Mary Walter Joins WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s ‘Mornings On The Mall.’ Radio pro Mary Walter is named the co-host of the “Mornings On The Mall” program on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. Walter is working with co-host Brian Wilson. She takes over for Larry O’Connor, who recently moved to the afternoon drive daypart. Walter was most recently with iHeartMedia’s WHAS, Louisville, hosting the evening program. She’s been a frequent guest host on WMAL in addition to guest host stints on FOX News Radio and SiriusXM’s The Patriot channel. WMAL program director Bill Hess comments, “Mary’s experience, energy, and familiarity to our audience made her the perfect addition to our team.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces New Midday Show. The new midday show at E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee is being unveiled. The station moved Jeff Wagner to the late morning slot that opened up with the retirement of Charlie Sykes at the end of last year. Now, taking over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is the “Scaffidi & Bilstad” show with Steve Scaffidi (center) and executive producer Erik Bilstad (left). Scaffidi was most recently mayor of suburban Oak Creek and an account executive at the Leonard & Finco Public Relations firm. He’s resigned from both posts to join WTMJ. Station VP/GM Tom Langmyer states, “We’re pleased to welcome Steve to our team. He brings a great depth of knowledge and local connection to add to his take on the news of the day. Steve is a Wisconsin native, has a deep background and so much life experience, beyond broadcasting.” News anchor and reporter Colleen Boland (right) will man the newsroom during the program. The show debuts on February 28.
ABC News Radio Makes Staffing Changes; Gearing Towards Covering Breaking News. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS magazine that the news organization is making staffing changes that signal a shift from putting its primary resources into newscasts and focusing more intently on the coverage of breaking news, “reflecting immediacy and producing additional program content” for their approximately 1,575 affiliates. ABC News Radio says it has parted ways with a handful of employees but is in the process of hiring for a number of positions that will exceed those eliminated. Those include: Affiliate Solutions Manager, Associate Producer, Country Reporter/Producer, Urban Reporter/Producer, and WGA Newswriter/Producer. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS, “These changes allow ABC News Radio to provide more two-ways, breaking news and anchored coverage which have become more important to stations. It is never easy when fellow employees leave and we wish the very best to these colleagues. The media landscape is always evolving and it’s critical we’re meeting stations’ needs every step of the way.”
Erik Kuselias to Host Daily Talk Show on Genesis Communications Florida Talk Stations. Known primarily for his work in the sports media business, Erik Kuselias is expanding his reach in Florida by hosting a daily, two-hour talk show on Genesis Communications-owned news/talk outlets WWBA, Tampa and WIXC, Titusville (on the Space Coast). Kuselias – a former ESPN and NBC Sports personality – currently hosts a morning drive sports talk show on the company’s sports talk duo WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. He’s continuing in that role in addition to the new program that airs from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. WWBA program manager Tom Paleveda states, “This is a natural progression for EK. We launched EK on the sports stations in both Tampa and Orlando last year. He is incredibly talented and will produce one of talk radio’s best programs. He will also continue to provide his brand of content on the company digital platforms, ‘News Talk Florida’ and ‘Sports Talk Florida.’”
Bubba the Love Sponge Files New Counterclaim Against Nielsen. The first time Bubba the Love Sponge filed a counterclaim against Nielsen, the court denied the motion ruling that it was difficult to discern the relevant facts due to the heavily redacted documents supplied by plaintiff Nielsen. That counterclaim included third parties Cox Media Group and CMG employee (and WHPT, Tampa personality) Mike Calta. But the denial was without prejudice, allowing Bubba’s lawyers to try again. And he has, this time leaving Cox and Calta out of the counterclaim. The counterclaim still alleges Nielsen entered into a conspiracy with Cox Media Group to get Bubba off the air in Tampa and interfere with his ability to do business with Beasley Media Group (owner of Tampa affiliate WBRN). The specific counterclaims are: Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relationships, Violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and Civil Conspiracy.
KFYO, Lubbock, Texas Names Dave King & Matt Martin Morning Hosts. Friday (2/17) was the last day for the “First News with Tom Collins and Laura Mac” on Townsquare Media’s news/talk KFYO, Lubbock, Texas. Assuming the morning show role are Dave King (right) and Matt Martin (left). The station says, “Both Dave and Matt are easy going, view the world from a conservative viewpoint, and want to interact with KFYO listeners. King is owner of Dave King Advertising in Lubbock. Matt Martin is a realtor with The Wyatt Team at Keller Williams.
Neuhoff Ups Byerly to DOS and Associate GM for Decatur Station Group. Moving up from her general sales manager position at Neuhoff Communications’ Decatur, Illinois cluster is Kathy Byerly. She’s now director of sales and associate general manager for the group that includes news/talk WSOY, sports talk WDZ, hip hop WCZQ “HOT 105.5,” CHR WSOY-FM “Y103,” and country WDZQ “95Q.” Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey states, “Kathy is a wonderful success story. She has grown a career from the front desk to market leadership. You can’t get much better than that. The group of Decatur stations and digital products are not only the market leaders, they also have been recognized among the best in the industry. Kathy will help support those traditions while driving more business to our advertising partners.”
Hanging Out at the Club. Nationally syndicated Westwood One talk host Michael Savage and his son, Rockstar energy drink founder Russ Weiner, crossed paths with President Donald Trump at the chief executive’s famous Palm Beach, Florida private club, Mar-a-Lago, this weekend. They were attending a dinner hosted by Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy when the president stopped by to say hello. Pictured (l-r): Ruddy, Trump, Savage, and Weiner.
Limbaugh-Touted Book Debuts at #6 on NYT Bestseller List. The latest book by conservative writer David Horowitz – Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America – debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list at #6 in the hardcover nonfiction books and e-book/hardcover nonfiction categories. Newsmax reports that the book was released the week of President Trump’s inauguration and is being praised by Rush Limbaugh, among other conservative media figures, for its predictions about Trump’s agenda. Horowitz is founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
New Trump Travel Order, McMaster Named National Security Advisor, Trump’s Sweden Comment, McCain vs Trump, UK’s Anti-Trump Debate, Uber Sexual Harassment Scandal, Yiannopoulos Controversies, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20). The Trump Administration issues new travel order exempting green card holders; President Donald Trump names Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster national security advisor; the controversy over Trump’s allusion to crime in Sweden and filmmaker Ami Horowitz’s allegations that violent crime there has spiked due to immigrants; Republican Senator John McCain’s role as a major critic of Trump’s policies; the British House of Commons debates denying President Trump’s state visit; the allegations of sexual harassment at Uber’s corporate headquarters and the company’s hiring former AG Eric Holder to investigate; the controversies surrounding media figure Milo Yiannopoulos, including his being uninvited to CPAC and Simon and Schuster refusing to release his book; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Phoenix market broadcast legend Pat McMahon is being roasted on March 15 at local comedy club Stand Up Live in an event being organized by Bonneville news/talk outlet KTAR-FM. The “Tip of the Hat to Pat” roast is being hosted by KNIX personality Tim Hattrick and will feature rock legend Alice Cooper, as well as local celebrities Jude LaCava from Fox 10, John Holmberg from KUPD, authors Jana Bommersbach and Rita Davenport and former ADL director Bill Straus. McMahon says, “I’m feeling both honored and terrified at the prospect of this event. But you can be sure that I’ll be able to dish it out, just as well as I can take it.”…..New York Mets flagship station WOR, New York announces it will air play-by-play for 15 spring training games, beginning on February 24 when the Mets take on the Boston Red Sox…..The New York Times recently published a feature story about Premiere Networks host George Noory. In the piece, the “Coast to Coast AM” host discusses how “Coast to Coast AM” has evolved over the years, his open approach to stories and topics, and his relationship with his audience. Read the story here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Atlanta cluster of Cox Media Group, Jaleigh Long is promoted to director of sales. She moves up from her general sales manager role. She’ll oversee the sales efforts for news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, CHR WSB-FM “B98.5,” classic hits WSRV “97.1 The River,” urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1 FM,” and country simulcast WNGC/WTSH “Your Georgia Country.”…..At Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rock WXRX, Rockford, Illinois “104.9 The X,” Zander – who’s been morning host and PD since joining the station in August of last year – moves to the afternoon drive slot. At the same time, Lori joins the station from crosstown competitor WKGL “96.7 The Eagle.”…..In the Lexington, Kentucky market, iHeartMedia drops sports talk on the simulcast of WWTF-AM and translator W239DJ at 97.7 FM and flips it to rock as “WTF 97.7 Lexington’s Rock Alternative.” Air personalities include Aly, Big Rig, Audrey, and Shroom…..Binnie Media says good bye to classic music on its WBQX, Thomaston, Maine and translator W245AA, Portland at 96.9 FM. WBQX takes on the classic hits format “FRANK FM” while the translator is simulcasting country station WTHT, Auburn “99.9 The Wolf.”
iHeartRadio Music Awards Announces Best New Artist Nominees. When the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards take place on Sunday, March 5 at the Forum in Los Angeles, one of the awards to be given will be the Best New Artist. The ultimate winner will be chosen by fans from all categories of popular music. The first step was naming the nominees in each category. Now, the finalists have been named. They are: Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist: The Strumbellas; Best New Country Artist: Kelsea Ballerini; Best New Hip-Hop Artist: Chance the Rapper; Best New Latin Artist: CNCO; Best New Regional Mexican Artist: Joss Favela; Best New Pop Artist: The Chainsmokers; and Best New R&B Artist: Bryson Tiller. The awards show will be televised live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET and simulcast on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as on iHeartRadio.
Bubba the Love Sponge Lands at WWBA, Tampa-St. Pete. The Genesis Communications-owned station WWBA-AM, Tampa-St. Petersburg “NewsTalk Florida” announces the Bubba the Love Sponge morning show will debut there on Monday (2/13). Bubba’s show most recently aired in the market on Beasley Media Group’s former rock station WBRN (now AC “B98.7”). The station says it will be the new flagship for the regionally syndicated program. WWBA program manager Tom Paleveda says, “We are extremely excited to enter into a partnership with the Bubba the Love Sponge show. The show has an incredibly engaged audience across West Central Florida and we felt we could serve that audience exceptionally well with our distribution platform. We have assurances that Bubba will do his best to be a good boy while providing his unique brand of content.” Bubba Clem is currently in a legal battle with Nielsen Audio. The ratings giant is suing him claiming it suffered damages as the result of Clem’s attempts at manipulating the market’s PPM survey. Clem has filed countersuits.
Nielsen Reports 2016 Revenue Up 2.2%; Net Income Down 12.5%. Ratings giant Nielsen Holdings N.V. is releasing its financial numbers for the fourth quarter of 2016, and for the year as a whole. Nielsen reports 2016 Q4 revenue of $1.6 billion – an increase of 2% over the same period in 2015 – and revenue for all of 2016 topped $6.3 billion, up 2.2% over the year 2015. Net income for Q4 of 2016 was $160 million, down 45% from the same period in 2015. For all of 2016, net income was $507 million, down 12.5% compared to 2015. Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns states, “While 2016 was a challenging year, our results reflect the resiliency of our business. We remain focused on our key strategic initiatives and we continue to drive productivity and efficiency in our operations. In our Watch segment, our Total Audience Measurement initiative continued to excel, and we saw significant growth in adoption of its many components by both media buyers and sellers. With the approach of the 2017 Upfronts, our Total Audience system is ready to play a key role for our clients. In our Buy segment, emerging markets continued to deliver solid growth. In developed markets, especially the U.S., trends in the fast-moving consumer goods industry put pressure on our business. In response, we’ve accelerated investment in our Connected System initiative, designed to drive speed and efficiency for our clients. We expect this to lead to a stronger, higher-margin business for Nielsen over time.”
Chris Matthews to Emcee RTDNF First Amendment Awards. When the Radio Television Digital News Foundation’s 2017 First Amendment Awards Dinner gets underway at the Grand Hyatt in Washington on March 14, MSNBC host Chris Matthews will be serving as emcee for the program. RTDNF chair Kathy Walker says, “When it comes to American politics, Chris Matthews has seen it all and he’s done a remarkable job of explaining it all to a generation of viewers. We’re delighted to have him as our master of ceremonies as we honor champions of the First Amendment and support the work of our Foundation.” This year’s honorees include: Bill Whitaker, CBS News – Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award; Steve Jones, ABC News Radio – First Amendment Service Award; Stanley S. Hubbard, Hubbard Broadcasting – First Amendment Leadership Award; Mark Halperin/John Heilemann – First Amendment Award; and Nina Totenberg, NPR – RTDNF Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jeff Sessions AG Confirmation/Sen. Warren Silenced, Trump Travel Ban Battle, Gorsuch on Trump Judge Comments, Yemen Raid Criticism, U.S.-Iran Tensions, Trump Nordstrom Criticism, and Christie Brinkley SI Cover Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). The confirmation hearings for attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions and the related rebuking of Senator Elizabeth Warren for violating senate rules against impugning a fellow senator; the court and public opinion battle over President Donald Trump’s order restricting travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations; Supreme Court justice nominee Neil Gorsuch’s comments about Trump’s attack on Judge James Robart; the political and military fallout from the recent U.S. raid on Islamic State targets in Yemen; Iran’s latest missile test, the U.S.’ putting Iran “on notice,” and the possibility of designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization; Trump’s public criticism of Nordstrom for severing its ties with Ivanka Trump’s lines; and chatter about 63-year-old Christy Brinkley’s posing with her daughters in the new SI swimsuit edition, were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Houston Talk Host Matt Patrick In Remission and Winning His Fight Against Cancer. “News Radio 740” KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Matt Patrick continues to show his determination to beat cancer, with 2017 off to a strong start. Patrick recently shared with his “Houston’s Morning News” audience and his syndicated afternoon program audience (KPRC, Houston and KFXR, Dallas/Ft. Worth) that the latest test results have shown that he is now in remission with no detectable cancer. 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. Patrick has continued to work while undergoing additional treatments, including making his regular television appearances on Houston’s “FOX 26 News,” covering the 2016 GOP National Convention from Cleveland for iHeartMedia, and making public appearances delivering his “Overcoming Obstacles in Life” presentation.
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Radio Night Live” show with host Kevin McCullough – a radio-television “supercast” – picks up new radio affiliates KKFT, Reno and legendary Atlantic City signal WWPG-AM (plus its FM simulcast on 104.9). New TV affiliates include: WLLC-TV, Nashville; Adjuntas (Puerto Rico), KMRF, Reno; KPVT-TV, and Las Vegas…..SiriusXM is bringing actress, model, and best-selling author Brooke Shields aboard to host a new, weekly one-hour talk show on its Stars channel for a limited-run series. The “Brooke Shields Now” show will feature “inspiring, passionate conversations between Brooke, experts and celebrity guests as they discuss topics and issues ranging from parenting and relationships to fashion, the arts and more.” Guests already booked include: InStyle editor-in-chief Laura Brown and “TODAY” show hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.
The Dana Show Invades the Skype Studio in Portland. The Radio America-syndicated program “The Dana Show” is pictured above during last Friday’s broadcast from Alpha Media’s Skype Live Studio in Portland. Dana Loesch’s show is heard on the company’s news/talk stations KXL-FM and KUFO and her appearance at the Portland affiliates included a meet-and-greet with listeners. Pictured above with Loesch (right) is Todd Hoffman (left), star of Discovery Channel’s “Gold Rush.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At New York country outlet WNSH “NASH FM 94.7,” Cumulus Media promotes Katie Neal to middays. She’s been with the station for the past four years serving as a weekend/swing talent (she also was an AE for sister hot AC WPLJ). She first joined Cumulus in Bloomington, Illinois as evening host at CHR WBNQ. WNSH program director John Foxx comments, “Katie’s skill set, love for country music, passion for this city and understanding of the ‘NASH FM 94.7’ brand create the perfect alignment. There’s a lot of creativity in Katie’s execution. The investment that Katie has made in this product and in the relationships she has built on the dial, digital and social spaces have been explosive!”…..With the recent exit of afternoon personality and APD Todd Michaels, Beasley Media Group country outlet KCYE, Las Vegas “102.7 The Coyote” makes some changes. First, morning personality Kris Daniels again takes up the program director duties – a position she asked to relinquish back in July of last year in order to focus on her morning show. She will remain co-host of the “Kris & Mad Dog” morning show. Daniels says, “Now that I have a seasoned, experienced support team around me, I am excited and rejuvenated about the opportunity to lead the ‘Coyote!’” The station welcomes 13-year market pro Emmanuel “Ransom” Garcia as afternoon personality and music director. Daniels says, “Ransom Garcia’s music scheduling and social media skills are incredible and he will be enormously helpful!” Also joining the “Coyote” is Paul Knight, who returns to the station to host the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm daypart. Knight recently took an 18-month break from radio. He says, “‘The Coyote’ is in my blood! I miss the energy, listener interaction, events, and concerts. Let’s face it, I wanted to come home and be a part of my ‘102.7 Coyote’ family.”…..Cumulus Media Nashville announces that Sunday “Gospel Diva” program host Connie Denell is leaving urban contemporary WQQK “92Q” at the end of this year after three decades on the air. Denell has been with WQQK since 1983 and has been hosting her “Gospel Diva” program since 1987. She has won numerous awards for her community efforts including a Stella Award and an NAACP Award…..At the Sunrise Broadcasting station group in Wilmington, North Carolina, Max Miller moves from nights at CHR WAZO “Z107.5” to sister alternative WRMR “Modern Rock 98.7” to host the “Max in the Morning Show.” Miller fills the daypart vacated by Vaughn, a.k.a. Zach McHugh, who exited last September to join Entercom’s WSFS, Miami “104.3 The Shark.”…..Westwood One says it will be a “red, white, and blue celebration” when the syndicator’s “Red Eye Radio” lobby booth once again becomes the premier celebrity rendezvous spot at the March 23-25 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville. WW1 says “This year’s star-studded event features live appearances and musical performances from country artists Lee ‘God Bless the USA’ Greenwood, Shane Owens, Jayne Denham, Tony Justice and a celebrity appearance by Edgar Hansen from “Deadliest Catch.” “Red Eye Radio” host Eric Harley will be on site at the convention that draws some 70,000 attendees to introduce the lineup of country music artists.
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Just over two weeks after Christmas and nine days into the new year, admittedly, doesn’t provide much of a sample to gauge an industry “trend.”
At the very least though, it is worth noting three interesting top 20 market developments that contain a common thread.
The last time a major market station transitioned to adult contemporary was in April 2016, when iHeartMedia San Francisco’s urban-rhythmic oldies KISQ became “The Breeze.
Now that the all-Christmas music has come to an end, however, there are three new players under the AC banner.
Attention is currency. So short sentences rock. And sentence fragments. See?
On a normal day in Las Vegas (oxymoron), it’s already a wall of enticements:
- “100X odds craps!”
- A rib joint touts “The Best Rack on The Strip!”
- Guy Fieri’s restaurant serves up “In Your Face Food & Booze.”
- “Fire a Machine Gun!”
- “Girls! Girls! Girls!”
Now, fly-in 165,000 of us, for-whose-attention 20,000 new products compete, and you’re in the graduate school of messaging. Yours will drown in the din unless it’s “SQUIRREL!”
Radio has never had more competition for listeners’ attention, and advertisers’ do-re-mi.
So, as I navigate a Las Vegas Convention Center the size of FIFTY football fields, I am struck by how well exhibitors distill their messages, something radio hosts and commercial and promo copy should strive to do.
- BACtrack is “The World’s First Wearable Alcohol Monitor.”
- Mevo, The Live Event Camera, enables you to “Edit on the fly. Stream live or share later.”
- ThinOptics assures that you will “never be without your reading glasses again.” Their “stick anywhere, go everywhere” sleeve adheres to the back of your smartphone.
- Rem-Fit’s Zeeq Smart Pillow “Streams Music, Stops Snoring, Analyzes Sleep.”
- You’re “always connected, never apart” with Petcube’s “interactive cameras bringing pets and people closer than ever.”
- Tablo is “The DVR for Cord Cutters.”
- Assure Lock by Yale lets you “Lose your keys for good;” and “Answer your door. Anywhere. Anytime.”
- MightyPURSE “charges your phone.”
- Without a live demonstration in the booth, we’ll take Willow’s word that their “wearable breast pump” has “no external tubes, cords, or dangling bottles.”
Get the picture? Yes, we see.
“Make America Great Again.”
We just elected a most unlikely president whose gift of brevity plays Twitter like a Stradivarius. “Drain the swamp,” “Crooked Hillary,” “Jeb Bush is weak,” “Little Marco,” “Build a wall, and Mexico will pay for it,” and other bumpersticker-length catch-phrases were utterly digestible. Is your message?
Holland Cooke (www.HollandCooke.com) is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet, and he covers industry conferences for Talkers. Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke; and look for his new TalkersTV video “Choose Your Words Carefully” next week at Talkers.com
SiriusXM Ends 2016 with More Than 31.3 Million Subscribers. Satellite broadcaster SiriusXM will release its 2016 fourth quarter financials early next month, but it announced yesterday that it beat its guidance on net subscriber additions by adding more than 1.7 million during the year to pass the 31.3 million mark. It also says it expects to meet or exceed its 2016 guidance for revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow. CEO Jim Meyer comments, “We continue to make substantial investments in new products, content and technologies, including investments in new satellites, our next-generation 360L platform, wideband chipsets, and new marketing capabilities. In 2017, we expect to continue our never-ending focus on bringing our customers the best content bundle available, and our strong record of delivering cost-effective growth and returning substantial capital to stockholders through stock buybacks and our recently introduced dividend.” SiriusXM also issued 2017 guidance for self-pay net subscriber additions (1.3 million), revenue ($5.3 billion), adjusted EBITDA ($2.025 billion) and free cash flow ($1.5 billion).
PodcastOne Debuts Laila Ali Show. Women’s boxing champ Laila Ali is launching a new show called “Laila Ali Lifestyle” on the PodcastOne platform. The daughter of the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali joins the Norm Pattiz-founded entertainment company to offer a show in which fans can join Ali “on her journey to holistic greatness, as she balances mind, body and soul, and shares her passion for helping people achieve their personal best in every aspect of life.” She will invite guests to appear each week, with new episodes every Thursday. Pattiz comments, “We’re happy to have someone of Laila’s esteem, experience and class on our network. She’s a legend in her own right, and it will be great for fans to see a different side of her through the podcast.”
Chris Mack to Host Pirates Pre-and Post-Game Shows. At CBS RADIO’s Pittsburgh sports talker KDKA-FM “Sports Radio 93-7 The Fan,” station personality Chris Mack will begin hosting the pre and post-game shows for Pittsburgh Pirates baseball beginning in the spring. Mack currently hosts the station’s weekly “Bucco Talk” program in addition to a number of shows. Jack Zduriencik, a former Pirates director of scouting and former Seattle Mariners general manager will work alongside Mack during the shows. ‘Fan’ program director Jim Graci comments, “Chris is a seasoned talk show host and well versed in the Pittsburgh sports scene. Elevating him to host our pre- and post-Pirates game broadcasts was a natural progression for him, ‘The Fan’ and our scores of loyal listeners. We’re excited to have Chris take on this expanded role and look forward to his color commentary and analysis this spring.”
Russian Hacking Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 2-6. The debate in Washington over whether Vladimir Putin’s Russia is responsible for hacking the DNC’s email was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was President Obama’s lame duck actions. Coming in at #3 was the GOP’s strategy to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, followed by the Chicago Facebook torture case at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Beasley’s WBRN, Tampa Goes AC; Chadd & Kristi Thomas Named Morning Hosts. The former “Bubba Radio Network”-branded rock station ditched that moniker last year and transitioned to the “No Rules Rock!” brand. Then, late last year, Beasley Media Group dropped the Bubba the Love Sponge show in anticipation of a format change. Yesterday, the company unveiled the new adult contemporary format for WBRN and its new brand “The New B98.7.” After a 10,000 songs-in-a-row launch, the station will feature Chadd and Kristi Thomas as its morning team, beginning Monday, February 6. The duo is well known in the market after years on Cox Media Group’s crosstown AC WWRM “Magic 94.9.” Kristi Thomas says, “Chadd and I are absolutely delighted to be part of creating a new radio station! We are excited about our new home for our special brand of radio in Tampa Bay, which is a place we cherish and where we have chosen to raise our family!” Beasley EVP of programming Justin Chase adds, “For nearly two decades, Chadd & Kristi have developed a deep relationship with the Tampa listening audience and we are thrilled they decided to join us in the process of building a new and great AC brand in the market.”
Johnnie D. Upped to PD of WGCI, Chicago. In Chicago, iHeartMedia promotes WGCI and WVAZ assistant program director Johnnie D. to program director for WGCI. iHeartMedia Chicago director of urban programming Derrick Brown says, “Johnnie has made a significant impact since joining WGCI in 2015. His passion and vision for our brand has enhanced our signature concert events like Big Jam and Summer Jam, plus his work in helping launch the city’s only live-and-local urban morning show has made the ‘Chicago Morning Takeover’ a dominant force in the market. It’s a pleasure to recognize Johnnie’s hard work with this promotion and it certainly comes with great expectations as he manages all facets of the 107.5 WGCI-FM brand.”
Radio One Jumps on CHR Opportunity in Houston. With CBS RADIO’s move away from CHR on KKHH to adult hits, Radio One’s only other CHR competition for KROI “92.1 RADIO NOW” will be Cumulus Media’s KRBE. A format change for KROI was not unexpected after Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins recently commented that classic hip hop and R&B is not a “sustainable format.” The station is being programmed by cluster operations manager Terri Thomas, who says, “The ‘New 92.1 Radio Now’ will reflect emerging music, trends and culture for the NOW generation of 18-34 year old millennials here in Houston.” Radio One senior vice president of programming Jay Stevens adds, “We’re excited about this opportunity to bring a fresh innovative approach to top 40 radio in H-Town.”
KBAY, San Jose Names Bruce Scott Morning Host. Former KOST, Los Angeles personality Bruce Scott joins Alpha Media as morning drive host for classic hits KBAY, San Jose, effective January 17. Alpha Media VP of programming and “Bay FM” program director Ronnie Stanton states, “It’s very exciting to add Bruce to the refreshed sound of ‘Bay FM.’ He brings years of experience and a great radio brain to create an upbeat and fun morning show with the greatest hits of all time for the Bay Area.”
‘Format Adjustment’ Pushes Bubba the Love Sponge from Beasley’s WBRN, Tampa. There’s not a lot to go on from the press release from Beasley Media Group issued this morning. It simply says that, due to a “format adjustment” on rock/talk hybrid WBRN, Tampa “No Rules Rock,” the Bubba the Love Sponge show is no longer being carried by Beasley in the Tampa market. As for Fort Myers, Beasley says, “Beasley looks forward to continuing its relationship with Bubba and The Bubba the Love Sponge show on WRXK, Ft. Myers ’96K-ROCK.’” WBRN is currently airing Christmas music with a new format to launch on 12/26. The signal was formerly WHFS-FM and aired a sports talk format when CBS RADIO owned it. After Beasley’s acquisition of the signal, the station became WBRN – “Bubba Radio Network” – in February of 2015 airing a hybrid of Bubba’s show and hard rock. Later in 2015, the station rebranded as “No Rules Rock” after Bubba was found to have been involved in a PPM survey tampering incident.
iHeartMedia Programmer Chris Kampmeier to Retire; Rick Everett Named New RVP of Programming. Regional vice president of programming Chris Kampmeier is retiring from iHeartMedia’s North Florida Region at the end of the year and rock WJRR and sports talk WYGM-AM, Orlando PD Rick Everett will assume the RVP role. In addition to WJRR and WYGM, iHeartMedia also operates talk WTKS “Real Radio 104.1,” CHR WXXL “XL 106.7,” Spanish music WRUM “Rumba 100.3,” news/talk WFLF, hip hop WTKS-HD “104.5 The Beat,” and adult contemporary WMGF “Magic 107.7.” Speaking about his retirement, Kampmeier says, “Going out on my own terms and on top is a good thing! My partnership with our amazing executive team has been deeply satisfying and I am grateful for their support over the years. My biggest honor has been to serve alongside the programmers and air talent and the wondrous creativity they bring every day. I am proud to have been a radio man for the last 47 years and am excited for the long term future of our industry.” Rick Everett says he’s grateful for this new opportunity. “I want to thank [North Florida Region president] Linda Byrd and [EVP of programming] Gene Romano for this incredible opportunity and I’m especially grateful to Chris for his mentorship over the last 19 years, which helped make this opportunity possible. I look forward to working with the North Florida Region to continue its track record of success, and bring our radio station brands to new heights!”
KRDO-FM, Colorado Springs Newsman Paul Richards Dead at 55. Colorado Springs radio pro Paul Richards, a.k.a. Paul Mundt, was found dead in his home yesterday (12/11) at the age of 55. Richards worked at several market stations during his career, including for the last four years as news director at Pikes Peak Television-owned news/talk KRDO-FM. Station general manager Tim Larson comments, “All of us here at KRDO are saddened by Paul’s passing. He was always upbeat and a true professional. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and children. He will be greatly missed.” Richards leaves behind a wife and five children.
Herskovitz: It’s All in the Sell. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes today about one of the hardest job to fill in radio: that of the sales pro. He says that sometimes a potential successful account executive is right under one’s nose. He asks, “Where do you find such people? Sometimes within your own operation….an on-the-air person who will never become the next Sean Hannity. Or in businesses where you shop regularly and the salesperson offers suggestions of other items to buy.” Read more here.
Trump Cabinet Nominations, U.S.-China Relations, Biden in 2020?, Russia’s U.S. Election Influencing Allegations, Islamic State Retaking Palmyra, the Soaring Dow, and Sunday’s NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The chatter over President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees; the tenuous relations between China and the Trump Administration over Trump’s call to the president of Taiwan; speculation over Vice President Joe Biden’s potential run for president in 2020; controversy over allegations Russia was involved in propelling Donald Trump to the presidency via “fake news” stories; Islamic State’s move to retake the historic city of Palmyra; the Dow Jones industrial average’s record high; and Sunday’s NFL contests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Report: Susan Olsen Out at LA Talk Radio. According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, former “Brady Bunch” actress and Los Angeles radio personality Susan Olsen is no longer co-hosting “Two Chicks Talkin’ Politics” on the online LA Talk Radio platform. The story indicates that a social media kerfuffle between Olsen and actor Leon Acord-Whiting devolved into Olsen using derogatory terms for homosexuals aimed at Acord-Whiting. LA Talk Radio was founded in 2008 by Sam Hasson.