Michael Savage Petitions Boris Johnson to Lift His British Travel Ban. Back in 2009, then-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith put Westwood One talk show host Michael Savage on a list of people banned from traveling to Great Britain for “fostering hatred.” Now, Savage’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz, has petitioned newly elected Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeking to have the ban lifted. In a recent conversation with TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison on the PodcastOne show, “The Michael Harrison Interview,” Savage spoke about the ban. He said that although he’s a bit of a homebody and doesn’t travel much these days, he loves the English people and the architecture and might like to visit again someday. In his petition, Horowitz writes, “The ban has stood in place for a decade. Now is the time to lift the ban and take a stand for the rights of free speech that have come under assault in the land of the Magna Carta.” Read the Washington Examiner’s coverage here.
Big Radio Closes on Janesville, Wisconsin Duo. The deal that transfers news/talk WCLO-AM, and country WJVL-FM in Janesville, Wisconsin from Southern Wisconsin Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Bliss Communications to Ben Thompson, CEO of Big Radio for $5.75 million closes. Kalil & Co. represented Thompson in this transaction. Thompson is the son of Scott Thompson, whose Big Radio owns and operates 8 signals in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. These are the last radio stations to be divested by Bliss. The company sold four Milwaukee market signals to Magnum Broadcasting in 2014.
Grimsley to Retire from Townsquare Lafayette; Burley to Take Over Cluster Leadership. Media executive Mike Grimsley is retiring from his position as market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Lafayette, Louisiana, a post he’s held for the past 25 years. Grimsley began his career in radio at the age of 18 and also worked in the Charleston, South Carolina and Phoenix markets. Townsquare is promoting Brad Burley from his post as market president and chief revenue officer in the Lake Charles, Louisiana station group to lead the Lafayette cluster. Townsquare COO Erik Hellum says, “Mike Grimsley broke the mold. He has uniquely combined leadership, passion, and drive with the sincerest care for his people and dedication to his community – all with a great sense of humor on top. Mike is one of the original Townsquare leaders and helped build our company with a steadfast commitment to great local radio while building a vibrant digital and event business. He is a broadcast legend. Thank you, Mike!”
New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled, “Infestation and Other Fighting Words!,” looks back at this past week of July 29 – August 2, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, host, WSBA, York, PA; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; Scott Masteller, program director, WBAL, Baltimore; Graham Mack, program director, Fix Radio, London, UK; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The news/talk media show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation mark for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. Hosted by Michael Harrison, this excellent show is now being made available as a service to terrestrial news/talk stations from TALKERS for on-air or online presentation on a market-exclusive basis. For information call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.
TALKERS News Notes. A few changes take place at Townsquare Media’s sports talk WEZQ-FM, Bangor, Maine “92.9 The Ticket.” Station brand manager Dale Duff is leaving his 6:00 am to 8:00 am show and former WABI-TV morning news co-anchor Wayne Harvey begins hosting “The Morning Line” in the time slot. Duff’s show will move to the 3:00 pm hour, leading into the Jim Churchill-hosted afternoon drive program….Emmis Communications’ sports talk WFNI-AM, Indianapolis “The Fan” adds another FM signal to its broadcast. The company had removed translator W228CX from the simulcast of WFNI-AM two years ago to do some engineering work on the signal. Now, “The Fan” is back on the 93.5 FM frequency in addition to AM 1070 and translator W298BB at 107.5 FM. Emmis Indianapolis vice president and market manager Bob Richards says, “We’re thrilled to have ‘The Fan’ on loud and proud at 93.5, reaching even more fans with the sports and personalities they love, especially in the western and southern areas of central Indiana.”
The 2020 Presidential Race and the CNN Debates Top News/Talk Stories for Week of July 29 – August 2. The Democrats hoping to face President Trump in 2020 and this week’s Democratic debates in Detroit were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Tied at #2 this week was President Trump’s criticism of Baltimore, race relations in general, and the Nixon–Reagan recording. Coming in at #3 was immigration and health care reform, followed by Boris Johnson, Brexit, and the British-U.S. economies tied 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. See this week’s entire chart here.
Wayne Allyn Root is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most ardent supporters of Donald Trump in today’s talk media, Wayne Allyn Root, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The Las Vegas-based talk show host, heard daily on the USA Radio Network between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm ET with the third hour (8:00 pm to 9:00 pm) simulcast on Newsmax TV, is one of the fastest rising stars in today’s news/talk media – catapulting within three years of the launch of his show in local radio to the number 62 position on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred. Harrison and Root discuss the colorful “in-your-face” host’s political and media background going all the way back to his days in Westchester, New York as a three-year old child handing out flyers for then-presidential candidate Barry Goldwater’s campaign. Root’s working-class parents were among the founding members who launched the New York State Conservative Party. In 2008, Root entered national politics and received the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential nomination to serve as its presidential candidate Bob Barr’s running mate. 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 TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Entercom’s Baltimore cluster, air personality Maria Dennis moves from hosting the midday show on CHR WWMX “MIX 106.7” to the company’s adult contemporary WLIF “Today’s 101.9.” At the same time Corinna Delgado – who also hosts the morning drive show on Entercom’s classic hits WIAD, Washington “94.7 The Drive” – is named the new midday personality for “MIX 106.7.” Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “I’ve worked with Maria for over 20 years. She’s a consummate professional and an amazing on-air talent. All of us are thrilled to have her in our Entercom family and we are excited that she’ll now bring her cheerful persona and enthusiasm to ‘Today’s 101.9.’ I’m equally excited to have Corinna Delgado, who is also already part of our Entercom family, join us to take over the midday shift at MIX 106.5.”…..Townsquare Media flips a pair of FM stations in Albany that had been simulcasting a classic rock format branded “Q103.” First, WQBK-FM becomes adult contemporary as “103.9 The Breeze.” That station will feature core artists such as Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Boyz II Men, Adele, Alicia Keys, and Kelly Clarkson. Second, WQBJ-FM is now alternative rock as “ALT 103.5.” Operations manager and program director Steve Richards says, “We are excited to launch ‘103.9 The Breeze.’ We know the station will be the perfect choice to relax to at work and anytime. We are thrilled to have ‘ALT’ back on the air playing great alternative music for the Capital region and ‘Dave & Mahoney’ in the morning.”…..On-air pro Brian Moote exits Entercom’s Los Angeles CHR KAMP “AMP 97.1” where he’d been co-hosting mornings with Edgar Sotelo for the past 18 months…..iHeartMedia’s rock WDVE, Pittsburgh honored longtime air personality Sean McDowell for his 41-year career with the station. He retired from WDVE on Wednesday (7/31). McDowell’s final broadcast party included special guests such as Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, current WDVE personalities Randy Baumann, Val Porter and Michele Michaels and past WDVE personalities Jimmy Roach, Herschel, and Kenny Gibbs. He’s pictured here with the honorary jersey sent by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Photo: Tyler Sing.
Lars Larson Inks New Deal with Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland. Talk radio star Lars Larson signs a new deal to continue hosting his daily program on Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland “FM News 101” through 2024. As part of the deal, Larson’s 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm PT show is also broadcast to 21 stations in the Pacific Northwest via Alpha Media’s Radio Northwest Network. Larson’s national radio show airs live on some 125 affiliate stations from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT via syndicator Compass Media Networks (with whom Larson also holds a multi-year contract). Alpha Media SVP and market manager Lisa Decker says, “With the biggest local talk radio audience in the region, ‘The Lars Larson Show’ reaches more than 3.5 million listeners. All of us at Alpha Media Portland, our listeners, and our advertisers are excited to extend our relationship with Lars for the next five years.” Larson comments, “I’m thrilled to renew my relationship with a station I’ve been with through half a dozen presidents, a dozen NW governors, a live volcano eruption, and more than 25 years as a reporter, anchor, and now talk host.”
Cumulus Makes WABC Programmer Change Official. Yesterday (6/3), TALKERS magazine reported that former hot AC WPLJ, New York program director Dave LaBrozzi has taken over the programming reigns of Cumulus Media’s heritage news/talk WABC, New York, replacing Craig Schwalb. Now, the company makes it official with a press release. LaBrozzi joined WPLJ in May of 2018. Prior to that he was VP of programming for what is now Entercom’s Baltimore cluster (when it was owned by CBS RADIO) that includes sports talk duo WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan” and WJZ-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1300.” He previously served as regional vice president of programming for iHeartMedia (back when it was Clear Channel) overseeing stations in Pittsburgh; Wheeling, West Virginia; and Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Cumulus New York VP and market manager Chad Lopez says, “Dave will be an incredible asset to 77 WABC and Radio 103.9/WNBM-FM, and brings experience in both the news/talk and urban AC formats to his new role with Cumulus New York. We are looking forward to continuing to grow these stations and to giving their passionate listeners even more of the content and community connection that they rely on and enjoy every day.”
The Thompson Family’s Big Radio to Acquire Two More in Janesville, Wisconsin. Two historical Janesville, Wisconsin radio stations are changing hands as Skip Bliss’ Southern Wisconsin Broadcasting (a subsidiary of Bliss Communications) agrees to sell heritage news/talk WCLO-AM and country WJVL-FM to Ben Thompson-led Big Radio for an undisclosed sum. Buyer Big Radio operates eight stations in the Southern Wisconsin markets of Beloit, Freeport, Monroe, and Janesville. Skip Bliss’ father put WCLO on the air in 1930 and WJVL-FM launched in 1947. Meanwhile, Big Radio was founded by Ben’s father Scott Thompson in 1996 with the purchase of two Monroe stations. The sale announcement states that “[u]nder Ben’s leadership, Big Radio remains committed to its founding ideals, providing superior coverage of the community’s local news, sports, entertainment, and information. Big Radio provides local news 365 days a year and its sports department broadcast over 350 regional high school sporting events last year. Ben Thompson and Big Radio believe the future of radio is local, and aggressively pursue this strategy to the benefit of its listeners and advertisers.” Kalil & Co., Inc. represents the buyer in this transaction.
New York’s WOR to Present Live Event Speaker Series. Big Apple news/talk WOR is launching an event series called “WOR Live” that will feature in-depth interviews and compelling speakers. iHeartMedia announces that for the first event, station morning personality Len Berman will moderate a panel that will analyze the news business in 2019. Joining Berman will be New York news personalities Rosanna Scotto – co-host of WNYW-TV’s “Good Day New York” – and Ernie Anastos, news anchor at WNYW “FOX News 5.” The event also features networking opportunities and lunch and takes place at the Cutting Room on June 19 at 11:30 am.
Entercom’s New York All-News Stations Win Big at NYSAPA. WCBS-AM and WINS-AM – both all-news outlets operated by Entercom Communications – won a total of 16 2018 New York State Associated Press Association Awards. WCBS 880 received first place in seven categories, including top honor for “Outstanding News Operation for Radio.” Sister station 1010 WINS was recognized with top honors in three categories, including for Best Newscast and Best Weathercast. The stations collectively received second place finishes in six categories. Winners were honored at NYSAPA’s annual awards dinner on June 1 in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Trump’s UK Visit, 2020 Presidential Race, Deadly Virginia Beach Shootings, U.S.-China Tensions, Mexican Tariff Proposal/Immigration Issues, Big Tech Anti-Trust Investigation, and Holzhauer’s ‘Jeopardy!’ Run Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/3). The official state visit to the U.K. by President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the aftermath of the shootings in Virginia Beach that left 12 dead; the diplomatic and economic tensions between the U.S. and China over the tariffs the U.S. has slapped on Chinese exports; the Trump Administration’s plan to place tariffs on Mexican exports and the Southern border immigration issues; the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into possible Big Tech anti-trust activity; and James Holzhauer’s improbable “Jeopardy!” run 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. In Detroit, iHeartMedia names Bill Black director of urban programming for hip hop WJLB and urban contemporary WMXD “MIX 92.3,” taking over for Nate Bell, who left that position earlier this year. Black comes to Detroit from his most recent position with Radio One in Cleveland programming hip hop WENZ and urban contemporary WZAK. He says, “I am really thrilled to join the iHeartMedia team and be able to do what I love. The talented programmers that I get to collaborate with, coupled with these legendary Detroit urban stations are unmatched and I’m excited to get to work.”…..iHeartMedia appoints Dustin “Fletcher” Matthews program director for alternative WEND, Charlotte “106.5 The End,” effective June 10. Matthews moves from the company’s St. Louis region where he was director of alternative rock programming. iHeartMedia Virginia-Carolina Region SVP Chadwick “A.J.” Hausknecht says, “Dustin is one of the best alternative format programmers in the country. His unmeasurable creativity and distinctive out-of-the-box thinking will be a great addition to our super passionate and strategic programming family here at iHeartMedia Charlotte.”…..Alpha Media announces that programmer Brown is moving from his PD position in Louisville to Columbia, South Carolina where he’ll serve as operations manager. He continues as format captain for the company’s urban, urban AC, and gospel brands. Alpha Media regional president Mike Hartel says, “Brown is a natural leader and he has been a star in our company for a while now. We can’t wait to bring his big ideas and his big heart to our organization and our community in Columbia!”…..This past weekend, Premiere Networks-syndicated personality Delilah (left) appeared on the Food Network program, “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen,” hosted by country star Trisha Yearwood (right). Yearwood also sat down for an interview with Delilah for her podcast “Love Someone with Delilah.” The three-time Grammy Award-winner discussed her life and career, including her first full-length studio album in more than 10 years, Let’s Be Frank: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra…..Entercom expands its LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network CHANNEL Q to new markets, including: Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Kansas City, San Diego, and Washington D.C. The network now brings the latest in LGBTQ+ news and information, pop culture, and new music to listeners in a total of 19 local markets and via the RADIO.COM app nationwide…..WAQX, New York morning personality Shelli Sonstein – longtime co-host of Q104.3’s “Jim Kerr Rock & Roll Morning Show” – led her fundraising team in the 2019 NYC Tunnel to Towers Climb that benefits the families of first responders and military personnel killed in action. Sonstein led her team (pictured below) in their age group with a record time climbing the 104 stories of the World Trade Center. She says, “I would like to thank Elvis Duran and my co-host Jim Kerr for their very generous donations, and of course, ‘Q104.3’ and iHeartMedia for supporting my efforts. My entire team finished this very difficult climb and vows to be back again next year to raise even more funds and awareness of this great organization.”