Bubba the Love Sponge Lashes Out at ‘Speech Police’ in WSJ Op-Ed Piece. There’s been a lot of chatter on news/talk radio this week about Media Matters’ attack on Tucker Carlson for stuff he said on the Bubba the Love Sponge show during the period of 2006-2011 when he was a regular guest. Carlson took an unusual tack and not only didn’t apologize but used the Media Matters attack on him to call out the “speech police.” Now, Bubba the Love Sponge also rips Media Matters and others in an op-ed piece published in the Wall Street Journal that compares Carlson’s battle with that of comic Lenny Bruce some 50 years ago. The crux of Bubba’s piece is that entertainers in the U.S. have the right to be edgy and to push boundaries even if that includes being rude or profane. He says that in our culture we accept that kind of language within the context of comedy where we wouldn’t accept it in other facets of life – or at least we used to. Read Bubba’s piece here.
Mitchinson Exits KFBK, Sacramento Mornings. Sacramento news/talk KFBK parts ways with morning drive co-anchor Dan Mitchinson after almost four years. Mitchinson worked alongside co-anchor Cristina Mendosa on the “KFBK Morning News” program. The iHeartMedia station will announce a new co-anchor soon. Mitchinson posted news of his exit on Facebook. He wrote, in part, “‘Everything’s got to end sometime. Otherwise nothing would ever get started.’ And with that (semi) favorite quote of mine, my time here at KFBK has come to an end. I can’t say it was easy getting up most mornings around 1, but once I was in the car, heading to work, I looked forward to connecting with all of you on air and through social media and sharing stories.”
McCredden Named OM at Townsquare Media Quad Cities. Programming pro Ryan McCredden joins Townsquare Media as operations manager for the company’s five-station cluster in the Quad Cities that includes sports talk KJOC-FM “ESPN 93.5” and four music-formatted stations. McCredden was most recently programming Houston sports talk outlets KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610” and KIKK “CBS Sports Radio 650.” He’s also programmed news/talk KQTH-FM, Tucson. He says, “I’m thrilled to be able to work with the entire team at Townsquare Quad Cities and their great local brands. We will have a lot of fun and I look forward to growing upon the success they’ve already achieved.”
Jacksonville Sports Talker Gets FM Translator. “930 The Game” gets an FM translator added to its signal. iHeartMedia announces that sports talk WFXJ-AM, Jacksonville is now also heard on W247CF (licensed to Orange Park, Florida) at 97.3 FM. The 99-watt signal covers the southeast portion of the Jacksonville metro. iHeartMedia SVP of programming Geewiz says, “Jacksonville was in need of a strong FM sports station. We are very fortunate to have the legendary morning show with Mike Bianchi and ‘Harp on Sports with Seth Harp’ leading the sports world in Jacksonville. The strong FM signal will allow ‘930 The Game’ to have an even wider reach.”
Manafort Sentencing and Trump-Russia Investigation Top News/Talk Stories for Week of March 11-15. The second sentencing of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the related Trump-Russia investigation tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the college entrance cheating scandal. Coming in at #3 was the looming national emergency vote in the senate and the related border wall project, followed by the 2020 Democratic hopefuls and Beto O’Rourke’s entrance 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.
TALKERS News Notes. It’s been just over a year since ESPN returned Stephen A. Smith to a full-time, national radio show with ESPN Radio. Now, the sports media giant is happy to report the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm Stephen A. Smith Show (simulcast on cable’s ESPNEWS) is enjoying a positive uptick in Nielsen’s PPM ratings. ESPN says since August 2018 the show was up 23% in AQH share (men 25-54)…..The NFL’s Carolina Panthers are moving forward without longtime analyst Eugene Robinson in the radio booth alongside Mick Mixon and Jim Szoke. Robinson – who was part of the Panthers Radio Network for 17 years – also co-hosts “Charlotte Today” on WCNC-TV, Charlotte. Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM serves as the flagship station for Panthers radio play-by-play…..Westwood One is the official network radio partner of the NCAA and will present exclusive live coverage of the 2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, starting with First Four action on Tuesday, March 19. WWO is producing radio play-by-play for all 67 games – including eight first-round and second-round games, plus regional semifinals and finals. Westwood One is broadcasting live coverage of NCAA Men’s Final Four on Saturday, April 6 and the National Championship Game on Monday, April 8, in both English and Spanish…..Cumulus Media’s sports talk KBGG-AM, Des Moines “1700 The Champ” is the newest affiliate station of the Minnesota Twins’ Treasure Island Radio Network via Learfield.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. San Francisco morning personality Vinnie Hasson re-ups with Entercom’s hot AC KLLC “Alice @ 97.3” to continue co-hosting the station “Sarah and Vinnie” program with Sarah Clark. Hasson says, “A thousand thanks to [Entercom SVP of programming] Michael Martin and [market manager] Greg Nemitz for their support and leadership, and to my wonderful partner Sarah – you are the best and I look forward to chopping it up with you every day. I’m stoked to keep rolling with our great team and continue waking up the Bay Area every day.”…..On-air personality and programmer Cameron Moore is adding another set of music director duties to her responsibilities with Beasley Media Group’s Charlotte cluster. Moore is now MD for WSOC “Country 1037” in addition to her role as midday personality and music director for sister CHR WNKS “KISS 95.1.” WSOC program director Jack Daniel comments, “Cameron is experienced in the country music format. She has a great work ethic and I’m very excited to have her on the ‘Country 1037’ team and cannot wait to utilize all of her creative input and perspective.”…..Beasley Media Group announces that the “Déjà vu Show” takes over the midday daypart on rhythmic oldies WUKS, Fayetteville, North Carolina “Old School 1077,” effective March 25. As a result, Teddy Bear moves to the evening show (6:00 pm to 10:00 pm). WUKS brand manager Kenny J says, “We are extremely excited to have the ‘Déjà vu Show’ here in Fayetteville. Deja will bring lots of experience, high energy girlfriend talk and lots of fun! She will take middays to a whole new level.”…..Premiere Networks-syndicated personality Elvis Duran is publishing his new memoir, Where Do I Begin? Stories (I Sort of Remember) From a Life Lived Out Loud, (October 2019, Atria) In promoting the book, Duran chatted with People magazine about his rise to fame, how he took control of his health, losing more than 100 pounds with the help of celebrity medico Dr. Oz, coming out as gay man on the radio, and how he manages to get major pop stars to talk so candidly about their personal lives.
Logan adds WFTW Programming Duties. One-year hot AC WNCV “Coast 93.3” program director and morning talent “Logan” takes on similar responsibilities within the Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach (Florida) cluster for talk WFTW. Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “Logan has done an outstanding job since joining the Fort Walton Beach/Destin cluster. It has been a pleasure watching him work to make a significant impact in both ratings and revenue with WNCV. I am very excited we are recognizing his talent and affording him additional opportunities to grow with our company.” Corporate program director for news-talk-sports Jim Mahanay remarks, “I am excited anytime we can have a programmer with a fresh perspective enter the news/talk format. Logan has proven himself as a strong music PD and he now has that opportunity in news/talk.” Logan offers a “big thanks” to DeSimone, Mahanay, and Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay. “Cumulus has given me opportunities – I am going to grow with them,” Logan states. “I am a huge fan of the news-talk format, and I cannot wait to get audio from Michael Savage.” Prior to joining WNCV, “Logan” spent eight years as morning host/assistant program director/music director for Philadelphia hot AC WISX “Mix106.1.” His resume also includes stops in New York City at CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and in Dallas at hot AC KDMX.
Nielsen Audio Releases Final Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio July 2015 PPM ratings data has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. In addition, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods: This past Monday (8/3), Westwood One host Mark Levin surpassed the one-million level of Facebook “Likes.” His book, “Plunder and Deceit,” was released the following day (Tuesday, 8/4) and it has reached #1 on Amazon‘s “Best Seller” list…..In an October 13 simulcast with CNN, Westwood One will be the exclusive radio provider of coverage from the first Democratic primary debate of the 2016 presidential race. The debate will take place in Nevada, with exact location details to be announced later. CNN will serve as moderator and exclusive national broadcaster of that debate.
Rick Lewis Hits Quarter Century Mark Hosting “Talky” Mornings at Classic Rocker, KRFX, Denver. For over two decades the “Lewis & Floorwax Show” dominated the morning airwaves on iHeartMedia’s KRFX-FM (The Fox), Denver. The show was an excellent example of the widespread genre of music radio morning shows that lean heavily on pop cultural talk content. Suddenly in January of 2014, co-host Michael Floorwax retired from the airwaves, by his own choosing, due to an ongoing chronic health issue that began acting up. His co-host Rick Lewis was encouraged to keep the show going as it had a very loyal fan base and was an extremely dependable “revenue machine.” Lewis re-tooled the mostly spoken word show (that plays approximately two songs per hour), renamed it “The Rick Lewis Show” and forged ahead. Fans were happy and relieved that the show continued. Advertisers continued their support and The Rick Lewis Show has more than survived, it has thrived. Nielsen Audio spring PPM numbers indicate that “The Fox” is the market’s top station among adults 25-54. Ratings are up from 2014 and so is revenue. On July 31, 2015 Rick Lewis celebrated 25 years as the morning radio host at the station – a rarely achieved milestone in the radio industry. Lewis tells TALKERS, “I have many people to thank including my long-time friend and radio partner Kathy Lee who really stepped up her game. Thanks to my long-time partner Michael Floorwax for a helluva run, you are missed!” Lewis adds, “Also the support of the rest of the crew in the morning, Colfax, Dragon Redbeard and Robbyn Hart has been significant. Thanks also to Michael Harrison, a visionary man who gave me my first big break at KMET, Los Angeles in 1984. I was just out of college, working at that heritage radio station with some legendary radio performers. Mike believed in me and gave me my first full time job in LA.” Harrison recalls, “I recognized immediately that this earnest young man was the total package. He had movie star looks, a command of album rock and its culture, and most importantly the ability to adeptly punctuate his jock work with listener calls and artist interviews – a quality I always looked for in DJs during my rock PD days.” KRFX is the FM home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos and the multi-faceted Lewis also hosts the official Denver Broncos pre-game show every week during the football season. And if that isn’t enough Lewis has a band, The Rick Lewis Project, featuring some of the most acclaimed musicians in the region. As a drummer for the band, Lewis has played as opening act with legends such as BB King, James Brown, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Def Lepard, and The Who among others. When he is not on the radio or playing in his band, Lewis finds time to perform in the Denver area as a stand-up comic. He also recently shot a TV pilot called “Ride Away,” a motorcycle adventure show. The show is currently being shopped and produced by reality TV’s famous bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman and his wife Beth. Lewis believes “the secret to longevity in the business is to have many irons in the fire.” He tells TALKERS, “I still get up every morning and can’t wait to get behind the microphone and entertain the fans in Denver. For years, I always thought KMET in LA would be the pinnacle of my radio career, man was I wrong!”
Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q2 Results. Second quarter net revenue is up $1.1 million ($25.9 million to $27 million), but Beasley Broadcast Group‘s net income is off by $500,000 ($3 million to $2.5 million). This past December, Beasley and CBS Radio completed a 14-for-five swap involving three markets. CBS Radio acquired two Philadelphia stations (WRDW and WXTU), as well as three Miami outlets (WKIS, WPOW, and WQAM). In exchange, Beasley picked up one Philadelphia station (WIP-FM); six Tampa facilities (WHFS-AM, WHFS-FM, WLLD, WQYK, WRBQ, and WYUU); and seven Charlotte properties (WBAV, WBCN, WFNZ, WKQC, WNKS, WPEG, and WSOC). According to Beasley chair and chief executive officer George Beasley, the company’s second quarter results “reflect a continuation of recent overall industry and market trends.” On a pro forma basis, net revenue decreased 6.0% while SOI declined 8.4%. “The decline in pro forma revenue is primarily attributable to overall weakness in Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Wilmington [Delaware], which resulted in reduced operating leverage and ultimately impacted SOI,” Beasley comments. “We were able to partially offset the revenue decline, however, through cost reductions that resulted in a 4.9% – or $1 million – reduction in station operating expenses. We also made further progress on our debt reduction efforts during the quarter, while continuing our commitment to return capital to shareholders.” Addressing the station swap with CBS Radio, Beasley remarks, “It substantially broadened and diversified our local radio and marketing solutions platform. Since closing, we have been initiating strategies to extract operating and financial synergies. We are actively implementing integration, cost efficiency and operating plans while remaining true to our value proposition by focusing on targeted localism and delivering quality programming, effective online marketing solutions and dedicated service to listeners and advertisers in these markets.” As far as the future is concerned, he notes the company remains “focused on operating our station clusters to match or exceed their market’s revenue performance while further strengthening our balance sheet. We believe our integration, programming, personnel, cost-efficiency and operating changes are now showing progress.”
Barack Obama and Donald Trump were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio this Week. GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform Lead the Topics Discussed. According to TALKERS research, the just-concluding week of August 3-7, 2015 has been dynamic to say the least as the brewing interest in the presidential race of 2016 reached its first major boiling point with yesterday’s (8/6) long anticipated GOP debate(s) on the Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio gathering enormous attention and conversation. Other hot topics included the Iran nuke deal, ISIS activity, immigration reform, race relations, the Planned Parenthood funding issue, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the Nashville theater attack. To see the entire list of the week’s most talked about topics and people, please click here.
Michael Harrison Chats with Former FEMA Director (and Current KHOW, Denver Talk Host) Michael D. Brown as 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches. It was almost a decade ago (August 23-31, 2005) that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States with winds of up to 175 mph and flood waters of biblical proportions rising from the ocean and falling from the sky — leaving in its wake almost 1,900 fatalities, $108 billion in damages, and countless casualties and lives upended. Michael D. Brown – the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time and Under Secretary of Homeland Security (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) became the official poster boy for everything that went wrong with the federal government’s too-little-too-late response to one of the greatest disasters in American history. Some of the criticism that fell upon Brown was deserved – but much of it wasn’t. After all, it was an epic crisis and involved numerous overlapping agencies, governments, and politicians charged with making things right. Brown took a severe beating from the media as well as a proverbial bullet for the team and stepped down from his position with the Bush Administration. A lawyer by trade, Brown went on with his life, taking away an enormous amount of wisdom and experience from the episode. Undaunted, he began speaking to groups around the country about the insidious side of politics, and the human complexity of management and team play. He wrote a candid book about his role (and responsibility) in Katrina — Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond (Taylor Trade, 2011). He also began a successful talk show hosting career in Denver – first at KOA and then at KHOW, where he presently presides over a daily program 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm MT. In the newly posted installment of the weekly international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” (8/4), Brown is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about inside-Washington politics, the war on terror, the nature of the political mind, the psychological profile of presidents, the general state of media and journalism as well as what his life is like as a big market talk show host 10 years after Katrina. To hear this must-listen conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Cool Job Opportunity. Salem Radio in New York is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer,” which is news/talk format, and the legendary WMCA “AM570 The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.” Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills. This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America. Salem Media Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Sales experience involving media is a must. Undergraduate degree required. A unique opportunity to work closely with Jerry Crowley and Phil Boyce, two proven winners and innovators. For more information and to apply, click here.