2019 Radio Hall of Famers Inducted. On Friday evening at Gotham Hall in New York City, nine radio broadcasters were enshrined in the Radio Hall of Fame. Inductees Jim Rome, Joe Madison, Sean Hollywood Hamilton, Harry Harrison, Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter, John Tesh, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Ryan Seacrest represented the class of 2019 at the ceremony that included 2018 Radio Hall of Fame inductee Mike Francesa as Master of Ceremonies. Fellow RHOF inductees Jim Bohannon, Jim Kerr, and Kid Kelly were in attendance along with celebrity introducers actor Christian Slater (for Hollywood Hamilton), actress Connie Selleca (for husband John Tesh), and “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon (for his friend Ryan Seacrest). Jim Bohannon served as announcer of the event. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and his wife, professor/author Bernadette Duncan, were among the hundreds of industry luminaries, friends and family in attendance. “It was a truly memorable evening in a dazzling setting that was a heartfelt celebration of radio and the special breed of talented people who have literally been breathing life into it golden age after golden age,” says Harrison. “We salute the dedicated work of Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin, vice chairman Dennis Green, and the entire nominating committee for organizing and presenting such a deeply meaningful event honoring an indisputably deserving Class of 2019.” Harrison adds, “One of the most noble deeds any organization, platform or individual can perform for an artistic community such as our beloved radio industry – especially as it reaches the extraordinary milestone of its 100th anniversary in a rapidly changing world – is to give credit where credit is due.” Pictured above are (from l-r): Jim Rome, Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton, Ryan Seacrest, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Joe Madison, Kevin Ryder, Gene “Bean” Baxter, Harry Harrison (seated), and John Tesh. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Radio Hall of Fame
From the 2019 Radio Hall of Fame Induction. Above, wheelchair-bound Harry Harrison in the audience watches his children Patti and Patrick make an emotional presentation inducting him into the Radio Hall of Fame.
From the 2019 Radio Hall of Fame Induction. Inductee Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio with his old friend, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison.
Louisiana Judge Denies Felony Arrest Warrant for Former WWL, New Orleans Sports Talk Host Seth Dunlap. The Times-Picayune reports that last week, a New Orleans Police Department detective investigating the case involving former WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans sports talk host Seth Dunlap was denied a warrant to arrest him on a felony count of extortion. Regular TALKERS readers who’ve been following this case remember that after the official WWL Twitter account posted a gay slur against the openly homosexual Dunlap on September 10, an Entercom investigation appeared to indicate Dunlap sent the tweet via his phone, although Dunlap’s lawyer says Dunlap did not have access to the account and didn’t have its password. She also says Dunlap took a lie detector test and passed. Subsequent talks between Entercom and Dunlap’s legal team reportedly included Dunlap’s request for $1.8 million to settle his charge against the station of allowing a hostile workplace environment. Entercom turned the case over to the NOPD and the cops got a warrant to search Dunlap’s phone. In last week’s ruling, Magistrate Commissioner Robert Blackburn said the evidence presented didn’t rise to the level of the definition of felony extortion. The NOPD says the case is still “active and ongoing.” Dunlap, through his attorney, has vowed to sue WWL over the hostile workplace matter.
PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format. Less than 25% of news/talk stations suffered a (weekly 6+ AQH share) ratings drop-off from the September survey to the October survey. Gainers were led by Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City (+2.4). Comparing year-over-year numbers, 51% of stations on our panel are down, while just 37% see their ratings go up. News/talkers up over last year include: Entercom’s WCCO, Minneapolis; iHeartMedia’s WJNO, West Palm Beach; Cumulus Media’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City; and iHeartMedia’s WREC, Memphis. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Monday Memo: That First Call. As programming cutbacks continue, smart on-air people are involved in advertising sales. In this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke shares tips for getting – and making the most of – face time with prospects. Read it here.
Impeachment Proceedings/Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, Hong Kong Protests, Veterans Day Holiday, Berlin Wall Falls Anniversary, Looming Bitter Cold Weather, and Australia Bushfires/Climate Change Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment process against President Trump and the testimony about President Trump’s alleged quid pro quo offer to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the weekend’s violent protests in Hong Kong; the Veterans Day holiday; the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; the bitter cold temperatures forecast for parts of the U.S. this week; the devastating bushfires affecting Australia’s eastern coast and the role of climate change in that country’s drought were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that Stephen A. Smith has inked a new deal with ESPN – a five-year pact that will pay him about $8 million per year. As TALKERS reported last week, Smith is giving up his midday radio show on the ESPN Radio network at the end of the year. He’ll continue to appear on the cable channel’s “First Take” and will make more appearances on “SportsCenter” and on NBA coverage…..The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Rob Tornoe writes that Philadelphia sports media personality Rob Ellis is returning to local TV as co-host of a new show on KYW-TV called, “Odds On,” with station sports anchor Pat Gallen. The sports-betting themed, 30-minute program will air Sundays at 8:30 am. Ellis will continue to handle fill-in duties for Entercom’s WIP-FM. He’s been sitting in for the convalescing Big Daddy Graham on the overnight show. He previously served with NBC Sports Philadelphia for 17 years…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime WVON, Chicago afternoon talk host Cliff Kelley is being honored in “An Amazing Tribute to Cliff Kelley” on Saturday (11/16) at Parkway Ballroom, in Chicago. Kelley spent 25 years with the Midway Broadcasting urban news/talk station in both the morning and afternoon drive dayparts. He retired from the station last March.
WRKO, Boston Raises $230,000-plus for Disabled American Veterans. Last Friday (11/8), iHeartMedia Boston news/talk “AM 680 WRKO, The Voice of Boston” raised more than $230,000 to benefit the Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts during the DAV radiothon that took place from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. iHeartMedia Boston VP of news/talk Rob Sanchez says, “Since our nation’s inception, our military men and women have sacrificed their own lives for our freedom. It’s an honor for AM 680 WRKO to have this opportunity to show respect for our veterans with the help of our generous listeners. And to raise $233,593 this year is incredibly gratifying.” Pictured above are (from l-r): DAV-AM director of public relations Robert Lynch, WRKO APD Jarred Diglio, DAV-MA adjutant/CEO Dan Stack, and WRKO morning host Jeff Kuhner.
KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner Michael Zwerling is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The long-time owner of news/talk heritage station KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA, Michael Zwerling, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Zwerling, known throughout the radio industry as one of the last of the fiercely independent owner/operators, is described by TALKERS publisher Harrison as “an extremely colorful, quirky, eccentric, and intelligent lover of radio – a refreshing counterpoint to the budget-obsessed, community-indifferent, mega-corporate mentality that has consumed the decision-making processes of much of today’s industry.” In a free-wheeling conversation between two old friends, MH and MZ discuss the changing nature of Freedom of Speech and challenges facing the First Amendment in the 21st century digital era, plus more. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of the TALKERS email newsletter.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. WPXY-FM, Rochester air personality Brianna “Breezy” Sloth is promoted at the Entercom CHR outlet to morning drive co-host alongside morning radio pro Corey James on the “#TeamPXY” show. Entercom Rochester SVP and market manager Sue Munn comments, “Breezy has an undeniable work ethic and tenacity while delivering her one-of-a-kind, friendly and outgoing personality on the air. She has a real familiarization with our station, this market and its devoted listeners, and we’re thrilled to have her on board.” Breezy joined ‘98 PXY’ as an intern for the station’s morning show in 2017. Following her graduation from SUNY Oswego, she assumed various roles for the station, including in promotions and programming as WPXY’s evening show host, morning show fill-in host, and morning and evening drive traffic reporter…..Entercom assigns programming duties for country KMNB, Minneapolis to WUSN, Chicago PD Kenny Jay in the aftermath of the recent departure of KMNB PM drive host and programmer Lucas Phelan. Jay will continue to work from the company’s Chicago offices…..Programming pro Dylan Salisbury is leaving his APD/music director role at Cumulus Media’s CHR WZPL-FM, Indianapolis for a gig soon-to-be-announced. Cumulus Indy operations manager J.R. Ammons says in a memo to staff, “During his two years at ZPL, Dylan has proven to be a smart, strategic, passionate programmer and I will miss our music arguments every Monday. Please join me in congratulating Dylan on this well-deserved promotion; his last day will be next Friday the 15th. Until a permanent replacement is named, Zakk Babb will be filling in on ZPL.”…..Pictured below in New York City on Friday night (11/8) is pop radio icon Ryan Seacrest being inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame by “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon.
PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format. Roughly the same number of news/talk stations were up (36%) – weekly, 6+ AQH share – as were down (38%), comparing August numbers to September numbers (the rest were flat). Gainers were led by Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis (+1.4) and Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville (+1.4). Comparing September 2018 to September 2019, 48% of the stations on our panel were down, while 39% were up and the remainder were unchanged. Year-over-year gainers were led by iHeartMedia’s WJNO, West Palm Beach (+1.9), CMG’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville (+1.8), and iHeartMedia’s WREC, Memphis (+1.8). Four news/talk stations ranked #1 in their markets (6+) during the September PPM survey: CMG’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati; Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5”; and CMG’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
‘Our American Stories’ Offers Veterans Day Special. For this year’s Veterans Day on November 11, American Private Radio – the company that produces the nationally syndicated “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb” – is making available a special two-hour Veterans Day Radio Tribute for that Monday. APR says, “The program will feature stirring letters and biographical accounts from all the major battles in U.S. history and the lessons they offer as we honor our veterans, past and present.” Stations wishing to air this commercial-free, two-hour FTP downloadable program (or satellite delivered via XDS feed) should call “Our American Stories” at 855-276-8020 or visit them on online at OurAmericanNetwork.org.
Entercom Unveils ‘Rewind’ Technology for Sports, News, and Talk Shows. The ability to pause and rewind live radio shows is becoming available for users of Entercom’s RADIO.COM, according to the company. The RADIO.COM REWIND feature automatically records the last 24 hours of broadcast content on enabled stations and makes it easy for the user to navigate to their favorite show and begin listening from any point in the broadcast. Entercom says this feature is debuting on its most popular sports, news, and talk stations with more shows added over time and adds that this new functionality marks the first-ever, all-in-one, on-demand audio experience for broadcast radio content. Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley comments, “As a leader in audio, we are thrilled to introduce innovative technology that will transform the way audiences consume and engage with broadcast radio by reimaging it for a digital environment. RADIO.COM REWIND provides a best-in-class listening experience by delivering the premier news, talk, and sports audio content our audience wants, whenever and however they want it.” The feature allows audiences to start their listening experience from any point in any show and select a playback speed up to two times the original speed. Listeners can also quickly and easily return to the live broadcast at any time. In the coming months, audiences will also be able to share moments of live broadcast radio content for distribution on social media and via email.
Premiere Networks to Rep FNTSY Sports Radio Network. The FNTSY Sports Radio Network – a collaboration between owner SportsGrid and the Elvis Duran Group – is announcing a partnership with Premiere Networks for the latter to serve as national ad sales rep. EDG partner/CEO David Katz comments, “This partnership propels us further into the multi-billion-dollar industry of fantasy sports, priming us to take full advantage of the medium’s meteoric growth, particularly since the recent legalization of sports wagering. With industry leader Premiere Networks by our side, there’s no stopping us.” The Elvis Duran Group says that since partnering with FNTSY Sports Network, it has assembled broadcast teams to report live from such events as the National Fantasy Baseball Championships (NFBC) and has launched new programming, including the daily show, “Fantasy Sports Today,” hosted by fantasy sports talker Craig Mish and Joe Pisapia, sports analyst and author of the number-one-selling Fantasy Black Book series.
TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast venture is coming from iHeartMedia and actor, comedian, and producer Will Ferrell. The new “Big Money Players Network” – focusing on comedy shows – will roll out in 2020. The network is preparing to launch 10 podcasts – scripted and unscripted – over the next 24 months produced by Ferrell and iHeartMedia that will be available on iHeartRadio and everywhere else podcasts are heard. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “Will Ferrell is one of the greatest comedians of our lifetime and the unique synergy between Will and iHeartMedia will continue to lead us in accomplishing even more great audio content together. We’ve worked extremely close with Will over the past year and our listeners love what we’ve offered them so far. The creative opportunities that an iHeart and Will Ferrell collaboration offer are limitless and we can’t wait to introduce fresh, hilarious, new content to listeners.”…..Greg Likens leaves his weekend sports talk host position at Entercom’s WAXY-AM, Miami “790 The Ticket” for work outside the radio business. During his career in sports media, he served as producer for WQAM, Miami’s Joe Rose morning show…..Envision Networks’ home improvement show host Eric Goranson of “Around The House With Eric G.” is named among the Top 50 Innovators of 2019 in Kitchen and Bath Design. The list was created and voted on by kitchen and bath design industry peers to highlight innovators whose work, creativity, and professionalism are leading the industry. Goranson says, “I am honored that my industry peers and colleagues placed me in the top 50 innovators for 2019.”
Impeachment Inquiry, Ukraine Controversy, U.S. Syria Policy, 2020 Presidential Race/Ohio Debate, Catch and Kill Book, and Fort Worth Cop Kills Black Woman Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/14). The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump; the controversy over Rudy Giuliani’s and the Bidens’ activities in Ukraine; the fate of the Kurds and the Trump Administration’s Syria policy; the 12 Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and tonight’s debate in Ohio; the sexual predation allegations against NBC execs and the rape allegation against Matt Lauer outlined in Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill book; and a now-fired Forth Worth police officer kills a black woman in her home were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. A change in the programming department at SummitMedia’s Springfield, Missouri station group as Bo Jaxon exits after seven months as operations manager and PD/morning drive host for country KTTS. Handling mornings for now is KTTS personality Nancy Simpson…..Pictured below at KKFR, Phoenix’s “POWERHOUSE 2019” concert featuring Chris Brown and Ty Dolla $ign are (from l-r): KKFR afternoon drive host Crisco Kidd along with DJ Automatic, Dana Cortez, and Anthony A of the “Dana Cortez Show.”
Larry Wilson’s Alpha Broadcasting and L&L to Merge; Company to Buy Main Line Broadcasting for $57 Million. A big two-pronged announcement from Larry Wilson’s Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting: First, the two companies will merge into one to be named Alpha Media. Second, the company will purchase 19 stations in four markets from Main Line Broadcasting for $57 million. Here’s what the companies announce. “The current corporate team for Alpha Broadcasting and L & L Broadcasting will remain and operate the company from the corporate headquarters in Portland, Oregon.” Alpha operates six stations in Portland while L&L operates 43 stations in seven markets. L&L has been overseeing the operation of the Portland stations for the last year pursuant to a management agreement with Alpha. Chairman Larry Wilson states, “The merger will be the culmination of a long term plan to ultimately combine the two companies and will allow us to streamline our oversight of all 49 stations to take advantage of the many synergies.” But wait, there will soon be more than 49 stations. The announcement that L & L Broadcasting is entering into an agreement to acquire 19 radio stations from Main Line Broadcasting for $57 million will expand that to 68 stations. Main Line Broadcasting is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and operates in the Louisville; Richmond-Petersburg, Virginia; Dayton; and Hagerstown, Maryland-Chambersburg, Pennsylvania markets. L & L Broadcasting president and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “We’ve worked hard to maintain strong community involvement and an intimate connection with our listeners and advertisers in all of our markets. I’m confident that we’ll be able to implement our mission of live and local radio in the Main Line markets.” Main Line CEO Marc Guralnick adds, “I am extremely proud of all of Main Line Broadcasting’s employees who have done a phenomenal job over the years. I am pleased to have these great broadcasters now under the leadership and vision of Larry Wilson and Bob Proffitt. There’s not a better company than L&L Broadcasting to ensure this continued success.”
Randi Rhodes Calls it Quits. Progressive talk show host Randi Rhodes, according to a press statement from syndicator Premiere Networks, “has decided to end her show” as of May 16. The presser says, “We wish Randi well and thank her for her years of incredible creativity and unique voice.” Rhodes – a native New Yorker – was a very successful, longtime local talk host at WJNO, in West Palm Beach who went into syndication with Air America during the early 2000s and moved over to Premiere after Air America’s demise. Last November it was reported that Premiere would be dropping the Randi Rhodes show but two days later that was reversed. There’s been no official statement about today’s news from Rhodes herself.
Talk Personality Michael Smerconish to Be Interviewed at Own Book Club Event. Fans of talk host Michael Smerconish are aware of his regularly scheduled book club events that go back to his days hosting morning drive on WPHT, Philadelphia. The setup was simple: Smerconish would invite an author he enjoyed to come to town and be interviewed by him in front of a live audience. The author would then sign books and mingle with fans. Now, the tables are turning as Smerconish prepares to release his first novel titled, Talk: A Novel (Cider Mill Press 2014), and he will be the one interviewed. On Wednesday, May 7, at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania, Smerconish will sit down with Larry Kane to be interviewed about his new book that deals with “the inner workings of conservative talk radio and campaign politics.”
Third Round of March PPM Data Released. PPM data from the third of four groups of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. Sitting in for Premiere Networks‘ Rush Limbaugh today (4/18) is TheBlaze national security editor Buck Sexton. The former CIA officer and NYPD Intelligence Division analyst says of sitting in for Limbaugh, “If you told me when I started doing radio in 2013 that by 2014 I would be sitting in for Rush Limbaugh, I would have laughed. Today, it is happening, and what would have sounded like a joke then is the realization of a dream now. I couldn’t be more excited, or more thankful, for the opportunity.”…..NFL broadcasting icon Dan Dierdorf switches to the college ranks after retiring from CBS. He’ll become the color man in the radio booth for University of Michigan football alongside play-by-play man Jim Brandstatter (who makes the shift from his color analyst position after 34 years). Both Dierdorf and Brandstatter played at Michigan during the 1969 and 1970 seasons…..Sports talk personality Jason Goff exits CBS RADIO’s WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” where he’s been the evening host…..Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace is staying put at the cable news/talker as he’s inked a multi-year renewal that will keep him hosting “Fox News Sunday” and involved with the news operation’s political and elections coverage…..ABC News Radio’s “Perspective” program produces a special Earth Day edition titled, “Going Green,” and is available to affiliate stations today (4/18). ABC says Iron Chef and host of ABC’s “The Chew” — Michael Symon — shares his gardening tips, the benefits of growing your own vegetables and the many ways you can turn your backyard space into a culinary destination. Experts will also be on hand to debunk common food labels and share their green grocery shopping tips.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Armed American Radio” with host Mark Walters is added to the program schedule at KBIM, Roswell, New Mexico…..The Genesis Communications syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi joins the lineup at KLID, Poplar Bluff, Missouri and WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina.
Russian Aggression in Ukraine Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of April 14-18. The continuing aggression by Vladimir Putin’s Russian troops in Ukraine and reports of Jews being targeted with neo-Nazi tactics tied atop the Talkers TenTM chart as the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio this week. At #2 was criticism of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was income tax return day tied with talk of statistics indicating the number of Americans receiving benefits, and at #4 was speculation about candidates for president in 2016. 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.