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Thursday, July 29, 2021

| July 29, 2021

Audacy Chicago Assigns VP Stripes To Solk. Four-year Audacy Chicago triple A WXRT “93 XRT” operations manager/program director Greg Solk is elevated to vice president of programming & operations for the company’s Windy City cluster. The promotion takes effect this Sunday (8/1) and will give Solk programming/operations strategy oversight for all-news WBBM-AM & WCFS “News Radio 780 AM & 105.9 FM” and sports talk WSCR “670 The Score,” as well as CHR WBBM-FM “B-96”; country WUSN “US-99”; urban-rhythmic oldies WBMX “104.3 Jams”; and WXRT. Audacy Chicago regional president/market manager Rachel Williamson remarks, “Greg has been an invaluable partner who is respected and appreciated by his team at WXRT; across Audacy; and throughout the industry. He has been influential in the success of many of the biggest brands in Chicago. I could not be more excited to promote him into this enhanced role overseeing our Chicago programming strategy.” Solk states, “These past years at WXRT have been among the most rewarding of my career – especially the opportunity to work alongside legendary talents. Along with so many others behind the scenes, this team returned WXRT to the top echelon of our great city’s broadcast properties. I now look forward to continuing to work with Rachel and our group’s superb brand/programming leaders. Together we will do our best to continue enlightening, entertaining and delighting the millions we serve on our airwaves and through our growing digital channels.” A then-21-year-old Solk began his programming career in 1983 at Chicago’s WLUP-FM “The Loop” and programmed comedy/talk WLUP-AM three years later. His resume also includes a tenure as Bonneville’s senior vice president of programming and the same title at Hubbard Broadcasting. Solk previously programmed Chicago sports talk WMVP and San Francisco triple A KFOG. Audacy Chicago is conducting an immediate search for Solk’s replacement at WXRT.

iHeartMedia Teams With NBA For Podcast Slate. The multi-year partnership between iHeartMedia and the National Basketball Association will feature more than 20 co-produced podcasts. The first one is set to debut this fall and will be distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network. According to iHeartMedia Sports president Kevin LeGrett, “The NBA is one of the toughest leagues in the world. These are relentless athletes with a grueling schedule at the absolute height of their game. Their stories are the stuff of legend and deserve mass-reach audiences and top-tier brand partners – iHeart alone can deliver that.” NBA senior vice president/national & local network partnerships David Denenberg comments, “We are excited to expand the league’s audio offerings to fans by teaming up with iHeartMedia to deliver NBA content and storytelling to the iHeartPodcast Network. We look forward to reaching more fans with content about our teams, players and history through this partnership.” Along with a mix of the latest league news; player commentary; and insider analysis, the podcasts will be produced using a wide variety of content from the NBA archives to tell backstories of some of the greatest moments in sports history.

Audacy’s NFL Training Camp Programming Kicks Off Tomorrow. “Training Camp Live” will be an in-depth look at National Football League training camp and preseason storylines. It debuts tomorrow (Friday, 7/30) and continues each Monday and Friday through September 3. Audacy vice president of sports Matt Volk remarks, “Training camp is the perfect time to capture pro football fans who are excited about the start of the season. By identifying insiders throughout our markets, this exclusive digital content will give fans a front row seat to all of the training camp and preseason storylines surrounding their favorite team.” Available on Audacy’s digital platform, “Training Camp Live” will be produced by these nine Audacy-owned sports talk properties: WFAN “Sports Radio 101.9 FM & 66 AM,” New York; WSCR “670 The Score,” Chicago; KGMZ “95.7 The Game,” San Francisco; KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” Dallas; WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan,” Washington, DC; WIP “Sports Radio 94,” Philadelphia; WEEI-FM “93.7 Boston’s Sports Station,” Boston; KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan,” Pittsburgh; and KCSP “610 Sports Radio,” Kansas City.” Local Audacy NFL experts will provide twice weekly insights into all of the market’s team’s training camp news. Shows will be hosted by various on-air personalities from each station; episodes will be repurposed into time-shifted podcasts.

New York Festivals Announces Its 2021 Finalists. The 2021 Radio Awards Grand Jury of creative media professionals and content creators from around the world selected finalists based on production values, writing, creativity, direction, achievement of purpose, and audience suitability. Entries achieving “finalist” status will advance to the next round to determine gold, silver, and bronze trophies. New York Festivals Radio Awards vice president/executive director Rose Anderson notes, “Once again, this year’s finalists – in addition to appealing to their own listeners – also impressed the Grand Jury with their mastery of the audio medium. Across all genres, they proved that radio, the original social medium, is robust and thriving. From podcasts and audiobooks to sound art and breaking news, these talented storytellers bring the world together and engage in real time.” Global broadcasters led the way including Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the 2020 NYF “Broadcaster of the Year,” and RTÉ Ireland, 2019’s “Broadcaster of the Year.” Additional prominent broadcasters moving onto the medal round include: BBC, Bloomberg, CBS News Radio, ESPN, National Radio of Argentina, Radio New Zealand, SiriusXM, and Westwood One. New categories were unveiled across all genres to shine the spotlight on “Social Justice.” The Radio Awards receives entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from over 30 countries. The mission of the competition is to honor the achievements of the men and women who make up the global audio storytelling community. The 2021 NYF Radio Award winners will be announced October 12th at the annual Storytellers gala taking place at NAB in Las Vegas. This is the 11th year of NYF’s strategic partnership with the NAB Show. View the complete list of the New York Festivals Radio Awards finalists by clicking here.

WOR, New York Personality Mark Simone is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime Big Apple radio star Mark Simone, who hosts the daily 10:00 am – 12:00 noon show on WOR, New York, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Simone, described by Harrison as the “ultimate embodiment of the expression ‘man-about-town’” for his numerous speaking engagements as a toastmaster and emcee has been a radio mainstay for decades in the nation’s number one market having performed on the rosters of such legendary outlets as WABC, WNEW, WMCA and WPIX, prior to joining WOR. For two years, he was the co-host of a three-hour daily comedy show with the legendary Steve Allen on the NBC Radio Network. He co-hosted a two-hour nightly talk show with Tom Snyder on the CBS Radio Network. In addition to discussing local and national politics, Simone is a music and entertainment historian who has hosted over 250 PBS entertainment specials and he has lectured at Hofstra University on the career and cultural legacy of Frank Sinatra. A regular guest on national cable TV, Simone and newspaper columnist Linda Stasi have co-hosted their “What a Week” segments for over 18 years on New York 1 TV, the highly-watched, all-news channel in NYC. Harrison and Simone discuss radio, politics, music, and technology in a fast-paced conversation that will engage both professional practitioners and dedicated fans of today’s cross-platform media environment. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Cumulus Media Nashville Extends Multi-Year Titans’ Agreement. Continuing as flagship of the National Football League’s Tennessee Titans through the 2025 NFL season is Cumulus Media Nashville sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone.” Cumulus Media Nashville vice president/market manager Allison Warren comments, “As the predominant sports voice in Middle Tennessee, we’re proud to extend our partnership with the Tennessee Titans. We are committed to bringing ‘104.5 The Zone’ listeners and Titans fans the compelling sports content they seek.” WGFX “104.5 The Zone” and Titans Radio Network operations manager/program director Paul Mason contends, “The Tennessee Titans and WGFX are among the best marriages in the NFL. We are excited to continue as the flagship station for Titans Radio. I am thrilled that our listeners will hear [the Titans] on ‘The Zone’ and Titans Radio for years to come.” Tennessee Titans senior vice president/chief marketing & revenue officer Gil Beverly adds, “The Tennessee Titans and ‘104.5 The Zone’ have had a long-standing partnership. We are excited to continue with a brand that shares our vision for the Titans. ‘The Zone’ has established itself as the preeminent Middle Tennessee sports leader and the Titans Radio Network will continue to create an incredible offering for passionate fans across the state.” WGFX will again have broadcasting rights for gameday play-by-play with Mike Keith and color analyst Dave “Coach Mac” McGinnis, as well as pre- and post-game programming. Also included are weekly shows such as “The Mike Vrabel Show,” “Titans Tonight,” and “Mac Talk.” Hall of Fame play-by-play announcer Keith and former NFL head coach McGinnis are entering their fifth season together on Titans Radio.

COVID-19, January 6 Committee, Voting Legislation, Infrastructure Bill, and Crime Were the Top News/Talk Stories on Wednesday. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Delta variant being the dominant strain, and vaccine hesitancy in many parts of the U.S. combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio yesterday (7/28). That was followed closely by the dramatic January 6 Committee Hearings featuring the testimony of the police officers involved, the Economy and Crime and Violence in the nation’s urban centers. 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 updated and published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. Through his partnership with the iHeart Podcast Network, “Lore” creator Aaron Mahnke has fashioned supernatural podcast “Bridgewater.” The Lauren Shippen-written mystery is about folklore professor Jeremy Bradshaw, who is pulled into the mysterious 1980 disappearance of his police officer father, Thomas. “Along the way, he’s helped by some unlikely partners who challenge everything he believes in and ultimately tries to answer the question: Can the past actually be rewritten? Jeremy must chase the clues that will tell him whether his father really did fall victim to a satanic cult in the Bridgewater Triangle – or something much more dark and unexplainable.” The first two episodes of a ten-episode first season will be posted next Friday (8/6). A second season of 12 episodes has been approved for fall 2022. Among those in the “Bridgewater” cast are Nathan Fillion, Will Wheaton, Lori Alan, Hilarie Burton Morgan, Melissa Ponzio, and Misha Collins.

Timely Guest Alert! Attorney/author/commentator Wayne Avrashow has penned an insightful article about the California Recall, Larry Elder’s Bid, and celebrity candidacies. The article deals with the potential impact of talk show host Larry Elder’s bid to replace California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom in the Golden State’s forthcoming recall election. In addition, Avrashow sheds light on the growing trend toward celebrity political candidacies across the nation. The article appears in today’s installment (Thursday, 7/29) of RealClearPolitics – Following in The Donald’s Celebrity Footsteps | RealClearPolitics. Attorney, college law professor and author, Avrashow is a respected non-partisan expert on the subject of California politics and is available for interviews. He has an extensive background in West Coast politics; served on two government commissions; was chair of a Los Angeles County ballot proposition; and co-authored ballot arguments. He began as a campaign manager for two victorious Los Angeles City Councilmembers and later served as a chief of staff. He can be contacted at 818-995-1100 or walaw@sbcglobal.net.

 

 

Audacy Greenville-Spartanburg news/talk WYRD “106.3 WORD” has an opening for a full-time, aggressive, curious reporter/anchor to add to our award-winning news staff. Candidates must demonstrate creative instincts in finding local stories. He or she must have efficient and effective writing skills and the ability to react to breaking news. The successful candidate should be familiar with news gathering tools and be comfortable with social network postings and usage, including video for digital assets. Experience writing, producing, and reporting news is required. If you are passionate about reporting news and creating compelling, story-telling news features for on-air and digital platforms, show us you have what it takes. Please submit your resume, cover letter, and work sample. https://careers-audacy.icims.com/jobs/2164/news-reporter/job.

The Sons of Liberty and Bradlee Dean are looking for an affiliate relations person to take over the current line-up. With 153 affiliates nationwide – as well as broadcasting in over 53 countries – The Sons of Liberty and Bradlee Dean rank as the #1 and # 2 show on the Genesis Communications Network (out of 65 show hosts); they seek to build even more. If interested please call 1-866-233-0747;  www.sonsoflibertymedia.com.

Friday, March 12, 2021

| March 12, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled “The New Abnormal” looks back at this past week of March 8-12, 2021.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Michael Berry, talk show host, KTRH, Houston / Michael Berry Network;  Grace Curley, talk show host, WRKO, Boston / Howie Carr Radio NetworkDom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia / “Readin’ Writin’ and Reason” podcast; Rob Carson, talk show host, Newsmax TV / “What in the World?”; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here  or call 616-884-8616.

Saga Communications Reports Q4 2020 Net Revenue Down 10%; Decline of 24.9% for Full Year. In reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter of 2020 and the full year, Saga Communications, Inc says fourth quarter and year-end 2020 revenue and the related net income continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Net revenue was $28.8 million for Q4 2020, a 19.1% increase over net revenue for the third quarter, but a decline of 10% compared to Q4 2019. For the full year of 2020, net revenue was $95.8 million, a decrease of 24.9% from the $123.1 million in net revenue it posted in 2019. Back to the fourth quarter of 2020, station operating expense decreased $1.9 million to $21.1 million compared to the same period last year.  Station operating income was $9.1 million for the quarter compared to $10.5 million for the fourth quarter last year and operating income was $5 million for the quarter compared to $5.4 million for the same period last year.  Saga posted a net loss of $1.9 million for the full year 2020 that included a non-cash impairment charge of $5.2 million. Without the impairment charge the company would have reported net income of $1.7 million for the period. Saga Communications’ balance sheet reflects $51.4 million in cash on hand as of December 31, 2020 and $56 million as of March 8, 2021. The company’s total bank debt remained at $10 million as of year-end 2020.

WEEI, Boston’s Dale Arnold to Leave Sports Talk Station. Boston sports media personality Dale Arnold – a staple at Entercom’s WEEI-FM since its inception as a sports talk outlet 30 years ago – will leave the station and his role as co-host of the “Dale and Keefe” midday program after today’s show. The Boston Globe has the story here. Although the soon-to-be-65-year-old Arnold on Thursday told listeners, “I’m going to retire from the radio business. I am not going to be coming back after tomorrow’s show,” he’ll continue his role as studio host for Boston Bruins hockey broadcasts on cable TV’s NESN. The Globe’s Chad Finn says it’s expected that Andy Gresh – who exited Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence in January of this year – will be partnered with Rich Keefe for middays going forward. Arnold told listeners his decision to leave WEEI – and not accept the offer to do part-time work there – was personal. “Some of you know this and some of you don’t. My wife had to retire from her employment in September, she’s had some medical issues. And you start thinking about things. You start thinking about, you know, ‘I’d like to spend some more time with her. I’d like to have one full-time job instead of two. I’d like to have summer months to go back to my home state of Maine and enjoy myself more.’”

Salem New York Debuts Evening ‘Bring Back NYC’ Show. Hosted by regular evening personality Kevin McCullough, Salem Media Group’s New York news/talker WNYM-AM “AM 970 The Answer” is launching a new nightly broadcast that “will be a deep dive into areas of life relevant to relaunching arguably the most important city on planet earth.” Salem New York says the program will feature specific expertise designed for this unique moment in the nation’s recovery. Monday nights will feature the expertise of “Millionaire Maker” Hilary Kramer in the markets and money. Tuesday nights the journey will be guided by veteran travel expert Valerie D’Elia. Wednesday nights focus on the medical expertise of Nicole Saphier MD, FOX News senior medical contributor and physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Medical Center. The law is the focus of Thursday nights with Arthur Aidala Esq. Friday nights will play host to PR pro Cristyne Nicholas, who serves as chair of the 109-year-old Broadway Association. McCullough says, “Given the mighty struggle our city and people have faced in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, political mismanagement, criminal riots, and the longest extended closures of business in the city, we asked ourselves the question of how we could best answer the needs of the city, and I’m here to let them know, ‘help is on the way!’ What greater good can we do with the airwaves than help turn on the lights, smiles, and lives again in the city that never sleeps?”

Edison Research ‘Infinite Dial 2021.’ It’s “the longest-running survey of digital media consumer behavior in America – tracking mobile behaviors, internet audio, podcasting, social media, smart speakers, and more.” Noting that, “‘more’ now includes radio,” consultant Holland Cooke summarizes the latest findings, and includes a download link to the report. Read it here.

Jonathan Hutton Ousted from Tennessee Titans Radio Team. Former WGFX-FM, Nashville “104.5 The Zone” radio personality Jonathan Hutton will not be part of the radio broadcast team for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans for the 2021 season. Hutton recently left “The Zone” to become part of Clay TravisOutkick digital platform on which he’ll co-host the “Outkick 360” program with fellow former “Zone” hosts Chad Withrow and Paul Kuharsky. On his website, Kuharsky quotes Cumulus Nashville VP and market manager Allison Warren, who says, “Jonathan Hutton has certainly been a big part of 104.5 The Zone’s Titans Radio broadcast over the years. However, regrettably Jonathan declined our offer to continue with 104.5 The Zone deciding to pursue other opportunities which has impacted his role on the Titans Radio broadcast.”

TALKERS News Notes. The anniversary of the official beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. is the impetus behind the CBS News Radio series that reflects on the past year. The series will be featured on CBS News top-of-the-hour and “World News Roundup” broadcasts airing Monday through Friday of next week (3/15-19)…..Entercom announces the launch of “BetQL Countdown to Tip-Off,” a six-episode series of special NCAA men’s college basketball tournament programming that launches tomorrow (3/13). Led by Nick Kostos, host of BetQL Audio Network podcast “You Better You Bet,” “BetQL Countdown to Tip-Off” will serve as breakdowns of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, featuring a mix of sports betting insight. The show will also welcome talent from across Entercom’s portfolio of sports stations, including Travis Thomas, WTEM, Washington; Mike Valenti, WXYT, Detroit; Danny Parkins, WSCR, Chicago; and Marc Malusis, WFAN, New York…..PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, announces the debut of “The Rock Podcast with Denny Somach.” Rock historian and radio producer Somach goes deep undercover on “The Rock Podcast” to shine new light on the soundtrack of the most exciting decades in music, bringing on guests to talk about their career experiences and using Somach’s own personal library of thousands of interviews to bring the lives of the most legendary rock stars who matter to the forefront. Upcoming guests include Nancy Wilson from Heart, Steve Lukather from Toto, Jon Anderson of Yes, and John Densmore of The Doors. PodcastOne chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Denny is a fantastic producer with a track record that goes back decades. His knowledge of music history and love of rock ‘n’ roll is second to none. I love his work and now millions will be able to access that work on PodcastOne,”…..New York City was hit early and hard by the pandemic, and during those first bewildering days and weeks, WNYC’s call-in news program “The Brian Lehrer Show” was a life raft for New Yorkers seeking information, answers, and companionship. To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the shutdown that forever altered New York City, the program plans two special events: a broadcast on Tuesday (3/16) at 10:00 am called “Reading Their Names” in which, for 90 minutes, 484 listeners who will read the names of 1,780 people in the New York listening region who have died from the virus. The second is “WNYC’S 2020 Time Capsule” – broadcast on Thursday (3/18) that culminates the programs assemblage of its 2020 time capsule that is a repository of listener calls, news reports, and personal submissions by New Yorkers sharing what they have been through that’s saved on a hard drive to be safely stored alongside the transmitter atop the Empire State Building. The capsule will be opened in 2031.

iHeartMedia Names Nicky Sparrow SVP of Multi-Cultural Sales. Moving from her current position as market president for iHeartMedia Jacksonville to the new corporate position SVP of multicultural sales is Nicky Sparrow. In this role, Sparrow will be responsible for leading multicultural ad sales revenue for the Markets Group division. Sparrow will apply her deep knowledge of multicultural audiences and strong relationships with multicultural ad agencies and brands to build, drive, influence, and execute strategic multicultural initiatives across the iHeartMedia sales organization. She says, “I’m thrilled for this next step in my career. I’ve been with iHeartMedia for more than 20 years, and I can’t wait to take my experience and strong relationships with partners and advertisers to further deliver and create innovative and effective multicultural opportunities for our consumers that will not only grow our portfolio of assets, but represent and truly connect with our diverse audiences.”

Stimulus Package and the Economy Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill and the state of the U.S. economy combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of March 8-12, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and Joe Biden’s immigration policy. Coming in at #3 was the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants and the rollout of vaccines. 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. See this week’s complete chart here.

 

 

Producer Wanted for Syndicated Morning Show. A nationally syndicated morning show is searching for an experienced producer to help generate content and show prep. The successful candidate will have 3-5 years’ experience producing a lifestyle-based show. The individual we’re looking for will have the ability to check their ego at the door and dig deep to provide show prep and occasionally deliver on-air content. Although we’re a national show with a significant nationwide and worldwide footprint, we’re a small operation and very much a family. The successful candidate will understand the high-pressure nature of the business but also understand how to operate with minimal direction with strong personalities. This is a full-time, remote position; relocation is not required. Salary is commensurate with experience. Finalists will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Learn more about this position here and send materials to: Dtc_exec@yahoo.com.

Morning Drive News Anchor-Host at Top 25 Market East Coast Station. Looking for a news air talent who can write and read news for a local, current events issue-driven morning show. Prefer an air talent who is comfortable expressing an opinion on the hot topics of the day. Interested? Submit a demo mp3 and resume ASAP. Apply confidentially to talkradiogig@gmail.com. The radio station is an EOE and females are encouraged to apply.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

| December 17, 2020

Newsmax Media Founder and CEO Christopher Ruddy Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The CEO of Newsmax Media – the conservative news organization that owns and operates Newsmax.com and Newsmax TV in addition to a number of other platforms and services in digital and print publishing – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Veteran journalist, entrepreneur, and news executive Christopher Ruddy discusses the history and strategy that has led to Newsmax TV achieving enormous rating gains this year in its juggernaut campaign to provide FOX News Channel with formidable competition in the conservative news/talk cable TV ratings wars. In this revealing conversation, Ruddy tells Harrison his side of the recent story by media writer Ben Smith published inThe New York Times under the headline, “The King of Trump TV Thinks You’re Dumb Enough to Buy It.” He dispels the notion conveyed in that piece that Newsmax TV has strategically flanked FOX to its far right and is telling President Donald Trump’s most ardent loyalists whatever they want to hear regardless of the truth. Ruddy discusses the bigger picture of Newsmax content which also delivers stories and items that are unfavorable to Trump and collectively covers a broader segment of the spectrum best described as center-right, as opposed to far-right. Harrison and Ruddy take a deep-dive into talk media political “positioning” which lies at the very heart of modern competitive programming. They also speculate on the future of American politics and the talk media coverage thereof. True to his unpredictable and often contrarian approach to what many observers consider conventional wisdom, Ruddy states that it appears President-Elect Biden is not veering to the far left as many Republicans and Trump supporters fear he will as evidenced by many of his cabinet picks, and that the 46th president will be far more of a “centrist” than many in both parties are expecting. Ruddy also candidly discusses the balancing act required to maintain a long-standing “friendship” with Trump while not being afraid to criticize his policies on those occasions when he believes such criticism is warranted in addition to outlining his immediate plans to grow Newsmax as a full-service news organization in 2021. This podcast is a must-listen! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Floyd Reese Exiting ‘102.5 The Game’ in Nashville. According to a story in the Nashville Post, former Tennessee Titans general manager Floyd Reese is giving up his sports talk host gig at Cromwell Media’s WPRT-FM, Nashville “102.5 The Game.” Reese co-hosted the afternoon drive program “Jared & The GM” with Jared Stillman for the past five-plus years. Stillman will continue to host the afternoon show now billed as “Stillman & Company” as the station seeks out a new afternoon co-host. The Post cites a press release in which Reese states, “This is something I’ve been contemplating for a while and I feel it’s time for me to take a step back. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my tenure with ‘102.5 The Game’ and doing a show with Jared has been a terrific experience. He and I formed a unique partnership that allowed us to be teammates and friends. I’d also like to thank Cromwell Media owner Bud Walters and [program director] Ryan Porth for their non-stop support over the years. It’s been a good run.” Reese was general manager of the NFL’s old Houston Oilers from 1990-1999 and the Titans (after the Oilers moved from Houston to Nashville) from 1999-2006. He was a senior football advisor for the New England Patriots from 2009-2012. He joined “102.5 The Game” in 2015.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Keeps The Bike Drive Alive. The annual holiday “Bikes for Kids” drive was launched by retired WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte talk host John Hancock 26 years ago. With Hancock’s retirement at the beginning of 2020, the fate of the charitable drive that had provided some 20,000 bikes (as well as gifts, food, clothing and more) to tens of thousands of needy Charlotte-area kids was up in the air. Ultimately, WBT staff, in partnership with the Carolina Panthers, WSOC-TV, Frito Lay, and some other local charitable organizations, worked to get 400 brand-new bikes collected during the “Bike Drive” that took place on Tuesday (12/15). Brett Winterble, who took over the afternoon drive show following Hancock’s retirement, says, “It was an amazing day for Hancock’s bikes for kids. This was my first opportunity since joining WBT in February to interface with this amazing audience in person. The generosity and good cheer of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday was truly awe inspiring. In gathering hundreds of bikes for well deserving children I forged new friendships with dedicated listeners to WBT. One man named Steve told me he was a 50-year listener of WBT and had attended every one of the bike drives Hancock led. It was an unbelievable show of generosity and good civic pride. I look forward to next year and can’t wait for this to continue to grow!”

Townsquare Media to Offer $550 Million in Senior Secured Notes. In a filing with the SEC, Townsquare Media reveals it has priced an offering of $550 million in aggregate principal amount of its 6.875% senior secured notes due 2026. These notes are being offered to institutional buyers and will be senior secured obligations of the company and will be guaranteed on a senior secured basis by certain of the company’s direct and indirect wholly owned subsidiaries. The closing of the offering is anticipated to take place on or about January 6, 2021. Townsquare says that it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering, together with cash on hand, to repay existing senior secured credit facilities, to redeem all of its outstanding 6.500% senior notes due 2023. It is also terminating its existing senior secured credit facilities, including its existing revolving credit facility.

Skyview Networks and MLB Radio Rightsholders Team Up for Annual Meeting. This year’s annual meeting of Major League Baseball radio rightsholders and Skyview Networks to discuss their broadcast operations and ad sales experiences from the previous season was done remotely. This year’s panels placed a heavy focus on fan engagement and advertising strategies with emphasis on maximizing digital assets under the restrictions of the pandemic. Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones says, “The MLB radio rightsholders play a significant role in their teams’ success through broadcast sponsorships. Radio and baseball have always put fans first and this season proved no different. Skyview played an important role in helping teams find creative solutions during the pandemic and we showcased those solutions to the whole league this week.” Skyview says many teams also leveraged the power of social media to engage with fans through promotions from their biggest sponsors, citing proactive communication as their key to success. Putting their followers’ interests at the forefront, these organizations hosted many virtual gatherings through YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and more to encourage listenership and interaction while the season was on a hiatus. Additional panel topics included software and strategies to streamline remote broadcasting, creating awareness for franchises’ ancillary digital content to increase broadcast listening and sponsorship extensions, and monetizing the evolving sports betting opportunities across a radio platform.

New Drive Time Shows on SiriusXM’s P.O.T.U.S. Channel in January. Starting on January 4, the new lineup on SiriusXM’s non-partisan P.O.T.U.S. channel will includeJulie Mason Mornings” (6:00 am to 9:00 am ET) and “The Laura Coates Show” (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET). Veteran journalist Mason takes over for Tim Farley’s “The Morning Briefing” after Farley’s retirement at year’s end. Coates – a CNN senior legal analyst – moves to the P.O.T.U.S. channel from SiriusXM’s Urban View channel. Julie Mason has more than 30 years of experience covering local, state and national politics, including four presidential campaigns. In more than 10 years at the White House, she traveled internationally and reported from more than 30 different countries. She is a former elected board member of the White House Correspondents Association. In addition to her media work, Coates has served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and as an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law.

United Stations Radio Networks Names Jim Roberts Director of Affiliate Sales and Marketing for Sports. Sports radio pro Jim Roberts is named director of affiliate sales and marketing/sports content for United Stations Radio Networks. He comes to USRN after a 20-plus years career with Disney/ESPN in which he oversaw the inception and growth of the affiliate network of 500-plus stations for ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes while also managing Disney owned-and-operated stations in New York City and Dallas. United Stations recently announced a partnership with SportsGarten Network to provide stations with short-form, long-form and daily daypart options in sports and sports wagering content. In his new role, Roberts will market all USRN sports-related programs and services, including the Total Sports Prep service. USRN’s Stefan Jones comments, “At United Stations we are growing our programming, services, and partnerships in the sports and sports-wagering lane. As more and more states are legalizing sports wagering, we want to ensure our company delivers quality options.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports media personality Rich Eisen and Westwood One reach an agreement for the latter to feature “The Rich Eisen Show” podcast on the Westwood One Podcast Network, beginning on January 4. The deal also calls for the development of a new podcast by Eisen called “Just Getting Started” (scheduled for a February debut) in which Eisen interviews the biggest names from news, entertainment, sports, and pop culture, discussing their career origins and mining their stories on how they got started, in a format where audiences can be inspired by their endeavors…..In Chicago, Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM, Chicago is handing the agribusiness beat over to Steve Alexander with the retirement of Orion Samuelson at the end of this month. Samuelson is putting the wrap on a radio career that spans 60 years. Alexander says, “When I’ve filled in for Orion over the past 12 years, I’ve often joked that he gave me the key to the tractor, and I was able to keep it out of the ditch until he returned. Come next month, I’ll try to keep the tractor upright and continue Orion’s efforts to explain how important agriculture is to all of us.”…..GCN-syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs’ program adds two new affiliate stations as WEOL, Elyria, Ohio and KPRL, Paso Robles, California pick up the show.

COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Vaccines, the Economy & Closings, Stimulus Talks, Ongoing Election Denial, Georgia Runoff Elections, Biden Transition, and Northeast Snowstorm Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for post-holidays cases; the beginning of vaccine distribution in the U.S.; the state of the U.S. economy and forced business closings; the congressional negotiations over a new stimulus package; the ongoing denial of the election results in the Donald Trump camp; January’s runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the Joe Biden administration’s transition and nominations; and a big snowstorm hits the Northeast 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. There’s a series of holiday programs being made available on Entercom’s RADIO.COM that’s airing from December 18-20. The shows are: “POP Goes Christmas,” featuring Why Don’t We and Ava Max; “Acoustic Christmas,” featuring Kelly Clarkson, Meghan Trainor, Dan + Shay, Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, Rob Thomas, Train, Matt Nathanson, Ava Max, and a special performance from Keith Urban; “Country Christmas,” with Keith Urban, Dan + Shay, Lady A, Runaway June, and Russell Dickerson; and “Not So Silent Night” starring Machine Gun Kelly, 24kGoldn, All Time Low, SHAED, and Wallows. Those four shows will culminate in the “RADIO.COM LIVE! Holiday Music Festival,” a free video stream of the concert performances on December 21 at 6:00 pm ET, available nationwide on the RADIO.COM app and website at RADIO.COM/Live. Portions of the show will also be available on Twitch and via RADIO.COM’s social media channels. The performances will be accessible on demand for 72 hours after the show on RADIO.COM and station websites…..SiriusXM announces the rollout of several new pop up channels, holiday specials, live programs for New Year’s Eve, exclusive video, podcasts and best-of live performances. “New Year’s Nation” will launch beginning December 29 as a pop-up channel on SiriusXM dedicated to the ultimate New Year’s celebration songs in pop, rhythm, dance, and hip-hop from across the nation featuring the hottest hits from Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Drake, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, Taylor Swift and more. New holiday pop-up channels include Top 100 Interviews of 2020, highlighting the top celebrity interviews from the past year. Hosted by SiriusXM’s Jess Cagle and Julia Cunningham, the pop-up channel will feature interviews from shows including “Andy Cohen Live,” “The Hoda Show” and “The Jess Cagle Show” with some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Ben Affleck, Hugh Jackman, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Laverne Cox, Lily Collins, Lizzo, Ramy Yousef, Sam Smith, Sean Penn, Spike Lee and dozens more.

Friday, May 3, 2019

| May 3, 2019

Milwaukee’s ‘97.3 The Game’ Brings Steve Czaban in for AM Drive. Sports talk radio personality Steve Czaban is the new morning drive host on iHeartMedia’s WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “97.3 The Game, Milwaukee’s Sports Talk That Rocks.”  “The Steve Czaban Show” debuts on Monday (5/6) and will air from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. With the arrival of Czaban, the current “Drew & KB” program moves to afternoon drive.  Czaban, who also hosts afternoon drive at Radio One’s WTEM, Washington, DC, most recently was a cast member at crosstown rock WHQG’s “Bob & Brian” show.  He’s also served with Sporting News, ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio, Yahoo Sports Radio, and SB Nation Radio.  He comments, “The chance for me to do more in Milwaukee was too good to pass up.  This is exactly the style and attitude of sports radio that I love to do.  Nobody hustles in front of a winning parade better than me!  I plan to celebrate the highs, curse the lows, and laugh at all the absurdity in between – just like I’ve always done.  The program lineup at ‘The Game’ is amazing and I’m humbled to be a part of it.”

WICC-AM, Bridgeport Announces New Local Shows. Yesterday, TALKERS magazine reported the departure of programmer Mike Bellamy from WICC-AM, Bridgeport, Connecticut as well as the pairing of Melissa Sheketoff with incumbent morning personality Tony Reno for the new morning show.  Connoisseur Media, now operating the station under an LMA as it waits to close on the swap with Cumulus Media, also announces it’s going local in afternoons with well-known market personality Paul Pacelli hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. Joining Pacelli to produce the show and provide local sports content is former Waterbury Republican and CT Post writer Aaron Johnson.  Pacelli states, “I’m thrilled and honored to be on board at a heritage powerhouse like WICC, a station synonymous with greater Bridgeport and Southwestern Connecticut.  My goal is to present a passionate, entertaining, and vital platform for local newsmakers, personalities, and residents.”  Station OM Keith Dakin adds, “For a station like WICC to have continued success on the AM dial it needs to fully embrace the community.  We want to make this station come alive on all levels from podcasting to social to an on-air product that the Bridgeport community can be proud to call their own.”

New Programming Announced for Entercom’s RADIO.COM Sports. Two new, original shows are debuting on Entercom’s RADIO.COM Sports.  Both “Big Time Basketball” and “Big Time Baseball” are twice-weekly shows that “feature expert analysis from RADIO.COM Sports insiders providing the most up-to-date news, commentary and happenings.”  “Big Time Basketball” is hosted by former NBA player, coach, and Celtics television commentator Brian Scalabrine and KGMZ-FM, San Francisco personality Matt Steinmetz.  “Big Time Baseball” is hosted by Jon Heyman, veteran play-by-play voice Josh Lewin, and a rotation of guest hosts, including Joe Girardi, Bob Nightengale, and others to be announced.  RADIO.COM Sports is also adding new football insiders, including Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger, and Philadelphia Eagles insider Eliot Shorr-Parks.  Shorr-Parks and Baldinger will host a weekly football digital show on May 14.  Entercom president of sports Mike Dee comments, “With the addition of these three new shows, RADIO.COM Sports continues to expand our digital content offering for fans across the country. We look forward to continuing to build the RADIO.COM Sports digital platform with more native content in the weeks and months ahead.”

Michael Harrison and TALKERS Debut New Weekend Radio Show on iHeart’s Washington’s WONK-FM.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison has agreed to host a one-hour, weekend magazine-style program on the recently launched iHeartMedia project WONK-FM, Washington, DC “Washington’s WONK-FM,” beginning tomorrow (5/4).  The program titled, “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation,” features interviews and commentary by the heritage broadcaster that provide a politically even-handed and balanced analysis of the most prevalent points of view being discussed each week in talk media per the research gathered by TALKERS.  Interviews are conducted with newsmakers, pundits and, of course, talk show hosts from around the country and subject matter reflects the information published each week on the TALKERS top topics charts.  Harrison, who was a major market and nationally syndicated air personality in both music and talk formats during the pioneering days of album rock and then the modern talk era, has been back on the air hosting shows for the past two years as a fill-in on such stations as WRKO, Boston; WMAL, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz; and several others, in addition to anchoring the weekend syndicated ensemble program, “A Touch of Grey: The Talk Show for Grownups” (hosted by Carole Marks).  Harrison says, “It all began when I started doing the weekly podcast, ‘The Michael Harrison Interview,’ with PodcastOne four years ago.  People in the business would say things like, ‘I didn’t know you could actually do radio like that!’  My juices began flowing again and not only have I been enjoying the experience as if I were 19 years old breaking into radio again, but the first-hand knowledge I have gained working in the trenches of the modern industry has significantly enhanced my understanding of how it actually operates in the real world and has helped me do my job at TALKERS with an even keener perspective.”  Harrison adds, “I love being part of this new WONK-FM experiment because it encourages me to follow my natural inclination to remain ideologically objective and independent and avoid the hyper-partisanship that comes with seeking victory at the expense of truth whereby you simply target audiences to affirm their preconceived notions.  I like what iHeartMedia is doing with this station and I love having the opportunity to collaborate with the station’s PD Michael Czarnecki (who is also PD of the iHeart Podcast Channel) – a young up-and-coming programming star with whom I happily crossed paths at WRKO over the past couple of years.”  “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation” airs on WONK-FM Saturday mornings at 9:00 am ET.  It is a production of Goodphone Communications in association with TALKERS magazine.

Griffin Communications Appoints Randy Smith Director of Radio Sales. Oklahoma media firm Griffin Communications announces Randy Smith joins the company as director of radio sales.  Griffin owned just television stations and digital platforms in Oklahoma City and Tulsa prior to acquiring five Tulsa radio stations – including news/talk KFAQ – from Scripps last summer for $12.5 million.  Griffin director of radio operations and programming Steve Hunter says, “Randy brings years of experience, an abundance of local connections, and a can-do spirit to our already winning team.  He is a clear standout in motivating people to maximize their potential and bottom-line impact, a skill that will prove invaluable as he joins our Griffin family.” Prior to joining Griffin, Smith served as director of sales-radio for Cox Media Group.

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Valentine Podcast Sponsors NASCAR Driver. The picture above shows the logo of talk radio host Phil Valentine’s podcast, “PodGOATs,” on the hood of NASCAR driver Tommy Joe Martins’ Toyota Supra. “PodGOATs” is co-hosted by Valentine and his son, Campbell.  Valentine says they talk about everything from the history of alcohol to dating to advertising to the history of the mob – a unique blend of a wide array of topics from two different perspectives, from a Baby Boomer and a Millennial.  Valentine explains the sponsorship, “I know this may sound rather random, but Diamond Gusset Jeans – one of our main sponsors – approached us with this opportunity and it was just too good to turn down.  Somebody has to be a pioneer in podcast sponsorships in this arena. It’s fertile ground.”  The PodGOATs will be in the pit tomorrow (5/4) in Dover, Delaware for the Allied Steel Buildings 200.  Valentine’s radio talk show is heard daily on Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville “99.7 WTN” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

WGFX-FM, Nashville’s Jonathan Hutton Named ‘Man of the Year.’  Sports talk personality Jonathan Hutton was recently honored by the Tennessee Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as its 2019 Man of the Year.  Hutton led the effort by WGFX “104-5 The Zone” that raised $152,499.31 during the 10-week fund drive that included: an off-the-record event with Tennessee Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk, a HORSE-style basketball tournament, a Masters-themed golf competition at Top Golf, and a chalk talk draftee breakdown and dinner with NFL Films’ Greg Cosell.  Pictured above at the “Evening with Amy” event are (from l-r): Kenneth Adams, Titans Ownership Group; Eddie George, former Titan; Logan Ryan, current Titan; Hutton; Strunk; John McClainHouston Chronicle/WGFX analyst; Blaine Bishop, former Titan and WGFX morning host; Kevin Byard, current Titan; David Quesenberry, current Titan.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WSCR, Chicago “The Score” producer Eli Hershkovich is taking on a role with Entercom’s RADIO.COM as a producer/sports gambling analyst.  WSCR operations manager Mitch Rosen is quoted saying, “This is truly a great example of someone building, growing, and advancing their brand into a new, innovative position within Entercom and Radio.Com Sports, which is growing and expanding into the content creation business rapidly.”…..The Duluth News-Tribune reports that KDAL-AM/W280FB, Duluth, Minnesota talk host Kenneth Kalligher has been charged with misdemeanor domestic assault.  Kalligher, who hosts the “Midday Live” show on the Midwest Communications-owned station, pleaded not guilty.  The story reports that court documents indicate the female complainant said she and Kalligher “were arguing when he struck her in the right temple, causing her to ‘see stars’ and fall to the ground.”   Kalligher was off the air for two days but returned to his program yesterday (5/2). He’ll be back in court later this month…..B’nai B’rith International produces a podcast and on the current episode, Pamela Nadell, the Patrick Clendenen chair in Women’s and Gender History at American University’s Department of History and the author of America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today, is the guest with B’nai B’rith CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin for a discussion on the history of Jewish women in American life.  In this episode, Nadell and Mariaschin discuss the societal roles of Jewish women across classes, professions, and time periods, as well as their roles in pivotal social movements in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the labor movement, women’s suffrage and the feminist movement.  Check out the podcast here.

Barr Hearing/Mueller Report Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 29 – May 3. Wednesday’s appearance by Attorney General William Barr before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the related release of the Mueller Report were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential race and related politics.  Coming in at #3 was the San Diego synagogue shooting and the rise of anti-Semitism, followed by the UNCC shooting and gun violence at #4. The Talkers TenTM is 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.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Rising Radio Star and Master Storyteller Lee Habeeb Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The host and producer of one of the fastest-growing, syndicated properties in talk radio, Lee Habeeb, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  The nightly, two-hour program is called “Our American Stories” and since its launch three years ago, the spoken-word juggernaut is making waves on commercial news/talk stations as well as music formats across the nation.  Habeeb was inspired by public radio shows such as “This American Life,” which tap into the art of storytelling, in conceiving the highly researched and meticulously produced “Our American Stories.”  Although conservative in its values, the program is distinctly non-partisan and strives to bring Americans of all political ideologies together based on our cultural commonality. It explores popular culture, politics, business, science… the spectrum of topics, people and angles that make up the rich and intricate fabric of America, its history and its people.  The program is breaking new ground on many levels, not just in its programming approach, but in its business model as well, again tapping into the public radio paradigm. It is set up as a non-profit and investing a tremendous amount of capital in the quality of its original content programming. Habeeb describes “Our American Stories” as an innovation in the commercial talk radio sphere – no politics, no opinions, just stories.  He says, “We tell a story and the audience tells us their stories — with raw emotional power. Daily bringing the campfire scene to your ears.”   To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the daily TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.  Meet Lee Habeeb at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story in New York on Friday, June 7 where he will be discussing storytelling as a key component of successful radio.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The owner of classic rock WWRR, Scranton says the station has made radio history by accumulating more than 1 million Likes on Facebook.  Bold Gold Media Group says the Northeast PA station “has become a social media juggernaut over the past decade, mastering the art of leveraging on-air and social to rapidly grow its following. The station has become the most-followed social media page based within Northeast PA and one of the most-followed radio station social sites in the entire United States.”  Bold Gold president & founder Vince Benedetto says, “We’ve really enjoyed watching our stations become online influencers.  Our stations have always been unique… from our highly visible studio inside the Mohegan Sun Pocono casino, our state-of-the-art RadioBOLD mobile platforms, and with our engaging social media, we’ve tried to be a different and more entrepreneurial media group.  We’re thrilled to make some radio history and also bring some attention to the combined power of radio and social media.”…..Connoisseur Media announces that Storm N. Norman is returning to Westport, Connecticut adult contemporary WEBE to host mornings, beginning Monday (5/6).  Norman served on-air on WEBE for 30 years.  He says, “WEBE 108 has been my radio home for most of my adult life and I am thrilled to again wake up families in Southern Connecticut.  It’s a great opportunity to work with Jeff Warshawand the incredible folks at local Connoisseur Media.”…..Programming pro Miggy Santos joins Midwest Communications Battle Creek, Michigan station group as brand manager for country WNWN “WIN 98.5.”  He was most recently with Neuhoff Media as operations manager for CHR duo WWHX, Bloomington “HOT 100.7” and WSOY-FM, Decatur, Illinois “Y103.”…..iHeartMedia Milwaukee announces the deal with local furniture franchise Steinhafels in which the latter is sponsoring iHM’s new performance lounge (pictured below).  The new Steinhafels Relax Lounge is located in the iHeartMedia Milwaukee station headquarters and will showcase musical talent, live broadcasts, viewing parties, and more.  It will also be furnished by Steinhafels, allowing the store to showcase the latest contemporary furniture it offers.

Monday, January 15, 2018

| January 15, 2018

Stunner: KGO’s Owens Transitions from Host to Commentator. At the conclusion of last Friday’s (1/12) program on Cumulus Media San Francisco’s news/talk KGO, Ronn Owens revealed the plug has been pulled on his 42-year “Ronn Owens Show” in favor of a daily, ten-minute “Ronn Owens Report,” which debuts tomorrow (Tuesday, 1/16) at 12:50 pm. According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, “A test version included commentary on president [Donald] Trump’s vulgar reference to Haiti and African nations, as well as whether a work requirement should be imposed on able-bodied food stamp recipients.” Owens tells the paper that his “goal” with the weekday commentary “is to be a 2018 version of Paul Harvey and Andy Rooney.” Two years ago, Cumulus Media announced it would move Owens from KGO to co-owned news/talk KSFO, a decision that was reversed one month later. The most recent contract for the 72-year-old Owens expired in December; he reportedly didn’t expect it to be renewed at the same salary level. A 2015 National Radio Hall of Fame inductee, Owens apparently isn’t the only KGO on-air talent off the weekday schedule. On Facebook, 2:00 – 4:00 pm host Brian Copeland writes that his show has been scrubbed; Copeland states management would like him to remain with the station in some capacity. Although unconfirmed, KGO’s revised weekday on-air lineup is believed to be: Armstrong & Getty (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Ethan Bearman (10:00 am – 12:50 pm); Owens (12:50 pm – 1:00 pm); a simulcast from Los Angeles sibling KABC of Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); and Chip Franklin (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm).

Nashville’s “Zone” Expands Local Coverage. Changes extending local dayparts on Cumulus Media Nashville sports talk/Tennessee Titans flagship WGFX “104.5 The Zone” go into effect today (Monday, 1/15). Program director Brad Willis states that “The Zone” has “long been Nashville’s preeminent sports station. In an effort to devote more time to Nashville’s continually evolving sports landscape, we feel it is time that we are all local, all day long. I look forward to having our team cover the teams and sports that are important to Nashville nonstop from 6:00 am until 6:00 pm every weekday.” Hosts of the (now 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) “Midday 180” show Chad Withrow, Jonathan Hutton, and Paul Kuharsky have been signed to multi-year contracts and they state, “We are looking forward to loading up with even more great interviews with important people, giving more commentary on the local teams and the issues of the day. Our commitment remains the same: In and out of season, we will crush on a daily basis.” Meanwhile, Brent Dougherty, Mickey Ryan, and Dawn Davenport of the lengthened 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm “3HL” program add, “Nashville sports fans are the best in the country and we are excited about the opportunity to spend more time with them. During that time, we plan to continue to focus heavily on the sports and storylines that are most important to our listeners.” The Mark Howard, Kevin Ingram, and Blaine Bishop-hosted “Wake Up Zone” continues daily from 6:00 am -10:00 am.

“Whoa Nellie” – The Passing of Keith Jackson. If you ever watched a college football game on television, you knew the unmistakable voice and style of Keith Jackson and his trademark catch-phrase, “Whoa Nellie.” The legendary play-by-play man for the first season of ABC-TV’s “Monday Night Football” and at the microphone for a variety of other sports, 89-year-old Jackson died Friday (1/12) in Los Angeles. ABC parent Walt Disney Company chief executive Robert Iger succinctly states, “For generations of fans, Keith was college football.” While Jackson worked on ten Summer and Winter Olympics and on “ABC’s Wide World of Sports,” his resume includes radio, as well. The western Georgian native joined the Marines as a teenager, then attended Washington State University, where he received a degree in broadcast journalism in 1954. Jackson spent ten years at KOMO, Seattle in news, sports and production, before becoming sports director of ABC Radio West. He began broadcasting college football for ABC Sports in 1966. The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association named him “Sportscaster of the Year” five consecutive times (1972 to 1976). Working a largely regional schedule close to his Southern California home, Jackson retired after broadcasting the 2006 Rose Bowl game.

Terry Takes Commentary to KKNT. Longtime Phoenix on-air personality Terry Gilberg joins Salem Media Group news/talk KKNT “960 The Patriot” in the Valley of the Sun to do “Terry’s Take.” According to KKNT general manager Jim Ryan, “Terry Gilberg delivers compelling commentary, capsulized in a nutshell – a dose of reality and common sense delivered daily with reason and passion. She covers what you are thinking and what you are feeling. It is timely talk and we are happy to have her points of view.” Some of Gilberg’s favorite subjects include media bias; housing and education in America; socialized medicine; and national security. In addition to her new duties at “The Patriot,” journalist-turned-talk host Gilberg continues hosting/producing Radio America’s two-hour “Think! America,” which airs in 53 markets. Prior to doing talk radio, Gilberg was a television news anchor.

 News-Gazette Media Continues U.I. Pact. The renewed partnership – that has spanned more than three decades – keeps University of Illinois athletics on News-Gazette Media Champaign (Illinois) WDWS “News Talk 1400” and co-owned adult contemporary WHMS “Lite Rock 97.5.” News-Gazette Media chief executive office and publisher John Reed remarks, “We are proud to continue our long-standing partnership with UI Athletics and Fighting Illini Sports Properties. The fast-paced world of college athletics is a part of our business where we have consistently invested in top-tier talent for our organization. I am personally thrilled with the opportunity to continue working with two entities who share the same philosophy. The future looks bright for ‘The Fighting Illini,’ and we very much look forward to being a part of it.” According to Illinois Director of Athletics Josh Whitman, “We are pleased to continue our long-time relationship with News-Gazette Media and WDWS and WHMS. Fighting Illini fans in the Champaign-Urbana area have known for decades that those stations are the radio homes to our games; this new agreement will increase the presence of our programs even more.” Over 150 live events a year will be aired, including football; men’s and women’s basketball; baseball; and women’s volleyball. Football and men’s basketball will be simulcast on the two stations, while baseball, women’s volleyball, and select softball games will be carried on WDWS.

TALKERS News Notes. In response to a high volume of requests, the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) extends the call for entries for the 43rd annual Gracie Awards to next Thursday (1/25) at 11:59 pm (ET). Alliance for Women in Media Foundation chair Sarah Foss states, “Now, more than ever, we need to celebrate women for their exceptional work and contributions, especially in the media industry.” The Gracies recognize programming created by, for, and about women in radio, television, cable and interactive media. Honorees are selected in national, local, and student markets, including both commercial and non-commercial outlets. Qualified judges are chosen by AWMF leadership after meeting specific published criteria ….. San Diego sports talk host, television sports anchor/weathercaster C.S. Keys died Saturday (1/13) in La Mesa. Most recently, Keys hosted a weekend show for Interamericana de Radio sports talk XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090,” San Diego. The station’s program director, Mike Shepard, writes, “All of us at ‘The Mighty 1090’ are stunned and saddened by the untimely passing of our teammate, C.S. Keys. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his fans, and the San Diego sports community at this difficult time.” According to La Mesa police, the death was not suspicious, but it was not yet clear how Keys died. Keys previously was a weathercaster at San Diego television outlet KUSI-TV; sports anchor at cross-town XETV-TV; and worked on-air at KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh and WTVD, Raleigh. He was 54 years old and is survived by two sons and a daughter … Those expecting to hear Marc “Beetle” Bertrand on Saturday’s (1/13) AFC Divisional playoff pre-game show prior to the New England PatriotsTennessee Titans showdown, heard Chris Gasper instead. “Beetle” couldn’t fulfill his duties on Entercom-owned Patriots flagship WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub,” but had a legitimate reason that was nearly tragic. On Saturday at 6:37 pm (ET), he posted on Facebook, “I am lucky to be alive. I was involved in a motor vehicle crash in Norwood [Massachusetts] on my way to [Gillette Stadium in] Foxboro. While driving down the road, another car exited a parking lot on a straight line at full speed and struck the passenger side of my Dodge Ram. I only saw the car for a split second before going for a [rollercoaster] ride when my truck rolled and eventually came to a stop on its side. For reasons I cannot explain, I am relatively okay. I did sustain injuries but I have already been released from the hospital. I cannot express in words how thankful I am for the Norwood fire/EMS and police departments. They were on the scene in what seemed like seconds. I was trapped in the truck and NFD worked quickly to free me with the jaws of life. They do amazing work like this every single day. Thank you to all my ‘Sports Hub’ colleagues for covering for me, especially Chris Gasper who hosted pre-game on very short notice. I hope I’m talking to everybody again on the radio this week. Go Pats! Beetle.” As for Saturday’s game, the Patriots defeated the Titans by three touchdowns, 35-14 ….. WOWO, Fort Wayne, and WBAT, Marion (Indiana) talk show host and current president of internet talk station Indiana Talks, Gary Snyder, files paperwork to run for the Democratic nomination for the State Senate in Indiana’s 17th district. Snyder ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for a county council seat in the November 2008 general election, months after he lost the May 2008 primary for a state representative seat in which he ran as a Republican. He lost a bid for county clerk in 2010 as a Republican.

Hawaii False Alarm “Totally Unacceptable.” What proved to be an incorrect alert sounded on hundreds of thousands of cellphones across Hawaii this past Saturday (1/13), warning residents to seek shelter because of an inbound ballistic missile threat. In a statement issued yesterday (Sunday, 1/14) regarding that incident, FCC chairman Ajit Pai notes, “The false emergency alert sent in Hawaii was absolutely unacceptable. It caused a wave of panic across the state – worsened by the 38-minute delay before a correction alert was issued. Based on the information we have collected so far, it appears that the government of Hawaii did not have reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of a false alert.” The erroneous alert was reportedly caused by Hawaii Emergency Management Agency administrator Vern Miyagi “pushing the wrong button.” Miyagi took responsibility for the mistake, stating the error happened during a shift change around 8:00 am. Pai said officials at all levels needed to identify vulnerabilities, and that the FCC would look into steps “to prevent a similar incident.” Working with the FCC to investigate the issue, Democratic Senator Brian Schatz remarks, “This system failed miserably. We need to improve it and get it right.” According to a CBS News report, Miyagi – who has been with the agency for ten years – was re-assigned within the emergency operations center.

Remembering Lisa McKay. After a brief battle with cancer, Curtis Media Group vice president of radio/program director of Raleigh’s WQDR “94.7 – Today’s Best Country” Lisa McKay (Blake) passed away peacefully yesterday (1/14) morning. Curtis Media Group President/COO Trip Savery notes, “It is with very heavy hearts that we share the news of Lisa’s passing. She had a tremendous and positive impact on so many people’s lives and careers, and will be greatly missed by all of us. Please send your love, support, and prayers to Lisa and her family.” Word of McKay’s death comes just two days after it was announced she would be taking an indefinite leave of absence, owing to medical reasons. In what proved to be her last message, McKay remarked, “I am grateful beyond belief for the opportunity given to me by Curtis Media Group; I know this team will continue to excel.” Scores and scores of tributes already populate McKay’s Facebook page, with virtually all conveying the same sentiment of a remarkably talented, caring programmer. Distinguished Cleveland and Akron-area program director Sue Wilson (Cordle) vice president of operations for the Rubber City Radio Group, reflects, “I admired her so much, not only as a tremendous programmer but as a lovely person. I had only been at WQMX [Akron] a short while and met her on an industry trip. There were very few women program directors in [the] country [format]; I was so impressed by her knowledge and talent. I connected with her then and followed her continued success. Our industry lost an incredible talent and our country music family will miss her so much. Things like this put life in perspective. How precious it is and that we have no time to waste. Deepest sympathy to her family and friends and to all of us who will mourn her loss.” Operations manager of SummitMedia Richmond Mel Chase laments, “My heart is in a million pieces right now. When Lisa McKay took someone under her wing, you knew you were in a special place. I wouldn’t have a career in radio without her love and nurturing. Lisa saw something in me when I was an intern that I never saw and she made sure I worked hard to make radio my career – even hiring me for my first job. She was my constant reminder that a leader doesn’t bark orders, they dive in, get their hands dirty and share the work with the team. She’s the absolute best, no one is on her level. Lisa changed my whole world and I will forever be indebted to her for everything I have because of her patience, kindness and love.” The program director of iHeartMedia Boston urban AC WKAF, Chris Malone, states, “Lisa played a big role in my career, I’d go as far to say I’d still be a kid in my hometown working to make ends meet until she came along. Lisa opened the door for me in Raleigh and graciously held my hand through my first ‘on the road PD gig.’ Her kindness and warmth could be felt from the moment I met her. On my interview, she said, ‘Here take my car while I’m on air and get to know the town.’ At age 24, I thought who would say this? That’s just how she treated those who were fortunate enough to know her. It’s a badge of honor to have known Lisa, work for her, and learn from one of the brightest, creative, [tenacious] programmers in the business. So many good memories, generous gifts, and valuable lessons that I’ll hold on to forever.” Veteran programmer Chris Shebel remarks, “We were competitors during my time in Raleigh. Lisa is a first-class programmer who built a great station and genuinely cared about the country community and the ‘Triangle.’ Condolences to her family and colleagues. I’m sure there is much sadness today, but she will be remembered for many great things.” According to Kevin Kolbie, “A few months ago, I got the opportunity to be back on the radio at WQDR. Lisa was the one who took the chance on me. Over the years, Lisa and I went from clients to friends and finally to co-workers. After my first air-shift, I asked her if she had any advice. She smiled and said, ‘Just have fun.’ Even as I type the words, it’s still hard to comprehend [that she has died].” Recently-arrived to do mornings at Curtis Media Group adult hits WBBB, Morgan Thomas comments, “RIP, my sweet friend. To work with you again was a major reason I came back to Raleigh. I am just so grateful you are no longer in pain. ‘Fly away my sweet bird over the land.’” McKay-programmed WQDR was the Country Music Association (CMA) large market “Station of the Year” in 2017.

PPM Analysis: December 2017’s Ups & Downs.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a December 2017 ratings overview “Extra” as he examines the impact made by stations that transitioned to all-Christmas music. See which formats benefitted the most this sweep and which were negatively impacted. In addition to scoring honors for largest (6+) November 2017 – December 2017 improvement (+6.6), Bonneville Salt Lake City adult contemporary KSFI boasts the largest 6+-share of any station in the 48 PPM-markets (13.6). Approximately half of the adult contemporary properties that improve by at least one full-share (November 2017 – December 2017, 6+) wind up finishing first. There are market-by-market breakouts, as well as a comparison chart of November 2017 versus December 2017 market ranks. See Mike Kinosian’s extensive report here.

SBS, Grupo Radio Centro Interference Lawsuit Resolved. An agreement has been reached to settle a long-standing lawsuit involving Spanish Broadcasting System and Grupo Radio Centro. Nearly two years ago, SBS filed a multi-million-dollar grievance, alleging tortious interference and unfair competition when Grupo hired air personality Martin Romero Hernandez (“El Raton”) from SBS Los Angeles regional Mexican KLAX “97.9 La Raza.” Hernandez left “La Raza” in January 2016 to join cross-town competitor – Grupo’s KXOS “Radio Centro 93.9.” SBS claimed Grupo attracted Hernandez by recruiting and soliciting his entire “La Raza” morning team to move with him to “Radio Centro,” despite SBS having him under contract through 2020 and having matched the GRC offer. Spanish Broadcasting System general counsel Richard Lara comments, “We are extremely pleased to have amicably resolved the matter. As has always been its practice, SBS will not hesitate to take legal action when necessary to defend its contractual rights and business interests.” The settlement is confidential; terms cannot be disclosed.

FLR Names Mike Kankelfritz PD/Afternoon Driver. After ending a nearly six-year run in November as morning show co-host on Educational Media Foundation Indianapolis contemporary Christian WKLU “Positive and Encouraging K-Love,” Mike Kankelfritz joins Tucson-based Family Life Radio as program director and afternoon drive talent. FLR’s chief broadcast engagement officer Sally Barton comments, “Mike’s professional and personal reputation testifies to his faithful love and care for God’s people. We see God’s timing in the journey that brought Mike and his family to us, and we’re eager to see him use his extensive experience and creativity to share the message of hope in Christ.” Kankelfritz adds, “The Family Life Radio team felt like family from the minute I walked in the door. When I learned that the backbone of this network came from Dr. Randy Carlson’s vision of intentional living, I realized that his principles were already a part of my DNA. I am so excited to help more people connect to God in a deeper way through this amazing ministry of Family Life Radio.” Listener-supported Family Life Radio has approximately 40 affiliates. Prior to joining WKLU in 2011, Seattle native and John Brown University graduate Kankelfritz spent six years at Houston contemporary Christian KSBJ and three years at KXOJ, Tulsa.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The producer of the 5:30 am – 10:00 am “Mo! Show” on Hubbard Phoenix alternative KDKB “Alt AZ 93.3” – Dayton Banas – fills the station’s promotions director opening ….. Five-year KOLA, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario morning co-host Irma Blanco steps down from the Anaheim Broadcasting classic hits-oldies outlet to spend more time with her family. Blanco and co-host Jesse Duran made the announcement on-air last Friday (1/12) ….. Starting tomorrow (Tuesday, 1/16), “Stacey & Jonah” take over afternoon drive duties on Hubbard Radio St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3.” For the last six years, Stacey K Boyer & Jonah Griss-Bush did mornings on KHTH “Hot 101.7,” Santa Rosa (California), an Amaturo Sonoma Media Group CHR outlet that Boyer programmed. WIL program director Scott Roddy comments, “While most radio companies are reducing local talent, Hubbard is adding to our stable of show hosts. Stacey and Jonah’s charm, wit and humor make them the perfect companion while sitting in traffic on Highway 40 during the drive home.” Stacey & Jonah add, “We are so excited to join the Hubbard family and ‘New Country 92.3.’ It is an honor to join a company that believes in people and talent.” ….. Following eight years with Bonneville Sacramento hot AC KZZO “Now 100.5,” assistant program director/music director Sonia Jimenez takes on music director responsibilities for co-owned KNCI “New Country 105.1.” Bonneville Sacramento vice president of programming Chad Rufer states, “Sonia is a true pro – one of the best out there.” ….. Columbus alternative WWCD “CD-102.5” program director and “The Stash” host Mase Brazelle replaces afternoon driver Lesley James, who left the station approximately two weeks ago ….. Songwriter/pianist Jim Brickman adds four affiliates for his four-hour lifestyle/music/interviews program, which features co-hosts “Brynne” and “Bob.” New to the show are WWFW “Sunny 103.9,” Fort Wayne (Indiana); WZIM “Magic 99.5,” Peoria (Illinois); WNCV “Coast 93.3,” Fort Walton Beach (Florida); and KMWX “Mix 92.5,” Abilene (Texas).

Never Be The Same. After a performance on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” to mark the release of her debut solo album (“Camila,” which includes the single “Never Be The Same”), singer Camila Cabello (left) chats with ABC Radio’s Andrea Dresdale.