Mary Walter Joins WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s ‘Mornings On The Mall.’ Radio pro Mary Walter is named the co-host of the “Mornings On The Mall” program on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. Walter is working with co-host Brian Wilson. She takes over for Larry O’Connor, who recently moved to the afternoon drive daypart. Walter was most recently with iHeartMedia’s WHAS, Louisville, hosting the evening program. She’s been a frequent guest host on WMAL in addition to guest host stints on FOX News Radio and SiriusXM’s The Patriot channel. WMAL program director Bill Hess comments, “Mary’s experience, energy, and familiarity to our audience made her the perfect addition to our team.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces New Midday Show. The new midday show at E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee is being unveiled. The station moved Jeff Wagner to the late morning slot that opened up with the retirement of Charlie Sykes at the end of last year. Now, taking over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is the “Scaffidi & Bilstad” show with Steve Scaffidi (center) and executive producer Erik Bilstad (left). Scaffidi was most recently mayor of suburban Oak Creek and an account executive at the Leonard & Finco Public Relations firm. He’s resigned from both posts to join WTMJ. Station VP/GM Tom Langmyer states, “We’re pleased to welcome Steve to our team. He brings a great depth of knowledge and local connection to add to his take on the news of the day. Steve is a Wisconsin native, has a deep background and so much life experience, beyond broadcasting.” News anchor and reporter Colleen Boland (right) will man the newsroom during the program. The show debuts on February 28.
ABC News Radio Makes Staffing Changes; Gearing Towards Covering Breaking News. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS magazine that the news organization is making staffing changes that signal a shift from putting its primary resources into newscasts and focusing more intently on the coverage of breaking news, “reflecting immediacy and producing additional program content” for their approximately 1,575 affiliates. ABC News Radio says it has parted ways with a handful of employees but is in the process of hiring for a number of positions that will exceed those eliminated. Those include: Affiliate Solutions Manager, Associate Producer, Country Reporter/Producer, Urban Reporter/Producer, and WGA Newswriter/Producer. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS, “These changes allow ABC News Radio to provide more two-ways, breaking news and anchored coverage which have become more important to stations. It is never easy when fellow employees leave and we wish the very best to these colleagues. The media landscape is always evolving and it’s critical we’re meeting stations’ needs every step of the way.”
Erik Kuselias to Host Daily Talk Show on Genesis Communications Florida Talk Stations. Known primarily for his work in the sports media business, Erik Kuselias is expanding his reach in Florida by hosting a daily, two-hour talk show on Genesis Communications-owned news/talk outlets WWBA, Tampa and WIXC, Titusville (on the Space Coast). Kuselias – a former ESPN and NBC Sports personality – currently hosts a morning drive sports talk show on the company’s sports talk duo WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. He’s continuing in that role in addition to the new program that airs from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. WWBA program manager Tom Paleveda states, “This is a natural progression for EK. We launched EK on the sports stations in both Tampa and Orlando last year. He is incredibly talented and will produce one of talk radio’s best programs. He will also continue to provide his brand of content on the company digital platforms, ‘News Talk Florida’ and ‘Sports Talk Florida.’”
Bubba the Love Sponge Files New Counterclaim Against Nielsen. The first time Bubba the Love Sponge filed a counterclaim against Nielsen, the court denied the motion ruling that it was difficult to discern the relevant facts due to the heavily redacted documents supplied by plaintiff Nielsen. That counterclaim included third parties Cox Media Group and CMG employee (and WHPT, Tampa personality) Mike Calta. But the denial was without prejudice, allowing Bubba’s lawyers to try again. And he has, this time leaving Cox and Calta out of the counterclaim. The counterclaim still alleges Nielsen entered into a conspiracy with Cox Media Group to get Bubba off the air in Tampa and interfere with his ability to do business with Beasley Media Group (owner of Tampa affiliate WBRN). The specific counterclaims are: Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relationships, Violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and Civil Conspiracy.
KFYO, Lubbock, Texas Names Dave King & Matt Martin Morning Hosts. Friday (2/17) was the last day for the “First News with Tom Collins and Laura Mac” on Townsquare Media’s news/talk KFYO, Lubbock, Texas. Assuming the morning show role are Dave King (right) and Matt Martin (left). The station says, “Both Dave and Matt are easy going, view the world from a conservative viewpoint, and want to interact with KFYO listeners. King is owner of Dave King Advertising in Lubbock. Matt Martin is a realtor with The Wyatt Team at Keller Williams.
Neuhoff Ups Byerly to DOS and Associate GM for Decatur Station Group. Moving up from her general sales manager position at Neuhoff Communications’ Decatur, Illinois cluster is Kathy Byerly. She’s now director of sales and associate general manager for the group that includes news/talk WSOY, sports talk WDZ, hip hop WCZQ “HOT 105.5,” CHR WSOY-FM “Y103,” and country WDZQ “95Q.” Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey states, “Kathy is a wonderful success story. She has grown a career from the front desk to market leadership. You can’t get much better than that. The group of Decatur stations and digital products are not only the market leaders, they also have been recognized among the best in the industry. Kathy will help support those traditions while driving more business to our advertising partners.”
Hanging Out at the Club. Nationally syndicated Westwood One talk host Michael Savage and his son, Rockstar energy drink founder Russ Weiner, crossed paths with President Donald Trump at the chief executive’s famous Palm Beach, Florida private club, Mar-a-Lago, this weekend. They were attending a dinner hosted by Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy when the president stopped by to say hello. Pictured (l-r): Ruddy, Trump, Savage, and Weiner.
Limbaugh-Touted Book Debuts at #6 on NYT Bestseller List. The latest book by conservative writer David Horowitz – Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America – debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list at #6 in the hardcover nonfiction books and e-book/hardcover nonfiction categories. Newsmax reports that the book was released the week of President Trump’s inauguration and is being praised by Rush Limbaugh, among other conservative media figures, for its predictions about Trump’s agenda. Horowitz is founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
New Trump Travel Order, McMaster Named National Security Advisor, Trump’s Sweden Comment, McCain vs Trump, UK’s Anti-Trump Debate, Uber Sexual Harassment Scandal, Yiannopoulos Controversies, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20). The Trump Administration issues new travel order exempting green card holders; President Donald Trump names Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster national security advisor; the controversy over Trump’s allusion to crime in Sweden and filmmaker Ami Horowitz’s allegations that violent crime there has spiked due to immigrants; Republican Senator John McCain’s role as a major critic of Trump’s policies; the British House of Commons debates denying President Trump’s state visit; the allegations of sexual harassment at Uber’s corporate headquarters and the company’s hiring former AG Eric Holder to investigate; the controversies surrounding media figure Milo Yiannopoulos, including his being uninvited to CPAC and Simon and Schuster refusing to release his book; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Phoenix market broadcast legend Pat McMahon is being roasted on March 15 at local comedy club Stand Up Live in an event being organized by Bonneville news/talk outlet KTAR-FM. The “Tip of the Hat to Pat” roast is being hosted by KNIX personality Tim Hattrick and will feature rock legend Alice Cooper, as well as local celebrities Jude LaCava from Fox 10, John Holmberg from KUPD, authors Jana Bommersbach and Rita Davenport and former ADL director Bill Straus. McMahon says, “I’m feeling both honored and terrified at the prospect of this event. But you can be sure that I’ll be able to dish it out, just as well as I can take it.”…..New York Mets flagship station WOR, New York announces it will air play-by-play for 15 spring training games, beginning on February 24 when the Mets take on the Boston Red Sox…..The New York Times recently published a feature story about Premiere Networks host George Noory. In the piece, the “Coast to Coast AM” host discusses how “Coast to Coast AM” has evolved over the years, his open approach to stories and topics, and his relationship with his audience. Read the story here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Atlanta cluster of Cox Media Group, Jaleigh Long is promoted to director of sales. She moves up from her general sales manager role. She’ll oversee the sales efforts for news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, CHR WSB-FM “B98.5,” classic hits WSRV “97.1 The River,” urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1 FM,” and country simulcast WNGC/WTSH “Your Georgia Country.”…..At Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rock WXRX, Rockford, Illinois “104.9 The X,” Zander – who’s been morning host and PD since joining the station in August of last year – moves to the afternoon drive slot. At the same time, Lori joins the station from crosstown competitor WKGL “96.7 The Eagle.”…..In the Lexington, Kentucky market, iHeartMedia drops sports talk on the simulcast of WWTF-AM and translator W239DJ at 97.7 FM and flips it to rock as “WTF 97.7 Lexington’s Rock Alternative.” Air personalities include Aly, Big Rig, Audrey, and Shroom…..Binnie Media says good bye to classic music on its WBQX, Thomaston, Maine and translator W245AA, Portland at 96.9 FM. WBQX takes on the classic hits format “FRANK FM” while the translator is simulcasting country station WTHT, Auburn “99.9 The Wolf.”
iHeartRadio Music Awards Announces Best New Artist Nominees. When the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards take place on Sunday, March 5 at the Forum in Los Angeles, one of the awards to be given will be the Best New Artist. The ultimate winner will be chosen by fans from all categories of popular music. The first step was naming the nominees in each category. Now, the finalists have been named. They are: Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist: The Strumbellas; Best New Country Artist: Kelsea Ballerini; Best New Hip-Hop Artist: Chance the Rapper; Best New Latin Artist: CNCO; Best New Regional Mexican Artist: Joss Favela; Best New Pop Artist: The Chainsmokers; and Best New R&B Artist: Bryson Tiller. The awards show will be televised live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET and simulcast on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as on iHeartRadio.
WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Moves Larry O’Connor to Afternoon Drive. Air personality Larry O’Connor has been heard during the 5:00 pm hour on Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington since 2014, while also serving as co-host of the morning drive show “Mornings on the Mall” alongside Brian Wilson. Now, O’Connor will give up the morning co-host gig and host the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart solo, effective January 2. WMAL program director and Cumulus VP, news/talk Bill Hess comments, “Larry’s success, both on our morning and 5:00 pm shows, has positioned him perfectly to re-open the local afternoon daypart on WMAL. He’s smart, entertaining, and an engaging storyteller who will anchor a program built on the stories of the day, with expanded service elements for our busy DC commuters.” O’Connor adds, “During this time of unprecedented change and interest in Washington DC, it’s an exciting and humbling opportunity to help facilitate an entertaining and provocative conversation on a station as important and influential as WMAL. During the four years I’ve been here in the Nation’s Capital, I’ve been so impressed with this community’s engagement in not only our government, but with issues that hit our kitchen tables every day – like pop culture, faith, and parenting.” WMAL is not renewing “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage which is currently airing from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Meanwhile, the station is seeking a new co-host for the AM show. Interested personalities should send resumes to Bill Hess at: Bill.Hess@Cumulus.com.
iHeartMedia Flips Alternative WXZX, Columbus to Sports Talk. Using the brand “Sports Radio 105.7 The Zone,” WXZX, Columbus leaves alternative rock behind for sports talk. iHeartMedia is using FOX Sports Radio programming plus a local morning drive program hosted by Bruce Hooley and featuring Maddie Spielman (daughter of Chris Spielman, former Buckeye All American, NFL All Pro linebacker and Fox Sports announcer). The show will announce another co-host at a later date. Former WTVN, Columbus sports anchor Matt McCoy will provide special reports. The station will air play-by-play for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cincinnati Bengals. iHeartMedia Columbus VP of programming Michael McCoy comments, “Columbus has one of the best sports fan bases in the country and they finally a have a new destination for Columbus-based sports and entertainment radio in the morning, plus the best national lineup available the rest of the day.
Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy Takes Call from President-Elect Trump. Conservative news pioneer Chris Ruddy – CEO of Florida-based Newsmax – tells TALKERS magazine he received a phone call from President-Elect Donald Trump, who praised Newsmax’s coverage of the presidential race. Ruddy says he’s known Trump for about 20 years and, while the content of his conversation with the president-elect is private, says their talk revealed a man who is “remarkably relaxed and focused.” Ruddy gives his readers a preview of how Trump and his administration might operate, saying, “Trump has the best retail political skills of any politician I have seen. Only Bill Clinton comes close. This will serve him well in the sausage-making process of getting his policies through Congress.” Read Ruddy’s entire piece here.
Cubs Baseball Was Very Good to WSCR, Chicago. WSCR, Chicago program director Mitch Rosen checks in with TALKERS magazine to report that the historic Chicago Cubs season – culminating in the club’s first World Series crown since 1908 – was a boon to the CBS RADIO station in its first year as the team’s flagship station. Rosen reports that on November 2, more than 1 million people listened to WSCR throughout the day, including the extra-inning game seven. “There were times in game seven that half of all Chicago radio listeners were tuned into ‘The Score’ to hear the hometown call of Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer. What an amazing first year it’s been for WSCR as the radio home of Chicago Cubs games. To experience the World Series on this station as we approach our 25th anniversary makes this even more momentous. When ‘The Score’ first launched, the station was a day-time only frequency, now the same brand is the home of The World Champion Chicago Cubs.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Round One of November 2016 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of November 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The November 2016 survey period covered October 6 to November 2. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. This Thursday and Friday, morning talk personality Doug Stephan and his crew will be live on the nationally syndicated “On Air with Doug, Jen & Victoria” program. Stephan is no stranger to working holidays, giving local morning hosts all over the country time off. On Thanksgiving, Doug, Jen Horn and Victoria Keelan will again broadcast live and, while others are out spending their money on Black Friday, Doug and his team will be giving away an HP Laptop with a special Black Friday contest…..Genesis Communications takes back the operation of WIXC, Titusville, Florida and is airing the news/talk format also heard on its WWBA, Tampa on WIXC. Meanwhile, John Harper’s “WMEL” talk format – which had been heard in WIXC – moves to Astro Enterprises-owned WWBC, Cocoa Beach-Melbourne.
Former WOAI, San Antonio PD Pat Rodgers Dead at 67. The programmer who is credited with creating the modern version of WOAI, San Antonio died on Monday (11/21) at age 67 after complications from a massive heart attack. The station published a bio of Pat Rodgers on its website. It notes that Rodgers came to WOAI after a number of years at then-MOR/full service WTMJ, Milwaukee with the charge of turning WOAI into a contemporary news and talk powerhouse. “Rodgers built a powerful news operation and a stable of talk show hosts which included Carl Wiglesworth, and well as Eliza Sonneland, who was his co-host on the chatty ‘Morning Magazine’ program, as well as news legends Bob Guthire and George Jennings, and sports talk host Jay Howard. In fact, Pat created the Ticket Sportsradio 760.” Rodgers left the station in 1998 to pursue his dream of becoming a Roman Catholic deacon. He edited the Archdiocesan newspaper, managed Catholic Television, and was the press secretary to three Archbishops.
96-Year-Old PR Pioneer Leo Pearlstein Guests on Special Thanksgiving Harrison Podcast. If you are looking for a simple, great approach to preparing a Thanksgiving meal with turkey and all the trimmings, check out this week’s fun installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” 96-year-old Leo Pearlstein, founder and CEO of the groundbreaking LA public relations firm Lee & Associates was a pioneer in the promotion and marketing of food during the second half of the 20th century. Pearlstein specialized in representing specific food industries (such as the egg farmers, salmon raisers and prune growers) and tying in celebrity endorsements to his remarkably creative PR campaigns. He was especially influential in elevating turkey meals from being primarily a Thanksgiving custom to becoming a mainstay of people’s diets all year round. He launched that campaign with celebrated sexy 1950s movie icon Jayne Mansfield. He even played a role in inventing the heat-resistant plastic turkey thermometer that pops up when the meat reaches a safe 180 degrees in the oven. 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 and RadioInfo.com.
Trump Transition, Pence-‘Hamilton’ Incident, Trump Meets with Television News Figures, Weekend Police Shootings, Kanye West Incident, Russian Military Build-Up, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/21). The process of the transition of the Trump Administration; the hullabaloo over VP-Elect Mike Pence’s encounter with the cast of “Hamilton”; President-Elect Donald Trump chews out television news figures at meeting at Trump Tower; the spate of deadly attacks on police officers that took place over the weekend; Russian military maneuvers and tensions over Vladimir Putin’s build-up of the nation’s forces; hip hop star Kanye West’s political rants and the sudden cancellation of his current tour; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.