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Thursday, March 5, 2020

| March 5, 2020

Susan Larkin to Succeed Weezie Kramer as Entercom COO. When Entercom acquired the radio assets of CBS RADIO in 2017, chief operating officer Weezie Kramer put off her planned retirement to help lead the company’s operations “through the integration and critical transformation initiatives to elevate and enhance the company’s competitive position.”  Now, Kramer is leaving her COO position effective May 5 when current New York market manager and regional president Susan Larkin will assume the COO role.  Kramer will continue to serve the company as a senior executive adviser to Entercom president and CEO David Field.  Kramer joined the company in 2000.  The company is already in the process of seeking Larkin’s replacement in New York.  David Field says, “Weezie has been an extraordinary, inspiring leader and a fiercely determined, tireless competitor and strategist who has built an outstanding record of success over the many years in which she has led us forward as our chief operating officer.  She set an uncompromising standard of excellence for all, both professionally and personally, driving us to be our very best while maintaining the highest ethical standards.  She earned the sincere admiration, respect and affection of the entire Entercom team, and much of the industry, for her spirited leadership and decency and for being a full-throated, unapologetic champion for radio.  She has been an extraordinarily successful COO and we are all immensely grateful to her. While she will be deeply missed as COO, I am thrilled that she will be joining the Entercom board where we will continue to benefit from her wisdom and guidance for years to come.”  Speaking about her new role with Entercom, Larkin says, “This is an exciting time for Entercom, and for all audio media.  I am thrilled to be part of Entercom’s forward-thinking strategy as we continue to set ourselves apart as the best operator and creator of audio content in the U.S. and realize the value of our engaged impressions with advertisers.  Weezie has been an incredible mentor and the best leader I could ask for.  I am honored to work with such a strong team and excited about the next phase of Entercom’s continued growth, expansion and strategic vision.”

Emmis/Mediaco SVP Charlie Morgan to Leave for New Opportunity. Senior vice president Charlie Morgan is leaving his role with Emmis/Mediaco for a new opportunity.  Morgan, who served with the company for the past 10 years – six in Indianapolis and the past four years in New York, is credited by the company with “leading the turnaround of Emmis operations in Indianapolis and New York (now Mediaco).  His focus on product quality, operational excellence, innovation and, perhaps most important, on culture and talent development as the ultimate path to winning have been central to our success.  Charlie’s emphasis on building great teams through coaching and development has enhanced the careers of countless colleagues over the years at Mediaco, Emmis, Cumulus, IMS Productions and Susquehanna.  We sincerely thank him for all his efforts and wish him the absolute best in his next endeavor.”  The company says it is beginning a search for a permanent leader for Mediaco New York.  In the meantime, Emmis/Mediaco president Patrick Walsh will serve as interim New York market manager.

George Beasley Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award at Broadcasters Foundation of America Golden Mike Ceremony. New York’s Plaza Hotel was the scene of last night’s Broadcasters Foundation of America 2020 Golden Mike Award Gala.  More than 350 broadcasters and celebrities were there as the BFoA raised more than $400,000 to support broadcasters in need.  At this year’s event, Tegna president and CEO Dave Lougee received the 2020 Golden Mike Award and Beasley Media Group founder and chairman George Beasley received the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Pictured above are (from l-r): BFoA chairman Dan Mason, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley (accepting for her father George), BFoA president Jim Thompson and event host and “Inside Edition” anchor Deborah Norville.

New York Festivals to Honor the National Press Club.  At the New York Festivals Storytellers Gala taking place on April 21 at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, the National Press Club will be honored with the New York Festivals Lifetime Achievement Award.  NYF says its Lifetime Achievement Award “recognizes prominent industry leaders and driving forces in the broadcast industry whose accomplishment have advanced their field and made a lasting impression on the industry.”  NYF TV & Film Awards/Radio Awards vice president/executive director Rose Anderson says, “For over a century, the National Press Club has upheld responsible journalism, supported freedom of the press worldwide, and provided a forum for the exchange of substantive ideas in our Nation’s Capital.  Their members’ commitment to excellence encompasses all media.  In this year marking the centennial of radio and our inaugural Storyteller’s Gala, we are proud to honor this organization with the New York Festivals Lifetime Achievement Award.”  National Press Club president Michael Freedman will accept the award on behalf of the organization.

Cumulus Nashville Stations to Hold Radiothon for Tornado Relief. The Nashville cluster of Cumulus Media is holding the Cumulus Cares Tornado Relief Radiothon tomorrow (3/6) at Edley’s Bar-B-Que to raise money for the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund.  It started when Will Newman from Edley’s reached out to WGFX-FM “104-5 The Zone” personality Jonathan Hutton about ways to give back to the community in the wake of the devastating tornados.  The radiothon was born and tomorrow WGFX-FM, news/talk WWTN-FM, and Cumulus’ three music stations will broadcast live encouraging cash donations.  In addition, Cumulus is collecting necessities such as diapers, blankets, baby formula, wipes, gloves, toothpaste, Ziploc bags, tide pods, and feminine hygiene products at accessible areas nearby the broadcast site.

WPHT, Philadelphia to Hold Third Annual Liberty USO Radiothon. In Philadelphia tomorrow (3/6), Entercom news/talker WPHT is hosting the 3rd annual “Talk Radio 1210 WPHT Liberty USO Radiothon” to benefit Active, Guard and Reserve military and their families through programs and services at the United Service Organization of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey (Liberty USO).  The station will broadcast live from Chickie’s & Pete’s Play 2 from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm ET.  The broadcast will be anchored by on-air personalities Rich Zeoli and Dom Giordano.  Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We care deeply about serving those who have served our country and I’m proud of the role WPHT plays in supporting Liberty USO.  This annual radiothon aims to raise awareness and funds on behalf of service members and their families right here in our community through the generosity of our listeners.”

Suburban Philly News/Talker to Go Dark. WNPV-AM/W253CA, Lansdale, Pennsylvania “The Talk of the Suburbs” announces it will cease programming on April 30 and go off the air.  WFMZ-TV reports general manager Phil Hunt saying in a press release, “Our mission has always been to serve the public interest by providing top-quality local news, and we have never been willing to compromise on that promise.  In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to compete for both audience and advertising dollars, and unfortunately it is no longer sustainable to continue to run the business in a way that delivers the service our community expects and deserves.  We are grateful for the support of our loyal listeners, the belief of our advertisers and the commitment from our talented team.  It has been an honor to serve this community.”  The signals are owned and operated by North Penn Valley Broadcasting and serve Bucks and Montgomery counties.

WHO, Des Moines Personality Bonnie Lucas Wraps Radio Career Tomorrow. Des Moines radio personality Bonnie Lucas is retiring from iHeartMedia’s news/talk WHO, Des Moines after tomorrow morning’s show.  She’s been co-hosting the station’s AM drive program with co-host (and station PD) Van Harden since 1994.  Lucas’ final show will take place on the road as she and Harden broadcast live from Meals from the Heartland in West Des Moines for the “2020 Van & Bonnie Hunger Fight,” a non-profit, food-packing event where volunteers package meals for delivery to malnourished people in Iowa, across the United States and around the world.  Beginning Monday (3/9), Van Harden will host the morning show with special feature guests including familiar WHO personalities such as Jeff Angelo, Simon Conway, Emery Songer, and Maxwell Schaeffer as well as prominent central Iowa public figures and entertainers.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM midday anchor – and host of the “Noon Business Hour” – Cisco Cotto is launching “WBBM In Depth,” a weekly podcast that further explores local business news stories.  The podcast will also include interviews plus reports from contributors.  focusing on trending news stories and their impact on the business world. It also features longer interviews with contributors and experts…..Entercom’s Philadelphia radio stations moved into the company’s new RADIO.COM World Headquarters at 2400 Market Street in Philly last month.  All-news KYW-AM, news/talk WPHT, sports talk WIP-FM, adult contemporary WBEB “B101.1,” CHR WDTY, and classic hits WOGL are all now located in the company’s headquarters.  At the KYW site, videographer Holli Stephens presents a two-minute video of the gleaming new studios and offices.  Check it out here…..The Milwaukee Business Journal reports that former Green Bay Packers fullback and fan favorite John Kuhn is being courted by local and national media organizations for a full-time sports talk role. Kuhn began working in the Packers front office last April as an analyst for digital, broadcast, and game presentations.  He was a sideline reporter for radio flagship WTMJ, Milwaukee’s broadcasts last season.  The MBJ cites sources saying iHeartMedia’s sports talk WRNW-FM “The Game” is talking with him about joining its lineup, though nothing is set in stone yet.

Coronavirus Pandemic, Presidential Race, Financial Markets Activity, SCOTUS Hears Abortion Case/Schumer Comments, Israel Election, Syria-Turkey Violence, and Tennessee Tornado Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4). The status of the coronavirus pandemic and California’s declaring a state of emergency; Joe Biden’s leap to frontrunner in the Democratic primary race; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic; the Supreme Court hears arguments in the Louisiana abortion law case and Senator Chuck Schumer is criticized for threatening Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh; the results of Israel’s most recent election in which Benjamin Netanyahu failed to achieve a majority; the military clashes between Syrian and Turkish forces; and the aftermath of the Tennessee tornadoes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

‘Inside Edition’ Anchor Deborah Norville Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. “Inside Edition” anchor Deborah Norville is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The two-time Emmy Award winning broadcaster is celebrating her 25th anniversary as host of the daily news magazine establishing her as the longest-running daily anchor in national television. She is also getting ready to emcee the annual Broadcasters Foundation of America Golden Mike Award Dinner tomorrow evening (3/4) at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The dinner is the BFoA’s signature fundraising event to help broadcasters who’ve fallen on hard times due to medical crises or natural disasters. Norville is an accomplished broadcaster with outstanding television and radio credentials. She joined “Inside Edition” in 1995 from CBS News where she was an anchor and correspondent. She is the former co-host of NBC’s “Today” and anchor of NBC “News at Sunrise.” During her career she has hosted a primetime show on MSNBC, a national radio show on the ABC Talk Radio Network and has served as an anchor and reporter for WMAQ-TV in Chicago. She began her reporting career at WAGA-TV in Atlanta, while still a student at the University of Georgia, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude, First Honor Graduate with a perfect 4.0 GPA. She is also a prolific best-selling author and active with a number of leading causes and charities. Harrison and Norville discuss the Broadcasters Foundation as well as her career in television, changes in audience attention spans, the state of the media industry, and the #MeToo movement. 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.

Monday, March 18, 2019

| March 18, 2019

Atlanta’s ‘92.9 The Game’ Ousts Midday Hosts Rick Kamla and John Michaels. First reported by Atlanta Journal Constitution writer Rodney Ho, the midday team of Rick Kamla and John Michaels – together on the air since 2016 – has been let go by Entercom sports talker WZGC-FM, Atlanta “92.9 The Game.”  Kamla was part of the station’s morning show when WZGC launched as a sports talk station in 2012, but later moved to middays.  He was joined by Michaels in 2016.  Michaels confirmed his exit via Twitter saying they were given a number of reasons why they were being let go, including “not connecting with the audience.”  WZGC has made no public comments about the changes, including its plans for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot.

Kridel Reduces Air Time at WBBM, Chicago.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, news anchor Kris Kridel is scaling back her time on the air at Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago to part-time status.  The 34-year station veteran will now be heard from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  She had been on the air for six straight hours.  Feder reports that Lisa Fielding will be on the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program with co-anchor Keith Johnson most weekdays.

Monday Memo: The Boys Are Back. Consultant Holland Cooke delivers this week’s Monday Memo from the heart of Red Sox Nation with advice about the return of baseball to radio’s airwaves: “Mathematically, baseball may be affiliates’ best friend for the next several months, when play-by-play invites new cume, and tune-in to fringe hours; and is full of suspense and commercial inventory that sells without numbers.” In this week’s Monday Memo, Cooke – ALREADY wearing his Red Sox jersey – offers three tips for boosting awareness and recycling and impressing advertisers.  Read it here.

Westwood One Promotes Stuart Greenblatt to SVP. Serving in his 20th year with Westwood One, Stuart Greenblatt is promoted to senior vice president, affiliate sales.  In his previous VP, affiliate sales post, he was in charge of station services for the network’s talk show properties.  In his new role, Greenblatt will oversee the distribution and marketing of all Westwood One programs and affiliate services for radio stations around the country, as well as supervise the national affiliate sales team and manage station client relationships.  Greenblatt says, “After working in affiliate sales for almost 20 years, I am honored to be leading the affiliate sales team here at Westwood One, truly the best in the business.  I look forward to working together with our station partners and our outstanding sales team to grow and promote our first-rate programming across the board.”

Nielsen’s National Media Impact Added to Westwood One’s Audio Insights Platform. This deal between Nielsen and Westwood One allows the latter to license the national version of Nielsen Media Impact (NMI) powered by Nielsen’s Total Media Fusion.  NMI is a cross-platform media planning and optimization solution that helps clients understand total campaign reach, frequency, and duplication using advanced audience segments.  It will enable Westwood One to demonstrate the value that its unique audiences bring to an advertiser’s media plan and illustrate radio’s substantial incremental reach.  Cumulus Media EVP of marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “With Nielsen Media Impact, we can show our advertising partners the effect on overall campaign reach and frequency when money is moved between media.  Advertisers will be able to access this tool through the groundbreaking Westwood One ROI Guarantee audio insights platform.  It’s a new dimension in making media investments work smarter for marketers using radio, podcasting, and streaming to drive ROI.  We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the power of adding audio to a media plan, giving agencies and brands the information they need to understand the true value of our medium in driving sales.” Nielsen says that in 2018, it enhanced NMI to include national radio.  Nielsen’s national radio data within Nielsen Media Impact allows buyers and sellers to understand the value of radio as a medium at the national level, as well as the incremental reach achieved by including national radio in the media mix. With the national version of Nielsen Media Impact clients can plan and optimize media allocation and compare total radio, radio formats, and radio owner groups with other national media (including TV, digital, print, cinema and digital place-based media) in advanced audience segments.

Randi P’Pool Joins Aptivada as Chief Marketing Officer. Leaving her role with Alpha Media as vice president of marketing is Randi P’Pool, who joins Aptivada, a provider of promotions contesting and audience engagement tools as chief marketing officer.  In her role with Alpha Media (which, along with iHeartMedia and Bonneville,is a client of Aptivada) P’Pool led national promotions, corporate partnerships, digital contesting, company communications and PR, events and cross-platform brand marketing.   In her new role, she’ll join Aptivada’s leadership team focusing on the strategic evolution and growth of Aptivada.  P’Pool says, “Not only does Aptivada offer the optimum digital marketing platform but it also provides extremely innovative solutions to generate new digital revenue for broadcasters.  The opportunity to support, foster and endorse a company as innovative and remarkable as Aptivada is the utmost honor and privilege for me!”

TALKERS News Notes. As long as the court schedule doesn’t change, former WFAN, New York morning drive personality Craig Carton will learn his fate on April 5 at his sentencing on conspiracy and fraud charges.  According to sentencing guidelines, Carton could get as much as 45 years in prison, although it’s likely he’ll serve far less than that. Two of his convicted co-conspirators have already been sentenced.  Michael Wright is serving a sentence of almost two years and Joseph Meli is doing six and-a-half years.  The three were involved in a Ponzi scheme that took money from investors in a VIP concert ticket re-sale business.  Prosecutors convinced jurors Carton spent some of the money paying off gambling debts and for personal expenses…..The Buffalo News reports that Entercom has sold its radio tower on Grand Island – one that carries the signal for CHR WKSE-FM “Kiss 98.5” to Vertical Bridge for almost $1.5 million.  WKSE’s signal will continue to emanate from the tower under a leaseback deal…..Condolences to the family and friends of Dave Sandler – a former longtime traffic reporter for Hearst’s WBAL-AM, Baltimore – who passed away last Thursday evening at age 58 after a long illness.  Sandler was known as “Detour Dave Sandler” to WBAL and rock WIYY-FM. He exited WBAL in 2017 after 31 years there.

Mosques Massacre Aftermath, Trump’s Weekend Tweetstorm, College Admissions Scandal, Boeing’s 737 Woes, Trump-Russia Investigation Status, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls/Kirsten Gillibrand Announces, Midwest Flooding, NBA Action, and NCAA Tournament Seeding Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of the mosques attacks in New Zealand that left 50 people dead; President Trump’s weekend tweets that took aim at General Motors and a UAW boss, the late Senator John McCain, and NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”; the blowback from the college admissions cheating scandal; Boeing’s challenges with the 737 Max planes in the wake of the second crash in five months; the status of the investigation into possible Trump campaign connections with Russian agents; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020, including the entrance of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; the devastating floods in Nebraska and Iowa; NBA hoops action; and the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament bracket were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Hexagon 2019: Romp in the Swamp. Nationally syndicated late-night talk show host Jim Bohannon (left) poses for a photo with former NBC anchor Jackie Nedell (right) on the set of the satirical musical comedy review, “Hexagon 2019: Romp in the Swamp,” in Washington on Friday (3/15).

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Des Moines alternative rock KDXA “ALT 106.3,” Alex Mac is named assistant program director, adding the duties to his roles as afternoon drive personality and music director.  iHeartMedia Des Moines SVP of programming Greg Chance says, “Alex has a bright programming future and has displayed all the characteristics of a great programmer. We are excited to see him further develop his career.”  Prior to joining the iHeartMedia Des Moines market in October 2017, Mac served as evening host and promotions assistant for WRXL-FM, Richmond…..Entercom radio personality Ken Hicks is being recognized by the Georgia State Senate for his career in radio and community service.  Hicks hosts the morning show at WUSY-FM, Chattanooga “U.S. 101” that serves a large portion of Northwest Georgia.  Entercom Chattanooga SVP and market manager Nichole Hartman says, “In his nearly 35 years with ‘U.S. 101,’ Ken has raised millions of dollars for charities, assisted in relief efforts for dozens of disasters, and has served and continues to serve the Chattanooga and North Georgia community with his whole heart.  Ken epitomizes the distinct group of people deserving of this honor and I am proud that he is a part of our team.”…..In the Palm Springs market, Tommy Carrera, a.k.a. Tommy C, exits his PD roles with Alpha Media.  He’d been programming both country KDES “98.5 The Bull” and classic hits KDGL “106.9 The Eagle.”