Brian Wilson Exits WMAL, Washington’s ‘Mornings on the Mall.’ Announcing via Twitter on Friday, DC talk radio personality Brian Wilson says he’s exited Cumulus Media news/talk outlet WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. Wilson wrote, “Today is the last day of a wonderful 6 year ride @WMALDC. Thanks everyone! I stand ready for the next great adventure. I’ll miss the awesome folks @WMALDC: B Hess, Larry, Chris, Mary, Heather H & M McKay. But won’t miss the 2:30 AM alarm!!!! More soon!” In the meantime, WMAL program director – and Cumulus news/talk VP – Bill Hess tells TALKERS magazine that Daily Caller editor-in-chief Vince Coglianese is sitting in as interim co-host while the station seeks a permanent partner for Mary Walter on the program.
TALKERS News Notes. WPGG, Atlantic City adds Fox News Radio’s “Kilmeade & Friends” starring Brian Kilmeade in the late morning daypart, replacing Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck…..In Chicago, Matt Abbatacola leaves CBS RADIO’s sports talker WSCR where he’s been serving for the past 16 years as a producer, personality and sports update anchor. He was a longtime producer of the Boers & Bernstein show with the now-retired Terry Boers and Dan Bernstein (who’s now partnered with Jason Goff). Robert Feder reports that “The Score” program director Mitch Rosen says, “I wish him nothing but the best.” Read Feder’s column here…..More changes are taking place at Fox News Channel. According to report by CNN, Fox News Channel has let “The Five” personality Bob Beckel go “for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee.” This move is apparently connected to what is being termed a “growing racial discrimination” lawsuit filed by a number of current and former Fox News Channel staffers. The story says Beckel allegedly told a black IT department employee that he would leave the room while the staffer worked on his computer because the employee is black. It further says that when the person filed a complaint, Beckel tried to intimidate the worker to withdraw it. The suit is being handled by attorneys Douglas Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen…..If you missed it, former Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly wrote an op-ed piece published by USA Today on the passing of his former boss Roger Ailes. In the piece, O’Reilly says, “We are living in a rough age, with technological advances changing behavior and perspective. The downside of that is turning us into a nation where hatred is almost celebrated in some quarters. Roger Ailes experienced that hatred and it killed him. That is the truth.” Read the piece here…..Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, via his Red Zebra Broadcasting, is agreeing to sell sports talk WSPZ, Bethesda, Maryland to the new corporation AM 570 LLC – co-owned by Salem Media Group founders Ed Atsinger and Stu Epperson. The $2.1 million deal includes 58 acres of land. The towers also carry the diplexed signal of WMAL-AM on a lease.
Trump Visits Saudi Arabia, Russia Investigation/Comey Firing, China Kills U.S. Spies, Weiner Guilty Plea/Abedin Files for Divorce, More North Korean Missile Tests, Iranian Elections, O’Reilly’s USA Today Column, and MLB, NBA and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. President Donald Trump makes his first stop in Saudi Arabia on an international tour, receiving a gold medal from the nation and signing a $110 billion arms deal; ongoing talk of the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign figures and Russia and the related firing of FBI Director James Comey; the report that an intelligence breakdown led to China killing and imprisoning numerous U.S. spies; Anthony Weiner pleads guilty in the case of his sexting with a minor and the news former Hillary Clinton aid Huma Abedin will divorce him; North Korea conducts more missile tests; Iran holds elections, re-electing President Hassan Rouhani; former Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly pens a USA Today op-ed stating Roger Ailes died from the “hatred” cast at him by critics; and MLB, NBA and NHL action 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. Taking over the afternoon drive show on iHeartMedia’s Dallas hot AC KDMX “102.9 Now” is Kannon. He was most recently working in the Dallas market at CBS RADIO’s crosstown CHR KVIL as part of the morning show. KDMX program director Jay Shannon says, “Kannon is a familiar name that has been on the radio in Dallas/Ft. Worth for several years and he understands how to connect with listeners, as well as what it takes to be successful in this market.” He also previously served in the market as morning show host at Cumulus Media’s CHR KLIF-FM…..From Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch comes the reports that Federated Media active rock WBYR, Fort Wayne “98.9 The Bear” parts ways with evening personality Barry Thickk. The station replaces him with the United Stations Radio Networks-syndicated “Lou Brutus Hard Drive XL” at night…..SiriusXM announces that David Letterman and his former TV band leader Paul Shaffer will be guests on Elizabeth Cook’s “Apron Strings” show on the Outlaw Country on Wednesday (5/24). Letterman, a big fan of American roots music, will bring along a playlist of his own hand-picked performances that aired on his network television show over the years.
Adam Bomb and DNCE at the Billboard Music Awards. Yesterday (5/21) in Las Vegas, Westwood One Backstage at the BBMAs took place at the Lucky Live Lounge at T-Mobile Arena. The backstage radio row included more than 20 stations interviewing artists and celebrities. Republic Records recording artists DNCE performed at the event. Pictured here is Westwood One syndicated host Adam Bomb (left) with members of DNCE.
Conclusion of Election Raises Inevitable Questions. The dramatic and contentious election of 2012 has finally come to a conclusion. As President Barack Obama prepares to begin his second term as the nation’s chief executive with control of the House and Senate split between the parties, inevitable questions arise about the path and positioning of news/talk radio in the new political environment. How does the re-election of Obama impact the agendas of conservative and liberal talk radio? How long will it take before political presidential jockeying overtly begins as the periods between election cycles grow shorter? What are the economic implications of this election? How will the economy affect the radio industry in general? Will the current advertising agency hostility toward conservative talk radio intensify or dissipate? What will be the new, unexpected issues that dominate on-air conversation as we move beyond the deafening chatter of Election 2012? TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has already begun fielding these questions from the nation’s radio-watchers in the mainstream press. According to Harrison very little will change in terms of the on-air party lines: “As much as I encourage talk radio to expand the menu of its subject matter and spread out into a diversity of formats and subjects – which I actually believe will happen in the coming year or two — don’t expect to see a sudden change or modification of positioning among the ranks of established, opinionated political hosts. These next two years will be no picnic for the president. If you look back at Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon – two polarizing figures in American politics – their second terms were far more turbulent generating more contentious media conversation than their first. Even Ronald Reagan had his Iran-Contra issue in his second term. You can probably expect the same with Obama.” Harrison expects the next congressional election to start immediately and the next presidential election to begin shortly thereafter. “Biden might be flirting with the idea of running in 2016 but you can count on all eyes and ears being focused on the Clintons and perhaps another Bush.” As far as the economic picture is concerned, Harrison is optimistic stating, “I think things are destined to improve regardless of who is president. Let us all do our best to make the radio industry relevant and prosperous in the exciting days and years ahead.” Of course there will be a spectrum of contrasting views on this subject. For example, TRN talk show host Jerry Doyle tells TALKERS that he plans to call out a number of his fellow conservative hosts on his show today for “being cheerleaders for the GOP and not questioning some of their positions that are tarnishing the Republican brand.” He uses the analogy, “I love Corvettes, but I won’t be buying one because of all the as***les driving them today. The same thing with the Republicans – I find it hard to call myself a Republican because of so many of their ridiculous opinions and terrible candidates that fly in the face of today’s reality.”
Will Obama’s Re-Election Cause Programmers to Reflect? Consultant Holland Cooke makes strong statements about what the re-election of Barack Obama should mean to talk radio hosts and programmers. He says, “Heavy early voting and long lines yesterday say ‘Hear me!’ to talk radio’s default I-talk-you-listen model,” and Cooke states that voters didn’t conform to the prevailing talk radio narrative. Do you agree or disagree that there’s a lesson in the election results for talk radio? Before you answer, read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.
Radio One to Flip WMOJ, Cincinnati to Sports in January. Radio One’s rhythmic oldies WMOJ, Cincinnati “Mojo 100.3” has gone all Christmas but after the holidays the station will not return to “jammin’ oldies” but will be an outlet for CBS Sports Radio Network’s new 24/7 sports talk format. Program director Steve Harris tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that the opportunity to do sports on FM was too great to pass up. The station is expected to carry the bulk of the national lineup – John Feinstein, Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and Scott Ferrall – but Harris says there has been no decision made about whether to do a local AM drive show or take what CBS Sports Radio Networks has to offer in that daypart. Cincinnati currently has two AM sports talk outlets – WSAI, a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate, and WCKY, an ESPN Radio affiliate – in addition to news/talk WLW which airs a fair amount of sports programming as well.
New Jersey 101.5 Partners with Governor’s Office in Storm Relief. Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is announcing its own “Restore New Jersey” and restorenewjersey.com are officially working with Governor Chris Christie’s and his wife Mary Pat’s “Sandy NJ Relief Fund.” The station’s group marketing director Ray Handel says the station is immediately beginning to inform listeners about donation efforts. He issues this statement: “New Jersey 101.5 will continue to be involved with restoring New Jersey from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. We informed millions of Jersey listeners on news and survival information before, during and after the storm. The station served as a lifeline to millions who lost power, and gave those millions a voice. Now as our attention turns to long term recovery, we introduce ‘Restore New Jersey,’ an on-going fundraising effort that will be featured on New Jersey 101.5 and nj1015.com for at least the next six months. We will be working with Governor and Mary Pat Christie so we can partner with their ‘Sandy NJ Relief Fund.’ Governor Christie is very much a part of NJ101.5, as he has a monthly show on our station. The governor has received much praise in his leadership during this crisis. This past Saturday the governor introduced this state wide charity, and we feel this will merge perfectly with the state wide help New Jersey 101.5’s ‘Restore New Jersey’ will provide. All funds raised will stay right here in New Jersey, and we think New Jersey 101.5 can really take the lead with this effort.”
NAB ‘Licensed to Serve’ Newsletter Recognizes Broadcasters Covering Sandy. The National Association of Broadcasters released its most recent “Licensed to Serve” newsletter detailing many of the efforts of broadcasters – both radio and television – that provided news and information to the regions affected by Hurricane Sandy. NAB EVP of media relations Dennis Wharton and his staff have put together an excellent summary of the work done by over-the-air broadcasters in serving the needs of their communities. Wharton is passionate about the role of radio and television broadcasters in times of crisis and the NAB’s work showcasing it in this regard serves the broadcasting community well. See the NAB’s “Licensed to Serve” page here.
Radio Personality Robinson to PM Drive on KCJF, Jonesboro, Arkansas. Tall Cotton Media’s new sports talk KCJF, Jonesboro, Arkansas “103.9 The Game” names radio personality Robinson PM drive host. He comes to sports talk radio after a career in rock radio at Entercom’s Rochester, New York music outlets classic rock WCMF and rock WBZA. Tall Cotton took over ownership of the outlet in September from Catherine Joanna Flinn. The station is a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate.
Red Zebra Extends Play-by-Play Deal with Georgetown. The Hoyas will be heard on Red Zebra’s Washington, DC sports talk duo WTEM and WSPZ “ESPN 980 and SportsTalk570; Powered by ESPN” for seasons to come as the two partners extend their contract. Under the terms of the deal, Red Zebra will broadcast the school’s men’s basketball games. Red Zebra president and CEO Rick Carmean says, “We are excited to team with Georgetown University and Coach Thompson’s squad as they continue the tradition as one of the best teams the area has to offer.” The Hoyas open their season Friday, November 9 aboard the USS Bataan in Jacksonville against the Florida Gators. All Hoya games will be broadcast by Rich Chvotkin who is in his 40th season calling Georgetown games.
Longtime KSL, Salt Lake City Weekend Gardening Show Host Larry Sagers Dead at 63. Horticulture expert and radio talker Larry Sagers, whose weekend gardening program the “Greenhouse Show” co-hosted with Tim Hughes was a mainstay for years on KSL, Salt Lake City has succumbed to his long battle with mesothelioma, a form of cancer often associated with exposure to asbestos. Sagers was a horticulture agent with the Utah State University Extension and an extremely popular local figure.
The 2012 Election and Hurricane Sandy Aftermath Dominate News/Talk Radio Yesterday (11/6). As is usually the case on a presidential election day, the election itself – not only the presidential race but the Senate and House races as well as controversial ballot issues around the nation – dominated the discussion on news/talk radio on Tuesday. Additionally, there was still considerable talk about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, especially in the Northeast where New Jersey and New York are still recovering from the storm.