ABC Radio and Skyview Networks Expand Radio Syndication Efforts. A statement from both companies says ABC Radio and Skyview Networks are “further aligning” their resources to “identify, develop and syndicate talent and programs to broadcast radio.” For its part, ABC Radio will seek out talent syndication opportunities – for both music and news/talk formats – and will handle the affiliate sales angle, while Skyview Networks will take care of national sales and distribution. ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones states, “We are building on the momentum and tremendous success we’ve already seen in our existing partnership. ABC Radio has always represented creative and innovative programming and we are excited to offer programmers and talent a new, stable business environment to grow and monetize their brands.” Skyview Networks president Ken Thiele adds, “The timing of our syndication partnership couldn’t be more perfect. We’ve heard from a significant number of programs and clearly there is a need for another syndication option in the marketplace. We’re growing and continue to make substantial investments in technology and our staff, and it’s paying off. This new venture is really a reflection of the dynamic synergies between ABC Radio and Skyview, and our positive business trajectory.” In July 2016, ABC Radio and Skyview Networks renewed their content, ad sales, affiliate sales and audio distribution agreement.
Cumulus and Merlin Strike a Deal for WKQX, Chicago. On Tuesday evening, Cumulus Media announced that it has arrived at a deal to acquire Chicago alternative rock WKQX from Merlin Media. Cumulus has been operating the station under a local marketing agreement, but when it filed to reorganize under Chapter 11, it asked the court to void a number of its prior agreements that it considered onerous. The WKQX LMA included a “put-and-call” that would have allowed Merlin to force Cumulus to buy the station at a predetermined price (the “put”). The combo deal included WLUP-FM, but Merlin found another willing buyer in Education Media Foundation, which is acquiring WLUP for $50 million. As part of this deal, Cumulus Media is also getting the intellectual property of “The Loop.” The speculation in Chicago is that the company will transform classic hits WLS-FM into “94/7 The Loop.” Cumulus CEO Mary Berner says, “After operating the station for the past four years, we are delighted to be able to bring this beloved station under Cumulus’ ownership on economic terms that make sense for our business. We look forward to continuing to deliver the best alternative rock programming to our devoted listeners in the Chicago area for years to come.” Though no price for WKQX in included in the press release, media trade RBR-TVBR is reporting the price tag is $18 million.
Janet Bro Named COO at USA Radio Networks. Rising from vice president/general sales manager to chief operating officer at USA Radio Networks is Janet Bro. The company announces that this promotion comes as the company completes its corporate relocation from Phoenix to its flagship station offices at KBDT-AM, Dallas. USA says that in this new position, Bro will lead the networks, including the company’s stations in Chicago, Dallas and Minneapolis, as well as five properties in Nevada. USA says, “Bro comes from a distinguished career in media and advertising. She began in radio/TV at Bradley University, has owned and operated three FM stations in Illinois and managed others before embarking on a two-decade adventure with Verizon’s Yellow Pages.” USA Radio Networks CEO Fred Weinberg says, “Our goal is to create news and programming that we and our affiliates can be proud of. We’re not Democrats or Republicans, we’re Americans and that’s how we see the news. Janet is the perfect person to push this forward.” USA Radio Networks provides news and long-form talk programming for some 500 affiliates across the country.
Still No Kevin Klein at ’97.3 The Machine’ in San Diego. Yes, Entercom’s KEGY, San Diego “97.3 The Machine” is still playing rock music and comedy bits during morning drive, five days after air personality Kevin Klein was to debut as host of the new station’s AM drive show. He’s still listed on the station’s website, so it’s unlikely he’s been let go. What is likely is that Entercom is still negotiating with the San Diego Padres over the station’s role as flagship for the MLB club. The Padres either stay or they go. If they stay, one line of thought is that the station veers from the guy talk/sports hybrid to a pure sports talk station (in order to assuage the team). But if the Padres take their play-by-play elsewhere, perhaps Kevin Klein takes to the air as morning host and the station keeps its “edge.” It’s hard to imagine Entercom letting this go beyond this week and it must be very difficult to sell time on a station thats format is in question. In case you’ve missed the backstory, Klein posted a promotional Tweet for his show that poked fun at the city’s Coronado Bridge and its history as a site of so many suicides. That upset many San Diegans, as well as the Padres. But, that wasn’t the only issue. According to comments made to the San Diego Union Tribune by Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler, the club hasn’t been happy with the station’s general tone. Fowler told the paper that the team would get through the opening series of the season and then “sit down and evaluate it,” meaning the team’s relationship with the station.
Larry Kudlow to Do Regular Guest Spot on WABC’s John Batchelor Program. The new director of the National Economic Council – Larry Kudlow – is going to join John Batchelor each Tuesday evening at 9:00 as a guest on Batchelor’s WABC, New York radio program. The station says that the Tuesday night guest spots “will include other colleagues and will cover topics including the economic health of the U.S. and its allies and trading partners.” WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “Kudlow and Batchelor have been working together on-air each week since 2004. It is a joy to learn that the Trump administration is willing to make the country’s new economic adviser available to the national and global audience of ‘The John Batchelor Show.'”
Cooke: The Class of ’68 Turns 68. Media consultant Holland Cooke writes today about the value of Baby Boomers to talk radio. On the 50thanniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cooke notes many of the cultural touchstones that affected the generation. He says that while Millennials now outnumber the Boomers, the Baby Boom generation outspends the Millennials at retail. That’s an important fact for radio sales people who are selling upper-demo radio formats like news/talk. See his piece here.
TALKERS News Notes. We have a new date in the legal saga between Bubba the Love Sponge and Nielsen Audio. After suddenly postponing Monday’s scheduled start of the courtroom proceedings, the two sides are being called in for a status conference on April 10. Perhaps we’ll learn more about the trial schedule after that. Nielsen is suing Bubba for $1 million in damages for his part in a PPM ratings manipulation plot in the Tampa market…..Salem Media Group re-brands KDZR, Lake Oswego, Oregon from its former “Talk 1640” to “AM 1640 The Patriot.” Also, in Oregon, Salem rebrands KPAM, Portland – the station it’s operating under an LMA – to the familiar “AM 860 The Answer.” Some programming adjustments take place on KPAM as the SRN-syndicated Dennis Prager grabs an hour from the local Tim Hohl and Terry Travis morning show. Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham show replaces Clark Howard in middays, and the afternoon drive show featuring Michael Herrington and Eric Peterson changes from “Afternoon Northwest” to “The Afternoon Answer.”…..Today (4/4) Alpha Media is joining World Concern to raise funds to “Cure 1 Million Kids.” As part of World Health Week, Alpha Media stations in 49 markets are working to raise money to cure children living in developing countries of parasites that can cause blindness, malnutrition, disease and even death. Alpha Media CEO/president Bob Proffitt remarks, “We are so proud and honored to work with World Concern for this one-day push to help save children’s lives. We are passionate to use the power of our Alpha community of listeners and business clients to do what we can to help those less fortunate. World Concern is a wonderful organization that will take what we raise and make a difference in a young person’s life.”
Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches ‘Broadcasting Hope’ Campaign. A new industry-wide campaign is being launched by the Broadcasters Foundation of America, called, “Broadcasting Hope.” The goal of the initiative is to reach broadcasters across the country with trade ads, social media, and more to ensure that broadcasters in acute need know they can apply for aid from the Broadcasters Foundation. It is the only charity devoted exclusively to providing financial assistance to broadcasters whose lives have been devastated by illness, accident, or disaster. BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “There are broadcasters in local markets across America who may qualify for aid, and it’s imperative that they know the Broadcasters Foundation can be a life support. The radio and TV trade publications and members of the National Alliance of State Broadcast Associations have been very supportive in helping us expand awareness of the Foundation’s charitable mission.”
U.S.-China Trade War, Trump-Russia Probe, Ingraham-Hogg Feud, YouTube Shooter, U.S.-Mexico Relations/Illegal Immigration Battle, Spotify Stock Market Debut, Villanova Beats Michigan, MLB Action and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/3). The brewing trade war between the U.S. and China as both countries impose tariffs; the investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents and Robert Mueller’s notice to President Trump’s lawyers that the investigation continues but the president is not a target right now; the feud between FOX News Channel’s Laura Ingraham and Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg; the woman shooter who injured four before taking her own life at the YouTube campus in California; the relations between the U.S. and Mexico and President Trump’s threat to use the military to guard the border; digital audio giant Spotify goes public; Villanova beats Michigan to claim the NCAA title; the first week of MLB action, and NBA action 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. Newly flipped country KNUC, Seattle re-brands as “The NEW 98.9 The Bull.” Lisa Adams is the program director at the Hubbard Radio station and she says, “Welcome to the next evolution of 98.9, a personality all its own. More BULL, more MUSIC, more FUN.” She also says the station plans to make its final additions to the air staff soon…..Also from Hubbard Radio, the Chicago cluster announces that sales pro Nancy O’Brien is promoted to director of sales for hot AC WTMX, classic rock WDRV “The Drive,” adult contemporary WSHE, and in-house digital media services arm 2060 Digital. O’Brien has most recently been serving as national sales manager Midwest region for the company…..Neuhoff Media tweaks CHR WWHX-FM, Bloomington, Illinois to a rhythmic CHR station with the new brand, “HOT 100 The Beat of BloNo.” Neuhoff Media Bloomington vice president and general manager Danielle Outlaw says, “‘HOT 100’ is the only station designed specifically for the 18-34-year-old audience in Bloomington-Normal. The music, the connection, the interactivity, the engagement and the beat. Bloomington-Normal was ready for ‘HOT 100,’ we’re thrilled by the reaction, the future has arrived, it’s ‘HOT 100.’”
TALKERS Convention Early Bird Discount Ends Today! DON’T MISS THE DISCOUNT! The opportunity to attend the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important convention at a significantly reduced registration fee comes to an end today (Friday, February 2) at 5:00 pm ET. Those registering before the deadline will save $50. TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will take place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. However, those registering before 5:00 pm ET TODAY pay only $279. The convention is already well on its way to being an early sellout. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Tim Clarke Upped to VP of Audience and Content for Radio at Cox. In this new role, Tim Clarke will “set the overarching content strategy for radio — programming, new content development, content distribution, audience growth and measurement” for Cox Media Group. Clarke has been serving CMG as senior director of digital audience for radio. The company says that “vice president of programming Steve Smith will continue in his critical role to oversee CMG format leaders and work directly on radio programming with radio stations and brand managers.” Smith will report to Clarke in this new structure. Clarke says, “It is an honor to take on these expanded responsibilities. Cox is truly an incredible organization and I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I have been afforded throughout my 13-year career here. This is an exciting, transformative time for the media business and Cox Media Group has the best radio brands and digital products in local media.”
Cumulus and Merlin Agree to Path Forward for WKQX and WLUP-FM in Chicago. With stations operator Cumulus Media in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and unwilling to buy the two Chicago rock stations for the previously contracted price of $50 million, stations owner Merlin Media and Cumulus have agreed to the following new terms. Cumulus will continue to operate the stations under the local marketing agreement but will not be bound to purchase the alternative and classic rock outlets. Merlin will continue to present the stations to prospective buyers. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “We’re pleased to reach this mutual agreement, which establishes a clear path forward for these stations and our employees in Chicago following months of negotiations with Merlin. We continue to be interested in permanently acquiring these stations on economic terms that make sense for our business. In the meantime, as we have for the past several years, Cumulus will continue to operate WKQX-FM and WLUP-FM while Merlin seeks a new owner. Importantly, nothing is changing in the near-term. It is business as usual for team members, advertisers and partners, and we look forward to achieving a favorable outcome for all parties involved.” The new agreement with Merlin provides for an approximately three-month extension of the LMA with additional extensions thereafter, exercisable upon mutual agreement by Cumulus and Merlin.
Bankruptcy Judge Relieves Cumulus of Contract Responsibilities. Yesterday, Cumulus Media was in court for a hearing before bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman. As you’re aware, the company asked the court to let it out of some 20 contracts that it deemed were untenable – including the Merlin deal in Chicago noted above. Judge Chapman agrees to let Cumulus out of all the deals – the Chicago Bulls had already arranged to move their radio play-by-play from WLS-AM to Entercom’s crosstown WSCR – except a content distribution agreement that Westwood One has with CNBC.
Alpha Media Names Format Captains; Greg Martin to Lead News/Talk/Sports. Nine format captains are named by Alpha Media, with news/talk KTSA and sports talk KZDC, San Antonio operations manager and content director Greg Martin appointed to lead the news/talk/sports formats. Alpha has this to say about Martin: He’s “spent the better part of his career doing top 40 at great stations such as KKSS, Albuquerque; KHFI, Austin, KQKS, Denver; and KTFM, San Antonio. Several years after returning to San Antonio in 1999 to do afternoons on KTFM, Greg eventually transitioned into operations and programming ‘News Talk 550’ KTSA and ‘ESPN San Antonio’ day-to-day.” Speaking about the new roles, Alpha Media EVP of content Scott Mahalick says, “We are always proud to promote from within Alpha. Our format captains have been carefully selected based on their experience, format expertise, reliability, and performance. I look forward to seeing great success happen from this collaboration.” Other format captain appointments are: rock/alternative/AAA – Kenny Vest; classic hits/oldies – Rick Hirschmann; country – Joe “MoJoe” Roberts; hot AC/AC – Leo Baldwin; CHR – Ben Davis; urban/urban AC/Gospel – Darrick “Brown” Williams; rhythmic/throwbacks – Mark “TicTak” Allen; and Spanish – Alfonso Flores.
Former All-News KQV, Pittsburgh Sold for $55,000. Once upon a time, KQV, Pittsburgh was a big-time CHR station serving the market. Later it morphed into an all-news station operated by the Dickey family’s Calvary Inc. (not the Atlanta Dickeys of Cumulus fame). Just before the holidays, Calvary revealed that the news format was just too expensive to continue operating the station and that, after much soul-searching, it would be selling the heritage signal. Now we learn that Bob Stevens – a principal of Broadcast Communications Inc. – is buying the station for $55,000. This deal is a “limited asset purchase agreement” and Stevens will move the transmitter location for the station to the one occupied by his current property, WEDO, McKeesport, Pennsylvania.
PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this analysis of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2017 PPM survey, today focusing on public news/talk. Given that the Holiday survey period takes place at a time of year that pulls people out of their usual listening habits, it’s not surprising that “only about one of every five stations on this public news/talk panel are up December 2017 – ‘Holiday’ 2017 (22%, 6+) while 72% are down; the remaining 6% of the sample is flat.” However, comparing Holiday 2016 6+ ratings to Holiday 2017, “more than six of 10 stations from our eligible public news/talk sample are up year-to-year (64%); 26% are down; and the remaining 10% are unchanged from a year ago.” No public news/talk station ranked #1 in its market during the Holiday survey, but four ranked #2: KQED, San Francisco (and in the nearby San Jose market; KUOW, Seattle; KPBS, San Diego; and KOPB, Portland. See the whole report here.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly Tips FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (right) poses for a pic with FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade (left) after appearing on Kilmeade’s radio show and telling his listeners that President Trump will release the secret FBI surveillance memo very soon. Kilmeade Tweeted out this pic and the scoop from Kelly.
TALKERS News Notes. It’s the end of an era for New Orleans Saints fans as local radio play-by-play legend Jim Henderson, a.k.a. Hondo, is retiring from his booth duties after 31 years with Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM. Entercom New Orleans market manager Chris Wegmann says, “Jim has been a beloved member of our team at WWL in New Orleans for many years. He made a very complex job look easy and raised the bar for sportscasters everywhere. I speak on behalf of the entire WWL family when I say we will miss Jim dearly, as will all New Orleans Saints fans across the Gulf South and throughout the country. We wish him the absolute best on his next chapter.”…..The compensation committee of Cumulus Media agrees to extend the contract of EVP of corporate marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes. She’ll also be getting a raise, effective July 3, bumping her annual salary to $650,000. The new deal puts Grimes under contract with the company through July 2020. As with most corporate executives, her contract also includes a bonus structure and the ability to earn stock options…..The talk radio show “Vegas Never Sleeps with Steven Maggi” is going national via the Biztalk Radio Network. Maggi calls his show a “weekly romp to Las Vegas, the capital of fun, food and entertainment” that provides “a look behind the scenes of world-class hotels, dining, gaming, special events and conventions.” Maggi began hosting the program in 2016 and he says the Sunday 11:00 am ET show is “the perfect addition for stations looking for a weekend program that brings the excitement and energy of Las Vegas to their market.”
Trump’s State of the Union Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 29-February 2. This week’s State of the Union Address from President Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia investigation and whether the president will talk with special counsel Robert Mueller. Coming in at #3 was the controversy over the potential release of the secret FBI surveillance memo, followed by the status of the Obama-era DACA act and the administration’s immigration policy 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.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programmer Jason Carr joins the iHeartMedia Cleveland cluster to serve as program director for alternative “ALT 99.1 FM” (WMMS-HD2/W256BT) and assistant program director for rock WMMS. iHeartMedia North Ohio Region president Keith Hotchkiss comments, “Jason Carr comes to Cleveland after spending 10-plus years programming and running stations in Florida. I’m excited for him to head north, experience the Cleveland winter, contribute to the growth of ‘ALT 99.1 FM’ and further strengthen the brand of ‘100.7 WMMS.’”…..Entercom announces a branding tweak and air-talent changes on some of its San Diego stations. First, alternative KBZT leaves behind the “FM 94/9” brand and is now “ALT 949.” The air talent moves are reflected in the new lineups at adult contemporary KYXY and classic hits KXSN “Sunny 98.1.” KYXY’s new schedule is: Susan DeVincent in mornings, Dorothy Tran in middays, Joe Rosati in afternoons and Sherry Knight for evenings. At KXSN, AJ and Sara host mornings, Dave Mason is in middays, Gene Knight hosts afternoons and Brooks O’Brian is the night personality…..As reported first by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Entercom’s triple A WXRT, Chicago announces plans to drop the 43-year-old Sunday night “Jazz Transfusion” program hosted by Barry Winograd. The show’s final edition will be this Sunday at 11:00 pm.
Ed McLaughlin Dies at 91. The man who founded EFM Media Management and launched Rush Limbaugh into national syndication – and consequently changed the face of radio – has died at the age of 91 after a long illness. Edward F. McLaughlin was in a hospice facility in Palm Beach, Florida. As TALKERS magazine reported earlier this week, the Broadcasters Foundation of America announced it would be honoring McLaughlin with its 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award on March 5 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City during its Golden Mike Award event. During McLaughlin’s 14-year career leading the ABC Radio Networks, McLaughlin oversaw the acquisition of “American Top 40 with Casey Kasem,” launched “American Country Countdown with Bob Kingsley,” and grew the affiliate base of the Paul Harvey programs to some 1,000 stations. In 1984, he formed EFM Media Management and began syndicating the Dr. Dean Edell show. After hearing Rush Limbaugh on KFBK, Sacramento he moved him to WABC, New York and began syndicating his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program. It provided the launch pad for Limbaugh’s rise to syndication success. He sold the Rush Limbaugh program to Jacor Media in 1997. McLaughlin’s work in national radio syndication included numerous achievements, including his teaming ABC with CBS and NBC in 1980 to establish the first digital satellite distribution system — Americom Digital Delivery System (ADDS) — which replaced telephone lines in connecting networks with affiliated stations, the antiquated system that had been used since the early 1940s. He also guided the creation and distribution of network music and entertainment programming circa 1979. Prior to that it had largely been news and information. McLaughlin was a chairman emeritus of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. He succeeded Ward L. Quaal as chairman. BFoA president Jim Thompson says, “He was a genius at creating content and talent development.” Whitney Global Media chairman William O’Shaughnessey says, “He was a great raconteur who often held court at the ‘21’ bar where he did a lot of business entertaining out-of-town affiliates.” The McLaughlin family will hold a private service and is planning a memorial celebration in June.
Sabo: ‘Make It Bigger’ Ed McLaughlin. Consultant Walter Sabo writes today about the qualities that made the late Edward F. McLaughlin the legendary broadcaster that he was. First and foremost, says Sabo, was his mandate that for a project to succeed, one had to “make it bigger.” Sabo says, “Ideas that were big enough for Ed inspired him to become fully engaged in the project. He would marshal every resource of ABC to make a project a success — from legal, to financial, to engineering, to marketing, to the television network. When Ed called, the corporation cooperated. He knew that a key part of his job was to give his team access to the resources of the corporation and he was a genius at persuading all of ABC to support the radio network. When he supported a project, he believed it was his job to find the money. And he always found the money.” Read Sabo’s entire column here.
Cumulus Makes Hard Decisions in Chicago. As reported by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, Cumulus Media has announced it is shedding its unprofitable deals to broadcast Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls play-by-play. It is also choosing not to acquire music-formatted stations alt rocker WKQX and classic rock WLUP-FM from Merlin Media (Cumulus has been operating the duo under an LMA). As Feder notes, Cumulus is working through Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and president and CEO Mary Berner says in a statement, “As part of our operational turnaround, we have been focused on taking proactive steps to address unprofitable areas of our business. We are taking this action because the economic terms of these legacy contracts guarantee that we lose money and, as such, continuing them in their current form is not in Cumulus’s best interests.”
WOC, Quad Cities Names Dave Levora Morning Host. New WOC, Quad Cities morning personality Dave Levora comes to the station from his most recent position as an account executive for WQAD-TV, Quad Cities. He’s hosted morning radio programs in the market in the past on music-formatted stations, including KJOC, WXLP, and KIIK. Levora will co-host the morning show at the iHeartMedia news/talk station with program director Dan Kennedy. He’ll continue to host the half-hour “Quad Cities Brewed” program on WQAD-TV that explores the Midwestern Craft Brew scene. Kennedy comments, “We’re excited to bring Dave into the WOC ‘News Talk 1420’ family. He’s already familiar with radio in the Quad Cities and I have no doubt that our listeners will love him!”
WSKO, Syracuse Adds New Local Show to Lineup. Programmer Tom Mitchell promotes executive producer Paul Esden to air personality with his own afternoon program called “Drive Time Sports” at Cumulus Media’s WSKO, Syracuse “The Score 1260.” Esden has been the executive producer of the station’s “Bud & The Manchild” late morning show for the past two years. Mitchell says, “This is a marvelous opportunity for Paul. His unique and energetic style, opens up a fresh perspective to cover not only local sports, but also the best in the national sports arena every day!” Esden has also covered Syracuse University sports as a senior columnist for Inside the Loud House for the past two years.
SuperTalk Mississippi Adds Country Star Steve Azar to Lineup. The program is called “A Mississippi Minute with Steve Azar” – a reference to his song “Mississippi Minute” – and airs Thursdays and Fridays from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. TeleSouth Communications says his show airs on the SuperTalk Mississippi format that’s heard on stations covering all of Mississippi’s 82 counties. SuperTalk CEO Steve Davenport says, “We’re excited to add Steve Azar to the lineup. His passion for Mississippi fits right in with our mission – to serve the millions of people who live in our state.” In a press release, the company says, “Spend five minutes with Steve Azar and you’ll see why he is the Music and Culture Ambassador of Mississippi. His love for the Magnolia State is evident in everything he does. This modern-day Renaissance man is a hit songwriter, recording artist, music producer, golfer, philanthropist and now – radio host.”
Trump’s Alleged ‘Shithole’ Comment and Threat of Government Shutdown Tie for Top News/Talk Stories This Week. The allegations that President Trump called certain Caribbean and African countries “shitholes,” and the threat of a federal government shutdown tied for the most talked about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the status of the Obama era DACA, the Trump Administration’s larger immigration policy, and the issue of the Mexican Wall. Coming in at #3 was the Trump-Russia probe and the related testimony of former White House senior adviser Stephen K. Bannon, followed by the report that 2017 was the warmest year on record at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio 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.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Classic rock WMMZ, Berwick, Pennsylvania is purchased by Vince Benedetto’s Bold Gold Media Group for $700,000. The class A FM’s primary signal covers a region southwest of the Wilkes Barre-Scranton market. The seller is Joseph Reilly’s Columbia FM Inc. The station switched calls from WHLM-FM to WMMZ last year…..In New England, Townsquare Media begins airing “The Big Breakfast” – with hosts Bill Fox and Kira Lew (based at country WOKQ, Portsmouth, New Hampshire) – on sister station country WPKQ, Portland, Maine “103.7 The Peak.” To make room, current WPKQ morning personality Annie Snook moves to the midday show on the station.
Most Talk Radio Programmers are Avoiding Use of the Term “Shithole” in Wake of Presidential Sh*tstorm. Once again, President Donald J. Trump – for better or worse – has shaken up the standards of traditional broadcasting and journalism. This time, with his controversial remark about immigration using the term “shithole” to describe countries from which he considers immigration particularly undesirable. The controversial racist aspect of this story notwithstanding, FCC-regulated broadcasters have had to make the quick decision to directly utter the term on the airwaves or buffer it with less offensive and non-potentially rule-breaking words. This decision has been made more difficult by the fact that many traditional, so-called mainstream cable outlets and online/print news media have chosen to use the word as the President said it. In conversations around the industry this morning TALKERS has learned that the prevailing tact on terrestrial talk radio has been NOT to use the word directly. Cumulus Media/Westwood One EVP Mike McVay tells TALKERS, “Despite cable television taking great joy in saying the ‘S’ word on TV, we are not saying the actual word on over the air radio. We recognize it as one of the seven words we cannot say. That has not stopped us from using it on our digital platforms.” Salem Radio Network senior VP, Phil Boyce says, “The word ‘shit’ is one of the FCC-banned words and our hosts should never use it, no matter if the president did or didn’t. My morning guy in Los Angeles, Brian Whitman, will be using the word “BLANK hole.” We want our shows to be safe for the whole family. No need to have listeners turn off the radio because kids are in the car.” Bold Gold Media Group CEO Vince Benedetto – owner of a number of stations in Pennsylvania and upstate New York – adds, “We haven’t changed our policy – we still do not say anything on air that violates George Carlin’s ‘Seven words you can’t say on television.'” ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones tells TALKERS, “ABC News Radio anchors and reporters are not speaking that word on air as it could be considered an FCC violation and it also might offend local community standards. Instead, we are referring to the phrase as an ‘expletive’ or ‘profanity.’ We have 1,650 affiliates and the majority use our ABC ‘Newscall’ service – which provides on-demand audio of reporters and actualities. We are more permissive in what we provide on that service because it is the decision of the station whether to run the audio – whereas as we control the newscast content and therefore have unilateral decision-making. If audio existed of any president using a profanity, we would put it on ‘Newscall’ and let stations decide its usage. If we determined language was so newsworthy we felt obligated to include it in a newscast, we would probably warn stations in advance. But, that’s hard to effectively control and I don’t recall it being done in many years.” Although the consensus is to avoid using the word directly on the airwaves, not everyone in talk radio fully agrees that the way to go. Nationally-famous, station owner/operator (and industry maverick) Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOME, Santa Cruz tells TALKERS that he will use the word on his own show (“The Saturday Special”) but respects the rights of his air personalities to make their own decisions, “My position is to use the word on the air since it is a bona fide news story – but I just checked with the ‘Good Morning Monterey Bay’ staff [the station’s morning show] and was told they opted to say ‘s-hole’ and to play the Haitian national anthem.” Zwerling continues, “Trump apparently has denied using that word (which is one of my favorites) but even if he was falsely accused of using it by the news media almost universally out to get him – it has nonetheless become a legitimate news story and therefore would fall into my category of okay to use on the air. Besides, it moves our industry in the direction of parity with the ‘paid’ services that have been and are allowed to use profanity with impunity!” Media consultant/TALKERS columnist/and RT America host Holland Cooke says, “It is a big topic with heavy phones at my client stations this morning. My advice: Ask listeners, ‘If he said that word, should we, here on the radio?'” TALKERS legal editor and Bentley University law professor Steven JJ Weisman says, “It is my opinion that the use of the word ‘shithole’ in the context of discussing the president’s comments would be allowed.” For Weisman’s full comments, please read the story below.
Steve Weisman’s Legal Take on Terrestrial Radio’s Use of Term “Shithole.” TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman offers his educated view on the terrestrial radio “shithole” issue prompted by President Donald J. Trump’s use of the term. To read the piece in its entirety, please click here.
Save the Date! Talkers 2018 Set for Friday, June 8, 2018 in New York City. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. Titled TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 8, 2018 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City. This marks the second year in a row that the convention will be held at this very popular venue. The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and dawn of a rapidly accelerating era. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will focus on the future. There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities. Good things happen at this convention. We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!” Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. However, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 2. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Gwiazdon Goes to Beasley Media Group Las Vegas as VP/MM. Most recently vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ Nashville adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9”; adult hits WCJK “96.3 Jack FM”; and CHR WNFN “i106.7,” Dennis Gwiazdon began similar duties yesterday (1/11) for Beasley Media Group Las Vegas. According to Beasley Media Group executive vice president and chief operating officer Brian Beasley, “It is a privilege to welcome Dennis to the Beasley Media Group family. His proven track record and leadership skills are the perfect fit for our Las Vegas cluster as we continue to grow and expand our business in the market.” Gwiazdon, who was president of the Nashville Area Radio Association, states, “I am absolutely thrilled about joining the Beasley team. There is tremendous potential for us in Las Vegas and I’m grateful [to be given] the opportunity to make a difference.” Prior to his Nashville duties, Gwiazdon was president of San Diego-based Sales Insights. He previously held the vice president/general manager title at Seattle’s KRWM; San Diego’s KGB-FM and KPOP-AM; San Diego’s KMCG and KXGL; and Salt Lake City’s KKAT. With their Nielsen Audio December 2017 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, Beasley Media Group’s Las Vegas cluster includes classic hits-oldies KKLZ “96.3 70s, 80s, and More” (6.3, #2); urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” (4.0, #6); country KCYE “102.7 The Coyote” (3.7, #9); hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9” (2.8, #15); news/talk KDWN “AM 720” (.7, #26); and KCYE-HD2, which did not appear in the December 2017 sweep. The Las Vegas market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5” (10.6, 6+), while Midwest Nashville’s WJXA “Mix” is on top (6+) with a 9.9.
WBUR, Reddit Debut “Endless Thread.” That’s the name of the weekly Ben Brock Johnson-hosted podcast done in partnership with Boston University-owned news/talk WBUR and Reddit, “the front page of the internet.” Starting today (1/12), weekly installments will be available every Friday to stream or download. According to Johnson, “Reddit is one of the most formidable communities online. Its lifeblood is people from all over the world sharing and organizing around every imaginable topic, making it an incredibly valuable resource for anyone trying to understand our world. As a journalist, I’ve been fascinated by Reddit for years, but I’ve also become an avid ‘redditor.’ I’m always surprised at what a mystery Reddit is to people who don’t use it. I’m looking forward to solving that mystery for the uninitiated, and helping ‘redditors’ share their incredible, real life stories with the world.” Reddit creative development manager Michael Pope remarks, “Reddit is home to the most authentic conversations on the internet and we know there is a massive opportunity to host thoughtful conversations about these stories in audio form. As one of the leading NPR affiliates in the country, we can’t wait to see what happens when we pair the production polish and talent at WBUR with the most compelling stories online.” The first episode, “No No No No Yes,” explores harrowing tales through first-hand interviews with ‘redditors’ who lived to tell their stories.
TALKERS News Notes. After a brief hiatus from a national platform, Dave Ross returns next Monday (1/15) with a daily, 90-second, CBS News Radio commentary, originally scheduled for a February 5 start date. Heard weekdays (“Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross”) on Bonneville-owned KIRO-FM, Ross is a five-time Edward R. Murrow award winner for best writing … This time next month (2/12), previous morning host of St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y-98” Guy Phillips begins doing afternoons at news/talk KTRS “Big 550 The Talk of STL”; Julie Buck will be his co-host … Five Entercom Chicago stations – sports talk WSCR “670 The Score,” all-news WBBM-AM, CHR WBBM-FM “B-96,” triple A WXRT “93 XRT,” and country WUSN “US-99” – will be broadcasting from this year’s “Cubs Convention” today (1/12), tomorrow (Saturday, 1/13), and Sunday (1/14). Entercom Chicago senior vice president/market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We look forward to this event where our brands can interact with fellow Chicago Cubs fans. We are grateful for our continued partnership with the Chicago Cubs organization as the exclusive radio home of the Chicago Cubs.” This weekend’s event is taking place at Chicago’s Sheraton Grand Hotel. WSCR continues as the team’s radio flagship ….. Former Tribune Broadcasting White House correspondent and Long Island television news anchor/reporter Drew Scott joins JVC Media news/talk WRCN “Long Island News Radio 103.9” as a reporter. JVC Media president/CEO John Caracciolo comments, “Having someone like Drew is a complete win for us. His job will be to use the contact list he has developed over the years to help us open doors; get the story; and get the info Long Islanders need and want. This is live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be.” WRCN operations director Frank Brinka notes, “Drew is a great addition to our staff. His wealth of news reporting and knowledge of the Long Island landscape will be an asset to the station. He will deliver a wealth of information to our listening audience.” Scott adds, “I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic, live and local radio news organization. I am looking forward to helping ‘LI News Radio’ and JVC continue to grow and prosper.” ….. The flagship of MLB’s Minnesota Twins from 1961 – 2006, Entercom Minneapolis’ WCCO “News Radio 830,” returns in that capacity this year. The first of its 15-game spring training broadcast schedule will be (Thursday) February 22 when the Twins play the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Cory Provus, Dan Gladden, and Kris Atteberry comprise WCCO’s on-air team ….. Launching on SiriusXM next Wednesday (1/17) is “Barstool Radio,” the 24/7 channel for Barstool’s unfiltered approach to covering sports, men’s lifestyle, and popular culture. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy remarks, “We are excited to launch our Barstool channel. It has been a wild ride to get to this point and this is another big step in our plan for total world domination.” SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen comments, “In today’s crowded media landscape, Barstool stands out as a unique and compelling voice. Live radio thrives on the kind of spontaneous and entertaining content that Barstool delivers every day. We don’t know what they are going to say next, but Barstool Radio on SiriusXM will be the place to hear it live and talk about it.” Weekday call-in shows will include: “The Barstool Radio Show” with Portnoy and Kevin “KFC” Clancy (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET); “The Heartland Radio Show” with former NFL punter Pat McAfee (10:00 am -1:00 pm, ET); and “The Evening Yak” with Dan “Big Cat” Katz (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, ET). Barstool Radio will be on SiriusXM’s “Power 85” and on the SiriusXM app ….. For over three weeks, Alpha Media Bakersfield (California) news/talk KNZR AM & FM “News-Talk-Dodgers,” mainstream CHR KLLY “Energy 95.3,” and urban-rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3” collected food and water for fire victims in Ventura and Santa Barbara. KLLY program director Danny Hill comments, “I am very proud of my community and I love the support they always show. Bakersfield constantly gives to others and is at the forefront of a lot of charity events.” A local veterans chapter helped to deliver the supplies.
British Talk Show Host and TalkersRadio Personality Graham Mack Forced to Apologize for On Air Statement that PM Theresa May “Has No Balls.” It is always fascinating to compare and contrast American radio with broadcasting in other English-speaking countries when it comes to tolerance, freedom of speech and political controversy. Well-known English talk show host Graham Mack, host of the popular BOB-FM, Herfordshire (greater London) breakfast show got himself into a sticky situation on Wednesday (1/10) by boldly stating that British Prime Minister Theresa May “has no balls.” According to a report in the Hertfordshire Mercury, The comment came on yesterday’s (January 10) breakfast show during a lengthy rant about May’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, in which he also claimed that she was the “weakest Prime Minister” the country had ever seen. Mack went on to berate the reshuffle, saying that not enough women and ethnic minority MPs had been promoted to justify promises made by the Prime Minister in the preceding days. However, the maverick radio host appeared to backtrack on his claims this morning (January 11), telling listeners that he had to “correct” his comments. Mr. Mack said that although his remark about Mrs. May’s lack of balls was “anatomically correct,” he should not have made it. He also clarified that he could not be sure that May was the weakest Prime Minister the country had ever seen, as Clement Attlee or William the Younger could conceivably be weaker. In a statement, Mr. Mack said: “We received a serious complaint yesterday about what I’d said on the air. “Someone in a very senior position told me to make an apology. “I cannot reveal who made the complaint. The seriousness of the complaint did take me by surprise because a regular listener would realise that I take a swipe at all politicians regardless of which political party they represent.” Mr. Mack concluded his on-air correction by issuing an apology directly to the Prime Minister, saying that as the leader of the nation she must be respected. To listen to the segment of the program that got Graham Mack in trouble, please click here. Graham Mack also hosts “London Calling” a weekly program on TalkersRadio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Mack as “one of the best radio talk show aahosts in the English-speaking world.”
iHeartMedia, MoviePass Announce Media Partnership. The agreement includes a marketing campaign across iHeartMedia’s multiplatform network to help build further brand awareness of MoviePass and target new subscribers in select United States metros. In addition, iHeartMedia will be an authorized reseller of ad inventory across the MoviePass website and mobile app. According to iHeartMedia Ventures president Joe Robinson, “We have the capability to build significant brand awareness for MoviePass through our unparalleled scale and reach of more than 270 million monthly listeners across the country and our multiplatform assets. We see a unique opportunity with MoviePass, and its ability to understand and analyze audience trends and behavior which is a great asset for our advertisers, especially those looking to further engage with millions of movie-goers.” MoviePass chief executive officer Mitch Lowe comments, “We expect that our partnership with iHeartMedia will fuel our continued growth by targeting more profitable subscribers in low-cost markets, while also opening up a new revenue stream with digital advertising. We also expect that this relationship will be beneficial to movie exhibitors because we hope to drive more traffic into theaters and to advertisers through our strong working intelligence on the preferences and behaviors of a substantial amount of movie-goers. Our subscribers are going to twice as many movies a month as other consumers and are buying one in every 50 movie tickets in the U.S.” MoviePass launched its current $9.95 per month subscription plan this past August.
Wynter Boosted to iHM EVP Urban/Hip-Hop. Los Angeles urban contemporary KRRL “Real 92.3” program director Doc Wynter adds corporate iHeartMedia duties as executive vice president urban/hip-hop. President/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler states, “No one understands urban and hip-hop programming like Doc. We are thrilled that he is expanding his role leading iHeartMedia’s programming strategy for those key formats. He has been instrumental in launching several of our urban and hip-hop stations nationwide and we’re excited for him to be even more hands-on with all of our urban brands in our over 150 markets.” Wynter adds, “Urban radio has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Having worked with iHeartMedia for almost three decades, I know we have some of the best programmers and on-air personalities in radio. I can’t wait to help our region and market presidents provide their local urban and hip-hop music fans with one-of-a-kind listening experiences that only a company like iHeartMedia can create.” In this newly-created position, Wynter – most recently the company’s senior vice president of urban programming/urban brand manager – will report to chief programming officer Tom Poleman. Wynter began overseeing the company’s urban radio stations in late-1999 and launched several iHeartMedia brands such as “Power 105.1 FM” in New York City (on WWPR); “Real 92.3” in Los Angeles (on KRRL); “V101.5” in Jacksonville (on WSOL); and “The Beat” in various cities.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. After doing four years of night duty on iHeartMedia Los Angeles mainstream CHR KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM,” Freddy Rivera transfers to co-owned Dallas hot AC KDMX “102.9 Now” for afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm). KDMX program director Jay Shannon comments, “Freddy is an outstanding on-air talent and we are very fortunate to add him to our lineup. Freddy is very much looking forward to calling DFW his home.” Rivera, who starts at KDMX in a little over three weeks (2/5), notes, “I am very excited to write the next chapter in my radio career with ‘102.9 Now.’ I have heard so much about the food, nightlife, and community – I can’t wait to jump right in.” Los Angeles-born/Inland Empire-raised Rivera began his radio career as an intern for former “Kiss-FM” wakeup talent Rick Dees and worked on-air at Riverside-Bernardino-Ontario rhythmic CHR KGGI ….. Changes at Merlin Media-owned/Cumulus Media-operated alternative WKQX, Chicago find morning driver Brian Phillips handling mornings by himself as his former co-host – Lou Lombardo – segues to evenings. In addition, Lombardo adds “digital content captain” duties. Former WKQX evening talent “Marconi” left the station about two weeks ago ….. Two-year KMLE, Phoenix morning show host Chris Matthews departs the Entercom country outlet, but Nina D and producer “Badger Gabe” remain in place ….. Steve Guittari departs Cumulus Media Indianapolis; Guittari was operations manager of the cluster and program director of the company’s WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” ….. Also in the “Circle City,” according to the Indianapolis Business Journal, iHeartMedia Indianapolis sports talk WNDE pulls the plug on the Dave “Gunner” Gunn and Don Stuck-hosted morning show “Flagrant Foul.” Gunn (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and Stuck (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm) continue though on classic rock sibling WFBQ “Q-95.” Clay Travis’ syndicated “Outkick the Coverage” returns to WNDE’s morning drive slot ….. Added to the weekend lineup of iHeartMedia-owned New York City rhythmic CHR WKTU “103.5 KTU” is Astra – who formerly did afternoon drive on cross-town mainstream CHR WBMP “Amp 92.3.”
Odom Out at WRXQ. The evening talent on Coal City, Illinois-licensed WRXQ “100.7 Q-Rock,” Ray “Crazy Ray” Odom, is pink-slipped by the Alpha Media station for remarks he made on CNBC’s “The Profit.” On a promo for that cable television show, Odom said, “I’m a sexist, egotistical, racist pig on the radio.” Alpha Media market manager Brian Foster notes, “We do not condone the views he expressed in the program. The feelings portrayed are that of his own and not of Alpha Media or ‘Q-Rock.’ After an internal review, we have decided to cut ties.” Odom is co-owner of Rayjus Outdoors, but he was placed on leave from that Morris, Illinois business, the subject of Marcus Lamonis-hosted “The Profit,” which offers financial help to struggling businesses. Lamonis acknowledges that Odom had, “a side job. I thought it may be a distraction, but I didn’t realize that the focus of it was to demonize minorities and degrade women.” Odom confirmed the firing, saying he worked hard to keep his radio persona separate from his business. “What I said got taken out of context completely – now I don’t have a radio job over it.” A Rayjus statement on Facebook reads, “Unfortunately, we cannot allow these statements to go unchecked. While an integral part of our organization, Ray will be taking a leave of absence to spend time with his family and reflect on what is in the best interest of his family and company.” Regarding what he has said on radio, Odom tells the (Joliet, Illinois) Herald-News, “Everybody has a different sense of what is funny and not funny.”
Entravision Expands La Suavecita. The Grupero/Cumbia La Suavecita format will be heard in 11 more markets, in addition to its Los Angeles area simulcast of KSSE, KSSC, & KSSD. Entravision president and chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman remarks, “Since its launch a year ago, La Suavecita has built an incredible following of loyal listeners and received strong advertising support in Los Angeles. We are excited to share this unique and exciting format with listeners in 11 new markets and to bring a powerhouse line-up of some of the most recognized on-air personalities in radio to La Suavecita. Los Angeles is the largest Hispanic radio market in the U.S. We believe our format, programming, and talent changes will allow us to better connect with our audiences, and in turn, our advertisers with their customers. La Suavecita is backed by a strong slate of on-air personalities that will drive engagement across our radio and digital platforms.” Coinciding with the national rollout of the La Suavecita format, El Genio will be heard 4:00 am – 10:00 am; “Piolin” (Eddie Sotelo) 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; Armida y La Flaka 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm; and Mayra 7:00 pm -12:00 midnight. Targeting women 25 – 49 and adults 25 – 54, La Suavecita surfaces in Houston (KGOL); Phoenix (KVVA and KDVA); Denver (KJMN and KMXA); Sacramento (KXSE); Las Vegas (KRRN); McAllen (KNVO); El Paso (KINT-FM); Stockton (KTSE); Modesto (KCVR); Palm Springs, California (KLOB); and El Centro, California (KSEH).
Cutbacks at Dick Broadcasting’s Three New Clusters. Back in September, Dick Broadcasting announced it would acquire Alpha Media’s 18 stations and two translators in Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville (North Carolina); Myrtle Beach (South Carolina); and Savannah (Georgia) for $19.5 million. Staffing cuts have been made in all three markets. Exiting WXQR “Rock 105,” Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville are program director/afternoon talent Tina Smash and night host Ryan Daniels. Departures at the Myrtle Beach cluster include production director/WXYY “G-100.1” afternoon driver Mark ‘Shark’ Eddis and WFXH “Rock 106.1,” Hilton Head Island assistant program director/night talent Ryan Koch. The business manager position has been eliminated in the three aforementioned markets.
Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 18-22. The activities of the candidates for president were the top story on news/talk radio during the week, claiming the top spot on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business. Coming in at #3 was the sinking oil prices and the response of the world’s financial markets followed by the Oscars boycott 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.
Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money Tour Hits Austin. Packing the Riverbend Centre in Austin, Texas, nationally syndicated radio talk host Dave Ramsey presented his Smart Money event last night (1/21). Along with financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan, Ramsey’s program addressed how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future. Entercom Austin’s news/talk KJCE partnered with Ramsey to promote the appearance. Station general sales manager Bob Woche commented, “We are thrilled to welcome Dave Ramsey and Chris Hogan to a sold out Smart Money in Austin. Their message about life, family and finances resonates with our listeners and it shows with packed events like this one. I’m confident everyone in attendance will leave fired up and ready to tackle their financial challenges.” Pictured here with Ramsey (center) are Woche (left) and KJCE sales manager Jennifer Buck (right).
Round Three of Holiday PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of Holiday 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was December 3 – December 30. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Industry Pro Tony Garcia Launches Spot Shoppe. Having the capability to produce good creative quickly has become a growing issue for radio. This is especially true as bottom line pressure increases and head count at stations decreases. To help stations overcome this challenge, 35-year industry veteran Tony Garcia’s Global Media Services (www.globalmediaservices.co) has begun offering a service called Radio Spot Shoppe. The concept for Spot Shoppe was the result of conversations Garcia had with broadcasters about the pressing need for better creative and the shortage of time, resources and manpower at the station level. He tells TALKERS, “At some point, the conversation always comes around to creative. We hear the same voices on spot after spot. We lean on the same voices, the same production staff, and the same people to write all of the commercials we air. Spot Shoppe gives stations the ability to outsource some of their stuff, freeing up staff as well as bringing new voices to their stations.” He explains that Radio Spot Shoppe gives stations the ability to select from three levels of service depending upon their needs: script writing, commercial production, and imaging. Scripts and produced commercials will be delivered on a next-business-day basis. Imaging clients will receive one page of imaging per week. “I know there are other services available to broadcasters,” says Garcia. “The difference is we are 100% custom. We write and produce everything from scratch. We don’t cut and paste or recycle commercials from other markets. Our goal is to provide custom creative and a high level of affiliate service,” he concludes. Radio Spot Shoppe is available to stations on a market-exclusive barter or cash basis. Stations wanting to learn more can visit www.radiospotshoppe.com or contact Tony Garcia directly at 303-557-1961, or Tony@globalmediaservices.co.
Jim Benson’s ‘TV Time Machine’ Radio Show Hits on Television’s Past, Present, and Future. The weekly, one-hour syndicated radio show produced by Jim Benson may sound from its title like an homage to television’s Golden Era, but Benson says his program is “a radio show about television’s past, present, and future.” In a story published today (1/22), Benson is profiled by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian. He says his highly produced radio show about TV requires thought and preparation. “There is the challenge of translating something that is visual to an audio medium. If you do it correctly, it works. That is what makes the show unique, entertaining, and intimate.” Like radio, the face of television is changing with the times and Benson says his curiosity about what’s out there drives him to interesting discoveries. “I want to be comprehensibly well versed in all aspects of television, especially current-day TV. In addition, it allows me to discover great television – sometimes long before the mainstream audience does. I interviewed [the creator of AMC drama series ‘Mad Men’] Matt Weiner before the show became such a huge phenomenon. Our 90-minute interview was during its first season. My wife was in advertising on Madison Avenue for 20 years. I knew she would have tremendous insights he would appreciate, so we had a three-way conversation about advertising.” Read more about Benson’s career in television history and his approach to his weekly radio show here.
Marv Nyren to Lead Sales Effort at Pubcaster WBEZ, Chicago. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Chicago radio pro Marv Nyren is entering the public radio sphere. The former WLUP-FM and WKQX general manager is assuming the president of corporate sponsorships role at Chicago Public Media, which operates WBEZ-FM. In this role he’ll oversee the sales staff. Nyren worked for Emmis for seven years and exited when WLUP-FM and WKQX were sold. He’s been with Tribune Broadcasting as director of group sales and marketing for television division since last July. Read Feder’s story here.
Odds & Sods. It’s a milestone for CBS Radio News’ “Looking at the Law.” The daily feature with attorney and Harvard Medical School professor Neil Chayet launched on April 1, 1976 and this week produces its 10,000th broadcast delivered to listeners around the country and on the Armed Forces Radio Network around the world…..Talk KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri “The Eagle 93.9” is anxiously awaiting the start of Major League Baseball’s Spring Training. Pictured here is Branden Rathert (right) with St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (left) during a recent interview. Rathert hosts the “Wake Up Columbia” program on the Zimmer Radio and Marketing Group-owned station.
Bernier Marks 25 Years. WNDB, Daytona Beach PM drive talk personality Marc Bernier marked 25 years on the air yesterday (1/21) with a special live broadcast from News Journal Center in Daytona Beach. Pictured here is Bernier (far right) with his “Super Volusionaries” panel of 12 opinion makers who ran through the day’s news and politics just before the big celebration. The event was held before a live audience and broadcast on the radio.