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Monday, May 14, 2018

| May 14, 2018

TALKERS Magazine’s 2018 Heavy Hundred to Be Published Next Monday.  On May 21, TALKERS magazine will post the 2018 edition of “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – known informally as the Heavy Hundred.  This 24thedition of the Heavy Hundred is from the editors of TALKERS magazine who base their ranking of the hosts on a number of hard and soft factors, including: ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, recognition, service, talent, and uniqueness.  TALKERS VP and executive editor Kevin Casey says, “As in previous years, talk hosts must be working a regularly scheduled show on at least one terrestrial station or on satellite radio at the time the list is published in order to be considered. Our editorial staff works very hard to consider all of the numerous personalities who qualify, and then whittle it down to just 100… a difficult task.  This list is admittedly subjective to one degree or another but we at TALKERS take the task very seriously.  We look forward to revealing the 2018 Heavy Hundred next Monday.”

‘Our American Stories’ Joins KABC, Los Angeles Lineup. The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program is being added to the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles, “Talk Radio 790” in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot.  Program host Lee Habeeb says the program is “a show about the events and people that made America great, and will keep her great.”  Topics range from sports to history to art and “stories about the remarkable things Americans do every day to make the country hum.”  Habeeb adds, “Every day, all we hear in the media is what’s wrong with America and what divides us.  So, we thought it would be a good idea to remind people about what unites us, what makes us all proud to call America home.  This is an amazing country and we keep things focused on the positive stories that are all around us.”  Program affiliate rep Bryan Dawson adds, “Our affiliates have sung the praises of the show, and the production quality.  Once the GMs and PDs hear the quality of the show, it practically sells itself, and we’ve gotten to 120-plus affiliates fast because the listeners have been longing for a show like this, with these kinds of production values and writing – and a show that makes them feel good about the country they live in.”

Michael Coover Appointed Executive Producer for ‘Orange & Blue 760’ in Denver. The Denver Broncos-focused sports talk station KDSP, Denver “Orange & Blue 760” announces that  Michael Coover is named executive producer for the station.  Coover’s duties include producing multiple dayparts, handling the station’s digital footprint and elevating ‘Orange & Blue 760’ as the station enters its second year.  He reports to KDSP and KHOW program director Tim Spence, who comments, “Michael’s knowledge of Denver and its competitive ratings battles, his experience on a national level and his overall relationship with players and coaches makes him an ideal candidate for ‘Orange & Blue 760.’”  Coover served FOX Sports Radio for 15 years.  He was executive producer at KKFN, Denver and, most recently, was executive talent booker for Envision Networks.

Bishop & Laurinaitis Show Debuts on ‘The Fan’ in Columbus. Sports talk outlet WBNS-FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” replaces the Tim Hall and Beanie Wells late morning program with a new show co-hosted by sports talk pro Beau Bishop and former Ohio State and NFL linebacker James Laurinaitis.  The RadiOhio-owned station is plugging the duo into the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot, effective today (5/14).  Bishop had been serving with Entercom’s Cleveland sports talk outlet WKRK-FM “92.3 The Fan.”  Laurinaitis has been working as an analyst on the Big Ten Network.

Salem Radio Star and Media Icon Joe Piscopo to Be Special Luncheon Speaker at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! – The organizers of TALKERS magazine’s 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! set for Friday, June 8 in New York City – are pleased to announce that WNYM, New York “970 AM The Answer” morning host and longtime media icon Joe Piscopo will be delivering a special luncheon address at the gathering.  Piscopo gained national recognition for his comedic work as an early regular on Saturday Night Live, as well as starring in a number of motion pictures during his illustrious career.  The lunch, sponsored for the second consecutive year by the Salem Media Group, is just one of a non-stop series of keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, networking socials and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to on-air and online broadcasting professionals that make up the agenda of the sold-out gathering.  The power-packed program will feature more than 65 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age.  This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology, as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations.  See the list of speakers and up-to-the-minute agenda as well as last-minute sponsorship and hotel information by clicking here. The conference takes place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the colorful Chelsea District of Manhattan.

National Radio Hall of Fame Announces 2018 Nominees.  Today begins the voting process for the 2018 class of inductees into the National Radio Hall of Fame.  The 24 nominations in six categories were determined by the organization’s nominating committee. Four of those categories will be voted on by a voting participant panel comprised of nearly 1,000 industry professionals.  The other two categories will be voted on by the public.  Public voting commences June 4 for eight nominations for Music Format On-Air Personality and Spoken Word On-Air Personality.  This year’s nominees in the publicly voted Spoken Word On-Air Personality category are: Westwood One’s Mark Levin, SiriusXM’s Joe Madison, Premiere NetworksGeorge Noory, and CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome.  National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “I personally appreciate the challenging task that our Nominating Committee accepts each year to officially nominate talent from an infinite list of deserving individuals.  Congratulations to this year’s nominees, an excellent selection of our industry’s finest.”  Inductees will be announced June 25.  See all the nominees here.

TALKERS News Notes. A Memorial Day weekend radio special that looks at the tumultuous year of 1968 is being offered to Westwood One News affiliate stations.  “1968: The Year That Shook America” is hosted by Westwood One News correspondent Michael Toscano.  Westwood One says that Toscano takes listeners back the year when “conflict and confusion reigned across America. The Vietnam War raged at full throttle. The assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy stunned the nation. Inner city riots erupted. Young people were making their voices heard in protest on college campuses. New leaders emerged and the culture changed forever.”  The program replaces “The Week in Review” during Memorial Day weekend, May 26-27.  Pictured here is Toscano (right) interviewing Pat Buchanan (left) about his work on Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign with the president-elect…..A deal between NPR and Spotify is allowing Spotify users to have access to NPR’s podcast catalogue.  Spotify global head of podcast partnerships Dossie McGraw says, “For both Spotify and NPR, joining forces just makes sense and we’re delighted to bring NPR podcasts to Spotify users.  Podcasts are gifts you give yourself in moments of the day when you want to catch up on the news or hear thoughtful commentary on issues affecting us all or just have some fun with a game show like ‘Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!’”…..SiriusXM Satellite Radio begins its first-ever free preview to non-subscribers in an effort to promote its newly re-designed app for iOS and Android.    Today through May 29, anyone with an inactive satellite radio, or who has an internet connected mobile device and/or web access can sample SiriusXM’s content without any registration requirements.  The deal includes access to all music and talk channels, including Howard Stern’s channels.

U.S. Exits Iran Nuclear Deal, Trump’s ZTE Statement, Indonesia Church Bombings, Haspel Nomination, John McCain Health, U.S.’s Israel Embassy Move, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The response to President Trump’s withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal; reaction to President Trump’s desire to “save” Chinese tech firm ZTE; the weekend bombings of three Christian churches in Indonesia; the confirmation hearings of CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel; the health status of Senator John McCain and the flap over a reported comment by a Trump staffer that McCain’s opinions don’t matter because “he’ll be dead soon”; the deadly protests over the re-location of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem; Major League Baseball action; and the NBA playoffs 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. Last Thursday evening, Charlie Puth (left) took over the stage at the iHeartRadio Theater in New York to perform songs from his new album, Voicenotes, at the iHeartRadio Album Release Party.  In addition to Puth performing tunes from his new record, the event included a Q&A with iHeartRadio on-air personality Maxwell (right).  (Photo: Rachel Kaplan for iHeartMedia)…..Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WCSX, Detroit, along with the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Ann Arbor School Board, are teaming up to have a street named in honor of Detroit rock legend Bob Seger in front of his Alma Mater in Ann Arbor.  WCSX morning personality Jim O’ Brien worked with the City of Ann Arbor and the Ann Arbor School Board to find a stretch of boulevard on the grounds of Pioneer High School (formerly known as Ann Arbor High back then and Seger’s Alma Mater) on the corner of Main Street.  Big Jim is quoted saying, “Bob Seger is part of my life. The first song at my wedding reception was ‘Real Love’ by Seger and my favorite road trip song ever is ‘Roll Me Away.’  Bob Seger is everything good about Detroit… hard working, passionate and genuine. When we found this stretch of road in Ann Arbor at his high school, it just made sense to make Bob Seger Boulevard a reality.  And it’s connected to Main Street!”

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

| April 25, 2018

PPM Analysis: All-News. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his monthly look at the performances of radio stations based on 6+ ratings from Nielsen Audio’s March 2018 PPM survey.  Today’s report focuses on all-news stations.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington remains the highest-rated all-newser with a 10.4 AQH share (6+).  Big gainers include iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston; Entercom’s KYW, Philadelphia; and New York news duo WCBS-AM and WINS-AM.   The biggest improvement from the March 2017 survey to this March was iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento – up by 1.4 shares to an 8.1 AQH share.  Both KFBK and WTOP ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets in March.  See Kinosian’s entire report here.

Francesa: ‘Time to Return to WFAN.’ After yesterday’s report in the New York Post that former WFAN-AM/FM, New York afternoon drive host Mike Francesa is “desperate” to get back on the air in New York comes Neil Best’s story in Newsday quoting Francesa himself saying, “It is time to return to WFAN.”  Best reports that WFAN confirmed “ongoing discussions” with Francesa.  A source says Francesa would likely be back in a portion of his old 1:00 pm to 6:30 pm slot.  A statement from WFAN adds, “We are very proud of our current lineup at WFAN and that any potential future engagement with Mike will not result in any talent departures.”  Entercom hired Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray, and Bart Scott for the 2:00 pm to 6:30 pm show that launched in January.  The Newsday piece notes that Carlin, Gray, and Scott talked about Francesa’s return on their Tuesday program and admitted that it looks like Francesa will return to some portion of afternoon drive but said they are planning to be with the station “for a long time.” Read the Newsday piece here.

Missouri State Senator Seeks Action on KQQZ, St. Louis Personality Bob Romanik.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed has petitioned the FCC to take action against KQQZ-AM, St. Louis and radio host Bob Romanik for language used on his program.  Although the story does not report Romanik’s exact words, Jack Suntrup writes that Romanik’s program “has used the n-word and various misogynistic and homophobic slurs over the years.”  Nasheed’s letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai states, in part, “Our nation has witnessed a horrific increase in white nationalist activity, due in part to the normalization and toleration of hate-speech.  Too often, racist views are turned into violent action through the encouragement of racist personalities like Mr. Romanik and radio stations like 1190 KQQZ-AM.” She is asking the FCC to fine Romanik and revoke KQQZ’s license.  The story quotes station assistant GM Bill Thomas saying, “As soon as they take the n-word off all the black radio stations throughout this country — on all the rap stations, on all the comedic routines that the blacks use the n-word — then we’ll quit using it.”  Read the story here.

SiriusXM Reports Q1 2018 Net Income Up 6%. Net income in the first quarter of 2018 for satellite radio operator SiriusXM was $289 million, up from $207 million a year ago (an increase of 6%).  It added 330,000 total net subscribers and says that it hit the 33 million-mark for total subscribers for the first time.  Operating cash flow climbed 34% to $415 million.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “SiriusXM has come out of the gate strong in 2018.  Our 6% growth in revenue would have been 8% absent the change in generally accepted accounting principles that was effective January 1st, and we are pleased with our 6% growth in adjusted EBITDA given the sharp increase in our music royalties also beginning January 1st.  We are on-track to meet all of our full-year guidance, and I’m thrilled to announce we topped 33 million paying subscribers.”

WBZ-AM, Boston Reporter Lana Jones Dies Suddenly at 62.  The circumstances surrounding her death have not been made public but longtime radio news pro Lana Jones – a reporter for WBZ-AM, Boston – collapsed at her home late Tuesday and died early this morning (4/25).  On its website, WBZ-AM wrote: WBZ News Radio 1030 is deeply saddened by the passing of one of their veteran news reporters, Lana Jones.  Lana died suddenly this morning at UMass Medical Center in Worcester.  She was an outstanding journalist who will be severely missed by her colleagues and friends in the Boston media.  “Lana was the consummate professional who could take a hundred-page Supreme Court Decision and boil it down into a concise report for our listeners,” said Bill Flaherty, WBZ Program Director. “She knew everyone and everything. She will be greatly missed.”  Alan Chartrand, President of the iHeartMedia Boston Region, said “I’ve always admired Lana’s work on WBZ Radio. She took the tough stories and made them easy to understand. Our deepest sympathies go out to Lana’s family and the newsroom.”  Lana Jones was a general assignment reporter for WBZ Newsradio 1030.  Jones began her broadcast career in Toledo, Ohio while studying Special Education at Bowling Green State University. A native of Warren, Ohio, Jones moved to Worcester, Massachusetts in 1981 to join the staff of WAAF. There she anchored the news and hosted a weekly talk show on local youth issues. From 1983 to 1988, Jones was a news anchor and reporter for WMJX, Boston. She worked as a reporter for the former WHDH radio from 1989 to 1991. Jones is survived by her husband Steve who resides in Worcester, Massachusetts.

TALKERS News Notes. The acquisition of Tribune’s television and radio assets by Sinclair Broadcast Group is getting a little closer to a done deal after Sinclair agreed to divest of 23 television stations in 18 markets in order to assuage the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission.  As a result, WGN-AM (along with WGN-TV) will be part of the new Sinclair.  Previously, the company had planned to sell the Chicago radio and TV stations but operate them via joint sales and shared services agreements…..Entercom Communications will announce its first quarter 2018 financial results on Tuesday, May 8.  This will be the first full quarter Entercom has been operating the former CBS RADIO stations since that acquisition closed in November of 2017…..Cumulus Media news/talk WBAP, Dallas “News/Talk 820 AM” is hosting the third annual WeatherCon at the Frontiers of Flight Museum this Saturday, April 28.  The event is a free, family-friendly event that features informative and entertaining weather seminars throughout the day, including a session hosted by WBAP chief meteorologist Brad Barton with WFAA-TV chief meteorologist Pete Delkus…..Nationally syndicated “Motley Fool Money” with host Chris Hill adds new affiliate stations WNTK-FM, New London and WUVR-AM, Lebanon in New Hampshire…..The “Financial Focus Radio” show moves from affiliate KUIK to crosstown KBNP in Portland.  The weekly show is hosted by Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management partners Troy Reinhart and Tyler Simones…..The long-running “Freakonomics Radio” podcast is moving from the WNYC platform to Midroll Media’s Stitcher platform. Stitcher has inked journalist and best-selling author Stephen J. Dubner to co-produce the podcast and to expand the “Freakonomics Radio” brand through existing and new content.

Trump-Macron Visit, Trump’s Kim Jong Un Comment, Judge’s DACA Decision, Trump-Russia Investigation/Comey Book, Ronny Jackson Nomination, Deadly Toronto Van Attack, NRA-Yeti Flap, and MLB Action and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/24). The official state visit by French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte with President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania; criticism of President Trump’s statement calling North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un “very honorable”; U.S. District Judge John D. Bates rules against President Trump’s attempt to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related book by fired FBI Director James Comey; White House physician Ronny Jackson’s imperiled secretary of veteran affairs nomination due to allegations of professional misconduct; the case of accused Toronto van attacker Alek Minassian; the destruction of Yeti products by NRA members upset over a change in the company’s discount programs; and Major League Baseball action and the NBA playoffs 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. Three programming pros get new roles with iHeartMedia’s Arizona region, all effective May 3.  Reid Spivey is named assistant program director and PM drive host for country KNIX, Phoenix.  He was most recently APD for sister CHR KZZP and hot AC KMXP.  Spivey will work with music director Lois “Double L” Lewis and program director Steve GeofferiesRameen Madani joins iHeartMedia Phoenix as assistant program director for KZZP and KMXP.  David Adams has added duties as program director for KDWR-LP “My 92.9,” where he will be responsible for the day-to-day programming operations and work closely with on-air personalities and sales to oversee the station’s on-air content, digital footprint and music programming.  He will continue to serve as senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Tucson…..Josh Martinez is named program director for iHeartMedia’s CHR WKFS, Cincinnati “Kiss 107.1.”  Previously, Martinez served as program director for stations in Dayton and Cedar Rapids and as a music director in Des Moines.  Cincinnati market president DJ Hodge says, “We knew this was the right time to promote Josh Martinez to program director.  Since the time he arrived, he has made significant inroads to improve both the trajectory of the station and our ability to successfully engage with our growing audience.  The future is very bright for both Josh and ‘Kiss 107.1.’”…..Max Kachinske takes on the newly-created position of corporate programming assistant at Midwest Communications. The position is based in Green Bay and Kachinske will leave his evening show gig at Neuhoff Media’s WFMB-FM, Springfield, Illinois.  Kachinske says, I’m beyond excited to begin working with such a respected programmer in Jeff McCarthy and the amazing group at Midwest Communications.  This is something I couldn’t begin to dream up that became a reality.  I can’t wait to get started.”…..Pittsburgh country outlet WDSY “Y108” announces the lineup for the station’s 7thannual “Y108 8 Man Jam” concert.  The show will feature: Joe Nichols, David Lee Murphy, Eric Paslay, Jordan Davis, Michael Tyler, Cale DoddsRyan Hurd, and Mitchell Tenpenny on Thursday, May 24 at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh’s North Shore.

Monday, April 9, 2018

| April 9, 2018

BIA Kelsey: WTOP-FM, Washington Top Billing U.S. Radio Station.  This is a repeat for the Hubbard Radio all-news station. BIA Kelsey, in its “Investing in Radio” Market Report, reports the top 10 billing radio stations in the U.S. and WTOP-FM repeats at #1 having billed $67.8 million in 2017.  Entercom sports talk WFAN, New York came in #6 – down two slots from last year – with $41 million billed.  The rest of the top 10 consists of spoken-word stations: Entercom’s all-news WINS-AM and WCBS-AM in New York come in #7 and #8, respectively, with $41 million in billing, followed by Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago at #9 ($40 million) and iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles at #10 ($35 million). See more here.

Report from NAB 2018.  Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting from the 2018 NAB Show for TALKERS magazine.  Sunday’s activity featured the Digital Futures session and Cooke says if anyone needs proof of the potential for podcasts as revenue builders, look no further than the newspaper business that is jumping feet-first into the medium. Gatehouse Media’s Peter Newton says his company is building mini-studios in all 50 of its markets by year’s end. Despite the attacks on traditional media outlets as news sources, Pew Research finds that local news organizations are ranked most trustworthy while social media ranks #4 in trustworthiness. See more of Cooke’s report from Las Vegas here.

Paralyzed Vocal Cord Sidelining WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil.  WSCR, Chicago personality Dan McNeil is off the air for a while (he’s been off since March 28) and lets listeners know that he’s suffering from a paralyzed vocal cord.  He writes the following Facebook post: “After six hours with my new otolaryngology team, here’s the news: Gratefully, I’m cancer free, emphysema free.  The flip side is I have a paralyzed right vocal cord.  The larynx was injected with a collagen gel, designed to separate the two cords.  Recovery time varies.  I will do all in my power to expedite the process.  The timing couldn’t be worse.  And I haven’t been this excited to open a mic since the morning after “17 Seconds” in Boston in ’13.  We will reboot ‘McNeil & Parkins’ on ‘670 The Score’ as soon as possible.  Meanwhile, I will be writing columns for the site and trying to be a good teammate, promoting all of our shows via social media. So sorry. Thank you, Danny Parkins, Nick Shepkowski, Chris Tannehill, Mark Grote, George Ofman and my management team for your humanity.”

Kilmeade and Hurley Raise $30k for Charity.  Friday (4/6) was the 10thAnnual Dinner and Silent Auction to benefit WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley’s “Hurley in the Morning” charity.  FOX News Channel’s Brian Kilmeade helped Hurley raise some $30,000 for the charity.  He also held a private book signing for 260 invited guests at the Resorts Casino -Hotel in Atlantic City.  Hurley says, “Brian is one of the most decent, generous and hard-working gentlemen in our business.  He hosted ‘Fox & Friends’ and his radio program and left immediately for our event. Brian is a superstar who is humble and incredibly engaging.”

The 11thAnnual Hersky Awards.  It is awards season and H-and-H Communications president Al Herskovitz today presents the winners of the 11thannual Hersky Awards – honors given to those who show outstanding achievement in the arena of talk radio sales and advertising.  See who this year’s winners are in the categories of: best live read, best presentation of a local product/service by a national host, top produced national commercial, and best singing commercial/jingle here.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Visits Flinn Broadcasting. Pictured above with the staff of Flinn Broadcasting in Memphis is FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (third from left). The chairman stopped by the company’s offices on April 5.  Pai spoke with owner Dr. George Flinn about issues including: continuing simplification of radio rules and the continuing availability of FM translators.  Chairman Pai spent 30 to 40 minutes on site, met with the company’s staff and management. He also was interviewed by the Memphis Business Journal.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s still no Kevin Klein on Entercom’s sports talk/hot talk hybrid KEGY, San Diego “97.3 The Machine.”  The station is still airing promos that tout it as the flagship of San Diego Padres baseball, but as of this morning (4/9), the station is still airing rock music in the morning drive daypart – although Klein’s name is still listed on the website as the morning drive personality…..Delmarva Education Association-operated WZNZ-AM/W262AG, Jacksonville, Florida changes from business talk to news/talk as “Talk 100.3.” The station airs conservative talk shows including Salem’s Hugh Hewitt, Courtside’s Laura Ingraham, Dave Ramsey, and Compass Media’s Gordon Deal, alongside religious programming and business shows…..Radio research pro Laura Ivey joins Edison Research, directing various aspects of Edison’s growing practice in audio and social media.  She will also take a role in Edison’s election research.  Edison president Larry Rosin says, “Laura will be an outstanding addition to our team.  She has a comprehensive understanding of the audio space and Edison’s clients will really enjoy working with her.”  Ivey has served in various roles with Arbitron and Nielsen Audio since 1996…..Gow Media announces that it is adding ESPN Radio’s Stephen A. Smith show to the program schedule on “SportsMap 94.1FM.”  The program follows the local Charlie Pallilo program…..Boston sports personality Danny Picard launches a new YouTube series called “363: OFF THE AIR” available on his YouTube channel.  He says, “I’m always trying to provide new, original content, but I’m extremely excited to show off my latest YouTube creations.  There’s a real opportunity here to continue to build my brand in a unique way, without any restrictions.”

Deadly Syria Gas Attack, Mexican Wall/Immigration Policy, Jimmy Kimmel-FOX News Feud, Financial Markets Activity, Zuckerberg to Testify Before Congress, North Korea Nukes, and MLB and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The deadly gas attack on civilians in Syria and Russia’s blaming of Israel; the status of President Trump’s proposed Mexican wall and U.S. immigration policy; the feud between Jimmy Kimmel and FOX News Channel personalities over Kimmel’s targeting Melania Trump in a sketch; the activity of the world’s financial markets in response to tariff threats; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress on Tuesday; North Korea signals willingness to talk about denuclearization; and Major League Baseball 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.

Mike Gallagher in London. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher in London with a constable from the London Metropolitan Police.  SRN says that Gallagher is in London investigating reports that the crime rate there has exceeded that of his home base in New York City.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The rumored hiring of Ed Lover to host the morning drive show at Entercom’s classic hip hop and R&B WBMX-FM, Chicago “104.3 Jams” is a reality as the company announces he’ll begin hosting “The Ed Lover Morning Show” with lifelong Chicagoan Jennifer Farina, known as “Jen BT,” starting Thursday (4/12).  Entercom Chicago market manager Jimmy de Castro says, “Ed Lover is as smooth as his name and we’re looking forward to having him take the helm of mornings on Chicago’s #1 station for throwbacks.  His deep connection and knowledge of classic hip-hop and R&B along with his energy and drive will help Chicagoans start their mornings on the right note.”…..Entercom re-brands alternative KKDO, Sacramento from “Radio 94.7” to “ALT 94.7, Sacramento’s Alternative.”…..Westwood One reveals its latest 24/7 music format called Classic Rock X.  WWO says the format debuted on Forever Media’s WRQY, Wheeling, West Virginia “Rocky 96.5.”  The company says the format was developed in conjunction with Forever and will soon be featured in more of their markets, as well as offered to the marketplace at large.  It’s a harder-edged classic rock format with core artists AC/DC, Def Leppard, and Guns N’ Roses replacing such acts as Doobie Brothers, Eagles, and Bruce Springsteen.  It also includes songs from Nirvana, Alice In Chains, and other mainstay 90s bands.”…..Alpha Media’s Wenatchee, Washington cluster brings the “JACK FM” format to the market on translator K232ED, Wenatchee as “94.3 JACK FM.”…..The 53rd ACM Awards take place this Sunday (4/15) live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will broadcast LIVE at 8:00 pm ET on the CBS Television NetworkWestwood One and Cumulus Media are the official national radio partners for the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards and Westwood One will welcome more than 25 of the top country stations in America to its Westwood One Backstage at the Academy of Country Music Awards.  Through its partnership with the Academy of Country Music and dick clark productions, WWO will also create exclusive ACM branded long-form and short-form content leading up to and following the awards.  The one-hour “ACM Red Carpet” is being hosted by Elaina Smith and both the three-hour “ACM Broadcast Companion’ and the “ACM Winner Wrap Up Show” are being hosted by Shawn Parr and Elaina Smith…..Mikadety Radio files to transfer KDSN-AM/FM (currently airing a variety format and an adult contemporary format, respectively) Denison, Iowa to University of Northwestern-St. Paul.  University of Northwestern-St. Paul is a Minnesota-based non-profit corporation headed by Alan Cureton.  It owns 42 licenses, of which 18 are full-power stations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, Connecticut, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

| February 14, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

| January 30, 2018

Emmis Reaches Agreements in Principle to Sell Its Four St. Louis Stations.  These agreements in principle are exactly that and subsequent definitive agreements mean more, but Emmis Communications announced today (1/30) that it will sell classic rock KSHE and alternative rock KPNT “The Point” to Hubbard Radio and news/talk KFTK-FM and CHR KNOU to Entercom.  Terms – including price – are not available at this time.  If the sales are finalized and pass regulatory approval, Entercom would own both heritage news/talk KMOX and news/talk KFTK.  It seems unlikely that Entercom would operate two conservative news/talk stations in the same market and KFTK’s Class C1 FM signal would be a prime candidate for a flip to a music format.

Imus in the Morning/WABC Update.  From the mouth of WABC, New York morning legend Don Imus comes the news that when his show ends on March 29, certain staff members are leaving along with him.  The I-man said that show engineer Lou Rufino, along with cast members Rob Bartlett and Tony Powell will not continue with Cumulus Media’s 77WABC.  TALKERS magazine sources also say that, effective today (1/30), Lisa Ritchie moves from evening news anchor position to weekday afternoon news anchor.  Also, weekday street reporter Jerry Barmash assumes the evening news anchor role.

Ralph Bristol Exits WWTN-FM, Nashville Morning Show.  There’s a change in mornings at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN-FM, Nashville “Super Talk 99.7 WTN” as morning personality Ralph Bristol exits the station.  There’s no official word from Cumulus on this change, but former WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning host Brian Wilson has been sitting in on the morning show, so far.   The rest of the weekday lineup on WTN is Michael Del Giorno in late mornings, Dan Mandis in early afternoons, and Phil Valentine in afternoon drive.

PodcastOne Founder and Executive Chairman Norm Pattiz to Present a “Podcasting for Radio Broadcasters” Clinic at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! The founder and executive chairman of one of the talk media industry’s leading podcasting platforms, PodcastOne, will address the attendees at the forthcoming TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! on the subject of “Podcasting for Radio Broadcasters.” As podcasting grows into a major communications business and modern-day cultural phenomenon, it is becoming clear that the practice is an extension of the radio industry’s platform projection into the digital space. According to Norm Pattiz, “There are unlimited potential and yet untapped opportunities for radio broadcasters to expand their programming, brands and potential for revenue generation in this exciting field. We will discuss some of them at the TALKERS conference.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Talk show host Jeremy Leahy’s “Standing Ground” program picks up another affiliate as WLBB, Carrollton, Georgia adds the show to its program schedule.  TalkAmericaRadio.US operations manager Ron Phillips comments, “We are extremely proud to be carrying Jeremy’s program.  In his unfiltered style, he guides the listener through all aspects of our political landscape.  He is well on his way to being a headliner on our national network.”…..USA Radio Network is reporting that “WAR Now: The Wayne Allyn Root Show” has added new affiliate stations, including KBDT, Dallas (USA Radio’s new flagship station) and KSPK, Minneapolis.  Additionally, the 8:00 pm ET hour of the program is carried by Newsmax TV, reaching some 50 million households…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that sources tell him the rights to Chicago Bulls play-by-play could transfer from Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM to Entercom’s sports talker WSCR “The Score,” as a deal is close to being struck.  As part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy and company-wide cost-cutting measures, Cumulus is asking out of its deals with the Bulls and MLB’s White Sox.  It’s hard to say where the White Sox rights may end up.  WSCR also carries the Cubs.  Tribune’s WGN let go of the Cubs several years ago, presumably for financial reasons.  And, it’s not certain if sport talker WMVP parent ESPN is interested in the White Sox.  Stay tuned…..Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is entering the news media game.  He was introduced on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program today (1/30) by George Stephanopoulos as the newest ABC News contributor.  He was referred to as a friend and adviser to President Trump.  Christie – a former U.S. prosecutor gave his takes on the exit of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and the Robert Mueller special investigation…..Cumulus Media news/talk KABC, Los Angeles was honored by Southern California’s RTNA with five top honors at the 68th Annual RTNA Golden Mike Awards on Saturday (1/27).  The station took home the following:  Best Newscast Under 15 Minutes: Leeann Tweeden, anchor; Sharon Reardon, editor; Best Sports Segment: Randy Wang; Best Government and Political Reporting: James Rojas; Best Traffic Reporter: Bill Thomas; and Best News Reporting by Radio Network or Content Syndicator: Westwood One‘s Jim Roope.

Merlin Media Still Negotiating with Cumulus.  WKQX-FM and WLUP-FM, Chicago owner Merlin Media filed yesterday (1/29) with the bankruptcy court handling Cumulus Media’s Chapter 11 case, informing it that it is still working with Cumulus to seek a mutually beneficial solution to the ownership of the two stations.  Those following the Cumulus bankruptcy case recall that the company is asking the court to let it out of a number of contracts that are losing money.  One of those is the LMA of WKQX and WLUP.  Under the terms of the deal, Cumulus is also under obligation to buy the two signals for around $50 million.  Merlin acknowledges that, in the event negotiations fail and pending a court ruling, it is preparing to either operate the alternative and classic rock stations itself and/or seek another buyer.  Also, Merlin is objecting to Cumulus classifying the Merlin contract as a subordinating claim – which would make it payable only after senior claims are settled.

Andrew McCabe Resignation, Trump-Russia Investigation/Kremlin List, FISA Abuses Memo, State of the Union Address, Criticism of Politicized Grammys, DACA Status/Immigration Policy, Strava Security Concerns, Flu Epidemic, and Super Bowl LII Among News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/29).  Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe resigns from his position under pressure from President Trump; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents and Vladimir Putin’s response to the U.S. Treasury Department’s “Kremlin list” of Russian politicians and oligarchs who’ve thrived under Putin; the House Intelligence Committee’s vote to release a memo detailing alleged surveillance abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department; President Trump’s State of the Union Address; criticism of the political speeches at Sunday night’s Grammy Awards; the status of the Obama-era DACA Act and the Trump administration’s immigration policy; concerns of the security of U.S. service personnel after use of the Strava workout app appears to reveal their locations; the flu epidemic that’s sweeping the U.S.; and Sunday’s Super Bowl LII 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.  Morning radio personality John Forsythe is retiring from iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary WMGF, Orlando “Magic 107.7” where he’s been co-hosting AM drive with Leslye Gale since 2010.  During his 50-year career, Forsythe has worked at such stations as WQAM-AM, Miami; KLIF-AM, Dallas; KKOB-FM, Albuquerque; and KCBQ, San Diego.  About retirement, Forsythe says, “It’s been a difficult decision to step away from such a successful show but it’s time.  Radio has given me so many amazing life experiences.  From the early days in Miami with the Bee Gees living on the same canal as ‘QAM in the ‘70s, to being part of the Chargers broadcast team in the ‘80s, to raising millions for children’s hospitals in the ‘90s and 2000s, radio has enriched my life in so many ways!  I’m grateful for the opportunity to try and make someone’s day better through warmth and laughter.”…..The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that Entercom urban contemporary WVEE, Atlanta “V-103” will replace departing morning personality Ryan Cameron with familiar voices – Frank Ski and Miss Sophia, along with Wanda Smith.   Ski returns to the station after exiting in 2012 and Miss Sophia returns after an almost eight-year absence…..When the new Justin Timberlake album Man of the Woods drops this Friday (2/2), it will be available on demand via iHeartRadio starting at 12:00 midnight ET.  iHeartRadio and Timberlake have teamed up to gift fans with the access to stream the album all weekend long during iHeartRadio’s “All Access Free Preview Weekend.”  At 8:00 pm ET on Friday, iHeartMedia’s digital platform will host an iHeartRadio Album Preview with Justin Timberlake across broadcast stations nationwide and digitally on iHeartRadio’s Hit Nation featuring an exclusive interview about the making of the album…..iHeartMedia rock station KEGL, Dallas “97.1 The Eagle” announces the lineup for this year’s “BFD 2018” concert at Starplex Pavilion on May 26.  The day-long concert will feature performances from A Perfect Circle, Stone Temple Pilots, Theory of a Deadman, I Prevail, Nothing More, Candlebox, 10 Years, and The Blue Stones…..SiriusXM is devoting a channel to the music of Billy Joel all during February.  The Billy Joel Channel will feature the works of Joel plus a new series, “BJ the DJ” in which Joel plays some of the artists he admires most.  Each show will be focused on a different genre of music including pop, rock and R&B.  Billy will host this series while sitting at his piano illustrating musically and verbally each song he selects.