TALKERS and The Epoch Times’ Co-Presented “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” Takes Place in NYC; Video Available for Viewing. A 90-minute panel discussion took place in New York today (10/1). The “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” was a panel discussion that included radio talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt of Salem Radio Network, John Batchelor of WABC, New York, and Tom Sullivan of Talk Media Network, as well as a group of experts on the present state of China and its increasingly strained relationship with the United States including Nan Su of NTDTV, Joshua Philipp of The Epoch Times and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times. The conversation focused on the US-China trade war, the Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, China’s military buildup, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more. See the video of today’s event here.
Ramsey Solutions Addresses National Student Loan Crisis. The company is working to help families avoid traps of student loans and show them a better way to pay for college. Ramsey Solutions chief executive officer/“Dave Ramsey Show” host Dave Ramsey declares, “Americans have been fed a lie that it is impossible to afford college without student loans. That lie has the average graduate burdened with over $35,000 in student loans from the moment they’re handed their diplomas. The system is broken, and we want people to know the truth: It is possible to pay cash for college.” Thought leaders Ramsey, Mark Cuban, and Seth Godin are among those interviewed in “Borrowed Future,” an eight-episode podcast series featuring real-life stories that explore the student loan crisis. Anthony ONeal, author of “Debt Free-Degree: The Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Your Kid Through College Without Student Loans,” remarks, “Parents and teens believe that student loans are the only option, but debt doesn’t open doors – it closes them. I travel the country speaking to thousands of people each year. I meet students all the time who are working hard, applying for scholarships and grants, and are actually graduating debt-free. I believe more parents and students can do this, but they need a plan. We’re here to provide that plan.”
NAB PILOT Program Announces Internship Grant Recipients. Launched this past spring, PILOT is the National Association of Broadcasters’ technology initiative which has thus far provided paid internships to 13 NAB member organizations for undergraduate students in radio and television engineering/technology positions. The program is provided in partnership with the NAB’s Leadership Foundation as part of an effort to grow technical and engineering talent for the industry. Grants for the spring 2020 term will be provided to the following NAB members: Michigan State University news/talk WKAR-AM, news/talk-classical WKAR-FM, and PBS affiliate WKAR-TV, East Lansing (Michigan); Butler County Radio Network (Butler, Pennsylvania) news/talk WISR, country WBUT, and rock WLER; Scripps Media Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV-TV; and Marquee Broadcasting Bowling Green, Kentucky’s WNKY-TV. NAB’s executive vice president and chief technology officer Sam Matheny notes, “We have been encouraged by the response to this program and are thrilled to continue it for a second year. PILOT and the NAB Leadership Foundation remain committed to assisting NAB member stations in attracting the best and brightest new candidates to a career in broadcast technology.” NAB Leadership Foundation president Michelle Duke adds, “The NAB Foundation is happy to provide opportunities with PILOT for students in the broadcast technology and engineering fields. Our intent is to continue to expand the pool of talent for our industry.” The program seeks to help NAB members that do not currently offer engineering or media-technology internships. It will provide resources to assist selected stations in identifying and supporting interns, as well as assistance for the selected interns to attend next year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.
TALKERS News Notes. Celebrities and politicians were omnipresent in Staten Island this past Saturday (9/28) at the nuptials of Salem Media Group New York news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” executive producer/talk host Frank Morano and his fiancé Rachel O’Brien. “This truly was the most unique assemblage of people ever to come to one party,” he maintains. It’s hard to argue that claim as Morano’s WNYM colleague, Joe Piscopo, got the afternoon started with a Frank Sinatra “New York New York”/“That’s Life” medley reminiscent of how Piscopo did it on “Saturday Night Live.” Morano is quick to note that Piscopo’s date for the affair was none other than supermodel Carol Alt. Among others spotted in the crowd were congressman Dan Donovan; former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey; billionaire businessman/New York City-based Red Apple Group chair/CEO (and new owner of New York City news/talk WABC) John Catsimatidis; former mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis; and criminal defense attorney Arthur Aidala, currently representing Harvey Weinstein. Syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher was in attendance as were talk host/author Kevin McCullough, Richard Bey, sportscaster Russ Salzberg, and Shelley Goldberg. There were no reports of fisticuffs or violence of any type at the wedding. That is actually quite remarkable and noteworthy, given that John A. Gotti and his sister, reality TV star/author Victoria Gotti, were there along with Guardian Angels founder/talk show host Curtis Sliwa. Things could have gotten particularly dicey as it was Gotti who was charged with ordering the 1992 kidnapping and shooting of Sliwa. Gotti went on trial four times with each trial ending in a hung jury. “Needless to say, we kept John and Curtis on opposite sides of the room,” Morano quips. “It did lead to one of the more interesting quotes of the evening. As Curtis was dancing, John remarked to me, ‘Do you think Curtis would mind if I cut in to dance with his wife?’” Also at the wedding was Maureen Gioeli, the wife of Tommy “Shots” Gioeli, who Morano describes as “the alleged acting boss of the Colombo crime family” ….. Six-year (2003 – 2009) Bernalillo County (New Mexico) sheriff Darren White will join Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB “AM 770 News Radio” as midday host (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm), beginning next Monday (10/7). Cumulus Media Albuquerque vice president/market manager Jeff Berry comments, “Darren is one of the best political minds around, with deep roots in the Albuquerque media market and New Mexico politics. KKOB delivers the best lineup in radio and Darren is going to help us fill out our already amazing roster.” White states, “I’m honored to join the legendary KKOB and host a show in a time slot between a national radio powerhouse in Rush Limbaugh and a radio legend in TJ Trout. I’m grateful to Jeff Berry for this amazing opportunity and excited to get behind the mic to continue the long tradition of engaging talk radio.” Formerly a correspondent for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV, White was secretary of New Mexico’s Department of Public Safety and Albuquerque’s chief public safety officer ….. Pre-game and post-game host of Cincinnati Reds games, Tommy Thrall, will succeed retired hall of famer Marty Brennaman as the team’s lead radio voice on iHeartMedia Cincinnati news/talk WLW. After calling minor league Pensacola Blue Wahoos games for six years, Thrall joined the Reds crew this season. He previously was the radio voice of the Quad Cities River Bandits ….. Three-year senior producer/audience development & engagement Stephanie Curtis is promoted to Minnesota Public Radio’s MPR News director of programming. Executive director of news & programming Nancy Cassutt comments, “Steph holds a clear vision for what needs to come next in our programming in order to be relevant and engaging with our audiences. She understands our newsroom and where we have the best opportunities to grow and better serve our listeners. Combined with her wealth of talents, this makes her a perfect fit for this role.” Curtis has been with MPR for over 25 years and is the “Movie Maven” on the weekly “Cube Critics” podcast ….. WFPL news editor Jonese Franklin is boosted to local host for NPR’s “All Things Considered” on the Louisville Public Media news/talk station. WFPL director of news and programming Erica Peterson notes, “Jonese brings a diverse depth of experience to the job, including years working as a journalist, editor and broadcaster. I’m excited to hear her on the air every day, and I know our listeners will be as well” ….. Beginning next Monday (10/7), iHeartRadio Broadway debuts “Show & Tell with Frank DiLella,” a weekly Broadway-focused original podcast. New episodes will be available every Monday via the iHeartPodcast Network. Host of “On Stage,” Spectrum News NY1 theater correspondent DiLella is an Emmy Award winning journalist. According to iHeartRadio Broadway director Sarah Jane Arnegger, “We’re thrilled to have Frank DiLella join iHeartRadio Broadway. Frank has been an integral part of the Broadway industry for years. With his built-in audience, this podcast will serve as an extension of what Frank does best with his comprehensive reporting style and celebrity theatrical interviews.” DiLella remarks, “I am truly excited to be teaming up with iHeartMedia and iHeartRadio Broadway as it expands its Broadway programming. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the folks who make up the theater community in New York and abroad. With this new opportunity, I look forward to bringing my in-depth conversations and commentary with the movers and shakers of the industry to a larger audience.”
Cumulus Media Cluster Sets Annual “Christmas For Our Troops.” The fundraiser and series of donation drives that will benefit our service personnel will commence one week from this Friday (10/11) and run through November 12. In partnership with Step Up For Soldiers, Cumulus Media Wilmington, North Carolina will collect items donated by the community for deployed servicemen and women and raise funds to ship the packages overseas in time for Christmas. Cumulus Wilmington vice president and market manager Eric McCart states, “In addition to collecting items, an important need we have is to collect money for our ‘Christmas For Our Troops Postage Fund.’ It costs $14.35 to send each flat-rate box overseas. The more monetary donations we receive, the more Christmas packages we can send to our troops. We will be accepting both ‘Postage Fund’ and suggested item donations while we’re on location at our collection sites. ‘Postage Fund’ donations can also be made online.” Items to be collected will include writing utensils, games, snacks, bottled drinks, and anything else that is easy-to-use, easy-to-wash, and easy-to-store. In addition to WAAV “980 The Wave – News, Talk, & Sports,” the company’s Wilmington, North Carolina cluster includes WWQQ “Double Q-101.3 Cape Fear’s Country Leader,” adult contemporary WGNI “102.7 GNI Today’s Hits & Yesterday’s Favorites,” urban contemporary WMNX “Coast 97.3,” and classic rock WKXS “94.5 The Hawk.”
Stations Go From One Backyard To Another. Headed by Van A. Michael, Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting of Pennsylvania, LLC closes on its purchase of seven Pennsylvania stations from … and here’s where it gets tricky … Daniel J. Farr’s (also) Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting PA, LLC. Neither of these Backyard entities has any other broadcast interests. Stations involved are sports talk WWPA “ESPN Radio 1340”; WWPA’s FM translator W267BJ at 101.3; WILQ “105.1 Today’s Best Country”; and hot AC WLMY – all in Williamsport; rock WZXR, South Williamsport; rock WCXR, Lewisburg (which simulcasts WZXR); and classic hits-oldies WBZD, Muncy. Kalil & Company, Inc. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Veteran consultant/programmer John Sebastian signs the first client for his “WOW Factor” format – KOAI, Phoenix – and as part of the deal, he will be the consultant and hands-on program director of the Riviera Broadcasting outlet. Riviera Broadcasting chief executive officer Michael Cutchall remarks, “John has been one of the most innovative programmers in the history of radio. There is no one better to connect with listeners and communities in his approach and philosophy to programming. His excitement to join our team is contagious and his desire to win is relentless.” Sebastian asserts that KOAI will be “the first of many ‘WOW Factor’ stations across America with an eclectic mix of music researched and curated for baby boomers.” His previous Phoenix programming background already includes KUPD, KSLX, and KDKB. Sebastian has programmed in other markets such as Los Angeles (KTWV, KHJ, and KZLA); Chicago (WJMK); Dallas (KPLX); Boston (WCOZ); Seattle (KISW); Minneapolis (KDWB); and Nashville (WSM-FM). According to Nielsen Audio PPM data, the February 2019 through August 2019 (6+) topline for classic hits-oldies KOAI is: 2.1 – 2.1 – 1.8 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.5. It ranks #25 in August 2019; iHeartMedia adult contemporary KESZ is on top (7.0, 6+). ….. Former Bohn Broadcast Services vice president of business development Chris Roth is appointed program director of Entercom Washington, DC classic hits-oldies WIAD “94.7 The Drive.” Roth will “work closely” with Entercom classic hits-oldies format captain Chris Ebbott, who programs Los Angeles’ co-owned/similarly formatted KRTH “K-Earth 101.” Entercom Washington, DC senior vice president and market manager Phil Zachary comments, “One year into the format, we are satisfied with the station’s position, but we are constantly seeking new ways to innovate and improve. Chris Roth brings the vernacular and market knowledge to finetune ‘94.7 The Drive’ to DC’s particular tastes. He’s uniquely-suited for this role; I am excited to see him help our station excel.” Roth notes, “Programming ‘94.7 The Drive’ is a dream job for me. I’m passionate about the classic hits format and I’m looking forward to making it the fun destination for DC listening.” Roth previously was an on-air talent at Baltimore adult contemporary sibling WLIF “Today’s 101.9”; director of programming for WAVA, Washington; a reporter at Washington’s all-news WTOP; and director of programming and operations for Winchester, Virginia hot AC WINC-FM ….. As noted in this space just last Friday (9/27), Scott Roddy exited his brand/content director post with Hubbard Radio St. Louis adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch” for a “yet-to-be-revealed position.” Well, it didn’t take long for the mystery to be revealed as Roddy will join Entercom Portland next Monday (10/7) as program director/operations manager for country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” and hot AC KRSK “105.1 The Buzz.” Entercom Portland senior vice president/market manager Kim Martinez states, “Scott has an impressive track record programming leading stations; we’re fortunate to add him to the team. I am confident his proven leadership will enable him to step in and immediately enhance the programming efforts for our stations.” Roddy notes, “I’m stoked to join the iconic ‘Wolf’ and to bring some electricity back to the ‘Buzz.’ Kim Martinez is building a world-class operation at Entercom Portland. Her passion for our industry, audience, investors, and local team is unparalleled. I’d like to thank Kim; [chief programming officer] Pat Paxton; [regional president] Doug Abernethy; and [senior vice president of programming] Dave Richards for the opportunity.” Prior to joining WARH in February 2016, Roddy programmed stations for Entercom Indianapolis, Oasis Radio Group Fort Wayne (Indiana), and Saga Communications ….. This Saturday (10/5) at 8:00 am, iHeartMedia Chicago urban contemporary WGCI-FM, urban AC WVAZ “V-103,” and gospel WGRB “Inspiration 1390” will hold the third annual “Sista Strut” 3K breast cancer charity walk to benefit the Chicago chapter of the Sisters Network. According to iHeartMedia Chicago director of urban programming Derrick Brown, “We are dedicated to serving the community in which we live and work. We remain committed to doing our part in being a source of support and encouragement for those battling and recovering from this disease.” WGCI-FM morning show member Kendra G and WVAZ midday talent Bionce Foxx will host the event. Special guests will include “Steve Harvey Morning Show” co-host Carla Ferrell ….. Forming the new morning team at Emmis Indianapolis’ country WLHK “97.1 Hank FM” are Caleb James and Mindy Winkler. James most recently programmed NRG Media Omaha rhythmic CHR KOPW “Power 106.9,” while Winkler arrives from WLHK’s adult contemporary sibling WYXB “B-105.7.” Former “Hank” morning driver Dave O’Brien is now doing similar duties at Entercom Denver classic rock KQMT “99.5 The Mountain” ….. Louisville alternative WGHL “Alt 105.1” program director/afternoon talent Phil “PK” Kukawinski tacks on programming duties for Alpha Media adult hits cluster-mate WXMA “102.3 Jack-FM.” He succeeds Sarah Jordan, who continues as marketing director and mid-day personality (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) on co-owned CHR WDJX “99-7 DJX” ….. To help raise funds, supplies, and awareness for rescue dogs, iHeartMedia Colorado Springs hot AC KVUU “My 99.9” will team with the Lovepup Foundation for the initial “Lovepup Family Fest” one week from Saturday (10/12, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) at Weidner Field. KVUU morning drive talent Johnjay of the syndicated “Johnjay and Rich” show will host the event. All money and pet supply donations will benefit local Colorado Springs animal rescue organizations ….. Meanwhile, KVUU cluster-mate KCYY “Y-96.9 #1 For New Country” and Oakwood Homes join forces four weeks from today (10/29) for the first-ever “Boo Bash” to benefit HBA Cares. Hosted by “Y-96.9” afternoon drive host Shawn Patrick, the event will feature entertainment from Matt Stell, Noah Schnacky, and Tyler Walker Band. “Boo Bash” proceeds will benefit local transitional and accessible housing in the Colorado Springs area, along with other local community projects. Doors will open at 6:00 pm at Boot Barn Hall ….. WCYQ “100.3 The Wolf” nighttime talent Paul Orr exits the SummitMedia Knoxville country station to focus on his voiceover business. Before joining WCYQ, Orr worked in Birmingham (WZZK); Oklahoma City (KTST); Fort Myers (WWGR); and Shreveport (KRMD) ….. A “goat” is loose in Hagerstown-Chambersburg (Maryland-Pennsylvania) as Verstandig Media transitions CHR WNUZ “Now 92.1” to classic hits-oldies WIKG “92.1 The Goat – The Greatest of All Time.” This comes after a weekend of stunting with all-Christmas music; the station is inviting listeners to “Take Your Goat To Work.” Continuing the theme, the “goat herd” is airing 20 songs in a row in its first week.
Delilah Honored With AFN Challenge Coin. For her unwavering support of service members and veterans, Premiere Networks’ adult contemporary host Delilah received the American Forces Network challenge coin last Thursday (9/26) at the Radio Show in Dallas. Military challenge coins have been issued to servicemen and servicewomen since World War I as a symbol of honor, respect, gratitude, and loyalty. Delilah is heard weeknights at 7:00 pm in Japan, Korea, and central Europe on AFN Radio’s “Today’s Best Hits Adult Contemporary” channel. Pictured left to right are: Tom Arnholt of AFN programming and operations, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Delilah, who co-hosted last week’s NAB Marconi Awards, and Curt Eckstein of AFN programming and operations.
Report: Savage Program Changes the Result of ‘Corporate Censorship.’ In an analysis/opinion piece in The Washington Times, writer Cheryl K. Chumley quotes both Michael Savage and Daniel Horowitz (identified as Savage’s lawyer) in a piece that asserts the coming changes in Savage’s program from three live hours to one live hour and a one-hour podcast and the resulting, anticipated loss of affiliate stations WABC, New York; WLS-AM, Chicago; WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; and KABC, Los Angeles are not business decisions but political ones. Horowitz is quoted saying, “Michael’s voice, unlike [his conservative competitors] has always been very independent. Savage is completely a wild card, right? And that’s what they’re trying to kill. It’s all about corporate control. Taking him off the air is not a business decision.” Horowitz adds, “Networks are actually losing millions of dollars in order to keep Michael’s voice off these stations.” Savage himself seems piqued the aforementioned stations won’t delay-broadcast his shows at night. “The only reason I can see is because of politics. It makes no sense. I have a loyal, large audience. Why not at least do reruns at night?” Read the Times piece here.
Dave Glover Re-Ups with KFTK-FM, St. Louis. St. Louis radio talk show host Dave Glover signs a multi-year contract extension with Entercom’s news/talk KFTK-FM to continue hosting his afternoon drive program on the station. Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “‘The Dave Glover Show’ has been a cornerstone of the afternoon drive at ‘FM NewsTalk 97.1’ from the very beginning and I am thrilled that Dave will be a part of the team for the foreseeable future. I have been honored to work with Dave for the last decade and look forward to continuing to work with him in the years to come. Dave leads the way on so many levels and strives for excellence in everything he does on a daily basis.” Glover has been with KFTK-FM since 2000. The station says Glover’s program finished #1 in 2017 with persons aged 25-54, according to Nielsen PPM ratings.
iHeartMedia Settles Lawsuits Removing Two Roadblocks. Two lawsuits that were partly responsible for postponing iHeartMedia’s Confirmation Hearing in its Chapter 11 reorganization have been settled. Creditors GAMCO and Norfolk County Retirement System objected to iHeartMedia’s use of cash sweeps from Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings and filed suit. An early December agreement between GAMCO and iHM called for iHeart to provide a revolving line of credit of $170 million to CCOH. This latest settlement calls for the revolving line of credit to be hiked to $200 million after iHeartMedia and CCOH become separate companies – part of the Fifth Amended Plan. iHeart is also indemnifying CCOH for up to 50% of certain tax liabilities.
TALKERS News Notes. Beginning January 2, Las Vegas talk radio pro Heidi Harris hosts a three-hour morning show on Kemp Communications’ news/talk KMZQ-AM, airing from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. Currently, Harris is hosting the 8:00 am to 10:00 am slot on the station. The station also swaps out Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager and Michael Medved in middays for SRN’s Mike Gallagher and Sebastian Gorka. Harris tells TALKERS magazine she continues to produce her podcast in addition to hosting her radio show. Harris has served with Entercom’s KXNT-AM and Beasley’s KDWN in the Las Vegas market…..Sales pro Ed Krampf joins Sun & Fun Media as senior account executive for its affiliate sales unit. Sun & Fun co-founder Rob Koblasz says, “Adding Ed to our team continues our mission of having the best and brightest minds in the industry serving our affiliates.”…..Premiere Networks announces the continuation of a long-standing “Coast to Coast AM” tradition of listeners being treated to live, holiday-themed programming, including special guest appearances, open lines, music and surprises on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Program host George Noory says, “When I began this journey 17 years ago, I made a promise to our faithful listeners that there will be live programs on the holidays – a time of joy, but also a time of loneliness for some. I look forward to sharing this special time of year with my ‘Coast to Coast AM’ family.”…..Tomorrow, WABC, New York personality Sid Rosenberg, along with WNYW-TV FOX 5 “Good Day New York” host Ines Rosales, will visit Maimonides Children’s Hospital in Brooklyn. The two will deliver presents and holiday surprises from the hospital’s wish list for every child in the unit to make their holidays a little brighter. Rosenberg says, “As the proud and loving dad of two, I can’t think of a better way to spend my holiday season than with the children at Maimonides Medical Center. Bringing laughs to my listening audience is fun but putting a smile on these kids’ faces will be the absolute best.”
Trump-Russia Investigation/Russian Election Meddling, Border Wall-Government Shutdown Threat, Dow Dips 500+/Recession Worries, Obamacare Status, Moonves Gets Nothing from CBS, Criminal Justice Reform Bill, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/17). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents and the related intelligence regarding Russian election interference; the battle in Washington over funding for the Mexican border wall that could shut down the federal government; the continuing stock selloff and concerns about a recession; the status of Obamacare in the aftermath of a federal judge’s ruling it unconstitutional; CBS reveals ousted chief Les Moonves will get no severance; the criminal justice reform bill that would reduce sentences for non-violent offenders; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Remembering Dave Robbins. Social media was abuzz Monday night as news spread about the sudden passing of highly respected programmer and general manager Dave Robbins. To see glowing tributes for someone who has died isn’t unusual, but the well-earned praise for Robbins was particularly voluminous and the word “mentor” was frequently mentioned. Held in high esteem for his days programming Columbus CHR WNCI, Robbins was among the most successful PDs who transitioned to the GM’s chair. What follows is a very brief sample from the many weighing in on him. Noted consultant/programmer John Sebastian: “He was my GM in Chicago at WJMK. He was a great boss and a very good man.” Executive vice president/programming operations at iHeartMedia Jon Zellner: “I have two mentors in this business and Dave Robbins is one of them. He literally taught me everything I know through the many years I had the opportunity to work with him at Nationwide and CBS Radio – I am forever grateful. No one was more creative, inspiring or motivating – a true strategist in every sense of the word. Dave possessed every trait of a natural leader, but he also was one of the most nurturing human beings I ever met. It truly brought him joy to see people on his team succeed.” Breakthrough Management partner John Parikhal: “This is terrible news. I was a huge fan of Dave’s and we had some serious fun working together. I’m so sorry to hear this.” WTUZ, New Philadelphia (Ohio) director/operations & programming Steve Kelly: “This is the most difficult post I have ever had to write, but I know our radio family and Dave’s friends will want to know that my dear friend, Dave Robbins, passed away today. Godspeed my friend.” Longtime Chicago programmer/consultant Buddy Scott: “I’m stunned – today we lost one of the greatest guys in radio and in life, Dave Robbins. We worked together twice and were corporate mates once. I loved Dave – he was my friend. [This is] so sudden and so sad.” Zapoleon Media Strategies president Guy Zapoleon: “We lost someone very special today, a broadcast industry legend; mentor to so many in our industry; and a great human being who always had time for anyone who would reach out in need. [This is a] heartbreaking loss for all who were blessed to know Dave Robbins. I was blessed to have worked with and partnered with Dave at Nationwide Communications. I always called him ‘the general’ because he had an amazing strategic mind that he applied to radio and was the greatest strategic mind I’ve met in our business, truly a leader of men. Most importantly, Dave was a wonderful nurturing man who mentored so many people in our business and taught them the secrets of success in radio and in life. Dave was simply a one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime human being.” Executive vice president/programming at iHeartMedia Tony Coles: “This afternoon brought the stunning loss of my friend and mentor, Dave Robbins. Dave was the person responsible for getting me into programming. All of these years later, I have never made a major career decision without consulting Dave – I am so thankful to have known him.” Cumulus Media Holdings vice president/programming operations John Dimick: “I am devastated at the news. [Dave] gave me my first shot and truly taught everyone how to be their best self. Programming WNCI with [him] as the GM is a bright spot in my life. The universe is just a little out of balance tonight.” Also “heartbroken” to hear the news of Robbins’ passing was Saga Communications Asheville (North Carolina) operations manager Neal Sharpe: “He was one of the most incredible people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. He was a mentor, a friend, and the greatest radio leader I’ve ever known.” WLNK, Charlotte on-air talent Ramona Holloway remarks that Robbins had, “one of the most unforgettable voices in the business.” Executive vice president of global music marketing & strategy for iHeartMedia Alissa Pollack: “Wow – I’m devastated – I just spoke with him. He was one of my all-time favorites. I’m so sorry to hear this about Dave ‘Rock & Roll’ Robbins.” Three comments from record company executives included this from Alchemy Entertainment owner Bill Pfordresher: “Dave was an amazing bright light in my life. Yes, he was a great radio executive, but also an amazing friend. You always felt special in his presence and he was able to do that with everyone he met. He had true soul and I am deeply saddened at his passing. He is in a good place and will be remembered and loved always.” What’s In-Store Music partner Bob Catania: “I will never forget my first meeting with Dave. He handed me a hand grip, stuck a quarter in it, and told me if I could hold it for five minutes without dropping the quarter, he’d give me an add. Of course, I couldn’t – he had tested it with many a promo person prior. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship [with a] true gentleman and a brilliant programmer. This news breaks my heart.” Hitpredictor owner Rick Bisceglia: “Dave was tough – almost impossible – but highly intelligent and fair at the end. He was compassionate and made me better.” From January 2006 to the time of his death, Robbins was owner and chief executive officer of Windermere, Florida-based Getaway Vacation Homes, where he owned/managed 50 vacation homes and condos along Florida’s beaches and at Walt Disney World. Prior to that, his lengthy radio resume included a five-year stint (2010 – 2015) as senior vice president/market manager for CBS Radio Orlando’s WOMX, WJHM, WOCL and eight years as vice president and general manager for four of that company’s Chicago stations – WUSN, WCFS, WBBM-FM, and WJMK. Prior to that (1998 – 2003), Robbins was VP/GM for Columbus facilities WHOK, WLVQ, and WAZU; as well as vice president and general manager of Nationwide Columbus’ WNCI, WCOL, and WFYI. He spent seven years as Nationwide’s vice president of programming (1988 – 1995) and, from 1982 – 1988, programmed KHTR, St. Louis. Just 59 years old, Robbins was reported to have suffered a massive heart attack. He’s pictured here (center) with his wife Patti (left) and Radio’s Best Friend Art Vuolo (right).
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Syracuse morning duo Ted Long and Amy Robbins have signed a multi-year contract extension with Cumulus Media to continue hosting the “Ted & Amy in the Morning” show on CHR WNTQ “93Q,” something they’ve been doing for 30 years. Long says, “To be able to do what I love for so long, with the same people whom I admire so much, and at a company that not only cares for the audience they serve, as well as their employees, really makes it a no-brainer when it came to re-signing our contract. Amy and I both feel very privileged to hold the positions we have had for so long here in Central New York. I am excited to continue to inform and entertain our great audience of listeners on 93Q.” Robbins adds, “I truthfully find it hard to believe that I have spent more than half my life on the airwaves of ‘93Q.’ We are beyond grateful to our amazing listeners who continue to keep us as a part of their daily lives and to Cumulus Media who continues to recognize how important local talent is to each and every market they serve.”…..Alpha Media names Frank Wright content director for adult contemporary WXLC, Waukegan, Illinois. Wright – midday host on the station – takes over for Haynes Johns, who exited the position in October of this year.
Tribune Terminates Sinclair Merger Agreement. Included in our story yesterday which dealt with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s second-quarter earnings report (Talkers.com, 8/8) was the following quote from Sinclair president and chief executive officer Chris Ripley who addressed the pending acquisition of Tribune Media Company: “We are working with them to analyze approaches to the regulatory process that are in the best interest of our companies, employees, and shareholders.” It was announced early today that not only is the marriage between the two entities over, Tribune Media is suing Sinclair Broadcast Group for breach of contract; the suit was filed today (Thursday, 8/9) in Delaware Chancery Court. The proposed $3.9 billion deal hit a snag when the FCC designated it for a hearing, a red flag that the transaction would most likely not be approved. Last month, FCC chair Ajit Pai raised “serious concerns” about the deal, which originally would have reached roughly 70% of U.S. households. Tribune is charging that, “In an effort to maintain control over stations it was obligated to sell, Sinclair engaged in unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations with the Department of Justice and the FCC over regulatory requirements; refused to sell stations in the markets as required to obtain approval; and proposed aggressive divestment structures and related-party sales that were either rejected outright or posed a high risk of rejection and delay – all in derogation of Sinclair’s contractual obligations.” Tribune further claims, “Sinclair’s entire course of conduct has been in blatant violation of the merger agreement; but for Sinclair’s actions, the transaction could have closed long ago.” According to Tribune chief executive officer Peter Kern, “In light of the FCC’s unanimous decision, referring the issue of Sinclair’s conduct for a hearing before an administrative law judge, our merger cannot be completed within an acceptable timeframe, if ever. This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders. Accordingly, we have exercised our right to terminate the merger agreement, and, by way of our lawsuit, intend to hold Sinclair accountable.” Revenue for Tribune’s only radio property – Chicago news/talk WGN – is not broken out in the company’s second-quarter financials. “Notwithstanding our disappointment regarding the outcome of the [Sinclair] transaction,” Kern remarks, “we are extremely pleased with our second quarter results, which were very strong. Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA grew 69% versus the prior year period and 84% for the first half of the year. While net core advertising revenues declined 6%, we were able to drive consolidated revenue growth of 6% when excluding the impact of barter revenues, with solid growth in retransmission and carriage fees revenues and political advertising revenue. Our disciplined focus on cost management drove programming expenses down 29% and corporate and other cash expenses, excluding transaction costs, down 19% over the prior year period.”
Rumor Becomes Fact: Warner Is WW One’s Lead MNF Analyst. Just this past Tuesday (Talkers.com, 8/7), we referenced a report by Richard Deitsch in The Athletic, hinting that Hall of Fame QB and NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner would join Kevin Harlan as Westwood One’s lead analyst for “Monday Night Football” and the Super Bowl. It is now official: Warner’s first broadcast will be in a little over four weeks (9/10), when the Oakland Raiders host the Los Angeles Rams. He becomes only the fourth regular “MNF” analyst for Westwood One since its broadcast partnership with the NFL began 40 years ago. The others were Boomer Esiason (2000-2017); Matt Millen (1996-2000); and Hank Stram (1978-1984, 1987-1995). Ever since he retired from the NFL, Warner insists he has “been blessed” with tremendous broadcasting opportunities. “I am grateful to Westwood One for this opportunity and for believing in me with this role. The bar has been set extremely high by Boomer Esiason and others. I look forward to grabbing the torch, working hard, and maintaining the sense of excellence that has become synonymous with Westwood One. I also look forward to continuing my relationship with Kevin Harlan, who I believe is one of the best play-by-play people in the business.” Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing Suzanne Grimes states, “We have been proud partners of the NFL for more than four decades and our best-in-class broadcasts feature the brightest stars from the league. Kurt Warner is a keen observer with a great eye and unique analysis. He adds another layer of authenticity, knowledge, and expertise to our roster. He is an incredible asset for our loyal and passionate listeners and engaged advertisers.” Westwood One Sports executive vice president/executive producer Howard Deneroff adds, “To have a player, and person, of Kurt Warner’s caliber become our lead analyst is incredibly exciting. We look forward to Kevin and Kurt working together full-time. We are confident that they will continue the legacy of great Westwood One broadcast teams which have informed and entertained listeners on Monday nights for decades.” A 2017 inductee in the pro football Hall of Fame, Warner played 12 seasons in the NFL, leading two different franchises (St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals) to Super Bowl appearances. He was the NFL’s MVP in 1999 and 2001. He and wife, Brenda, created “The First Things First Foundation,” dedicated to impacting lives by promoting Christian values, and “Treasure House,” which provides a supportive living environment for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Multi-Year TuneIn, Cumulus Deal Expands Streaming Partnership. The arrangement between the two principals calls for streaming of Cumulus Media’s 441 stations in 90 markets, as well as shows on co-owned Westwood One Podcast Network on the TuneIn platform. Cumulus Media president and chief executive officer Mary Berner remarks, “We understand that consumers engage with content across multiple platforms and devices. We put our listeners first, and we have made it our mission to provide a modern and platform-agnostic listening experience. Expanding our partnership with TuneIn takes our distribution and promotional opportunities to the next level, exposing our portfolio of leading stations, shows, and programs to new fans.” TuneIn chief executive officer John Donham states, “As the world’s leader in live digital audio, we are thrilled to provide our listeners access to some of the best live-station programming across sports, news, talk, music, and entertainment, as well as popular podcasts and other on-demand content offered by Cumulus Media. We look forward to a long and successful partnership as we grow the next chapter of the audio business together.” Heretofore, Cumulus Media stations have been available through iHeartRadio, as well as TuneIn.
Salem Media Group Reports Mixed Q2 Results. Second-quarter total revenue for Salem Media Group increased .2% to $66.3 million; net broadcast revenue rose 2.7% to $50.6 million; and station operating income held steady at $13.3 million. Conversely, operating income fell 84.4% to $1.3 million and net income spiraled from a gain of $1.3 million to a loss of $2.2 million. In addition, EBITDA dropped 40.8% to $6 million and Adjusted EBITDA fell 9.4% to $11.2 million. A full-slate of Salem Radio Network talk shows aired on news/talk WBIX, Boston but, in early-January (2018), Salem Media Group agreed to sell “The Buzz” for $685,000 to the International Church of the Grace of God, which – through an LMA – flipped the station to a Portuguese format; the sale was finalized approximately two months ago (6/20). The second-quarter included a $5.7 million net loss on the sale of stations in Omaha and land in Covina, California. Salem Media Group projects third-quarter total revenue to be flat or up 2% from 2017’s $65.4 million.
Round Three of July 2018 PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Orlando, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 survey period covered June 21 – July 18. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.
TALKERS News Notes. Under newly-signed five-year deals, Joe Bowen and Jim Ralph will return calling Toronto Maple Leafs hockey games. The NHL team’s radio broadcasts are split between Rogers sports talk CJCL “Sports Net 590 The Fan” and Bell Media sports talk CHUM “TSN Radio 1050.” Per The Toronto Sun, the deal is for radio only. This year’s Hockey Hall of Fame Foster Hewitt award winner – Bowen – has been calling Toronto Maple Leafs games since 1982; Ralph has been on the broadcasts since 1997 ….. Morning driver John Hines is retiring at the end of the month from heritage Entercom Minneapolis news/talk WCCO. Newly-arrived (from Entercom Philadelphia) operations manager Andy Bloom is holding on-air auditions to fill that upcoming “News Radio 830” vacancy. In a station memo obtained by City Pages, Bloom writes, “My only interest is getting someone that will generate an audience. The fact is, the majority of news/talk radio listeners are center-right.” ….. Former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dennis Brown is named co-host of KNBR’s pregame and postgame NFL coverage. This marks the 14th year of 49ers football on the Cumulus Media San Francisco sports talk outlet. Program director Jeremiah Crowe comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Dennis Brown to the KNBR family. Dennis brings a Super Bowl champion’s perspective to our coverage, and he will maintain a regular analyst role throughout the week during our primetime talk programming. The addition of Dennis further strengthens KNBR’s NFL roster as the strongest in all of sports radio.” Brown, who was a 49ers television analyst from 2012 – 2017, adds, “As a Bay Area native, I’m very excited to be joining KNBR’s game-day broadcast team. I’ve listened to KNBR for decades and jumped at the opportunity to join their pregame and postgame coverage.” Brown was the 47th overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft and played all seven years of his career for San Francisco, including 1995, when he was part of the team that won Super Bowl XXIX ….. Meanwhile, in Seattle, Dave Wyman is named radio analyst for the NFL’s Seahawks on Bonneville-owned flagships KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” and news/talk KIRO-FM “Radio 97.3.” The former linebacker (Seahawks and Denver Broncos) will work alongside play-by-play announcer Steve Raible during the regular season; Jen Mueller and John Clayton return as sideline reporters ….. Cleveland-based podcast production and radio syndication network Front Porch Media Network acquires Pit Pass Media Group, producers of weekly two-hour motorcycle racing podcast “Pit Pass Moto,” which has had 785,015 episode downloads in the last four years. Front Porch chief executive officer Michael DeAloia notes, “We look forward to enhancing the brand and building new content. We continue to concentrate on building a dynamic and engaging podcast portfolio. ‘Pit Pass Moto’ is a prestigious podcast and one that merits additional resources and investment.” The podcast’s partner and guest host Ed Kuhlenkamp remarks, “We are excited about the Front Porch Media acquisition and what it means for the show’s fans. We believe Front Porch Media has the resources required to take the ‘Pit Pass Moto’ brand to the next level.”
Harrison Podcast Resurrects 36-Year-Old Interview with Apple I and Apple II Inventor Steve Wozniak. In commemoration of Apple, Inc. reaching the historic milestone of a one trillion dollar valuation, TALKERS founder Michael Harrison dug up a 36-year-old interview that he conducted with Apple, Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak, the designer and inventor of the original Apple I and II personal computers. It is the centerpiece of this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Originally aired in 1982 on the pioneering national cable TV talk show “Harrison’s Mic,” the 24-minute conversation explores the beginnings of Apple Computer, Inc. (as it was then called) from what was a relatively recent perspective (it was only six years old). More importantly, it reveals the prescient thinking and perspective of one of the most important electronic designers and computer scientists of the digital era (and eventual philanthropist) when he was only 32 years old and society had merely scratched the surface of the revolution about to change the way people live and think. This fascinating interview is a must-listen for pop culture enthusiasts and media freaks. Michael Harrison states, “I am only first understanding the level of historical and intellectual gold that exists in the thousands of interviews, specials and broadcasts collecting dust in my archives that go back a half-century. We never realized when this content was being created in those early days that it would be of such historical interest and value. It just seemed like disposable pop content of the moment. This gem of a conversation with the great Steve Wozniak, which I hadn’t heard in more than three decades, is a prime example. I am so happy to share it in 2018 upon the milestone of Apple setting such astonishing records.” To listen to the interview in its entirety, please click here.
Mueller Investigation; Ohio Special Election/Primaries; Manafort Trial/Gates Testimony, California Wildfire and the Environment, Trump China Tariffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Discussed Yesterday (8/8). The Robert Mueller probe; the special election in Ohio and key primaries in several states, the trial of Paul Manafort highlighted by the damaging testimony of Rick Gates; the deadly California wildfires and their possible causes; and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (8/8), according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. “Summer Camp,” a two-day, outdoor music concert showcasing the different sounds of alternative rock, will be held this Saturday (8/11) and Sunday (8/12) at Redmond, Washington’s Marymoor Park. Entercom Seattle’s KNDD “107.7 The End” hosts the tenth annual event, which will feature – among others – AWOLNATION, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Manchester Orchestra, Robert DeLong, and Elle King. A portion of the ticket sales will go to Pearl Jam’s “Home Fund” to fight homelessness in Seattle. The “Home Fund” is part of the Vitalogy Foundation, which supports the efforts of non-profit organizations and their work in the fields of community health, the environment, arts and education, and social change ….. Changes at Cumulus Media Syracuse find CHR WNTQ “93-Q The #1 Hit Music Station” music director/afternoon drive talent Rick Roberts boosted to assistant program director/digital content manager, while production director Joey Walker takes over as “93-Q” mid-day host/digital content manager for alternative WAQX “95-X” and rock WXTL “105.9 The Rebel.” Operations manager Tom Mitchell comments, “We are pleased to promote from within. In these new roles, both Rick and Joey will apply valuable fresh perspective to market leader ’93-Q.’ Rick assumes all APD duties, along with digital content oversight/management and the afternoon-drive air shift. Joey brings talent and enthusiasm to the ’93-Q’ midday slot. Both will continue to develop new opportunities for us in the digital and social media realm.” ….. Former 12-year vice president of operations for Rubber City Radio Akron’s WQMX “94.9 Your Station – Your Country,” Sue Wilson Cordle, restarts her voiceover business with Sue Wilson Creative. She previously was Cleveland adult contemporary WDOK’s director/programming for 12 years; a programming consultant for McVay Media; and director/programming of Salem Cleveland contemporary Christian WFHM “95.5 The Fish” and co-owned Christian talk WHKW “AM 1220 The Word.” ….. In conjunction with the National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), Kizart Media Partners (KMP) will present the 18th annual “Power of Urban Radio Forum” October 4th and 5th in Washington, DC. This year’s National Service awardee, Procter & Gamble chief business officer Marc Pritchard, will be the keynote speaker. KMP founder/managing director Sherman Kizart notes, “We continue the tradition of bringing together influential marketers and advertising agencies to discuss the incomparable value that the African-American market and urban radio bring as key communications elements. The event coincides with NABOB’s 42nd annual Fall Broadcast Management Conference. NABOB and PURF conference registrations are $200 for members; $400 for non-members ….. Chicago media reporter Robert Feder is first to report that, sometime next year, legendary “Windy City” programmer/on-air talent Tommy Edwards will publish his memoir, which will feature stories of Edwards’ 54-year radio career. Highlights will surely include his time working with the iconic Larry Lujack and moonlighting as public address announcer for the Chicago Bulls. Four years ago, Edwards retired from CBS Radio’s classic hits-oldies WJMK “K-Hits 104.3” (now Entercom-owned urban-rhythmic oldies WBMX “104.3 Jams”) ….. Grammy-nominated country artist Cam will serve as the first host of Slacker Radio’s “Women Crush Everyday” (#WCE Country), a channel devoted to introducing and elevating female country artists. “Women Crush Everyday” will feature commentary and playlist selections from ladies in the music industry. Slacker’s country format captain Jess Wright declares, “We have amazingly talented women making music in Nashville and they deserve to be heard. In 2017, more than 97% of the artists who appeared on the year-end country top 40 were male. This doesn’t reflect the quality of music created by women – it reflects a lack of support from the gatekeepers of country music who believe that women have limited commercial appeal. Through Slacker, we can bring the music of female country artists directly to our audience, curated by the people who are most passionate about it – the women in Nashville’s music industry.” ….. Interim general manager of Bellevue Community College-owned KBCS, Seattle – Carol Handley – is named director of music programming at Friends of 88.5 FM’s KNKX in the same market and will begin her new duties one week from next Monday (8/20). Director of content Matt Martinez notes, “Carol has proven success in building and nurturing teams and on-air talent; an entrepreneurial spirit; and a love of storytelling. With her deep roots in the Seattle music scene, I am confident she will redouble our commitment to supporting this vital and vibrant community.” Handley succeeds Nick Francis, who is retiring after 13 years in that position. In Seattle’s July 2018 Nielsen Audio PPM report, KNKX ranks #14, dropping the six-tenths it gained in June (3.0 – 3.6 – 3.0, 6+).
Rod Shares Red Roses With Dresdale. During his interview with ABC Radio‘s Andrea Dresdale (r), one of the most prolific pop star interviewers in radio, the ageless Rod Stewart (l) discussed his new album “Blood Red Roses” and his headlining tour with Cyndi Lauper.
PodcastOne-Commissioned Brand Lift Studies Indicate Positive Results for Advertisers. This series of comprehensive studies by Edison Research was commissioned by PodcastOne and scrutinized the results of advertising tests with five major national consumer brands across five different product and service categories. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz and Edison Research VP of strategy Tom Webster say that this is a “first-ever study of pre- and post-campaign brand lift for podcast advertisers” and was conducted over the last half of 2016. It shows “significant positive impact of podcast advertising on brand recall, intent to purchase and recall of specific messaging.” Some of the key findings include: 1) More than 60% of listeners mentioned a specific grocery brand post-campaign, up from 7% among listeners in the pre-study; 2) Unaided product awareness increased from the pre-study to the post-study by 47% for a financial services product, by 37% for an automobile aftermarket product and by 24% for a lawn and garden product; 3) In the post-study, over one-third of respondents had a “very favorable” opinion of an automobile aftermarket product, up from 18% in pre-study. In the post-study, 22% said they were “very likely” to consider using a lawn and garden product, up from 16% in the pre-study; 4) Awareness of a specific campaign message for an automobile aftermarket product increased by 60% from the pre-study to the post-study, and for a casual dining restaurant by 76%. Edison says it conducted three separate studies in 2016 on behalf of PodcastOne to examine the effectiveness of podcast advertising for five national brands. Some of these brands were well known, but launching new messaging, while others were lesser-known brands looking for increased awareness and trial. Edison reports that in all cases, online surveys of the audiences of several leading podcasts were conducted before the podcast advertising campaigns ran, and again after each brand had run 4-6 weeks’ worth of advertisements on those podcasts, using the same methodology in each case. The results of these pre- and post-campaign studies showed that these podcast audiences were receptive to brand messages, and showed an increased willingness to consider and/or purchase those brands. PodcastOne’s Pattiz comments, “Our core focus has always been to independently verify that the podcast format provides enhanced brand impact well beyond traditional advertising formats. These results further validate our mult-tiered approach to integrated advertising and measurement.”
TALKERS News Notes. After just five months on the job, it appears that radio personality Arnie States has exited Lotus’ sports talker KUUB, Reno “ESPN Radio 94.5” where he hosted the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm show. States’ info has been scrubbed from the station website. States was previously one-third of the “Rob, Arnie and Dawn” show at KRXQ, Sacramento…..The nationally syndicated “America Outdoors Radio” reports three new stations joining its list of affiliate stations: KPAY, Chico, California; KZWY, Sheridan, Wyoming; and KXLE, Ellensburg, Washington. The weekly show is hosted by John Kruse and covers topics including fishing, hunting and the shooting sports.
Trump Travel Order Battle Tops Talkers TenTM. The court – and public opinion fight – over President Donald Trump’s order temporarily banning travel to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim nations was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the confirmation hearings for Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the related rebuke of Senator Elizabeth Warren for impugning Sessions. Coming in at #3 was Democratic senators’ attacks on labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder, followed by criticism of the U.S.’ Yemen raid on Islamic State targets 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.
Does the Trump Era Present Fresh Opportunity for a New Chapter in Progressive Talk Media? The leading progressive talk radio host in America, Thom Hartmann, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” They discuss how the passionate galvanization of a large segment of the American public described as the “resistance” movement (to the Donald Trump administration) is sparking new opportunity for the expansion of progressive talk media. Hartmann describes the “explosion” of growth being enjoyed by his multi-platform syndicated radio and television talk shows in terms of affiliates, viewers, callers and social media traffic since the election of the 45th president. Harrison and Hartmann explore the social dynamics involved in tapping into under-served American passions erupting on all ends of the political spectrum – basically agreeing that these are extremely fertile times for news/talk radio of all political persuasions. To listen to this not-to-be-missed conversation in its entirety, 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.
Greg Solk Named PD for CBS Radio’s WXRT and WJMK in Chicago. Programming pro Greg Solk has a new gig and he gets to remain in his hometown of Chicago. The former Hubbard Radio SVP of programming joins CBS Radio’s crosstown station group to serve as program director and operations manager for legendary rocker WXRT and classic hits WJMK “KHits 104.3.” The company says Solk “joins the Chicago team with a goal of building loyalty among KHits’ engaged adult listeners while also spearheading a new era of growth at XRT, one of Chicago’s most respected radio brands.” CBS Radio Chicago VP of programming Todd Cavanah comments, “Greg grew up listening to XRT as a teenager and spent decades programming against it. This is an unbelievable opportunity for us to have not only a true fan of XRT but a strategic thinker to make XRT the number one rock choice in Chicago. His deep knowledge of music’s past, present and future will keep XRT evolving forward by remembering the heritage of this unique Chicago brand. For ‘KHits,’ Greg brings tremendous knowledge to the classic hits format and we welcome him as a partner on our programming team.” Speaking about this new opportunity, Solk states, “I have been blessed in my career to work for some amazing stations in my hometown, but this opportunity is off the charts. Everyone knows there is no station or staff anywhere in the world that can rival the 45-year heritage of WXRT — ‘Chicago’s Finest Rock.’ I am humbled to be a part of its brilliant legacy. To be asked to also take the reins of ‘KHits’ makes this the most exciting move I can imagine. I can’t wait to join the great team of professionals at CBS Radio. I am honored by the confidence Tim Pohlman, Todd Cavanah and Chris Oliviero have placed in me.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In an ongoing effort to illustrate the importance of broadcast radio to the discovery of new music, iHeartMedia is engaging in a world premiere of Katy Perry’s latest single, “Chained to the Rhythm.” All day today, the song will air at the top of every hour (until 11:00 pm) on 150 iHM CHR, hot AC and rhythm stations. iHeartMedia says that “research shows that more than 70% of listeners – including users of on-demand services like Spotify or Pandora – discover new music first on broadcast radio. That’s why broadcast airplay is critical in the success of breaking new music.”…..On Sunday (2/12), WDVD, Detroit morning personality Blaine Fowler partners with Sweet Magnolia’s Southern Cooking in Southfield, Michigan to honor exceptional local women at the “Blaine’s Best Banquet.” The event honors women from Southeastern Michigan who’ve “made outstanding contributions in their community, their workplace, or at home.” Fowler says, “The response has been overwhelming and extremely heartening. We knew we’d get some great stories, though we never expected that we would receive so many! These stories tell of extraordinary commitment, determination, strength, selflessness, caring, and love.” Ten nominated ladies who were hand-selected by Blaine will be honored in front of their friends and families. Blaine will be telling each of their stories, as well as presenting the honorees with a Blaine’s Best commemorative award…..Pictured here at Wednesday evening’s “A Heroes and Friends’ Tribute to Randy Travis” at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena are (from l-r) Kelly Lynn Janson (singer/songwriter Chris Janson’s wife), Chris Janson, NASH director of programming John Shomby, and singer/songwriter and “Mornings with Ty, Kelly & Chuck” co-host Chuck Wicks. Wicks was one of the 30 performers at Wednesday’s tribute. Proceeds from the event went to the Randy Travis Foundation for stroke research.
Charlie XCX Visits Beasley Las Vegas. Pop star and Road Runner/Atlantic Records recording artist Charlie XCX poses for a photo backstage with some of the staff of Beasley Media Group’s hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9.” From left to right are: KVGS morning show co-host Aimee Montgomery, afternoon personality and APD/MD Brian Hammer, Charlie XCX, night jock Chad Letts, and OM/PD John Candelaria.