Emmis Reaches Agreements in Principle to Sell Its Four St. Louis Stations. These agreements in principle are exactly that and subsequent definitive agreements mean more, but Emmis Communications announced today (1/30) that it will sell classic rock KSHE and alternative rock KPNT “The Point” to Hubbard Radio and news/talk KFTK-FM and CHR KNOU to Entercom. Terms – including price – are not available at this time. If the sales are finalized and pass regulatory approval, Entercom would own both heritage news/talk KMOX and news/talk KFTK. It seems unlikely that Entercom would operate two conservative news/talk stations in the same market and KFTK’s Class C1 FM signal would be a prime candidate for a flip to a music format.
Imus in the Morning/WABC Update. From the mouth of WABC, New York morning legend Don Imus comes the news that when his show ends on March 29, certain staff members are leaving along with him. The I-man said that show engineer Lou Rufino, along with cast members Rob Bartlett and Tony Powell will not continue with Cumulus Media’s 77WABC. TALKERS magazine sources also say that, effective today (1/30), Lisa Ritchie moves from evening news anchor position to weekday afternoon news anchor. Also, weekday street reporter Jerry Barmash assumes the evening news anchor role.
Ralph Bristol Exits WWTN-FM, Nashville Morning Show. There’s a change in mornings at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN-FM, Nashville “Super Talk 99.7 WTN” as morning personality Ralph Bristol exits the station. There’s no official word from Cumulus on this change, but former WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning host Brian Wilson has been sitting in on the morning show, so far. The rest of the weekday lineup on WTN is Michael Del Giorno in late mornings, Dan Mandis in early afternoons, and Phil Valentine in afternoon drive.
PodcastOne Founder and Executive Chairman Norm Pattiz to Present a “Podcasting for Radio Broadcasters” Clinic at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! The founder and executive chairman of one of the talk media industry’s leading podcasting platforms, PodcastOne, will address the attendees at the forthcoming TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! on the subject of “Podcasting for Radio Broadcasters.” As podcasting grows into a major communications business and modern-day cultural phenomenon, it is becoming clear that the practice is an extension of the radio industry’s platform projection into the digital space. According to Norm Pattiz, “There are unlimited potential and yet untapped opportunities for radio broadcasters to expand their programming, brands and potential for revenue generation in this exciting field. We will discuss some of them at the TALKERS conference.”
TALKERS News Notes. Talk show host Jeremy Leahy’s “Standing Ground” program picks up another affiliate as WLBB, Carrollton, Georgia adds the show to its program schedule. TalkAmericaRadio.US operations manager Ron Phillips comments, “We are extremely proud to be carrying Jeremy’s program. In his unfiltered style, he guides the listener through all aspects of our political landscape. He is well on his way to being a headliner on our national network.”…..USA Radio Network is reporting that “WAR Now: The Wayne Allyn Root Show” has added new affiliate stations, including KBDT, Dallas (USA Radio’s new flagship station) and KSPK, Minneapolis. Additionally, the 8:00 pm ET hour of the program is carried by Newsmax TV, reaching some 50 million households…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that sources tell him the rights to Chicago Bulls play-by-play could transfer from Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM to Entercom’s sports talker WSCR “The Score,” as a deal is close to being struck. As part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy and company-wide cost-cutting measures, Cumulus is asking out of its deals with the Bulls and MLB’s White Sox. It’s hard to say where the White Sox rights may end up. WSCR also carries the Cubs. Tribune’s WGN let go of the Cubs several years ago, presumably for financial reasons. And, it’s not certain if sport talker WMVP parent ESPN is interested in the White Sox. Stay tuned…..Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is entering the news media game. He was introduced on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program today (1/30) by George Stephanopoulos as the newest ABC News contributor. He was referred to as a friend and adviser to President Trump. Christie – a former U.S. prosecutor gave his takes on the exit of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and the Robert Mueller special investigation…..Cumulus Media news/talk KABC, Los Angeles was honored by Southern California’s RTNA with five top honors at the 68th Annual RTNA Golden Mike Awards on Saturday (1/27). The station took home the following: Best Newscast Under 15 Minutes: Leeann Tweeden, anchor; Sharon Reardon, editor; Best Sports Segment: Randy Wang; Best Government and Political Reporting: James Rojas; Best Traffic Reporter: Bill Thomas; and Best News Reporting by Radio Network or Content Syndicator: Westwood One‘s Jim Roope.
Merlin Media Still Negotiating with Cumulus. WKQX-FM and WLUP-FM, Chicago owner Merlin Media filed yesterday (1/29) with the bankruptcy court handling Cumulus Media’s Chapter 11 case, informing it that it is still working with Cumulus to seek a mutually beneficial solution to the ownership of the two stations. Those following the Cumulus bankruptcy case recall that the company is asking the court to let it out of a number of contracts that are losing money. One of those is the LMA of WKQX and WLUP. Under the terms of the deal, Cumulus is also under obligation to buy the two signals for around $50 million. Merlin acknowledges that, in the event negotiations fail and pending a court ruling, it is preparing to either operate the alternative and classic rock stations itself and/or seek another buyer. Also, Merlin is objecting to Cumulus classifying the Merlin contract as a subordinating claim – which would make it payable only after senior claims are settled.
Andrew McCabe Resignation, Trump-Russia Investigation/Kremlin List, FISA Abuses Memo, State of the Union Address, Criticism of Politicized Grammys, DACA Status/Immigration Policy, Strava Security Concerns, Flu Epidemic, and Super Bowl LII Among News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/29). Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe resigns from his position under pressure from President Trump; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents and Vladimir Putin’s response to the U.S. Treasury Department’s “Kremlin list” of Russian politicians and oligarchs who’ve thrived under Putin; the House Intelligence Committee’s vote to release a memo detailing alleged surveillance abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department; President Trump’s State of the Union Address; criticism of the political speeches at Sunday night’s Grammy Awards; the status of the Obama-era DACA Act and the Trump administration’s immigration policy; concerns of the security of U.S. service personnel after use of the Strava workout app appears to reveal their locations; the flu epidemic that’s sweeping the U.S.; and Sunday’s Super Bowl LII 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. Morning radio personality John Forsythe is retiring from iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary WMGF, Orlando “Magic 107.7” where he’s been co-hosting AM drive with Leslye Gale since 2010. During his 50-year career, Forsythe has worked at such stations as WQAM-AM, Miami; KLIF-AM, Dallas; KKOB-FM, Albuquerque; and KCBQ, San Diego. About retirement, Forsythe says, “It’s been a difficult decision to step away from such a successful show but it’s time. Radio has given me so many amazing life experiences. From the early days in Miami with the Bee Gees living on the same canal as ‘QAM in the ‘70s, to being part of the Chargers broadcast team in the ‘80s, to raising millions for children’s hospitals in the ‘90s and 2000s, radio has enriched my life in so many ways! I’m grateful for the opportunity to try and make someone’s day better through warmth and laughter.”…..The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that Entercom urban contemporary WVEE, Atlanta “V-103” will replace departing morning personality Ryan Cameron with familiar voices – Frank Ski and Miss Sophia, along with Wanda Smith. Ski returns to the station after exiting in 2012 and Miss Sophia returns after an almost eight-year absence…..When the new Justin Timberlake album Man of the Woods drops this Friday (2/2), it will be available on demand via iHeartRadio starting at 12:00 midnight ET. iHeartRadio and Timberlake have teamed up to gift fans with the access to stream the album all weekend long during iHeartRadio’s “All Access Free Preview Weekend.” At 8:00 pm ET on Friday, iHeartMedia’s digital platform will host an iHeartRadio Album Preview with Justin Timberlake across broadcast stations nationwide and digitally on iHeartRadio’s Hit Nation featuring an exclusive interview about the making of the album…..iHeartMedia rock station KEGL, Dallas “97.1 The Eagle” announces the lineup for this year’s “BFD 2018” concert at Starplex Pavilion on May 26. The day-long concert will feature performances from A Perfect Circle, Stone Temple Pilots, Theory of a Deadman, I Prevail, Nothing More, Candlebox, 10 Years, and The Blue Stones…..SiriusXM is devoting a channel to the music of Billy Joel all during February. The Billy Joel Channel will feature the works of Joel plus a new series, “BJ the DJ” in which Joel plays some of the artists he admires most. Each show will be focused on a different genre of music including pop, rock and R&B. Billy will host this series while sitting at his piano illustrating musically and verbally each song he selects.
iHeartMedia Extends Debt Exchange Offer. In a press release, iHeartMedia parent company iHeartCommunications, Inc announces it is extending the private offers to holders of certain series of iHeartCommunications’ outstanding debt securities to exchange the Existing Notes for new securities of iHeartMedia, Inc., CC Outdoor Holdings, Inc. and iHeartCommunications, and the related solicitation of consents from holders of Existing Notes to certain amendments to the indentures and security documents governing the Existing Notes. The company notes that as of 5:00 pm ET Wednesday (8/16), an aggregate amount of approximately $45.5 million of Existing Notes, representing approximately 0.6% of outstanding Existing Notes, had been tendered into the Exchange Offers.
Talent Shuffle at WEPN, New York. Programming brass at ESPN O&O WEPN, New York, “ESPN New York 98.7 FM” have made a few changes to the air talent lineup at the Big Apple sports talker. Alan Hahn exits the “Hahn, Humpty, and Canty” midday show and will take over the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm show, effective Monday (8/21). Leaving the night show and moving to the midday program is Dave Rothenberg. The 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show – starring Rick DiPietro and Chris Canty – is renamed “Humpty & Canty.” Rothenberg will continue to host his eponymous Saturday program on the station from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Hahn is quoted saying, “Hosting the show with Rick and Chris has been one of the most valuable experiences of my career. I’m excited about my new venture back at night where it all started. I can’t thank Tim McCarthy [senior vice president of ESPN New York 98.7FM] enough for working with me on this move to ensure I can keep developing as a radio host.”
WEEI-NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon Tops $4 Million Raised to Fight Cancer. On Wednesday and Thursday, Entercom sports talk WEEI, Boston again teamed up with regional sports cable TV network NESN to hold the 16th annual “WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon” raised more than $4 million to fight cancer. Since 2002, the annual radio-telethon has raise more than $49 million to benefit the Jimmy Fund.
Harrison Podcast Examines Charlottesville from a Talk Radio Perspective. Charlottesville, VA was the home of two early U.S. presidents – Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. It is also the home of two talented radio talk show hosts heard on two significant, separately owned news/talk stations. Joe Thomas is the PD and morning host at Monticello Media’s WCHV. Rob Schilling is the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm host on Saga Communications’ WINA. Both are guests on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” They discuss, in great detail, the talk radio perspective on the tragic and troubling events that took place in their city this past weekend, and then some. Don’t miss this. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
TALKERS News Notes. WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley takes home the gold award for Best Columnist in the 2017 Best of the Press awards from the Press of Atlantic City. The awards are based on votes from readers. Last year, Hurley won the silver award in the Best Columnist category…..Talk show pro Steve Malzberg has been sitting in for WMAL-AM/FM, Washington afternoon drive personality Larry O’Connor all this week. Malzberg tells TALKERS magazine that this stint comes after nearly two weeks filling in for WMAL-based, syndicated talk personality Chris Plante. Malzberg can be reached via email at email@example.com…..The Danielle Lin show expands its affiliate base with the addition of BiCoastal Media-owned news/talk KMED-AM/K294AS in Medford, Oregon.
Aftermath of Charlottesville Protest Violence Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 14-18. Criticism of President Trump’s response to the death of a 32-year-old protestor and the violence at last weekend’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the destruction of a Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina and the authorized removal of Confederate memorials in other cities. Coming in at #3 was the elimination of President Trump’s American Manufacturing Council after numerous CEOs resigned from the board in the wake of Trump’s Charlottesville comments, followed by the U.S.-North Korea tensions at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discusses 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. Programming pro Chris Clare is the new program director at Cumulus Media’s country WNNF, Cincinnati “NASH-FM 94.1.” Clare heads to the Queen City from his most recent gig at Binnie Media’s country WTHT, Portland “99.9 The Wolf.” He previously worked in Cincinnati at Cumulus’ sister WFTK when it was “Star 96.5.” Cumulus Cincinnati operations manager Keith Mitchell says, “The team here in Cincinnati is excited for Chris’ arrival in September and the wealth of country experience and enthusiasm he brings to NASH-FM.”…..Neuhoff Media brings Chris Fleming in to its Lafayette, Indiana cluster to serve as vice president and market manager. Fleming has most recently been chief revenue officer and general manager at Ramar Communications’ seven-station Lubbock, Texas operations…..Air personality Miguel “Mijo” Irizarry joins the air staff at CBS RADIO’s CHR WPOW, Miami “Power 96” to host the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight shift, effective August 28. He fills the daypart vacated by Ivy Unleashed when she was promoted to the afternoon show. About his new gig, Mijo says, “Excited doesn’t begin to justify the feeling of joining such an incredible team at CBS RADIO Miami and ‘Power 96.’”…..Programming pro Lance Ballance exits Cumulus Media’s adult contemporary WXLO where he’d been serving as operations manager and PD …..Christian broadcaster WAY Media names John Scaggs president and CEO. He succeeds company founder Bob Augsburg.
Dustin Lynch Stops By the ‘Ty, Kelly and Chuck Show.’ Country star Dustin Lynch is pictured here with the Ty, Kelly and Chuck show at their studios in Nashville recently. He talked about his new record Current Mood and even played games including “Strip or Strike” and “Who Wears the Pants?” Pictured (from l-r) are: Ty Bentli, Lynch, Kelly Ford and Chuck Wicks.
Vince Coglianese Joins Mary Walter for WMAL’s ‘Mornings on the Mall.’ The Daily Caller editorial director Vince Coglianese is named the new morning drive co-host at Cumulus Media’s Washington, DC news/talk outlet WMAL-AM/FM. The station says Coglianese will join current morning personality Mary Walter on the “Mornings On The Mall” program from 5:00 am to 9:00 am. He’s the former editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller and regularly appears on the FOX News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, the FOX Business Network, and CNBC. Prior to joining The Daily Caller, Coglianese served as web editor for Carolina Coast OnLine, and hosted a talk show on WTKF/WJNC, Morehead City, North Carolina. WMAL program director and Cumulus Media VP of News/Talk Bill Hess states, “Vince is the perfect WMAL personality – knowledgeable, plugged-in, entertaining, and a strong storyteller. He and Mary had immediate chemistry and we’re excited to bring this fresh new sound to mornings on 105.9 FM and AM630 WMAL.” Coglianese fills the slot left vacant when Brian Wilson departed the station.
iHeartMedia Launches Denver Broncos Station ‘Orange and Blue Radio.’ Sports talker KDSP, Denver is tweaked by owner iHeartMedia and will now be a station dedicated to all things Denver Broncos. KDSP takes on the brand “Orange & Blue 760.” iHeartMedia says the station “will broadcast Broncos sports talk with Tyler Polumbus, Steve Atwater, Dave Logan, Andrew Mason and more throughout the day. Listeners can tune in 24/7 to hear breaking team news reports, live coverage of all Broncos’ news conferences as well as exclusive Broncos content just for ‘Orange & Blue’ radio listeners.” This is being reported by numerous Denver news outlets as a “50/50 relationship” between the NFL club and the station, although whether that refers literally to sharing revenue or, less literally, about working together to create content – or some mix thereof – is not clear. Denver Broncos chief commercial operator Mac Freeman adds, “Our longstanding partnership with iHeartMedia Denver continues to evolve and we are committed to finding new ways to engage Broncos fans across the fast-changing media landscape. ‘Orange and Blue Radio’ will allow us to bring Broncos fans more content, more often, in more places.”
Nielsen’s Q2 Net Revenue Up 3%. Ratings and research giant – and parent of radio ratings subsidiary Nielsen Audio – Nielsen Holdings plc announces financial figures for the second quarter of 2017. Revenue was $1,644 million in Q2, up 3.0% (or 4.1% on a constant currency basis) compared to the second quarter of 2016. Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns comments, “Our revenue in the quarter reflects solid growth in Watch, robust growth in Buy emerging markets and the contribution from our recent acquisition of Gracenote. This was partially offset by continued softness in our U.S. Buy business which reflects the challenging operating environment for our large, fast moving consumer goods clients. Our rigorous cost and commercial discipline in the quarter enabled us to deliver margin expansion, while also investing in our key growth initiatives.”
WEEI’s Minihane Takes ‘Personal Time’ After Criticizing Red Sox Ownership. Coincidence or not? That’s the question the Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam is asking after WEEI, Boston morning personality Kirk Minihane disappeared from the morning show the day after lashing out at Boston Red Sox ownership. What set Minihane off was a statement the organization made in response to a piece by Britni De La Cretaz published at DigBoston.com that examines the history of the MLB club’s racist past and suggests that racism is still alive and well in “Red Sox Nation,” including at the team’s longtime radio partner, WEEI. Part of the Red Sox’s statement included the following: “None of the opinions or sentiments expressed on WEEI or any of the 57 radio affiliates throughout New England are those of the Boston Red Sox. We understand the frustration of those who feel the opinions expressed are offensive and out of line. At times, we feel the same way.” Minihane responded saying, in part, “There is an institutional arrogance from the Red Sox. It starts at the top and it bleeds all the way down to the bottom. All we did was say we don’t believe that Red Sox fans are inherently racist. The Red Sox disagree. Red Sox fans, your organization thinks you’re racist or, by and large, think many of you are racist. The Red Sox are pandering and it starts with John Henry, with Linda Pizzuti, who’s another panderer, goes to Tom Werner and goes all the way down, slides all the way down, takes a stop at John Farrell.” The station told Heslam that Minihane is not suspended, just “taking personal time this week.” Read Heslam’s story here.
Charlie Pallilo Returns to Houston Airwaves. The Houston Chronicle reports that Houston sports talk radio personality Charlie Pallilo will be back on the radio on August 21 on Gow Media’s KGOW, hosting the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm show. Pallilo was most recently with iHeartMedia on KBME “Sports Talk 790” but was let go last October to make room in afternoons for Josh Innes (currently hosting the morning drive show on KBME). The Chronicle reports that Pallilo will also make appearances on Gow’s sister station KFNC-FM and contribute to Gow Media’s CultureMap and SportsMap websites. Gow Media’s David Gow is quoted saying, “I’ve been trying to hire Charlie for years, but he wasn’t available until his departure from 790. We’ve been looking for the right fit and spot in our lineup for him. We think he is one of the top sports talk hosts in the city. He is really thoughtful and insightful and has a great rapport with his listeners. His analysis and his ability to talk about the details of sports and why things are taking place is unparalleled, and I know people will enjoy listening to him on our airwaves.”
TALKERS News Notes. The start date for Nashville sports talk host George Plaster’s return to the market’s airwaves is this Sunday (7/30) on Grand Ole Opry-owned country WSM-AM. The 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm “Sports Night” program will be Plaster’s return to the radio after exiting crosstown WPNT “102.5 The Game” to become the athletic director at Belmont University, a position he continues to hold. WSM-AM program director Jonathan Shaffer will serve as co-host for the show…..CBS RADIO announces that Chris Wittyngham is the new co-host for the Miami Dolphins pre-game show on WQAM “Sportsradio 560” alongside former Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder. Wittyngham currently works for CBSSports.com as a digital channels host. He also works for BeIN Sports Television Network as a soccer play-by-play announcer. WQAM program director Ryan Maguire comments, “Chris has already established himself locally as a talented, versatile sports media professional. We’re thrilled that he’s agreed to work with us more extensively during the football season.”
GOP Health Care Strategy, U.S. Military Transgender Ban, Foxconn Announces U.S. Plant, Scaramucci Threatens Leakers, Trump-Russia Investigation, North Korea Nukes Program, Sessions Status, Western Male Sperm Counts Down, Ohio Fair Ride Fatality, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/26). The Republicans’ attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a GOP-crafted plan; President Trump issues ban on transgender soldiers in the U.S. military; Taiwan-based Foxconn announces plans for Wisconsin factory and 3,000 initial jobs; new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci’s threat to punish White House leakers; the investigation into connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; North Korea’s ICBM program and its threats against the U.S.; President Trump’s criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions; a new report indicating sperm counts are down among Western males; a fatality and severe injuries from an amusement park ride at the Ohio State Fair; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/27) with Memorial Tribute To Tom Marr by Jim Bohannon. The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day. Already posted are:
– The “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein).
– The special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan).
– The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon).
– The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo).
– The special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard).
– The special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell).
– The first, second and third in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” featuring conversations between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan Bearman, Bold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto and DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum, and nationally syndicated host Dr. Asa Andrew and TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein. All three sessions are facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter.
– A “one-on-one” dialogue titled “Radio That Makes a Difference” featuring the SiriusXM Satellite Radio husband/wife team of host Joe Madison and executive producer Sharon Madison (introduced by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio VP/GM talk programming Dave Gorab).
– A “Fireside Chat” featuring former CBS Radio president/CEO and Broadcasters Foundation of America chairman Dan Mason being interviewed by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley (with introduction by BOB-FM, London morning host Graham Mack).
– A “Fireside Chat” featuring Emmis Communications CEO/chairman Jeff Smulyan being interviewed by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (with an introduction by Bentley University professor/TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman).
– The series of four “one-on-one” dialogues titled “The Challenges of Doing Talk Radio in 2017.” They feature a conversation between WYD Media syndicated host Thom Hartmann and Cumulus Media corporate PD/WMAL, Washington PD Bill Hess(introduced by Moceri Media president Greg Moceri), a conversation between morning co-host of WAQY-FM (Rock102), Springfield, MA Mike “Bax” Baxendale and morning host of WOLB, Baltimore Larry Young, and a conversation between Cumulus Media EVP programming and content Mike McVay and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (facilitated by ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones).
– The series of four “one-on-one” dialogues collectively titled, “Where Does Talk Media Go From Here?” featuring a conversation between WRHU, Hofstra University OM John T. Mullen and WRFH, Hillsdale College GM Scot Bertram; a conversation between The New Normal CEO/founder/host Tom Leykis and syndicated host Michael Berry; a conversation between The Weiss AgencyEVP Heather Cohen and Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel host Brian Kilmeade; and a conversation between WPHT, Philadelphia host Dom Giordano and GCN syndicated host Dr. Daliah Wachs (facilitated by WOR, New York APD Scott Lakefield). At the conclusion, Dr. Wachs is presented the TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” award by Michael Harrison.
– TODAY (7/27) we posted the first of a series of three memorial tributes by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon dedicated to major talk show personalities and longtime TALKERS Convention participants who passed away this past year: Tom Marr, Dr. Joy Browne and Alan Colmes. Today’s posted tribute is for Tom Marr. (Introduction by Stephan Multimedia CEO/host, Doug Stephan.)
Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year. The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone Networks, Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp. To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Los Angeles, CBS RADIO makes Chris Ebbott program director of CHR KAMP “97.1 AMP” in addition to his current PD role at classic hits KRTH “K-EARTH 101.1.” CBS says this move allows cluster SVP of programming Kevin Weatherly to hand off the KAMP programming duties to Ebbott and “focus more broadly on the strategic direction and approach of the market’s five music formats. CBS also operates KTWV “94.7 The Wave,” KROQ, and KCBS-FM “93.1 JACK FM.” Weatherly will continue to serve as program director of KROQ and KCBS-FM…..A piece published in the Providence Journal gives a status report on the sale of alternative WBRU, Providence. The station is a commercial alt rocker owned by the non-profit Brown Broadcasting Services – linked to Brown University. The student-staffed station was put up for sale by the board of directors who cited the challenges of operating a radio station in the current media climate as the impetus to sell. The ProJo piece quotes a board spokesman saying the broker handling the sale is in active negotiations with a potential buyer but that no names are being released at this point…..Jacobs Media brings Chris Firmage aboard as an associate consultant. Jacobs says Firmage joins the company after “a long and successful run at KFMA in Tucson.” Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs comments, “We continue to invest in new ideas and approaches for our clients. Chris brings us a solid history of success. He’s knowledgeable in many areas and I expect that he will have a positive impact for all our clients.”
Brian Wilson Exits WMAL, Washington’s ‘Mornings on the Mall.’ Announcing via Twitter on Friday, DC talk radio personality Brian Wilson says he’s exited Cumulus Media news/talk outlet WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. Wilson wrote, “Today is the last day of a wonderful 6 year ride @WMALDC. Thanks everyone! I stand ready for the next great adventure. I’ll miss the awesome folks @WMALDC: B Hess, Larry, Chris, Mary, Heather H & M McKay. But won’t miss the 2:30 AM alarm!!!! More soon!” In the meantime, WMAL program director – and Cumulus news/talk VP – Bill Hess tells TALKERS magazine that Daily Caller editor-in-chief Vince Coglianese is sitting in as interim co-host while the station seeks a permanent partner for Mary Walter on the program.
TALKERS News Notes. WPGG, Atlantic City adds Fox News Radio’s “Kilmeade & Friends” starring Brian Kilmeade in the late morning daypart, replacing Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck…..In Chicago, Matt Abbatacola leaves CBS RADIO’s sports talker WSCR where he’s been serving for the past 16 years as a producer, personality and sports update anchor. He was a longtime producer of the Boers & Bernstein show with the now-retired Terry Boers and Dan Bernstein (who’s now partnered with Jason Goff). Robert Feder reports that “The Score” program director Mitch Rosen says, “I wish him nothing but the best.” Read Feder’s column here…..More changes are taking place at Fox News Channel. According to report by CNN, Fox News Channel has let “The Five” personality Bob Beckel go “for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee.” This move is apparently connected to what is being termed a “growing racial discrimination” lawsuit filed by a number of current and former Fox News Channel staffers. The story says Beckel allegedly told a black IT department employee that he would leave the room while the staffer worked on his computer because the employee is black. It further says that when the person filed a complaint, Beckel tried to intimidate the worker to withdraw it. The suit is being handled by attorneys Douglas Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen…..If you missed it, former Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly wrote an op-ed piece published by USA Today on the passing of his former boss Roger Ailes. In the piece, O’Reilly says, “We are living in a rough age, with technological advances changing behavior and perspective. The downside of that is turning us into a nation where hatred is almost celebrated in some quarters. Roger Ailes experienced that hatred and it killed him. That is the truth.” Read the piece here…..Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, via his Red Zebra Broadcasting, is agreeing to sell sports talk WSPZ, Bethesda, Maryland to the new corporation AM 570 LLC – co-owned by Salem Media Group founders Ed Atsinger and Stu Epperson. The $2.1 million deal includes 58 acres of land. The towers also carry the diplexed signal of WMAL-AM on a lease.
Trump Visits Saudi Arabia, Russia Investigation/Comey Firing, China Kills U.S. Spies, Weiner Guilty Plea/Abedin Files for Divorce, More North Korean Missile Tests, Iranian Elections, O’Reilly’s USA Today Column, and MLB, NBA and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. President Donald Trump makes his first stop in Saudi Arabia on an international tour, receiving a gold medal from the nation and signing a $110 billion arms deal; ongoing talk of the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign figures and Russia and the related firing of FBI Director James Comey; the report that an intelligence breakdown led to China killing and imprisoning numerous U.S. spies; Anthony Weiner pleads guilty in the case of his sexting with a minor and the news former Hillary Clinton aid Huma Abedin will divorce him; North Korea conducts more missile tests; Iran holds elections, re-electing President Hassan Rouhani; former Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly pens a USA Today op-ed stating Roger Ailes died from the “hatred” cast at him by critics; and MLB, NBA and NHL 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. Taking over the afternoon drive show on iHeartMedia’s Dallas hot AC KDMX “102.9 Now” is Kannon. He was most recently working in the Dallas market at CBS RADIO’s crosstown CHR KVIL as part of the morning show. KDMX program director Jay Shannon says, “Kannon is a familiar name that has been on the radio in Dallas/Ft. Worth for several years and he understands how to connect with listeners, as well as what it takes to be successful in this market.” He also previously served in the market as morning show host at Cumulus Media’s CHR KLIF-FM…..From Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch comes the reports that Federated Media active rock WBYR, Fort Wayne “98.9 The Bear” parts ways with evening personality Barry Thickk. The station replaces him with the United Stations Radio Networks-syndicated “Lou Brutus Hard Drive XL” at night…..SiriusXM announces that David Letterman and his former TV band leader Paul Shaffer will be guests on Elizabeth Cook’s “Apron Strings” show on the Outlaw Country on Wednesday (5/24). Letterman, a big fan of American roots music, will bring along a playlist of his own hand-picked performances that aired on his network television show over the years.
Adam Bomb and DNCE at the Billboard Music Awards. Yesterday (5/21) in Las Vegas, Westwood One Backstage at the BBMAs took place at the Lucky Live Lounge at T-Mobile Arena. The backstage radio row included more than 20 stations interviewing artists and celebrities. Republic Records recording artists DNCE performed at the event. Pictured here is Westwood One syndicated host Adam Bomb (left) with members of DNCE.
Mary Walter Joins WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s ‘Mornings On The Mall.’ Radio pro Mary Walter is named the co-host of the “Mornings On The Mall” program on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. Walter is working with co-host Brian Wilson. She takes over for Larry O’Connor, who recently moved to the afternoon drive daypart. Walter was most recently with iHeartMedia’s WHAS, Louisville, hosting the evening program. She’s been a frequent guest host on WMAL in addition to guest host stints on FOX News Radio and SiriusXM’s The Patriot channel. WMAL program director Bill Hess comments, “Mary’s experience, energy, and familiarity to our audience made her the perfect addition to our team.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces New Midday Show. The new midday show at E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee is being unveiled. The station moved Jeff Wagner to the late morning slot that opened up with the retirement of Charlie Sykes at the end of last year. Now, taking over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is the “Scaffidi & Bilstad” show with Steve Scaffidi (center) and executive producer Erik Bilstad (left). Scaffidi was most recently mayor of suburban Oak Creek and an account executive at the Leonard & Finco Public Relations firm. He’s resigned from both posts to join WTMJ. Station VP/GM Tom Langmyer states, “We’re pleased to welcome Steve to our team. He brings a great depth of knowledge and local connection to add to his take on the news of the day. Steve is a Wisconsin native, has a deep background and so much life experience, beyond broadcasting.” News anchor and reporter Colleen Boland (right) will man the newsroom during the program. The show debuts on February 28.
ABC News Radio Makes Staffing Changes; Gearing Towards Covering Breaking News. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS magazine that the news organization is making staffing changes that signal a shift from putting its primary resources into newscasts and focusing more intently on the coverage of breaking news, “reflecting immediacy and producing additional program content” for their approximately 1,575 affiliates. ABC News Radio says it has parted ways with a handful of employees but is in the process of hiring for a number of positions that will exceed those eliminated. Those include: Affiliate Solutions Manager, Associate Producer, Country Reporter/Producer, Urban Reporter/Producer, and WGA Newswriter/Producer. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS, “These changes allow ABC News Radio to provide more two-ways, breaking news and anchored coverage which have become more important to stations. It is never easy when fellow employees leave and we wish the very best to these colleagues. The media landscape is always evolving and it’s critical we’re meeting stations’ needs every step of the way.”
Erik Kuselias to Host Daily Talk Show on Genesis Communications Florida Talk Stations. Known primarily for his work in the sports media business, Erik Kuselias is expanding his reach in Florida by hosting a daily, two-hour talk show on Genesis Communications-owned news/talk outlets WWBA, Tampa and WIXC, Titusville (on the Space Coast). Kuselias – a former ESPN and NBC Sports personality – currently hosts a morning drive sports talk show on the company’s sports talk duo WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. He’s continuing in that role in addition to the new program that airs from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. WWBA program manager Tom Paleveda states, “This is a natural progression for EK. We launched EK on the sports stations in both Tampa and Orlando last year. He is incredibly talented and will produce one of talk radio’s best programs. He will also continue to provide his brand of content on the company digital platforms, ‘News Talk Florida’ and ‘Sports Talk Florida.’”
Bubba the Love Sponge Files New Counterclaim Against Nielsen. The first time Bubba the Love Sponge filed a counterclaim against Nielsen, the court denied the motion ruling that it was difficult to discern the relevant facts due to the heavily redacted documents supplied by plaintiff Nielsen. That counterclaim included third parties Cox Media Group and CMG employee (and WHPT, Tampa personality) Mike Calta. But the denial was without prejudice, allowing Bubba’s lawyers to try again. And he has, this time leaving Cox and Calta out of the counterclaim. The counterclaim still alleges Nielsen entered into a conspiracy with Cox Media Group to get Bubba off the air in Tampa and interfere with his ability to do business with Beasley Media Group (owner of Tampa affiliate WBRN). The specific counterclaims are: Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relationships, Violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and Civil Conspiracy.
KFYO, Lubbock, Texas Names Dave King & Matt Martin Morning Hosts. Friday (2/17) was the last day for the “First News with Tom Collins and Laura Mac” on Townsquare Media’s news/talk KFYO, Lubbock, Texas. Assuming the morning show role are Dave King (right) and Matt Martin (left). The station says, “Both Dave and Matt are easy going, view the world from a conservative viewpoint, and want to interact with KFYO listeners. King is owner of Dave King Advertising in Lubbock. Matt Martin is a realtor with The Wyatt Team at Keller Williams.
Neuhoff Ups Byerly to DOS and Associate GM for Decatur Station Group. Moving up from her general sales manager position at Neuhoff Communications’ Decatur, Illinois cluster is Kathy Byerly. She’s now director of sales and associate general manager for the group that includes news/talk WSOY, sports talk WDZ, hip hop WCZQ “HOT 105.5,” CHR WSOY-FM “Y103,” and country WDZQ “95Q.” Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey states, “Kathy is a wonderful success story. She has grown a career from the front desk to market leadership. You can’t get much better than that. The group of Decatur stations and digital products are not only the market leaders, they also have been recognized among the best in the industry. Kathy will help support those traditions while driving more business to our advertising partners.”
Hanging Out at the Club. Nationally syndicated Westwood One talk host Michael Savage and his son, Rockstar energy drink founder Russ Weiner, crossed paths with President Donald Trump at the chief executive’s famous Palm Beach, Florida private club, Mar-a-Lago, this weekend. They were attending a dinner hosted by Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy when the president stopped by to say hello. Pictured (l-r): Ruddy, Trump, Savage, and Weiner.
Limbaugh-Touted Book Debuts at #6 on NYT Bestseller List. The latest book by conservative writer David Horowitz – Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America – debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list at #6 in the hardcover nonfiction books and e-book/hardcover nonfiction categories. Newsmax reports that the book was released the week of President Trump’s inauguration and is being praised by Rush Limbaugh, among other conservative media figures, for its predictions about Trump’s agenda. Horowitz is founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
New Trump Travel Order, McMaster Named National Security Advisor, Trump’s Sweden Comment, McCain vs Trump, UK’s Anti-Trump Debate, Uber Sexual Harassment Scandal, Yiannopoulos Controversies, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20). The Trump Administration issues new travel order exempting green card holders; President Donald Trump names Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster national security advisor; the controversy over Trump’s allusion to crime in Sweden and filmmaker Ami Horowitz’s allegations that violent crime there has spiked due to immigrants; Republican Senator John McCain’s role as a major critic of Trump’s policies; the British House of Commons debates denying President Trump’s state visit; the allegations of sexual harassment at Uber’s corporate headquarters and the company’s hiring former AG Eric Holder to investigate; the controversies surrounding media figure Milo Yiannopoulos, including his being uninvited to CPAC and Simon and Schuster refusing to release his book; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Phoenix market broadcast legend Pat McMahon is being roasted on March 15 at local comedy club Stand Up Live in an event being organized by Bonneville news/talk outlet KTAR-FM. The “Tip of the Hat to Pat” roast is being hosted by KNIX personality Tim Hattrick and will feature rock legend Alice Cooper, as well as local celebrities Jude LaCava from Fox 10, John Holmberg from KUPD, authors Jana Bommersbach and Rita Davenport and former ADL director Bill Straus. McMahon says, “I’m feeling both honored and terrified at the prospect of this event. But you can be sure that I’ll be able to dish it out, just as well as I can take it.”…..New York Mets flagship station WOR, New York announces it will air play-by-play for 15 spring training games, beginning on February 24 when the Mets take on the Boston Red Sox…..The New York Times recently published a feature story about Premiere Networks host George Noory. In the piece, the “Coast to Coast AM” host discusses how “Coast to Coast AM” has evolved over the years, his open approach to stories and topics, and his relationship with his audience. Read the story here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Atlanta cluster of Cox Media Group, Jaleigh Long is promoted to director of sales. She moves up from her general sales manager role. She’ll oversee the sales efforts for news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, CHR WSB-FM “B98.5,” classic hits WSRV “97.1 The River,” urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1 FM,” and country simulcast WNGC/WTSH “Your Georgia Country.”…..At Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rock WXRX, Rockford, Illinois “104.9 The X,” Zander – who’s been morning host and PD since joining the station in August of last year – moves to the afternoon drive slot. At the same time, Lori joins the station from crosstown competitor WKGL “96.7 The Eagle.”…..In the Lexington, Kentucky market, iHeartMedia drops sports talk on the simulcast of WWTF-AM and translator W239DJ at 97.7 FM and flips it to rock as “WTF 97.7 Lexington’s Rock Alternative.” Air personalities include Aly, Big Rig, Audrey, and Shroom…..Binnie Media says good bye to classic music on its WBQX, Thomaston, Maine and translator W245AA, Portland at 96.9 FM. WBQX takes on the classic hits format “FRANK FM” while the translator is simulcasting country station WTHT, Auburn “99.9 The Wolf.”
iHeartRadio Music Awards Announces Best New Artist Nominees. When the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards take place on Sunday, March 5 at the Forum in Los Angeles, one of the awards to be given will be the Best New Artist. The ultimate winner will be chosen by fans from all categories of popular music. The first step was naming the nominees in each category. Now, the finalists have been named. They are: Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist: The Strumbellas; Best New Country Artist: Kelsea Ballerini; Best New Hip-Hop Artist: Chance the Rapper; Best New Latin Artist: CNCO; Best New Regional Mexican Artist: Joss Favela; Best New Pop Artist: The Chainsmokers; and Best New R&B Artist: Bryson Tiller. The awards show will be televised live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET and simulcast on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as on iHeartRadio.