Tag: "Steve Gorman"
Newsmax TV to Be Carried on Comcast’s X1 Platform. In a major move for the Newsmax TV channel, Newsmax and Comcast have signed an agreement for the latter to carry the 24/7 cable news channel on the Xfinity TV X1 platform. Newsmax TV will initially launch to subscribers of Xfinity’s Digital Starter package that have an X1 device. Newsmax Broadcasting CEO Michael Clemente says, “Comcast is the largest cable operator in the nation and we appreciate their decision to recognize Newsmax TV as a valuable, independent programmer for their viewers.” Newsmax TV says it “consistently offers important viewpoints not covered elsewhere and continues to add talent to an impressive lineup that includes: Joe Walsh, Brett Winterble, Howie Carr, Wayne Allyn Root, Todd Schnitt, Joe Pags, and Jesse Lee Peterson, as well as Newsmax anchors John Bachman and Miranda Khan.” It adds that it is currently available in 50 million U.S. cable/satellite homes and expects to reach as many as 80 million such homes by the end of 2019. Clemente adds that the network plans to ramp up programming in the coming months as it prepares for 2020 presidential election coverage that will begin in earnest next year.
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. Sports talk listening heated up during the August survey as 74% of sports talk stations saw their 6+ weekly AQH share rise compared to the July 2018 survey. Looking at changes from August 2017 to August 2018, 67% of stations were up from a year ago. Entercom’s WFAN, New York – on the back of a three-tenths increase – ranked #1 (6+) in the Long Island market in August. The company’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh ranked #4, and WFAN, New York and Cumulus’ KNBR, San Francisco ranked #5 in their respective markets. See the whole report here.
RJ Bell and Chris Broussard & Rob Parker Host New FOX Sports Radio Programs. On the heels of last week’s end of the JT The Brick program and the “Steve Gorman Sports!” show, Premiere Networks today announces the launch of the shows that are rounding out the FOX Sports Radio network program schedule. Beginning today (9/17), “Straight Outta Vegas with RJ Bell” debuts from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET as what Premiere calls “the first-ever national daily radio show focused on sports betting.” Las Vegas personality and founder/CEO of Pregame.com RJ Bell hosts the program that also features FOX Sports Radio personality Jonas Knox, plus famed betting experts Brad Powers and Steve Fezzik. Premiere says the weekday launch of the program comes after a successful year-long run as part of FSR’s weekend lineup on Friday and Saturday evenings. Also moving up from its weekend status is “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard (left) & Rob Parker (right),” launching tonight from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET. As part of the changes, “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon” adds an hour, airing from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET. Premiere Networks SVP sports programming Don Martin and VP sports programming Scott Shapiro say in a joint statement, “This historic new lineup further solidifies FOX Sports Radio’s standing as the preeminent sports network in the nation. It’s now crystal clear that when you’re looking for the best, live sports-talk, this is the place to tune in. Listeners who want to be entertained, informed, and emotionally invested with the most compelling personalities and storytellers in the industry will be rewarded with every listening occasion.”
Zak Burns Gone from ‘KIRO Nights.’ Talk show host Zak Burns is no longer co-hosting “KIRO Nights” with Gee Scott at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. Burns joined the station two years ago to co-host the evening show with Jason Rantz, who left the program last fall to assume the morning drive show hosting duties at sister conservative news/talk KTTH. KIRO contributor Drew Barth has been sitting in with Scott since Burns’ departure.
Entercom to Relocate Offices to Philadelphia. In an interview with David Field in Philly.com, the Entercom president and CEO declined to comment on the “worst-kept secret” in Philadelphia – that the company is moving its corporate headquarters from Bala Cynwyd to a building on the Schuykill River in Philadelphia that it will share with Aramark (according to a recent report in the Philadelphia Business Journal). However, in the piece written by Bob Fernandez, Field acknowledges the intense work that the CBS RADIO merger has brought Entercom but says he’s happy with what the new-look company has accomplished so far. Regarding the move, it’s being reported that the new facility will not only be home to the corporate HQ but will also house the various radio station offices currently in numerous sites throughout the Philadelphia area. Read the piece here.
Rumor Confirmed: Mets Games to Air on WCBS-AM, New York in 2019 Season. The recent reports out of the Big Apple that Entercom has been wooing the New York Mets to bring their play-by-play to all-news WCBS-AM turn out to be true as the company announces it has struck a six-year deal with the MLB club. Mets games have aired on iHeartMedia’s WOR since the 2014 season. Entercom regional president and market manager Susan Larkin comments, “We’re pleased to be the new radio home of the Mets. We remain committed to bringing our listeners and partners the most exciting sports content from their hometown teams, especially in the New York metropolitan area, where we will be the radio home for both Major League Baseball clubs beginning in 2019.” As part of the deal, Entercom’s other New York radio stations – alternative WNYL ALT 92.3,” hot AC WNEW-FM “NEW 102.7 FM,” classic hits WCBS-FM and fellow all-news WINS-AM – will provide promotional support.
Crossover Media Group Sales to Handle Ad Sales Support for Sports Byline USA and BlueWirePods. Cross-platform content production and advertising sales rep firm Crossover Media Group Sales announces it is handling ad sales support for Sports Byline USA network. Sports Byline is led by founder and host Ron Barr and president Darren Peck and serves some 200 U.S. radio affiliates and some 500 additional stations globally as well as satellite radio, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, iTunes, CRN Digital, airlines’ in-flight channels and the American Forces Network. The company is also working with newly launched podcast network Blue Wire that is aggregating content from sports talk personalities. Bay Area-based Blue Wire was founded by former KNBR-AM, San Francisco host Kevin Jones. CMGS managing member Scott Calka says, “CMGS is rapidly becoming one-stop-shopping for marketers to reach a variety of fans across the panoply of sports talk.”
23 Stations Off the Air as a Result of Hurricane Florence. According to the FCC, as of yesterday (9/16), some 20 FM stations are off the air and three AM stations are off due to the impact of Hurricane Florence. Also, four television stations report being out of service and 7.2% of the region’s cell towers were reported off-line, with Brunswick, Cumberland, and Carteret Counties in North Carolina reporting the largest loss of cell service.
Kavanaugh Accusation, Florence Drenches the Carolinas, Border Patrol Serial Killer Case, Trump-Russia Investigation, Bob Woodward’s Trump Book, NFL Action, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; Hurricane Florence’s arrival and the resulting historic flooding in the Carolinas; the case of the U.S. border patrol agent charged in connection with four deaths; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents and the related plea deal of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort; Bob Woodward’s book, Fear: Trump in the White House; the weekend’s NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
WPG, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley with Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin. Pictured above is WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley with Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin (Miss New York) during Franklin’s visit to the station today (9/17). Franklin discussed the year ahead for her as Miss America, saying she will continue her work with the performing arts and several children’s charities that’s she supports. Hurley presented the Miss America Foundation with a surprise $500 grant that will be designated to two charities of Franklin’s choice.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Dallas, Cumulus Media brings Nathan Fast aboard to co-host the morning show on KPLX “99.5 The Wolf” with current morning personality Lisa Taylor. He was most recently with Entercom’s crosstown CHR KVIL “AMP 103.7” as morning host. KPLX program director Mac Daniels says, “Nathan is an amazing, creative talent wrapped around the passion and work ethic of four people. With his leadership skills and winning spirit, we’re excited about the bright future for Nathan Fast and ‘The Wake Up With The Wolf Show’ on one of America’s leading country music brands. We’re excited to hear him and Lisa Taylor together in the morning.”…..iHeartMedia moves Vladimir “DJ Loui Vee” Scott from its Columbia, South Carolina station group to its Indianapolis offices to serve as program director for hip hop WZRL “REAL 98.3” and hip hop WTFX, Louisville “REAL 93.1.” iHeartMedia Indianapolis SVP of programming Mike Killabrew comments, “Vladimir possesses the creativity, passion, and leadership we look for in programmers. His direction and attention to detail will take WZRL and WTFX to the next level.”…..iHeartMedia Raleigh names Joe Johnson program director and afternoon drive personality for classic rock WRDU, Raleigh, effective September 24. Johnson held the same positions at the company’s WROV, Roanoke-Lynchburg…..Classic hits KGOR, Omaha debuts the “Mornings with Montez & Shari” featuring Montez and Shari Stone. Stone was most recently digital project coordinator and midday host at Salem Media Group’s crosstown Christian contemporary KGBI-FM. Montez was most recently afternoon host and music director at the iHeartMedia Omaha cluster’s CHR KISO “96.1 Kiss FM.” The duo say, “Being from Omaha, we both couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to serve our community in a fun way because we love this town. We can’t wait to entertain every morning and grow our big, radio family.”…..Envision Networks announces that the “Full Metal Jackie” program – hosted by Jackie Kajzer – is now airing on the American Forces Network, broadcasting to United States military servicemembers and their families at home and abroad. AFN Radio director Scott Stover says, “American Forces Network Radio is proud to bring Full Metal Jackie to our US military serving overseas as they listen to our alternative music channel ‘Freedom Radio.’ We thank ‘Full Metal Jackie’ and Envision Networks for partnering with AFN Radio to ‘serve those that serve.’”
Justin Acri to Manage KABZ, Little Rock. Fifteen-year station staffer Justin Acri is named general manager of Signal Media’s sports talk KABZ-FM, Little Rock “103.7 The Buzz.” Acri has been serving as program director for the station and co-hosts the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm program, “The Zone.” Acri joined the station in 2003 as a part-time morning host while working at crosstown KATV-TV as sports director. He joined KABZ full time in 2006. Signal Media president and CEO Steve Jonsson states, “Justin has worked for ‘The Buzz’ in various capacities for 15 years. His passions for sports, broadcasting, and ‘The Buzz’ make him a perfect fit for his new position. Justin has been a major influence on ‘The Buzz’ since its inception as a sports and entertainment station in 2004, and this is the next logical step in the evolution of this great Arkansas radio station.” At the same time, the station announces Derrell Young is promoted to operations director from his executive producer position. Morning show producer RJ Hawk adds social media director duties. Finally, Lindy Lanford returns to the station on a consulting basis assisting with marketing and events.
FOX Sports Radio Drops Steve Gorman Sports and JT The Brick. Two sports talk shows are no longer part of the national lineup on FOX Sports Radio – the long-running JT The Brick program and “Steve Gorman Sports!” Gorman and co-host Jeffrey Gorman posted a farewell message online in addition to saying goodbye on the air. JT The Brick, a.k.a. John Tournour, issued a farewell message via Twitter. He’d been with the network since 2001. FOX Sports Radio has made no official announcement and, as of today, still lists the two programs as being part of the lineup on its website. The network appears to be filling the daypart – from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET – with substitute hosts until permanent shows are announced.
Norden Named SVP of Sales at iHeartMedia Charleston. Radio sales pro Pete Norden moves from iHeartMedia’s Tampa station group to the company’s Charleston, South Carolina cluster that includes news/talk WSCC “News Radio 94.3” to serve as senior vice president of sales. iHeartMedia area president Alene Grevey comments, “Pete is an exceptionally strong broadcaster and leader and we are truly thrilled to have him be a part of team iHeartMedia Charleston. His experience will blossom in our culture and his commitment to excellence will matriculate throughout the sales organization.”
New Sports Talker to Launch in Waco. According to a report in the Waco Tribune-Herald, Edwards Media LLC is preparing to debut a new sports talk station in the market on October 1. The station will likely emanate from sister hip hop KWBT’s HD2 channel and be heard via FM translator K231CG at 94.1. It will air local programming and shows from CBS Sports Radio Network. Market radio pro Rich Richardson is serving as general manager for KWBT and “CBS Sports Radio Central Texas” and will host the morning drive “Go Big or Go Home” show from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. Lark Smith will host the local “Order in the Court” program from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. CBS’ Jim Rome show and the “Tiki and Tierney” program with Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney will air in afternoons.
Herskovitz: Wild Political Year Could Lead to Hot Sales. Radio sales pro Al Herskovitz writes today about the midterm political season that’s heating up. He reminds account executives of the rules for spot rate for many political ads and outlines who does not qualify for that rate. For stations hoping to get some ad money from local and state candidates, Herskovitz offers some strategy for getting an order from their campaigns. Read it here.
TALKERS News Notes. In observance of the anniversary of 9/11, iHeartMedia‘s iHeartRadio has teamed up with 9/11 Day of Service and the Tunnel to Towers Foundation to create a special radio show that pays tribute to those affected and left behind. The 30-minute radio show special is hosted by Tunnel to Towers Foundation founder Frank Siller and Jay Winuk and David Paine, co-founders of 9/11 Day of Service foundation. They share their personal, heart wrenching, intimate stories on 9/11, explaining their motivation behind founding the two organizations that bring comfort and help millions of people across the United States. You can hear the program here…..This one comes from the National Enquirer, so take it for what it’s worth. The tabloid publication says Howard Stern is leaving his radio program at SiriusXM when his contract expires at the end of 2020. The story quotes a source saying, “Howard is the golden goose that holds the company together. Without him, it could crumble!”…..WINS, New York morning drive anchor Lee Harris is marking 25 years with the Entercom all-news station this week…..Dr. Ronald Hoffman‘s podcast version of his radio show “Intelligent Medicine” just surpassed the 6 million download mark. Media Management Group EVP of business development Alan Eisenson comments, “We continue to be amazed at how fast our podcast audience is growing and we love all of the positive feedback we get from the audience.”…..ABC-TV’s talk program “The View” is being made available as a podcast via ABC Radio. The company says it is re-purposing the television program’s audio into a daily download available at 4:00 pm ET each day. ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones says the show hosted by Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, Meghan McCain, Sunny Hostin, and Abby Huntsman is a “welcome addition” to ABC’s podcast offerings. “There is an amazing season ahead and we think podcast listeners will enjoy the incredible guest lineup and conversations to come.”…..Attending this year’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row presented by Federation for American Immigration Reform was a chance for WNRI, Providence talk show host John DePetro a chance to explore Washington, DC. DePetro (pictured at right at the White House) was able to visit the West Wing and attend a press conference with President Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Chief of Staff John Kelly.
NYT Op-Ed Author Speculation, Bob Woodward Book, Positive U.S. Economic News, Hurricane Florence Approaches Carolinas, Serena Williams U.S. Open Meltdown, NFL’s Week 1, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/10). Speculation about who the author(s) of the anonymous anti-Trump op-ed piece published in The New York Times is; the new Bob Woodward book, Fear: Trump in the White House; the positive U.S. economic data; the Southeast prepares for Hurricane Florence; the flap over Serena Williams’ meltdown at the U.S. Open; the first week of the 2018 NFL season; and the Major League Baseball playoffs push 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. A “best of” televised version of “Big Boy’s Neighborhood HITS” is airing on Fuse Music on Saturday (9/15) at 11:00 am ET. The celebrity guests will include: Janet Jackson, Fergie, Kim Kardashian, and John Legend. This televised version of the Premiere Networks nationally syndicated radio show, “Big Boy’s Neighborhood,” Big Boy welcomes “the biggest names in music and entertainment, shares his take on the latest news in music and pop culture, and keeps listeners laughing with hilarious bits, including the infamous phonetaps with ‘Luther Luffeigh.’”…..Alpha Media announces that Jim Lowe is named the market manager for its Mankato, Minnesota station group. Lowe launched his career in sales in the Fargo market 30 years ago. He’s served in management positions in community broadcast organizations in the Owatonna and Minneapolis markets…..Radio ratings giant Nielsen Audio says it has completed its research and the radio format of the summer of 2018 is – classic hits! Nielsen has been tracking the performances of stations by format in the PPM-rated markets for several years using a comparison of 6+ weekly AQH share. A format’s total for the months of January through May is compared to the total for June, July and August and the format with the greatest improvement is the format of the summer. The winning format the past two summers had been classic rock. As you can see in the chart below, classic hits was up 4% as a format. News/Talk and adult contemporary lost the most ground – 7% each.
iHeartMedia Appoints GSMs in San Francisco and D.C. There are two GSM appointments within iHeartMedia to report. Suzy Rufail is named general sales manager for the San Francisco station group, while Todd Freundlich has been tapped for similar duties at the company’s Washington, DC cluster. iHeartMedia major market executive vice president of operations Hartley Adkins declares, “Suzy will be a great addition to the San Francisco sales team. Her extensive experience creating personalized, creative and strategic cross-platform marketing solutions for clients will be an amazing asset for the cluster. Suzy is an accomplished sales and marketing leader with a successful track record. She will be a valued member of the San Francisco sales leadership team as we continue to provide a greater reach than any other media company.” Market president Katie Wilcox comments, “Suzy has a robust background in senior management, experience in complimentary formats and a successful record of leading high performing organizations. I am confident she will be a vibrant contributor to the San Francisco team.” Rufail remarks, “I am honored to join a company that I have long admired for its strategy and innovation. I am thrilled for the opportunity to work with a dynamic leader like Katie Wilcox and the exceptional team of talent she has brought together in this thriving market.” On the opposite coast, iHeartMedia Washington, DC and Baltimore vice president of sales Ken Roberts observes of Freundlich, “Todd is a terrific leader whom I have admired for years. I am proud to add his professionalism and market expertise to our stellar management team. His passion and focus for clients fits perfectly in our culture.” Freundlich states, “It is a privilege to be able to join iHeartMedia – a cutting edge company with products and platforms second to none. I look forward to working alongside the iHeartMedia DC sales team and contributing to the high standards and strong foundation they have created in this market.” For the past nearly three years, Rufail was American General Media’s Albuquerque market manager and director of sales. She previously worked as senior account manager for Cox Orlando rhythmic CHR WPYO “Power 95.3”; was general sales manager for Univision Radio Albuquerque; and general manager of Ramar Communications Albuquerque’s KRTN-LP and KTEL-LP. For the last five years, Freundlich was general sales manager of Cumulus Media Washington, DC talker WMAL.
Fox Sports Radio Network Adds Rich Eisen to Daily Schedule. This is the second show produced by DirecTV that Fox Sports Radio Network and Premiere Networks are distributing in radio syndication – Dan Patrick is the other. Beginning November 3, FSRN begins making the Rich Eisen show available to affiliate stations in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot. In order to make room, Jay Mohr moves to 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET, Steve Gorman slides back to 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET, JT The Brick ft. Tomm Looney will air from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET and Jason Smith’s show is cut by an hour, airing from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am. Premiere Networks is repping the show. Eisen – whose primary gig is with the NFL Network – debuted his TV/radio show yesterday (10/6) on DirecTV’s audience channel.
Boortz to Podcast Via ConnectPal. Retired talk show legend Neal Boortz is joining the Andy Dean-founded ConnectPal to produce a program two to three times per week that will be available to subscribers of the service. Boortz left his full-time gig in the radio business in January of 2013.
iHeartMedia and Omnicom Media Announce Partnership. In a deal that the two sides say could be worth $200 million, iHeartMedia and ad giant Omnicom Media Group announce they will work together in a way that will “result in increased access to exceptional creative services and campaign ideation for Omnicom Media Group’s vast array of advertising clients.” In a press release, the companies say they will also “collaborate on developing new, groundbreaking audio and cross-platform opportunities for clients that leverage technologies and insights from both companies.” iHeartMedia president, national sales, marketing and partnerships Tim Castelli states, “At iHeartMedia we’re constantly searching for ways to utilize our unparalleled reach and insights into our consumers to help our advertising partners cultivate creative and cost-effective individualized marketing campaigns. What makes this new partnership with Omnicom so exciting is that it allows us to do that and more. Ultimately, our collective goal is to leverage iHeartMedia’s technologies, insights, and comprehensive media offerings to provide Omnicom clients with richer media and marketing campaigns. We believe that with this new partnership, Omnicom Media Group clients will have the ability to leverage their partnerships with us to accomplish bigger and more impactful solutions.”
Odds & Sods. Detroit all-news WWJ is bringing Dr. Deanna Lites aboard to serve as the station’s health reporter. She’ll be an on-air contributor and serve as a writer for CBS RADIO’s Detroit website…..News comes from Christopher Seward at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Turner Broadcasting Systems – parent company of CNN – is announcing it will trim its workforce by 10% or some 1,475 positions in an effort to “reduce redundancies, focus resources and prioritize investment in programming, monetization and innovation.” Almost 1,000 of the cuts will affect workers in Atlanta but less than 300 will come from CNN Worldwide…..Cher Ames exits the director of marketing and promotion position at CBS RADIO’s WBBM-AM and WCFS, Chicago. She’d been with the stations for 14 years…..The NBA’s Portland Trailblazers will be heard in the Eugene-Springfield, Oregon market after the team agrees to a deal with Eugene Comedy Radio-owned KLZS, Eugene “All Comedy 1450.”…..Executive vice president and chief content officer Kinsey Wilson exits NPR after a six-year stint with the public media company.
Cool Job Opportunity. Digity Media seeks morning show co-host for male-leaning show in Myrtle Beach. Here’s the scoop: Our long time co-host of 8½ years is leaving for an opportunity in TV. That means you have a rare chance to replace her, move to the beach and be a part of a long-running, winning morning show. Here’s some of the things we are looking for: Proficient in Cool Edit/Adobe Audition, able to find a story in anything, energetic, self-motivated, connected to what’s happening now and a Rolodex of guests wouldn’t hurt either. Morning show experience not required but helpful. Send resume and aircheck (preferred) to firstname.lastname@example.org or via mail to: 1016 Ocala Street, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577. Attention: B.J. Kinard. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE. Digity Media is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
CBS Radio News Collects at the Murrow Awards. Photos here are from the Edward R. Murrow Awards ceremony at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. It waspresented last night (10/6) by the Radio Television Digital News Association to honor outstanding achievements in electronic journalism. CBS Radio News won in three categories: Best Audio Continuing Coverage: Boston Marathon bombing; Best Audio Newscast: World News Roundup; and Best Writing: Bob Schieffer Weekly Commentary. Schieffer is pictured at left accepting his award and at right is national correspondent Dan Raviv accepting a Murrow Award from correspondent Steve Hartman for coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Nice Station Vehicle! At the world-famous 43rd annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Cumulus Media news/talker KKOB’s balloon was flying high. Program director Pat Frisch took this photo. He tells TALKERS, “The event was started by 770 KKOB as part of the station’s 50th birthday party in 1972. That year there were 14 balloons at the event. This year there are more than 550 balloons. The event has now grown to a nine-day festival with more than a million people attending and 23 countries represented with balloons. Pretty cool!”
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Ruling, Ebola Pandemic Threat, Obama Immigration/Amnesty Policy, U.S. Military vs. ISIS, Joe Biden ISIS Remarks, and Affleck-Maher Islam Kerfuffle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/6). The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear cases challenging several appellate court rulings overturning same-sex marriage bans in five states; the U.S. cases of Ebola and the threat of a pandemic; President Obama’s policy in immigration and amnesty; the U.S.-led military strikes against ISIS and questions about intelligence accuracy; Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks accusing Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates of aiding ISIS; and the argument between Ben Affleck and Bill Maher over Maher’s criticisms of Islam on his HBO program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
More Sports Content on WTOP’s Digital Platform. Intent on continuing to build its digital platform’s reputation as part of the Washington, DC station’s news brand, Hubbard Radio’s WTOP is expanding sports coverage with the addition of a new beefed-up sports section and the hiring of Noah Frank as digital sports editor. Frank most recently worked with MLB’s Washington Nationals. He’s also worked with the Fresno Grizzlies, San Antonio Missions and the Chicago Cubs. WTOP says its “sports section will go beyond the typical scores and stats of many online sports sites, taking a deeper look into the stories of the people and personalities that make the sports world so compelling.” Director of digital media John Meyer adds, “In order to continue to evolve the WTOP news brand in Washington, we must transform the way we originate our content. Dedicating resources to creating original digital content puts us in a better position to efficiently use this content across other platforms such as radio, social and mobile.” WTOP says the section is the fourth in its online expansion, following the launch of the Living, Technology and Entertainment sections. The sports section will launch the week of June 23.
CBS RADIO Chicago and Cubs Deal Official; Wrigley Field to Be Site of Concert Events. The expected announcement that CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM-AM, Chicago will be the new home for Chicago Cubs play-by-play beginning with the 2015 season is confirmed in a press release from CBS. The terms of the deal are not public yet but one of the facets of the deal includes the Cubs and CBS RADIO working together to present concerts at venerable Wrigley Field. CBS RADIO president and CEO Dan Mason says, “This partnership also capitalizes on the expertise of our local stations to create one-of-a-kind events utilizing the inherent synergies of music and sports. Being able to interact with fans both in and out of the ballpark provides us a unique opportunity to connect with the community and grow our relationships with local businesses and national brands.” Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer will continue to call the action and a weekly, one-hour “Cubs Corner” program will also air on WBBM-AM. The MLB team and Tribune’s WGN are parting ways after this season after 90 years in broadcast partnership.
Radio Mercury Winners Announced. The 23rd annual Radio Mercury Awards were held in New York last night in a ceremony produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau at le Poisson Rouge. This year’s $50,000 Best of Show award was given to Wieden+Kennedy for the spot, “MomSong” for client Old Spice. The Marketer of the Year award was given to insurance giant GEICO. This year’s chief judge, Matt Eastwood, worldwide chief creative officer at JWT, stated, “MomSong was the clear choice and the most engaging spot we heard. All of this year’s winners deserve to be recognized for their inspiring and exceptionally creative spots and campaigns.” RAB president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “These winning spots and campaigns are true testaments to radio’s ability to engage consumers, build brands and inspire the next generation of creative minds. Our mission is to recognize those storytellers who create an audiophoric world and truly capture our hearts and minds.” Hubbard Radio president and CEO Bruce Reese (left) presented the Marketer of the Year award to GEICO broadcast marketing manager Amy Hooks (right). The ceremony was hosted by Eric and Kathy from Hubbard Radio’s “101.9 The Mix” in Chicago, and included presenters: Jim & Kim from CBS RADIO’s WWFS, New York “Fresh 102.7”; Wendy Wild from Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s WKTU, New York; DJ Enuff from Emmis Communication’s WQHT, New York “Hot 97”; and Ino Gomez from Univision Radio’s WADO, New York. DJ Whutevva from Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s WWPR, New York “Power 105.1” served as the guest DJ for the night.
Bubba the Love Sponge and Affiliate Present Fundraiser for Highway Crash Victims. Syndicated, multi-format talk show host Bubba the Love Sponge and country affiliate WTRS, Gainesville/Ocala “102.3 My Country FM” are presenting “Bikes for Badges,” a charity motorcycle run on Saturday, June 14 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala. All monies raised will go directly to the families of fallen Florida Highway Patrol officer Chelsea Richard, as well as civilians George Phillips and John Duggan, who died in a tragic I-75 pile-up on Saturday, May 3. WTRS program director Dave Tyler says, “Bubba the Love Sponge and ‘102.3 My Country FM’ are committed to giving back to our community. This is our hometown. Tragedy can strike anywhere and we want to ensure the families of our fallen heroes are well taken care of. The Bubba the Love Sponge Foundation to date has given nearly half a million dollars in funds to families of these heroes. Now we are honored to take care of the three families affected by this accident.”
Odds & Sods. On tomorrow’s 70th anniversary of the invasion at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France – D-Day – Fox News Radio is providing coverage to affiliate stations. Jeff Monosso and Simon Owen will be reporting from Normandy. Monosso is also hosting a special, “D-Day: We Remember: A Fox News Radio Special,” which takes a look back at the events that unfolded during the D-Day invasion as well as the day’s ceremonies of remembrance…..Mark Halverson is the new vice president and general manager for Journal Broadcast Group’s Omaha station group that includes sports talk KXSP “590 ESPN Radio.”…..At Broadway Media’s Salt Lake City cluster, Corey O’Brien is promoted to digital content director for the six-station cluster that includes sports talk KALL “ESPN 700.”
Holly Williams Talks Music and Sports with Steve Gorman. Pictured here are Fox Sports Radio personality Steve Gorman (right), host of “Steve Gorman SPORTS!,” country music artist Holly Williams (center), and show co-host Jeffrey Gorman (left), in the Nashville studios of Fox Sports Radio. Williams, daughter of country legend Hank Williams, Jr. (and granddaughter of Hank Williams!), stopped by the studios to talk with the Gormans about her new album The Highway and share stories about growing up as the daughter of Hank Williams, Jr. She also told of her failed attempt at playing basketball as a child. Answering the question asked of every guest who appears on the program, Williams announced her favorite musical artists are Jay-Z and Tom Waits.
Dr. Laura Goes to Bat for KidsEmail. Talk radio superstar Dr. Laura Schlessinger – heard daily on SiriusXM Satellite Radio – is encouraging parents to use KidsEmail for their children’s internet communications. A press statement from KidsEmail says, “Recognizing the difficulty parents face with protecting their kids from cyberbullying, predators, vulgarity, spam, pornography, and other internet dangers, Dr. Laura encourages that parents use KidsEmail to help safeguard their kids.” Dr. Laura adds, “KidsEmail is an excellent tool for parents to use when playing an active role in keeping their kids safe from online dangers. It also helps parents teach their kids how to use the internet safely and responsibly.” KidsEmail.org founder and CEO Jacob Andersen states, “We are extremely excited that Dr. Laura recognizes how valuable a service like KidsEmail is in helping parents raise their children in a safe environment. It’s always been our mission to protect children while helping them learn about and enjoy technology in a safe environment.”
Gracie Awards Luncheon to Feature Roberts. ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” anchor and 2014 national Gracie Award recipient Robin Roberts will be a special guest at the 39th annual Gracie Awards luncheon next Wednesday (6/11) in New York City. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) chair Kay Olin states that this particular “memorable” event “honors and shares the compelling work of so many women in media, as well as recognizes the next generation of media stars. We are pleased to award Robin Roberts with a Gracie statue at our luncheon; she is a notable reporter whose work serves as inspiration to all in attendance.” This year’s local, online, public, and student winners include MPR News‘ “Betrayed by Silence,” AARP’s “Beyond the Face of Alzheimer’s — A Few Good Men,” “George Washington University’s Plus Size: The New Normal,” KNX, Los Angeles’ “Healthcare Uncovered,” and Mudbath Productions’ “Satellite Sisters.” Moll Anderson and Nancy Giles will host this year’s luncheon ceremony.
Bergdahl Prisoner Swap/al Qaeda Threats, Slenderman Stabbing Case, Influx of Illegal Aliens in Southwest, New Donald Sterling Allegations, Latest Justin Bieber Controversy and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4). The controversy over the swap of five terrorist prisoners for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and concerns about the renewed strength of al Qaeda and recent threats by the terrorist group; the case of the 12-year-old Wisconsin girl stabbed by two friends to please a fictitious internet character; recent waves of illegal immigrants appearing in Southwest cities and questions about responsibility for the occurrences; new allegations of racist and sexist behavior by Clippers owner Donald Sterling; another incident of racist language by troubled pop singer Justin Bieber; and the NBA and NHL finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus to Acquire Merlin Media’s Chicago Signals – WKQX and WLUP-FM. Variations of this deal had been rumored in the Windy City for some time. Scuttlebutt heard in the late fall also had Tribune interested in WLUP-FM due to WGN president Jimmy de Castro’s earlier comments that his company is looking to acquire an FM signal in Chicago. But now it comes to pass that Cumulus Media – for a sum yet-to-be-announced – will bring classic rock WLUP-FM and WKQX (currently adult hits WIQI at 101.1) into the company’s portfolio in addition to the alternative format airing on WKQX-LP. Speaking about the sale, COO John Dickey states, “These great brands will be welcome additions to the two legendary brands we already own in Chicago.” Dickey says the alternative format under calls WKQX will return to the 101.1 frequency as early as next week. The company also has no plans to change the classic rock format on WLUP-FM so it’s unlikely it will put the country NASH format on either station in the near future. The acquisition of the two FM signals from Emmis by Randy Michaels-led Merlin took place in 2011 and the alternative format of WKQX was displaced by a news and talk format that was to target females. The format never took off and was flipped to adult hits a little less than a year later in July of 2012.
Exclusive Never-Before Seen Video of Special Tribute to Bob Grant. In 2008, now-defunct trade publication Radio & Records announced that it was going to present the late Bob Grant with its Lifetime Achievement Award at its then-annual convention. Shortly after making the announcement, the publication rescinded the award in the face of threatened picketers that protested Grant’s selection based on their opposition to his stated views and controversial reputation. WABC, then owned by Citadel and Grant’s home base at the time, stepped up to the plate and decided to present Grant with its own Lifetime Achievement Award. The station, represented by its then-VP of programming, Phil Boyce, asked TALKERS magazine if it would be willing to host the ceremony at its annual conference (then known as the New Media Seminar) in New York City that summer. TALKERS agreed and the ceremony was conducted (amidst protests) at the event’s Friday night cocktail party. It featured the presentation of the award by Boyce and a magnificent acceptance speech by Grant in addition to a stunning video tribute to Grant’s career produced by renowned industry videographer and historian Art “Radio’s Best Friend” Vuolo. After the event, the video was filed away in the TALKERS vaults for posterity and never seen again. Until now, that is. Upon the sad occasion of Bob Grant’s passing at the age of 84 this past New Year’s Eve, TALKERS has made the video available for public viewing. To see this historic document which includes Grant’s discussion of talk radio’s role in a free society, its relationship with the First Amendment and the unconstitutionality of the repressive Fairness Doctrine please see the TalkersTV box at the top of the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Fox Sports Radio Goes to Gorman for Afternoons. As far as Fox Sports Radio is concerned, the next wave of sports talk talent may be coming from the world of rock music, as the network fills its weekday 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot with The Black Crowes’ founding member/drummer Steve Gorman. “Steve Gorman Sports” debuts later this month (1/27) with a series of broadcasts leading up to the Super Bowl. According to Clear Channel senior vice president of sports operations Bruce Gilbert, “‘Steve Gorman Sports’ is the perfect combination of sports, passion, pop culture, music and entertainment. Fox Sports Radio is committed to serving sports fans with unique and entertaining insight, stories, and opinions surrounding the natural drama of sports. Steve Gorman is an excellent addition to our leading, multi-platform, sports entertainment lineup.” Gorman comments, “This is an amazing opportunity to be able to work with the one network I always felt was a perfect fit for my show. I know listeners will love hearing athletes and musicians alike talking, laughing, and arguing about our shared passions: sports and music.” Gorman has hosted several local sports shows; he began “Steve Gorman Sports” as a podcast in 2010. With all times listed referring to the Eastern time zone, FSR’s revised lineup consists of: “Fox Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman & Mike North (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “The Dan Patrick Show” (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Jay Mohr Sports” (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); “Steve Gorman Sports” (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); J.T. “The Brick” with Tomm Looney (6:00 pm – 10:00 pm); “The Jason Smith Show (10:00 pm – 2:00 am); and “The Ben Maller Show” (2:00 am – 6:00 am).
Carlos Amezcua PM Drive Host at ‘The Patriot’ in Los Angeles. The newly transformed conservative talk outlet KEIB, Los Angeles (formerly progressive talker KTLK), now branded “The Patriot AM 1150,” has a new PM drive host as former KTTV-TV, Los Angeles news anchor Carlos Amezcua joins the station. KEIB’s change includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck now airing at the station – Limbaugh slid over from sister news/talk KFI – and also includes The Blaze personality Doc Thompson in early mornings and Westwood One’s Clark Howard in evenings.
Genesis Communications Network and Mancow Partner for Syndication. Talk radio personality Erich “Mancow” Muller and Genesis Communications Network are partnering to distribute the Chicago-based morning program. GCN states it is “excited to announce the arrival of the popular Mancow show featuring the notorious Erich ‘Mancow’ Muller and his controversial, snarky, hilarious and hard-hitting brand of talk radio.”
Los Angeles Sports Radio Talent Dave Stone Passes. “This is one of the toughest things I’ve ever written.” With that, iconic Los Angeles sports talk radio/mainstream talk radio programmer and on-air talent Joe McDonnell began his Facebook tribute to longtime Los Angeles sports voice Dave Stone, who passed away earlier this week at age 64. He’d been diagnosed with ALS. “I didn’t even know he was sick, which was typical of Dave,” McDonnell states. “He did not want anyone to fuss over him – even when he was batting a terminal disease. Dave was my first hire when I was putting together ESPN 710 [KSPN, Los Angeles] in 1999 – 2000. He put his heart and soul into everything he did there.” Part of that lineup was “McDonnell-Douglas” consisting of McDonnell and veteran Los Angeles sportswriter Doug Krikorian; Stone did sports updates. “Big Joe” first met Stone in the mid-1970s when they were competing for the job to operate the Dodger Stadium message board. “Dave beat me out, but it became a moment when I met one of the best friends I’ve ever had,” FoxSportsWest.com writer-reporter-columnist McDonnell states. A notoriously famous Lakers fan, McDonnell nonetheless concedes that Stone might have been just as strong of a partisan of the NBA team. “We would spend hours talking about [Jerry] West, [Elgin] Baylor, [Wilt] Chamberlain, Darrell Imhoff, and Archie Clark. If he was a Lakers player, we knew about him.” Stone was the public address announcer for more than 1,400 Harlem Globetrotter performances and McDonnell writes, “If the phone rang at 3:00 am, it might be Dave calling from Singapore to get the score of the Lakers game.” In 1991, Stone was working at Huntsville, Alabama’s WVNN-WZYP and he hired a young afternoon drive talent named Sean Hannity. Mike Dunsmore worked with Stone at Fox Sports Radio from 2007 – 2009 and just this past year at NBC Sports Radio, where Stone was an update anchor. “He had a booming voice, loved the Lakers, and despised [former Lakers player] Kwame Brown,” Dunsmore posts on Facebook. “Dave Stone was a class act.” Former KLOS, Los Angeles program director Rita Wilde – currently doing evenings at cross-town KSWD “The Sound” – writes, “I had no idea he was sick – he was a great guy.” McDonnell rhetorically states of Stone, “You have no idea how much I’m going to miss you.” Services for Stone were held yesterday (Thursday, 1/2) at 2:00 pm in suburban Los Angeles (Simi Valley).
KOIL, Omaha’s Tom Becka Launches Podcast Project. Talk radio pro Tom Becka – currently hosting afternoon drive at NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha – announces the debut of a weekly podcast project that will be featured at his website tombecka.com. Becka tells TALKERS, “TomBecka.com is a podcast page where I interview everyday people with a unique story to tell. Think of it as NPR, but with personality and a pulse. Some of the interviews that are helping me launch this are a woman who’s a breast cancer survivor, a soldier with PTSD, a drag queen, a woman who accidentally found out her bartender was the child she gave up for adoption 27 years ago, and a couple that practices polyamory. Every Sunday I will add another podcast and so far I have a rodeo clown, a man with Asperger’s, and a drummer who has spent most of his life working the cruise ships.” This project allows Becka to step outside of the format of a live, on-air talk radio show but still bring his own personality and style to these interview projects. He says his ability to negotiate keeping ownership of his digital rights has allowed him to work on these types of initiatives.
Odds & Sods. There’s been a minor lineup shuffle at Yahoo! Sports Radio where Sean Salisbury moves to the late afternoon “Prime Cut” show alongside current host John Granato. Leaving that show to host the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET program is Geoff Ketchum who replaces John Harris…..Compass Media Networks syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt announces changes in his show in a number of markets. In Schnitt’s home market of Tampa, his program will be delay broadcast on WFLA from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm but will air live on sister station WHNZ from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The show will also shift to early evening clearances on affiliates WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina and WTKS, Savannah, Georgia…..“Labor-Lines,” hosted by Vic Fusco, moves from former progressive talker WWRL, New York to its new home at Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” where it airs Saturdays at 1:00 pm.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Cumulus Media Networks-syndicated “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage is added to the programming lineup at KROP, Yuma, Arizona; KVPI, Lafayette, Louisiana; and WGSO, New Orleans…..Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt joins the program schedule at KNEW, San Francisco…..Rodger Fredinburg’s “Homeland Security” show joins the weekend program lineup at KMED, Medford, Oregon…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Jason Lewis program is added to the program schedule at KNEW, San Francisco…..Also from GCN, the weekly Steve Sanchez program announces its new flagship station KFNX, Phoenix…..“Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge announces new affiliates: WXBR, Brockton, Massachusetts; WQXL-AM/FM, Columbia, South Carolina; KMMS-AM, Bozeman and KPRK-AM, Livingston, Montana; and KMED, Medford, Oregon…..From Salem Radio Network comes the following affiliate additions: Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” is added to KVTA, Oxnard-Ventura; Mike Gallagher becomes part of the lineup at KGED, Fresno; the Dennis Prager show is added to WEZO, Augusta, Georgia; and Michael Medved joins the programming at WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois and WTIM-FM, Taylorville, Illinois.
Holidays and Year-in-Review Top Talk Topics for Week of Dec. 30 – Jan. 3. The holidays and a look back at 2013 were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was criticism of the Affordable Care Act. At #3 was the poor rating of Congress by the public followed by winter weather and discussions of global warming tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a list of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. To view this week’s entire chart, click here.