Industry Mourns Passing of Gary Fries. Former Radio Advertising Bureau president and CEO Gary Fries has died. Details of his passing are few but current RAB president and CEO Erica Farber issued the following statement about the man who led the organization from 1991 through 2006: “It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of our friend and colleague, Gary Fries. Gary served the RAB and industry for 14 years and during his tenure as radio’s leading advocate he provided tremendous leadership and guidance. Under his direction, the RAB increased its membership and introduced and advanced numerous sales training programs. He spearheaded radio to the forefront in media accountability, playing a dominant role in the development of RAEL working with advertisers, agencies and broadcasters to further the industry’s understanding of how radio advertising works. He also encouraged radio to embrace electronic data interchange, urging the industry to adopt electronic invoicing. Upon his departure from the RAB, he left with the title of president emeritus and continued to hold a seat on the RAB Board to his very last day. With a large physical presence and a strong personality, he always made his presence known. On a personal note, Gary and I partnered together on many initiatives and I always found a welcoming partner and friend. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this time.”
Senator Nelson Gets Behind FM Chip Activation. According to a story from WBBH-TV, Fort Myers, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) is serious about pushing the government to require that smart phone manufacturers activate the FM chips in their devices. The story says Nelson is citing the recent hurricanes that hit Florida and the public’s need to get emergency information in his efforts to see that action is taken. Though no legal avenue to force manufacturers to activate the chips has been explained, Nelson wants to get the FCC involved. Currently, Samsung, AT&T and T-mobile are agreeing to activate the chips but Apple has not been interested in conversations about the matter. See the WBBH-TV story here.
CMG Names Two to Market Manager Posts. This week, Cox Media Group named two radio management pros to new market manager positions. Cathy Gunther assumes the market vice president position for the converged Tulsa operations that includes “FOX 23 News,” “My41,” and “MeTV” television stations and radio stations news/talk KRMG “News102.3 AM740,” classic rock KJSR “103.3 The Eagle,” hot AC KRAV “Mix 96.5,” country KWEN “K95.5,” and Christian contemporary “Spirit 105.7.” She was previously VP/GM for the TV stations. In Jacksonville, Dan Lawrie takes on the market vice president position for the converged cluster that includes: “Action News Jax FOX30” and “CBS47” TV stations and radio stations news/talk WOKV “News 104.5,” urban contemporary W258CN “Hot 99.5,” adult contemporary WEZI “Easy 106.5,” CHR WAPE, classic hits WJGL :The Eagle 96.9,” hip hop W291CI/WJGL-HD2 “Power 106.1,” and alternative rock WXXJ “X102.9.” CMG EVP Bill Hendrich comments, “Both Dan and Cathy are successful media veterans and proven leaders on the Cox Media Group leadership team. We are fortunate to have great leadership within CMG to promote from within for these two new critical roles as we converge our Jacksonville and Tulsa media markets. They will work with our teams in these markets to take our award-winning brands to new heights.”
Ramsey Solutions Event Stops in Indy. Pictured above is Ramsey Solutions personality Chris Hogan on stage at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis last night (9/21). Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money event took place there as Pilgrim Communications news/talk WFDM “Freedom 95” and WXLW “Freedom 950” joined forces with Ramsey Solutions to promote it. Pilgrim Communications VP/GM Randy Tipmore says, “As usual, when Dave Ramsey or one of his team, such as Chris Hogan, comes to Indianapolis, excitement and enthusiasm goes up as do station sales. ‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ is the number one selling tool we have at ‘Freedom 95.’”
GOP Health Care Bill Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 18-22. The Cassidy-Graham bill that would replace the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia investigation, focusing on Paul Manafort’s role. Coming in at #3 was North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and the new sanctions placed on the hermit kingdom, followed by President Trump’s Tuesday speech before the UN General Assembly at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Michael La Crosse is appointed to the program director position for iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary KKCW “K103” and classic hits KLTH “106.7 The Eagle” in Portland. La Crosse, who begins his new duties on October 9, was most recently with the company in Los Angeles programming ACs KOST and KHHT. iHeartMedia SVP of programming Tim Herbster states, “Michael’s skillset is a natural match for taking the reins of KKCW and KLTH in Portland. His vast experience in programming for these formats and working with top talent is second to none.”…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch tips us that Federated Media classic hits outlet WFWI, Fort Wayne adds Cliff to the program schedule, hosting the afternoon drive show. He also serves the company as production director for the cluster…..Cumulus Media names broadcasting executive Cheryl Salomone to the vice president/market manager position at its for its four-station cluster in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Salomone was most recently serving at Pamal Broadcasting’s White Plains, New York offices as director of NTR and local sales manager for WXPK…..Emmis Communications’ WQHT, New York is bringing its “HOT 97 Summer Jam” back to Tokyo in November for the second year in-a-row. The company is working with Japan’s Avex Entertainment on the concert. Emmis president Patrick Walsh comments, “We’re thrilled to bring ‘HOT 97’ and ‘Summer Jam’ back to Tokyo as we take the next step in growing these venerable brands for the passionate and growing global hip hop audience. Our collaboration with our partners last year laid the foundation for an even larger event in November and further expansion in the coming years.”
The Occasional RadioInfo New Music Review. RadioInfo music editor Duane Doobie Jr. writes: The group Cold Engines brings together some of the finest musicians on Boston’s north shore. Together, they deftly weave soul, new wave, rock, and dance into an instantly identifiable sound that really drives triple-A playlists. Founder/frontman David Drouin paired with former band mate Aaron Zaroulis after ‘The Brew,’ a long-running band from the Boston area dissolved amicably. Both Drouin and Zaroulis are seasoned indie musicians with previous stages at popular venues of Boston including The House of Blues and The Paradise Rock Club. Additional hand-picked bandmates include Eric Reingold (Jamantics, Black Light Ruckus), a journeyman musician who brings his passion for the thundering bass, and Casey Herlihy (Slipkey, Flake), an award-winning musician whose insane chops on guitar seem to only be matched the spirit of his vocals, and Geoff Pilkington (Soul Rebel Project, Mighty Mystic, and Left Over Wine), brings his infectious grooves with each performance behind the drums and percussion. After exploding on the Northeast scene in 2015, and releasing three records inside of 18 months, the band garnered national attention, playing well over 150-plus shows a year supporting musicians such as Black Keys, Gregg Allman, Bruce Hornsby, Michael McDonald, moe., and The B-52s. Cold Engines dropped their most ambitions album, Physical Education, this summer setting the bar even higher. The title track has found a place in my ears and should be considered for a place in your station’s playlist. To listen, click here.
Receptionist/Office Manager Opportunity. WDST-FM, Woodstock, New York “Radio Woodstock” is looking for an outgoing, friendly and highly motivated receptionist/office manager who is well-organized with the ability to follow directives and complete projects. Candidates need to be able to multi-task, and assist various departments including the sales team, business manager and promotions manager. Customer service experience is a plus. Working knowledge of Microsoft Office is necessary. Mail cover letter and resume to: Cynthia V. Huggins, WDST-FM, PO Box 367, Woodstock, NY 12498 or email email@example.com.
CBS Radio Flips WNEW-AM, Washington to Government and Business News. The AM side of the CBS Radio Washington, DC all-news duo (licensed to Morningside, Maryland) will become “Gov.Biz Radio 1580 AM” on October 1 – putting it in a head-to-head battle with Hubbard’s WFED, Washington. The station will feature content from The Wall Street Journal Radio Network, Bloomberg Radio and The Hill. Local programming will include host Nancy Lyons on a morning show called “The Daily Briefing” and a midday program dubbed, “The Capitol Report.”
Pilgrim Communications Adds AM Signal to Indy News/Talk WFDM-FM. The new and improved 950 AM signal of WXLW will help fill in the coverage of Pilgrim’s news/talk station in the Indianapolis market. WFDM-FM (“Freedom 95.9”) is licensed to Franklin, Indiana about 25 miles south of downtown Indy. Vice president and general manager Randy Tipmore says, “Hamilton and Hendricks Counties are not only the fastest-growing counties in Indiana, but also the two most Republican counties in the entire state. We wanted to better serve those listeners who love our conservative news/talk format which features five of the top six radio talk show hosts in national syndication. The new 950 AM signal covers two-thirds of Indiana and allows us to expand our audience reach by a factor of 10.” Tipmore says they chose to debut the new signal on the anniversary of 9/11 “the day that reminds us of the preciousness of America’s freedom. It is also the anniversary of Sean Hannity‘s launch into national syndication. On September 12, we’re honored to have Dave Ramsey coming to the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre for his EntreLeadership, 1-day business training event. It’s the perfect way to celebrate our new simulcast.”
Cumulus Media to Restore Matching 401k for Employees. The radio operator announces to its 7,000-plus employees that, beginning in October, it will reinstate the matching 401k contribution that it ceased in early 2009 after the real estate crash of 2008 triggered the Great Recession. Entercom and Journal have also reinstated matching 401k programs for employees since suspending them in order to conserve on cash flow.
Two More Panels Set for the TALKERS Los Angeles New Media Seminar. As the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of TALKERS magazine’s New Media Seminar nears an early sellout, two more dynamic panel discussions have been added to the growing power-packed agenda. “The Modern Pioneers” will feature (in alphabetical order): Sam Hasson, president and founder of LATalkRadio.com; Mike Horn, CEO and founder of CRN Digital Talk; Tom Leykis, president and founder of The New Normal; and LA-based national broadcasting legend Shadoe Stevens of “MentalRadio” on SiriusXM and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” A talk personality panel titled “The Challenges of Hosting in 2012” will feature (in alphabetical order): Lars Larson of Compass Media Networks and KXL, Portland; Bill Handel of KFI, Los Angeles; Heidi Harris of KRLA, Los Angeles; Doug Stephan of the “Good Day” morning show; and Alan Stock of KDWN, Las Vegas; with more to be announced. The panel will be moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian. Highlights of the event will include the presentation of the TALKERS magazine’s annual “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient, Stephanie Miller of WYD Media and Current TV. Courtside Entertainment CEO and Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz will deliver the morning keynote address. Noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke will deliver a special presentation “Database your Tribe NOW!” Other highlights include “The State of Local News/Talk Radio,” with (in alphabetical order); Robin Bertolucci, PD of KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles; Skip Essick, PD of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Andy Ludlum, PD of KNX, Los Angeles; Garret Lewis, PD/morning host of KNST, Tucson; Dave Sniff, PD of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler, PD of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles. It will be moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS. The panel “Spoken Word Radio; The Big Picture” features (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, VP/director ,spoken word format, Salem Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media; Kraig Kitchin, CEO Sound Mind, LLC; and Mike McVay, senior VP/programming, Cumulus Media. The moderator will be Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS. Additional speakers include (in alphabetical order: Kevin LaRue, program director KSL, Salt Lake City; Don Martin, OM/GM, KLAC, Los Angeles and VP programming, Fox Sports Radio; Patt Morrison, host/commentator KPCC, Los Angeles/Southern California Public Radio; Ken Rutkowski, host of “Business Rock Stars,” KFWB, Los Angeles; and Eric Stanger, vice president of operations, the Sean Hannity Show, Premiere Networks. As those of you who have been following the development of this amazing conference know, the above is just the tip of the iceberg with a whole lot more scheduled. The complete up-to-the-minute agenda will be posted tomorrow at Talkers.com. In total, the seminar will feature more than 60 leading industry speakers who will examine the key issues facing the talk radio/media industries. It will take place in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club. To assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now. Registration is a recession-era low $99 which includes everything. Because it is open only to working media there will be no online registration – only by telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
Clear Channel Flips KVNS, Brownsville, Texas to Sports Talk. The station – at 1700 AM – switches from classic hits to sports talk on September 17 airing Fox Sports Radio Network’s lineup of “Fox Sports Daybreak,” Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, and “Fox Sports Tonight” plus will serve the market as a Dallas Cowboys play-by-play affiliate. Clear Channel market manager John Richards says, “There are too many sports fans in the valley to not yet have a sports/talk station in the market. Like advertisers, we know sports fans are passionate about their favorite sports, teams and hosts, so we are very passionate about partnering with Fox Sports Radio for this launch.”
Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel Star Sean Hannity Hits Silver Screen in “Atlas Shrugged: Part II.” When the second part of the Ayn Rand saga hits theaters in October, moviegoers will get a glimpse of Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity as he plays a cable news TV anchor in one scene. A still from the flick is seen here as Hannity (far right) sits on the fictitious cable news network set with actual Fox News Channel correspondents (from l-r) Bob Beckel, Juan Williams, and Tamara Holder. In addition to Hannity’s cameo appearance in the movie, his radio show will be offering exclusive content, movie gear and tickets leading up to the movie’s premiere in Washington, D.C. in October.
Michael Harrison to Speak at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will deliver an address provocatively titled, “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” at the forthcoming NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. According to Harrison, “The main challenge concerning FM and AM broadcasting at this perilous time is making the transition to the digital age without prematurely sacrificing the value of the stick which is still the economic foundation of this industry and main source of livelihood for its practitioners.” Harrison describes the danger facing terrestrial radio as a “five-headed dragon” of 1) smothering debt, 2) exotic media rivals, 3) blurry ratings methodology, 4) an unprecedented generational divide, and 5) 60 and 30 second commercial spots (which when put together in clusters become “PPM pits of purgatory”). Harrison says “radio must be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.” He states, “The cultural heritage of what we grew up thinking as ‘radio’ is deeply rooted in the traditions of over -the-air transmission and it is vitally important that in its rush to put everything it has into one internet basket, radio avoids losing its core identity, its soul, that separates it from being just another online music or informational utility.” Harrison advises that just as talk radio has claimed “ownership” of politics in America and sports radio has claimed “ownership” of the country’s sports juggernaut, “music radio must reclaim its lost ownership of the music culture.” He says the first step in accomplishing this is to bring back the colorful DJ as the backbone of the radio station’s presentation and the street savvy music director as its ear to what’s really going on out there. Radio must not only ‘relate’ to this element, it must aggressively lead it as well.” Harrison will be speaking at a special info-session sponsored by TALKERS magazine on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:15 am and 11:15 am. All Radio Show registrants are encouraged to attend.
WFNC, Fayetteville, North Carolina Debuts “Goldy and Jim” AM Show. North Carolina talk host Curtis Wright had been heard on the Cumulus Media station though he broadcast from the coastal market of Wilmington, North Carolina (his show was also heard there on Cumulus’ news/talk WAAV). Cumulus recently dropped Wright’s show for the more general interest “Good Morning Fayetteville with Goldy and Jim” (that’s Jim Gold and Jim Cooke). According to the Fayetteville Observer’s Andrew Barksdale and Paul Woolverton, Wright’s program was very political and, since it emanated from Wilmington, contained a lot of Wilmington political talk. WAAV, Wilmington has filled the slot Wright occupied with Tyler Cralle. As for Wright, he’s embarked on an online-only internet TV venture called “Curtis Wright on the Beat Virtual.”
NRG Media’s Omaha Sports Brand “The Zone” to Air UNO Contests. In a deal brokered by Nelligan Sports Marketing – the exclusive agent for University of Nebraska Omaha sports – NRG Media’s sports talk duo KOZN and KZOT, Omaha – “The Zone” and “The Zone 2” respectively – will air UNO basketball and hockey play-by-play for the next five seasons. Between the two sports, the stations will air more than 60 games during the 2012-2013 season. Zone general manager Andy Ruback states, “This is a tremendous partnership for our stations. Listeners are deeply rooted in the UNO sports tradition and both teams have a following on a regional level. The dual coverage on both Zone and Zone 2 will mean listeners can always stay in touch with the two premiere sports programs.”
WTOP, Washington Promotes David Dildine to Full-Time Traffic Team. David Dildine joined WTOP in 2010 during the launch of its in-house traffic center, taking on the weekend afternoon shifts. Now he becomes a member of the full-time staff where he’ll also work on traffic and weather related features. Interestingly, Dildine has another passion – storm chasing. Dildine is a seasoned storm chaser and weather research analyst having worked in Oklahoma and Texas where he chased severe storms and tornados for a living. WTOP states, “Dildine serves as a valuable resource for WTOP’s traffic, weather and news departments – recently analyzing Hurricane Isaac, flying with Hurricane Hunters into Hurricane Irene and producing popular traffic/news stories such as “DC’s Worst Traffic Merges.”
TuneIn to Be Included in 2013 Chevy Spark MyLink Dash. Digital audio content aggregator TuneIn strikes a deal with GM to use Livio Connect technology so its app can be integrated into the MyLink Radio dashboard of 2013 Chevrolet Spark models made globally. According to a release, Livio Connect is a middleware framework protocol that enables hardware devices and mobile apps, now including TuneIn, to connect to and interact with one another. GM uses Livio Connect technology, which allows owners of Chevy Sparks equipped with the MyLink Radio to enjoy 70,000 stations. Livio Connect technology bridges the app, featured on iPhone and Android mobile devices, with MyLink. While connected through Livio Connect, all of the TuneIn buttons and controls from the mobile device will be available on MyLink’s seven-inch touch screen, while the app on the phone itself will be disabled to help promote safer driving.
Schnitt Wows ‘Em in Memphis. Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is pictured here in the studio at affiliate WREC, Memphis hosting his program on 9/11. The previous evening, Schnitt hosted a sold-out “Right Night with Schnitt” where more than 200 WREC listeners paid to attend the event held at the popular Memphis eatery Owen Brennans.
9/11 Anniversary, Chicago Teachers Strike, Obama Convention Bounce, and ‘Fast and Furious’ Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/11). The anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; the political implications of the Chicago teachers strike; President Obama’s “convention bounce” in the campaign polls; and the inspector general’s report on the Justice Department’s ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-running sting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.