Most Talk Radio Programmers are Avoiding Use of the Term “Shithole” in Wake of Presidential Sh*tstorm. Once again, President Donald J. Trump – for better or worse – has shaken up the standards of traditional broadcasting and journalism. This time, with his controversial remark about immigration using the term “shithole” to describe countries from which he considers immigration particularly undesirable. The controversial racist aspect of this story notwithstanding, FCC-regulated broadcasters have had to make the quick decision to directly utter the term on the airwaves or buffer it with less offensive and non-potentially rule-breaking words. This decision has been made more difficult by the fact that many traditional, so-called mainstream cable outlets and online/print news media have chosen to use the word as the President said it. In conversations around the industry this morning TALKERS has learned that the prevailing tact on terrestrial talk radio has been NOT to use the word directly. Cumulus Media/Westwood One EVP Mike McVay tells TALKERS, “Despite cable television taking great joy in saying the ‘S’ word on TV, we are not saying the actual word on over the air radio. We recognize it as one of the seven words we cannot say. That has not stopped us from using it on our digital platforms.” Salem Radio Network senior VP, Phil Boyce says, “The word ‘shit’ is one of the FCC-banned words and our hosts should never use it, no matter if the president did or didn’t. My morning guy in Los Angeles, Brian Whitman, will be using the word “BLANK hole.” We want our shows to be safe for the whole family. No need to have listeners turn off the radio because kids are in the car.” Bold Gold Media Group CEO Vince Benedetto – owner of a number of stations in Pennsylvania and upstate New York – adds, “We haven’t changed our policy – we still do not say anything on air that violates George Carlin’s ‘Seven words you can’t say on television.'” ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones tells TALKERS, “ABC News Radio anchors and reporters are not speaking that word on air as it could be considered an FCC violation and it also might offend local community standards. Instead, we are referring to the phrase as an ‘expletive’ or ‘profanity.’ We have 1,650 affiliates and the majority use our ABC ‘Newscall’ service – which provides on-demand audio of reporters and actualities. We are more permissive in what we provide on that service because it is the decision of the station whether to run the audio – whereas as we control the newscast content and therefore have unilateral decision-making. If audio existed of any president using a profanity, we would put it on ‘Newscall’ and let stations decide its usage. If we determined language was so newsworthy we felt obligated to include it in a newscast, we would probably warn stations in advance. But, that’s hard to effectively control and I don’t recall it being done in many years.” Although the consensus is to avoid using the word directly on the airwaves, not everyone in talk radio fully agrees that the way to go. Nationally-famous, station owner/operator (and industry maverick) Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOME, Santa Cruz tells TALKERS that he will use the word on his own show (“The Saturday Special”) but respects the rights of his air personalities to make their own decisions, “My position is to use the word on the air since it is a bona fide news story – but I just checked with the ‘Good Morning Monterey Bay’ staff [the station’s morning show] and was told they opted to say ‘s-hole’ and to play the Haitian national anthem.” Zwerling continues, “Trump apparently has denied using that word (which is one of my favorites) but even if he was falsely accused of using it by the news media almost universally out to get him – it has nonetheless become a legitimate news story and therefore would fall into my category of okay to use on the air. Besides, it moves our industry in the direction of parity with the ‘paid’ services that have been and are allowed to use profanity with impunity!” Media consultant/TALKERS columnist/and RT America host Holland Cooke says, “It is a big topic with heavy phones at my client stations this morning. My advice: Ask listeners, ‘If he said that word, should we, here on the radio?'” TALKERS legal editor and Bentley University law professor Steven JJ Weisman says, “It is my opinion that the use of the word ‘shithole’ in the context of discussing the president’s comments would be allowed.” For Weisman’s full comments, please read the story below.
Steve Weisman’s Legal Take on Terrestrial Radio’s Use of Term “Shithole.” TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman offers his educated view on the terrestrial radio “shithole” issue prompted by President Donald J. Trump’s use of the term. To read the piece in its entirety, please click here.
Save the Date! Talkers 2018 Set for Friday, June 8, 2018 in New York City. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. Titled TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 8, 2018 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City. This marks the second year in a row that the convention will be held at this very popular venue. The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and dawn of a rapidly accelerating era. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will focus on the future. There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities. Good things happen at this convention. We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!” Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. However, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 2. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Gwiazdon Goes to Beasley Media Group Las Vegas as VP/MM. Most recently vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ Nashville adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9”; adult hits WCJK “96.3 Jack FM”; and CHR WNFN “i106.7,” Dennis Gwiazdon began similar duties yesterday (1/11) for Beasley Media Group Las Vegas. According to Beasley Media Group executive vice president and chief operating officer Brian Beasley, “It is a privilege to welcome Dennis to the Beasley Media Group family. His proven track record and leadership skills are the perfect fit for our Las Vegas cluster as we continue to grow and expand our business in the market.” Gwiazdon, who was president of the Nashville Area Radio Association, states, “I am absolutely thrilled about joining the Beasley team. There is tremendous potential for us in Las Vegas and I’m grateful [to be given] the opportunity to make a difference.” Prior to his Nashville duties, Gwiazdon was president of San Diego-based Sales Insights. He previously held the vice president/general manager title at Seattle’s KRWM; San Diego’s KGB-FM and KPOP-AM; San Diego’s KMCG and KXGL; and Salt Lake City’s KKAT. With their Nielsen Audio December 2017 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, Beasley Media Group’s Las Vegas cluster includes classic hits-oldies KKLZ “96.3 70s, 80s, and More” (6.3, #2); urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” (4.0, #6); country KCYE “102.7 The Coyote” (3.7, #9); hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9” (2.8, #15); news/talk KDWN “AM 720” (.7, #26); and KCYE-HD2, which did not appear in the December 2017 sweep. The Las Vegas market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5” (10.6, 6+), while Midwest Nashville’s WJXA “Mix” is on top (6+) with a 9.9.
WBUR, Reddit Debut “Endless Thread.” That’s the name of the weekly Ben Brock Johnson-hosted podcast done in partnership with Boston University-owned news/talk WBUR and Reddit, “the front page of the internet.” Starting today (1/12), weekly installments will be available every Friday to stream or download. According to Johnson, “Reddit is one of the most formidable communities online. Its lifeblood is people from all over the world sharing and organizing around every imaginable topic, making it an incredibly valuable resource for anyone trying to understand our world. As a journalist, I’ve been fascinated by Reddit for years, but I’ve also become an avid ‘redditor.’ I’m always surprised at what a mystery Reddit is to people who don’t use it. I’m looking forward to solving that mystery for the uninitiated, and helping ‘redditors’ share their incredible, real life stories with the world.” Reddit creative development manager Michael Pope remarks, “Reddit is home to the most authentic conversations on the internet and we know there is a massive opportunity to host thoughtful conversations about these stories in audio form. As one of the leading NPR affiliates in the country, we can’t wait to see what happens when we pair the production polish and talent at WBUR with the most compelling stories online.” The first episode, “No No No No Yes,” explores harrowing tales through first-hand interviews with ‘redditors’ who lived to tell their stories.
TALKERS News Notes. After a brief hiatus from a national platform, Dave Ross returns next Monday (1/15) with a daily, 90-second, CBS News Radio commentary, originally scheduled for a February 5 start date. Heard weekdays (“Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross”) on Bonneville-owned KIRO-FM, Ross is a five-time Edward R. Murrow award winner for best writing … This time next month (2/12), previous morning host of St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y-98” Guy Phillips begins doing afternoons at news/talk KTRS “Big 550 The Talk of STL”; Julie Buck will be his co-host … Five Entercom Chicago stations – sports talk WSCR “670 The Score,” all-news WBBM-AM, CHR WBBM-FM “B-96,” triple A WXRT “93 XRT,” and country WUSN “US-99” – will be broadcasting from this year’s “Cubs Convention” today (1/12), tomorrow (Saturday, 1/13), and Sunday (1/14). Entercom Chicago senior vice president/market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We look forward to this event where our brands can interact with fellow Chicago Cubs fans. We are grateful for our continued partnership with the Chicago Cubs organization as the exclusive radio home of the Chicago Cubs.” This weekend’s event is taking place at Chicago’s Sheraton Grand Hotel. WSCR continues as the team’s radio flagship ….. Former Tribune Broadcasting White House correspondent and Long Island television news anchor/reporter Drew Scott joins JVC Media news/talk WRCN “Long Island News Radio 103.9” as a reporter. JVC Media president/CEO John Caracciolo comments, “Having someone like Drew is a complete win for us. His job will be to use the contact list he has developed over the years to help us open doors; get the story; and get the info Long Islanders need and want. This is live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be.” WRCN operations director Frank Brinka notes, “Drew is a great addition to our staff. His wealth of news reporting and knowledge of the Long Island landscape will be an asset to the station. He will deliver a wealth of information to our listening audience.” Scott adds, “I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic, live and local radio news organization. I am looking forward to helping ‘LI News Radio’ and JVC continue to grow and prosper.” ….. The flagship of MLB’s Minnesota Twins from 1961 – 2006, Entercom Minneapolis’ WCCO “News Radio 830,” returns in that capacity this year. The first of its 15-game spring training broadcast schedule will be (Thursday) February 22 when the Twins play the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Cory Provus, Dan Gladden, and Kris Atteberry comprise WCCO’s on-air team ….. Launching on SiriusXM next Wednesday (1/17) is “Barstool Radio,” the 24/7 channel for Barstool’s unfiltered approach to covering sports, men’s lifestyle, and popular culture. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy remarks, “We are excited to launch our Barstool channel. It has been a wild ride to get to this point and this is another big step in our plan for total world domination.” SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen comments, “In today’s crowded media landscape, Barstool stands out as a unique and compelling voice. Live radio thrives on the kind of spontaneous and entertaining content that Barstool delivers every day. We don’t know what they are going to say next, but Barstool Radio on SiriusXM will be the place to hear it live and talk about it.” Weekday call-in shows will include: “The Barstool Radio Show” with Portnoy and Kevin “KFC” Clancy (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET); “The Heartland Radio Show” with former NFL punter Pat McAfee (10:00 am -1:00 pm, ET); and “The Evening Yak” with Dan “Big Cat” Katz (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, ET). Barstool Radio will be on SiriusXM’s “Power 85” and on the SiriusXM app ….. For over three weeks, Alpha Media Bakersfield (California) news/talk KNZR AM & FM “News-Talk-Dodgers,” mainstream CHR KLLY “Energy 95.3,” and urban-rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3” collected food and water for fire victims in Ventura and Santa Barbara. KLLY program director Danny Hill comments, “I am very proud of my community and I love the support they always show. Bakersfield constantly gives to others and is at the forefront of a lot of charity events.” A local veterans chapter helped to deliver the supplies.
British Talk Show Host and TalkersRadio Personality Graham Mack Forced to Apologize for On Air Statement that PM Theresa May “Has No Balls.” It is always fascinating to compare and contrast American radio with broadcasting in other English-speaking countries when it comes to tolerance, freedom of speech and political controversy. Well-known English talk show host Graham Mack, host of the popular BOB-FM, Herfordshire (greater London) breakfast show got himself into a sticky situation on Wednesday (1/10) by boldly stating that British Prime Minister Theresa May “has no balls.” According to a report in the Hertfordshire Mercury, The comment came on yesterday’s (January 10) breakfast show during a lengthy rant about May’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, in which he also claimed that she was the “weakest Prime Minister” the country had ever seen. Mack went on to berate the reshuffle, saying that not enough women and ethnic minority MPs had been promoted to justify promises made by the Prime Minister in the preceding days. However, the maverick radio host appeared to backtrack on his claims this morning (January 11), telling listeners that he had to “correct” his comments. Mr. Mack said that although his remark about Mrs. May’s lack of balls was “anatomically correct,” he should not have made it. He also clarified that he could not be sure that May was the weakest Prime Minister the country had ever seen, as Clement Attlee or William the Younger could conceivably be weaker. In a statement, Mr. Mack said: “We received a serious complaint yesterday about what I’d said on the air. “Someone in a very senior position told me to make an apology. “I cannot reveal who made the complaint. The seriousness of the complaint did take me by surprise because a regular listener would realise that I take a swipe at all politicians regardless of which political party they represent.” Mr. Mack concluded his on-air correction by issuing an apology directly to the Prime Minister, saying that as the leader of the nation she must be respected. To listen to the segment of the program that got Graham Mack in trouble, please click here. Graham Mack also hosts “London Calling” a weekly program on TalkersRadio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Mack as “one of the best radio talk show aahosts in the English-speaking world.”
iHeartMedia, MoviePass Announce Media Partnership. The agreement includes a marketing campaign across iHeartMedia’s multiplatform network to help build further brand awareness of MoviePass and target new subscribers in select United States metros. In addition, iHeartMedia will be an authorized reseller of ad inventory across the MoviePass website and mobile app. According to iHeartMedia Ventures president Joe Robinson, “We have the capability to build significant brand awareness for MoviePass through our unparalleled scale and reach of more than 270 million monthly listeners across the country and our multiplatform assets. We see a unique opportunity with MoviePass, and its ability to understand and analyze audience trends and behavior which is a great asset for our advertisers, especially those looking to further engage with millions of movie-goers.” MoviePass chief executive officer Mitch Lowe comments, “We expect that our partnership with iHeartMedia will fuel our continued growth by targeting more profitable subscribers in low-cost markets, while also opening up a new revenue stream with digital advertising. We also expect that this relationship will be beneficial to movie exhibitors because we hope to drive more traffic into theaters and to advertisers through our strong working intelligence on the preferences and behaviors of a substantial amount of movie-goers. Our subscribers are going to twice as many movies a month as other consumers and are buying one in every 50 movie tickets in the U.S.” MoviePass launched its current $9.95 per month subscription plan this past August.
Wynter Boosted to iHM EVP Urban/Hip-Hop. Los Angeles urban contemporary KRRL “Real 92.3” program director Doc Wynter adds corporate iHeartMedia duties as executive vice president urban/hip-hop. President/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler states, “No one understands urban and hip-hop programming like Doc. We are thrilled that he is expanding his role leading iHeartMedia’s programming strategy for those key formats. He has been instrumental in launching several of our urban and hip-hop stations nationwide and we’re excited for him to be even more hands-on with all of our urban brands in our over 150 markets.” Wynter adds, “Urban radio has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Having worked with iHeartMedia for almost three decades, I know we have some of the best programmers and on-air personalities in radio. I can’t wait to help our region and market presidents provide their local urban and hip-hop music fans with one-of-a-kind listening experiences that only a company like iHeartMedia can create.” In this newly-created position, Wynter – most recently the company’s senior vice president of urban programming/urban brand manager – will report to chief programming officer Tom Poleman. Wynter began overseeing the company’s urban radio stations in late-1999 and launched several iHeartMedia brands such as “Power 105.1 FM” in New York City (on WWPR); “Real 92.3” in Los Angeles (on KRRL); “V101.5” in Jacksonville (on WSOL); and “The Beat” in various cities.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. After doing four years of night duty on iHeartMedia Los Angeles mainstream CHR KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM,” Freddy Rivera transfers to co-owned Dallas hot AC KDMX “102.9 Now” for afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm). KDMX program director Jay Shannon comments, “Freddy is an outstanding on-air talent and we are very fortunate to add him to our lineup. Freddy is very much looking forward to calling DFW his home.” Rivera, who starts at KDMX in a little over three weeks (2/5), notes, “I am very excited to write the next chapter in my radio career with ‘102.9 Now.’ I have heard so much about the food, nightlife, and community – I can’t wait to jump right in.” Los Angeles-born/Inland Empire-raised Rivera began his radio career as an intern for former “Kiss-FM” wakeup talent Rick Dees and worked on-air at Riverside-Bernardino-Ontario rhythmic CHR KGGI ….. Changes at Merlin Media-owned/Cumulus Media-operated alternative WKQX, Chicago find morning driver Brian Phillips handling mornings by himself as his former co-host – Lou Lombardo – segues to evenings. In addition, Lombardo adds “digital content captain” duties. Former WKQX evening talent “Marconi” left the station about two weeks ago ….. Two-year KMLE, Phoenix morning show host Chris Matthews departs the Entercom country outlet, but Nina D and producer “Badger Gabe” remain in place ….. Steve Guittari departs Cumulus Media Indianapolis; Guittari was operations manager of the cluster and program director of the company’s WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” ….. Also in the “Circle City,” according to the Indianapolis Business Journal, iHeartMedia Indianapolis sports talk WNDE pulls the plug on the Dave “Gunner” Gunn and Don Stuck-hosted morning show “Flagrant Foul.” Gunn (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and Stuck (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm) continue though on classic rock sibling WFBQ “Q-95.” Clay Travis’ syndicated “Outkick the Coverage” returns to WNDE’s morning drive slot ….. Added to the weekend lineup of iHeartMedia-owned New York City rhythmic CHR WKTU “103.5 KTU” is Astra – who formerly did afternoon drive on cross-town mainstream CHR WBMP “Amp 92.3.”
Odom Out at WRXQ. The evening talent on Coal City, Illinois-licensed WRXQ “100.7 Q-Rock,” Ray “Crazy Ray” Odom, is pink-slipped by the Alpha Media station for remarks he made on CNBC’s “The Profit.” On a promo for that cable television show, Odom said, “I’m a sexist, egotistical, racist pig on the radio.” Alpha Media market manager Brian Foster notes, “We do not condone the views he expressed in the program. The feelings portrayed are that of his own and not of Alpha Media or ‘Q-Rock.’ After an internal review, we have decided to cut ties.” Odom is co-owner of Rayjus Outdoors, but he was placed on leave from that Morris, Illinois business, the subject of Marcus Lamonis-hosted “The Profit,” which offers financial help to struggling businesses. Lamonis acknowledges that Odom had, “a side job. I thought it may be a distraction, but I didn’t realize that the focus of it was to demonize minorities and degrade women.” Odom confirmed the firing, saying he worked hard to keep his radio persona separate from his business. “What I said got taken out of context completely – now I don’t have a radio job over it.” A Rayjus statement on Facebook reads, “Unfortunately, we cannot allow these statements to go unchecked. While an integral part of our organization, Ray will be taking a leave of absence to spend time with his family and reflect on what is in the best interest of his family and company.” Regarding what he has said on radio, Odom tells the (Joliet, Illinois) Herald-News, “Everybody has a different sense of what is funny and not funny.”
Entravision Expands La Suavecita. The Grupero/Cumbia La Suavecita format will be heard in 11 more markets, in addition to its Los Angeles area simulcast of KSSE, KSSC, & KSSD. Entravision president and chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman remarks, “Since its launch a year ago, La Suavecita has built an incredible following of loyal listeners and received strong advertising support in Los Angeles. We are excited to share this unique and exciting format with listeners in 11 new markets and to bring a powerhouse line-up of some of the most recognized on-air personalities in radio to La Suavecita. Los Angeles is the largest Hispanic radio market in the U.S. We believe our format, programming, and talent changes will allow us to better connect with our audiences, and in turn, our advertisers with their customers. La Suavecita is backed by a strong slate of on-air personalities that will drive engagement across our radio and digital platforms.” Coinciding with the national rollout of the La Suavecita format, El Genio will be heard 4:00 am – 10:00 am; “Piolin” (Eddie Sotelo) 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; Armida y La Flaka 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm; and Mayra 7:00 pm -12:00 midnight. Targeting women 25 – 49 and adults 25 – 54, La Suavecita surfaces in Houston (KGOL); Phoenix (KVVA and KDVA); Denver (KJMN and KMXA); Sacramento (KXSE); Las Vegas (KRRN); McAllen (KNVO); El Paso (KINT-FM); Stockton (KTSE); Modesto (KCVR); Palm Springs, California (KLOB); and El Centro, California (KSEH).
Cutbacks at Dick Broadcasting’s Three New Clusters. Back in September, Dick Broadcasting announced it would acquire Alpha Media’s 18 stations and two translators in Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville (North Carolina); Myrtle Beach (South Carolina); and Savannah (Georgia) for $19.5 million. Staffing cuts have been made in all three markets. Exiting WXQR “Rock 105,” Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville are program director/afternoon talent Tina Smash and night host Ryan Daniels. Departures at the Myrtle Beach cluster include production director/WXYY “G-100.1” afternoon driver Mark ‘Shark’ Eddis and WFXH “Rock 106.1,” Hilton Head Island assistant program director/night talent Ryan Koch. The business manager position has been eliminated in the three aforementioned markets.
Honolulu Morning Mainstay Rick Hamada Guests on this Week’s Harrison Podcast. Longtime, KHVH 830 AM, Honolulu morning host Rick Hamada is this week’s guest on the PodcastOne award-winning series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Hamada and Harrison discuss the view of life – nationally and locally – seen from the perspective of an iHeartMedia-owned conservative news/talker in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. They discuss the North Korea crisis, immigration reform, race relations and a number indigenous topics impacting the lives of those who call the 50th state home. Harrison says, “I met Rick Hamada at the recent FAIR ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ immigration reform radio row in Washington, DC and was a guest on his show. I was taken by his gentlemanly manner and articulate insights into the worldview from the United States of America’s most westerly outpost and knew right there I’d have to invite him on this podcast. I’m glad I did. This is a real cool conversation.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Digital Creates a New Ballgame For Boston’s WEEI. While some radio stations and companies are working harder and in some cases struggling to make digital dollars and traffic work for them, Boston’s WEEI (850AM/93.7FM) has proven digital can work extremely well for their station and brand. The Boston and New England region Entercom sports/talk powerhouse weaves its podcasts, along with an unusually strong presence on social media, into a mechanism that drives listeners to and from the radio and social media, and advertisers to multiple platforms. Success for WEEI’s digital arm didn’t happen overnight. The digital and social media launch came nine years ago as the stock market was tanking and businesses crumbling during the “great recession,” and now employs eight full and part-time staffers who also bring strong content to the radio while on-air sports radio hosts enhance their digital domain. To read all about TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s story covering this phenomenal success, please click here.
Davis Deal Keeps Him at iHM for Four More Years. On the heels of celebrating his 25th anniversary with the company, Darren Davis agrees to a four-year contract extension as president of iHeartMedia Networks Group. “We are pleased that Darren will continue to lead the integration of our Networks group that enables iHeartMedia to harness the unparalleled power, reach, and scale of our digital and broadcast platforms,” notes iHeartMedia chairman and chief executive officer Bob Pittman. “His 25 years of experience working in every facet of iHeartMedia means he has a unique understanding of every aspect of our company, from our broadcast radio stations and iHeartRadio to our sales teams and partnerships, and how they can all work together to best serve our consumers, partners, affiliates, and advertisers.” Davis, who was appointed to his current position three years ago, comments that he is always “amazed by iHeartMedia’s evolution, which is built on broadcast radio and now provides one-of-a-kind programming and opportunities to connect our advertising partners across our unparalleled range of multiple platforms in ways that no other company can.” Davis continues as president of iHeartRadio’s live-streaming and podcasting and oversees integration of the company’s multi-platform assets. He started at iHeartMedia Washington, DC in 1992 as an intern at WASH-FM (then owned by Evergreen), where he graduated to program director of the heritage adult contemporary outlet. The George Washington University alum later advanced to regional vice president of programming for the company’s Chicago and Detroit operations and to senior vice president of programming and executive vice president/general manager of national programming.
CBS Radio Second-Quarter Revenue Down 2.2%. While Q2 revenue for parent CBS Corp. rose 9% year-to-year to a record $3.26 billion from $2.98 billion in 2016, radio division revenue was reported at $306 million, down from $313 million (-2.2%) in 2016. Conversely, that figure is up from $250 million in 2017’s first-quarter. A noncash charge of $365 million for discontinued operations resulted from reducing the carrying value of CBS Radio to the level of the stock valuation of Entercom as it prepares to merge with Entercom in the second half of this year. In terms of CBS Corp. earnings, CBS Radio is classified as “held for sale,” adjusted each quarter based on Entercom’s stock price until that deal is finalized. CBS Radio recorded a $7 million restructuring charge tied with reorganizing some of its business operations, including severance costs and fees from ending some contractual obligations. According to CBS chairman and chief executive officer Les Moonves, “We continue to have more and more success as the landscape continues to change. Revenue was up 9% with top line growth in every one of our four business segments and EPS was up 12% to $1.04, representing our 30th consecutive quarter of EPS growth. Both of these totals were second quarter records for us. Our base advertising business is strong and growing, and at the same time, we’re laying new groundwork to ensure even more growth ahead. We are not only capitalizing on the changes in our industry, we are shaping the direction of these changes.” Local media revenue, which includes the company’s owned and operated television stations and CBS Local Digital Media, was $412 million, up 4% from $396 million last year.
PPM Data – Round One. Information for the July 2017 ratings period has been released for New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union. Nielsen Audio’s July 2017 survey period covered June 22 – July 19. See the data from these 12-PPM markets here.
Frandsen, Hoffar to Host “KNBR Tonight.” Bay Area natives Kevin Frandsen and Drew Hoffar are the two on-air talents selected for “KNBR Tonight” on Cumulus Media San Francisco sports talk KNBR “The Sports Leader.” The 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm program debuts next Monday (8/14). KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe opines, “Drew and Kevin are primed to make a huge impact in their new roles. Their work ethic is unmatched and both are committed to the smallest of details that will generate a great listener experience. They are relatable to the common fan, yet they each possess a vast knowledge of the overall sports landscape. I applaud Cumulus San Francisco for putting them in a position to shine.” A San Jose State University grad, Frandsen was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2004 and played for the team from 2006 – 2009, before joining the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2010), Philadelphia Phillies (2012 – 2013) and Washington Nationals (2014) before ending his 10-year MLB career with the Giants in 2015. He has filled in regularly on KNBR the past two years and remarks, “In my time as a major leaguer, I prided myself on performing in several roles as a utility player. Since arriving at KNBR. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the format’s most established personalities across a variety of timeslots. This evening post is a chance to advance my relationship with one of the best young talents in radio, connect with the best sports fans in the country, and move the KNBR brand forward into the digital age.” Hoffar grew up in San Leandro and has over 12 years of hosting experience and most recently served as lead host on KNBR morning show “The Audible,” alongside Frandsen. Hoffar previously held anchor and host positions at KGMZ, San Francisco and KHTK, Sacramento. “I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to reach so many diehard Bay Area sports fans on a nightly basis,” he states. “Hosting evenings on KNBR carries a responsibility to serve fans the quality content they deserve as the daily news cycle hits a close. Kevin and I will provide a unique perspective on the games and will look to entertain/inform listeners every time we open the mics.” The station’s revised weekday on-air lineup is comprised of “The Show Hour with Patrick Connor” (5:00 am – 6:00 am); “Murph & Mac” (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Gary Radnich & Larry Krueger (10:00 am – 1:00 pm); “Fitz & Brooks” (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); “Tolbert & Lund” (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); “KNBR Tonight with Drew Hoffar & Kevin Frandsen” (7:00 pm -10:00 pm); and CBS Sports Radio (10:00 pm – 5:00 am).
NPR Adds Bennett As Fourth White House Reporter. After serving as an NPR congressional reporter the past five months, Geoff Bennett is named White House reporter. In addition to Bennett, NPR’s team covering the White House now includes national political correspondent Mara Liasson, and White House correspondents Scott Horsley and Tamara Keith. NPR senior Washington editor Beth Donovan comments, “Just a few months into his return to NPR, Geoff has demonstrated the substantive reach, solid sourcing, and fluidity in stories. Those of us lucky enough to work alongside Geoff know he has done it with the grace and good humor we so need.” Before becoming a Washington reporter with NY1 News, Bennett spent almost six years at NPR as “Weekend Edition” editor.
McDonald Podcast Added to iHeartRadio. Two-time Emmy winner Rushion McDonald is making his “Money Making Conversations” podcast available on iHeartRadio. “I have known Rushion McDonald for over a decade and we have worked together on many projects,” states Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. “I can honestly say he is one of the great creative business minds of our time. He has the uncanny ability to understand and solve the marketing needs of clients with innovative solutions involving talent, media, and events.” McDonald comments that he is “excited to share” his “Money Making Conversations” podcast “across iHeartRadio’s vast number of device platforms. Being available on iHeartRadio will allow me to help even more people reach their dreams through my meaningful discussions with celebrity friends and small business leaders.” Among others, guests thus far on McDonald’s podcast have included Cedric The Entertainer, Patti LaBelle, Carl Lewis, Roland Martin, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Sherri Shepherd, Rickey Smiley, Stephen A. Smith, Michelle Williams, and Charlie Wilson.
Salem Q2 Revenue Declines. Consolidated second-quarter total revenue for Salem Media Group decreased 2.5% year-to-year to $66.1 million. Net income was down from $3.4 million to $1.3 million and net broadcast revenue fell 1.4% to $49.3 million. Meanwhile, digital media revenue was off 1.6% to $10.9 million. Publishing revenue dipped 11.3% to $6 million. Salem Media Group is projecting third quarter total revenue to be off by 6% to 8% year-to-year, owing to lack of political revenue; reduced book release schedule; elimination of four loss-making magazines; and a continued soft Dallas market.
Texas Radio Hall of Fame Announces 2017 Inductees. There are 16 new members of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. In alphabetical order, they include: Nick Alexander (Dallas/Fort Worth); Mark Carrillo (San Antonio); Ed Chandler (Marble Falls); R.W. “Catfish” Crouch (Houston); Bill Davis (Tyler); Roger W. Garrett (College Station); Bill Harrison & Dana Adams; Bill Ingram (Houston); Tempie Lindsey (Dallas/Fort Worth); Bobby Lopez (San Antonio); Sam Malone (Houston); John McCarty (Dallas/Fort Worth); Chrissie Murnin (San Antonio); Denise Partridge (Houston); and Mark Watkins (Dallas/Fort Worth). The class of 2017 will be honored in three months (11/4) at the Texas Museum of Broadcasting and Communications in Kilgore.
Comcast Advertising Execs to Headline Radio Breakfast. Members of Comcast Cable’s marketing team, including senior vice president of media strategy & sciences Kavita Vazirani, will participate in a discussion moderated by Radio Advertising Bureau president/CEO Erica Farber regarding the company’s relationship with radio. According to Farber, “Radio drives behavior, and Comcast Cable is a prime example of a top advertiser using radio as a method of communication to new and existing customers about new products and services. We look forward to welcoming Kavita Vazirani and her marketing team in Austin at the Radio Show to discuss radio’s role in their advertising mix.” The event will be held (Thursday) September 7 (7:30 am – 9:00 am) at Austin’s JW Marriott. The Radio Show is produced by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the RAB.
WNYC Studios Adds Bharara Podcast. “Stay Tuned with Preet,” a podcast hosted by former U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York Preet Bharara, has been picked up for distribution by WNYC Studios. The podcast – described by WNYC as being a series about justice and fairness – is produced by his brother Vinit Bharara’s media firm Some Spider Studios and Pineapple Street Media. According to New York Public Radio president and chief executive officer Laura Walker, “WNYC Studios is honored to add Preet Bharara’s compelling and timely podcast to our lineup. We have built our portfolio around distinct personalities; ‘Stay Tuned with Preet’ promises to bring podcast audiences and people interested in our political and legal culture something new, relevant, and utterly engaging.” Vinit Bharara adds, “I am really looking forward to Preet launching his podcast and sharing with the world his unique insights about justice and fairness – especially at a time when those two issues are at stake.” Initially asked to stay on board by the administration, Preet Bharara was fired by President Trump in March.
TALKERS News Notes. Hosted by NPR international correspondent Gregory Warner, “Rough Translation” is a new podcast about how topics that are discussed in America are handled in other countries. Debuting next Monday (8/14), “Rough Translation” will release new episodes weekly. Correspondents from NPR bureaus worldwide will contribute stories to the podcast, a product of NPR StoryLab ….. As first reported by the Rochester Post-Bulletin, Rich Peterson last Friday (8/4) closed out his 43-year radio career and 18 years as host of Townsquare Media Rochester, Minnesota news/talk KROC’s “Good Morning” show. In addition to two separate KROC “AM 1340” stints, Peterson worked at Omaha news/talk KFAB. Taking over the KROC morning slot are “This Morning with Gordon Deal” and Salem’s Mike Gallagher.
KDAY Back as Raiders’ Los Angeles FM Affiliate. Syndicated via Compass Media Networks and originating from Entercom San Francisco’s KGMZ “95.7 The Game,” Oakland Raiders football broadcasts will be carried in Los Angeles on Meruelo Media’s KDAY “Back in the Day Hits.” KDAY program director Adrian Scott declares that, “KDAY is the perfect [radio] home for the Raiders in Los Angeles. Hip-hop fans are the most passionate Raiders’ fans in Southern California and we are thrilled to continue to be the exclusive FM radio station delivering the Oakland Raiders.” The Raiders’ radio team consists of Greg Papa and former Raiders quarterback (1960 – 1966) and head coach (1979 – 1987) Tom Flores. The NFL franchise played in Los Angeles for 12 years (1982 – 1994) and have committed to move to Las Vegas upon completion of a stadium projected for the 2020 season.
O’Brien, Smith Added to WJXA Morning Mix. In two weeks (8/21), Midwest Communications Nashville adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9” will debut a morning show featuring Brandon O’Brien and Ricki Smith. O’Brien most recently was the afternoon talent at Sinclair Telecable Norfolk country outlet WUSH “US-106.1,” while Smith arrives from Hubbard St. Louis adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch,” where he was morning co-host. They will join producer/co-host Clint Redwine and succeed Kim Leslie, who exited after 10 years to develop a non-profit organization. Meanwhile, former “Mix” morning co-host Anna Marie is segueing to nights. Vice president and market manager Dennis Gwiazdon states, “When you find the talent you feel will help add exciting new chapters to the storied history of ‘Mix,” you only have one choice – hire them. I can’t wait to hear this [morning] show come together. Anna has been the heart and soul of ‘Mix’ for a long, long time. I am delighted we can apply her special talents to the evening show where she can fully expand on her unique ability to connect with listeners.” Operations manager Barbara Bridges comments, “I am so excited to add Brandon and Ricki to the morning show. These two individuals have a ton of talent. This combination with Clint will elevate an already successful morning show to the next level – we are thrilled this all came together. Anna has a 20-year track record of success with our female audience; our fans absolutely love her. The warmth and connection she will bring to a special nighttime show will be amazing. I can’t wait to hear what we can do when Anna gets rolling.” O’Brien remarks, “Not only do I live in the greatest city in the world, I will also have an opportunity to be a huge part of the Nashville community and work alongside some amazing and talented folks.” Smith notes, “A personality looks for nothing more than what happens every day with this incredible team of talented people in Nashville. I am totally pumped about being able to contribute to the station’s continued success.” Anna Marie adds, “I love my listeners and this move gives me the opportunity to get closer to them. We have had a wonderful 20-year relationship so far – now we get a new time and space to get together.” July 2017 results will be released on Thursday (8/10), but among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s June 2017 PPM report, “Mix” finishes in fifth-place (6.8, 6+), one full-share behind the pacesetter, iHeartMedia classic rocker WNRQ (7.8, 6+).
TKRN Taps Thomas for Affiliate Relations. Former program director and brand manager of Entercom Charlotte hot AC WLNK “107.9 The Link” Darla Thomas joins the affiliate relations department of the Tom Kent Radio Network (TKRN), representing adult contemporary and hot AC products. TKRN senior vice president of affiliations Ed Douglas comments, “Having a pro of the stature of Darla Thomas join our affiliate team is a dream come true. She understands the adult contemporary world and she values the commitment Tom Kent has made to making great radio.” Thomas notes, “I have known Tom for years and I am so impressed by the network he has built across the country. When Ed asked me to join the team, I just couldn’t resist the chance to help build the TKRN brand and make it even bigger. I am excited to get started.” Thomas’ previous programming credits include iHeartMedia Charlotte adult hits WLKO “102.9 The Lake,” and five years as operations manager for Journal Broadcast Group Tucson, after programming that company’s Omaha hot AC KSRZ “Star 104.5.”
Charlotte’s “Block” Inks Dutchess. One of the stars of the VH1 series “Black Ink Crew” – Dutchess – is added to the on-air lineup of Radio One Charlotte urban contemporary WQNC “92.7 The Block.” The Charlotte native and cum laude graduate of North Carolina A&T State University will handle Sunday 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm duty. Radio One Charlotte vice president and general manager Doug James states, “Dutchess is an exceptional artist and media personality. We are very excited that she is bringing her talents to our fantastic lineup.” Radio One Charlotte program director Mary K. notes, “I am thrilled to have Dutchess join [our] team. She has great energy, a contagious spirit, generous heart, and immeasurable talents.” Splitting time between North Carolina and New York, Dutchess opened a tattoo shop, Pretty in Ink, in Charlotte.
Sanderson, Ramsey Headed to WNFN for Middays, Nights. Arriving from iHeartMedia Nashville CHR WRVW “107.5 The River,” where she was assistant digital PD and part-time on-air talent, Kage Sanderson crosses the street to Midwest Communications’ similarly-programmed WNFN “i106.7 Nashville’s New Hit Music” for midday duty, as well as being the station’s social media coordinator. In addition, JR Ramsey from Townsquare Media Portland, Maine CHR WJBQ “Q-97.7” joins “i106.7” to handle nights. Sanderson comments that she is “stoked for this new role at WNFN. Doing radio in Nashville – an electric city that I truly love – is unbelievable. I can’t wait to connect with our listeners and be part of this fantastic growing station.” Ramsey notes, “I can’t express how excited I am to be making this big move to Nashville. I am really looking forward to cracking the mic and entertaining the city.” He and Sanderson begin their new assignments in roughly two weeks (8/21). Meanwhile, WNFN assistant program director/music director/9:00 am – 2:00 pm personality “Butter” adds on-air duties at co-owned adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9” and will be videographer for WNFN; “Mix”; and co-owned adult hits WCJK “Jack-FM.”
Now Appearing – Harry Connick Jr. Currently promoting his television show “Harry,” Harry Connick Jr. stopped by iHeartMedia Milwaukee CHR WRNW “97.3 Now” prior to his guest appearance at the Wisconsin State Fair. Pictured left to right are “Now” morning show personalities Rahny Taylor and Binky Lee, Connick, and morning show producer “Dave.”
Cumulus Media Des Moines Tickets Taylor as Operations Manager. Six-year Townsquare Media St. Cloud, Minnesota operations manager Chad Taylor transitions to Cumulus Media Des Moines for similar duties at its five-station cluster. In addition to his OM duties, Taylor will host afternoon drive on country KJJY “92.5 Nash Icon.” Cumulus Media Des Moines vice president and market manager Craig Hodgson comments, “Chad is a highly-regarded operations manager, program director, and on-air talent. He is as active and community involved as they come. We will enjoy having him on our team and look forward to achieving great things together.” Taylor notes, “My wife was born and raised in Altoona. She is set to enjoy all things Iowa again and has already purchased a family pass to Adventureland. I’m beyond excited to work alongside the talented team at Cumulus Des Moines.” Prior to working in St. Cloud, Taylor was operations manager/program director for Community First Broadcasting’s three Iowa Great Lakes-area stations. The Cumulus Media Des Moines cluster consists of KBGG “1700 AM News-Talk-Sports”; KGGO “Classic Rock That Rocks”; KHKI “97.3 Nash FM”; KJJY “92.5 Nash Icon”; and KWQW “98.3 The Vibe Classic Hip-Hop.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Scheduled to perform at CBS Radio Los Angeles adult hits KCBS-FM “Jack’s 12th Show” October 7 at Irvine’s Fivepoint Amphitheater are 311, Cypress Hill, Gin Blossoms, Eve 6, Lit, and The Offspring. Proceeds will benefit Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) ….. Approximately 17% ($50,000) of the $294,091 Entercom Greenville, South Carolina helped raise during the Children’s Miracle Network radiothon was given by a father whose son was killed by a drunk driver ….. After hiring Tom Ferguson (“Ferg”) for afternoon drive duties, Entercom Wilkes Barre-Scranton classic rock WMQX “Max 102.3” operations manager Michael O’Donnell comments, “He is a born and raised Northeast Pennsylvania guy who knows his audience. He has a natural ability to relate to them and will raise the roof on PM drive.” Ferguson formerly worked at crosstown Times-Shamrock alternative WFUZ “Alt 92.1” ….. The former music director of Townsquare Media Flint, Michigan rhythmic CHR WRCL “Club 93.7” Art “Artemis” Smith remains in the Great Lake State as he joins Midwest Communications mainstream CHR WLMI “i-92.9,” Lansing today (Tuesday, 8/8) as brand manager. Midwest Communications vice president of programming Jeff McCarthy remarks, “We are excited to have Art lead our team. He has demonstrated a solid work ethic and strong working knowledge of the contemporary hit format.” Prior to working at WRCL, Smith was promotions director and night talent at WKHQ, Traverse City, Michigan ….. While a replacement hasn’t been named yet to succeed her, afternoon drive personality Nikki Reid (also known as Erika Kay) departs iHeartMedia Tulsa CHR KTBT “92.1 The Beat.” Reid/Kay joined “The Beat” in March 2016 from WNDV “U-93,” South Bend (Indiana) ….. Following an extended medical leave, former WSLC “Star Country 94.9” midday talent Robynn Jaymes returns to the Mel Wheeler-owned Roanoke, Virginia station for weekend/swing duty. Taking to Facebook, she writes, “When illness took me off the radio, I wondered if I would ever [again] have the privilege to be on the air, sharing music and connecting with [the audience. Returning] this past Sunday [8/6] was a dream come true.” Jaymes has undergone surgery and multiple treatments since 2011, when she began battling pancreatitis ….. Meanwhile, 2013 Country Radio Hall of Fame inductee Don Carpenter returns to Springfield, Missouri, signing on with Midwest Family country outlet KOMG “100.5 The Bull” to host a classic country show. In the 1980s, Carpenter did morning drive in the Missouri market at CHR KWTO-FM before grabbing similar duties as “Dr. Don” at CBS Radio Detroit’s country-formatted WYCD. In two separate tenures, “Dr. Don” spent 18 years at WYCD; he has been off the air the past two years ….. WUSW “US-92.7,” Springfield, Illinois program director and morning co-host Kellie Michaels will leave the Mid-West Family Broadcasting country station in two weeks (8/21). She has been co-hosting “Brian & Kellie” with her husband Brian Pierce for 25 years. After 15 years at co-owned adult contemporary WNNS, they went to country KFDI, Wichita (2007 – 2015), before returning to Springfield at “US-92.7.” Pierce will continue as morning co-host with Troy Armstrong assuming the co-host role. Michaels remarks, “I wanted to step back and spend more time on other interests. I’ve had a great time with Brian doing mornings. I will certainly miss the fun he and I have had, but certainly won’t miss the early morning hours.”