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Monday, August 5, 2019

| August 5, 2019

Radio HOF Announces “Class of 2019.” The nine newest members of the Radio Hall of Fame who will be inducted at a November 8 ceremony in New York City’s Gotham Hall are: Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton; Harry Harrison; Kevin Ryder & Gene “Bean” Baxter (“Kevin & Bean”); Joe Madison; Jim Rome; Ryan Seacrest; John Tesh; and Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Radio HOF chair Kraig Kitchin remarks, “I am especially proud to welcome these individuals into the Radio Hall of Fame. Their on-air performances and audience relationships are especially remarkable. Each of our 2019 nominees [is] worthy of induction. I’m appreciative of all those who participated in our process of selecting our Class of 2019, who will join the 238 Radio Hall of Fame inductees already recognized for their great work.” Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton does afternoon drive on iHeartMedia New York rhythmic CHR WKTU “103.5 KTU” and his “Weekly Top 30 Countdown” is syndicated by Premiere Networks. Harry Harrison (“Longstanding Local/Regional, 20+ years”) was a mainstay New York City morning talent on WMCA, WABC, and WCBS-FM. Kevin and Bean (“Active Local/Regional, 10+ years”) have been overseeing mornings on Entercom Los Angeles alternative KROQ. Joe Madison – “The Black Eagle” – is heard on SiriusXM’s “Urban View” channel. Jim Rome (“Longstanding Network/Syndication, 20+ years”), whose show was called a “freaking jungle” by a listener – and the term stuck – airs on CBS Sports Radio. Ryan Seacrest’s multi-platforms include mornings on iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” and Premiere Networks’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” and “American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest.” John Tesh (“Active Network/Syndication, 10+ years”) hosts Compass Media Networks-syndicated “Intelligence For Your Life.” Meanwhile, “The Dr. Ruth Show” was heard on NBC Radio and she hosted “Sexually Speaking” on New York City’s WYNY. Four inductees were determined by a voting participant panel comprised of nearly 1,000 industry professionals. Another four were voted on by the Radio Hall of Fame Nominating Committee, two with input from the public. The outcome of the listener vote for a music format and spoken-word format on-air personality counted as one vote among the committee votes. The Radio HOF voting process was administered by Votem and overseen by the certified public accounting firm Miller Kaplan Arase LLP.

Monday Memo: “Hollywood,” Co-starring AM Radio. The Los Angeles Times calls “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” “the year’s first surefire Oscar Best Picture nominee.”  And the soundtrack — assembled after writer/director Quentin Tarantino listened to 14 hours of 1969 KHJ airchecks — may also grab a statuette.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke’s panel explains what made radio so “sticky” then, and what it would take to reclaim the foreground on today’s crowded audio landscape. Read his column here.

Karem’s Press Pass Suspended. The White House Correspondents Association is “closely monitoring” the White House press secretary’s decision to suspend for 30 days the pass of CNN political analyst Brian Karem. Association president Jonathan Karl states, “We sincerely hope this White House does not again make the mistake of revoking a reporter’s hard pass. The WHCA has stood up to violations of due process rights before and we stand ready to safeguard those rights for all reporters who work to hold our government accountable.” CNN’s Brian Stelter reports the suspension letter Karem received specifically cited the confrontation he got into with former Trump aide/Salem Radio Networks talk host Sebastian Gorka at the White House social media summit a few weeks ago. Via Twitter, Gorka writes, “From this day forth the punk @BrianKarem will be called Brian Karma.” Meanwhile, on that same social media platform, Karem notes that he intends to appeal the White House’s decision. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison spoke with Gorka moments after that summit wrapped. That conversation is archived here on the TALKERS website (Friday, July 12, 2019).

Beasley Broadcast Group Q2 Net Revenue Increases 6.5%. The $4 million (6.5%) year-over-year gain (to $65.7 million) during the three months ended June 30 reflects increased revenue in Beasley Broadcast Group’s Philadelphia cluster, primarily due to the September 2018 acquisition of country WXTU, and increased revenue from its Boston stations. Net revenue for the three months ended June 30 was comparable to net revenue for the same period in 2018 at the company’s other clusters. Chief executive officer Caroline Beasley comments, “The strategic and financial benefits of our initiatives to further expand and diversify Beasley’s broadcast and digital platform are evident in our second-quarter financial results and further highlights the progress we are making to reinforce and grow Beasley’s leadership position across all audio platforms in our markets. Record second-quarter net revenue of $65.7 million was driven by the strength of our station clusters in three of our top five largest revenue markets, as well as contributions from recent acquisitions and more than offset approximately $1 million in combined political and United States Traffic Network (USTN) revenue recorded in the comparable 2018 period, which was non-recurring in 2019.” In June, Beasley Broadcast Group entered into a definitive agreement with Urban One to acquire Detroit’s WDMK and three translators used to broadcast WDMK’s HD2 signal for $13.5 million. Caroline Beasley notes, “This transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to Beasley’s free cash flow, excluding one-time transaction costs. The acquisition of WDMK-FM and the WDMK-HD2 translators represent a strategically and financially compelling growth opportunity for our shareholders and further enhances our revenue and competitive position in Detroit with a strong cluster of four FM stations in the country’s thirteenth largest market.”

iHM Hikes Hyland to Region President/Washington & Baltimore. Most recently region senior vice president of sales and market president for iHeartMedia Washington D.C./Baltimore, Aaron Hyland is elevated to region president of those two markets. He succeeds Mike Preacher, who becomes president for government initiatives and partnerships for iHeartMedia Markets Group. Preacher will report to iHeartMedia Markets Group president Greg Ashlock, while Hyland will report to iHeartMedia west division president Kevin LeGrett. According to Ashlock, “With Aaron, we are fortunate to have someone so talented, experienced and knowledgeable of the area to make the natural progression to the role of region president. With Mike, we are grateful for the amazing job he has done leading our D.C./Baltimore region and excited about the incredible wealth of experience and success he brings to the table in managing our government initiatives and partnership division. This is a win-win.” Hyland, who began his radio career as local sales manager for iHeartMedia Albany (New York), comments, “The iHeartMedia Washington D.C. region has a strong presence in both Washington and Baltimore with advertisers throughout the community. I’m excited to build on our success here, giving our advertisers efficient and effective marketing solutions as well as providing our listeners the best programming and content.” Preacher notes, “I’m very proud of the work we’ve done in the Washington D.C. region. Aaron has been instrumental to our growth and I am highly confident that he and the team will enjoy continued success. Regarding my role moving forward, we have very high growth expectations for our government initiatives and partnerships division. I am looking forward to resourcing and spearheading the team’s efforts.” The iHM DC cluster consists of news/talk WONK, adult contemporary WASH, country WMZQ, CHR WIHT “Hot 99.5,” alternative WWDC “DC-101,” and WBIG “Big 100 – Washington’s Classic Rock,” while its Baltimore owned-and-operated stations are CHR WZFT “Z-104.3,” adult hits WQSR “102.7 Jack-FM,” WPOC “93.1 Baltimore’s Country Station,” and gospel WCAO “Heaven 600.”

2020 Local Political Advertising to Top $6.5 Billion. That’s the estimate from BIA Advisory Services, which forecasts over-the-air television will earn the majority of the spending (47% or $3.08 billion). That compares to just over $312 million (4.8%) for radio. Meanwhile, online/digital outlets will receive $1.37 billion (21%), while multichannel video programming distributors are expected to rake in $919 million (14%). The balance will go to other media. BIA Advisory Services chief economist/senior vice president Mark Fratrik opines, “It is going to be a very interesting political year. Some very large markets will not see much in political advertising while some small markets will see an extraordinary amount of advertising due to competitive gubernatorial, senate and house races along with the presidential election. Campaigns will continue to rely on television as a dominant platform for advertising while supplementing with digital advertising across mobile and desktop. In some smaller markets, one thing to keep an eye on is how the huge volume of political advertising could crowd out other local advertisers during primary and general election seasons. That may have an impact on advertisers and media companies. We will certainly factor that into our forecasting as we go through the fall.” It is believed that the three top local political revenue generating markets will be Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Philadelphia. In each market, TV OTA will receive more than $130 million in advertising with online/digital ad spend getting over 25% of the total spend.

Hart Heads to Albuquerque. Former six-year Entercom Philadelphia news/talk WPHT program director Jared Hart relocates to Albuquerque to become AM operations manager for Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB-AM (which he will program), sports talk KNML “The Sports Animal,” and business talk KTBL. Cumulus Media Albuquerque vice president/market manager Jeff Berry comments, “Jared brings the experience, skill, and vision to lead our three AM stations – including the legendary KKOB-AM – back to a position of market dominance. We are so excited for him to join our team and help guide our cluster to new heights.” Hart adds, “I’m excited by the opportunity to join the passionate and forward-thinking team at Cumulus Albuquerque. It’s hard to overstate the power and impact of KKOB-AM and ‘The Sports Animal’ across New Mexico and the potential for KTBL. I’m honored to help drive the future success of these great stations and can’t wait to jump in.” Prior to his tenure at WPHT, Hart was assistant program director for Cumulus Media San Francisco news/talk siblings KGO and KSFO.

Four Staffers Added to Westwood One Podcast Network. Joining Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One Podcast Network are senior producer, core content Madena Parwana; senior producer, development Lou Pellegrino; audio mixing engineer/studio technician Rebekah Wineman; and associate producer Sarah McCrory. All four will report to executive editor John Wordock, who comments, “This latest round of hiring further demonstrates Westwood One’s commitment to quality and scale as we grow our podcast business and serve our extraordinary partners and content providers. Madena, Lou, Rebekah, and Sarah have diverse and distinctive skillsets that will greatly contribute to the success and evolution of podcasting at Westwood One.” Parwana will help manage and produce podcasts that cover news, lifestyle and entertainment, sports, and business/money. She previously was a producer in the global radio division of Bloomberg LP, where she produced Bloomberg’s “Masters in Business” and “The Business of Sports” podcasts. Parwana was also senior podcast producer and co-host of “Unique Radio with Will Castro.” Pellegrino will manage and assess in-bound podcast pitches as well as help to develop pilots and shows. He formerly was executive producer of podcasts for Cadence 13 where he produced “The Woj Pod” and was involved with “Pod Save America.” In addition, Pellegrino was a producer for NBC Sports Radio and worked as a freelance producer for “The Dan Patrick Show” and MSG Networks. Wineman will support post-production, sound quality, field engineering, and studio maintenance. She previously worked as an audio engineer for The Wall Street Journal, where she mixed the “What’s News” podcast. Wineman served as a mixing and mastering engineer for NPR’s “Latino USA” and “In the Thick.” McCrory will support hosts, help edit and produce shows, and book guests. Before joining Westwood One, she worked as a production coordinator and podcast coordinator for Fox News Channel in New York City and Washington, DC, working on the podcasts “Livin’ the Bream” and “The Fox News Rundown.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Sports reporter/anchor Carol Maloney joins Cumulus Media Washington DC’s WSBN-AM “ESPN 630” for 10:00 am – 12:00 noon duty. Cumulus Washington, DC program director Bill Hess states, “I’ve admired Carol’s energy, passion, and journalism since we first worked together a dozen years ago. Her relationships with the players, coaches, reporters, and sports fans in our town are unmatched.” Maloney notes, “I couldn’t be more thrilled and thankful for this opportunity. I’ve spent most of my career in the nation’s capital passionately following and covering the sports teams in town. Luckily, I’ve made a lot of friends and contacts along the way and will be calling on all of them.” Maloney has worked for Comcast SportsNet and NBC Sports Washington. She continues as a field reporter/show host for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) on Washington Nationals telecasts. “The Carol Maloney Show” debuts tomorrow (Tuesday, 8/6) ….. Miami’s WQAM “Sports Radio 560” rebrands as “560 The Joe.” While the Entercom sports talk outlet is the flagship of the Miami Dolphins, Florida Panthers, and University of Miami Hurricanes, its weekday lineup is taking more of a national lean: SportsCenter All Night (1:00 am – 5:00 am); First & Last with Jason Fitz (5:00 am – 6:00 am); The Joe Rose Show with Zach Krantz (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Dan Le Batard with Stugotz (10:00 am – 1:00 pm); Stephen A. Smith (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); Hoch & Crowder (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); “Best of ‘560 The Joe’” (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Spain & Company (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm); and Freddie & Fitzsimmons (9:00 pm – 1:00 am). Co-owned/similarly-formatted WAXY “AM 790 The Ticket” is the key station of the NBA’s Miami Heat. Its on-air roster includes: Amy Lawrence (2:00 am – 6:00 am); Tobin, Leroy, & The Beast (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Zaslow & Amber (10:00 am – 2:00 pm); Hoch & Crowder (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm); Zack Duarte (6:00 pm – 10:00 pm); and Scott Ferrall (10:00 pm – 2:00 am).

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At a time when high-profile stations such as WPLJ, New York; WRQX, Washington, DC; and WYAY, Atlanta (among others) are flipping to contemporary Christian, Tucson is losing a religious-geared outlet. Specifically, Tucson Radio LLC officially closes on its $650,000 purchase of KFLT “AM 830” & K269FV Oro Valley (Arizona) from Family Life Broadcasting and transitions it to “The Drive” (pending calls KDRI), an “original format” of music and local, live personalities. The ownership team of Arizona-based Tucson Radio, which has no other broadcast interests, is longtime Tucson businessman and community activist Fletcher McCusker (board chair); Bobby Rich (president); and Jim Arnold (general manager). McCusker is the only one without extensive radio or broadcast background. According to Arnold, who has nearly 40 years of  experience in Tucson radio and TV stations, “The Drive” will debut commercial-free as he begins hiring a sales staff this week. Today’s 6:00 am launch (Monday, 8/5) follows stunting as “The Worm,” a mix of novelty songs. With a catalogue of over 2,000 songs, “The Drive” is designed to appeal to baby boomers and originates 24/7 broadcasting from downtown Tucson. Its FM signal is heard throughout the Tucson valley, while the 830 AM signal carries from the Mexican border to Phoenix. Rich tells RadioInfo/TALKERS, “This has been developing for more than eight months; I recently realized I’ve never done a total build from scratch. I have gone back-and-forth from high anxiety to beyond thrilled of building something new, from concept to call-letters to months sorting song lists to finding talent before I could tell them what it was or what it would sound like. We didn’t buy studios or broadcast equipment – just a pair of transmitters and a tower rental agreement. Everything was kept confidential, which was extremely difficult. Some of the staff just learned the branding and what titles are in the library. We’re in empty offices working from a temporary studio while the real studios are being built across the hall. It is crazy, fun stuff.  I’m more than a little overwhelmed but so happy. It’s a dream come true for all of us – a chance to select our own music and manage content that matters to Tucson and have incredible fun while making great radio. It’s crazy to start a new radio station, but we are just crazy enough and have the passion-to make it work.” Immediately prior to his 25-year tenure as program director/morning drive host at Tucson adult contemporary KMXZ “Mix 94,” Rich was vice president/general manager/morning show talent for Seattle’s KMGI. His voluminous resume also includes programming stops in New York City (WXLO “99-X”); Los Angeles (KHTZ “K-Hits 97”); Philadelphia (WWSH); San Diego (KFMB-FM “B-100,” where he famously formulated the “Rich Brothers”); and director/programming consultation for Drake-Chenault. Rich worked on-air in Los Angeles at KHJ and KFI, as well as WMYQ, Miami. The on-air lineup for “The Drive” is comprised of Rich and Hill Bailey (morning drive); former program director of cross-town CHR KRQQ Ken Carr (mid-days); Mike Esparza (afternoon drive); and onetime Bobby Rich intern Tyler Russell (nights). Evan Carlson-headed, Arizona not-for-profit corporation Family Life owns stations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. Kalil & Co. brokered the transaction ….. While retaining its “Que Buena 92.7” identity, Univision Radio New York’s WQBU transitions from regional Mexican to Spanish AC. Core artists will include Chayanne, Juan Gabriel, Juan Luis Guerra, Enrique Iglesias, Jose Jose, Ricky Martin, Luis Miguel, Laura Pausini, and Shakira. Univision Radio New York president and general manager Roberto Yanez comments, “We are excited to launch a format that reflects distinct tastes of the Latino community in the Tri-State area. By reformatting our audio portfolio to include the only Spanish AC station in the region, we are able to give our audience more of the music they love, whether they’re listening at home, at work, or during their commute.” Its adjusted on-air lineup now includes: Mildre Aquino (6:00 am – 10:00 am); El Bueno, La Mala y El Feo (10:00 am – 2:00 pm); Jose Luis Arcos (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Cesar Lozano (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm); and El Free-Guey with La Bronca (8:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 New York City report, WQBU ranks #34 (.3); it is #37 in Long Island (.2, 6+, June 2019) ….. One-year KVIL, Dallas “Alt 103.7” morning talent Jenn Marino exits the Entercom alternative outlet. Marino formerly co-hosted Premiere Networks’ Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx. Her other on-air credits include Baltimore outlets WHFS “Alternative 99.1”; WWMX, “Mix 106.5”; and WIYY “98 Rock,” as well as KRXO, Oklahoma City …. Launched in 2018, YEA Networks’Tino Cochino Radio” debuts next Monday morning (8/12, 6:00 am – 10:00 am) on Kemp Broadcasting Las Vegas CHR KVGQ “Q-106.9.” Hosted by Tino Cochino, Raquel, and DJ Nicasio, the show is now heard in more than 40 markets. KVGQ program director Gabriela “Lady g.” Loredon comments, “I’m excited to welcome Tino and the TCR team to our ‘Q-106.9’ family. TCR is the perfect fit for mornings here in Vegas and can’t wait to win” ….. American Idol winner Maddie Poppe and Whitney Woerz are among those scheduled to appear at the third annual “Survive Live” concert presented by Entercom Madison hot AC WMHX “Mix 105.1.” The October 3rd event will raise money for breast cancer awareness ….. “I’m Roger Carroll and I play records.” For 20 years (1959 – 1979), listeners of Los Angeles’ once powerhouse KMPC heard Kolman Carroll Rutkin begin his “R.C. Get Together” that way; the 90-year-Carroll died last week in Long Beach, California. Andrew Rutkin notes that his father “lived an amazing life; was surrounded by family; and his passing was peaceful.” The son of Eastern Europe immigrants, Roger Carroll was born in Baltimore in 1928 and moved away at 15 to work as an announcer at Frederick, Maryland’s WFMD. After World War ll, he relocated to Los Angeles, and at age 18, became the youngest announcer ever on the ABC Radio Network. Carroll, who worked at Los Angeles’ KABC from 1946 – 1959, became executive producer of the “Lawrence Welk Radio Show” in 1981 and owned KWIP, Salem (Oregon), a station he sold in 1991. For many years, he was the off-camera voice for such TV shows as “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” “Bonanza,” “The Danny Thomas Show,” and “Tony Orlando and Dawn.” In 2017, he started a streaming internet station, Roger Carroll’s Best Sounds in Town.” Commenting about his father, Andrew Rutkin states, “We will all miss him terribly. I’ll especially miss his wealth of stories and his amazing talent for mucking up his computer.”

Charlamagne Tha Guest. A number of the 2020 presidential candidates have made Premiere Networks’ “The Breakfast Club” a must-stop on their campaign trail. Last week, the show’s Charlamagne Tha God made the media rounds himself, appearing on NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” (the two are shown here) and CNN’s “OutFront” with Erin Burnett. Among other things, he talked about how the Democrats performed in the recent debates; who his favorite candidate is so far; and how he approaches interviews. Originating from iHeartMedia New York urban contemporary WWPR “Power 105.1,” the 4.5-hour “Breakfast Club” features Charlamagne Tha God, DJ Envy, and Angela Yee.

Monday, November 23, 2015

| November 23, 2015

Paris Attacks Aftermath and Brussels Tensions Top Weekend News/Talk Stories.  The aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris, the question of how to deal with Syrian refugees and specific threats to Brussels, Belgium were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.  The Paris aftermath and the Syrian refugee question ended last week as the top stories, landing atop the weekly Talkers TenTM chart, and they continued to be top points of discussion for news/talk outlets that featured live and local programs or carried live national shows over the weekend.

hessbillCumulus Expands Bill Hess’ Role in DC to Operations Manager.  Programming pro Bill Hess – currently serving as program director for news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington and Cumulus Media corporate PD/talk – is adding operations manager duties for the Washington. DC cluster.  Hess’ 38-year radio career has provided him with experience across numerous radio formats.  In addition to his news/talk and sports radio programming experience, he’s also programmed ACs WSNE, Providence;cumulus logo WHYN-FM, Springfield, MA; and WASH, Washington and classic rock WBIG, Washington.  Cumulus SVP, content and programming Mike McVay says, “Bill is an exceptional programmer.  The growth that WMAL has experienced under his direction is nothing short of astounding.  He has excelled as a corporate PD and will continue in that role.  Bill is deserving of this recognition.”  Hess says of his new duties, “On the heels of our team’s success at WMAL, I’m thrilled to be working with Louie Diaz on the rebirth of Washington’s legendary ‘Mix 107.3.’  Thanks to Gary Pizzati, Mike McVay, Jake McCann and Beth Cohen for this opportunity.”

spadeabillBill Spadea Replaces Jim Gearhart on New Jersey 101.5 AM Drive Show.  Back in September, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” morning drive personality Jim Gearhart suffered a severe concussion at his home while on vacation.  Recovery from the injury has been difficult, putting Gearhartgearhartjim on an extended leave of absence.  Now, Townsquare Media announces that Gearhart will not be able to return to his duties with the station and that Bill Spadea is assuming the role of host of the morning show.  Gearhart had been with the station for the past 25 years and is a member of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.  Spadea has been Gearhart’s chief fill-in since 2014 and voices the station’s daily feature “Bill Spadea’s New Jersey.”  Spadea says, “I’ve always looked up to Jim Gearhart as a legend in New Jersey media. His shoes are too large for me to ever fill completely, but I am honored and humbled and will try my best to live up to his legacy of unequaled radio and service to the people of New Jersey.”

valentimikeDetroit Lions Deny Trying to Silence WXYT-FM’s Mike Valenti.  Usually when a radio station ceases to be a pro sports team’s flagship, it’s because of money – either the rights got too expensive or the station was outbid.  But CBS RADIO Detroit market manager Debbie Kenyon says in a statement that Lions management wanted to pressure the station into firing talk host Mike Valenti for his staunchwxyt-fm logo criticism of the team’s performance.  Kenyon issued the following statement, “CBS RADIO and the Detroit Lions are parting ways.  ‘97.1 The Ticket’ has served as the flagship station for the Lions for more than a decade.  CBS RADIO says it has been negotiating with the Lions a wjr logolong time.  It is sad to say goodbye, but in the end it came down to the integrity of CBS — the refusal to be censored in talking about the team and making honest assessments on the air about this team.”  Crain’s Detroit Business reports the team says that isn’t true.  It quotes Elizabeth Parkinson, Lions’ SVP of marketing and partnerships, saying the mandate to fire Valenti in order to get a renewal with the club is “categorically a lie” and that Cumulus simply offered a better deal.  But in the Crain’s piece, Valenti’s manager, Mort Meisner, said the team made Valenti’s firing part of the conditions for renewing with the team and that team officials were regularly calling Kenyon to complain about Valenti’s criticism of the team’s performance and its management.  Read it here.

Odds & Sods.  Conservative talk pro Steve Malzberg – seen nightly on Newsmax TV – is sitting in for Salemmalzbergsteve Radio Network’s Bill Bennett on his morning drive show, “Bill Bennett’s Morning In America” this Friday (11/27)…..The NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers will remain with iHeartMedia in the Steel City as the team and the company come to terms to keep games airing on rock WDVE and sports talk WBGG-AM/W292DH-FM.  The renewed deal extends through the 2018 season and contains elements of promotional support for the Steelers via iHeartMedia’s six Pittsburgh stations.

boonecharlieLegendary WCCO, Minneapolis Personality Charlie Boone Dies at 88.  As one half of the morning radio team “Boone and Erickson,” Charlie Boone was a fixture on Twin Cities radio for some 40 years, literally owning the daypart during the halcyon days of AM radio from the 1960s through the 1990s.  He died on Sunday (11/22) at the age of 88.  The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports he and Roger Erickson worked together for 37 years before Erickson’s retirement in 1998.  Boone continued to host a solo Saturday morning show from that point until 2010.  Boone arrived at WCCO from his previous gig in Fargo in 1959.  He and fellow air staffer Erickson hit it off personally and management put them together on the radio in 1961.

Bill Payne Dies at 76.  Oklahoma broadcaster Bill Payne passed away in Tulsa on Friday 11/20 at the age of 76.  Payne was the founder of the Oklahoma Academy of Radio.  Payne was a pioneer in the field of FM broadcasting putting KWHP-FM, Edmond, Oklahoma on the air in 1962.  His Payne Radio Group operates 13 stations across eastern Oklahoma.  The company continues to be led by Payne’s son Will Payne.

Monday, June 15, 2015

| June 15, 2015

2015 NYC 150Packed Talkers New York 2015 Conference a Hit with Attendees.  Talk media industry practitioners jam-packed the India House in Manhattan’s Financial District on Friday, June 12 for a full day of presentations, panels and speeches as TALKERS magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary serving the talk radio industry at its 18th annual New York-located national conference.  The day began with a continental breakfast and reception titled, “Breakfast with Hannity,” sponsored by the Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radiokilmeadeHannityFrancesa15 superstar.  WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa kicked off the presentations with a powerful and informative welcoming speech.  Panel discussions included such topics as “The State of Radio Ratings,” “The Big Picture,” “Generating Talk Radio Revenue,” “Programming Talk Radio in 2015,” “Variety, The Spice of Life,” and “Navigating a Talk Host Career.”  The program also included a one-on-one “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Cumulus Media EVP, content & programming John Dickey, plus the TALKERS quiversTalbott15Awards Presentation during which WOLB, Baltimore morning host Larry Young received the “Humanitarian of the Year Award,” Howard Stern co-host Robin Quivers received the “Woman of the Year Award,” CBS Radio News VP Harvey Nagler was presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and ABC Television, director, business continuity Howard B. Price received the “Freedom of Speech Award.”  Michael Harrison states, “We are deeply gratified, humbled and grateful by the SRO turnout and the tremendous love and support we have consistently received that has allowed TALKERS and all its various projects to make it to the quarter-century milestone.  This conference exuded a level of confidence about the future of the talk industry held by its key players that we haven’t seen in years!”  Video of each of the sessions and presentations will be made available online via Talkers TV, along with detailed story and photographic coverage of the conference, beginning next week.  Above right, FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade, WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Sean Hannity share a joke.  Lower left, Premiere Networks’ Julie Talbott (left) presents the Woman of the Year Award to Robin Quivers (right).

limbaughrush15iHeartMedia to Create New Boston Home for Rush Limbaugh on WKOX.  Dropping the Spanish music format “Mia 1430,” iHeartMedia will launch “Talk 1430” WKOX on Monday, June 29 with Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh as the centerpiece along with company stalwarts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck surrounding him.  WKOX is licensed to Everett, Massachusetts and its primary signalwkox logo covers the city of Boston and reaches many of its suburbs.   iHeartMedia is going with a sports and talk hybrid using FOX Sports Radio content in addition to syndicated talk programming.  Here’s the lineup: “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” in AM drive; Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Limbaugh; Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; “America Now” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; Westwood One’s Mark Levin from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; and FOX Sports Radio during overnights.  iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “We are excited to bring this powerful lineup of talk show hosts to our cluster here in Boston.  We are confident that the biggest names in the talk radio format will serve our listeners and advertisers well.”

voltair imageCanada’s Numeris Orders Voltair Units Disabled Until Further Notice.  Canada’s Numeris – formerly called the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement – has ordered all Canadian radio stations to disconnect their Voltair units from their audio chains.  The audio processor manufactured by 25-Seven – a division of TelosAlliance – has been a controversial topic within U.S. broadcast circles recently for reportedly enabling stations in Nielsen’s PPM markets to “amplify” the encoding that PPM receivers use to “hear” in order to give stations credit for listening.  As was discussed at the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday (6/12) on the “State of Radio Ratings” panel, Voltair is currently being tested by Nielsen but no such edicts have been issued here.  Canada’s Numeris states in a letter to station owners that the order to shut off Voltair comes because of the “importance of a level playing field.”  Numeris admists it doesn’t know if the technology is affecting ratings or not but that it expects to have an analysis of Voltair done within 60 days.

hessbillCumulus Media Elevates Hess to Corporate PD of News/Talk. A session moderator at last Friday’s (6/12) “TALKERS New York 2015,” Bill Hess takes on corporate responsibilities in addition to his role as program director of Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talker WMAL-AM/FM. According to Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey, “Bill is one of the format’s best minds. We look forward to sharing him within our company.” Senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay comments, “This promotion enables us to take advantage of Bill’s previous experience as a corporate programmer and rewards him for the amazing job that he is doing at WMAL.” Hess remarks, “I deeply appreciate – and am incredibly energizedCumulus by – this opportunity to work with John Dickey, Mike McVay, and our team of talented programmers as we continue to drive the success of the industry’s leading platform of news-talk brands, both on-air and digitally.” Formerly senior vice president of programming for Air America Radio, Hess was brand manager for Clear Channel/iHeartMedia and was PD of talk stations in Providence (WHJJ); Springfield, Massachusetts (WHYN-AM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (WTAG), as well as operations manager of Washington, DC progressive talker WWRC, sports WTEM, and conservative talk WTNT. The Philadelphia native has programmed FM music stations in Washington, DC (adult contemporary WASH and classic rock WBIG); Providence (hot AC WSNE and classic hits-oldies WWBB); Springfield, Massachusetts (hot AC WHYN-FM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (adult contemporary WSRS).

wrkologoNew Course Set at WRKO, Boston.  In a press statement announcing the hiring of Alison Harris as sales manager for Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, VP and market manager Phil Zachary says filling this two-year-vacant post signals the station’s readiness to forward with the next step inharrisalison its evolution.  He comments, “Like every talk radio station in America, WRKO has been evolving with the changing media habits and demographic shifts in our society.  We did not want to fill this important position until our course was set for the future and we found the perfect candidate.  I’m thrilled we’re now at that point and that Alison was available to us.”  Harris is a 22-year media pro who was most recently with Clear Channel Outdoor’s Washington, D.C./Baltimore Division as vice president of sales.  The Boston news/talk will part with Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh next month and says it will announce its new, official lineup a little later this month.

Odds & Sods.  Boston journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee told her listeners on Friday afternoon that she expects to beat the charges leveled against her after a late night incident on Thursday that resulted in her beingmcpheemichele arrested for DUI, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.  McPhee – heard on WMEX, Boston in afternoon drive – says she can’t comment specifically on the advice of her attorney.  She was pulled over after a police officer reported seeing her car swerve on I-93 in South Boston.  The Boston Herald reports she became belligerent with the officer and even sustained a head injury while the officer was arresting her…..Salem Media Group names Randy Bush general manager of its Little Rock station group that includes Christian contemporary KKSP, Christian teaching KDIS and news/talk KHTE “96.5 The Answer.”…..Townsquare Media announces Mike “Sandman” Sanders is the new operations manager for its Billings, Montana cluster that includes news/talk KCHH “Newstalk 95.5.”  He was most recently with Riverbend Communications as music director and afternoon personality at adult contemporary KCLE, Idaho Falls “Classy 97.3.”

Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of May 2015 PPM Data.  The fourth and final round of May 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The May 2015 survey period covered April 23 through May 20.  You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

njba logoNJBA Conference and Gala Begins This Week.  The annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference and Gala opens this week in Atlantic City with his year’s theme: “Broadcast Has  New Attitude.”  NJBA president  & CEO Paul Rotella states, “We’re going to hear from a variety of voices during this conference which  will provide you with the latest and most substantial evolution in research, technology and advancement in audience measurement.”  During the conference, the NJBA will be honoring FOX News’ Judge Andrew P. Napolitano as its recipient of the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year.  Also, Greater Media’s Peter Smyth will induct Dan Finn, Harry Hurley, Dick Swetits, and Kevin Williams into the NJBA Hall of Fame.

hobbsgabe‘Get Well’ Wishes to Gabe Hobbs.  Longtime radio pro and Gabe Hobbs Media principal, Gabe Hobbs is recovering from a ruptured disc in his lower back.  He writes to the industry that he’s been largely unable to communicated while literally “on his back” in the hospital for the better part of the last two weeks.  He writes, “As some of you may have heard, I have been hospitalized with a ruptured disk in my lower back for a couple of weeks.  My back just seemed to explode on the afternoon of May 26th and I’ve been largely unable to answer emails, phone calls or texts ever since.  I couldn’t even sit up or walk for 9 days.  I’m finally able to do a little work on the computer and have somewhat cogent phone conversations at this point…My apologies as I know many of you are wondering if I just dropped off the face of the earth.  Everyone at TALKERS wishes Gabe a speedy recovery.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

| January 28, 2014

wftl logoJames Crystal Radio Misses Payroll.  According to a report in Jose Lambert’s column in the Miami Herald, staffers at the James Crystal Radio Group stations in West Palm Beach – news/talkwmen logo WFTL and sports talk WMEN – have not been paid since January 1 due to the holder of a $17 million loan to the company freezing its account.  The company is operated by Jim Hilliard and when contacted by the paper, general manager Steve Lapa stated that Hilliard is working from “6:00 am to 10:00 pm daily to resolve the situation.”  Lapa reports the staffers have missed only one pay period up until this point.  Between the two stations it’s estimated there are approximately 75 employees.

davisdarrenClear Channel Creates Networks Group; Names Davis President.  In a corporate re-alignment move, Clear Channel Media + Entertainment creates a new unified Networks group to take full advantage of its “power, reach and scale to deliver more compelling content opportunities to its partners, affiliates, advertisers and consumers, as well as providing a unique platform to its content partners and talent.”  Darren Davis, most recently EVP and GM for the national programming platforms, will lead this effort as president, Clear Channel Networks Group.  The company says that in his new role, Davis will oversee and ensure the success and close integration of the networks — Premiere Networks, Total Traffic and Weather Network, the 24/7 News Network and the iHeartRadio Network.  This new position underlines Clear Channel’s continued commitment to further expanding and transforming its business, introducing innovative new products, moving onto exciting new platforms and delivering even more unique opportunities and content to its audiences and its talent.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman states, “This new unified Networks group will enable us to better capitalize on our powerful relationships, creative talent and unparalleled capabilities across all platforms and maximize our infrastructure in an entirely new way to take these networks to a higher level, as well as develop new ones.  Darren is an innovative and effective leader of teams and has been a success at every role he has played at this company from the beginning as a programmer through his role as EVP and GM for the National Programming Platforms (NPP) group with Tom Poleman.  His extensive and diverse experience makes him the perfect candidate for this important new leadership role.”

grandephilPhil Grande to Appear at Rumsfeld Book Event.  In conjunction with news/talk WLSS, Sarasota, Florida, nationally syndicated financial talk personality Phil Grande – host of the “Phil’s Gang” program – will make a presentation and appear with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at Rumsfeld’s special event and speech at the Hyatt Regency on February 13.  Rumsfeld is touring the country promoting his new book, Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War and Life (Broadside 2013).

neerrichardSports Talk: How Important Is Civility?  Unlike the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman, sports talk hosts “need to be liked.”  That’s what WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer says in his column published today (1/28).  Neer writes (while referencing the notoriety being enjoyed by Sherman in the aftermath of his recent rant), “If you are talented or lucky enough to win that lottery by catching the public imagination at precisely the right moment, you can thrive by being what polite society deems ‘uncivil.’  But you’re treading a narrow line and making a lot of enemies in the process.  One misstep could end your career as suddenly as a torn ACL could end Sherman’s.” Read Neer’s entire column here.

crninternational logoCRN International Debuts Events Division; Names Kelly Travers Director.  Integrated radio marketing solutions company CRN International is establishing a new Events Division for the growing number of live functions it manages as part of client campaigns.  The company says the move will allow it “to execute with optimum efficiency for the many events it coordinates for consumer brands, ranging from local radio station appearances to high-profile nightclub galas.”  To head up the new venture is Kelly Travers who is named director of retail strategies and activation.  CRN president and founder Barry Berman states, “Live events are used when they help solve a client objective, and they have to be well executed in every detail if they hope to deliver the expected business outcome.  Establishment of this new operating unit will allow our clients to sleep at night knowing all logistics are being addressed thoroughly.”  Travers notes that CRN International orchestrated more than 300 events as part of client marketing strategies last year alone.  Among the companies that have used live events engineered by CRN as an offshoot of their radio-triggered campaigns are Fiat and Petco, to name a few.

wxgiRed Zebra’s WXGI, Richmond to Simulcast on WZEZ-FM.  In a deal that will begin on February 1, Red Zebra-operated sports talk WXGI, Richmond “ESPN 950” will expand its reach by simulcasting on WZEZ at 100.5 FM.  The agreement between Red Zebra Broadcasting and Delmarva Educational Association gives “ESPN 950” reach to the northwest of the market.  General manager Buck Albritton states, “We could not be more excited to move our dynamic on-air lineup onto the FM frequency.  Most importantly, we are increasing our signal reach to serve more sports listeners.”  The stations will begin their relationship with the broadcast of Super Bowl XVLIII on Sunday.  Program director Mitchell Bradley states, “Not only is this an opportunity to serve a greater number of listeners, we will increase the number of games that we can broadcast.  We’ll be able to carry one play-by-play lineup on our AM station while featuring another program event on the FM signal.”  Red Zebra is controlled by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

radiohealthjournal logoOdds & Sods.  The syndicated public affairs program “Radio Health Journal” is celebrating the airing of its 1,100th episode this week.  The program began in 1992 and is now heard on more than 480 stations across the country.  Produced by MediaTracks Communications and hosted by Reed Pence, the show provides listeners with a wide variety of health topics, including consumer safety, healthcare, drug abuse, mental illness, food safety, and youth at risk.  Pence states, “From the start, we cared about the information that we were providing to the listener.  We’ve always concentrated on providing important and useful information in a consumer friendly way.”…..SiriusXM talk host Joe Madison will attend tonight’s State of the Union Address as a guest of Congressional Black Caucus chair Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH).  On Wednesday, Fudge will appear on Madison’s program to discuss the president’s address…..The NFL’s Baltimore Ravens will be heard on Clear Channel’s classic rock WBIG, Washington, DC next season.  Last season the team’s games were heard in the DC market on Hubbard Radio’s WFED, Washington.

espnmikemikebradshawSports Talk Frenzy in NYC.  It’s Super Bowl week in New York City and ESPN – along with the other major sports radio networks including Fox Sports Radio Network, CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports Radio Network – is there.  Pictured here is Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw (right) on ESPN’s Mike & Mike show this morning with Mike Golic (center) and Mike Greenberg (left).  ESPN enjoys the advantage of its fabulous Times Square studios for this year’s Super Bowl.  All this week at the nearby Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan, some 90 radio stations are broadcasting from the Super Bowl XLVIII radio row.

millergovernorDown on Main Street.  Always getting out into the community, KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (center) takes his show out to Ed’s 50 Café where he hosts a roundtable breakfast chat with Idaho Governor Butch Otter (right) and EntreLeadership director of coaching and community John Felkins.  EntreLeadership is part of talk superstar Dave Ramsey’s organization.  Felkins’ job involves meeting with business leaders from across the country and helping them generate improvements to their companies by applying the EntreLeadership way of doing business.

comrexACCESSComrex Rolls Out Switchboard Traversal Server.  Don’t get freaked out by the engineer-speak, this is a very cool new feature for Comrex’s ACCESS and BRIC-Link IP audio codecs.  This major upgrade to the company’s popular BRIC Traversal Server (or BRIC-TS) service for ACCESS and BRIC-Link IP audio codecs allows for presence notification, status and connection help (NAT Traversal) via a cloud-based service which is free to use for Comrex ACCESS IP codec customers.  The feature is included in all Comrex ACCESS IP Audio codecs and can be unlocked on Comrex BRIC-Link codecs for a small license unlock fee.  The company states that it will be migrating all existing BRIC-TS accounts to the new Switchboard TS today (1/28) and the changeover will be seamless for existing users.  While customers will experience an improved graphical user interface, they should note two main improvements to the management tools in Switchboard.  Specifically, “Contact Lists” and “Shares” have simplified the task of managing a large fleet of ACCESS and BRIC-Link codecs.  What this all really means is that Switchboard TS is designed to allow your BRIC codecs (such as ACCESS) to connect with each other without having to have an IT guy onsite everywhere you go!  To contact Comrex by phone, call 800-237-1776.

Cool Job Opportunity. Heritage News/Talk station in the northeast has a rare opportunity in a top 100 market.  Now accepting applications for a combo News Director/Program Director.  Great company and a great opportunity for the right person with strong forward thinking programming ideas and strategies.  Must have experience in both news and programming with a multi-platform distribution approach to include on-air, online and mobile.  Please email a resume along with any supporting materials to Gabe Hobbs at gabe@gabehobbsmedia.com.  Or you can place your materials in my DropBox at https://www.hightail.com/u/GabeHobbsMedia. No calls please.  EOE/MF

State of the Union Address, NSA Spying Controversy, Hillary Clinton in 2016, More Icy Winter Weather, 56th GRAMMYs, and Super Bowl XLVIII Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27).  The president’s annual State of the Union address to be delivered tonight; more revelations about the extent of the NSA spying operations; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 political ambitions; the next round of frigid winter weather set to hit the Midwest, East and South this week; the 56th GRAMMY awards held Sunday; and the run-up to Super Bowl XLVIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.