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Remembering G. Gordon Liddy

| March 31, 2021

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS magazine
Managing Editor

 

WASHINGTON, DC — At approximately the same time as William Jefferson Clinton was methodically engineering one of the biggest political upsets in recent memory, a national radio network hired a colorful, complex intellectual – if not totally eccentric – character to host a daily talk show.

That was part of the shape of our landscape just over 29 years ago (February 1992).

In the swing of it

Twelve years later in 2004, a toned G. Gordon Liddy was still behind the Westwood One microphone when he recalled with infinite energy to Inside Radio’s then Special Features editor Mike Kinosian, “I hope I’ve changed for the better and have [improved] at what I do. It’s like playing golf: The more you do something, the better you get at it. If I spend as many hours playing golf each day as I do with the radio show, I might have a fair game.”

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

| February 14, 2019

Cumulus Sells Six – Including WPLJ, New York and WRQX, Washington – to EMF for $103.5 Million; Swaps Three stations with Entercom.  Seller Cumulus Media Inc. calls these deals “strategic portfolio optimization transactions.”  The sale of six stations to religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation will bring Cumulus $103.5 million in cash for hot AC WPLJ, New York; news/talk WYAY, Atlanta; triple A KFFG, San Francisco; hot AC WRQX, Washington; hot AC WZAT, Savannah; and classic rock WXTL, Syracuse.  When EMF takes control, the stations will all flip to its K-Love Christian music format.  The second deal is with Entercom and involves the swap of Cumulus’ country WNSH, New York “NASH FM”; hot AC WMAS-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts and sports talk WHLL-AM, Springfield in exchange for Entercom’s Indianapolis cluster of adult contemporary WNTR “107.9 The Mix,” CHR WZPL, and sports talk WXNT-AM.  This means Entercom exits the Indy market and those three stations join Cumulus’ existing three stations there: classic hits WJJK, country WFMS, and CHR WYRG “Energy 93.9.” Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “These transactions are consistent with our portfolio optimization strategy and both deals are accretive.  The Entercom swap significantly bolsters our competitive position in Indianapolis and the EMF transaction generates substantial cash for debt repayment and investment in other business opportunities.”  The company notes that EMF will acquire all transmission equipment and assume all tower leases associated with the stations which collectively contribute approximately $5 million to $7 million of EBITDA to Cumulus annually.  Regarding the Entercom swap, both companies will begin operating the other’s stations under LMAs on March 1.

Format Flip Likely as the Result of Cumulus-Entercom Deal.  The acquisition of Entercom’s CHR WZPL – the clear ratings leader in top 40 radio in the market – means a format change is imminent for Cumulus’ WYRG which has been bubbling under a 2 share (6+) while WZPL has been scoring more than a 5 share in recent PPM surveys from Nielsen Audio.  In New York, there’s no reason to think Entercom will flip WNSH from country.  While it’s been hovering around a 2.2 share (6+), it’s the only country signal in New York and it’s hard to imagine Entercom giving up on it.  Stay tuned.

What Will Cumulus Do with WABC and New York Stations?  Maybe nothing, but yesterday’s surprise sale of six of its signals to EMF and the swap with Entercom indicates Cumulus is willing to deal if it has strategic significance.  Now that the company’s New York cluster is destined to consist of news/talk WABC-AM, urban AC WNBM – a class A FM licensed to Bronxville – and suburban sports talk WFAS-AM, Westchester, some industry watchers are wondering if the three-station cluster brings in enough revenue to continue operating in the Big Apple.  WFAS-AM isn’t listed in the Nielsen New York PPMs and WNBM has been garnering 6+ ratings of less than a full share in recent PPM surveys.  WABC-AM is a venerable signal with obvious history in the market but appears to be underperforming with 6+ numbers in the 1.0-1.5 share range.  One wonders if Mary Berner and company are weighing finding buyers for the three signals.

Judge: Alex Jones Can Be Deposed in Sandy Hook Case. According to a report in the Hartford Courant, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled that talk show host and Infowars chief Alex Jones must take part in a sworn deposition in the defamation case filed against him by the families of eight victims of the Sandy Hook shootings. The judge ruled that after Jones’ counsel filed a Motion to Dismiss, the families are entitled to conduct discovery “likely to lead to admissible evidence for opposing the motions.”  Three other Infowars staffers will have to sit for depositions that, combined with Jones’ deposition, will total 19 hours of testimony. Jones and Infowars are being sued separately by two different Newtown, Connecticut families in Texas.  The families’ lawsuits allege that Jones engaged in a lengthy campaign “abusive and outrageous false statements” that the Sandy Hook shootings were staged by paid actors.  The suit alleges Jones knew what he was perpetrating was false but he continued because it drew an audience and made money for his company.  Jones argues his First Amendment rights are enough to toss the suits.  He is also being ordered deposed in Texas, but those depositions have not taken place yet.

WPHT, Philadelphia to Produce Liberty USO Radiothon. Tomorrow’s daylong radiothon will take place at Chickie’s & Pete’s Play 2 in Philadelphia from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm. It’s called the “Talk Radio 1210 WPHT Liberty USO Radiothon” and it will benefit Active, Guard and Reserve military and their families through programs and services at the United Service Organization of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey (Liberty USO).  It will be anchored by WPHT personalities Chris Stigall, Dom Giordano and Rich Zeoli.  Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “I am proud of the role our station plays in supporting our military through the efforts of Liberty USO.  Last year’s radiothon raised over $120,000 and is a testament to the power local radio plays in bringing our community together for a great cause.  We are looking forward to partnering with Liberty USO once again.”

Actor Wendell Pierce Part of Group Seeking to Buy WBOK, New Orleans. According to a report by WGNO-TV, New Orleans, native son and actor Wendell Pierce is part of a group of investors bidding on the license for urban news/talk outlet WBOK, New Orleans.  The station is owned by Los Angeles-based Bakewell Media which has the station on the market. Pierce, known for his work on “The Wire” and Amazon Prime’s “Jack Ryan” series, says in a statement, “Through all the substantial change New Orleans has faced in recent history, WBOK has served as a steadfast and indispensable platform for our community.  The people trust them, they depend on them, and they believe in them.  WBOK Radio is the glue that brings and holds our city together.”  The story says the other investors are listed as: Cleveland Spears III, Troy Henry, and Jeff Thomas.

Salem Media Group Promotes Three. At Camarillo, California-based Salem Media Group, three executive promotions take place. First, 16-year Salem exec Chris Gould rises from his VP, national programming, to senior vice president, national programming.  Second, Mark Durkin is promoted from general manager of the company’s Sacramento cluster to a regional vice president position that adds oversight of Seattle, San Francisco and Oxnard, California to his Sacramento duties.  Finally, Franc Boza is named general manager for the Salem Miami cluster. He was most recently with Deadcenter Marketing as VP of sales and marketing.

Skyview Networks Announces Staff Promotions. Scottsdale, Arizona-based Skyview Networks announces a series of promotions among staffers.  In the production department, Joe Felz is upped to vice president of production.  Elsewhere, Denise Krause rises from client service director to senior director of client services and co-chair promotions, based in New York City.  Ethan Aragon takes on the new title of senior director of client services.  Jordan Thorlin is named creative director.  In the same department, Alexandria Landry is appointed multimedia designer.  In the sales department, Alex Warrick takes on the new role of director of agency services.  Finally, radio industry pro Mary Stoddard moves into the client service director and co-chair promotions position.

TALKERS News Notes. Minnesota sports talk station KFXN-FM, Minneapolis gets some love from City Pages as the alt-weekly does a big feature on the station in honor of “KFAN” capturing “the highest market share percentage of any top-50 sports talk station in the country, according to Nielsen” last fall…..Boston Red Sox aficionados have been waiting to find out who will be in the broadcast booth this year for games broadcast on Entercom’s Red Sox flagship WEEI, Boston and now it’s confirmed that play-by-play legend Joe Castiglione has signed for his 37th season with the team.  As for the color analysts?  Those duties will be split among three principal broadcasters: Sean McDonough, Josh Lewin, and Mario Impemba, with several more also in the rotation.  They include: ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman, WEEI personalities Lou Merloni and Dale ArnoldNESN studio host Tom Caron, and NESN Red Sox television broadcaster Dave O’Brien…..KCAA, Loma Linda, California owner Fred Lundgren tells TALKERS magazine that after many years of producing and distributing radio programs and podcasts for hundreds of broadcasters, his family has decided to produce its own podcast series, hosted by his wife, Linda Carol Lundgren, titled, “Don’t Be Afraid To Ask.” Lundgren says the show will address many of life’s difficult subjects such as money, sex, drugs, bullying, long term relationships, the changing culture, and the problems facing the next generation of young adults as they leave home and enter the workplace.  The first show visits the tragic origins of Valentine’s Day and how the importance of that day has evolved over the centuries. Check it out here…..WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut afternoon talk show host Lisa Wexler was recently honored by cable channel News 12 Connecticut as one of its “Hometown Heroes.”  Wexler serves as a local probate judge and donates each $50 wedding fee she receives to the local Westport Animal Shelter Advocates organization. Check it out here…..Motor Racing Network is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first coverage of the Daytona 500 this Sunday (2/17).  In honor of that event, MRN will broadcast its 50th Daytona 500 and the 61st running of “The Great American Race” on over 400 radio stations nationwide.  Sunday’s race also marks the culmination of more than 30 hours of programming produced by MRN during Daytona Speedweeks, NASCAR’s annual kickoff at Daytona International Speedway.  The broadcast is the first event in a two-year celebration of the founding of the network by Bill France, Sr. and Ken Squier in 1970.

TalkersRadio Personality Meg McDonald Installed as President of the Studio City Beautification Association.  Legendary Southern California PR executive Meg McDonald, who hosts the short-form feature MEG! on TalkersRadio, was recently installed as the new president of the Studio City Beautification Association.  Studio City is a section of Los Angeles with a colorful show business history located between Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley.  Standing with Meg in front of the Mack Sennett Conference Room on the CBS Studio Center lot in Studio City where the monthly SCBA board meetings are held are (l-r): Studio City Beautification Association officers secretary Connie Elliot (wearing hat), McDonald, vice president Beth Dymond and treasurer Charles Blakeslee.  Meg McDonald is the daughter of golden era Hollywood movie stars Elisabeth Fraser and Ray McDonald.  To listen to MEG!, please click here.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Manafort Ruling, Border Wall Deal, Parkland Shooting Anniversary/Gun Control, Green New Deal, California Bullet Train Controversy, Iran-Israel Tensions, Brexit Complications, Venezuela Unrest, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/13). The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related ruling by a judge that Paul Manafort lied to investigators; the ongoing controversy over the tentative U.S.-Mexico border wall deal; the anniversary of the Parkland, Florida shootings and the status of gun control measures; the GOP’s criticism of the Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez sponsored Green New Deal; President Trump’s demand for the return of $3.7 billion in federal money from California after Governor Gavin Newsome spiked the remainder of the bullet train project; the heightened rhetoric between Iran and Israel; the complications of Britain’s exit from the EU and possible economic consequences; the political unrest in Venezuela; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Michael Harrison Explores the Impact of Changing Communications Technology on the Human Nervous System. One of the common themes of the present era is the challenge people face in keeping pace and coping with the exponential changes in communications technology. On this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne production, “The Michael Harrison Interview,” the TALKERS founder interviews theoretical physicist Leonard Mlodinow, Norwegian explorer Erling Kagge, and licensed psychotherapist Dr. Bryan Robinson about the rapid changes taking place in our noisy world. Join them for a deep dive into the realm of neuro-plasticity, the sounds of silence, and escaping from the maddening, non-stop workplace. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and every page on Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Milwaukee CHR WNRG “Energy 106.9” adds the nationally syndicated “Tino Cochino Radio Show” for the afternoon drive daypart.  The program emanates from its home base at Riviera Broadcasting’s KKFR, Mayer, Arizona (Phoenix market)…..Meruelo Media promotes Aimee Bittourna to vice president of its experiential marketing company Actify. In this new position, Bittourna will oversee the development, strategies, and execution of all Actify campaigns.  Meruelo Media president and COO Otto Padron says, “Aimee is a difference maker and a unique brand experience creator. Her energy and creativity are marketing multipliers for our partners seeking original ways to connect their brands to consumers.  She’s a leader in a boundless space and our clients love her.”…..Pictured below is Premiere Networks nationally syndicated adult contemporary personality Delilah on the set of the “TODAY” show (third from left) with show co-hosts Kathie Lee (second from left), Hoda Kotb (left) and psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb (right) discussing ways to overcome fears of being alone on Valentine’s Day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

| July 21, 2015

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Tells Clients it Won’t ‘Support Voltair.’ During today’s subscriber webinar, Nielsen Audio reported that its testing of the audio processor Voltair revealed nothing substantial to indicate the unit positively affects the ability of the PPM units to pick up the watermarked audio signal under normal circumstances.  According to sources taking part in today’s webinar,voltair image Nielsen reports the unit could improve the reception of the watermarks in some cases but it’s difficult to determine if that reflects “true listening.”  The result is that the company says it will not “support Voltair.”  It is stopping short of requiring the Voltair unit be removed from subscribers’ audio chains as Canada’s Numeris ratings agency has done.  It’s not clear from a legal standpoint whether Nielsen could require stations to remove the units in the U.S.  Today’s webinar also addressed improvements to the PPM technology and told subscribers that it is rolling out a new encoding monitor that will be delivered to all subscribers in 2016.

kaymichaelKay, WEPN-FM Agree to Three-Year Extension. The just-signed pact with afternoon drive host (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) Michael Kay will keep the television voice of the AL East New York Yankees at WEPN-FM “98.7 ESPN,” New York through 2018. As it has since February 2014, “The Michael Kay Show” (with co-host Don LaGreca) will continue to be simulcast on the YES Network. WEPN-FM general manager Tim McCarthy comments, “Mike has been the cornerstone of ESPN Radio New York the past 14 years and his audience is growing. He is a familiar and friendly voice for the New York sports fan. His credibility and passion each day provide New York listeners an entertaining and informative choice for their commute home. He is one of the best in the sports business and I am proud he will remain part of theWEPN 98.7 FM team.” Kay remarks that after 14 years, he is “thrilled to remain with 98.7 FM and [have] this opportunity to continue doing sports talk radio in a fun, entertaining way. Don and I do not take our positions or the loyalty of our listeners who spend their afternoons with us for granted. They are part of our family – and we treat them that way. I am really excited about [the station’s] future and I am very happy to remain with such a great company, ESPN.” Bronx native/Fordham University graduate Kay covered college basketball and the New Jersey Nets for the New York Post. He got his first television job in 1989 with MSG Network, where he won three Emmys. Three years later, he became a Yankees’ broadcaster on WABC-AM and the team’s play-by-play announcer when YES launched in 2002.

wsyr logoWainwright Officially Named WSYR, Syracuse Morning Host.  Talk pro Mark Wainwright became the go-to guy when the late Joe Galuski first became ill and was required to take time away from the mic, and now Wainwright has been hired as the morning drive host at iHeartMedia’s “Newsradio 570 WSYR.”  Galuski was diagnosed with cancer in September of 2014 and died in May.  Wainwright first did fill-in work at the station in March of 2013.  iHeartMedia SVP of programming Rich Lauber comments, “Mark Wainwright has become a familiar voice to our listeners and he has developed great relationships with our staff and clients.”  Wainwright spent more than 25 years in radio before leaving the business in 1997.  He says, “I felt right at home here after my first hour on the air at WSYR.  Our late colleague Joe Galuski spent more than two decades building a successful and highly regarded morning program, and I am committed to continuing that success.  I just wish this all came under happier circumstances, as Joe Galuski is dearly missed by me – and the Central New York community.”

wolf-am logoWOLF-AM, Syracuse Flips from Classic Hits to Sports.  Using Fox Sports Radio Network for programming, Wolf Radio Inc.-owned WOLF-AM, Syracuse drops the classic hits format for sports talk branded as “Fox Sports 1490 Syracuse.”  Shows airing on the station include: “Jay Mohr Sports,” the Dan Patrick show, the Rich Eisen show, “Steve Gorman Sports!,” “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North,” JT “The Brick,” and the Jason Smith show.  Station manager Sam Furco states, “This is very exciting for Central New    York.  We have done a lot of research and testing for this format.  We have every confidence this format will be a hit for listeners and local businesses.”

kinosianmikePPM Analysis: MLB Flagships.  TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents this report analyzing Nielsen Audio PPM survey data for stations serving as flagships for MLB play-by-play broadcasts.  In this report, Kinosian looks at the performances of those outlets over the past four PPM surveys, fluctuations from June 2014 to June 2015, where those stations rank in their markets, leaders in market share and much more.  See this entire report here.

pagliarulojoeCompass Media Networks Begins Syndicating Joe Pags’ Show.  San Antonio-based talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo broadcasts from flagship station WOAI and is heard on a number of iHeartMedia news/talk stations.  His 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm CT daily program is now being syndicated by Compass Media Networks which says it will handle exclusive syndication of the show.  Pags comments, “I love entertaining and am thrilled to bring my unique brand of talk radio to a wider audience with Compass Media Networks.”

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallSports Talk Show Host, Author and Album Rock Radio Pioneer Richard Neer Interviewed by Michael Harrison on “Up Close and Far Out.”  Actually, it is more of a startlingly intimate conversation between two old friends than a formal “interview” per se.  WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer returns to the Podcast One weekly international hit “Up Close and Far Out” hosted by TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison for the second installment of an intermittent, ongoing conversation between the two about their days together during the formative years of album rock radio.  This series of conversations between them will appear on the podcast in approximately two-month intervals.  In this latest chapter posted today (7/21), theyneerrichard dredge up personal memories and juicy details about the 10 months they spent together launching and building the progressive rock format at the legendary WLIR, Long Island between 1970 and 1971 – during which period they were catapulted from being obscure 21 year old college students playing beautiful music on a struggling station to becoming well-known personalities and music programmers at one of the leading FM rock outlets in America – WNEW-FM, New York.  They talk about the nature of the times, the emergence of the counter-culture and the challenges they faced in programming a free-form, “underground” station within a highly competitive, contentious, and uncharted environment.  It is a story about drugs, groupies, music, street-cred, politics and generational upheaval. According to Harrison, “Richard successfully broke ground on chronicling some of these colorful, historic events in his landmark book, FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001), but this new series of candid, uninhibited conversations presented within the context of my podcast draws upon the spontaneous spoken word to really dig up and display the amazing details, color and emotions of those very special, long-gone times.”  This marks the 20th installment of “Up Close and Far out with Michael Harrison.” The podcast is targeted to an audience described as “media freaks around the world.”  Initial guests include radio’s Sean Hannity, Mike Francesa, Mark Levin, Thom Hartmann, Ronn Owens, Nick Michaels, Dr Joy Browne and Alan Colmes; music legend Linda Ronstadt; space pioneers Buzz Aldrin and Dr. Alan Stern (of the New Horizons mission); teenage celebrity interviewer Pavlina Osta, techno-biologist Rebecca Costa; cybersecurity expert Steve Weisman as well as leading edge, multimedia journalists Chris Ruddy and Joe Sciacca.  To listen to the entire Harrison/Neer episode, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of TALKERS.com.

Former TheBlaze Staffers Launch Autonomous Publication. A number of former staffers with Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze are launching a new publication on the Medium blog-publishing platform called Autonomous.  As reported by CapitalNewYork.com, former TheBlaze vice president of digital content Steve Krakauer is leading the venture that will include other former Blaze staffers Raj Nair, LaVern Vivio, and Chris Knowles.  Also involved will be former Blaze CEO Chris Balfe.  The story also notes that this will not be a full-time job for any of the participants, at least initially.  Read the piece here.

Odds & Sods. WGIR, Manchester, New Hampshire personality Jack Heath will participate in the “Voters Firstheathjack Forum” at which Republican candidates for president will appear.  Heath will moderate the forum – note it’s not being called a debate – that will be aired on C-SPAN…..At Curtis Media’s news/talk WPTK, Raleigh, Doug Kellett exits his morning show role there after three years with the station…..In San Diego, financial advisor George Charles Cody Price is ordered to pay more than $1 million in fines and restitution in a settlement agreed to in U.S. District Court.  Price had hosted a financial advice program on Midwest TV’s KFMB, San Diego in 2011.  He was accused of defrauding investors.

haywoodsteveWAUK, Milwaukee’s Steve Haywood Dead at 49. Milwaukee native and longtime sports media personality Steve Haywood died on July 19 after a 15-year battle with various health issues including Type 2 diabetes, cardiomyopathy, and kidney problems.  Haywood co-hosted “The Game” with Bill Johnson on Good Karma-owned sports talker WAUK, Milwaukee “ESPN Wisconsin.”  The station’s website features a piece by Drew Olson in which Good Karma CEO Craig Karmazin states, “Steve distinguished himself with his passion, knowledge and relationships with his beloved Milwaukee Bucks, and the city of Milwaukee.  In doing so, he created a partnership between ‘ESPN Milwaukee’ and the Milwaukee Public Schools, which brought attention and advocated for student athletes throughout the city.  He will be missed.”

Iran Nuclear Deal, Obama Race Database, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Climate Change-Western Drought, Social Security-Gun Surrender Proposal, ISIS Atrocities, Chattanooga Attacks Aftermath, and Immigration-Sanctuary Cities Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/20). The UN’s approval of the Iran nuclear deal and the Islamic state’s subsequent threat to “trample upon America”; the Obama Administration’s building of a racial database of Americans; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and John Kasich’s hint he’ll enter the race; the subject of climate change and the ongoing Western drought; President Obama’s proposal to require Social Security recipients who don’t manage their own affairs to surrender their guns; atrocities being perpetrated by ISIS; the aftermath of the attacks on Chattanooga military facilities and the state of mind of Mohammod Abdulazeez; and the issues of illegal immigration and the policies of sanctuary cities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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