iHeartMedia Begins Massive Layoff of Air Talent. The exact number of personalities let go is not known at this point, but as iHeartMedia issued a press release yesterday explaining its new Markets Group management structure designed to “take advantage of the significant investments it has made in technology and artificial intelligence and its unique scale and leadership position in the audio marketplace,” it was firing local air personalities it deems not necessary to the company’s future success. iHeartMedia, like every other radio company, faces intense competition for listeners from digital music services and digital spoken-word platforms. Dayparts that aren’t crucial to a station’s revenue – usually nights and overnights – are often seen as not needing live, local jocks, especially when the company produces quality national programs to fill those hours. As for news/talk and sports talk hosts, the cost of maintaining a show with two or more personalities plus a producer is sometimes more than income from spot sales and other revenue streams can provide. iHeartMedia’s statement on the “employee dislocation” is as follows: “We are modernizing our company to take advantage of the significant investments we have made in new technology and aligning our operating structure to match the technology-powered businesses we are now in. This is another step in the company’s successful transformation as a multiple platform 21st century media company, and we believe it is essential to our future – it continues our momentum and adds to our competitiveness, our effectiveness, and our efficiency with all our major constituencies. During a transition like this it’s reasonable to expect that there will be some shifts in jobs – some by location and some by function – but the number is relatively small given our overall employee base of 12,500. That said, we recognize that the loss of any job is significant; we take that responsibility seriously and have been thoughtful in the process.” Some of those in the spoken-word formats who’ve exited the company include: Kerry Belkin, producer, WFXJ, Jacksonville; Leland Conway, host, WHAS, Louisville and WLPA, Lexington; Big Jim Donovan, host, WSYR, Syracuse; Andrew Downs, program director, KXNO, Des Moines; Jim Fisher, host, WOC, Quad Cities; Seth Harp, programmer and host, WFXJ, Jacksonville; Carl Harris, creative services director, Tampa Bay cluster; Travis Justice and Heather Burnside, hosts, and Sean Roberts, producer, Pete Kaliner, host, WWNC, Asheville, NC; Dave Levora, morning host, WOC, Quad Cities; Mike Lucas, host, WTSO, Madison; Ross Peterson and Chris Williams, hosts, KXNO, Des Moines; Jake Query and Derek Schultz, hosts, WNDE, Indianapolis; Chip Ramsey, weekend producer, WERC, Birmingham; John Ramsey and Mike Rutherford, hosts, WKRD, Louisville.
Brian Sussman Exits KSFO, San Francisco. Eighteen-year KSFO, San Francisco talk show host Brian Sussman announces he’s leaving the Cumulus Media station where he’s been hosting the morning drive show. Sussman says that in April of 2019 he resigned due to an impasse in contract negotiations, but soon thereafter reached a temporary agreement to host the show four days per week through December (his brother, Brad Sussman, hosted the fifth day). But in October, Sussman was required to go on medical leave through the remainder of the year. That affected his plans for continuing into 2020. He tells TALKERS magazine, “Fortunately, I’m feeling great, but clearly all those years of scant sleep and starting show prep at 3:00 am finally caught up with me. The KSFO listening family – both locally and nationally – are such a loyal band of patriots. But what I’ll miss the most about our show is working with the best producer in talk radio, Sheri Yee, and my lovely and super-hilarious sidekick, Katie Green. Thankfully, Brother Brad has been doing a great job filling in for me and I hope he’s the future! Meantime, I appreciate KSFO’s management team for having been so considerate these past few months.”
Impeachment, Presidential Race/Democratic Debate, Iran Protests, U.S.-China Trade Negotiations, Royal Family Controversy, Philippine Volcano Eruption, and MLB Sign Stealing Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/14). The impeachment articles against President Trump set to move to the Senate; the Democrats hoping to challenge Donald Trump in November and last night’s debate in Des Moines; the protests in Iran over the Islamic Republic’s accidental shooting down of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752; the Trump Administration’s progress in trade negotiations with China; the controversy over Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s stepping back from royal life; the deadly eruption of Taal Volcano in the Philippines; and the MLB’s handling of the sign stealing scandal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Comrex Announces New Firmware in Conjunction with ACCESS MultiRack. News from Comrex Corporation reveals that the company has released firmware version 4.5p2, a new update for its line of IP audio codecs. This new firmware version is being released in conjunction with ACCESS MultiRack – a new multi-instance codec that provides seamless integration of all functions with legacy single-instance ACCESS codecs. This new firmware simplifies CrossLock connections between the new ACCESS MultiRack and legacy Comrex IP audio codecs. It replaces an older Adobe Flash-based GUI with an HTML5 web-based GUI as the default user interface. This new interface avoids the security risks posed by Adobe Flash, and is supported by all browsers. Users can upgrade their Comrex IP audio codecs using the free Device Manager application which can be downloaded here. If a user is updating a device from FW version 2.7.1 or earlier, they can contact Comrex Support for assistance.
TALKERS News Notes. Pictured here is Westwood One News correspondent Steve Kastenbaum covering last night’s Democratic presidential debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder notes that the hosts of WSCR, Chicago’s weekly golf show, “The Scorecard on The Score,” – Ed Sherman and Steve Olken – are leaving the station. The two have hosted the show at the Entercom sports talk station for the past 10 years. WSCR is expected to name new hosts for the show before it returns to the air in March…..KTBB, Tyler, Texas is the newest affiliate of FOX News Radio, subscribing to the FOX 5 Minute News Service on January 6…..FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade visited affiliate station WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta in December and senior operations and program manager Drew Anderssen says, “Few syndicated hosts, if any, create the kind of impact with affiliates and their communities that Kilmeade does. Brian participated in our 29th annual drive to provide Georgia foster children with gifts at Christmas. His impact helped us fulfill wish lists for over 9,000 foster kids, in partnership with St. Vincent de Paul Georgia and the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services!” Pictured below (clockwise from top left) are: Anderssen, “Kilmeade & Friends” senior producer Alyson Mansfield, Kilmeade, WSB traffic anchor Ashley Frasca, and WSB-FM “B95.5” morning personality Tad Lemire.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Beasley Media Group’s urban contemporary WDMK, Detroit “105.9 KISS-FM,” the nationally syndicated “Rickey Smiley Morning Show” is now heard in the 6:00 am to 10:00 am slot. Station program director John Candelaria says, “We are thrilled to have Rickey Smiley join ‘105.9 KISS FM.’ I have watched Rickey ascend to national superstar over the past 20 years and we are excited to have him leading the lineup for the ‘All New 105.9 KISS FM.’ Detroit is ready for a fresh new morning show!”
Report: Liberty Media Seeks Control or Ownership of iHeartMedia. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Liberty Media is asking the Department of Justice for permission to up its stake in iHeartMedia. Currently, Liberty owns 4.8% of iHM. The WSJ’s sources say the deal that Liberty is seeking permission for would give it control or “outright ownership.” One source says Liberty has not decided “what kind of transaction, if any, it would proceed with should it receive permission.” Liberty Media currently owns 33% of Live Nation – the concert business that then-Clear Channel spun off in 2005 – and 71% of SiriusXM Holdings. The WSJ piece notes that Justice Department officials are asking “interested parties” how they’d be affected by a major live events business and a leading radio company being co-owned.
Radzik to Program ’98.5 The Sports Hub’ in Boston. At Boston sports talker WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Rick Radzik is named the station’s new program director, effective immediately. Beasley Media Group announces Radzik is assuming the role being vacated by Mike Thomas, who heads to Chicago to become market manager for the ESPN-owned and Good Karma-managed WMVP “ESPN 1000.” Radzik has been the station’s assistant program director since the station signed on in August of 2009. Prior to that, he’d served for 15 years as a producer at all-news WBZ-AM, overseeing Boston Bruins broadcasts. He began his career at crosstown WEEI-AM (when it was a news station) producing the Bruins and Boston Celtics broadcasts, as well as various talk shows. Beasley Media Group Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack says, “Rick has been a key member of the ‘Sports Hub’ programming team since the station’s inception. The knowledge he has amassed over the past decade, coupled with his relationships and passion for continuing our winning history, make him uniquely qualified to lead the ‘Sports Hub’ into the 2020s and beyond!”
NOW POSTED: New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (12/13). The new episode titled “Meddling and Muddling!” reviews the week of December 9-13, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Sebastian Gorka, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Joan Michelson; Executive producer/host, GreenConnectionsRadio.com; Bob Lonsberry, talk show host, WHAM, Rochester/WSYR, Syracuse; Doug Stephan, talk show host, Stephan Multimedia; and Scott James Matheson, Mayor-elect, Valdosta, Georgia. This acclaimed news/talk radio show first airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm. It then airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. It also appears on the iHeartRadio App. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.
‘Cats Roundtable’ Show Joins ‘Florida Man Radio.’ The weekly “Cats Roundtable” show hosted by Red Apple Group president and CEO John Catsimatidis is being added to the program schedule at JVC Media’s WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WYGC-FM, High Springs (Gainesville market) “Florida Man Radio.” Catsimatidis’ company Red Apple Media recently entered into a deal to acquire venerable WABC-AM, New York from Cumulus Media for $12.5 million. That deal has not closed yet. JVC president and CEO John Caracciolo says, “‘The Cats Roundtable’ radio show is perfect for ‘Florida Man Radio.’ John’s unique take on the news and his A-list celebrity interviews are fascinating conversations that keep listeners coming back for more. We have been very successful with his show on our Long Island station and know this is a great fit for our growing ‘Florida Man Radio’ network.”
The Trump Impeachment Proceedings Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 9-13. The articles of impeachment against President Trump were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing in the top spot on the Talkers TenTM. Tied at #2 this week was Russia’s meddling in the U.S. elections and the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s surveillance practices. At #3 was Time magazine’s selection of Greta Thunberg as Person of the Year and the greater topic of climate change, followed by the deadly Jersey City shooting and the rise of anti-Semitism at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS News Notes. The WGBH, Boston and PRI-produced program “Innovation Hub” takes a look at the rise of conservative talk radio and its influence on the America political scene on its most recent episode. Joining host Kara Miller is author and University of Pennsylvania scholar-in-residence Brian Rosenwald. His book, Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States (2019, Harvard University Press) examines the theory. The teaser of the radio show says, “When Rush Limbaugh’s conservative talk radio program began in Sacramento in the 1980s, no one could have guessed that he would not only reinvigorate AM radio but also create a new format that would help remold the American political landscape.” Check out the program here…..The WFAN watch continues as Newsday’s Neil Best writes that the odds-on replacement for Mike Francesa in afternoon drive on the Entercom sports talk station is midday team Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno. He also says that Maggie Gray and Mark Malusis are “favorites” to serve as the midday personalities. Francesa left his regular full-time role with the station a couple of weeks ago but will contribute to The Fan’s on-air content with a nightly, half-hour show at 6:00 pm. WFAN has made no announcements about its plans for the station as of today (12/13)…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder writes today about longtime Chicago radio personality Turi Ryder’s new podcast that takes its name from her fictionalized memoir, She Said What? Ryder co-hosts the show with Kathryn Lake and she tells Feder she’ll drop two podcasts each week, no longer than 15 minutes in length. You can check it out here…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime radio journalist Pete Combs, who died in Atlanta after a three-month battle with lung cancer at age 61. Combs had been working at Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta since May of 2018. He previously worked for WSB from 2006 through 2015 but left for KOMO-AM, Seattle before returning last year. During his career, he worked at stations including: WGST-AM, Atlanta; KRLD-AM and the Texas State Network, Dallas; USA Radio News, Dallas; WINK-AM Fort Myers; and WBT-AM, Charlotte. He also reported for TV station in Charlotte and Tulsa during the early 1990s. See the rest of WSB’s tribute to Combs here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Sales pro Dawn Girocco is named director of sales for Cumulus Media’s country KSCS “New Country 96.3,” country KPLX “99.5 The Wolf,” and CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3” in Dallas. She was most recently vice president/market manager for Cumulus Los Angeles. Cumulus Dallas/Houston RVP Dan Bennett comments, “Being able to get someone of Dawn Girocco’s experience and success back in our company to join our Dallas team as a key sales management leader is a great plus for Dallas and our company. Dawn’s past success in Los Angeles speaks for itself and we can’t wait for her to get started here in Texas.”…..Alpha Media promotes Danny Dwyer to assistant program director for country KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” and inks him to a new, multi-year deal. Dwyer will continue to host the midday show and continue his role as music director. Alpha Portland SVP and market manager Lisa Decker states, “The energy and dedication Danny brings on and off the air to our ‘Bull Nation’ listeners, musicans, artists, labels, advertisers’ and community partners are an incredible asset to our station. His leadership with station events and promotions including our St. Jude Radiothon and Countryfest concert are irreplaceable.”…..Seven-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette, who is planning a 31-date North American tour next year, performed a special acoustic set of the album Jagged Little Pill in its entirety on December 2 at New York’s legendary The Apollo. That show will be broadcast exclusively on SiriusXM today (12/13) through December 22…..Air personality Brittany Rose joins Townsquare Media’s CHR WJBQ, Portland as co-host alongside Lori Voornas and Jeff Parsons on the “Q Morning Show,” effective January 2. She was most recently with Townsquare Media’s WEBB-FM, Augusta “B98.5.”…..Cumulus Media’s alternative WWWX, Appleton, Wisconsin “96.9 The Fox” announces the nationally syndicated “The Dave and Mahoney Morning Show” takes over the morning slot, effective Monday (12/16).
Entercom Announces Sale of $100 Million in Second Lien Senior Secured Notes. These notes are being offered as additional notes under an existing indenture, dated April 30, 2019, pursuant to which the Issuer previously issued $325 million in aggregate principal amount of Entercom Media Group’s 6.500% senior secured second-lien notes due 2027. Net proceeds from the additional $100 million offering will be used to partially repay existing indebtedness under its senior secured term loan facility. They have the same terms as the existing notes. They are offered and sold only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers.
AJ Lurie Assumes New Post with Beasley XP. Sales and management pro AJ Lurie is promoted to the newly created position of director of local market integrated partnerships at Beasley XP, Beasley Media Group’s recently created esports division. Lurie began his career with Beasley Media Group in 2007 in Fort Myers and most recently served as the as vice president and market manager of its Wilmington, Delaware radio cluster. In his new role, Lurie will be responsible for overseeing all of Beasley Media Group’s local market esports and gaming revenues by leveraging the company’s content and local market gaming-oriented events. He says, “Beasley Media Group’s entrance into the esports industry is transformative for our company and I am honored to be a part of this initiative. Leveraging our company’s assets will present tremendous growth opportunities. I’m excited to work with some of Beasley’s best to help build this division for our organization.” As Lurie moves to his new position, BMG Philadelphia vice president and market manager Joe Bell will add the Wilmington radio cluster management duties to his current responsibilities under the new structure.
Fatherly Talk Radio Advice from Bob Lonsberry. WHAM, Rochester and WSYR, Syracuse talk radio personality Bob Lonsberry’s son Lee begins his new talk radio show on Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City today (12/11). In the time honored tradition of fathers imparting advice to their sons, Bob Lonsberry offers his son his views on what it takes to become a successful talk radio host. He says, “Be you. Know who you are, what you stand for, what your values and priorities are, and build a genuine radio character around that. Don’t pretend, don’t act. Entertain, yes. Accentuate, absolutely. Pose, no.” Read all of his advice here.
House Files Articles of Impeachment, Trump’s Pennsylvania Rally, Deadly Jersey City Shooting, USMCA, 2020 Presidential Race, Patriots Video Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/10). The Democrat-led House files articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump; the president appears at a rally in Pennsylvania; a shooting at a Jewish market in Jersey City claims the lives of six, including a police officer and the two shooters; the House agrees on the Trump administration’s US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; and the controversy over the taping of the Cincinnati Bengals’ sidelines by a film crew hired by the New England Patriots were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Rush Limbaugh Announces $5 Million-Plus Raised for Tunnel to Towers Foundation. During an appearance on FOX News Channel’s “FOX & Friends” morning program, Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh announced that sales from his “Stand Up for Betsy Ross!” merchandise surpassed $5 million dollars. All proceeds benefit The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation that provides financial assistance to military heroes and their families, as well as first responders. Limbaugh first launched the line of merchandise with a single T-shirt in July and quickly raised $2 million dollars for Tunnel to Towers. It paid off the home mortgages of six fallen American heroes. Limbaugh subsequently decided to expand the merchandise and continue the fundraiser through the end of 2019. On the program, Limbaugh said, “Our fulfillment center is working around the clock. The orders have not stopped coming in. We owe a debt to the people who have participated in this.”
Armstrong & Getty Raise More Than $1 Million for Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station. Sacramento-based, syndicated morning drive duo Armstrong & Getty – Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – announce that the show’s annual “Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station Radiothon” raised approximately $1.2 million to benefit the Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station charity that purchases plane tickets for injured warriors so they can spend the holidays at home and with their families. Getty says, “We feel compelled to give back to those who served our country. We owe it, as Americans, to support these guys.” Armstrong adds, “In all kinds of different ways, WFFS creates a buffer zone between combat and civilian life, providing our injured warriors with sanctuary, a sense of community and the tools they’ll need to rejoin society.”
TALKERS News Notes. The regionally syndicated late morning talk radio show hosted by Erick Erickson begins airing on Cumulus Media’s WMAC-AM, Macon, Georgia, effective December 16. Erickson hosts the afternoon drive show on Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta and he launched the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show in September to focus on Georgia politics and issues. He says, “Macon is home. My family goes to church in Macon. Our kids go to school in Macon. I broadcast from Macon. We live here. Now, I finally have an answer for people when they ask when they can hear me on the radio here.”…..iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles raised a new record of more than $435,000 and 109,000 pounds of pasta during the ninth annual “KFI PastaThon” to benefit Caterina’s Club, a charitable organization that feeds 25,000 underprivileged children, five days a week in more than 30 cities throughout Southern California. During the 17-hour live broadcast on December 6, all KFI – including Bill Handel, Jennifer Jones Lee, Gary Hoffmann, Shannon Farren, John Kobylt, Ken Chiampou, and Tim Conway Jr. were on site at the Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove encouraging listeners to donate money along with pasta and pasta sauce to help feed underprivileged children that live in motels without access to a kitchen…..Count former WEEI, Boston morning drive personality Gerry Callahan as the latest radio host to move into the podcast space. Callahan, who was let go from his longtime morning gig in at the Entercom sports talk station in July, will post new shows Monday through Thursday, beginning January 6. He announced the new venture on Kirk Minihane’s podcast. Callahan and Minihane co-hosted the WEEI morning show for several years before Minihane’s exit from Entercom last year. Callahan says the subtitle of his show will be “Politics, Sports, and Revenge.”…..cabana announces it has inked a deal with Critical Frequency Network to exclusively handle podcast ad sales representation. Critical Frequency was founded by science and gender writer and journalist Amy Westervelt and features a diverse community of hosts – all women, people of color, and/or LGBTQ…..Condolences to the family and friends of former KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning news anchor Bob Kopler, who died yesterday (12/10) at the age of 81. He worked in the Pittsburgh market for more than 40 years and at KDKA from 1988 through his retirement in 2007.
Talking Cryptocurrency on WBZ-AM. On Tuesday (12/10), iHeartMedia all-news WBZ-AM hosted some of Boston’s foremost experts in cryptocurrency to help explain what the savvy businessperson needs to know about the future of commerce. More than 300 WBZ listeners joined the panel for breakfast as WBZ business reporter and AM drive news anchor Jeff Brown moderated the conversation. Pictured above (l-r) are: Brown; Sir John Hargrave, author of Blockchain for Everyone; Christian Catalini, head economist at Calibra; Manasi Vora, head of product strategy at Sia; and Frank Makrides, founder & CEO of Tunnel.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At All Pro Broadcasting’s hot AC KHTI, Riverside “HOT 103.9,” midday host Sabrina Ruiz takes on music director duties, effective immediately. Station PD Rick Shaw comments, “It is with great pleasure that I can announce that Sabrina has accepted the position of ‘HOT 103.9’ music director. Sabrina’s knowledge and passion for the music that we play on ‘HOT’ makes her the perfect person for the task.”…..On-air pro Kayla Morgan joins SummitMedia’s CHR WWST, Knoxville “Star 102.1” as evening personality. Morgan was most recently with Entercom’s Detroit cluster as a personality on adult contemporary WDZH “98.7 The Breeze.” SummitMedia Knoxville market president Chris Protzman states, “We are delighted to welcome Kayla to Knoxville and ‘Star 102.1’ nights. Her personality and passion for the music is infectious. Knoxville is in for a real treat!”
WOR, New York to Launch Live and Local Evening Show. Beginning February 4, iHeartMedia’s WOR, New York “The Voice of New York” adds the new “WOR Tonight with Joe Concha & Lis Wiehl” to the program schedule in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm daypart. WOR program director Tom Cuddy says, “The New York area is known for its diversity and 710 WOR will be able to offer listeners just that each night with a unique mix of issues. Joe and Lis come from different sides of the political spectrum, which should make things quite interesting and unpredictable.” Concha is a reporter and columnist for The Hill and Wiehl is a former federal prosecutor, former investigative counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, a best-selling author and a legal analyst. The station says the new show “will be a New York-centric show spotlighting a mix of top news stories, politics, movies, television, Broadway, pop culture and consumer issues. Additionally, the hosts will offer their views on the stories of the day from both sides of the political aisle and will take calls from listeners.” Concha states, “Our show will obviously talk politics, but we’re also going to offer up the kind of news and views that people deal with every day. We want to tell stories people can relate to as well as empathize with and hope to make you laugh a few times in the process.” Wiehl adds, “This show is going to be a one-stop shop in a three-hour package, delivered to your radio. You’ll get hard news shared by two people who are news veterans and experts in the fields of law and media. Plus, you’ll get ‘water cooler’ news delivered to you by two hosts who are parents, taxpayers, pet owners, and pop culture enthusiasts.”
Radio for the 55+ Listener. Former WSYR-AM, Syracuse morning host Mark Wainwright writes a piece for TALKERS magazine in which he suggests that successfully reaching Baby Boomers with radio programming requires “rekindling their relationship with radio.” Wainwright states, “The 55-72 ‘Boomer’ demographic is the last generation that genuinely cared about radio. They grew up with radio, they were actively engaged with it, and it was an integral part of their lives. At a time when our industry is struggling to stay relevant, we need to reconnect with listeners who still care about us and what we offer.” Read the entire story here.
Mary Rogers to Lead Sales at Entercom’s Dallas Station Group. Sales and management pro Mary Rogers comes to Entercom Dallas from Cox Media Group’s San Antonio cluster where she was most recently director of sales. Effective January 28, she’ll assume the vice president and director of sales position for the cluster that includes news/talk KRLD-AM “News Radio 1080,” sports talk KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan” and four music-formatted stations. She says, “I am excited to join Entercom Dallas, working alongside [SVP and market manager] Brian Purdy and his amazing team. I began my career in Dallas and it is a great feeling to be back working with these iconic brands and audiences.”
TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, Violeta Podrumedic has left her role as afternoon traffic reporter on Tribune’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago to join the “Eric in the Morning” show – led by Eric Ferguson – on Hubbard Radio’s crosstown hot AC WTMX. She’s been part of WGN’s afternoon drive Roe Conn program since 2016…..Entercom confirms that Howie Rose will continue to call the play-by-play for the New York Mets as all-news WCBS-AM begins serving as the flagship station for Mets broadcasts this season. Rose will be joined by color analyst Wayne Randazzo. He was previously pregame and postgame host for the Mets. Longtime WFAN Mets beat reporter Ed Coleman will conduct pregame coverage, including the daily “Managers Show with Mickey Callaway.” Randazzo will host the station’s postgame coverage immediately following each game broadcast. WCBS 880 morning sports anchor Brad Heller will serve as the utility player on the team presenting sports coverage for the station, as well as fill-in on pregame coverage…..In Fredericksburg, Virginia, Alpha Media’s four-station group – including news/talk WNTX-AM/FM – is working to aid furloughed federal workers by creating a web page with listings of businesses from Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland that are assisting federal workers during the government shutdown. Many businesses are coming together to help the community during this time of need by providing free or reduced fee meals, services, groceries, and even temporary employment opportunities. Alpha Media Fredericksburg market manager Beth Vickers comments, “The Washington DC market is severely affected by the furlough. We feel Alpha Media Fredericksburg has a duty to provide support and information to government workers and their families during this time.”…..USA Radio nationally syndicated radio host Wayne Allyn Root reports that his television simulcast seen on Newsmax TV is getting a second daily airing on the cable TV network. His program airs live at 8:00 pm ET each evening. Now, repeats of the program will air on Newsmax TV the following day at 1:00 pm. Additionally, Root says all three hours of his radio show are available on-demand via iHeartRadio.
Border Wall Battle, Government Shutdown, Trump-Russia Investigation, 2020 Presidential Race, Brexit Chaos, U.S. Soldiers Killed in Syria, Nairobi Hotel Attack, Gillette Ad Controversy, Netflix Price Hike, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/16). The political battle over President Trump’s efforts to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; the effects of the federal government shutdown; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the possible candidates for president in 2020; British Prime Minister Theresa May survives a vote of no confidence after her Brexit plan fails; four U.S. soldiers are killed in Syria; the deadly terror attack on a hotel in Nairobi, Kenya; the controversy over Gillette’s ‘toxic masculinity’ ad; consumer backlash over Netflix’s announced price increases; and the NFL playoffs 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. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports Entercom’s CHR WBBM-FM names Julia Lepidi its new evening host. She takes over for Corey B who left the station in November to transfer to the company’s alternative WNYL, New York “ALT 92.3.”…..As reported by Rodney Ho in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Ali Mac has exited the morning drive show on Cumulus Media’s country WKHX “Kicks 101.5” where she worked alongside Cadillac Jack, who remains host of the AM program. Also, at the Cumulus Atlanta cluster, air personality Byron Cooper exits the evening show at CHR WWWQ “Q99.7” after 13 months in the position.
Mark Wainwright Exits Morning Gig at WSYR, Syracuse. WSYR, Syracuse morning personality Mark Wainwright says of his departure from the station’s full-time morning host gig, “I’ll skip over a lot of the details, but the end result is that my contract ended in July and I decided to move on. It was as amicable and as mutually respectful a separation as anyone could want. We parted on good terms and I would not hesitate to work for iHeartMedia again if the right situation came along. In fact, the management at WSYR and several other iHeart stations indicated they would be happy to bring me back as a fill-in or guest host as the need arises, and at least one program director told me he definitely plans to call on me at some point. I’m looking forward to that.” He says in a good-bye message on WSYR.com, “I am leaving iHeartMedia and NewsRadio 570/WSYR. I hosted my final morning show in Syracuse today (7/20). While it’s certainly possible that I will return from time to time as a guest host or substitute – come on, at some point [Bob] Lonsberry has to take a vacation.” He relates how he filled in for the ailing Joe Galuski and eventually replaced him on the morning show after his passing. He also thanks management for sticking by him while he dealt with his own throat cancer. Read his entire post here.
Stephanie Perl Named Entercom Hartford Market Manager. Before moving into the television business as local sales manager for Tribune’s WTIC-TV and WCCT-TV in the Hartford-New Haven market, Stephanie Perl was general sales manager for CBS RADIO Hartford. She returns to that radio cluster now owned by Entercom as SVP and market manager. She’ll lead heritage news/talk WTIC-AM and sister stations CHR WTIC-FM, adult contemporary WRCH “Lite 100.5,” and urban contemporary WZMX “HOT 93.1.” Entercom regional president Mark Hannon says, “We are happy to welcome Stephanie to the Entercom team and back to our stations in Hartford. Her business acumen and leadership will help us provide our partners with premier solutions that reach our loyal and engaged audience in Hartford.”
TALKERS News Notes. This fall, award-winning journalist and author Alison Stewart begins hosting a daily 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm program on public radio news/talk WNYC, New York. New York Public Radio says the show will focus on culture, the arts, local news, and life in the New York area. New York Public Radio president and CEO Laura Walker comments, “Alison Stewart is the perfect host for our new midday show that will lead the New York conversation. She is intelligent, lively, and experienced, and has her finger on the pulse of pop culture, the arts, and news in a way that is deeply of the moment.”…..Westwood One reports its plans for this week’s Podcast Movement conference. It says one key element is the Westwood One “Pitch Pod” on the 5th floor lobby of the Marriott. “Podcasting talent can tell their story right at the conference, recording a sharable video pitch for consideration for a roster slot on Westwood One Podcast Network. Reporters and media contacts are also welcome to stop by the booth to record a video about their experience at Podcast Movement.” Tomorrow, Westwood One Podcast Network’s Tim Sabean, Opie, and Carl Ruiz will present “The Art of Storytelling” for attendees…..The second season of the Jim Breslo-hosted podcast “Hidden Truth” is launched. Following the first season of the weekly hourlong podcast titled “Hidden Truth: Las Vegas Shooter,” comes “Hidden Truth: Transgender Movement.” In this series, Breslo “embarks on a journey to discover what it means to be transgender and what impact the movement is having on society.” Episode one features the first of a three-part interview with Breslo’s fraternity brother Dave Richmond, a divorced accountant and father of two who, much to Breslo’s surprise, recently became Sabrina. “No subject is left off limits as they discuss everything from sex and surgery, to parenting and pronouns.”…..Changes are coming to ABC-TV’s daytime talk program “The View.” The New York Post reports that Sara Haines is exiting “The View” to work alongside Michael Strahan on the third hour of “Good Morning America.” It’s being reported that FOX News Channel “rising star” Abby Huntsman is in talks to become a cast member on “The View.” She is the daughter of former GOP presidential candidate and current Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr. The Hollywood Reporter writes, “Abby Huntsman, like her father, has some centrist tendencies, and is not reflexively conservative. She made some headlines on July 15, when she appeared to ding the president’s meeting with Vladimir Putin by tweeting, ‘No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus.’”…..The NFL’s Oakland Raiders flagship radio station will still be an Entercom property but it is changing from sports talk KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” to all-news KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM. Games will continue to air on KGMZ as long as there is no conflict.
SRN’s Larry Elder Supporting Angel Tree Camp. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder (right) at the Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree Camp that provides fresh air and summer camp activities for children whose mother or father are in prison. Elder is a regular fundraiser for the program. He tells TALKERS, “Children of prisoners haven’t done anything wrong and they shouldn’t pay for the misdeeds of a parent.” Elder notes that 70% of prisoners’ children eventually end up behind bars themselves, a cycle that is being broken by the Angel Tree Camp program. Pictured here with Elder are Calacinto Ranch director Angela Cerda (center) and SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left).
KBA-WKU Radio Talent Institute Underway. Taking place this week on the campus of Western Kentucky University is the 6th annual Kentucky Broadcasters Association-Western Kentucky University Radio Talent Institute. All week long, more than 40 broadcasters from Alpha Media, Commonwealth Broadcasting, Forever Communications, CapCity Communications, Forcht Broadcasting, The Cromwell Group, Cumulus Media, and iHeartMedia are working with students in sessions dedicated to on-air skills, sports, news, promotions, digital, production, as well as being certified by the RAB as Radio Marketing Professionals. National Radio Talent System founder and president Dan Vallie comments, “It is great to have the solid support of the KBA, who are such early believers in and supporters of the Talent System, now for 6 years; and WKU, who embraced this from the moment it was introduced to the university. Working together – broadcasters, universities and the National Radio Talent System – we are building the talent farm for the industry and discovering and preparing the next generation of broadcasters.”
Trump-Russia Investigation/Cohen Recordings, Trump-Iran Rhetoric, Trump Security Clearance Issue, U.S. Illegal Immigration Policies, Ozarks Duck Boat Tragedy, Toronto Shooting/Deadly BART Knife Attack, Southwest Heatwave, Mama Mia 2 and Equalizer 2 Films, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23). The investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives and the related 12 tapes of President Trump and former attorney Michael Cohen turned over to Robert Mueller; the war rhetoric between President Trump and Iran; Trump’s desire to remove security clearances from former intelligence officials who are critical of him; the policies relating to treatment of illegal immigrants and their children; the deadly Ozark duck boat capsizing; the fatal shooting in Toronto and the knife slaying on the BART train; the heatwave affecting the U.S. Southwest; the opening weekend for the Mama Mia 2 and Equalizer 2 films; and Major League Baseball 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. At Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WHQT, Miami “HOT 105,” Big Lip joins to work alongside Shelby Rushin as co-host of the afternoon drive program, effective July 30…..Cumulus Media names 26-year radio pro Don Brake program director and morning personality for country KAYD-FM, Beaumont, Texas “NASH 101.7.” Brake joins Cumulus from WKKQ, Morgantown, West Virginia where he was music director and midday personality…..Pictured below are WJBR-FM, Wilmington staffers (from l-r) Brandi Tigani, Chris Leonard, and Diana Beasley volunteering to cook for 50 families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware. The effort was part of the radio station’s Beasley Best Day of Caring event.