 9 student protests; in a legal twist, a Houston grand jury indicts two people involved in creating the videos that appeared to show Planned Parenthood representatives breaking the law; the effects of sinking oil prices and the Chinese market plunge on the rest of the world’s financial markets; the controversy surrounding the boycott of the Academy Awards for a lack of minority nominations; and the NFL’s conference championship games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.