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Monday, March 8, 2021

| March 8, 2021

Monday Memo: Staples’ Savvy. Whether you’re a broadcaster or podcaster – “and ESPECIALLY if you write promo or commercial copy or if you sell” – consultant Holland Cooke urges humility about the listener’s attention. In this week’s column, he shares success tactics from the office supply superstore. Read it here.

Pending Business: Habits. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa is a fan of those books and articles that detail the habits of successful people and in today’s column he boils them down to three that have been used by successful radio sellers but are not always practiced these days. Read more here.

Will Marotti Announces Exit from WTIC-AM, Hartford. On today’s radio program, Pastor Will Marotti told his listeners of Entercom’s news/talk WTIC-AM, Hartford that he’s leaving his radio program after this Friday’s show in order to focus on his role with the New Life Church in Meriden, Connecticut. Marotti hosts the late morning show (9:00 am to 12:00 noon) but he’s held numerous positions with WTIC over the years. He partnered with former Connecticut Governor John Rowland from 2010 to 2012 in the afternoon drive daypart. He took over that program hosting it solo after Rowland resigned from the station after being brought up on charges of campaign fraud and corruption. Marotti continued to serve as a fill-in personality but returned to WTIC to host late mornings full time after Jim Vicevich retired from his show in December of 2019 to focus on his battle with Lupus.

Debating Dr. Seuss.  The brand-new weekly podcast dedicated to tackling the education crisis in America – produced and hosted by WPHT, Philadelphia midday host Dom Giordano – is off to a flying start. In this week’s “Readin’ Writin’ and Reason” podcast, Giordano sits down with American University professor Omekongo Dibinga, one of America’s leading critics of Dr. Seuss. They debate Seuss, cancel culture, and critical race theory. Giordano also speculates on people who might still read Dr. Seuss to kids in public settings. This podcast series is particularly timely and potent drawing upon Giordano’s well-established reputation as one of the leading experts on education in talk radio. It can be heard at 1210WPHT.com and Radio.com.

January PPM Spoken-Word Summary. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his final analysis of Nielsen Audio’s January 2021 PPM survey with today’s report highlighting the news/talk, news, sports talk, and public radio news/talk stations that finished in the top five (weekly, 6+ AQH share) as well as the five stations in each of those four formats that  posted the highest AQH share. See his report here.

Bloomberg Radio Marks Pandemic Anniversary with Month-Long Daily Series. Radio news service Bloomberg Radio is launching a special daily series titled, “A Year Like No Other,” that examines how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed life and business in America. Syndicator Key Networks says the series “will draw upon Bloomberg’s vast resources to provide radio listeners with daily glimpses of what has changed over the past year, how it has changed, and whether it will ever again be the same.” The series debuts on Monday, March 15 and will take a look at a different industry or way of life that underwent a monumental change in the past year due to COVID-19. Al Mayers, global head of Bloomberg Television and Radio says, “The series will showcase the range of Bloomberg’s business journalism and our wide reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. We look forward to bringing this new content marking the past year to our audience.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green adds, “Bloomberg’s news team has once again produced content for our affiliates that provides an in-depth look at a story that impacts listeners across the country. This is the type of service and information that Bloomberg affiliates receive 24/7, 365 that is second to none.”

Hubbard Radio’s WTOP Launches PodcastDC. Washington, DC all-news WTOP and sister WFED-AM owner and operator Hubbard Radio announce the debut of PodcastDC – a new podcast app built specifically for the Washington DC region. Hubbard says the new mobile app, which soft launched in January, showcases podcasts that feature voices, topics and stories that are rooted in the nation’s capital. Hubbard Radio VP of digital strategy Jeremy Sinon says, “In a world with 800,000 podcasts available, it’s easy to understand how local can get lost. If your main source of discovery for podcasts is one of the big podcast apps, you would have a hard time knowing that local content even exists. We’re trying to solve that problem by giving Washingtonians an app that is dedicated to serving them audio that caters to their local interests.” Hubbard says the new app is also aimed at making locally produced audio more discoverable and more profitable for its creators. Users will find hundreds of podcasts from independent local content creators like PodcastDC’s own marketing strategist Elly Rowe, who also produces and hosts the podcast “Women-Owned Wednesday By Elly Jane,” which highlights local female entrepreneurs, artists, creators and more. “The sheer number of podcasts and audio content available makes it hard to stand out on a more local level,” Rowe says. “PodcastDC creates an excellent opportunity to help highlight independent D.C. podcasters with content that is not only relevant to local listeners but also deserves more national attention.”

WHBY-AM, Appleton, Wisconsin Talk Host Kathy Keene to Retire. Longtime WHBY-AM, Appleton, Wisconsin talk host Kathy Keene announces she’ll retire from the station and her role as host of the “Good Neighbor Show” on May 28. Keene joined the Woodward Communications station in January of 1981 and on September 6 of that year became the host of the “Good Neighbor Show.” Woodward Communications says that during her time with the station, she was awarded the Social and Digital Media “Best Personality” award at the 2016 Wisconsin Broadcasters Association awards. She was recently honored in 2018 with the Wisconsin Broadcasters Local Legend Award. Keene comments, “Time has come for me to leave my career in radio. It’s been 40 years and it’s been a great 40 years, let me tell you. I have met so many wonderful people along the way. I have spoken with thousands of people: authors, teachers, historians, community leaders, artists and entertainers, experts in every imaginable field. And you, the ‘Good Neighbor’ listeners have always been a large part of the essence of the show. And I will miss you.”

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Stimulus Bill, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Relaxed Mandates & School Openings, Andrew Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, Voting Rights Issues, Chauvin Trial, and Harry & Meghan Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The Joe Biden COVID stimulus bill passes the Senate and returns to the House for a final vote on Tuesday; the plateauing COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; worries about relaxed mask and gathering mandates and the opening of schools; the growing number of sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his refusal to resign; Joe Biden’s voting rights bill passes the House and Georgia’s bill to alter voting times and requirements; the looming trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin; and Sunday’s Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, February 22, 2021

| February 22, 2021

Monday Memo: #Rush4ever. Consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “there’s dang little we can do to keep someone sitting in a parked car with the key on Accessories. But Rush did that, often. And these carefully chosen archival clips they’re playing are even more captivating.” In this week’s column, HC suggests longer-term options to succeed a talent “who can never be replaced.” Read his column here.

Pending Business: Rush Changed How We Sell. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says Rush Limbaugh changed not only what people talked about on AM radio, but how we sell the talk radio format. Limbaugh’s so-called controversial content often caused the “no-buy” tag to be applied to his program. “Big ratings were no longer an automatic revenue generator. Rush stood steadfast. His audience grew to become the biggest and arguably the most responsive of any network radio talent. A new chapter had to be written in the ad sales playbook. Sellers knew if Rush got behind an ad campaign, phones would ring, orders would come in, and sponsors could experience the powerful results that only talk radio can deliver.” Read Lapa’s column here.

Belling: Appleton Jock Should Not Be Fired. WISN-AM, Milwaukee afternoon drive personality Mark Belling pens a piece posted to his own website that addresses the suspension of rock WAPL-FM, Appleton, Wisconsin jock Len Nelson by Woodward Communications for comments critical of Rush Limbaugh after his death last week that culminated with the sentiment, “The world is a better place without Rush Limbaugh in it.” Belling, who was a frequent fill-in host for Limbaugh for more than 20 years, says, “Obnoxious as Nelson’s comments are, he should not have been suspended and he should certainly not be fired. If his audience sees him for the doofus he is, fine. But this pandemic of firing people for saying things others don’t like is un-American. And it’s childish. Nelson’s comments are not, to use a word the left loves, hurtful. Rush has been very important to my life and my career and I’m not hurt by Nelson’s comments one bit. I am able to consider the source and move on.” Read Belling’s entire commentary here.

TALKERS News Notes. New York City morning radio personality Jim Kerr signs a new deal with iHeartMedia’s classic rock WAXQ-FM “Q104.3” to continue in his role with the station through 2026. Kerr co-hosts the program with Shelli Sonstein. Station PD Eric Wellman says, “Getting to work every day with one of the true legends like Jim is a joy and a privilege. Knowing he will be with ‘Q104.3’ entertaining our audience every morning along with Shelli lets me sleep better at night. Here’s to another five years with Jim Kerr!” Active for decades in civic and charitable affairs, Kerr is a 35-year board member of HeartShare Human Services of New York and a member of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation board. He’s also a vice president of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists…..Former longtime WAAF-FM, Boston air personality Mike Hsu is named morning drive host at Cumulus Media’s classic rock WWFX-FM, Worcester, Massachusetts “The Pike 100 FM.” Hsu lost his ig with WAAF when the station was sold by Entercom to Educational Media Foundation a year ago. He joined “The Pike” last August as a part-timer. Cumulus regional VP and market manager Bob Goodell says, “‘Pike’ program director Chuck Perks and I are both very excited to have Mike hosting The Pike’s morning show. He’s a part of the rock fabric of Central Massachusetts and one of the most well-known personalities from his time served at WAAF.”…..Hubbard Radio‘s WTOP, Washington announces the launch of season two of its “American Nightmare Podcast Series: Murder in a Safe Place.” This season focuses on a cold case that has haunted the D.C. region for over 23 years – the brutal rape and murder of a 50-year-old nurse inside the Maryland hospital where she worked. Throughout the podcast, veteran D.C. crime reporter and podcast host Paul Wagner searches for answers and clues to Sherry Crandell’s death. He says, “When I started working on this podcast a year ago, I thought I already knew everything there was to know about this case. I couldn’t have been more wrong. What I’ve learned as I’ve investigated this case has genuinely shocked me. I’m excited to share this new information with listeners as they come on this podcast journey with me.”…..SiriusXM announces two new talk programs. First, “Jamila’s Jams” is a new, one-hour show hosted by MTV and BET personality Jamila Mustafa, that airs on the Volume channel. On the program, Mustafa breaks down everything going on in pop culture right now – from the biggest moments in music to the biggest influencers of our time – “Jamila’s Jams” features lively conversations about hip hop and its relevance in today’s world. Second, the live, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET “Lurie Daniel Favors Show” focusing on the interconnectedness of race, class, gender, politics, and the law debuts on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel. Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq., is an activist, attorney and author with a long-standing commitment to racial and social justice. She is a weekly contributor to “The Karen Hunter Show” and co-hosts “Sunday Civics” on Urban View.

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Philadelphia Radio Pro Cody Anderson Dies at 78. The Philadelphia Inquirer has the obit for William “Cody” Anderson, the Black radio personality and executive who was the first GM of urban talker WURD-AM/W240CH, Philadelphia. He died on Saturday (2/20) from complications from COVID-19. Prior to his death he was host of the Saturday morning “Electric Magazine” program on WURD. Prior to his work with WURD, he served as general manager for urban contemporary WDAS-FM and was a former owner of WHAT-AM, where he created a Black talk format. WURD president and CEO Sara Lomax-Reese tells the Inquirer, “Cody was instrumental in breathing life into WURD and shepherding it over our almost 20 years, first as general manager and most recently as a beloved host, mentor and friend. Like his biological family, the WURD family will miss him deeply. But we are grateful for his tireless and generous support of independent Black media, which he championed every day of his life, especially through his advocacy of WURD Radio.”

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, State of GOP-Trump at CPAC, Biden’s Stimulus Plan-PPP Changes, Cuomo Investigation, Newsom Recall, Texas Winter Weather Woes, Denver 777 Incident Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The falling number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the state of the Republican Party in the aftermath of the Trump impeachment acquittal and Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance at CPAC next Sunday; President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan and the new PPP protocol designed to help small businesses; the investigation into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s handling of COVID in nursing homes; the move to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom; Texas’ energy providers criticized for grid breakdown during cold snap; and a Boeing 777 engine fails on takeoff from Denver were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, February 19, 2021

| February 19, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Forks and Bumps,” looks back at this past week of February 15-19, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Brett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite RadioHowie Carr, talk show host, WRKO, Boston / Howie Carr Radio NetworkDave Congalton, talk show host, KVEC, San Luis Obispo, CA; and Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, talk show host, the Joe Pags Show. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Delmarva; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Wisconsin Radio Host Len Nelson Suspended for Limbaugh Post. Rock WAPL-FM, Appleton, Wisconsin morning personality Len Nelson has been suspended indefinitely by station owner Woodward Communications for a now-deleted message he posted to his personal Facebook page that was critical of Rush Limbaugh. Nelson’s missive blamed Limbaugh for causing “damage to public discourse in America” and charged that his radio program was “steeped in bigotry, misogyny, hypocrisy, lies and malice.” He closed the post saying, “I will not celebrate his death, but I will not feel sorry for it, either. The world is a better place without Rush Limbaugh in it.” Woodward Communications posted the following to the WAPL website: “Recently we were made aware of a social media post placed on a personal Facebook page by one of our employees, Len Nelson. His personal views are not reflective of the core values of WAPL nor of Woodward Radio Group. We are deeply committed to being good people. We appreciate our listeners, sponsors and advertisers and want to assure each one of you this matter is being addressed swiftly. Thank you for reaching out to us with your concerns, we are listening.” Nelson posted an apology to his Facebook page in which he acknowledges he may ultimately be fired as a result of his actions. He also says he regrets not taking the time to consider how his actions may have affected others.

Rush Limbaugh’s Voice to Be Heard on Radio for the Long Term. According to Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, “Our plan is to provide the millions of loyal listeners with the voice of Rush Limbaugh for the long term. No one can replace Rush Limbaugh. We will have a variety of hosts that will guide the audio of Rush for all of the important issues of the day, including recent guest hosts Mark Steyn, Todd Herman, and Ken Matthews. With over 30 years of audio, Rush has a definite view on all of these issues. Every single element of Rush Limbaugh-branded assets will continue, including his daily show and podcast, daily update, weekend ‘best of’ three-hour show and digital/printed offerings.”

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand is reporting that WFAN, New York afternoon drive co-host Craig Carton is talking with the MLB Network about hosting a daily, morning TV show. Marchand says MLB Network declined to comment about the story…..The NAB announces new appointments to its NAB Television Board of Directors and its NAB Radio Board of Directors. On the TV side, RaMona Alexander, vice president and general manager of WDBD-TV, Jackson, Mississippi and Cox Media Group president and CEO Dan York join. On the radio side, Cox Media Group SVP and head of radio Rob Babin becomes a board member…..iHeartMedia announces the launch of “Calm Down with Erin and Charissa,” a talk show-style podcast hosted by sportscasters and longtime friends Erin Andrews and Charissa Thompson. The podcast features Andrews and Thompson discussing their lives and careers and “pulls back the curtain on the lives of two successful women at the top of their field.”…..Cadence13 unveils the first three audio movies under its new scripted studio, C13Features, that is “focused on creating and owning compelling fictionalized feature-length audio stories of all genres that appeal to a wide audience.” Cadence13, part of Entercom, says that while the podcast space has traditionally used the serialized multi-episode approach, C13Features aims to tighten the storytelling experience with compelling and dramatic creative arcs, and not force listeners to have to wait for more episodes to find out what happens next. C13Features aspires to give listeners gripping stories with a beginning, a middle and an end, all in one feature-length 90-minute episode, for listeners to experience however and whenever they’d like.” It has three audio movies lined up for release this year…..Podcast producer Ramble, a division of Cadence13, is launching Marc & Heidi: The Other D’Amelios, a new weekly podcast hosted by Marc and Heidi D’Amelio, entrepreneurs and parents of worldwide social media phenoms Charli and Dixie D’Amelio. Known as “the first family of TikTok,” Marc and Heidi D’Amelio have a combined social media following of nearly twenty-three million followers. They are the parents of Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, the Gen-Z content creators who quickly evolved into a worldwide social media phenomenon with a combined social following of nearly 300 million followers.

#LovePup Working with Grocery Stores to Promote Animal Welfare. The animal welfare charity #LovePup founded by syndicated radio personality Johnjay Van Es (pictured here with his wife Blake) and his family is working with the Safeway and Albertsons grocery chains (operating in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Utah) to help save homeless animals in their communities. People visiting Safeway or Albertsons stores this month can donate at the PIN pad to benefit several animal welfare organizations in Arizona, Las Vegas and Las Cruces with the goal of raising $1 million. #LovePup says that homeless dogs and cats are a huge problem in the Southwest with more than 50,000 animals entering shelters every year. Those shelter organizations need funds to help with medical care, vaccinations, spay/neuter, and microchipping.

Former KMOX, St. Louis Personality Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Possession. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that former KMOX, St. Louis personality Harry Hamm has pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of child porn and one count of access with intent to view child porn. Hamm was a longtime entertainment editor for KMOX, most recently appearing on the station’s “Total Information AM Weekend Edition” reporting on theater openings and movies. He was fired from the station after his arrest. The 79-year old Hamm is also being charged with felony charges of second-degree statutory sodomy, incest and possession of child pornography, to which he’s pleaded not guilty. Sentencing on the guilty plea has been delayed for two months.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 15-19. The declining number of positive COVID cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between the related power struggle in the Republican Party, the investigation into the Capitol insurrection, and the aftermath of the Donald Trump impeachment. Following at #3 was the death of talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh at age 70. 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 complete chart here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

| June 5, 2018

Cumulus Media Emerges from Chapter 11. The company said it would emerge from Chapter 11 reorganization during the second quarter of this year and that turns out to be the case.  In a statement, Cumulus Media says it has “successfully completed its financial restructuring and emerged from Chapter 11 having reduced its debt by more than $1 billion.  The Company plans to utilize its enhanced financial flexibility to continue its ongoing business transformation and drive value creation on behalf of all its stakeholders.”  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner adds, “Over the last two years, we have been relentlessly focused on our plans to turn the Company around, and the completion of our financial restructuring process is a monumental step forward on our turnaround path.  We emerge today as a stronger and more competitive Company, with the financial foundation that we need to move forward decisively with the initiatives that will produce the greatest benefits for the Company.  With this financial restructuring now behind us, we are excited about what we will be able to accomplish with all of our resources and energy fully focused on our operating business.”  In the statement, Cumulus reports that it reduced its total debt balance from $2.34 billion to $1.30 billion, consisting entirely of a term loan bearing interest at LIBOR plus 450 basis points and due May 15, 2022.  “Also, pursuant to the terms of the financial restructuring, the Company’s previously outstanding equity was cancelled and certain former stakeholders are being issued 11,052,211 shares of the Company’s Class A common stock, 5,218,209 shares of the Company’s Class B common stock and warrants to purchase 3,729,589 shares of common stock in exchange for their prior claims. Except with regard to voting and conversion rights, shares of Class A common stock and Class B common stock are identical in all respects.  Generally, the holders of shares of Class B common stock are not entitled to vote on any matters, although such shares are convertible into shares of Class A common stock, subject to FCC rules and regulations and the Company’s governance documents. We have applied to have our Class A common stock listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol CMLS and, until such time, expect that such shares will be quoted on the OTC Pink Sheets under the symbol CMIA.”

Kathy Smith to Lead Cumulus Eugene, Oregon. At Cumulus Media’s Eugene, Oregon station group, Kathy Smith is the new VP/market manager.  She was most recently Alpha Media Portland’s general sales manager.  Cumulus Eugene includes news/talk KUGN and sports talk KUJZ-FM and four music outlets.  Cumulus EVP Bob Walker says, “We are very pleased to have Kathy leading our team in Eugene.  Her deep experience and true passion for the Pacific Northwest region make her an incredible asset to our six great stations and the community they serve.”

‘97.9 ESPN Hartford’ Names Bob Joyce UConn Sports Executive Producer. At sports talker WUCS-FM, Hartford “97.9 ESPN Hartford,” Bob Joyce is named executive producer for University of Connecticut Athletics content.  Joyce’s duties include serving as the radio voice for Women’s Basketball and Men’s Hockey, handling play-by-play, and working closely with “The Rob Dibble Show.”  He’ll report to iHeartMedia Connecticut program director for sports and talk Ben Darnell.  iHeartMedia Hartford Region president Steve Honeycomb states, “We are excited to have Bob Joyce on our team.  Bob brings continuity and a high-quality professionalism to our UConn content.  He is well known in the market and with UConn fans and we are confident he will bring UConn sports broadcasting to new levels.”

Hayley Tenpas Named WHBY, Appleton Talk Host.  In the Appleton-Green Bay, Wisconsin market, Woodward Communications names Hayley Tenpas host of the afternoon drive “Focus Fox Valley” program that airs from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Tenpas formerly served as news anchor at Scripps’ WGBA-TV, Green Bay.  She is a native of the Fox Valley, having grown up in Hortonville.  She earned her broadcast journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  WHBY brand manager Justin Hull says, “We are excited to welcome Hayley to the WHBY team.  Her passion for the community will be a great addition to our weekday lineup.”

TALKERS News Notes.  On Monday (6/11), 77 WABC Radio in New York is hosting the first GOP primary debate between U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan and former Congressman Michael Grimm.  The station says the two are locked in a “tight and heated race” for New York’s 11th Congressional District.  The one-hour live debate will take place at WABC Radio studios in New York City at 12:00 noon ET and veteran journalist and WABC Radio host and political editor Rita Cosby will serve as moderator as part of the first hour of her talk show with Curtis Sliwa, “Curtis + Cosby.”…..The legal case of St. Louis talk show host Jamie Allman against Emmis Communications and Entercom is being moved from Missouri state court to federal court.  RegularTALKERS readers remember that Allman is suing the two companies for breach of contract after Allman was let go from his KFTK-FM radio show in the aftermath of social media comments he made about Parkland, Florida student David Hogg.  At the time of his firing from KFTK-FM, Entercom was LMAing the station from Emmis as it waited to close on the purchase of the station…..The GCN nationally syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs program is added to the program schedule at KBDB-HD3, Forks, Washington…..Longtime KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City talk show host Doug Wright said a final farewell to his listeners on Friday, June 1.  Wright retired from the Bonneville-owned news/talk station after more than 40 years on the air in the market.  To fill the air time left open by Wright’s retirement, Bonneville is expanding the “Dave and Dujanovic” show to 9:00 am to 12:00.

Joe Brewer Promoted at Katz Media Group.  Twenty-two-year staffer Joe Brewer is promoted to president of business operations at Katz Media Group.  Brewer – who started with the company in 1996 – was most recently chief administrative officer.  In this position, Brewer will increase his focus on business operations across Katz Radio Group, Katz Television Group and Katz Digital with the goal of streamlining company processes and aligning all technology and innovation initiatives with company goals.

AWMF to Honor Judy Woodruff at Gracies Awards Luncheon. The leadership of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces that Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour,” will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 43rd Annual Gracie Awards Luncheon on June 27 at Cipriani 42ndStreet in New York. The annual Gracies Luncheon honors individual achievement and outstanding programming at the local level for TV and radio, public level for radio, and student level for TV, radio and interactive media.  CNN’s Erica Hill will host the luncheon.   AWMF chair Christine Travaglini says, “The Gracie Awards celebrate the female storytellers who are changing the narrative and pushing boundaries in the quest toward diversity and equality.  Since the beginning of her journalism career in 1976, Judy Woodruff’s connected, well-researched approach is consistently present and illustrates why she is so worthy of this Lifetime Achievement Award. We at AWM and AWMF, through the Gracies, are incredibly proud to honor and celebrate outstanding talent and content for, by and about women.”

Trump-Russia Investigation/Manafort Allegations, Trump Uninvites Eagles to White House, SCOTUS Cake Ruling, Iran Nuclear Deal, Bill Clinton NBC Interview, North Korea Summit, Dwight Clark Dies, NBA Finals, and Major League Baseball Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4). The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and allegations that Paul Manafort attempted to tamper with witnesses; President Trump uninvites the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles to the White House; the Supreme Court rules in favor of Denver baker who refused to make wedding cake for gay couple; the aftermath of the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal; Bill Clinton’s reaction to being questioned about Monica Lewinsky on “Today” show interview; the status of the U.S.-North Korea summit; San Francisco 49ers great Dwight Clark dies at 61; the Warriors-Cavaliers NBA Finals; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

BFoA Establishes Joseph M. Bilotta Memorial Fund. The Broadcasters Foundation of America has established the Joseph M. Bilotta Memorial Fund in honor of the broadcaster who died this past Friday (6/1) at age 69 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  BFoA president Jim Thompson states, “Joe was a friend and champion of the Broadcasters Foundation and our industry. He devoted time and energy to advancing broadcasting and to helping colleagues in need.  He will be missed by many, personally and professionally.”  Bilotta spent more than 40 years at Buckley Broadcasting where he helped build the group’s standing through such noted stations as WOR-AM, New York and WDRC-AM and WDRC-FM in Hartford.  Bilotta was saluted by his colleagues in April with the coveted Ward L. Quaal Leadership Award, given by the Broadcasters Foundation of America at a breakfast ceremony held during the 2018 NAB Show.  To donate to the Joseph M. Bilotta Memorial Fund, please visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org, call 212-373-8250, or email info@thebfoa.org.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Joining Envision Networks as assistant marketing manager is Kelsey Shawgo.  She comes to Envision with a background in writing and music journalism.  She has been published in Substream Magazine, Fashion Meets Music Festival Magazine, and was a staff news writer and features writer for Alternative Press before joining Envision Networks. She also has worked in promotions for the now-Entercom-owned Cleveland station cluster.  Envision says, “Kelsey’s acumen for millennial sentimentalities with a focus on new media and creative content will enhance Envision Networks’ marketing team.  She aims to strengthen the brand voice of Envision Networks in all written and graphic content including public relations, social media, and the monthly journalistic Envision Insider newsletter…..iHeartMedia announces the primetime lineup for its iHeartRadio Music Festival taking place in Las Vegas September 21 and 22.  Performers include: Justin Timberlake, Jack White, Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey, Imagine Dragons, Jason Aldean, Sam Smith, Luke Bryan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Panic! At The Disco, Kelly Clarkson, Shawn Mendes, Kygo, Rae Sremmurd, Logic, and more…..iHeartMedia Chicago announces that market radio pro Lisa Dent is joining country WBGG “BIG 95.5” to host weekend programs.  Dent previously co-hosted mornings on Entercom’s crosstown WUSN-FM in Chicago for 10 years before launching her first business, Lisa Dent Speaks, LLC, and building her own studio, The Radio Farm…..Cumulus Media’s Atlanta CHR WWWQ “Q100” launches a new online destination called Q-U at quatlanta.com.  Cumulus says Q-U “puts listeners first with video content that brings together the ‘Q100’ listening community in a new way and includes original content from listeners who share their lives with others who have a passion for hit music.  Q-U tackles issues affecting young adults on a daily basis, including relationships, jobs, college loans, family and activism.”  Cumulus Media Atlanta VP and market manager Sean Shannon adds, “Q-U builds the ‘Q100’ brand and elevates and transforms the standard ‘we talk, you listen’ format to a truly integrated conversational fan experience.  We couldn’t be more excited to launch this innovative new destination for Atlantans who love hit music.”…..Westwood One’s nationally syndicated “Ty, Kelly and Chuck” program is broadcasting live from the George Jones Museum in Nashville during this week’s CMA Fest.  Each morning’s live broadcast inside The George Jones is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

| December 12, 2017

Wisconsin Talk Host Admits to Sexual Misconduct.  What was so unusual about WHBY, Appleton talk host Josh Dukelow’s admission was that there was no accusation – Dukelow simply spoke on air about an incident in his past that made him realize he had sexually assaulted and harassed women, that he regrets his actions and hopes more men will come forward during this national conversation about sexual misconduct by men.  The Appleton Post-Crescent reports that he made the admission on Friday’s show and it caused quite a social media stir in the region over the weekend.  Woodward Communications has not fired Dukelow and, although he was off the air Monday, he’s expected back today.  The paper reports Woodward general manager Kelly Radandt released the following statement about Dukelow: “Following his comments Friday, we immediately began gathering information and have had several conversations with Josh.  As a company, we take sexual harassment very seriously and are diligent with incorporating employee training and policies.  We have never received any sexual harassment allegations against Josh.  At this time, given the details he has provided — both to us and now publicly — there will be no changes to his current employment with our station.”

Lenz to Co-Anchor Mornings on KOA, Denver.  Six months after KOA, Denver morning drive co-host Steffan Tubbs was let go after being charged with domestic violence (a charge that has subsequently been dropped), iHeartMedia announces that Marty Lenz will leave Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco to assume the morning host role at KOA, effective January 8.  Lenz will work alongside current KOA personality April Zesbaugh.  iHeartMedia Denver Region president Tim Hagar says, “Following an exhaustive nationwide search, it was clear that Marty Lenz is uniquely qualified to join KOA Newsradio.  Marty’s news prowess, engaging personality and Denver roots are sure to fuel the growth for ‘Colorado’s Morning News’ in 2018 and beyond.”

Ron Coomer Re-Ups with WSCR, Chicago for Cubs Broadcasts.  Chicago sports talker WSCR and the Chicago Cubs are announcing that radio color analyst Ken Coomer will return to “The Score” in that role alongside Cubs play-by-play announcer Pat Hughes.  Entercom Chicago SVP and market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “Ron is one of the most talented analysts in baseball and we are honored to have him on our team at ‘The Score.’  Ron brings the passion and success he had as former MLB All-Star to the airwaves of Cubs baseball and hits a homerun with Cubs fans.”  Coomer first joined the Cubs Radio Network in December of 2013 (succeeding Keith Moreland) on WGN.  He remained in the booth as games moved to then-CBS RADIO’s WBBM-AM.

Salem Radio Network Presenting Alabama Special Election Coverage.  Today’s hotly contested U.S. Senate special election in Alabama is being covered by Salem Radio Network.  The company says that at the first sign of significant election results, SRN News will mount one-minute special reports on SNN left at :20-past and 40:00-past the hour.   They will have the latest trending results in SRN News top-of-hour broadcasts and SRN News half-hour updates.  Also, Salem Media Group Houston talk host Sam Malone is embedded at Republican candidate Roy Moore’s victory party in Montgomery and will provide perspective and analysis throughout the evening on both SRN News and TOWNHALL.com newscasts.

iHeartCommunications Files Intent to Sell CC Outdoor Stock.  The company doesn’t make clear in its brief filing with the Securities Exchange Commission what it would do with the money, but iHeartMedia parent iHeartCommunications, Inc. announces it’s “currently exploring a possible private capital-raising transaction supported by the value of some or all of the 100,000,000 shares of Class B common stock of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. (“CCOH”) held by its wholly-owned subsidiary Broader Media, LLC and the 10,726,917 shares of Class A common stock held by its wholly-owned subsidiary CC Finco, LLC. Such transaction, if agreed upon and consummated on the terms being explored, would result in the pledge of these shares for the benefit of the investors.”

TALKERS News Notes.  In Chicago, Robert Feder writes here that Mark Pinsky is assuming general manager duties at Newsweb‘s progressive talk station WCPT-AM.  Pinsky has been serving with the company managing its five time-brokered radio stations in the Chicagoland market…..New affiliates have signed onto Westwood One’s “Checkpoint Radio,” a show dedicated to the world of esports and gaming.  New stations include: KTCT-AM, San Francisco; KKFN-FM, Denver; WOKY-AM,Milwaukee; and WNSR-AM, Nashville.  The program is hosted by Nate Bender, Robbie Landis, Norris Howard and Joe Sloan…..United Stations Radio Networks and Bloomberg Radio are teaming up to produce and distribute an original series of “Tax Tips” to be broadcast during the height of the 2018 tax season.   The 30-second tips are being written and anchored by Bloomberg correspondent Peggy Collins and the full series is slated for broadcast starting on February 5, 2018…..SiriusXM unveils a new programming collaboration with news website Shareblue Media for the satcaster’s Progress channel.  Shareblue Media is owned by Media Matters founder David Brock.   SiriusXM director of progressive programming Zerlina Maxwell states, “The election of Donald Trump has energized the Progressive base like never before.  We’re proud to team up with Shareblue Media and share their crucial voice with SiriusXM’s vast audience.  Together we will provide fellow progressives with not only information, but marching orders on how to push back against the Trump administration’s agenda.”

WPGG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley Takes Listeners on Tour of FOX News Channel.  Yesterday’s trip into New York City for WPGG, Atlantic City morning star Harry Hurley and his group of local listeners turned out to be even more eventful than they thought it would be.  Hurley tells TALKERS magazine that his group arrived four blocks away from the terrorist pipe bombing at exactly the time the explosion rang out.  As for the tour, Hurley (left) says, “Brian Kilmeade (right), Ainsley Earhardt, Steve Doocy, and Todd Starnes couldn’t have been nicer or more accommodating, especially considering the circumstances.  Giving listeners the opportunity to see how the national news is gathered and reported from the inside-out versus the outside-in is extraordinary.”

NYC Pipe Bomb Attack, Roy Moore Candidacy, GOP Tax Reform Plan, Sexual Impropriety Cases, California Wildfires, Bitcoin Activity, Mueller’s Trump-Russia Investigation, Sanders vs Media, Sunday’s NFL Action and Attendance, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11).  Monday morning’s pipe bomb terrorist attack in New York; today’s special election in Alabama pitting embattled Republican Roy Moore against Democrat Doug Jones; the Republican-authored tax reform bill; the continuing allegations of sexual impropriety, including The New Yorker’s firing of journalist Ryan Lizza, and the NFL Network’s suspension of Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor, and Heath Evans; the devastating wildfires in Southern California; the surging value of bitcoin; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; yesterday’s verbal sparring between White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the press; Sunday’s NFL action and analysis of attendance figures; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS and Hillsdale College Co-Present Major Talk Radio Discussion/Debate on “Media and Journalism in the Age of Trump.” TALKERS joined forces with Hillsdale College of Hillsdale, Michigan this past Tuesday (12/5) to present a conversation on the topic, “Media and Journalism in the Age of Trump.” The panel of seven diverse talk media hosts included (in alphabetical order): Scot Bertram, Hillsdale College Radio/WRFH; John Fredericks, John Fredericks Radio Network; Dom Giordano, WPHT, Philadelphia; Hugh Hewitt, Salem Radio Network; Joe Madison, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Janet Parshall, Moody Radio Network; and Bill Press, TYT Radio Network. The panel was moderated by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison. The lively discussion covered a variety of issues ranging from the meaning and impact of “fake news” to the state of the First Amendment in 2017 exploring ethics in journalism, the impact of digital technology on the news, race relations in America, and the controversial demeanor of President Trump along the way. The event took place at Hillsdale College’s distinguished Washington, DC extension, the Alan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship. Reflecting on the event, Michael Harrison comments, “I knew it would be challenging keeping a discussion among such an opinionated, articulate group of talkers from going off the tracks considering the controversial and volatile nature of the topics at hand. However, I was delighted at the tremendous good spirit and collegiality displayed by all the participants. It was a productive and informative session. My thanks to all involved including our partners at Hillsdale.” To view the forum in its entirety, please click here.

 

 

PPM Analysis: Adult Hits. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the third of four analyses of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November PPM survey, today focusing on the adult hits format. He writes that although the number of stations airing adult hits is not large, as a format in the PPM markets, it’s performed well. “In fact, the adult hits format claims the strongest 6+ share (5.43) and best average 6+ rank (#6.47), easily outdistancing news/talk (3.80/#11.02) and the NBA flagships (2.63/#17.30) in those areas.” There are nine adult hits stations that ranked in the top five in their respective markets in November. Emmis’ KBPA, Austin “BOB FM 103.5” ranked #1; Entercom’s WSMW, Greensboro “98.7 Simon” ranked #2; and Saul Frischling’s WRRK, Pittsburgh “BOB FM 96.9” and Midwest Communications’ WCJK, Nashville “96.3 JACK FM” both ranked #3 in their markets. See the whole report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At Seattle country outlet KKWF, “100.7 The Wolf,” Ellen Tailor tells her listeners that she’s leaving the station this Thursday (12/14).  Tailor joined the Entercom station in 2011 as part of the morning show.  She moved to middays in September…..Yet another iHeartMedia alternative rock station adds Premiere Networks’ “The Woody Show” for the morning drive daypart.  This time it’s WTHR, Wichita “ALT 107.3, Wichita’s Alternative Rock.”  WTHR will carry the show Monday through Saturday.

Monday, August 25, 2014

| August 25, 2014

napaquakemapLocal Radio Responds to Napa Earthquake. The most severe earthquake to hit Northern California in 25 years registered a 6.0 and was centered in Napa, California on Sunday morning. Local media responded and – although knocked off the air for about 30 minutes — Wine Country Broadcasting’s news/talk KVON, Napa (and sister hot AC KVYN, St. Helena) did return to the air to serve the region. Farther south in San Francisco, sources tell TALKERS magazine that local television went wall-to-wall with its coverage. As for radio, KSFO weekend personality Ethanbearmanethan3 Bearman says that competition KCBS-AM covered it “like a quality news network” while sister news/talk KGO covered the event and took calls until San Francisco 49ers football began. Bearman says, “I had my producer, Leigh Wolf, toss aside what we had planned. We started the show interviewing a rep from PG&E about power and gas in Napa, took a couple of callers, then interviewed Ross Stein, a geophysicist from the USGS about earthquakes and this one in particular. We had more callers sharing stories, then an interview with CHP officer Daniel Hill about safety and road closures, followed by more callers sharing stories. We also interviewed Yountville councillor Richard Hall about the damage in his town up the road from Napa, then many more callers.” Bearman tells TALKERS that what KSFO was able to do was use its two-way nature to do what TV couldn’t. “TV doesn’t provide more than a 10-minute loop. Straight news on KCBS-AM is just talking to the listener while we provided that human contact, that outlet of expression, that connection with others. It was really powerful and received a lot of positive feedback.”

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theblaze logoBeck’s TheBlaze Negotiated with CNN for HLN Partnership.  But, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal by Keach Hagey, the two sides could not come to an agreement on terms.  Hagey’s report states that CNN executives recently held talks with agents from Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze about a partnership that would change the programming on the struggling HLN channel that would have seen TheBlaze content replace the current shows on HLN.  It’s being reported that CNN is in talks with Vice Media about a similar partnership.  The WSJ reports that HLN’s total viewership has declined 22% for the season to date, and dipped 19% in the 18 to 49 demo, based on Nielsen numbers.

kfwbKFWB Accelerates Talk-to Sports Transition. Los Angeles talker KFWB was expected to conduct its transition to all-sports early next month; however, this past Sunday at midnight, CBS Sports Radio Network programming took over the 980 AM dial position.  Word quickly spread and there was plenty of activity/reaction on social media.  Included in the commentary are two classy postings from people who have worked at KFWB.  On-air talent Lisa Osborne writes on her Facebook page: “It is KFWB’s last weekday as a news/talk station – format flip next week to all sports.  Tune in if you can today to this heritage news station.  If you grew up in LA, you can sing the jingle – that is what everyone does when they find out I work here.  I’ve worked with some real pros here including: Penny Griego, Phil Hulett, Bret Lewis, Rhonda Kramer, Ken Jeffries, Elaine Perkins, Bill Nesbitt, Paul Lowe, Michael Shappee, Maggie McKay, Philip Luther Nash, Michael Knight, Russ Spears, Donna Page, Andy Ludlum, Joe Guimond, Cyndee Maxwell, and plenty more.  Iconic Los Angeles traffic reporter Kramer comments, that she was “only 26 years old” when she began reporting traffic on the station.  “It has always been home and I have worked with some of the most talented individuals in the news broadcast business.  It has been an honor to work with pros like Dan Avey, Charlie Brailer, Don Hurbert, Bob Howard, John Brooks Jack Popejoy, Judy Ford, Andy Ludlum, and most recently, Maggie McKay, Michael Shappee, Lisa Osborne, Penny Griego and Phil Hulett. Working here has been extremely rewarding, affording me the opportunity to win 18 Golden Mikes.  I am proud of my work on KFWB and have made friends here who will be in my life forever.  I wish nothing but the best for the new sports format.  Thanks KFWB for the wonderful memories.  You will always be a part of me.”  Quite a few industry personnel who did not work at the station were partisans.  “I was your biggest fan,” New Normal entrepreneur/talk host Tom Leykis writes.kfwbfinalcast  “Seriously. I grew up in New York listening to ‘1010 WINS.’  When I came to live in LA in the 1980s, KFWB, clearly modeled after WINS, became my new best friend…As a lifelong radio guy, I wanted to let you all know that, for me, you all were the best.”  On one hand, advanced timing of the format flip is a bit of a surprise, yet on the other, there is considerable logic to it.  The station has already secured a program director – Owen Murphy (from Seattle) – and it has cleared CBS Sports Radio programming.  That lineup includes a well-known local quantity, Jim Rome, who will be heard 9:00 am – 12:00 noon.  One more major piece to be added though is a locally originated morning show, which will likely debut in two weeks (Monday, 9/8).  A format change was practically inevitable, as the station’s 6+ PPM shares thus far in calendar year 2014 have topped out at .3 (January, February, and May) and included .2 showings in March, April, June, and July. KFWB’s July ranking was #42.  One year ago (July 2013), it ranked #39 (.5), still significantly lower from its all-news days.  It actually would be ironic (or perhaps purposefully intended) if a morning show is installed September 8, as that will mark the five-year anniversary KFWB switched from all-news to all-talk.  When CBS Corporation acquired KCAL-TV, Los Angeles (Channel 9) in 2002 (to go along with KCBS-TV Channel 2), it put them over the limit of radio and television properties in the same market.  Three years ago, CBS Radio placed KFWB into a Diane Sutter-headed trust, under the name The KFWB Asset Trust.  Director of news programming at CBS Radio Los Angeles’ all-news KNX – and formerly (and simultaneously) holding that same title for KFWB – Andy Ludlum posts on his Facebook page, “After 46 years of delivering news to the people of Southern California, the news watch has stopped for KFWB.  I have been fortunate to have spent the past 25 years of my life working there with some of the most talented people to ever open a microphone or write a news story.”  Ludlum posted the photo above showing the final minute of the final full newscast with Maggie McKay (right), Ted Sobel (center), and Michael Knight (left).

ktar-fmKTAR-FM, Phoenix Re-Brands; Tweaks Programming.  The Bonneville news/talk station announces it is re-branding at the same time it is making programming changes and unveiling its new website designed specifically for mobile users.  The station is now “KTAR News…on 92.3 FM and KTAR.com.”  Bonneville Phoenix market manager Scott Sutherland states, “This re-brand and website re-launch lets the community know that our commitment to live and local news has never been stronger.  And it also signals that KTAR News is a multi-platform media brand that distributes audio news and talk show content on FM Radio, KTAR.com and the KTAR App, as well as written, audio and video story content online across all devices.”  Programming changes include more news content in middays with “Arizona’s Noon News and Karie Dozer” (from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm) and an earlier start (2:00 pm) for afternoon drive team Mac and Gaydos.  Bonneville Phoenix VP of content and operations Ryan Hatch comments, “Our ‘mobile-first’ design will deliver a powerful, multi-media user experience on smartphones, where our online audience continues to migrate.  Using the very latest technologies, the site also seamlessly adapts to tablets and desktops to deliver the same quality experience across all platforms.”

nrglogoNRG Media, Woodward in Four-Station Transaction.  The price for the latest NRG Media purchase – the quartet of Woodward Communications facilities in Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa – is $3.55 million.  NRG Media chief executive officer Mary Quass is “delighted to have the opportunity” to add the stations to her company’s platform.  “We continue to look for great radio properties that are located in the Midwest and are an integral part of the communities they serve,” she comments.  “Regarding NRG, Woodward Communications president and chief executive officer Tom Woodward states, “It is a well-known, community-oriented radio broadcast company with a great Midwestern culture and presence.  Our strategic plans and related growth goals positioned the sale of the Waterloo properties.  We salute the loyal, talented and dedicated staff we were fortunate to work with.  We will continue to operate, grow and enhance our award-winning, seven-station radio group in the Appleton-Green Bay, Wisconsin markets which we’ve owned since the late-1970s.”  The deal is for KFMW “Rock 108”; KOKZ “Iowa’s Classic Hits”; KWLO “1330 ESPN“; and KXEL “Iowa’s News & Talk Station.”  Woodward Communications has operated these outlets the past two years. Prior to that, Bahakel Broadcasting owned KXEL for 54 years (1958 – 2012); it owned the other three from 1996 – 2012.

WSCRgregolesjohnFound: WLS-AM’s “Next Talk Star.” If you wonder where the next generation of talk radio personalities is coming from, the answer might be professional wrestling.  John Chase Gregoles (pictured here) emerges as the winner of WLS-AM, Chicago’s “Next Talk Star” competition and the Lake Geneva, Wisconsin resident is a day trader who has a background in … sports entertainment.  This represents the Cumulus Media-owned talk station’s third such promotion, with WLS-AM program director/operations manager Peter Bolger pointing out, “Our last two winners are still on the air with a weekend show and occasional fill-in.  It is certainly possible we will be as fortunate with this year’s winner.  What the finalists had to say about talk radio and the passion they have for it was instructive and extremely energizing.”  Gregoles comments that he “wants to broaden the audience of talk radio.”  Wannabes submitted auditions via the station’s website. WLS-AM narrowed the submissions to 10 semifinalists; the top five were then determined by online voting. Bolger; WLS-AM’s (9:00 am – 11:00 am) Kass & Cohn co-host Lauren Cohn; 2012 winner Stephanie Trussell; and 2013 winner Laura Kelly were among those judging the competition.  Gregoles gets to host a two-hour WLS-AM show, receive a limo ride to/from the studio, and a trip for two to Mexico.

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MLB Baseball Continues to Give Boost to Most Flagship Stations.  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents his second analysis of the performances of MLB flagship stations this season – this time based on July PPM data.  Again, the flagships in markets where baseball has traditionally been good to its radio outlet and in markets where the team is performing well continue to benefit from increased listenership.  In this report Kinosian tracks how flagship stations have performed over the past five PPM surveys, compared to July 2013, how they rank in their respective markets, and how the stations stack up based on MLB divisions.  Check out Mike Kinosian’s analysis here.

sabowalterSabo: It Is a Widespread Myth That “Ours Is a Very Big Sports Town.”  As a globetrotting media consultant, Walter Sabo reports, “There is noticeable bravado in every city about the local level of sports fandom.”  In a new opinion piece certain to spark disagreement on the part of many TALKERS readers, Sabo makes the case that even though most radio markets claim to be “big” on sports or even the “biggest” sports city in America, the “facts don’t match the roar of the crowd.”  He writes, “According to the data presented from the major league national teams, every city is pretty much the same.”  To read this informative and provocative piece in its entirety, please click here.

hamiltonhacksawLee ‘Hacksaw’ Hamilton Hangs Out Fill-In Shingle.  West Coast sports talk pro Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton, most recently with Broadcast Company of the Americas-owned XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090,” announces he’s making himself available as a “radio free agent” for freelance work as “Hacksaw & Company,” as he says, “sports talk radio designed for your market, when you need a pinch-hitter.”  Hamilton’s daily content can be seen at (www.leehacksawhamilton.com).  He can be emailed at hacksaw5555@gmail.com.

Arkansas Stations Swap Frequencies; AC Turns Conservative/Christian Talk.  A pair of Arkansas FMs are swapping positions on the dial – John M. Dowdy-owned hot AC KKTZ moves from 93.5 up to 107.5 while AC KOMT moves to the 93.5 frequency.  KKTZ will remain hot AC but KOMT flips to conservative/Christian talk using content from Salem Radio Network, Westwood One and Premiere Networks.  The new talk station will air: Bill Bennett in AM drive followed by Mike Gallagher, Dennis Miller, Michael Medved, Mark Levin, Janet Mefferd and “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory.

Odds & Sods.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, radio pro Mike Stephen is joining WGN, Chicago for a weekend show called “Outside the Loop Radio” that will air from 6:00 am to 7:00 am Sunday mornings, effective October 4.  The eight-year-old show is promoted as “Chicago’s Almost Above-Ground Audio Magazine,” and promises “interviews with local newsmakers on everything from arts and politics to the environment and food.”…..Sitting in for Jimmy Barrett on Clear Channel’s WRVA, Richmond in morning drive all this week is Mark Wainwright…..CBS RADIO’s sports talker WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” and IMG Sports Network agree to an extension that will allow Virginia Tech football and men’s basketball  play-by-play to be heard on the station through the 2018 season.