Bruce Collins Joins WBAP-AM and KLIF-AM in Dallas as PD. Programming pro Bruce Collins is named program director for Cumulus Media’s Dallas news/talk outlets WBAP-AM and KLIF-AM. Collins joins Cumulus from Alpha Media’s Portland, Oregon cluster where he was spoken word content director and operations manager for news/talk KXL “FM News 101,” talk KUFO-AM “Freedom 970,” sports talk KXTG-AM “The Game” and the Radio Northwest Network. Cumulus regional VP Dan Bennett says, “After a nationwide search, Bruce Collins’ history of winning in news/talk in Portland made him the obvious choice to lead our talented team in Dallas. His perceptions and analysis of our brands convinced me he should be our next programming leader.” Collins comments, “I cannot thank Dan Bennett enough for the opportunity to program two heritage stations like WBAP and KLIF. I look forward to working with the entire Cumulus Dallas/Fort Worth staff and producing stimulating, thought provoking, informative, entertaining content each and every day.”
Beasley Media Group and Three Partners Collaborate to Launch New Detroit Sports Talker. The new Motor City sports talk outlet dubbed “The ROAR, Motor City Sports Talk 93.5 FM and 99.1 FM” can be heard via Beasley Media Group’s WCSX-HD2 and two translators – W228CJ at 93.5 FM and W248CC at 99.1 FM. For this station, Beasley is partnering with Woodward Sports, the Michigan Sports Network, and SportsMap Radio Network for the content. Morning drive features “X’s & BrO’s with Anthony Bellino” from the Michigan Sports Network. The midday show (10:00 am to 3:00 pm) is “Morning Woodward & Big D Energy” from Woodward Sports and features former Red Wing Darren McCarty, former Lion Joique Bell, with host Neal Ruhl and Detroit sports personalities Braylon Edwards and former WXYT-FM personality Terry Foster. The afternoon drive show is “The HUGE Show with Bill Simonson” and the evenings and overnight dayparts are filled with programming from SportsMap Radio including: Kevin Dziepak, Anthony Pepe, and Bill Schmid. Beasley Detroit VP and market manager Mac Edwards says, “There’s a new sports animal in the Motor City – The ROAR! We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Chad Johnson from Woodward Sports Network as well as Marty Booher at MSN and the crew at SportsMap Radio to deliver some of the most compelling sports content Motor City fans have ever experienced!”
WABC, New York Ups Matthew Meany to Assistant Program Director. Rising from his position as executive producer for the “Bernie & Sid” show to his new role as assistant program director is Matthew Meany. Red Apple Media SVP of programming Dave LaBrozzi announces the promotion and says Meany will step into his new position immediately and play an integral role in the day-to-day operations of the radio station, working alongside the programming team. He adds, “Matt’s hand in the impressive growth of the morning show ratings and his desire to grow make this appointment an ideal match for him and the station.” Meany began his radio career at 77 WABC in 2014 as a part-time board operator and quickly rose through the ranks. Red Apple says he took over as executive producer of the “Bernie & Sid” show over a year ago and has piloted the show to its best ratings in years.
Bill Michaels Show Returns to Milwaukee Airwaves. After eight months not being heard in the Milwaukee market, Wisconsin sports talk host Bill Michaels is back on the air at iHeartMedia’s sports talk WOKY-AM in the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm daypart. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Michaels, who was ousted from Audacy’s WSSP-AM “The Fan” as part of the station’s programming changes back in January, is bumping FOX Sports Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart and consequently moves the Doug Gottlieb show out of afternoon drive on WOKY. Since exiting WSSP, Michaels’ show has been based at Mid-West Family Communications’ WOZN-AM/W244DR, Madison.
WWO Blog: Podcast Listeners Are Young, Educated and Employed. This week’s Westwood One blog reveals findings from the Westwood One 2021 Audioscape, a report that includes data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear study, CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One’s annual Podcast Download release, and Nielsen’s Scarborough USA+ studies that delves into the question of who is listening to podcasts? The report concludes that the podcast audience is young, employed, educated, and upscale. “At 34, the median age of the podcast audience is 14 years younger than AM/FM radio and much younger than broadcast television network audiences (54). 53% of persons who have listened to an audio podcast in the past 30 days are employed in a white-collar occupation. 39% hold management positions and 55% have a household income of $75,000-plus, making this group an audience advertisers want to reach.
WRVA, Richmond Talk Host Jeff Katz Honored with 2021 Father Figure Award. Talk radio host Jeff Katz is being honored by The Relationship Foundation of Virginia with its 2021 Father Figure of The Year award. Katz is one of 11 men nominated as “Funding Fathers” for their work raising funds for The Relationship Foundation of Virginia. Katz personally raised the most money in the history of the Funding Fathers program. The Relationship Foundation of Virginia is a regional, non-profit organization dedicated to fostering and educating men on fatherhood, and presents the award to Katz who, along with his wife Heidi, have three children ranging in age from 16 to 20 years. The Father Figure Award also recognizes Katz’s career as Central Virginia’s leading talk radio personality at WRVA, Richmond and his active role in serving the community. He serves on the board of directors of The Friendship Circle of Virginia, the Hanover County Sheriff’s Advisory Board and represents the Beaverdam Magisterial District on the Hanover County Community Services Board. He is also completing his term as Mayor of Beaverdam, Virginia. Katz volunteers with The Relationship Foundation of Virginia as teacher and mentor, helping men to be better fathers. He happily works with new dads with special concentrations in the areas of fathers to special needs children, fathers in recovery, and fathers who are incarcerated. Chris Beach, executive director of The Relationship Foundation of Virginia, says, “This was the biggest event yet. It wasn’t just an event it was really a celebration of amazing men. These eleven dads raised more than $77,000 collectively for fatherhood and marriage programs in our area. Jeff Katz, the dad who was crowned The Father Figure, raised more money than any dad in the history of this event by bringing in more than $18,000! To say that I am blown away by the hard work of these dads is an understatement.”
NAB Names Anna Chauvet VP of Public Policy. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that Anna Chauvet joins the organization as vice president of public policy. Chauvet reports to Shawn Donilon, executive vice president of government relations. She joins NAB from the U.S. Copyright Office, where she was most recently associate general counsel. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Anna enjoys sterling credentials as an expert in copyright law, including deep knowledge of the music licensing regime. Broadcasters will benefit from her experience as the industry navigates a range of critical policy issues affecting radio and television. We are excited to welcome her to the NAB team.”
TALKERS News Notes. The Houston operations of iHeartMedia – along with their listeners – are working to assist the people of New Orleans as they struggle through the destruction left by Hurricane Ida. Staffers from all seven radio stations are loading and deploying dozens of 18-wheeler trucks filled with critically needed items for the communities impacted by Hurricane Ida. KTRH-AM-based, syndicated talk host Michael Berry comments, “The people of Houston are very close to the New Orleans community. They came to Houston after Hurricane Katrina and they came and helped us after our last horrible Hurricane Harvey.”…..ABC News Radio is providing an hour-long special anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky in observance of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 titled, “9/11 Twenty Years Later – America Remembers” which will be available mid-week for affiliates to air on-demand. The special will also be available later as an episode of the “ABC News Radio Specials” podcast, available on major listening platforms. ABC News’ flagship daily podcas, “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will feature special coverage in the days leading up to the anniversary.
Afghanistan Withdrawal, COVID-19, Ida Aftermath, End of Unemployment Benefits, China Limits Online Gaming, Global Supply-Shipping Woes, and Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/30). Criticism of President Joe Biden’s quick withdrawal from Afghanistan and the recent deaths of U.S. military personnel; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Southern states dealing with full ICUs, and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the aftermath of Hurricane Ida leaves Louisiana without power; the looming end of federal jobless benefits from COVID aid packages; China announces limits on the time children can spend gaming online; retailers and manufacturers are suffering from lack of inventory and building components due to the broken global supply chain and shipping troubles; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Anti-Vaxxer Bernier Loses Three-Week COVID Fight. This time last week, we reported news/talk WWTN-FM, Nashville afternoon drive personality Phil Valentine’s COVID-19-related death. Now, another conservative radio host who publicly spoke out against COVID-19 vaccines has died from the coronavirus: Marc Bernier, 65, passed away Saturday (8/28) after a nearly month-long battle against the virus. A Daytona Beach market fixture for more than three decades, the Rhode Island native who characterized himself as “Mr. Anti-Vax” did a morning commentary; a three-hour afternoon program; weekend shows; and specials for Southern Stone Communications news/talk WNDB “AM 1150 & FM 93.5.” The station released news of Bernier’s death on its Twitter account by stating, “It is with great sadness that [we] announce the passing of Marc Bernier, who informed and entertained listeners on WNDB for over 30 years.” After being off-the-air for a week, Bernier entered the hospital on August 7. In an article published in The Daytona Beach News-Journal, Mark Harper points out that Bernier, “interviewed countless governors, senators, mayors, sheriffs, journalists, historians and authors. He also was an outspoken opponent of vaccinations.” Sports Network International vice president Justin Gates co-hosted “Weekend Around the House” with Bernier and was the best man at Bernier’s wedding. Gates was quoted as saying that Bernier gave “all sides” and wouldn’t “bully, throw punches, do potshots, or anything for ratings – that’s why he [was] so popular.” A guest on Bernier’s WNDB radio show the past 15 years, Volusia County sheriff Mike Chitwood comments, “I’m numb – this is a death in the family to me. You don’t have to agree with everything a person says for them to be your friend – I don’t think a lot of people get that. [Our] off-the-air banter was priceless. A great stress reliever for me was the things we would talk about, laugh about, and the jokes we would exchange. More than anything, I will miss how funny he could be, and how we’d try to one-up each other with funny anecdotal stories.” Florida-based CBS News Radio correspondent Peter King’s first radio news job was at WNDB and included anchoring on Bernier’s afternoon show. On his Facebook page, King writes, “I enjoyed working with him and we remained in touch for a while after that. Marc was the proverbial big fish in a small pond, becoming an integral and influential force in the community and really turning himself into a cottage industry that allowed him a wonderful quality of life in Daytona Beach. Whether you agreed with his points or not, he was always interesting; engaging; well-informed; involved; and a fine broadcaster. There was always room for more than just his opinion. I’m pretty sure that he helped make a lot of money for his radio station during his 30 years there. I was saddened to read reports that he was very publicly anti-vaccine on-air and was hospitalized with COVID; I’m even more saddened by his death.” After Bernier was hospitalized, WNDB operations director Mark McKinney was uncertain if the talk host was vaccinated. According to progressive news website/online tabloid Raw Story, McKinney remarked, “If you’ve listened to his show, you’ve heard him talk about how anti-vaccine he is on the air.” In his final tweet published on July 30, Bernier wrote that the United States government was “acting like Nazis because officials were urging people to get vaccinated.” WNDB emphasizes on Twitter, “We kindly ask that privacy is given to Marc’s family during this time of grief.”
Monday Memo: Which of These 7 Mistakes Are You Making On-Air? Validating the consultant caricature, Holland Cooke ticks-off what ticks-off listeners. Most of these are not intentional on the part of the talk host but they can signal a host who is not completely prepared, doesn’t hear things through the ears of the listener, or has acquired a bunch of bad habits, probably due to a lack of coaching. Read his column here.
Pending Business: Checking In. You’ve noticed how so many retailers “check-in” with you after your purchase – usually via email or text – to make sure you’re happy. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column about sales managers checking in with sales leads to make sure they are being served by the sales rep. He says this is not about micro-managing and most managers trust most of their reps, but there are several reasons the “Check-In” plays an important role in the sales process. Read his column here.
Dawn Stensland to Host Late Mornings at WPHT, Philadelphia. WPHT morning drive co-host Dawn Stensland is getting her own two-hour radio talk show from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon beginning September 7. She is currently co-anchor of the Audacy station’s morning drive “Rich Zeoli Show” and will continue in that role. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We’re excited to grow Dawn’s role with the station with the launch of her new midday show, where she will speak with top local newsmakers for in-depth analysis of stories that affect the Philadelphia region. Dawn’s show, along with an extra hour of Rich Zeoli, and Dom Giordano’s new program time extends our local content to nine hours, which allows us to best serve our local listeners, while continuing to deliver some of the biggest names on the national stage.” Stensland says, “I’m grateful to Rich Zeoli and his ‘army’ of loyal listeners for believing in me since I joined the show six years ago. I am so proud to work with Audacy and I’m also so thankful for their commitment to showcase a diverse collection of local voices as we engage with people across our region about the issues of the day and the news that impacts us here at home.”
KMVP-FM, Phoenix Makes AM Drive Change; Replaces ‘Doug and Wolf’ with ‘Bickley and Marotta.’ A series of programming changes at Bonneville’s Phoenix sports talk outlet KMVP-FM “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM” has the midday team of Dan Bickley (left) and Vince Marotta (right) moving to morning drive, taking over for the current morning show hosted by Doug Franz and Ron Wolfley, effective September 7. Wolfley moves to middays with a new show (in addition to his current role as Arizona Cardinals radio broadcast analyst) joined by Luke Lapinski for “The Wolf and Luke Show.” Doug Franz remains with the station as he transitions to digital contributor on ArizonaSports.com. Bonneville Phoenix SVP and market manager Scott Sutherland says, “I cannot say thank you enough to both Doug Franz and Ron Wolfley, who along with being great broadcasters, are both first-class people that have made tremendous contributions to the Arizona Sports brand and our community. Vice president of programming Ryan Hatch adds, “Doug and Wolf had the longest, most successful run in Valley sports radio history, and we are so appreciative of all of their great efforts over the years. But now is the time to bring a new energy to mornings with an ensemble cast that will jumpstart each day with strong opinions and plenty of laughs.” Bickley and Marotta state, “We are so pumped up to start the Valley sports conversation every morning on one of the biggest sports brands in the country. This is going to be a blast.”
WEEI/NESN Radio-Telethon Raises More than $3.8 million to Fight Cancer. The 19th annual “WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon” raised more than $3.8 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The Audacy sports talk outlet has been partnering with New England Sports Network to present the event since 2003 and since WEEI launched the fundraiser in 2002 has raised more than $62 million for the cause. The 36-hour live broadcast took place on August 24 and 25. Audacy Boston SVP and market manager Tim Clarke states, “We’re completely inspired to see the New England community from so many different walks of life come together to support Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s selfless mission. The annual ‘Jimmy Fund’ event is synonymous with this region and, in a year where we’ve faced adversity unlike any other, being able to unite with our audience to help strike out cancer is a true testament to our resiliency.”
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” adds new affiliate station WRVA, Richmond, Virginia in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. With this addition, the Starnes Media Group program is now heard on more than 110 affiliate stations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WSCR-AM, Chicago “The Score” and WSSP-AM, Milwaukee “The Fan” brand manager Mitch Rosen is also adding the title director of operations for BetQL Network, which is providing sports betting programming to Audacy’s sports talk stations. Audacy VP of sports Matt Volk says, “Mitch Rosen has been at the forefront of all the planning, operations and execution of this seamless expansion. He has been a trusted leader and point of contact for so many important BetQL Network initiatives. We are thrilled with Mitch’s daily dedication to all of his stations, its people and Audacy.”…..Radio programmer and consultant Mike McVay is being inducted into the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame on October 16. The ceremony will take place at the Museum of Radio and Technology in Huntington, West Virginia. McVay began his radio career at WEIF, Moundsville in 1974. He also served with WNEU, Wheeling and WCHS, Charleston…..PodcastOne announces the launch of Doug Ellin’s “Hollywood Wayz” weekly podcast and vodcast with co-host, rapper and actress BRE-Z. “Hollywood Wayz” debuts September 9. The vodcast is available on LiveXLive and YouTube. The production includes a partnership with actor and director Kevin Connolly’s Action Park Media, where the show will be recorded weekly.
Afghanistan Pullout, COVID-19, Hurricane Ida Hits Louisiana, Global Supply Chain Troubles, North Korea Re-Starts Nuclear Program, Gavin Newsom Recall, Talk Host Marc Bernier Dies from COVID-19, and Ed Asner Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The U.S.’s deadly exit from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden’s meeting the return of the slain military personnel at Dover, and the Taliban’s terrorist strategies; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the battles over mask and vaccine mandates; Hurricane Ida hits Louisiana leaving New Orleans without power; the effect COVID-19 is having on global supply chains; U.S. intelligence indicates North Korea is again producing plutonium; California Governor Gavin Newsom is on the ropes as the recall election looms; Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier dies after a battle with COVID-19, and actor Ed Asner dies at 91 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Forever Broadcasting Buys Delmarva’s Radio Assets for $18.5 Million. The acquisition of Delmarva Broadcasting’s 10 radio stations in the Mid-Atlantic by Forever Broadcasting will, when consummated, mean the end of Delmarva’s radio business. Delmarva is a subsidiary of Steinman Communications and that company continues in the media business as publisher of LPN/Lancaster Online. Forever Media will be getting news/talk WDEL-AM/FM, hot AC WSTW-FM and Gospel WFAI-AM in the Wilmington, Delaware market; country WXCY, Havre de Grace, Maryland; classic hits WAVD-FM, Ocean Pines, Maryland; classic hits WNCL, hot AC WAFL-FM, and sports talk WYUS-AM in Milford, Delaware; and news/talk WXDE-FM, Lewes, Delaware. Forever Media owns radio stations in Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
Talk Host Doc Thompson Killed in Jogging Accident. Talk radio host Doc Thompson, a.k.a., Michael Thompson, was killed on Tuesday (2/5) while jogging near railroad tracks in Haltom City, Texas. The 50-year-old radio personality was hit by an Amtrak train. Thompson was hosting his own digital “Daily MoJo 5.0” program. Previously, he’d worked for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network as well as iHeartMedia’s WRVA, Richmond. Thompson leaves behind his wife, Yuna, and three young children. A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist his family here.
Spotify to Acquire Gimlet Media and Anchor. As reported this morning by Variety and numerous other sources, music streaming giant Spotify is acquiring New York-based podcasting platform Gimlet Media for $230 million as it positions itself to become a major player in the podcasting industry. The report indicates that Spotify also is acquiring Anchor FM Inc., a platform that assists in podcast creating, publishing, and monetization. Spotify chief Daniel Ek says his company is in a merger and acquisition mode, seeking to spend up to $500 million on deals this year. He’s quoted saying, “These acquisitions will meaningfully accelerate our path to becoming the world’s leading audio platform, give users around the world access to the best podcast content, and improve the quality of our listening experience as well as enhance the Spotify brand.” At the same time as it announced these deals, Spotify released fourth quarter 2018 and full-year financial data. Although Spotify produced its first-ever quarterly operating profit of $107 million in Q4 of 2018, it expects to return to losses due to its M&A mode. However, Spotify is reporting 96 million premium subscribers globally – an increase of 36% compared to 2017 figures. It also saw its total monthly active users rise to 207 million during Q4, an increase of 29% over the same period in 2017.
TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dana Loesch is delving into possible mysteries surrounding the arrest of former Trump campaign official Roger Stone. Loesch interviewed Stone on her Radio America-syndicated talk show, discussing his indictment and the special counsel’s investigation, and he suggests the special counsel’s office may have tipped off CNN to his arrest. Hear it here…..As reported by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, sports media personality Barry Rozner is leaving the fill-in and weekend host position he’s held with sports talk WSCR “The Score” for the past 10 years. Rozner was co-host of the Sunday morning baseball show “Hit & Run” with Joe Ostrowski. In addition to fill-in work, Rozner continues to serve as a sports columnist for the suburban Daily Herald…..Public radio news/talk KQED, San Francisco names Vinnee Tong managing editor, news. In her new role, Tong will “help deepen KQED’s commitment to regional news on broadcast and digital platforms and work to increase representation of underrepresented voices and perspectives in KQED’s coverage.” Tong has worked at KQED since 2011 in editor and producer roles. Before working in public radio, she was a reporter at the Associated Press…..SAG-AFTRA is launching a new podcast hosted by president Gabrielle Carteris and national executive director David White featuring in-depth interviews, industry insights, and compelling stories affecting the entertainment and media industry. New shows are released every other Tuesday…..The “Motley Fool Money” weekend radio show with host Chris Hill adds new affiliate WLBR-AM, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to its roster of stations…..SiriusXM is presenting a new audio documentary celebrating the Comedy Grammy Award category. The show is timed to air in conjunction with this Sunday’s Grammy award show. Comedy producer Dan Pasternack hosts “Obsessive Comedy Disorder: The 60 Year History of the Comedy Grammy Award,” that premieres Thursday (2/7) at 5:00 pm ET on SiriusXM Comedy Greats…..The staff of iHeartMedia news/talk WOR, New York celebrated this week’s debut of the new evening program “WOR Tonight with Joe Concha & Lis Wiehl” with a lunch at the legendary Patsy’s Restaurant in Times Square. Pictured below are (from l-r): WOR program director Tom Cuddy, talk host Mark Simone, Concha, Wiehl, morning hosts Michael Riedel and Len Berman, assistant program director Scott Lakefield, and news director Joe Bartlett.
Report: Radio Digital Revenue Climbing Towards $1 Billion Mark. A report released by the Radio Advertising Bureau and Borrell Associates indicates that local radio stations brought in $804 million in digital ad revenue during 2018 and projections for 2019 are for an increase as high as $949 million. The report – to be released to RAB members today – analyzes online ad revenue from 3,121 radio stations in addition to survey responses from 1,715 local radio buyers and a survey of 132 radio managers. The data indicates that the average radio station earned more than $250,000 in digital revenue in 2018, an increase of 15% over 2017. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “Digital has been integrated into all facets of broadcast radio’s offering both in programming and sales, and the results are definitely paying off. As radio continues to provide integrated marketing solutions to its advertisers, we expect to see continued growth. The RAB is focused on providing digital training and continued knowledge-building for our members so they can better serve their clients.”
Celebrating Super Bowl LIII. In Boston, Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” serves as the official flagship radio station of New England Patriots football. So, at yesterday’s parade in downtown Boston, Beasley staff was on hand giving out “Never Gets Old” signs all along the parade route. Pictured above are (from l-r): Beasley Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, and WBZ-FM and national spoken word/esports format brand manager Mike Thomas.
State of the Union Address, Trump-Russia Investigation, 2020 Presidential Candidates, Warren ‘American Indian’ Controversy, Ralph Northam Controversy, North Korea Weapons Report, and Super Bowl LIII Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/5). The State of the Union Address; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the potential candidates for president in 2020; Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Texas Bar registration card in which she identifies as American Indian; the racist photos in Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook; the report indicating North Korea is developing nuclear weapons and selling weapons to other nations; and the aftermath of Super Bowl LIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Charley Connolly exits iHeartMedia’s Cleveland station group where he programmed country WGAR and adult hits WHLK “106.5 The Lake.” Connolly had been with the cluster since 2010…..Condolences to the family and friends of Alpha Media Biloxi-Gulfport production director Chuck Edwards, who died on January 30 at age 49. Alpha notes Edwards started his career at “Surf 107-1” – currently WXYK, Gulfport. He later moved on to rock WCPR where he was part of the morning show that became “The Cruise, Chuck and Rebecca Show” with Kevin Cruise and Rebecca Allen. Edwards also served as the PA announcer of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans. Alpha Biloxi-Gulfport operations manager Kenny Vest says, “Chuck was one of the most talented production guys in the industry who could literally do it all. He had such a wide variety of deliveries and was great at writing copy. He also had the ability to turn on that booming voice that could get any crowd excited as he did at the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans games for so many years. Chuck was loved by so many and will be sorely missed by all of us who had the pleasure to know him.”