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Thursday, April 8, 2021

| April 8, 2021

Cumulus Fires PD and Morning Hosts in Aftermath of Racist Bit at WGRF, Buffalo. As reported by WGRZ-TV, Buffalo, Cumulus Media has taken further action after the March 24 morning program radio bit by “The Morning Bull” personalities in which the three cast members discussed the color of Black female celebrities’ skin, comparing them to burnt toast. On that day, WGRF-FM, Buffalo “97 Rock” morning host Rob Lederman was fired and co-hosts Rich Gaenzler and Chris Klein were suspended. Now, the station has fired Gaenzler and Klein as well as program director John Hager. Cumulus issued the succinct statement: “Upon further consideration following the racist incident that occurred on ‘The Morning Bull Show,’ we decided to terminate the whole morning show in addition to the program director.” Rich Gaenzler also lost his gig as arena announcer for Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bandits games and as stadium announcer for University of Buffalo football.

Richard Baum Named Chief Revenue Officer for Sun Broadcast Group. Sales pro Richard Baum joins Sun Broadcast Group as chief revenue officer. SBG says that in this newly created position, Baum will lead partner strategy, revenue growth, and oversee the growing ad-sales team. SBG adds that Baum’s “proven success in sales planning, team management, revenue strategy, and business development blend seamlessly into his new role, as he will focus on leveraging both sales and ROI to drive growth for Sun Broadcast Group.” Sun Broadcast Group president Warren Friedland comments, “When looking for our new CRO we wanted to find an industry professional with vast knowledge of network radio, emerging tactics, an impeccable reputation as well as an eye for growth, and Baum fits all those characteristics. His knowledge will allow us to provide more comprehensive and competitive solutions for both clients and agencies, while maximizing revenue growth across all platforms.” Baum says, “In searching for my next opportunity, I was looking to join a team with a strong infrastructure, a solid foundation, and the available resources to grow aggressively. Warren and his team at Sun fit that criteria perfectly. I am excited to work with the crew at Sun and Gen Media Partners to continue to help build a best-in-class network audio company.”

Hillsdale Weekend Program Available Via Salem Radio Network. The “Radio Free Hillsdale Hour” program produced by Hillsdale College is being made available for radio stations via Salem Radio Network. The one-hour, weekend radio program is divided into four segments with each episode featuring multiple guests including Hillsdale faculty members, speakers who visit one of the College’s campuses, alumni, and others. WRHF, Hillsdale “Radio Free Hillsdale” general manager Scot Bertram is host of the program and he says, “We’re thrilled to be able to offer the program through Salem and give radio stations another option for airing the show. Talk radio listeners already know Hillsdale by reputation, but this is an opportunity to hear more directly from the college’s faculty, staff, alumni, and others. Our goal always has been to reach as many listeners as possible across the country. The ideas and arguments discussed here at Hillsdale are relevant to all citizens, and this radio program is one way to share them.” Stations that recently added the program to their lineups include: WIBX-AM, Utica, New York; WZUS-FM, Decatur, Illinois; and KTOE-AM, Mankato, Minnesota.

Westwood One Offers Barstool Sports’ ‘Picks Central’ to Radio Stations. In a deal between Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and Barstool Sports, the Barstool program “Picks Central” will be made available to radio stations live from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET or for delay broadcast.  The daily gambling and sports show is hosted by Brandon Walker with a rotation of Barstool personalities including Dave Portnoy and Dan “Big Cat” Katz, in which they “provide the scoop on the best gambling lines of the day. The crew discusses relevant sports topics, bad beats, moneylines, and over/unders. They also offer their thoughts on where to place winning bets for every sport under the moon.”

Hallerin Hilton Hill Named to Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame. Knoxville talk radio host Hallerin Hilton Hill – heard in afternoon drive on Cumulus Media’s WOKI-FM, “NewsTalk 98.7” – is being inducted into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2021. Cumulus Knoxville market manager Ken Slayer says, “Our entire team is very proud of Hallerin and his career accomplishments. No one deserves this honor and statewide recognition more than he does. His commitment to broadcast excellence and service to our community are unsurpassed.” Hill also works as singer/songwriter, author, motivational speaker, and trainer. He wrote “Who Would Imagine a King” with Mervyn Warren which was recorded by Whitney Houston for the film, The Preacher’s Wife, and was included on the film’s Grammy-nominated soundtrack.

Gimlet Media and The Ringer Podcast Producers Unionize. The writers and producers at Gimlet Media and The Ringer – both owned by Spotify – ratified first collective bargaining agreements as members of the Writers Guild of America, East. The contracts affect 48 members at Gimlet Media and 65 members at The Ringer. Some of the key components of the union contracts provide for: Significant increases to salary minimums with The Ringer establishing $57,000 plus overtime as an entry-level floor and Gimlet Media beginning at $73,000 for associate producers; limitations on the use of contractors within bargaining unit positions; minimum of 2% guaranteed annual increases; minimum severance of 11 weeks for all employees, regardless of tenure; and more. Writers Guild of America, East executive director Lowell Peterson comments, “The collective bargaining agreements at Gimlet Media and The Ringer demonstrate that the people who make podcasts, from writers to producers to editors, bring enormous value to the major platforms for whom they create content. Collective bargaining ensures creative professionals have a seat at the table to address issues like inclusion and equity, intellectual property concerns, and sustainability of careers.”

Adnan Virk to Contribute to Meadowlark Media. According to a story in The Wrap, Adnan Virk is joining the talent stable at Meadowlark Media – the company launched by former ESPN chief John Skipper and sports talk personality Dan Le Batard. In addition to his work as a contributor, Virk’s “Cinephile” podcast will become part of the “Le Batard & Friends” network. Virk says, “I’ve had the amazing fortune to have John Skipper as my boss at ESPN, DAZN, and now Meadowlark. Clearly the third time is the charm and I’ve long enjoyed John’s ambition, erudition, and sense of humor. Skipper adds, “Adnan is a unique talent – the kind of broadcaster who can thrive in any sport and in any environment. We’re thrilled for the opportunity to welcome a friend who offers a diverse voice and shares our desire to create high-quality content that pushes beyond the boundaries of sports.”

WPHT USO Radiothon Raises More Than $95,000. The March 19 “Talk Radio 1210 WPHT USO Radiothon” raised more than $95,000 to benefit the United Service Organization of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey (Liberty USO). The 12-hour radiothon was hosted by WPHT, Philadelphia talk show hosts Rich Zeoli and Dom Giordano and included interviews and stories from USO staff and families, dignitaries and special guests such as actor Justin Melnick, WWE announcer Lillian Garcia, and Phillies broadcaster Larry Andersen. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We’re proud of another successful year raising funds and awareness for Liberty USO. These individuals have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and it’s our honor to band together with our listeners to support them and their families.”

COVID-19, Biden Gun Control Moves, Infrastructure/Tax Plan, Voting Legislation, Border Crisis, Derek Chauvin Trial, and Matt Gaetz Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7). The number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S., status of variants, post-COVID effects, and vaccine rollout; President Joe Biden moves to ban ‘ghost guns’ and stabilizers; the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan and the proposed tax changes to pay for it; Georgia’s restrictive voting laws and Democrats’ plans for a national voting rights bill; the large number of unaccompanied minors amassed at the U.S.-Mexico border; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; and the investigation into allegations U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz had sexual relations with a minor were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

| August 10, 2016

savage, michaelSavage, Westwood One Sign Multi-Year Renewal. Under terms of a just-signed pact, “The Savage Nation” host Michael Savage and Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One will continue their long-term relationship. Westwood One president and Cumulus Media’s executive vice president of corporate marketing Suzanne Grimes comments, “We are proud to extend our relationship with this top-notch talent [whoSavage Nation has] a unique voice in American radio. He has some of the most engaged fans and is a proven, consistent, ratings generator. We look forward to many more years together.” Savage states that his Westwood One deal, “caps my winning the National Radio Hall of Fame nomination. My show is famous for my ‘news, views, and reviews,’ and we will take it to new levels in January 2017. We will be doing a three-dimensional show on broadcast stations, as a live stream, and with special segments created only for subscribers.” With a Ph.D. from the University of California – Berkeley, Savage was the 2007 recipient of TALKERS‘s “Freedom of Speech” award. He has authored more than 25 books with his newest – “Scorched Earth” – coming out next month. First aired locally in San Francisco in 1994, “The Savage Nation” now airs nationally on 235 stations.

Top Earning RadioWho Are Radio’s Highest-Paid Talents? Whether it is professional athletes or movie/television stars, we are constantly fascinated by the salaries of those with an elevated profile. Some will find it curious – if not grossly unfair – for instance, that Alex Rodriguez will draw approximately $27 million next year from the New York Yankees to do basically nothing. There is a curiosity as well about the W-2 forms of certain radio personalities. In a Karen Blankfeld-written Forbes Magazine article, we discover the identity of the industry’s top six moneymakers. The names and perhaps even the order might not totally surprise you, but the figures could. Checking in at #6 is Glenn Beck ($13 million). “Aside from his conservative-leaning news site The Blaze, he makes a small fortune annually from his publishing imprint Mercury Ink,” Blankfeld notes. Bill O’Reilly ($18.5 million) is listed at #5 but his inclusion here is a stretch since the Fox News anchor does not have a long-form radio presence. Fox News stable-mate/Premiere NetworksSean Hannity ($29 million) comes in at #4 with Blankfeld remarking he “remains the go-to host for conversations and confessions with the GOP elite.” By now, you have probably correctly guessed the top three, but in a countdown hat-tip, the radio talent at #3 is iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR KIIS “Kiss FM” morning star and Premiere Networks’ “AT 40” host Ryan Seacrest ($55 million), who isn’t hurting too much without the “American Idol” checks. With a staggering $79 million, another Premiere Networks personality – Rush Limbaugh – is listed at #2. “He celebrated 28 years with iHeartMedia in August by renewing his contract,” Blankfeld states. Eclipsing everyone though at #1 is Howard Stern ($85 million) and it is perhaps fitting he is first, given his self-described “King of All Media” moniker. “His new five-year, eight-digit contract with Sirius will extend to a new app and video streaming of the show,” Blankfeld explains. Add the figures up for these six stars and the total is approximately $280 million. Forbes bases the list on estimated June 1, 2015 – June 1, 2016 pretax income, before deducting management and legal fees.

morgan, charlieEmmis New York City Makes Morgan SVP/Market Manager. It is quite a significant week for Emmis upper management. As we reported yesterday (TALKERS, Tuesday, 8/9), Chuck Williams takes over as senior vice president and market manager of the four-station cluster in the company’s home market of Indianapolis. There, he succeeds Charlie Morgan, who served in that capacity the past seven years before being named interim market manager of Emmis New York earlier this year. Morgan now removes theEmmis “interim” title, as he officially is named Emmis New York City’s senior vice president and market manager. Company president and chief operating officer Patrick Walsh declares that, “Charlie is one of radio’s truly gifted leaders. His inspirational leadership has been a catalyst in improving our results in Indianapolis and his deft skills are already having an impact in New York. I am thrilled he has decided to focus this next exciting stage of his career on ensuring [our New York City stations] continue to play an important role in the lives of listeners in the Tri-State area and these brands deliver on their enormous potential.” Morgan comments, “When a 35+-year radio veteran can honestly call his most recent seven years the most fun and most rewarding of his career, you know you are talking to one very fortunate man. That statement is true for me, thanks to the company and the culture that [founder, chief executive officer, chair] Jeff Smulyan, [president of radio programming] Rick Cummings, and Pat Walsh have built and nourished. Add to that the all-star team of talent I have worked with in Indianapolis, and you begin to understand my good fortune. For the past seven months, I have had the rare privilege of working with the talented team at Emmis New York. We have legendary brands in the most vibrant city in America. I have fallen in love with the people, the passion, and the opportunity to build on the legacy in New York.” Prior to joining Emmis, the Butler University alum spent more than 21 years as vice president and general manager of Susquehanna (now Cumulus Media) Indianapolis and he is a former president and chief operating officer of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Productions. In addition, Morgan is board chair of the Country Radio Seminar. Results from Nielsen Audio‘s July 2016 PPM report indicate Emmis New York City urban AC WBLS is in fifth-place (5.1, 6+); rhythmic CHR sibling WQHT “Hot 97” is tenth (3.5, 6+); and co-owned gospel WLIB is #31 (.4, 6+).

meltesen, jeffCumulus Media Nashville Names Meltesen Sr. AE/Sponsorship Sales. The former publisher of Nash Country Weekly Jeff Meltesen – is appointed senior account executive/sponsorship sales for Cumulus Media Nashville. He will focus on clients of the cluster’s two country stations (WKDF and WSM-FM) and Cumulus-Nashvillesponsorship sales of events/promotions for all Cumulus Media Nashville properties. WKDF “Nash FM” and WSM-FM “Nash Icon” general sales manager Rhonda Rollins comments, “We are thrilled to have someone of Jeff’s experience join our team. His sales, business, and marketing acumen are market tested and will help us elevate the conversation with our customers.” Meltesen remarks, “Cumulus Nashville’s high quality events featuring high profile artists present a unique opportunity for brands that want to make an impact in Nashville. Our sponsorships are backed by the power of our popular Nashville radio stations, so there is built-in media value for our partners.” Before joining Nash Country Weekly, Meltesen was marketing director for Nashville Songwriters Association International. Up a whopping +1.4 from June, WSM-FM “Nash Icon” finishes second (7.3, 6+) in Nielsen Audio‘s July 2016 Nashville PPM sweep, nine-tenths behind Midwest Communications adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9” (8.2, 6+). Elsewhere in the Cumulus Media Nashville cluster, urban AC WQQK “92-Q” is #7 (5.2); WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” is #8 (4.6, 6+); and tied at #12 – each with 3.7 (6+) – are sports WGFX “104.5 The Zone” and WKDF “Nash FM.”

WABC-AMA Case of Copyright Infringement? Apparently, that is what Paul Bereswill is thinking, as he becomes the most recent photographer to sue a radio company over a copyrighted photo used on a radio station’s website. Specifically, the case in the southern district of New York has Bereswill alleging that Cumulus Media New York City talker WABC used his pictures of New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey and a post-game photo of the NHL‘s New York Rangers on the WABC website without his prior consent. In addition to attorney’s costs/fees, Bereswill reportedly is seeking damages and profits or the statutory $150,000 per work.

lewis, jasonEx-Talkers Win Minnesota Political Contests. One of Rush Limbaugh‘s former guest hosts – Jason Lewis – defeated Darlene Miller and John Howe yesterday (Tuesday, 8/9) to win the Republican nomination for congress in Minnesota’s second congressional district. Lewis spent ten years on emmer, tomMinneapolis talker KSTP-AM and later was heard on cross-town KTLK-FM. Five years ago to the day, Genesis Communications Network began syndicating his show. Lewis will face Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party nominee Angie Craig and Independence Party candidate Paula Overby in November. Meanwhile in that state’s sixth district, another former talk show host – Republican representative Tom Emmer – won his primary race for re-election. Emmer was a state legislator before co-hosting morning drive with Bob Davis at KTLK-FM in 2011- 2013. Emmer was Minnesota’s Republican nominee for governor in 2010, losing in a very close race to Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s Mark Dayton.

Odds & Sods: Starting in four weeks (9/6), “The Sports Junkies,” the 6:00 am – 10:00 am program on CBS Radio WJFK-FM Sports JunkiesWashington, D.C. sports outlet WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan,” will be simulcast on regional cable sports network CSN Mid-Atlantic. WJFK-FM program director Chris Kinard comments, “‘The Sports Junkies’ are the most dynamic radio personalities in [the market] with a dedicated fan base of listeners on radio, streaming, and via podcast. We are thrilled to work with our partners at CSN on this important brand extension of our original programming.” ….. Topics ranging from research and insights affecting radio listeners and advertisers to storytelling will be featured in “Radio Impact Reports,” a new blog from the RAB. According to the first post, the blog will, “share current news, information and insights about broadcast radio, while using this social space to encourage an open dialogue with broadcasters, advertisers, agencies and even listeners. One thing is for certain – our focus will be on continued growth and innovations taking place, ensuring radio’s bright and exciting future.”   

freeman, dorisDoris Freeman Passes. The class of 2014 Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame inductee died this past Saturday (8/6). Doris Freeman began her career approximately 80 years ago as a feature radio singer and tap dancer. She raised millions of dollars over the decades for organizations such as the West Tennessee Cerebral Palsy Center, Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, March of Dimes, and the United Negro College Fund. Freeman hosted daily and weekly radio shows on Jackson, Tennessee’s WDXI; a daily children’s television show in Jackson; and headed up Cousin Tuny Enterprises, one of Jackson’s first advertising agencies. As a single mother of four, she became Jackson’s first female radio advertising representative with WDXI in 1948 and later at WTJS, and WJAK. For more than 20 years, Freeman produced/hosted live radio coverage of the Miss Tennessee Pageant. Visitation will be held tomorrow (Thursday, 8/11) 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm at Jackson, Tennessee’s Northside Methodist Church; funeral service (also at the Northside Methodist Church) is this Friday (8/12) at 11:00 am.