Brad Lane to Program WTMJ and WKTI/WAUK in Milwaukee. Programming pro Brad Lane is named program director for Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ and sports talk duo WKTI-FM/WAUK-AM “ESPN 94.5” and “540 ESPN,” effective February 6. He was most recently program director as Hubbard Radio’s sports talk KSTP-AM, Minneapolis. Lane says, “This is a dream role to work with a legacy station like WTMJ and the powerful brand of ‘ESPN Milwaukee.’ I’m excited to work with the incredible team and resources available to make our content more engaging, relevant, and obtainable on all platforms, along with helping to cultivate and foster development of personalities on all our stations. I’m enormously grateful to Craig Karmazin, [VP/GM] Steve Wexler, and all of Good Karma Brands for the chance to lead these content teams and join one of the most innovative companies in the country.” Steve Wexler adds, “We are thrilled to welcome Brad to the Good Karma Brands family. His leadership, vision and creativity will help us continue to grow our news, sports and event marketing brands in Wisconsin.”
FNR’s New Podcast: ‘The Candidates with Bret Baier.’ A new podcast series is debuting from FOX News Radio called “The Candidates with Bret Baier,” beginning February 12. The weekly podcast will focus on the 2020 field of presidential candidates. Each week, Baier will be joined by a rotating panel of experts who will discuss “the latest on each candidate, their motivation towards entering the race, their possible campaign strategy and potential path to victory.”
iHeartMedia Debuts New Afternoon Show at ‘The Game’ in Orlando. Sports talk outlet WYGM-AM/W245CL “FM 96.9 The Game” announced the launch of the new “In the Zone with Brandon Kravitz and The Shot Doctor” program to air in afternoon drive beginning on February 11. The program will star Brandon Kravitz along with “The Shot Doctor” Austin Pistulka who serves as the executive producer. iHeartMedia RVP of programming for iHeartMedia North Florida Rick Everett says, “We’re extremely excited about the new era of ‘FM 96.9 The Game.’ When you’re looking for the best live sports talk, this is the place to tune in.” Kravitz says, “For the last several years, I’ve been honing my craft and working towards this goal. I plan to bring a fresh approach to afternoon drive, while engaging with our interactive audience. I cannot wait to link back up with The Shot Doctor – we have chemistry from two years of doing afternoon drive together in the past and I look forward to picking up where we left off and taking it to the next level.”
TALKERS News Notes. Houston sports talker KFNC-FM “ESPN 97.5” gets some love from the Houston Press as the Best Radio Station in its Best of Houston 2019 feature. The paper says of the Gow Media sports talk outlet: “After some rough patches, Gow has built a mini media empire in Houston that includes ‘ESPN 97.5,’ a station that not only has content from the biggest sports network on the planet, but has some of the most talented personalities in the city, including guys like Lance Zierlein and John Granato, still the best pairing of morning sports talk hosts in the city’s history, and Raheel Ramzanali and Del Olaleye, who managed to stick out the myriad number of changes at the various Gow stations over the years.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime WGN-AM news anchor Judy Pielach – who recently left the station after taking a Tribune Broadcasting-offered buyout – was on the air with new WLS-AM morning personality Erich Mancow Muller yesterday (1/29) auditioning for a contributor role with the program. Feder quotes Muller saying of Pielach’s performance, “I thought she was fantastic! A pro. Talent trumps all.”…..The Post and Courier is reporting that the South Carolina college sports-focused “SportsTalk” show with host Phil Kornblut is ending its run on the S.C. Radio Network because Learfield/IMG is shutting the network down, saying it has been “underperforming.” Kornblut has hosted a sports talk show on the network since it launched 35 years ago. The story indicated he is working to continue the show and for now it appears it’ll still air on Glory Communications’ WQXL-AM/W264DF “The Point” from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm nightly…..Back in the Windy City, William J. Kelly, host of the “Citizen Kelly Show,” announces his show will soon have an FM presence in the Chicagoland market. His show is heard on WCGO, Evanston and he says it will “soon be heard on Pollack Broadcasting’s soon-to-be launched FM talk station, 95.9 FM.”…..Nationally syndicated talk radio host, author, and clinical psychologist Dr. Ellen Kenner – who calls herself a “romance guide” – is celebrating her 22nd anniversary as a talk radio host this weekend. Dr. Kenner is also available for Valentine’s Day interviews…..Public media company KQED in San Francisco promotes Maria Miller to the position of chief administrative officer in which she’ll be responsible for “ensuring the efficient and effective performance of KQED by strategizing, developing, planning, and implementing effective operational and administrative functions.” Since June 2016 she has been vice president, human resources & chief labor/employment council.
PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on 6+ data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. The annual Holiday ratings period usually sees boosts for the music stations playing Christmas music and dips for spoken-word stations and that was the case for all-news as nine of the nation’s news stations declined (weekly 6+ AQH share). Comparing the Holiday 2017 data to Holiday 2018, it was a wash with half the stations improving and half declining. Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago and WWJ, Detroit, along with Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington all held onto their #2 ranking in their respective markets during the Holiday survey. See the whole report here.
FOX News Channel Marks 17 Years as Top Cable Newser; ‘Hannity’ Most-Watched, Non-College Football Cable Program in January. According to data from Nielsen Media Research, FOX News Channel was the most-watched cable news network for the 17th year straight, besting its competition – CNN and MSNBC – in total viewers and the 25-54 demo. January viewing figures indicated the prime time “Hannity” show with host Sean Hannity, was the most-watched, non-college football cable telecast during the month. Hannity was the top cable news prime time show with total viewers of 3 million-plus and 538,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo. For all of prime time, FNC averaged 2.2 million total viewers (beating MSNBC’s 1.97 million and CNN’s 1.2 million) and in the 25-54 demo averaged 382,000 (topping CNN’s 363,000 and MSNBC’s 349,000). It’s worth noting, however, that FNC’s January 2019 total day rating of total viewers – 1.32 million – was down from January 2018 by 11%. Primetime total viewers – 2.2 million – was also down 10%, year over year. For both total day and primetime in January 2019, FNC’s 25-54 viewers were down 20% from last year.
iHeartMedia Announces Ohio Management Promotions. Two sales pros rise at iHeartMedia as Jeff Rovinsky is promoted from his vice president of sales position at iHeartMedia North Ohio to market president for the Akron and Canton markets. At the same time, Matt Razzante is upped from his account executive position with the company’s Cleveland station group to general sales manager for the Akron, Canton, and Cleveland markets. iHeartMedia North Ohio SVP of sales George Allen comments, “I could not be more excited for Jeff and Matt. Jeff has a proven track record of success with iHeartMedia and he will excel as market president for Akron and Canton. Matt has demonstrated tremendous leadership abilities and this elevated role is well earned. Congratulations to both of them.”
Border Wall Battle, Trump-Russia Investigation, North Korea-Iran Report, U.S.-China Trade War-Huawei Allegations, Brokaw ‘Hispanic Assimilation’ Controversy, Record Cold Hits Midwest, 2020 Presidential Candidates, the AOC Movement, Venezuela Unrest, and Super Bowl LIII Build-Up Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/29). The political battle over President Trump’s plan for a U.S.-Mexico border wall; the indictment of Trump adviser Roger Stone and the Robert Mueller-led Trump-Russia investigation; the U.S. military intelligence report indicating North Korea still has active nuclear weapons projects and that Iran is not trying to build a bomb; the U.S.-China trade war and the charges against Huawei and CEO Meng Wanzhou; the controversy over newsman Tom Brokaw’s statement that Hispanics in the U.S. should try harder to assimilate; the record cold hitting the U.S. Midwest today; the 2020 presidential candidates; the attention being paid to freshman Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s socialist policies; the political unrest in Venezuela; and the build-up to Super Bowl LIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. A third personality joins the Westwood One-syndicated Ty Bentli country morning show based at Cumulus Media’s NASH campus. Tricia Jenkins will join Bentli and co-host Chuck Wicks in mid-February. She was most recently the midday personality and music director at Entercom’s country KMNB, Minneapolis. Late last year, Kelly Ford exited the formerly named “Ty, Kelly and Chuck” show and it was renamed the Ty Bentli show. Ford is back in NYC as morning host on Cumulus’ WNSH “NASH FM 94.7.” Speaking about Tricia Jenkins, Bentli says, “TJ is one of the most amazing women I know. Her value goes beyond the magic she will bring on-air with the Ty Bentli show – she’s hilariously honest, strategically focused, and innately curious about others. Tricia Jenkins, welcome to the Music City!”…..Quad Cities morning duo “Dwyer & Michaels” – Greg Dwyer and Bill Michaels – re-sign with Townsquare Media’s classic rock WXLP “97X” to continue hosting their program through 2023…..The Envision Networks-syndicated program “The Country Oldies Show” is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The program was launched by host Steve Warren in 1994 from studios in New York City. Warren says, “I guess when we first started the show, the country music world had tilted toward all the ‘hot, young, new’ artists. It was crazy. Since I started in country radio very young, my career was parallel to many of the superstars of an earlier era. Now, every week, as I sit in our studio to produce the show, I feel like I’m in the company of old friends.”
Peter Bolger Named OM/PD at WLS-AM, Chicago. Most recently with Clear Channel as director of AM programming in the San Antonio market, Peter Bolger joins Cumulus Media to head up programming and operations at its Chicago news/talk WLS-AM. In a statement, Cumulus COO John Dickey says, “Chicago radio is a competitive and important market where we’re excited to add Peter’s expertise that positions up for future growth. Bolger adds, “I think Chicago radio is the best there is. Fortunately, we have incredible talent and deep resources at WLS. I want to thank John Dickey, Mike McVay and Donna Baker for the opportunity to be part of the historic WLS brand. I can’t wait to get started.”
Walker Announces His Retirement. Six-year Entercom, San Francisco vice president/market manager Dwight Walker has been in radio for 30 years – the last 25 in the Bay Area. He will be departing the company’s four-station (all are on FM) Bay Area operation, which is comprised of adult contemporary KOIT-FM, classic rock KUFX “The Fox,” sports KGMZ “The Game,” and urban AC KBLX. “It has been a fun, rewarding, stimulating, and fantastic time,” he comments. “I have cherished my years with Entercom, a world-class company. The vision of Entercom management and their commitment to radio is what will keep our industry and this cluster moving forward in a thriving and robust way.” Family, travel, and Tahoe will become Walker’s top priorities, but he insists, “San Francisco will always be a part of an amazing and charmed life that I hold near and dear to my heart.” According to Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer, “Dwight Walker is one of the best in the business. Everyone at Entercom deeply appreciates Dwight’s years of hard work and leadership. He will be missed in San Francisco and across the radio industry.” Prior to joining Entercom, Walker was vice president of sales for cross-town Cumulus-owned KNBR, KFOG, and KSAN. For nine years (1997 – 2006), he was general manager of KFOG and KSAN when Susquehanna owned those facilities.
Dave Ramsey Changes Nashville Affiliates. Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey moves to a new Nashville affiliate station beginning in the New Year as it joins Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WLAC to air in the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm time slot. Since January of this year, Ramsey’s show has been airing on Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT “102.5 The Game.” In a piece in The Tennessean, Cromwell’s Bud Walters admits the melding of Ramsey’s show and sports talk wasn’t the best fit and that the move is a mutual one. “We have been friends for more than 20 years, and while we enjoyed this partnership from a personal standpoint, we both realize that from a business perspective our brands would be better served if we return to our respective formats.” Dave Ramsey VP of broadcast Brian Mayfield states, “It’s great to be back on a news/talk station in Middle Tennessee. WLAC has a long-standing tradition of quality radio in Nashville, and now with the addition of our show, offers the top three talk shows in America back to back.” CC Nashville OM Michael Bryan adds, “We’re very excited to add the Dave Ramsey show to WLAC in the New Year. Dave’s a legend in Nashville radio, and this aligns the power of his brand with the very best platform in talk radio. It is a true home run for our listeners and advertisers.”
Ed Schultz to Launch Live Theatrical Tour in 2014. Nationally syndicated radio talk show host and MSNBC star Ed Schultz will be taking a show live to theaters in 2014. Working in conjunction with Ron Hartenbaum‘s WYD Media, “The Ed Tour” commences on Saturday, February 8 with a booking in Fort Lauderdale and then several stops in the West including Seattle on Friday, February 21 with more locations to be announced shortly. WYD Media has paved the way via an effective working model for talk show hosts to take theater-style shows on the road with the wildly successfully “Sexy Liberal Tour” starring Stephanie Miller which has also revved up for a number of dates in the remainder of 2013 and throughout 2014.
Weather Channel and WestwoodOne Renew Ad Sales Agreement. WestwoodOne and The Weather Channel announce that they have signed a multi-year agreement for the former to provide ad sales representation for The Weather Channel’s radio service. The renewal runs through 2016. The Weather Channel provides daily, customized cross-platform weather reports to individual radio stations around the country giving up-to-the-minute information on local weather or critical storm warnings. WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine says, “We are delighted to continue our partnership with The Weather Channel and to represent its superior brand across the radio community. Weather is a hugely covetable component in the audio space, and serves as a critical resource for listeners. In fact, we have found that listeners are more likely to tune or tap in for weather information than most all other content. We are happy to know we can continue to provide our listeners access to the best weather information available.”
SBS Readies AIRE Radio Networks. Set to debut January 1, Spanish Broadcasting System‘s AIRE Radio Networks will reach listeners in nine of the top 10 markets with a weekly audience reported to be approximately 12 million listeners – roughly one-quarter of the U.S. Hispanic population. AIRE Radio Networks will feature shows focused on current events, health and family, finances, education, sports and entertainment. “This creation solidifies SBS’ expanding presence in Hispanic media and entertainment,” explains SBS chairman/president/chief executive officer Raul Alarcon. “We’re excited about capitalizing on syndication growth opportunities. AIRE Radio Networks will extend our top-ranked offerings to advertisers and listeners nationwide.” Aire Radio Networks senior vice president of network operations & affiliate sales Elisa Torres comments, “We have put together a stupendous lineup to deliver a national platform. With AIRE Radio Networks’ targeted choices and vehicles, we anticipate rapid growth for clients seeking to embrace nationwide Hispanic listeners.” The Aire Networks include the “Advantage Network,” targeting Hispanic men; “Young Adult Network,” geared to Hispanics 18-49; “Millennial Network,” targeting Hispanics 18-34; “Prime Family,” aimed at families on weekends; and “The Mandril Network,” featuring Ricardo “El Mandril” Sanchez of Los Angeles’ KLAX “La Raza.”
WAUK, Milwaukee Sports Talk Personality Steve “The Homer” True Injured in Car Accident. Sports talk host and Marquette University men’s basketball play-by-play voice Steve “The Homer” True was in critical condition yesterday at a Milwaukee hospital after his car was hit by an alleged drunk driver at 10:00 am on Wednesday morning. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports WAUK owner Craig Karmazin issued a statement late last night saying, “I spoke with Homer’s wife, Nancy, tonight. She said Homer is doing pretty well and that doctors want to monitor his condition overnight. On behalf of the True family and all of us at ESPN Wisconsin, I’d like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers.” True suffered a head injury in the crash. He has worked for Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting at WAUK for the past eight years.
NASBA Fires Off Letter to Washington Opposing Elimination of Advertising Deductions. The National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations submitted an official letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp and Ranking Member Sander Levin detailing the opposition by the member state broadcasters associations to the possibility of altering the current deduction businesses may take for advertising expenses. The letter reminds the legislators that any change to the deduction would harm broadcasters, notes that advertising has been part of the allowed deductions since the Tax Code was adopted 100 years ago and that radio stations generally receive 96% of their revenue from advertising (Television’s percentage is 94).
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel’s KBME, Houston – flagship station for Houston Rockets hoops – will simulcast some of the team’s games on other CC stations in the cluster. Some games will air on news/talk KTRH and a select number of Saturday games will simulcast on AC KODA and classic rock KKRW…..ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” will be broadcasting live from Pardee Plaza on the campus of USC tomorrow in advance of the Stanford at USC game that ESPN Radio will air this weekend.
ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, GOP 2014 Strategies, Iran Nukes Deal, and Typhoon Haiyan Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/13). The debate in Washington over fixing the rollout of the Affordable Care Act or scrapping it altogether; Republican strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014; the proposed nuclear technology development deal between the United States and Iran; and the aftermath of deadly Typhoon Haiyan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Tony Miner Gives Up Full-Time Position. Longtime KIRO-FM, Seattle news anchor Tony Miner has ended his full-time afternoon news anchor position with the Bonneville news/talk outlet but will continue to do fill-in and other part-time work at the station. In a piece on Bonneville-owned MyNorthwest.com, Miner says he’s not calling it semi-retirement, “I look upon it as a transition to more of a part-time thing here, filling in across the board, doing some commercial work, and just not doing the five day a week grind and coming down all the way from the Miner Ranch in the Skagit Valley every day.” Miner had been commuting more than an hour each way from his home to the studios. He was heard daily during the afternoon drive Ron & Don program.
Randy Galloway to Exits ESPN 103.3 in Dallas as Cumulus Begins Operations. Dallas sports media personality Randy Galloway’s “Galloway and Company” program will air for the final time on KESN, Dallas today (10/7) as Cumulus Media takes over the operations of the Disney/ESPN-owned station. Galloway’s contract with ESPN runs out at the end of this year and the Dallas Star-Telegram reports that Galloway’s lawyer advised him that his ESPN contract is non-transferable so he gets paid for the rest of the year by leaving the program. If he were to say on with Cumulus, ESPN would be off the hook. Galloway – a Star-Telegram columnist – says he’s had discussions with ESPN about contributing on national issues but doesn’t say if anything has been agreed to.
Islanders Renew with Hofstra; Add Signal on Eastern Long Island. The NHL’s New York Islanders renew their deal for Hofstra University’s non-com WRHU, Hempstead to serve as the flagship station for the team’s games this season. In addition, Long Island-based JVC Broadcasting enters into an agreement with the club to air games on its rock WRCN, Riverhead, New York. The addition of WRCN gives the Isles a radio presence in the central and eastern Long Island areas. Hofstra dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, Evan Cornog, tells Newsday, “WRHU is a college radio station that holds itself to the highest professional standards, so we are delighted to enter into a fourth year as the flagship radio station for a great professional sports franchise, the New York Islanders.” JVC’s Matthew Goldapper adds, “JVC Broadcasting is incredibly proud to partner with Hofstra University and the New York Islanders to carry the games in Suffolk County. Residents from Islip to Montauk will now have the ability to listen to all of the action on 103.9 FM.”
Bruce DuMont to Seek New Executive Director for Museum of Broadcast Communications. After founding the Chicago-located Museum of Broadcast Communications, Bruce DuMont says he will recommend to the board of directors that it consider hiring an executive director or general manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of the organization. According to a story by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the 69-year-old DuMont will continue to serve as president and CEO of the non-profit that he founded in 1983. DuMont, who still hosts his weekly “Beyond the Beltway” political talk show from studios in the Chicago facility, says he intends to spend more time raising visibility and funds for the organization. The museum on North State Street re-opened last year after being closed for almost 10 years due to state funding and other fiscal problems that impeded construction of the $27 million building.
Odds & Sods. United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia tells New York Magazine that his favorite talk show host is (former Secretary of Education) Bill Bennett. In the piece, Scalia is asked about his media consumption and he says he gets most of his news while driving and cites Salem Radio Network’s Bennett as his favorite, “My good friend Bill Bennett. He’s off the air by the time I’m driving in, but I listen to him sometimes when I’m shaving. He has a wonderful talk show. It’s very thoughtful. He has good callers. I think they keep off stupid people.” Bennett says of Scalia’s comments, “I couldn’t be happier to know that ‘Morning in America’ is a part of Justice Scalia’s morning routine. Now, if we can just get four more of his colleagues to tune in before they put their robes on, maybe the country will be in better shape.”…..Sports talk personality Steve Hayward returns to Good Karma’s WAUK, Milwaukee hosting his daily 6:00 pm program after a year away from the mic due to health reasons. WITI-TV, Milwaukee reports Hayward has been suffering from cardiomyopathy, diabetes and kidney failure…..WTAG, Worcester morning drive host Paul Westcott sits in for Andy Dean on Premiere Networks‘ “America Tonight” show this evening (10/7).
WEEI Red Sox Radio Network “Believes” in Castiglione for Two More Seasons. With their team just one win away from advancing to the American League Championship Series in a miraculous turnaround campaign, Boston Red Sox fans are being made aware that play-by-play caller Joe Castiglione will be infusing his trademark “Can you believe it?” exclamation for at least two more years. The popular Castiglione has been a Red Sox fixture for 31 years. He will continue in his current role alongside Dave O’Brien through the 2015 season, in what Castiglione describes as, “the best job in New England.” Previous Red Sox play-by-play announcers have included such outstanding stalwarts as Curt Gowdy, Ned Martin, and Ken Coleman; however, Castiglione is the longest-tenured announcer in the team’s illustrious history. “From spring training, to opening day, to that famous final out in St. Louis in 2004, I have had the best seats in the house,” he remarks. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham adds, “Joe is more than a just broadcaster; he’s become as iconic as Fenway Park or the Green Monster. One of the reasons the Boston Red Sox are such a part of the fabric of New England is because of the work and the voice of Joe Castiglione.” Nominated earlier this week by The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for the Ford C. Frick Award, Castiglione has broadcast some of the most memorable moments in Red Sox history. He called Carl Yastrzemski’s last game in 1983; Roger Clemens’ 20-strikeout game; Dave Roberts’ steal in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees; and the Red Sox 2004 and 2007 World Series Championships.
Former CBS Radio Broadcaster W. Ron Sailor, Sr. Passes. Bishop W. Ron Sailor, Sr., Pastor of Christ the King Baptist Church and former radio personality at CBS Radio’s talk WAOK and urban contemporary WVEE “V-103” passed away on October 6 at age 63. Sailor originally worked for WAOK in 1971 and returned to the station in 2002 when it flipped to a news/talk format. Sailor won accolades for his television works as well winning local EMMYs Outstanding Commentator in the Southeastern United States three-times. He was the first African-American to serve as commentator for the evening news for a major southern television station on WSB-TV and also the first African-American to host an afternoon television program in Atlanta, when he hosted the “Backtalk” program on WXIA-TV.