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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

| February 6, 2018

WABC, New York Pairs Curtis Sliwa and Rita Cosby for Midday Show.  A programming tweak at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York partners 77 WABC political editor Rita Cosby with incumbent midday talk radio personality Curtis Sliwa for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show.  The new “Curtis + Cosby” show debuts today (2/6).  WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “This is basically a New York dream team – two veteran New York broadcasters and celebrated New York personalities that our listeners simply adore.  It’s an incredible combination.”  Cosby states, “I am thrilled to co-host the brand new ‘Curtis + Cosby’ show with my longtime friend, radio superstar Curtis Sliwa.  With such an unprecedented barrage of endless news topics, now is the perfect time for us to join forces and engage our listeners in a way you will hear nowhere else.”  Sliwa adds, “This is an actual first in a large radio market.  Two Polish-Americans who are teamed together.  Rita has reported from throughout the world and has made solid contacts with newsmakers and cultural figures that she has brought to the microphones of 77 WABC.  And in this age of ‘ME TOO,’ she brings a female voice to our talk radio industry that has been sorely missed.”  Sliwa had been partnered with liberal foil Ron Kuby at WABC until May of last year.  Then, FOX News Channel personality Eboni K. Williams served as Sliwa’s co-host through October of 2017 before departing for new opportunities.

Talk Host Chris X Joins ‘Conservative Cartel’ Show.  Signing on with Pinnacle Broadcast Holdings, Inc to co-host “The Conservative Cartel” program with Matt Locke is Chris X, former host of ChrisXradio.  In a press release, Pinnacle says Chris X “got his start at a local Houston TV news station where he quickly moved into radio to help launch Houston’s only business radio station, 650 AM [KIKK]…He graduated to co-hosting the highly rated afternoon drive-time show, ‘StreetTalk.’”  Pinnacle shared owner and executive producer Ron Phillips states, “Chris X is an amazing talent.  I’ve known him for more than two years and somehow I knew at the beginning that we’d be working together!”  Host Matt Locke adds, “2018 is going to be a great year in radio.  Chris X is a radio innovator and a true mover and shaker.  I’m thrilled to welcome him to the Cartel family!”  The program airs weekdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and the Saturday 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program is carried via TheBlaze.

Beasley Promotes Shoulder to Cry on for Patriots Fans.  After the Patriots’ loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, Beasley Media Group sports talker WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” launched an ad blitz — including the image above — in the Boston Herald and on billboards.  Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna says, “The move was in response to our heartbreaking loss and the need to give our Patriots fans a vehicle to express themselves.”

Westwood One Names Motel 6 and GEICO Winners of Sports Sound Awards.  For the fifth straight year, Westwood One has been honoring the advertisers whose Super Bowl ads ranked as the most engaging audio commercials.  This year, 2018 Westwood One Sports Sound Awards recognize Motel 6 and GEICO.  Motel 6 won the Listeners Choice Award, its third win in five years.  The hotel chain’s “Slam Poetry” spot featuring Tom Bodett promotes the motel chain in rhyme, culminating with an impressive mic drop.  Hear it here.  GEICO was winner of the Media Choice Award with its “Beatboxing” ad that offers a vocal percussion calling for clean-up on aisle 14, after a customer drops a jar of pickles.  Hear it here.  Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “Congratulations to Motel 6 and GEICO for their creative ingenuity!  Their clever use of sound through slam poetry and beatboxing resonated emotionally and elevated their audio creative to make a connection with consumers.  We’re proud of this year’s competition, and our exclusive live broadcast of the Super Bowl, which offered our marketing partners a riveted audience and a dedicated platform to build and reinforce their brands sonically.”

iHeartMedia’s Thea Mitchem Signs New Deal.  National Programming Group EVP Thea Mitchem signs a contract renewal with iHeartMedia to continue serving in that capacity for the Northeast Division.  The company says Mitchem will continue to report to National Programming Group EVP and general manager Brad Hardin, as well as iHeartMedia New York president Scott Hopeck.  The company says that “under the new agreement, Mitchem will continue to partner with iHeartMedia Markets Group Division president Tom McConnell to collaborate with its regions located in the East, providing national programming assets, services and resources.”  She’ll also continue overseeing programming of 60-plus iHeartMedia stations in over a dozen markets, including New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia.  And, she will remain a key member of iHeartMedia’s urban brand management team.  iHeartMedia chief programming officer Tom Poleman states, “Thea is unquestionably one of the most influential women in the radio industry.  We’re thrilled that she will continue to oversee programming efforts for our Northeast markets. Under her leadership, we have seen unparalleled ratings success in several markets including Washington, DC, Philadelphia and New York City, where ‘Power 105.1’ has posted the best ratings in the station’s more-than-15-year history.”

MIW Releases Gender Analysis Report.  The latest MIW Gender Analysis Study has been released by the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group.  The study tabulates the number of women in management positions in the radio business.  The 2017 edition of the study finds that “out of 11,301 AM and FM radio stations, accounted for by PrecisionTrak, as of December 31, 2017, 1,974 stations, or 18.1%, have women holding the general manager position in 2017.  This is an increase from 2016 which was 17.8% and continues to show growth from 2004, 13 years ago when the percentage was only 14.9%.  The annual study is compiled, analyzed and released by the MIW Group from information provided by PrecisionTrak.”  MIW says, “Overall, the best management opportunities for women in radio continue to be in sales management.  In 2017, 31.9% of all stations have a female sales manager, which is up almost a half-point from last year.”  MIW also looks at women in programming position and reports, “The greatest challenge for women in radio management continues to be as program directors.  Women currently program only 10.5% of all radio stations in the country, and that percentage has basically remained flat for the last 11 years.  The news is better in the top 100 radio markets where women programmers represent 11.7%; however, that number is unfortunately down slightly from last year.  In an effort to further support that particular segment of the industry, the MIW Group announced a new mentoring opportunity in 2017, the MIW-Nielsen Music Mentoring Program.  MIW Group spokeswoman Denyse Mesnik comments, “Compiling this data is one of the most significant projects we undertake each year.  Our hope is that the MIW Gender Analysis sparks conversation within each company, and at each radio station, about ways to develop internal efforts that encourage the advancement of female leadership.”

TALKERS News Notes. Public news/talk WAMU, Washington names Jeffrey Katz (not to be confused with WRVA, Richmond talk host Jeff Katz) news director for the station.  Katz has been interim news director since November.  He joined the station in May of 2017 as senior managing editor.  Prior to that he was director of digital content for National Geographic.  He’d been with NPR in numerous capacities over a 15-year period…..After almost 10 years with ESPN as part of its brand, Red Zebra-owned sports talk WTEM, Washington returns to the “Team” brand.  The station is still an ESPN affiliate and is airing ESPN Radio network content – mostly in evenings and on weekends.

Dow Plunges Again, Trump-Russia Investigation, Democrat FBI Memo Rebuttal, Pennsylvania Gerrymandering Case, Eagles Upset Patriots in Super Bowl LII, and Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/5).  The Dow Jones Industrial Average drops more than 1,100 points on Monday after Friday’s selloff and experts’ predictions that the sellout is not over; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives; Congressional Democrats’ desire to release their memo they say clarifies the GOP FBI surveillance memo; the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to overturn Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s mandate that congressional maps be redrawn due to gerrymandering; the Philadelphia Eagles upset of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, and the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea 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 are on-air changes taking place at iHeartMedia’s country KWBL, Denver “106.7 The Bull.”  The station announces that Bryan “B-Dub” Washington is the new APD, music director and afternoon drive personality, effective immediately.  He joins the station at the same time as it adds the Premiere Networks-syndicated Bobby Bones show for morning drive.  iHeartMedia launched the country format on the station back on December 18.  iHeartMedia SVP of programming JoJo Turnbeaugh states, “Following an extensive nationwide search, it was clear that B-Dub is uniquely qualified and the perfect fit to join the ‘106.7 The Bull’ family.  B-Dub’s vast knowledge of the country format, outstanding relationships within the country music scene, and incredible work ethic are exactly what we need to take ‘106.7 The Bull’ to new heights.”  Washington was most recently with the company’s Sacramento station group programming KBEB “92.5 The Bull.”…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch reports that Woof Boom Radio closed on the $608,000 purchase of WKHL, West LaFayette from Educational Media Foundation.  The new calls will be WLQQ, and Woof Boom will reveal its format flip later today (2/6)…..Today at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, Edison Research is presenting data from its “Country Radio: At Home With Smart Speakers” study.  Edison says that “country fans are more likely to use their smart speakers to listen to the radio than do fans of other kinds of music, and they listen longer…Edison researched more than 1,800 adults ages 18-plus in a variety of studies, in addition to one-on-one interviews.  The purpose of the presentation is to help country and other broadcasters take advantage of a device that has the potential to ‘put radio back in the home,’ where AM/FM radios are quickly disappearing, but at the same time makes it easier to listen to digital music and other forms of content.”…..GMPT Media, the joint venture between Gen Media Partners and The Tacher Company, signs Magnum.Media’s 16 Wisconsin radio stations to exclusive national ad sales representation.  Magnum.Media founder Dave Magnum says, “We’re enthused about Gen Media Partners and Tacher joining forces.  GMPT is bullish on radio and so are we.”…..Howard Stern and SiriusXM are producing a special program to honor late rocker David Bowie.  “The Howard Stern Tribute to David Bowie” will premiere on the Howard 101 channel on Friday, February 9.  Stern says, “When I got into rock ‘n’ roll music, one of the artists that I first really got into was David Bowie.  He was always evolving, he was always on top of things, he was just a great musician and a great songwriter and a great singer.  I want to make sure that people remember David Bowie.”  The program will feature “a wide variety of artists inspired by the late musician, performing his songs with their own inventive styles and interpretations,” including: Peter Frampton, Daryl Hall, Todd Rundgren, Greta Van Fleet, Biffy Clyro, The Struts, and more.

PPM Analysis: Urban Contemporary.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2017 PPM survey, today focusing on urban contemporary.  Comparing 6+ data from the December survey to the Holiday survey, urban contemporary fared pretty well, “over half the stations (53%) on our urban contemporary panel improve between December 2017 – Holiday 2017; 34% are down; and the remaining 13% are steady.”  A year-over-year comparison paints a different picture, “In a virtual flip of the month-to-month results, 53% of this urban contemporary panel regresses year-to-year; 39% improve; and 5% are unchanged from Holiday 2016.”  No urban contemporary outlet ranked #1 in its market during the Holiday survey, but four stations ranked #3 in their respective markets, 6+.  They were: Entercom’s WVEE, Atlanta “V103”; Radio One’s WERQ, Baltimore “92Q Jams”; iHeartMedia’s WOWI, Norfolk “103 Jamz”; and iHM’s WHRK, Memphis “K97.”  See the entire report here.

Friday, September 1, 2017

| September 1, 2017

Glenn Beck Cuts Workforce at TheBlaze and Mercury Radio Arts.  According to a piece by Benjamin Mullin at Poynter.org, talk radio star Glenn Beck has cut the staff at his Mercury Radio Arts and six-year-old news and opinion digital platform TheBlaze by about 20% due to “structural challenges facing media companies today.”  In announcing the changes being made at his companies, Beck is quoted stating, “This year has been one of the hardest years of my life.  I’ve learned so much about myself, my friends and co-workers, and basic human nature.  I have also learned a lot about my business and what I believe it will take to succeed in tomorrow’s America.  The industrial revolution took 100 years to unfold; industry-altering change now occurs in days, not centuries.”  See the Poynter piece here.

Investigation of Former Financial Talk Show Host Dawn Bennett Turns Up Bizarre Finds.  Sadly, stories of financial experts who broker time on news/talk stations and end up being investigated by the authorities for wrongdoing are too common.  But the case of former financial talk host Dawn J. Bennett is more colorful than most.  Kyle Swenson details the investigation in The Washington PostHe writes that Bennett was being investigated for running a Ponzi scheme when FBI agents gained access to her Chevy Chase, Maryland home last month.  In it they discovered biographical information about SEC officials and a handwritten “Beef Tongue Shut Up Hoodoo Spell” designed to – with the help of an animal tongue – prevent SEC officials from providing information about her.  There were two freezers inside the home in which there were “dozens of sealed jars, many inked on the lids with the initials of SEC staff” for the purpose of silencing SEC investigators via magic.  Arrested on August 25, Bennett is being charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, and making false statements in loan and credit applications.  She’s being accused of using her weekly radio show to raise money targeting “elderly and financially unsophisticated investors by materially misrepresenting the company’s profitability and by claiming the company had the resources to pay annual rates of return as high as 15 percent.”  Read the Post piece here.

KILT, Houston Sports Talk Host John Lopez Rescues Harvey Victims.  KILT, Houston sports talk personality John Lopez is featured in a piece in USA Today after he spent Tuesday afternoon on a 16-foot fishing boat rescuing people stranded by the floodwaters created by Hurricane Harvey.  Lopez told the paper, “These were regular people.  They never thought the water would get that high, so you get them out and they just hug your neck and you never see them again, but you feel good you did it.”  Read the story here.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s controversy in the sports talk radio world in Seattle after the sportswriters for The Seattle Times were banned from any further appearances on local radio or TV, effective September 5.  Why would that happen?  SeattleSportsNet.com reports that the edict comes directly from Times CEO and publisher Frank Blethen and revolves around controversies over sports arena projects in the city.  Blethen has backed one project and sports talk radio – primarily KJR-AM – has been critical of that project (and Blethens/The Times’ support).  Some seven Times writers are affected by this order.  Read more about it here…..In Chicago, WSCR sports talk personality Laurence Holmes is also signed up to host Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s game day coverage of Chicago Bears football, starring on the “Bears Pregame Live” and “Bears Postgame Live” programs.  Holmes will work with Bears greats Lance Briggs, Jim Miller, and Alex Brown on the shows…..ESPN Radio begins presentation of NFL and NCAA football games this season.  Pro football coverage starts on September 10 with a doubleheader – Eagles at Redskins followed by Colts at Rams.  College football play-by-play begins this Saturday (9/2) with #17 Florida vs #11 Michigan, immediately followed by #1 Alabama vs #3 Florida State…..SB Nation Radio is announcing that “The Sports Grind” – with host Calvin Casey and co-hosts Rudy J and Salami – launches on Tuesday (9/5) from flagship KTKR, San Antonio “Ticket 760.”

Pittsburgh’s Sheridan Broadcasting Shuts Down News and Sports Arm.  According to a piece in the Pittsburgh Courier, the Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation has let 10 staffers go with the closure of its news and sports service.  Rob Taylor Jr. writes in the paper that Sheridan COO and general counsel Ron Davenport Jr. said they weren’t able to generate the revenue they needed.  “It’s a little more difficult than selling cars or something.  It’s a unique skill set, so we’ve been searching for some time and we have someone who has been working on our behalf and he’s just been unsuccessful, unfortunately, and we’re not able to continue.”  Sheridan had been providing news and sports broadcasts to about 60 affiliate stations.  The company is continuing to operate the Sheridan Gospel Network.  Read the Courier story here.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 28-September 1.  The devastation caused by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey and the political issues surrounding the disaster were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Trump tax reform plan.  Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s plan to end the ‘Dreamer’ program, followed by the Trump-Russia investigation 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 on ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Promoting Concert for America.  Pictured here in the studio at business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz talk 1190 AM” is host Dana Barrett (second from left) and performers Hal Sparks (far left) and Seth Rudetsky (second from right).

Walter Sabo Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Noted radio executive-turned-consultant-turned-talent Walter Sabo joins Michael Harrison as guest on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out.”  In an amazing conversation that spans the depth and breadth of radio as both a business and pop culture institution, the two broadcasters engage in a free-wheeling conversation that explores Sabo’s recent transformation from a behind-the-scenes figure into an innovative radio personality named Walter Sterling.  The three-year-old Sunday late-night show hosted by Sterling, that eschews standard political fare in favor of the day-to-day topics of general life, has grown from a local WPHT, Philadelphia boutique item into a major Westwood One nationally syndicated feature, now clearing on major outlets such as: KMOX, St. Louis; WLS, Chicago; WMAL, Washington, DC; KDKA, Pittsburgh; KARM, Little Rock and many more.  This dialogue is a radio freak’s delight and should not be missed.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Louisville, Alpha Media flips hot AC WXMA “102.3 The Max” to adult hits using the JACK FM format.  Alpha Media VP of programming Ronnie Stanton comments, “What an exciting day for Alpha Media and the great city of Louisville.  ‘Jack’ will be a breath of fresh air both musically and in its fun attitude.”…..Programming pro John Richards is appointed brand manager at Midwest Communications-owned country outlet WDEZ-FM Wausau, Wisconsin.  He’ll also host the midday show.  Richards was most recently serving as operations manager for Instad Radio in the Yakima, Washington market…..Rob Creighton exits the Ramar-owned station group in Lubbock, Texas where he was morning show host on hot AC KLZK “107.7 YES FM” as well as OM for that station and sister classic hits KXTQ “Magic 106.5.”…..Another Alpha Media flip as sports talk is jettisoned from the simulcast of WRNN-AM/W288DK, Myrtle Beach for throwback hip hop and R&B oldies as “G 105.5.” Sister CHR WMYB “Energy 92.1” program director Zack Williams states, “We’re crazy excited to bring throwbacks to Myrtle Beach.  You can take your radio to the beach, cruise up and down Ocean Blvd and have a great time listening to the best throwback hip hop and R&B!”

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

| April 18, 2017

Glenn Beck and TheBlaze Countersue Tomi Lahren. TALKERS magazine recently reported that conservative media figure Tomi Lahren filed suit against Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze in which she stated that she’d been fired for espousing a pro-choice opinion during an appearance on television’s “The View,” that she’d been told to “go dark” on social media and had been shut off from her Facebook account.  Yesterday (4/17), Beck and TheBlaze filed a counterclaim in District Court in Dallas that paints a very different picture of the problems between the two sides.  TheBlaze states that Lahren has not been fired and is still an employee (is being paid) and therefore is bound by her employment contract to certain things that includes not making public statements or appearances that relate to her employment by TheBlaze or about its officers or staffers.  It also says that, contrary to her claim, she has control over her Blaze-owned Facebook page.  Further, TheBlaze claims that Lahren “quickly made herself into one of the most divisive people in media both to the general public and within TheBlaze organization.”  It goes on to claim Lahren was difficult with fellow employees, had to be corrected for her choices of words that “repeatedly bordered on the profane,” “turned down a number of advertisers on TheBlaze for unexplained reasons, limiting any chance for TheBlaze to recoup its investment into her and her show,” and more.  TheBlaze states that the employee agreement also requires Lahren’s public appearances be cleared by TheBlaze and Lahren is not complying with that.  TheBlaze does admit that the appearance on “The View” was problematic but claims it had decided before the appearance not to renew her contract – it expires in September of this year – for the reasons listed above, among others.  It went before a judge late yesterday afternoon seeking a temporary restraining order to force Lahren to comply with the contract.  Additionally, TheBlaze is seeking unspecified damages, attorney’s fees and more.

TALKERS News Notes.  A new esports show is being put into syndication by Westwood One.  The show, “Checkpoint Radio,” is touted as “the first, nationally syndicated radio show dedicated to the world of esports.”  A press release states that hosts Nate Bender, Robbie Landis, Norris Howard, and Joe Sloan are lifelong, passionate gamers that connect with this loyal, younger-skewing fanbase.  Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes comments, “Westwood One is synonymous with best-in-class sports audio programming with over 62 million weekly listeners tuning in for live sports game coverage and expert commentary, and these passionate sports fans are also front-and-center with the emerging esports movement.”…..Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York adds the “House Smarts with Lou Manfredini” program to its Saturday morning lineup.  Manfredini also serves as an “NBC Today Show” home improvement contributor…..TALKERS magazine sends condolences to the family and friends of Dick Penn, who died on April 15 at age 75.  Penn was a former NBC Radio, Shadow Traffic and Navteq executive.

Julian Lennon Visits Cumulus’ Stage 17.  Last Friday (4/14), Julian Lennon sat down with WABC, New York’s Rita Cosby for an interview before a live audience at Cumulus Media’s Stage 17 performance space.  Lennon discussed the music of his father’s band The Beatles, his own music, and his new kid’s book, Touch the Earth (Sky Pony Press 2017).  Pictured above are (from l-r): WABC program director Craig Schwalb, Lennon, and Rita Cosby.

Hunt for Facebook Killer, Arkansas Executions Controversy, North Korea Nuke Threats, Georgia House Race, French Presidential Race, Prince Opioids Stashes, and NBA & NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/17). The search for Steve Stephens, the Cleveland man suspected of killing a 74-year-old man and posting the video to Facebook; the SCOTUS’ denial of permission to Arkansas to begin a schedule of eight executions; the North Korea’s continuing tests of missiles and the U.S.’s concerns about Kim Jong Un’s developing nuclear program; the intense scrutiny of the Georgia U.S. House race for Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price’s seat as money and support from Democrats outside the district support Jon Ossoff; the build-up to France’s June presidential elections and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen’s notoriety; reports of numerous stashes of various opioids found at late pop star Prince’s home; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Sterling Chats with ‘Hizonner.’  Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia talk host Walter Sterling (right) and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (left) during their 50-minute, exclusive conversation for Sterling’s program.  Kenney is holding and reading aloud a Midnight Misfit Membership card offered to Sterling listeners.  During the conversation, Mayor Kenney gave considerable background on the controversial soda tax, plus answered tough questions such as: What is the best pizza?  Are there really ancient artifacts in Philadelphia like in the movie National Treasure?  And what station did you listen to growing up – WIFI, WFIL or WIBG?

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Portland triple A KINK announces Corey Foley and Mitch Elliott are the new hosts of the morning drive show on the Alpha Media station, effective May 2.  Foley was most recently with CBS RADIO’s country KILT-FM, Houston “100.3 The Bull.”  Mitch Elliott was most recently with Entercom’s crosstown hot AC KRSK “105.1 The Buzz.”  Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “We are elated to have found our soulmates to pair with Portland’s iconic KINK brand for mornings.  Corey and Mitch are two uniquely talented, entertaining hosts with huge passion for the music, Northwest lifestyle and a love for the arts.”…..At Entercom’s Rochester classic rock WCMF, Michael “Mud” Gross joins as the new program director, effective May 15.  He replaces Chris Crowley, who is moving to Entercom’s classic rock KGON, Portland.  Gross was most recently with iHeartMedia at classic rockers WBGG, Miami “BIG 105.9” and WNRQ, Nashville “105.9 The Rock.”…..Matty Staudt is appointed to the new digital program director position at iHeartMedia’s San Francisco operations.  In this role, Staudt will oversee digital strategy for iHeartMedia’s six San Francisco radio station brands, “working closely with the programming and sales departments to deliver key messages on digital platforms, including station and on-air personality websites, mobile and social media.”…..The syndicated country morning duo “Wilhite and Wall” add another station to their roster of affiliates – KMTB, Nashville, Arkansas “B99.5.”  Tim Wall states, “We still have room to grow, but want to keep our station roster low so we can maintain the local content we give each market.”…..United Stations Radio Networks names Danny Ocean affiliate relations rep in which he’ll take over the management of affiliate acquisition and maintenance in the Northeast Region of the U.S.  He’ll also specialize in guiding the affiliate marketing efforts for the company’s CHR and hot AC programs…..Entravision reports that the “El Show de Erazno y La Chokolata” adds two Texas affiliates: LBI Media’s Regional Mexican “La Raza” simulcast on KTJM and KJOJ in Houston and KNOR, Dallas “La Raza.”…..Cumulus Media debuts the new hot AC format (and new call letters) on WQPD, Florence, South Carolina.  “Q100.5” features the “Bob & Sheri” show in morning drive.  The station flipped from Cumulus’ country “NASH FM” format.

Monday, April 10, 2017

| April 10, 2017

Mike Hartel Promoted to VP Mid-Atlantic Region for Alpha Media.  Company exec Mike Hartel will continue to serve as Alpha Media’s senior vice president and market manager position for its Columbia, South Carolina station group.  But, he’s adding supervision of its clusters in Savannah-Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, Fredericksburg, and Bluefield as he rises to vice president of the Mid-Atlantic region.  Alpha president and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “Mike Hartel has shown an incredible leadership style in form, function and results since he joined Alpha three years ago.  We are excited for Mike to share his considerable talent beyond Columbia to some of our other Southern markets.  Alpha loves to promote from within and this is not only deserved, but will be incredibly well received by our markets.”

Andy Gresh to Host Evening Sports Talk Show at WPRO-AM, Providence. Radio pro Andy Gresh exits his co-host gig at CBS RADIO’s WTIC-AM, Hartford to return to Providence to host his own evening sports talk show on Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM & 99.7 FM.  Gresh started his on-air career at WPRO-AM’s sister station WPRV (then sports talker “790 The Score”).  Gresh went on to work at WFAN, New York; ESPN Radio; SiriusXM, WBZ-FM, Boston; and the New England Patriots Radio Network.  Gresh is a journalism grad from the University of Rhode Island where he was a starting offensive lineman on the URI football team.  About his new gig Gresh states, “I’m excited to come back to where it all started for me 20 years ago.  It’s time to turn nights at WPRO on its ear and let Rhode Island take back its sports talk.”  WPRO program director Tony Mascaro adds, “This market has waited almost 10 years to bring back local sports to the airwaves.  I am so thrilled to welcome Andy home.  The combination of our heritage talk team and ‘The Gresh Show’ with sports at night and his unique style will give Rhode Islanders that perfect mix of local talk and local sports.”

Conservative Media Figure Tomi Lahren Sues Glenn Beck and TheBlaze; Seeks TRO to Regain Administrative Control of Social Media.  Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren is taking her battle against TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck to court in Texas.  In a suit filed last Friday in District Court in Dallas County, Lahren is challenging the legality of the actions of former employer TheBlaze after she was ousted from the Glenn Beck-founded media firm, according to the complaint, because she espoused a pro-choice opinion on the television show “The View.”  In addition to seeking rescission of her employment contract, and recovery of attorneys’ fees and other costs, Lahren is asking for a temporary restraining order and temporary and injunctive relief regarding her access to administrative control of her social media.  In the complaint, Lahren says that after being fired by TheBlaze, “Plaintiff was told that she was to remain silent, she was directed to stay away from her Facebook page and other social media, and she was prohibited from making any public comments.  Distilled to its essence, Defendants wrongly insisted, with no legal support, that Plaintiff ‘go dark’ on social media.  Notably, none of these admonitions are grounded in any legal basis that can be supported by the Employment Contract.  Meanwhile, as Plaintiff heeded the unlawful admonitions, Beck and others within TBI embarked on a public smear campaign attacking Plaintiff and chastising her political views and opinions in a clear attempt to embarrass, humiliate, and undermine Plaintiff’s reach to her audience on social media and elsewhere.  Beck and others associated with TBI have continued to knowingly, intentionally, and/or consciously attack Plaintiff in wrongful retaliation for Plaintiff having expressed her personal viewpoint on a public television show.”

Black Organizations Putting Pressure on iHeartMedia Over Michael Berry Bit.  A story in the Chicago Tribune by Kim Janssen indicates that a number of black advocacy organizations, led by the Chicago Urban League, are promising not to give up on seeking satisfaction from iHeartMedia regarding concerns about talk show host Michael Berry’s radio bits they say mock the victims of violence in Chicago.  The story notes that a recent conference call with iHeartMedia executive Greg Ashlock resulted in Ashlock saying that Berry is a “good man” and that “they are working on some guidelines that their on-air hosts would follow.”  The protests arose after Berry was named the company’s “talk personality of the year.”  Urban activists say their protests over the “repeated jokes about Chicago murder victims” have been largely ignored.  Now, the Urban League and other organizations are threatening to start calling iHeartMedia advertisers if CEO Bob Pittman doesn’t meet with them, the company rescind Berry’s award, and the company publicly address the controversy and “take ownership of it.”  See Janssen’s Tribune piece here.

Report: ESPN Radio’s Mike Golic Signs Extension.  According to a report in Philly.com by Rob Tornoe, ESPN Radio morning personality Mike Golic recently inked a new deal with the sports entertainment giant.  It’s been widely reported for some time that ESPN is breaking up the Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic-hosted “Mike & Mike” show.  Greenberg has reportedly signed a new deal that pays him $6.5 million per year to move to the television side of the company.  Tornoe cites a Men’s Journal interview in which Golic says he’ll continue hosting the morning radio show but under what format or with whom remains unsettled.  See the Philly.com piece here.

PodcastOne’s ‘Geffen Playhouse Unscripted’ Debuts.  The new podcast from PodcastOne featuring “today’s most interesting creative voices” debuts with inaugural guest actor Rainn Wilson (pictured).  PodcastOne partners with GeffenPlayhouse.org to present “Geffen Playhouse Unscripted” – a series presents new episodes every Wednesday, hosted by veteran arts reporter John Horn.  Future guests will include: actor Jeffrey Tambor, actress and musician Rita Wilson, playwright Neil LaBute, and actress Beth Behrs.

James Andrew Miller and DGital Media Team for Podcast Series.  Award-winning journalist and best-selling author James Andrew MillerThose Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN (Back Bay Books 2011), Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live (Little, Brown & Company, 2014) – and content creator DGital Media are partnering on an original audio series called “Origins.”  DGital says the “podcast will explore beginnings – whether from the worlds of television, movies, sports, music, business, or even human relationships – to explain how greatness starts and how critical happenings come to be.”  DGital Media chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “I’ve read every book Jim has written, in addition to his work for The New York Times and Vanity Fair, and I am a fan first, both of his incredible journalism and of his dedication to premium level storytelling and access.  Considering the credentials, reputation, access, trust of his peers and the storytelling ability that come with the name James Andrew Miller, a podcast is an unbelievably perfect medium with which to share a new phase of his reporting.”

Syrian Chemical Weapons Use-Russian Influence, Russian Nicaragua Outpost, Egypt Church Bombings, Stockholm Terror Attack, North Korea Nuclear Threats, Bannon-Kushner Power Struggle, FOX News and O’Reilly Accusations, Gorsuch Joins Supreme Court, and Sergio Garcia Wins the Masters Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The debate over responsibility for the deadly gas attack against Syrian civilians and questions about Russia’s alliance with Bashar al-Assad; report of a Russian outpost in Nicaragua of which U.S. intelligence is suspicious; the deadly Palm Sunday bombings at Christian churches in Egypt; the aftermath of last week’s terror attack in Stockholm; North Korea’s growing nuclear capabilities and its threats against the U.S.; reports of the power struggle between presidential adviser Stephen K. Bannon and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner; the allegations of sexual harassment against FOX News Channel personality Bill O’Reilly; Neil Gorsuch is named to the Supreme Court after Mitch McConnell changes Senate rules; and Sergio Garcia wins the Masters golf tournament were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

New Jersey Lt. Governor Guadagno Helps Harry Hurley Raise Money for Charities.  Pictured above are WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley (right) and New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno at Hurley’s 9th Annual Dinner at Congress Hall (America’s oldest seaside resort).  The event helped raise more than $9,000 on Friday (4/7).  Lt Governor Guadagno is running for Governor of New Jersey and faces her first test in the June 6 Republican primary election.  Hurley’s major fundraiser for the Hurley in the Morning Charity is Friday, June 16 when his 10th Annual Charity Golf Tournament at Harbor Pines Golf Club takes place.  The Hurley in the Morning Charity has raised more than $700,000 over the past 10 years.  Hurley has awarded grants to more than 150 not-for-profit organizations, including establishing along with TALKERS magazine founder and publisher Michael Harrison, an annual $1,000 grant for the Broadcasters Foundation of America.

Stephanie Miller Guests on This Week’s Harrison Podcast. Multi-platform, independently syndicated (WYM Media Management), progressive talk show host Stephanie Miller is the guest on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Miller, a 30-year radio veteran, who stands as one of the leading anti-Donald Trump voices in talk media, has achieved top-tier radio success as a talker by early on expanding her daily morning show’s platforms of delivery beyond terrestrial radio to include online digital (streaming and podcasts), SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and cable TV modes of distribution, such as Free Speech TV. She has also broken exciting new ground during the past several years with her comedy touring road show, “The Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour,” – an organic, troupe-style production that sold out legitimate theaters in market after market. The election of Trump has given the show yet another chapter of life as it is being prepared to play a dozen dates across America in 2017 as “The Sexy Liberal Resistance Tour.” Michael Harrison says, “Stephanie Miller stands as an inspiration for any talk show host, left or right, who wants to maximize both their exposure and revenue streams in the digital era. Her stunning success in the theatrical touring arena alone is worthy of every radio broadcaster’s attention.” Harrison and Miller discuss the nuts and bolts of her media empire and the general impact the Trump presidency is having on the renewed potential of progressive talk broadcasting in America. Not to be missed! To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Los Angeles radio personality Rita Wilde renews her contract with Entercom Los Angeles to remain host of the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show on classic rock KSWD “100.3 The Sound.” Entercom Los Angeles VP/general manager Peter Burton comments, “Classic rock fans and artists have been listening to Rita since this music was new.  We’re proud to have her at ‘The Sound.’”…..Tampa adult contemporary WWRM “Magic 94-9” names Danielle McBroom the new morning drive host.  Cox Media Group Tampa director of branding and programming for WWRM, WXGL, and WDUV, John Larson, says, “We are so excited to have Danielle join our ‘Magic’ team.  Her experience, creativity, social media expertise and infectious attitude bring a fresh, new sound to a huge brand like ‘Magic.’”  McBroom moves to the “Magic Mornings” program from sister alternative WSUN where she’s been on air for the past 10 years…..In the Pacific Northwest, iHeartMedia adds program director duties at alternative rock K272EL, Portland “Radio 102.3” to the responsibilities of KFOO, Centralia, Washington “ALT 102.9” (Olympia and Seattle/Tacoma markets) PD Ben Marcotte…..Also in the Seattle market, hot AC KBKS “106.1 Kiss FM” afternoon personality, music director and APD Hunter Quinn accepts the additional role of assistant program director for iHeartMedia’s sister CHR KPWK “Power 93.3.”

Thursday, September 15, 2016

| September 15, 2016

Glenn Beck and Saudi Student Settle Suit Over Boston Marathon Bombing Accusation. TALKERS readers who’ve been following this story are aware that Glenn Beck and his media firm TheBlaze were being sued by a Saudi Arabian student – Abdulrahman Alharbi – whom Beck continued to allege was the “money man” behind the terror attack at the 2013 Boston Marathon even after the feds had investigated and cleared him.  Alharbi was also injured in the bombing.  Now comes news that the sides have settled and as is usually the case inbeckglenn settlements such as this, neither party is admitting any fault and the terms of the settlement are not being disclosed.  In August, U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris had ordered TheBlaze to reveal its sources that Beck, et al, had theblaze-logocited as the basis for its actions.  Beck and TheBlaze refused to do so.  In a joint statement after the settlement, the sides said, in part, “Defendants have agreed to settlement of the pending action in furtherance of fundamental principles of journalistic integrity by preserving the confidentiality of their sources consistent with their rights and privileges under the First Amendment. The Plaintiff has pursued this action for the reasons set forth in his Complaint and believes those interests have been served by this resolution.”  It’s unclear how much Alharbi stood to gain if he prevailed in a trial because Judge Saris had previously ruled that Alharbi would not be allowed to sue for punitive damages or the charge of unjust enrichment against the defendants.

Oregon Judge Recommends TRN Suit Against Cumulus Be Dismissed; TRN Attorney Plans Objection.  As reported by Law 360, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark D. Clarke is recommending that the antitrust suit filed by Talk Radio Network Enterprises against Cumulus Media, Compass Media Networks, Lew trn-logo2Dickey, Charles Steinhauer, and WYD Media Management be dismissed because the same claims were settled in a federal court in New York in 2014.  Clarke wrote, “Dismissal with prejudice pursuant to a settlement agreement constitutes a final judgment on the merits and precludes parties fromcumulus-logo reasserting the same claims in a subsequent action.  Such dismissal prevents reassertion of the same claim between the same parties.  The 2014 judgment is therefore final and subject to claim preclusion.”  However, TRNE attorney Joseph Alioto tells Law 360, “We made it very clear in the complaint that the conduct resumed after the settlement, and that’s the important preposition, after.  The allegations in the complaint are required, at this stage of the game, to be accepted as true and all inferences are to be drawn in favor of the non-moving party, which is the plaintiff.  Our allegations are that after the settlement, [Cumulus Media] recommenced the same conduct, which causes a new claim to arise.”  TRNE alleges that Cumulus subsidiary Westwood One and the other plaintiffs conspired to create for themselves an unfair advantage in the nationally syndicated ad bundling market.  TRNE says Westwood One was able to use its dominance in the marketplace to avoid the transparency needed for the complainants to be certain of how much they are owed.  The other claims in the suit include: breach of implied covenant and fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, conversion, and others and Clarke recommended they also be dismissed because the claims as pleaded are “vague.”  However, he leaves the door open to those non-antitrust claims be repleaded.

reynoldsbrucie16Joey Reynolds Returns to the Airwaves.  For 15 years radio legend Joey Reynolds held court in the wee small hours of the morning on WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network.  Now, Reynolds is back on the air on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York on Sunday evenings at 9:00.  Reynolds (right) launches the new show this Sunday with his first guest, none other than WABC icon Cousin Brucie (left), who’s currently hosting shows on SiriusXM – including the “Cousin Brucie’s Saturday Night Party.” Reynolds’ pal Art Vuolo informs us that the new Reynolds program will soon also be heard on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles and in syndication through the efforts of William G. Nye and Mike Cave.

KFTK-FM, St. Louis Adds Two New Signals to News/Talk Brand.  St. Louis news/talk KFTK-FM is adding two signals to its brand.  Emmis Communications announces the programming is now also being heard onkftk-logo WQQX-AM (licensed to East St. Louis, Illinois) and translator K254CR, St. Louis at 98.7 FM.  Program director Jeff Allen says, “‘FM NewsTalk 97.1’ is often the #1 talk station in St. Louis and for years we have been getting requests to expand the reach of our traditional radio signal.  This move does that.  You will now be able to hear our programming from the far west edge of the metro, well into Illinois, down past south St. Louis and a strong signal downtown.  Just choose the dial position that comes in best on the radio where you are.”

cbshoustonPettiette Upped to VP/Director of Sales for CBS RADIO Houston.  Sales pro Michael Pettiette moves up from his regional director of digital sales for the CBS RADIO Houston station group to vice president and director of sales.  He’s been with CBS for the past five years.  He started his radio career with iHeartMedia as an account executive.  Pettiette will now oversee multi-platform sales and revenue for the cluster that includes hot AC KHMX, sports talk KIKK, country KILT-FM, sports talk KILT-AM, CHR KKHH, and Spanish KLOL-FM.

klwbtvduo‘103.7 The Game’ in Lafayette Adds TV Simulcast for AM Show.  The morning drive “SportsChat with Dave Schultz” on Delta Media’s KLWB, Lafayette “103.7 The Game” is now airing in a TV simulcast with the company’s KXKW-TV 32.1 “The American Sports Network.”  General manager Chuck Wood states, “We are working diligently to put our products where our viewers and listeners are.  This additional delivery system will make our ‘Live and Local’ programming available to more local eyes and ears.  Additional programming will be coming to American Sports Network 32.1 very soon.”  Dave Schultz adds, “I’m looking forward to showing Acadiana how much fun I have in the morning bringing them ‘SportsChat.’ Hoping this opens the door to more listeners and in-studio guests joining in the fun.”

Odds & Sods.  A new deal between Westwood One and Emmy and Peabody Award-winning comedian and actor Paul Mecurio has been struck to have WW1 provide exclusive ad sales representation for his “2 Chairs and a Microphone” podcast that’s available via audioBoom…..KMG Networks’ Anchor Dashboard – a customizable real-time dashboard that delivers essential information directly to news anchors in the studio – is now being implemented at more than 35 of Salem Media Group’s locally hosted news/talk and Christian teaching talk stations, including: WNYM and WMCA, New York, KRLA and KKLA, Los Angeles, and WIND and WYLL, Chicago…..AdLarge Media signs a deal for exclusive ad sales representation of New Mommy Media, a network of dynamic audio podcasts “designed to grow with the listener and her child, from the first trimester to the terrible twos and beyond.”  New Mommy Media was created by Sunny Gault boasts 60,000 downloads a month across a variety of targeted content choices…..What do you do when you’re interviewing a Trump and you run out of time?matthewsken  You employ the Art of the Deal!  WHP, Harrisburg afternoon drive host Ken Matthews tells TALKERS magazine he was interviewing Donald Trump Jr. and, after eight minutes, found himself up against the break.  Trump Jr. told Matthews he was too busy to sit on hold for three minutes, could he negotiate a change in the format?  “So we negotiated the break times live on the air with him and my producer!  A very funny Trump moment.”

The Presidential Race/Candidates’ Health, IRS Commissioner Impeachment Issue, National Anthem Protests, U.S.-Philippines Relations, Bayer-Monsanto Merger, Venezuela Crisis Worsens, U.S. Refugee Policy, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14).  The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, especially the brouhaha over the health of both candidates; the Republicans’ move to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for his role in the agency’s treatment of conservative organizations; the ongoing national discussion over Colin Kaepernick and other athletes’ decisions not to stand during the playing of the National Anthem; Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s adversarial attitude toward the U.S. and his recent decision to buy weapons from Russia and China instead of the U.S.; the acquisition of St. Louis-based Monsanto by Germany’s Bayer; the worsening economic conditions in Venezuela; the U.S.’ decision to allow up to 110,000 more refugees into the country; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

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Rome Visits KNBR, San Francisco.  Nationally syndicated  sports talk personality Jim Rome (left) is seen here with KNBR, San Francisco afternoon drive sports talker Tom Tolbert (right) on the latter’s program on Monday (9/12).  Rome was visiting the city and appeared on Tolbert’s program live from Cumulus Media’s Levi’s Lounge at KNBR.