WISN, Milwaukee’s Mark Belling Sidelined by Stroke. Afternoon drive talk show host Mark Belling reportedly told his listeners that he’ll be taking “a few days” off from his work at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN, Milwaukee after suffering a stroke during his program back on February 11. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Belling is not having problems talking – a common effect of a stroke – but that his peripheral vision is affected and Belling says it makes reading difficult. He told his listeners that on the February 11 program he began experiencing a “weird sensation” that progressed. “It was not excruciating, it was not debilitating. Your head’s crumbling inside.” Belling added that reading copy live is a part of his program and that is very difficult. “I’ve got to do this right or I’m not going to be able to come back and be any good at this thing — at all.” He says he may do some one-hour segments of his show before coming back full time, but “nothing is set in stone.”
Phil Kornblut Building Network for South Carolina Sports Talk Show. Longtime South Carolina sports talk host Phil Kornblut’s statewide “SportsTalk” show was dealt a setback last month when Learfield Communications shut down the South Carolina Radio Network that distributed the program for more than 30 years. Kornblut is continuing his 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily show show, based at Glory Communications’ WQXL-AM/W264DF, Columbia, and is building a roster of stations across the state to carry the program. The Post and Courier reports Kornblut saying he has a network of 20 stations ready to carry the show beginning on February 25. At the same time, Kornblut says University of South Carolina football standout Rick Sanford is joining the program. Korblut is quoted saying, “He’s one of the great athletes to come out of this state and one of the great Gamecocks of all time, and he’s made himself into a very good sports talk show host. His name and knowledge will bring a lot to the show. He wants to cover press conferences, go to games. He’s really throwing himself into it, and I think it’ll be fun.”
WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans Host Scoot Victim of Hit and Run. The picture here is of WWL-AM/FM early afternoon talk host Scoot in the hospital after being struck by a hit-and-run motorcyclist in New Orleans early in the morning of February 15. The station’s website posted the photo along with the story. Authorities are still seeking information in an attempt to find the driver. Scoot was crossing Canal Street near the corner of Canal and Bourbon when he was hit. WWL management says, “Scoot’s ok, but he’s recovering from some tough injuries to his body.” Police have video from surveillance cameras, but the lack of light and the speed of the motorcycle make it impossible to identify the driver. They are seeking help from nearby businesses to see if better surveillance footage is available.
Crossover Media Group Takes on Ad Sales for Nancy Grace Show. Cross-platform content-production and advertising-sales firm Crossover Media Group is now handling ad sales for SiriusXM’s daily, two-hour “Crime Stories with Nancy Grace” program. As part of the agreement with Red Seat Ventures, Crossover Media Group is also handling ad sales and sponsorship support for the program’s social media channels. Crossover sales managing member Sue Freund says, “Nancy has that rare storyteller’s ability to connect with audiences. The addition of ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ places CMG in an even stronger position to offer marketers access to hard-to-reach female demographics with proven national personalities.”
BFoA Names 2019 Leadership Award Recipients. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces this year’s recipients of the 2019 Leadership Awards. The awards will be presented at the Broadcasters Foundation annual breakfast on Wednesday, April 10 in the Brahms Room of the Encore Hotel in Las Vegas during the NAB Show. The 2019 Leadership Awards honorees are: Bobby Caldwell, owner & CEO, East Arkansas Broadcasters, Inc.; Jean Dietze, president, affiliate relations, NBC Broadcasting; Richard A. Foreman, president, Richard A. Foreman Associates, Inc.; Mark Gray, CEO, Katz Media Group; Paul McTear, former president & CEO, Raycom Media; David Poltrack, chief research officer, CBS Corporation and president,CBS Vision. The Leadership Awards are given annually by the BFoA in recognition of career contributions to the broadcast industry and the community at-large.
Border Wall Issue/Emergency Declaration Suit, Trump-vs ‘SNL,’ McCabe on ’60 Minutes,’ 2020 Democratic Hopefuls/Sanders Enters, Venezuela Unrest, Florida ‘Pledge’ Arrest, Jussie Smollett Case, NBA/NCAA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/18). The U.S.-Mexico border wall project, President Trump’s emergency declaration, and the 16 states suing over the emergency declaration; President Trump’s feud with “Saturday Night Live” and Alec Baldwin over its parody of him; former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s interview on Sunday’s “60 Minutes”; the growing list of Democrats entering the 2020 presidential race, including Bernie Sanders; President Trump ramps up criticism of Nicolas Maduro’s regime in Venezuela amidst the political unrest; the case of the Florida sixth grader arrested after refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance; the investigation into actor Jussie Smollett’s controversial attack by two individuals in Chicago; and NBA and NCAA hoops 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. In Phoenix, Entercom swaps morning shows at classic hits KOOL-FM and country KMLE. Beginning February 25, Maria Knight and Chad Mitchell (pictured at right) will take over the morning daypart on KMLE “Country @ 107.9.” Meanwhile, Niko Petrou (left) will move from KMLE to KOOL-FM for mornings. Entercom Phoenix SVP and market manager Dave Pugh states, “This transition will allow us to maximize the content we deliver daily to this market. Maria and Chad are market veterans who know and love the country format and we are excited for KMLE listeners to get to know them. Niko has a great connection to Phoenix and we are confident that his passion and energy will enable him to connect with KOOL’s listeners.”…..On-air pro Alek Halverson joins Entercom’s Seattle country outlet KKWF “100.7 The Wolf” where he’ll serve as afternoon drive personality and music director, effective February 21. He comes to Entercom from his most recent position as Radio Fargo-Moorhead’s CHR KLTA, Fargo where he was afternoon host, APD, and music director. Entercom Seattle SVP and market manager Jack Hutchison comments, “Alek’s passion for radio and dedication to entertaining people on air and on social media makes him a great addition to our team. We are excited to welcome him to Seattle and to start a new chapter of afternoon drive in Seattle.”…..Midday personality Nikki Imbrascio exits Entercom’s CHR WBBM-FM, Chicago “B96” after 10 years in the position. Her bio, etc. has been scrubbed from the station’s website and no successor has been named at this point…..The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that the recent station swap between Cumulus Media and Entercom that’s turning ownership of Indy stations CHR WZPL, AC WNTR and sports talk WXNT-AM over to Cumulus will mean a move of those stations from their current studios, but no timetable has been set. Cumulus already owns classic hits WJJK-FM, country WFMS, and CHR WYRG in the market. The three new stations will join the current three at Cumulus’ Shadeland Avenue studios. The report says no format changes are planned but TALKERS magazine has speculated that the company will not continue to operate two CHR stations in the market and will eventually flip underperformer WYRG to another format…..As reported by the Terre Haute Tribune Star, WFNB-FM has flipped from adult contemporary to alternative as “92.7 The Rock.” DLC Media president and GM Dave Crooks tells the paper, “That was a bold move. We had done some research over the last several months. It looked like my original idea of trying to have all gold-based formats (adult hits or classic hits) was creating some duplication and chasing the same listeners. So, we decided to make this move to help us expand our reach.” Core artists will include: Foo Fighters, Linkin Park, Green Day, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Alice in Chains.
WXYT-FM Detroit’s Terry Foster Sidelined by ‘Minor Stroke.’ One half of the “Valenti & Foster” show on CBS RADIO’s WXYT-FM, Detroit will be off the air until October 3. Terry Foster announced on the station’s website that “I suffered a minor stroke but I am going to fully recover. I can already feel a difference in how I speak and how I type. My fine motor skills are a little messed up in my right hand and I am not ready to throw a pitch from the pitcher’s mound. But I feel a little better every day.” The former Detroit News and Detroit Free Press writer has been partnered with Mike Valenti on the highly rated show since 2004.
iHeartMedia Brings Tom Sheridan Aboard. Sales pro Tom Sheridan – formerly a GSM and director of sales for E.W. Scripps’ crosstown operations – joins the iHeartMedia’s Milwaukee station group to serve as a senior account executive. Sheridan brings his quarter century of sales experience in the market to iHeartMedia’s cluster that includes: country WMIL, urban contemporary WKKV, classic hits WRIT, news/talk WISN, CHR WRNW, and sports talk WOKY.
TED Talk and Audible Partner on New, Anonymous Audio TED Talks. The success of TED has not only led to the expansion of the TED Talks online but to the TEDx initiative that allows free licenses to local organizers to organize their own TED-like events. Now, TED curator Chris Anderson is announcing a new audio platform – in conjunction with the folks at Audible – featuring anonymous, audio TED Talks. In a post at TED blog, Anderson notes the special nature of audio only – he says the “picturelessness” connects us more intimately than any other medium. But the reason for the new anonymous TED Talks is to offer the chance to connect with others to people with knowledge that matters who might not otherwise because of the repercussions of going public. He writes, “Imagine ghostwriters, witnesses, wise souls who’ve survived something profound. A public figure living with mental illness. Someone who secretly gave up a child for adoption. A teenager who fought back against bullying and won. A parent who found a way to balance the needs of an autistic child and a neurologically normal one. A doctor living with a life and death mistake. An illegal immigrant with ideas on how to change the system. A CEO who knows exactly how and when companies go wrong. Someone living a double life.” You can read Anderson’s entire blog post here.
The Presidential Campaign/Clinton Family Foundation Questions, Syrian Conflict/Iran Boots Russian Air Force, Obama Visits Louisiana, Sinking Oil Prices, Putin Offers Middle East Peace Talks, an MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/23). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and allegations donors to the Clinton Family Foundation were given access to Clinton while she was Secretary of State; the ongoing Syrian conflict and Iran’s decision to rescind Russia’s access to its air bases; President Obama’s visit to flooded regions of Louisiana and criticism he waited until his vacation was over; the sinking price of crude oil; Vladimir Putin offers to host Middle East peace talks; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Yappy Fever! The colorful host and owner of talker WCRS-AM/FM, Greenwood, South Carolina – the irrepressible Anne Eller – is pictured above doing prep for her forthcoming interview this week with Bernadette Duncan, author of the book that has the talk industry buzzing, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Books, 2016). The book chronicles Bernadette’s 26-year career as a producer for big-time talk hosts (such as Sally Jessy Raphael, Larry King, Tom Snyder, Lou Dobbs and Gil Gross) during the golden era between 1983 and 2009. It is an insider’s personal perspective of the good, the bad, and even a bit of the ugly sides of the business and people hosting the shows and guesting on them. A parade of hundreds of contemporary personalities is dissected in this compelling collection of anecdotes and insights. Bernadette has embarked on a national tour of radio and is receiving rave reviews on both the book and her performance as a fascinating guest. For info about the book, please click here. To book Bernadette as a guest, please call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Who the Heck Is Marvin Robert Klopfenstein? He’s one of the most seasoned and storied radio professionals in the business – better known throughout the industry as Bob K – and he’s this week’s guest on the PodcastOne award-winning hit series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Today, the former (self-described) “nerd” from Chino, California – who took accordion lessons, owned a ventriloquist dummy, had a pet duck and pushed around an AV cart in high school – maintains a relatively modest profile as the owner/operator of the Boston-based production company, Bob K Sound & Recording. But back in the day, he programmed and/or managed some of the most important music and talk stations in the nation (KABC, KOA, KFWB, WIND, KING, KOB, KMPC, WBZ and more) and coached some of the biggest-name talent (Jerry Williams, Larry Glick, Tom Leykis, Doug Stephan and the legendary Alan Berg to name a handful). The conversation between Harrison and Klopfenstein is a radio geek’s delight! They talk about Bob K’s experience serving as the radio consultant on the successful, multi-Emmy Award-winning “Frasier” television sitcom back in the 1990s – and is still playing to huge audiences on Netflix. It starred Kelsey Grammer as the pompous Seattle radio psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane. One of the many assets that made “Frasier” one of the best TV shows of all time was its atypically accurate depiction of the radio station, studio and employees – due in large part to then-KABC program manager Bob K’s expertise and participation in designing the set and coaching the actors. Fans of the classic TV series will love this podcast. Harrison and Klopfenstein also talk about the late Alan Berg (whom Bob K hired at KOA), the liberal/Jewish personality murdered in cold blood by anti-Semitic, white supremacists in 1984, who inspired the Eric Bogosian/Oliver Stone play and film, “Talk Radio.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Odds & Sods. There’s a three-hour Labor Day special for news/talk stations available from Our American Network titled, “Our American Stories.” The host is Lee Habeeb, who also hosts the nightly version of the magazine-style show of the same name. Included in this special are segments with actor Robert De Niro detailing his climb to superstardom in entertainment and what he thinks are important tools to success, racing superstar Mario Andretti, and 5-Hour Energy Drink developer Manoj Bhargava…..Mapleton Communications does a frequency swap between its news/talk and sports talk properties in the Redding, California market. News/talk is now heard on KQMS-FM, translator K289BT, Anderson at 105.7 FM and KQMS-AM at 1670 AM as “News Talk Superstation.” Sports talk KNRO “FOX Sports Redding” moves down the AM dial to 1400 and is simulcast on translator K263BP, Bridgeport at 103.9 FM…..Alpha Media’s news/talk KFOR, Lincoln, Nebraska is honored with five Excellence in Broadcasting Awards from the Nebraska Broadcasters Association. The station took home two gold awards for Spot News and Service to Agriculture, as well as three silver awards for Best Newscast, Service to Children, and Service to Government, Business, Industry, and Education. Pictured here are KFOR’s Jeff Motz (left) and Chris Goforth (right) with their gold award in Spot News for their severe weather coverage of 2015. Motz also won the silver award for Best Newscast along with Charlie Brogan. Dale Johnson won the gold award for Service to Agriculture with his “Lincoln Live” discussion about the future of Ag Journalism.
SRN Prepares Special Ebola Report. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network vice president, news & talk programming Tom Tradup in West Africa gathering content for the SRN News week-long special focusing on the 2014 Ebola outbreak titled, “Ebola: The Crisis Prayer Conquered.”