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.
WEEI, Boston to Suspend Programming on Friday; Holds Mandatory Sensitivity Training for Air Staff. In the aftermath of two recent incidents in which WEEI, Boston air personalities made statements that offended some, Entercom is suspending the sports talk station’s Friday programming and all staff will complete mandatory sensitivity training. As regular TALKERS readers are aware, WEEI has been dealing with blowback – including lost advertisers – after a bit in which midday personality Christian Fauria used a phony Asian accent while imitating sports agent Don Yee (who, incidentally, speaks English without an accent). It’s being reported that Comcast, City of Boston Credit Union, the Massachusetts Lottery, and possibly others, have cancelled ad campaigns with the station. Fauria has been suspended by Entercom for a week and both the station and Fauria have apologized for the incident. The cancellations appear to have come on the heels of an op-ed piece by Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung. This latest incident came almost two weeks after WEEI’s Alex Reimer referred to Tom Brady’s daughter as “an annoying little pissant.” Brady cut short a scheduled appearance on the “Kirk & Callahan” morning show because of Reimer’s comments. The station posted the following on its website: “Nothing is more important to WEEI than the close-knit and diverse Boston community we call home, and we are committed to actively contributing to its betterment. WEEI is in the process of closely reevaluating our policies and procedures in an effort to ensure that our programming is never intolerant or harmful to our listeners or our city.” This suspension of live programming for mandatory sensitivity training is, as far back as TALKERS editors can remember, unprecedented in the radio industry.
U.S. Trustee Has Issues with Cumulus Bonus Structure. More accurately, U.S. Trustee William Harrington has issues with the information Cumulus has supplied regarding its bonus structure at both the station level and for corporate executives. Harrington has filed an objection stating that, among other things, Cumulus has not identified the job titles of those at the station level slated for bonuses, has not identified all of the corporate executives scheduled to receive payouts, nor has Cumulus shown that its bonus plan is an actual incentive plan and not retentive in nature (i.e. solely designed to keep key employees on board during a time of uncertainty). What Harrington is saying is that actual incentive plans are allowed but Cumulus hasn’t satisfied him in showing its bonus plans are exactly that and not mechanisms to “enrich insiders” at the “expense of the creditors.” Cumulus issued the following statement regarding Harrington’s objection: “The objection filed last night has absolutely no impact on the authorizations the Court gave the company on February 8th to pay incentive compensation for employees who earned it in 2017, or will earn it in 2018. We will be making our incentive compensation payments to those employees, beginning with this week’s normal payroll cycle. The objection filed is common in these situations and applies only to a small number of senior executives whose compensation will be addressed at an upcoming hearing on March 12th.”
WGN, Chicago to Air White Sox Games. After 75 years, the Chicago White Sox are returning to WGN’s airwaves. As you’re probably aware, Cumulus asked the bankruptcy court to let it out of contracts that were onerous and the WLS-AM/White Sox deal was one of them. Now, for the first time since 1943, White Sox games will return to Tribune’s WGN starting with a spring training game on Friday, February 23. In the booth will be former Sox pitcher Ed Farmer handling play-by-play and former outfielder Darrin Jackson as analyst. WGN VP of content Todd Manley says, “What an honor it is to join the White Sox family. Summer starts TODAY on WGN Radio.”
WOR Names Ray Martel to Executive Producer Role for Mets Broadcasts. New York radio pro Ray Martel – currently the associate producer for WOR, New York’s “Len Berman in the Morning” show – is named executive producer for New York Mets radio broadcasts and “Sports Zone with Pete McCarthy,” effective March 1. Martel says, “I am extremely honored to be the next producer of the Mets broadcasts on 710 WOR. When I began in broadcasting 20 years ago, one of my first positions was as a board-op working on the Mets broadcasts. It’s amazing to think it’s come full-circle two decades later…I can’t wait for the season to start!” Prior to his arrival at WOR, Martel was a producer at crosstown sports talker WFAN for 13 years. He produced for Mike Francesa, Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson. He also produced for ESPN Radio. Martel takes over for Joe Curci, who is leaving on February 28 for a position outside of radio.
Lauer Named Director of Sales for Entercom Milwaukee. Radio sales pro Eric Lauer is appointed to the director of sales position at Entercom’s Milwaukee station group that includes sports talk WSSP/W289CB “105.7 FM/AM 1250 The Fan,” CHR WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM,” and hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix.” Lauer was most recently general sales manager at Scripps’ crosstown news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI. Entercom Milwaukee/Madison SVP and market manager Chuck Sullivan says, “I have known Eric since he first arrived in the market and his passion, intellect and leadership skills were apparent immediately. We feel very fortunate to have him partner with us to lead the Milwaukee team.” Lauer has also held sales management roles with Cox Media Group in Florida and Georgia.
TALKERS News Notes. KIRO-FM, Seattle adds Gee Scott to the evening “KIRO Nights” program with co-host Zak Burns. Scott moves to the new position from Bonneville’s sister sports talker KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” where he hosted the evening program. He fills the seat vacated by Jason Rantz, who exited last fall to assume the morning drive show on the company’s local news/talk KTTH-AM…..The popular podcast from The New York Times, “The Daily,” is being produced as a 30-minute evening radio program distributed by American Public Media. Michael Barbaro will also host the radio version…..Also in Seattle, iHeartMedia is signing with the Major League Soccer club Seattle Sounders FC to serve as its flagship radio station for match play-by-play. Games and related programming – that used to air on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM – will now air on KJR-AM. Matt Johnson will call the matches along with rotating analysts Wade Webber, Danny Jackson, and Pete Fewing.
Cumulus Celebrates 40 Years of Steve Dahl with Billboard Campaign. Radio personality Steve Dahl has been a part of Chicago radio for 40 years and Cumulus Media is honoring Dahl’s colorful career with a billboard campaign in Chicagoland. Dahl is currently hosting afternoon drive on Cumulus’ news/talk WLS-AM. The image above is part of the creative for the campaign and shows Dahl with the late John Belushi.
audioBoom and Triton Digital Merge. This pairing is being termed a “reverse takeover” with Triton Digital merging with the UK-based audioBoom podcast network and technology provider. audioBoom will acquire all of the stock of Triton Digital Canada for $185 million. The new company will be called Triton Digital Group and will be publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange. The executive structure will effectively remain in place with president/CEO Neal Schore, president/market development John Rosso, EVP/CFO Mark Rosenbaum, and SVP/ product and technology Alex Fournier. Current audioBoom CEO Rob Proctor becomes managing director of the audioBoom business unit. He also remains an executive director. Schore comments, “We’re proud of our position in the marketplace. We feel an enormous sense of responsibility to continuously innovate and to drive monetization opportunities. Our clients can expect us to not only maintain our leadership position, but to have the resources and the team to expand our technology and services meaningfully.” audioboom currently hosts more than 12,000 content channels, with U.S. content partners including: Cumulus Media, Westwood One, and the Associated Press. The transaction is expected to close in late March or early April.
Rob Porter White House Exit/John Kelly Status, Russia Election Interference, DACA Status/Immigration Policy, Trump/Stormy Daniels Matter, U.S. Strikes in Syria, Netanyahu Criminal Allegations, PyeongChang Winter Games, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/13). The aftermath of Rob Porter’s exit from the White House after allegations of spousal abuse and questions about chief of staff John Kelly’s job security; U.S. intel concerns about Russian influence in 2018 mid-term elections; a judge refuses to allow DACA to be shut down and the related Trump Administration policy on immigration; Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen reveals he paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket; U.S. military strikes in Syria allegedly kill Russian mercenaries; Israeli investigators say Benjamin Netanyahu should be indicted on corruption charges; the Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Deborah Norville to Host BFoA’s Golden Mike Award Ceremony. Television’s Deborah Norville is hosting the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s 2018 Golden Mike Award honoring Graham Media president and CEO Emily Barr on March 5 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Also, at this event Pat McLaughlin will accept the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her late husband, Ed McLaughlin, who is credited with discovering Rush Limbaugh and was the founder of EFM Media Management. Ed McLaughlin was chairman emeritus of the Broadcasters Foundation when he passed away last month. This annual event is one of the biggest fundraisers in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to provide aid to broadcasters in acute need.
WIOV, Lancaster’s ‘Murph’ Dies Unexpectedly at 61. Sad news out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania as Cumulus Media reports that WIOV-FM “I-105” morning personality Jerry Murphy – half of the “Murph & Casey” program with Casey Allyn – died unexpectedly at the age of 61. The duo had worked together on “I-105” for the past 19 years. Station PD Rich Creeger says, “Murph was not only one of the most charismatic personalities I had the pleasure of working with, but he was also a great friend. I will miss him tremendously.” The station has set up a tribute to Murph on the station website at wiov.com.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Appointed to take over management of Spanish Broadcasting System’s New York operations is Maire Mason. She’s the new VP/GM for Spanish music outlets WSKQ-FM “Mega 97.9FM” and WPAT-FM “Amor 93.1FM.” Mason, who most recently worked for Cumulus as VP/GM in New York, takes over for Eric Garcia who recently exited to join Univision…..Nate Reed is named operations manager for Cox Media Group’s Tulsa cluster. CMG market VP Cathy Gunther comments, “Nate’s commitment to strong programming will continue to set our stations apart from our competitors. He has been a natural leader at our radio properties and now, with all our platforms working together, he will be integral part of our new leadership team.”…..Yes, it happened on Valentine’s Day! Cumulus Media appoints Chad Valentine program director for CHR WBHT, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Valentine was most recently with iHeartMedia as air personality, APD, and music director for CHR WHYI, Miami “Y100.” Valentine says, “I’m excited to be here and ready to make some great radio for Northeast PA. I’m proud to be part of the next chapter of WBHT’s evolution.”…..Mid-West Family Broadcasting South Bend general manager Jim Roberts leaves the company after almost 22 years to become the national account manager at Cleveland-based Futuri Media. Roberts had served as GM of the South Bend station group since 2011…..Pictured at right are Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (right) and Premiere’s SVP, talent and brand integration Rick Murray (left) chatting with country star Sara Evans (center) as she kicked off the “CMT Next Women of Country” tour at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City on February 12.
Howard B. Price: Radio’s Role on a ‘Typical Friday Night.’ When important news breaks on a “typical summer Friday night,” news and talk stations have the opportunity to be there for people tuned into the station. ABC Television director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes today about the bevvy of news stories that broke on June 26 and what he observed. “If you were online, or near a TV, or fortunate enough to be within earshot of one of the country’s 31 all-news radio stations on June 26, (and perhaps many news/talk stations, too), you were very much aware of what was going on. You heard history being made at the Supreme Court as same-sex marriage became the law of the land. You heard the president lead thousands in “Amazing Grace,” as he eulogized the nine souls murdered by a racist assassin, in oratory so stirring even some of the president’s critics acknowledged it as some of the best of his or any other presidency. You heard about not one, not two – but THREE bloody terrorist attacks in three different countries. And you heard about the dragnet that cornered and killed one of two murderous escapees from a maximum-security prison in northern New York State. But if you were listening to many music stations, and even some spoken-word stations programmed almost exclusively via satellite and with no local or network news service – you may have heard little or nothing about any of these major news events.” Price was traveling in rural New York State on that night and says that because no local radio station was reporting these stories, he learned about them on the Internet. But it didn’t have to be that way. Read Price’s entire piece here.
Nielsen Audio Releases First Round of June 2015 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of June 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The June 2015 survey period covered May 21 through June 17. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Warren Ballentine Gets Light Sentence in Fraud Conviction. Being indicted two years ago on charges of fraud in connection with mortgage fraud schemes cost attorney and media personality Warren Ballentine his Reach Media-syndicated talk show that had been heard on some 35 signals across the country. After last fall’s conviction on six counts of fraud, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly sentenced Ballentine to three years’ probation, 300 hours community service, and restitution of $140,940. Ballentine claimed he was just a representative attorney and had no knowledge of any plan to defraud.
Cox Media Group Names Schachter WOKV, Jacksonville PD. With the recent dismissal of longtime program director Mike Dorwart, Cox Media Group doubles up duties for other programmers in order to provide news/talk WOKV, Jacksonville with a leader. Music programmer Aaron Schachter will let go of alternative WXXJ “X102.9” in order to become director of branding and programming for WOKV. He maintains his other responsibilities as morning host and program director for sister classic hits WJGL “96.9 The Eagle.”
Cumulus Transitions KCSF, Colorado Springs to All Sports as ‘Xtra Sports Radio 1300.’ By transitioning KCSF, Colorado Springs from talk to sports as “Xtra Sports Radio 1300,” Cumulus Media gives the market what it calls “Southern Colorado’s first radio station offering ‘All Sports, All The Time.’” The station will carry national hosts from CBS Sports Radio Network — Jim Rome and Doug Gottlieb – as well as afternoon personality Matt Pauley, who also becomes PD of the new station. Pauley also serves as one of the play-by-play announcers for Colorado Springs Sky Sox Triple A baseball team and is sports reporter for cluster mate KVOR. Cumulus Colorado Springs OM Bobby Irwin says, “Matt’s enthusiasm for this station has been a force throughout our cluster for quite some time. It’s exciting to see him take the reins of this upgrade and create a station that both listeners and advertisers have been clamoring for.”
Entercom’s ‘Sportsradio 105.7 The Fan’ in Milwaukee Adds ‘Save Our Bucks Radio Hour’ Program. The status of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks is in jeopardy after the league declared the city’s Bradley Center “unfit” for an NBA team. Now, Entercom sports talk simulcast WSSP-AM and W289CB, Milwaukee (105.7 FM) “Sportsradio 105.7FM The FAN” is addressing the matter adding a one-hour, weekly program called the “Save Our Bucks Radio Hour.” The show is being hosted by Paul Henning, a representative from Save Our Bucks – a fan-based, grassroots community group founded to help support the team and the proposed arena project to keep the team in the market. WSSP personality Joe Zenzola will co-host the program that debuts tomorrow (7/9) at 6:00 pm. ‘The FAN’ program director Tom Parker states, “We’re excited to partner with Paul for this important community show. Paul’s been at the forefront on this issue and he cuts through partisan politics to give our listeners clear, actionable facts that are absent from many other shows and news outlets. This is a show that will share ALL sides of the debate.” Henning will also be heard on the station’s regular programs on the matter.
Bubba the Love Sponge’s Attorneys Found Guilty in Florida Bar Trial. Just what the punishment will be for Bubba the Love Sponge’s attorneys in his defense against former rival Todd Schnitt remains to be seen but Steven Diaco, Robert Adams, and Adam Filthaut were found guilty of multiple ethics violations by the Florida Bar for conspiring to get Schnitt counsel Phil Campbell arrested on DUI charges. MyFoxTampaBay reports that the three could get fines, suspensions or disbarment when sentencing takes place on August 5. Read the MyFoxTampaBay account here.
Digital Sales Pro Jeff Miller Named VP/GM of Entercom’s SmartReach Digital. The SmartReach Digital division of Entercom provides the company’s local and regional clients with a broad range of digital marketing solutions, products and services. Now, the company brings Jeff Miller aboard as vice president/general manager of SmartReach Digital. He spent the last seven years with ReachLocal, most recently as senior director of sales for virtual markets. Entercom regional president Michael Doyle comments, “We are excited to find an executive with Jeff’s talent and experience available to help us continue to build our market-leading portfolio of digital products and services. Our focus is on helping local advertisers understand the power of combining the unmatched reach of radio with the best available digital advertising tools to generate outstanding results. Jeff provides us with cutting-edge thinking on both the product development and sales execution sides of the digital business.”
Odds & Sods. WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” personality Grant Paulsen – co-host of the midday “Grant and Danny” show – is joining WTTG-TV, Washington “FOX 5” as a Washington Redskins reporter. According to the Washington Post, Paulsen will appear on newscasts and on the “Redskins Game Time” program…..On Monday and Tuesday (7/13-14) ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike show with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic will broadcast live from the Moerlein Lager House in Cincinnati – across the street from the Great American Ball Park – site of this year’s MLB All-Star festivities. Guests scheduled to appear on the show include Hall-of-Fame pitcher John Smoltz, Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost, former All-Star Frank Thomas, San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred…..Morning drive personality Tim Greene is promoted to assistant program director and music director of non-com and NPR affiliate WSGE, Charlotte. In his new role, he’ll assist in overseeing all programming operations while continuing to host the morning drive slot following NPR’s “Morning Edition.”
Cool Job Opportunity. “NewsRadio1620” in Pensacola, Florida is looking for an experienced afternoon drive talk host. Our simulcast FM106.5 launches next month. Our ideal candidate will entertain our listeners with a three-hour, host-driven show with minimal guests. A host who covers the big national issues and current buzz — but gives equal attention to local news and issues. We’re looking for a host who covers the local scene as an ombudsman. Who creates conversation, makes our listeners smile and gives them something to talk about. Pensacola is an active news market with a growing economy. “NewsRadio1620” has a high community profile and our on-air team has won seven Edward R. Murrow awards since 2010. Our sister station, “CatCountry 98.7” is the top FM in the market. Nine hours of local talk, plus local news every 30 minutes every weekday. Totally locally owned and operated. Fox News Radio affiliate. 401k/ health/dental plans available. Best of all, live and work in paradise on the Gulf Coast of Florida’s NW Panhandle. Check out www.NewsRadio1620.com and Facebook. Send resume and most recently unedited audio/link to Anne Schiller at: email@example.com. EOE.
2016 Presidential Prospects, Steinle Slaying-Illegal Immigration, Cosby Testimony Released, Confederate Flag Issue, Greek Debt Crisis-EU Tensions-Chinese Stock Market Dive, OK Ten Commandments Case, Iran Nuke Talks, and U.S. Women’s Soccer World Cup Victory Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/7). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the slaying of Kate Steinle in San Francisco, the debate over the nation’s illegal immigration policy, and the controversy over “sanctuary cities”; the release of decade-old testimony from Bill Cosby admitting he gave Quaaludes to women in order to have sex with them; the ongoing discussion over the status of the Confederate flag; the Greek debt crisis, its effect on the European Union and concerns over a Chinese stock market crash; the Oklahoma capitol Ten Commandments monument case; the talks with Iran over its nuclear program; and the U.S. Women’s Soccer World Cup victory were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.