Gordon Smith to Leave NAB Leadership Role at Year’s End. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that president and CEO Gordon H. Smith will leave his position and transition to an advisory and advocacy role effective December 31, 2021. NAB’s chief operating officer Curtis LeGeyt will become the next president and CEO of NAB effective January 1, 2022. In a video message to members, Smith said, “It has been my great honor to give the lion’s roar for broadcasters – those who run into the storm, those who stand firm in chaos to hear the voice of the people, those who hold to account the powerful – and to stand with those of the fourth estate who have the hearts of public servants.” Smith joined NAB as president and CEO in November 2009. Previously, he served as a two-term U.S. senator from Oregon and later as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP. NAB joint board of directors chairman Jordan Wertlieb (president of Hearst Television) thanked Smith for his service to the industry. “Gordon is the ultimate statesman, bringing people together from both sides of the aisle to discuss ideas, find common ground and lead NAB to success on countless fronts. On behalf of the leadership of NAB, we extend our sincere gratitude for more than a decade of service to the broadcast industry. We look forward to continuing to work with Gordon and benefiting from his guidance for years to come. I am also delighted to share that NAB is in the enviable position of having cultivated top talent within the organization to provide for a smooth and stable transition in leadership. Curtis LeGeyt has the utmost confidence of the NAB leadership and staff to lead our association into the future.” LeGeyt has been with NAB for nearly a decade, during which time he led several highly successful legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of broadcasters, including the permanent reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR), inclusion of $1 billion in RAY BAUM’s Act to reimburse stations impacted by the spectrum auction repack, and successful passage of the Music Modernization Act. Prior to assuming his current role as chief operating officer, LeGeyt served for five years as NAB’s executive vice president, Government Relations. Before joining NAB, LeGeyt was senior counsel to then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (VT). He says, “I am honored and humbled to be named the next leader of this great organization. To represent the broadcast industry and the local stations that bind our communities together in a moment of such tremendous change across the media landscape is a privilege. Our stations’ role in communities across this country has never been more important, and I look forward to working every day to ensure their ability to grow and thrive.”
SCOTUS Declines to Hear Alex Jones Appeal. According to numerous media reports, including this one from NBC News, the U.S. Supreme Court will not hear the appeal requested by radio and internet personality Alex Jones of his sanction by a Connecticut court. Jones was sanctioned in 2019 for what he said on his radio show about an attorney for the relatives of the victims of the Newtown massacre and for violating numerous court orders to turn over documents to the families’ lawyers. Judge Barbara Bellis also barred Jones from filing a motion to dismiss the case and added she would order Jones to pay some of the families’ legal fees. Jones argued that his words were the exercising of his First Amendment rights. Jones is being sued by some of the families who lost loved ones in the shooting after Jones claimed that the shootings were a hoax and who consequently suffered harassment and threats from Jones’ fans. Jones earned the sanction after claiming on his radio show that an attorney for the families tried to plant child porn on his computer by sending it in encrypted email files. In Connecticut, that state’s Supreme Court ruled that sanctions were proper because Jones’ words were an “imminent and likely threat to the administration of justice.”
WHCU, Ithaca Adds SRN’s Dennis Prager to Early Afternoon Daypart. Ithaca, New York news/talk WHCU is adding Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager show to the lineup in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Joe Salzone is news director at the Saga Communications station, and he says, “We polled our listeners on a Rush Limbaugh replacement show over the past month and Prager was their top choice. While they know that Rush’s show was great, they also understand that radio is best as a live, topical medium and that running repeats of Rush segments was not what they ultimately wanted to listen to.” WHCU operations manager Chris Allinger adds, “Dennis will be a good fit for WHCU. He is intelligent, educated, and will bring those assets to the regional airwaves. Replacing a legend like Rush is not easy, but Dennis has been successfully doing his nationally syndicated weekday show in the exact same time period for over 20 years, so his track record is already proven.”
Todd Starnes Show Joins WMLB, Atlanta. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” is joining the program lineup on WMLB, Atlanta “Freedom 1690” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. The station is owned by Delmarva Educational Association but is being operated under an LMA by the Virginia-based John Fredericks Radio Network that owns conservative talk duo WJFN-AM/FM in the Richmond, Virginia market. John Fredericks says, “Now more than ever, as Leftist elites continue their unprecedented power grab and assault on Christians, Todd stands at the beachhead of defending people of faith everywhere.”
Nielsen: Consumer Sentiment About COVID-19 Recovery Improving. According to a new study by Nielsen that addresses American consumer sentiment about COVID-19 and media usage, people 18 and older are showing “increased confidence with respect to consumer behavior.” Nielsen says the survey looked at three segments reflecting attitudes about the pandemic. People who are “Ready to Go,” those who “Proceed with Caution,” and consumers who “Wait and See” when it comes to resuming normal behavior. The “Ready to Go” segment peaked at 61% in the March 2021 survey compared with 34% in April 2020. The more pessimistic group of Wait and See consumers dropped to 9% in March 2021 compared with 29% a year ago. Other key consumer sentiments include: 82% now say that stores that were closed have started to open again compared with only 40% in April of last year; 64% agree that it is safer than it was a month ago, compared to 38% in April 2020; and 72% agree that their town is starting to emerge from the crisis versus 44% a year ago. The study showed that heavy radio listeners are more likely to make big-ticket purchases within a year. Heavy radio listeners are 18% more likely to purchase or lease a new or used vehicle in the next year, and 64% are more likely to buy a house in the next twelve months, compared to total adults. Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly comments, “As Americans continue to navigate the pandemic, the future looks promising. Consumers are becoming more optimistic and resuming more normal activities, especially heavy radio listeners. AM/FM listeners are more likely to be out and about and spending more time in their vehicles.” You can see more in a Nielsen webinar here.
‘The Biz Tape’ Launches on Nashville Podcast Network. The Bobby Bones-led Nashville Podcast Network is launching a new program called “The Biztape” hosted by Colin McKay and Joe Wasilewski. “The Biztape,” formerly known as “That’s Showbiz Baby,” is a weekly podcast covering all things music business and media. Hosts McKay and Wasilewski are music industry professionals who provide insight into the business and technical side of these closed-curtain industries. McKay and Wasilewski say, “We searched for a long time to find a podcast that discussed the music business from the business side. We wanted more advice and more depth than just ‘work hard.’ We decided to fill the void by creating ‘The Biztape’ so we could get as nerdy as we always wanted to with it. Thankfully, with the help of Bobby Bones and the Nashville Podcast Network, we have the opportunity to continue that dream and we can’t wait to start creating with such a passionate and unique brand.”
iHeartMedia Debuts New Podcast ‘In Fact with Chelsea Clinton.’ A new iHeartRadio Original Podcast is being launched titled “In Fact with Chelsea Clinton” and hosted by the former First Daughter and public health expert. The podcast joins the iHeartPodcast Network that is already home to “You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton” and “Why Am I Telling You This? with Bill Clinton.” iHeartMedia says, “‘In Fact with Chelsea Clinton’ will pull back the curtain on some of the biggest public health challenges of our time. Each week on the podcast, Clinton — who holds a doctorate in international relations, a masters in public health, and teaches at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health — will sit down with experts, activists, and an assortment of surprising guests who share her passion for science, evidence and, of course, facts.” In the podcast’s debut episode, Clinton sits down with Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, who has been a vocal advocate for people with HIV/AIDS since publicly sharing his own HIV-positive status in 2019; activist Peter Staley; and Dr. Oni Blackstock, an HIV physician and health equity advocate, to explore the trajectory of HIV/AIDS from the early days of activism through modern day.”
New Kelly Osbourne and Jeff Beacher Show to Launch on PodcastOne. A new, eponymous podcast starring Kelly Osbourne and Jeff Beacher is debuting on PodcastOne in which Osbourne and Beacher will create a live theater experience and feature their dynamic and outrageous personalities and uncensored conversations with a diverse list of celebrity guests and famous friends. They will discuss everything from the latest current events to fitness, weight-loss, fame, stories of inspiration and beyond. Osbourne and Beacher will be joined by regular co-host Donny Davis, original star of “Beacher’s Madhouse” and one of the most well-known activists for little people. The podcast will record and film from the penthouse of the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – former home to “Beacher’s Madhouse” theatre. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Kelly and Jeff together are a showstopping dynamic. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome them to PodcastOne and know that their show will be destination programming for podcast audiences.”
‘104.5 The Team’ in Albany Names Dan Bahl Brand Manager. Two months after previous brand manager and on-air host Tom Gozlowski was let go from the station, Townsquare Media’s WTMM-FM, Albany “104.5 The Team” announces that Dan Bahl joins as the new brand manager and afternoon drive co-host. Bahl partners with incumbent air personality Jeff Levack on the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. Bahl has been operating his own sports website and podcast network. He says, “I am extremely honored and excited to join ‘104.5 The Team’ and the Townsquare Media family. I am really looking forward to having great debates and conversations with Jeff Levack and the ‘104.5 The Team’ listeners, as well as strengthening the brand on-air, online, and across social media.” Townsquare Media director of content Matty Jeff comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Dan to the Townsquare Media local team here in Albany. Dan’s leadership, acumen across all platforms, and passion for sports will broaden the reach of the great local on-air and digital content we create daily on ‘104.5 The Team.’”
COVID-19, Voting Legislation/McConnell Threat, Matt Gaetz Investigation, Biden Infrastructure Plan, Border Crisis, Derek Chauvin Trial, and China Military Exercises Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/6). The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; Georgia’s vote restriction law, the Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill, and Mitch McConnell’s threats to businesses that protest Georgia’s law; allegations U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz had relationships with underage girls; the battle in Washington over President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan; the large number of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; and China’s military exercises near Taiwan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
CBS RADIO to Merge with Entercom; Move Creates 244-Station Company, Second Largest Based on Revenue. The rumors of a CBS Radio–Entercom merger turn out to be true as the two firms announce a stunning deal to make Entercom the second largest radio company – based on revenue – in the nation with 244 Stations, including 23 of the top 25 markets. CBS Corp’s plans for spinning off the radio division via an IPO never really took off, probably due to the fact that radio is not viewed by investors as a growth industry. This merger will be tax free for CBS as it’s being accomplished through a Reverse Morris Trust. Here’s how it will work: CBS shareholders will have the opportunity to exchange all, some, or none of their CBS shares for CBS Radio shares. Immediately following the completion of this exchange offer, CBS Radio will merge with an Entercom subsidiary, with the new CBS Radio shareholders receiving Entercom shares in exchange for their CBS Radio shares in the transaction. After completion of the merger, CBS Radio shareholders will receive approximately 105 million Entercom shares, or 72% of all outstanding shares of the combined company on a fully diluted basis. Existing Entercom shareholders will own 28% of the combined company on a fully diluted basis. The big question for CBS Radio staffers at the corporate level is how this merger – expected to close sometime during the second half of this year – affects their positions. Obviously, there will be redundancy at the corporate level, but how Entercom will ultimately choose to organize its corporate staff remains to be seen. Media consultant Holland Cooke monitored this morning’s investors conference call during which Entercom president and CEO David Field stated that the company expects to realize “$25 million in synergies [cost cuts] within 12-18 months,” mostly in corporate administration. Field noted that there will be 15 divestitures in markets where CBS and Entercom together own more stations than permitted under the FCC ownership cap. As for the news/talk and all-news stations soon to be owned by Entercom, Field called them “trusted pillars of their local communities” and “seven of the most-trusted all-news stations in the U.S.” He referred to the local, on-air talk talent as “major influencers with strong connections to their audiences.” From today’s press release we know that Andre Fernandez will remain president of CBS Radio through the closing. The presser also stated that the combined company will be known as Entercom and will be headquartered in Philadelphia, “with a significant ongoing presence in New York.” Upon closing, the company’s Board of Directors will consist of nine members: five current Entercom directors, including David Field as Chairman of the Board, and four directors nominated by CBS Radio. Entercom president and CEO Field states, “These two great companies, with their impressive histories, complementary assets, and premier content and brands, are a perfect strategic and cultural fit, enabling us to deliver local connection on a national scale and drive accelerated growth. We look forward to welcoming our talented new colleagues at CBS Radio, and we have the utmost respect for their significant contributions to the industry. Radio reaches more Americans than any other medium, and offers advertisers outstanding ROI and local activation. This transformational transaction creates scale-driven efficiencies and opportunities to compete more effectively with other media to better serve our listeners and our advertisers. The combination of a compelling strategic fit, an excellent balance sheet, and robust free cash flow generation, position us to create significant shareholder value for our investors.”
Cumulus Names Brian Joyce PM Drive Host at ‘NewsRadio 106.7’ in Atlanta. Beginning Monday, February 13, talk radio personality Brian Joyce will begin hosting the afternoon talk show on Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta “NewsRadio 106.7.” Joyce is currently the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm host at the company’s WGOW, Chattanooga “Talk Radio 102.3.” He will continue in that role as well. It’s unclear if Joyce will move to Atlanta or remain in Chattanooga and do the WYAY show from there. The current afternoon show is “Atlanta News” featuring news pro Cheryl Castro and station program director Greg Tantum. It’s unclear if Castro will remain with the new show. Cumulus Media Atlanta vice president and market manager Sean Shannon states, “We live in a world where dialogue on matters of substance has become increasingly difficult, with politically slanted news/talk outlets and social media platforms that feed consumers with stories that confirm their existing political belief systems. ‘NewsRadio 106.7’ breaks that confounding and polarizing mold. We are committed to delivering a forum ruled not by any agenda or by an algorithm, but by the unique value we can create for our listeners. We present multiple sides of the story when we’re delivering the news, ensuring we both inform existing opinions and provoke opposing opinions on every side of the story. In the process, we create a rare media experience facilitating respectful and spirited discourse where there is as much value in listening as there is in talking.” Speaking about this new position, Joyce says, “I’m looking forward to joining [hosts] Shannon [Burke], Kimmer and the rest of the team at ‘NewsRadio 106.7!’ These guys have built a unique and entertaining lineup for the listeners of Atlanta, and it’s my hope that my show will continue to build on the great programming and strong ratings they’re known for.”
CNN Dips into a Slice of Conservative Talk Radio to Get a Read on Caller Opinion About Trump Moves. Last night’s installment of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” presented a string of listener calls on WPHT, Philadelphia talk host Dom Giordano’s show presenting an array of opinions about Donald Trump’s moves as president focusing on the role of key strategist Stephen K. Bannon. To view the segment, please click here.
Stephanie Miller Show Joins WMLB, Atlanta. WMLB, Atlanta is owned by JW Broadcasting, airs a variety format and is branded “AM 1690 The Voice of the Arts.” Beginning February 20, the WYM Media Management-syndicated Stephanie Miller show begins airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. Miller’s program aired on the station in the past when it was an Air America affiliate. WMLB general manager Jeff Davis comments, “Given recent events, the timing is perfect for a progressive voice on Atlanta radio. We’re thrilled to have a recognized professional who’s built a reputation for standing up for liberal causes.” On a related note, Stephanie Miller is preparing to embark on her second consecutive year touring as the headline of the Stephanie Miller Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour. The 2017 tour is titled, “The Sexy Liberal Resistance Tour.”
Cody Welling to Lead Cumulus Media’s Shreveport Cluster. This move takes sales and management pro Cody Welling from Cumulus Media’s Toledo cluster where he’s been serving as director of sales to the company’s Shreveport, Louisiana station group consisting of sports talk KRMD-AM/K264AS “The Ticket,” hip hop KMJJ, CHR KQHN “i97.3,” urban contemporary KVMA “Magic 102.9,” and country KRMD-FM. Cumulus regional vice president Mark Sullivan says, “This is a terrific move for the company and for Cody. Cody’s strong track record of success and dynamic management style are already paying dividends in Shreveport and I look forward to his success and professional growth as our VP/market manager.”
TALKERS News Notes. This year’s 5th annual “Larry Richert Honors our Hometown Heroes,” presented by the KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning drive personality, takes place on Thursday, March 2, at the Lexus Club at PPG Paints Arena. Each year, the event honors five individuals who are giving back to the local community in extraordinary ways. The keynote address will be presented by CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett. This is Garrett’s second appearance at “Larry’s Heroes.” In 2015, Garrett was scheduled to appear but a late winter storm kept him in Washington, D.C. Instead, he addressed attendees via video from the snow-covered White House lawn. Richert states, “It’s our fifth year to shine the spotlight on ordinary individuals in the community doing extraordinary things. This year’s edition may be one of our strongest collections of heroes assembled. Their contributions to our community are awe inspiring.”…..This is the fourth consecutive year that Westwood One is presenting the Westwood One Sports Sound Awards in which it challenges its advertisers to push their creative boundaries to create the best commercials to air during its Super Bowl LI broadcast. WW1 is driving fans and a panel of advertising professionals to TheSoundAwards.com to vote for their favorite ads, all leading up to the big reveal of the top five the day after Super Sunday. Voting runs through Monday, February 6…..WIP-FM, Philadelphia’s Wing Bowl 25 gets underway tomorrow (2/3) at 6:00 am at the Wells Fargo Center and will feature an appearance by special guests professional wrestler Ric Flair and Grammy Award-winning artist Coolio. Wing Bowl 25’s “Legends Division” (with legendary Wing Bowl eaters returning from the past) will feature a head-to-head competition between five-time champ El Wingador and two-time champ Molly Schuyler for a prize of $5000. National recording artist and retired Navy Petty Officer First Class Generald Wilson will perform the National Anthem. WIP morning show host Al Morganti, who co-founded Wing Bowl 25 years ago with radio partner Angelo Cataldi says, “Trust me. Just be here. That’s all I can say. Be here.”
Gorsuch SCOTUS Nomination, DeVos Nomination Status, Tillerson New Secretary of State, Iran Missile Test, Beyonce Pregnancy Pic, and Super Bowl LI Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/1). President Donald Trump’s nomination of U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court and speculation about how Democrats will handle it; two senators announce they will not support Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary, possibly endangering her chances of assuming the post; Rex Tillerson is confirmed and sworn in as the new Secretary of State; the U.S. puts Iran “on notice” for its latest missile test; Beyonce posts a nude photo of herself to announce she’s pregnant with twins; and the build-up to Super Bowl LI 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. Tucson.com reports that Tucson market radio pro Bobby Rich was let got from his afternoon drive gig with Scripps Broadcasting’s hot AC KMXZ “94.9 MIXfm.” Rich posted a Facebook message explaining that he “made a big mistake and said something I should not have said. Even though I regret it and apologized, I own it, and now it becomes necessary for my association with ‘MIXfm’ and Scripps Tucson to conclude.” Rich would not elaborate on what he said – or in what context…..Curtis Media Group brings Jud Heussler aboard to program CHR simulcast “Pulse FM” – WWPL, Goldsboro/WPLW, Hillsboro, North Carolina (Raleigh-Durham market). Heussler has been with Entercom’s Bufflo CHR WKSE “KISS 98.5” serving as APD, music director and afternoon personality…..In the Corpus Christi, Texas market Convergent Broadcasting II, LLC announces its intent to sell CHR KKPN, classic rock KPUS, and classic hits KAJE to ICA Radio Ltd. for a sum yet to be announced…..iHeartMedia’s urban contemporary WKKV, Milwaukee “V100.7” is presenting the 6th Annual Family Affair Expo on Saturday, March 11at The Wisconsin Center. The event will feature local exhibitors in the areas of health & wellness, finance, education, small business, and recruitment to help make a positive impact on Milwaukee families. Station PD Bailey Coleman says, “I love our Family Affair Expo because it’s fun and free, plus it brings our listeners together with the resources their families need to succeed.”
NOW PLAYING: A Video Tribute to Herb Oscar Anderson. “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo produced a wonderful tribute to the recently departed New York City radio legend Herb Oscar Anderson, who died on Saturday (1/28) in Bennington, Vermont. Anderson was a radio performer who cut his teeth in the big band era but transitioned to rock ‘n’ roll radio in the 1950s. He worked at WABC during the late 1950s and 1960s – leaving in 1968. He most recently hosted a standards show on WOSC, Vero Beach, Florida. View Vuolo’s video tribute in the Talkers TV box in the upper right-hand of this main page.