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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

| January 20, 2021

Nick Gale Named News Director at WLS-AM, Chicago. Award-winning journalist Nick Gale is promoted to the news director position at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago. Gale is elevated into the role on the heels of the retirement of news director John Dempsey. Gale also serves as morning drive news anchor, a position in which he’ll continue. During his career, Gale has served as news director at a five-station radio group in LaSalle-Peru, Illinois, as a reporter and anchor at Cox Media Group’s WOKV-AM, Jacksonville, and a reporter with the Illinois Radio Network before joining WLS-AM full time in 2013. WLS program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “There’s a spot in Chicago, below Michigan Ave, where the sun rarely shines, and the conversation is always flowing. It’s the Billy Goat Tavern, a haven for the kings and queens of Chicago print and on-air journalism, and it’s where for the past eight years, Nick Gale has ordered a fried egg sandwich to go as he began the short walk to the NBC Tower to start his news shift at 890 WLS-AM. Nick, like the Billy Goat Tavern, is reliable, relatable, and fulfilling. That is why he’s the perfect person for the news director position at 890 WLS-AM. He is exactly what Chicago news needs right now and I look forward to working with him to enhance our news product for our listeners.” Gale comments, “I have big shoes to fill and look forward to working with our newsroom team in keeping the ‘Big 89’ a place where Chicago can turn to for all the news and information they need through the day. Thank you to Stephanie, Marv [Nyren] and the rest of the management team at Cumulus for the opportunity.”

Emmis Indianapolis Names Taja Graham to Take Over for Bob Richards as Radio Market Manager. Current vice president of sales for Emmis Communications’ Indianapolis radio stations Taja Graham is being promoted to market president effective on March 1. Until that date, Graham will be deputy market manager as she and current market president Bob Richards work together to make the transition. Emmis owns and operates news/talk WIBC-FM, sports talk WFNI-AM “The Fan,” adult contemporary WYXB, and country WLHK-FM. Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “Bob approached us last year with this plan and strongly endorsed Taja to succeed him in the role. Taja has been a huge part of creating our winning culture at Emmis. Her commitment to building and developing great teams is directly correlated with our top-ranked position in the Indianapolis market. I’m thrilled to see our home-grown talent like Taja succeed and look forward to the impact she will have on our great brands in the years to come.” Richards has been with Emmis for 11 years, the past three-and-a-half years as market manager. Smulyan says of Richards, “I can’t thank Bob enough for his contributions over the past decade and in particular his leadership as market manager. His passion and desire to win have been hallmarks of his leadership and positioned our team for a great future. I wish Bob every success as he charts the course for his next career adventure and thank him for all he’s meant to Emmis.”

USA Radio and Todd Starnes Partner. Author and talk media personality Todd Starnes and USA Radio Networks enter into a partnership for the latter to syndicate Starnes’ eponymous talk radio program and his commentaries. USA Radio assumes this syndication role effective Monday, January 25.

Doug Schoen Joins Newsmax TV as Analyst. Democratic political strategist Doug Schoen is joining Newsmax TV as an analyst. In a press release, Newsmax says, “Schoen, a longtime Democrat who helped shape Bill Clinton’s successful 1996 campaign and who has worked on dozens of major senate and gubernatorial races, will be a regular on Newsmax TV giving vital analysis on the new Biden administration and the national political landscape.” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy adds, “Doug is a Democrat who plays it fair and square and calls it as he sees it. Since our founding over two decades ago, Newsmax has striven to give our readers and viewers ‘both sides’ and we’re now lucky to have one of the very best joining our roster.” Schoen, who has served as a contributor to FOX News and has been a frequent columnist for Newsmax, comments, “In a short time, Newsmax TV has become one of America’s leading news networks, and I am glad to join such a strong group of news professionals.”

SAG-AFTRA Board Orders Disciplinary Hearing for Donald Trump. The union representing television and radio employees announces that its national board has voted to hold a disciplinary hearing for Donald J. Trump. SAG-AFTRA says that national board “voted overwhelmingly to find probable cause of a violation of SAG-AFTRA’s constitution by member Donald J. Trump and ordered the matter to be heard by SAG-AFTRA’s disciplinary committee as required by the SAG-AFTRA constitution. If found guilty by the committee, possible penalties include reprimand, censure, fines, suspension from the rights and privileges of membership, or expulsion from membership in SAG-AFTRA.” In a press release, SAG-AFTRA says the board acted on charges initiated by national executive director David White at the request of president Gabrielle Carteris. “The charges specifically cite Trump’s role in inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and in sustaining a reckless campaign of misinformation aimed at discrediting and ultimately threatening the safety of journalists, many of whom are SAG-AFTRA members. The charges request the imposition of the most severe penalty available to SAG-AFTRA: expulsion from membership.” Carteris comments, “Donald Trump attacked the values that this union holds most sacred – democracy, truth, respect for our fellow Americans of all races and faiths, and the sanctity of the free press. There’s a straight line from his wanton disregard for the truth to the attacks on journalists perpetrated by his followers.”

Programming Changes at Sports Talk ‘Sports Talk 99.5’ in Mobile. Monday (1/25) will see a number of programming changes take place at iHeartMedia’s sports talk WRKH-HD2/W258AY, Mobile “Sports Talk 99.5.” AL.com reports the station’s current morning drive program, “The Randy Kennedy Show” – with co-host Creg Stephenson of AL.com – is moving to the afternoon drive daypart (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm) and debuting in morning drive will be “The Press Box,” hosted by broadcasters Mike Grace, Chris Stewart (the voice of Alabama Crimson Tide basketball and host of  the Nick Saban and Nate Oats TV shows), and J.D. Byars (the voice of the South Alabama Jaguars). Kennedy, who is also program director for the station, says, “We couldn’t be more excited about our new lineup and the opportunity to partner with three tremendously talented and entertaining broadcasters like Mike, Chris and J.D. Creg and I always thought our show was best suited for the afternoon. Now that we have a chance to introduce ‘The Press Box,’ we feel great about the chance to make the move without missing a beat during the morning drive time slot.”

John Skipper and Dan Le Batard Reveal New Firm is Meadowlark Media. According to a piece in The Hollywood Reporter, the new venture from former ESPN president John Skipper and longtime ESPN radio and television personality Dan Le Batard will be called Meadowlark Media. Financing for the new media brand comes from Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, the company behind the DAZN sports streaming service at which Skipper had served as chairman. Skipper tells THR that their first goal is to “to find Dan a new home for his wildly popular audio programs.” Le Batard is quoted in a statement saying, “We hear the term ‘free agency’ a lot, but our fans, as loyal and rabid as any in sports, just gave us the freedom to exert the agency. John Skipper is a visionary, an industry leader and also the most powerful person in sports across the decade when our show rocketed to national acclaim. I can’t wait to see what he builds, and what we build together.”

TALKERS News Notes. Production pro Jeff Kelly is named West Coast commercial production director for Benztown. Kelly was most recently production director for iHeartMedia’s Albuquerque station group where he was honored with nine New Mexico Broadcasters Association Awards over the course of four years…..ESPN Podcasts is launching a new weekly offering, “First Take, Her Take,” featuring three prominent female sports media figures – ESPN’s Charly Arnolt, Kimberley A. Martin, and Chiney Ogwumike. ESPN says the three will discuss “the biggest sports stories but also provide insight into their unique backgrounds and personalities as they delve into other topics about their lives and culture.” Additionally, Jalen Rose and David Jacoby are returning to their podcast roots with the relaunch of “Jalen & Jacoby” as a twice-weekly offering. This is in addition to the podcast version of their daily ESPN TV show…..The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, in partnership with the AmerisourceBergen Foundation and iHeartMedia, are launching “Sharing Solutions: A Virtual Nationwide Tour” to drive business-led solutions to the opioid epidemic as more than 40 states report increases in opioid-related mortality amid COVID-19. As part of the campaign, the Foundation and its partners will convene 50 virtual events in 50 states to showcase innovative workforce solutions and support employers as they tackle growing substance misuse in their communities and in the post-COVID workplace. iHeartMedia vice president of strategic partnerships & government initiative Alexandra Cameron says, “As a co-founder of the National Opioid Action Coalition, iHeart has been committed to combating the opioid crisis affecting communities across America. By collaborating closely with the U.S. Chamber Foundation, we are bringing public and private sectors together in this mission, and including pop culture influencers who can bring attention to this important issue.”

Trump’s Final Day in Office/Pardons and Commutations, Trump Impeachment, Biden Inauguration Prep, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Capitol Attack Investigation, and Social Media & Free Speech Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19). The final day in office for Donald Trump and his issuing of pardons and commutations; the impeachment of Donald Trump; the preparation and security process for today’s inauguration ceremonies for Joe Biden; the number of COVID cases in the U.S., the 400,000 death mark, and the rollout of vaccines; the ongoing investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; and the suspensions and bans of some by social media platforms and the issue of free speech were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

| August 19, 2020

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. Compared to the July 2019 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio, 65% of news/talk stations had better weekly, 6+ AQH shares in the July 2020 PPM survey, according to our report from TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian. Looking at ratings increases from the June 2020 PPM survey to the July 2020 survey, 43% of news/talk stations were down, with 35% improving. Gainers from June to July were led by iHeartMedia’s KSTE-AM, Sacramento (+1.2 for a 3.0 share). Back to the year-over-year comparison, Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was the top gainer, adding 4.0 shares to post a 10.6 share, good for the #1 rank in Atlanta. Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM, Washington also climbed to the #1 spot (from #6 in 2019) on the strength of an 8.4 share (+3.1). Joining WSB and WMAL in the #1 club in July was Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle after finishing the July survey with a 7.1 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Air Personality Changes at Sports Talk WKTI-FM, Milwaukee. According to a piece in the Milwaukee Business Journal, the new program schedule at Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WKTI-FM, Milwaukee “ESPN 94.5” includes ESPN television personality Jen Lada joining the 7:00 am to 9:00 am show alongside co-hosts Gabe Neitzel and former Green Bay Packers tight end Mark Chmura. Lada is prominent on ESPN’s “College Game Day” and “College Football Live” broadcasts. Other changes at the station include the move of Steve “The Homer” True’s show from the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart to the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot. He’s also being joined by new co-host Tony Smith. In the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot is Greg Scalzo and Ben Brust simulcast from Good Karma’s WTLX-FM, Madison. Good Karma general manager Steve Wexler says of the Scalzo and Brust show, “It’s a very high-energy — and we think super-entertaining — afternoon show. They had really great success on our Madison ESPN station.”

Dave Andreesen Upped to Director of Programming and Ops for Binnie Media’s News/Talk and Sports Stations. Programmer Dave Andreesen is promoted to director of programming & operations for news-talk-sports brands at Binnie Media. Andreesen has been based at the company’s Dover, New Hampshire stations. Company vice president of programming Heath Cole states, “Dave has been an amazing captain of our Dover, NH properties and I’m extremely proud of what he and Mike Pomp have accomplished over the years. Dave will continue in his role with [news/talk] WTSN, Dover as well as [news/talk/sports] ‘107.7 The Pulse’ WTPL-FM, Concord.” Andreesen adds, “It’s an honor to continue in a new role at WTSN, one of the oldest radio stations in the state with a long history of local programming and the personalities who have set the standard for broadcasting. And WTPL is a powerhouse of locally originating programming led by a group of exceptional broadcasters with decades of experience who give the community a voice. Binnie Media is proud to be the home of the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and Patriots in these two markets.”

Jules Riley Named Operations Director for CMG Jacksonville. Programming pro Jules Riley joins Cox Media Group Jacksonville as operations director for the eight-brand cluster that includes news/talk WOKV-FM, sports talk WOKV-AM “ESPN 690” and six music brands. Riley was most recently SVP of programming at iHeartMedia’s St. Louis cluster. CMG Jacksonville vice president and general manager Katie Reid comments, “Jules brings a wealth of experience and talent to CMG Jacksonville. We are extremely excited she will be leading and growing our team, our brands and the future of our programming.”

TALKERS News Notes. Variety is reporting that former PBS personality Tavis Smiley is being ordered by a Washington, DC court to pay the Public Broadcasting Service $2.6 million after being found guilty of breach of contract. The jury found Smiley guilty of having numerous affairs with subordinates in violation of the morals clause of his contract. The jury awarded PBS $1.5 million for the costs and underwriting revenue for the last two seasons of his talk show. A judge tacked on $1.1 million in damages…..The Props Network and JAKIB Media Partners announce a deal for an exclusive partnership between golf podcasters “The Tour Junkies” and “The Tony Bruno Show w/ Harry Mayes” for the former to provide the radio show with weekly golf content. Bruno says, “We have golf action-yo. Weekly, we will bring you the most comprehensive golf coverage as part of ‘The Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes.’ Our show is unpredictable and this content will deliver listeners the in-depth knowledge and insight that is a cornerstone of our program.”…..The Seneca Women Podcast Network, iHeartRadio and P&G announce the premiere of “Seneca’s 100 Women to Hear,” an original 100-episode podcast spotlighting women who have positively impacted and created change across all sectors of society. The series launched Tuesday (8/18) with an episode spotlighting abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth. New episodes will drop over nine consecutive days, through August 26 on Women’s Equality Day, and then move to twice weekly starting in September…..PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, Inc., announces a new video podcast deal with actress, model, and influencer Amanda Cerny and award-winning Bollywood actress and social media star Jacqueline Fernandez. Launching later this summer on both PodcastOne and LiveXLive’s platforms, “FEELS GOOD” w/ Amanda Cerny and Jacqueline Fernandez “brings these two lost sisters from different sides of the world together to give global weekly inspiring news story updates alongside insightful reviews, unexpected guests, conversations about sex, dating, wellness, and culture, while delivering to audiences what ‘feels good.’”

Radio Execs Make Big Stock Investments in Their Companies. Recently, two executives at major audio media firms have added large amounts of their companies’ stock to their personal portfolios.  Entercom chairman David Field just added more than 121,000 shares of Entercom stock, paying $1.6 per share and totaling $195,000. This adds 4.9% to Field’s share of Entercom’s stock, according to Yahoo! Finance. On August 14, iHeartMedia filed a Form 4 with the Securities Exchange Commission to report that company CFO and COO Richard Bressler purchased, via the company’s Employee Stock Option plan, $4.14 million worth of its Class A Common Stock (416,500 shares at $8.98 per share).

Presidential Race/DNC, USPS Crisis/Mail-In Voting, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections/Campus Flare-Ups, Fall School Openings, Senate Russian Interference Report, Financial Markets Gains, Anderson Cooper-Mike Lindell Spat, and California Wildfires-Blackouts Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/18). The November presidential election and night two of the Democratic National Convention; the U.S. Postal Service funding crisis and the related criticism of mail-in voting by President Trump; the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and projections for future cases and the related reports of flare-ups at some college campuses; the debate over school openings in September; the latest Senate report concluding that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election; U.S. financial markets hit highs erasing the spring pandemic losses; the tense exchange between CNN’s Anderson Cooper and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell over Lindell’s promotion of oleandrin as a cure for COVID-19; and the Southwestern heatwave and California wildfires 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. The syndicated rock morning drive program “The Billy Madison Show” is now being represented for ad sales and affiliate sales by Key Networks. The program – based at Cox Media Group’s rock KISS-FM, San Antonio – was originally a cooperative effort between CMG and Nineball Radio. United Stations Radio Networks acquired Nineball in 2016 and had been syndicating it since. It’s heard in the Palm Springs, Corpus Christi, and Salisbury, Maryland markets. Key Networks president and COO Jim Higgins says, “Billy Madison and his team work really hard and deliver a unique brand of passion and humor that has generated huge ratings and revenue for KISS-FM in San Antonio and Billy’s other affiliates. Key Networks is proud to now market his program and get it the recognition and additional stations and listeners that it deserves.”…..Maine’s Binnie Media promotes programming pro Leif Erickson to director of programming and operations for the classic hits FRANK format airing on the company’s WFNK-FM, Lewiston/Portland and WBQX, Rockland. Erickson says, “My predecessor, Stan Bennett, built a powerful brand and taught me a lot. After 15 years of being his right-hand man, it’s an honor to step up and take the reins. Frank FM has been my passion, and I’m excited to keep our winning streak going, aided of course by the best team in the Portland market.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

| February 19, 2020

Round One of January PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey was released for 12 markets, including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s January 2020 survey period covered January 2-29.  Coming off the previous Holiday survey during which Christmas music listening alters usual audience media habits, some spoken-word stations gain lost ground in weekly, 6+ AQH share.  In New York, Entercom’s sports talk WFAN-AM/FM adds five-tenths to finish January with a 3.1 share and the #12 rank, while ESPN’s WEPN-FM gets six-tenths back to post a 2.1 share and the #19 rank.  iHeartMedia news/talk KFI, Los Angeles gains seven-tenths for a 3.3 share and the #9 rank in the market.  Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago adds eight-tenths to finish January with a 3.8 share and the #8 rank.  iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston finishes its sixth survey without setback by adding eight-tenths to finish January with a 5.4 share and the #5 rank in the market.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

Conservative Talker Steve Malzberg to Host Weekly RT America Show. Talk host Steve Malzberg is joining cable’s RT America to host the weekly media commentary program, “Eat the Press,” set to debut Friday (2/21) at 6:30 ET (with repeat broadcasts Sundays at 10:30 AM).  Malzberg says, “I have been highlighting media bias to my audiences for years.  Some of it is blatant.  Some is less obvious, and some is actually revealed by what the media is not telling you at all.  With “Eat the Press,” I relish, pun intended, the opportunity I’ve been given by RT America to make this important issue my focus.  Stay hungry, because ‘Eat The Press’ will have a lot to offer each week.”  Malzberg has hosted radio talk shows at WABC and WOR in New York (and in national syndication).  He’s hosted his own show on Newsmax TV and served as a commentator on FOX News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, and RT America.

Entercom to Sell WAAF-FM, Boston to EMF for $10.75 Million. The latest major market FM signal to be acquired by religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation is Entercom’s rock WAAF-FM, Boston.  The price tag is $10.75 million in cash and EMP will begin operating the 107.3 FM frequency under a network affiliation agreement beginning Saturday (2/22).  The WAAF transmitter is in Westborough, Massachusetts and covers the central and eastern portions of the state, including the Worcester market.  Entercom states in a press release that it will continue to air the WAAF format on WWBX-HD2 104.1 FM and WEEI-HD2 93.7 FM and via RADIO.COM.  Entercom says it expects the deal to close in the second quarter of this year.

Jimmy Farrell Promoted to Director of Sales for CMG Jacksonville. Sales and management pro Jimmy Farrell is moving from his general sales manager post at Cox Media Group’s Orlando cluster to the company’s Jacksonville operations where he’ll be director of sales.  CMG’s Jacksonville cluster includes news/talk WKOV-FM “News 104.5.” sports talk WOKV-AM, plus five music brands.  CMG Jacksonville vice president and general manager Katie Reid says, “We are pleased and proud to promote Jimmy to this new position.  His entrepreneurial approach, high-impact leadership style, deep understanding of both the marketplace and Cox Media Group’s offerings has served him well, enabling him to exceed sales goals by complementing his customers’ brands and business objectives with CMG station content solutions that meet their objectives.”

Nolan Murphy Named NSM for Good Karma Brands.  Sales pro Nolan Murphy is promoted from his marketing consultant post at Good Karma Brands’ Milwaukee operations to national sales manager for the company’s Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, Cleveland, and West Palm Beach station groups.  Sports talk WMVP-AM, Chicago director of sales David Scharf says, “Nolan’s skillset and attitude makes him the perfect national sales manager.  His knowledge of Good Karma Brands’ assets sets us up to win partnerships quickly, while also planning and preparing us to win long term.  His solutions-based approach and solid work ethic will help us develop the national division of Good Karma Brands.”

Georgia Student Chosen for Mentorship Program. Sophomore Georgia College and State University student Jonathan O’Brien has been chosen as the first quarter mentee in the Benztown Mentorship Program.  The program is being sponsored by Benztown in conjunction with the National Radio Talent System and O’Brien is the third student from the NRTS to take part in the mentorship program.  O’Brien – who attended the GAB Radio Talent Institute at the University of Georgia last summer – handles news duties on his college radio station, WGUR-FM, Milledgeville, Georgia and is passionate about radio news.  He will be mentored by Jennifer Seelig – director of news and programming at Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco – during O’Brien’s Benztown-sponsored trip to the Bay Area March 15-17.  She will also mentor O’Brien virtually throughout the spring academic semester.  Benztown president Dave “Chachi” Denes says, “If Jonathan O’Brien is any indication of the future of our industry, we’re in great shape.  We are so pleased to be able to provide this opportunity with the assistance of our friends at the National Radio Talent System and the incredible Jennifer Seelig and KCBS.”

Oakland A’s to Be Heard Online Only in Oakland.  In a first for the MLB club, this season’s radio play-by-play of Oakland Athletics baseball will only be heard
streaming online in the Oakland market.  Affiliate radio stations will still broadcast games over the air but fans in the Bay Area will hear games via its TuneIn channel, “A’s Cast”.  The team’s games were heard on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KTRB-AM, San Francisco “860 AM The Answer” last season.  Oakland A’s president Dave Kaval says, “We really listened to our fans and saw the success with ‘A’s Cast.’  We’re doing an incredible job getting people excited about baseball and the content. Partnering with TuneIn and having a semi-exclusive platform; we think it made a lot of sense and sets the example.”

Presidential Race, Trump Grants Clemency, Stone Sentencing/Barr Criticism, Coronavirus Pandemic, Weinstein Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/18). The Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November and tonight’s Las Vegas debate; President Trump issues a number of high-profile pardons and clemencies; the controversy over the Justice Department’s change in sentencing recommendation for Trump adviser Roger Stone and the related criticism of Attorney General William Barr; the status of the covid-19 coronavirus and its effects on the Chinese economy; and the trial of former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein on sexual assault charges 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. Gone is the business talk format on Cumulus Media’s KTBL-AM Albuquerque and now the station – along with FM translator K233CG – becomes rock as “94.5 The Pit/KTBL, Albuquerque’s New Choice for Rock.”  The station flipped airing Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.”  Cumulus Albuquerque vice president and market manager Jeff Berry says, “We are thrilled to provide ABQ and the surrounding areas with an exciting new rock station.  ‘The Pit’ will provide fans with current rock artists like Shinedown and Disturbed, laced with 90s and 2000s mega bands such as Metallica and Foo Fighters.  It will be a game changer for ABQ rock fanatics and our clients.”…..In Detroit, Cumulus Media’s country WDRQ rebranded from its “NASH FM 93.1” moniker to “New Country 93.1” and replaced the syndicated “Ty Bentli Show” with the local “Electric Barnyard with Broadway & Krissy.”  Bill “Broadway” Bert moves from afternoons to partner with Krissy T, who recently exited iHeartMedia’s crosstown CHR WKQI “Channel 95.5.”  Station PD Lance Tidwell takes over the afternoon drive show.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

| September 25, 2019

Newsmax TV Announces Major Expansion and Seeks Talent and Staff. Chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy says Newsmax has spent the past several years building out the Newsmax TV network’s distribution and they are close to “mission accomplished.”  As a result, Newsmax TV is expanding and hiring dozens of producers, bookers, correspondents, anchors, and show hosts.  Newsmax tells TALKERS magazine that it has signed with all major cable carriers – including DirecTV, Xfinity, Dish, Fios, U-verse, Spectrum, Optimum, and dozens of others – putting Newsmax TV in more than 70 million U.S. cable homes.  Newsmax has been experiencing meteoric growth and Ruddy says he believes there’s room for more conservatives in American media.  He states, “I like FOX News Channel, but we believe the country needs more conservative voices, not less.  Imagine if there was just one conservative website or just one talk radio network.”  Ruddy says the network’s goals are to beef up news and programming shows as 2020 nears.  The TV operation is based in New York and interested parties sould send their resumes to jobs@newsmax.com.

FAIR Kicks Off 13th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row.  Some 60-plus radio talk show hosts from around the nation are gathered in Washington, DC for the 13th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row.  The event, presented by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), is taking place today and tomorrow (9/25-26) at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill.  As in years past, this gathering brings together talk hosts from across the nation to broadcast live while debating immigration policy, interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists, administration officials, and those who live and work along the Southern border.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is among the guests being interviewed at the event, personally appearing on more than 25 local and network programs during the two-day marathon.  Harrison is pictured below with Gordon Deal, host of the Compass Media Networks tremendously successful “This Morning – America’s First News” show at an opening reception presented by the company last night (9/24) at the world famous Irish pub, The Dubliner, located adjacent to the hotel.

KMG Networks to Syndicate Chris Hahn Show in 2020. Currently, in addition to work as a contributor to FOX News, lawyer and author Chris Hahn hosts a weekly, two-hour talk show on JVC Media’s WRCN, Long Island “103.9 FM LI News Radio” that airs from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm on Thursday nights.  Now, Krantz Media Group Networks, announces a new partnership with Hahn to syndicate his show nationally.  Hahn says, “I’m excited to be partnering with [KMG CEO] Gary [Krantz] and KMG to bring my show to a broader national audience.  2020 is going to be the most consequential year in recent American political history and I’m looking forward to the national conversation we are about to have regarding the future of our nation.”  Krantz says, “For years, listeners, advertisers, and radio programmers, have asked me when we will see another powerful progressive radio voice on the radio.  Now we have it. Chris speaks to a new generation of listeners who now want to identify with an aggressive, intelligent, and entertaining point of view.  He is well respected on both sides of the aisle and appears regularly on conservative radio and TV programs well.”

Cox Media Group Names Katie Reid to Lead Jacksonville Radio Group. Sales and management pro Katie Reid is promoted to vice president and general manager for Cox Media Group’s Jacksonville radio stations that include news/talk WOKV-FM and sports talk WOKV-AM, as well as six music brands.   She has been serving CMG as executive director of revenue.  Current Jacksonville VP/GM Bob Longo remains in the market overseeing the company’s two TV stations, WFOX-TV and WJAX-TV.  CMG EVP Bill Hendrich states, “Katie is a dynamic leader who inspires her teams and everyone around her to reach their fullest potential.  Paired with her extensive background and strategic vision, I am confident Katie and her talented team will continue to grow and deliver the best news and entertainment in Jacksonville.”

Jason Meder to Manage Orlando Radio Assets for Cox Media Group. In the Orlando market, Cox Media Group separates its TV and radio management as in the Jacksonville story above.  Paul Briggs moves south from the company’s Atlanta offices where he was VP of content and broadcast operations to become VP/GM for Orlando television stations WFTV-TV and WRDQ-TV.  Meanwhile, Jason Meder continues his vice president and general manager position, leading the company’s radio outlets in Orlando that include news/talk WDBO-FM “News 96.5” and sports talk WDBO-AM “ESPN 580 Orlando.”  Meder says, “The CMG Orlando radio team is a talent-rich group that I am fortunate to get to work with every single day.  I am confident that our continued partnership with TV will yield even greater results as we forge ahead.”

MSN and Radio Ink Radio Sales Compensation Study Results Are In. The results of the 2019 Radio Sales Compensation Study from Media Staffing Network (MSN) and radio trade publication Radio Ink are in.  The press release says, “The study’s findings provide useful insights that help radio owners, operators, and managers develop competitive compensation packages and sharpen their budgeting process.”  Over a three-week period, the study surveyed 334 respondents, of which 72.5% were managers and 27.5% were sellers.  Representing a wide range of market sizes from across the country, 29.3% were from top 20 markets, 15.9% from markets 21-50, 6.3% from markets 51-70, and the largest amount, 48.5%, came from markets 75+.  Among the findings is that 27.5% of stations surveyed have sellers earning $150,000-plus while only 12.6% have their highest seller earning what is also the radio station average of $40,000 to $59,000.  MSN founder and CEO Laurie Kahn says, “Recruiting and hiring the best candidates is crucial to generating revenue success.  It all starts with the recruitment process and culminates in offering compensation packages that compete successfully in the current marketplace.  With relocation extremely difficult, stations need to recruit more in their markets, often out of radio.  We’re grateful to Radio Ink for their support in delivering this important study to radio.  I look forward to partnering again next year so we can track changes in the compensation of sellers going forward.”  See the results of the study here.

Seen and Heard at the Radio ShowTALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay reports from the 2019 NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas and says that a lot of the talk in the halls – not to mention in the panels and presentations themselves – revolves around podcasting.  NAB EVP of communications Dennis Wharton says, “We have a lot of sessions on podcasting this year.  People see the growth of listenership and the monetization of podcasting is now taking root.  The reason the NAB is doing so much this year here is it gives people more ways to learn, network ideas, create potential business relationships.  It’s clearly something that’s on everybody’s mind in the industry right now.”  Read Jeff McKay’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. Comedian and former U.S. Senator Al Franken is getting back in the talk show game with a weekly talk show on SiriusXM’s Progress channel, beginning this Saturday (9/28).  The hourlong program will air at 10:00 am ET.  SiriusXM says the show “will feature the five-time Emmy winner hosting thought-provoking conversations with headliners and experts in the fields of politics, entertainment, media, technology, global affairs, and more.”  Franken says, “I’m excited to be back on SiriusXM, which carried my Air America show back in the day.  Listeners can expect a mix of guests from my comedian friends like Chris Rock, to my political pals like former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to policy experts on the issues in play in 2020.  When I’m interviewing Harry or former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, I’ll be the funny one.  When I interview Rock or Patton Oswalt, I’ll be the one who served eight-and-a-half years in the Senate.”…..With the new iOS13 update for the iPhone, Entercom announces a collaboration with Apple to integrate its portfolio of news, sports, and music stations into the iOS13 software so that they are available via Apple Music and Siri.  Entercom chairman, president and CEO David Field says, “Today marks an exciting new day in audio.  We are delighted to partner with Apple to provide listeners with enhanced access to our lineup of many of the country’s leading radio brands and personalities and other rich audio content.  By integrating radio directly into their latest technology, Apple sends a clear message about the importance of local radio, the country’s number one reach medium.”…..Also from Entercom, the company appoints Elizabeth Bramowski chief accounting officer and controller.  In this role, Bramowski will oversee corporate accounting functions including regulatory reporting, accounting policy and corporate tax.  She joined the company in June of 2018 as VP of business operations.  Prior to that, she served with PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP for 15 years…..Pictured below are Salem Radio Network v.p./News& Talk Programming Tom Tradup (left) and Westwood One late night talk radio legend Jim Bohannon (right) huddling under an image of Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas as they react to House Democrats launching a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

Trump Impeachment Inquiry, 2020 Presidential Race, Trump at UN, Climate Change, Brexit Chaos, Mass. Vaping Ban, and Joker Film Violence Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24). The Democrats’ move to begin an impeachment inquiry into President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the president addresses the UN General Assembly; the UN climate change speech by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg; the political chaos in Britain over Boris Johnson’s Brexit tactics; Massachusetts puts a four-month ban on the sale of vaping products; and criticism of the violence in the soon-to-be-released film, The Joker, 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. In Kansas City, Cumulus Media brings programming pro Jowcol “Boogie D” Dolby aboard as PD for urban AC KMJK “Magic 107.3.”  Dolby was most recently with Radio One’s Detroit station group as OM/PD for WGPR, WPZR and WDMK.  Cumulus Kansas City RVP and market manager Donna Baker states, “Boogie D brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion to win to our outstanding ‘Magic 107.3’ team.  We are fortunate to have his creativity and leadership as we continue robust growth generating results for advertisers and even more focus serving our listeners in the KC community.”…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia names Matt Michaels digital program director for its six radio stations.  iHeartMedia Philadelphia RVP of programming Brian Check states, “Matt has already proven he is a leader and is well respected by both programming and sales.  Five years ago, he made an immediate mark as an intern and it has been incredibly rewarding to watch him grow and step into this new role.”…..Musician and “Tonight Show” musical director Questlove partners with iHeartMedia to bring new seasons of his podcast “Questlove Supreme” to the iHeartPodcast Network.  In addition, the famed Roots drummer will hand curate and produce a new slate of iHeartRadio Original content, that will go beyond just music, early next year.  Previous guests on “Questlove Supreme” have included Usher, Michelle Obama, Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph, Weird Al, Chaka Khan, and many more.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

| March 7, 2019

KGO, San Francisco Announces New Lineup.  Bay Area news/talk icon KGO 810 is unveiling its new lineup of talk show hosts that will begin on Monday (3/11).  Earlier this week the station elected not to renew the contract of midday host Ethan Bearman.  Now, the Cumulus Media station announces three personalities are joining the daily lineup: Mark Thompson, Pat Thurston, and John Rothman. Thompson’s show airs from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, Thurston is on from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, and Rothman holds down the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm shift.  KGO program director and operations manager Lee Hammer says, “I’m excited to be able to add more live and local programming to KGO.  KGO is talking about the major stories of the day and the impact they have on our daily life.  To get those conversations started, we’ve added three outstanding and veteran talk show hosts, each with their own unique style of engaging, informing and entertaining our listeners.”  Mark Thompson has worked at KGO previously, in addition to KABC and KFI in Los Angeles. He’s also a veteran TV weather reporter and worked at KRON-TV, San Francisco.  Pat Thurston has been a weekend host at KGO for the past 12 years. She is an Army veteran who also worked for the Secret Service.  John Rothman has a varied professional background as a former college professor, author, lecturer, foreign policy consultant and expert on the U.S. presidency.  Rothman hosted various shows on KGO since 1996.

Chris Stigall and WPHT, Philadelphia Part Company.  Talk radio host Chris Stigall has exited Entercom’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia after almost nine years with the station.  As of Wednesday (3/6), Stigall’s bio, etc. was gone from the WPHT website and Jeff Bolton was sitting in on the morning show. Philadelphia Magazine reports it has confirmed that Stigall is no longer with the station.  Reporter Victor Fiorillo writes that “according to sources close to the Stigall situation, the split wasn’t ugly.  Those sources say that 1210AM simply decided not to renew Stigall’s contract.”  There’s been no public comment by Entercom about its plans to replace Stigall.  He’d arrived in Philly from Kansas City in 2010 where’d hosted a show on KCMO-AM.

Mike North Returns to Chicago Airwaves for Weekly Sports Betting Show on ‘ESPN 1000.’ Chicago sports radio icon Mike North is returning to the air as co-host of “The ODDS Couple” with Carmen DeFalco on ESPN’s WMVP “ESPN 1000.”   The weekly, one-hour program focused on sports betting debuts tomorrow (3/8) at 6:00 pm. WMVP vice president and general manager Jim Pastor says, “As sports betting moves from the shadows to the spotlight, we expect to be a destination for those who participate and those who want to be entertained.  This isn’t only going to be about updated betting lines and hot tips.  It’s about the highs, the lows, and how to succeed and have fun whether you’re a grizzled veteran or a newcomer to sports betting.  Those in betting circles already know of Mike’s incredible track record as a long-time gambling expert.  Bringing Mike back to Chicago’s airwaves to become a lead voice in local sports betting was too good to pass up.  Pairing him with ESPN1000’s resident gambling guru, Carmen DeFalco, was a no brainer.”  North spent most of his radio career on the air at crosstown sports talker WSCR “The Score.”  DeFalco co-hosts WMVP’s midday “Carmen & Jurko” show with John Jurkovic.

Details of Cox Media Group Assets Sale Revealed. Last month’s announcement by Cox Enterprises that it is selling its television assets, the Dayton Daily News and radio stations news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, classic hits WZLR, and country WHKO in Dayton to Apollo Global Management did not come with a price tag.  Now that details have been filed and made public, we know that Apollo will pay $3.1 billion for the media properties.  Technically, the buyer is Terrier Media Buyer Inc. and the two radio stations will operate under the Camelot Radio name.

Edison Research and Triton Digital Unveil The Infinite Dial 2019. The 2019 Infinite Dial study from Edison Research and Triton Digital has been made public and the companies say that the growth of podcasting is evident as among the U.S. population ages 12 and older, the total number of people who have ever listened to a podcast passes 50% for the first time. Edison Research SVP Tom Webster says, “This is a watershed moment for podcasting–a true milestone.  With over half of Americans 12+ saying that they have ever listened to a podcast, the medium has firmly crossed into the mainstream.”  Other findings from this year’s study include that more than half the U.S. population now reports having used YouTube specifically for music in the last week.  That number is now 70% among 12 to 34-year-olds.  It also found that the percentage of Americans who listen to online audio (defined as listening to AM/FM radio stations online and/or listening to streamed audio content available only on the internet) has doubled since 2012, growing from one-third of the population to two-thirds.  See more here.

Alana Lujan Named Director of Sales for CMG Jacksonville. Rising from integrated digital sales manager to director of sales for Cox Media Group’s Jacksonville radio cluster is Alana Lujan.  In her new role, she’ll lead the sales effort for the market’s radio and Local Solutions brands, including news/talk WOKV-FM, sports talk WOKV-AM “ESPN 690,” and six music radio outlets.  She says, “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to lead our strong and talented sales team in Jacksonville.  I’m excited for this new adventure and to bring my experience in broadcast and digital sales as well as my love of radio to help this team achieve new levels of success.”

MIW Group Extends Mentoring Program Application Deadline to March 11. Persons interested in applying for the Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group’s 2019 MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program have until Monday, March 11 to do so.  This notable experience pairs up-and-coming women, who have spent a minimum of five years in the radio industry, with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio broadcasting and media.  A total of four candidates from within the radio broadcasting industry – including management, sales, marketing, programming and digital disciplines – will be selected for the 2019 program. For mentee criteria, and instructions on how to apply, please visit www.radiomiw.com.

WOR’s Berman and Riedel Turn One!  Pictured above is the WOR, New York morning show team celebrating the one-year anniversary of the “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” show.  Pictured (from l-r) are: Michael Riedel, executive producer Natalie Vacca, and Len Berman.

U.S.-Mexico Border Situation, Trump-Russia Investigation/Manafort Sentencing, Democrats’ Anti-Semitism Resolution, North Korea Weapons Program, DNC Bars FOX, Anti-Vaxer Controversies, Alex Trebek Cancer Diagnosis, ‘Leaving Neverland’ Controversy, and NBA and NCAA Basketball Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/6). The large number of illegals reportedly crossing the U.S.-Mexico border; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related sentencing of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort; the fracture in the Democratic Party with no vote on the anti-Semitism resolution; reports of North Korea’s re-boot of its missile program; the Democratic National Committee’s barring FOX News from covering the Democratic primary debates; the various controversies over anti-vaccination beliefs; “Jeopary!” host Alex Trebek announces his diagnosis of stage four prostate cancer; the banning of Michael Jackson records and the aftermath of HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” film; and NBA and NCAA basketball action 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. Metaphorical shock waves were felt across Southern California yesterday (3/6) when KROQ, Los Angeles morning personality Gene “Bean” Baxter announced he’d be leaving the “Kevin & Bean” show by the end of this year.  Baxter has hosted the show with Kevin Ryder on Entercom’s alternative station since 1990.  Telling his audience that “30 years is a good time to stop,” he says he plans to re-locate to England after he finishes his career with the station…..Cumulus Media and Westwood One announce that air personality Stew James will assume the afternoon drive host duties on WSM-FM, Nashville “95.5 NASH Icon and the national Westwood One NASH Icon Network. James has most recently served with the company as weekend air talent and technical producer of “The Ty Bentli Show.”…..The syndicated weekend radio show “Sunday Night Slow Jams” adds new affiliates to bring its total affiliate roster to 175 stations worldwide.  New stations include: XHTO-FM, El Paso; WLMI-FM, Lansing, Michigan; and KHTH-FM, Santa Rosa, California…..iHeartMedia and FOX Broadcasting Company announce that Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter T-Pain will serve as host of the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards taking place on March 14 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.  The live two-hour event will be broadcast live on FOX TV, iHeartMedia radio stations, and the iHeartRadio platform.