KTRH, Houston’s Michael Berry Reports In; ‘Proud of Station’s Efforts.’ The radio stations that are on the air in Houston are all working around the clock to get information out to listeners, but iHeartMedia’s KTRH – the well-recognized news/talker in the market – is “the station the nation is turning to,” according to KTRH talk show host Michael Berry. He tells TALKERS magazine his personal story as a resident of the area with a family whose job is to be at the station keeping the public informed. “We’re going through what our listeners are suffering also. I put my family up at the Omni Hotel. Then the Omni had to be evacuated. I was visiting our affiliate in Louisiana doing a fundraiser there. I couldn’t get back into the city due to road closures. My wife and kids had to be rescued by boat and waded in chest deep water. This is my whole world in the picture you see here – that’s my wife and my two kids on a boat driven by a good Samaritan who pulled them from the hotel and deposited them on the freeway. From there a volunteer put them in the back of a truck and drove them to high ground. Getting to be on the radio these last few days and help other people is actually cathartic. My own home flooded on the first floor and it took until today (8/28) to be able to get to see it. But despite all of this we are seeing the best of our people as we come together as a community.”
Broadcasters in Gear Raising Funds for Harvey Victims. Just a sample of the Harvey relief efforts underway at radio stations and radio groups across the country include the work of E.W. Scripps’ Milwaukee duo news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI (and sister television station WTMJ-TV) leading a fundraiser. Yesterday afternoon (8/28), the stations hosted a fundraising phone bank to collect donations for the American Red Cross. Vice president and GM for the Milwaukee stations, Tom Langmyer, states, “People in Wisconsin are looking for a way that they can help the victims of the Hurricane. Using the power of local media, we can combine our efforts to enable giving on a large scale and truly make a difference to support the American Red Cross.” Urban One’s Reach Media has been using its radio talent to call attention to the needs of Harvey victims. Nationally syndicated personalities including Tom Joyner, Rickey Smiley, Willie Moore Jr., Darlene McCoy, Erica Campbell, Russ Parr and Ed Lover have been interviewing people affected, news people covering the storm, and elected officials. The “Tom Joyner Morning Show” launched the BlackAmericaWeb.com Relief Fund to provide financial support to families impacted by the storm Hurricane Harvey.
WDAE, Tampa Returns to Local Morning Show. Tampa sports talk outlet WDAE returns to live and local mornings, dropping ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” show and sliding late morning duo Ronnie “Night Train” Lane and Tom “TKras” Krasniqi into the daypart. The iHeartMedia station fills the late morning slot with FOX Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick. It was just last October that the station in what was seen as a budgetary decision, let Tampa Bay Times sportswriters Rick Stroud and Tom Jones go and installed the “Mike & Mike” program.
Boston’s Emerson College the Site of Next Summer’s Radio Talent Institute. Next summer, Beasley Media Group is partnering with Xperi and Marketron Interactive and the National Radio Talent System to present the 10-day Beasley Radio Talent Institute program at Emerson College in Boston. The immersion program will bring broadcasting students together with more than 30 radio professionals who teach classes based on their individual areas of expertise. Session topics will range from on-air, production, news, sports, interactive to social media, engineering, promotions and sales, and includes the Radio Advertising Bureau’s “Radio Marketing Professional” certification course. WERS, Boston general manager and Emerson adjunct professor Jack Casey states, “The Radio Talent Institute builds upon the quality education students are already receiving at their academic institutions and through working at their college radio stations. We are grateful to Beasley Media Group for providing this incredible opportunity, along with other forward-thinking companies such as Xperi and Marketron Interactive.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime Chicago sports talk personality Mike North has announced he’s retiring from sports talk radio. North is famous for having been a hot dog stand owner who morphed into one of the first personalities on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WSCR. He exited “The Score” in 2008 and for a time co-hosted “FOX Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman on the FOX Sports Radio Network. Feder reports that North told WTTW-TV, Chicago’s Phil Ponce, “I’m heading in another direction because I think the timing is right. I’m not leaving broadcasting. I’m leaving sports radio.” Read Feder’s column here…..Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch is reporting that ESPN Radio personality Ryen Russillo is serving a two-week suspension after an incident at a Wyoming condominium in which a drunk Russillo entered the unit of another couple and basically passed out on a bed in a state of partial undress. He was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass and ESPN reportedly says he’ll return to the air on September 5…..CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles is prepping for the NFL season with its daily “Pro Football Insiders Report” that will feature five pro football experts giving their reports four times per day. Former Chargers great Dan Fouts’ reports air on Mondays, FOX broadcaster Chris Myers airs on Tuesday, former Rams star Jackie Slater’s reports air on Wednesday, broadcast pro Andrew Siciliano’s reports air on Thursdays, and Rams great Vince Ferragamo’s reports air on Fridays…..Ed Esposito is retiring from Rubber City Radio where he’s been serving as vice president/information media. Esposito handled news duties on Jeff Kinzbach’s morning program on rock WONE, Akron in addition to his responsibilities managing the news and public affairs on sister stations country WQMX, and news/talk WAKR. Esposito is also a former chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association…..SiriusXM and ESPN announce their deal to serve college sports fans via ESPNU Radio on SiriusXM. The channel launches on Thursday (8/31)…..FOX Sports Radio’s NFL insider Jay Glazer is hosting a special three-hour football season preview tomorrow (8/30) during the Doug Gottlieb show. Glazer will be joined by FOX Sports Radio host Dan Beyer. Glazer recently renewed his multi-year deal with FSR to serve as its NFL insider and he’ll appear regularly across the network’s programs…..TuneIn is offering free coverage of live play-by-play of college football all season long. TuneIn features the home and away calls of every game for more than 140 schools. This programming comes via partnerships with ESPN, FOX Sports, IMG College, JMI Sports, Learfield, and Outfront…..AdLarge Media brings Gina Suarez aboard as director of affiliate marketing and promotes Frank DeSantis to SVP of business development…..iHeartMedia news/talk KALZ, “PowerTalk 96.7 and AM1400” is serving as the official Los Angeles Chargers affiliate for Fresno and Visalia. “PowerTalk” program director Jay Bohannon states, “We’re always looking for ways for ‘Powertalk 96.7’ to diversify our programming, particularly on a stage as large as the NFL. It’s a dawn of a new era for the Chargers franchise and their fans and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”
WPHT’s Chris Stigall Hosts Sharyl Attkisson at Live Event. Pictured above are WPHT, Philadelphia morning personality Chris Stigall (right) speaking with Emmy award-winning journalist and author Sharyl Attkisson (left) before a sold-out audience at the Colonial Theatre. Stigall tells TALKERS the conversation was “a blunt assessment of journalism today.” Attkisson greeted fans and signed copied of her book, The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think and How You Vote (Harper 2017).
Harvey Hammers Houston, Federal Flood Insurance Troubles, Trump’s Pardon of Joe Arpaio, North Korea’s Nuclear Threats, Trump-Russia Investigation, ‘Game of Thrones’ Finale, Mayweather-McGregor Aftermath, MLB Action, and NFL Pre-Season Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday. Houston’s challenge dealing with the effects of Harvey and the threat of more rain; the shaky state of the federal flood insurance program; reactions to President Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio; North Korea’s nuclear threats and the launch of a missile over Japan; the investigation into possible connections between Trump operatives and Russia including the recent allegations Trump was looking into building a Trump Tower in Moscow; the season finale of “Game of Thrones”; the aftermath of the Floyd Mayweather–Conor McGregor fight; Major League Baseball action; and NFL pre-season activity were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. WAXQ, New York morning duo Jim Kerr and Shelli Sonstein are celebrating 40 years together on the New York City airwaves. Kerr’s career began 50 years ago at the tender age of 21 hosting mornings on WPLJ. On August 29, 1977, Sonstein became Kerr’s morning drive partner. As Kerr puts it, one morning Sonstein surprised him by showing up at the WPLJ studios. “I saw this woman and I didn’t know what she was doing there. No one told me who she was and why she was there!” Sonstein says, “When people ask Jim and me when we plan to retire, we both respond the same way, ‘why would we ever want to stop doing what we love?’”…..Changes take place at Meruelo Media’s Los Angeles operations as rhythmic AC KDAY/KDEY program director Adrian Scott resigns and hip hop KPWR PD Jimmy Steal becomes vice president of programming for KDAY/KDEY…..Purchased from the SLC Divestiture Trust for $1.1 million by Aerostar Communications is former Simmons Media Group signal KEGH-FM, Salt Lake City. With that station come four booster signals: KEGH-FM1, Ogden; KEGH-FM2, Bountiful; KEGH-FM3, Salt Lake City; and KEGH-FM4, Provo. Aerostar is operating KEGH-FM under an LMA airing a Spanish music format…..SiriusXM is debuting a new, monthly show called “Off the Cuff,” hosted by Keith Richards’ daughter Theodora Richards. The program will feature Richards chatting with musical guests and friends such as Sean Lennon, The Rolling Stones back-up singer Lisa Fischer and musician Peter Wolf, as they “discuss their love of music, latest obsessions and biggest musical influences.” She’ll play music from a diverse range of artists such as Howlin’ Wolf, Luther Vandross, Chuck Berry and The Rolling Stones.
Dennis Prager Guests on This Week’s Harrison Podcast. Longtime Salem Radio Network radio host Dennis Prager joins Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on the PodcastOne award-winning series, “Up Close and Far Out.” The two seasoned broadcasters get into an in-depth discussion about “snowflakes” and the erosion of free speech on college and university campuses across the nation. The conversation focuses on a forthcoming documentary examining the phenomenon. The film, No Safe Spaces, currently in production and scheduled for release in 2018, features the unlikely pairing of religious scholar and conservative pundit Prager with satirist, podcaster and self-proclaimed atheist Adam Carolla. The unlikely duo has joined forces in the crowd-funded project based on their common concerns about the state of free speech on university campuses in America today. Harrison and Prager also discuss the state of religion, media, politics and raising children in today’s increasingly frenzied culture. To listen to the entire podcast, 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.
TALKERS News Notes. TALKERS magazine hears that WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence program director Tony Mascaro has exited the station, though there’s been no public explanation by Mascaro or station management. It’s unclear what WPRO’s plans are for replacing Mascaro…..Today and tomorrow (6/27-28), KHOW, Denver morning drive personality Ross Kaminsky is sitting in for Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo on his WOAI, San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated program…..In Tampa, John Mamola tweets that he’s been promoted from his APD/executive producer/online content coordinator role at iHeartMedia’s sports talk WDAE to program director. He’s been with the station for the past six years. The Chicago native previously served with CBS RADIO in the Windy City…..ABC Radio is debuting a new podcast titled “Motivated” hosted by ABC News Correspondent Mara Schiavocampo. The podcast addresses all things health, wellness, nutrition and spirituality. ABC Radio says, “After struggling with her weight her entire life, Schiavocampo finally discovered the keys to living a healthier, happier life and losing 90 pounds along the way. She shares her journey in her bestselling weight loss memoir, Thinspired: How I Lost 90 Pounds: My Plan for Lasting Weight Loss & Self-Acceptance.
Will WFAN (and Sports Talk) Exist 30 Years from Now? Those are the questions asked by Newsday columnist Neil Best, who reflects on the state of sports talk radio in New York as CBS RADIO’s WFAN celebrates its 30th anniversary as a sports talk station. Original WFAN staffer Suzyn Waldman says that while it’s true that social media has changed the game, two people talking is what makes sports talk radio. “It’s a person, and you can hear the feelings. And I think if you’re a host, this never goes away: If you’re on the radio, fans know immediately whether you’re full of baloney or you’re not. They can love you, they can hate you, but they know whether you’re honest. You can’t hide.” Read Best’s Newsday piece here.
TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Begin Posting Today (6/27). The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and, beginning today (6/27), its sessions will be posted to Talkers.com starting with the “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor. Tomorrow (6/28), the special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke will be posted. On Thursday (6/29) the “Fireside Chat” between Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity will be posted. Closing out the week on Friday (6/30) the “Fireside Chat” between Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa will be posted. Within the following weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year. To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.
WILK-AM/FM, Wilkes-Barre’s L.A. Tarone Dies at 58. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton talk show host Louis Alfred Tarone, a.k.a. L.A. Tarone, died at age 58 on Sunday (6/25) after a 19-month battle with lung cancer. Tarone hosted the afternoon drive show on the Entercom news/talk station during the last two years. He’d also worked during his career as a reporter for the Hazleton Standard-Speaker.
SCOTUS Travel Ban Ruling, GOP Health Care Plan, CNN Journos Resign After Retracted Story, U.S. Warns Syria on Chemical Attack, Changes at Pandora, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26). The Supreme Court’s ruling allowing a portion of President Donald Trump’s travel ban from seven predominantly Muslim nations to take effect; analysis of the GOP’s proposed overhaul of the Affordable Care Act; the resignation of three CNN journalists after the news organization retracts a Trump official-Russia connection story; the White House warns Syria’s Bashar al Assad on threats of new chemical weapons attack; the recent investment in Pandora by SiriusXM and Pandora CEO Tim Westergren’s decision to step down from that post; 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.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Seattle rhythmic oldies outlet KHTP “HOT 103.7” announces the addition of Seattle radio pro Eric Power as program director and afternoon drive personality plus the addition of award-winning rap artist Anthony Ray, a.k.a. Sir Mix-A-Lot to serve as morning drive personality. Both start July 5. Entercom Seattle VP of programming and operations Dave Richards comments, “We’re so excited to have Eric Powers on board to lead ‘HOT 103.7.’ He is the guy who made all the songs ‘HOT 103.7’ now play, hits in the first place. With two local Seattle icons, Sir Mix-A-Lot in mornings and Powers in afternoons, ‘HOT 103.7’ is ready to launch into the next stratosphere.”…..Two promotions take place at Cumulus Media’s hot AC WRQX, Washington, DC. First, midday personality and music director Ashley Nickels adds assistant program director duties, and the station ups part-timer Seth King to permanent evening host, handling the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daypart. Nickels has been with the station since she joined from KDND, Sacramento in 2014. King became a WRQX personality after working on air at CHR WXXX, Burlington, Vermont…..Midday air personality Sunni moves to mornings at CBS RADIO’s hip hop WPGC, Washington. She becomes part of the “Joe Clair Morning Show” after six years with the station. CBS Washington VP of programming Steve Davis states, “Sunni is the perfect fit for the ‘Joe Clair Morning Show’ and we are incredibly fortunate she wanted to get up early and make the transition to mornings…..The Cromwell Group names Tara Nickerson general manager for its eight-station Decatur, Illinois cluster. Nickerson rises from the programming and operations ranks with Cromwell to lead the cluster, taking over for Chris Bullock…..Tim Westergren officially exits the CEO role at Pandora. The company announces that chief financial officer Naveen Chopra will serve as interim CEO…..Alpha Media country WFLS, Fredericksburg, Virginia is honored with three Reader’s Choice awards from the local Discover magazine. The station took home 1st Place awards for Favorite Radio Station, Favorite Local Radio Personality – Steve Waters and Jessica Cash, and Favorite Weather and Traffic on Radio.
MIW and Nielsen Music Unveil Mentoring Program. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group executive committee and Nielsen Music announce a collaborative effort to open doors for women interested in management positions in music broadcast programming across the country. The MIW-Nielsen Music Mentoring Program matches a female programming candidate with key mentors from both the MIW Radio Group and Nielsen Music to sharpen her programming and professional skills and further her career in music programming. MIW Group executive committee member and Presslaff Interactive Revenue president Ruth Presslaff says, “Improving the number of women in programming has been on our radar for several years. With the generous support of Nielsen Music, the MIW Group is now keenly focused on the challenge of increasing the percentage of growth in this vitally important sector. We are so appreciative of Nielsen Music’s backing in this endeavor.”