WKTI-FM | TALKERS magazine - “The bible of talk media.” : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Tag: "WKTI-FM"

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

| March 31, 2021

Watergate Co-Conspirator and Talk Show Host G. Gordon Liddy Dead at 90. Former talk radio host, author, and Watergate break-in architect G. Gordon Liddy died yesterday (3/30) in Mount Vernon, Virginia at the age of 90. Liddy’s son Tom told The New York Times that his father had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and had been in declining health recently. G. Gordon Liddy famously made the transition into the talk radio business in the early 1990s after then-Infinity chief Mel Karmazin heard him subbing on a talk radio show and offered him the midday show at the company’s hot talk WJFK-FM, Washington, DC – a station that at the time aired Howard Stern in mornings and Don & Mike in afternoons. Liddy’s program would later move into national syndication via Westwood One. He moved his syndication to Radio America in 2003. He retired from his regular radio program in July of 2012.

Remembering G. Gordon Liddy. On the occasion of the death of G. Gordon Liddy, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an overview of Liddy’s colorful career based on a profile piece he wrote while serving as special features editor for the radio trade publication Inside Radio in 2004. In the piece, speaking about his radio career, Liddy told Kinosian, “I hope I’ve changed for the better and have [improved] at what I do. It’s like playing golf: The more you do something, the better you get at it. If I spend as many hours playing golf each day as I do with the radio show, I might have a fair game.” Read Kinosian’s story here.

Pictured above is TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (left) presenting the Freedom of Speech Award to G. Gordon Liddy (right).

FLASHBACK 1995 – G. Gordon Liddy was at the Center of a Talk Radio First Amendment Award Controversy. In 1995, the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts (NARTSH) – a pivotal industry trade association that played an active role in the “modern era” rise of talk radio between the late 1980s through the 1990s – presented then-syndicated radio personality G. Gordon Liddy with its annual Freedom of Speech Award (the same award still presented annually by TALKERS magazine). The award was (and still is) non-partisan and has been presented over the decades to a variety of personalities ranging from Rush Limbaugh to Al FrankenMark Levin to Thom HartmannHoward Stern to Karen Hunter and Sean Hannity to Joe Madison. It has been awarded to broadcasters from both sides of the American political divide who have demonstrated through their words, deeds and courage the First Amendment in action, its purpose and how it operates.  Liddy received the award that year for facing a lot of heat in the aftermath of remarks he made on the air pertaining to the then-explosive controversy over how Americans can use their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves from armed federal agents breaking into their homes with the intent of shooting them first and asking questions later. This grew out of the activities occurring at the time prompted by the tensions building during the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas and other related tragic events involving the BATF. Needless to say, it was wildly controversial and a major test for talk radio in establishing a standard for its position on the First Amendment. The award was presented that year at the NARTSH Convention in Houston. To view Liddy’s acceptance speech at the Kennedy Space Center (including attorney and then KABC, Los Angeles talk show host Gloria Allred’s one-woman protest demonstration) please click here. To view a clip from a luncheon that took place at that same contentious convention in which convention chairman Michael Harrison stood up to U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-MO) over his call for NARTSH members to boycott the Liddy award presentation, please click here.

Update on Jail Status of ‘Free Talk Live’ Host Ian Freeman. In an interview with “Free Talk Live” co-owner, co-host, and head of sales Mark Edge, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison gets the latest on the legal status of co-host Ian Freeman and the federal government’s charges against him. Yesterday (3/30), TALKERS published a summary of the story from the Manchester Union-Leader that included news of the government’s charges against Freeman that include fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy. In addition to an update from Edge on the charges against Freeman, this interview contains some fascinating information, background, and insights into Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Listen to it here.

Brad Lane Returns to Twin Cities as WCCO-AM Brand Manager. Programming pro Brad Lane is named brand manager for Audacy’s news/talk WCCO-AM, effective April 19. Lane was most recently serving Good Karma Brands as director of content for news/talk WTMJ-AM and sports talk WKTI-FM/WAUK-AM “ESPN Milwaukee.” Prior to that, he spent 20 years at Hubbard Radio’s KSTP-AM in numerous capacities, including as program director. Audacy Minneapolis SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “WCCO Radio serves as an extremely important news brand for the people of the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota who rely on us to be informative, timely, relevant and entertaining. Brad brings a wealth of experience leading content teams and his leadership and vision will be instrumental to the success of our station. We’re looking forward to adding him to the team.”

KROF, Lafayette Adds ‘Todd Starnes Show’ for Early Afternoons. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” is added to the program lineup at Townsquare Media’s KROF-AM, Lafayette, Louisiana “TalkRadio 960” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. The program will also be broadcast on the company’s sister sports talk station KPEL-AM. Both stations will also air the short-form daily program “Todd Starnes News & Commentary.”

Ramsey Show Passes One Billion Downloads Mark. Over the course of the last 15 years, “The Ramsey Show” podcast with Dave Ramsey and his team of co-hosts has surpassed one billion downloads, what the Ramsey Network says is a rare milestone reached by only a handful of podcasts in the world. In addition, callers have paid off $500 million dollars in debt since the podcast began 15 years ago. Each weekday, “The Ramsey Show” podcast produces three episodes heard across every platform. Ramsey Network EVP Brian Mayfield says, “We’re teachers at the core. And podcasts are an extremely useful medium, giving us another megaphone to reach people. We’ve never seen anything grow the way the podcast world has grown, so we see tremendous opportunity there to continue to increase our audience.”

Alpha Media’s WSGW-AM/FM, Saginaw Takes Station of the Year Honors. Saginaw, Michigan news/talk outlet WSGW-AM/FM “100.5 & 790 Newsradio” is named Medium Market Station of the Year by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. This is the seventh time the Alpha Media station has earned Station of the Year honors from the MAB. Operations manager, Dave Maurer states, “This past year was challenging in our part of Michigan with a devastating flood that hit in May and captured the headlines for much of the year. This was on top of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 elections which were huge stories that demanded much of our staff’s focus. We are pleased that our team’s performance has won recognition for the quality of content gathered in difficult circumstances.” In addition to Station of the Year, WSGW won 12 other awards including six Best of Show and six Merit Awards in the MAB Broadcast Excellence Awards competition.

Jaleigh Long Officially to Lead Cox Media Group Atlanta and Athens. Sales and management pro Jaleigh Long has been interim market manager for Cox Media Group’s Atlanta and Athens, Georgia markets since earlier this year and now the company officially appoints her VP and market manager. The clusters include news/talk giant WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; news/talk WGAU-AM/W254CJ, Athens; sports talk WREF-AM, Athens “960 The Ref”; and seven music brands. Long comments, “I am abundantly proud and honored to lead this group of industry-defining stations. The great work we do in all areas of the business every day is making an impact on our audiences, advertisers, and communities we serve. The power of radio is exhilarating and fortunately we get to experience that firsthand each day through the powerful programming, compelling promotions, and important community initiatives that define and underscore CMG’s purpose.”

Keith Lawless to Lead Cox Media Group’s Tampa and Houston Markets. Broadcast executive Keith Lawless is promoted to regional vice president of Cox Media Group Tampa + Houston. He’s been serving as VP and market manager for the company’s Tampa cluster since 2009. Cox Media Group Radio SVP Rob Babin comments, “I am thrilled to announce Keith Lawless as regional vice president over two of CMG Radio’s key markets, CMG Tampa and now CMG Houston. Keith has demonstrated an unwavering commitment for many years and has made an incredible impact on CMG Tampa and successfully led many CMG Radio strategic initiatives. His passion for his team, CMG Radio, and our industry make him the ideal leader to take on the role of RVP.”

Tampa Radio Figure Tedd Webb Dies at 72. Longtime Tampa radio personality Tedd Webb died on Tuesday (3/30), a week after entering hospice following a long illness. WFLA-AM reports Webb’s passing, noting that he was a host at the station for more than 30 years. He co-hosted the “AM Tampa Bay” program with Jack Harris beginning in 1994 and ending in 2017 when Webb retired. Webb was born Henry Ruiz – son of Cuban immigrants – in Tampa and began his radio career at the age of 14. He was a music DJ for the first 15 years of his career before transitioning to talk. He hosted a sports talk show, worked with Nanci Donnellan “The Fabulous Sports Babe,” and as part of WFLA’s “Gardner and Company” morning show before partnering with Harris for “AM Tampa Bay.”

COVID-19 Stats/Variants/Vaccines, WHO COVID Report, Biden Stimulus-Infrastructure Plan, Violence Against Asians, Border Crisis-Immigration Policy, Derek Chauvin Trial, Voting Legislation, Trump Website, and Matt Gaetz Allegation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/30). The number of COVID-10 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; scrutiny of the WHO COVID origin report and criticism of China’s cooperation; President Biden’s $2 trillion economic stimulus and infrastructure plan; the brutal beating of a 64-year-old woman in New York and more reports of assaults on Asian Americans; the crush of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; Georgia’s new voting rules and the Democrats’ push for expanded voting rights laws; Donald and Melania Trump launch a new website; and the allegations against U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of sexual relations with a minor were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

| January 28, 2021

Curtis Sliwa of WABC, New York Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most colorful and original radio talk show hosts in America for more than three decades, Curtis Sliwa, now heard 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daily on Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” According to Harrison, “Although known around the world as an expert/advocate on crime fighting and public safety and an innovator in the concept of citizens looking out for each other in dangerous situations – Curtis Sliwa is as much a part of the New York City scene as Central Park, the Coney Island Cyclone, the Staten Island Ferry and street pretzels… at least before the Big Apple became infested with the worms of COVID-19. He’s a larger-than-life character in the city. Metropolis has Superman, Gotham City has Batman and New York – the real New York – has this semi-costumed public figure… totally recognizable on the streets in his signature red beret and red sateen jacket.” Known by millions since the late 1970s as the founder and leader of The Guardian Angels, a grassroots organization that falls on the spectrum somewhere between populist vigilantism and neighborhood watch, Sliwa is also active in independent politics having served in the past as the chairman of the New York State Reform Party and now seriously flirting with a run for the Republican nomination for mayor of New York in the next election. He has a history of tangling with the mob and has been on the wrong side of the barrel of a gun for his bravery. He’s maintained success as a radio talk show host for years mostly on WABC (with a five-year run on Salem’s “AM 970 The Answer,” WNYM, New York) and is the ongoing subject of personal gossip in the New York City tabloids. Harrison adds, “Although tremendously intelligent and articulate, this guy is about as street as anyone in the media today. It was announced this week that Sliwa’s WABC midday show will be going through post-Donald Trump changes in its approach and positioning. So, I figured this would be a great time to catch up with him and discuss his career, political ambitions, the post-election environment, the state of news/talk radio and the challenges facing New York City and the nation.” 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 on every page of Talkers.com.  Don’t miss this!

WIBA-AM, Madison Talk Host Dan O’Donnell Says State Official Trying to Silence Him. According to a story in the Wisconsin State Journal, news/talk WIBA-AM, Madison morning drive host Dan O’Donnell says a longtime critic and a current member of the state’s Ethics Commission is trying to use his position to silence him. O’Donnell’s nemesis is Scot Ross, who was appointed to the Commission in April of 2020 by outgoing Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Schilling. Previously, Ross led the liberal One Wisconsin Now organization. Ross has never been shy about calling out his political enemies in conservative media, including O’Donnell, but O’Donnell says Ross’ current call to boycott iHeartMedia stations because of O’Donnell’s and others’ opinions is a conflict because of Ross’ position. Ross says his membership on the government board doesn’t preclude him from voicing his opinions via personal social media accounts. But O’Donnell says that he and his employer, iHeartMedia, “are deciding how to proceed on any formal complaint against Ross with the Ethics Commission.”

KFGO, Fargo Simulcasting on KMJO-FM. Fargo news/talk outlet KFGO “The Mighty 790” has a new FM simulcast as Midwest Communications flipped KMJO-FM from country to a simulcast of KFGO. KMJO is a 100,000-watt Class C1 FM at 104.7 licensed to Hope, North Dakota (about 30 miles northwest of Fargo). KFGO also is heard on 94.1 FM via translator K231CV, Fargo. Midwest says, “Since 2017, KFGO has been simulcasting in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area on 94.1 FM but needed to serve communities on the FM dial outside of the metro area that depend on KFGO. Jamestown, Valley City, Lisbon, Gwinner, LaMoure, Ada, Barnesville, Hillsboro, Mayville and many others will now receive KFGO on 104.7 FM and 790 AM. The metro area will continue to hear KFGO on 790 AM, 94.1 FM and now 104.7 FM.” KFGO operations manager Joel Heitkamp comments, “Our goal at ‘The Mighty 790’ has always been to be there for our KFGO family of listeners. The power that 104.7 FM brings to the airways allows us to reach an even larger audience.”

Study: Smart Speaker Ownership on the Rise. According to NuVoodoo Media Services’ Ratings Prospects Study XVII, smart speaker penetration is up 67% among Persons 14-54. The study included close to 3,500 respondents ages 14-54. NuVoodoo EVP of research insights Leigh Jacobs says, “According to our January study, smart speakers are in the homes of 67% of 14 to 54-year-olds and the penetration rate is accelerating. Up from 60% last June and 56% in January 2020.” The company is hosting a free webinar titled, “How to Get Your Ratings From Here to Vaccinated,” on February 11 at 1:00 pm ET. You can register here.

RAB to Present Business Accelerated Initiative. The RAB announces that beginning this month it is shifting its marketing focus launched at the start of the pandemic from “Business Unusual” and later “Open for Business,” under the “Business Accelerated” umbrella. The new initiative includes a dedicated section on RAB.com called Business Accelerated and includes live presentations and updated RAB sales and marketing resources. Each month, RAB will spotlight an emerging advertising category with a live presentation. The launch of the series, titled, “Radio Works for Healthcare,” will focus on healthcare and is scheduled at 1:00 pm ET on February 17, 2021. “Radio Works for Healthcare” features: Tim Kolling, broadcast, digital & event marketing consultant from Alpha Media Topeka and Arra Yerganian, board member & chief marketing/brand/experience officer at Concentric Ventures, LLC. RAB members can register here.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal, Good Karma Brands is “close to signing a lease” that would move the studios of news/talk WTMJ-AM and its other Milwaukee signals sports talk WKTI-FM/WAUK-AM “ESPN Milwaukee” to the city’s former downtown mall complex that’s being renamed 3rd Street Market Hall. WTMJ-AM’s studios are currently in the same complex as E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ-TV. Good Karma acquired WTMJ-AM and WKTI-FM from Scripps for $16 million in 2018…..PodcastOne finalizes a deal to bring the award winning podcast “Our Fake History” into its fold by acquiring the exclusive sales and distribution rights to the program. Created and hosted by Canadian high school history teacher Sebastian Major, “Our Fake History” is a podcast that explores historical myths and misconceptions. In each episode Major closely examines stories that people think are historical fact but may very well be elaborate fiction. Did the Aztecs really think the Spanish conquistadors were gods? Was there a real island of Atlantis? Was baseball really invented in one afternoon by a civil war hero? “Our Fake History” looks at these questions and tries to determine what’s fact, what’s fiction, and what is such a good story it simply must be told…..SiriusXM and comic Kevin Hart’s “Laugh Out Loud” are launching three new original programs, including the debut podcast from Hart, “Inside Jokes with Kevin Hart.” The “Inside Jokes” show will feature Hart in conversation with fellow top comics, including Jerry Seinfeld as the inaugural guest…..Starnes Media Group announces that “The Todd Starnes Show” podcast has reached more than 1 million monthly downloads and was recently named one of the top 100 podcasts in America by Triton Digital…..Entercom sports talk outlet WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan” and MLB’s Baltimore Orioles announce an extension to their broadcast partnership agreement today, keeping WJZ-FM as the flagship station for Orioles baseball.

iHeartRadio’s ‘Living Black!’ Event Takes Place on February 20. In conjunction with Black History Month, iHeartMedia is presenting “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” that “spotlights the power of Black culture yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” iHeartMedia says the nationwide on-air celebration will feature the first-ever “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” special event with performances by Roddy Ricch, 21 Savage, Jhené Aiko, Kirk Franklin and more of today’s biggest hip hop, R&B and Gospel music artists. The special airs on February 20 at 6:00 pm ET on iHeartRadio’s YouTube and Facebook pages; iHeartMedia hip hop, Gospel, and R&B stations; and the iHeartRadio app. In addition, the month-long “iHeartRadio’s Living Black!” celebration will highlight hundreds of Black artists, influencers and thought leaders through audio vignettes and tributes on 580 iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations in every format.

Trump Impeachment/GOP Backlash, Capitol Attack Investigation, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccine Issues, Biden Environmental Plan, Reddit Traders/Financial Markets Activity, and Cloris Leachman Dies at 94 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). The impeachment case against Donald Trump and the backlash against GOP pols who support the impeachment; the investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol; the number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the problems affecting the rollout of vaccines; President Joe Biden unveils a $2 trillion environmental plan that hits the fossil fuels industry; the influence of “Reddit traders” on the world’s financial markets; and actress Cloris Leachman dies at the age of 94 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

| August 19, 2020

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. Compared to the July 2019 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio, 65% of news/talk stations had better weekly, 6+ AQH shares in the July 2020 PPM survey, according to our report from TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian. Looking at ratings increases from the June 2020 PPM survey to the July 2020 survey, 43% of news/talk stations were down, with 35% improving. Gainers from June to July were led by iHeartMedia’s KSTE-AM, Sacramento (+1.2 for a 3.0 share). Back to the year-over-year comparison, Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was the top gainer, adding 4.0 shares to post a 10.6 share, good for the #1 rank in Atlanta. Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM, Washington also climbed to the #1 spot (from #6 in 2019) on the strength of an 8.4 share (+3.1). Joining WSB and WMAL in the #1 club in July was Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle after finishing the July survey with a 7.1 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Air Personality Changes at Sports Talk WKTI-FM, Milwaukee. According to a piece in the Milwaukee Business Journal, the new program schedule at Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WKTI-FM, Milwaukee “ESPN 94.5” includes ESPN television personality Jen Lada joining the 7:00 am to 9:00 am show alongside co-hosts Gabe Neitzel and former Green Bay Packers tight end Mark Chmura. Lada is prominent on ESPN’s “College Game Day” and “College Football Live” broadcasts. Other changes at the station include the move of Steve “The Homer” True’s show from the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart to the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot. He’s also being joined by new co-host Tony Smith. In the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot is Greg Scalzo and Ben Brust simulcast from Good Karma’s WTLX-FM, Madison. Good Karma general manager Steve Wexler says of the Scalzo and Brust show, “It’s a very high-energy — and we think super-entertaining — afternoon show. They had really great success on our Madison ESPN station.”

Dave Andreesen Upped to Director of Programming and Ops for Binnie Media’s News/Talk and Sports Stations. Programmer Dave Andreesen is promoted to director of programming & operations for news-talk-sports brands at Binnie Media. Andreesen has been based at the company’s Dover, New Hampshire stations. Company vice president of programming Heath Cole states, “Dave has been an amazing captain of our Dover, NH properties and I’m extremely proud of what he and Mike Pomp have accomplished over the years. Dave will continue in his role with [news/talk] WTSN, Dover as well as [news/talk/sports] ‘107.7 The Pulse’ WTPL-FM, Concord.” Andreesen adds, “It’s an honor to continue in a new role at WTSN, one of the oldest radio stations in the state with a long history of local programming and the personalities who have set the standard for broadcasting. And WTPL is a powerhouse of locally originating programming led by a group of exceptional broadcasters with decades of experience who give the community a voice. Binnie Media is proud to be the home of the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and Patriots in these two markets.”

Jules Riley Named Operations Director for CMG Jacksonville. Programming pro Jules Riley joins Cox Media Group Jacksonville as operations director for the eight-brand cluster that includes news/talk WOKV-FM, sports talk WOKV-AM “ESPN 690” and six music brands. Riley was most recently SVP of programming at iHeartMedia’s St. Louis cluster. CMG Jacksonville vice president and general manager Katie Reid comments, “Jules brings a wealth of experience and talent to CMG Jacksonville. We are extremely excited she will be leading and growing our team, our brands and the future of our programming.”

TALKERS News Notes. Variety is reporting that former PBS personality Tavis Smiley is being ordered by a Washington, DC court to pay the Public Broadcasting Service $2.6 million after being found guilty of breach of contract. The jury found Smiley guilty of having numerous affairs with subordinates in violation of the morals clause of his contract. The jury awarded PBS $1.5 million for the costs and underwriting revenue for the last two seasons of his talk show. A judge tacked on $1.1 million in damages…..The Props Network and JAKIB Media Partners announce a deal for an exclusive partnership between golf podcasters “The Tour Junkies” and “The Tony Bruno Show w/ Harry Mayes” for the former to provide the radio show with weekly golf content. Bruno says, “We have golf action-yo. Weekly, we will bring you the most comprehensive golf coverage as part of ‘The Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes.’ Our show is unpredictable and this content will deliver listeners the in-depth knowledge and insight that is a cornerstone of our program.”…..The Seneca Women Podcast Network, iHeartRadio and P&G announce the premiere of “Seneca’s 100 Women to Hear,” an original 100-episode podcast spotlighting women who have positively impacted and created change across all sectors of society. The series launched Tuesday (8/18) with an episode spotlighting abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth. New episodes will drop over nine consecutive days, through August 26 on Women’s Equality Day, and then move to twice weekly starting in September…..PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, Inc., announces a new video podcast deal with actress, model, and influencer Amanda Cerny and award-winning Bollywood actress and social media star Jacqueline Fernandez. Launching later this summer on both PodcastOne and LiveXLive’s platforms, “FEELS GOOD” w/ Amanda Cerny and Jacqueline Fernandez “brings these two lost sisters from different sides of the world together to give global weekly inspiring news story updates alongside insightful reviews, unexpected guests, conversations about sex, dating, wellness, and culture, while delivering to audiences what ‘feels good.’”

Radio Execs Make Big Stock Investments in Their Companies. Recently, two executives at major audio media firms have added large amounts of their companies’ stock to their personal portfolios.  Entercom chairman David Field just added more than 121,000 shares of Entercom stock, paying $1.6 per share and totaling $195,000. This adds 4.9% to Field’s share of Entercom’s stock, according to Yahoo! Finance. On August 14, iHeartMedia filed a Form 4 with the Securities Exchange Commission to report that company CFO and COO Richard Bressler purchased, via the company’s Employee Stock Option plan, $4.14 million worth of its Class A Common Stock (416,500 shares at $8.98 per share).

Presidential Race/DNC, USPS Crisis/Mail-In Voting, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections/Campus Flare-Ups, Fall School Openings, Senate Russian Interference Report, Financial Markets Gains, Anderson Cooper-Mike Lindell Spat, and California Wildfires-Blackouts Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/18). The November presidential election and night two of the Democratic National Convention; the U.S. Postal Service funding crisis and the related criticism of mail-in voting by President Trump; the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and projections for future cases and the related reports of flare-ups at some college campuses; the debate over school openings in September; the latest Senate report concluding that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election; U.S. financial markets hit highs erasing the spring pandemic losses; the tense exchange between CNN’s Anderson Cooper and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell over Lindell’s promotion of oleandrin as a cure for COVID-19; and the Southwestern heatwave and California wildfires 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. The syndicated rock morning drive program “The Billy Madison Show” is now being represented for ad sales and affiliate sales by Key Networks. The program – based at Cox Media Group’s rock KISS-FM, San Antonio – was originally a cooperative effort between CMG and Nineball Radio. United Stations Radio Networks acquired Nineball in 2016 and had been syndicating it since. It’s heard in the Palm Springs, Corpus Christi, and Salisbury, Maryland markets. Key Networks president and COO Jim Higgins says, “Billy Madison and his team work really hard and deliver a unique brand of passion and humor that has generated huge ratings and revenue for KISS-FM in San Antonio and Billy’s other affiliates. Key Networks is proud to now market his program and get it the recognition and additional stations and listeners that it deserves.”…..Maine’s Binnie Media promotes programming pro Leif Erickson to director of programming and operations for the classic hits FRANK format airing on the company’s WFNK-FM, Lewiston/Portland and WBQX, Rockland. Erickson says, “My predecessor, Stan Bennett, built a powerful brand and taught me a lot. After 15 years of being his right-hand man, it’s an honor to step up and take the reins. Frank FM has been my passion, and I’m excited to keep our winning streak going, aided of course by the best team in the Portland market.”

Friday, October 26, 2018

| October 26, 2018

Good Karma to Flip WKTI-FM, Milwaukee to Sports Talk as ‘ESPN Milwaukee 94.5.’ When Craig Kamazin’s Good Karma Brands takes ownership of country WKTI-FM and news/talk WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee on November 1, it will flip WKTI to sports talk as “ESPN Milwaukee 94.5.”  Good Karma is buying the duo from E.W. Scripps for $16 million.  In a press release, Karmazin says, “This is a natural evolution of our sports marketing, event and broadcast business in Wisconsin.  94.5 FM’s powerful signal, along with the synergy of its legendary sister station WTMJ-AM, will provide new and exciting ways for fans to stay close to their favorite teams and provide new ways for our marketing partners to engage with Wisconsin sports fans.”  WTMJ-AM is the flagship station of the Green Bay Packers, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Milwaukee Bucks and Good Karma’s WAUK-AM “540 ESPN” airs Marquette University basketball play-by-play.  Initially, both WKTI and WAUK will carry the same programming, including the “Wilde and Tausch” show featuring Packers Hall of Famer Mark Tauscher and award-winning Packers writer Jason Wilde – as well as the “Homer & Gabe” show, hosted by Steve “The Homer” True and Gabe Neitzel.  This move adds another station to the sports talk battle in Milwaukee with Entercom’s WSSP-AM/W289CB “105.7 The Fan” and iHeartMedia’s WOKY-AM “The Big 920.”

WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Evacuated After Mail Bomb Scare. After receiving a suspicious package at its Jenifer St. NW offices in Washington, Cumulus Media DC called authorities and the building was evacuated from about 4:00 pm to 5:45 pm on Thursday.  WRC-TV reports that police arrived and after a period determined the package was not a threat. WMAL and sister WRQX-FM staffers were allowed to return to the offices.  The package was addressed to WMAL personalities, according to afternoon host Larry O’Connor, who Tweeted, “Though it does not look like the other packages we have seen the past day or two, there were some similarities. DC police examined it and immediately ordered full evacuation.”  Ultimately, WMAL reporter Heather Curtis Tweeted that the package appears to have contained pieces of the Berlin Wall intended as gifts to WMAL talk show hosts.

iHeartMedia Seeks Exclusivity Extension. The company is asking the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston for more time in the exclusivity window – the period during which only it can submit reorganization plans – because it says it’s making progress after successfully negotiating with a “vast majority of creditors.”  iHeartMedia’s current exclusivity window expires on November 24 but would like the court to give it until February 7 of next year.  The company says it is seeking “a further extension to ensure that the Debtors can build upon the substantial progress made to date without distraction from other competing plans.”  The company further states that although this Fifth Amended Plan has not been confirmed, it and its advisers are “diligently working toward the Confirmation Hearing on December 11, 2018 and are currently in the midst of the solicitation process.”  This means it’s likely that iHeartMedia will not exit Chapter 11 until sometime in early 2019.

Jed Burns to Lead Bighorn Radio Network. Radio management pro Jed Burns is promoted to vice president and general manager for Legend Communications of Wyoming’s Big Horn Radio Network.  Legend Communications owners Larry and Susan Patrick say, “Jed has been with us for nearly 10 years now and he has significant management and marketing experience.  Jed’s leadership will enable the Big Horn Radio Network to continue to super serve our communities, our listeners, and our advertisers throughout the Big Horn Basin.” Big Horn Radio Network operates news/talk KODI-AM, Cody; news/talk KWOR-AM, Worland and six other music outlets.

Tampa Bay Times Runs Feature Piece on Bubba the Love Sponge.  The story by feature writer Christopher Spata tells that tale of the rise and fall of Tampa-based shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge, a.k.a., Todd Clem.  In the piece, Bubba is very honest about his standing in the radio industry, his huge legal bills defending himself in the Nielsen ratings tampering suit, and the fallout from the Hulk Hogan sex tape case.  Though he recently said during a guest appearance on the Howard Stern show that he lost his house, the truth is that his St. Petersburg mansion is on the market for $1.3 million.  Read the Times piece here.

Beasley Media Group’s Caroline Beasley Joins ‘Most Influential Business Leaders.’ The honor comes from Florida Trend magazine as the publication releases its list of 500 executives in the state it deems the “Most Influential Business Leaders.” Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley was named among the “500 executives selected based on extensive contacts in regional business circles, hundreds of interviews and months of research, culminating in a highly selective biographical guide to the people who really run Florida.”

Democrat-Targeted Mail Bombs Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 22-26. The 10 package bombs sent to high-level Democrats and CNN was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the midterm elections and the battle for control of the House and Senate. Coming in at #3 was the migrant caravan moving through Mexico toward the U.S. border, followed by global financial markets activity and the wildly fluctuating Dow 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.

 

KIRO-FM, Seattle Seeks Night Host. As the Bonneville station says, this is a “golden opportunity with one of the nation’s most established and respected news/talk stations. We’re looking for a fun, entertaining, and well-informed individual who can deliver remarkable content that attracts an adults 25-54 audience. In addition, qualified candidates should be able to regularly contribute to the various digital platforms including, but not limited to regular blogs, podcasts, and/or videos, online listener chats, and use of other social media platforms in addition to emerging digital technologies.” KIRO-FM would prefer candidates have one to two years of major market hosting experience. Check out the application info and full job description here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Three changes to report at Beasley’s country WSOC, Charlotte.  First, Jack Daniel takes on the program director role for both WSOC and sister Americana WBCN-AM/W234BY “94.7 Smoke” in addition to his current role as afternoon host on sister adult contemporary WKQC “K104.7.”  Second, Philip Tabakelis, a.k.a. Big Sexy, is named as assistant program director for WSOC in addition to his current role as evening personality.  Finally, Mimi Wheeler adds WSOC music director to her responsibilities that include serving as co-host of the “Tanner in the Morning” show and her work as assistant digital PD.  Beasley EVP of programming Justin Chase says, “After an exhaustive nationwide search, we found the most ideal and experienced programming team for WSOC within the walls of the station.  At Beasley, we always look for ways to promote from within.  I’m proud that we were able to this time with Mimi, Phillip and Jack.”…..Programmer Chris Eagan is promoted to senior director of operations at Cox Media Group’s Atlanta cluster.  In this new role he’ll oversee programming for CHR WSB-FM “B98.5,” classic hits WSRV “97-1 The River,” and urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1.”  Eagan joined Cox Media Group in 2008 as the program director at WEZN.  In 2012, he assumed the role of director of branding and programming, responsible for on-air programming for WSB-FM and WSRV-FM.  In addition, he also provides expert consultation and collaborates with six of CMG’s radio markets as AC/hot AC format leader to achieve target ratings in the adult contemporary brand…..At Entercom’s Seattle adult contemporary KSWD “94.1 The Sound,” Jeanne Ashley joins to serve as morning show co-host and assistant program director.  On air, she’s partnering with John Fisher for the “John and Jeanne” show.  Entercom Seattle SVP and market manager Jack Hutchison says, “Jeanne is an exceptional radio talent and we are happy to have her join The Sound’s air team because of her deep understanding of the values of the adult contemporary format, from the interests of its fans to its music library.  She is fresh, engaging, and a great fit with John’s wit and local wisdom.  Her music programming skills will provide us with greater creative power in packaging and presenting The Sound’s unique blend of relaxing favorites.”…..In the Akron/Canton, Ohio market, iHeartMedia names Scott Davidson program director country WHOF-HD2/W259BW “99.7 Canton’s New Country” and adult hits WHOF “My 101.7, The 80s and More,” effective immediately.  Davidson will continue his morning host role on WHOF…..Hubbard Radio’s legendary St. Louis rock outlet KSHE is launching its first official podcast that will cull the archives of its more than 50 years of interviews with rock royalty.  “The KSHE Tapes” is hosted by the KSHE Morning Rock Show’s John “The U-Man” Ulett and assistant program director and afternoon drive host Favazz. They will explore the back-stories and interviews heard on KSHE over the years.  Ulett is a 42-year veteran of KSHE and Favazz has been with the station for 27 years.  Ulett says, “It’s fun bringing back so many great interviews that were buried in storage for so many years.  Now they can live forever in the light of day.”  To date, the duo has produced two podcasts, one exploring a Sammy Hagar interview and one exploring a Paul McCartney interview.  Slash and Duff from Guns n’ Roses is posted today (10/26…..iHeartMedia announces what it is calling the “first ever nationwide song roadblock” in which it will play Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” across its 650 radio stations and their websites at 9:00 am (local time) on November 1 to promote the November 2 release of the Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises film, Bohemian Rhapsody…..Cumulus Media’s CHR KLIF-FM, Dallas “HOT 93.3” is adding the YEA Networks-syndicated nationally syndicated “Tino Cochino Radio” program for afternoon drive, effective October 29…..Sun Broadcast Group promotes interactive project manager Alex Quintero to affiliate content manager, effective immediately.  In his new position, Quintero will affiliate stations for all SBG shows and services, maintain relationships with current affiliates, assist in development of marketing materials for new affiliates and monitor effectiveness of marketing campaigns, among other duties…..Last night (10/25), superstar singer Kelly Clarkson performed at an intimate event hosted by iHeartMedia at the Rosen Shingle Creek during ANA Master of Marketing in Orlando, Florida.  The night also featured a fireside chat with Clarkson and iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman.  Pictured below are (from l-r): iHeartMedia president/COO/CFO Rich Bressler; iHM president, entertainment enterprises John Sykes; Clarkson; Pittman; iHM president, national programming group Tom Poleman; MediaLink founder and CEO Michael Kassan.  (Photo: Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Thursday, September 27, 2018

| September 27, 2018

Alpha Media to Sell West Palm Beach Cluster to Hubbard Radio. The press release notes that a definitive sales contract between Alpha Media and Minneapolis-based Hubbard Radio has yet to be signed, but they have reached an agreement in principle to transfer Alpha’s six stations in the West Palm Beach market to Hubbard for a yet-to-be-disclosed sum.  Alpha says it employs about 105 people at the cluster that includes: news/talk WFTL; sports talk WMEN-AM/WIRK-HD2; adult contemporary WEAT-FM; hot AC WRMF; country WIRK-FM; and urban contemporary WMBX-FM. Alpha acquired the cluster in February of 2016 with its purchase of Digity LLC.   After the deal is consummated, Alpha will own 213 stations in 46 markets.  The company says it has been selling off assets to lower its debt leverage.

Good Karma Announces Investors in WTMJ-AM and WKTI-FM, Milwaukee Acquisition. The recently announced acquisition of E.W. Scripps’ Milwaukee duo – heritage news/talk WTMJ-AM/W277CV and country WKTI-FM – by Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Brands LLC is being fleshed out a bit more from the financial perspective.  Good Karma announces that Wisconsin-based Morgan Murphy Media – owner of WISC-TV, Madison and WKBT-TV, La Crosse – is investing in the deal along with a group of local investors that includes: Ted Kellner, chairman and CEO of T&M Partners, LLC; Gale and Judi Klappa (Gale Klappa is chairman and chief executive of WEC Energy Group); David Marcus, CEO of Marcus Investments; and Greg Marcus, CEO of Marcus Corporation.  Morgan Murphy Media EVP and COO Brian Burns states, “Craig and his team at Good Karma Brands truly understand what it means to serve a local community.  We are excited to be in business with a group of people we’ve known for years who have an outstanding track record of success.” It’s already been announced that upon closing, Milwaukee broadcasting management pro Steve Wexler will assume the vice president and market manager role with the two stations as well as Good Karma’s sports WAUK, Waukesha “540 ESPN,” ESPN Digital, the Wisconsin Sports Awards, and the Tundra Trio.  Craig Karmazin adds, “We’re thrilled to welcome longtime friends, business partners, and members of the community to the Good Karma Brands team.  The addition of prominent local investors will further our relationship with the Milwaukee community and, paired with Steve Wexler’s leadership, will help guide our businesses to greater heights.  Good Karma’s focus has always been serving our marketing partners, fans and teammates, and today’s announcement is a huge boost for all three.”

Rich Zeoli Hosts FOX News’ Gregg Jarrett for WPHT Speaker Series. Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia afternoon drive host Rich Zeoli (left) with FOX News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett (right) after Zeoli interviewed Jarrett at the sold-out WPHT Speaker Series live event that included a discussion of Jarrett’s book The Russia Hoax.

Seen & Heard at the Radio Show: Day 2.  The National Association of Broadcasters reports that attendance at this year’s 2018 RAB/NAB Radio Show is up 8% with 2,130 persons registered.  TALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay is in Orlando reporting from Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.  McKay says that monetizing podcasting, the connected car, the state of news/talk radio and more were topics of discussion.  Read his report here.

TALKERS News Notes. From a report in Variety comes news that FOX News is unveiling a new tagline for its subscription service FOX Nation: “Opinion Done Right.”  The story says, “The slogan would suggest the new service, said to be aimed at FOX News ‘superfans,’ will emphasize the opinion programming that brings top ratings to the 21st Century FOX cable news network’s primetime lineup.”  FOX TV will promote the new service during tonight’s “Thursday Night Football” broadcast…..The NBA’s Boston Celtics and Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” announce a multi-year extension for the station to continue serving as the official flagship for the club’s radio broadcasts.  Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell continue their play-by-play duties while Celtics general manager and president of operations Danny Ainge will appear on the “Toucher & Rich Show” Thursday mornings at 9:00 during the season and head coach Brad Stevens will join “Zolak & Bertrand” each Wednesday around 12:00 noon…..The Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas acquires the papers of reporter and columnist Paul Colford – a journalist who, in addition to numerous accomplishments, wrote biographies of Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern.  During his career, Colford reported for New York Newsday and the New York Daily News and served as vice president for media relations at the Associated Press.  The papers include considerable research materials on the subjects of his biographies, The Rush Limbaugh Story (1993) and Howard Stern: King of All Media (1996).  Colford says, “As a media columnist and biographer, I’ve often found gold and indispensable details in libraries and archives around the country, including the Briscoe Center.  I’m honored and thrilled to know my files, photos, clippings, and other documents will be preserved and made available before long to media historians, students, and other journalists for their work in years to come.”  The Briscoe Center’s news media holdings include the papers of New York newspapermen Jack Newfield and Wayne Barrett, as well as those of social columnists Walter Winchell and Liz Smith…..ESPN senior writer Mina Kimes agrees to a multiyear extension with the sports media giant.  Along with news of the signing comes the launch of her NFL-themed podcast, “Bootleg with Mina Kimes.”  Kimes continues to write for ESPN The Magazine as well as continuing to appear on shows such as “Around the Horn”; as a co-host on “The Morning Roast on ESPN Radio with Domonique Foxworth and Clinton Yates”; guesting on “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” and “Highly Questionable”; as a debater on “First Take”; as a contributor to “E:6”; appearances on “Get Up”; and more…..iHeartMedia, in collaboration with HowStuffWorks, is launching a new, original podcast on October 3 called, “Unobscured,” that focuses on the Salem witch trials.  Aaron Mahnke – host of the popular podcast “Lore” – is hosting “Unobscured.”…..California-based not-for-profit Christian broadcaster Educational Media Foundation is acquiring another Chicagoland signal – this time it’s WCPT-FM, DeKalb from WDEK Inc – and the purchase price is $1.6 million.  Bob Heymann of the Chicago office of Media Services Group served as the exclusive broker.  If you recall, EMF was the recent surprise buyer of heritage Windy City FM WLUP, for which it paid $21.5 million.  WCPT-FM has been airing progressive talk, also heard on WCPT-AM, Willow Springs, Illinois…..SiriusXM is airing live, hole-by-hole coverage of the 2018 Ryder Cup tomorrow through Sunday from Le Golf National near Paris.  Listeners will hear a combination of SiriusXM’s exclusive broadcast featuring calls by Earl Forcey, Mark CarnevaleFred Albers, John Maginnes and Carl Paulson, as well as the IMG-produced broadcast led by longtime European golf broadcaster Richard Kaufman.  After each day’s play, listeners will hear post-match shows hosted by SiriusXM’s Taylor Zarzour, John Maginnes and Ron Green…..Pictured below are some of the participants on the Wednesday Headliner Session at the 2018 RAB/NAB Radio Show at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.  The panel, moderated by PodcastOne founder and chairman Norm Pattiz, was titled, “The Podcast Boom.”  From left to right are: Elaina Smith, co-host, “NASH Nights Live”; singer-songwriter Jewel; Suzanne Grimes, president, Westwood One and EVP, corporate marketing, Cumulus Media; and Kaitlyn Bristowe from television’s “The Bachelorette.”

Kavanaugh Hearing, Trump-Russia Investigation/Rosenstein Status, Trump’s China Election Interference Accusation/Press Conference, China Trade War, Midterm Elections, Fed Hikes Interest Rates, NFL Action, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/26). Today’s Senate hearing for the accusation made by Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related status of Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein; President Trump’s claim during his UN speech that China is trying to interfere with U.S. elections and the president’s subsequent press conference; the tariffs being placed on U.S. and Chinese goods; the November midterm elections and which party will control congress; the Fed raises interest rates again and speculation about the strength of the U.S. economy; NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoff push 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. Another entrant into the world of podcasting is iHeartMedia personality Mario Lopez.  iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia Networks Group president Darren Davis says that the “iHeartRadio Countdown” host will launch a new podcast network this fall that will be available on the iHeartRadio Podcast Network platform.  The network will feature several iHeartRadio Original podcasts including an up-close-and-personal look into the life of Mario Lopez.  He’ll also executive produce an additional slate of podcasts to roll out in the near future…..Air personality Heather Davis joins Curtis Media’s country WQDR, Raleigh to host middays and serve as APD and music director.  She comes to Curtis from Cumulus Media’s WKDF, Nashville…..At E.W. Scripps’ rock KQXR, Boise “100.3 The X,” morning personalities Jeremy “Nic” Nicolato and Jeremi “Big J” Schlader sign new, two-year deals to continue hosting “The Morning After.”  Nic, who also serves as program director, says, “It’s an honor to wake up every morning and deliver this show to the Treasure Valley.  Knowing we will be able to mark 13 years of doing it feels fantastic.”