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Monday, May 18, 2020

| May 18, 2020

Monday Memo: Weekend Warriors, Battling the Virus. As the cooped-up are coping, radio talkers are listening. In last week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke polled a panel of weekday hosts, who describe the mood they’re monitoring. This week, HC rounds up weekend ask-the-expert hosts, who describe how callers’ questions flesh-out listeners’ lives during the shutdown now easing in phases. Read it here.

Re-Opening Controversy, Statistics & Projections, Trump IG Firings, Michael Flynn Case, Pressure on China, Ahmaud Arbery Case, Presidential Race, and Fred Willard Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The concerns about safely re-opening the economies in states across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections about future infections; the political battle heating up over President Trump’s firing of inspector general Steve Linick; the DOJ’s dropping of the charges against Michael Flynn for lying in court and Republicans’ efforts to involve Barack Obama in the case; some 100 countries pressuring China for an investigation into its coronavirus efforts; the case of murdered Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery; the latest poll numbers in the presidential race; and comedian Fred Willard dies at 85 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Get Ready. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that as most parts of the country begin transitioning out of mandated self-isolation, your clients are working through a maze of regulations and protocols completely new to them. Go with the “Three-E Theory” – be empathetic, energetic, and easy. Read his column here.

Mancow Asks Court to Toss Defamation Suit. A story in the Daily Herald by Harry Hitzeman reveals that WLS-AM, Chicago morning host Erich “Mancow” Muller is asking a Cook County Circuit Court judge to dismiss the defamation suit filed against him by former Harvest Bible Chapel pastor James MacDonald. If you recall, Mancow aired on his radio show secretly recorded tapes of MacDonald in which he wonders if child porn could be placed on the computer of a Christianity Today editor with whom he had a beef. MacDonald was subsequently ousted by his church’s board in 2019 and in response MacDonald filed suit against Muller late last year. Now, Muller files the Motion to Dismiss arguing that MacDonald is a public figure and it was Muller’s “duty as a Christian and media member to shine a light on MacDonald’s true character.” MacDonald’s lawyer is saying Muller’s motion comes too late, too long, and also argues Muller’s lawyer has a conflict of interest in the case as he once represented MacDonald. The two sides have a court date of June 12.

Josh Wolff Named VP of Programming for iHeartMedia Harrisburg-Lancaster. Programming pro Josh Wolff is promoted to vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Harrisburg and Lancaster, Pennsylvania markets. In this role Wolff will oversee all on-air content as well as music and digital programming operations for all of the Harrisburg and Lancaster brands. He will continue to program CHR WAEB “B-104” and rock WZZO in Allentown. iHeartMedia area SVP of programming Dave Hovel says, “With Josh’s strong leadership skills in Allentown, it was a no-brainer to elevate him to oversee iHeartMedia Harrisburg and Lancaster. The entire Harrisburg/Lancaster team is excited to have Josh in the role to lead and grow our iHeart footprint in the markets.” Before joining iHeartMedia’s Pennsylvania region, Wolff served as the music director and assistant program director for adult contemporary KESZ and adult hits KYOT “95.5 The Mountain” in Phoenix.

Beasley Delaying 2020 Q1 Financial Report. In a May 15 filing with the SEC, Beasley Broadcast Group, parent of Beasley Media Group, says it is unable to meet its Form 10-Q filing deadline due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its business operations. The company notes that an order issued by the Securities Exchange Commission grants a 45-day extension to file certain disclosure reports. Beasley says it intends to file its Quarterly Report no later than June 29. In addition to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on its ability to complete its quarterly review, “the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused disruptions to the Company’s business and operations, and the related uncertainty as to when or the manner in which the conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic will subside have made it necessary for it to seek an amendment to its credit facility that would, among other things, amend certain financial covenants. For the quarter ended March 31, the Company was in compliance with its financial covenants related to its credit facility. However, at that time the Company was projecting that it was unlikely to be able to comply with its First Lien Leverage Ratio as of June 30. As a result, the Company is seeking and expects to enter into an amendment to its credit facility in the coming weeks, and projects that it will be in compliance with the financial covenants, as amended, over the next 12 months. If the Company is unable to obtain an amendment to its credit facility, it would result in an event of default, which would materially affect its results of operations, liquidity and financial condition.”

Townsquare Media Promotes Dobbins to VP. Sales pro Sarah Dobbins is promoted from director of sales for Townsquare Media’s Portland station group to vice president of sales for Northern New England, including the Portland and Augusta markets as well as the Portsmouth, New Hampshire market. She’ll report to regional market president & chief revenue officer Christine Sieks. Dobbins says, “Townsquare Media has an unbelievable combination of local marketing resources designed to help local businesses grow. Now more than ever, our local brands, digital marketing solutions, and attribution tools make Townsquare a powerhouse in Northern New England. I am excited to partner with Christine Sieks in maximizing our resources to drive sales growth throughout Maine and New Hampshire.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago morning personality Erich “Mancow” Muller – host at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM – was one of the high-profile leaders of Saturday’s “Open Illinois Rally” organized and co-hosted by Josh Ellis of American Revolution 2.0. Mancow and a number of politicians and candidates gathered to “address the governor’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic response.” The intent was to demand the state legislature “work on guidance and provisions to safely open Illinois businesses and resume our work lives.”…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway tells TALKERS magazine it was a “great honor” to have President Trump call into his radio show on Friday (5/15). Conway says that when Trump was running for office, the two spoke many times but this was the first time they talked with Trump as president. “It doesn’t matter what people think about him, this is the President of the United States who picked up the phone and spoke directly to my audience.” Conway’s show is also heard on WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids and WOC-AM, Quad Cities…..Nexstar Broadcasting is presenting “COVID-19 The Virtual Town Hall” to be aired on its television stations across Connecticut tonight (5/18) at 7:00 pm.  The audio from the event will be carried by iHeartMedia’s 11 Connecticut radio stations. The Town Hall will include: Governor Ned Lamont, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, and numerous state representatives and health care experts…..BIA Advisory Services is presenting a webinar tomorrow (5/19) at 11:00 am called “2020 State of Media Sales Study” that will consist of answering such questions as: What’s on the minds of local media sellers as they operate in a post COVID marketplace? Where do they expect to find ad revenue? What verticals will have the most potential in Q3 and Q4 in 2020? And, which types of accounts will pose the biggest challenges? The webinar will share findings from the April 2020 study of media sales professionals about the past year and current, unusual conditions…..The Talk Shows USA-syndicated “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” program adds two new affiliate stations as KBRN-AM/ K280GR, Boerne, Texas and KIVA-AM/ K229CL, Albuquerque, New Mexico add the show to their weekend program schedules…..Westwood One News is presenting “The Summer of COVID-19” as its Memorial Day Weekend special. WWO says, “Barbeques and beaches. Death rates and vaccine hopes. It is going to be a summer like no other. American traditions are under threat, from backstage ball fields to seasonal staples like family vacations and summer camps, while others still plan to hit the road or take to the skies during an unprecedented health and financial crisis… correspondent Christopher Cruise explores how we got here and where we are going, or not going, this summer.” It replaces “The Week in Review” on May 23-24.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On Long Island, Connoisseur Media’s four-station cluster that includes hot AC WALK-FM, rock WWSK-FM “94.3 The Shark,” classic hits WBZO “103.2 MAX,” and adult contemporary WKJY-FM “KJOY 98.3” shined a light on the mental effects of social distancing with a special live stream concert last night (5/17) to benefit The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention Long Island Chapter. The “Be Well Long Island” benefit concert featured performances and appearances by: Johnny Rzenick of the Goo Goo Dolls, Joan Jett, Scott Stapp, DMC from Run DMC, Kevin Martin and Brian Quinn of Candlebox, Fitz and The Tantrums, Vintage Trouble, and more. WWSK music director Brian Orlando says, “There are thousands of people suffering in silence right now. We at Connoisseur Media want them to know that they’re not alone.”

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

| April 3, 2019

iHeartMedia Files with SEC for Initial Public Offering. As the company wends its way through the final stages of Chapter 11 reorganization, iHeartMedia files with the Securities Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of its Class A common shares.  In the SEC filing, the company set a placeholder of $100 million but didn’t disclose the size of the offering or a price range.  The company intends to use proceeds from the IPO to pay off debt. Last year’s Chapter 11 reorganization allowed iHeartMedia to trim its onerous debt from about $20 billion to about $5.75 billion and forced the spin-off of Clear Channel OutdoorGoldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are listed as underwriters for the IPO.

Scott Mahalick to Resign from Alpha Media; Phil Becker to Assume EVP of Programming Role. After almost 10 years as the executive vice president of programming for Alpha MediaScott Mahalick is resigning from the company and handing the EVP of programming post to current vice president Phil Becker, effective April 8.  Alpha Media CEO Bob Proffitt says, “Scott’s contributions are far too numerous to mention but suffice it to say that Scott’s work ethic, competitiveness, and passion are woven into Alpha in many ways.  Scott is and will always remain a huge Alpha fan, cheerleader, and significant shareholder in the Company.”  Mahalick comments, “It’s been a pleasure to contribute to Alpha for the past decade and lead our high-performance team.  I want to thank Larry Wilson, Bob Proffitt, Donna Heffner, our regional presidents, and John Grossi for supporting my innovative crazy ideas.”  Speaking about his new role with the company, Becker says, “I can’t thank Scott enough for bringing me into Alpha and for letting me work alongside him for the last 5 years.  The two of us have accomplished some remarkable things together and I want to thank Bob for allowing me the opportunity to continue to do so.  Alpha is a ‘think differently’ kind of company and I look forward to working closer with all departments.”

Bernie & Sid in the Morning Celebrates First Anniversary at WABC, New York AM Show. Yesterday, the team of Sid Rosenberg and Bernard McGuirk celebrated their one-year anniversary as the morning show on Cumulus Media’s legendary news/talk station “77 WABC Radio” in New York.  The “Bernie & Sid In The Morning” show launched on April 2 of 2018 after the retirement of Don Imus.  Among the celebrities joining the show to celebrate the anniversary was actor Chazz Palminteri, pictured above (center) with Rosenberg (left) and McGuirk (right).  Others appearing on the show were Bill O’Reilly, Congressman Peter King, Bo Dietl, Lisa LampinelliJim Breuer, Sukanya Krishnan and Jenn Lahmers from Fox 5 NY “Early Good Day,” WAXQ’s Jim Kerr, Michael Kay, John Batchelor, FOX News Channel’s Tom Shilue, Sean Hannity, and Brian Kilmeade.  Cumulus New York VP and market manager Chad Lopez says, “We congratulate Bernie and Sid on an incredibly successful first year of what is now New York City’s destination morning talk show.  Bernie and Sid have created a great show that listeners love, with the biggest guests and the most entertaining talk in town.”  Station PD Craig Schwalb adds, “Bernie and Sid took on a huge task in replacing the legendary Don Imus.  Not only has the year been successful for our listeners and advertisers, it’s been very exciting to see it all happen.”

All-Newser KCBS, San Francisco Freshens its Image. Bay Area all-news outlet KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco reveals its new audio and visual “refresh.”  The Entercom news station debuts enhanced audio imaging featuring female voiceover pros Randy Thomas and Roberta Solomon as co-voices of the station along with its new logo that marks the first visual refresh in more than a decade.  Entercom San Francisco SVP and market manager Gregory Nemitz says, “KCBS is an iconic news brand and it’s only fitting that our new image is of an equal caliber.  These changes are part of the KCBS evolution that elevates our connection with our broad Bay Area audience.”  KCBS-AM will celebrate its 51st year as an all-news station in May.

Share of Ear: Pureplay Listening Accounts for 35% of Audio Consumption. Internet pureplays are gobbling up more of the audio listening pie, rising from 22% of audio consumption in 2014 to 35% of in 2018, according to Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” study.  “Pureplays” include such services as Pandora or Spotify, the streams of radio stations, streams of SiriusXM, podcasts, or music from YouTube.  Edison Research director Laura Ivey says, “While the more established modes of audio delivery, such as broadcasting and listening to owned music, remain strong, with each update we show more audio is delivered through the internet.  These trends are especially pronounced among young people.”

Entercom Promotes Six Executives. An internal memo from Entercom president and CEO David Field reveals six promotions for company executives.  Michael Martin is now SVP of programming & head of music initiatives, Tim Murphy is EVP of corporate business development, Pat Paxton takes on the new title chief programming officer, Dave Richards is promoted to SVP of programming for Seattle, David Rosenbloom is appointed VP of corporate business development, and Esther-Mireya Tejeda is now SVP and head of corporate communications.  Field states, “These are exciting times at Entercom and we are fortunate to have a highly talented team across the country leading us forward in pursuit of our transformational goals and working to capitalize on our many outstanding opportunities.”

Obamacare Vote Delayed, U.S.-Mexico Border Situation, Joe Biden Allegations, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Georgia’s ‘Heartbeat’ Bill, Chicago Elects Black Lesbian Mayor, Mar-a-Lago Intrusion, Brexit Chaos, NCAA Tournament, and NBA and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/2). The announcement by President Trump that the vote to nullify the Affordable Care Act will wait until after the 2020 election; the migrant population status at the U.S.-Mexico border and Trump’s threat to close the border; the allegations of inappropriate touching against Joe Biden; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the controversy over Georgia’s “heartbeat” bill affecting abortion access in the state; the election of Lori Lightfoot as Chicago’s first Black, lesbian mayor; the case of the Asian woman gaining access to Mar-a-Lago with a hard-drive containing malware; the political chaos in London over Brexit; the NCAA Final Four; and NBA and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A shocker in San Diego as iHeartMedia and on-air pro Bob Buchmann part ways just a year after the classic rock KGB-FM morning personality inked a new, multi-year deal.  Buchmann revealed his surprise by the move in a Facebook post: “I’d prefer you hear this from me first, as I’m a bit in shock.  My position has been eliminated at iHeartMedia San Diego as of today.  I work for wonderful people who told me I did nothing wrong and everything right. Now in my 7th year, I was made KGB-FM operations director last August.  In the afternoon drive Bob and Coe Show, the February Nielsens rank us #2 in the market.  Come to think of it, I’m not a bit in shock, I’m a lot in shock!  Thank you for being there for me day in and day out.”…..Cumulus Media names programming pro Joe Browning operations manager for its four-station cluster in Melbourne, Florida that consists of CHR WAOA (for which Browning will serve as PD and afternoon host as Joe Kelley), classic rock WROK, country WHKR and sports talk WLZR-AM.  He was most recently with Corpus Christi-based Hometown Media as corporate program director for its 16 stations. Cumulus Melbourne vice president and market manager Gary Mertins says, “We’re super excited to have Joe joining our team as operations manager.  We also look forward to having him lead our heritage top 40, known along the Space Coast as ‘WA1A.’  Joe is a tremendous talent, an experienced broadcaster, and I’m certain he will be an asset to our cluster.”

Friday, March 9, 2018

| March 9, 2018

WABC, New York to Move ‘Bernie & Sid’ to AM Drive.  After Don Imus wraps his legendary radio career on March 30, Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York will move the late morning “Bernie & Sid” show into the morning drive daypart, effective Monday, April 2.  Longtime Imus sidekick (and executive producer) Bernard McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg have been together hosting their late morning show since January of 2016.

WWBA, Tampa Launches Chris Ingram Show.  A new late morning show debuts on Genesis Communications’ WWBA, Tampa/W252DF, Largo “News/Talk Florida” on Monday (3/12) starring Chris Ingram.  The station says the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program follows “the new and very mellow ‘Bubba The Love Sponge Show.’  Chris is a well-known political commentator and is seen as a frequent guest on ‘Bay News 9,’ CNN and other cable news shows.  He was recently chair of the Tiger Bay Club, a political think tank in the Tampa Bay area.  His first guests include Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Jim Greer, former chairman to the Republican Party of Florida.”  Genesis VP of content Steve Kyler says, “Chris brings a fresh, independent look at politics, social issues, and the happenings in entertainment right here in Tampa Bay. Listeners will have a real treat by listening to him every day.”

Alpha Media Appoints Cort Johnson National Digital Content Producer. Although Cort Johnson’s primary responsibility will be creating national digital content for Alpha Media’s rock formats, the company says he’ll also be a major contributor to streaming and podcasting strategies.  In announcing Cort Johnson’s new role as national digital content producer, Alpha Media national director of digital content Ernie Martinez comments, “I am thrilled to be collaborating with Cort!  His skillset, experience, and knowledge in both the digital and traditional radio space are going to be pivotal in driving content on Alpha Media’s digital and social platforms.”

Weekly eSports Show Added to KFXX, Portland Lineup.  Portland, Oregon sports talker KFXX “1080 The Fan” is adding a new, weekly eSports-focused program to its lineup.  Entercom says is partnering with Westwood One to bring “Checkpoint Radio” – hosted by gaming industry experts Nate Bender, Robbie Landis, Norris Howard, and Joe Sloan – to the station’s program schedule.  Entercom Portland SVP and market manager Bill Ashenden states, “We are excited to partner with Westwood One to bring eSports content to our community.  The popularity of eSports is growing rapidly among the digital generation and, as the leaders in sports audio, we are committed to expanding our offerings to engage with these listeners.”  “Checkpoint Radio” managing partner Rick Scott adds, “By taking this step with eSports and gaming, the Entercom Portland team are the trailblazers in Portland.  We value having ‘The Fan’ join our growing family of ‘Checkpoint Radio’ partners and look forward to serving the eSports community there.”  The program airs Thursdays from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

TALKERS News Notes. Longtime WSBT, South Bend morning host Jon Thompson, a.k.a. JT, wraps a 42-year radio career at the station as Mid-West Family Broadcasting replaces his morning show with ESPN’s Golic & Wingo show.  The South Bend Tribune reports the 70-year-old JT “was surrounded by his family: wife Marilyn; daughters Sarah and Rebecca, both in town for their father’s final show; and son Josh, a Navy aviator who came in from the East Coast.”  Thompson started his career in 1971 and moved to South Bend in December of 1975…..Farmington Hills, Michigan-based New Radio Media announces the launch of its digital streaming entertainment network that offers original online audio and video content featuring topics of interest to metro Detroiters.  New Radio Media says the programming currently consists of 13 shows across five channel categories: business, lifestyle, community, Geektainment, and arts & entertainment.  New Radio Media CEO Paul Bensman says, “The demand for streaming entertainment by the consumer grows every year and we are creating a delivery platform for now and for the future.  The community is going to help to shape the programming we offer so if anyone has an idea for a show, we want to hear it.  Engaging fresh voices and opinions and undiscovered musical talent, plus experienced presenters and nationally recognized entertainers, will offer Detroit a new and exciting network for entertainment.”

Trump Tariffs/Trade War Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 5-9.  The proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum and the related talk of trade wars tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Stormy DanielsDonald Trump relationship and legal actions.  Coming in at #3 was the Trump-Russia Investigation, followed by the Justice Department’s suit against California over the state’s sanctuary policies at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Renowned Relationship Builder, Social Engineer, International Networking Consultant and Podcaster Jordan Harbinger Is This Week’s Guest on The Michael Harrison Interview.   Named by Forbes magazine “one of the 50 best relationship-builders in the world,” social dynamics expert, attorney, digital era networking consultant and podcaster Jordan Harbinger joins Michael Harrison in a fascinating and informative dialogue on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harrison and Harbinger discuss the pros and cons of social media, building an audience in the era of niches, the art of interviewing, America’s role in an increasingly sophisticated world, the generational divide, the need for educational reform and more.  Don’t miss this!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on “The Michael Harrison Interview” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Today, Chicago says good-bye to WLUP-FM “The Loop” as the venerable rock outlet powers down and Educational Media Foundation starts operating the station under an LMA and flips it to Christian contemporary at midnight.  As Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports, legendary WLUP-FM personality Steve Dahl will be ringmaster of the station’s final program as a rock outlet.  Dahl will talk with special guests – and former WLUP personalities – Sky Daniels and Kevin Matthews.  Read Feder’s column here…..In related news from Chicago, Cumulus Media – still operating Merlin Media-owned alternative WKQX under an LMA – brings Tim Virgin aboard to host the afternoon drive show.  His addition to the program schedule bumps Walt Flakus to the evening show.  Virgin had been doing the afternoon show on WLUP-FM.  Also joining WKQX from “The Loop” is James VanOsdol who becomes digital content captain for the Cumulus Chicago cluster…..In Baltimore, Entercom names Bethany Linderman co-host of “Mix Mornings” on hot AC WWMX “MIX 106.5.” with incumbent host Reagan Warfield.  She was most recently at Townsquare Media’s country WGNA, Albany, New York co-hosting the morning show.  She says of her new gig, “I’m excited to get to know my new town and connect with MIX 106.5’s listeners.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue to build this great morning show with Reagan on one of America’s premiere hot AC stations.”

Friday, October 31, 2014

| October 31, 2014

2014hhsports-header only 200TALKERS Magazine Presents 2014 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk.  Today (10/31), the editors of TALKERS magazine present the third annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.  This list ranks sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from 1 to 100, based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors.  The genre of sports talk radio has evolved greatly and grown exponentially over the past 10 years to go from being a fringe format to an important sub-genre of spoken-word radio programming.  With this in mind, the editors of TALKERS debuted the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk in 2012 to acknowledge the hard-working air personalities on sports talk radio.  The results of this list are, admittedly, subjective.  Being  true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due.  Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness.  The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station – at the time of publication.  Now you know the criteria, so who’s #1 this year? Number two, and three?  Click here to find out.

ppmunitRound Four of October PPM Data Released.  The fourth of four rounds of October 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The survey period was September 11 through October 8.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

salemcommunicationsTwo More Salem News/Talkers Take ‘The Answer’ Brand.  Joining the 11 Salem Communications-owned news/talk station to begin using “The Answer” as their brand are WRC, Washington and KLUP, San Antonio.  Beginning November 4, they become “AM 1260 The Answer” and “AM 930 The Truth,” respectively.  Salem VP director of spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Since this is decision day in America, we felt the perfect time to make the brand name switch was on Election Day, and both markets were ready to go.”  Boyce says the brand has resonated with listeners in the markets where the company is using it.

napabroadcasting logoSchechtman Launches Local Digital Effort NapaBroadcasting.com.  Napa Valley broadcasting pro Jeff Schechtman – for the past 10 years the GM of radio stations KVON and KVYN in the region – is launching an online radio station targeting the Napa Valley community.  Schechtman is partnering with Napa Valley College and the operation’s offices and studios are located on the school’s campus.  In a press release, Schechtman notes that since leaving KVON and KVYN, former local talk station KVON flipped to sports using Fox schechtmanjeffSports Radio and he says both stations have outsourced their news.  “There is currently no original audio reporting and no chance for the community to hear the voices of local leaders, opinion makers or other citizens.”  He says his venture hopes to provide that local content.  “Suddenly it became clear to me and others in the community that there was a huge need for local programming that wasn’t being served.  Napa also provides a unique economic opportunity, because in addition to local news and talk, we can expand the effort to incorporate wine, food and health programing, which has both local and worldwide appeal.  We can use the internet for both local, regional and worldwide purposes.”  The partnership with Napa Valley College provides both programming and creative personnel.  Music programing will also start in January.  Schechtman believes that being on a college campus helps provide the energy and creativity that represents what this effort is about.  “This is radio for the way we live now,” he explains.

r'nelgaryOdds & Sods.  With the move of evening host Rich Zeoli from the evening shift to afternoon drive at CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia, current afternoon drive co-host Gary R’nel slides back into the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot.  R’nel has been working with Dick Morris who exits the station on November 5…..New general managers are named by Salem Communications for its San Diego and Sacramento station groups.  Dale Hendry relocates to San Diego to lead the team there. He moves south from the company’s Sacramento cluster where he’s been serving as GM.  Taking over Hendry’s role in Sacramento is Mark Durkin who is promoted from his director of sales position.  And Scott Hamilton becomes general sales manager in Sacramento.

B&OLive showBig Bax & O’Brien Bash in Springfield.  The long-running, highly-successful morning talk team of Bax & O’Brien (Mike “Bax” Baxendale and John O’Brien) of Saga Communications’ classic rocker, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, Massachusetts presented their second annual “Thursday Night Live” show last night (10/30).  The bawdy, irreverent comedy spectacular played before a sold-out house of more than 200 core fans at downtown Springfield’s prestigious City Stage theater whoharrisongoldsteinBOsmall paid $27 each for the honor of being entertained by a slew of guests and performers that included salty crooner Red Peters & the Alan Pinchloaf Singers, show producer/newsman/sidekick Steve Nagel, a “mystery guest,” comedic appearances by several high-profile local sponsors as well as hilarious video drop ins from Lionel of LionelMedia.com and show regular, Fitsy. Pictured above (l-r):  Bax & O’Brien on stage.  Pictured at right (l-r): Saga Communications EVP Steve Goldstein and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison with a photo bomb appearance of associate publisher Matthew B. Harrison taken at a selfie machine set up in the theater lobby.

journalcommunicationsJournal Reports Radio Revenue Up 5.1% in Q3.  Bucking the industry-wide third quarter trend, Journal Communications is reporting a downright outstanding quarter for its radio and television division.  On the radio side, operating earnings were up 16.1% and the net revenue figure of $21.6 million saw a percentage hike of 5.1%.  Television net revenue was up 22.8% but publishing fell 5.4%.  The irony here is that Journal is entering into a complex deal with E.W. Scripps that would put the combined TV and radio properties into one company and the publishing platform into another called Journal Media Group.  Journal Communications CEO Steve Smith states, “Journal benefitted from continued growth in television retransmission revenue along with significant political and issue advertising spending in a number of our markets.  Our focused broadcast sales efforts grew both television and radio revenue, excluding retransmission and political, by approximately 3% and drove television and radio digital revenue up 22% and 31%, respectively.”  Journal has fared better than other radio station owners in the political advertising arena by luck of the draw – it owns stations in states and markets with tight and high-profile races and ballot issues.

wmaldiner10-14Another Stop on the ‘WMAL Diner Tour.’  This photo is from the latest stop on the October “WMAL Diner Tour” in which the station broadcasts (each Friday this month) live from a different diner in Maryland or Virginia.  It’s all part of the station’s content leading up to Tuesday’s elections.  Seen here are (from left to right): guest Ed Henry, Fox News White House correspondent; WMAL “Mornings On The Mall” hosts Larry O’Connor and Brian Wilson.

Mid-Term Elections Take Over Top Spot on Talkers TenTM.  After three weeks of the Ebola pandemic threat as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, the run-up to Tuesday’s mid-term elections was the prevailing topic this week.  At #2 was the domestic Ebola cases and the threat of a global pandemic.  Coming in at #3 was the battle against ISIS in Iraq and Western citizens joining the radical organization, followed by the 2016 presidential prospects at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

KFWBsports legendsLos Angeles Sports Media Legends.  The opening of the Los Angeles Clippers 2014-15 season was the reason for the remote broadcast from “Fan Fest” outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the team’s flagship KFWB “The Beast 980.”  Pictured here are (from left to right): Ralph Lawler, who appears on the station at 7:30 each morning; midday personality Fred Roggin; and late morning syndicated talk host Jim Rome.  Additionally, the station’s other weekday personalities Marques Johnson, Jeanne Zelasko, Brett Winterble and George Wrighster appeared at the broadcast.