NY Post: Pitaro and Le Batard ‘On the Same Page.’ According to Andrew Marchand’s column in the New York Post, ESPN radio and TV personality Dan Le Batard and ESPN chief Jimmy Pitaro are “on the same page” regarding the media organization’s stance on purely political content after yesterday’s face-to-face meeting in New York City. Le Batard violated that directive last week when he chose to comment on the “Send her back” chants shouted at President Trump’s campaign rally, calling them “un-American.” After being called out by management, Le Batard criticized ESPN, calling it “cowardly” for avoiding such issues with the blanket policy. Marchand’s source for today’s story offers no details on yesterday’s meeting other than that the two have an understanding and Le Batard will continue his work on the company’s radio, cable, and podcast platforms.
New Air Talent Join ‘ESPN 630’ in Washington, DC. Washington sports radio pros Andy Pollin and Bram Weinstein are joining Cumulus Media’s new sports talk WMAL-AM “ESPN 630.” Weinstein is a 10-year veteran of the DC sports scene as a reporter and talk host. He also spent seven years as an ESPN anchor. He is the new afternoon drive talk host. Additionally, he’ll host the 6:00 pm “Redskins Today” show. Pollin, a longtime crosstown WTEM personality, will serve as morning drive sports update anchor during the “Golic & Wingo” show. He’ll also be a features correspondent for the station. Program director Bill Hess says, “We’re thrilled to welcome these DC sports radio icons to ‘ESPN 630’ and look forward to sharing news of further additions to our team in the very near future.” Pictured above are (from l-r): Cumulus Washington DC vice president/market manager Jake McCann, Weinstein, Pollin, and Hess.
Chessare Named Market President for Townsquare’s Princeton Cluster. Radio sales pro Steve Chessare is named market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Princeton, New Jersey station group that includes sports talk WNJE “920 The Jersey,” as well as CHR WPST and religion WCHR-AM. Chessare – whose resume includes service with Westwood One, WLTW-FM and WCBS-FM in New York, and Greater Media – was most recently vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Bridgeport, Connecticut operations. Townsquare senior vice president Rob Williams says, “Steve Chessare is among the most talented media executives I have worked with. He has led some of the biggest brands in our industry and has an extraordinary ability to build winning teams that deliver consistently strong results for our clients.”
‘ESPN Upstate’ Host Mark Sturgis Recovering from Stroke. Sports talk host Mark Sturgis is recuperating after suffering a stroke earlier this week (7/23). Sturgis hosts the “Straight Up ith Sturg” afternoon drive program on Entercom’s sports talk multi-cast “ESPN Upstate” (WORD-AM/WYRD-AM/W246CV/W249DL). Sturgis’ wife Theresa posted the following message on his Twitter account: “I am sorry to inform y’all Mark had a stroke yesterday morning. He’s in ICU and will be off the air for some time. Hopefully will be able to go home from the hospital, but short-term rehab in a nursing home is a possibility. Just send him a positive thought.”
New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched one-hour weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled, “Political Theater on Both Sides of the Pond!,” looks back at this past week of July 22-26, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Wayne Allyn Root, talk show host, USA Radio Network/Newsmax TV; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media/Free Speech TV; Karen Hunter, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio “Urban View Channel;” Heidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; and Joyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Palm Beaches. The news/talk media show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation mark for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, Massachusetts. Hosted by Michael Harrison, this excellent show is now being made available as a service to terrestrial news/talk stations from TALKERS for on-air or online presentation on a market-exclusive basis. For information call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.
Lisa Wexler Show Moves to WICC, Bridgeport. In Connecticut, “The Lisa Wexler Show” begins airing on Connoisseur Media’s WICC, Bridgeport, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, effective August 5. Wexler’s program launched on WSTC/WNLK in Fairfield County in 2006. And most recently has been airing on WGCH, Greenwich from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Wexler is an attorney admitted to the Connecticut and New York Bars. She’s been serving as the Westport/Weston Probate Judge since 2013. She comments, “I am thrilled to be joining the legendary WICC AM 600. The WICC audience is incredibly knowledgeable and engaged. I will be discussing the issues that occupy our thoughts and bringing to the airwaves the people that influence our lives. Our emphasis will be on what is happening right here in our own communities. Listeners are encouraged to call into the show to air their opinions and provide their own perspectives.”
Nik Miles Moves to New Portland Flagship. Portland, Oregon-based automotive radio host Nik Miles moves his flagship station affiliation from Alpha Media’s KXL-FM to Salem Media Group’s crosstown KPAM “860 The Answer.” His program, “Our Auto Expert,” is nationally syndicated via Envision Networks. Salem Portland general manager Dennis Hayes says, “Not only are we excited to add ‘Our Auto Expert’ to the ‘AM860 The Answer’ weekend lineup, but we are honored to be the ‘home station’ for the show, Nik Miles, and his team in Portland. We enthusiastically welcome them to the Salem Media Group and look forward to a long and prosperous relationship!”
Sports Garten Network’s ‘Wanna Bet!?’ Enters Syndication Via Envision. The sports talk and betting show “Wanna Bet!?” – hosted by Tom Barton – is being syndicated by Envision Networks and will launch in four markets: Chicago, Las Vegas, Richmond, and Paducah-Cape Girardeau. Sports Garten Network’s Wanna Bet?! debuted on WRCN-FM, Long Island “103.9 FM LI Radio” in September 2018. Now, it’s joined the Envision Networks lineup as a four-hour, daily show. Barton says, “The time is now for sports talk to reach an audience craving not just wagering news but knowledgeable information. The response to what we’re doing is phenomenal. Radio is ripe for a transition from arguing hosts and home team bias to important decision-making information and guests whose opinions are not only entertaining but informative. This is a game changer.”
Brad Carson Upped at Entercom Memphis. Programming pro Brad Carson rises from his director of branding and sports programming to operations manager/sports brands, effective immediately. Carson has been leading the programming on Entercom’s Memphis sports stations WMFS-AM/FM and WMC-AM “ESPN 92.9.” Carson has served with the Memphis station group for the past 15 years.
Museum of Broadcast Communications Names Susy Schultz Executive Director. Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications names Susy Schultz its executive director, effective August 19. Museum board chairman David Plier says, “Susy is experienced in developing and implementing innovative programs with key stakeholders. She also has demonstrated the ability to initiate and foster robust partnerships and strategic alliances with community, journalists, sponsors and donors.” Schultz has been serving as president of the nonprofit community media training organization Public Narrative since 2013. She takes over for Julian Jackson, who resigned from the post this March. Schultz comments, “I look forward to working with the board in developing a strong curriculum to discuss the history, the impact, and the relevance of broadcast and digital media. Chicago has and always will be integral to the history and future of television, radio, and beyond.”
Mueller Testimony Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 22-26. Wednesday’s testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller before the House judiciary and intelligence committees was the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the 2020 Presidential race and President Trump’s war of words with the Democratic congresswomen known as “the Squad.” Coming in at #3 this week was Boris Johnson’s election as the UK’s new prime minister, followed by the resignation of Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello 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.
Britain’s Fix Radio Produces Boris Johnson Viral Video. “Fix Radio” is a radio station for tradespeople working in Great Britain. It’s led by broadcaster Graham Mack, who also serves as a TalkersRadio personality and as The Michael Harrison Wrap’s British correspondent. The organization got a lot of attention after creating a video purporting to show newly elected Prime Minister Boris Johnson auctioning off items left at 10 Downing Street by former PM Theresa May. Check it out here.
Ancient Interview with George Harrison Played on This Week’s Installment of Michael Harrison Podcast. Inspired by the recently released film, “Yesterday,” and the ongoing popularity of the 2011 Martin Scorsese documentary, “George Harrison: Living in the Material World,” TALKERS founder Michael Harrison dug into the archives and pulled out a 43-year-old interview he conducted with the late Beatles lead guitarist back in 1976. It was originally recorded at the Warner Bros. studios in Los Angeles to be a promotional radio special (“A Personal Musical Dialogue with George Harrison”) released by Dark Horse Records in conjunction with the debut of George’s solo album, “33 1/3,” and aired on hundreds of stations around the world. It serves as this week’s “retro” installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” This recording is widely regarded as one of the best interviews ever conducted with George and contains fascinating information and insights into his life at that time as well as the never-ending Beatles story. The segment in which George discusses his legal battle over the “My Sweet Lord”/“He’s So Fine” plagiarism case holds up today as one of the most-thorough explanations of the historic intellectual property rights clash ever recorded. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here www.MHInterview.com or click on the player box located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and every page of Talkers.com.
Cool Promotion and Marketing Position. In Baltimore, Hearst Television is seeking a highly motivated promotion and marketing manager for news/talk WBAL and rock WIYY “98Rock.” The company says, “This person must be able to manage numerous projects simultaneously while elevating the sound and image of our legacy brands. This person will also be a key player in helping develop and produce targeted, promotional campaigns that connect with our audiences across all platforms. Among other duties, you will oversee, manage and lead marketing & promotion department; identify and implement strategies for increasing station brand awareness and resonance; develop ongoing marketing strategies on all platforms including production & placement of television commercials; manage, along with news & program directors, production of compelling image & special event campaigns and topical promotion for all platforms; attend outside community functions and meetings and manage our Baltimore Ravens promotional partnership, including on-site events. See more and apply here.
PPM Analysis: Alternative.TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on alternative. The June ratings period saw more alternative stations go up (weekly AQH share) than down. Entercom’s KXTE, Las Vegas led that group with a +0.7. Comparing June 2018 to this year, about half the alt rock stations in our panel were down, but big gainers during that period include Hubbard Radio’s KPNT, St. Louis “105.7 The Point” (+1.6), Entercom’s KITS “Live 105” in San Jose (+1.2), and iHeartMedia’s KTCL, Denver “Channel 93.3” (+1.0). KPNT was the highest-ranking alternative station in the June survey, coming in at #3 in the St. Louis market (6+). See the entire piece here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Memphis operations of Entercom, programmer Chris Michaels is promoted to operations manager/music brands. Michaels has been the director of branding and programming for hot AC WMC-FM, adult contemporary WRVR “104.5 The River,” and country WLFP “94.1 The Wolf.”…..In Raleigh, PMC Broadcasting names Brian “B” Paiz director of branding for hip hop WAUG-AM/W250AZ “Hot 97.9.” Paiz was most recently with iHeartMedia as SVP of programming in the Columbus-Albany, Georgia market…..Atlanta radio personality Jeff Dauler and his wife Callie have launched a podcast titled, “The Upside with Callie and Jeff.” Dauler was most recently morning drive co-host on WSTR “Star 94.” Prior to that he was executive producer and air talent on the syndicated “The Bert Show.” In a press release, the two say, “We’ve had the idea for a while to create something to spread the message about gratitude and finding the positive in every single situation. That mindset has changed our lives for the better… and we want everyone to understand what we have learned. It was just an idea… until Jeff lost his job. We decided just a few days later that now is the time.”