Gordon Smith to Leave NAB Leadership Role at Year’s End. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that president and CEO Gordon H. Smith will leave his position and transition to an advisory and advocacy role effective December 31, 2021. NAB’s chief operating officer Curtis LeGeyt will become the next president and CEO of NAB effective January 1, 2022. In a video message to members, Smith said, “It has been my great honor to give the lion’s roar for broadcasters – those who run into the storm, those who stand firm in chaos to hear the voice of the people, those who hold to account the powerful – and to stand with those of the fourth estate who have the hearts of public servants.” Smith joined NAB as president and CEO in November 2009. Previously, he served as a two-term U.S. senator from Oregon and later as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP. NAB joint board of directors chairman Jordan Wertlieb (president of Hearst Television) thanked Smith for his service to the industry. “Gordon is the ultimate statesman, bringing people together from both sides of the aisle to discuss ideas, find common ground and lead NAB to success on countless fronts. On behalf of the leadership of NAB, we extend our sincere gratitude for more than a decade of service to the broadcast industry. We look forward to continuing to work with Gordon and benefiting from his guidance for years to come. I am also delighted to share that NAB is in the enviable position of having cultivated top talent within the organization to provide for a smooth and stable transition in leadership. Curtis LeGeyt has the utmost confidence of the NAB leadership and staff to lead our association into the future.” LeGeyt has been with NAB for nearly a decade, during which time he led several highly successful legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of broadcasters, including the permanent reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR), inclusion of $1 billion in RAY BAUM’s Act to reimburse stations impacted by the spectrum auction repack, and successful passage of the Music Modernization Act. Prior to assuming his current role as chief operating officer, LeGeyt served for five years as NAB’s executive vice president, Government Relations. Before joining NAB, LeGeyt was senior counsel to then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (VT). He says, “I am honored and humbled to be named the next leader of this great organization. To represent the broadcast industry and the local stations that bind our communities together in a moment of such tremendous change across the media landscape is a privilege. Our stations’ role in communities across this country has never been more important, and I look forward to working every day to ensure their ability to grow and thrive.”
SCOTUS Declines to Hear Alex Jones Appeal. According to numerous media reports, including this one from NBC News, the U.S. Supreme Court will not hear the appeal requested by radio and internet personality Alex Jones of his sanction by a Connecticut court. Jones was sanctioned in 2019 for what he said on his radio show about an attorney for the relatives of the victims of the Newtown massacre and for violating numerous court orders to turn over documents to the families’ lawyers. Judge Barbara Bellis also barred Jones from filing a motion to dismiss the case and added she would order Jones to pay some of the families’ legal fees. Jones argued that his words were the exercising of his First Amendment rights. Jones is being sued by some of the families who lost loved ones in the shooting after Jones claimed that the shootings were a hoax and who consequently suffered harassment and threats from Jones’ fans. Jones earned the sanction after claiming on his radio show that an attorney for the families tried to plant child porn on his computer by sending it in encrypted email files. In Connecticut, that state’s Supreme Court ruled that sanctions were proper because Jones’ words were an “imminent and likely threat to the administration of justice.”
WHCU, Ithaca Adds SRN’s Dennis Prager to Early Afternoon Daypart. Ithaca, New York news/talk WHCU is adding Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager show to the lineup in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Joe Salzone is news director at the Saga Communications station, and he says, “We polled our listeners on a Rush Limbaugh replacement show over the past month and Prager was their top choice. While they know that Rush’s show was great, they also understand that radio is best as a live, topical medium and that running repeats of Rush segments was not what they ultimately wanted to listen to.” WHCU operations manager Chris Allinger adds, “Dennis will be a good fit for WHCU. He is intelligent, educated, and will bring those assets to the regional airwaves. Replacing a legend like Rush is not easy, but Dennis has been successfully doing his nationally syndicated weekday show in the exact same time period for over 20 years, so his track record is already proven.”
Todd Starnes Show Joins WMLB, Atlanta. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” is joining the program lineup on WMLB, Atlanta “Freedom 1690” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. The station is owned by Delmarva Educational Association but is being operated under an LMA by the Virginia-based John Fredericks Radio Network that owns conservative talk duo WJFN-AM/FM in the Richmond, Virginia market. John Fredericks says, “Now more than ever, as Leftist elites continue their unprecedented power grab and assault on Christians, Todd stands at the beachhead of defending people of faith everywhere.”
Nielsen: Consumer Sentiment About COVID-19 Recovery Improving. According to a new study by Nielsen that addresses American consumer sentiment about COVID-19 and media usage, people 18 and older are showing “increased confidence with respect to consumer behavior.” Nielsen says the survey looked at three segments reflecting attitudes about the pandemic. People who are “Ready to Go,” those who “Proceed with Caution,” and consumers who “Wait and See” when it comes to resuming normal behavior. The “Ready to Go” segment peaked at 61% in the March 2021 survey compared with 34% in April 2020. The more pessimistic group of Wait and See consumers dropped to 9% in March 2021 compared with 29% a year ago. Other key consumer sentiments include: 82% now say that stores that were closed have started to open again compared with only 40% in April of last year; 64% agree that it is safer than it was a month ago, compared to 38% in April 2020; and 72% agree that their town is starting to emerge from the crisis versus 44% a year ago. The study showed that heavy radio listeners are more likely to make big-ticket purchases within a year. Heavy radio listeners are 18% more likely to purchase or lease a new or used vehicle in the next year, and 64% are more likely to buy a house in the next twelve months, compared to total adults. Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly comments, “As Americans continue to navigate the pandemic, the future looks promising. Consumers are becoming more optimistic and resuming more normal activities, especially heavy radio listeners. AM/FM listeners are more likely to be out and about and spending more time in their vehicles.” You can see more in a Nielsen webinar here.
‘The Biz Tape’ Launches on Nashville Podcast Network. The Bobby Bones-led Nashville Podcast Network is launching a new program called “The Biztape” hosted by Colin McKay and Joe Wasilewski. “The Biztape,” formerly known as “That’s Showbiz Baby,” is a weekly podcast covering all things music business and media. Hosts McKay and Wasilewski are music industry professionals who provide insight into the business and technical side of these closed-curtain industries. McKay and Wasilewski say, “We searched for a long time to find a podcast that discussed the music business from the business side. We wanted more advice and more depth than just ‘work hard.’ We decided to fill the void by creating ‘The Biztape’ so we could get as nerdy as we always wanted to with it. Thankfully, with the help of Bobby Bones and the Nashville Podcast Network, we have the opportunity to continue that dream and we can’t wait to start creating with such a passionate and unique brand.”
iHeartMedia Debuts New Podcast ‘In Fact with Chelsea Clinton.’ A new iHeartRadio Original Podcast is being launched titled “In Fact with Chelsea Clinton” and hosted by the former First Daughter and public health expert. The podcast joins the iHeartPodcast Network that is already home to “You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton” and “Why Am I Telling You This? with Bill Clinton.” iHeartMedia says, “‘In Fact with Chelsea Clinton’ will pull back the curtain on some of the biggest public health challenges of our time. Each week on the podcast, Clinton — who holds a doctorate in international relations, a masters in public health, and teaches at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health — will sit down with experts, activists, and an assortment of surprising guests who share her passion for science, evidence and, of course, facts.” In the podcast’s debut episode, Clinton sits down with Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, who has been a vocal advocate for people with HIV/AIDS since publicly sharing his own HIV-positive status in 2019; activist Peter Staley; and Dr. Oni Blackstock, an HIV physician and health equity advocate, to explore the trajectory of HIV/AIDS from the early days of activism through modern day.”
New Kelly Osbourne and Jeff Beacher Show to Launch on PodcastOne. A new, eponymous podcast starring Kelly Osbourne and Jeff Beacher is debuting on PodcastOne in which Osbourne and Beacher will create a live theater experience and feature their dynamic and outrageous personalities and uncensored conversations with a diverse list of celebrity guests and famous friends. They will discuss everything from the latest current events to fitness, weight-loss, fame, stories of inspiration and beyond. Osbourne and Beacher will be joined by regular co-host Donny Davis, original star of “Beacher’s Madhouse” and one of the most well-known activists for little people. The podcast will record and film from the penthouse of the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – former home to “Beacher’s Madhouse” theatre. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Kelly and Jeff together are a showstopping dynamic. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome them to PodcastOne and know that their show will be destination programming for podcast audiences.”
‘104.5 The Team’ in Albany Names Dan Bahl Brand Manager. Two months after previous brand manager and on-air host Tom Gozlowski was let go from the station, Townsquare Media’s WTMM-FM, Albany “104.5 The Team” announces that Dan Bahl joins as the new brand manager and afternoon drive co-host. Bahl partners with incumbent air personality Jeff Levack on the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. Bahl has been operating his own sports website and podcast network. He says, “I am extremely honored and excited to join ‘104.5 The Team’ and the Townsquare Media family. I am really looking forward to having great debates and conversations with Jeff Levack and the ‘104.5 The Team’ listeners, as well as strengthening the brand on-air, online, and across social media.” Townsquare Media director of content Matty Jeff comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Dan to the Townsquare Media local team here in Albany. Dan’s leadership, acumen across all platforms, and passion for sports will broaden the reach of the great local on-air and digital content we create daily on ‘104.5 The Team.’”
COVID-19, Voting Legislation/McConnell Threat, Matt Gaetz Investigation, Biden Infrastructure Plan, Border Crisis, Derek Chauvin Trial, and China Military Exercises Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/6). The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; Georgia’s vote restriction law, the Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill, and Mitch McConnell’s threats to businesses that protest Georgia’s law; allegations U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz had relationships with underage girls; the battle in Washington over President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan; the large number of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; and China’s military exercises near Taiwan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Possible Deal Brewing in St. Louis Involving KTRS and KFNS. As reported in the St. Louis Post- Dispatch, (mostly) sports talk KFNS owner Randy Markel is ready to sell KFNS and he’s in talks with crosstown news/talk KTRS owner CH Holdings. Dan Caesar’s piece reports that this is in the early stages as the full CH Holdings board has not yet been presented with details of a deal and Markel says he’s had talks with others about acquiring KFNS. Markel told the paper he’s spent about $3 million to resuscitate KFNS after buying it out of bankruptcy. An interesting twist to the story is that a number of former KTRS staffers – including former afternoon personality Frank O. Pinion – now work at KFNS and a reunion of them with KTRS management might be less than smooth. For now though, KFNS is on the block and only time will tell if there’s a serious buyer for the signal.
Laura Ingraham in Legal Battle Over Fired Former Assistant. The suit against Courtside Entertainment nationally syndicated radio host and FOX News Channel personality Laura Ingraham was filed in Washington, DC Superior Court by former Ingraham assistant Karolina Wilson and claims that Ingraham and her company violated anti-discrimination laws and DC’s Family and Medical Leave Act. The suit alleges that Wilson worked for Ingraham with “proficiency” for 16 months prior to becoming pregnant. After notifying Ingraham over her condition, Wilson says Ingraham’s attitude toward her changed with Ingraham becoming “distant and angry with her work performance.” The two sides also allegedly argued over proper maternity leave time after Wilson’s child was born. Upon returning to work, Wilson was fired from her position. In a response to the Washington Post, about the suit, Ingraham’s attorney denies the allegations and in response to the suit, rejects Wilson’s contention that her work prior to becoming pregnant was “extremely efficient.” The two sides are expected in court for a hearing on May 11.
Daria Dolan Expresses Gratitude and Optimism to the Radio Industry. As reported in TALKERS (4/18), pioneering financial talk show host Ken Dolan of the legendary husband-wife team “The Dolans” passed away last Tuesday (4/17) after a long battle with lymphoma. Readers wanting to reach out to his media partner and wife of 46 years, Daria Dolan, were advised that they could do so through longtime family friend Michael Harrison via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. According to Harrison, “The huge amount of heartfelt emails and phone calls from all ends of the industry expressing love and support for Daria has been truly wonderful. However, I’m not at all surprised by the stunning outpouring of love and emotion. The Dolans are a truly special part of radio’s golden history.” Daria Dolan has written the following note of gratitude to the radio industry: When Michael Harrison asked to do a tribute to Ken I was touched and thrilled. Ken Dolan lived and breathed radio and was so good at it. I was just fortunate to be along for the ride. I often characterized myself as the guy at the end of the parade with the can, shovel and broom. But the response of so many of you surpasses touched and thrilled. Too many people these days say radio is dead or simply on its last legs. Nothing could be further from the truth. From the on-air personalities to the support staff in the booths and the copy editors and traffic managers in the ad departments, your overwhelming reaching out to me confirms my belief that no industry with heart that beats as strongly as I have seen and heard in emails and phone calls could possibly be dying. Your heartfelt responses show me an industry that has plenty of life left. Radio may certainly be evolving but it is NOT dying. So please keep the wonderful spark you all have alive and continue to give it your all every day. It’s true that part of my heart has gone to another place, but the other piece is here with all of you in solidarity. It will remain so until I join Ken again. Thank you so much for caring about my Ken and saving some of the concern for me as well.
– Daria Dolan
McMahon: Why Radio (and TV) Newscasts Sound the Same. Consultant Bill McMahon writes today about the “sameness” of radio (and television) news reporting. Using the case of the media coverage of the execution of convicted murderer Cal Brown as his case study, McMahon illustrates how numerous news outlets can send crews to the same news event and the resulting reporting is pretty much the same. Read McMahon’s piece here.
TALKERS News Notes. At Saga Communications’ Ithaca, New York news/talk WHCU, the station goes from a local morning show to the Compass Media-syndicated “This Morning with Gordon Deal” program. Lee Rayburn has been the morning drive host at the station for the past six years and announced his departure via Facebook in which he says that the morning show position at the station has been eliminated…..New England Sports Network studio host and anchor Marc James is doing some fill-in work at Entercom’s sports talker WEEI-FM, Boston. James sat in over the weekend with Trenni Kusnierek and John Tomase on the “Trenni & Tomase” show. Tomorrow (4/24), he’ll be a cast member on the afternoon drive on the “Dale & Keefe” show with Dale Arnold and Rich Keefe. James previously hosted on sports talk outlets WFNC, Charlotte and WZGC-FM, Atlanta…..Monticello Media names Ralph Salierno vice president and general manager of the company’s Charlottesville, Virginia cluster that includes news/talk WCHV and four music-formatted stations. Salierno was most recently serving with Alpha Media as market manager for the company’s Fredericksburg, Virginia cluster…..Yesterday (4/22) was the debut of the venerable “CBS Sunday Morning” television program on the radio. CBS News Radio began making the audio of the 9:00 am ET television news magazine available to radio affiliates. CBS News Radio says that in addition to the Jane Pauley-hosted show being available to radio stations, it is also being made available as a podcast at Radio.com…..The FOX Sports Radio lineup is getting cleared in the Chicago market as DuPage Radio’s suburban simulcast of WCKG-AM, Elmhurst and translator W272DQ at 102.3 FM turn into a sports talker featuring Clay Travis, Dan Patrick, Colin Cowherd, and Rich Eisen. The station plans to add a local afternoon show to the station soon.
Trump -Russia Investigation, Iran Nuclear Deal, North Korea Nuclear Program, Waffle House Shooter, Bloomberg Climate Accord Payment, Barbara Bush Tribute, Macron’s U.S. Visit, Romney Senate Bid, MLB and NBA Playoffs Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents, the Trump administration’s threat to leave the Iran nuclear deal; North Korea’s overtures to the U.S. and whether it really would end its nuclear weapons program; a man shoots four dead at a Nashville Waffle House; UN special envoy for climate change Michael Bloomberg pledges to write a $4.5 million check to cover the U.S.’s financial commitment to the Paris climate accord; former presidents and first ladies pay tribute to the late Barbara Bush; French president Emanuel Macron’s impending visit to the U.S.; Mitt Romney to run in Republican primary for Utah senate seat; and Major League Baseball and NBA playoffs action among top news/talk stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Travis Daily is named operations manager and program director for Beasley Media Group’s country WQYK, Tampa. Daily was most recently with iHeartMedia as SVP of programming for the company’s Tampa and Sarasota stations. Speaking about his new gig, Daily says, “I could not be more thrilled to be joining what I feel is the most exciting media company in America. From the moment I started talking to George Toulas, Justin Chase, DJ Stout and Brian Beasley, I knew this was the team I had to be on. I am truly humbled to have the opportunity to be part of such an awesome group in Tampa.”…..The Envision Networks-syndicated “Ashley & Brad” program adds two more affiliate stations to it roster as WAFN-FM, Huntsville “FUN 92.7” and WNXT-FM, Portsmouth, Ohio “MIX 99.3” add the show to their programming lineups…..Buffalo adult standards WECK is adding another FM signal to its simulcast. It’s new FM translator at 100.5 joins WECK-AM’s 1230 AM and fellow translator W275BB at 102.9 FM. Station owner Buddy Shula says the additional translator will give improved FM coverage for Buffalo and its northern suburbs. Shula says, “The response to our full-service, local personality-based adult standards format has been incredible. Adding FM coverage for rapidly growing parts of our metro is important to WECK’s overall growth strategy – and to the service to our communities.”…..Beasley Media Group’s rock WMMR, Philadelphia is celebrating its 50th anniversary of broadcasting in Philadelphia on Sunday (4/29). During this week’s build-up to Sunday’s anniversary, legendary host Pierre Robert– a fixture at the station for all but 13 of its 50 years – will host a daily, 90-minute feature focusing on the five decades of music and Philadelphia events, beginning each day at 12:00 noon. On Saturday (4/28), the station will play the top 50 live performances culled from the “MMaRchives,” featuring hundreds of live performances recorded at the WMMR studios, as well as local venues and the venerable Sigma Sound recording Studio…..iHeartMedia is kicking off the summer with the “2018 iHeartRadio Wango Tango By AT&T” hosted by Ryan Seacrest and featuring performances from today’s hottest artists including: Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes, Meghan Trainor, 5 Seconds of Summer, NF, Miguel, Janelle Monáe and Marshmello with a special guest performance by Logic, with more to be announced. The “iHeartRadio Wango Tango By AT&T” will be the first concert held at the all-new Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 2…..Los Angeles alternative rock outlet KROQ announces the lineup for this year’s “26th Annual KROQ Weenie Roast.” Acts will include: Blink – 182, Panic! At The Disco, Rise Against, Dirty Heads, Mike Shinoda, Cold War Kids, The War On Drugs, Awolnation, Bishop Briggs, Alice Merton, Manchester Orchestra, James Bay, Nothing But Thieves, and Mt. Joy. The show takes place at the Stub Hub Center on Saturday, May 12.