KQED Names Blakley Executive Director/Radio Programming. Four-year Minnesota Public Radio program director Jonathan Blakley is appointed executive director of radio programming for Northern California Public Broadcasting news/talk KQED, San Francisco. The Western Michigan University graduate previously was a senior producer and editor at NPR and launched all-news on WKZO, Kalamazoo. He has also worked for all-news WWJ, Detroit and the Associated Press. In other station news, KQED promotes executive director of news Holly Kernan to chief content officer. She will now oversee news, arts, science, and education for radio and TV programming. Kerman joined the station in 2014 from San Francisco Unified School District news/talk KALW, where she was news and public affairs director. Meanwhile, managing editor Ethan Lindsey succeeds Kernan as executive director of news. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s September 2018 report for San Francisco, KQED is #1 for the eighth straight month. Its gain of four-tenths pulls the plug on five downward trends in a row that accounted for a -2.5 (8.9 – 8.4 – 8.1 – 7.1 – 6.7 – 6.4, 6+). In San Jose, KQED progresses from sixth to fourth. It finished first in that Bay Area market between January and June.
Harrison: Neither Side is as Bad as Political Opponents Claim. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, described by TV anchor/moderator/commentator Carol Costello as “the voice of reason” appeared today as a panelist on CNN’s Headline News channel (HLN) to discuss the impact of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation on the coming mid-term elections. He joined other panelists Republican Scott Jennings and Democrat Nomiki Konst. Jennings supported the President’s assertion that the Democrats and Liberals have become an unruly mob unfit to govern. Konst expressed the opposite view that working people have never faced the level of economic inequality that presently exists and that the Kavanaugh addition to the Supreme Court feeds into the “women are doomed” scenario. When asked by Costello if we as a nation are “going to remain as divided – men versus women, Democrat versus Republican – as we are now permanently forever more?” Harrison replied by saying “Hopefully not permanently. Let’s hope it ebbs and flows as it has through history. Both sides are extremely energized. The coming mid-term election promises to be as exciting, if not more, than a presidential election. But we can’t tell which side will feel that way in a few weeks on Election Day when it will be decided by voter turn-out. From a media standpoint, which is the lens through which I view this, even though both sides in ‘biased media’ express righteous indignation – and there is extreme bias on both sides in the media – both sides are loving this because this is a golden era for media that plays the news for the American public viewing it as a spectator sport. The demonization of the ‘other side’ is just that – excessive hyperbolic demonization. Nothing is going to be so terrible no matter how it plays out. Women are not doomed and the Democrats are not a mob. And if for some reason Trump loses his majority in Congress, he’ll work that to his advantage as well. It’ll be his excuse for not fulfilling all his campaign promises to his base.”
One Putt Lands O’Rorke as VP/GM. Ten-year Lotus Broadcasting Fresno market manager Kevin O’Rorke joins cross-town One Putt Broadcasting as vice president and general manager, succeeding Josh Riley. One Putt partner John Ostlund comments, “We are excited to have Kevin on our team. His passion for radio, [as well as his] experience with many of our clients and involvement in non-profit organizations, makes him a great fit.” Another One Putt partner – Chris Pacheco – notes, “I have known and worked with Kevin many times over the years – he brings tremendous experience to our team.” California State University-Fullerton alum O’Rorke adds, “Radio is an exciting industry, but locally-owned radio with the kind of community focus that Chris and John have demonstrated over the years is very unique. I am looking forward to getting started and making a difference.” One Putt’s Fresno cluster includes sports talk KFIG “940 ESPN Radio”; KFRR “New Rock 104.1”; classic rock KJFX “95.7 The Fox”; triple A KJWL “K-Jewel 105.5”; CHR KWDO “99.3 Now FM”; and classic hits-oldies KYNO-AM.
Daniel Joins Fresno’s KVPR and Bakersfield’s KPRX As News Director. News/talk KQED, San Francisco reporter Alice Daniel is appointed news director of similarly-formatted KVPR, Fresno and KPRX, Bakersfield. Valley Public Radio interim president Joe Moore comments, “Alice is a talented reporter and educator, who always finds a way to bring out something special or unexpected in her stories. Six years ago, we didn’t have any local reporters at the station; now, we have three. Our work is increasingly being recognized with awards at the regional and national level.” Daniel remarks, “I am excited by the prospect of working with other reporters to cover this diverse and story-rich region in a way that makes a difference for the community at large. I love the creative process of figuring out the best way to tell a compelling story. There is nothing I love more in journalism than finding that gem of a story that no one else has unearthed.” In addition to contributing to Success Magazine, Daniel – who has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University – has taught journalism for 17 years at Fresno State University.
TALKERS News Notes. In a presentation to be made this coming Saturday (10/13), Cumulus Media San Francisco news/talk KSFO morning host (5:00 am – 9:00 am) Brian Sussman will receive the Don Sherwood Award from the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame. The listener-voted honor recognizes the Bay Area’s favorite news/talk radio broadcaster for 2018. Sussman replaced Lee Rodgers in morning drive on KSFO in February 2010 ….. Beginning this Thursday (10/11), The New York Times debuts “The Argument,” a weekly opinion podcast hosted by three of the paper’s op-ed columnists – David Leonhardt, Ross Douthat, and Michelle Goldberg ….. As reported by the St. Louis Dispatch, “Real Housewife of Orange County” Meghan King Edmonds will appear with “Meghan’s Must Haves” every week on the Sunday morning edition of Rick & Tracey Ellis’ show on Entercom St. Louis news/talk KFTK “FM Newstalk 97.1.” The segment starts this Sunday (10/14). Edmonds is the wife of former St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels outfielder/current Fox Sports Midwest analyst Jim Edmonds ….. The former six-year general manager of Tri-States Public Radio and an adjunct instructor at Western Illinois University, Jonathan Ahl, will be a Rolla, Missouri-based reporter for University of Missouri-St. Louis news/talk KWMU. Ahl previously was news director and reporter at Iowa Public Radio ….. KTTC-TV, Austin (Minnesota) multimedia journalist James Bunner has been fired for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat while covering President Trump’s appearance last Thursday in Rochester, Minnesota. KTTC news director Noel Sederstrom said Bunner was let go for wearing campaign gear while covering the political event – not because of his personal politics. Sederstrom told BuzzFeed News, “[Bunner] violated our policy so he’s no longer with us. We don’t allow our people to wear campaign clothing while on assignment.” On the day of Trump’s inauguration, Bunner posted a video of himself on Facebook dancing to “Celebration” (Kool & The Gang). KTTC removed Bunner’s online profile from its website last Friday ….. Listeners will be able to use touch and voice to tune into live iHeartRadio radio stations on Portal and Portal+ – Facebook’s home video communications devices. The Portal comes with a variety of features such as AI-powered video cameras, smart sound technology, and crystal-clear audio. Powered by Amazon’s Alexa voice control system, the video chat devices were introduced today (10/8).
Richard Neer Pens Sixth Murder Mystery Book. Longtime TALKERS columnist Richard Neer, a 30-year sports talk veteran at WFAN, New York and former WNEW-FM, New York radio great, has released his sixth Riley King murder mystery, An American Storm (Amazon Digital Services, 2018). This one has a strong radio sub-plot as King’s cohort Rick Stone deals with a career crisis after moving from making big dollars at a large market station to a small labor-of-love outlet, attempting to create a free form talk and music format. He is frustrated by a dearth of callers and the aging demo. Neer is well-known for his landmark radio non-fiction FM, the Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) and is developing a large following as a writer of the mystery fiction genre. He can be reached for interviews at firstname.lastname@example.org. The new book is available at Amazon in both Kindle and paperback editions.
Kavanaugh Confirmation and Ensuing Protests Across the Nation Top the List of Stories Discussed on News/Talk Radio Over the Weekend. The U.S. Senate Confirmation and Swearing-in of controversial Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the protests that took place during and after the vote topped the list of stories discussed on news/talk radio over the weekend. These stories were followed by the US-China trade war; November midterm elections and the battle for control of Congress; the new USMCA deal; the disappearance of the head of Interpol after traveling to China; NFL action during week number five and the MLB divisional playoffs which were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Welsh, Porreca Join JAM Media Solutions. East Orange, New Jersey-based JAM Media Solutions names Donovan Welsh executive vice president of sales and Kerry Porreca executive vice president of finance. JAM Media Solutions closed on its media properties last Wednesday (10/3). They take over eight media properties in Outer Banks, North Carolina and Muscatine, Iowa. The Outer Banks properties include WCMS “Water Country”; hot AC WCXL “Beach 104”; WVOD “99.1 The Sound – The Outer Banks’ Alternative”; WZPR “Classic Rock 92.3”; and “The Outer Banks Voice.” The Muscatine properties include classic rock KMCS “Vintage Sound 93.1”; KWPC “The Voice of Muscatine; and “The Voice of Muscatine.” JAM Media Solutions president and CEO Jonathan A. Mason, Sr. remarks, “In the early years of my career in New York, I worked with Mr. Welsh and am honored that he has decided to join JAM Media to oversee our sales efforts. Mrs. Porreca is a veteran finance executive and has extensive knowledge of the Outer Banks. She is uniquely positioned to help us achieve our goal of giving back to the communities we seek to serve. I am humbled to step into the next phase of our collective journey. Our goal is to deliver a first-rate experience for the communities we serve. We love our radio local and our listeners will come to know that for themselves.” Most recently, Welsh was sales manager of Entercom New York sports talk WFAN. Porreca has spent the majority of her professional career in the manufacturing and advertising areas.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Additions at Entercom Los Angeles CHR KAMP “97.1 Amp Radio” find DJ Vice hosting “DJ Vice in the Mix” weekdays from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm and Krystal Bee joining the station’s weekend lineup. According to Entercom Los Angeles senior vice president and market manager Jeff Federman, “DJ Vice and Krystal Bee have been household names in the Southern California radio and music scene for more than 25 years collectively. We look forward to them delivering a fresh listening experience for fans.” DJ Vice remarks, “As someone who was born and raised in Los Angeles, it is an honor to be a part of the ‘97.1 Amp Radio’ family. This mix is so fulfilling to do for my city, and hopefully, I can ease the pain of our listeners as they sit in L.A. traffic.” Krystal Bee notes that, “[KAMP] has a vision for radio that is so exciting. I have loved working with the team and I am excited about everything the future holds for me, the station, and our amazing listeners.” In 2011, DJ Vice was named one of “America’s Best DJs” by DJ Times. Prior to joining Entercom, Krystal Bee held on-air roles for cross-town rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106” since 2011 ….. Following last week’s departure of brand manager/program director Ron Valeri, Entercom Boston-owned WAAF “The Only Station That Really Rocks” names Joe Galgaro, PD of Saga Communications Milwaukee’s WHQG “102.9 The Hog,” as Valeri’s replacement ….. Most recently doing mid-days for Beasley Media Group Tampa’s WQYK “99.5 New Country Hits,” June Knight joins Entercom Miami’s similarly-formatted WKIS “Country 99.5” as morning drive co-host, where she will pair with assistant program director/music director Tim “TC” Conlon as “TC & June. Knight previously worked in Boston at CHR WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” and WODS … As we reported last week, Louie Diaz is promoted to vice president/contemporary for the Cumulus Radio Station Group, continuing his role as operations manager for Cumulus Media Atlanta and as PD for CHR WWWQ “Q100.” Associated with that move, Cumulus Media vice president/contemporary programming (CHR and hot AC) Cat Thomas departs. Thomas joined Cumulus Media nearly three years ago, after a 27-year career with CBS Radio Las Vegas where he was vice president/programming. For approximately 20 years, he programmed that company’s Las Vegas CHR, KLUC ….. Morning co-host Brian Fowler exits WGAR. He joined “Country 99.5.” in 2011 to team with LeeAnn Sommers, who remains with the iHeartMedia Cleveland outlet ….. Next year’s iHeartRadio “ALTer Ego” officially sold out on the first day on sale. The second annual music event, which will broadcast live (1/19/2019) across over 70 iHeartRadio alternative and rock stations, reportedly sold out in less than a minute of being on sale to the general public. The “ALTer Ego” lineup at Los Angeles’ Fabulous Forum includes The Killers, Weezer, Rise Against, Twenty One Pilots, Muse, Bishop Briggs, and The Revivalists. Chief programming officer for iHeartMedia Tom Poleman notes, “It was remarkable to watch how fast tickets sold out. All tickets immediately went the moment we made them available. It speaks to the power of the lineup and how fast the ALTer Ego brand has grown in just two years.” Meanwhile, iHeartMedia president/national sales, marketing & partnerships Tim Castelli comments, “The lineup is incredible and reaches the millennial trend leaders who make up the mega-event’s core audience. Given such an amazing response, we are expecting this to break social chatter records like we have done with our lineup on our other iHeart marquee events” ….. Former WPIA “98.5 Kiss FM,” Peoria (Illinois) program director Jonathan Steele is named to a similar position at Martz Communications Pittsburgh urban contemporary WAMO …..Tennessee Senate candidate Phil Bredesen and congressional hopeful Jim Cooper have picked up a big-name endorsement – Taylor Swift. The singer usually doesn’t express her political beliefs but notes on Instagram, “Due to several events in my life and in the world the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.” Bredesen and Cooper are Democrats ….. At the box office, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s “A Star Is Born” remake took in $41.3 million. According to comScore, with $174.5 million in tickets sold at United States and Canadian theaters, it was easily the best October weekend ever…. Starting today (10/8), iHeartMedia Columbus CHR WNCI-originated “Dave (Kaelin) & Jimmy (Jam)” will air (6:00 am – 10:00 am) on Alpha Media Canton (Ohio) hot AC WHBC-FM “Mix” 94.1.” WHBC-FM operations manager Bo Matthews comments, “Dave & Jimmy are Ohio guys [who] celebrate the region with their content. They experience all the pain that comes with being Cleveland sports fans. I am super excited for the show they will be providing us every weekday morning.” According to Jimmy Jam, “Canton is my hometown so I have about 200 relatives [who] will be listening every day.”
CBS RADIO Re-Ups KYW, Philly’s Steve Butler. Programmer Steve Butler signs a multi-year contract renewal with CBS RADIO in which he’ll continue to serve as vice president of news programming, and program director of all-news KYW. In his capacity as vice president of news programming and news format captain, Butler advises eight of CBS RADIO’s all-news outlets on on-air and digital content and strategy. In his KYW Newsradio role, he oversees the station’s production and content, as well as the on-air and newsroom staffs. CBS RADIO EVP of programming Chris Oliviero comments, “CBS RADIO continues to be the industry leader in providing many of the nation’s largest cities with the trusted and credible local news and information that millions of listeners depend on day in and day out. Steve’s expertise and influence has helped shape the ongoing success of our iconic, eight all-news stations and will be critical in the continued growth of these brands for years to come. We are thrilled to have him lead in this important position.”
Cumulus Names Tim Shickles to PD Role at Sports WTRX, Flint. At the Cumulus Media operations in Flint, Michigan, the company names August Wallace operations manager for the entire cluster. At the same time, Tim Shickles is promoted to program director for sports talk WTRX “Sports Xtra 1330.” Shickles is also now programming sister country station WFBE “NASH 95.1.” Shickles has been an on-air personality for Cumulus Media Flint for the past seven years and will continue in his on-air role with WFBE. Ed Leick, vice president/market manager Cumulus Media Flint, says, “Cumulus is fortunate to have such incredible talents working in our radio stations across the country and right here in Flint, Michigan. It is my great pleasure to assist in moving these two fine broadcasters to the next level in their careers.”
Remembering Kay Zwerling. One of talk radio’s original partisans and supporters has passed away at the age of 95. For approximately 20 years, Kay Zwerling became a familiar central California on-air talent via Zwerling Broadcasting System talker KSCO, Santa Cruz-Monterey- Salinas, where she would write/voice commentaries on a variety of topics, especially politics and current events. Those short-form features were broadcast several times throughout the day. A compilation of those commentaries was incorporated into a hardcover book, “For KSCO, I’m Kay Zwerling.” She and her husband Bernard encouraged and supported their son Michael’s acquisition of Class B AM KSCO in January 1991. Nearly 18 months ago, KSCO added a 255-watt simulcast on K218CA (104.1). Commenting on his mother, Michael Zwerling states, “She had a fine mind, a great, clear speaking voice, and a special flair to be direct, logical, and concise with her thoughts. Over the years, I had the pleasure to see mom evolve and grow into a most popular and certainly the most admired personality on our family-owned, independent news-talk radio station.” According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Kay Zwerling was the matriarch of a great radio broadcasting family that has made a real difference in the lives of the people of the Monterey Bay region for many decades. She was a savvy business person, locally-renowned author, and articulate on-air commentator. She should also be historically noted as an influential pioneer in advancing the position of women in the radio industry.” Listeners shared their thoughts and memories of Zwerling this past Saturday (1/7) in a two-hour KSCO special (10:00 am – 12:00 noon). Arrangements are pending for a family-only funeral for Kay Zwerling; a public celebration of her life will take place in the spring.
Today on TalkersTV: Consultant Holland Cooke presents a useful New Year’s Resolution – say more with fewer words. He says, “Life has become a wall of noise. In his latest TalkersTV video, he explains that “the best way to cut through the clutter is ‘word economy.’” Viewer warning: HC is a former high school English teacher. See the video in the TalkersTV box in the upper right-hand of this page.
Beasley’s Charlotte Deal Closes. The $24 million radio station deal that transferred ownership of news/talk WBT-AM/FM, sports talk WFNZ-AM and hot AC WLNK-FM from Beasley Media Group to Entercom has closed. If you remember, Beasley had to divest of some stations in Charlotte after the $240 million acquisition of Greater Media that closed at the end of last year.
The Yappy Tour Rolls Through Providence, RI. The recently published book, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016), by veteran talk radio producer Bernadette Duncan, continues to burn up the airwaves. The coast-to-coast book tour rolled through Providence, Rhode Island Friday (1/6) as the author was interviewed by the legendary talk radio personality Dan Yorke for both his local radio (WPRO) and television (Fox 12 and MyRI-TV) shows. (The two are pictured above on the set of the TV show.) Duncan tells TALKERS, “Dan Yorke is an amazing interviewer. He really cuts below the surface and gets to the psychological heart of the topic in an intimate and credible manner. Being on the airwaves of WPRO, which is so richly steeped in radio heritage, was deeply gratifying to me. I am so grateful to the hundreds of broadcasters and thousands of radio enthusiasts who have been giving this book such wonderful support.” Yappy Days recounts Duncan’s 26-year career as a producer of radio talk shows working with such big-name talents as Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Lou Dobbs, Tom Snyder, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and many more during modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.” Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature. Due to the strong response by hosts across the nation to the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the national “Yappy Tour” will continue to roll on through the Spring of 2017. Duncan has already appeared on more than 50 local and syndicated programs. Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Odds & Sods. On its recently acquired St. Louis AM signal KXFN, Salem Media Group debuts a station dedicated to health and wellness branded, “AM 1380 The Pulse.” The former sports talk station was purchased by Salem from Grand Slam Sports LLC’s receiver Detalus for $190,000. Shows airing on the station include “Dr. Asa on Call,” “Dr. Katherine Albrecht,” “The Dr. Daliah Show,” “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie,” and others…..At the Chicago operations of Salem Media Group, Michael Mann adds new duties as his title is expanded to director of sales strategy, broadcast media. Salem president of broadcast media David Santrella comments, “There has been a planned and deliberate ‘march’ since Michael joined us in Chicago which has resulted in consistent and impressive growth.”…..Tomorrow (1/10), Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is joining the “WTMJ Today” early afternoon program for an hour-long segment in which listeners will hear the mayor discuss the news of the day and issues important to him and the community. “WTMJ Today” is co-hosted by WTMJ executive producer for news Erik Bilstad and interim co-hosts including the representative for Wisconsin’s 37th Assembly District, John Jagler.
Deadly Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting, Trump-Intelligence Community Meeting/Russia Hacking Allegations, Future of ObamaCare, Deadly Attack on Israeli Soldiers, Iran’s Rafsanjani Dies, Sunday’s Golden Globes Awards, and NFL Playoff Action Among Top Stories Over the Weekend. The fatal shooting of five travelers at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport; the allegations of Russian hacking of DNC emails and the related story of President-Elect Donald Trump’s contentious relationship with the intelligence community over the matter; the future of the Affordable Care Act and the GOP’s plans to alter the health care legislation; the deaths of four Israeli soldiers in an attack by a Palestinian; the passing of key Iranian Islamic Revolution architect Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; Sunday evening’s Golden Globes Awards; and the NFL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Michael Harrison Podcast Explores “The Real History of Fake News.” The award-winning, weekly PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” kicks off 2017 with an engaging discussion about fake news with Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) staff writer and senior Delacorte fellow, David Uberti. Uberti recently penned an article in CJR titled, The Real History of Fake News. It traces the long-standing practice of newspapers in America publishing hoaxes, falsehoods and blatantly slanted stories to manipulate public opinion all the way back to the founding of the republic. The fake news phenomenon, now greatly amplified and accelerated by social media and digital technology, was one of the most-discussed issues on news/talk radio this past year and promises to continue to be an area of concern moving forward. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
AJ Lurie Named to Market Manager Role at Beasley Wilmington. Now leading the Wilmington, Delaware duo for Beasley Media Group is AJ Lurie, who is promoted from his most recent position with the company’s Fort Myers-Naples cluster as director of sales. As vice president and market manager, Lurie will oversee the operations of hot AC WJBR and gospel WTMR-AM (licensed to Camden, New Jersey). About his new position, Lurie comments, “I am honored to begin working with the talented team in Wilmington. I have had the privilege of serving for more than a decade with our amazing Fort Myers cluster, which has prepared me for this next step in my career. I want to sincerely thank Bruce Beasley, Brad Beasley and everyone who showed faith in my abilities to move into this market manager position.”
Tim Hattrick Returns to KNIX, Phoenix. The iHeartMedia-owned country station announces that former station personality Tim Hattrick will join its morning show alongside Ben Campbell and Brooke Hoover for the “Tim, Ben & Brooke Show.” Hattrick served with the station as half of the “Tim & Willy Show” with Willy D. Loon from 1998 through 2007. He says, “I’m thrilled to join Ben and Brooke and so honored to come home to KNIX. I look forward to serving Phoenix again and continuing to build upon the legacy that KNIX has built in the community.”
Marc Jason Joins WQYK, Tampa Morning Show. Tampa country outlet WQYK announces air personality Marc Jason joins Veronica Young and Kevin Ebel as the third co-host of the Beasley Broadcast Group station’s morning show. Operations manager Tee Gentry comments, “It’s a great feeling to start this new year with Marc on the ‘QYK morning team with Veronica and Kevin! Marc has been an on-air radio personality in some of America’s biggest and most iconic radio cities, including Nashville, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Washington, DC. We’re definitely hitting the ground running in 2017!”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Changes corporate structure at Cox Media Group mean corporate manager of radio and ratings research Paul Douglas exits the company after a 19 year stint…..Entercom brings Casey Osburn aboard to program hot AC KFBZ, Wichita “105.3 The Buzz.” Osburn, who will also work the afternoon drive shift at KFBZ, was most recently with Eagle Communications at its Hutchinson, Kansas operations…..CBS RADIO St. Louis announces that KEZK ,midday personality Trish Gazall signs a multi-year contract extension with the adult contemporary station. Gazall holds down the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm show that features her unique perspective on entertainment and current events, with a healthy dose of local community information. She also hosts the “Totally ‘80s Lunch” every weekday at noon…..iHeartMedia renews the contracts for the three hosts of the “Bama, Rob and Heather” morning show on country KVET, Austin. iHeartMedia Central Texas region president Breeanna Malik says of the trio, “We are so fortunate to have this amazing team in the iHeartMedia family. They are true Austin celebrities and we know our listeners and sponsors are ecstatic that they will be here for many years to come.”…..United Stations Radio Networks announces that programmer and on-air pro Steve Stewart is the new host of the syndicated country radio show “The Road.” Stewart also serves as PD and midday personality at iHeartMedia’s WEBG, Chicago “Big 95.5.”…..Adult contemporary WHUD-FM, Peekskill, New York (Hudson Valley market) adds the local “Night Rhythms” program hosted by Susan Browning for the evening daypart. Browning has been with the 6 Johnson Road Licenses-owned station on a weekends/fill-in basis for the past six years.
AC Augments Audience in Philly, Tampa, and Dallas. Managing editor Mike Kinosian takes note of the number of new adult contemporary stations signing on in top 20 markets. “The last time a major market station transitioned to adult contemporary was in April 2016, when iHeartMedia San Francisco’s urban-rhythmic oldies KISQ became “The Breeze.” Now that the all-Christmas music has come to an end, however, there are three new players under the AC banner.” He’s referring to “Star 102.1” in Dallas; “Today’s 96.5” in Philly; and “B 98.7” in Tampa. Read his report on these new stations here.
Logan adds WFTW Programming Duties. One-year hot AC WNCV “Coast 93.3” program director and morning talent “Logan” takes on similar responsibilities within the Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach (Florida) cluster for talk WFTW. Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “Logan has done an outstanding job since joining the Fort Walton Beach/Destin cluster. It has been a pleasure watching him work to make a significant impact in both ratings and revenue with WNCV. I am very excited we are recognizing his talent and affording him additional opportunities to grow with our company.” Corporate program director for news-talk-sports Jim Mahanay remarks, “I am excited anytime we can have a programmer with a fresh perspective enter the news/talk format. Logan has proven himself as a strong music PD and he now has that opportunity in news/talk.” Logan offers a “big thanks” to DeSimone, Mahanay, and Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay. “Cumulus has given me opportunities – I am going to grow with them,” Logan states. “I am a huge fan of the news-talk format, and I cannot wait to get audio from Michael Savage.” Prior to joining WNCV, “Logan” spent eight years as morning host/assistant program director/music director for Philadelphia hot AC WISX “Mix106.1.” His resume also includes stops in New York City at CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and in Dallas at hot AC KDMX.
Nielsen Audio Releases Final Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio July 2015 PPM ratings data has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. In addition, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods: This past Monday (8/3), Westwood One host Mark Levin surpassed the one-million level of Facebook “Likes.” His book, “Plunder and Deceit,” was released the following day (Tuesday, 8/4) and it has reached #1 on Amazon‘s “Best Seller” list…..In an October 13 simulcast with CNN, Westwood One will be the exclusive radio provider of coverage from the first Democratic primary debate of the 2016 presidential race. The debate will take place in Nevada, with exact location details to be announced later. CNN will serve as moderator and exclusive national broadcaster of that debate.
Rick Lewis Hits Quarter Century Mark Hosting “Talky” Mornings at Classic Rocker, KRFX, Denver. For over two decades the “Lewis & Floorwax Show” dominated the morning airwaves on iHeartMedia’s KRFX-FM (The Fox), Denver. The show was an excellent example of the widespread genre of music radio morning shows that lean heavily on pop cultural talk content. Suddenly in January of 2014, co-host Michael Floorwax retired from the airwaves, by his own choosing, due to an ongoing chronic health issue that began acting up. His co-host Rick Lewis was encouraged to keep the show going as it had a very loyal fan base and was an extremely dependable “revenue machine.” Lewis re-tooled the mostly spoken word show (that plays approximately two songs per hour), renamed it “The Rick Lewis Show” and forged ahead. Fans were happy and relieved that the show continued. Advertisers continued their support and The Rick Lewis Show has more than survived, it has thrived. Nielsen Audio spring PPM numbers indicate that “The Fox” is the market’s top station among adults 25-54. Ratings are up from 2014 and so is revenue. On July 31, 2015 Rick Lewis celebrated 25 years as the morning radio host at the station – a rarely achieved milestone in the radio industry. Lewis tells TALKERS, “I have many people to thank including my long-time friend and radio partner Kathy Lee who really stepped up her game. Thanks to my long-time partner Michael Floorwax for a helluva run, you are missed!” Lewis adds, “Also the support of the rest of the crew in the morning, Colfax, Dragon Redbeard and Robbyn Hart has been significant. Thanks also to Michael Harrison, a visionary man who gave me my first big break at KMET, Los Angeles in 1984. I was just out of college, working at that heritage radio station with some legendary radio performers. Mike believed in me and gave me my first full time job in LA.” Harrison recalls, “I recognized immediately that this earnest young man was the total package. He had movie star looks, a command of album rock and its culture, and most importantly the ability to adeptly punctuate his jock work with listener calls and artist interviews – a quality I always looked for in DJs during my rock PD days.” KRFX is the FM home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos and the multi-faceted Lewis also hosts the official Denver Broncos pre-game show every week during the football season. And if that isn’t enough Lewis has a band, The Rick Lewis Project, featuring some of the most acclaimed musicians in the region. As a drummer for the band, Lewis has played as opening act with legends such as BB King, James Brown, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Def Lepard, and The Who among others. When he is not on the radio or playing in his band, Lewis finds time to perform in the Denver area as a stand-up comic. He also recently shot a TV pilot called “Ride Away,” a motorcycle adventure show. The show is currently being shopped and produced by reality TV’s famous bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman and his wife Beth. Lewis believes “the secret to longevity in the business is to have many irons in the fire.” He tells TALKERS, “I still get up every morning and can’t wait to get behind the microphone and entertain the fans in Denver. For years, I always thought KMET in LA would be the pinnacle of my radio career, man was I wrong!”
Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q2 Results. Second quarter net revenue is up $1.1 million ($25.9 million to $27 million), but Beasley Broadcast Group‘s net income is off by $500,000 ($3 million to $2.5 million). This past December, Beasley and CBS Radio completed a 14-for-five swap involving three markets. CBS Radio acquired two Philadelphia stations (WRDW and WXTU), as well as three Miami outlets (WKIS, WPOW, and WQAM). In exchange, Beasley picked up one Philadelphia station (WIP-FM); six Tampa facilities (WHFS-AM, WHFS-FM, WLLD, WQYK, WRBQ, and WYUU); and seven Charlotte properties (WBAV, WBCN, WFNZ, WKQC, WNKS, WPEG, and WSOC). According to Beasley chair and chief executive officer George Beasley, the company’s second quarter results “reflect a continuation of recent overall industry and market trends.” On a pro forma basis, net revenue decreased 6.0% while SOI declined 8.4%. “The decline in pro forma revenue is primarily attributable to overall weakness in Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Wilmington [Delaware], which resulted in reduced operating leverage and ultimately impacted SOI,” Beasley comments. “We were able to partially offset the revenue decline, however, through cost reductions that resulted in a 4.9% – or $1 million – reduction in station operating expenses. We also made further progress on our debt reduction efforts during the quarter, while continuing our commitment to return capital to shareholders.” Addressing the station swap with CBS Radio, Beasley remarks, “It substantially broadened and diversified our local radio and marketing solutions platform. Since closing, we have been initiating strategies to extract operating and financial synergies. We are actively implementing integration, cost efficiency and operating plans while remaining true to our value proposition by focusing on targeted localism and delivering quality programming, effective online marketing solutions and dedicated service to listeners and advertisers in these markets.” As far as the future is concerned, he notes the company remains “focused on operating our station clusters to match or exceed their market’s revenue performance while further strengthening our balance sheet. We believe our integration, programming, personnel, cost-efficiency and operating changes are now showing progress.”
Barack Obama and Donald Trump were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio this Week. GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform Lead the Topics Discussed. According to TALKERS research, the just-concluding week of August 3-7, 2015 has been dynamic to say the least as the brewing interest in the presidential race of 2016 reached its first major boiling point with yesterday’s (8/6) long anticipated GOP debate(s) on the Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio gathering enormous attention and conversation. Other hot topics included the Iran nuke deal, ISIS activity, immigration reform, race relations, the Planned Parenthood funding issue, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the Nashville theater attack. To see the entire list of the week’s most talked about topics and people, please click here.
Michael Harrison Chats with Former FEMA Director (and Current KHOW, Denver Talk Host) Michael D. Brown as 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches. It was almost a decade ago (August 23-31, 2005) that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States with winds of up to 175 mph and flood waters of biblical proportions rising from the ocean and falling from the sky — leaving in its wake almost 1,900 fatalities, $108 billion in damages, and countless casualties and lives upended. Michael D. Brown – the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time and Under Secretary of Homeland Security (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) became the official poster boy for everything that went wrong with the federal government’s too-little-too-late response to one of the greatest disasters in American history. Some of the criticism that fell upon Brown was deserved – but much of it wasn’t. After all, it was an epic crisis and involved numerous overlapping agencies, governments, and politicians charged with making things right. Brown took a severe beating from the media as well as a proverbial bullet for the team and stepped down from his position with the Bush Administration. A lawyer by trade, Brown went on with his life, taking away an enormous amount of wisdom and experience from the episode. Undaunted, he began speaking to groups around the country about the insidious side of politics, and the human complexity of management and team play. He wrote a candid book about his role (and responsibility) in Katrina — Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond (Taylor Trade, 2011). He also began a successful talk show hosting career in Denver – first at KOA and then at KHOW, where he presently presides over a daily program 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm MT. In the newly posted installment of the weekly international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” (8/4), Brown is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about inside-Washington politics, the war on terror, the nature of the political mind, the psychological profile of presidents, the general state of media and journalism as well as what his life is like as a big market talk show host 10 years after Katrina. To hear this must-listen conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Cool Job Opportunity. Salem Radio in New York is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer,” which is news/talk format, and the legendary WMCA “AM570 The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.” Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills. This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America. Salem Media Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Sales experience involving media is a must. Undergraduate degree required. A unique opportunity to work closely with Jerry Crowley and Phil Boyce, two proven winners and innovators. For more information and to apply, click here.
Big Promotion for John Hogan; Exec Moves Up to Chairman and CEO for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. Clear Channel Media Holdings continues to express its confidence in the man who was promoted from COO to president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio in 2002 after the departure of Randy Michaels. In announcing John Hogan’s promotion and contract extension through 2015, the company touts Hogan’s record of developing the creative and successful integration of sales, promotional and programming initiatives across multiple platforms. Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman states, “Under John’s strong leadership and vision, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has integrated the company’s assets so that it is today the leading media and entertainment company in the U.S. with a greater reach than any other radio or television outlet. It provides a one-of-a-kind national platform for partners in addition to the powerful local activation market by market and demo by demo.” Hogan says, “I am pleased and honored to be named to this position, which is a clear endorsement of the soundness of our strategy, the value of our assets, and the depth of the incredible team we are building here. I appreciate the energy and vision that Bob Pittman has brought to the organization and look forward to pursuing with Bob the vision we share as we continue to push the boundaries of the definition of entertainment, giving our audience what they want now and in the future.”
Bill Thomas Out as Market Manager at Cumulus Birmingham. Cumulus Media Group regional manager John Walker is set to oversee the Birmingham cluster in addition to his responsibility for the Huntsville stations after the departure of Bill Thomas. There’s no reason to believe that the ongoing legal battle between WJOX-FM, Birmingham personality Paul Finebaum and the company is the sole reason for Thomas’ exit but the possibility exists that Thomas’ role in how the situation was handled could have been a factor. Remember that Finebaum claims he was strong-armed by Thomas into signing a contract amendment that was less beneficial to him. That set the legal wheels in motion that includes Cumulus’ recent decision to countersue Finebaum claiming he violated his contract by engaging in negotiations with a competitor and sharing confidential company information.
Journal Broadcast Group Reports Positive Q4; Slight Uptick for 2011. On the strength of increasing automotive in the fourth quarter of 2011, Journal Broadcast Group reports a revenue increase of 2.3%. For the entire year, Journal’s revenue rose 1.6% on $70.4 million compared to 2010. While those numbers aren’t staggering, they beat the negative reports that had become so common over the past few years. Interestingly, unlike many other radio groups, Journal notes the fourth quarter of 2011 was its best quarter.
Phil Hendrie Ends Local KFI, Los Angles Saturday Show; Busy TV Schedule Cited. Los Angeles-based radio and television talent Phil Hendrie tweets to fans he is ending his KFI, Los Angeles-only Saturday evening show after this weekend’s performance due to the increasing amount of TV work he’s getting combined with his nightly radio show syndicated by Talk Radio Network. Radio trade AllAccess.com reports it has confirmed the news. Hendrie is doing voice work on Fox Television’s “Napoleon Dynamite” and has upcoming work on Fox’s “New Girl.” Hendrie thanks KFI program director Robin Bertolucci and the KFI staff for their help with the weekend show.
CBS Radio’s WQYK, Tampa Changes Midday Show. “The King David Show” featuring Toby David and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Shaun King is off the air at CBS Radio’s 1010 Sports (WQYK), according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Tom Jones. Jones reports that WQYK assistant program director Mike Pepper says the station is airing Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brando in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot for now but would like to fill that hole with a local show. The station needs time to find the right show. He didn’t rule out either David or King being part of the station in the future. Toby David tells the paper, “I appreciated the time I worked with Shaun and have a great amount of respect for him. I also enjoyed working at CBS Radio and have nothing but the utmost respect for those people and I hope to land on my feet locally.”
CCME Announces National Imaging Team. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment organizes the imaging of its radio formats under the Kelly Doherty-led National Programming Platforms group. The function of this reorganization is to create 15 format-specific imaging coordinator positions and those experts will “produce and distribute compelling and diverse on-air promotional audio spots for Clear Channel’s National Programming initiatives, including format-specific creative efforts across iHeartRadio, Artist Integration Programs and large-scale contests and events including the iHeartRadio Music Festival.” Doherty states, “This team includes the top producers in each format. The talent, expertise and ingenuity that this new Imaging Team brings together is unmatched and I am excited to lead such a top-notch group.” Scott Stanley is named news/talk imaging coordinator and Bob Schmidt is the sports imaging coordinator.
Thaddeus Matthews Off the Air at WPLX, Memphis After Court Ruling. The case involving Memphis talk host Thaddeus Matthews and WPLX, Memphis owner William Pollack took another turn recently after Chancellor Arnold Goldin of the Shelby County Court denied an injunction Matthews had sought to continue broadcasting his program on WPLX. Matthews made national news with a YouTube broadcast video of his on-air encounter with Republican congressional candidate Charlotte Bergmann which ended with Matthews refusing to shake Bergmann’s hand because he didn’t want her “whiteness” to rub off on him. According to The Commercial Appeal, last week’s court ruling revolved around a dispute over money owed by Matthews to Pollack. Matthews leases the time from Pollack and the latter claims he’s owed in excess of $85,000 in fees. Matthews disputes that figure and vows to continue his legal battle while broadcasting his program on the internet.
Rob Otto Joins WCAR, Livonia, Michigan in Sports Director Role. Detroit sports media pro Rob Otto joins Birach Broadcasting’s WCAR, Livonia (west of Detroit) as sports director for the reformatted station positioned as ESPN 1090, according to Michiguide.com. The site reports Otto “will also be tasked with providing local, on-air sports updates for WCAR and helping the station establish local programming and marketing. He’ll also be moving his sports-related blog from MLive.com to ESPN 1090’s website at espn1090.com.” Otto has worked in the Detroit market at WXYT-FM, WWJ, WDFN and WHMI-FM.
Opinion: Talk Host Phil Valentine Says Prohibition of Ethnic References Reeks of Controlling the Language. Nashville-based Dial Global syndicated talk host Phil Valentine responds to TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer’s column (When it Comes to Ethnic Slurs, Just Don’t Go There, 2/23/12) that in this age of political correctness, what is said or written in the media – the ESPN/Jeremy Lin case is a great example – doesn’t have to actually be offensive, it just has to sound that way. Read Phil’s column here.
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 20 – 24. The GOP primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign tied atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week. The primary and the issues surrounding the campaign that leads up to the November 5 general election were #1 for the fourth consecutive week. Landing at #2 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions. At #3 was rising gas prices at U.S. pumps and at #4 was the protest in Afghanistan over the desecration of Korans at a U.S. base. The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio is published each week at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. See the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. Dial Global’s “Overnight America with Jon Grayson” picks up KFWB, Los Angeles for the 10:00 pm to 3:00 am slot…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” is added for the overnight slot at WPRO, Providence…..“Motley Fool Money” with host Chris Hill adds KPQ, Wenatchee, Washington and KPSF, Palm Springs – Money Radio 1200.