BREAKING NEWS: Legendary Radio Trade Publication Writer Claude Hall Dies. Details are sketchy and TALKERS will have more details on Monday morning (7/10), but reports indicate that Claude Hall, the legendary radio trade publication writer who presided over Billboard magazine’s historic “Vox Jox” column during the 1970s and is credited with coining the longtime popular term “Easy Listening” for that particular radio format has died at Sunrise Medical Center in Las Vegas due to injuries suffered from a fall earlier in the week. He had continued to publish the “Vox Jox” column in partnership with veteran talk show host and radio station owner Rollye James as a weekly online newsletter published Mondays specializing in the activities of older and retired radio broadcasters (www.voxjox.org). According to James, “His family was with him and loved him dearly. He loved his friends, students, and colleagues. He remained proud of radio and music stemming from his days listening to radio as a kid.” James reports that she will devote this coming Monday’s column to the life of Claude Hall and post reactions and reflections on his life from many of the broadcasters who knew him. Hall was a prolific writer who wrote books about radio as well as novels. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “There was once a time when Claude Hall was the major source of all information pertaining to the radio industry. He is the founding father of the style of radio trade publishing that has set the tone of this business for the past five decades. I am lucky to have known him and remember what a thrill it was to appear in his columns back when I was a young DJ and PD in my 20s. His love of radio and contributions to this industry are incalculable. He is number one with a bullet!”
Townsquare Media to Acquire Six Western Massachusetts Signals. This deal between Townsquare Media and Gamma Broadcasting LLC and Berkshire Broadcasting Co., Inc. will add six stations and two FM translators to Townsquare’s portfolio. Those stations are: hot AC WBEC-FM, news/talk WBEC-AM, classic hits WUPE-AM/FM (and an FM translator at 94.1 FM), adult contemporary WNAW-AM, adult contemporary WSBS-AM (and translator W277CJ at 103.3 FM). Townsquare chairman and CEO Steven Price states, “We are very excited to announce this transaction which will strengthen our footprint in the Northeast. We look forward to partnering with the Pittsfield team to bring our resources, including our digital and live event products, to Berkshire County’s advertisers and audience, and further build upon their success in the market.” Townsquare expects the acquisition to close in the third quarter of 2017, subject to closing conditions and customary regulatory approvals.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to Sub at WFAN Next Week. When out-going New Jersey Governor Chris Christie co-hosts the 2:00 pm to 6:30 pm show at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York with the station’s Evan Roberts on Monday and Tuesday (7/10-11), it won’t be the first time he’s appeared there. Christie – a big sports fan and unabashed Dallas Cowboys backer – has appeared on the AM drive “Boomer & Carton” show as a guest. With PM driver Mike Francesa leaving the station at the end of the year, there’s speculation about whether Christie is a candidate for the afternoon show. A piece in NJ.com references WFAN program director Mark Chernoff’s February 2017 comment that Christie is “among many names being considered” as a replacement for Francesa.
SiriusXM Severs Ties with Gregg “Opie” Hughes. After 13 years with SiriusXM, Gregg “Opie” Hughes is let go by the satcaster. He posts on Facebook, “Humbled by the love and support. Wish I can write everyone back. There is absolutely no justification for my firing. Thats why their statement is so vague. Won’t be sitting out long. Although may take a few days to fish.” The chatter on social media among Opie fans hints that a supposed video of a fellow staffer using the bathroom may be the reason for the dismissal. Regardless, as Hughes indicates above, he plans to continue hosting a show on some platform. When Opie and then-partner Anthony Cumia joined SiriusXM, they had their own channel. A couple of years ago, SiriusXM changed that and the “Opie Radio” show had been available on its Faction channel. Industry watchers remember that Cumia was fired from the satcaster in 2014 after his Times Square altercation with a black woman that devolved into a social media post involving racial epithets.
KTRH, Houston Talk Host Matt Patrick Ends Cancer Treatment. Sad news this week as KTRH, Houston morning drive personality Matt Patrick announces to his audience that he’s ending his treatment for an aggressive case of esophageal cancer. The station’s Facebook page posted the following: “On ‘Houston’s Morning News’ this morning, Matt revealed he has exhausted all options and has discontinued cancer treatments. Matt and all of us at NewsRadio 740 KTRH, and the iHeartMedia family, thank you all for your constant love and support during this difficult time.” Patrick was diagnosed in 2015 and this week’s news comes at the time of Patrick’s six-year anniversary at the station.
Gerry V Returns to Sports Talk Radio in Charlotte. The Charlotte Observer calls Gerry Vaillancourt “one of the first sports talk radio hosts in Charlotte.” Gerry V left the market when the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets left for New Orleans back in 2002, but he’ll return on Monday, July 17 to host the afternoon drive show on HRN Broadcasting’s WZGV-AM “ESPN 730.” Current afternoon host Bobby Rosinski is moving to the AM drive daypart for the new “Wake Up Call” show with co-hosts Molly Cotten and Walker Mehl. Gerry V launched his sports talk career in 1990, working at both WFNZ-AM and WBT-AM prior to leaving the market 12 years later. Read the Observer piece here.
Chicago Stations to Simulcast Spot Promoting Radio Advertising. On Monday (7/10), more than 40 Chicago market radio stations will simultaneously air a :60-second spot consisting of an interview with Wintrust Financial Corporation founder, president and CEO Ed Wehmer speaking about radio as the most effective medium for advertisers. Matt Scarano is chairman of the Illinois Broadcasters Association’s Radio Broadcasters of Chicagoland Committee and he states, “The Radio Broadcasters of Chicagoland are proud to unite as a group to highlight Wintrust and their investment in radio. Wintrust is a valued partner to our industry and a testament to the results that radio delivers for an advertiser.” The spot will air on a diverse group of radio stations, involving all formats, including music, news, sports, and Spanish language.
CNN-Trump Wrestling Video Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 3-7. The controversy over the CNN-Trump wrestling video, including the blowback the news organization faced after finding the video’s creator, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was North Korea’s apparently successful test of an ICBM and President Trump’s warning to the hermit kingdom. Coming in at #3 was Trump’s trip to Europe for the G20 summit, and following at #4 was the allegations of Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election. 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.
TALKERS News Notes. From Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch comes the news that Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne promotes news director Kayla Blakeslee to program director, taking over for Ryan Wrecker who left to take a talk host position at KMOX, St. Louis. Blakeslee continues to serve as news director…..Kevin McCullough’s Saturday evening “Radio Night Live” supercast (radio and TV) adds new affiliate stations KJPW, Lebanon/Waynesville, Missouri; KVBR, Brainerd, Minnesota; WKRO, Cairo, Illinois; and WGNU, St Louis…..The Newsmax TV video simulcast of the nationally syndicated Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo program adds another hour to its carriage of the show. Pags tells TALKERS that Newsmax TV – which can be seen on DirecTV 349, UVerse 1220 (among other cable systems) and online at Newsmaxtv.com – begins broadcasting hours one and two of the show, effective Monday (7/10)…..The Compass Media Networks-syndicated Lars Larson program is now heard on Entercom’s news/talk KMBZ-AM, Kansas City as program director Alan Furst adds the show to the station’s lineup…..SiriusXM is presenting subscribers comprehensive coverage of Major League Baseball’s 2017 All-Star Week from Miami, featuring coverage of the 88th All-Star Game. In addition, on Sunday (7/9), it will air the exclusive radio broadcast of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, featuring the top minor league prospects from the U.S. facing off against their counterparts from around the world.
KSPN, Los Angeles Transmitter Site Damaged by Driver Under the Influence. The Thursday incident did not cause any damage to the “ESPN LA” transmitter but the man police took into custody after the incident caused damage to the site’s perimeter fence and started a brush fire in the grass that scorched about an acre. Authorities were on the scene quickly and arrested the man they believe was under the influence. The suspect’s vehicle was in flames when fire personnel arrived and was consumed by the fire.
TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/7) with Karen Hunter, Craig Schwalb and Ethan Bearman. The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day. Already posted are the “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein); the special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo); the special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard); and the special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell). Today (7/7), the first series of “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” begins with a conversation between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan Bearman (facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter). Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year. The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone Networks, Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp. To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. More from Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch as we’re tipped that Swick Broadcasting’s hot AC WLKI, Angola drops the syndicated Jeremy Robinson-hosted “The Jeremy Show” and will install air personality Tiny in the daypart with news director Sheila McCrea joining him…..IRW also reports that Federated Media’s Fort Wayne promotions director Sally Allgeier is exiting the cluster and will be replaced by Paige Fransen…..Rincon Broadcasting’s rock KTYD, Santa Barbara announces the addition of Bill Pesso to the air staff as morning drive co-host with current station APD Lin Aubuchon for the “Morning Mojo” program. Pesso was most recently afternoon personality at the company’s sister adult contemporary KSBL “K-Lite.” Program director Dennis Mitchell comments, “We’re thrilled to have two of the most fun and locally tuned-in people to host the new ‘Morning Mojo.’ It’s been a long time coming and we know our listeners will love it.”…..Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WCSX, Detroit re-brands the Jim O’Brien-led morning program as “Big Jim’s House.” The station recently added air personality Erin Vermeulen to the program and O’Brien comments, “I am so excited to welcome all our listeners into ‘Big Jim’s House’ with Erin V. and Producer Ryan. This will be my 15th year at WCSX. Everyone on the show has a deep-felt love for Detroit and believes in where we’re going. Our house is full of fun and great classic rock!”
Charlotte’s WBT-AM/FM Extends Carolina Panthers Partnership. The Greater Media talk combo has been the flagship for 13 of the NFL team’s 18-year history, and a just-signed three-year extension will keep them partners through 2015. “The first touchdown in Panther history was heard on WBT – that tradition will continue into the foreseeable future,” observes WBT AM/FM and Greater Media, Charlotte vice president-station manager Trip Savery. “The Panthers are a significant part of our 90-year history of serving the greater Charlotte region – we look forward to many more years working together.” Executive radio producer David Langton notes that, “With such a long and successful history between our two organizations, we are excited about continuing to look for new ways to improve our broadcasts.” The Panthers’ three-person radio announcing team consists of Mick Mixon (play-by-play); WBT sports director Jim Szoke (color analyst); and former Panther Eugene Robinson.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Art Holt of Holt Media Group. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Art Holt of Holt Media Group in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Holt’s long career in radio goes back to being an air talent and engineer in Texas at a variety of stations and markets across the state where he moved his way up to working in Dallas with radio broadcasting legend Gordon McLendon. He eventually wound up owning and operating a 20 station medium market station group for more than three decades and then went on to become a broker. Holt agrees with this publication’s contention that the time is right for good broadcast managers who have been squeezed out of their positions by consolidation and market conditions to get into first-time ownership on a local level. He says, “Times have never been better for a buyer to go into medium and small market radio ownership! The big corporations continue to ignore true localism; they’re focused on cost cutting to service their huge debt hangovers from their spending sprees in the last decade. The local newspaper is no longer the formidable presence or strong advertising competitor it was in the past. This is a great opportunity for a local owner! The conglomerates’ problems have become the local operator’s opportunity! There are strong opportunities for station turn-around and format changes at neglected stations for the new DIY operator. In selected markets, brokers can offer strong cash flow deals at workable multiples to qualified buyers. Good and talented radio people are being made redundant daily by the giant corporations, and as a result, localism in radio is now pretty much just a memory except when a local owner comes in to take over and super-serve the community. And, it’s a fact that the best and most advertiser-effective radio is local radio. For displaced radio executives, this is definitely a golden age of radio ownership… with wide open opportunities to fill the need for good local radio, both on the air and on the street. Local radio markets welcome local owners who become involved in the community and who know the local advertisers on a first name basis.” Holt offers several opportunities for displaced station managers and first-time entrants looking to roll up their sleeves and take on an ownership project. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
KFWB, Los Angeles To Debut “Trojans Live.” Produced by Fox Sports West and USC Sports Properties, the weekly, hour-long KFWB, Los Angeles broadcasts will be devoted to University of Southern California sports. Men’s football coach Lane Kiffin, men’s basketball coach Andy Enfield, student-athletes, and other coaches from all USC sports will be featured. There will be game previews, insights and breaking news on “Trojans Live,” which will be done before a live audience from a pub located across the street from the USC campus. According to KFWB general manager Valerie Blackburn, “Coaches, players, and staff will break stories to the legions of passionate USC fans here in Los Angeles and across the country. Fans will hear exclusive news regularly from the people most in the know.” USC athletic director and renowned former quarterback Pat Haden comments, “We are excited to partner with KFWB in this new venture. This comprehensive radio show will highlight not only our football and basketball programs, but all of our men’s and women’s sports. The show’s content will be compelling, up-to-the-minute and something fans won’t be able to get anywhere else.” Former NFL wide receiver and two-sport USC Academic All-American John Jackson hosts the program with USC Athletics director of social media Jordan Moore; Trojans’ radio announcer Pete Arbogast will be a frequent guest contributor. The first broadcast is next Thursday (8/22) at 7:00 pm, with the show moving to 6:00 pm during the basketball season.
KYZZ Trades Sports for Classical. Silent since July 31, Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz’s sports-formatted KYZZ (formerly “ESPN 97.9”) becomes classical “k-Mozart 97.9″ under new owner Saul Levine. Buckley Broadcasting purchased KYZZ eight years ago from Wolfhouse Broadcasting and over the years it had been CHR and rhythmic CHR. Levine – whose Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters owns classical KMZT-AM, Los Angeles (as well as country KKGO there) acquired “Mozart 97.9” about three months ago. The market had been without a classical station since 2011, when Mapleton transitioned KBOQ out of the format. Under the sports umbrella for approximately one year, KYZZ is currently airing commercial-free as “k-Mozart.”
CBS-Less Time Warner Customers Are Beginning to Get Antsy. It has been less than two weeks (8/2) since Time Warner Cable yanked CBS-TV programming in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas in a carriage dispute. Disappearance of The Eye Network is affecting 3.2 million customers and many of them are starting to lose their patience. Interim FCC chair Mignon Clyburn says she will take “appropriate action” if CBS-TV and TWC cannot settle their quarrel, although an FCC spokesperson would not comment further on what that might entail. In a statement, TWC notes, “We agree with the chairwoman that consumers are being adversely affected. We hope that CBS soon will come to a reasonable agreement with us that is fair to our customers and their viewers.” According to CBS, its primetime audience is off by roughly 46,000 viewers, compared with the previous week. It seems that, while programming fees are a principal roadblock, there is a larger issue with digital. TWC reportedly will agree to increase its fee, but wants to keep the same bundle of digital rights it held under the old pact. CBS though wants to be able to sell shows to entities such as Amazon and Netflix. Now that the NFL pre-season is underway and with the fall TV schedule looming, viewer frustrations are bound to heighten even more. According to an Ad Age report, RadioShack has enjoyed “a double-digit spike in high-definition antennas” in those three markets. The Ad Age article states, “It is unclear exactly how many antennas sold that translates into” since RadioShack declined to share “concrete numbers.” In New York, there is a month-long free trial of Aereo, which transmits CBS signals to laptops, mobile devices and computers for $8 a month. CBS programming is free on the CBS mobile app and CBS.com the day after airing; however, CBS is blocking video to those using a TWC IP address. In a separate fee battle that has been going on since July 25, TWC has blacked out Journal Communications‘ NBC affiliate, WTMJ, Milwaukee, to southeastern Wisconsin cable subscribers.