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Friday, April 10, 2020

| April 10, 2020

NOW POSTED: New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted.  The new episode titled “Show Us Your Matzo Balls!” looks back at this past week of April 6-10, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSHolland Cooke, media consultant / talk show host, RT America;  Rich Zeoli, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupMatthew B. Harrison, professor of law, Western New England University / associate publisher, TALKERSVictoria Jones, executive director, the DC Radio Company; and Chad Lopez, president, Red Apple Media. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here www.MHWrap.com.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Smash Returns to Air in St. Louis on Suburban Talker. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Holleman reports that on-air pro Asher Benrubi, a.k.a. Smash, is returning to the airwaves in the St. Louis market on Metroplex Communications’ talk station WBGZ-AM, Alton, Illinois.  The “Smash Daily” show will air from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Smash was an air staffer at legendary rock outlet KSHE for years but left in the late 2000s to care for his wife, Debbie, who eventually died from breast cancer in 2016.  He tells the paper that the opportunity to host a two-hour, interactive show “just seemed like the right place to start.”

Townsquare Media Out of Compliance with NYSE. The company has until the end of September to figure this out and file its 2019 annual report after failing to file the report with the New York Stock Exchange on time.  Townsquare Media says that differing opinions by its former and current accounting firms on assessing a non-cash charge for indefinite-lived intangible assets is the root of the problem.  The company states, “We continue to work diligently to complete the preparation of our financial statements in order to be in a position to file the Form 10-K with the SEC as soon as possible.”

WIOD, Miami Holds “Share-a-Thon” Fundraiser. This weekend, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WIOD, Miami “Newsradio 610” is holding a 72-hour Share-A-Thon fundraiser to benefit the Miami Rescue Mission/ Broward County Outreach – an organization serving the homeless and the community in need in South Florida.  Station program director Grace Blazer says, “In these difficult times when we are asked to stay home it’s fitting for us to help those who don’t have a home.  We know money can be a concern for many right now, but we ask our community to make donations starting at one meal which is $2.10.”

Radio Stations Airing Easter Sunday Services.  Some of the radio stations planning to air Easter Sunday services include Nexstar’s WGN-AM, Chicago.  WGN will broadcast Holy Saturday Easter Vigil and Sunday Easter Mass for Catholics that will originate from Holy Name Cathedral.  In Cleveland, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTAM will broadcast a Catholic mass that will be held at the Cathedral of St. John The Evangelist in downtown Cleveland.  JVC Media is partnering with Orlando Christian contemporary outlet WPOZ-FM “Z88.3” to broadcast the station’s Stay-at-Home Easter Sunrise Service on country WOTW, Windermere, Florida; country WXUS, Gainesville-Ocala; and news/talk WRCN, Long Island “LI News Radio 103.9FM.”

Entercom Pittsburgh to Hold Radiothon to Benefit Food Bank. On Tuesday (4/14), Entercom’s Pittsburgh radio stations – including news/talk KDKA-AM and sports talk KDKA-FM – are producing the “Feed the Need Radiothon” to benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.  The radiothon aims to fund 100,000 meals to help displaced workers who are using the emergency drive-up distribution sites as well as food pantries in and around the Pittsburgh region.  Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Radio serves as a lifeline for local communities and brings them together in times of need. Pittsburghers always come together, and this is no exception.  We are looking forward to leveraging our voice to help our friends and neighbors through the ‘Feed the Need Radiothon’ in partnership with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.  We hope to do our part and help our community during this pandemic.”

Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach Offering Free Air Time for Local Charities. The West Palm Beach cluster of Hubbard Radio stations is starting the Fight Back Give Back program to help local charities raise awareness and funds during the Covid-19 crisis.  To provide charities a voice, the company is committing to donate up to $1,000,000 worth of commercial airtime in April and May to get their messages out on stations including news/talk WFTL and sports talk WMEN “FOX Sports 640.”  The company says, “We’re happy to lend our microphone to the organizations that do so much for our community.  ‘We’re in this together’ is being widely used right now, but there are no truer words.  We hope this opportunity will help the not-for-profit organizations we work with day in and day out, get through this time a little easier.”

Covid-19 Statistics and Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 6-10. The statistics related to confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths and the models projecting future cases and deaths were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the jobless claims and the state of the American economy.  Coming in at #3 was the precarious state of the country’s health care system, followed by U.S.-China relations and the controversy over President Trump’s criticism of the World Health Organization 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 complete chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Earlier this week, iHeartMedia’s music radio morning shows – including New York-based “Elvis Duran and The Morning Show” and “The Breakfast Club,” Nashville-based “The Bobby Bones Show” and Los Angeles-based “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” and “Big Boy’s Neighborhood” – extended their on-air time by an hour or more “because of increased listener demand received through daily call-ins and social media feedback during the COVID-19 pandemic.”  iHeartMedia chief programming officer Tom Poleman states, “Given the amount of positive feedback our stations were receiving from their listeners, our on-air talent began asking them if they should stay on air longer in the mornings – and the response was incredible.  For example, Elvis Duran received more than 65,000 likes and more than 12,000 comments when he asked his social media followers about extending his morning show.  This listener feedback, combined with the data we are seeing with our on-demand shows, is a testament to the connection that our radio personalities have with their listeners, and the fact that broadcast radio still holds such a unique place in American culture especially during a time of crisis.”…..Cumulus Media’s KATC-FM, Colorado Springs re-brands as “Cat Country 95.1” and unveils its new lineup that includes “The Cat Country Morning Show with Wendy & Bo” starring Wendy Labree and Bo Jaxon; Michelle Rodriguez in middays; and program director Mike Dylan remaining as PM drive host.  Westwood One’s “Nights with Elaina” and “The Blair Garner Show” air in evenings and overnights, respectively.   capping the weekday schedule…..New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy game a shout out to the WWPR, New York-based “The Breakfast Club” program for helping encourage an executive order to extend the grace period for insurance payments for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  Murphy said at a press conference, “I got asked for this by some friends of mine at ‘The Breakfast Club’ on 105.1, Charlamagne and DJ Envy and Angela Yee, the other day.  And this was in the works – we didn’t have a definitive answer – so I want to give them a shout out for helping give us even more impetus to get this done sooner than later.”…..Classic hits KCMO-FM, Kansas City morning host Kelly Urich is riding his bicycle 100 miles this morning (4/10) to raise money for Harvesters Community Food Network.  He challenged his listeners to pledge 50 cents for every mile he rides.  Kansas Citians quickly responded, raising more than $6,000 in just a few hours.

Monday, May 6, 2019

| May 6, 2019

Cumulus Media Names Brian Philips EVP of Content and Audience; Mike McVay to Return to Consulting. Effective today, radio and television executive Brian Philips is being appointed executive vice president, content and audience for Cumulus Media, taking over for Michael McVay, who is returning to full-time consulting, with Cumulus as his first client.  Philips previously served as president of Viacom/MTV Network’s CMT channel.  The press release notes that there, Philips led “the music network’s successful forays into long-form script series, tentpole awards shows, concert specials, and feature films.  He also developed CMT’s successful national radio network.”  Prior to working in TV and film, Philips worked in radio programming with such stations as Cumulus’ WNNX-FM and WWWQ-FM in Atlanta, and KPLX-FM, Dallas.  Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner says, “We are excited that Brian is joining our leadership team.  A highly accomplished executive, leader, and innovator with substantial experience across today’s media landscape, he comes to us with an impressive and successful track record of growing ratings and expanding audiences.  We look forward to benefiting from the skills and expertise he brings to his new role. I would also like to thank Mike for his significant contributions to Cumulus and for being such a great partner to me.”  McVay underscores that the decision to leave Cumulus and return to consulting was entirely his.  In praising McVay, Berner adds, “Mike’s accomplishments since his appointment as EVP, content and programming in 2015 are too numerous to count.  To name just a few, under Mike’s leadership of the office of programming, we reversed four years of ratings share declines, and saw years of ratings share growth.  We are currently posting the best ratings since 2011 on some of our biggest and most important stations.  Mike has helped to expand Westwood One’s programming, participating in the launch of several new shows, including the very successful ‘The Ben Shapiro Show.’  Mike has also led us in increasing our reach beyond over the air listening to include smart speakers and all online listening.”

Monday Memo: Show Me Your Show. On smart talk stations, weekends are appointment listening and might be the two most profitable days of the week, “NOT incompatible goals” according to consultant Holland Cooke.  “Yet,” he notes, “programming Saturdays and Sundays can be high-maintenance for stations, and getting airtime is challenging for talent.” In this week’s Monday Memo, HC recommends a win-win road map to weekend airtime.  Read it here.

Simonson Named Director of Sales at Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach. Radio sales pro Gregory Simonson is appointed director of sales for Hubbard Radio’s recently acquired West Palm Beach station group that includes news/talk WFTL, Fort Lauderdale and sports talk WMEN, Royal Palm Beach “640 The Hurricane,” and four music-formatted stations.  Simonson was most recently general sales manager with Beasley Media Group’s Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster.  Hubbard Radio SVP and market manager Elizabeth Hamma states, “I’m very happy to welcome Gregory to the Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach family.  His extensive track record of success in traditional and digital media as well as his passion for helping sales people succeed make Gregory a perfect choice to lead our sales team to new heights.”  Last fall, Hubbard agreed to acquire the cluster from Alpha Media for $88 million.

‘Our American Stories’ Passes 180-Affiliate Mark. The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program from American Private Radio announces the addition of eight new affiliate stations to the program’s roster, putting over the 180-station mark. APR president and show host Lee Habeeb says, “Stations told us they wanted a radio program that wasn’t always about politics, to give listeners a break from the news cycle.  More importantly, they love the topics we share every night, and we take great pride in putting stories together that touch our listeners’ hearts and minds.  People walk away feeling better when they listen to ‘Our American Stories.’”  New stations include Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis-St. Paul.

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast is being launched starring iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman, titled, “Math & Magic: Stories From the Frontiers of Marketing,” on the iHeartPodcast Network beginning on May 14.  The program will feature interviews with “visionary executives from the media and entertainment industries.”  In the first two episodes. Pittman talks with Maurice Levy, who, during his tenure as CEO of Publicis Groupe, increased the value of the company by 100 times and expanded a French agency into a true global advertising and communications leader; and Scooter Braun, renowned talent entrepreneur, investor and entertainment executive who boosted the careers of international superstars such as Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and many others…..Boston Herald-based nationally syndicated columnist and Boston Herald Radio show host Adriana Cohen recently hosted President Trump on her weekly program. Cohen tells TALKERS that the almost-20-minute interview went viral after being picked up by Politico, Boston Globe, Newsweek, Fox News, The Blaze, The Hill, and others…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that staffers at Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM are getting some backing from fellow union members as they negotiate with the company for raises for the newsroom’s eight assistant producers.  The Writers Guild of America will rally outside the WBBM studios in the Prudential Building today (5/6)…..Washington University in St. Louis is awarding seven people with honorary degrees at a ceremony during the school’s 2019 commencement on May 17 and one of those is SiriusXM Urban View talk host Joe Madison.  The commencement address will be delivered by Michael Bloomberg.  Madison graduated from Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in 1971…..WTMJ, Milwaukee cleaned up at the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards Gala in Madison over the weekend.  The Good Karma Brands news/talk station won first place in 21 categories, including: News/Talk Large Market Station of the Year, Radio News Operation of the Year (Large Market); Social and Digital Operation of the Year (Large market); Best Newscast: Wisconsin’s Afternoon News; and more. Pictured below with the station’s awards are WTMJ staffers (from l-r): Nick Van Wagenen, Erik Bilstad, Jordan Gasiorowski, Steve Wexler, Steve Scaffidi, Jane Matenaer, Jay SorgiBrad Lane, Doug Russell, Melissa Barclay, and Mike Spaulding.

Mueller Report/Trump on Mueller Testimony, 2020 Presidential Politics, China Trade War Escalation, U.S.-Iran Tensions, North Korea Missile Test, Israel-Gaza Violence, ‘Game of Thrones,’ Avengers: Endgame, Kentucky Derby Disqualification, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of the release of the Mueller Report and President Trump’s tweets saying Robert Mueller should not testify before congress; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; markets react as Trump threatens to ramp up U.S.-China trade war; U.S. carrier group heads to Iran in response to reports of Iranian threats to U.S. interests in the region; reaction to North Korea’s latest missile test; the rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza; Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones”; the Avengers: Endgame movie sets new record; the Kentucky Derby winner is disqualified; and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

George Beasley Inducted into PA Radio Hall of Fame. Pictured above is Beasley Broadcast Group founder and chairman George Beasley at center with his wife Ann and surrounded by their family at the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters’ 2019 Gold Medal Awards Dinner yesterday (5/5) in Hershey where he was inducted into the PAB’s Hall of Fame.  Beasley was inducted with fellow honorees: comic and actor/director Bob Saget, Pittsburgh Steelers great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis, and C-SPAN correspondent Steve Scully.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Los Angeles alternative rocker KROQ announces the debut of the afternoon drive “Stryker and Klein” program featuring Ted Stryker (left) and Kevin Klein (right).  Entercom Los Angeles SVP and market manager Jeff Federman says, “Pairing Stryker and Klein is something we could never have imagined just a few years ago.  Individually, they’ve both had tremendous success throughout their careers.  Adding great content to our afternoon programming is something that we’re very committed to and these guys do a fantastic job connecting the music to fun and interesting conversations.”  Stryker has been with the station since 1999.  Klein hosted mornings on the company’s KITS-FM, San Francisco “Live 105.” He was slated to be the morning host at sports talk KWFN, San Diego but the infamous Coronado Bridge social media post bit derailed his gig on that station…..The search is on for the new morning show at Entercom’s country WUSN, Chicago “US99” after Doug Stylz and Justin Roman exited the station on Friday (5/3).  The duo previously hosted the morning show at sister CHR WBBM-FM, “B96” before taking on the morning show role at “US99.”…..Premiere Networks-syndicated evening personality Delilah recently hosted the “Our Town, Our Heroes Celebration,” a local event recognizing listeners for their outstanding work in the Wilmington, Delaware area, produced by Beasley-owned affiliate WJBR, Wilmington “Mix 99.5.”  In addition to helping honor local citizen’s Delilah was surprised by WJBR as the station honored her for her philanthropic efforts with her non-profit foundation, Point Hope, that serves as a voice for forgotten children in the U.S. foster care system and in West Africa.

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.”

Wednesday, July 6, 2017

| July 5, 2017

DC Communications Attorney Leases Virginia Translator to Russia’s Radio Sputnik. This story has been reported in industry trades – like DCRTV.com – and in political outlets.  Reston, Virginia translator W288BS had been leased by owner John Garziglia to American University’s WAMU to air its bluegrass format.  But that deal ended on June 30 and now the well-known communications attorney is leasing it to the Russian government-operated Sputnik Radio (via feeder station KYKS-HD3.  The Hill reports that Sputnik editor-in-chief Mindia Gavasheli says, “We’re glad to finally be able to directly address our listeners in Washington. During the last few months Sputnik Radio has become the target of constant attacks in the U.S. corporate media.  And often the people who wrote or spoke about us didn’t even bother to listen to our broadcasts first.”

WMEN, West Palm Beach Re-Brands as ‘The Hurricane.’ Florida sports talk outlet WMEN, West Palm Beach is rebranding from its “Fox Sports 640” moniker to “640 The Hurricane.”  The Alpha Media-owned stations says it maintains its status as a Fox Sports Radio affiliate.  The station is airing FSR’s Dan Patrick, Colin Cowherd, and Doug Gottlieb.  It is the new radio home for the Miami Hurricanes in the market.  The station’s play-by-play offerings also include the New York Yankees, Florida Panthers, and weekly NFL games.  Alpha Media West palm Beach SVP/market manager Elizabeth Hamma states, “‘640 The Hurricane’ is like a CAT 5 storm that will whip up the South Florida market with relevant and entertaining content for men.  It’s a station designed for the passionate sports fan.”

Gregg Henson Exits iHeartMedia. His role at iHeartMedia included serving as programming and sports content director at the company’s WBGG-AM, Pittsburgh and as an air talent on the company’s sports talker WDFN-AM, Detroit and WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids.  Gregg Henson is a Michigan native who worked at WDFN when it first flipped to sports talk in 1994.  He’d also served in the market at CBS RADIO WXYT-AM.  On WDFN and WMAX, Henson co-hosted with fellow air personalities Drew McCarthy and Jim Costa, who continue as a duo.  The Detroit Free Press reports that WDFN let local morning personality Matt Shepard go in May.

Beasley Media Debuts Bloomberg Radio on Boston Signals.  For the next few months, Bloomberg Radio will continue to be heard on iHeartMedia’s WXKS-AM, Boston and the HD2 channel of WJMN, but Beasley Media Group is launching a business news station flipping Spanish WRCA-AM and translator W291CZ at 106.1FM (as well as the HD2 channel of WBOS) using Bloomberg Radio content.  Beasley Media Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna comments, “We’re excited to partner with a global news and business leader of Bloomberg’s magnitude.  This unique programming underscores the company’s commitment to providing our listeners with the very best content and complements our five existing music brands in Boston.”

NAB Files Commentary on FCC’s Proposed Elimination of Main Studio Rule. In a recent filing with the Federal Communications Commission, the National Association of Broadcasters offered commentary in support of the Commission’s proposal to do away with the 80-year-old Main Studio Rule.  The commentary includes some third-party testimony from broadcasters explaining why the outdated rules are cumbersome and how money saved can benefit their duty to public service.  The NAB writes, “Another station reported that having the flexibility to co-locate studios would save approximately $50,000-$75,000 per year, which it could use to hire an additional person to staff its news team.  Another broadcaster reports that he has owned and operated two stations in the past that ultimately went ‘dark’ because of the financial challenges of staffing the stations’ main studios.  He observed that had there been regulatory relief at that time, the communities might still enjoy local radio service.  Chickasaw Nation Enterprises reports that being able to co-locate studios creates efficiencies not only by giving stations greater flexibility, but by allowing stations to offer better, higher-paying jobs, which in turn translates to better service to the community.  Broadcasters report that elimination of the main studio rule would have no negative impact on their ability to deliver local programming and services.  Rather, it would allow them to allocate funds and staff to improve community engagement and coverage of local news and events.”  See the full filing here.

Women in Media.  Dynamic WAFS (Biz 1190), Atlanta personality Dana Barrett (r) is pictured interviewing CNN anchor/reporter Kyra Phillips (l) at the recent Judson Women’s Leadership Conference in Atlanta during a live remote from the event.  The two broadcasters discussed the changing role of women in media, fertility, and ageism.  The interview was simultaneously streamed on Facebook Live.  To view it in its entirety, please click here.

TALKERS News Notes.  The seven Dallas Cumulus Media stations are coming together this Friday (7/7) to remember the violent ambush on Dallas Police last year.  The stations will take to the airwaves and encourage the Dallas/Fort Worth community to wear blue on Friday to show unity and “Back the Blue.”  Cumulus has partnered with six participating Braum’s Ice Cream & Burger Restaurants in the area to offer a free small cup of coffee to first responders.  It is also encouraging listeners to donate to the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation…..The Major League Baseball All-Star Game takes place next Tuesday (7/11) and FOX Sports has the game for the 19th consecutive year.  In addition to broadcasting the game and surrounding programming, Fox Sports Radio/FS1 will present live broadcasts of “THE HERD hosted by Colin Cowherd” with co-host Kristine Leahy live from Marlins Park on both Monday (7/10) and Tuesday at 12:00 noon ET……BizTalkRadio adds “Radio Night Live with Kevin McCullough” to its Saturday night schedule.  The company says that it has enjoyed working with McCullough on its BizTV network and is excited to bring the program to the BizTalkRadio platform.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/5) with Phil Boyce Research Presentation.  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); and 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).  Joining them today is 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).  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 NetworksBroadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

Mark Levin Booksigning Draws Crowd.  The throng of people you see in the photo above are lined up outside of a Ridgewood, New Jersey bookstore over the weekend where Westwood One-syndicated talk radio host Mark Levin was signing copies of his new book Rediscovering Americanism: And the Tyranny of Progressivism (Threshold Editions 2017).  Levin met his radio fans and signed books for five hours.

Trump-CNN Video, North Korea ICBM Claim, Voter Fraud Commission, Trump at G20, Christie Beach Outing, Fourth of July, Wimbledon Matches, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Holiday Weekend.  The controversy over President Donald Trump’s tweet of a video depicting him attacking a “CNN wrestler” and the related commentaries over the president’s social media habits; North Korea claims success launching an ICBM that could carry a nuclear payload; the refusal of numerous states to comply with the request by a federal voter fraud commission to supply voter information; President Trump’s appearance at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany this week; outgoing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s “beach outing” PR event at a closed New Jersey shore beach; the Fourth of July holiday; the matches at this year’s Wimbledon tournament; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Moving from Urban One’s urban contemporary WTLC, Indianapolis to Beasley Media Group’s urban contemporary WBAV, Charlotte “V101.9” is Kelly Mac.  She’d been programming WTLC and hosting PM drive.  She will serve as music director and midday personality at “V101.9,” effective July 10.  WBAV operations manager Jeff Uzi comments, “I am excited to bring in a talent who is so passionate about radio and has the drive, enthusiasm, and talent to continue to grow our awesome WBAV brand.  Kelly’s incredible attitude and magnetic connection that she has with her listeners both on and off the air will be a game changer in the market.  I look forward to the positive impact she will bring, which is right in line with the culture that we continue to build here at Beasley Media Charlotte.”…..In Detroit, Beasley Media Group adds local comic and media personality Foolish, a.k.a. F.raw, to the morning drive show on rhythmic oldies WMGC “105.1 The Bounce.”  Station PD Al Payne states, “It’s our honor to add one of Detroit’s brightest stars to the lineup of ‘Bounce’ ambassadors and welcome Foolish into the studio every morning, alongside Bigg, Shay Shay and the rest of the cast of the all new “Bigg and Foolish in the Morning.”…..iHeartMedia’s CHR KXXM, San Antonio re-brands as “96.1 NOW.”  The full, local programming lineup will continue with “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show,” Michelle Fay in middays, Russell Rush in PM drive, and EJ hosting 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight…..Twin Ports Radio, LLC – headed by Dan Hatfield – closes on its acquisition of sports talk WWAX-FM “92.1 The Fan” and classic rock KQDS in Duluth, Minnesota from Red Rock Radio Corporation…..The Art Vuolo-recorded video of the recent WRKO 50th Anniversary Reunion is being made available to radio fans who want to buy a copy.  The event included the original 1967 air staff of Al Gates, Joel Cash, J. J. Jeffrey, Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg and Chuck Knapp.  You can order it here, and $5.00 from each order will be donated to the Broadcasters Foundation of America.