Cumulus Announces Furlough and Pay Cut Plans. It was the last of the large radio companies to take drastic measures, but Tuesday (4/7) Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner made her employees aware of the company’s plans via a video message. Berner told her workforce that the Covid-19 plan was temporary and will be implemented in the coming days. As part of the plan, Cumulus’ salaried staffers will take three non-consecutive weeks of furlough over the course of 15 weeks that begins on April 20. For the group of employees who don’t have supervisors or don’t have anyone else who can cover for them, they will work for 90-days without pay, beginning April 16. For those employees whose duties have been reduced or eliminated, they are on a 90-day furlough, starting April 16. Berner said the company intends to bring all furloughed employees back when full-scale business operations resume. She is taking a 50% pay cut during this period and says the executive leadership team is taking a 25% cut and is giving up incentive compensation for the year. She said, “Even though these are intended to be temporary actions, I know they are going to land hard – really hard – and that is in the emotional and financial toll that a furlough or salary cut will take on each of you, but also in terms of the increased workload the vast majority of you will have to take on during your co-workers’ furlough weeks. I am truly sorry and sad about this announcement. None of you deserves this.” It’s unclear how the company is dealing with its union-represented air staffers.
‘The Mighty 990’ in Memphis Offering Week of Free Advertising. Memphis news/talk KWAM-AM/W300DE “The Mighty 990” is offering small businesses in the Memphis market a free week of advertising. Starnes Media Group says, “It’s just one significant way the news/talk radio station is lending a helping hand to the community during the global pandemic.” Company CEO Dalton Glasscock adds, “We’ve covered the stories of neighbors and small businesses in this community sacrificing to help in this fight against our invisible enemy. These people, their businesses, and their stories have inspired us to do what we can to help them and other businesses that need an extra hand during this time.” The company adds that Glasscock and president Todd Starnes are not taking their salaries during the pandemic and are committed to their staffers.
‘Cats Roundtable’ to Air on WABC, New York. The nationally syndicated “Cats Roundtable with John Catsimatidis” begins airing on “TALK RADIO 77 WABC” in New York at 9:00 am this Sunday (4/12). Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Media recently closed on its purchase of the radio station and assumed operations. Catsimatidis’ show features “A-list guests from politics, business, science, and more.” Guests on the program have included: Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senators Rand Paul, Richard Blumenthal, Kirsten Gillibrand, Charles Schumer, Secretary Hillary Clinton, and more. Catsimatidis says, “It’s exciting for me to have my show on the legendary 77 WABC. WABC is a staple in talk radio and a vital part of New York City. I love New York, and I’m looking forward to welcoming all the new listeners from 77 WABC.” Red Apple Media and WABC Radio president Chad Lopez says, “John’s personal relationships give him unprecedented access to world leaders and newsmakers. We’re delighted to welcome ‘The Cats Roundtable’ to our lineup of great talk shows and to give our advertisers the opportunity to connect with John’s engaged listeners.”
TALKERS News Notes. The content creation deal between iHeartMedia and Aaron Mahnke is extended and includes two more years of new content for the popular “Cabinet of Curiosities” podcast, two new seasons of “Unobscured,” as well as an executive producer role for the newly launched hit “Strange Arrivals,” additional seasons of “Noble Blood” and a new scripted series set to launch this fall. Additionally, the partnership will add a slate of five new podcasts to feature groundbreaking talent including Rabia Chaudry – attorney, advocate, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, Adnan’s Story…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM evening host Justin Kaufmann is returning to his public radio roots at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM to host a two-hour, Saturday afternoon call-in show on the coronavirus pandemic. Before joining WGN five years ago, Kaufmann worked for WBEZ for 21 years…..Entercom sports talk WFAN, New York announces the second season of the Travelers Insurance-sponsored Sunday morning program, “Talkin’ Golf with Ann Liguori,” is airing on the station through June 28. Entercom programming SVP Mark Chenoff comments, “Ann is a WFAN original and continues to serve as our premier golf reporter, also covering the U.S. Open Tennis Championship and other special events for the station. No one is more dialed into the sport than Ann and we’re looking forward to the return of her show, giving listeners an inside look at movers and shakers in the game, including players, celebrities, authors, broadcasters and other newsmakers in the world of golf.”…..iHeartMedia Cleveland’s news/talk WTAM and rock WMMS-FM and three local TV outlets joined together last Saturday for a broadcast fundraising effort to help raise more than $150,000 for United Way of Greater Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to assist families in need during the Covid-19 crisis.
U.S. Coronavirus Cases and Death Toll, the Hydroxychloroquine Debate, Trump WHO Criticism, Wisconsin Primary, Acting Navy Secretary Resigns, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7). The number of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll; the debate over prescribing the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to combat the coronavirus; President Trump’s criticism of the World Health Organization and his threat to withhold U.S. funds from the organization; the decision to go ahead with Tuesday’s Democratic primary in Wisconsin; acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigns from his post after his controversial badmouthing of the USS Theodore Roosevelt captain; and the state of the presidential race 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. International advocacy organization Global Citizen and the World Health Organization are presenting “One World: Together At Home” a program that will be globally televised and streamed in support of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s taking place on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 8:00 pm EDT on ABC, NBC, ViacomCBS Networks, iHeartMedia, and Bell Media networks and platforms in Canada. “The virtual broadcast will show unity among all people who are affected by COVID-19 and will also celebrate and support brave healthcare workers doing life-saving work on the front lines. At this critical moment in history, Global Citizen is also calling on philanthropists to join and support immediate COVID-19 response efforts as part of the organization’s Give While You Live effort. Investors, changemakers and foundation leaders are being urged to actualize their giving and invest quickly in related efforts like stronger health systems and vaccine development.”…..A casualty of the coronavirus-related programming changes at Entercom includes the end of “The TJ Show” on CHR WODS, Boston “103.3 AMP Radio.” The program, hosted by TJ Taormina with co-hosts Loren and Producer Matt, has aired on the station since 2013. Taormina served with iHeartMedia’s WHTZ, New York on the Elvis Duran program prior to joining WODS…..The Compass Media Networks-syndicated “DeDe in the Morning” program adds new affiliate stations: WLGZ, Rochester “105.5 The Beat,” KFXZ-FM, Lafayette, Louisiana; KJMP-AM, Ft. Collins; KJMZ-FM, Woodward, Oklahoma; and KKST-FM, Alexandria, Louisiana. DeDe McGuire states, “Our show is a family. We share our laughs and reveal our personal stories about how we are coping with this pandemic and the new normal it’s creating in our lives. We are all in this together. Connecting to family, friends, and community is more important than ever.”…..Programming pro John Shomby exits his NASH director of programming position and WKDF, Nashville PD role with Cumulus Media. He joined Cumulus in 2016 after serving as director of programming for Max Media’s Norfolk station group for 13 years.
FM Talk Winning in PM Drive with Alan Cox Show on Cleveland’s Legendary Rocker WMMS-FM. The Alan Cox show is quietly defying the conventional wisdom about what talk targeting younger demos on FM is all about. Ensconced in afternoon drive on Clear Channel’s legendary rock outlet WMMS-FM, Cleveland, Cox’s success is not a widely told tale in the radio industry, in part because it doesn’t appear to be a piece of a corporately directed programming puzzle with companywide ambitions. Cox credits local management for daring to be innovative with spoken-word programming outside the realms of news/talk and sports talk. “’MMS, everybody knows, is a legendary station and management had the foresight to realize music on FM is kind of going away and to see if it can work with two talk products and it has worked amazingly well. The foresight that brought them to try this hybrid station also makes them realize that you have to honor the heritage the station has but everything has to move forward.” Read this entire story here.
Gil Gross Replaces Gene Burns in PM Drive at KKSF, San Francisco. Talk radio legend Gene Burns is not going away from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment San Francisco as he continues to rehab from a stroke he suffered last December but cluster director of operations Don Parker gives the PM drive slot to Gil Gross, who’s been one of those filling in for Burns since January. Parker states, “I’m thrilled to have Gil Gross aboard full time for the Bay Area’s only live and local afternoon drive talk show. With his extensive background in network news, everyone in news/talk radio knows the name Gil Gross. I couldn’t be happier to have KKSF be his new home. NewsTalk 910 has been very fortunate to have the highest caliber of talent filling in for Gene Burns since January. I’d like to thank John Rothman, Ed Baxter and Rosie Allen for their contributions and for continuing to play a role on NewsTalk 910 moving forward.” Burns will continue to blog at newstalk910.com and his Saturday “Dining Around” program will remain on the program schedule with Joel Riddell hosting . Additionally, John Rothman is named the station’s political analyst. He’ll contribute to the station’s talk shows and newscasts as well as serve as host for KKSF’s 2012 election coverage. Baxter and Allen will remain with the station for fill-in and blogging duties. On his new position, Gross states, “I am thrilled to keep the live, local talk flame alive in the Bay area. From the Occupy movement to Oscar Grant or the struggles of our economy, it’s important for the Bay area to have a platform to discuss today’s most pressing topics. I look forward to having my friend and colleague, Gene Burns, back in the line-up. I also look forward to building the future at NewsTalk 910, a unique station that will not be one point of view all day long.”
Tony Kornheiser Negotiating for Long-Term Deal to Remain on WTEM, Washington. Washington, DC-based sports media personality Tony Kornheiser tells his audience he hopes to be assured his radio talk show will be heard on Red Zebra’s WTEM – ESPN 980 for “another two years, at least.” The Washington Post reports director of programming Chuck Sapienza hinted the two sides are negotiating, quoting him saying, “Our goal has always been to have Tony with ESPN 980 long term, and we hope to have an official announcement soon.” Kornheiser will take much of the summer off from his radio show telling his audience he will do a few weeks of ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” but will not do radio in July or August.
Terry Gross Celebrates 25 Years of National Syndication for “Fresh Air.” Tomorrow “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross will celebrate her 25th anniversary in national syndication via NPR. Gross began the program on WHYY-FM, Philadelphia – where the show is still based – in 1975. Gross tells the Philadelphia Daily News’ Dan Gross (no relation), “I fell in love with radio the moment I started doing it. I still find it a privilege to be able to talk to and engage in a pretty personal level with people whose work I respect.” Surprisingly for some, Gross tells the paper she counts Howard Stern among those whom she’d like to interview but has not. She says she’s a fan of his radio show.
Carmichael Dave Out at KHTK, Sacramento. The producer and sidekick to morning host and PD Don Geronimo and host of his own midday show exits the CBS Radio sports outlet. His tweets about his exit are vague but it appears Carmichael Dave is the victim of a budget-related maneuver. He tweets, “As of today I am no longer a part of CBS Radio…I’m getting a lot of response that this was contract related. I asked for nothing. I can’t go into details. Just know that I love the station and the people.” The station is airing DirecTV/Premiere’s Dan Patrick show in middays.
Analysis: The Legal Basis for the Bob Lonsberry Decision. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman reviews the recent ruling by the Appellate Division, Fourth Department of New York in the defamation case filed against WHAM, Rochester talk show host Bob Lonsberry. Weisman writes that for talk hosts who make a living expressing their opinions, it’s important to note that “not all opinion is protected, but when it is made about a matter of public concern, the speaker is protected by the First Amendment.” Read Steven J.J. Weisman’s piece here.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. CBS Radio names Brian Thomas vice president of programming for its Tampa cluster that includes sports talk WQYK – 1010AM Sports…..Syndicated Solutions, Inc. begins distribution of Chuck Woolery’s “Save Us Chuck” political commentary feature on June 4. The game show legend states, “I started in radio and just love it! During all my years on television, I’ve come to realize that radio is truly the only medium where I can connect one-on-one with the audience and help to create real change.”…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles visits the foothill cities of the San Gabriel Valley as part of its “KNX on Your Corner” remote broadcast series. The broadcast will emanate from the Monrovia Coffee Company in the heart of Old Town Monrovia on June 1…..WTKK-FM, Boston midday talk host Doug Meehan’s listeners are launching a campaign to get the host an on-air audition with Kelly Ripa on ABC TV’s “Live! With Kelly.” Meehan has recorded his pitch to be on the show and posted it on WTKK’s website. He’s encouraging listeners to visit the “Live! With Kelly” website touting Meehan for a shot at a guest host appearance…..Former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte regular fill-in host Wayne Powers wins his primary contest for a seat on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.
First Caller Puts Curse on New Talk Show Host. What a way to start a new gig! Gregg Henson, the station’s program director who replaced afternoon drive host Pat Miller on WOWO, Fort Wayne, was greeted with a first call that sounded like something out of a Steven King novel. Not only did the listener with a heavy accent voice his disapproval of Henson and insult him by saying he is “a snake” who “doesn’t bring anything to the table” — he went on to actually put a curse on him! Check THIS out. Listen to the audio here.
2012 Presidential Race, Obama Gay Marriage Issue, Feds to Sue Arizona Sheriff Arpaio, and Putin Snubs Obama Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/9). The 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama’s change of heart on the gay marriage issue, the federal lawsuit being filed against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s backing out of meeting with President Obama and the G-8 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Media Veteran and Fenway Park Announcer Carl Beane Dies in Auto Crash. Fenway Park’s voice of the Boston Red Sox, Carl Beane, died Wednesday at age 59 after suffering a heart attack and crashing his car while driving. Beane won the Fenway Park gig after the 2002 season. He was a radio sports announcer, talk host, news reporter and more during his long career. In addition to stringing for AP, ESPN and SiriusXM, Beane had worked at WBZ, Boston and spent many years in the 1990s working at then talk/music hybrid WESO, Southbridge.