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Friday, November 9, 2018

| November 9, 2018

Salem Radio Network to Syndicate Sebastian Gorka in 2019; Michael Medved Moves to New Platform. Beginning January 1, Salem Radio Network begins airing the “America First with Sebastian Gorka” program in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET daypart, replacing the Michael Medved program.  Salem Broadcast Division president David Santrella says, “The listener feedback we receive each time Dr. Gorka fills in for one of our network hosts is overwhelming.  I think Dr. Gorka is the right person at the right time and the Salem Radio Network is definitely the right place.”  Gorka is FOX News Channel’s national security strategist and is a regular guest on “Hannity” and the FOX Business Network.  He writes for The Hill and is the author of best-sellers Why We Fight: Defeating America’s Enemies—With No Apologies (Regnery) and Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War (Regnery).  Gorka was an advisor to candidate Donald Trump and served on the staff of the White House in 2017 as Deputy Assistant to the President for Strategy.  Salem Radio Network senior vice president Phil Boyce says, “There is a culture war going on in this country and Dr. Gorka is uniquely qualified to take this fight to talk radio.  His program will deal with the hot breaking news stories of each day, and help listeners understand what to make of it.”  Michael Medved comments, “I feel grateful for the more than 21 years I’ve worked with Salem Media Group and I wish continued success to my friends and colleagues at the network.  Together with my team of producers here in Seattle, we’ll be continuing our daily broadcast with no interruption, making it available to our devoted listeners in an exciting new format.  We’ll also move forward with our emphasis on history programs and commentary to encourage public appreciation of the real blessings of this amazing country. Stay tuned.”

Tom Langmyer Forms Radio and Digital Acquisition Firm. Radio executive Tom Langmyer – most recently the vice president and general manager for news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI in Milwaukee – is forming Great Lakes Media Corp., a company that will “invest in local broadcasting and digital media opportunities through the acquisition of local radio stations and digital platforms in small markets.”  A press release indicates the firm will investigate acquisition of “properties in small markets, focusing on opportunities in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.”  The company is meeting with investors and brokers – and others who are interested in specific markets; and plans to announce appointments of officers and partners in the weeks ahead.  Langmyer says, “Smaller communities are making a big comeback.  This new generation of people, to whom quality of life and community are very important, are building their lives and businesses in these places.  Over the years, the shifting economy and technology had ended an era of localism in media.  Today, people are once again in search of real community and the greater connection that comes with being a part of a ‘place.’  Local media builds that connection – particularly in smaller markets. The need is clear as many of the broadcast media platforms have been providing white-labelled, generic, unremarkable content.  And while it’s growing, the digital space is in dire need of compelling content to make it a more robust advertising and revenue platform.  Radio and digital complement each other as it’s not an either/or proposition.  There’s great open space in creating more personal local experiences by leveraging these platforms – and expanding the emotional connection between consumers and local brands.”  Langmyer is president and CEO of Great Lakes Media Corp.  Prior to managing WTMJ and WKTI for Scripps Media, Langmyer was general manager for Tribune’s WGN-AM, Chicago.  Earlier in his career he transitioned from programming CBS RADIO’s KMOX, St. Louis to serving as general manager.  He exited WTMJ and WKTI on October 31 upon the transfer of the stations from Scripps to Good Karma Brands LLC.

Report: Mancow to WLS-AM Mornings, Shapiro Show to Air in Afternoons.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder says he has inside info indicating Cumulus Media intends to insert Ben Shapiro – whose current one-hour, podcast-for-radio program will morph into a two-hour live show beginning in January distributed via Westwood One – will be heard in afternoon drive and that Mancow Muller may assume the morning drive show, bumping Big John Howell and Ramblin’ Ray Stevens from AM drive.  This comes after the station announced it would be re-tooling the programming on WLS, and that includes the announced departure of Windy City icon Steve Dahl from afternoons (though he continues his podcast relationship with the company).  Shapiro’s new show will be distributed by WWO live from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  Recall that Westwood One’s Michael Savage – currently heard live in afternoons Eastern Time – is transitioning his show to a one-hour live program (live 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET?) followed by a one-hour podcast available to stations in 2019. Stay tuned.

The Fall of Craig CartonTALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the case against former WFAN, New York morning drive personality Craig Carton and the concert tickets scam that will likely send him to federal prison for a number of years.  Weisman writes, “It is common for scammers to take advantage of positions of trust.  People trust radio personalities who they feel they get to know over years of broadcasting.  But sometimes that trust, as was the case with Carton, is abused.”  Read the whole column here.

Rush Limbaugh Show Presents Fifth Annual Mahindra Military Salute Giveaway. In honor of Veteran’s Day (Sunday 11/11 but observed on Monday 11/12), the fifth annual military promotion from Rush Limbaugh and Mahindra North America is underway.  In recognition of the service and sacrifice of our military, all active and veteran military service members are eligible to enter for a chance to win a Mahindra 1000 Gas Standard utility vehicle with roof and windshield in “The Rush Limbaugh Show’s Mahindra Military Salute Giveaway.”  Entries are being accepted for the utility vehicle giveaway through November 11 at 11:59 pm PT at http://sweeps.rushlimbaugh.com/mahindra2018/.   The winner will be selected in a random drawing on Monday, November 12.  Limbaugh says, “My thanks to Mahindra, makers of the world’s number one selling tractor.  And God bless all of you who protect our freedom.”

USA Radio Networks and Oasis Productions Partner for Trucker-Targeted Programming. This deal between USA Radio Networks and Oasis Productions entails Oasis broadcasting USA Radio’s top-of-the-hour national news on its truckersmusic-radio.com and truckersrock-radio.com sites.  Additionally, the “Truckers Radio Network” has added USA’s syndicated late-night show featuring veteran Dallas icon Charley Jones from 12:00 midnight to 2:00 am ET and USA’s “Classic Radio Theater” on Sunday evenings.  USA Radio Networks COO Janet Bro (left) says this is the first of several new partnerships and ventures that the company will undertake in the next year.  “We’re definitely in a growth mode.”  Oasis COO Rex Allen, Jr. (right) comments, “We feel that this is a great opportunity.  Truckers Radio expands USA’s reach to millions of listeners both nationally and internationally and provides our listeners with quality information and programming.”

Midterm Elections Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 5-9.  The midterm elections and the battle for control of the House and Senate was the top story on news/talk this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the related status of the Mueller Trump-Russia investigation. Coming in at #3 was the revocation of CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s White House press credentials by President Trump, and the deadly California bar shootings at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is 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 and Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Flipping from country to adult contemporary as “92.5 The Breeze” is iHeartMedia’s KBEB, Sacramento.  The company says the station will debut on Monday (11/12) at 3:00 pm with 10,000 commercial-free songs in a row.  Core artists will include: Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Whitney Houston, Michael Bolton, Vanessa Williams, and more.  The on-air lineup for the station will be announced in the coming weeks.  iHM SVP of programming for Sacramento Curtiss Johnson says, “No doubt many in Sacramento will remember the station 92.5 for its decades-long heritage as an adult contemporary station and one of the top stations in the market.  I’m happy to say we’re bringing that format back.  ‘92.5 The Breeze’ is the perfect station for relaxing to favorites while you work, unwinding after a long day, or just for getting into that weekend frame of mind.”…..After more than 41 years in the industry Cox Media Group San Antonio market manager Ben Reed will retire at the end of this year.  Reed says, “When looking back on the last four decades and the opportunities I’ve been afforded in my career, all I can say is I’m blessed – it’s that simple.  The success we’ve achieved as an organization and the expectations we’ve exceeded year after year in the San Antonio market is truly remarkable.  The camaraderie I share with my team and colleagues at CMG will live in my heart forever.”…..Country radio pro Charlie Cook signs a new, multi-year deal with Cumulus Media to continue with the company as vice president, country formats; operations manager for the Nashville cluster; and program director for WSM-FM, Nashville “NASH Icon.”  Cumulus Media EVP content & programming Mike McVay says, “Charlie Cook is not only one of the best known and most successful country programmers in the history of the format, he is a solid and strategic thinking multi-format radio expert.  We are excited to continue this partnership with him.”…..iHeartMedia Atlanta announces today the debut of the new WBZY, Atlanta ‘Z105.3, Tu Estación Para Super Hits,’ effective immediately, flipping from regional Mexican to Spanish CHR. Core artists will include: Daddy Yankee, Shakira, Ozuna, Romeo Santos, Maluma, J Balvin, Bad Bunny, and Enrique Iglesias.  iHM Atlanta SVP of programming Brian Michel comments, “With the launch of ‘Z105.3,’ we are proud to continue the tradition of being the innovator and leader of Atlanta’s Hispanic media landscape. With the rapidly growing Hispanic population in Atlanta, as well as emerging musical tastes, this move puts us in a position to super-serve our listeners, advertisers, and the community.”…..Westwood One announces affiliate sales pro Debbie Brand joins the company as manager of affiliate sales, country. Brand, who returns to Westwood One after having served with the company in the mid-1990s, takes over for Tim Closson.

PPM Analysis: Country. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on country. The number of country stations moving either up or down – weekly 6+ AQH Share – in PPM markets in October was split about 50/50 with the remaining stations unchanged, and the numbers were pretty similar comparing year-over-year.  Two country outlets were able to claim the 6+ #1 rank in their respective markets: Beasley Media Group’s WSOC, Charlotte and iHeartMedia’s WCOL, Columbus.  However, 10 other country stations finished in the top three in their markets.  See the whole report here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

| October 24, 2018

Steve Dahl to End WLS-AM, Chicago Show on December 21.  After yesterday’s report from Chicago media maven Robert Feder that Cumulus Media news/talk outlet WLS-AM will undergo programming changes in 2019, legendary Chicago radio personality Steve Dahl reached out to Feder in an email to announce his time with the station will end on December 21.  He’s been hosting the afternoon drive show for the past four years.  He says his podcast – that is still growing in terms of subscribers – will continue and will retain its relationship with Cumulus Media Chicago.  Dahl writes, “WLS-AM was always going to be an uphill battle, and circumstances just didn’t lend themselves to us being able to breakout like we hoped we would.  The podcast numbers continue to grow every day, so that’s encouraging.”  Read his entire email here.

SiriusXM Reports Q3 Net Income Up 24%. Satellite radio provider SiriusXM releases its third quarter 2018 numbers today and reports its revenue for the period was $1.5 billion, up 6% over the same period in 2017.  Net income was $343 million in the third quarter – up 24% over the same quarter last year.  Looking at subscriber numbers, SiriusXM says that it added 298,000 net new self-pay subscribers during the quarter to raise its self-pay subscriber total to 28.5 million. CEO Jim Meyer comments, “SiriusXM’s standout third quarter saw continued strength in subscriber additions and churn performance while adjusted EBITDA reached a quarterly record-high $589 million. Our revenue growth, adjusted for the change in generally accepted accounting principles that was effective January 1, totaled 8% in the quarter.  In addition to our operational excellence, we were thrilled this quarter to announce an agreement to acquire Pandora Media, which we expect to close in the first quarter of 2019.  With the end of the year in sight, we are increasing our full-year guidance for self-pay net additions, revenue and adjusted EBITDA.  We have a relentless focus on creating and curating content our subscribers will love — our limited-run Dave Matthews Band Radio was a perfect example.  We also presented fiery live performances just for subscribers, like our recent show by The Killers in New York.  We’ve added provocative talent in talk and sports with a daily show from CNN’s Chris Cuomo, a new show from Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, the return of Brett Favre’s popular show, and a new program highlighting women in sports hosted by journalist Christine Brennan and retired tennis pro Rennae Stubbs.”

Phil Valentine Voted Best Conservative in Nashville. That’s right, not Best Talk Show Host (there is no such category), but Best Conservative, as voted by the readers of Nashville ScenePhil Valentine’s afternoon drive show is based at Cumulus Media’s WWTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” and is syndicated nationally via subsidiary Westwood One.  He is also an award-winning filmmaker and bestselling author whose latest book, Barbican: A Sterling McQueen Spy Story, was released earlier this year.  Cumulus Nashville VP and market manager Allison Warren says, “Every year, the editors of Nashville Scene ask their readers what they love best about Nashville and it’s no surprise that Phil Valentine is at the top of the list.  We agree wholeheartedly that Phil brings his best to ‘SuperTalk 99.7 WTN’ and our listeners every afternoon.  His common-sense approach to talk radio cuts through the hype of the day’s news, challenging conventional wisdom on both sides and presenting actionable solutions that people respond to.  It’s gratifying that Nashvillians love Phil as much as we do and we congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.”

Midterm Elections, Migrant Caravan, Mega Millions Jackpot, Khashoggi Murder Aftermath, O’Connor Dementia Diagnosis, Financial Markets Activity, Gender Definition Issue, Trump Threatens to Exit INF Treaty, Trump-Russia Investigation, NFL Action, and the World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/23). The November elections and the battle for control of the House and the Senate; the Honduran migrant caravan headed for the U.S. border; the $1.6 billion Mega Millions lottery jackpot; the aftermath of the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and U.S.-Saudi relations; former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announces she’s been diagnosed with dementia; the wild swings in the financial markets and fears of a looming debt bubble; the Trump Administration’s plan to require legal gender based on genitalia at birth; President Trump threatens to exit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia; the Robert Mueller-led Trump-Russia investigation probes Roger Stone’s Wikileaks contacts; the weekend’s NFL action; and the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox were some of the most-talked about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Almost seven weeks after announcing that he would be taking a leave from his morning drive duties at Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston, Kirk Minihane Tweets that he’ll “be back soon.” Minihane took a brief leave in early August after experiencing suicidal thoughts and checked himself into a hospital. In his September 7 message, Minihane said that he would this time take indefinite leave to deal with depression issues, he admitted that he came back to work too soon after the August hospital stay.  However, he Tweets that all is not necessarily well between him and Entercom management. “…I’ve been ready to work for the last week or so and have been kept off the air.  You build a show, take it to number one, step aside to get healthy and expect to be welcomed back. Hasn’t happened.”  During Minihane’s absence, WEEI personality Mike “Mut” Mutnansky has been sitting in with regular co-host Gerry Callahan…..From the podcast world, Westwood One Podcast Network adds the “Team Never Quit” podcast – co-hosted by former Navy SEALs Marcus Luttrell and David Rutherford .  WWO says “Team Never Quit” is “an authentic, positive, and inspiring show that implores listeners to face their greatest challenges” and features “the incredible camaraderie between Mr. ‘Never Quit’ Marcus Luttrell and energetic ‘Instructor Rut’ David Rutherford, that not only comes from their time together on SEAL Teams but also due to their mutual 10 years of inspiring audiences of all types.”…..MSNBC star Rachel Maddow is host of a new podcast from the network titled, “Bag Man: A Rachel Maddow Original Podcast.” The weekly podcast will launch on October 30 with ad sales being handled by TuneIn.  The first episode will center on the corruption scandal that took down Vice President Spiro T. Agnew…..Nationally syndicated radio star Elvis Duran reveals his 4thAnnual Carney Awards – named in honor of the late Art Carney and dedicated to honoring Hollywood’s great character actors – is getting some help from legendary actor Harrison Ford, who will attend the October 28 ceremony in Santa Monica to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to M. Emmett Walsh with whom Ford appeared in 1982’s Blade Runner.

TalkersRadio’s Meg McDonald Active in Los Angeles Community Beautification Projects — Studio City-based media figure Meg McDonald, who hosts the short-form feature titled “MEG!” on TalkersRadio, has become increasingly involved in Los Angeles beautification projects.  She recently played a role at a major fund-raising initiative.  California Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian secured $150,000 in the 2018 – 2019 fiscal year state budget for the long-needed revitalization of the Studio City Greenway along the Los Angeles River from Whitsett Ave. to Laurel Canyon Blvd.  The project will improve bike and pedestrian access points, restore the landscaping by eliminating invasive species, and enhance public health and safety along the Los Angeles River.  Pictured (l-r) joining in the funding celebration is Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy executive director Joe Edmiston; Assemblyman Nazarian; Studio City Beautification Association board member and host of MEG! on TalkersRadio Meg McDonald and Los Angeles City Councilor Paul Krekorian.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Fayetteville, North Carolina market, Kenny J is named program director and brand manager for Beasley Media Group hip hop WZFX-FM “Foxy 99” and brand manager for sister rhythmic oldies WUKS “Old School 107.7.” He most recently served with Cumulus Media as program director at urban contemporary KMJK, Kansas City.  Beasley Fayetteville VP and market manager Erika Beasley comments, “I’m so excited to have Kenny J on the Beasley Fayetteville team.  We welcome his expertise and knowledge in programming both formats in large and small markets.  Kenny’s ability to coach and grow on-air personalities really sets him apart for this position.  We look forward to having his energy and positive attitude in our building and continuing to lead our brands to success!”…..Programming pro Nick Fox joins Cumulus Media as program director and midday personality at country WXBM, Pensacola, Florida “NASH FM 102.7.”  He comes to Cumulus from Saga Communications’ country WVVR, Clarksville, Tennessee where he was an air personality and APD.  He says, “I’m ecstatic to be back home as the PD of WXBM!  This station has a rich legacy and passionate listeners.  I am ready to hit the ground running in Pensacola.”…..SummitMedia is tweaking the format at WJSR, Richmond from classic hits as “Star 100.9” to adult hits as “Jack FM.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

| October 23, 2018

Report: WLS-AM, Chicago to Get Lineup Re-Vamp in 2019.  According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert FederCumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM will get a programming makeover early in the New Year.  Feder writes, “Once among the top-rated stations in Chicago, the 50,000-watt AM giant never recovered after the loss of longtime morning star Don Wade, who died in 2013.”  He reports recent ratings figures reflect more success in middays with Cumulus’ Washington-based Chris Plante and Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh, leading one to conclude changes are more likely for drive time where market legend Steve Dahl hosts afternoons and mornings are hosted by Big John Howell and Ramblin’ Ray Stevens. Cumulus Chicago VP and market manager Marv Nyren wouldn’t comment specifically but said the station will continue with a combination of local and syndicated programming.

NYPost: MSG Goes to War with Entercom and WFAN. A story in the New York Post by Andrew Marchand reveals the bad blood between Madison Square Garden executive chairman and Knicks and Rangers owner James Dolan over WFAN sports talk host Maggie Gray’s rant against him that aired on the station this summer.  Gray didn’t hold back when she called Dolan a “vile piece of trash” while accusing him of hypocrisy after his band – yes, he plays in a band called JD and the Straight Shot – released a song about Harvey Weinstein called, “I Should’ve Known.” Gray alleges Dolan and Weinstein were close and that he did know.  In retribution, MSG banned all Entercom and WFAN staffers from getting special access to players and that players and coaches would not be allowed to appear on any show on WFAN.  Gray did ultimately apologize for her name calling during the rant but not for the thrust of her critique.  At the same time, WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa is being accused of throwing Gray “under the bus” during his comments about the feud.  Although Francesa is probably irked about losing access, he did call out MSG for holding a grudge after Gray apologized.

But Wait!… There’s More Francesa News. Also from the Post’s Andrew Marchand – or more accurately, from Mike Francesa himself – comes the question of whether Francesa’s afternoon drive program on WFAN can co-exist with his “Mike’s On” app. The Post story, based on Francesa’s on-air musings, indicates there are still contractual issues regarding the app between him, Entercom, and CAA that haven’t been settled.  Francesa went so far as to say, “We haven’t really come to a deal yet, which makes me think that maybe the app and show don’t work together and that’s something we’re going to have to adjust one way or the other.”  He followed that by saying the app is here to stay.  He also reflected on his return to the station after a brief retirement, admitting that it’s been “more uncomfortable” than he thought it would be after bumping Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray, and Bart Scott from the afternoon drive daypart.

WHO, Des Moines Listeners Help Raise $35,000-plus for Veterans Charity. Pictured above (in scooter) is Korean Conflict veteran Denny Dorman, the oldest recipient of a Puppy Jake Foundation service dog – named Puppy Simon – along with WHO PM drive personality Simon Conway, who adopted the organization as his show’s official charity.  The Puppy Jake Foundation acquires, raises, and professionally trains service dogs for physically and mentally wounded veterans.  Conway tells TALKERS that five years ago they held a BBQ fundraiser in the WHO parking lot and raised $4,000.  The next year they brought in $6,000.  Years three and four pulled in $22,000 and $29,000, respectively, and last Friday’s event raised $35,500.  He says, “It is really incredible how my audience, and indeed some of my show’s sponsors, have taken this charity to their hearts.”

Ann Marie Mulholland Named Market Manager for Hubbard Seattle. Emerald City media management pro Ann Marie Mulholland joins Hubbard Radio as vice president and market manager for its Seattle properties, including “Alternative Talk” KIXI-AM, CHR KQMV “Movin 92.5,” country KNUC “The Bull,” adult contemporary KRWM “Warm 106.9,” and nostalgia KKNW-AM.  Mulholland comes to Hubbard from CRISTA Media.  Prior to that, she served with Entercom and Sandusky in the Seattle market. Hubbard president/COO Drew Horowitz says, “We are looking forward to having Ann Marie, with her exceptional operational credentials, assume the leadership role in Seattle.  She brings strong market experience and will be an excellent fit with our Hubbard Seattle team.”

Midterm Elections, Khashoggi Death Aftermath, Migrant Caravan, Gender Definition Issue, Trump Threatens to Exit INF Treaty, Trump-Russia Investigation, NFL Action, and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22).  The November elections and the battle for control of the House and the Senate; the aftermath of the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and U.S.-Saudi relations; the Honduran migrant caravan headed for the U.S. border; the Trump Administration’s plan to require legal gender based on genitalia at birth; President Trump threatens to exit the Intermedia-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia; the Robert Mueller-led Trump-Russia investigation probes Roger Stone’s Wikileaks contacts; the weekend’s NFL action; and the 2018 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox 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. On-air changes take place at Cumulus Media’s country WKDF, Nashville “NASH FM 103.3” as the company promotes Tyler Reese from his part-time role with sister classic country WSM-FM “95.5 NASH Icon” to midday host and assistant program director at WKDF.  Also, Kelley Bradshaw-Brock moves from Entercom’s WUSY, Chattanooga, where she was part of the “Ken, Kelley, and Daniel” morning show to host afternoon drive on WKDF.  Program director John Shomby states, “We are excited for Tyler and Kelley to join ‘NASH FM 103.3.’  These are two very talented stars that are ready to shine in the Music City!…..The vacant program director chair at Townsquare Media’s country KAWO, Boise doesn’t last long as Matt Derrick arrives from his most recent gig as director of FM programming at NRG Media’s Omaha cluster to assume the PD role.  Derrick takes over for Rich Summers, who exited the station last week…..Entercom rock WTPT, Greenville, South Carolina “93.3 Planet Rocks” partners with the local Thomas Creek Brewery to create The Rise Guys P1 Pilsner inspired by the station’s morning show, “The Rise Guys.” Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “We are excited about this partnership and the ability to share the best beer on ‘The Planet’ with our dedicated fans.  The Rise Guys P1 Pilsner is a salute to the P1 army.  This refreshing and crushable beer fits our personalities and those of our listeners.”

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

| February 14, 2018

WEEI, Boston to Suspend Programming on Friday; Holds Mandatory Sensitivity Training for Air Staff.  In the aftermath of two recent incidents in which WEEI, Boston air personalities made statements that offended some, Entercom is suspending the sports talk station’s Friday programming and all staff will complete mandatory sensitivity training.  As regular TALKERS readers are aware, WEEI has been dealing with blowback – including lost advertisers – after a bit in which midday personality Christian Fauria used a phony Asian accent while imitating sports agent Don Yee (who, incidentally, speaks English without an accent).  It’s being reported that Comcast, City of Boston Credit Union, the Massachusetts Lottery, and possibly others, have cancelled ad campaigns with the station.  Fauria has been suspended by Entercom for a week and both the station and Fauria have apologized for the incident.  The cancellations appear to have come on the heels of an op-ed piece by Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung.  This latest incident came almost two weeks after WEEI’s Alex Reimer referred to Tom Brady’s daughter as “an annoying little pissant.”  Brady cut short a scheduled appearance on the “Kirk & Callahan” morning show because of Reimer’s comments.  The station posted the following on its website: “Nothing is more important to WEEI than the close-knit and diverse Boston community we call home, and we are committed to actively contributing to its betterment.  WEEI is in the process of closely reevaluating our policies and procedures in an effort to ensure that our programming is never intolerant or harmful to our listeners or our city.”  This suspension of live programming for mandatory sensitivity training is, as far back as TALKERS editors can remember, unprecedented in the radio industry.

U.S. Trustee Has Issues with Cumulus Bonus Structure.  More accurately, U.S. Trustee William Harrington has issues with the information Cumulus has supplied regarding its bonus structure at both the station level and for corporate executives.  Harrington has filed an objection stating that, among other things, Cumulus has not identified the job titles of those at the station level slated for bonuses, has not identified all of the corporate executives scheduled to receive payouts, nor has Cumulus shown that its bonus plan is an actual incentive plan and not retentive in nature (i.e. solely designed to keep key employees on board during a time of uncertainty).  What Harrington is saying is that actual incentive plans are allowed but Cumulus hasn’t satisfied him in showing its bonus plans are exactly that and not mechanisms to “enrich insiders” at the “expense of the creditors.”  Cumulus issued the following statement regarding Harrington’s objection: “The objection filed last night has absolutely no impact on the authorizations the Court gave the company on February 8th to pay incentive compensation for employees who earned it in 2017, or will earn it in 2018.  We will be making our incentive compensation payments to those employees, beginning with this week’s normal payroll cycle.  The objection filed is common in these situations and applies only to a small number of senior executives whose compensation will be addressed at an upcoming hearing on March 12th.”

WGN, Chicago to Air White Sox Games.  After 75 years, the Chicago White Sox are returning to WGN’s airwaves.  As you’re probably aware, Cumulus asked the bankruptcy court to let it out of contracts that were onerous and the WLS-AM/White Sox deal was one of them.  Now, for the first time since 1943, White Sox games will return to Tribune’s WGN starting with a spring training game on Friday, February 23.   In the booth will be former Sox pitcher Ed Farmer handling play-by-play and former outfielder Darrin Jackson as analyst.  WGN VP of content Todd Manley says, “What an honor it is to join the White Sox family.  Summer starts TODAY on WGN Radio.”

WOR Names Ray Martel to Executive Producer Role for Mets Broadcasts.  New York radio pro Ray Martel – currently the associate producer for WOR, New York’s “Len Berman in the Morning” show – is named executive producer for New York Mets radio broadcasts and “Sports Zone with Pete McCarthy,” effective March 1.  Martel says, “I am extremely honored to be the next producer of the Mets broadcasts on 710 WOR.  When I began in broadcasting 20 years ago, one of my first positions was as a board-op working on the Mets broadcasts.  It’s amazing to think it’s come full-circle two decades later…I can’t wait for the season to start!”  Prior to his arrival at WOR, Martel was a producer at crosstown sports talker WFAN for 13 years.  He produced for Mike Francesa, Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson.  He also produced for ESPN Radio.  Martel takes over for Joe Curci, who is leaving on February 28 for a position outside of radio.

Lauer Named Director of Sales for Entercom Milwaukee. Radio sales pro Eric Lauer is appointed to the director of sales position at Entercom’s Milwaukee station group that includes sports talk WSSP/W289CB “105.7 FM/AM 1250 The Fan,” CHR WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM,” and hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix.”  Lauer was most recently general sales manager at Scripps’ crosstown news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI.   Entercom Milwaukee/Madison SVP and market manager Chuck Sullivan says, “I have known Eric since he first arrived in the market and his passion, intellect and leadership skills were apparent immediately.  We feel very fortunate to have him partner with us to lead the Milwaukee team.”  Lauer has also held sales management roles with Cox Media Group in Florida and Georgia.

TALKERS News Notes. KIRO-FM, Seattle adds Gee Scott to the evening “KIRO Nights” program with co-host Zak Burns.  Scott moves to the new position from Bonneville’s sister sports talker KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” where he hosted the evening program.  He fills the seat vacated by Jason Rantz, who exited last fall to assume the morning drive show on the company’s local news/talk KTTH-AM…..The popular podcast from The New York Times, “The Daily,” is being produced as a 30-minute evening radio program distributed by American Public MediaMichael Barbaro will also host the radio version…..Also in Seattle, iHeartMedia is signing with the Major League Soccer club Seattle Sounders FC to serve as its flagship radio station for match play-by-play.  Games and related programming – that used to air on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM – will now air on KJR-AM.  Matt Johnson will call the matches along with rotating analysts Wade Webber, Danny Jackson, and Pete Fewing.

Cumulus Celebrates 40 Years of Steve Dahl with Billboard Campaign.  Radio personality Steve Dahl has been a part of Chicago radio for 40 years and Cumulus Media is honoring Dahl’s colorful career with a billboard campaign in Chicagoland.  Dahl is currently hosting afternoon drive on Cumulus’ news/talk WLS-AM.  The image above is part of the creative for the campaign and shows Dahl with the late John Belushi.

audioBoom and Triton Digital Merge.  This pairing is being termed a “reverse takeover” with Triton Digital merging with the UK-based audioBoom podcast network and technology provider.   audioBoom will acquire all of the stock of Triton Digital Canada for $185 million.  The new company will be called Triton Digital Group and will be publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange.  The executive structure will effectively remain in place with president/CEO Neal Schore, president/market development John Rosso, EVP/CFO Mark Rosenbaum, and SVP/ product and technology Alex FournierCurrent audioBoom CEO Rob Proctor becomes managing director of the audioBoom business unit.  He also remains an executive director.  Schore comments, “We’re proud of our position in the marketplace.  We feel an enormous sense of responsibility to continuously innovate and to drive monetization opportunities.  Our clients can expect us to not only maintain our leadership position, but to have the resources and the team to expand our technology and services meaningfully.”  audioboom currently hosts more than 12,000 content channels, with U.S. content partners including: Cumulus Media, Westwood One, and the Associated Press.  The transaction is expected to close in late March or early April.

Rob Porter White House Exit/John Kelly Status, Russia Election Interference, DACA Status/Immigration Policy, Trump/Stormy Daniels Matter, U.S. Strikes in Syria, Netanyahu Criminal Allegations, PyeongChang Winter Games, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/13).  The aftermath of Rob Porter’s exit from the White House after allegations of spousal abuse and questions about chief of staff John Kelly’s job security; U.S. intel concerns about Russian influence in 2018 mid-term elections; a judge refuses to allow DACA to be shut down and the related Trump Administration policy on immigration; Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen reveals he paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket; U.S. military strikes in Syria allegedly kill Russian mercenaries; Israeli investigators say Benjamin Netanyahu should be indicted on corruption charges; the Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Deborah Norville to Host BFoA’s Golden Mike Award Ceremony.  Television’s Deborah Norville is hosting the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s 2018 Golden Mike Award honoring Graham Media president and CEO Emily Barr on March 5 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  Also, at this event Pat McLaughlin will accept the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her late husband, Ed McLaughlin, who is credited with discovering Rush Limbaugh and was the founder of EFM Media Management.  Ed McLaughlin was chairman emeritus of the Broadcasters Foundation when he passed away last month.  This annual event is one of the biggest fundraisers in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to provide aid to broadcasters in acute need.

WIOV, Lancaster’s ‘Murph’ Dies Unexpectedly at 61. Sad news out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania as Cumulus Media reports that WIOV-FM “I-105” morning personality Jerry Murphy – half of the “Murph & Casey” program with Casey Allyn – died unexpectedly at the age of 61.  The duo had worked together on “I-105” for the past 19 years.  Station PD Rich Creeger says, “Murph was not only one of the most charismatic personalities I had the pleasure of working with, but he was also a great friend.  I will miss him tremendously.”  The station has set up a tribute to Murph on the station website at wiov.com.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Appointed to take over management of Spanish Broadcasting System’s New York operations is Maire Mason.  She’s the new VP/GM for Spanish music outlets WSKQ-FM “Mega 97.9FM” and WPAT-FM “Amor 93.1FM.”  Mason, who most recently worked for Cumulus as ​VP/GM in New York, takes over for Eric Garcia who recently exited to join Univision…..Nate Reed is named operations manager for Cox Media Group’s Tulsa cluster.  CMG market VP Cathy Gunther comments, “Nate’s commitment to strong programming will continue to set our stations apart from our competitors.  He has been a natural leader at our radio properties and now, with all our platforms working together, he will be integral part of our new leadership team.”…..Yes, it happened on Valentine’s Day!  Cumulus Media appoints Chad Valentine program director for CHR WBHT, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.  Valentine was most recently with iHeartMedia as air personality, APD, and music director for CHR WHYI, Miami “Y100.”  Valentine says, “I’m excited to be here and ready to make some great radio for Northeast PA.  I’m proud to be part of the next chapter of WBHT’s evolution.”…..Mid-West Family Broadcasting South Bend general manager Jim Roberts leaves the company after almost 22 years to become the national account manager at Cleveland-based Futuri Media.  Roberts had served as GM of the South Bend station group since 2011…..Pictured at right are Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (right) and Premiere’s SVP, talent and brand integration Rick Murray (left) chatting with country star Sara Evans (center) as she kicked off the “CMT Next Women of Country” tour at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City on February 12.

Monday, September 25, 2017

| September 25, 2017

Steele Returns to ‘FOX News 92.5’ in Naples-Ft. Myers; Radel to Drive Time.  Effective today (9/25), Sun Broadcasting’s news/talk WFSX, Naples-Fort Myers “FOX News 92.5” makes changes to its drive time programming, bringing Drew Steele back to the station for morning drive duties and moving Trey Radel to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daypart.  About the changes, program director Casey Bartholomew tells the Naples Daily News, “We wanted to better serve the market and what better way than with two live, local shows.  And Trey was more than happy to not have to get up (in the early morning).”  Steele was host of the morning show on WFSX from 2012 through 2016.  He comes back to Sun Broadcasting from Bonneville’s news/talk KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City.  Radel replaced Steele in mornings when he left for Salt Lake City.  Read the Daily News piece here.

Bowen Out at Cumulus Chicago.  As reported by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, radio executive Peter Bowen exits the Cumulus Media cluster there after three years as vice president and market manager.  As Feder points out, Bowen was responsible for bringing White Sox baseball and Chicago Bulls hoops to WLS-AM.  The company told Feder, “Peter Bowen has left the company and we wish him well in his future endeavors.  The open market manager role in Chicago is a priority for us and we are working to find the right leader for this important market as soon as possible.” See Feder’s column here.

Steve Dahl Re-Ups with WLS-AM.  Also, as reported by Robert Feder, Chicago radio legend Steve Dahl re-ups with Cumulus Media to continue hosting his afternoon show on news/talk WLS-AM for another three years.  Dahl hosts the program with cast mates Dag Juhlin and Brendan Greeley.   Dahl tells Feder, “I’m proud of the work Dag, Brendan and I are doing every afternoon for WLS AM 890, and gratified that they like it, too.  The show is funny, informative and apolitical.  We could still use a little marketing, however, so I am currently in negotiations to buy the ‘Kathy’ half of the Eric and Kathy billboards.”  Read Feder’s report here.

TRN Files to Appeal Dismissal of Suit Against Industry Syndicators.  A year ago, the anti-trust lawsuit brought by Talk Radio Network against several industry syndicators including Westwood One, Compass Media Networks, WYD Media Management, and others was dismissed with prejudice and that dismissal affirmed.  TRN is filing to appeal that dismissal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The appellate court will decide if it will hear the case.

TALKERS News Notes. Launching this fall on CRN Digital Talk Radio is a new program titled, “HEAR IT NOW – A Radio Document of Our World,” hosted by Thomas Ross Bond II.  Bond calls the show “a program that focuses on the human-side of individuals who made an imprint on our world and the sounds of the times, in hope that another dimension is given to our understanding of our world and the human condition.  Unlike other programs concentrating on controversy, we strive to focus on the life of our ‘guest,’ the human side, to find out about ‘them,’ where they grew up, what influenced their life, why they made the choices they did.”…..The Rhode Island political talk radio show, “The Coalition – Talk Radio for Independent Minds,” moves from Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence to the digital platform of GoLocalProv.com.  The weekly, Friday evening show is hosted by Pat Ford, the chair of the Libertarian Party of Rhode Island and airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm…..SiriusXM is presenting comprehensive coverage of the Presidents Cup golf tournament September 28 through October 1 at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Trump Calls Out Athlete Protesters, North Korea Nuclear Threats/Sanctions, Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill, Merkel Re-Election, Maria-Devastated Puerto Rico, Kingsman Film, MLB Playoff Push, College Football, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The issue of athletes protesting during the national anthem after President Trump’s criticism; North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and new sanctions put upon the hermit kingdom; the push by Republicans to pass the Graham-Cassidy health care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act; Angela Merkel wins fourth term as Chancellor of Germany; the devastation of Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria; the new Kingsman film tops It at the box office; the weekend’s MLB games with playoff implications; Saturday’s college football games; and Sunday’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

KXL and Compass Media Talker Lars Larson Co-Starring Regular TV Segment.  Pictured here during the “Left Hook, Right Jab” segment on KGW-TV, Portland is news/talk KXL, Portland and Compass Media Networks syndicated talk show host Lars Larson (right).  Going against Larson in the debate-style segment is former Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick (left).  Larson tells TALKERS magazine he’s been doing the TV segment for a few months now.  “They wanted a standard ‘he said, he said’ format but I suggested a chess clock format. Each of us gets 90 seconds.  Here’s the difference: we take turns leading off on a different question.  You can weigh in for, say 20-30 seconds (or shorter or longer), hit the bell and the other person has to respond.  He can go as long or short as he likes and then it switches back. Back and forth until both run out of time.  It moves fast.  It forces each to get right to the point (like Twitter).”

EXCLUSIVE TALKERS DIALOGUE: Terminated and Embattled KXNT, Las Vegas Talk Show Host Heidi Harris Speaks with Michael Harrison about the Events Leading Up to and Following CBS Choosing Not to Renew Her Contract as Morning Host.  In an exclusive TALKERS interview conducted Thursday evening (9/21), TALKERS founder Michael Harrison talks to former KXNT, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris about CBS RADIO’s decision not to renew her contract that was about to expire in a few weeks in the wake of a controversial social media comment about gay adoption posted by the broadcaster.  Although CBS has not cited the controversy as its reason for choosing not to renew Harris’ contract, the widespread speculation in the press and across the radio industry is that the host was let go because of negative blowback from organized activists in the gay community.  Discussing the interview, Harrison states, “I entered this conversation hoping to give Heidi the chance to present her side of the story, but, perhaps, wishfully to see if there was any chance to smoothen out the situation and set the stage for CBS to reconsider its decision if she clarified her position short of actually apologizing. Apologizing is not something I would expect or encourage her to do.  But it would be unfortunate if she left the station because of a misunderstanding of terms and today’s tendency for black and white thinking to rule the narrative.”  To listen to the interview, please click here.

Yappy Tour Rolls into NewsmaxTV.  Pictured above being interviewed by NewsmaxTV‘s John Bachman is Bernadette Duncan, author of one of the most-discussed radio books in the talk media industry, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Boozers, Schmoozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016).   Former producer Duncan chronicles her 26 years as the woman behind the glass on shows hosted by such legends as Sally Jessy RaphaelLarry KingTom SnyderLou DobbsGil GrossCharles Osgood and others covering a large swath of modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.”  Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of quirky guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature.  Due to the strong response by hosts across the nation to the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the national “Yappy Tour” will continue to roll on through the remainder of 2017.  Duncan has already appeared on more than 85 local and syndicated programs since the book’s release in September of 2016.  Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Milwaukee’s WKTI “94.5 KTI Country” brings Brew City radio personality Karen Dalessandro aboard to host the afternoon drive daypart.  Dalessandro is a Country Music Hall of Famer and a two-time CMA Personality of the Year who previously was a morning personality on iHeartMedia’s crosstown WMIL “FM 106” until “retiring” from the station back in March.  About this new gig, Dalessandro says, “I made the switch to ‘94.5 KTI Country’ to join a staff that is excited about country music, committed to winning and actually living in Milwaukee.  It’s refreshing to see this kind of radio still exists.  [Scripps Milwaukee ] GM Tom Langmyer and PD Ryan Wild deserve much credit for believing that real people doing real radio is important to the community they serve.  I spent 19 years hosting Milwaukee morning radio so to continue my career as music director/afternoons at WKTI is more than I could have imagined!”…..iHeartMedia names Nikki Corl marketing director for its Charlotte market operations and the rest of the Carolinas.  She was most recently promotions director at iHeartMedia’s Richmond station group…..In Nashville, iHeartMedia CHR WRVW “107.5 The River” announces that Wells Adams begins hosting the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm show (starting tonight).  The 10-year market pro was most recently on the company’s sister classic rock WNRQ “105.9 The Rock” hosting afternoons.  Adams was also a recent contestant on ABC-TV’s “The Bachelorette.”  WRVW program director Jonathan Shuford says, “Wells is already a well-known and talented radio personality here in Music City, a reality show star, social influencer, and all-around great guy.  It just made sense to marry his pedigree with Nashville’s most-listened to station and we’re excited to launch this new chapter in Nashville radio.”…..CBS RADIO’s WUSN, Chicago is presenting its third annual “Stars and Strings” show in honor of America’s veterans and their families on Wednesday, November 15 at The Chicago Theatre. The all-star lineup features: Brad Paisley, Chris Young, Darius Rucker, Kelsea Ballerini, Lady Antebellum, and Sam Hunt with a special appearance by Lindsay Ell. WUSN morning duo “Stylz & Roman” announced the concert on their program this morning.

iHeartRadio Music Festival Wraps Two Days in Las Vegas.  Pictured here are iHeartMedia chief programming officer Tom Poleman (second from left) and iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes (right) with singer Demi Lovato (second from right) and an unidentified guest (left) backstage at the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the T-mobile Arena in Las Vegas.  Some of the artists that played on Friday and Saturday night included: Coldplay, The Weeknd, DJ Khaled, Chris Stapleton, Lorde, Kings of Leon, Big Sean, P!NK, Miley Cyrus, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Niall Horan, David Guetta, Thomas Rhett, Harry Styles, Kesha and more, plus this year’s ‘Macy’s iHeartRadio Rising Sta’ winner, James Maslow.