News/Talk WGOW-FM, Chattanooga Cuts Ties with Jeff Styles. The longtime WGOW-FM, Chattanooga morning drive personality had been suspended by Cumulus Media after his arrest on aggravated assault charges stemming from a road rage incident on June 15. Now, after the station’s internal investigation, Jeff Styles has been let go from the news/talk outlet. A portion of the station’s statement says, “There is nothing more we can say about it because we do not know the specific considerations and scope of the internal investigation nor the specific findings of the internal investigation.” Styles recently launched a website dedicated to telling his side of the story. During the incident, Styles was shot in the arm by motorist Nickolas Bullington. On the JeffStylesAmerica.com site, he lays out his explanation of what happened during the confrontation with Bullington and displays Bullington’s history of court appearances and motor vehicle violations. Styles’ attorney had argued that there was no probable cause to charge Styles but the judge eventually bound the case over to a grand jury. WGOW-FM’s “The Morning Press” show is being hosted by Jim Reynolds and program director Kevin West.
WABC, New York Launches ‘Sid Sports Sunday’ Program. Beginning September 9, WABC, New York personality Sid Rosenberg debuts his new, weekly sports talk show, “Sid Sports Sunday” from 8:00 am to 10:00 am on Cumulus Media’s news/talk 77 WABC Radio. Rosenberg co-hosts the station’s “Bernie and Sid in the Morning” program with Bernard McGuirk. The station says the show “is created with the listener’s sports needs at its epicenter – from expert fantasy picks, to incredible player interviews, to live look-in’s at stadiums across the country.” Cumulus Media New York VP/market manager Chad Lopez adds, “Our listeners and our advertisers have been begging for Sid to contribute to New York’s explosive sports conversation with more regularity. ‘Sid Sports Sunday’ will cover it all every week.” Rosenberg says, “I’m so proud of the work we do daily on the ‘Bernie and Sid in the Morning’ show. There is no better variety show in the country. But it is no secret that I wanted to get back to my roots and host a serious sports show. I want to thank Chad Lopez and [program director] Craig Schwalb for this wonderful opportunity.”
Annual WEEI-NESN Jimmy Fund Radiothon Raises More Than $4.4 million. This year’s fundraiser was the 16th annual to benefit the Boston-based Jimmy Fund that supports adult and pediatric cancer care and research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. WEEI launched the fundraiser in 2002, regional sports cable channel NESN joined the cause in 2003. This year’s event helped raise more than $4.4 million and, to date, the “WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon” has raised more than $53 million. Entercom Boston regional president and market manager Mark Hannon says, “The Jimmy Fund makes significant contributions to those battling cancer in the Boston area and we are proud to support its efforts through this yearly event. It is an honor for our team to give back to the community by raising funds on behalf of the organization and we are blown away by the incredible generosity of WEEI listeners who make this event so successful year in and year out.”
Rich Brody to Wrap 45-Year Sales Career This October. Currently serving as an account executive for Beasley Media Group’s classic hits WROR-FM, Boston, Richard Brody will retire from the radio business on October 26 after 45 years of service to the Boston radio industry. The company says that in addition to being an “extraordinary and award-winning sales professional,” Brody is known as “a great mentor and friend, and fierce advocate for the radio industry as a whole.” During his career, Brody hosted a jazz program on WCAS, Cambridge and worked in the sales department at Boston stations including: WCOZ, WBCN, WVBF, WXKS “Kiss 108,” Mix 98.5 (now Mix 104.1), WZLX, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” and, of course, WROR. Beasley Media Boston GSM Jesse Carbone says, “When Richard Brody walked into my office a couple of weeks ago and said he was ready to retire, at first I didn’t believe him. I didn’t think Rich would ever stop working, but after a few minutes I realized it was in fact true. The guy who had spent more than four decades becoming a legend in the radio industry was finally ready to travel, visit family and friends, and hopefully sleep past 3:00 am. Throughout his career, Rich not only sold the stations for which he worked but he also championed the medium with unmatched passion. The radio industry will not be the same without him.”
Edison Research: 54% of Radio Listeners Hear Medium ONLY in the Car. This data point is one of a number from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” study that will be revealed during the company’s presentation at the NAB/RAB’s Radio Show in Orlando. As you can see in the infographic above, the younger a consumer gets, the more they only hear radio in the car. Find out more from Edison Research at its “Miles Different: In-Car Audio 2018” presentation on September 27 at 1:30 pm at the Radio Show.
NextRadio Available on New Samsung Galaxy Note9. The inclusion of an FM chip and the support for NextRadio by Samsung on its new Galaxy Note9 is thrilling for NextRadio, says NextRadio president Paul Brenner. “The launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note9 is especially exciting, as this model is a showcase for premium technology and industry-defining innovation. We look forward to the Galaxy Note9 being available to millions of users who will be able to listen to free radio on their phone in North America…Through the free NextRadio app, Galaxy Note9 consumers can listen to live, local radio stations. Also, when cellular coverage is congested or unavailable, the FM chip will provide life-saving information from local radio stations.”
iHeartMedia’s AUTOFLYTE EDGE Launched to Assist Auto Dealers in Marketing Decisions. This marketing tool for auto dealerships is a collaborative effort between iHeartMedia and AUTOFLYTE that features daily sales and market share data throughout each region to help dealerships market smarter and faster. iHeartMedia says, “In an age when real-time analytics and insights are vital to a business’ success, dealerships have been confined to analyzing OEM reports and 60- to 90-day-old registration data to guide their sales and marketing strategies. Now, for the first time, auto dealerships will be able to utilize iHeartMedia’s AUTOFLYTE EDGE tool to receive up-to-date, daily automotive sales insights from their surrounding area, allowing them to completely customize and quickly update their sales and marketing strategies based on current market dynamics and trends.” iHeartMedia EVP of automotive business developments & partnerships John Karpinski says, “We are committed to technology-driven innovation and having the ability to offer even more targeting solutions for our advertisers that leverage the unparalleled local reach of radio. AUTOFLYTE has partnered with the industry authority for automotive sales statistics to create the most powerful and credible insights tool available and we have partnered with AUTOFLYTE to bring this revolutionary technology to the market. With the new AUTOFLYTE EDGE platform, we will provide our auto partners the ability to break free from previous automotive marketing confinements and use timely information to precisely target new buyers.”
TALKERS News Notes. WPEN-FM, Philadelphia executive producer Eric Camille is promoted to assistant program director for the Beasley Media Group sports talker. Camille joined “97.5 The Fanatic” in 2009. Program director Eric Johnson says, “Eric Camille cares deeply about ‘The Fanatic.’ It shows in everything he does…whether it’s creating compelling imaging, making sure of all our on-air schedules are coordinated, or acting as a programming, sales and promotions liaison. It’s a privilege to have him on our team.”…..The Federal Communications Commission is getting into the podcast game with a new series called, “More Than Seven Dirty Words,” designed to educate and, as the press release says, “maybe even do the impossible: make telecom interesting.” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai comments, “One of the wonderful things about the digital age is the many ways to share information, so we’re excited to launch this new FCC podcast. What really has struck me during my time at the agency is the dedication that our staff has for the mission of the FCC, and I’m glad we’re able to shine a light on their efforts to make America a better, stronger place.” The podcast is hosted by FCC policy advisor Evan Swarztrauber. Guests will share their personal stories behind some of the headline-making news from the commission and break down issues across the spectrum of the FCC…..There are two management announcements from Midwest Communications as the company brings former NRG Media Omaha market manager Kurt Luchs aboard to oversee its five-station Kalamazoo cluster that includes news/talk WKZO and sports talk WQLR. Also in Michigan, Midwest appoints Mark Jaycox manager of the four-station Lansing group that includes sports talk WQTX-FM. Most recently, Jaycox was with Adams Outdoor’s Lansing office…..Kevin Gabbay joins news/talk 77 WABC, New York and the rest of the Cumulus Media New York cluster as director of marketing & promotions…..According to a report in Variety, ESPN is making some changes to the “Get Up!” morning program hosted by Mike Greenberg, Michelle Beadle, and Jalen Rose. The story says Beadle is exiting the show and re-locating to Los Angeles to focus on her other ESPN duties, including hosting “NBA Countdown.” Jalen Rose will continue to appear on “Get Up!” when his “NBA Countdown” duties allow. Greenberg exited the successful ESPN Radio “Mike & Mike” show to take on the role hosting mornings on the company’s flagship cable channel…..SiriusXM is broadcasting live coverage of the 2018 US Open Tennis Championships from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York…..Westwood One is continuing to urge all major commercial broadcast radio stations to register their existing C Band downlinks with the FCC before the Commission evaluates the 3.7-4.2 Ghz C Band for additional mobile broadband data services. These potential services could create insurmountable interference to programming that thousands of stations receive by satellite. The deadline for registration is now October 17, 2018. Typically, registration requires a Frequency Coordination Study ($1,500) plus a $435 filing fee. During the 90-day window, the FCC waived the first fee and only the $435 filing fee applies. It is possible the FCC will later charge the $1,500 study fee. Westwood One’s satellite provider, SES, has set aside a pool of funding to reimburse those broadcasters for whom the $435 registration fee is a hardship. This reimbursement is subject to the terms set by SES for earth stations registered between July 25, 2018 and October 17, 2018 in the continental United States. For questions, contact SES directly at FCCregistration@ses.com
John McCain’s Passing, Trump-Russia Investigation, Lanny Davis-CNN Story Controversy, Trump Announces U.S.-Mexico Trade Deal, Deadly Jacksonville Shooting, NFL Pre-season, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/27). The passing of Arizona Senator John McCain, the White House’s reaction, and speculation about who will fill his seat; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; Michael Cohen attorney Lanny Davis admits to being source of CNN story that claimed Trump had knowledge of Trump Tower-Russia meeting; President Trump announces steps toward new trade deal with Mexico; the aftermath of the deadly shooting at an egame competition in Jacksonville; the NFL’s pre-season; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Chuck Fredrick to Lead Cumulus Indianapolis. Former iHeartMedia Cincinnati market manager Chuck Fredrick is joining Cumulus Media as vice president and market manager for its Indianapolis cluster that includes CHR WYRG, country WFMS, and classic hits WJJK. Fredrick comments, “Grateful to Mary Berner and Dave Milner for giving me the opportunity to do what I love to do. I am especially excited about joining and partnering with the Indianapolis team, giving our best in all that we do.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Kansas City hot AC KZPT “99.7 The Point” announces its new morning show will be “Ponch & Nikki in the Morning” featuring Brian “Ponch” Hudgens and Nikki Vivas. Ponch joins the Entercom station after working for 17 years at Steel City Media’s crosstown CHR KMVX “MIX 93.3.” He says in a Facebook post, “I’m coming back to morning radio in Kansas City on ‘99.7 The Point!’ I will also continue my journey with Strange Music. Managing, promoting, and developing some of the best artists on the planet! Music and radio are two of my BIGGEST passions. Being able to do both, I am literally living my dream. As a bonus I get to do a morning show with one of my dearest/closest friends, Nikki Vivas!!!”…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Lou Lombardo is the new midday jock at Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rock WXRX, Rockford, Illinois. Lombardo previously worked at Cumulus Media’s alt rock WKQX, Chicago…..News about the new morning show at Community Broadcasters-owned alternative WZLB, Fort Walton Beach “103.1 The Blaze” is expected soon as station program director Wes Styles announces the station has ended its carriage of the “Bubba the Love Sponge” program. Styles comments, “We’re excited about the evolution of the station. A new logo, voice, and morning show. Things are happening at ‘THE BLAZE!’ And we are confident these changes will create a better listening experience for our devoted fans and an enhanced advertising environment for our clients.”…..Chicago radio pro LaMont Watts’ Future Vision Entertainment is buying two FM translators from Windy City Broadcasting for $3.5 million. They will be fed by an HD signal of SBS’ WLEY-FM and will air Watts’ “Clubsteppin” R&B format that currently airs online. The translators are W236CF, Chicago (atop the Willis Tower) and W236BF licensed to suburban Bolingbrook.
Logan adds WFTW Programming Duties. One-year hot AC WNCV “Coast 93.3” program director and morning talent “Logan” takes on similar responsibilities within the Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach (Florida) cluster for talk WFTW. Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “Logan has done an outstanding job since joining the Fort Walton Beach/Destin cluster. It has been a pleasure watching him work to make a significant impact in both ratings and revenue with WNCV. I am very excited we are recognizing his talent and affording him additional opportunities to grow with our company.” Corporate program director for news-talk-sports Jim Mahanay remarks, “I am excited anytime we can have a programmer with a fresh perspective enter the news/talk format. Logan has proven himself as a strong music PD and he now has that opportunity in news/talk.” Logan offers a “big thanks” to DeSimone, Mahanay, and Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay. “Cumulus has given me opportunities – I am going to grow with them,” Logan states. “I am a huge fan of the news-talk format, and I cannot wait to get audio from Michael Savage.” Prior to joining WNCV, “Logan” spent eight years as morning host/assistant program director/music director for Philadelphia hot AC WISX “Mix106.1.” His resume also includes stops in New York City at CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and in Dallas at hot AC KDMX.
Nielsen Audio Releases Final Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio July 2015 PPM ratings data has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. In addition, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods: This past Monday (8/3), Westwood One host Mark Levin surpassed the one-million level of Facebook “Likes.” His book, “Plunder and Deceit,” was released the following day (Tuesday, 8/4) and it has reached #1 on Amazon‘s “Best Seller” list…..In an October 13 simulcast with CNN, Westwood One will be the exclusive radio provider of coverage from the first Democratic primary debate of the 2016 presidential race. The debate will take place in Nevada, with exact location details to be announced later. CNN will serve as moderator and exclusive national broadcaster of that debate.
Rick Lewis Hits Quarter Century Mark Hosting “Talky” Mornings at Classic Rocker, KRFX, Denver. For over two decades the “Lewis & Floorwax Show” dominated the morning airwaves on iHeartMedia’s KRFX-FM (The Fox), Denver. The show was an excellent example of the widespread genre of music radio morning shows that lean heavily on pop cultural talk content. Suddenly in January of 2014, co-host Michael Floorwax retired from the airwaves, by his own choosing, due to an ongoing chronic health issue that began acting up. His co-host Rick Lewis was encouraged to keep the show going as it had a very loyal fan base and was an extremely dependable “revenue machine.” Lewis re-tooled the mostly spoken word show (that plays approximately two songs per hour), renamed it “The Rick Lewis Show” and forged ahead. Fans were happy and relieved that the show continued. Advertisers continued their support and The Rick Lewis Show has more than survived, it has thrived. Nielsen Audio spring PPM numbers indicate that “The Fox” is the market’s top station among adults 25-54. Ratings are up from 2014 and so is revenue. On July 31, 2015 Rick Lewis celebrated 25 years as the morning radio host at the station – a rarely achieved milestone in the radio industry. Lewis tells TALKERS, “I have many people to thank including my long-time friend and radio partner Kathy Lee who really stepped up her game. Thanks to my long-time partner Michael Floorwax for a helluva run, you are missed!” Lewis adds, “Also the support of the rest of the crew in the morning, Colfax, Dragon Redbeard and Robbyn Hart has been significant. Thanks also to Michael Harrison, a visionary man who gave me my first big break at KMET, Los Angeles in 1984. I was just out of college, working at that heritage radio station with some legendary radio performers. Mike believed in me and gave me my first full time job in LA.” Harrison recalls, “I recognized immediately that this earnest young man was the total package. He had movie star looks, a command of album rock and its culture, and most importantly the ability to adeptly punctuate his jock work with listener calls and artist interviews – a quality I always looked for in DJs during my rock PD days.” KRFX is the FM home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos and the multi-faceted Lewis also hosts the official Denver Broncos pre-game show every week during the football season. And if that isn’t enough Lewis has a band, The Rick Lewis Project, featuring some of the most acclaimed musicians in the region. As a drummer for the band, Lewis has played as opening act with legends such as BB King, James Brown, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Def Lepard, and The Who among others. When he is not on the radio or playing in his band, Lewis finds time to perform in the Denver area as a stand-up comic. He also recently shot a TV pilot called “Ride Away,” a motorcycle adventure show. The show is currently being shopped and produced by reality TV’s famous bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman and his wife Beth. Lewis believes “the secret to longevity in the business is to have many irons in the fire.” He tells TALKERS, “I still get up every morning and can’t wait to get behind the microphone and entertain the fans in Denver. For years, I always thought KMET in LA would be the pinnacle of my radio career, man was I wrong!”
Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q2 Results. Second quarter net revenue is up $1.1 million ($25.9 million to $27 million), but Beasley Broadcast Group‘s net income is off by $500,000 ($3 million to $2.5 million). This past December, Beasley and CBS Radio completed a 14-for-five swap involving three markets. CBS Radio acquired two Philadelphia stations (WRDW and WXTU), as well as three Miami outlets (WKIS, WPOW, and WQAM). In exchange, Beasley picked up one Philadelphia station (WIP-FM); six Tampa facilities (WHFS-AM, WHFS-FM, WLLD, WQYK, WRBQ, and WYUU); and seven Charlotte properties (WBAV, WBCN, WFNZ, WKQC, WNKS, WPEG, and WSOC). According to Beasley chair and chief executive officer George Beasley, the company’s second quarter results “reflect a continuation of recent overall industry and market trends.” On a pro forma basis, net revenue decreased 6.0% while SOI declined 8.4%. “The decline in pro forma revenue is primarily attributable to overall weakness in Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Wilmington [Delaware], which resulted in reduced operating leverage and ultimately impacted SOI,” Beasley comments. “We were able to partially offset the revenue decline, however, through cost reductions that resulted in a 4.9% – or $1 million – reduction in station operating expenses. We also made further progress on our debt reduction efforts during the quarter, while continuing our commitment to return capital to shareholders.” Addressing the station swap with CBS Radio, Beasley remarks, “It substantially broadened and diversified our local radio and marketing solutions platform. Since closing, we have been initiating strategies to extract operating and financial synergies. We are actively implementing integration, cost efficiency and operating plans while remaining true to our value proposition by focusing on targeted localism and delivering quality programming, effective online marketing solutions and dedicated service to listeners and advertisers in these markets.” As far as the future is concerned, he notes the company remains “focused on operating our station clusters to match or exceed their market’s revenue performance while further strengthening our balance sheet. We believe our integration, programming, personnel, cost-efficiency and operating changes are now showing progress.”
Barack Obama and Donald Trump were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio this Week. GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform Lead the Topics Discussed. According to TALKERS research, the just-concluding week of August 3-7, 2015 has been dynamic to say the least as the brewing interest in the presidential race of 2016 reached its first major boiling point with yesterday’s (8/6) long anticipated GOP debate(s) on the Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio gathering enormous attention and conversation. Other hot topics included the Iran nuke deal, ISIS activity, immigration reform, race relations, the Planned Parenthood funding issue, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the Nashville theater attack. To see the entire list of the week’s most talked about topics and people, please click here.
Michael Harrison Chats with Former FEMA Director (and Current KHOW, Denver Talk Host) Michael D. Brown as 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches. It was almost a decade ago (August 23-31, 2005) that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States with winds of up to 175 mph and flood waters of biblical proportions rising from the ocean and falling from the sky — leaving in its wake almost 1,900 fatalities, $108 billion in damages, and countless casualties and lives upended. Michael D. Brown – the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time and Under Secretary of Homeland Security (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) became the official poster boy for everything that went wrong with the federal government’s too-little-too-late response to one of the greatest disasters in American history. Some of the criticism that fell upon Brown was deserved – but much of it wasn’t. After all, it was an epic crisis and involved numerous overlapping agencies, governments, and politicians charged with making things right. Brown took a severe beating from the media as well as a proverbial bullet for the team and stepped down from his position with the Bush Administration. A lawyer by trade, Brown went on with his life, taking away an enormous amount of wisdom and experience from the episode. Undaunted, he began speaking to groups around the country about the insidious side of politics, and the human complexity of management and team play. He wrote a candid book about his role (and responsibility) in Katrina — Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond (Taylor Trade, 2011). He also began a successful talk show hosting career in Denver – first at KOA and then at KHOW, where he presently presides over a daily program 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm MT. In the newly posted installment of the weekly international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” (8/4), Brown is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about inside-Washington politics, the war on terror, the nature of the political mind, the psychological profile of presidents, the general state of media and journalism as well as what his life is like as a big market talk show host 10 years after Katrina. To hear this must-listen conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Cool Job Opportunity. Salem Radio in New York is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer,” which is news/talk format, and the legendary WMCA “AM570 The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.” Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills. This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America. Salem Media Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Sales experience involving media is a must. Undergraduate degree required. A unique opportunity to work closely with Jerry Crowley and Phil Boyce, two proven winners and innovators. For more information and to apply, click here.