Lotus Communications to Acquire Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Seattle Radio Stations for $18 Million. The three Seattle radio stations – all-news KOMO-AM/FM, talk KVI-AM, and hot AC KPLZ-FM – are the only radio stations in Sinclair Broadcast Group’s portfolio. The company is better known for its television station holdings and its conservative editorial policy. Lotus Communications will acquire the three stations – pending FCC approval – for “an aggregate purchase price of approximately $18 million in cash and other consideration.” Lotus Communications first SVP Jim Kalmenson says, “We are excited to work with the amazing staff at KOMO, KPLZ, and KVI. These are legendary stations which share Lotus’s vision of producing local programming to serve the community, enhance local neighborhoods, and support our hometown businesses. Seattle is home to several excellent broadcasting companies who have made this a great radio market.” Lotus owns and operates 44 radio stations in the Western U.S. This deal was initiated by Richard A. Foreman Associates and acted as exclusive broker representing Sinclair.
George G. Beasley Passes at 89. The founder of Beasley Broadcasting – George G. Beasley – died yesterday in Naples, Florida at the age of 89. Beasley was also serving as executive chairman of the board for Beasley Broadcasting at the time of his death. The company says, “While best known for his many trailblazing achievements in the radio broadcasting industry, George will be most remembered for his humility, kindness, integrity, work-ethic and love of family and friends. Born on April 9, 1932, George grew up working in the tobacco fields in his hometown of Ararat, Virginia. His drive and determination led him to enlist in the army to pursue a degree in Education through the G.I. Bill. Upon completing his B.A. and M.A. from Appalachian State University, he taught in Virginia, before moving to North Carolina in the late 1950s to become a high school principal and coach. Inspired by a commitment to provide a voice for the voiceless in his local community, George built his very first station (WPYB-AM) in Benson, North Carolina in December of 1961. Over the next 60 years, his hard work and vision paved the way for what Beasley Media Group has become today – one of America’s premiere publicly traded media companies, consisting of 62 radio properties located in 15 large and medium-sized markets with digital offerings and an esports division.” Among his proudest professional accomplishments was receiving an honorary doctorate and the unveiling of the George G. Beasley Media Complex on campus to provide future generations of ASU students with the opportunity to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams in broadcasting. Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley says, “George’s unconditional love for our mother, Ann and our family, along with his passion for the radio industry, helped to guide him throughout his lifetime. A loving father, mentor, and friend, I will especially miss his incredible wisdom, keen insight and gentle smile.” A memorial service will take place for family and friends in Naples, Florida. Details will be forthcoming. A private burial service will be held for the family in Ararat, Virginia. In lieu of flowers, the Beasley family requests donations be made in his name to The Broadcasters Foundation of America, 125 West 55th Street, 4th Floor New York, New York 10019. Online donations may also be made at www.broadcastersfoundation.org.
Kim Komando Show: 86% of Those Surveyed No Longer Trust Big Tech. A national survey of 6,351 Americans conducted by “The Kim Komando Show” found that 86% of participants no longer trust Big Tech companies. Kim Komando says the poll underscores the growing concerns surrounding the power and influence Big Tech companies have on society and the little confidence Americans have in the tech power players. She says, “Americans are finally waking up to the fact that when a product is free, they are in fact the product.” Among the findings of the study: 1) 82.73% of those polled say they think smart speakers listen to what you say all of the time instead of only when you use the “wake” words. Kim recently explored how users can stop smart devices from listening to you and recording what you say; 2) Nearly 60% fear their smartphone is spying on their activity and have had advertisements populate for something they were just discussing. Thankfully, Kim explained in a recent “Daily Tech Update” episode that this phenomenon is likely dumb luck! 3) Participants surveyed believe Big Tech has too much influence on politics, with Facebook and Twitter each at 92%; 4) 67% of Facebook users would be willing to delete their account knowing that the social media platform tracks everything, sells data and cannot control what is posted on the site; and 5) 92% of people surveyed think Google knows too much information about their personal lives. To combat this, Kim has rounded up alternatives to Google that won’t track your information. She adds, “Since the onset of COVID-19, Big Tech companies have seen accelerated demand as the world has shifted to a more digitalized landscape. Across the board, the survey demonstrated that a majority of individuals worry that Big Tech has too much influence or knows too much about our personal information, yet nearly 4 billion people use social media worldwide and the numbers continue to grow. Interestingly, with the world becoming more digitalized and the news of Instagram for Kids, more than 84% of people surveyed said they would prefer their children to be over the age of 15 to use Instagram. Maybe we are starting to see the damage social media does to our adult lives and how it’s robbing children of a healthy, happy start to their own.” The national survey was disseminated to subscribers to “The Kim Komando Show” newsletters and 6,351 individuals across the United States participated.
Salem Brings Trish Regan into Podcast Network Fold. Conservative media figure Trish Regan is joining Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network beginning June 15. Regan is most well known for her prime time show on the FOX Business Network. She was also a host on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, and CBS Television. The former Miss New Hampshire competed in the Miss America pageant in 1994 and is a graduate of Columbia University with a degree in U.S. history. Salem says,“‘The Trish Regan Podcast’ will be her unique take on the day’s news events. Trish will examine the trouble we have gotten into in this country, and how we can and must get out of it. Her understanding of Wall Street and the nation’s economy will be an added plus for her listeners.” Salem SVP spoken word Phil Boyce comments, “Trish is a superstar in conservative media. She adds class, personality, and wisdom to our lineup, and I have no doubt her millions of fans will follow her and find her here.” Regan adds, “I am thrilled to enter into partnership with Salem Media. Salem is an organization with real leadership and a management team that stands up for American values including—most importantly—our first amendment.”
Good Karma Brands Moving Milwaukee Stations to Downtown Location. The Milwaukee radio stations owned and operated by Good Karma Brands – as well as the company’s home offices – are moving from their longtime location on the northeast side of the city to new offices at The Avenue in downtown Milwaukee. GKB operates news/talk WTMJ, sports talk outlets WKTI-FM “94.5 ESPN” and WAUK “540 ESPN,” plus talk WGKB-AM/W269DL “101.7 The Truth” in the market. Company founder and CEO Craig Karmazin says, “It is incredibly important to us as a local operator of world class brands to be a part of the fabric of the local community and the cities in which we live and work. We couldn’t be happier with The Avenue and 3rd Street Market Hall as it is a symbol of the growth, investment and diversity present in downtown Milwaukee development, and aligns directly with our values as a locally owned company passionate about serving our local community.” Good Karma Brands’ home office and Milwaukee-based radio station operations will be located on the second floor of The Avenue, in a space designed and developed for the growing company. The radio station studios will be located on the first floor in the 3rd Street Market Hall as a featured activation within the space.
iHeartMedia Names Spencer Bynes Area President for Texas. Former iHeartMedia executive Spencer Bynes returns to the company as area president for the Texas area in which he’ll oversee the Beaumont, McAllen, Waco, Corpus Christi and Bryan markets, effective immediately. He will report to Nick Gnau, division president for iHeartMedia. Gnau says, “Spencer has been a proven leader throughout his career, his energy is contagious and his ability to develop teams and talent are unmatched. I am extremely excited for Spencer to lead these markets and expand our community efforts as well as our revenue and rating footprint in the great state of Texas.” Bynes joins iHeartMedia from Lee Hecht Harrison, where he most recently served as vice president of business development in the Southern Region. Prior to joining LHH, he was managing partner and co-founder of Accendo International Consulting. Bynes served with iHeartMedia from 2011 to 2016 as director of talent management and talent acquisition before leaving to launch his consulting business.
iHeartMedia Louisville Sets First Annual Community Voices Town Hall. Taking place on June 10 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, iHeartMedia Louisville’s Community Voices Town Hall will “aim to address and bring awareness to the biggest issues in the Louisville community that have been identified by the iHeartMedia Louisville Local Advisory Board, including child abuse, racial equity and mental health. The town hall will feature subject-matter experts that will address and discuss these issues.” WHAS “NewsRadio 840” personality Terry Meiners and the Kentucky-Indiana Metro community engagement manager Gabriela Espino will host the event that will include a panel of local politicians, charity heads, experts, and activists. iHeartMedia Louisville metro president Earl Jones says, “I am thrilled we have a platform to bring key voices together to discuss the issues affecting our community. The in-kind media campaigns will support local programs that address these key issues. Through the power of iHeartMedia, we are committed to positively impacting our community.” iHeartMedia Louisville Local Advisory Board will help select eight 501(c)(3) organizations in the Louisville metro area who will receive a three-month in-kind media campaign addressing child abuse, racial equity or mental health. The in-kind media campaigns will be activated using the radio stations’ on-air, social media and digital platforms.
TALKERS News Notes. After nearly 40 years with the station, all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco morning news anchor Stan Bunger is retiring on June 11. To commemorate his final day, the Audacy station will look back on his career and the major news events he’s covered – everything from 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, 1991 Oakland Hills Fire, 9/11 terrorist attack, championship parades for the Giants and Warriors, COVID-19, and his daily conversations with former Oakland Raiders head coach and NFL Hall of Famer John Madden. The final broadcast will also feature interviews with several of Stan’s past co-anchors and co-workers, including former news directors…..A new member joins the iHeartMedia, Inc. board of directors. Former Lala U.S. CEO and president Graciela Monteagudo takes her place on the board immediately. The company says Monteagudo is an internationally respected executive who, over her 30-year career, has held leadership roles at a variety of multinational Fortune 500 companies across the consumer products, healthcare and retail industries. iHM chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are extremely pleased that Graciela is bringing her expertise across strategic planning, digital marketing, mergers & acquisitions, international operations and the Hispanic and Latin American consumer audience, as well as her leadership in diversity, inclusion and cultural transformation, to the iHeart board. Her significant experience in North and Latin America – and her extensive background in global/digital marketing, e-commerce and consumer goods will provide valuable insights to our board as well as significant contributions to our company and our shareholders.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One – the official network radio partner of the NCAA will present live audio broadcasts of every game of the Women’s College World Series for the first time ever. The network, which has broadcast the Championship Series since 2011, will expand coverage to include all the preliminary games for the 2021 Series.
Taja Graham Joins MIW Board of Directors. Radio management pro Taja Graham is joining the board of directors of Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc. Graham serves as market president for Emmis CommunicationsIndianapolis. She is a proud graduate of the 2011 MIW Mildred Carter Mentoring Program, and in 2010 completed the Rising Through the Ranks Management Course for Women presented annually by Radio Advertising Bureau, Broadcast Music, Inc., and MIW. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff comments, “After decades of service, MIW founding member Mary Beth Garber transitioned off our board this year. We are ever grateful for her contributions. Today, with open arms, we welcome Taja Graham to fill her seat. From MIW mentee to board member, LSM to market president, Taja embodies the spirit and strength of the MIW’s beliefs and mission.”
COVID-19/Fauci Emails, the Economy/Employment, Trump ‘Reinstatement,’ 2020 Vote Audits, Israel Government, JBS Cyberattack, NFL’s Race-Norming Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/2). The fast-falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Joe Biden’s deal with Anheuser-Busch to offer a free beer to those who get vaccinated, and the flap over Dr. Tony Fauci’s emails on the pandemic; the state of the U.S. economy and employers’ complaints that they can’t find enough willing workers; the belief by some that former President Donald Trump will be “reinstated” as president; the audits of 2020 election votes in Arizona and New Hampshire; the fate of Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister of Israel and a coalition forms to oust him; the ransomware attack on meat giant JBS and concerns about future cyberattacks; and controversy over the NFL’s “race-norming” policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Mike Kinosian
HEMPSTEAD, NY — One would be extremely hard-pressed to find anyone uttering anything even approaching a negative concerning the often life-changing genuine privilege of working at a college/university radio station.
Whether or not a person with such a campus involvement goes on to pursue a broadcasting career, having that invaluable experience as a resume line item will forever evoke highly fond memories of exemplary personal achievements.
There is, however, one highly significant proviso about this rosy scenario: All college/university stations aren’t precisely the same and the (soon-to-be) 2020 version hardly resembles its (say) 1990s counterpart.
Monday Memo: TV Synergy. The two biggest hits radio suffers during ongoing cost cuts are off-air promotion and local news. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke lists resourceful tactics that smart stations share with equally challenged TV stations. Read it here.
Impeachment Inquiry, Mulvaney-Ukraine Controversy, 2020 Presidential Race/Clinton-Gabbard Spat, G7 Summit Flap, Canadian Election, U.S.-China Relations/Hong Kong Protests, and Brexit Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump; acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and FOX News’ Chris Wallace spar over Mulvaney’s Ukraine quid pro quo explanation; the 2020 presidential race and the spat between Hillary Clinton and Tulsi Gabbard; the controversy over the White House reversing its decision to hold the 2020 G7 summit at the Trump National Doral; Canada goes to the polls today as Justin Trudeau fights for his political life; the trade negotiations between China and the U.S. and the ongoing protests in Hong Kong; and Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Celebrity Presenters Announced for Radio Hall of Fame Induction. When the 31st Annual Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony takes place at Gotham Hall in New York City on November 8, it will feature a star-studded lineup of presenters that includes: “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, actor and producer Christian Slater, “Entertaintment Tonight” co-host Kevin Frazier, veteran radio and cable television programmer and music industry entrepreneur Andy Schuon, SiriusXM vice president/general manager talk programming Dave Gorab, WYNY-FM, New York retired general manager of Frank Osborne, longtime WCBS-FM program director Joe McCoy, and actress, producer, and radio host Connie Sellecca. This year’s inductees are: Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton, Harry Harrison, Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter (Kevin & Bean), Joe Madison, Jim Rome, Ryan Seacrest, John Tesh, and Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin comments, “This event is traditionally heartfelt and emotionally charged as the talented inductees are honored for accomplishments that most only dream of. But this year will be even more magical with this A-list group of presenters who share a special connection with our inductees.”
‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold Opioid Town Hall. On Wednesday (10/23) at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media news/talk outlet WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting a special Town Hall broadcast confronting the opioid crisis and how it affects New Jersey residents. The program includes “New Jersey 101.5” special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott leading the news and digital departments in bringing listeners personal stories of addiction and recovery, a discussion of the physical and physiological effects of opioids that lead to addiction, and information about state programs designed to help. The on-air guest panel is comprised of alumni of New Jersey recovery programs: Leah Butacavoli, a residential tech at GenPsych; Alton Robinson, founder of Flanders, New Jersey-based Community Recovery Center of Morris County; and Cheryl Semiz, director of outreach for Sparta, New Jersey-based Garden State Treatment Center. They will answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour. “New Jersey 101.5” brand manager Anne Gress says, “As the opioid crisis continues to threaten New Jersey, we understand our responsibility to use our powerful voice and multiple platforms to continue the conversation on this pervasive epidemic. I am proud to be part of a station and media company that understands this responsibility and is bringing this critically important information to the community.” The program will be streamed via Facebook Live. The “New Jersey 101.5” news department, under the direction of Annette Petriccione, will air a series of special news segments from station investigative reporter David Matthau titled, “Battling Addiction,” beginning today (10/21) and continuing up to the Town Hall broadcast. Online versions of those stories are being made available on NJ1015.com and the free “New Jersey 101.5” app.
TALKERS News Notes. WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway’s Puppy Jake Foundation raised more than $40,000 in two hours on Friday (10/18) to acquire, raise, and train service dogs for veterans. The sixth annual free BBQ sandwich giveaway raised $4,000 in its first year and raised incrementally more each successive year. A local supermarket donated more than 200 pounds of meat and a local barbecue grilling champion donated buns and sauce and did the cooking. Pictured at right are some of the cars lining up to get their free BBQ. Conway says, “I have the best audience in talk radio. They are astonishing! I also have to thank some of my show’s sponsors who have taken this charity to their hearts.”…..SiriusXM is again offering NBA fans extensive coverage of the 2019-20 season with live play-by-play of every game from Opening Night through The Finals, plus daily in-depth talk and analysis on its SiriusXM NBA Radio channel. The NBA begins its 74th season tomorrow (10/22)…..iHeartMedia teams up with Mental Floss to launch a new history podcast titled, “History Vs.” The iHeartRadio Original Podcast explores the lives of historical figures who made a lasting impact on today’s society and culture, with this season examining U.S President Theodore Roosevelt. Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy hosts the show.
iHeartMedia Names Yesenia Bello SVP of Multicultural Sales. In this newly created position, Yesenia Bello will be responsible for developing sales opportunities with key multicultural advertisers and their agencies across iHeartMedia broadcast stations, digital, podcast, events and Premiere Networks. She will also work closely with Enrique Santos, chairman and chief creative officer of iHeartLatino, to create an innovative go-to-market audio strategy for iHeartMedia’s Hispanic portfolio. In addition, she will also lead sales efforts for the iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina annual concert in Miami. Bello most recently worked at Google, where she focused on Multicultural strategy and sales for YouTube advertisers. Bello says, “I’m thrilled to join iHeartMedia during a time when cultural sound is creating a seismic shift in the music industry and is reshaping how we consume and how we experience music. iHeart has a great history of embracing its Hispanic and African-American listeners and I can’t wait to help create an innovative, strategic focus in multicultural audiences that will deliver incremental growth across iHeartMedia’s portfolio of assets.”
Jim Bohannon Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. Perennial TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” star Jim Bohannon guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Next year marks the Cumulus Media/Westwood One personality’s 60th anniversary in radio. Harrison and Bohannon discuss the mega-changes that have occurred in the radio business over the past six decades, taking a seasoned look at the current state of the medium and its trajectory going forward including a fascinating analysis on the ever-changing relationship between content and platform. They also discuss the implications of the disappearance of the local radio station as a community cultural center. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.
Sales Assistant Gig in Charlotte. At its Charlotte station group that includes news/talk WBT-AM/FM, sports talk WFNZ-AM/FM, and hot AC WLNK-FM, Entercom is seeking a detail-oriented and energetic individual to serve as a sales assistant. Entercom says, “The primary role of this position is to help coordinate all aspects of the local business and sales efforts – order entry, traffic coordination, promotional fulfillment, and communication with clients and vendors. Other duties include editing and formatting sales proposals, creating client recaps, and assisting in sales and business reporting. Secondary duties include coordinating on-air promos, assisting with employee and client meetings, and assisting in office management. Get more info and apply here.
Station Manager Position in Cincinnati. Christian broadcaster Pillar of Fire has a station manager position open in Cincinnati. The post says: Are you looking for a job with purpose? Contemporary Christian music station “STAR 93.3” (WAKW) Cincinnati is looking for a qualified, well-rounded individual to oversee and ensure the smooth daily operation and growth of the radio station. This position involves managing the staff, administrative, compliance, technical, program, fundraising, and sales aspects of the station. Reporting to the network director of broadcasting, the station manager is responsible for fostering the positive organizational culture, personality, listener growth, and financial viability of the station and representing the station at local and industry-wide events. Job requirements include a bachelor’s degree, commitment to excellence, and at least 5 years of successful radio station management. ‘STAR 93.3’ offers a positive working environment. Send your resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org. No calls please. EOE.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Rich Bailey is named program director for Cumulus Media’s country WIVK, Knoxville. He served as the program director for SummitMedia’s CHR WWST, Sevierville, Tennessee “Star 102.1” for the past 23 years. Cumulus Knoxville VP/market manager Ken Salyer says, “The opportunity to have Rich join our team in Knoxville was simply too good to pass up. His dedication to detail and drive to win is known industry wide. This elevates our group to an entirely new level.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces it is now offering a third version of the classic hits format for stations seeking a gold-based pop radio format with more 60s music. Classic Hits Gold complements the company’s modern Classic Hits format, which has evolved to be a core ‘80s format with some ‘90s, and its Classic Hits Rock, that features rock classics. Classic Hits Gold feature proven hit music from the mid-to-late-60s through the early-to-mid-80s, from core artists such as: The Eagles, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Hall & Oates, Queen, The Beatles, and Chicago…..Entercom announces the lineup for its “7th Annual We Can Survive, presented by AT&T” benefit concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. The RADIO.COM event, hosted by local CHR KAMP-FM “97.1 AMP Radio,” will feature performances by Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Camila Cabello, Jonas Brothers, Lizzo, Marshmello, and Becky G. Proceeds from the event will help the American Cancer Society save more lives from breast cancer. Entercom SVP of programming and musical initiatives Michael Martin says, “‘We Can Survive’ will bring together legendary artists on an iconic stage for a great cause. We’re looking forward to bringing audiences together for an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind evening. The anticipation for this event has been outstanding, with tickets selling out in under 30 minutes.”…..In Louisville, content director and afternoon personality Juan Hustle exits Alpha Media’s hip hop WGZB “B96.5” after a stint of more than four years…..Northeast Broadcasting makes a change at its Burlington, Vermont station group, flipping adult hits WWMP “Free 103.3” to rock at “Rock 103,3.” Core artists for the format include: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Jimi Hendrix, Papa Roach, Rage Against The Machine, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana and the Foo Fighters…..There’s more downsizing at Forever Media’s Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland cluster as Tom Schultz exits classic hits WAVD, Ocean City “97.1 The Wave.” Also exiting her position is classic hits WNCL, Milford, Delaware “COOL 101.3” midday personality Paula Sangaleer…..The Mainstay Station Trust – created to hold and sell four stations Cumulus Media was required to let go of after its 2017 reorganization – will sell WPCK-FM, Denmark, Wisconsin (Green Bay market) and WNUQ, Sylvester, Georgia (Albany market). Educational Media Foundation will buy WPCK for $512,000 and Pretoria Fields Collective Media will acquire WNUQ for $98,000…..iHeartMedia alternative rock WRFF, Philadelphia “Radio 104.5” announces the return of the “Radio 104.5 Miller Lite Mystery Show.” It will take place on Saturday, November 30 at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia and will feature a surprise performance from one of today’s top performing artists. Fans will learn who the performer is as they walk on stage. The 2018 “Radio 104.5 Miller Lite Mystery Show” featured a performance from Bastille.