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Monday, January 14, 2018

| January 14, 2019

Talk Radio Host Lars Larson Banned from Twitter for 12 Hours. The story in the Willamette Week has the details of KXL, Portland-based, nationally syndicated talk host Lars Larson’s 12-hour ban from Twitter for his exchange with a Portland activist over a recent police shooting that resulted in the death of man reportedly schizophrenic and legally blind.  Former Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone tweeted, “We know the police kill. [The] question is whether we will ever stop funding this deadly paramilitary force and start funding things that actually keep the people of Portland safe.”  Larson was suspended for the following response, “Gee @sarahforpdx you think the cops make PDX dangerous? Read the story and you find the dead man was 1) paranoid schizophrenic 2) invaded a stranger’s home 3) fought with the officer 4) pulled a knife. What’s your millennial snowflake solution to that situation without the cops?”  Responding to the ban Larson received for the tweet, Iannarone said Larson’s words “may not seem like much on the surface.”  But complained that “whenever that account retweets me, it brings commenters into my sphere who hurl insult and innuendo my direction. I reported three other accounts resulting from the retweet that day that Twitter admins agreed were abusive or harmful.”

Ron & Don Fans Baffled by Show’s Abrupt, Unexplained Exit. This story in the Seattle Times was published on Saturday (1/12) and includes comments from TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison.  Friday’s launch of a new afternoon drive program – “Candy, Mike and Todd” – on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM Seattle caught fans of the “Ron and Don” show off guard.  The story notes some 1,000 comments on the “Ron and Don Nation” Facebook page expressing their dismay at the show’s departure and anger with the lack of Bonneville’s explanation.  Ron Upshaw and Don O’Neill had been with the station for 13 years.  They didn’t shed much light on the controversy, either, probably due to a non-disparagement clause in their contracts.  They wrote, “Life is not about what you got, it’s what you give. We are very appreciative to all our great advertisers and everyone in the Ron and Don Nation for giving so much of your time, your energy, and your resources over the last 22 years. Together we raised over 11 million dollars for causes in the community we all care about. From our families to yours, Thank You Seattle, Tacoma, Fife, and Fremont.”

KSTP-AM, Minneapolis Re-Brands as ‘SKOR North.’  Tomorrow (1/15) will be sports talk KSTP-AM’s first day as “SKOR North” as it shucks the “1500 ESPN” brand.  Hubbard Radio says in a press release that the brand is now “a digital-first sports brand that will create and distribute content across multiple traditional and digital platforms, including 1500 AM, 94.5 FM HD2, streaming, a dedicated SKOR North app, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.”  In September, Hubbard dropped the “Garage Logic” show with host Joe Soucheray from the lineup, as well as Patrick Reusse’s show (PD Brad Lane exited as well).  The new program schedule will still consist of ESPN Radio’s “Golic & Wingo” in morning drive, followed by the “Dan Le Batard with Stugotz” show.  Local afternoon program includes the new “SKOR North Live with Matthew Coller,” followed by the drive time “[PhilMackie and Judd [Zulgad] Show with Ramie,” and a return to the airwaves of Patrick Reusse as one of the four 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm programs that will rotate throughout the year, depending on the season.

Monday Memo: CES 2019.  Consultant Holland Cooke’s Monday Memo here at TALKERS magazine summarizes some of his takeaways from last week’s enormous CES 2019 in Las Vegas.  Cooke reports that Consumer Technology Association vice president of market research Steve Koenig says we’re at the beginning of the “Data Age of Consumer Tech” and that means, “information about our listeners – whom advertisers want as customers – is gold.” See his entire report here.

WICC, Bridgeport Announces Programming News. Connecticut news/talk WICC-AM, Bridgeport announces it will continue to serve as an affiliate for New York Yankees baseball.  In addition, the Cumulus Media station is adding FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade show for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot.  It also is carrying Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro in the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daypart.

Mike Rich to Lead Townsquare Media Danbury. Radio management pro Mike Rich is named market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Danbury, Connecticut group of sports talk WINE-AM “Sports Radio 940,” rock WRKI-FM “i95,” and WDBY-FM “Kicks 105.5.”  Rich comes to Townsquare from his most recent position as CEO of digital media firm Irish Studio.  He’s also served with Time Inc., Radio One, and AOL.

TALKERS News Notes. Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM’s new afternoon drive personality – former, longtime rock KZRR “94 Rock” morning personality T.J. Trout – is an unabashed “left of center,” “social liberal” who will take over 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program on Cumulus Media’s conservative news/talk station on January 22.  Trout talks about getting the gig and how he views his role on the station in a piece with Albuquerque Journal here…..The podcast “Red Pilled America” – an iHeartRadio original podcast – got some love from The Washington Times recently in an article about story-focused podcasts that target conservative listeners.  The podcast is the work of husband and wife creative duo Patrick Courrielche and Adryana Cortez and the piece delves into how the program highlights stories rather than monologues to get the message across to listeners…..The NHL’s Boston Bruins and the Boston Bruins Foundation are holding the second annual Patrice Bergeron & 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Pucks & Paddles event on Thursday, February 7.  The table tennis tournament will feature players from the active Boston Bruins roster, on-air personalities from Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” and patients from Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center with all proceeds to benefit the hospital…..Beasley Media Group announces Jennifer Sulik is named to the newly created position of vice president of strategic partnerships at Beasley XP, the company’s esports division.  Sulik was most recently founder and chief executive officer of Go Media Detroit, a digital media advertising agency.  Previously, she worked in the digital sales division at WXYZ-TV, Detroit and UBM Tech in San Francisco, where she developed integrated business-to-business media campaigns targeting game developers and game industry influencers, including Game Developer Magazine, Gamasutra.com and Indiegames.com…..Across the pond, “Fix Radio” – the station for builders and tradespeople – will launch in Manchester, England today (1/14).  Fix Radio is programmed by British talk radio pro Graham Mack and is based in London.  Mack and Gaz Drinkwater present the daily morning show on the format.

The Trump-Putin Relationship, U.S.-Mexico Border Wall, Government Shutdown, Jayme Closs Case, Paris Bakery Bombing, Bezos Divorce, 2020 Presidential Race, Dems in Puerto Rico, Winter Snow Storm, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Reaction to weekend stories indicating the FBI was concerned about President Trump’s relationship with Russia’s Vladimir Putin; the battle over funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border; the ongoing government shutdown; missing teen Jayme Closs is found after escaping her captor; the deadly bombing at a bakery in Paris; the divorce of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos; potential presidential candidates in the 2020 election; Democrat legislators are criticized for “partying” in Puerto Rico with lobbyists; the winter storm that swept across the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic; and the weekend’s NFL playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend according to ongoing research from TALKER magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Terri Avery is the new PD at Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WALR, Atlanta “Kiss 104.1,” effective January 22. Avery was most recently radio station manager and an instructor at Carolina School of Broadcasting in Charlotte.  Prior to that, she was OM/PD at WPEG and WBAV in Charlotte for 14 years. CMG Atlanta director of operations Chris Eagan says, “Terri is well-regarded in the radio industry.  She is smart, engaging, a champion in talent coaching and an expert in urban AC.  Her years of diverse experience make her a great addition to the ‘Kiss 104.1’ team.”…..Cumulus Media rock KSAN, San Francisco “107.7 The Bone” officially names Chasta Michaelis midday personality.  She’s been interim host of the daypart since Steven “The Weedman” Seaweed in 2017.  Chasta also serves as a cast member on the station’s “Lamont& Tonelli Morning Show,” a role she will continue along with her daily production of her daily Facebook Live chats from “The Bone” studios following each morning show…..Through a partnership between iHeartMedia and LiveXLive Media Inc – a global digital media company focused on live entertainment – the 2019 iHeartRadio ALTer Ego concert at the Forum in Los Angeles on January 19 – will stream live. LiveXLive chairman and CEO Rob Ellin comments, “Our mission is to bring our global audience of music fans the ‘best seat in the house’ for musically diverse concerts by the most popular artists.  iHeartMedia, with its massive reach across radio, digital and social, and its culture-defining marquee events such as ALTer Ego, is undeniably a perfect fit.”…..According to a report by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Roots” show with Bob Stroud that’s heard weekly on Hubbard Radio’s classic rock WDRV “97.1 The Drive” is getting another play.  The show has been airing Sunday mornings from 7:00 am to 10:00 am but, as program director Rob Cressman says, “The ‘Stroud Crowd’ has been relentless in their quest to get ‘Roots’ scheduled a bit later in the day.”  So, now the show also airs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm…..Kelly J moves from evening jock to a member of the Jeff Pope morning show on All Pro Broadcasting’s hot AC KHTI, Riverside-San Bernardino…..Condolences to the family and friends of radio personality Michael “Mike” Walker, who died on January 7 at the age of 60.  Walker worked at numerous radio stations during his career, including WIFM, Elkin; WKBC North Wilkesboro; and WWWC, Wilkesboro in North Carolina.  He was the founder/operator of The Production Room where he produced and voiced more than 530 weekly episodes of the syndicated “Saving the 70s” show that focused on 1970s music and pop culture.

PPM Analysis: Contemporary Christian. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on contemporary Christian. See the report here.

Monday, November 26, 2018

| November 26, 2018

Legendary KGO Talk Host Ray Taliaferro Missing; Last Seen in Paducah Pizza Joint. Retired talk show host Ray Taliaferro – an overnight personality on KGO, San Francisco from 1977 to 2011 – has been missing for 15 days now after last being seen at The Mellow Mushroom pizza restaurant in Paducah, Kentucky.  Media reports indicate Taliaferro was last seen talking with the manager of the restaurant and was wearing black pants, a black turtleneck and a black leather jacket.  Authorities say the 79-year-old may have been experiencing symptoms of dementia.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert FederTribune Media is offering its employees – including those at its only radio property, WGN-AM – voluntary buyouts as part of a year-end staff reduction program. Feder quotes Tribune Media SVP of corporate relations Gary Weitman saying it is a “very small program that will ultimately affect a little more than 1 percent of our employees.”  Feder notes that it’s not clear if layoffs would be the result of the voluntary program not meeting its goals…..Baltimore news/talk WBAL-AM now has an FM presence as Hearst fires up translator W268BA at 101.5 FM.  Station president and general manager Cary Pahigian comments, “While WBAL radio will continue to serve Maryland at 1090 AM with our powerful 50,000-watt signal, our new FM signal at 101.5 is a monumental advancement for the region’s most influential radio station.  FM 101.5, along with our popular mobile app, will help WBAL connect with significantly more listeners.  WBAL is now available on every available broadcast, mobile and digital platform.”…..Radio news pro Sean Hall was killed in a car crash in Richmond County, New Hampshire.  He was 63.  Hall – whose career experience included positions with CNN Radio; NBC Radio; Mutual Broadcasting System; WTOP, Washington; and more – was working as a weekend news reporter for Saga Communications’ news/talk WKBK, Keene, New Hampshire…..Pictured below is Pioneer Valley Radio general manager Brad Shepard (on set, at left) with Massachusetts State Senator Eric Lesser (right) during a co-production between hyper-local digital media platform, Springfield, Mass.-based Pioneer Valley Radio and East Longmeadow Cable Access Television.  During the program, Shepard and Lesser discussed the Senator’s continued efforts in an east-west rail connection in the state, the ongoing opioid crisis, efforts to keep seniors in their homes with appropriate care, recreational marijuana, and a controversial stance on the electoral college.

Interview: Salem Media Group’s Phil Boyce. Programming pro Phil Boyce, SVP at Salem Radio Network chats with Goldman McCormick Public Relations co-founder Ryan McCormick  about programming news/talk radio in the current era.  Boyce tells McCormick that his years in the business have taught him important lessons about what news/talk audiences want.  He says when analyzing effective talk talent, he looks for three basic things: “Are they teaching me something I want to learn about an important topic or are they doing a show focused on themselves and assuming listeners are into their every waking moment?  Second, are they able to take a complicated issue and break it down in a way that makes me understand and, in some cases, want to pump my fist in agreement?  And third is formatics: do they set up a topic well with a brilliant monologue?  Do they tease around the break to make me come back?  Do they give me the sense that this is the most fun a human being can have and they are having it?  If it is a team show, do they have that elusive ‘chemistry, camaraderie, and rapport?’” Read the entire interview here.

Migrants Arrive at Tijuana, Global Warming Report, Trump-Russia Investigation, Mississippi Run-Off Election, Chinese Gene-Edited Babies, U.K.’s Facebook Investigation, Thanksgiving Holiday/Midwest Blizzard, Russia-Ukraine Tensions, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The U.S. closes the San Diego-Mexico border as the migrant caravan attempts to overrun border security; the U.S. Global Change Research Program climate report that predicts dire natural and economic consequences from global warming; the expectation of a Trump-Russia report from special counsel Robert Mueller; the Mississippi special senate election between Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy; a Chinese researcher claims success in first gene-edited babies; the U.K. gains Facebook documents related to the Cambridge Analytica case; the Thanksgiving holiday and the Midwest blizzard that affected holiday travel; Russia seizes Ukrainian ships in military skirmish; and the NFL’s weekend action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the holiday weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  A format flip appears to be in the works for Entercom’s country KMNB, Minneapolis “BUZ*N @ 102.9” after seven years as a country station.  The KMNB website says, “Thanks for BUZ*N with us Minnesota and western Wisconsin!  Sadly, though the buzz is about to wear off…on Monday, December 3rd at 7am.”  The station has been a consistent runner-up in the ratings (Persons 6+) to iHeartMedia’s KEEY.  Prior to adopting a country format, the station was an adult contemporary outlet as WLTE – a format that lives on on the KZJK-HD2 channel – and speculation is the AC format will return.  Will it be a “Breeze?”…..El Paso programming pro Ted “Bobcat” Brown is retiring from iHeartMedia’s country KHEY after a 10-year stint to relocate to Biloxi to help his wife care for her aging mother, he announces in a Facebook post.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

| February 27, 2018

Liberty Media Puts in Offer for iHeartMedia Ownership.  Out of the blue, Liberty Media – controlling owner of SiriusXM and minority stakeholder in Pandora – is offering $1.159 billion for a 40% stake in the new iHeartMedia.  This comes as iHeartMedia is very close to defaulting on a $103 million debt payment that could push the company into bankruptcy.  As it stands, iHeartMedia is negotiating with senior creditors to arrive at a pre-packaged bankruptcy that would greatly reduce the company’s $20 billion in debt in exchange for equity.  The Liberty offer is designed not to replace the current offer by senior creditors but to add Liberty to the mix.  Liberty’s offer is for a 20% stake held by Liberty, another 20% held by SiriusXM, four seats on the new company’s nine-member board, and Clear Channel Outdoor would be spun off as a taxable transaction.  Some experts say this offer has no chance of being accepted.  Sources quoted in a New York Post story say the offer undervalues iHM’s 850 radio stations – putting its value of iHeartMedia at $7.5 billion, less than the $8.5 billion Franklin Resources places on it.  Franklin is leading the senior creditors group.  One source expects iHM to proceed with a bankruptcy filing on March 3.

Post Theater Columnist Michael Riedel Named WOR, New York Morning Co-Host.  It’s been four months since radio talk host Todd Schnitt exited iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR.  He’d been co-hosting the morning program with Len Berman but was unable to come to terms on a renewal agreement.  Now, the company announces that New York Post theater critic Michael Riedel will join Berman on 710 WOR for the “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” program.  In addition to his work for the Post, Riedel hosted the PBS program “Theater Talk” for 24 years and published the best-seller, Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway.  iHeartMedia calls the new show a “four-hour variety show, showcasing the most important stories of the day to New Yorkers, including local news, entertainment, humor, political stories, and interviews with newsmakers and celebrities.”  WOR program director Tom Cuddy says, “After a four-month search, we are super fortunate to have a triple-triple threat like Michael joining WOR.  He has been a successful newspaper writer for decades.  He co-hosted a TV show for over 20 years and now he’s joining us in a full-time capacity to pursue a lifelong passion for radio.”  Len Berman is quoted saying, “I couldn’t be more excited to have Michael as my new co-host,” said Berman.  I loved working with him when he was guest hosting.  We come from two different worlds: Michael from newspaper and Broadway, me from TV and sports.  Factor in that we don’t see eye to eye politically and I’m convinced it all adds up to entertaining morning radio.”

The Honorable Senator from California, Mr. Michael Savage?  Is this just Savage shtick or is Westwood One-syndicated talk show host Michael Savage really serious about being courted to challenge Dianne Feinstein for her U.S. Senate seat?  The Los Angeles Times reports Savage told his audience that “some very important people” are asking him to run for the seat as an independent, and he put the question of whether he should run to his audience.  Though it’s hard to imagine the 76-year-old talk host giving up his radio show (he’d have to, right?) and traveling all over the Golden State to campaign (an exhausting business, to be sure), Savage has wasted no time in using this to express his political wish list for California.  Savage says his platform would include such polarizing issues as eliminating multi-lingual ballots (English only) and building a wall on the Mexican border that would be a “citadel,” all while lowering California’s tax rate (that’s not really up to the U.S. Senate, though).  The Times notes that Feinstein, who was just dealt a blow by the California Democratic Party with its non-endorsement of her as she seeks a fifth full term, has a war chest of $9.8 million.

FOX News Radio’s Todd Starnes to Moderate NRB Conference Panel.  The focus of the panel will be Internet censorship and will talk place Thursday (3/1) as part of the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Nashville.  FOX News Radio nationally syndicated personality Todd Starnes will moderate the panel discussion with panelists including Salem Radio Network personalities Larry Elder and Dennis Prager, plus Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, and Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser.

SRN’s Tom Tradup at World Premiere of New Christian Film. Christian musical artist Brandon Heath (left) is pictured here with Salem Radio Network vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (right) last night (2/26) at the world premiere of the film, I Can Only Imagine, based on the hit song by Mercy Me.  Tradup was joined on the red carpet by stars Dennis Quaid, Trace Adkins, and artists Mandisa, Michael W. Smith and others.

TALKERS News Notes. College station WRHU, Hempstead, New York “Radio Hofstra University 88.7 FM” is airing the Long Island Nets Coach’s Show every Friday at 4:00 pm, hosted by WRHU’s Bryan Clark and featuring Nets coach Ronald Nored.  WRHU airs play-by-play of the NBA G League team that’s affiliated with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets…..SiriusXM is broadcasting games from 24 NCAA Division I college basketball conference tournaments this postseason, offering live play-by-play of 134 men’s and women’s conference tournament games to a nationwide audience.  It will air every men’s tournament game from the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, American Athletic, and Mountain West conferences, and select games from the Ivy League Tournament.  Listeners also get every game of the Women’s ACC and SEC Tournaments.  Conference tournament broadcasts heard on SiriusXM are produced by ESPN Radio, Westwood One, IMG, Learfield, and Compass Media.

Gun Control Debate, Parkland Shooting Investigation, NRA vs Delta, Trump-Russia Investigation, SCOTUS Declines Trump Request on ‘Dreamers’ Policy, Universal Basic Income Proposals, Xi Jinping Power Grab, PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6).  The debate over gun control issues in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida school massacre; the investigation into prior complaints about Nikolas Cruz and whether police acted appropriately during the shooting; the NRA’s lashing out at Delta and other companies for ending their business relationships with the lobbying organization; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the Supreme Court declines to rule immediately on President Trump’s wish to kill the DACA; the proposals for a universal basic income for those Americans below the poverty line; the move by Chinese president Xi Jinping to eliminate his term limit and remain president indefinitely; the post-mortem on the PyeyongChang Winter Games; and NBA 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-air pro Nicholaus “Niko” Petrou is named morning co-host at Entercom’s Phoenix country outlet KMLE “@ 107.9.”  Niko is partnering with Nina D. for KMLE’s new “The Breakfast Buzz” program.  He was most recently at the company’s New York alternative station WBMP “Alt 92.3” as APD, music director and midday personality.  He also worked in NYC as evening personality at CHR WHTZ “Z100.”  Niko says, “After almost 20 years in the radio industry, I’m looking forward to taking on the challenge of mornings.  Given the opportunity to work with such a legendary team and station, I’m excited to bring what I have to offer to Phoenix.  A huge thanks to Tim Richards, Dave Pugh, Mike Moore, Chris Oliviero and Pat Paxton for the confidence in me. Nina D. and I are going to have a blast waking up the KMLE Nation.”…..In Albany, Pamal Broadcasting is announcing two new executives who’ve joined the organization.  A.J. Bodden is named market manager for the six-station radio cluster in Albany.  He comes to Pamal from Townsquare Media where he managed a division of the company’s corporate live events business.  Simultaneously, John Damboragian is named Pamal’s new director of digital and will oversee digital sales and assets for all of Pamal’s 23 radio stations.  He was most recently digital manager for Gannett Media in New York’s Westchester County.

Monday, February 12, 2018

| February 12, 2018

Beasley Media Group Reports Pro Forma Q4 Net Revenue Down 6.9%.  Due to the number of recent acquisitions, sales and asset swaps Beasley Media Group has been involved in, the company’s financial reports can be a bit confusing.  It is reporting a $4.8 million, or 9% year-over-year, increase in net revenue during the three months ended December 31, 2017.  That figure reflects the inclusion of stations acquired from Greater Media in Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit and New Jersey (announced in the summer of 2016), partially offset by the disposition of the Charlotte and Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations (to Entercom, announced in the fall of 2016) and strong non-recurring political advertising revenue recorded in the year ago fourth quarter.  But the 6.9% dip in net revenue in the fourth quarter of 2017 is pro forma and reflects the company’s legacy Beasley Broadcast Group operations, the Greater Media stations, and the recent acquisition of sports WBZ-FM, Boston (exchanged with Entercom for WMJX-FM, Boston and $12 million), while excluding the Charlotte and Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations and WMJX-FM, as if all transactions had been completed on January 1, 2016.  In a press release, CEO Caroline Beasley states, “Throughout 2017, we continued to actively manage our station portfolio to extract operating and financial synergies from the acquired Greater Media stations, while implementing our proven strategies across our platform, which are focused on delivering strong local programming, diversifying our operations, managing risk and improving financial results.  On a GAAP basis, fourth quarter net revenue rose 9.0% compared to the prior year, primarily reflecting the acquisitions and divestitures to our platform on a year-over-year basis.  Pro forma net revenues for the three months ended December 31, 2017 declined 6.9% compared to the prior year period, reflecting $3.9 million in non-recurring political advertising revenue and softer national advertising revenue. The year-over-year decline was partially offset by a 6.5%, or $3.5 million, reduction in pro forma station operating expenses. As a result, Beasley’s fourth quarter pro forma SOI declined 7.8% year over year while SOI margins were relatively flat compared to the prior year period…Looking ahead to 2018, we intend to continue our strategic priorities of realizing synergy targets, reducing debt and leverage, taking advantage of political revenue opportunities, improving top and bottom-line performance and returning capital to shareholders through our quarterly cash dividend. With enhanced opportunities to monetize our strong core programming and local brands, we remain confident in the radio industry and in Beasley’s growing broadcast and digital platform. We look forward to realizing the strategic benefits of the WBZ transaction in 2018 and remain confident that our ongoing initiatives to drive sales, productivity and efficiency across our platform, combined with prudent management of our capital structure, is a proven formula for sustained long term financial growth and the creation of shareholder value.”

Dennis Miller Back in the Westwood One Fold. Comic, TV star, “SNL” alum, and former radio talk show host Dennis Miller is back with Westwood One, this time delivering two daily, one-minute programs to affiliate stations.  Miller hosted a daily, midday talk show on WW1 for eight years.  Now, he returns to the company with commentaries that present “his idiosyncratic take on topical issues, the culture, and what Americans are talking about in two distinct 60-second programs, Monday through Friday.”  Westwood One EVP of News & Talk Bart Tessler says, “Dennis Miller is a multi-talented, multimedia comic icon and we are thrilled to have him back on Westwood One.  Even with all his success, ‘The Miller Minute’ may be the best format yet for Dennis to entertain and inform listeners with his humor and idiosyncratic style.  He can’t wait to re-engage with his radio audience, affiliates, and advertisers.”

WGR-AM , Buffalo to Roast Bills’ Fred Jackson.  Buffalo sports talker WGR-AM is honoring former Buffalo Bills player Fred Jackson at the 4th Annual WGR Celebrity Roast this Thursday (2/15).  The event is being hosted by WGR morning show host Howard Simon and will feature an all-star panel of former teammates, including: Eric Wood, Aaron Williams, Bryan Scott and Ryan Fitzpatrick, as well as Jackson’s own twin brother, Patrick Jackson.   Entercom Buffalo SVP and market manager Greg Ried states, “The city of Buffalo is incredibly passionate about their hometown Buffalo Bills and Fred Jackson is a respected and beloved figure in the community.  Jackson was a unanimous decision by the WGR team.  For his determination, compassion and drive, on and off the field, we are excited to honor him at this year’s WGR Celebrity Roast.”  The WGR Celebrity Roast has become a signature event in the Buffalo community.  Former WGR Celebrity Roast honorees include former Buffalo Sabres players Marty Biron, Mike Robitaille and Rob Ray, as well as former Buffalo Bills player Andre Reed.

TALKERS News Notes. Former New England Patriots tight end Christian Fauria – now one-third of the WEEI, Boston midday show with Glenn Ordway and Lou Merloni – was suspended from the Entercom station for a week and issued an apology after a bit aired in which Fauria used a stereotypical Asian accent to imitate sports agent Don Yee.  During the bit, Fauria was reading phony texts purported to be from Yee to Boston Herald sportswriter Ron Borges regarding Tom Brady’s contract situation with the Patriots…..In Philadelphia, “SportsTalk 94WIP” personality (and former Eagles player) Jon Ritchie was off the air last Friday (2/9) after being arrested for DUI and simple assault.  According to Philly.com, Ritchie was arrested early Friday morning, hours after the parade in Philly celebrating the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory.  The paper does not explain the circumstances surrounding Ritchie’s arrest.  Ritchie co-hosts the midday show with Joe DeCamara…..Dayton sports talk station WING-AM has a new program director as Justin Kinner is promoted from the interim PD position.  Alpha Media says that Kinner previously worked as the afternoon drive host at WING-AM.  He also has experience as an account executive in the market.  Alpha Media Dayton OM Bo Matthews comments, “It was clear from the moment I arrived that Justin was the guy to become the new PD of WING-AM.  I wish I could bottle up his passion and excitement and pass it around.”…..Twin Cities sports media figure Patrick Reusse is leaving KSTP-AM’s “Saturday Morning Sports Talk” program that he’s been co-hosting with Judd Zulgad.  His role on the program will be taken over by KSTP Vikings reporter Matthew Coller.  Reusse – who also writes for the Minneapolis Star Tribune – continues to host afternoon drive and the one-hour “SportsTalk” show he co-hosts with Joe Soucheray at 3:00 pm on the Hubbard Brodcasting station.

Rob Porter Resignation/#MeToo Movement, Trump-Russia Probe, Dow Selloff, North Korea Diplomatic Overtures, Iranian Drone Case, PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The aftermath of the resignation of White House aide Rob Porter over allegations of domestic violence and President Trump’s Tweet that the #MeToo movement is ruining careers; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the big Wall Street selloff that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average lose more than 2,000 points; North Korea’s use of the Olympic games for diplomatic overtures and criticism of the America media’s “fawning” coverage of Kim Jong Un’s sister’s appearance at the Olympic Games; Israel’s shooting down of an Iranian drone modeled after a U.S. drone Iran captured several years ago; the athletic events at the Winter Olympics; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  In Birmingham, Cumulus Media appoints Phillip March program director for urban AC WUHT “Hot 107.7.”  He was previously director of urban programming for Alpha Media’s Louisville, Kentucky stations.  Cumulus Media Birmingham VP and market manager David Walls says, “We are elated that Phillip is joining our team.  He brings experience, passion, knowledge and leadership to our team.  He is a true leader and an outstanding teacher.  It is a huge win for Cumulus Birmingham and for our community as well.”…..Program director Lauren MacLeash exits Entercom’s country KMNB, Minneapolis “BUZ’N” after a stint of more than three years with the former CBS RADIO cluster.  The company is beginning a search for her replacement…..Beasley Media Group inks Terrie Carr to a multi-year deal to continue serving as program director and midday personality at WDHA-FM, Dover, New Jersey.  Carr was elevated to program director last summer.  She says, “I am both energized and honored to continue my career with my Beasley and WDHA family and for the opportunity to help lead the greatest air staff a person could ask for.  The challenges, new pathways to technology, and sheer madness of our business keep me inspired beyond my wildest dreams every day!”…..Keith Barton is succeeding Dave Paulus as general manager for Max Media’s Norfolk cluster…..Curtis Media announces Max Miller and Amy Kay are teaming up for the “Max & Amy in the Morning” program on hot AC WMGV, Greenville-New Bern “V103.3.”  Their program replaces the syndicated “Kidd Kraddick Morning Show.”

Friday, February 9, 2018

| February 9, 2018

WTAQ, Green Bay Talk Host Jerry Bader Exits.  And he tells the Wisconsin State Journal that his critical coverage of President Trump is the reason he’s out, but he’s rather sanguine about it.  Jerry Bader doesn’t appear angry about his exit from Midwest Communications’ WTAQ, Green Bay, saying, “I’ve always known it was (their) microphone that I used each day.  I have no regrets on how I’ve handled the show the past two and a half years.”  He’d been with Midwest Communications for the past 14 years.  Bader was one of a number of Wisconsin radio talk show hosts critical of Trump’s personality and policies, going back to the primaries.  Most of those hosts fell into line after the primary and general elections (or left the air like WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes).  But Bader tells the paper, “I have always tried to tell what I believed is the truth and more recently to comport my behavior, on and off the air with my Christ-following faith, after I was saved in 2016.”  Bader’s late morning program was also carried on Midwest’s Wisconsin news/talk outlets WHBL, Sheboygan and WSAU-AM/FM, Wausau.  He transitioned to a part-time role with the company in 2016 to work full time with MediaTrackers.org.  Read the whole story here.

KSCO, Santa Cruz Launches New Show Dedicated to Improving Public Education.  The program is called “Edulution” and is hosted by Juan Cabrera, a corporate technology attorney and former teacher and who currently serves as the Superintendent of Schools at El Paso Texas Independent School District.  He is the co-founder of the Texas Council of Urban School Districts and serves on the executive board of the Council of Great City Schools.  The show will air weekly on Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on KSCO, Santa Cruz “NewsTalk AM 1080 and FM 104.1.”  The call-in show is “designed to spark discussion on how to improve the quality of public education in the USA.”  According to KSCO, “Cabrera believes that the success of our economy is predicated on the quality of our American education systems.  Thus understanding, analyzing and discussing our education systems and how to improve them is critical to our future success.”  Cabrera says, “We will not maintain our position as a global leader in this 21st century knowledge economy unless our education systems are designed to meet our economic needs.”  KSCO owner Michael Zwerling adds, “In these unprecedented, polarized times, the high cost and poor performance of public education and health care are two issues we can all agree on, regardless of our political perspective.  It’s always baffled me that talk radio — which can be such a positive force for civil discussion and problem-solving — has not been harnessed in this manner, which is a shame.  Rather than pitting people against each other to ‘divide and conquer,’ let’s all work together using today’s tools of technology, coupled with integrity to engage in courteous discourse to solve our problems and move our country forward.”  Juan Cabrera or Michael Zwerling may be contacted via email at: edulution@ksco.com.

WW1 and SiriusXM to Bring Winter Games to Radio.  The 2018 Olympic Winter Games officially get underway tonight in PyeongChang, South Korea and Westwood One, in partnership with U.S. Olympics rights holder NBCUniversal, is presenting live radio coverage of the games this evening through the closing ceremony on Sunday February 25.  Westwood One will broadcast – via affiliate stations and via SiriusXM Satellite Radio – throughout the Games as live events unfold, with around-the-clock Olympic updates three times per hour; live Team USA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey play-by-play; live coverage of various Olympic Winter events, including figure skating, speed skating, skiing, bobsled and luge; and a daily live show, “Today In PyeongChang.”

Dow Correction Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 5-9.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average’s loss of more than 2,000 points in a week was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was Congress passing a new, $400 billion spending plan.  Coming in at #3 was Nancy Pelosi’s marathon speech and the Trump Administration’s immigration policy, followed by the Trump-Russia investigation at #4.  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.

Bill O’Reilly Visits ‘Bernie & Sid’ at 77WABC. Conservative media personality Bill O’Reilly (center) stopped by the WABC, New York studios to chat with late morning hosts Bernard McGuirk (right) and Sid Rosenberg (left).  O’Reilly promoted his digital platform on which he broadcasts daily, saying he’s free from the constraints of commercial cable news/talk.  He added, “Our audience is looking for analysis they don’t get on cable television – or on talk radio, to be frank.”

The Federalist Publisher Ben Domenech Is This Week’s Guest on the Newly Rebranded Michael Harrison Podcast.  He is a self-described contrarian, libertarian, and conservative whose independent, articulate positions have gained him a significant following among Washington insiders and followers of public policy discussion across the nation.  Ben Domenech, publisher of the online political magazine The Federalist and host of the daily PodcastOne series “The Federalist Radio Hour” is this week’s guest on the award-winning series, “The Michael Harrison Interview” (formerly titled, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison”).  Harrison and 36-year-old Domenech engage in a deep-dive conversation about the state of the American conservative movement during the age of Donald Trump. They share insights about the nature of Millennials as well as the rapid evolution of today’s media, publishing, and podcasting.  Harrison describes Domenech (the son-in-law of U.S. Senator John McCain) as “one of the brightest, independent young voices in today’s political media.”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” or “The Michael Harrison Interview” player boxes located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Former Boston Talk Host Janet Jeghelian Dies at 83.  In addition to hosting talk radio programs at WBZ-AM and WRKO in Boston, Janet Jeghelian also ran for several statewide offices, including lieutenant governor of Massachusetts.  Bryan Marquad of the Boston Globe notes that Jeghelian was a “pioneering Republican woman” who sought statewide offices and won.  Jeghelian also sought the Republican nomination to challenge Ted Kennedy for his U.S. Senate seat in 1994 but failed in that bid (Mitt Romney was nominated).  Jeghelian was a trained physical therapist who ventured into local politics.  During the 1980s, she co-hosted the “Ted and Janet” morning show on WRKO alongside Ted O’Brien.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  It’s now official that Frank Ski is returning to Entercom’s urban contemporary WVEE, Atlanta “V-103” to co-host the morning drive program with Wanda Smith on the “Frank & Wanda in the Morning” show, effective Monday (2/12).  Ski takes over for Ryan Cameron, who exited recently after choosing not to negotiate a new deal with Entercom.  “V-103” says that Joe Taylor, a.k.a. Miss Sophia, is returning to the show with her signature “Girl Talk” segment and entertainment updates.  As recently reported here, Ski and Smith co-hosted the morning show on the station from 1998 to 2012…..In the Norfolk market, iHeartMedia announces that Michael “DJ Fountz” Fournier is promoted to the program director position at hip hop WOWI “103 JAMZ” and classic hip hop and R&B WHBT “92.1 The Beat.”  He’s also hosting the midday program on “103 JAMZ.”  iHeartMedia Norfolk market president Angel Brown says, “DJ Fountz is a part of the ‘103 JAMZ’ fabric.  He’s served as the station’s assistant program director for many years and we are excited to have him at the helm of the number one urban station in the Norfolk market and lead programming efforts at ‘92.1 The Beat.’”…..Salem Media Group names Mike Blakemore VP/programming, CCM format.  Blakemore is PD at the company’s contemporary Christian WFSH, Atlanta “104.7 The Fish.”  Salem says that in this new role, Blakemore will provide leadership to the company’s contemporary Christian music outlets.  Salem Media broadcast division president Dave Santrella adds, “Mike’s success in Atlanta has been confirmed by WFSH ranking consistently in the top-tier of stations in our target demo of Women 25-54, often in the top five.”…..Country air personality Vanessa Ryan exits Midwest Communications’ WDEZ, Wausau, Wisconsin after a 17-year tour with the station…..iHeartMedia country station WSIX, Nashville “The BIG 98” is presenting the 6th annual “Songs & Stories for St. Jude” fundraising event on Sunday, April 8 at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville.  It’s a live concert and auction that benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  It’s being hosted by WSIX personalities Amy Paige and Tige & Daniel and will include acclaimed songwriters Chris DeStefano, JT Harding, Jon Nite and Matt Jenkins.

PPM Analysis: A Closer Look at Holiday 2017.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a more in-depth look into the Nielsen Audio Holiday 2017 PPM survey and reports on some of the trends he’s noticed.  In this report he delves into the myriad ups and downs associated with the annual Holiday ratings period.  Check it out here.