Tom Langmyer to Exit WTMJ and WKTI-FM in Milwaukee; Steve Wexler to Lead the Stations for Good Karma. Management and programming pro Tom Langmyer will be replaced at heritage Brew Town news/talker WTMJ-AM and country WKTI-FM by a familiar face – former Journal Communications and E.W. Scripps executive Steve Wexler. He headed Journal’s radio division and stayed with the stations after they became part of E.W. Scripps. Buffalo native Langmyer – who rose from program director at KMOX, St. Louis to station manager, then served as GM of WGN, Chicago – will stay with the stations until Good Karma assumes control.
Francesa’s Mike’s On App Is Released. New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s new app – dubbed Mike’s On after the name of his new WFAN show – has been released. The new digital platform for Francesa is a collaborative effort between Francesa’s agency CAA and WFAN owner Entercom. In addition to giving listeners digital access to his daily radio show, it will include exclusive extras such as a Saturday college football show and a Sunday NFL show. Francesa also is promising to comment on sports stories as they happen, anytime day or night. The app is $8.99 a month – a price point that some are criticizing for being higher than the typical media app. In a press statement, Francesa says, “I wanted to create my own exclusive platform to provide fans and subscribers with fresh content to complement the WFAN program they have known and trusted for decades, but with a level of information and immediacy they have never experienced before. If it’s breaking news at 7AM or 1AM after a crushing defeat, fans will hear from me instantaneously. No barriers. No restrictions.”
KKNT, Phoenix Host Seth Leibsohn to Sue Political Consulting Firm Over Services. According to a report by the Arizona Republic’s Ronald Hansen, KKNT, Phoenix “960 The Patriot” afternoon drive talk show host Seth Leibsohn is suing political consulting firm Compass Strategies for its failure to assist him in getting enough qualified signatures in his bid to run for U.S. Rep. in Arizona’s 9thcongressional district. After ending his bid for congress – for which he was prepared to leave his radio show due to equal time concerns – Leibsohn spoke about the matter on his radio show and said he was assured by Compass that all was well with the nomination signatures. The paper quotes Leibsohn saying, “I am embarrassed about it and I am ashamed over it and I am committed to doing everything I can to give the donors to this campaign their money back. We were assured on multiple occasions all was going well and there was no problem. Indeed, some on the campaign staff joked…about other campaigns having problems but not ours. Well the joke as it turned out — the terrible, awful joke — was on me and on you. The others had the signatures and we did not.” The story notes that the Leibsohn campaign had raised $144,000 as of June. Read the Republic piece here.
Michael Harrison Says Trump Uses His Contentious Relationship with the Press to Political Advantage. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison participated in a discussion about media and news bias in covering President Trump in a conversation on CNN’s Headline News Channel (HLN) yesterday (8/23) on “Across America with Carol Costello.” In a conversation with the show’s host, Carol Costello, and media analyst Bill Carter, former media reporter for The New York Times, Harrison says that there is blatant bias being perpetrated by both the pro- and anti-Trump media. He attributes it to the long-running trend of the media “targeting audiences for commercial purposes” and confirming people’s pre-determined opinions (pro and con) about the president in the process. Harrison states, “There is nothing wrong with political opinion – it’s a cherished tradition in journalism – as long as it is disclaimed as such and done in good spirit and good will. We’ve lost sight of that and a lot of people don’t know the difference.” As far as Trump complaining that 80% of the coverage of his presidency is fake news, Harrison says, “Trump uses the contentiousness [with the press] to his advantage with his base and wouldn’t want it any other way.” To view the entire segment, please click here.
TALKERS News Notes. Pictured at right is Jack Phillips (second from left) – the Colorado baker whose refusal to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple based on religious beliefs that was the subject of the recent 7-2 U.S. Supreme Court victory – visited the Salem Media Group Los Angeles offices seeking support for his Alliance Defending Freedom legal team. From left to right are: Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager, Phillips, SRN vp/news & talk programming Tom Tradup; and SRN talk host Larry Elder…..On today’s edition of the syndicated “John Fredericks Radio Show,” U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) – who serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces – sat in as guest host…..iHeartMedia’s Milwaukee sports talker WOKY “The Big 920” is going local in the midday, replacing FOX Sports Radio’s Colin Cowherd with Milwaukee Bucks play-by-play man Ted Davis, WISN-TV sports director Dan Needles, and former WAUK “540 ESPN” personality Mitch “Thunder” Nelles hosting “The Crossover” from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm daily…..Entercom’s WWEI-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts and the University of Massachusetts renew their deal for the station to serve as flagship for football and men’s basketball play-by-play broadcasts. Additionally, the station will air the weekly “UMass Insiders Show” featuring UMass football head coach Mark Whipple, men’s basketball head coach Matt McCall and men’s hockey head coach Greg Carvel. WWEI-FM carries sports talk programming from Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston…..At the recent Beasley Media Group managers meeting, Jonathan Kraft, president of The Kraft Group and the New England Patriots, was the featured guest speaker. Kraft participated in a lunchtime “fireside chat” with WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” midday personality Marc Bertrand at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston. Pictured below (from l-r) are: Dr. Bob Beasley, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley, Kraft, Beasley Media Group founder and chairman of the board George Beasley, COO/EVP Brian Beasley and president Bruce Beasley. Photo: HSA Photo.
Lars Larson Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran radio talk show host, Lars Larson is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Operating out of KXL in Portland, Oregon, he is an “iron man” hosting six hours of radio every weekday. He starts this daily marathon by hosting 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm PT on a network of about 20 regional stations, including KXL, on Alpha Media’s Radio Northwest Network. Then he immediately plugs into his Compass Media Networks coast-to-coast roster of about 150 radio stations and does a national show from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT. He shows up to work every day prior to going on the air at around 6:00 am and puts in about six hours of prep time to be up to date on all the local, regional, and national issues. And he performs his shows standing up to attain proper breathing and projection! He’s been hosting radio shows in the Northwest for more than four decades since he was 16 years old and he just celebrated his 15th anniversary in national syndication. Along the way, he also did some top-notch work for 20 years as a television reporter and news anchorman… but radio is his first love. Larson is a highly regarded dyed-in-the-wool conservative who has received more than 70 awards from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Press Club, including two Emmy’s and a Peabody for his reporting and documentaries. Harrison and Larson take a deep dive into exploring the state of talk radio, the changing nature of journalism, the differences between radio and TV, and his personal recipe for on-air durability. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.
Longtime Garden Show Host Paul Parent Dies Unexpectedly. Condolences go out to the family and friends of Boston-based garden show host Paul Parent. His son Michael contacted TALKERS magazine to let the industry know that Paul passed away unexpectedly last week. He’d been hosting a gardening show on the radio for the past 34 years. Beginning his “Paul Parent Garden Club” at WRKO in 1984 during the reign of talk radio greats Jerry Williams and Gene Burns, he worked there for 15 years before going into national syndication. At the time of his death, his show was syndicated by Genesis Communications Network.
Manafort Conviction and Cohen Guilty Plea Top News/Talk Stories for Week of August 20-24. The conviction of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on financial fraud charges and the guilty plea by former Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to campaign finance violations tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Robert Mueller-led Trump-Russia Investigation. Coming in at #3 was the Mollie Tibbetts murder case, followed by President Trump’s ordering Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to investigate South Africa’s farm expropriation program and Trump’s Jeff Sessions criticisms tied 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 on ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Brian Paiz is named SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Columbus and Albany, Georgia markets. He joins the company from IBX Media in Greenville, North Carolina where he was brand manager for WRHD-HD2. Paiz has also held several programming positions for iHeartMedia, including program director for iHeartMedia’s “100.1 The Beat” and director of urban programming for WIBB and “V101.7” in Macon, Georgia…..The Envision Networks-syndicated “Wolfman Jack Radio Show” picks up new affiliate stations as KEDB-FM, Des Moines; KRWN-FM, Farmington, New Mexico; KIWA-FM, Sioux City; and WRHL, Rockford, Illinois add the program to their lineup. Envision CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “Wolfman Jack is back and blowing up the airwaves again. In my 30-plus years of launching network programming for radio stations to broadcast, I have never seen these many affiliations so quickly. The Wolfman legend continues.”…..Univision’s hip hop KBBT, San Antonio “The Beat 98.5” is adding Premiere Networks’ “The Breakfast Club” featuring Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy for morning drive…..iHeartMedia announces Mike “McCabe” Kerr is named program director at CHR WERZ, Exeter, New Hampshire “Z107.” McCabe will also host the afternoon drive program. iHeartMedia New Hampshire SVP of programming Tim Moore says, “Mike’s talent and experience stood out immediately and we are thrilled to have him join the iHeartMedia New Hampshire team. He’s a true radio geek — which I love — from on-air to programming — and even engineering! This guy is the real deal and we can’t wait for him to help take ‘Z107’ to even greater heights!” McCabe joins the New Hampshire market from Saga Communications Ithaca where he most recently served as the program director and morning host for WFIZ “Z95.5.”
Michael Berry Show Now Heard in PM Drive on WRNO, New Orleans. Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry – the “Czar of Talk Radio” – adds another affiliate to his growing affiliate base this week as his show begins airing on iHeartMedia’s New Orleans news/talker WRNO. Berry’s program – emanating from flagship KTRH, Houston – replaces the show hosted by John Osterlind, who exits the company. Other stations around the country airing Berry’s program include: KEX, Portland; WGY, Albany; WGST, Atlanta; WJBO, Baton Rouge; and KFXR, Dallas.
KKOB, Albuquerque Again Rises to the Top. Program director Pat Frisch checks in to report that after having the station’s 55-book streak of #1 Nielsen Audio ratings finishes (persons 12+) ended in the spring and summer surveys in which it finished #2, Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB, Albuquerque returns to #1 in the Fall 2014 survey. Frisch reports that morning host Bob Clark is #1 in the market (12+), beating the next closest morning show by more than three full shares, while Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage finished in first place in the 12+, persons 25-54, and men 25-54 demos. The station finished #6 in the market in the persons 25-54 demo with a 3.6 share.
Mitch ‘Thunder’ Nelles Joins Sports WOKY, Milwaukee. The iHeartMedia sports talker announces that Mitch “Thunder” Nelles becomes part of sports talk WOKY “The Big 920” to serve as sports account executive and serve as an on-air contributor. Nelles most recently was with crosstown sports talk WAUK in the sales department. Until last spring, Nelles also worked on air with Steve “The Homer” True on WAUK’s “Homer & Thunder” program before he exited his on-air duties to focus on sales. Nelles joins WOKY on Monday, January 12. Program director Tim Scott states, “We are VERY excited that Mitch is joining our team. The addition of ‘Thunder’ just deepens our local commitment to Milwaukee sports fans.” Nelles will also contribute a blog and podcasts.
Sound Bites from CES 2015. Radio consultant Holland Cooke files another report from Las Vegas as he covers the International Consumer Electronics Show for TALKERS magazine. Today’s report delivers the takeaways from the numerous sessions Cooke has attended during the week that have something relevant for radio practitioners. Issues such as the importance of understanding the ways different platforms are used, the challenges of being creative in different media spaces, and effective use of YouTube are all covered in Holland Cooke’s report which you can read here.
Emmis Q3 Radio Revenue Rises 29%. Actual comparative figures are $34.8 million to $44.9 million. This includes reported revenue from New York City urban AC WBLS and gospel cluster-mate WLIB; Emmis started operating those two facilities under a Local Marketing Agreement about 10 months ago. In crediting his company’s employees, Emmis president/chief executive officer/chair Jeff Smulyan states that, owing to them, “Emmis’ stations again dramatically outperformed our markets, marking the 12th consecutive month of share gains.” Smulyan points out that Los Angeles rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106” is “up 18% in a flat market. Our New York cluster was up for the quarter and is now significantly outperforming the market. With an improving labor market and lower energy prices helping to put more money into the hands of consumers, we are excited about the economic backdrop as we head into 2015.” In October, Emmis-led industry initiative NextRadio launched a new version with “LiveGuide” and Smulyan explains, “NextRadio is pre-loaded in 33 Smartphone models and we’ve had more than 1.4 million activations. All major radio companies support the effort. I couldn’t be more pleased with the effort and the momentum we have.” Emmis’ Q3 operating income increases from $8.7 million to $13.1 million, while station operating income advances year-to-year by $4 million to $18.1 million.
Odds & Sods. Seattle sports talker KIRO-AM programming is being aired on Mapleton-owned KGA, Spokane. A deal between KIRO-AM owner Bonneville and Mapleton has KIRO-AM’s 7:00 am to 4:00 pm programming – including Brock & Salk, Michael Gray, and Bob & Groz – airing on the station. KIRO-AM also recently struck a deal to air the same programming on Ingstad Radio’s KJOX in the Tri-Cities, Washington market…..Noted broadcaster Pat O’Brien is debuting a new radio program to go into national syndication. Beginning early this year, O’Brien will host KLEAN Radio, a new, weekend mental health radio show broadcasting out of KABC, Los Angeles. A companion TV show – Klean Daily – is launching as well…..KXNO, Des Moines personality Ken Miller exits the station to pursue a yet-to-be-announced gig with former partner Marty Tirrell in the market. The two first worked together in Des Moines doing sports talk back in 1996.
Bubba’s Army Turns Up for ‘Bury the Bone’ Stunt. The image you see here is of a long line of what Bubba the Love Sponge estimates was the 650-plus cars (with some 1,000 loyal listeners) who showed up for his “Bury the Bone” stunt. Bubba and his staff – Manson, Ned, and 25 Cent – promised “Bury the Bone” tee-shirts to all who drove through the GoodFellas Pizza parking lot that sits just a few hundred yards from his old flagship station, Cox Media Group’s WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone.” WHPT dropped Bubba’s show from its lineup in September and filled the morning daypart with former Bubba intern and then-afternoon drive host Mike Calta. Bubba’s show began airing on Beasley Broadcast Group’s crosstown WHFS-FM earlier this week and Bubba has begun a “radio war” vowing to “bury” Calta in the ratings. Bubba and staff ran out of tee-shirts and bumper stickers so they took the names of those who didn’t get any and promised to print more and ship them to the listeners. Commenting on the stunt, Bubba says, “This is one of the proudest days of my broadcasting career. I am humbled; it’s more than we expected.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. The Dr. Joy Browne program – distributed by Genesis Communications Network – is added to the program lineup at WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island to air in the midday slot…..“Gun Talk” with host Tom Gresham joins the programming at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network as well as on KWSW, Eureka, California…..The GCN-distributed “Freedom Feens” show is added to the program schedule at WSLA, Slidell, Louisiana (New Orleans market) and current weekend affiliate WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi begins airing the show daily…..The wine-centric radio show “Grape Encounters Radio” becomes part of the lineup at KTSA, San Antonio.
Charlie Hebdo Massacre/Radical Islam Top News/Talk Story for the Week of January 5-9. The deadly assault on the Parisian satire paper Charlie Hebdo and the larger topic of radical Islam were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the new GOP-controlled Congress. Coming in at #3 was sinking oil prices and their effect on the world financial markets followed by the 2016 presidential prospects 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. View this week’s entire chart here.