wBEN-AM | TALKERS magazine - “The bible of talk media.” : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Tag: "wBEN-AM"

Thursday, March 25, 2021

| March 25, 2021

Cumulus Fires One and Suspends Two at WGRF-FM, Buffalo After Racists Remarks on ‘Morning Bull Show.’ One member of the “The Morning Bull Show” at Cumulus Media’s classic rock WGRF-FM, Buffalo “97 Rock” has been fired and two other members have been suspended after they did a bit that involved comparing the color of famous Black women’s skin to burnt toast. Spectrum News reports that Cumulus fired Rob Lederman and suspended Rich Gaenzler and Chris Klein. Gaenzler also lost his gig as arena announcer for Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bandits games and the University of Buffalo says Gaenzler will not be considered for stadium announcer next fall (a position he’s held in the past). At least two advertisers pulled their ads from the station as Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and the West Herr Auto Group canceled their current ad schedules. Cumulus issued the following statement: “Cumulus Media operates from a clearly defined set of programming principles and there is no question that Rob Lederman’s comments made on The Morning Bull Show are in direct violation of those principles. We swiftly terminated him and suspended the remainder of the show’s on-air talent. We apologize and deeply regret the incident.”

WBEN-AM, Buffalo Extends Bauerle and Bellavia Shows to Cover Limbaugh Daypart. According to a report in the Buffalo News, Entercom’s Buffalo news/talk WBEN-AM is going to fill the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart long occupied by “The Rush Limbaugh Show” by expanding the midday David Bellavia and afternoon drive Tom Bauerle shows. Beginning on April 5, the David Bellavia show air from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and Tom Bauerle’s program will air from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The station will add a 9:00 am to 10:00 am program hosted by AM drive co-host Brian Mazurowski and producer and fill-in host Joe Beamer. To fill the 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm hour created by Bauerle’s move, WBEN will air “The News Hour with Tom Puckett and the WBEN News Team.” Program director Tim Wenger says in a memo to staff, “This lineup gives us the ability to super-serve the market with the most compelling stories and topics on the minds of people in Buffalo and Western New York and establishes us as THE go-to outlet for full LIVE coverage all day long.”

Dana Loesch Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The leading female news/talk radio host in America, Dana Loesch, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Loesch has been syndicated by Radio America in the 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET time slot for the past seven years and is considered one of the leading players in a growing field of competitors seeking to be cleared on stations looking to fill the vacancy left by the passing of Rush Limbaugh. Loesch, a staunch conservative described as a “next generation” talker, is the author of three highly influential books: Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America (Hachette, 2015), Flyover Nation: You Can’t Run a Country You’ve Never Been To (Sentinel, 2016), and Grace Canceled: How Outrage is Destroying Lives, Ending Debate, and Endangering Democracy (Regnery, 2020). Harrison and Loesch discuss the state of the talk radio industry as it enters the post-Limbaugh era along with her views on the gun control debate in the wake of the latest wave of mass murders in the news.  They also tackle the big questions about the future of the Republican Party, Donald Trump and the conservative movement in America.  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 on every page of Talkers.com.  Don’t miss this!

Round Three of Nielsen Audio’s February PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s February 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s February 2021 sweep covered February 4 – March 3. All-news and news/talk stations that typically see a decline in listening following a presidential election kept the attention of listeners due to the chaos that followed the elections and that continued into the new year with the January 6 Capitol attack and the incoming Biden administration. In this report, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM drops from #1 to #2 after losing two-tenths to finish the February survey with a 6.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share). Urban One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte sheds 1.1 shares to finish with a 5.5 share and slides to the #4 rank. In Sacramento, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK remains ranked #1 even while losing six-tenths and wrapping the survey with a 9.6 share. There’s a second-place tie in Salt Lake City as iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-FM dips nine-tenths and Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM is flat – both posting 7.0 shares. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets – as well as the first two rounds – here.

Nielsen: Women Make Up 45% of Podcast Consumers; Kids & Family Most-Listened-To Genre. The new Podcasting Today report from Nielsen indicates that the top genre among female podcast listeners in the U.S. is ‘kids & family,’ with a 77% audience composition while true crime is fourth with a 60% audience composition (health & fitness and arts are second and third, respectively). The rest of the top 10 is: religion and spirituality (58%), education (54%), society and culture (53%), fiction (50%), and TV, film, and music (48%). “Perhaps what this tells us is that regardless of characteristics such as gender, podcasts listeners are a diverse group with diverse interests and that women are among the most voracious consumers of podcasts of all types and subjects.” Nielsen states, “Women are savvy consumers of news, information, and other media across devices. They also make up 45% of all podcast consumers over-indexing in podcasts across all genres. This is a coveted demographic for marketers and advertisers, as female-led households in the U.S. increased 41% in the last five years. No matter what media they’re consuming, truth, transparency, and real representation matter.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast deal is announced in which iHeartMedia partners with Will Packer Media for a slate of original scripted and unscripted podcasts to the iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartMedia says, “The new partnership builds on the success of the true crime podcast ‘Fight Night,’ which launched on the iHeartMedia platform in October 2020 and was co-produced by Will Packer and James Lopez, president of Will Packer Productions. ‘Fight Night’ examined one of Atlanta’s most infamous armed robberies from the night of Muhammad Ali’s historic 1970 return to boxing.”…..ABC Audio unveils its new podcast “Inside the Oscars,” hosted by ABC News’ Ginger Zee. ABC says the six-part series dives into everything listeners want to know in the one-month countdown to an Oscar Sunday that will be like no other, including how filmmaking and the way we enjoy movies has changed. The first episode of “Inside the Oscars” is available today (3/25) with new episodes posting Thursdays…..Entercom and Global Music Rights announce a long-term partnership that allows Entercom to perform GMR’s catalog of hit songs across all of its platforms. Entercom says the multi-year deal starts immediately and paves the way for a strong partnership between the rapidly growing audio content and entertainment platform and the boutique performing rights organization featuring some of music’s most talented hitmakers. Entercom chief David Field adds, “We are excited to partner with Irving [Azoff] and the team at GMR. They represent some of the top talent on radio today. The combination of Entercom’s reach and GMR’s music is a huge win for our audience.”

Biden’s Immigration Policy, COVID-19, Cuomo Troubles, Georgia Voting Bill-Dem’s For the People Act, Suez Canal Blocked, Deadly Boulder Shooting/Gun Control, Biden Press Conference, and Chinese Cotton Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24). The growing crush of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s response; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in some U.S. states, concern about variants, and vaccine rollouts; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is accused of giving his family priority in COVID testing, he faces allegations of sexual harassment, and engineering a cover-up over nursing home COVID deaths in the state; the Georgia bill that would restrict voting and the House Democrats’ For the People voting expansion bill; the freighter creating a roadblock in the Suez Canal; the slaying of 10 at a grocery in Boulder, Colorado and the larger issue of gun control; today’s first live press conference for President Joe Biden; and the allegation that Xinjiang cotton is made in Chinese detention camps were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

| January 12, 2021

Ramsey Solutions’ Ramsey+ Presents ‘RESET Live’ Tonight. This evening (1/12) at 8:00 pm ET, Ramsey Solutions’ Ramsey+ is presenting an “all-in-one financial guide called ‘RESET Live.'” Ramsey+ says, “Nearly half (46%) of Americans say their debt level creates stress. New Years’ resolutions are a first step to changing financial habits, but it takes a proven plan and small wins to get real peace of mind.” To take part in this free virtual event, viewers can RSVP to RESET Live by texting “RESET” to 33789 and tuning in at www.daveramsey.com/reset. Nationally syndicated radio host Dave Ramsey, bestselling authors Chris Hogan and Rachel Cruze, and Life.Church pastor Craig Groeschel will host the program in which viewers will discover how to: Develop discipline, get small wins with money right away, get out of debt for good, and build better money habits that last. Dave Ramsey says, “We’re looking in the rearview mirror at 2020, a year when so many families were completely devastated financially. Looking ahead, we need a reset – a time for families to leave behind what was lost and dream about what the future will look like. People need a plan for working their way out of debt, saving for the future and building wealth. More than that, they need hope, and that’s what this event is going to provide.” Ramsey Solutions says that Ramsey+ “has guided millions with an easy-to-follow, personalized plan for their money. Members learn Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps, which start with saving for an emergency fund. Within the first 90 days, the average Ramsey+ member saves $2,700 and pays off $5,300 in debt.” A Ramsey+ membership comes with access to online financial courses like Financial Peace University, the EveryDollar budgeting tool, the goal-tracking BabySteps app, virtual and in-person classes and communities, and more. People can start a free trial of Ramsey+ by visiting www.daveramsey.com/ramsey-plus.

‘Our American Stories’ Hits 300-Affiliate Milestone. The nationally syndicated program “Our American Stories” announces it has hit the milestone 300-affiliate mark as it welcomes iHeartMedia’s KEIB, Los Angeles “The Patriot”; Entercom’s WBEN-AM, Buffalo; KJCE, Austin; WILK-AM/FM, Wilks-Barre/Scranton; Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland; and Townsquare Media’s KLXX-AM, Bismarck, North Dakota, and more. The program is produced and syndicated by American Private Media and is hosted by CEO Lee Habeeb. He says, “At a time when talk radio is top heavy with what divides us as Americans, listeners are responding to our nightly program that celebrates what brings us together. America is a good and beautiful country – not a perfect country, but a good and beautiful one – and we celebrate the stories that made us who we are each and every day. ‘Our American Stories’ really is about who we are, revealing what President Lincoln called the better angels of our nature. The news mostly focuses on what isn’t working in life and the bad things that happen each day. Our show is an antidote to that, a place to be inspired and moved and to learn.”

‘The Dana Show’ to Air on KVI, Seattle.  The Radio America-syndicated talk radio program “The Dana Show” – hosted by Dana Loesch – is joining the program schedule at Sinclair Broadcast Group’s news/talk KVI, Seattle, effective tonight (1/12). “The Dana Show” takes over the slot previously held by “The Savage Nation.” KVI program director Rick Van Cise says, “We are excited to welcome Dana to KVI, America’s first conservative talk station! Her unique perspective shines a bright light on the issues that matter most to conservatives and their families.” Dana Loesch appears regularly on FOX News Channel and has provided election analysis for ABC, CNN, and FOX. She’s appeared on HBO and has co-hosted “The View.”

CES2021: Finally, You Can Attend!  It’s massive, it’s mind-boggling. You’ve heard so much about the Consumer Electronics Show, but you just couldn’t get to Las Vegas for a week in January. Each year, consultant Holland Cooke has, and he’s reported here. “Lately,” he reckons, “everyone but rioters are avoiding crowds,” and CES has gone-virtual. HC explains how you can attend, and why broadcasters should. Read it here.

Ben Ferguson and iHeartMedia Enter into Deal for Podcast and Weekend Show. Talk radio host Ben Ferguson and iHeartMedia are entering into a relationship that will make Ferguson’s “Ben Ferguson Podcast” available on the iHeartPodcast platform and his three-hour weekend talk radio program joins Premiere Networks. Ferguson’s radio program – airing live Sundays from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm – currently is heard in markets including Dallas, Miami, Minneapolis, Denver, and Baltimore. He says, “This is a significant milestone in my career. Partnering with iHeartRadio and Premiere Networks is like being called up to play in the majors. Working with the best in the business has always been my dream and now I get to do what I love in radio and podcasting with a brilliant team behind me!”

TALKERS News Notes. News/talk KFOR and sports talk KLMS, Lincoln, Nebraska sports director Jeff Motz is named 2020 Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. Motz joined Alpha Media’s KFOR in 2006 as a news anchor/reporter and backup sportscaster and earned the title of sports director for KFOR and KLMS in 2013. Motz has also earned numerous gold level and first place awards in sports, news, and severe weather coverage from the Associated Press and Nebraska Broadcasters Association. He has also been the television play-by-play voice of Nebraska Wesleyan University football and basketball since 2006 and is a member of the Nebraska School Activities Association’s media advisory committee…..FOX Sports Radio reports that it has achieved record, year-end audience gains across multiple digital platforms. The FOX Sports Radio Podcast Network garnered more than 221 million podcast listens in 2020, more than doubling the total from 2019. On the streaming front, FSR experienced its best month of all time in the most recent survey, with total listening hours increasing +62% year-to-year…..Entercom announces the launch of “BetQL Countdown to Kickoff,” a six-episode series of special NFL playoff programming in partnership with recently acquired sports data and iGaming affiliate platform QL Gaming Group. Led by Nick Kostos of RADIO.COM Sports and host of the platform’s “You Better You Bet” podcast, as well as sports broadcaster Sara Perlman, “BetQL Countdown to Kickoff” serves as previews of the weekend’s upcoming games featuring a mix of sports gambling insight…..Cadence13, a premium podcast company that is part of Entercom’s Podcast Network, and NBA veteran JJ Redick and Tommy Alter’s ThreeFourTwo Productions announces a new weekly podcast called “The Long Shot,” hosted by Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson and former teammate and longtime friend Davis Reid…..“Hard Factor” and Podcast Ad Reps announce an exclusive sales representation agreement for the daily news podcast. “Hard Factor” is hosted by Mark Borghi, Pat Cassidy, Will Smith, and Wes Shephard, and “focuses on giving the day’s news in a funny and engaging manner without political bias.” “Hard Factor” was launched as a part of the ‘Barstool News Network’ in December of 2018, but exited Barstool to proceed as an independent podcast for 2021…..Frankie Boyer, founder and host of the Frankie Boyer Radio Shows, announces expansion of her “Frankie Boyer Lifestyle Show” on WADK, Newport, Rhode Island. It replaces the Clark Howard Show and is heard weekdays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..New York Public Radio names Rebecca Kaplan Haase senior vice president of sponsorship. She was most recently overseeing sales and content distribution at Hearst Communications’ King Features. Prior to that, she spent 11 years at The Washington Post, where “she helped build a robust, multi-platform advertising sales operation that successfully shepherded the organization through one of the most challenging periods in its history.”

Urban One Prices $825 Million in Senior Secured Notes. Media firm Urban One announces that it has priced an offering of $825 million in aggregate principal amount of its 7.375% senior secured notes due 2028. These notes will bear interest semi-annually at a rate equal to 7.375% per annum and were offered at par value. Urban One says that net proceeds from the offering, to be used together with cash on hand, will be used to repay or redeem the loans outstanding under that certain Credit Agreement, dated as of April 18, 2017, the Company’s 8.750% Senior Secured Notes due December 2022, the Company’s 7.375% Senior Secured Notes due 2022, and the loans outstanding under that certain Credit Agreement, dated as of December 4, 2018. The offer is expected to close on or about January 25, 2021.

Democrats Pursue Impeachment, Biden Inauguration Prep/State Capitols on Guard, Capitol Riot Investigation/Arrests, Social Media and the Capitol Attack, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines/WHO Herd Immunity Declaration, and Belichick Turns Down Medal of Freedom Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/11). Democrats in Congress announce intent to pursue impeachment of Donald Trump; the strategic preparation for Joe Biden’s inauguration and concerns at state capitols about attacks on them; the investigation into the Capitol riot and the ongoing arrests of participants; social media platforms boot Trump, others and Parler is removed from several app stores; the fast-rising number of COVID cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the WHO’s declaration that herd immunity won’t be achieved this year; and Patriots coach Bill Belichick turns down Presidential Media of Freedom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

| July 21, 2020

David Bellavia Named WBEN-AM, Buffalo Late Morning Host. The replacement for longtime WBEN-AM, Buffalo 9:00 am to 12:00 noon personality Sandy Beach is former afternoon drive co-host David Bellavia. Beach is retiring at the end of this month after a long career on the Buffalo airwaves. Bellavia co-hosted the Entercom news/talk station’s afternoon drive program with Tom Bauerle from 2016 through 2019, at which time he took a leave from the station to tour the country on behalf of the U.S. Army following his receipt of the prestigious Medal of Honor. Bellavia is a former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant who joined the United States Army in 1999. He’s been awarded the Silver Star for his actions during the Second Battle of Fallujah, the Bronze Star, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross. He says, “I have a deep respect for Sandy Beach and am truly humbled to have my own program on WBEN. My goal is to completely reinvent how local talk radio is perceived and make WBEN the place where Buffalo comes together to start their day.”

Entercom Amends Credit Agreement. The company announces that is has entered into an agreement to amend the financial covenants and other provisions under its Credit Agreement solely for the benefit of its revolver lenders. During the covenant relief period, which extends through December 31, 2021, unless terminated earlier by Entercom, the Amendment provides for a covenant holiday for the quarters ending September 30, 2020 and December 31, 2020, among other modifications. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “We are pleased to announce this credit facility amendment, which addresses the significant impact that COVID-19 has had on the economy and our advertising revenues. As previously announced, we have taken a number of actions to reduce costs and enhance our business model to both weather the storm and emerge stronger. We ended the second quarter in a strong liquidity position with $208 million of cash on-hand, up from $189 million at the end of March. During the 2nd quarter, we saw sequential month-over-month improvement in our revenue performance from April and we see the same pattern of month-over-month improvement in our pacing data for the 3rd quarter. Entercom is well positioned to fully participate in the recovery and the attractive growth opportunities in the audio space, with strong leadership positions in broadcast radio and podcasting, the fastest growing digital audio platform, unparalleled leadership in news and sports, and strong data and analytics capabilities. We will provide further comments on our performance and the outlook for the 3rd quarter during our 2nd quarter earnings call on August 7.”

June 2020 Analysis: Cume & Coronavirus. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents part one of a look at how cume (based on Nielsen Audio data from the June 2020 PPM survey) is shaking out for radio stations during the COVID-19 pandemic with today’s focus on the all-news format. Kinosian’s previous four analyses from the June 2020 survey have used weekly AQH share as the metric. Entercom’s WINS-AM, New York was the highest cume all-news station during the June PPM survey with 1.09 million. You can see how the rest of the nation’s all-newsers fared as well as rankings of all-news outlets based on cume increases from May 2020 to June 2020; stations by cume market rank; and more. See it all here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, GOP Stimulus Plan, NJ Judge’s Son Slain, Presidential Election, Portland Protests, St. Louis Couple Charged, and Sports Leagues Openings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/20). The rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous states and the projections for future cases; the battle between President Trump and GOP lawmakers in crafting a new stimulus plan; the shooting death of Judge Esther Salas’ son and the hunt for his killer; the November presidential race and the controversy over election procedures; the protests in Portland and President Trump’s use of federal troops in the city; a St. Louis couple is charged with weapons violations after aiming guns at protestors; and the attempts by U.S. pro sports leagues to start or continue their seasons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk personality Freddie Coleman re-ups with ESPN on a multi-year deal to keep him co-hosting the evening ESPN Radio show “Freddie and Fitzsimmons” with Ian Fitzsimmons. Coleman says, “I have been blessed beyond compare to have been with ESPN Radio for 16 years and that I will have a chance to add to it humbles me beyond words. To continue to keep loving what I do and doing what I love at ESPN Radio is something that I never take for granted.”…..Washington, DC sport talk outlet WSBN “ESPN 630 – The Sports Capitol” is joining the Virginia Sports Radio Network. Jake McCann is vice president and market manager for station owner Cumulus Media, he says, “We are thrilled to be the Washington D.C. area’s home for all the University of Virginia’s football and men’s basketball games. The school has a great tradition of excellence in athletics and in the classroom. There are many alumni in the area who will be delighted to hear the games as well as exclusive content we will be providing on ‘ESPN 630-The Sports Capitol.’”…..iHeartMedia and Tenderfoot TV are expanding their relationship to collaborate on nine new iHeartRadio Original Podcasts to air now through 2022. The deal kicks off with the second season of “Sworn,” Tenderfoot TV’s criminal justice system podcast that exposes the untold stories and hard truths behind major cases. Additionally, new investigative series podcasts for the slate will include “MLK Tapes,” produced in partnership with author Bill Klaber, co-creator of “The RFK Tapes,” set to premiere January 2021; and the next installment of the “Monster” podcast series, which has over 100 million downloads with the success of “Atlanta Monster” followed by “Monster: The Zodiac Killer,” “Monster Presents: Insomniac” and “Monster: D.C. Sniper,” set to debut early next year.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The iHeartRadio Music Festival is on this year – its 10th – but the show will be enjoyed by fans remotely. It’s being hosted by Ryan Seacrest will feature live performances recorded on stages in Los Angeles and Nashville in front of a virtual audience that will include a Capital One Fan Wall of iHeartRadio station winners. The two-day festival will be streamed on The CW App, and CWTV.com, and broadcast on iHeartMedia stations nationwide on September 18 and 19 at 9 pm ET. The CW Network will broadcast the two-night televised iHeartRadio Music Festival on Sunday, September 27 (8:00 pm -10:00 pm ET) and Monday, September 28 (8:00 pm -10:00 pm ET). Artists performing will include: BTS, Coldplay, Kane Brown, with Special Guests Khalid, Keith Urban, Migos, Miley Cyrus, Thomas Rhett, Usher and more…..Neuhoff Media promotes Mike Shamus to vice president and general manager for its Lafayette, Indiana station group. Shamus was previously vice president of programming, cluster OM, and PD for country WKOA-FM. Company CEO Beth Neuhoff says, “Shamus, as we all know him, is an exceptional leader. His work with our award-winning programming team demonstrated his capacity for team building and getting the best out of people. When this position came available, he was the natural choice. I know he will lead this market to a new level.”…..Beasley Media’s classic rock WCSX-FM is working to raise $50,000 for Gleaners Food Bank. Morning show host Big Jim from Big Jim’s House will drive 27 hours on a rockin’ road trip from Detroit to Minnesota to raise the money with help from legendary artist Bob Seger. Big Jim will drive a Chevy truck (provided by Chevrolet) from Detroit to the North Star Bar in Minnesota where Bob Seger reportedly stopped and had a drink in his song, “Roll Me Away.” Big Jim will leave for Minnesota on Thursday, July 23rd and upon his return to the Motor City, Bob Seger and Chevrolet will make a $50,000 donation to Gleaners Food Bank of Detroit.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

| July 16, 2020

Newsmax TV Shows Impressive Audience Gains. The Newsmax TV service has been rolling out new programming and has seen ratings triple over the last six months, becoming one of if not the fastest-growing cable news channel in the U.S. In a piece published by TALKERS magazine today (7/16), executive editor Kevin Casey writes that “the service from multi-platform news organization Newsmax Media has shown notable growth in the first half of 2020 in terms of audience increase and programming development in the highly competitive OTT [over-the-top] arena.” As Newsmax TV’s ratings show impressive increases, the company tells TALKERS its insurgent news channel is on course to overtake FOX Business Network (FBN) in viewership by the end of this year. Newsmax TV has already surpassed established brands like C-SPAN and Bloomberg TV and is closing in on FBN, which sits at 6.5 million in weekly reach. The network’s weekly household reach went from less than one million in 2019 to more than 3.5 million households, according to most recent Comscore data. Read the whole story here.

Report: DOJ Allows Liberty Media to Increase Stake in iHeartMedia. According to a story in Politico, the Department of Justice is agreeing to let Liberty Media add to its current 5% stake in iHeartMedia, allowing it to acquire up to 50% of its shares. The piece notes that Liberty Media also owns a controlling stake in SiriusXM Satellite Radio (which recently acquired Pandora) as well as a 33% stake in Live Nation Entertainment. A number of consumer advocate groups had opposed the deal saying it would be “likely catastrophic” on radio markets.

Rico Beard Joins Mike Valenti on WXYT-FM, Detroit. Motor City sports media pro Rico Beard is joining Entercom’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit for the afternoon drive program. The station says Beard will be heard alongside Mike Valenti on “The Mike Valenti Show with Rico,” weekdays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, beginning August 3. Mike Sullivan has been a producer and on-air contributor for the program since 2014. His last day at the station will be July 31. Entercom Detroit president and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Rico’s immeasurable experience covering all avenues of the Detroit sports scene has granted him a front row ticket to some of the biggest stages in sports. Rico has been on our wish list of talent to join our team for quite some time and we look forward to him joining Mike Valenti in offering a dynamic afternoon show for our listeners. We thank Mike Sullivan for his contributions to the team and wish him all the best in his new endeavor.” During his career, Beard has served as a host of “The Spartan Beat” podcast as well as a co-host of “The Ryan and Rico Show” for ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ He also worked on air at WJBK-TV, Detroit and WSYM-TV, Lansing.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the sports talk format. Without live sports since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports talk format has suffered in the monthly PPM ratings. Compared to the May 2020 survey, just 16% of sports talk stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers go up while 73% were down. The starkest comparison is June 2019 to June 2020 in which 19% of stations managed to improve while 75% of sports talk stations declined. In this case, iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis is the outlier posting a gain of 1.5 shares to finish June with a 5.6 share and climbs from the #12 rank to #7. Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia is the highest-ranked sports talker in the PPM markets during the June survey, posting a 4.7 share good for the #6 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete analysis here.

NPR Acknowledges Audience Hit from COVID-19 Pandemic. In a story by David Folkenflik at NPR.org, the extent of the ratings hit that NPR programming has taken since commuters largely vanished back in March is revealed. The story indicates that broadcast ratings for the network’s radio programs show they lost nearly 25% of their listeners. NPR senior director of audience insights Lori Kaplan says, “We anticipated these changes. This kind of change was going to take place over the next decade. But the pandemic has shown us what our future is now.” She says research shows the NPR audience is disproportionately made up of professionals who are working from home and appear to want to continue to do so after the pandemic is over.

Sandy Beach to Retire from WBEN-AM, Buffalo. Longtime Buffalo talk radio personality Sandy Beach is retiring from the station at the end of this month. The Buffalo News reports that Beach is wrapping his 23-year stint hosting the late morning show (9:00 am to 12:00 noon) on Entercom’s WBEN-AM, Buffalo at the end of this month. Sandy Beach’s career in Buffalo goes back to 1968 when he became part of the lineup at legendary CHR outlet WWKB-AM (then WKBW-AM). It’s also notable that Beach is enshrined in three halls of fame: the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

SportsGrid Radio’s Scott Ferrall to Air on ‘The Mightier 1090’ in San Diego. When XEPRS-AM, San Diego returns talk programming to its signal at “The Mightier 1090” – operated by advertising executive Bill Hagen – sports talk personality Scott Ferrall will be part of the station’s talent pool. Ferrall – part of the Elvis Duran Group’s specialized talent roster – is being syndicated by SportsGrid Radio Network (formerly the Fantasy Sports Radio Network). When the station begins the new format, it will air “Ferrall Coast to Coast” live from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and “Ferrall on the Bench” live from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Ferrall comments, “Returning to XEPRS is an amazing opportunity for me to reconnect with my loyal Southern California fans, many of whom have become friends through the years. Sun, fun and sports are my passion and I jumped at the opportunity to work with the Southern California flagship station to create a dynamic experience for our fans. I’m honored to bring back my gnarly, irritating, annoying, old leather voice to 1090 AM for many years to come. Shake it up!!”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report in Politico, President Trump has appointed Salem Media Group talk radio host (and former Trump aide) Sebastian Gorka to a four-year term on the National Security Education Board – which oversees the National Security Education Program that Politico reports “was created in 1991 to promote a pool of U.S. citizens fluent in foreign languages and skilled in international affairs.” Gorka worked in the White House for eight months, leaving in August of 2017…..According to a report published by Breitbart, the San Francisco police department has opened an investigation into death threats against Westwood One syndicated talk show host Michael Savage. The story says Savage received “two threats in the last seven days — one by postcard to his San Francisco home on July 10 and the second via Guerrilla Mail, an email address service where received emails are deleted after one hour.”…..Chicago media reporter Robert Feder writes that Midway Broadcasting’s news/talk WVON will be incorporating content from iHeartMedia’s new BIN: Black Information Network into its news programming. BIN programming is currently airing on WVAZ-HD2 in Chicago. Midway chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper says, “WVON is hyperlocal, but what impacts Black America impacts us here in Chicago, where we represent one-third of the city’s population. Enhanced news is needed and iHeart’s timing is perfect.”…..ESPN reports that its ESPN Podcasts experienced 42.7 million downloads during the month of June, the eighth month in the last nine with a total of 40 million or more. The figure represents a 31% increase over June 2019. ESPN also says that according to The Podtrac Podcast Category Audience Rankings, in the sports podcast category ESPN has 11 of the top 30 podcasts, with “The Dan LeBatard Show” finishing as the third ranked podcast in the sports category…..Virtual News Center announces that Camellia City Communications’ WTHO, Thomson, Georgia is now using its services. WTHO now features the work of reporter Darrell Moody in its daily newscasts.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Navarro-Fauci Spat, Fall School Debate, Twitter Hack, Trump Tax Returns, Presidential Race/Primary Elections, Washington Redskins Name Change, and Sports Leagues Opening Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15). The spiking COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; the sparring between White House trade official Peter Navarro and Dr. Tony Fauci; the ongoing debate over opening schools this fall; the hack of Twitter accounts belonging to high-profile users Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Bill Gates and others; lawyers for President Trump continue to fight the SCOTUS ruling he must turn his tax returns over to the Manhattan district attorney; the presidential race and this week’s primary races in Alabama, Maine, and Texas; the NFL’s Washington Redskins agree to change their name; and the various U.S. pro sports leagues prepare to begin playing games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Groundbreaking Talk Radio Consultant and Talent Coach Bill McMahon Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  TALKERS magazine will celebrate its 30th anniversary on July 23 and talent coach Bill McMahon, who was featured as “The TALKERS Interview” in its first (print) issue, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” McMahon was one of the most influential talk radio consultants in the early years of the format’s modern era – which many historians credit as beginning with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 and the subsequent rise of Rush Limbaugh. McMahon, founder and CEO of The Authentic Personality Biz based in Boise, Idaho, started out as a radio salesman in the 1970s and then rose through the ranks to manage and set the programming vision for highly successful personality-oriented talk stations KIRO, Seattle and KSDO, San Diego. He went on to provide programming consulting services to many of America’s most successful talk radio stations and personalities.  In 1988, he created the first formal training system for radio air personalities and program directors (also titled The Authentic Personality™ ) which is a method that identifies the common elements of great radio performances regardless of style or content. Over the years, nearly 1,000 air personalities and program directors from stations owned by the most successful broadcasting companies in the United States and Great Britain have participated in Authentic Personality™ seminars/workshops. McMahon has personally conducted hundreds of individual coaching sessions with great (and not so great) radio air personalities using his training concepts and methods.  These include Rush LimbaughDr. Laura SchlessingerKidd KraddickJeff ElliottMichael Harrison and Johnny Vaughan just to name a handful. In this podcast, Harrison and McMahon take a deep dive into the 14 basic traits possessed by successful radio talk show hosts and provide a panoramic view of radio’s past, present, and future.  Don’t miss this!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the aftermath of Nick Cannon’s anti-Semitic remarks on his podcast, his firing from his MTV show by ViacomCBS, and his subsequent apology, he’s taking time away from his radio shows. He says via Facebook: “Morning radio family. I have decided to take some time away from my radio show so I can commit myself to deeper, more thorough reflection and education. I will use this time to establish an action plan towards real, impactful change and advocacy aimed at bringing people together. I continue to express my gratitude to the Rabbis, community leaders, and institutions who have reached out to me to help enlighten me. Their input and friendship will help me as I further commit myself to more profound learning and towards strengthening the bond between the Black and Jewish cultures every day going forward.” Cannon hosts mornings on Muerelo Media’s KPWR, Los Angeles as well as a syndicated afternoon show. Syndicator Skyview Networks says, “Nick Cannon has begun a period of self-reflection to address the pain he caused, and while we recognize his apology, this time is needed to establish an action plan towards real change and advocacy.  During this period, production of the ‘Nick Cannon Radio’ show will pause. Skyview Networks values all communities and faiths and we expect all programs and personalities we syndicate to adhere to these principles.” While Skyview syndicates the program, Cannon is the executive producer in collaboration with Ncredible Productions and Meruelo Media…..iHeartMedia promotes Carson to program director for country WNCB-FM, Raleigh “B93.9.” She has been serving as music director and midday host and she takes over the PD role from Carletta Blake, who moved to the PD position at the company’s country WGAR-FM, Cleveland…..iHeartMedia Memphis Gospel outlet WHAL-FM “95.7 Hallelujah FM” is hosting its Virtual Hallelujah Summer Jam tomorrow (7/17) at 7:00 pm. The station says the event will bring together the top gospel artists in the industry for a night of praise and fellowship on-air via “95.7 Hallelujah FM,” HallelujahFM.com and on Facebook Live. The event is made possible with support from Cricket Wireless, MidSouth Transplant Foundation, and Plummer Financial.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

| February 26, 2020

WKNR, Cleveland Suspends Browns Reporter for Baker Mayfield Remark. Cleveland Browns reporter Tony Grossi has been suspended by Good Karma Brands’ WKNR-AM “ESPN Cleveland” after referring to Brown’s quarterback Baker Mayfield as a “f*#king midget” during a commercial break.  A hot mic caught his comments during the live airing of “TheLandOnDemand” from the NFL scouting combine.  Good Karma apologized and said it will engage in sensitivity training for its staff.  Meanwhile, Grossi issued an apology in which he said, in part, “There’s no excuse for using that language in any context.  It was said without malice but also without thought.  It is well known that Baker and I have had our differences, and in the course of this experience, I’ve had to question my role in the erosion of the relationship. I have always endeavored to report and comment on him fairly, and am shaken by these events.”

Entercom Promotes Holly to Market Manager for Buffalo Station Group. Sales pro J. Timothy Holly rises from vice president of sales to senior vice president and market manager for Entercom’s Buffalo cluster that includes news/talk WBEN-AM, sports talkers WGR-AM and WWKB-AM, plus four music brands.  Holly takes over for Greg Ried, who exited the company in January.  Entercom regional president and president of sales operations Michael Doyle comments, “I am excited to promote Tim Holly from vice president of sales where he has done an outstanding job of creating an innovative and successful approach to solving our clients’ needs.   With our outstanding and unique portfolio of audio assets, including great radio and digital brands, leading local sports coverage via partnerships with the Buffalo Bills and Sabres, and some of the largest live events in Buffalo, Tim has shown that he can lead our team of professionals in Western New York to grow and thrive.”

Entercom Names Idil Cakim to New SVP Research and Insights Post. In this new senior vice president of research and insights position with Entercom, Idil Cakim will “lead the company’s business-to-business strategy and audio insights practice, with a focus on building perspectives, ideas, and client strategies.”  She will report to Paul Suchman, chief marketing officer and will work closely with chief revenue officer Bob Philips and EVP of corporate business development Tim Murphy.  She was most recently with Nielsen, where she served as vice president of media analytics consulting.  Paul Suchman says, “Idil’s deep experience across media platforms and complex data sets will greatly enrich our ability to deliver actionable insights and even more powerful audio strategies to our clients.  Her ability as a storyteller will help bolster the narratives we bring to market.  We’re thrilled to welcome Idil to our leadership team.”

TALKERS News Notes. Talk host and author Todd Starnes is scheduled to deliver a speech and take part in a panel discussion on the First Amendment at CPAC 2020, taking place today through Saturday (2/26-29).  Starnes hosts his Hamilton Strategies nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Radio Show” that he’ll broadcast live from the event’s radio row…..The FOX News organization is planning its continuing coverage of the Democratic primary race as FOX News Channel will provide live coverage of South Carolina’s primary results on Saturday (2/29) from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.  Chief political anchor and “Special Report” host Bret Baier will anchor the two-hour special, “Democracy 2020: South Carolina Primary.”  Additionally, FOX News Radio will provide live national network coverage of the primary with hourly updates from FNR’s team of reporters. FOX News Podcasts will also offer a special edition of the “FOX News Rundown” leading into the evening while FOX News Headlines 24/7 will provide live Democracy 2020 updates every 15 minutes during the primary…..WNBF, Binghamton, New York news anchor and talk host Bob Joseph celebrates his 40th anniversary with the Townsquare Media news/talk station.  Joseph – who also hosts the late morning talk show “Binghamton Now” – was hired by the station as a part-timer while still a teenager.  He became a full-time news reporter anchor on February 18, 1980…..Sun Broadcast Group announces its expanded and restructured affiliate relations team led by Boston-based VP of programming & affiliate relations, Rich O’Brien.  The staff includes: New York-based senior affiliate content manager Southwest, Alex Quintero; Cleveland-based senior affiliate content manager Northeast, Ryan Verardi, affiliate content manager Southeast, Gary James, and affiliate content manager Midwest, Andrew Scaglione; and Los Angeles-based affiliate content manager West, Ed Moloney…..Broadcast Pix announces that Jeff Adams joins the company as product manager.  In this position he’ll lead the business and product development of new RadioPix visual radio systems.  He says, “I’m very excited to join the team at Broadcast Pix and be a part of their unique approach to simplifying live radio broadcasting.”

RTDNA Unveils New Look. The Radio Television Digital News Association unveils its new-look logo, saying it “reflects both the association’s origins and its continuing mission as a hub for the leading innovators in broadcast and digital news.”  The RTDNA adds, “This new imagery signifies the association and foundation’s continuing commitment to pushing the broadcast and digital news industry forward through training, advocacy and honors.  Over the next year, RTDNA members can expect to find new and updated resources on RTDNA.org, expanded in-person and online training opportunities and a redesigned curriculum at the annual conference.”  Executive director Dan Shelley says, “RTDNA is proud to be a community and resource for more members than at any point in our modern history.  At a time when journalism is under threat, our members continually demonstrate that they are leaders and innovators working every day to better each other, the industry and their communities across the country through responsible local journalism.”

PodcastOne and A&E Present ‘PD Stories’ Podcast. Building on the success of their work together producing six seasons of “Cold Case Files: The Podcast,” A&E and PodcastOne are expanding their production and distribution partnership to include season two of the “PD Stories” podcast that takes listeners behind the badge of law enforcement, revealing their experiences, perspectives and insights through in-depth interviews.  The program is hosted by A&E’s Tom Morris Jr., who anchors the channel’s “Live PD: Wanted” program.  Podcast One founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Our partnership with A&E has been instrumental in developing our true-crime genre.  The overwhelming success of ‘Cold Case Files’ and the addition of ‘PD Stories’ will enhance our lineup, which included last year’s smash-hit, ‘22 Hours: An American Nightmare.’  An association with a company like A&E has always been extremely important to us. We look forward to continuing and expanding our partnership.”

Presidential Race, Covid-19 Epidemic, Financial Markets Activity/China Productivity, Weinstein Trial Aftermath, and College Admissions Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/25). The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and Tuesday’s debate in Charleston, South Carolina; the status of the coronavirus around the world and whether the U.S. is prepared for it; the losses on the world’s financial markets as the result of fears about Covid-19 and the related productivity problems in China; the aftermath of the conviction of Harvey Weinstein on sexual assault charges; and Hot Pockets heiress Michelle Janavs is sentenced to five months in prison in the college admissions scandal 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. Alternative KROQ, Los Angeles announces the 12th annual “Kevin in the Morning with Allie & Jensen April Foolishness” event will take place on April 4 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.  The show is being hosted by Kevin Ryder, Allie Mac Kay, and Jensen Karp, and this year’s event will feature comedians Adam Carolla, actor and comedian Jeff Garlin, Steve-O, Adam Ray, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” writer Jen Kirkman, Fortune Feimster from “Sweet & Salty,” and Clownvis from “The King of Clowns.”  The annual comedy show and fundraiser benefits the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and Cedars-Sinai NICU.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

| February 6, 2020

Tom Bauerle Solo Again in WBEN-AM, Buffalo Afternoons; Report Alleges Internal Strife and More. According to a report in the Buffalo Chronicle, talk show host Tom Bauerle is back to being a solo performer in afternoon drive on Entercom’s WBEN 930 AM after co-host David Bellavia left the show with no explanation.  The piece says a rift between Bauerle and Bellavia is the reason for the change.  It also reports speculation that Bellavia is in line to take over the late morning show from Sandy Beach as he is considering retirement.  However, what’s far more bizarre is the Chronicle piece accuses Bauerle of “lashing out at members of his audience” and alleges that Bauerle sexually harassed the wife of a caller to the show. David Bellavia is still with WBEN. A station spokesperson tells TALKERS, “We have adjusted his duties to allow him the flexibility to continue with his Medal of Honor duties.  We are incredibly proud to continue our relationship with him and will soon be announcing a new venture with him.”

Quote of the Week.  There has been a lot of reaction, positive and negative, to Rush Limbaugh receiving the Medal of Freedom at the recent State of the Union Address.  The following quote deemed “brilliant” by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is attributed to Steve Lapa (pictured above), president of South Florida-based Lapcom Communication Corp.: “How ironic is the talk radio world?!  The man who was #1 on the ‘No Buy’ list received the #1 civilian honor by the President of the United States. How many agency marketing directors will open their thinking to what great talk radio is about… and the deep influence of great talent?”

iHeartMedia and VSiN Partner with XFL for Sports Betting Audio Content. The new XFL inaugural season begins on Saturday (2/8) and the league has teamed with Vegas Stats & Information Network and iHeartMedia to create audio BetCasts for two games each week during the 2020 10-week regular season and two-week post-season.  The BetCasts will feature VSiN sports betting experts covering XFL games live from VSiN’s studios in Las Vegas through a wagering lens.  These digital audio broadcasts, available on the iHeartRadio app, will deliver real-time odds, as well as in-depth analysis of the events behind those changing lines to inform fans during the live action of the games.  VSiN founder and CEO Brian Musburger says, “It’s great to see a league like the XFL embrace sports betting as a way to drive fan engagement and interest.  We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the forward-thinking executives at both the XFL and iHeart to deliver the most credible and actionable sports betting content to football fans around the country on the number one audio platform.”

TALKERS News Notes. Retired Orlando talk radio personality Jim Philips authored an op ed piece in the Orlando Sentinel that decries the loss of local talent in radio.  Pointing to the recent staff cutbacks and radio leaders such as iHeartMedia and Entercom, Philips says he’s a realist who understands the business is changing, but says, “This doesn’t mean I have to like it.”  Philips hosted “The Philips Phile” on WTKS-FM “Real Radio 104.1” for 30 years prior to his retirement in 2018…..Lazer Broadcasting and MLB’s San Francisco Giants extend their radio partnership for three‐years – through the 2022 season – for games to air on its newly launched Spanish sports talk KSFN-AM, San Francisco “Unanimo Deportes.” Lazer Broadcasting chief revenue officer Gerardo Martinez says, “The San Francisco Giants are a first-class organization with legions of faithful Latino fans, and we’re excited to be the official home of the SF Gigantes in Español.  The professional sports journalism that ‘Unanimo Deportes’ brings to sports fans is unmatched.”…..The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that “Inside Edition” Emmy Award-winning anchor Deborah Norville will host its 2020 Golden Mike Award dinner taking place Wednesday, March 4, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  This annual event is a major fundraiser for the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to help broadcasters in acute need.  As previously announced, this year’s Golden Mike Award honoree will be Dave Lougee, president and chief executive officer of TEGNA Inc. and the Lifetime Achievment Award will be presented to George Beasley, founder and chairman of Beasley Media Group.

Puckett Named Sales Manager for Beasley Southwest Florida; Johnson Rises to National Sales Manager. Radio sales pro Ellen Puckett is promoted to sales manager for Beasley Media Group’s Ft. Myers station group that includes news/talk WJBX, sports talk WWCN “ESPN Southwest Florida,” and four music brands.  She’s been with the cluster since September of 2016, most recently as a senior AE.  She comments, “As I move into this new phase with Beasley Media Group, I’m delighted to be working with a strong existing sales team.  I look forward to using my skills in training and development to help our team introduce new products into the marketplace while continuing to grow our existing core business to provide results for our advertisers.” At the same time, Todd Johnston is upped from his account executive position to national sales manager for the cluster.  Director of sales Allyson Hillman says, “We are thrilled to be able to promote Todd to his new role.  His talent in negotiating and research are guaranteed to help us win in the national arena in the Ft. Myers market!”

WELI-AM, New Haven Adds FM Signal. New Haven, Connecticut news/talk WELI-AM adds FM translator W245DK to its broadcast, giving listeners to the iHeartMedia station the option to hear it on the 96.9 FM frequency.  iHeartMedia Hartford Region president Steve Honeycomb says, “We are thrilled to be able to increase the reach of these heritage programs to listeners in the northern part of Connecticut.  With this new signal, listeners will get to experience our unique programming like never before.”

Impeachment Ends in Acquittal, Iowa Caucuses/Presidential Race, Russian ‘Information Warfare,’ Wuhan Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity/Macy’s Announces Closures, and Kirk Douglas Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/5). The Senate votes to acquit President Donald Trump of the impeachment charges against him; the Iowa caucuses technical woes and the race for the Democratic nomination; FBI Director Chris Wray’s warming that the Russians are engaging in “information warfare” over the 2020 election; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus; activity on the world’s financial markets and Macy’s news it will shutter 125 stores; and actor Kirk Douglas dies at 103 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. At the Cox Media Group stations on Long Island, longtime VP and general manager John Shea is retiring and the company announces that current director of sales Katelin Tinley will assume the VP/GM role.  Tinley began her career with CMG as an AE back in 2005.  The CMG Long Island operations includes CHR WBLI, classic rock WBAB and its digital media platforms.  CMG EVP radio Bill Hendrich says of Shea, “John is the kind of passionate leader that we love at CMG.  John loves his team.  He loves his stations. And he loves Long Island.  We are losing a friend and a great business partner but know that he has worked hard for this day and wish him the absolute best in his retirement.”…..SiriusXM announces that Pearl Jam will perform at Harlem’s world-famous Apollo Theater in a special invitation-only concert for SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners on Thursday, March 26.  The special event comes days before the band embarks on the U.S. leg of their Pearl Jam 2020 tour.  The concert will take place just hours ahead of the release of the band’s new album Gigaton, that goes on sale at midnight.  The concert will air live on the band’s dedicated SiriusXM’s Pearl Jam Radio channel.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

| June 11, 2019

Cumulus Media Announces Offer of $300 Million in Senior Secured First-Lien Notes. This Issue of notes is a private offering made only to “persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers.”  The new offering is $300 million in Cumulus Media New Holdings, Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cumulus Media, in aggregate principal amount of senior secured first-lien notes due 2026.  Cumulus reports that it expects to use the net proceeds of the offering to partially repay existing indebtedness under its senior secured term loan facility.

Keith Memloy Appointed PD for WDBO-FM and ‘ESPN 580.’ Rising from assistant program director at Cox Media Group’s news/talk WDBO-FM, Orlando to PD for that and sister sports talker WDBO-AM “ESPN 580” is Keith Memoly.  CMG Orlando director of programming operations Steve Stewart says, “Keith brings a diverse amount of experience and passion to his role.  I look forward to seeing him and the WDBO team help shape the future of Orlando’s iconic radio brand.”  Memoly started his career with CMG in 2010 as the marketing director for WPYO, WCFB, and WMMO in Orlando.  In 2017, he was promoted to assistant program director at WDBO.  He says, “I’m beyond thrilled for the opportunity to lead an amazing, award-winning team of talent that is the fabric of the ‘News 96.5’ and ‘ESPN 580’ brands.  WDBO is a legendary brand in the industry and I would like to thank Jason Meder, Steve Stewart and Tim Clarke for believing and entrusting in me and my leadership.”

Round One of May PPMs Released.  The first round of Nielsen Audio’s May 2019 PPM survey results is being released, starting with 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations hereTALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from this round of ratings beginning tomorrow (6/12).

WBEN-AM, Buffalo Talk Host David Bellavia to Receive Medal of Honor. Buffalo talk radio host and decorated Iraq War veteran David Bellavia is being presented with the Medal of Honor by President Trump in a ceremony to take place on June 25 at the White House.  Bellavia co-hosts the afternoon drive show with Tom Bauerle on Entercom’s WBEN-AM, Buffalo.  He’s being presented with the Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry while serving as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army.”  You can read the account of what happened in Fallujah, Iraq on November 10, 2004 and Bellavia’s actions at the White House site here. In a story on the WBEN website, Bellavia is quoted saying, “There’s so much love on the battlefield, and you really do care.  You care for your hometown, you care for your country, you care for your friends, but that’s something that separates us from all the other enemies we fight…we love what we do and we love who we are protecting.”

Michael Castner Out at Entercom’s KXNT, Las Vegas.  Talk and news radio pro Michael Castner has exited his role as morning drive host at Entercom’s news/talk KXNT, Las Vegas.  Castner’s previous experience includes service at iHeartMedia’s WRNO-FM, New Orleans and KEX-AM, Portland, as well as a stint with the Wall Street Journal Radio Network.  Castner says he’s happy to re-locate and is also available for fill-in work.  He can be reached at michael@michaelcastner.com.

TEGNA Doubles Radio Holdings with Dispatch Broadcast Group Acquisition. The television-centric company TEGNA Inc. owns adult hits KFMB-FM and news/talk KFMB-AM in San Diego in addition to its 49 television stations.  TEGNA has just entered into a definitive agreement with the Dispatch Broadcast Group to acquire two television stations – WTHR-TV, Indianapolis and WBNS-TV, Columbus for $535 million in cash.  That deal also includes Dispatch’s two sports talk radio stations in Columbus – WBNS-FM and WBNS-AM – and that would give TEGNA four radio properties.  In a press release announcing the agreement, TEGNA says of the sports talk duo, “WBNS Radio is Ohio’s sports destination.  97.1 is the flagship home of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Columbus Crew, Columbus Blue Jackets, and teams across the state and features popular shows and podcasts including ‘Bishop and Laurinaitis,’ ‘Carpenter & Rothman,’ ‘Common Man & T-Bone,’ and ‘The Buckeye Show.’  1460 AM is the flagship station of Ohio State (OSBI) athletics and the home of ESPN Radio in Columbus.”

ABC Radio Ups Stacia Philips Deshishku to VP/GM. The “interim” is removed from Stacia Philips Deshishku’s title as she becomes vice president and general manager of ABC Radio in which she’ll oversee the company’s audio businesses – from traditional terrestrial radio serving more than 1,650 stations nationwide to podcasts and digital audio.  She had been serving as deputy bureau chief for Washington prior to being asked to be interim leader two months ago.  ABC News president James Goldston says, “Stacia is a terrific mentor, providing wise and candid counsel to all, including me.  She helped successfully transform the Washington bureau and was instrumental in ensuring it maintained its competitive edge and high standards in this non-stop news cycle.”

Chris Moreau Named Market Manager for Cumulus Green Bay. Radio sales and management pro Chris Moreau is promoted from his director of sales post with Cumulus Media Appleton/Oshkosh to vice president and market manager for the company’s Green Bay station group that includes: sports talk WDUZ-AM/FM, country WPCK-FM, hot AC WQLH-FM, classic rock WKRU-FM, and classic hits WOGB-FM.  He’s previously served as business development/account manager for Journal Broadcast Group/E.W. Scripps, vice president/general manager for Bliss Communications in Racine, Wisconsin, and more.

TALKERS News Notes. The San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated “Joe Pags Show” adds new affiliate stations KSEV-AM, Houston and WLOB, Portland to its roster.  “The Joe Pags Show” is syndicated by Compass Media Networks…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP News in Washington, D.C. and PodcastOne have partnered to produce a new, true-crime podcast series titled, “22 Hours: An American Nightmare,” that details the horrific events that led to a D.C. power couple, their 10-year-old son and housekeeper being held hostage, tortured and brutally murdered inside their own home in May of 2015.  Daron Wint was found guilty of the crimes – known as the DC Mansion Murders – in 2018…..FOX Sports is presenting multiplatform coverage of the 119th U.S. Open Championship.  FOX Sports Radio has on-site coverage from Pebble Beach Golf Links on Thursday and Friday (6/13-14) via “The Doug Gottlieb Show” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm while FOX Sports Radio news anchor Dan Beyer reports live from the course…..CBS News senior foreign affairs correspondent and “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan is serving as the keynote speaker of KYW Newsradio’s “Women’s Achievement Awards 2019,” being held at Loews Philadelphia Hotel on June 27.  This is the 10th annual edition of the awards from the Entercom all-news station that serve to celebrate women making a positive impact on the Philadelphia region.  This year’s event will honor the accomplishments of five exceptional women, all under the age of 40, who were nominated by KYW Newsradio listeners. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We are thrilled to have a journalist as insightful and respected as Margaret on KYW Newsradio every week and honored to have her share her experience and perspective at our event. She embodies what the ‘Women’s Achievement Awards’ stand for and I look forward to her sharing a special evening with our deserving honorees.”

Sterling Swoons Over Swag Bag.  Nationally syndicated Westwood One personality Walter M. Sterling was so impressed with the quality of items in the Talkers 2019 convention “goodie bag” that he devoted a segment of this past weekend’s “Sterling on Sunday” show to talking about it.  Check it out here.

2020 Presidential Race, Trump Impeachment Talk, Southern Border Issues/Mexico Tariffs Threat, U.S.-China Trade War, and Big Papi Shot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/10).  The Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the Democrats’ talk of beginning impeachment proceedings against the president; the immigration issues at the U.S.-Mexico border and the threat of tariffs on Mexican exports; the U.S.-China trade war and the looming G20 summit in Japan; retired Red Sox star David Ortiz is shot in a bar in the Dominican Republic 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. Motor City urban contemporary WDMK-FM is being sold by Urban One to Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. for $13.5 million in a deal that Beasley expects “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 currently operates three stations in the Detroit market: rock WRIF, classic rock WCSX, and rhythmic oldies WMGC. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley comments, “The accretive acquisition of WDMK-FM significantly enhances our revenue and competitive position in Detroit.  Detroit is undergoing an exciting renaissance as a result of billions of dollars of new investments in the city’s residential, commercial, entertainment and cultural centers, all of which are driving new residents, businesses, tourists, employment and economic activity.  We entered the Detroit market in late 2016 and have consistently improved the operating results of the three stations we acquired, and we believe the proposed transaction is a strategically and financially compelling growth opportunity for our shareholders.  The addition of WDMK-FM will mark further progress toward our goal of capturing 30% revenue share in each of our markets while delivering valuable synergies and the potential for SOI margin improvement.”…..Entercom names Kevin Callahan program director for country simulcast KFRG-FM/KXFG-FM, Riverside “K-FROG.”  He says, “I’m honored to be afforded the opportunity to expand my role with Entercom in the Riverside market.  I’ve been fortunate to oversee programming efforts for KSON and I look forward to taking ‘K-FROG’ to new heights in the next chapter of my career.”  Callahan now oversees programming efforts for all Entercom Southern California country stations.  He continues in his role as program operations manager for sister stations KSON, sports talk KWFN “97.3 The Fan,” alternative KBZT-FM “ALT 949,” adult contemporary KYXY-FM, and classic hits KXSN-FM “Sunny 98.1” in San Diego…..Westwood One announces that Nashville-based personality Elaina Smith is re-branding her original podcast, “Breaking Thru With Elaina.”  It was previously titled, “Women Want to Hear Women with Elaina Smith.”  The program returned with new stories from female artists breaking through the music industry on June 9 on The Empow(h)er Podcast Network on Westwood One. Smith won a 2019 Gracie Award for the first season of the show.  She says, “I’ve been itching to get season two going all year long.  I’m so thankful to everyone for being so patient as I worked on launching my new radio show, ‘With Elaina.’  Now that it is off the ground, it’s time to keep this conversation going, and with a new name!”

Monday, March 25, 2019

| March 25, 2019

Monday Memo: Welcome to the Spring Book. Consultant Holland Cooke offers some tips for radio stations in this week’s Monday Memo as the Nielsen Audio spring survey begins on Thursday (3/28). Cooke reminds programmers that the most important listeners are your P1s because research shows that less than 25% of a station’s cume contributes more than 50% of its Average Quarter Hours. The most efficient way to boost AQH share is to get more listening out of your P1s and he offers some ideas on how to do that.  Read it here.

Mike Francesa Hits Twitter in Response to NY Post Piece; Post’s Marchand Fires Back. Last week, TALKERS magazine alerted you to the New York Post story by Andrew Marchand alleging that Entercom’s WFAN, New York had been negotiating with sports personality Adam Schein to take over Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive slot on the station.  Over the weekend, Francesa took to Twitter to correct the “outrageous misinformation” and “outright lies” being spread about his status at the station.  Francesa reiterates he’s working without a contract right now, that Entercom has a long-term offer for him (he hasn’t signed it yet), and that he’s okay with adding a person to the show (in fact, it was his idea).  Francesa doesn’t mention Schein in his tweet but Marchand writes in his column that Francesa “essentially confirmed” last week’s story and asserts that Francesa knows his show needs help to avoid losing the now-tight ratings battle with crosstown WEPN-FM’s Michael Kay show.  Marchand speculates WFAN overnight host John Jastremski might be considered as a co-host.

Bill O’Reilly Returns to Radio with 15-Minute Program.  Titled, “The O’Reilly Update,” the new 15-minute radio program hosted by former, longtime FOX News Channel star Bill O’Reilly will launch on April 29.  The program is being syndicated by Key Networks for daily delivery at 11:30 am ET with all advertising included – no additional barter units – and two minutes of local avails in the feature.  In the press release, O’Reilly states, “More than ever before, Americans need accurate information and honest news analysis in order to make intelligent decisions.  It is all about protecting yourself and your family.  The daily ‘O’Reilly Update’ will arm you with facts and provide opinion based on those facts.  Can’t wait to get started.”  O’Reilly hosted the nationally syndicated program “The Radio Factor” from 2002-2009.  Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green comments, “On the Mount Rushmore of spoken-word talent you must include Bill O’Reilly.  It’s an honor to bring Bill back to radio to deliver appointment listening and revenue opportunities for affiliate stations in a unique format.”

Hugh Hewitt Named New Head of Richard Nixon Foundation. Nationally syndicated talk show host Hugh Hewitt is returning to his roots at The Richard Nixon Foundation as he’ll become president and CEO of the organization on July 1.  Hewitt will continue to host his Salem Radio Network program, make appearances on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and write op-eds for the Washington Post.  He’ll split his time between Washington and Yorba Linda, California, the site of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.  Forty years ago, Nixon hired Hewitt as a researcher.  Nixon Foundation chairman Dr. James H. Cavanaugh says, “The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum recently underwent a complete renovation, and the new, interactive museum galleries enjoy increased attendance and positive reviews.  Hugh will lead the Nixon Foundation in its exciting next phase of growth, expanding its presence through national programming with an emphasis on articulating the Nixon legacy of pragmatic realism in domestic and foreign affairs.”  Hewitt says, “Richard Nixon was a grand strategist and master diplomat, and his vision is exactly what is needed today as America faces challenges and opportunities with China, North Korea, Russia, throughout the Middle East and elsewhere. The world needs to be reminded of President Nixon’s lasting foreign policies, the strategic methods by which he assessed conflict and disagreement, and how he crafted strategies for resolution — building a more peaceful world.”

Noted Media Figure Rick Ungar Launches Independently Syndicated Progressive Talk Radio Show. “The Rick Ungar Show” launched on March 4, 2019, airing in the 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm ET time slot, on the following stations:  WCPT 820 AM, Chicago; KKSF 910 AM, San Francisco; KTNF 950 AM, Minneapolis; KABQ 1350 AM, Albuquerque; and KTRC, 1260 AM/103.7 GM, Santa Fe.  According to Ungar, while the program airs on a charter lineup of progressive stations, The Rick Ungar Show seeks to bring a more open minded, fair approach to the progressive radio landscape by continuing in the tradition of “Rational Radio” established during his years in partnership with Michael Steele on the Sirius XM Satellite Radio program, “Steele & Ungar.” Ungar tells TALKERS, “While my ideology certainly leans to the left, I have never been one who seeks to talk for the left.  My role is to convey the facts – even when they may not favor the left point of view – along with my opinions on those facts. It is then up to the audience to decide where they stand based on the facts presented. I never care if you agree with me or not. But when you are hanging out with your friends over the weekend and the talk turns to politics, I want my listeners to be the smartest, best informed, people in the room.”  The new show is reportedly experiencing call-ins from Trump supporters who are not calling to yell at the host but rather to rationally discuss the issues put on the table.  Ungar continues, “The plans are to be the first nationally syndicated program to be carried by conservative stations in a long time looking to provide their listeners with a view from the other side-presented in a way that is fair, open and welcoming to all viewpoints on the political spectrum.”  Rick came to the world of political talk radio from the entertainment industry where he was a writer and producer. He also served many years as the president of the Marvel Character Group. He additionally serves as the editor-in-chief of www.TheDailyCentrist.com, an on-line news and opinion site dedicated to publishing rational arguments on the issues of the day from all sides of the political spectrum.  To get in touch with Ungar please email rickungar@gmail.com.  Meet Rick Ungar at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story in New York on Friday June 7.

FCC Investigating Political Ad Rate Complaint at Entercom Buffalo. The Buffalo News reports that the Federal Communications Commission investigating whether a politician in the 2018 congressional race got the lowest unit charge as required by law.  Entercom was sent a letter of inquiry for documentation on paid election advertising on news/talk WBEN-AM, sports talk WGR-AM, and five other Buffalo market stations.  Entercom admitted that it had not posted the required information from the 2018 campaigns until just this January but said it was the result of an internal error.  It also told the paper it is working with the FCC on the matter and doesn’t plan further public comment.  The FCC is requesting information about paid candidate ads and non-candidate issue ads that aired on all of Entercom’s Buffalo stations by April 4.

TALKERS News Notes. High-profile psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Jordan B. Peterson joins the Westwood One Podcast Network with his new, eponymous podcast launching this week.  Peterson is joined by his daughter and co-host Mikhaila Peterson as the two break down the dichotomy of life and explain how individuals and culture are shaped by values, music, religion, and beyond…..Washington, DC AM signal WSPZ is being sold bySalem Communications Holding Corporation to Immaculate Heart Media for $750,000.  The 1260 AM signal has been simulcasting Salem’s Christian teaching format heard on WAVA-FM, Washington…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that sales pro Peter Bowen is exiting his role at Entercom’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago as director of sports sales after 10 months in the position.  Bowen wrote in an email to colleagues, “It was an honor and a pleasure to work with everyone over the past 10 months.  It was great to reunite with so many familiar faces and friends…and it was awesome to meet so many new people.”  Bowen had previously served in the market as Cumulus Media’s vice president and market manager…..Talk show host Bill Carroll – the Canadian who hosted a midday show on iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles for a number of years – is expanding the reach of his Bell Media program.  He’s currently based at news/talk CFRA, Ottawa and his 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program will now be syndicated across a number of Bell-owned news/talk stations every Friday afternoon…..Wisconsin radio personality Gary Douglas is retiring from the business and his current post with NRG Media as operations manager for the Fort Atkinson/Whitewater cluster and morning host for news/talk WFAW-AM. Douglas’ 46-year career has included stops at WIBA-AM, Madison and WDUZ-AM, Green Bay.  He’ll continue his role as play-by-play voice for University of Wisconsin-Whitewater sports broadcasts.

Tennessee’s Stonecom Radio Unveils New Facility.  Pictured above are two images from Stonecom Radio of its new, 10,000-plus square foot facility (left) in Cookeville, Tennessee that’s home to news/talk WUCT-AM/W231DG, country WKXD, rock WBXE, and AC WLQK.  At right is a news studio.  Stonecom unveiled the new building with a ceremony attended by state and local dignitaries.  Tennessee Association of Broadcasters executive director Whit Adamson was in attendance and stated, “Stonecom is led by a true team of broadcasters who are proud to serve the entire region they touch with their signal of each of the respective stations in the cluster.”

Mueller Report Delivered/Trump Claims Victory, Islamic State Victory, Border Wall Issue, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Brexit Redux, Us Film, NBA Action and NCAA Tournament Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Special prosecutor Robert Mueller delivers his report on the Trump-Russia investigation to the attorney general’s office and President Trump claims victory; U.S. troops’ taking of the last territory in Syria held by ISIS; the issue of the border wall and reports of another migrant caravan forming in Central America; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Prime Minister Theresa May’s last chance at getting her EU exit deal through Parliament; the box office success of Jordan Peele’s horror film Us; and the NBA and NCAA tournament action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. South Florida hot AC WMIA-FM announces the new “Mack in the Morning with Letty B” program will debut on April 1.   The show stars Miami on-air pro Mack, Los Angeles native co-host Letty B and producer Nick Pena.  Station PD Joey Brooks says, “I am excited to announce Mack, Letty B and Nick as 939 MIA’s morning team.  Not only is this group entertaining, but they are committed to the South Florida community. Individually, each of them brings a unique perspective to the show and I am confident that they will quickly earn listener loyalty.”…..On-air personality Kenny Walker re-ups with WMXJ-FM, Miami “102.7 The Beach” to continue hosting the morning show on the classic hits outlet.  Walker says, “The energy of this station stood out to me when I joined in 2016 and I am honored to continue being a part of our listeners’ daily routines.  I look forward to continue building our station’s brand and connecting with Miami-Ft. Lauderdale.”…..The world famous KROQ, Los Angeles us announcing the 11th annual “Kevin & Bean’s April Foolishness” event hosted by morning show duo Kevin and Bean.  The station says this special anniversary celebrates the prestigious legacy of April Foolishness that blends hysterical stars with the most talented up-and-coming names in all of comedy.  Special guests will include: Adam Ray, Felipe Esparza, Greg Fitzsimmons, Eddie Ifft, Jamie Lee, and Ray Romano.  The event will also feature “The Kevin & Bean Rap Battle” with beatboxer Joshua from “Drop the Mic.”…..Nationally syndicated urban morning radio star DeDe McGuire was in Milwaukee over the weekend appearing at “The Gathering” presented by affiliate station WJMR “Jammin’ 98.3.”  She’s pictured below (center) with listeners at the 17th annual event that gives fans the opportunity  to shop with local vendors, watch music, network,  and meet their favorite Jammin’ 98.3 hosts.  “DeDe in the Morning” is syndicated by Compass Media Networks.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

| June 6, 2018

Ron Hartenbaum, Sue Freund and Scott Calka Launch New Ad Sales Company with Offices in New York and Los Angeles.  Three high-profile industry veterans have formed a new company, Crossover Media Group Sales, specifically developed to provide advertising-sales representation across multiple platforms for an array of established and emerging program personalities and formats.  Managing members are Scott Calka, a veteran of advertising sales for organizations including Comcast SpotlightDirecTVFox Sports and Madison Square Garden; sales pro Sue Freund, who most recently served for a decade as VP of sales for the Western Region for SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and who is opening the Los Angeles office of Crossover Media Group Sales; and well-known impresario Ron Hartenbaum, a veteran of advertising agencies including Needham and Grey, later serving as VP of sales for Westwood One before becoming a founding partner of MediaAmerica and CEO of Jones Radio Networks. The new company is an extension of New York-based Crossover Media Group, which was launched by Hartenbaum and Calka in 2017 as a content-creation and advertising-sales consulting firm.  “Until relatively recently, media personalities and content providers have not had a strategy to monetize their efforts fully beyond a single platform,” Hartenbaum tells TALKERS.  “Crossover Media Group Sales is equipped to help content creators maximize their ad revenue regardless of delivery platform.”  Calka states, “We believe we have developed the first truly cross-platform ad-sales structure to best serve the needs of content partners whose origins are in the audio and digital-video sectors.  The future of ‘TV’ revolves around non-linear video consumption.  To monetize the millennial audience, personalities, content providers and brands need to have a strategy for this platform.”  Freund states, “There is a strong and surprisingly untapped market for advertising to support personalities and brands seeking to maximize revenue potential across all the platforms available to them.  If you have an audio presence, we can be your video partner.  If you have a video brand but have had difficulty breaking through the clutter, we can help.  We understand cross-platform branding, promotion and monetization, and how to serve the needs of content providers, media buyers and brands alike.”   Crossover Media Group Sales’ initial clients include a variety of radio and podcast products by Stephanie Miller, audio personalities Thom HartmannDean Obeidallah, and the team of Michael Steele and Rick Ungar, all of whom have programs on SiriusXM.  The company’s video-streaming program-network partners include Political Voices Network, co-launched this year by former CNN and MSNBC executive David Bohrman, and Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN), which also is carried on SiriusXM and which was launched by veteran sportscaster Brent Musburger and his nephew Brian Musburger.  VSiN has been cited in press reports among the significant potential beneficiaries of the Supreme Court’s recent decision permitting states to have legal sports betting.

WGN, Chicago Makes Changes to Morning and Evening Shows.  From the Windy City, Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago is tweaking the on-air lineup in.  Evening personality Justin Kaufmann – host of “The Download” from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm – is becoming a permanent contributor to the Steve Cochran morning drive program.  Now, the morning program will consist of Kaufmann, Dave Eanet, Mary Sandberg Boyle, Steve Grzanich, Mary Van De Velde, Joe Romano, and Pete Zimmerman. At the same time, morning show personality Andrea Darlas moves to evenings where she’ll co-host and handle news duties on the Patti Vasquez show that moves into the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm slot.  Cochran comments, “I have mixed emotions. I’ll miss Andrea but I’m excited for her and Patti. And it will be great to have Justin on the show.  He’s smart, funny, and inexplicably willing to get up at a ridiculous hour.”

Hudson Valley Talk Host Tom Sipos Honored by Council of Industry. WKIP, Poughkeepsie, New York morning host Tom Sipos has been honored by the Council of Industry with its 2018 Manufacturing Champions Public Sector Award for “relentlessly calling attention to the important role manufacturing plays in our regional and national economy.”  Sipos was co-owner of Sipos Insurance for nearly 40 years and now hosts “Hudson Valley Focus LIVE” on the iHeartMedia news/talk station.  He served on the boards and was past chairman of the Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation and Workforce Investment Board, and chairman of the SUNY New Paltz School of Business Advisory Council.  He currently serves on the advisory board of the Dutchess B.O.C.E.S Career and Technology Institute and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County.  He was the founder of The Dutchess Alliance for Human Needs.  Sipos says, “What a great thing it is to be honored by the Council of Industry, The Manufacturers Association of the Hudson Valley.  I truly appreciate this award and will continue to promote manufacturing and technical education as key components of a healthy, dynamic economy.”

Entercom Stations Grab 17 New York State AP Association Awards. Three of Entercom’s New York all-news and news/talk stations garnered a total of 17 2017 New York State Associated Press Association awards.  The organization’s annual newspaper and broadcast contest honors important journalism. Forty-six radio and television stations submitted more than 524 entries in the annual awards.  All-news WCBS-AM, New York and sister WINS, New York picked up 11 first and second place awards.  News/Talk WBEN-AM, Buffalo took home six first and second place awards.

TALKERS News Notes. Charlotte sports talk personality Chris Kroeger is leaving his position with Beasley Media Group’s WFNZ “The Fan” to become the radio play-by-play voice of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.  As reported in the Charlotte Business Journal, Kroeger will take over for Steve Martin, who retired following the regular season.  Kroeger is a Charlotte native who beat out 10 finalists (from a pool of “hundreds”) to get the gig.  He says Martin voiced some of his own personal best sports moments. Kroeger continues, “Steve Martin narrated so many of those memories on radio and television.  It truly is the opportunity of a lifetime to be his successor and to broadcast a new era of Hornets basketball for the next generation of fans.”…..ABC News Radio says its coverage of the U.S.-North Korea Summit from Singapore will begin on Sunday (6/10).  It will be anchored by Karen Travers with reporting by Tara Palmeri.  The ABC News Radio team says it will provide live coverage as needed, one-hour specials, special reports and one-minute status reports…..NBC Sports Radio and Westwood One are presenting national radio coverage of the 150th Belmont Stakes – the final leg of this year’s Triple Crown on Saturday (6/9).  The broadcast is in conjunction with the Horse Racing Radio Network. Mike Penna will anchor and be joined by Kurt Becker.  Longtime horse race owner and radio executive Dan Mason and horse racing reporter Tom Leach and Steve Goldstein will contribute to the coverage, while former jockey Jeff Bloom will serve as trackside reporter. NBC Sports’ Larry Collmus will call play-by-play of the race…..Former Alpha Media programmer Jeff Beck – who served with the Fredericksburg cluster that included news/talk WNTX – died on Monday (6/4) after a lengthy illness.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Manafort Allegations, U.S.-North Korea Summit, Trump Uninvites Eagles, Clinton-Lewinsky Flap, Facebook’s Data Sharing with China, Tuesday Primary Elections, the NBA Finals, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/5).  The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents and allegations Paul Manafort has tampered with witnesses; the scheduled summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore; the controversy over President Trump uninviting the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles to the White House; former President Clinton’s response to his Monica Lewinsky affair viewed through the #MeToo movement light; Facebook accused of sharing data with four Chinese firms; Tuesday’s primary elections; the Warriors-Cavaliers NBA Finals; 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programmer and air personality Trevor Morini is moving from Tulsa – where he’s been PD and afternoon host at iHeartMedia’s “92.1 The Beat” – to Austin to program the company’s CHR KHFI “96.7 KISS FM” and alternative KASE-HD2 “ALT 97.5.”  Morini says, “I am beyond excited for the opportunity to work with the great team in Austin and can’t wait to get started!  I can’t thank Don Cristi and Jon Phillips enough for everything they’ve done for me in Tulsa.  I would not be ready for this next chapter without their guidance and support.  I’d also like to thank Tony Coles, Brian Gann, and Matt Martin for allowing me the honor of programming such a legendary station as KHFI!”…..On Monday and Tuesday (6/4-5), Premiere Networks engaged more than 120 iHeartCountry music radio stations and Premiere-syndicated affiliates at the exclusive 2018 CMT Music Awards radio remote broadcast in Nashville.  Pictured below at the event are CMT and Premiere staffers with country outfit Old Dominion.  From left to right: CMT Radio executive producer Ashlee McDonald, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Old Dominion’s Trevor Rosen and Matthew Ramsey, CMT After MidNite/CMT Radio Live host Cody Alan, Old Dominion’s Geoff Sprung and Whit Sellers, CMT After MidNite/CMT Radio Live correspondent Marley Sherwood and Old Dominion’s Brad Tursi.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

| May 23, 2018

Urban One to Pay $4.2 Million for WTEM-AM, Washington.  The price tag of the deal that will transfer ownership of sports talk WTEM-AM, Washington from Dan Snyder-controlled Red Zebra to Urban One is $4.2 million.  In its filing with the SEC, Urban One reports that it “expects to generate approximately $1.7 million of pro-forma EBITDA from the assets, which represents a buyer’s multiple of approximately 2.5x.”  The presser from Urban One confirms that the station will continue to serve as the flagship station for Washington Redskins football.  (Games and related programming will also continue to air on Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington.) Urban One president and CEO Alfred Liggins says, “This is a tremendous opportunity for Urban One and we are especially pleased that through our acquisition, ‘The Team 980’ will continue to be locally owned.  The acquisition of ‘The Team 980’ is very much in line with our strategy of super-serving our community of listeners.  We have deep roots in the greater Washington, DC area and are well aware that ‘The Team 980’ has always been a fan favorite.  Red Zebra has a track record of producing great programming that engages our hometown sports fans.  We look forward to working with the Washington Redskins organization to continue this tradition.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  As Kinosian notes, the April PPM survey was not kind to the all-news format with just one station – Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco – notching a gain. The station went up a 0.5 share in the adjacent San Jose market.  However, comparing year-over-year numbers, about half the all-news stations in PPM markets saw their 6+ numbers increase, with iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento rising by 0.8 share.  Although it went down by 0.8 share, Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington still ranked #1 in its market, while KCBS-AM ranked #2 in both the San Francisco and San Jose markets and KFBK ranked #2 in Sacramento.  See the entire report here.

Houston Talk Host Matt Patrick Posthumously Named TALKERS 2018 “Humanitarian of the Year.”  The late Michael “Matt Patrick” Ryan has been posthumously named the recipient of the TALKERS 2018 “Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host” – also referred to as “Humanitarian of the Year.”  Patrick was a major presence in Texas talk radio as the popular host of “Houston’s Morning News” on KTRH, Houston and his syndicated afternoon program, “The Matt Patrick Show” on KPRC, Houston and KFXR, Dallas/Ft. Worth.  In September 2015, Patrick announced that he was receiving treatment for metastatic melanoma at the world-renowned M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  The 37-year radio pro underwent brain surgery in late 2015, followed by multiple rounds of chemo, immunotherapy, and radiation in 2016.  Continuing to work through additional treatments, Patrick also maintained regular television appearances on Houston’s FOX 26 News, provided live coverage of the 2016 GOP National Convention from Cleveland for iHeartMedia, and rallied millions of fans during numerous public appearances to discuss “Overcoming Obstacles in Life.”  Patrick’s wife and radio business partner Paula Ryan writes in TALKERS (5/21), “Although the odds of survival were not great, Matt’s invincible drive and spirit were.  He was a brave and courageous warrior, leaving it all on the field.  Matt’s final appearance on KTRH was July 5, 2017 where he mustered every remaining ounce of strength to publicly thank his beloved listeners and to say goodbye to this terrestrial world.  Just a few days later, on July 9, 2017, Matt spoke his last beautiful words privately to me with that golden voice of his, and quietly slipped away to Heaven.”  Matt Patrick was extremely active in supporting a number of charities and causes.  He spoke for the Star of Hope in an effort to end homelessness, the Akron/Canton Regional Food Bank (during his earlier tenure as a talk host in Northeast Ohio between 2000-2010) and Houston Food Bank to aid food-insecure individuals and families, as well as supporting the Fisher House (free, extended-stay facilities for the families of hospitalized active-duty or retired military members and veterans) even holding a radiothon onsite (just Patrick and his engineer) in Houston to raise funds for these military families and veterans.  Over the course of the last decade of his time in Ohio, he worked tirelessly to raise $15 million for Akron Children’s Hospital as the founder and original host of the “Have A Heart, Do Your Part Radiothon,” and was an active supporter of Children’s Miracle Network.  Patrick was awarded the “Child Advocacy Award” of Akron Children’s Hospital for making a profound difference in the lives of the children in the community.  Patrick was a recovering alcoholic.  In November 2005, he achieved sobriety, one day at a time, and had helped countless others who struggled with addiction and alcoholism.  He was a believer in having to “give it away to keep it” and did just that.  Paula Ryan tells TALKERS, “Every year Matt and I would host ‘The Matt Patrick Recovery Show’ to publicly talk about his struggles with addiction while offering hope and resources to those who had a desire to become sober.  He served in various volunteer capacities with AA and would never hesitate to meet personally with a listener or return a phone call from a complete stranger if they reached out to him asking for his help.”  Patrick was a staunch supporter of law enforcement and was formally recognized by many agencies for his role in educating the public and bringing the community together working collaboratively with local police.  He was named an Honorary Deputy Sheriff in Fort Bend County and was honored with a formal changing of the guard ceremony at his memorial service by several law enforcement agencies including Harris County Sheriff, Fort Bend County Sheriff, and the City Of Houston, Texas Police Chief.   His 13-year-old son, Jake Ryan, was inducted into the Thin Blue Line at his dad’s memorial service as well.  To view a touching video tribute to the life and career of Matt Patrick, please click here The TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” award will be presented posthumously at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! on June 8 in New York City and accepted by his widow Paula and son Jake.

WBEN-AM, Buffalo’s ‘12 Voices in 12 Hours’ Initiative Addresses Opioid Addiction. The “12 Voices in 12 Hours” initiative continues at Entercom’s news/talk WBEN-AM, Buffalo “NewsRadio 930” with the station this time addressing the opioid addiction epidemic.  The station is presenting 14 hours of programming on the issue today (5/23) from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm.  Each hour of programming will feature a different voice on the issue, including medical experts, addiction experts, pain management experts, recovering opioid addicts, and family members of some of the victims of the epidemic.  The day’s special programming will conclude with a two-hour, live “Opioid Conversation” at the City of Tonawanda High School auditorium from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

iHeartMedia First Quarter 2018 Revenue Down 1.7%.  Revenue for the first quarter of 2018 for iHeartMedia’s radio division was $744.5 million – a decrease of 1.7% compared to the same period in 2017.  The company, currently in Chapter 11 reorganization, did not make any statements accompanying the financial data in the 8-K report, nor is it holding an investor’s conference call.  The company as a whole – including its Outdoor segments – was up 3.1% on consolidated revenue of $1.36 billion.

New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Announces Finalists.  The finalists have been announced for the 2018 New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards.  The World’s Best Radio Programs competition has been taking place since 1982, receiving entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from around the globe.  This year, NYF’s Grand Jury selected 353 finalists from entries submitted from 31 countries worldwide.  Entries were judged based on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium.  Vice president and executive director Rose Anderson says, “From audio books, podcasts, and sound art to documentaries, drama, and breaking news.  The international Grand Jury members once again selected finalists whose content exhibited creativity and innovation.”  All finalists move on to the medal round.  U.S. broadcasters making it to the medal round include: CBS News RadioSiriusXM, Westwood One, and ESPN.  See all the finalists here.

Dave Schrader Assumes Host Role for ‘Midnight in the Desert.’ The Dark Matter Digital Network announces that Dave Schrader is officially named the host of the “Midnight in the Desert” program that had been hosted by the late Art Bell.  Schrader has hosted “Darkness Radio,” “Beyond the Darkness,” “True-Crime Tuesday” and was a frequent weekend host for “Coast to Coast AM.”  Keith Rowland, manager/operator of Rowland Network Communications, LLC for the Dark Matter Digital Network, says they are actively seeking terrestrial radio affiliates for the program.  “Dave Schrader brings a wealth of experience, professionalism, and credibility to the search of the paranormal, the weird, and the anomalous that will continue to keep ‘Midnight in the Desert’ as the leading Internet-based LIVE paranormal program.”

WHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway Celebrates 10th Anniversary as Citizen.  Afternoon drive talk show host Simon Conway (pictured above with Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate) was born in London, but back in 2008, he celebrated his new American citizenship.  Conway’s program is heard on iHeartMedia’s WHO, Des Moines “News Radio 1040” and is simulcast on the company’s WMT, Cedar Rapids “News Radio 600.”

U.S.-North Korea Summit, Trump-Russia Investigation, Iran Nuclear Deal, Primary Races, Prison Reform Bill, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/22).  The uncertain status of the planned summit between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un; special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the state of the Iran nuclear deal after the U.S.’s exit from the pact; the primary elections in Georgia, Texas, and Kentucky; the Trump Administration’s prison reform bill passes the House; Major League Baseball action; and the NBA playoffs 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. It’s rare for Salem Media Group to sell stations but, as Salem Broadcast Media president David Santrella says, “When we do, we make every attempt to ensure that the buyer will continue to program the station with a format that will make a positive impact in the community.  That appears to be the case as Christian contemporary KGBI-FM, Omaha is being sold to University of Northwestern-St. Paul.  The school already operates 20 non-commercial stations around the country.  The school’s SVP for media Jason Sharp says, “We are grateful for the partnership we have experienced with Salem Media Group during this process. We look forward to expanding our network in Omaha and continuing the work of pointing people to Jesus through music and programming that makes an eternal impact.”