Milwaukee’s ‘97.3 The Game’ Brings Steve Czaban in for AM Drive. Sports talk radio personality Steve Czaban is the new morning drive host on iHeartMedia’s WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “97.3 The Game, Milwaukee’s Sports Talk That Rocks.” “The Steve Czaban Show” debuts on Monday (5/6) and will air from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. With the arrival of Czaban, the current “Drew & KB” program moves to afternoon drive. Czaban, who also hosts afternoon drive at Radio One’s WTEM, Washington, DC, most recently was a cast member at crosstown rock WHQG’s “Bob & Brian” show. He’s also served with Sporting News, ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio, Yahoo Sports Radio, and SB Nation Radio. He comments, “The chance for me to do more in Milwaukee was too good to pass up. This is exactly the style and attitude of sports radio that I love to do. Nobody hustles in front of a winning parade better than me! I plan to celebrate the highs, curse the lows, and laugh at all the absurdity in between – just like I’ve always done. The program lineup at ‘The Game’ is amazing and I’m humbled to be a part of it.”
WICC-AM, Bridgeport Announces New Local Shows. Yesterday, TALKERS magazine reported the departure of programmer Mike Bellamy from WICC-AM, Bridgeport, Connecticut as well as the pairing of Melissa Sheketoff with incumbent morning personality Tony Reno for the new morning show. Connoisseur Media, now operating the station under an LMA as it waits to close on the swap with Cumulus Media, also announces it’s going local in afternoons with well-known market personality Paul Pacelli hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. Joining Pacelli to produce the show and provide local sports content is former Waterbury Republican and CT Post writer Aaron Johnson. Pacelli states, “I’m thrilled and honored to be on board at a heritage powerhouse like WICC, a station synonymous with greater Bridgeport and Southwestern Connecticut. My goal is to present a passionate, entertaining, and vital platform for local newsmakers, personalities, and residents.” Station OM Keith Dakin adds, “For a station like WICC to have continued success on the AM dial it needs to fully embrace the community. We want to make this station come alive on all levels from podcasting to social to an on-air product that the Bridgeport community can be proud to call their own.”
New Programming Announced for Entercom’s RADIO.COM Sports. Two new, original shows are debuting on Entercom’s RADIO.COM Sports. Both “Big Time Basketball” and “Big Time Baseball” are twice-weekly shows that “feature expert analysis from RADIO.COM Sports insiders providing the most up-to-date news, commentary and happenings.” “Big Time Basketball” is hosted by former NBA player, coach, and Celtics television commentator Brian Scalabrine and KGMZ-FM, San Francisco personality Matt Steinmetz. “Big Time Baseball” is hosted by Jon Heyman, veteran play-by-play voice Josh Lewin, and a rotation of guest hosts, including Joe Girardi, Bob Nightengale, and others to be announced. RADIO.COM Sports is also adding new football insiders, including Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger, and Philadelphia Eagles insider Eliot Shorr-Parks. Shorr-Parks and Baldinger will host a weekly football digital show on May 14. Entercom president of sports Mike Dee comments, “With the addition of these three new shows, RADIO.COM Sports continues to expand our digital content offering for fans across the country. We look forward to continuing to build the RADIO.COM Sports digital platform with more native content in the weeks and months ahead.”
Michael Harrison and TALKERS Debut New Weekend Radio Show on iHeart’s Washington’s WONK-FM. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison has agreed to host a one-hour, weekend magazine-style program on the recently launched iHeartMedia project WONK-FM, Washington, DC “Washington’s WONK-FM,” beginning tomorrow (5/4). The program titled, “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation,” features interviews and commentary by the heritage broadcaster that provide a politically even-handed and balanced analysis of the most prevalent points of view being discussed each week in talk media per the research gathered by TALKERS. Interviews are conducted with newsmakers, pundits and, of course, talk show hosts from around the country and subject matter reflects the information published each week on the TALKERS top topics charts. Harrison, who was a major market and nationally syndicated air personality in both music and talk formats during the pioneering days of album rock and then the modern talk era, has been back on the air hosting shows for the past two years as a fill-in on such stations as WRKO, Boston; WMAL, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz; and several others, in addition to anchoring the weekend syndicated ensemble program, “A Touch of Grey: The Talk Show for Grownups” (hosted by Carole Marks). Harrison says, “It all began when I started doing the weekly podcast, ‘The Michael Harrison Interview,’ with PodcastOne four years ago. People in the business would say things like, ‘I didn’t know you could actually do radio like that!’ My juices began flowing again and not only have I been enjoying the experience as if I were 19 years old breaking into radio again, but the first-hand knowledge I have gained working in the trenches of the modern industry has significantly enhanced my understanding of how it actually operates in the real world and has helped me do my job at TALKERS with an even keener perspective.” Harrison adds, “I love being part of this new WONK-FM experiment because it encourages me to follow my natural inclination to remain ideologically objective and independent and avoid the hyper-partisanship that comes with seeking victory at the expense of truth whereby you simply target audiences to affirm their preconceived notions. I like what iHeartMedia is doing with this station and I love having the opportunity to collaborate with the station’s PD Michael Czarnecki (who is also PD of the iHeart Podcast Channel) – a young up-and-coming programming star with whom I happily crossed paths at WRKO over the past couple of years.” “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation” airs on WONK-FM Saturday mornings at 9:00 am ET. It is a production of Goodphone Communications in association with TALKERS magazine.
Griffin Communications Appoints Randy Smith Director of Radio Sales. Oklahoma media firm Griffin Communications announces Randy Smith joins the company as director of radio sales. Griffin owned just television stations and digital platforms in Oklahoma City and Tulsa prior to acquiring five Tulsa radio stations – including news/talk KFAQ – from Scripps last summer for $12.5 million. Griffin director of radio operations and programming Steve Hunter says, “Randy brings years of experience, an abundance of local connections, and a can-do spirit to our already winning team. He is a clear standout in motivating people to maximize their potential and bottom-line impact, a skill that will prove invaluable as he joins our Griffin family.” Prior to joining Griffin, Smith served as director of sales-radio for Cox Media Group.
Valentine Podcast Sponsors NASCAR Driver. The picture above shows the logo of talk radio host Phil Valentine’s podcast, “PodGOATs,” on the hood of NASCAR driver Tommy Joe Martins’ Toyota Supra. “PodGOATs” is co-hosted by Valentine and his son, Campbell. Valentine says they talk about everything from the history of alcohol to dating to advertising to the history of the mob – a unique blend of a wide array of topics from two different perspectives, from a Baby Boomer and a Millennial. Valentine explains the sponsorship, “I know this may sound rather random, but Diamond Gusset Jeans – one of our main sponsors – approached us with this opportunity and it was just too good to turn down. Somebody has to be a pioneer in podcast sponsorships in this arena. It’s fertile ground.” The PodGOATs will be in the pit tomorrow (5/4) in Dover, Delaware for the Allied Steel Buildings 200. Valentine’s radio talk show is heard daily on Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville “99.7 WTN” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
WGFX-FM, Nashville’s Jonathan Hutton Named ‘Man of the Year.’ Sports talk personality Jonathan Hutton was recently honored by the Tennessee Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as its 2019 Man of the Year. Hutton led the effort by WGFX “104-5 The Zone” that raised $152,499.31 during the 10-week fund drive that included: an off-the-record event with Tennessee Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk, a HORSE-style basketball tournament, a Masters-themed golf competition at Top Golf, and a chalk talk draftee breakdown and dinner with NFL Films’ Greg Cosell. Pictured above at the “Evening with Amy” event are (from l-r): Kenneth Adams, Titans Ownership Group; Eddie George, former Titan; Logan Ryan, current Titan; Hutton; Strunk; John McClain, Houston Chronicle/WGFX analyst; Blaine Bishop, former Titan and WGFX morning host; Kevin Byard, current Titan; David Quesenberry, current Titan.
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WSCR, Chicago “The Score” producer Eli Hershkovich is taking on a role with Entercom’s RADIO.COM as a producer/sports gambling analyst. WSCR operations manager Mitch Rosen is quoted saying, “This is truly a great example of someone building, growing, and advancing their brand into a new, innovative position within Entercom and Radio.Com Sports, which is growing and expanding into the content creation business rapidly.”…..The Duluth News-Tribune reports that KDAL-AM/W280FB, Duluth, Minnesota talk host Kenneth Kalligher has been charged with misdemeanor domestic assault. Kalligher, who hosts the “Midday Live” show on the Midwest Communications-owned station, pleaded not guilty. The story reports that court documents indicate the female complainant said she and Kalligher “were arguing when he struck her in the right temple, causing her to ‘see stars’ and fall to the ground.” Kalligher was off the air for two days but returned to his program yesterday (5/2). He’ll be back in court later this month…..B’nai B’rith International produces a podcast and on the current episode, Pamela Nadell, the Patrick Clendenen chair in Women’s and Gender History at American University’s Department of History and the author of America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today, is the guest with B’nai B’rith CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin for a discussion on the history of Jewish women in American life. In this episode, Nadell and Mariaschin discuss the societal roles of Jewish women across classes, professions, and time periods, as well as their roles in pivotal social movements in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the labor movement, women’s suffrage and the feminist movement. Check out the podcast here.
Barr Hearing/Mueller Report Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 29 – May 3. Wednesday’s appearance by Attorney General William Barr before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the related release of the Mueller Report were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential race and related politics. Coming in at #3 was the San Diego synagogue shooting and the rise of anti-Semitism, followed by the UNCC shooting and gun violence at #4. The Talkers TenTM is 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. See this week’s entire chart here.
Rising Radio Star and Master Storyteller Lee Habeeb Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The host and producer of one of the fastest-growing, syndicated properties in talk radio, Lee Habeeb, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The nightly, two-hour program is called “Our American Stories” and since its launch three years ago, the spoken-word juggernaut is making waves on commercial news/talk stations as well as music formats across the nation. Habeeb was inspired by public radio shows such as “This American Life,” which tap into the art of storytelling, in conceiving the highly researched and meticulously produced “Our American Stories.” Although conservative in its values, the program is distinctly non-partisan and strives to bring Americans of all political ideologies together based on our cultural commonality. It explores popular culture, politics, business, science… the spectrum of topics, people and angles that make up the rich and intricate fabric of America, its history and its people. The program is breaking new ground on many levels, not just in its programming approach, but in its business model as well, again tapping into the public radio paradigm. It is set up as a non-profit and investing a tremendous amount of capital in the quality of its original content programming. Habeeb describes “Our American Stories” as an innovation in the commercial talk radio sphere – no politics, no opinions, just stories. He says, “We tell a story and the audience tells us their stories — with raw emotional power. Daily bringing the campfire scene to your ears.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the daily TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com. Meet Lee Habeeb at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story in New York on Friday, June 7 where he will be discussing storytelling as a key component of successful radio.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The owner of classic rock WWRR, Scranton says the station has made radio history by accumulating more than 1 million Likes on Facebook. Bold Gold Media Group says the Northeast PA station “has become a social media juggernaut over the past decade, mastering the art of leveraging on-air and social to rapidly grow its following. The station has become the most-followed social media page based within Northeast PA and one of the most-followed radio station social sites in the entire United States.” Bold Gold president & founder Vince Benedetto says, “We’ve really enjoyed watching our stations become online influencers. Our stations have always been unique… from our highly visible studio inside the Mohegan Sun Pocono casino, our state-of-the-art RadioBOLD mobile platforms, and with our engaging social media, we’ve tried to be a different and more entrepreneurial media group. We’re thrilled to make some radio history and also bring some attention to the combined power of radio and social media.”…..Connoisseur Media announces that Storm N. Norman is returning to Westport, Connecticut adult contemporary WEBE to host mornings, beginning Monday (5/6). Norman served on-air on WEBE for 30 years. He says, “WEBE 108 has been my radio home for most of my adult life and I am thrilled to again wake up families in Southern Connecticut. It’s a great opportunity to work with Jeff Warshawand the incredible folks at local Connoisseur Media.”…..Programming pro Miggy Santos joins Midwest Communications Battle Creek, Michigan station group as brand manager for country WNWN “WIN 98.5.” He was most recently with Neuhoff Media as operations manager for CHR duo WWHX, Bloomington “HOT 100.7” and WSOY-FM, Decatur, Illinois “Y103.”…..iHeartMedia Milwaukee announces the deal with local furniture franchise Steinhafels in which the latter is sponsoring iHM’s new performance lounge (pictured below). The new Steinhafels Relax Lounge is located in the iHeartMedia Milwaukee station headquarters and will showcase musical talent, live broadcasts, viewing parties, and more. It will also be furnished by Steinhafels, allowing the store to showcase the latest contemporary furniture it offers.