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Monday, December 16, 2019

| December 16, 2019

Former Mega-Church Pastor Sues Mancow Muller for Defamation. In a complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois, WLS-AM, Chicago morning drive personality Erich “Mancow” Muller is being sued by James MacDonald, the former pastor of the Harvest Bible Chapel church.  MacDonald is seeking $50,000 in compensatory damages and punitive damages to be determined at trial.  The back story is that Mancow and MacDonald were once close, with Mancow a fan who publicly lauded MacDonald’s Chicagoland megachurch.  Over time, Mancow became disenchanted with MacDonald and ultimately recorded conversations in which MacDonald allegedly spoke of planting child porn on the computers of his enemies.  That got MacDonald fired from his position with the church.  MacDonald argues that Mancow used his radio show to destroy him and his surreptitious recordings were illegal.  The complaint also targets Cumulus Media for allowing Mancow to broadcast his speech about MacDonald and for “negligent hiring” – implying the history of defamation allegations against Mancow should have been enough to prevent him from being hired.

Monday Memo: Don’t list To-Do. “Assume that your listener is busier than you are,” cautions consultant Holland Cooke.  In this week’s column, he notes how some radio talkers seem to be over-estimating listeners’ attention.  Read it here.

Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, IG’s FBI Report, Chinese Diplomats Expelled, U.S.-China Trade Talks, Dem Congressman Flips, India’s Citizenship Rule, UK Election Aftermath, and Richard Jewell Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment proceedings against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the criticism of the FBI in the wake of the inspector general’s scathing report; two Chinese diplomats are expelled from the U.S. after suspicion of espionage; the trade talks between the U.S. and China; plans by New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew to leave the Democratic Party for the Republican Party; the controversy over India’s citizen rule that doesn’t apply to Muslims; the aftermath of Boris Johnson’s UK prime minister victory; and the poor weekend box office for the Richard Jewell film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

FOX News Talk Superstar Brian Kilmeade Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. Cross-platform, multi-media personality Brian Kilmeade is the guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” He is co-host with Ainsley Earhardt and Steve Doocy of the very popular daily ‘FOX & Friends” show on FOX News Channel from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET. Then he runs down the hall to host his daily 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated “Heavy Hundred” talk show on FOX News Radio. Both of his shows are famously among the favorites of the President of the United States and, of course, politically controversial. Kilmeade is the 2019 recipient of the prestigious TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award. As a best-selling author, he is proving himself to be an extremely contemporary and communicative storyteller of great events in American history. With co-author Don Yaeger, he penned George Washington’s Secret Six, followed by Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates and then Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans – all published by Sentinel. These three history books have already gone well past the million mark in sales. Now he has another book about American history, and it is extremely exciting and informative. It’s titled, Sam Houston & the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory that Changed American History (Sentinel, 2019). Harrison and Kilmeade engage in a lively dialogue about the nature of leadership, past and present as well as the rigors of hosting a live, three-hour radio show while major news – such as the impeachment hearings – is breaking in real time. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box that appears in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Joey Hudson’s ‘Breakfast Broadcasts’ on WGTK, Greenville Benefit the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign.  Morning drive talk radio personality Joey Hudson (pictured above at the mic) is making the rounds in Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina broadcasting his show from breakfast restaurants while ringing the bell and asking listeners to donate to the Salvation Army.  To date, Hudson’s listeners have raised more than $30,000.  Hudson’s show is based at Salem Media Group’s WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina “94.5FM The Answer.”  He says, “I have this wonderful platform to ask people to give generously and why not spend some time out in the communities we serve to raise funds and awareness of the wonderful work being done by the Salvation Army.”

Taylor Leads Townsquare’s Rochester, Minnesota Cluster. Management and sales pro Ben Taylor is named market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Rochester/Preston, Minnesota station group that includes news/talk KROC-AM and sports talk KLOM-AM “1520 The Ticket” and seven music brands.  Taylor was most recently VP of sales for iHeartMedia in Minneapolis.  Townsquare regional VP Kelly Quinn says, “Ben’s vast experience in radio and digital, both on-air and in sales, combined with his leadership experience as a coach and volunteer firefighter, make him an ideal fit to lead our team in Rochester/Preston.  We’re poised for a strong 2020, building on the growth we had in 2019, with incredible on-air ratings and digital content, and by continuing our ‘Local First’ focus.”

Townsquare Media Execs Receive New Contracts. In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Townsquare Media reveals it has entered into letter agreements that amend the employment deals with CEO Bill Wilson, CFO Stuart Rosenstein, COO Local Media Chief Erik Hellum and executive chairman Steven Price.  The agreements extend the terms of their deals through October 16, 2023 for Wilson and Rosenstein and through October 25, 2023 for Hellum. The letter agreements also provide that in the event of the executive’s termination by the Company without cause or by the executive for good reason, all outstanding, vested stock option awards will remain exercisable for 24 months following the executive’s termination date or, if earlier, until the original expiration date of the stock option award, and that all outstanding equity awards will fully accelerate and vest upon a change in control of the Company.

TALKERS News Notes. The best interviews from this year’s Howard Stern programs on SiriusXM are being packaged in a 19-episode podcast series on Pandora.  Titled, “Howard Stern: 19 from 2019” includes interviews with: Jennifer Aniston, Russell Crowe, Robert Downey Jr., and Kristen Stewart; musicians including The Black Crowes, Def Leppard, Billie Eilish, and Adam Levine; comedians including Jimmy Kimmel, Tracy Morgan, Seth Rogen, and Adam Sandler; and newsmakers such as Hillary Clinton…..There’s a webinar on Wednesday (12/18) from Edison Research that focuses on moms and social media.  Edison says, “The Infinite Dial study estimates that there are 15 million fewer Facebook users in the U.S. today than there were in 2017.  However, among Moms in the U.S., Facebook remains strong year over year.”   The webinar will “debut data from this study that explores moms’ usage, perceptions, and sentiments of all social media.  This is a new survey conducted in the second half of 2019 among a sample of moms in the U.S.  It includes why they use social media, what they use it for, and how they feel about using it – and how their feelings and actions don’t always align.”…..WTKN-FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina “Talk 94.5” is airing “The Jared Dillian Show,” hosted by self-made millionaire Jared Dillian.  He says, “I’m proud to be a part of the WTKN family and I couldn’t be more impressed by everyone’s professionalism in producing this show.”  The Jared Dillian Show is part of the 24/7 Smart Talk Radio Network, based in Chicago and distributed by Envision Networks…..Pictured at left is Salem Radio Network East Coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh in a still shot from Netflix’s The Irishman in which he plays a mob supporter of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa.  He tells TALKERS, “As someone who grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, I literally jump at any chance to be in a Martin Scorsese movie… it’s an offer you can’t refuse. LOL.”…..Entercom sports talker WSSP, Milwaukee “105.7 FM The Fan” helped raise more than $200,000 in cash and the value of toys to benefit Children’s Wisconsin and Robyn’s Nest during its 13th annual “WSSP Toy Drive.”  This marks a record-breaking year for the fundraiser, topping the $160,000 that the station raised in 2018…..Pictured below is Westwood One talk host Jim Bohannon reprising his role as Santa Claus for the Collins Children’s Home of Seneca, South Carolina.

Internationally Noted Artist Inspired by TALKERS Panels.  A world-renowned artist living and working in South America who is a fan of American talk media and reads TALKERS regularly has created a painting titled “Talking Heads” that she says was inspired by the convention and workshop panel discussions that she sees in this trade journal.  Clearly, this is an abstract work subject to interpretation.  Bobbie Winston (a.k.a. La Femme Bobbíe) is a multi-award-winning American artist living and painting in Rio de Janeiro since 1988.  She has a world-wide following that enjoys her highly identifiable style.  She paints wildly abstract portraits, full human figures, and imaginative, surrealistic scenarios marked by dramatic features and bold, striking colors.  Her perspective on the human condition is cosmic, inclusive, and evolved. Bobbie Winston’s Facebook page can be accessed here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programing pro Kelly Gueno is promoted from programming assistant to assistant program director for iHeartMedia Chicago’s urban programming.  In this role, Gueno will assist with brand support for all urban programming and digital operations for “V103,” WGCI and “Inspiration 1390.”  She reports to VP of urban programming Derrick Brown.  He says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled with Kelly’s expanded role.  She literally grew up at our stations and it has been absolutely gratifying to see Kelly’s progress from our promotions department, to being a programming assistant, and now, assistant program director for our iconic urban brands.  Kelly’s passion, skill and insight will be invaluable as we navigate our ever-changing media landscape.”…..Pictured below are the staff of Beasley Media Group’s country WKLB-FM, Boston at the Secret Superstar Holiday Jam last Thursday (12/12) at the House of Blues.  The station officially announced the show about six weeks ago and sold the venue out without divulging the names of the talent (Dan + Shay and Lauren Alain) that would be performing until the day before the show!  Pictured below are (clockwise from l-r): Summer Harlow, director, Northeast promotion, Mercury Nashville; Lauren Alaina; Dan Smyers; Shay Mooney; Dawn Santolucito, music and marketing director, WKLB; Kristen Williams, SVP radio & streaming, Warner Music Nashville; Heather Propper, regional manager, radio & streaming, WAR; and WKLB PD David Corey.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

| October 17, 2017

Big Executive Changes at Townsquare Media.  The biggest surprise about the news released by Townsquare Media late yesterday (10/16) is that company founder and CEO Steven Price is leaving the CEO role and will now be the executive chairman of the board, a move that takes him out of the day-to-day operation of the radio and live events company.  It was seven years ago that Price – with backing from Oaktree Capital Management – founded the company.  Oaktree managing director and Townsquare board member David Quick announces that Bill Wilson and Dhruv Prasad are being promoted to the positions of co-chief executive officers who will report to the board of directors.  At the same time, the company announces that radio management pro Erik Hellum is promoted to chief operating officer, local media.  Townsquare reports that it “owns 318 radio stations and more than 325 local websites in 67 U.S. markets, a digital marketing solutions company serving approximately 11,750 small-to-medium sized businesses, approximately 550 live events with nearly 18 million attendees each year in the U.S. and Canada, and one of the largest digital advertising networks focused on music and entertainment reaching more than 50 million unique visitors each month.”  In 2015, Townsquare acquired mobile amusement company North American Midway Entertainment.  It also operates music and entertainment websites including: hip hop-focused XXLmag.com, TasteofCountry.com, hard-rock-oriented Loudwire.com and New York music site BrooklynVegan.com.

Entertainment Journalist Craig Marks Joins Townsquare.  Speaking of those genre-specific digital publications that Townsquare Media operates, the company says that it has hired “veteran editor and journalist” Craig Marks to serve as editorial director in which he’ll “oversee editorial content across web, social and video for eight of Townsquare’s music and entertainment brands including: TasteofCountry, Loudwire, PopCrush, ScreenCrush, UltimateClassicRock, TheBoot, Diffuser, and TheBoombox.”  He will work alongside Vanessa Satten, longtime editor in chief of XXLmag.com.  During his career, Marks has served as executive editor at Billboard, and as editor-in-chief at Blender magazine, Spin and Popdust. He comments, “I am thrilled to be joining such an innovative, multi-platform company as Townsquare.  I look forward to participating in the continued growth of the company and its industry-leading music and pop-culture brands.”

Story Questions Trump’s Absence from Talk Radio.  In a piece by Oliver Darcy published at CNN.com, the author wonders why President Trump has, except for one or two campaign-oriented appearances, not taken his message to conservative talk radio.  Noting that conservative talk radio hosts are, by and large, supporters of the president, reports that the administration says the president has “a great relationship with talk radio” but choses to use Twitter “to speak directly with his base.”  Some talk hosts offer their thoughts.  Former WTMJ, Milwaukee talk host Charlie Sykes is quoted saying, “The only thing that I can think of is that Donald Trump doesn’t listen to the radio.  He watches television.  He reads The New York Times. So he reacts to what’s in his world.”  WFTL, Fort Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman says she thinks he knows he’s vulnerable in the long-form interview with hosts who might pressure him on issues like immigration reform.  Read the whole story here.

Tax Reform Radio Row Today at White House.  The story above notwithstanding, talk radio has a presence in Washington today as the administration hosts a radio row at the Old Executive Office Building to promote its tax reform plans.  Talk show hosts taking part in the radio row include Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt and Mike Gallagher, Cumulus Media hosts Chris Plante, Mary Walter, and Vince Coglianese, as well as WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall and WIBC, Indianapolis’ Tony Katz. Guests available to speak to talk radio hosts will include President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, as well as Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway and others. Pictured above is Salem’s Mike Gallagher (right) shaking hands with President Trump (left).  Pictured below is WPHT’s Chris Stigall (right) interviewing Vice President Mike Pence.

Salem Moves News/Talker in St. Louis to Make Room for Gospel Outlet.  As of yesterday (10/16), Salem Media Group moved its St. Louis news/talk format “The Answer” from WDSZ-AM/K236CS to KXFN-AM/K287BY and will install “Praise 95.1” on WDSZ and its translator.  In a statement about the move, Salem Media St. Louis general manager Greg Lhamon says that there’s an untapped market.  “Based on conversations with many in the St. Louis area, the community has been waiting to enjoy gospel on the FM dial.”

CBS Sports to Simulcast Jim Rome ShowVariety is reporting that CBS Sports is going to start simulcasting the Jim Rome radio show on cable’s CBS Sports Network, effective January 2.  The piece reports that the company is building a new studio to “reflect the new visual elements of his program.”  EVP of programming at CBS Sports Dan Weinberg says, “Jim is an engaging and dynamic host with an incredibly loyal and passionate fan base.  We are excited to provide one of sports talk radio’s most enduring programs a new national platform on television.”  Rome has been with CBS Sports Radio since 2012 after a long career syndicated by Premiere Networks.

North Korea Nuclear Program, McCain ‘Liberty Medal’ Speech, Weinstein Scandal, Puerto Rico Recovery Troubles, Kaepernick Lawsuit, Las Vegas Shooting Investigation, ISIS Driven Out of Raqqa, U. Florida-Richard Spencer Event, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/16).  North Korea’s statement of no negotiations until it has ICBMs that can hit the U.S. East Coast; John McCain decries ‘half-baked’ nationalism during medal acceptance speech; the Harvey Weinstein sexual predation scandal and criticism of Hollywood’s history of ‘looking the other way’; the hampered recovery efforts in Puerto Rico; former NFLer Colin Kaepernick sues the league owners for collusion; the investigation into the motive behind the deadly Las Vegas shooting and the now-missing Mandalay security guard; U.S.-backed forces push ISIS out of Raqqa; Florida Governor Rick Scott’s concerns about public safety during white nationalist Richard Spencer’s pending University of Florida appearance; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  On Thursday (10/19), Beasley Media Group will present “Vegas Strong: A Night of Healing” at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.  The concert will honor all victims, survivors and first responders from the October 1 tragedy and feature country superstars Big & Rich and Cam, plus a surprise performance from one of country’s most renowned acts.  Beasley says 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Steve Sisolak Las Vegas Victims’ Fund that has, to date, raised nearly $11 million.  Beasley Las Vegas VP and market manager Tom Humm states, “Due to the kindness and support of the Beasley family, Mega Country Recording Artists, the country community and The Orleans Arena/Boyd Gaming we have the opportunity to present ‘A Night of Healing’ for affected families and also give special thanks to our first responders.  It is our privilege and honor to help in any small way we can as proud members of this community.  Vegas Strong!”…..The new contract between urban morning radio star Tom Joyner and Reach Media is also signaling the end of Joyner’s radio show after December 31, 2019.  The two announced the new deal last week and now report that as Joyner celebrates his 25th year in national syndication, he “plans to launch a two-year-long celebration campaign, sharing events and experiences with his listeners highlighting the past, present and future of the Tom Joyner brand.  Joyner reportedly will reveal more as his show moves forward with events and activities as a lead-up to the conclusion of his iconic morning show.”…..A new talent search TV show is coming next year and iHeartMedia is collaborating with Fox Broadcasting Company, show creator Armoza Formats, and producer ITV Entertainment.  The show is titled, “THE FOUR: BATTLE FOR STARDOM,” and iHeartMedia will use its radio station listenership to support auditions, assist in the search for talent, and boost the careers of artists throughout the run of the competition.  As part of the grand prize, the winner of the show will also be part of iHeartMedia’s “On the Verge” artist development program, which will support the winning talent with airplay across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide.  “THE FOUR: BATTLE FOR STARDOM” begins with four super-talented singers, chosen from auditions by the show, defending their coveted spots on the stage as they are challenged individually by new singers determined to replace them.  If the existing four outperform their challengers, they survive to sing another week, until the end of the season, when the final four face off against each other.  Only one will claim the ultimate prize for an aspiring artist: a team of elite star-makers – the series’ panel of judges – all committed to launching and guiding the winner’s music career…..iHeartMedia is launching a new festival, this one aimed at the alternative rock audience, called “iHeartRadio ALTer EGO” and taking place on January 19 at the Forum in Los Angeles.  Artists scheduled to perform so far include: Mumford & Sons, Cage The Elephant, Beck, Spoon, WALK THE MOON, The National and Dashboard Confessional, with more to be announced later.  Entertainment Enterprises for iHeartMedia president John Sykes says, “Alternative rock is experiencing an incredible renaissance.  Young bands in their 20s are making music with the same energy and power of the bands like U2, Depeche Mode and REM, that helped to create the format.”…..Alpha Media San Jose inks nationally syndicated morning duo “Brooke & Jubal” to handle the morning drive daypart at its hot AC KEZR “Mix 106.”…..Michael Tedesco shifts from director of business development with Educational Media Foundation to sales manager at Christian contemporary WAWZ, Zarepath, New Jersey “Star 99.1.”  He takes over for the retiring Lorraine Shaw.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

| August 9, 2017

CBS News Radio Appoints Bolton Manager, Affiliate Sales. Most recently a consultant to AT&T/DIRECTV on the syndication of radio shows hosted by Dan Patrick; Rich Eisen; and Joe Buck, Amy Bolton is named manager, affiliate sales at CBS News Radio. “Amy has an unrivaled depth of affiliate sales experience,” CBS News Radio general manager Craig Swagler comments. “The relationships she has formed with stations over the years make her an excellent fit for the position. I look forward to the contributions she will make in this new role as we continue to work closely with our affiliates and explore new partnerships.” Bolton declares that, “CBS News Radio is the gold standard in original radio journalism; this is a dream job. I am thrilled to be part of the next phase of this award-winning organization and deliver our affiliates the highest quality programming.” In addition to having previously consulted Cox Media Group news site Rare.us and ABC Radio, Bolton, who grew up in Rome and holds a University of Maryland Bachelor of Science degree in human ecology and marketing, spent nearly six years as senior vice president of talk & news for Westwood One (formerly Dial Global), and ten years as vice president of affiliate sales, news/talk at Dial Global (acquired Jones Radio Network).

Last Call For Dawson. On the Kansas City Chiefs broadcasts as a commentator since 1984, former quarterback Len Dawson will not return to the booth after the 2017 NFL season. The team’s chair and chief executive officer Clark Hunt, son of team founder Lamar Hunt, declares, “Next to my father, few people have had a more lasting impact on the Kansas City Chiefs than Len Dawson. Over the course of his legendary career – first as a player and later as a broadcaster – Len has been a part of every major moment in franchise history. We sincerely appreciate his many contributions to ‘Chiefs Kingdom’ since he arrived as a player in 1962. We look forward to having Len as part of the Chiefs Radio Network for the 2017 season.” Chiefs Radio Network executive producer Dan Israel notes, “It has been a true privilege and honor to have Len at the center of our broadcast team for the last 33 years. His contributions to not only this sport, but our industry, are incredibly profound. I am thankful he will continue to be part of the Chiefs Radio Network this season; he will forever be welcome as a part of our broadcast team family.” Dawson led the Chiefs to victory in Super Bowl IV and three AFL championships. “Looking back on my career, I’ve been blessed for what I had the opportunity to do,” Dawson comments. “I could not have accomplished so much without my teammates and colleagues – I am grateful for each of them.” Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf, and Dawson are the only three dual-honorees as players and broadcasters in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Cumulus Media Kansas City classic rock KCFX “101 The Fox” is the team’s flagship.

ABC Radio Names Hubbard Country Producer/Reporter. Fittingly based in Nashville, Stephen Hubbard joins ABC Radio as a country producer and reporter. While Hubbard will primarily be reporting for ABC Radio, he will support all ABC News platforms. In a staff memo, ABC Radio vice president and general manager Steve Jones notes that award-winning producer Hubbard is “well known in Nashville and around the country world. He will continue to report on all things country including interviewing the genre’s biggest stars. With more than 20 years of experience, Stephen has worked on a variety of projects including CMT specials starring Reba McEntire and Miranda Lambert; Great American Country’s ‘Opry Live’; ‘Music City Keep on Playin,’ a benefit concert for the victims of the 2010 Nashville flood; and ‘Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountains Rise’ telethon after the 2016 East Tennessee wildfires. He recently interviewed Shania Twain, Thomas Rhett, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, and Brad Paisley. This summer, Stephen worked on ABC Radio’s 4th of July special – ‘Country Family Salute’ – with country star Josh Turner, and ABC Radio’s Memorial Day special – ‘Kelsea Ballerini’s Summer Road Trip.'” A country content contributor to ABC Radio since 2010, Hubbard most recently was a producer for ABC-TV’s Nashville affiliate WKRN-TV (channel 2). Two-time Emmy nominee Hubbard received an Associated Press award for “Best TV Producing in Tennessee.”

Wetherbee Wins Weather Recognition. Owing to his daily forecasts and severe winter weather broadcasts on the Georgia News Network, Envision Radio Networks meteorologist John Wetherbee is the recipient of this year’s GABBY Award for Excellence in Broadcasting for “Best Weather Coverage.” Wetherbee states, “This is so exciting to be recognized by GAB for my weather reporting throughout Georgia and having the ability to continue to grow and succeed in my life-long passion – radio. It is just so cool.” With its weather component, Envision Radio Networks’ EnvisionVirtualServices provides stations up to five daily forecasts each weekday and 24-hour on-call severe weather coverage on a barter basis. Wetherbee’s recognition took place as part of GABCON 2017, a convention for Georgia television and radio broadcasters.

PPM Data – Round Two. Information for the July 2017 ratings period has been released for Washington, DC; Boston; Miami; Detroit; Seattle; Phoenix; Minneapolis; San Diego; Denver; Tampa; Baltimore; and St. Louis. Nielsen Audio’s July 2017 survey period covered June 22 – July 19. See the data from these 12-PPM markets here.

Townsquare Media Q2 Net Revenue Up 2.6%. Compared to the second quarter of 2016, Townsquare Media’s net revenue increased 2.6%, which is consistent with previously issued guidance. Chairman and chief executive officer Steven Price comments, “We are pleased to report another solid quarter that was in line with our expectations. Our second quarter performance was anchored by our Local Marketing Solutions segment, where revenue increased 4.3% over the prior year, and 4.8% excluding political revenue. Our results in this segment are representative of the continued strength of our local advertiser solutions and the strength our local teams.” Entertainment net revenue and net income were approximately flat. Adjusted EBITDA was also approximately flat, consistent with previously issued guidance. Diluted net income and diluted adjusted net income per share are of $0.20 and $0.21, respectively. In terms of year-to-year comparisons, the company’s net revenue decreased by 1.1%. Conversely, Local Marketing Solutions net revenue increased by 2.9%. The company repaid $6.7 million of long-term debt and there are year-to-year decreases in entertainment net revenue (-10.2%); net income (-39.4%); and adjusted EBITDA (-5.0%).

NABJ and NAHJ To Hold Combined 2020 Confab. As they did last year in Washington, DC, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) will have a joint convention in 2020. NABJ president Sarah Glover comments, “NABJ is looking forward to hosting another joint convention with NAHJ. Both groups executed a memorable convention experience for our members and the journalism industry last year. We have a lot of momentum to build off of as we head into 2020. It only makes sense to bring black and Hispanic journalists together as we move toward what is shaping up to be a history-making election in 2020.” Meanwhile, NAHJ president Brandon Benavides remarks, “As we move toward returning to a joint convention with NABJ, we will be recognizing the priorities in our programming, special events, and all elements of a conference that our members value most. It is critical that as the two largest journalism associations of color, we not only make an investment into our student journalists, but also provide the best resources to develop talent and make it our mission to create more leadership training opportunities for all of our journalists.”

Demand for Spanish-Language Spots Skyrocketing. Given radio’s reach and growing podcast audiences, digital audio advertising is considered by many to be the single most effective medium to connect with Hispanic audiences. According to Nielsen research, radio reaches more than 92% of Hispanics regardless of language preference. Oink Ink co-founder Dan Price explains his company has produced Spanish radio spots for various clients, but it has been especially busy the last seven months. “We are working with a number of clients to create relevant Spanish-language radio spots that demonstrate an understanding of nuances of the culture and diversity within the Hispanic market.” According to Pew Research, Hispanics are the youngest ethnic group in the United States, while data from Latinum Network indicates ads targeting Hispanics in Spanish significantly increase their interest in purchasing products. Price comments, “We didn’t need research to tell us that thoughtful, creative ads work better – regardless of the language. [Nonetheless], it’s nice to have facts that demonstrate the value of the work we do for our clients. We work with the best Spanish-speaking writers, actors, and sound mixers in the country – the ads are resonating culturally.”

Remembering Glen Campbell. After battling against Alzheimer’s since 2011, singer-songwriter Glen Campbell lost his fight against the disease yesterday (Tuesday, 8/8) in Nashville; the 1968 Country Music Association “Entertainer of The Year” was 81. A rural Arkansas native, Campbell hosted “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour” on CBS-TV. A midseason replacement that debuted in January 1969, the series ran until June 1972; Jerry Reed and Anne Murray were among the show’s regulars. In the mid-1960s, Campbell briefly toured with the Beach Boys and he really hit it big in 1967, earning multiple individual Grammy nominations for “Gentle on My Mind” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” One year later, “Wichita Lineman” reached the Top 5. All three of those singles were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. While continuing to do extremely well on the country charts – more than two-dozen top 10 hits and five songs that reached #1 – Campbell went on to have pop notoriety with “Galveston” and “It’s Only Make Believe.” By the mid-1970s, he again enjoyed considerable success – this time with “Southern Nights” and the often parodied “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Altogether over a six-decade span, the sharecropper’s son and seventh of 12 children, released more than 70 albums and won six Grammys among 20 nominations. He sold 45 million records; had 12 gold albums; four platinum; and one double-platinum. Approximately 80 different Glen Campbell songs reached the country, top 40, or adult contemporary charts, nine ascending to #1. The 2005 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee was in-demand as a session player, featured on the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby”; Jan & Dean’s “Dead Man’s Curve,” and Shelley Fabares’ “Johnny Angel” (among others). As part of the Wrecking Crew, he played on recordings of artists ranging from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Nat Cole to Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, and The Monkees. The 2014 film “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me” followed Campbell and his family during a farewell tour in the United States, Australia, and Europe as he dealt with his illness. The powerful “I’m Not Going to Miss You” from the film landed an Oscar nomination (losing to “Glory” from “Selma”) and a Grammy nomination (losing to “Let It Go” from “Frozen”). Tim McGraw sang it at the 2015 Academy Awards. Campbell’s appropriately-titled final studio album, “Adios,” was released earlier this year. Donations that will support Alzheimer’s research may be made to the Glen Campbell Memorial Fund at Brightfocus Foundation.

After Cutting “Idol” Fox Answers with “The Four.” We’ve seen it unfold countless times in radio. Station executives determine a particular on-air talent is no longer sufficient enough for the salary and they then hold their breath when that personality (or team) crosses the street to join the competition. After a 15-season run on Fox, “American Idol” will surface on ABC midseason with iHeartMedia Los Angeles KIIS “Kiss-FM” morning drive star Ryan Seacrest continuing as host. Yesterday (Tuesday, 8/8), Fox announced it will deliver a new singing competition series – “The Four” – from Armoza Formats and ITV Entertainment. With a tagline of “We start with the best and only get better,” Fox’s “The Four” will not launch until 2018. While the network has yet to announce a specific premiere date or host for “The Four,” the show is not expected to be slotted directly against “Idol” or NBC’s Carson Daly-hosted “The Voice.” Each week, the top four will sing against challengers to retain their slots on the show. A panel of (yet-to-be cast) music experts and personalities will choose the original finalists from auditions. Similar to “American Idol,” viewers will be able to vote from home on four contestants. They get to decide who is brought on the show by voting on streamed auditions, influencing which challengers will take on “The Four.” Fox Broadcasting Company president of alternative entertainment Rob Wade maintains “The Four” (billed as “The Final Four” in Israel, as pictured) is nothing like “American Idol,” categorizing it as the most “pure, clean format” for a singing competition he has ever seen, while Fox Television Group co-chair/chief executive officer Dana Walden opines singing competition series have become “much more about celebrity panelists and less about” turning aspiring singers into stars.

Savannah’s “G-100” Grabs Station of the Year Honors. In a Georgia Association of Broadcasters award ceremony held this past weekend at Jekyll Island, Alpha Media Savannah (Georgia) – Hilton Head (South Carolina) classic hip-hop WXYY “G-100 The Throwback Station” was named “Station of the Year” for “Division Radio A/Large market.” Alpha Media Savannah – Hilton Head vice president and market manager Gigi South points out that “G-100” celebrated its first birthday last month and “winning ‘Station of the Year’ is a major accomplishment. The state of Georgia has many super radio talents. This is a huge honor and we are so grateful to our listeners [as well as to our] staff and Alpha Media, which gives us the tools and celebrates our passion to win.” Program director Amini remarks, “In one year, we have made groundbreaking history. Listeners call, text, find us on social media, and stop us in person just to share their love for the ‘Throwback’ music. From Hurricane Matthew coverage, to collecting toys, to helping kids get fit and perform in school, everything we do is intended to give Savannah the best on-air product and listener experiences.” Meanwhile, station personality Mark “Shark” Ediss was cited as Georgia’s “Best On-Air Personality.” Among persons 12+ in Savannah’s latest (Spring 2017) Nielsen Audio book, “G-100” ranks ninth (4.1, 12+); Cumulus Media urban contemporary WEAS and iHeartMedia CHR WAEV are tied at #1 – each with 8.3 (12+). In Hilton Head’s comparable spring 2017 results, Alpha Media country WUBB is on top with a 6.5 (12+), while WXYY is sixth (2.6, 12+).

Nation’s Capital First Up in Café Mocha “Salute Her” Tour. Launched over seven years ago, 2017 Gracie award winner Café Mocha Radio kicks off its “Salute Her: Beauty of Diversity Tour” in just over two weeks (8/25) in Washington, DC. Among those being honored there are White House journalist/author April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks; actress Pam Grier; Grammy winning singer Stephanie Mills; entrepreneurs Germaine Leftridge and Vivian Pickard; and author Joi-Marie McKenzie. The syndicated radio show will have similar award ceremonies and networking events in New York City (9/28); Charlotte (11/4); and Chicago (12/14). This year’s theme, “Redefining What Perseverance Looks Like from the Inside Out,” underscores the importance of women maintaining their inner spirit to find strength. Café Mocha creator and executive producer Sheila Eldridge comments, “Over the years, we have honored more than 300 women. Our honorees demonstrate passion, creativity, and drive to break down barriers in their respective fields, truly redefining what perseverance looks like.” Café Mocha co-host comedienne Loni Love notes, “I am especially looking forward to honoring our incredible unsung heroines, these extraordinary women who are doing so much great work for others and rarely get recognition for their service.”  Café Mocha incorporates urban contemporary music with hot topics and is “radio from a woman’s perspective.” The two-hour program heard in 35 markets features interviews with singers, celebrities, politicians, and those making headlines.

More Music Radio News and Career MovesAfter 14 years with Beasley Media Group, including the last three as chief revenue officer, Heather Monahan departs as the company eliminates her position. “I want to thank my team, partners, clients, and all the amazing people I have known over the years,” she writes on her LinkedIn account. “It has been an emotional few days and I wanted to thank everyone for their love and support.” The Clark University graduate spent four years as a Wilks Broadcasting market manager before joining Beasley as executive vice president of sales in March 2003 ….. Starting next Monday (8/14), Jackie Paige takes over mid-days (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) on Urban One Richmond urban contemporary WCDX “iPower 92.1/104.1.” Operations manager Yonni Rude notes, “Jackie’s talent and positive energy make her the perfect fit for Radio One Richmond.” Paige most recently was at Curtis Media Group Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, North Carolina urban contemporary WIKS “101.9 Kiss-FM” ….. Two-year WEZL program director Tyler Reese departs the iHeartMedia Charleston, South Carolina country station. Reese previously was music director at Nashville country sibling WSIX “The Big 98” and has worked at similarly-formatted co-owned WKKT “96.9 The Kat,” Charlotte and WMAD “96.3 Star Country,” Madison ….. The new night talent at Entercom Sacramento classic rock KSEG “Eagle 96.9” is Chris McCoy, whose previous experience includes working for nine years in Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey) at adult contemporary WMGQ “Magic 98.3.” In addition, McCoy did morning drive at Jerry Lee Radio Philadelphia adult contemporary WBEB “More FM” ….. To pay tribute to the passing of Glen Campbell (see the story above), Rick Jackson’s entire three-hour United Stations Radio Networks (USRN) “Country Classics” program on the weekend of August 26 and 27 will be comprised of Campbell’s greatest hits and his story ….. Following a five-year stint as senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Greensboro, Rich McMillan departs. He oversaw adult contemporary WMAG; CHR WMKS “100.3 Kiss-FM”; FM news/talk WPTI; WTQR “Q104.1 – New Country”; and WVBZ “Rock 105.7 – Man Up.” Prior to his time in Greensboro, McMillan programmed Miami and Birmingham stations for the company when it was known as Clear Channel. Exiting the iHM Greensboro cluster as well are WMAG program director Gary Nolan and WVBZ imaging voice Matt Pencola ….. The third annual, three-hour “Hungry for Hip-Hop” concert presented by iHeartMedia Orlando urban contemporary WTKS-HD2 “104.5 The Beat” takes place in two weeks (8/24) in downtown Orlando and will feature an all-female lineup. “Beat” on-air personality Viva La Koi will host. Proceeds will benefit Pathlight HOME, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing and economic opportunities to Central Florida’s homeless ….. Having recently taken a hiatus from programming Sarkes Tarzian Fort Wayne, Indiana adult contemporary WAJI “Magic 95.1,” Dan Baisden returns to radio for part-time/weekend on-air duties at Adams Radio Group’s crosstown, similarly-formatted WWFW “103.9 Sunny FM.”

Friday, July 7, 2017

| July 7, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: Legendary Radio Trade Publication Writer Claude Hall Dies.  Details are sketchy and TALKERS will have more details on Monday morning (7/10), but reports indicate that Claude Hall, the legendary radio trade publication writer who presided over Billboard magazine’s historic “Vox Jox” column during the 1970s and is credited with coining the longtime popular term “Easy Listening” for that particular radio format has died at Sunrise Medical Center in Las Vegas due to injuries suffered from a fall earlier in the week.  He had continued to publish the “Vox Jox” column in partnership with veteran talk show host and radio station owner Rollye James as a weekly online newsletter published Mondays specializing in the activities of older and retired radio broadcasters (www.voxjox.org).  According to James, “His family was with him and loved him dearly. He loved his friends, students, and colleagues. He remained proud of radio and music stemming from his days listening to radio as a kid.”  James reports that she will devote this coming Monday’s column to the life of Claude Hall and post reactions and reflections on his life from many of the broadcasters who knew him.  Hall was a prolific writer who wrote books about radio as well as novels.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “There was once a time when Claude Hall was the major source of all information pertaining to the radio industry.  He is the founding father of the style of radio trade publishing that has set the tone of this business for the past five decades.  I am lucky to have known him and remember what a thrill it was to appear in his columns back when I was a young DJ and PD in my 20s.  His love of radio and contributions to this industry are incalculable.  He is number one with a bullet!”

Townsquare Media to Acquire Six Western Massachusetts Signals. This deal between Townsquare Media and Gamma Broadcasting LLC and Berkshire Broadcasting Co., Inc. will add six stations and two FM translators to Townsquare’s portfolio.  Those stations are: hot AC WBEC-FM, news/talk WBEC-AM, classic hits WUPE-AM/FM (and an FM translator at 94.1 FM), adult contemporary WNAW-AM, adult contemporary WSBS-AM (and translator W277CJ at 103.3 FM).  Townsquare chairman and CEO Steven Price states, “We are very excited to announce this transaction which will strengthen our footprint in the Northeast.  We look forward to partnering with the Pittsfield team to bring our resources, including our digital and live event products, to Berkshire County’s advertisers and audience, and further build upon their success in the market.”  Townsquare expects the acquisition to close in the third quarter of 2017, subject to closing conditions and customary regulatory approvals.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to Sub at WFAN Next Week.  When out-going New Jersey Governor Chris Christie co-hosts the 2:00 pm to 6:30 pm show at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York with the station’s Evan Roberts on Monday and Tuesday (7/10-11), it won’t be the first time he’s appeared there.  Christie – a big sports fan and unabashed Dallas Cowboys backer – has appeared on the AM drive “Boomer & Carton” show as a guest.  With PM driver Mike Francesa leaving the station at the end of the year, there’s speculation about whether Christie is a candidate for the afternoon show.  A piece in NJ.com references WFAN program director Mark Chernoff’s February 2017 comment that Christie is “among many names being considered” as a replacement for Francesa.

SiriusXM Severs Ties with Gregg “Opie” Hughes. After 13 years with SiriusXM, Gregg “Opie” Hughes is let go by the satcaster.  He posts on Facebook, “Humbled by the love and support. Wish I can write everyone back. There is absolutely no justification for my firing. Thats why their statement is so vague. Won’t be sitting out long. Although may take a few days to fish.”  The chatter on social media among Opie fans hints that a supposed video of a fellow staffer using the bathroom may be the reason for the dismissal.  Regardless, as Hughes indicates above, he plans to continue hosting a show on some platform.  When Opie and then-partner Anthony Cumia joined SiriusXM, they had their own channel.  A couple of years ago, SiriusXM changed that and the “Opie Radio” show had been available on its Faction channel.  Industry watchers remember that Cumia was fired from the satcaster in 2014 after his Times Square altercation with a black woman that devolved into a social media post involving racial epithets.

KTRH, Houston Talk Host Matt Patrick Ends Cancer Treatment. Sad news this week as KTRH, Houston morning drive personality Matt Patrick announces to his audience that he’s ending his treatment for an aggressive case of esophageal cancer.  The station’s Facebook page posted the following: “On ‘Houston’s Morning News’ this morning, Matt revealed he has exhausted all options and has discontinued cancer treatments.  Matt and all of us at NewsRadio 740 KTRH, and the iHeartMedia family, thank you all for your constant love and support during this difficult time.”  Patrick was diagnosed in 2015 and this week’s news comes at the time of Patrick’s six-year anniversary at the station.

Gerry V Returns to Sports Talk Radio in Charlotte. The Charlotte Observer calls Gerry Vaillancourt “one of the first sports talk radio hosts in Charlotte.”  Gerry V left the market when the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets left for New Orleans back in 2002, but he’ll return on Monday, July 17 to host the afternoon drive show on HRN Broadcasting’s WZGV-AM “ESPN 730.”  Current afternoon host Bobby Rosinski is moving to the AM drive daypart for the new “Wake Up Call” show with co-hosts Molly Cotten and Walker Mehl.  Gerry V launched his sports talk career in 1990, working at both WFNZ-AM and WBT-AM prior to leaving the market 12 years later.  Read the Observer piece here.

Chicago Stations to Simulcast Spot Promoting Radio Advertising. On Monday (7/10), more than 40 Chicago market radio stations will simultaneously air a :60-second spot consisting of an interview with Wintrust Financial Corporation founder, president and CEO Ed Wehmer speaking about radio as the most effective medium for advertisers.  Matt Scarano is chairman of the Illinois Broadcasters Association’s Radio Broadcasters of Chicagoland Committee and he states, “The Radio Broadcasters of Chicagoland are proud to unite as a group to highlight Wintrust and their investment in radio.  Wintrust is a valued partner to our industry and a testament to the results that radio delivers for an advertiser.”  The spot will air on a diverse group of radio stations, involving all formats, including music, news, sports, and Spanish language.

CNN-Trump Wrestling Video Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 3-7. The controversy over the CNN-Trump wrestling video, including the blowback the news organization faced after finding the video’s creator, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was North Korea’s apparently successful test of an ICBM and President Trump’s warning to the hermit kingdom.  Coming in at #3 was Trump’s trip to Europe for the G20 summit, and following at #4 was the allegations of Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. From Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch comes the news that Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne promotes news director Kayla Blakeslee to program director, taking over for Ryan Wrecker who left to take a talk host position at KMOX, St. Louis.  Blakeslee continues to serve as news director…..Kevin McCullough’s Saturday evening “Radio Night Live” supercast (radio and TV) adds new affiliate stations KJPW, Lebanon/Waynesville, Missouri; KVBR, Brainerd, Minnesota; WKRO, Cairo, Illinois; and WGNU, St Louis…..The Newsmax TV video simulcast of the nationally syndicated Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo program adds another hour to its carriage of the show.  Pags tells TALKERS that Newsmax TV – which can be seen on DirecTV 349, UVerse 1220 (among other cable systems) and online at Newsmaxtv.com – begins broadcasting hours one and two of the show, effective Monday (7/10)…..The Compass Media Networks-syndicated Lars Larson program is now heard on Entercom’s news/talk KMBZ-AM, Kansas City as program director Alan Furst adds the show to the station’s lineup…..SiriusXM is presenting subscribers comprehensive coverage of Major League Baseball’s 2017 All-Star Week from Miami, featuring coverage of the 88th All-Star Game.  In addition, on Sunday (7/9), it will air the exclusive radio broadcast of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, featuring the top minor league prospects from the U.S. facing off against their counterparts from around the world.

KSPN, Los Angeles Transmitter Site Damaged by Driver Under the Influence. The Thursday incident did not cause any damage to the “ESPN LA” transmitter but the man police took into custody after the incident caused damage to the site’s perimeter fence and started a brush fire in the grass that scorched about an acre.  Authorities were on the scene quickly and arrested the man they believe was under the influence.  The suspect’s vehicle was in flames when fire personnel arrived and was consumed by the fire.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/7) with Karen Hunter, Craig Schwalb and Ethan Bearman.  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day.  Already posted are the “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein); the special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor  Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo); the special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard); and the special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell).  Today (7/7), the first series of “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” begins with a conversation between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan Bearman (facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter).   Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year.  The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone NetworksBroadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. More from Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch as we’re tipped that Swick Broadcasting’s hot AC WLKI, Angola drops the syndicated Jeremy Robinson-hosted “The Jeremy Show” and will install air personality Tiny in the daypart with news director Sheila McCrea joining him…..IRW also reports that Federated Media’s Fort Wayne promotions director Sally Allgeier is exiting the cluster and will be replaced by Paige Fransen…..Rincon Broadcasting’s rock KTYD, Santa Barbara announces the addition of Bill Pesso to the air staff as morning drive co-host with current station APD Lin Aubuchon for the “Morning Mojo” program.  Pesso was most recently afternoon personality at the company’s sister adult contemporary KSBL “K-Lite.”  Program director Dennis Mitchell comments, “We’re thrilled to have two of the most fun and locally tuned-in people to host the new ‘Morning Mojo.’ It’s been a long time coming and we know our listeners will love it.”…..Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WCSX, Detroit re-brands the Jim O’Brien-led morning program as “Big Jim’s House.”  The station recently added air personality Erin Vermeulen to the program and O’Brien comments, “I am so excited to welcome all our listeners into ‘Big Jim’s House’ with Erin V. and Producer Ryan.  This will be my 15th year at WCSX.  Everyone on the show has a deep-felt love for Detroit and believes in where we’re going.  Our house is full of fun and great classic rock!”

Tuesday, May 9, 2016

| May 9, 2017

Townsquare Media Reports Q1 Net Revenue Down 6.4%.  But this decrease was consistent with the guidance previously issued for the first quarter of 2017.  Townsquare Media reports its business in two segments – Local Marketing Solutions and Entertainment – with its radio stations included in the former category.  Townsquare chairman and CEO Steven Price states, “2017 has started off well, with first quarter net revenue of $88.4 million, net loss of $3 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $10.1 million, in line with our expectations.  Our Local Marketing Solutions segment, which increased 1.2% over the prior year period, and 2.5% excluding the impact of political revenue, continues to show consistent, organic growth demonstrating the strength of our local products and services.  Our local digital offerings have been especially strong, and we believe we will see continued strength as we begin to utilize our first party data capabilities in combination with our digital platform.”  Townsquare also reports that it paid down $6.7 million against its long-term debt.

Radio One Officially Changes Company Name to Urban One.  On the occasion of the 18th anniversary of the company’s initial public offering on May 5, Radio One, Inc. changes its name to Urban One, Inc.  In a press release, the company says, “Reflecting its longstanding, rich history as the most trusted source to inform, entertain and inspire the African-American community, Urban One will continue to provide culturally relevant integrated content through its iconic brands and platforms – TV One, Radio One, Reach Media, iOne Digital and One Solution.”  Chief executive officer Alfred C. Liggins III adds, “More than 35 years ago, we proudly began representing Black culture by lifting our voices boldly, courageously and unapologetically.  Urban One’s mission is to enhance and maintain our position as the largest distributor of urban content in the country.”

TALKERS News Notes. WFTL, Fort Lauderdale talk show host Rich Stevens is off the air at the Alpha Media talk station as he battles a blood clot in his brain.  Stevens hosts the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway has another triple shift today.  In addition to his regular WHO show and the morning drive program he hosts at iHeartMedia’s sister news/talk station WMT, Cedar Rapids, Conway is sitting in for San Antonio-based Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo on his nationally syndicated program…..The news/talk programming on United Broadcasting’s KTKK-AM and KBJA-AM – both licensed to Sandy, Utah (Salt Lake City market) – continues to be heard on KBJA and the company takes KTKK silent…..In the Chicago market, local media reporter Robert Feder writes that Memphis-based Pollack Broadcasting is buying Kovas Communications-owned WCGO, Evanston for $3 million.  Pollack purchased WRMN, Elgin and WBIG, Aurora last year.  Read Feder’s column here.

Vanity Fair and DGital Media Partner for Podcast Series.  A new podcast series is launching featuring Vanity Fair special correspondent Nick Bilton.  The program is a collaboration between Vanity Fair’s Hive and DGital Media.  Hive editor Jon Kelly says, “As we prepare to enter our second year at the Hive, the goal is all about expanding to new platforms and modes of storytelling.  So creating a podcast for Nick was an easy and obvious decision.  Audiences will appreciate his curiosity and cogent analysis of the bizarre, temple-scratching world in which we live.  And DGital Media was a no-brainer for a partner.  From Peter Kafka’s ‘Recode Media’ podcast to Crooked Media’s ‘Pod Save America,’ these guys are making some of the absolute best content anywhere.”

Yates’ Russia Testimony, GOP Health Care Plan, Kushner Family-China Investors Issue, North Korea Nuke Threats, French Presidential Election Aftermath, Trump Travel Ban Arguments, MLB, NBA and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/8).  Former Attorney General Sally Yates’ Monday testimony about Michael Flynn’s contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak; the GOP’s efforts to repeal ObamaCare and implement their own plan; controversy over the Kushner family’s business efforts to woo Chinese investors using the EB-5 visa program; North Korea’s nuclear program and the country’s threats against the U.S.; the aftermath of Emmanuel Macron’s victory over Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election; the arguments in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals over President Trump’s travel ban; and MLB, NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Brian Joyce Emcees ‘Scenic City Sing-Off.’  Pictured above with the contestants of the first annual “Scenic City Sing-Off” in Chattanooga is WGOW-FM midday talk host Brian Joyce (wearing vest), who emceed the event.  The competition benefits the Chattanooga Girls Choir which will be heading to New York City this summer to perform at Carnegie Hall.  The winning singer, Ivy Hall, won the grand prize of $1,000.  Joyce also hosts the afternoon drive program on Cumulus Media‘s WYAY-FM, Atlanta.

 

 

Emmis to Sell ‘Power 106’ in LA to Meruelo Group for $82.75 Million.  Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications, as the result of recently renegotiated terms with lenders JPMorgan Chase Bank and Bank of New York Mellon, agreed to divest of $80 million of its radio assets.  That looks like it will be accomplished with the just-announced deal to sell stand-alone hip hop KPWR, Los Angeles “Power 106” to the Meruelo Group for $82.75 million.  Meruelo will begin operating the station under an LMA following the expiration or early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.  Emmis chairman Jeff Smulyan states, “‘Power 106’ has been part of the Emmis family for more than 32 years, so this day is bittersweet, but I am confident that the station and our team are in good hands.  The Meruelo Group will be great owners of this historic brand, and take it to even greater heights.” Meruelo Media acquired KWHY-TV, Los Angeles in 2011 and radio station classic hip hop KDAY-FM, Los Angeles in 2014.  Meruelo Group chairman and CEO Alex Meruelo comments, “The acquisition of ‘Power 106’ is a game-changer for our group and our media division.  As a fan and someone who has had a business relationship with this station for more than 30 years, I understand the importance of ‘Power 106’ to this community.  We are committed to bringing the resources, talent and passion necessary to make this legendary brand the #1 radio station in Los Angeles.”  Emmis purchased KPWR-FM from Century Broadcasting in May 1984.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Phil Kukawinski is named program director at Times-Shamrock Communications’ alternative, taking over the recently departed Tom Ferguson.  Kukawinski was most recently midday personality, music director and APD at Bell Media’s alternative CIMX, Windsor/Detroit…..At Max Broadcast Group’s rhythmic AC KJHM, Denver “Jammin’ 101.5,” Tracy Taylor is promoted to host of the midday show from her part-time/fill-in role…..Sales and management pro Josh Riley joins One Putt Broadcasting as general manager for the company’s six-station cluster that includes CHR KWDO “99.3 NOW FM,” triple A KJWL “K-Jewel 105.5,” alternative KFRR “New Rock 104.1,” oldies KYNO, and sports talk KFIG. Riley previously served as director of sales for American General Media in Albuquerque…..iHeartMedia’s urban contemporary WKKV, Milwaukee “V100.7” is presenting its Music Seminar – a music industry event that will “bring singers, songwirters, producers and record label executives to downtown Milwaukee to discuss how to succeed in the industry.”  The program will include two panel discussions: The New Way to Get in the Music Business, featuring Empire Distribution; and Music Marketing & Management.  A personal Listen & Critique session will be held for attendees to have music industry professionals listen to their music.  Industry professionals will provide feedback on ways to continuously improve their craft and insight on how to get the attention of labels as a professional artist.