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Monday, February 11, 2019

| February 11, 2019

Legendary Talk Show Host Bruce Williams Dead at 86.  “Welcome my friends, welcome to my world.” It was with those words radio talk show host legend Bruce Williams began his nationally syndicated show for more than 29 years. Williams died on Saturday (2/9), at his home near Tampa, FL after a brief illness.  Spanning a career that lasted more than three decades, Bruce Williams created a loyal listenership of hundreds of thousands of people strong with his informative and entertaining program, delivered in his signature deep, warm, welcoming voice.  But, one of the most unusual and remarkable facts surrounding Williams’ National Radio Hall of Fame career is that it did not begin until he was well into his 40s.  Born February 18, 1932, Williams grew up in East Orange, NJ.  Blessed with an innate sense of business, at age 11, he devised a way to address one of the many shortages common at the end of World War II by melting down lead pipes and casting them into toy soldiers. Eyes wide open, he was off and running, pursuing every avenue where he believed a profit could be made.  After serving in the US Air Force during the Korean conflict and graduating from Newark State College (now Kean University), he opened a pre-school named after his children. He spent time driving an ice cream truck in New York City. He was also a taxi driver and drove a beer truck. For 70 years of his life, he spent the holiday season selling Christmas trees in New Jersey.  On the white-collar side, Williams sold insurance, owned a flower shop, a car rental agency, a barber shop and he owned and operated several nightclubs.  There was even a whirlwind tour into the world of politics where the Honorable Bruce H. Williams was elected to the Franklin, NJ Township Council, as well as serving terms as Deputy Mayor and Mayor between 1967 and 1975.  It was the weight and wealth of these life experiences that Williams relied on throughout his accomplished radio career and gave depth to his on-air persona.  His outstanding career began in 1975 at WCTC 1450 Talk Radio, The Voice of Central New Jersey, where Williams hosted a show called “At Your Service.”  After some time, his success took him to WMCA, New York where his momentum and audience continued to build. Williams’ growing popularity brought him to the attention of radio executives at NBC who were searching for a host of a national nightly advice-oriented talk show. After a long selection process, Williams was chosen and his program launched in November of 1981. It was from this platform, his reputation as a broadcaster blossomed.  That blossom was almost nipped a year later, when a plane he was piloting crashed into some trees during an aborted landing attempt. Critically injured and nearly dead when he arrived at the Medical Center of Princeton, Williams rallied and was back on the air broadcasting again from his hospital room, just four weeks after the accident. Over the next three decades, Williams’ voice was heard coast-to-coast as he became one of the most listened to talk show hosts in radio history.  The industry recognized Williams’ accomplishments in 1999 when he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago. TALKERS magazine also honored Williams in 2002 by including him at Number Six in its list of the Greatest Radio Talk Show Hosts of all Time.  He authored six financial and real estate advice books as well as a syndicated advice column called Smart Money.  Bruce Williams was 81 years old when he hung up his head phones for the final time in 2013, signing off as he always did by saying, “Keep in touch.”  Upon learning of Williams’ death, TALKERS founder Michael Harrison stated, “He was one of a kind and represented a breed of radio talk show host that made the genre truly special among all formats – a seemingly ‘regular guy’ who simply knew the answer to just about every problem that people face in day-to-day life and was happy to share it in completely understandable terms when asked for advice.”  Radio consultant Valerie Geller shared the following thoughts about Williams with TALKERS, “Bruce influenced my career. In the early days he kindly and generously spent time encouraging me.  This man was the original radio late night ‘companion, personality and  expert…’ helping thousands of listeners with personal advice, business advice and more importantly, being a ‘friend in the night.’ A powerful storyteller and powerful communicator, we have lost  a true talent.”

More on the Great Bruce WilliamsTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the profile piece he did on Bruce Williams years ago while writing for Inside Radio.  In the piece, Williams is very frank about the success he achieved in the talk radio business and talks openly about the ups and downs he experienced in radio.  Williams told Kinosian at the time, “I don’t know many people who’ve been successful who haven’t also failed.  We’re blessed to be in a society where failure isn’t a condemnation.” Read this insightful piece here.

Monday Memo: PPM Myths Debunked. Consultant Holland Cooke presents this week’s Monday Memo in which he offers some advice on station identification and keeping listeners in order to maximize ratings.  In some circles, post-PPM thought was that the meter diminished – or even eliminated! – the need to say the calls/frequency because now the meter registered “true” listening.  Cooke says there are still very good reasons to ID the station.  Read his memo on this matter here.

WLS-AM, Chicago Program Director Peter Bolger to Retire. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, five-year WLS-AM operations manager and program director Peter Bolger announces he’s retiring from the station and the radio business, effective March 15.  There is no predestined successor to Bolger.  Cumulus Media Chicago vice president and market manager Marv Nyren says, “I cannot begin to tell you how appreciative I am for all that Peter has done for this station over the years and the recent rebuild of the on-air lineup.  I can only thank him for all he’s done and wish him the best as he enjoys life.  With many years in radio…he has been a proponent of our medium and we will miss his calm personality and talent in the hallways.” As Feder notes, the last five years have seen a lot of change at the venerable AM signal and there’s nowhere else to go but up for struggling news/talker.  Read Feder’s thoughts on the matter here

Raj Sharan Rises to Program Bonneville’s Denver Sports Talk Duo. Assistant program director and executive producer Raj Sharan is promoted to program director for Bonneville’s Denver sports talk stations KKFN-FM “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” and KEPN-AM “ESPN Denver 1600,” effective immediately.  The PD position opened after Armen Williams joined Entercom’s sports talk KILT-AM, Houston.  Bonneville Denver VP/market manager Bob Call states, “I couldn’t be happier to give Raj the opportunity to program Denver’s biggest sports brand, ‘104.3 The Fan.’  Raj has a natural leadership quality that is apparent the moment you meet him.  His creativity, superb coaching skills, and knowledge of winning sports content makes him the perfect choice to lead ‘104.3 The Fan’ into the future.”

Chris Ganoudis to Lead Curtis Media’s Raleigh News/Talk and Oldies Duo. Moving from JVC Broadcasting’s Orlando operations to Curtis Media Group’s Raleigh offices is radio sales and management pro Chris Ganoudis.  He assumes the general manager position for the company’s news/talk WPTF, oldies WPTK-AM/W284CP “Just Right Radio,” and Triangle Traffic Network.  Curtis Media Group president/COO, Trip Savery comments, “I am very pleased to welcome Chris to North Carolina and Curtis Media Group.  Chris brings a proven track record of success and is a great addition to our Raleigh management team.  I am confident he will lead these brands to even greater success.”

Entercom Launches Digital Sports Platform ‘Radio.com Sports.’ A new digital sports platform is being unveiled by Entercom called RADIO.COM Sports.  Entercom says this will serve “to magnify the company’s unmatched local business to a more prominent national scale in order to better serve its listeners and advertisers.  RADIO.COM Sports will sit atop Entercom’s deep roster of leading local sports stations and will also be fully integrated into RADIO.COM.” Entercom president of sports Mike Dee adds, “RADIO.COM Sports is a strategic initiative to further elevate our existing portfolio of local brands and personalities and provide a more robust and unified experience for fans coast to coast.  The platform also offers our advertisers an efficient way to tap into Entercom’s scale and multiplatform content.”  As part of the launch, RADIO.COM Sports will kick off its RADIO.COM Sports Insiders program, a network of experts across all major sports who will make appearances on Entercom sports stations nationwide to provide insight and commentary.  This premium content will also be available on demand.  Sports Insiders will include Joe Girardi, former Major League Baseball player, manager and current analyst for the MLB Network; Ross Tucker, former National Football League offensive lineman and current national sports broadcaster; Bob Nightengale, USA Today MLB columnist; Jason La Canfora, CBSSports.com NFL columnist; Armando Salguero, Miami Herald sports columnist; as well as others who will soon be added.  Dee says, “We are going to be aggressive to expand our depth chart of new talent as well as use our existing stars in new ways on multiple distribution channels outside of their home market, and in many cases, on our expanding digital and editorial platforms.”  Entercom inks Mercedes-Benz as its launch partner.

Beasley Reveals Q4 2018 and Full-Year Financial Data; Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 9.9%. The fourth quarter and 2018 full-year financial report for Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc indicates net revenue for Q4 was $75.6 million, an increase of 29.1%.  For all of 2018, net revenue was $257.5 million, an increase of 10.3% over 2017.  These numbers reflect the sale of Beasley’s six-station Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville cluster, the exchange of WMJX-FM and $12 million for sports talk WBZ-FM in Boston, and the acquisition of country WXTU-FM, Philadelphia from Entercom.  The company’s pro forma net revenue cited here reflects the operations and results from WBZ-FM in the three and 12 months ended December 31, 2018 and WMJX-FM in the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2017, prior to its divestiture. The results also reflect a full quarter’s contribution from WXTU-FM in the three months ended December 31, 2018 and approximately five months of contribution from WXTU-FM in the 12 months ended December 31, 2018 and four months of contribution from the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations in the 12-month period ended December 31, 2017.  Beasley’s pro forma net revenue for Q4 was up 9.4%.  For the full year of 2018, pro forma net revenue was $263.5 million, an increase of 4.7% over 2017.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Our record 2018 fourth quarter and full-year revenue and strong operating results, despite the benefit of non-cash transaction related and tax items in the 2017 period, highlight the value being created as we execute strategies to expand our scale, diversify our revenue mix, and leverage the value of our local brands in our core and ancillary verticals.  Actual fourth quarter revenue rose by 29.1% on a year-over-year basis driven by net revenue increases at 10 of our clusters, recent acquisitions and station swaps and approximately $3.9 million of fourth quarter gross political revenue.  While we remain focused on diversifying our operating base, our fourth quarter pro-forma revenue rose an impressive 9.9%.  Fourth quarter net income declined from 2017 levels solely because of gains and tax benefits in the year-ago period that did not recur in the 2018 fourth quarter.”

Jeff Foxworthy Visits Old Pal Jim Villanucci on ‘101.7 The Team’ in Albuquerque. Pictured above is comic Jeff Foxworthy with afternoon drive talk show host Jim Villanucci at Team Broadcasting’s sports talk KQTM-FM, “101.7 The Team” studios. Foxworthy is an old friend of Villanucci’s from the stand-up circuit and stopped by to chat on Villanucci’s radio show while appearing in the Albuquerque area.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Villanucci, Foxworthy, show special correspondent Sam Hauser, and show producer Robert Maler.  Hauser is new to Villanucci’s show, officially joining today as special correspondent from his most recent gig with Alpha Media’s Austin, Minnesota station group where he managed the sports department at its news/talk outlet for three years.

Border Wall Battle, New Government Shutdown, Warren in Iowa/2020 Presidential Hopefuls, Ilhan Omar Anti-Israel Statements, Virginia Political Chaos, Venezuela Unrest, Grammy Awards, Alliance of American Football Debut, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The political battle over President Trump’s plan for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; the threat of another federal government shutdown; Senator Elizabeth Warren announces presidential campaign and the related story of the Democratic field of contenders; the flap over Muslim U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s accusation AIPAC buys off U.S. politicians to support Israel; the political chaos in Virginia over the blackface scandals involving Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring and the sexual assault accusation against Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax; the unstable political situation in Venezuela; Sunday night’s Grammy Awards show; the debut of the Alliance of American Football league; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

SEAN HANNITY TO KEYNOTE: 2019 Talkers Convention Set for NYC. The 22nd annual installment of the longest-running, most-important national talk media convention has been set for Friday, June 7, 2019 in New York City. Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan.  It has just been confirmed that Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel superstar Sean Hannity will reprise his long-standing role as the morning breakfast host and kickoff speaker for this convention.  Hannity will be joined by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison in the event’s annual one-on-one opening keynote conversation.  The rest of the stellar agenda of speakers and sessions will begin to be announced next week.  The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, one-on-one conversations and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story 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. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To take advantage of the hotel discount available to TALKERS convention attendees, contact the Hilton Fashion District Hotel located directly across the street from the venue at 152 W. 26th St, New York, NY 10001 by clicking here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A new rock outlet debuts in Columbus as iHeartMedia flips WXZX-FM from sports talk to classic rock as “105.7 The Brew, The New Generation of Classic Rock.”  iHeartMedia Columbus VP of programming Michael McCoy says the station’s playlist will focus on rock from the 80s into the 2000s, including songs from core artists such as AC/DCFoo Fighters, Tom Petty, Soundgarden, Van Halen, Metallica, Mötley Crüe, and Guns N’ Roses.  The station is bringing Columbus radio personalities Mark Blazor and DaveMan aboard.  McCoy says, “We are excited to offer a unique station for Columbus’ rock listeners.  The Brew’s mission is to provide one great rock song after another and that’s why we call it the new generation of Classic Rock.”…..Programmer Randy Hawke is promoted to vice president of programming at Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s Madison, Wisconsin cluster.  He’s been serving as PD for rock WJJO and OM for the cluster that includes rhythmic CHR WJQM “93.1 Jamz,” alternative WRIS “106.7 The Resistance,” and sports talk WOZN. In this new role, he’ll serve as PD for adult contemporary WMGM “Magic 98,” country WWQM “Q106,” and classic country WHIT “Hank.”  At the same time, the company ups APD/MD Jennifer “Ski” Crowell to program director for WJJO…..On-air pro Bill Mitchell adds to his morning gig on Magnum Media’s country WMBZ, West Bend, Wisconsin by also handling the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at the company’s country WVTY, Racine, Wisconsin.   Magnum Media owner Dave Magnum says, “Factoring in market-wide remote broadcasts and promotions, we wanted some personality cross pollination between ‘Buzz Country’ and ‘VTY Country.’  With [morning host] Mitch Morgan and Bill Mitchell on both stations, we’ve achieved that objective.”…..A number of staff changes take place at Griffin Communications’ Tulsa cluster.  First, Dave “Wavy Davy” Michaels joins the company as PD and afternoon personality at classic hits KBEZ “92.9 The Drive.”  Wavy Davy comes from Cox Media Group’s crosstown classic rock KJSR “103.3 The Eagle.” Second, Tanner Messer is promoted to host of the afternoon drive shift at classic country KXBL “Big Country 99.5” and the evening jock at country KVOO.  Finally, Nikki Reid is now host of afternoons on KVOO and night jock at CHR KHTT “K-HITS 106.9.”…..Pictured below is the staff of rhythmic oldies XHRM, San Diego “Magic 92.5” bestowing the first-ever “Magic 92.5 Lifetime Achievement Award” to radio legend Art Laboe.  The award recognizes Laboe’s many achievements over his legendary 75-year radio broadcasting career and was presented in front of an audience of more than 6,000 people at the station’s 2019 Valentine’s Super Love Jam concert on February 9.  Pictured (from l-r) are: Magic 92.5’s Greg Mack, Rick Nuhn, Xavier “The X-Man,” R Dub!, Laboe, Jagger & Kristi, Sheryl Love, Hurricane Andrew, Jammin’ Jay Michaels, Kelly Cole, and Billy Blast. Photo: Alan Hess

Remembering Bruce Williams: Evenings Fit His Lifestyle

| February 11, 2019

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS magazine

Managing Editor

 

LOS ANGELES — It’s an Americana snapshot that could have been taken anywhere in this country.

In this particular case, the locale is an East Orange, New Jersey drugstore at a time when prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, and soda fountains were the top attractions, rather than the virtual mini-shopping malls they’ve now become.

Under the tutelage of veteran proprietors “Joe” and “Sam,” an unlicensed 14-year-old boy is hard at work at the apothecary, compounding prescriptions – something the Board of Pharmacy would hardly endorse.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

| August 20, 2018

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.   Almost half of the stations in this panel (47%) saw their 6+ AQH share dip compared to the June 2018 PPM survey with just three all-newsers – Entercom’s WBZ-AM, Boston; WCBS-AM, New York; and KNX, Los Angeles – enjoying increases.  Compared to a year ago, Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington (up 1.1%) and WBZ-AM (up 0.8%) lead the pack of five news stations improving over the July 2017 survey.  Although there are only 11 all-news stations in the panel, six rank in the top 5 in their respective markets with WTOP ranking #1 (6+) in Washington, KCBS-AM ranking #2 in San Francisco and KFBK ranking #2 in Sacramento.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Beasley Names Four Programmers to Podcast Captain Positions. According to Beasley Media Group vice president of programming Buzz Knight, this team of podcast captains will be responsible for assisting the local markets in evaluating and partnering with local content providers, along with helping the company’s overall mission of building a larger podcast community.  He adds, “We are thrilled to have our new podcast captains help lead our creative process as Beasley Media Group continues to develop and grow the company’s podcast strategy.”  Named to the positions are: Mike Thomas, program director, WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub”; Chuck Damico, program director, WBEN-FM, Philadelphia and APD for WMMR-FM; Steve Black, air personality, WRIF-FM, Detroit; and Roy Brown, morning personality, WNKS, Charlotte “KISS 95.1.”

Wisconsin Sports Talker Bill Michaels Okay After Lightning Strike. From a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel comes news that WSSP, Milwaukee-based, regionally syndicated sports talk personality Bill Michaels was struck by lightning while doing a remote broadcast from a Junior Achievement Golf Outing in Eau Claire, Wisconsin last Thursday (8/16).  Michaels’ wife Sherry posted the story and some pix (including the one seen here) on Facebook.  Michaels was doing his show from a patio at the golf course when the lightning hit.  He later said on his show, “I was sitting at the table … as [producer] Joe [Zenzola] and I were having this conversation.  A lightning strike had taken place.  It wasn’t directly to me, but it had taken place in the area.  There was enough energy – I don’t know how to put it – but it hit me.  It jolted me, I guess, is the best way to put it.  It burned my arms, burned my fingers and found out later it had blown out through my shoe.”  The strike interrupted the remote link back to the station and Michaels immediately sought medical attention.  He was treated at a local hospital where he spent several hours. He was back on the air on Friday to talk about the experience.

Clay Travis Returns to WGFX-FM, Nashville with Premiere Networks Syndicated Show. Nationally syndicated sports talk personality Clay Travis is back on the Nashville radio station where he got his start as a sports talk host.  Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” is adding an hour of Travis’ Premiere Networks-syndicated show to WGFX-FM’s program schedule, airing from 5:00 am to 6:00 am, leading into the station’s “Wake Up Zone” morning show.  Travis launched his sports talk career in 2010 as part of the “3HL” program.  WGFX-FM program director Brad Willis comments, “We’re excited to add Clay Travis back to ‘The Zone’ lineup as his presence in Nashville and his perspective on sports across the nation is one that our listeners have enjoyed for many years.”

‘LI News Radio’ Host Tom Schiliro Drives Vehicle in Presidential Motorcade. Pictured above is WRCN-FM, Riverhead, New York “LI News Radio” midday talk host Tom Schiliro standing next to the presidential state car nicknamed “The Beast.”  The JVC Media personality was shocked when he received a call from the White House and was asked to drive a dignitary vehicle in the presidential motorcade on a pending visit to Long Island by President Trump.  In speaking with the White House advance team, Schiliro learned that the White House often reaches out to select retired police officers and military personal in the local area to participate in the presidential motorcade by driving cars that shuttle local invited guests and business dignitaries around. Schiliro’s name was put on a list by Congressman Lee Zeldin and Brookhaven political leader Jessie Garcia because of the “great community work Tom does with LI News Radio and his tenure with the Suffolk County Police Department.”  Neither LI News Radio listeners nor station staff were given advance notice about Schiliro’s “remote broadcast” but after Air Force One arrived at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton it was “all clear” for Schiliro to call into the studio and give LI News listeners his once-in-a-lifetime broadcast from the actual POTUS motorcade.

Pete Forester to Lead Sales for Beasley’s WCTC-AM and WMGQ-FM in New Jersey. Radio sales pro Pete Forester is promoted to director of sales at Beasley Media Group’s New Brunswick, New Jersey duo of news/talk WCTC and adult contemporary WMGQ “Magic 98.3.”  Forester has been serving as national sales manager for the company’s New Jersey-based properties for the past 14 years. Beasley SVP and market manager Dan Finn states, “Pete has demonstrated an incredible work ethic along with creativity.  I’m confident he will thrive being based in Somerset and leading our team.”  The company is conducting a search for a national sales manager and inquiries about that position can be sent to: Jennifer.Alexander-Mettlen@bbgi.com.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports radio pros Scott Linn, Tim Murray, and Steve Solomon are launching a new podcast via Patreon.com.  The three formerly hosted the morning drive program on the SB Nation Radio network.  They spent several years as Steve Czaban’s co-hosts/sidekicks on his national radio show on FOX Sports Radio and later SB Nation Radio.  Linn currently co-hosts with Czaban.  Murray serves as the studio host for Navy football and as a sports anchor for WTOP, Washington.  The “Linn, Murray, and Solly” podcast is available on three different tiers at www.Patreon.com/LinnMurraySolly starting at $4.99 per month…..Westwood One launches a new podcast series featuring sports radio personality Scott Ferrall titled, “Ferrall on the Bets.”  The podcast will launch next Monday (8/28) with six 30-minute original shows per week, posted Tuesday through Sunday at 7:30 am ET. Ferrall says, “I am thrilled to offer bettors a free resource for picks.   I watch as many games as I can, I check out all the lines.  I love being the go-to predictor of the podcast world and I thank Westwood One for the opportunity.”…..Cumulus Media announces that 77 WABC’s OG Podcast Network is launching a new home improvement podcast co-hosted by Dean Marisco (left) and Derek Stearns (right) titled, “Under Your Roof and In Your Backyard with Dean and Derek.” New, 45-minute podcasts are being released every Friday.  Marisco and Stearns host the national television shows “Rock Solid” and “Indoors Out” on Scripps Networks and appear on “Victory Garden” on PBS…..Entercom Houston and the NFL’s Texans agree to extend their partnership for airing play-by-play and related Texans programming through the 2027 season.  As part of the agreement, KILT-AM “SportsRadio 610” and country KILT-FM “100.3 The Bull” will continue to carry all Houston Texans games and KLOL-FM “Mega 101 FM” will broadcast all games in Spanish. KILT-AM will air a three-hour pregame and postgame show, plus “Texans All Access,” airing weekdays from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm during the regular season and 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm during the offseason. The Texans Radio Network broadcast team of Marc Vandermeer and Andre Ware will continue to provide play-by-play and game analysis as they have done for the past 17 years.  Enrique Vasquez and Gustavo Rangel will provide the play-by-play for Spanish broadcasts on Texans Radio Network…..Legendary Indianapolis Colts voice Bob Lamey is retiring from his position as play-by-play announcer for the team’s games heard on Emmis’ sports talk WFNI and country WLHK in Indianapolis.  Matt Taylor, currently studio host and a sideline reporter, will handle play-by-play on an interim basis.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Omarosa Recordings/Book, Church Sexual Abuse Scandal, Manafort Trial/Expected Cohen Charges, Brennan Security Clearance Issue, Midterm Elections, Madonna Turns 60, Crazy Rich Asians Film, NFL Pre-season and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; Omarosa Marigault Newman’s Trump recordings and her new, tell-all book; the Pennsylvania scandal involving widespread sexual abuse in the Catholic Church; the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the possibility of charges being filed against former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen; the stripping of John Brennan’s security clearance; the looming midterm elections; pop icon Madonna turns 60; the success of the Crazy Rich Asians film; NFL pre-season action; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Two Bay Area morning duos extend their contracts with iHeartMedia San Francisco. KIOI “STAR 101.3” morning hosts Marcus & Sandy (right) and KISQ “98.1 The Breeze” AM personalities Jack Kulp and Carolyn McArdle (left) are celebrating new deals with the company to keep them waking up their audiences.  iHeartMedia San Francisco SVP of programming Don Parker states, “Both Marcus & Sandy and Jack & Carolyn have established their respective shows as some of the most listened to morning shows in San Francisco and we’re thrilled to sign them to multi-year extensions.”…..KCTZ, Minneapolis implements programming changes, adding adult alternative artists to its current hot AC programming.  Station PD Rich Davis says the new “Cities 97.1” will broadcast an eclectic mix of adult alternative and hot adult contemporary music including songs from artists which the station was instrumental in breaking over the years like Ed SheeranColdplay, and John Mayer. The station will also include music from a variety of top artists such as Imagine DragonsMaroon 5, Adele, and Weezer.  Minneapolis singer-songwriter Keri Noble is hosting the weekday morning show from 6:00 am to 10:00 am and Minneapolis local favorite Paul Fletcher hosts afternoon drive.  Davis adds, “We’re connected to the Twin Cities and we care about our community and the music we play.  ‘Cities 97’ was born in 1984 and now reborn in 2018 and we’re thrilled to grow and continually evolve with our listeners and fans.”…..In Los Angeles, Entercom appoints midday personality Yesi Ortiz music director for CHR KAMP-FM “97.1 AMP Radio.”  Entercom Los Angeles SVP and market manager Jeff Federman declares, “We are very proud of Yesi’s on-air work since joining us earlier this year.  She has been a respected leader in the music community for many years and we look forward to her expanding her duties as 97.1 AMP Radio’s music director.”…..Pictured below is Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and former Journey frontman Steve Perry in the KQRS, Minneapolis studios talking with station morning personality Tom Barnard about his new solo record, Traces.  This is Perry’s first record in 24 years.  He spoke with Barnard about the album artwork that is comprised of a collection of images tracing Perry’s life and career.  He also discussed why he chose to walk away from the music business.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

| August 7, 2018

Field Answers USTN Lawsuit: “Ridiculous allegations.” As we reported last Monday (Talkers.com, 7/30), in a complaint filed in Harris County, Texas District Court, United States Traffic Network is suing Entercom for material and punitive damages “in excess of $5 million.” USTN alleges that Entercom entered into negotiations to buy the company and walked away from the deal at the last minute with the intent of developing a directly competitive business. Yesterday (Monday, 8/6), Entercom president/CEO David Field addressed the lawsuit in an internal memo. He writes, “The truth is we have acted in good faith and made every reasonable effort and then some to assist USTN in fixing their challenging issues.” Entercom released a statement including the following quote on the situation: “We are relieved to no longer be mired by the difficult USTN situation that was inherited as part of the CBS Radio merger. We will move quickly to augment our strong internal sales organization to ensure that we realize the full value of this inventory. With leading news brands like WINS, New York; KNX, Los Angeles; and WBBM, Chicago, Entercom has the industry’s most valuable traffic inventory. We are pleased to be in control of our own destiny as we pursue opportunities in this attractive market segment.” In response to the lawsuit, Field states, “Entercom believes it is entirely baseless, frivolous and frankly insulting. Entercom has worked tirelessly and constructively with USTN over the past six months to help USTN work through its significant financial issues. Entercom is owed substantial amounts of money by USTN, and the company intends to defend itself vigorously and assert all of its rights.” In yesterday’s memo, Field states, “To say the least, it is disappointing to read the ridiculous allegations that USTN has made when the truth is that we have acted in good faith and made every reasonable effort and then some to assist USTN in fixing their challenging issues. In order to set the record straight and ensure that you have all the facts regarding our relationship with USTN, I have included a summary of the events over the past 8 ½ months.” Click here to read the rest of Field’s memo.

Bortnick Joins iHeartMedia D.C. as Senior VP/Sales. Six-year vice president of sales for Entercom Washington (D.C.), Danny Bortnick crosses the street to become senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s five stations in the Nation’s Capital. Region president Michael Preacher remarks, “We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Danny to iHeartMedia. Danny has earned a great reputation building client-centric sales organizations while creating a positive work culture. He is the perfect fit for us.” Bortnick adds, “I am thrilled to be joining some of the most iconic brands in [the market], as well as one of the most recognizable media brands in the country.” Bortnick, who has a marketing and management degree from the University of Miami – School of Business, began his radio career 13 years ago as an account executive at Katz Radio in New York City and Atlanta. After a year at Katz, he became an account executive – and later, digital sales manager – at New York City all-news outlet WINS and then, director of sales for Salem Media Group New York City.

Saga Reports 6.5% Q2 Net Revenue Increase. For the quarter ending June 30, Saga Communications net revenue increased to $32.2 million. Meanwhile, operating income increased 2.7% to $6 million and station operating expense increased 8% to $23.1 million. Free cash flow from continuing operations was $6 million for the quarter, compared to $4.8 million for the same period last year. On a same station basis, net revenue decreased .6% to $30.1 million; operating income increased 1.5% to $6 million; and station operating expense decreased 1% to $21.2 million. The company had $52.9 million in cash on hand as of June 30, and $53.3 million as of yesterday (8/6). The company’s total long-term debt was $25 million as of June 30. Results for the quarter and six-month period were affected by the sale of the company’s television stations and purchase of radio stations in Charleston and Hilton Head (South Carolina) on September 1, 2017. Saga’s 2018 Q2 conference call will be at 11:00 am (ET) today (Tuesday, 8/7). Saga owns or operates 75 FM and 33 AM radio stations.

Gregg Receives Salute to Excellence Award. For the second consecutive year, Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg is recognized by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). This time, she will receive a “Salute to Excellence Award” at the NABJ’s gala in Detroit. Entercom Philadelphia senior vice president and market manager David Yadgaroff states, “It comes as no surprise that Cherri has been recognized once again for the exemplary work she contributes to KYW. The hard work she has committed in less than a year demonstrates why she is deserving of this honor.” Gregg remarks, “I am honored and humbled by this great recognition. This acknowledgment validates the importance of creating conversation around social issues.” Gregg was recognized in the “Public Affairs” category in “Top 15 Markets, Radio.” The specific segment – “Police Transparency – When Should Names of Officers Who Kill Be Released?” – was from her weekly program “Flashpoint,” which airs Saturdays (9:30 pm) and Sundays (8:30 am). Launched in 2017, “Flashpoint” discusses community affairs, political news, civil rights and social issues. Last year, NABJ honored Gregg with a “Salute to Excellence Award” in “TV Investigative – Top 15 Markets” for her piece “Driving While Black,” a collaboration between Entercom and KYW-TV, Philadelphia (Channel 3). Gregg, who joined Entercom in 2010, was president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (2015 – 2016) and vice president of broadcast in 2013. A member of the Pennsylvania and Georgia Bars, she has an undergraduate degree (B.S.) from Boston University; a J.D. from Howard University School of Law; and an M.J. from Temple University’s College of Communications and Theater. Gregg was named one of the Philadelphia NAACP’s Most Influential Black Women and PABJ’s Journalist of the Year in 2013.

Remembering Bill Wattenburg. Cancer has claimed the life of 82-year-old Bill Wattenburg, who died last Thursday (8/2). For 39 years (1972 – 2011), “Dr. Bill” hosted a late night show on KGO, San Francisco where the former nuclear weapons designer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory would answer questions about everything from car repairs to physics. Show promos often referred to him as “The smartest man in the world.” The three-hour program (“Open Line to the West Coast,” 10:00 pm – 1:00 am) aired Saturday and Sunday nights and originated from his home in the Sierras. An occasional caller was Clint Eastwood, who gave Wattenburg a few cameos in the “Dirty Harry” movies. Using the nom de plume Will Harvey, the inventor and former physics professor at the University of California – Berkeley authored an early-1970s best-selling book “How to Find and Fascinate a Mistress.” The success of that book led to him being booked on numerous television talk shows where he debated the merits of feminism with people such as the Gabor sisters and Gloria Steinem. As an inventor, Wattenburg had eight patents to his credit, one reportedly being the first home alarm system using electrical wiring for its communication medium. A 2011 KGO format modification from news/talk to news resulted in several hosts – including Wattenburg – exiting the station. Shortly thereafter, Wattenburg hosted a show on Zwerling Broadcasting System news/talk KSCO-AM, Santa Cruz (California), which – after his death – aired a two-hour retrospective of his radio career.

Spanish Broadcasting System Forecasts Q2 Sales, OIBDA Increases. Preliminary estimated quarter two financial results for Spanish Broadcasting System estimates that consolidated net revenue will be between $34.5 million and $34.8 million, an increase of between 1% and 2% over the same period in 2017. Adjusted OIBDA, excluding non-cash stock-based compensation, is projected at $10.8 million – $11.6 million, an increase of 34% – 44% over last year. SBS chair/chief executive officer Raul Alarcon notes, “The company has continued its positive operational momentum throughout the second quarter with strong OIBDA growth and operating margins that continue to be among the highest in the industry.  In addition, the announced $14 million sale of our surplus real estate in New York City has successfully closed, allowing for our move to newer and more suitable facilities in midtown Manhattan. A correlated and corresponding repayment of the company’s 12.5% senior secured notes from the net proceeds of the real estate sale has been undertaken, as previously envisioned. We maintain our positive view as to the continuing momentum in 2018 and will be filing our finalized second-quarter results within the next week.”

Ten Radio Groups Support NAB’s Owner Cap Modification Stance. Represented in this particular assemblage of group owners is “a cross-section of the industry” with minority-owned and family-owned entities that have stations in large and small markets. In alphabetical order by group owner, the open letter is signed by Alpha Media CEO Bob Proffitt; Connoisseur Media founder/CEO Jeff Warshaw; Emmis Communications chair/CEO Jeff Smulyan; Midwest Communications COO Michael Wright; Mid-West Family Stations president Thomas Walker; Neuhoff Communications president/CEO Beth Neuhoff; NRG Media president/CEO Mary Quass; Perry Publishing and Broadcasting chair Russell Perry; Townsquare Media co-CEOs Dhruv Prasad and Bill Wilson; and Zimmer Radio of Mid-Missouri president/owner John Zimmer. Read the entire letter here.

Round One of July 2018 PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including 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 2018 survey period covered June 21 – July 18. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

TALKERS News Notes. Following stints on New Jersey outlets WMTR and WCTC, Jonathan Friedman’s “Talking Sports” (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm) debuts this Saturday (8/11) on Salem Media Group New York City’s news/talk WNYM “AM 970, The Answer.” The 52-year-old New Jersey resident notes, “I wanted to bring the show to a bigger stage. Growing up in Atlanta and being a huge fan of the Atlanta Falcons, Hawks, and Braves, my love for sports started early in my life. No matter who I talk to, the topic always seems to go to sports; that’s how I connect with people.” A 30-year advertising executive, Friedman has been with Success Communications Group the last 15 years and created the “Gotta Go To Mo’s” campaign for Modell’s Sporting Goods ….. St. Louis-based Project 21 co-chair Stacy Washington is broadcasting “Stacy on the Right” live nationwide. The first hour of the weekday talk program is available on all 180 stations of the American Family Radio Network. The national hour is 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (ET) and can be streamed through the AFR website, TuneInRadio, Facebook, and YouTube. Decorated Air Force veteran and Emmy-nominated TV personality Washington began her broadcasting career several years ago as a fill-in host on news/talk KFTK, St. Louis and began a two-hour program on the Urban Family Talk Network in 2016 ….. Having added ten million listeners over the last few months, iHeartRadio officially surpasses 120 million registered users. It has over 20,000 podcasts in 20 different unique categories, including 750 iHeartRadio original podcasts ….. According to a report by Richard Deitsch in The Athletic, former NFL quarterback (St. Louis Rams, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals) Kurt Warner will succeed Boomer Esiason as analyst on Westwood One’s “Monday Night Football” broadcasts. Hall of Famer Warner – who has filled-in when Esiason wasn’t available – would work alongside play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan. According to Deitsch, a formal announcement of the deal is forthcoming ….. In a situation that will have him relocating to the network’s Chicago headquarters, Scott Krus – station manager of religious teaching WCRF “Moody Radio,” Cleveland – is promoted to general manager of the national Moody Radio Network. Three-month vice president, and former GM, Doug Hastings states, “Scott has the background, skills, and passion to take Moody Radio into our next season. He is very well known at Moody Radio; respected by staff and industry leaders; and has proven that he will effectively lead Moody Radio as general manager.” Krus, who begins his new duties in approximately four weeks (9/1), comments, “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our teams and [am] energized by the challenge of navigating this ever-changing landscape of media ministry. I believe that Moody is strategically-positioned to expand on its role as a leader in the industry and uniquely equipped to inspire listeners to take that next step in their walk with Jesus Christ. I am looking forward with great excitement to all that God will do in the days to come.”

Paul Manafort Trial/Gates Testimony, Kushner Deleted Stories, Midterm Races, California Wildfire, MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/6). The trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort highlighted by the juicy testimony of Rick Gates; claims that Jared Kushner deleted sensitive stories at his newspaper; the attempted drone assassination attempt of Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro;  this fall’s midterm elections; the deadly California wildfire; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Premiere Promotes Silcock to VP/Affiliate Relations – Morning Shows. Six-year, New York City-based director of affiliate relations Casey Silcock receives vice president stripes from Premiere Networks. In the newly-created position of vice president of affiliate relations – morning shows, Silcock will oversee affiliate sales and serve as the syndicator’s brand manager for programs featuring Elvis Duran; Bobby Bones; Brooke & JubalJohnjay & Rich; and Kane. Senior vice president of affiliate relations/talk and morning shows Peter Tripi comments, “Casey has been a valuable member of our team for the past six years, and he has made significant contributions to the growth of our industry-leading morning shows. I’m confident his leadership, sound judgment, and solid relationships with affiliate stations and talent alike will drive continued success for our programming.” Silcock previously was head of promotion for Verve Music Group, a division of Universal Music Group, and held management promotion and marketing positions at Virgin Records America.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Weekend WTXF-TV “Fox 29,” Philadelphia sports anchor Sean Brace will appear each Friday at 8:20 am on iHeartMedia Philadelphia rhythmic hot AC WISX “Real 106.1” during “Chio in the AM.” In addition, Brace will contribute to the station’s website and host a Saturday night (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) music show. He formerly was heard on cross-town Greater Media (now Beasley Media Group) sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” ….. It is an eventful day for San Antonio air-on talent named “Cortez.” Taking to Facebook, Tony Cortez announces he is leaving his position as assistant program director/afternoon drive talent at Alpha Media’s  CHR KTFM “Energy 94.1,” while “The Dana Cortez Show” was missing this morning at cross-town Univision Radio-owned rhythmic CHR KBBT “98.5 The Beat.” On Twitter, Dana Cortez tweets, “We have some exciting things in the works & want you to be part of.” ….. Promotions coordinator/night personality Edwin Guevara is elevated to promotions director/afternoon host at Townsquare Media Trenton, New Jersey CHR WPST “94.5 – Your New #1 Hit Music Station.” He replaces Tom Shinn, who exited last month. Guevara is approaching his third year at the station, arriving from Kemp Broadcasting Las Vegas rhythmic CHR KVEG “Hot 97.5” ….. Former Bonneville country KYGO, Denver program director Eddie Haskell is named senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Fort Collins (Colorado) stations. According to iHeartMedia Denver area president Amy Griesheimer, “I am thrilled to have someone of Eddie’s caliber and expertise partner with us to lead [our] Northern Colorado dynasty. Eddie’s passion and brand knowledge are unmatched.” Denver region senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim notes, “Eddie’s knowledge and experience in Colorado radio are second to none. His addition to the Fort Collins team will only help to increase our already strong footprint in Northern Colorado.” Haskell adds, “I am so stoked to join the team at iHeartMedia Fort Collins. We have great brands, great programmers, and a great management team.” His prior background includes being operations manager for Cumulus Media Albuquerque and he has held various programming roles in Detroit (WYCD) and Salt Lake City (KKAT-AM). The iHM cluster in Fort Collins includes country KXBG “Big 97.9”; classic hits-oldies KXBG-HD2 “B-107.3”; classic country KIIX “AM 1410 – Country’s Greatest Hits”; CHR KSME “96.1 – Kiss-FM”; classic rock KPAW “92.9 – The Bear”; alternative KPAW-HD2 “Radio 94.9”; and news/talk KCOL “Fox News Radio 600” ….. Grammy winner – and the first “American Idol” – Kelly Clarkson is filming a pilot for a daytime (TV) talk show.  Clarkson has a deal with NBC Entertainment, but the pilot is currently not attached to any network; it is potentially being shopped for a fall 2019 debut.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

| February 8, 2018

Nielsen Holdings Announces Q4 Up 6.3%; Audio Ratings Sector Rises 9.2%.  As a whole, Nielsen Holdings plc reports that its fourth quarter 2017 revenue was $1.76 billion, an increase of 6.3% (or 4.2% on a constant currency basis) compared to the same period in 2016.  For the full year of 2017, revenue was $6.5 billion up 4.2% (or 3.8% on a constant currency basis) compared to 2016.  Nielsen calls its ratings segment Watch and within that is the audio ratings business.  Nielsen reports audio rating revenue was up 9.2% in Q4.  Nielsen CEO Mitch Barnes states, “In Watch, we had a strong year.  Our teams were relentless in their efforts to enhance our Total Audience Measurement system and drive client adoption across all of its components.  As the market further evolves due to ongoing media fragmentation, Total Audience Measurement will serve as the foundation for our future, providing the measurement capability, scale, and flexibility necessary to best meet our clients’ needs.”

Talk Host Paul Harris to Do ‘Last Show’ Tomorrow on KTRS, St. Louis.  For the past five years, talk radio pro Paul Harris has been doing the Friday afternoon show on KTRS, St. Louis.  But, that gig will wrap tomorrow (2/9) as former KYKY, St. Louis morning personality Guy Phillips will take over the afternoon drive show (Frank O. Pinion exited the Monday through Thursday role last fall).  Harris says he was offered the gig but does not want to work full time.  He says, “Having done this for my entire adult life, I know the stress that comes from waking up every day and immediately thinking, ‘What am I doing to talk about today?’ It may not seem like it, but hosting and planning a well-executed, informed, entertaining radio show takes an enormous amount of preparation and brain power.  Since moving into semi-retirement a few years ago — working only one or two days a week – I’ve had a lot less of that stress, and have welcomed those mornings when I didn’t have to worry about developing enough content to fill three hours of airtime.”  See his full comments on his last show here.

WCTC’s Bert Baron Nabs Regular Show with NJ Speaker of the Assembly.  New Brunswick, New Jersey morning host and program director Bert Baron is announcing he’s arranged to host New Jersey Assemblyman Craig Coughlin every month for a one-hour, live call-in show on Beasley Media Group’s news/talk WCTC.  The show will take place the second Tuesday of each month at 9:00 am, beginning February 13.  Baron says, “This monthly show will serve as a platform for Speaker Coughlin to engage not only the residents of the district he was elected to serve, but also to provide real, honest information on all things Jersey politics.  A Central Jersey lawmaker, appearing regularly on Central Jersey’s heritage radio station, is community synergy at its finest.”

iHeartMedia Seattle Announces Changes to KFNQ, Seattle and KHHO, Tacoma.  Both stations have been sports talk outlets that complement KJR-AM, Seattle “Sports Radio 950” for iHeartMedia.  Now, KHHO, Tacoma becomes “South Sound Talk 850, Tacoma’s Voice” and KFNQ re-brands from “1090 The Fan” to “1090 KJR, Seattle Sports Radio.”  KHHO’s talk lineup will feature: Glenn Beck in mornings, “Armstrong and Getty” in late mornings, “The Schnitt Show” in early afternoons, “America Now with Buck Sexton” in afternoon drive, and “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis” in evenings.  KFNQ’s new lineup is: Dan Patrick in mornings, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” in late mornings, Doug Gottlieb in early afternoons, “Reiter Than You” with Bill Reiter in afternoon drive, and CBS Sports Radio programming from 7:00 pm through the overnights.

TALKERS News Notes.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Tribune’s WGN, Chicago is making a few changes to its weekend staffing.  The station is adding Joe Brand as Saturday morning sports anchor during Lou Manfredini’s “Mr. Fixit Show” and the John Williams show.  Also, the station is putting Andy Masur in the sports anchor role during the Sunday morning Dean Richards show.  Feder also notes that Tribune is negotiating for the rights to Chicago White Sox baseball.  But, the price is going to have to be right as WGN let the Chicago Cubs go because the station could not justify the expense…..According to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis “KFAN” is adding a new, Friday evening program hosted by Carly Zucker – wife of Minnesota Wild player Justin Zucker – called “Overtime” that will delve into the personal and philanthropic lives of professional athletes.  Zucker makes regular appearances on the station’s morning program and previously hosted on the Minnesota Timberwolves Entertainment Network and reported for CBS Sports and FOX Sports North…..iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati re-ups with Learfield to continue serving as the flagship for Xavier University men’s basketball through the 2022-23 season.  As part of the deal, the weekly “Chris Mack” coach’s show will air on sister sports talk WCKY.  In the event of a conflict, games will air on sister news/talk WKRC.

New Budget Proposal, Pelosi Marathon Speech-Immigration Policy, Dow Activity/Bitcoin Value Swings, Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump Requests Military Parade, Trump Approval Ratings Rise, White House Aid Resigns, FBI Texts Issue, Tesla Shot into Space, Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/7).  The congressional budget proposal that would add $500 billion in spending; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks for eight hours in effort to force a vote on immigration policy affecting “dreamers”; this week’s Dow activity and the related fluctuating value of Bitcoin; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives; President Trump’s request for a military parade; President Trump’s approval ratings rise; White House aide Rob Porter resigns over allegations of spousal abuse; the release of the Nunes FBI surveillance memo and the suggestion that the FBI texting scandal involved Barack Obama; Elon Musk shoots a Tesla Roadster into space with successful launch of SpaceX rocket; the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

New Jersey Ex-Governor Chris Christie Chats on ABC Radio Podcast. New Jersey ex-Governor Chris Christie (left) is pictured here with “Powerful Politics” co-host Rick Klein (right) as the two discussed the Nunes memo, the Russia investigation, the Rob Porter resignation, and more on the weekly ABC Radio podcast.

Comrex Releases New Firmware for Opal Including Support for Mac OS and Safari.  Broadcasters who are also Mac users will rejoice as Comrex announces it has released a new firmware version for IP audio gateway Opal that includes native Safari support for macOS and iOS11.  Comrex says that once installed, Opal serves a web page to anyone who accesses it through an Internet browser on any device with a microphone and speaker.  This web page allows a user to click a button and broadcast from their computer or phone in high fidelity.  High quality return audio is also provided to the guest.  Prior to the release of Opal 1.1, Opal was only compatible with Chrome, Opera, Edge, and Firefox browsers.  Now, Opal users can connect using Safari, making it even easier to operate for Apple users.  Comrex technical director Tom Hartnett says, “Up until this point we could support iPhone users with an app.  But as simple as we made it, there was still a concern that even this step was too much for some guests.  Now users can connect in studio quality from their iPhone without installing anything at all.”  Opal users can download firmware v.1.1 for free from the Comrex website.

Beasley Philadelphia Honors Top Account Executives.  Pictured above are members of the sales staff of Beasley Media Group’s Philadelphia station group at the January 31 President’s Club Dinner. At this event, the company’s monthly Philadelphia President’s Club winners, many of whom were also annual budget achievers, were recognized by their sales managers for their outstanding performance and dedication. At the same time, account executive Steve Simons was named the 2017 Annual President’s Club Champion for his commitment to excellence and for exceeding his goals throughout the year.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Providence morning duo Paul Fuller and Al Matthews sign a new, three-year deal with iHeartMedia’s active rock WHJY.  According to WHJY, this new contract will take the two through their 30-year anniversary with the station.  Operations manager Rob Anthony says, “‘94HJY’ continues to dominate Southern New England and Paul and Al have always been a major factor in its success.”  Program director Doug Palmieri adds, “It’s a great day for ‘HJY.  I’ve known them since 1993 and to see them continue to love what they do and do it this well is truly inspirational.  We’re proud to bring three more years of live, local mornings to Southern New England.”…..The syndicated “2 Guys Named Chris” show – co-hosted by Chris Kelly and Chris Demm – is added to the program schedule at Alpha Media’s alternative rock WKZQ, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  The morning show is based at Dick Broadcasting’s WKRR, Greensboro-Winston Salem-High Point.