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Friday, June 25, 2021

| June 25, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Bridges, Roads and Condos,” looks back at this past week of June 21-25, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Mandy Connell, talk show host, KOA, Denver; Harry Hurley, morning show host, WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkSid Rosenberg, talk show host, WABC, New York and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

WABC, New York Host and Former Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Suspended from Practicing Law in New York. The New York State Appellate Division, First Department suspended the law license of former NYC mayor, former Donald Trump attorney, and current WABC, New York talk host Rudy Giuliani. The court ruled that Giuliani “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020.” It added that Giuliani’s conduct “immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law.” The fate of Giuliani’s New York law license hangs in the balance as the court added, “We find that there is evidence of continuing misconduct, the underlying offense is incredibly serious, and the uncontroverted misconduct in itself will likely result in substantial permanent sanctions at the conclusion of these disciplinary proceedings.”

Audacy Unveils Sports Podcast Studio Building 2400Sports. The new podcast studio for production of Audacy sports podcasts is being launched. 2400Sports houses Audacy Sports’ digital audio content, including both new and existing original podcasts. It is the latest addition to Audacy’s podcast portfolio, which contains premium podcast companies Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, as well as the recently acquired Podcorn. Audacy chairman, president and CEO David Field says, “We’re excited to launch a third major studio with a goal of building 2400Sports into the home of the country’s best sports podcasts. We look forward to developing elite partnerships, including our just-announced deal with MLB, to create truly special, riveting sports content.” In the new partnership with MLB, Audacy and the league will collaborate on the production and distribution of official podcast programming for the league and its clubs. The studio will launch with a new flagship podcast series in development that revisits baseball’s most dramatic and thrilling postseason campaigns. The first installment, coming this fall, will take a deep dive into the Chicago Cubs’ historic march to the 2016 World Series championship. Audacy will work with all 30 clubs to develop new podcast content. Also concurrent with the studio launch, Audacy announces a development deal with award-winning podcast producer Jody Avirgan’s Roulette Productions. Over the coming months, Avirgan will contribute to 2400Sports’ slate of programming by developing and creating new original shows across a range of sports and genres. From 2016-2020, Jody Avirgan was the executive producer and host of ESPN’s 30 for 30 podcasts.

KBLA, Los Angeles Adds Black Information Network News. The new talk station launched by Tavis Smiley – KBLA, Los Angeles “Talk 1580” – is adding BIN: Black Information Network’s national news service to its programming, according to Premiere Networks. KBLA will feature Black Information Network News’ :60 newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour, as well as breaking news, from experienced and award-winning Black journalists. Premiere says the news service is available on more than 40 stations nationwide and is “the first and only 24/7 comprehensive national audio Black News service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.” KBLA president and COO Elston Butler says, “We’re excited to partner with Black Information Network News. We knew it would deliver the trusted news and information that is valuable to our listeners. Other news sources offered KBLA a nice piece of the news pie, but with BIN, we felt we would receive the whole recipe that our listeners deserve.”

Cumulus Media Completes $175 Million Debt Paydown. The company completes a multi-step procedure it began in May of this year to pay down $175 million of debt using cash on hand. Here’s how it happened: On May 17, Cumulus Media completed a $60 million repayment of its ABL Revolver due 2025, which represented the entirety of the amount outstanding under the facility. Following the paydown, the ABL Revolver due 2025 is undrawn and available as liquidity for general corporate purposes. On May 25, it paid down approximately $89 million of its Term Loan Credit Facility due 2026 related to a mandatory prepayment obligation arising from the company’s previously announced sale of land in Bethesda, MD, in June 2020 and sale of towers and related assets in September 2020. Pursuant to the terms of its 6.75% Senior Secured First Lien Notes due 2026, on May 26, 2021, the company launched a tender offer to repurchase approximately $26 million of the Notes at par, which represents the pro rata amount required to be offered from the proceeds of the Tower Sale. As of the expiration of the Tender Offer, approximately $3 million of Notes were validly tendered, accepted for payment and subsequently cancelled. Giving effect to the impact of the Tender Offer, approximately $450 million principal amount of Notes remains outstanding. Finally, on June 24, Cumulus submitted an irrevocable paydown notice to the administrative agent of the Term Loan to effectuate a required paydown of $23 million, which represents the remainder of the initial amount of the Tender Offer that was not validly tendered prior to the expiration date. Cumulus EVP and CFO Francisco J. Lopez-Balboa says, “As the improvement in economic and public health conditions continues to drive momentum in business trends, we felt it appropriate to accelerate several debt repayments in order to expedite our balance sheet de-levering, reduce interest expense, and increase our free cash flow generation. We believe this better leverage and free cash flow profile, more than $200 million of available liquidity and solid rebound trajectory are significantly enhancing our financial flexibility. Given our strong competitive position, proven execution track record, and numerous revenue growth drivers, we are confident in our multiple pathways to grow shareholder value.”

The Score’s Danny Parkins Leads Fundraising of More Than $650,000 for Food Bank. The Athletes for Justice’s Austin Harvest food mart project was the beneficiary of WSCR, Chicago’s “What About Chicago Radiothon.” The Audacy sports talker helped raise more than $650,000 for the charity launched by former Chicago Bear Sam Acho and its mission to erase a food desert and build a permanent facility that can fully service the community and those in need. 670 The Score brand manager Mitch Rosen says, “What a tremendous 24 hours. ‘The Score’ asked and the audience delivered for Austin Harvest to build a permanent food mart. I can’t thank our dedicated listeners, our score team, Danny Parkins who led all of us, and Sam Acho enough. We’re so proud to help support a great cause. Thank you, Chicago.” Parkins adds, “That’s the Chicago that I know and love. We saw a problem and helped to solve. So, when people ask, ‘What about Chicago?’ I want people to tell them the story of Austin Harvest, Sam Acho and ‘670 The Score.’ Thank you to everyone who donated and helped us erase a food desert and fund the construction of a permanent facility for Austin Harvest.” Austin Harvest is in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago and was originally a pop–up food mart that was a converted liquor store. The mart addressed a food desert in the city and was staffed as an after-school program three days a week by local kids.

‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ Raises $27,000-plus for Boston Children’s Hospital. The Beasley Media Group sports talk station raised more than $27,000 to benefit the Pediatric Advanced Care Team (P.A.C.T.) Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital via the 10th Annual Who’s Your Caddy? Classic charity golf tournament. WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” afternoon drive personality Tony Massarotti created the original event in memory of his nephew who was cared for by the P.A.C.T. Unit. Pictured above (from l-r) are: Massarotti, Chris L. and Erika O. from Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast and “The Sports Hub Golf Club” host Hardy.

Pompeo Speaks at National Religious Broadcasters Conference. Pictured above is former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) with Salem Radio Network VP/News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup (right) at the annual National Religious Broadcasters conference in Dallas. Pompeo warned the 3,500 attendees of the dangers posed by teaching Critical Race Theory in schools and applauded Christian broadcasters for “helping protect religious freedom and traditional American values in our nation.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass is hinting at a return to the talk radio business after taking a buyout from the paper that’s been acquired by hedge fund Alden Global Capital and launching his own media platform johnkassnews.com. He currently is hosting a podcast called “The Chicago Way with John Kass” on WGN-AM’s digital platform. In the past, he hosted a talk show on WLS-AM, first with co-host Jake Hartford, then with Lauren Cohn.  Kass tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder, “I’m in meetings now with various broadcast entities to continue talking to people in Chicago. I think they might want to hear what I have to say.”…..Audacy announces that Mike Hoss is the new play-by-play announcer for New Orleans Saints game day broadcasts on news/talk WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans. Hoss will work with color analyst and Saints all-time leading rusher Deuce McAllister in the booth. Audacy New Orleans SVP and market manager Kevin Cassidy says, “When we started our search for the new ‘Voice of the Saints,’ the goal was not only professional play-by-play, but also someone with a deep connection to the team, the Saints amazing fan base and our community. Mike checks all the boxes. His extensive experience covering the team both on and off the field has allowed him to paint a front-row picture for fans over the course of his career, and we trust his knowledge will enhance our coverage on game days.”…..The GCN nationally syndicated “America Tonight with Kate Delaney” adds new station KTLR, Oklahoma City to its roster of affiliates…..Colorado Springs-based Way Media announces the addition of Steven Thompson as vice president of technology. Thompson was most recently VP of technology for Hope Media Group and KSBJ, Houston. WayFM VP of broadcast operations Jim Marshall comments, “The addition of Steven to the WayFM roster puts us in a position to further solidify our operations. He played a key role in KSBJ’s expansion in South Texas and I’m thrilled that Steven has joined our leadership team. He has a heart for God and a desire to excel in the technical arena. I love that combination.”

Former ‘Talk 106.7’ Atlanta Host Mike Brooks Dies at 66. According to a story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Rodney Ho, former WYAY-FM, Atlanta “Talk 106.7” talk host Mike Brooks died unexpectedly Wednesday (6/23). Brooks was a former police officer who also had served as a correspondent for CNN, among numerous other career ventures that included hosting a talk radio show on Cumulus Media’s former news/talk station “Talk 106.7.”

COVID-19 Vaccines, Goals and Delta Variant Top News/Talk Story This Week. The controversy over the vaccinations against COVID-19, the Biden administration’s goals, and the Delta variant combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between the blocking of the For the People voting bill and race relations, followed by the economy and the compromise infrastructure bill at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

NEED A GREAT EXPERT GUEST? Newsom Recall Attracts National Talk Media Interest. The official word that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) will definitely face a recall election has sparked interest in the subject of California politics at talk media outlets across the nation. Attorney/author Wayne Avrashow is a reliable non-partisan expert on the subject of California politics and is available for interviews on the Newson development as well as all things Golden State. He is a frequent contributor to RealClearPolitics and a California political insider. He has an extensive background in California politics, served on two government commissions, was chair of a Los Angeles County ballot proposition, and co-authored ballot arguments. He began as a campaign manager for two victorious Los Angeles City Councilmembers and later served as chief of staff. As a lawyer and lobbyist, he represented clients before numerous California municipalities and in Nevada and Idaho. He has lectured at Southwestern University School of Law and was an adjunct professor at Woodbury University in Los Angeles. He authored numerous op-ed articles that appeared in daily newspapers and in legal, business, and real estate publications. He authored Success at Mediation: 10 Strategic Tools for Attorneys, a book used by law students at the University of Southern California School of Law. And he is the author of a current Amazon best-selling novel Center Stage: A Political Thriller (2021, RealClearPublishing) about a rock star who runs for the U.S. Senate. His experiences in politics, government and business, and as a practicing attorney provide unique insight into the machinations and characters that populate political campaigns. His website is www.wayneavrashow.com. He can be contacted directly at 818-995-1100 or walaw@sbcglobal.net

Thursday, July 19, 2018

| July 19, 2018

WEEI, Boston to Flip Midday and Afternoon Programs.  Beginning August 13, the “OMF” Show featuring Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni, and Christian Fauria takes over the afternoon drive daypart and the “Dale & Keefe” show with Dale Arnold and Rich Keefe slides to middays. The change was announced on the “Kirk & Callahan” morning program today (7/19).  This is a return to afternoons for Glenn Ordway who for years reigned as ringmaster of “The Big Show” in PM drive.  But competition from new rival WBZ-FM upset that show’s dominance and Ordway was let go in 2013 and was replaced by Mike Salk.  WEEI re-hired Ordway two-and-a-half years later to work the midday show.  Since then, the OMF program has steadily gained ground in the Boston ratings.  “OMF” will compete with WBZ-FM’s “Felger & Mazz” program, which was the highest-rated show in afternoons, racking up a 14.7 share (Men 25-54) in Nielsen’s June PPM survey.  The “Dale & Keefe” show earned a 6.8 share going against “Felger & Mazz.”

WFAN’s Joe Benigno Accused of Sexual Harassment. In a suit filed in New York State Court in Brooklyn, WFAN, New York midday personality Joe Benigno is accused by former sales staffer Lauren Lockwood of sexual harassment.  The allegation is part of a larger, $5 million suit against CBS RADIO (now owned by Entercom), sales execs Sean Argaman and Mark Zukerman, and other unidentified staffers for creating a hostile work environment based on sex, discrimination based on sex, retaliation, and more.  The complaint reads like a lurid expose of a workplace dominated by men behaving badly.  Lockwood – who worked in sales at WFAN for 11 years – alleges that Benigno tried to coerce her into having a “threesome” with him and his wife.  Additionally, she says he engaged in a two-year affair with a female subordinate.  Her complaint paints a picture of a workplace where drinking on the job took place, prostitutes were acquired for clients, and potential clients were entertained at strip clubs.  She alleges the station’s executives tolerated a workplace that subjected her to sexual harassment.  Entercom tells the New York Post it can’t comment on pending litigation but that it will “defend the company vigorously.”

WBZ-FM, Boston Midday Show to Simulcast on NBC Sports Boston. The simulcast of the midday “Zolak and Bertrand” show on NBC Sports Boston is now the second show based at Beasley Media Group’s sports talker WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” to air on the New England cable sports channel. The “Felger & Mazz” PM drive show (co-hosted by Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti) has been simulcast there since 2010.  The Zolak and Bertrand show – featuring former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak (left) and Marc Bertrand (right) – airs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and will be available via NBC Sports Boston, nbcsportsboston.com and on the NBC Sports app as well as the 98.5 Sports Hub app and 985thesportshub.com, effective July 23.  Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna says, “We are thrilled to extend the Felger and Mazz simulcast partnership with NBC Sports Boston and to include our top-rated midday show so Boston fans can not only hear, but see the fun that this team has together in our new state-of-the-art studios.”

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a report on the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  Overall, public radio news/talk stations were down from the May survey to the June survey with 51% of stations seeing dips in weekly 6+ AQH share. Comparing numbers from a year ago, almost half the stations on the panel were up year-over-year and almost half were down.  Three public radio news/talk stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets: KQED was #1 in both the San Francisco and adjacent San Jose markets.  KOPB, Portland and WUNC, Raleigh also were #1. See Kinosian’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that sports media icon Brent Musberger has agreed to a three-year deal to serve as the radio play-by-play voice of the NFL’s Raiders, who are moving from Oakland to Las Vegas for the 2020 season. Musberger is the managing editor at Las Vegas-based VSiN (Vegas Sports Information Network).  He retired from ABC Sports and ESPN in January to join VSiN…..U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN) is in a battle for re-election with challenger Democrat Angie Craig (whom he beat by 1.8% two years ago) and his radio past is playing a role in the campaign.  The former Minnesota and nationally syndicated talk radio personality’s musings about women and political correctness were the focus of a CNN report that Craig and Lewis’ opponents are trying to use against him in the campaign.  Lewis’ campaign manager Becky Alery tells the Star-Tribune, “This has all been litigated before, and as Rep. Lewis has said time and time again, it was his job to be provocative while on the radio.”…..The terms of the settlement are sealed, but the agreement between plaintiff Jennifer Neill and defendants WMGK, Philadelphia morning host John DeBella and Beasley Media Group has been approved by the court.  Neill was suing the defendants claiming a pattern of sexual harassment on the part of DeBella.  Neill served as a traffic reporter on DeBella’s program.  She alleged some 30 incidents of harassment, including unwanted physical contact…..Envision Networks’ “American Biker Minute” is added to the programming at Southern Stone Communications-owned WRTT-FM, Huntsville, Alabama.  The 60-second feature is hosted by bike enthusiast Jeff Ryan.

TALKERS Continues Posting Videos Today of the Recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention – Today’s Post: Award Presentation for “Lifetime Achievement.”  Today (7/19), TALKERS magazine concludes posting individual events from the recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! convention held in New York City on June 8.  Each business day, another session or activity has been posted in the order that they originally took place. Today’s 17th and final installment is of the presentation of the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award by publisher, Michael Harrison to Vuolo Video Air-Chex CEO, Art Vuolo at the event’s closing cocktail reception.  Already posted: the panel discussion titled “The Talk Rumble.”  It is moderated by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon; introduced by WABC, New York host, Curtis Sliwa; and featuring panelists WPHT, Philadelphia host, Dom GiordanoWYD Media host, Thom HartmannDC Radio Company executive director, Victoria JonesUSA Radio Network host, Wayne Allyn RootFox News Radio host, Todd Starnes; and WOLB, Baltimore host, Larry Young; the panel discussion titled “Programming News/Talk Radio.”  It is moderated by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian; introduced by KFBK/KSTE, Sacramento PD, Bill White; and featuring panelists CFRB, Toronto PD and Bell Media national news/talk format head, Mike BendixeniHeartMedia national brand coordinator, news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Grace Blazer; WOR, New York assistant PD, Scott Lakefield; WBAL, Baltimore PD, Scott Masteller; and WABC, New York PD, Craig Schwalb; the panel discussion titled, “Talk Media: The Big Picture.”  It is moderated by ABC News Radio VP/GM, Steve Jones; introduced by “The Cats Roundtable” host, John Catsimatidis; and featuring panelists iHeartMedia SVP news/talk/sports programming Chris BerryBeasley Media Group EVP programming, Justin ChaseWeiss Agency EVP, Heather CohenCumulus Media EVP content & programming Mike McVay; and Premiere Networks president, Julie Talbott.  Already posted: the panel discussion titled “Hosting a Talk Show in 2018.”  It is moderated by Cumulus Media VP of news/talk and PD of WMAL, Washington, DC, Bill Hess; introduced by iHeartMedia VP programming/national news/talk brand coordinator and PD KOA, Denver, Greg Foster; and featuring panelists Howie Carr Radio Network host, Howie Carr; WPGG, Atlantic City host, Harry HurleyFox News Radio/Fox News Channel host, Brian KilmeadeWestwood One host Chris PlanteTalk Media Network host Tom Sullivan; WPRO, Providence host, Dan Yorke; and KTSA, San Antonio host, Jack Riccardi; the panel discussion titled “Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio.”  It is moderated by Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY-FM (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; introduced by WPHT, Philadelphia host Rich Zeoli; and featuring panelists Armstrong & Getty Show co-hosts Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty; WRKO, Boston PD, Michael Czarnecki; WRHU-FM/WRHU.org, Hofstra University OM, John T. Mullen; WABC, New York host Sid Rosenberg; and Compass MediaNetworks/Newsmax host, Todd Schnitt;  a video of the donation given by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley to the Broadcasters Foundation of America and accepted by its president Jim Thompson;  convention luncheon greetings by WNYM “970 AM The Answer,” New York morning host Joe Piscopo with an introduction by Salem SVP Phil Boyce along with the posthumous presentation of the “Humanitarian of the Year” award to the late Texas and Ohio radio talk show host Matt Patrick by Michael Harrison with an acceptance by his widow and show producer, Paula Ryan;  the panel discussion titled “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” moderated by Livestream head of news, Clayton Rose and featuring panelists Krantz Media Group CEO, Gary Krantz and KTRS, St Louis host, McGraw Milhaven; the panel discussion titled “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2018” moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor, Kevin Casey; introduced by Crossover Media Group managing member, Ron Hartenbaum; and featuring panelists Asa RX host, AsaBold Gold Media Group CEO, Vince BenedettoHowie Carr Radio Network president, Kathy CarrWestwood One president, Suzanne Grimes; WBAL, Baltimore president/GM, Cary Pahigian; and KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz owner, Michael Zwerling;  the special presentation by Amplifi Media CEO, Steven Goldstein titled “Radio Broadcasters and Smart Speakers with an introduction by GCN personality, Dr. Daliah Wachs ;  a special presentation by PodcastOne chairman and CEO, Norm Pattiz titled “Radio Broadcasters and Podcasting” with an introduction by Voice of America and National Public Radio anchor/reporter, Lori Lundin;  a special presentation by WFAN personality, Mike Francesa titled “Sports Talk’s Role in Media and Popular Culture” with an introduction by author and former radio producer, Bernadette Duncan;  Salem SVP, Phil Boyce’s address titled “What Has Donald Trump Done to Talk Radio?”; the fireside chat between TALKERS publisher, Michael Harrison and Beasley Media Group CEO, Caroline Beasley including Harrison’s presentation of the 2018 “Woman of the Year” award to Beasley; Harrison’s fireside chat with FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel mega-star, Brian Kilmeade with an introduction by Westwood One syndicated host, Walter Sterling and special remarks by Sean Hannity; opening remarks by the convention’s co-emcees, TalkersRadio GM, David Bernstein and Good Day Networks/DJV Show CEO/host, Doug Stephan; KGO, San Francisco host, Ethan Bearman delivering the event’s welcoming remarks and Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host, Brad Shepard introduction of Bearman; and the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (“Freedom of Speech Award”) by TALKERS managing editor, Mike Kinosian to SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, book publisher, Hunter College professor, and former New York Daily News/Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Karen Hunter.  To view the page, please click here.

Trump-Putin Meeting Aftermath, Trump-Russia Investigation/Russia’s Interrogation Request, Alleged Russian Spy Case, California Break-Up Question, Israel Passes ‘Nation-State’ Law, Facebook’s Conspiracy Theory Policy, Google’s EU Fine, and Hader Tweets Controversy/MLB All-Star Game Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/19). The effects of President Trump’s Helsinki meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents and the related request by Putin to interrogate U.S. officials; the case of alleged Russian spy Maria Butina and her relationship with GOP consultant Paul Erickson; the question of splitting California into three states fails to make the ballot; Israel’s passage of the controversial “nation-state” law; Mark Zuckerberg’s explanation of Facebook’s conspiracy theory policies; Google is fined $5 billion by the European Union; and Brewers pitcher Josh Hader suffers fallout from past racist and homophobic tweets, tied with the MLB All-Star Game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Philly Station Deals Announced: Beasley Acquires Country WXTU-FM from Entercom; Jerry Lee Sells Hot AC WBEB-FM to Entercom.  Philadelphia-based Entercom is paying $57.5 million cash to Jerry Lee LLC for hot AC WBEB-FM “101 More FM” and it is divesting of country WXTU.  Beasley Media Group is paying Entercom $38 million for that station.  Beasley says, “Excluding one-time transaction costs, the acquisition of WXTU-FM is expected to be immediately accretive to Beasley’s free cash flow without materially altering the company’s leverage.  Beasley intends to fund the acquisition through borrowings under its credit facility and cash generated from operations.”  Beasley formerly owned WXTU and launched the country format on the signal in 1983.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Our acquisition of WXTU-FM represents a strategically and financially compelling growth opportunity for our shareholders and further enhances our revenue and competitive position with a strong cluster of five FM and two AM stations in a key, top-10 market.  Importantly, the addition of WXTU-FM is consistent with Beasley’s disciplined approach to growing our platform by executing accretive transactions that deliver valuable synergies and the potential for SOI margin improvement, all with a limited impact to our leverage.”  Speaking about the acquisition of WBEB, Entercom CEO David Field says, “We are very pleased to add the legendary WBEB, one of the country’s most recognized and awarded stations, to our group.  It is a terrific addition to our lineup that will enhance our ability to serve our listeners, customers and the community.  I tip my cap to Jerry Lee, one of the industry pioneers and a visionary leader who built ‘B101’ into such a special station and has done so much for radio over the decades.  We are saddened to say goodbye to our colleagues at WXTU but know that they will be in great hands.”  Beasley begins operating WXTU under an LMA on July 23.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

| January 13, 2015

wabcwnbm duoCumulus New York to Address Race Relations in ‘Radio Summit’ Simulcast.  News/talk WABC and urban contemporary WNBM “Radio 103.9” – both Cumulus Media properties – will present a historic radio summit “and simulcast covering some of the most pressing issues of our time.”  In the aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury decision, the Eric Garner case and the tensions between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York Police Department, both stations will produce a 60-minute, commercial-free discussion focused on the New York City community.  The company says, “This broadcast will include substantial, heartfelt conversation discussing the issues facing the city, recounting events and proposing proactive solutions on how the city and its people can move forward.” Taking part in the discussion will be 77 WABC’s Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby, ‘Radio 103.9’ host DL Hughley and Minister Kirsten John Foy, Northeastcumulus logo Regional Director of the National Action Network.  It will air tomorrow (1/14) at 12:00 noon ET and will also stream on each station’s website.  WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “Ultimately, our stations are here to serve the community and this historic simulcast demonstrates our commitment to our audiences in an honest, compelling way.”  WNBM programmer Ken Johnson adds, “We are happy to be a part of this extremely timely dialogue.  If we can set an example for a civil discussion and spark discourse nationally, then we have accomplished our mission.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was quick to react when learning of this development, stating, “What a powerful, productive idea and use of the enormous potential of radio as a medium of healing and education within the community it serves.  What is especially appealing about this initiative is the coming together of a heritage news/talk AM facility with a hip FM culture/music station for the purpose of aggressively and positively addressing highest-common denominator concerns.  This type of programming harnesses the inherent positive energy of consolidation.  When I hear about this kind of project it stokes my optimism about the future of radio.  Yes!”

mcconnellspudEntercom Replaces ‘Spud’ McConnell with Syndicated Show at New Orleans Sports Talker.  A longtime talk host on Entercom’s WWL, New Orleans, John “Spud” McConnell moved across the hall in 2013 to host the afternoon drive show on sports talker WWWL “3WL.”  Now, management says it’s being forced to make cuts and McConnell’s show drew the short straw.  Entercom New Orleans vice president and general manager Chris Claus tells the Times-Picayune’s David Lee Simmons that “I love Spud.  He’s a great entertainer, he’s a great host, he’s a great actor, he’s great in theater, he’s great in TV, and he’s great in the movies.  But, unfortunately, we had a position to eliminate and his was the one.”  The station will carry NBC Sports Radio Network’s “Under Center” with Donovan McNabb and Mark Malone.  Claus also told the paper he’d consider bringing McConnell back to news/talk WWL but there’s no opening for a host there right now.

felgermassarottiCBS RADIO Extends ‘Felger & Mazz Show’ at ‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ in Boston.  Afternoon drive sports talkers Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti have re-signed with CBS RADIO’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” on a multi-year deal.   As part of the new deal, Massarotti will write two columns per week for www.cbsboston.com and will host “The Baseball Reporters Show,” weeknights during the baseball season from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  CBS states in a press release that the duo “have consistently been the number-one show in afternoon drive with Men 25-54 for almost four years and running.”

bryantkimBryant Rejoins Westwood One as Executive VP of West Coast Sales.  Relocating to Los Angeles, Kim Bryant departs as Cumulus Media New York City market manager to become executive vice president of west coast sales for Cumulus-owned Westwood One. According to Westwood One president Steve Shaw, “Kim is a superb seller and a born leader. She will enhance the quality of our leadership team as we build the industry’s foremost sales organization.” Bryant remarks, “The opportunity to work with Steve Shaw and Westwood One is a dream. The New York Cumulus experience – including the people I have worked with over the last few years – has been terrific. It was a real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am thrilled to continue to work for Cumulus in this different capacity and I look forward to having/building success in the west.” Several years ago (2009 – 2011), Bryant was Westwood One’s regional vice president of western ad sales. Her previous background includes being president and market manager for San Francisco stations owned by Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia), and executive vice president of marketing and sales for international cable channel CineMoi. An announcement is reportedly forthcoming regarding Bryant’s replacement in New York City.

midwestcomm logoMidwest Communications to Flip WQTX, Lansing to Sports Talk.  The station will leave its country format behind and become “The Ticket 92.1 FM,” effective Monday, January 19.  Midwest Communications is working with program producer Spotlight Media Marketing Production and WQTX will continue to air non-sports morning show “Michigan’s Big Show” with host Michael Patrick Shiels, as  well as adding “Michigan’s Business Rap,” the “Griff & Grinz Show” with hosts Mike Griffith and Steve Grinczel, “The Drive” with Jack Ebling (who’s moving across town from Townsquare Media’s sports talk WVFN “The Game”), plus programming from Fox Sports Radio Network.

Odds & Sods.  From a report in the Alaska Dispatch News, Australian national Catie Quinn is being ordered to leave the country – and her gig as news director at Radio Kenai-owned news/talk KSRM, Kenai, Alaska.  Quinn’s E-3 work visa is expiring and her field is not specialized enough to allow her to stay under the E-3 conditions…..According to ESPN, consumption of its digital audio content was up in 2014.  The company says the download of its podcasts – ESPN On Demand – totaled more than 302 million last year and streaming of ESPN Audio content generated more than 7.8 billion total listening minutes, an increase of 8% over 2013…..Steve Holman is named the 2015 Georgia Sportscaster of thewtop logo NEW 1-15 Year.  Holman calls Atlanta Hawks games on CBS RADIO O&O WZGC, Atlanta “FM 92.9 The Game.”  He’s called almost 2,500 games without an absence during his almost three decades on the job…..Hubbard Washington, DC news outlet WTOP announces the release of a new mobile-optimized website as well as an interactive mobile app.  WTOP says the new site uses a “responsive” technology that formats the website appearance to match whatever device the user is on.  Other new features include expanded Living, Sports, Technology and Entertainment sections, an enhanced weather section, more photos and a “cleaner and more modern look.”

120px-WJZ-FMWJZ-FM Back as Birds’ Flagship. After Hearst Corporation talker WBAL had carried its games the past several years, the Baltimore Orioles are switching flagships to CBS Radio sports outlet WJZ-FM “The Fan.” The multi-year deal takes effect this season, with WJZ-FM being the key station across the seven-state, 34-station Orioles radio network. Baltimore’s “Fan” held rights to the team’s game from 2007 – 2010. CBS Radio Baltimore senior vice president Bob Philips declares, “This partnership with the Orioles is a great addition to our market leading #1 sports brand and platform in Baltimore.” Orioles’ vice president of communications and marketing Greg Bader comments that “The Fan” is “the ideal flagship home for the Orioles radio network. Partnering with the region’s premiere radio destination for sports fans allows us to effectively reach our diverse fan base on a daily basis and to develop valuable multiplatform marketing opportunities for our sponsors.” Joe Angel and Fred Manfra return for their twelfth season calling the team’s games.

knxonyourcornerKNX to Corner Beautiful Downtown Burbank. The 10-hour (9:00 am – 7:00 pm) visit later this month (Friday, 1/30) is part of CBS Radio-owned all-news KNX, Los Angeles’ “On Your Corner” series on local communities. Team coverage will focus on issues, events, and interesting places in Burbank – frequently referred to as the media capital of the world. “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Mottek will do his 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm broadcast from well-known Burbank eatery The Castaway, and he will be followed by Chris Sedens and Diane Thompson anchoring the afternoon news (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm). In 2013, “KNX On Your Corner” received the “Best Feature – News” Golden Mike Award from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California.

milianolouFormer CBS Radio Newsman Miliano Passes. A 40-year national and local reporter, Lou Miliano, 67, died yesterday (Monday, 1/12) in a Pinellas Park, Florida hospice. Miliano was diagnosed with lung cancer several years ago. CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler comments, “Lou was one of the unique, wonderful individuals in our business – and he was an extraordinary broadcaster. His use of sound and ability to transport the listener to the scene of the story set the standard in our industry, one that has been emulated by other broadcasters nationwide. He was expert in incorporating natural sound, vivid descriptions and visual references laced with the voices of those making or affected by news events. More than that, Lou was a joy to be around.” After beginning his career in 1967 at South Lake Tahoe, California’s KOWL, Miliano spent 12 years as a reporter, anchor, and news director at several stations around the country. Based in London as the European bureau chief for the RKO Radio Networks (1983-1989), Miliano did two tours with the Pentagon pool in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War and he covered the U.S. – Soviet summits in Geneva, Reykjavik, and Moscow. Miliano covered an array of stories for WCBS-AM, New York where he won Associated Press awards for “Best Continuing Coverage” for his work on the crash of TWA flight 800 and “Best Investigative Reporting.” He joined the CBS Radio Network in 1998 and retired in 2007. The Jersey City, New Jersey native attended colleges in Florida, California, and Colorado. He is survived by four daughters and three sons – there are no plans for a public funeral or memorial.

Charlie Hebdo Aftermath/Unity Rally, ISIS Hacks Pentagon Social Media, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Sinking Oil Prices/World Financial Markets Activity, and the Golden Globe Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/12).  The state of terror threats after last week’s massacre at Parisian newspaper Charlie Hebdo and the criticism against the Obama administration for not sending a high-level official to Paris unity rally; the hacking of the Pentagon’s social media network by ISIS; Mitt Romney’s possible run for president in 2016 and Paul Ryan’s statement he will not run; the continued sinking of oil prices and their effect on the world’s financial markets; and Sunday’s broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, September 23, 2011

| September 23, 2011

Target: Spanish Language Talk Radio Market.  Personal finance talk radio mega-star Dave Ramsey has worked very hard to become a household name through his popular daily talk radio show, television efforts, bestselling books and live event programs.  Now his Lampo Group organization is targeting the Spanish-speaking segment of the American population with the national launch of a daily talk show hosted by Andres Gutierrez.  Gutierrez is a successful entrepreneur; small-business owner and radio show host with the goal of helping the Hispanic community win with money.  Ramsey’s organization says “Andres’ successes have come from his passion and his simple, direct way of communicating hope to the hopeless.  His drive for excellence in everything he does enabled his business to prosper.”  Businesses all across America are developing plans to market to the Hispanic community and Ramsey says he’s long been interested in serving this segment of the nation’s population and says he sees the perfect messenger in Gutierrez.  “Andres joined Dave’s team in 2009 and is now helping to spread the message of ‘Paz Financiera’ all over the country — or as Andres would say it, ‘Teaching people how to make their money behave.’”  Ramsey’s organization is launching the Andres Gutierrez daily radio show in national syndication on October 17.

WBZ-FM, Boston Sports Talkers Felger & Massarotti to Simulcast on Comcast SportsNet.  Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti host the PM drive show on CBS Radio’s 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston.  There’s no official start date announced, but this fall the duo’s PM drive show will be simulcast on cable TV on Comcast SportsNet.  Comcast SportsNet EVP and general manager Bill Bridgen says, “Felger, Mazz and the Sports Hub have taken over Boston radio with a rocket launch to the top of the ratings.  Adding Felger’s acerbic nature for four more hours to our lineup and Mazz’s credentials are huge pluses for Comcast SportsNet as we continue to build out our programming which features local, entertaining sports programming from 6:00 am to 1:30 am.”

Tyler Moody Promoted at CNN Radio.  Eight-year CNN Radio veteran Tyler Moody is promoted from executive director to vice president of CNN Radio.  The company says Moody will “oversee the editorial and operations teams, including affiliate services and CNN Radio’s more than 30 anchors, correspondents, producers and staff.  He will also lead the business in strategy, product development and execution.”  CNN lauds Moody for his work guiding the network through award-winning coverage of recent events including the earthquake in Haiti for which CNN won a Sigma Delta Chi award for breaking news coverage.  Moody takes over for Victor Kong who returns to Miami to be near his extended family.

Smith/Sabatino Show Debuts on WNYM, New York.  Emmy Award-winning news anchor and journalist Rolland G. Smith and veteran broadcaster Carl J. Sabatino are teaming up for a Sunday evening talk radio program to air on WNYM, New York called “Smith/Sabatino.”  The new program is described as one that “focuses on what we’re all exposed to in the news and why it’s there.  Smith and Sabatino face issues with a practical slant to events and everyday problems.  Their message is one of a common approach and an understanding of those issues and interests that address our lives in the most significant ways.  The program also presents a light and entertaining side, one that balances the hard issues with conversation and talk about the diversions and distractions of life.”  Smith is well known for his work at WCBS-TV and WWOR-TV in New York.  Sabatino is a former CEO of World Television, senior consultant for CNN Radio, WTFM, and WNEW in New York and broadcast executive for Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal Television.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” is added to the program schedule at Saga Communications stations WTAX, Springfield, Illinois; KGMI, Bellingham, Washington; WKVT, Brattleboro, Vermont; and WHMP/WHNP/WHNQ, Northampton, Massachusetts.  KICD, Spencer, Iowa and the Northampton, Massachusetts stations also add “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” to their lineups…..America’s Radio News Network gets its news block programming added to Renda’s WMNY, Pittsburgh as the station flips from business talk to a news/talk format.

The Fed’s Bleak Economic Outlook Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 19-23.  The bleak economic outlook announced by the Fed this week was the #1 topic on news/talk radio and landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart.  At #2 is President Obama’s debt reduction plan.  Following at #3 is the 2012 presidential race and the Thursday evening GOP debate and at #4 is the global financial markets activity.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart published weekly at Talkers.com that shows the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.