Former Mega-Church Pastor Sues Mancow Muller for Defamation. In a complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois, WLS-AM, Chicago morning drive personality Erich “Mancow” Muller is being sued by James MacDonald, the former pastor of the Harvest Bible Chapel church. MacDonald is seeking $50,000 in compensatory damages and punitive damages to be determined at trial. The back story is that Mancow and MacDonald were once close, with Mancow a fan who publicly lauded MacDonald’s Chicagoland megachurch. Over time, Mancow became disenchanted with MacDonald and ultimately recorded conversations in which MacDonald allegedly spoke of planting child porn on the computers of his enemies. That got MacDonald fired from his position with the church. MacDonald argues that Mancow used his radio show to destroy him and his surreptitious recordings were illegal. The complaint also targets Cumulus Media for allowing Mancow to broadcast his speech about MacDonald and for “negligent hiring” – implying the history of defamation allegations against Mancow should have been enough to prevent him from being hired.
Monday Memo: Don’t list To-Do. “Assume that your listener is busier than you are,” cautions consultant Holland Cooke. In this week’s column, he notes how some radio talkers seem to be over-estimating listeners’ attention. Read it here.
Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, IG’s FBI Report, Chinese Diplomats Expelled, U.S.-China Trade Talks, Dem Congressman Flips, India’s Citizenship Rule, UK Election Aftermath, and Richard Jewell Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment proceedings against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the criticism of the FBI in the wake of the inspector general’s scathing report; two Chinese diplomats are expelled from the U.S. after suspicion of espionage; the trade talks between the U.S. and China; plans by New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew to leave the Democratic Party for the Republican Party; the controversy over India’s citizen rule that doesn’t apply to Muslims; the aftermath of Boris Johnson’s UK prime minister victory; and the poor weekend box office for the Richard Jewell film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
FOX News Talk Superstar Brian Kilmeade Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. Cross-platform, multi-media personality Brian Kilmeade is the guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” He is co-host with Ainsley Earhardt and Steve Doocy of the very popular daily ‘FOX & Friends” show on FOX News Channel from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET. Then he runs down the hall to host his daily 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated “Heavy Hundred” talk show on FOX News Radio. Both of his shows are famously among the favorites of the President of the United States and, of course, politically controversial. Kilmeade is the 2019 recipient of the prestigious TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award. As a best-selling author, he is proving himself to be an extremely contemporary and communicative storyteller of great events in American history. With co-author Don Yaeger, he penned George Washington’s Secret Six, followed by Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates and then Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans – all published by Sentinel. These three history books have already gone well past the million mark in sales. Now he has another book about American history, and it is extremely exciting and informative. It’s titled, Sam Houston & the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory that Changed American History (Sentinel, 2019). Harrison and Kilmeade engage in a lively dialogue about the nature of leadership, past and present as well as the rigors of hosting a live, three-hour radio show while major news – such as the impeachment hearings – is breaking in real time. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box that appears in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Joey Hudson’s ‘Breakfast Broadcasts’ on WGTK, Greenville Benefit the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign. Morning drive talk radio personality Joey Hudson (pictured above at the mic) is making the rounds in Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina broadcasting his show from breakfast restaurants while ringing the bell and asking listeners to donate to the Salvation Army. To date, Hudson’s listeners have raised more than $30,000. Hudson’s show is based at Salem Media Group’s WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina “94.5FM The Answer.” He says, “I have this wonderful platform to ask people to give generously and why not spend some time out in the communities we serve to raise funds and awareness of the wonderful work being done by the Salvation Army.”
Taylor Leads Townsquare’s Rochester, Minnesota Cluster. Management and sales pro Ben Taylor is named market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Rochester/Preston, Minnesota station group that includes news/talk KROC-AM and sports talk KLOM-AM “1520 The Ticket” and seven music brands. Taylor was most recently VP of sales for iHeartMedia in Minneapolis. Townsquare regional VP Kelly Quinn says, “Ben’s vast experience in radio and digital, both on-air and in sales, combined with his leadership experience as a coach and volunteer firefighter, make him an ideal fit to lead our team in Rochester/Preston. We’re poised for a strong 2020, building on the growth we had in 2019, with incredible on-air ratings and digital content, and by continuing our ‘Local First’ focus.”
Townsquare Media Execs Receive New Contracts. In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Townsquare Media reveals it has entered into letter agreements that amend the employment deals with CEO Bill Wilson, CFO Stuart Rosenstein, COO Local Media Chief Erik Hellum and executive chairman Steven Price. The agreements extend the terms of their deals through October 16, 2023 for Wilson and Rosenstein and through October 25, 2023 for Hellum. The letter agreements also provide that in the event of the executive’s termination by the Company without cause or by the executive for good reason, all outstanding, vested stock option awards will remain exercisable for 24 months following the executive’s termination date or, if earlier, until the original expiration date of the stock option award, and that all outstanding equity awards will fully accelerate and vest upon a change in control of the Company.
TALKERS News Notes. The best interviews from this year’s Howard Stern programs on SiriusXM are being packaged in a 19-episode podcast series on Pandora. Titled, “Howard Stern: 19 from 2019” includes interviews with: Jennifer Aniston, Russell Crowe, Robert Downey Jr., and Kristen Stewart; musicians including The Black Crowes, Def Leppard, Billie Eilish, and Adam Levine; comedians including Jimmy Kimmel, Tracy Morgan, Seth Rogen, and Adam Sandler; and newsmakers such as Hillary Clinton…..There’s a webinar on Wednesday (12/18) from Edison Research that focuses on moms and social media. Edison says, “The Infinite Dial study estimates that there are 15 million fewer Facebook users in the U.S. today than there were in 2017. However, among Moms in the U.S., Facebook remains strong year over year.” The webinar will “debut data from this study that explores moms’ usage, perceptions, and sentiments of all social media. This is a new survey conducted in the second half of 2019 among a sample of moms in the U.S. It includes why they use social media, what they use it for, and how they feel about using it – and how their feelings and actions don’t always align.”…..WTKN-FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina “Talk 94.5” is airing “The Jared Dillian Show,” hosted by self-made millionaire Jared Dillian. He says, “I’m proud to be a part of the WTKN family and I couldn’t be more impressed by everyone’s professionalism in producing this show.” The Jared Dillian Show is part of the 24/7 Smart Talk Radio Network, based in Chicago and distributed by Envision Networks…..Pictured at left is Salem Radio Network East Coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh in a still shot from Netflix’s The Irishman in which he plays a mob supporter of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. He tells TALKERS, “As someone who grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, I literally jump at any chance to be in a Martin Scorsese movie… it’s an offer you can’t refuse. LOL.”…..Entercom sports talker WSSP, Milwaukee “105.7 FM The Fan” helped raise more than $200,000 in cash and the value of toys to benefit Children’s Wisconsin and Robyn’s Nest during its 13th annual “WSSP Toy Drive.” This marks a record-breaking year for the fundraiser, topping the $160,000 that the station raised in 2018…..Pictured below is Westwood One talk host Jim Bohannon reprising his role as Santa Claus for the Collins Children’s Home of Seneca, South Carolina.
Internationally Noted Artist Inspired by TALKERS Panels. A world-renowned artist living and working in South America who is a fan of American talk media and reads TALKERS regularly has created a painting titled “Talking Heads” that she says was inspired by the convention and workshop panel discussions that she sees in this trade journal. Clearly, this is an abstract work subject to interpretation. Bobbie Winston (a.k.a. La Femme Bobbíe) is a multi-award-winning American artist living and painting in Rio de Janeiro since 1988. She has a world-wide following that enjoys her highly identifiable style. She paints wildly abstract portraits, full human figures, and imaginative, surrealistic scenarios marked by dramatic features and bold, striking colors. Her perspective on the human condition is cosmic, inclusive, and evolved. Bobbie Winston’s Facebook page can be accessed here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programing pro Kelly Gueno is promoted from programming assistant to assistant program director for iHeartMedia Chicago’s urban programming. In this role, Gueno will assist with brand support for all urban programming and digital operations for “V103,” WGCI and “Inspiration 1390.” She reports to VP of urban programming Derrick Brown. He says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled with Kelly’s expanded role. She literally grew up at our stations and it has been absolutely gratifying to see Kelly’s progress from our promotions department, to being a programming assistant, and now, assistant program director for our iconic urban brands. Kelly’s passion, skill and insight will be invaluable as we navigate our ever-changing media landscape.”…..Pictured below are the staff of Beasley Media Group’s country WKLB-FM, Boston at the Secret Superstar Holiday Jam last Thursday (12/12) at the House of Blues. The station officially announced the show about six weeks ago and sold the venue out without divulging the names of the talent (Dan + Shay and Lauren Alain) that would be performing until the day before the show! Pictured below are (clockwise from l-r): Summer Harlow, director, Northeast promotion, Mercury Nashville; Lauren Alaina; Dan Smyers; Shay Mooney; Dawn Santolucito, music and marketing director, WKLB; Kristen Williams, SVP radio & streaming, Warner Music Nashville; Heather Propper, regional manager, radio & streaming, WAR; and WKLB PD David Corey.
PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. Almost half of the stations in this panel (47%) saw their 6+ AQH share dip compared to the June 2018 PPM survey with just three all-newsers – Entercom’s WBZ-AM, Boston; WCBS-AM, New York; and KNX, Los Angeles – enjoying increases. Compared to a year ago, Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington (up 1.1%) and WBZ-AM (up 0.8%) lead the pack of five news stations improving over the July 2017 survey. Although there are only 11 all-news stations in the panel, six rank in the top 5 in their respective markets with WTOP ranking #1 (6+) in Washington, KCBS-AM ranking #2 in San Francisco and KFBK ranking #2 in Sacramento. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Beasley Names Four Programmers to Podcast Captain Positions. According to Beasley Media Group vice president of programming Buzz Knight, this team of podcast captains will be responsible for assisting the local markets in evaluating and partnering with local content providers, along with helping the company’s overall mission of building a larger podcast community. He adds, “We are thrilled to have our new podcast captains help lead our creative process as Beasley Media Group continues to develop and grow the company’s podcast strategy.” Named to the positions are: Mike Thomas, program director, WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub”; Chuck Damico, program director, WBEN-FM, Philadelphia and APD for WMMR-FM; Steve Black, air personality, WRIF-FM, Detroit; and Roy Brown, morning personality, WNKS, Charlotte “KISS 95.1.”
Wisconsin Sports Talker Bill Michaels Okay After Lightning Strike. From a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel comes news that WSSP, Milwaukee-based, regionally syndicated sports talk personality Bill Michaels was struck by lightning while doing a remote broadcast from a Junior Achievement Golf Outing in Eau Claire, Wisconsin last Thursday (8/16). Michaels’ wife Sherry posted the story and some pix (including the one seen here) on Facebook. Michaels was doing his show from a patio at the golf course when the lightning hit. He later said on his show, “I was sitting at the table … as [producer] Joe [Zenzola] and I were having this conversation. A lightning strike had taken place. It wasn’t directly to me, but it had taken place in the area. There was enough energy – I don’t know how to put it – but it hit me. It jolted me, I guess, is the best way to put it. It burned my arms, burned my fingers and found out later it had blown out through my shoe.” The strike interrupted the remote link back to the station and Michaels immediately sought medical attention. He was treated at a local hospital where he spent several hours. He was back on the air on Friday to talk about the experience.
Clay Travis Returns to WGFX-FM, Nashville with Premiere Networks Syndicated Show. Nationally syndicated sports talk personality Clay Travis is back on the Nashville radio station where he got his start as a sports talk host. Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” is adding an hour of Travis’ Premiere Networks-syndicated show to WGFX-FM’s program schedule, airing from 5:00 am to 6:00 am, leading into the station’s “Wake Up Zone” morning show. Travis launched his sports talk career in 2010 as part of the “3HL” program. WGFX-FM program director Brad Willis comments, “We’re excited to add Clay Travis back to ‘The Zone’ lineup as his presence in Nashville and his perspective on sports across the nation is one that our listeners have enjoyed for many years.”
‘LI News Radio’ Host Tom Schiliro Drives Vehicle in Presidential Motorcade. Pictured above is WRCN-FM, Riverhead, New York “LI News Radio” midday talk host Tom Schiliro standing next to the presidential state car nicknamed “The Beast.” The JVC Media personality was shocked when he received a call from the White House and was asked to drive a dignitary vehicle in the presidential motorcade on a pending visit to Long Island by President Trump. In speaking with the White House advance team, Schiliro learned that the White House often reaches out to select retired police officers and military personal in the local area to participate in the presidential motorcade by driving cars that shuttle local invited guests and business dignitaries around. Schiliro’s name was put on a list by Congressman Lee Zeldin and Brookhaven political leader Jessie Garcia because of the “great community work Tom does with LI News Radio and his tenure with the Suffolk County Police Department.” Neither LI News Radio listeners nor station staff were given advance notice about Schiliro’s “remote broadcast” but after Air Force One arrived at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton it was “all clear” for Schiliro to call into the studio and give LI News listeners his once-in-a-lifetime broadcast from the actual POTUS motorcade.
Pete Forester to Lead Sales for Beasley’s WCTC-AM and WMGQ-FM in New Jersey. Radio sales pro Pete Forester is promoted to director of sales at Beasley Media Group’s New Brunswick, New Jersey duo of news/talk WCTC and adult contemporary WMGQ “Magic 98.3.” Forester has been serving as national sales manager for the company’s New Jersey-based properties for the past 14 years. Beasley SVP and market manager Dan Finn states, “Pete has demonstrated an incredible work ethic along with creativity. I’m confident he will thrive being based in Somerset and leading our team.” The company is conducting a search for a national sales manager and inquiries about that position can be sent to: Jennifer.Alexander-Mettlen@bbgi.com.
TALKERS News Notes. Sports radio pros Scott Linn, Tim Murray, and Steve Solomon are launching a new podcast via Patreon.com. The three formerly hosted the morning drive program on the SB Nation Radio network. They spent several years as Steve Czaban’s co-hosts/sidekicks on his national radio show on FOX Sports Radio and later SB Nation Radio. Linn currently co-hosts with Czaban. Murray serves as the studio host for Navy football and as a sports anchor for WTOP, Washington. The “Linn, Murray, and Solly” podcast is available on three different tiers at www.Patreon.com/LinnMurraySolly starting at $4.99 per month…..Westwood One launches a new podcast series featuring sports radio personality Scott Ferrall titled, “Ferrall on the Bets.” The podcast will launch next Monday (8/28) with six 30-minute original shows per week, posted Tuesday through Sunday at 7:30 am ET. Ferrall says, “I am thrilled to offer bettors a free resource for picks. I watch as many games as I can, I check out all the lines. I love being the go-to predictor of the podcast world and I thank Westwood One for the opportunity.”…..Cumulus Media announces that 77 WABC’s OG Podcast Network is launching a new home improvement podcast co-hosted by Dean Marisco (left) and Derek Stearns (right) titled, “Under Your Roof and In Your Backyard with Dean and Derek.” New, 45-minute podcasts are being released every Friday. Marisco and Stearns host the national television shows “Rock Solid” and “Indoors Out” on Scripps Networks and appear on “Victory Garden” on PBS…..Entercom Houston and the NFL’s Texans agree to extend their partnership for airing play-by-play and related Texans programming through the 2027 season. As part of the agreement, KILT-AM “SportsRadio 610” and country KILT-FM “100.3 The Bull” will continue to carry all Houston Texans games and KLOL-FM “Mega 101 FM” will broadcast all games in Spanish. KILT-AM will air a three-hour pregame and postgame show, plus “Texans All Access,” airing weekdays from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm during the regular season and 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm during the offseason. The Texans Radio Network broadcast team of Marc Vandermeer and Andre Ware will continue to provide play-by-play and game analysis as they have done for the past 17 years. Enrique Vasquez and Gustavo Rangel will provide the play-by-play for Spanish broadcasts on Texans Radio Network…..Legendary Indianapolis Colts voice Bob Lamey is retiring from his position as play-by-play announcer for the team’s games heard on Emmis’ sports talk WFNI and country WLHK in Indianapolis. Matt Taylor, currently studio host and a sideline reporter, will handle play-by-play on an interim basis.
Trump-Russia Investigation, Omarosa Recordings/Book, Church Sexual Abuse Scandal, Manafort Trial/Expected Cohen Charges, Brennan Security Clearance Issue, Midterm Elections, Madonna Turns 60, Crazy Rich Asians Film, NFL Pre-season and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; Omarosa Marigault Newman’s Trump recordings and her new, tell-all book; the Pennsylvania scandal involving widespread sexual abuse in the Catholic Church; the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the possibility of charges being filed against former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen; the stripping of John Brennan’s security clearance; the looming midterm elections; pop icon Madonna turns 60; the success of the Crazy Rich Asians film; NFL pre-season action; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Two Bay Area morning duos extend their contracts with iHeartMedia San Francisco. KIOI “STAR 101.3” morning hosts Marcus & Sandy (right) and KISQ “98.1 The Breeze” AM personalities Jack Kulp and Carolyn McArdle (left) are celebrating new deals with the company to keep them waking up their audiences. iHeartMedia San Francisco SVP of programming Don Parker states, “Both Marcus & Sandy and Jack & Carolyn have established their respective shows as some of the most listened to morning shows in San Francisco and we’re thrilled to sign them to multi-year extensions.”…..KCTZ, Minneapolis implements programming changes, adding adult alternative artists to its current hot AC programming. Station PD Rich Davis says the new “Cities 97.1” will broadcast an eclectic mix of adult alternative and hot adult contemporary music including songs from artists which the station was instrumental in breaking over the years like Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, and John Mayer. The station will also include music from a variety of top artists such as Imagine Dragons, Maroon 5, Adele, and Weezer. Minneapolis singer-songwriter Keri Noble is hosting the weekday morning show from 6:00 am to 10:00 am and Minneapolis local favorite Paul Fletcher hosts afternoon drive. Davis adds, “We’re connected to the Twin Cities and we care about our community and the music we play. ‘Cities 97’ was born in 1984 and now reborn in 2018 and we’re thrilled to grow and continually evolve with our listeners and fans.”…..In Los Angeles, Entercom appoints midday personality Yesi Ortiz music director for CHR KAMP-FM “97.1 AMP Radio.” Entercom Los Angeles SVP and market manager Jeff Federman declares, “We are very proud of Yesi’s on-air work since joining us earlier this year. She has been a respected leader in the music community for many years and we look forward to her expanding her duties as 97.1 AMP Radio’s music director.”…..Pictured below is Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and former Journey frontman Steve Perry in the KQRS, Minneapolis studios talking with station morning personality Tom Barnard about his new solo record, Traces. This is Perry’s first record in 24 years. He spoke with Barnard about the album artwork that is comprised of a collection of images tracing Perry’s life and career. He also discussed why he chose to walk away from the music business.