Monday Memo: Who Will Replace Rush? Consultant Holland Cooke says the short answer is, of course, nobody. However, he points out that affiliate stations may soon have to find a solution for those 15 hours per week that they didn’t have to worry about before. He also asks, “Who will replace Clark Howard?” Find out what he has to say here.
Pending Business: This Year in Review. Sales and marketing pro, and Lapcom Communications Corp president, Steve Lapa says that just many aspects of our daily lives changed after 9/11, so too has the pandemic changed much about our lives – including how we work and consume media. In today’s column, he offers some thoughts about how selling radio will be different this year. Read it here.
WTIC, Hartford’s Joe D’Ambrosio Exits Morning Show. After stating back in early November that he was disillusioned with management’s directives about political opinion on the air, WTIC-AM, Hartford, morning drive co-host Joe D’Ambrosio said he would leave the station when his contract was up in June of 2021 after 28 years with the Entercom station. However, he and management reached an agreement on an early buyout and D’Ambrosio’s last shift was December 31. D’Ambrosio co-hosted the morning drive show with Ray Dunaway. The Hartford Courant reports D’Ambrosio saying he never adapted to waking up for the program’s 5:30 am start and he found it difficult to work within station’s conservative political framework.
Chris Ryan Takes Over ‘New Hampshire Today’ Morning Show. New Hampshire radio pro Chris Ryan is named the new host of the “New Hampshire Today” program heard on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WGIR-AM, Manchester and WQSO-FM, Portsmouth. Ryan fills the role previously held by Jack Heath, who exited “NH Today” to join Binnie Media’s three-station simulcast in New Hampshire for the late morning daypart back in October. iHeartMedia says that Ryan is an award-winning talk show host and political commentator based in Concord who most recently served as general manager for New Hampshire Family Radio’s news/talk WKXL, Concord. iHeartMedia New Hampshire market president Joe Graham says, “It was of utmost importance that the new host of ‘NH Today’ would be a person of integrity and character, someone who would hold themselves to the highest professional standards. We are thrilled that Chris will be joining our iHeart NH team!” The “New Hampshire Today” program is also heard on WKXL.
Leila Rahimi Named Co-Host for WSCR, Chicago’s Late Morning Show. Radio and television sports personality Leila Rahimi is promoted to regular co-host of the late morning program alongside Dan Bernstein on Entercom’s WSCR, Chicago “670 The Score.” Entercom Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson says, “We are thrilled to be amplifying Lelia’s role at ‘The Score.’ She’s a seasoned professional with experience engaging with sports fans across multiple platforms and cities and has built a great reputation with Chicago’s sports fans. Adding her voice and perspective consistently creates a more dynamic midday lineup for ‘Score’ listeners.” She assumes the role left vacant when Entercom let co-host Connor McKnight go back in April. Rahimi has appeared on “670 The Score” both as a contributor to various shows on the station, and as a co-host since 2017. She’s also hosted, reported and anchored for NBC Sports Chicago. She was a rink-side reporter for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Women’s Hockey Tournament at the PyeongChang Olympics in 2018. She’s also served with NBC Sports Philadelphia, CSN Houston, the San Diego Padres, FOX Sports Southwest, and KLIF-AM and KTCK-FM/AM in Dallas.
Ian Beckles & Jay Recher New Afternoon Hosts on Sports Talk WDAE, Tampa. Sports talk WDAE, Tampa announces that Ian Beckles and Jay Recher are the new afternoon drive program co-hosts, taking over the daypart from retiring Tampa Bay radio icon Ron Diaz. WDAE program director John Mamola says, “We are thrilled to announce our new afternoon drive program featuring Ian Beckles and Jay Recher. Teaming Ian’s long-standing history in the market both as a player, entrepreneur, and radio personality with the knowledge and passion for Tampa Bay sports from Jay Recher will provide a dynamic program for sports fans in Tampa Bay to embrace. This announcement further enhances and strengthens WDAE’s standing as the voice for Tampa Bay sports fans.” Beckles was a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles during his eight-year NFL career and he joined WDAE in 2002. Recher began his career at WDAE in 2014 and has served as executive producer of multiple programs including the previous “Ron and Ian Show.”
David Rubini Launches Conspiracy Radio Network. Former Art Bell and John B. Wells producer David Rubini is launching the Conspiracy Radio Network. Rubini officially leaves Dark Matter Digital Network and “Midnight In The Desert” to begin “his own unique vision” and take his “pioneering spirit to the all-new 24/7 digital streaming platform and subscription archive service in the new radio landscape of 2021.” Rubini is now hosting his own program titled “David Rubini After Midnight AM” that will broadcast “two to three live shows each week on alternating days from 1:00 am to 5:00 am ET with “The Best of David Rubini After Midnight AM” on all Rubini off days. He says, “Unlike what we did with Art, we will get political at CRN, that’s for sure. The political climate has drastically changed since we left ‘Dark Matter.’ And with the 2020 election confusion and rise of ‘fake news’ awareness and questioning, uncensored alternative news, info, and talk are more in-demand right now than any time in modern history. Our staff of professionals are convinced CRN will absolutely fill this void in the digital content delivery space.” Terrestrial radio affiliate relations expert Ted Edwards says, “What programmers have to realize is that variety in political talk is hot right now and the political landscape has never been more fascinating to discuss and to share opinions about both like-minded and dissenting talk radio voices. CRN should have remarkable growth over the next four to eight years. I love David Rubini’s pioneering vision and I plan to help see it all the way through to fruition, responsibly performed by Rubini on-air in terrestrial syndication.” Joining this new venture are: Jordan Maxwell, Dr. Richard Alan Miller, Flat Earther Math Powerland, and controversial and polarizing YouTube sensation, Russianvids, as well as former Art Bell Network News anchor Leo Ashcraft, Ross Mitchell, Dr. John Illias, Michael Decon, Blake Walley, and Joshua Chaires
TALKERS News Notes. At Starnes Media Group’s KWAM, Memphis, Brodee Scott joins to serve as operations director. Scott previously served at iHeartMedia in Memphis. He is a longtime Memphis radio pro having also served at Flinn Broadcasting and Rebel Radio in Oxford, Mississippi. In this new role, Scott will also oversee KWAM’s growing podcast and digital platforms. KWAM general manager Dalton Glasscock says, “Brodee was born and raised in Memphis and he understands how important it is to have a locally owned, locally run news/talk radio station.”…..Indianapolis talk radio personality Tony Katz shifts his syndicated “Tony Katz Today” program from the late morning daypart to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Katz is host of the morning drive show at Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. He says, “The numbers in Indianapolis have been incredible. The show has been doing great in its current setup, it was just in a weird place, bridging two standard time slots being 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. This move shows a lot of faith in the show from WIBC and opens up a lot of opportunity.”…..WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte afternoon drive talk host Brett Winterble achieved what he calls a career milestone on December 30 when he filled in for Rush Limbaugh. About sitting in for Limbaugh on his Premiere Networks syndicated show, Winterble says, “I am just overjoyed at the chance to connect with the greatest audience in all of talk radio. It is a homecoming. I have kept in close touch with everyone at the Rush Limbaugh show over these years and nothing could be more special than to sit in that legendary seat for a man I consider a friend and mentor.” Winterble started his career with Limbaugh’s original syndicator EIB/EFM Media in 1995 and was with the show until early 2006…..Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago is adds an hour to Big John Howell’s afternoon drive show. The program now airs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Howell takes the 4:00 pm hour from Westwood One’s syndicated Ben Shapiro program that continues to air from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston announces the new program schedule that takes effect with the new year that includes the addition of Grace Curley and Jesse Kelly. Curley’s program airs from 12:15 pm to 3:00 pm and Key Networks’ syndicated Jesse Kelly airs from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am (Kelly’s show will move to the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm daypart effective February 15. iHeartMedia Boston VP of news, talk, and sports Rob Sanchez says, “We’re excited about the addition of Grace and Jesse to WRKO’s lineup. Their talents complement the established success of Jeff Kuhner in the morning and the legendary Howie Carr in afternoons.”…..Cumulus Media promotes Jon Laing to vice president and market manager for its Cincinnati cluster. Laing rises from his previous role as vice president of sales for the station group. He takes the market leadership reins from Dave Crowl, who retired in December…..Salem Radio Network and TOWNHALL news White House correspondent Greg Clugston is traveling aboard Air Force One with President Trump today (1/4) to cover a campaign rally for the Republican U.S. Senate candidates ahead of tomorrow’s runoff elections. In addition to filing special reports for SRN News and TOWNHALL News, Clugston will also serve as White House pool reporter for all other national radio networks…..VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, expands its partnership with iHeartMedia by moving its dedicated streaming radio station to digital platform iHeartRadio. VSiN had previously broadcast its content via SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
Skyview Networks OM Andy Luberda Passes After COVID Battle. Condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of Skyview Networks operations manager Andy Luberda, who died on December 29 of complications from COVID-19. Luberda joined Skyview Networks in the broadcast operations department as a board operator in 2012. In 2015, Luberda was promoted to operations manager in which he focused on managing one of the company’s largest clients, TuneIn. In 2016, Luberda’s son, Kade, joined Skyview’s operations team as a board operator. Aaron Mellis, Luberda’s longtime friend and manager shares, “We were fortunate to have Andy on the team, and as his role grew, it made a positive impact on our company and our clients. Andy’s warm heart and genuine care for his colleagues will continue to be a part of the Skyview Networks culture.” Skyview has set up a GoFundMe page for his family to help raise funds for medical and memorial costs and to provide financial support for Kade during this difficult time.
GOP Senators to Challenge Election Results/Trump Georgia Phone Call, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Georgia Runoff Elections, Pelosi Keeps Speaker Post, and Texas Church Shooting Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The move by a group of GOP senators to challenge the election results and the recording of President Trumpasking the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” votes in his favor; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the Georgia runoff election for its two U.S. Senate seats; Nancy Pelosi retains her House Speaker position; and the fatal shooting at a Texas church were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Brett Winterble Named Afternoon Drive Host at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Recently let go from San Diego news/talk KFMB-AM – along with the rest of the staff as the station changes hands from Tegna to new owner Local Media San Diego – is talk show host Brett Winterble, who begins his new gig at Entercom’s heritage talker WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte on Monday (2/17). Entercom SVP and market manager Matthew Hanlon says, “Brett Winterble represents the future of audio. When John Hancock took this exact seat on WBT 30 years ago, he was a progressive-minded voice in the market, placing an emphasis on issues that affected the community. Brett takes on a similar role in a new and meaningful way for our loyal audience. He cares about the listener and demonstrates a genuine interest in the community. We’re thrilled that Brett is joining our team.” In addition to his five-year stint at KFMB-AM, Winterble hosted afternoon drive at KFWB-AM, Los Angeles and served as a producer for Rush Limbaugh and Michael Reagan. Winterble takes over the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show from John Hancock, who announced his retirement in October 2019.
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. The new episode titled, “Off to the Races!” looks back at this past week of February 10-14, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Todd Feinburg, talk show host, WTIC, Hartford; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, syndicated talk show host, Compass Media Networks; Heidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; and Joshua Philipp, senior investigative reporter, The Epoch Times. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing 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.
‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold Town Hall on Prisoner Re-Entry. Next Thursday (2/20), Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” will present the next in its Town Hall series, addressing the issue of re-entry of New Jersey residents into mainstream society, including the unique and specific challenges faced by these residents and their families. ‘NJ101.5’ special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott will moderate the Town Hall. He says, “Our Town Hall broadcasts help create a better understanding among New Jersey residents while seeking to identify real and practical solutions to some of our state’s most difficult issues. More than half of those being released from prison in New Jersey today will be rearrested within three years. Almost a third will be sent back to prison. This program will explore ways to break the cycle of recidivism and confront the challenges of returning former inmates to society.” Expert panelists will include: former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, whose work with the New Jersey Reentry Corporation is well-known throughout the state; Haywood Gandy, who was released from prison in 2018 after serving 20 years on armed robbery and other charges and is now the director of re-entry for The H.U.B.B. (Help Us Become Better) Arts & Trauma Center in Newark; Daniel Lombardo, president and CEO of Volunteers of America Delaware Valley; and Jessica O’Neill, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Camden. Online, under the direction of ‘New Jersey 101.5’ digital managing editor Louis C. Hochman, the Town Hall will be streamed via Facebook Live, with representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Reentry Coalition of New Jersey, and Volunteers of America available to answer questions and provide resources for persons in need.
SBG Announces Creation of All-Female Marketing Team. Syndication and sales firm Sun Broadcast Group announces the formation of an all-female marketing team consisting of 11-year SBG veteran Loren Christofori – who has been promoted to director of marketing, former Envision Networks marketing and affiliate specialist, Jen Weisfeld – now in the role of marketing manager, and SBG alum Amber Kelley joining as marketing assistant. SBG president and founder Jason Bailey, “I know I speak for the entire SBG family when I say how proud we are to introduce this new all-female marketing team. Anyone who knows me knows that I take our brand very seriously. I couldn’t be more excited to place the next chapter of the SBG story in the hands of Loren, Jen, and Amber. I’m thrilled to see all the great ideas they have come to life.”
BFoA Names 2020 Leadership Awards Recipients. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces the recipients of the 2020 Leadership Awards that will be presented at the Broadcasters Foundation Annual Breakfast on April 22 in Las Vegas during the NAB Show. This year’s honorees are: Marci Burdick, senior advisor to Schurz Communications, retired; Kim Guthrie, president & chief executive officer, Cox Media Group; Kraig Kitchin, partner, Sound Mind LLC; Weezie Kramer, COO, Entercom Communications; Barbara Kreisman, chief, Video Division, FCC; Leo MacCourtney, president, Katz Television Group. The Broadcasters Foundation will also present the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award during the Breakfast. That honoree will be announced shortly.
Galaxy Media Celebrates 30 Anniversary. Earlier this week (2/12), Galaxy Media Partners celebrated 30 years of service to the Central New York Community. It was on that date in 1990 that Pam and Ed Levine began operation of WKLL-FM, Frankfort in the Utica market with its first studios and offices in the back of a diner. The company added stations in Syracuse in 1993, with additional acquisitions in 2001 and 2007. Galaxy created an events division in 2007 that has grown to encompass all of Central New York and New York State. Also in 2007, Galaxy became the flagship station for Syracuse University athletics and created a sports marketing division. Company president and CEO Ed Levine says, “We are proud to celebrate 30 years of service to the Central New York Community. Pam and I intend to continue to serve the Syracuse and Utica markets for many years to come.”
Beasley Personality Marisa Magnatta Hosts ‘Path to Pro… How to Be a Player in Esports.’ Philadelphia morning show personality Marisa Magnatta is hosting Beasley Media Group’s first ever “Path to Pro … How to be a Player in Esports” live event today from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Nerd Street Gamers in Philadelphia. Esports experts and success stories will take part in panel discussions that will “provide attendees with an ‘insiders’ perspective on esports and the many paths that an individual can take to pursuing a career in professional gaming and what life is like as an elite player in the Overwatch League, as well as explore the different paths one might take to get there.” WMMR-FM personality Magnatta says, “The feedback I’ve received after hosting the first season of ‘FTW Philly’ on NBC Sports Philadelphia has been all over the map…from expert to novice. The most common question I hear is, how do you actually start a career in esports? Our ‘Path to Pro’ event will be the ultimate guidebook for anyone interested in achieving their esports dream!”
The Presidential Race/New Hampshire Primary Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 10-14, 2020. The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and the results of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the aftermath of the impeachment trial of President Trump. Coming in at #3 was the controversy surrounding Trump’s influencing the sentencing of Roger Stone, and presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s 2015 racist stop & frisk comments and race relations at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the 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. Boston sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” enters into a multi-year partnership with Special Olympics Massachusetts. The collaboration between the Beasley Media Group station and the non-profit “will be instrumental in helping to raise funds, recruit volunteers, and support all major programs, such as the Summer Games, scheduled to take place June 12-14 at the Harvard Athletic Complex in Boston. WBZ-FM program director Rick Radzik says, “It is an honor and privilege to partner with a tremendous organization that makes a difference in the lives of others like Special Olympics. As the leading sports radio station in the country, we believe it’s important to align ourselves with an organization that offers support and inclusion for so many athletes, who otherwise might not have the opportunity to participate. It’s the perfect fit!”…..Podcast producer Cadence13 – part of Entercom’s RADIO.COM – is starting production on a new sports documentary podcast franchise that will explore “a wide range of compelling stories and people from the world of sports.” Season one will focus on the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. Season one will be hosted and written by Ben Reiter, the author of the New York Times bestseller Astroball: The New Way to Win it All…..iHeartMedia is expanding the iHeartPodcast Network with more Spanish-language and Hispanic-focused offerings with a slate of podcasts hosted and co-produced by radio personality Enrique Santos, who also serves as chairman and chief creative officer of iHeartLatino. iHeartMedia is launching a multi-year development, co-production, and distribution partnership with multicultural digital audio network, reVOLVER…..Entercom and Univision sign an agreement for all-news WCBS-AM to produce Spanish-language coverage of New York Mets baseball on Univision’s Spanish hits outlet WQBU, New York “Que Buena 92.7.” Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “We’re pleased to partner with Univision New York to bring New York Mets games to Spanish-speaking fans. As the unrivaled leader in local sports coverage, we’re looking forward to bringing our premier content to an even broader audience through this strategic partnership.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of career radio pro George Woods, who died on February 8. During his career, Woods was a talk host at such stations as WOW-AM, KKAR-AM, and KFAB-AM in Omaha and KCMO-AM, Kansas City. During the latter part of his career, he built and operated the multi-format, on-demand internet radio platform Radio George. Woods also served on the board of the non-profit radio organization The Conclave, volunteered for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, and travelled extensively with his wife Nancy Kaywood, who also serves on the Conclave board. She suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Bob Woodruff Foundation in Woods’ name.
FOX News Radio Positions Open. There are three news posts that FOX News is seeking to fill. The first is Overnight Freelance Anchor for FOX News Radio in Washington, DC, Los Angeles or New York City. FOX says, “As a radio news anchor you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a days’ notice.” See more about that position and apply here. The second position is staff producer and news editor for FOX News in New York City. In this position you will supervise the staff for FOX’s network radio news operation, Fox News Headlines 24/7. As the producer/news editor you are editorial leader, working with news anchors to craft the content and structure of a 24/7 news operation. See more about that position here. The third position is Freelance Radio Master Control Operator in New York. For this position the company is seeking a technically strong and motivated operator to provide technical oversight over all FOX News Radio platforms, including FOX News Radio’s terrestrial operation, FOX News Talk and FOX News Headlines 24/7. See more and apply for this position here.
Great Radio Management Opportunity. A broadcast owner has an immediate opening in a Northwest radio market for a general manager who is a self-directed individual with managerial skills, strong sales experience, and organizational talents. Candidate must have an established, result-oriented history. Must be a community-minded individual and possess written and verbal communications skills and leadership direction with the ability to convey to others. The successful candidate must maximize growth of the station while developing overall sales department operations; perform operational tasks; create sales and promotional opportunities; and have a willingness to recruit, hire, train, and support station staff. Must have thorough knowledge of radio broadcast industry. Three years proven sales experience required. B.A. Degree in Broadcast Journalism a “plus.” Successful candidate will be compensated equal to qualifications and performance. EOE. Contact: Radio Northwest, 18925 SW 84th Avenue, Tualatin OR 98062 503.223.6769. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital Content Producer. At Entercom’s Charlotte cluster consisting of news/talk WBT-AM/FM, sports talk WFNZ-AM/W273DA, and hot AC WLNK “The Link” has an immediate opening for a digital content producer. The company says, “The ideal candidate is an exceptional, quick-thinking multi-tasker with a passion for news, sports, music, entertainment and an ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment to producing top-quality multimedia content for all cluster stations. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: Research, write, edit, and publish original content for our websites. Ensure all daily content is optimized for SEO. Monitor social media for story ideas. Effectively post to social media to drive engagement and traffic while following company strategy and policy. Execute web initiatives as directed. Work closely with digital content coordinator and other team members to achieve digital goals. Participate in all applicable Entercom training to fully take advantage of tools and best practices. Other duties as assigned.” See more about this position and apply here. EOE.
Milwaukee’s ‘97.3 The Game’ Brings Steve Czaban in for AM Drive. Sports talk radio personality Steve Czaban is the new morning drive host on iHeartMedia’s WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “97.3 The Game, Milwaukee’s Sports Talk That Rocks.” “The Steve Czaban Show” debuts on Monday (5/6) and will air from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. With the arrival of Czaban, the current “Drew & KB” program moves to afternoon drive. Czaban, who also hosts afternoon drive at Radio One’s WTEM, Washington, DC, most recently was a cast member at crosstown rock WHQG’s “Bob & Brian” show. He’s also served with Sporting News, ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio, Yahoo Sports Radio, and SB Nation Radio. He comments, “The chance for me to do more in Milwaukee was too good to pass up. This is exactly the style and attitude of sports radio that I love to do. Nobody hustles in front of a winning parade better than me! I plan to celebrate the highs, curse the lows, and laugh at all the absurdity in between – just like I’ve always done. The program lineup at ‘The Game’ is amazing and I’m humbled to be a part of it.”
WICC-AM, Bridgeport Announces New Local Shows. Yesterday, TALKERS magazine reported the departure of programmer Mike Bellamy from WICC-AM, Bridgeport, Connecticut as well as the pairing of Melissa Sheketoff with incumbent morning personality Tony Reno for the new morning show. Connoisseur Media, now operating the station under an LMA as it waits to close on the swap with Cumulus Media, also announces it’s going local in afternoons with well-known market personality Paul Pacelli hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. Joining Pacelli to produce the show and provide local sports content is former Waterbury Republican and CT Post writer Aaron Johnson. Pacelli states, “I’m thrilled and honored to be on board at a heritage powerhouse like WICC, a station synonymous with greater Bridgeport and Southwestern Connecticut. My goal is to present a passionate, entertaining, and vital platform for local newsmakers, personalities, and residents.” Station OM Keith Dakin adds, “For a station like WICC to have continued success on the AM dial it needs to fully embrace the community. We want to make this station come alive on all levels from podcasting to social to an on-air product that the Bridgeport community can be proud to call their own.”
New Programming Announced for Entercom’s RADIO.COM Sports. Two new, original shows are debuting on Entercom’s RADIO.COM Sports. Both “Big Time Basketball” and “Big Time Baseball” are twice-weekly shows that “feature expert analysis from RADIO.COM Sports insiders providing the most up-to-date news, commentary and happenings.” “Big Time Basketball” is hosted by former NBA player, coach, and Celtics television commentator Brian Scalabrine and KGMZ-FM, San Francisco personality Matt Steinmetz. “Big Time Baseball” is hosted by Jon Heyman, veteran play-by-play voice Josh Lewin, and a rotation of guest hosts, including Joe Girardi, Bob Nightengale, and others to be announced. RADIO.COM Sports is also adding new football insiders, including Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger, and Philadelphia Eagles insider Eliot Shorr-Parks. Shorr-Parks and Baldinger will host a weekly football digital show on May 14. Entercom president of sports Mike Dee comments, “With the addition of these three new shows, RADIO.COM Sports continues to expand our digital content offering for fans across the country. We look forward to continuing to build the RADIO.COM Sports digital platform with more native content in the weeks and months ahead.”
Michael Harrison and TALKERS Debut New Weekend Radio Show on iHeart’s Washington’s WONK-FM. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison has agreed to host a one-hour, weekend magazine-style program on the recently launched iHeartMedia project WONK-FM, Washington, DC “Washington’s WONK-FM,” beginning tomorrow (5/4). The program titled, “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation,” features interviews and commentary by the heritage broadcaster that provide a politically even-handed and balanced analysis of the most prevalent points of view being discussed each week in talk media per the research gathered by TALKERS. Interviews are conducted with newsmakers, pundits and, of course, talk show hosts from around the country and subject matter reflects the information published each week on the TALKERS top topics charts. Harrison, who was a major market and nationally syndicated air personality in both music and talk formats during the pioneering days of album rock and then the modern talk era, has been back on the air hosting shows for the past two years as a fill-in on such stations as WRKO, Boston; WMAL, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz; and several others, in addition to anchoring the weekend syndicated ensemble program, “A Touch of Grey: The Talk Show for Grownups” (hosted by Carole Marks). Harrison says, “It all began when I started doing the weekly podcast, ‘The Michael Harrison Interview,’ with PodcastOne four years ago. People in the business would say things like, ‘I didn’t know you could actually do radio like that!’ My juices began flowing again and not only have I been enjoying the experience as if I were 19 years old breaking into radio again, but the first-hand knowledge I have gained working in the trenches of the modern industry has significantly enhanced my understanding of how it actually operates in the real world and has helped me do my job at TALKERS with an even keener perspective.” Harrison adds, “I love being part of this new WONK-FM experiment because it encourages me to follow my natural inclination to remain ideologically objective and independent and avoid the hyper-partisanship that comes with seeking victory at the expense of truth whereby you simply target audiences to affirm their preconceived notions. I like what iHeartMedia is doing with this station and I love having the opportunity to collaborate with the station’s PD Michael Czarnecki (who is also PD of the iHeart Podcast Channel) – a young up-and-coming programming star with whom I happily crossed paths at WRKO over the past couple of years.” “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation” airs on WONK-FM Saturday mornings at 9:00 am ET. It is a production of Goodphone Communications in association with TALKERS magazine.
Griffin Communications Appoints Randy Smith Director of Radio Sales. Oklahoma media firm Griffin Communications announces Randy Smith joins the company as director of radio sales. Griffin owned just television stations and digital platforms in Oklahoma City and Tulsa prior to acquiring five Tulsa radio stations – including news/talk KFAQ – from Scripps last summer for $12.5 million. Griffin director of radio operations and programming Steve Hunter says, “Randy brings years of experience, an abundance of local connections, and a can-do spirit to our already winning team. He is a clear standout in motivating people to maximize their potential and bottom-line impact, a skill that will prove invaluable as he joins our Griffin family.” Prior to joining Griffin, Smith served as director of sales-radio for Cox Media Group.
Valentine Podcast Sponsors NASCAR Driver. The picture above shows the logo of talk radio host Phil Valentine’s podcast, “PodGOATs,” on the hood of NASCAR driver Tommy Joe Martins’ Toyota Supra. “PodGOATs” is co-hosted by Valentine and his son, Campbell. Valentine says they talk about everything from the history of alcohol to dating to advertising to the history of the mob – a unique blend of a wide array of topics from two different perspectives, from a Baby Boomer and a Millennial. Valentine explains the sponsorship, “I know this may sound rather random, but Diamond Gusset Jeans – one of our main sponsors – approached us with this opportunity and it was just too good to turn down. Somebody has to be a pioneer in podcast sponsorships in this arena. It’s fertile ground.” The PodGOATs will be in the pit tomorrow (5/4) in Dover, Delaware for the Allied Steel Buildings 200. Valentine’s radio talk show is heard daily on Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville “99.7 WTN” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
WGFX-FM, Nashville’s Jonathan Hutton Named ‘Man of the Year.’ Sports talk personality Jonathan Hutton was recently honored by the Tennessee Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as its 2019 Man of the Year. Hutton led the effort by WGFX “104-5 The Zone” that raised $152,499.31 during the 10-week fund drive that included: an off-the-record event with Tennessee Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk, a HORSE-style basketball tournament, a Masters-themed golf competition at Top Golf, and a chalk talk draftee breakdown and dinner with NFL Films’ Greg Cosell. Pictured above at the “Evening with Amy” event are (from l-r): Kenneth Adams, Titans Ownership Group; Eddie George, former Titan; Logan Ryan, current Titan; Hutton; Strunk; John McClain, Houston Chronicle/WGFX analyst; Blaine Bishop, former Titan and WGFX morning host; Kevin Byard, current Titan; David Quesenberry, current Titan.
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WSCR, Chicago “The Score” producer Eli Hershkovich is taking on a role with Entercom’s RADIO.COM as a producer/sports gambling analyst. WSCR operations manager Mitch Rosen is quoted saying, “This is truly a great example of someone building, growing, and advancing their brand into a new, innovative position within Entercom and Radio.Com Sports, which is growing and expanding into the content creation business rapidly.”…..The Duluth News-Tribune reports that KDAL-AM/W280FB, Duluth, Minnesota talk host Kenneth Kalligher has been charged with misdemeanor domestic assault. Kalligher, who hosts the “Midday Live” show on the Midwest Communications-owned station, pleaded not guilty. The story reports that court documents indicate the female complainant said she and Kalligher “were arguing when he struck her in the right temple, causing her to ‘see stars’ and fall to the ground.” Kalligher was off the air for two days but returned to his program yesterday (5/2). He’ll be back in court later this month…..B’nai B’rith International produces a podcast and on the current episode, Pamela Nadell, the Patrick Clendenen chair in Women’s and Gender History at American University’s Department of History and the author of America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today, is the guest with B’nai B’rith CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin for a discussion on the history of Jewish women in American life. In this episode, Nadell and Mariaschin discuss the societal roles of Jewish women across classes, professions, and time periods, as well as their roles in pivotal social movements in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the labor movement, women’s suffrage and the feminist movement. Check out the podcast here.
Barr Hearing/Mueller Report Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 29 – May 3. Wednesday’s appearance by Attorney General William Barr before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the related release of the Mueller Report were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential race and related politics. Coming in at #3 was the San Diego synagogue shooting and the rise of anti-Semitism, followed by the UNCC shooting and gun violence at #4. The Talkers TenTM is weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the 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.
Rising Radio Star and Master Storyteller Lee Habeeb Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The host and producer of one of the fastest-growing, syndicated properties in talk radio, Lee Habeeb, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The nightly, two-hour program is called “Our American Stories” and since its launch three years ago, the spoken-word juggernaut is making waves on commercial news/talk stations as well as music formats across the nation. Habeeb was inspired by public radio shows such as “This American Life,” which tap into the art of storytelling, in conceiving the highly researched and meticulously produced “Our American Stories.” Although conservative in its values, the program is distinctly non-partisan and strives to bring Americans of all political ideologies together based on our cultural commonality. It explores popular culture, politics, business, science… the spectrum of topics, people and angles that make up the rich and intricate fabric of America, its history and its people. The program is breaking new ground on many levels, not just in its programming approach, but in its business model as well, again tapping into the public radio paradigm. It is set up as a non-profit and investing a tremendous amount of capital in the quality of its original content programming. Habeeb describes “Our American Stories” as an innovation in the commercial talk radio sphere – no politics, no opinions, just stories. He says, “We tell a story and the audience tells us their stories — with raw emotional power. Daily bringing the campfire scene to your ears.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the daily TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com. Meet Lee Habeeb at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story in New York on Friday, June 7 where he will be discussing storytelling as a key component of successful radio.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The owner of classic rock WWRR, Scranton says the station has made radio history by accumulating more than 1 million Likes on Facebook. Bold Gold Media Group says the Northeast PA station “has become a social media juggernaut over the past decade, mastering the art of leveraging on-air and social to rapidly grow its following. The station has become the most-followed social media page based within Northeast PA and one of the most-followed radio station social sites in the entire United States.” Bold Gold president & founder Vince Benedetto says, “We’ve really enjoyed watching our stations become online influencers. Our stations have always been unique… from our highly visible studio inside the Mohegan Sun Pocono casino, our state-of-the-art RadioBOLD mobile platforms, and with our engaging social media, we’ve tried to be a different and more entrepreneurial media group. We’re thrilled to make some radio history and also bring some attention to the combined power of radio and social media.”…..Connoisseur Media announces that Storm N. Norman is returning to Westport, Connecticut adult contemporary WEBE to host mornings, beginning Monday (5/6). Norman served on-air on WEBE for 30 years. He says, “WEBE 108 has been my radio home for most of my adult life and I am thrilled to again wake up families in Southern Connecticut. It’s a great opportunity to work with Jeff Warshawand the incredible folks at local Connoisseur Media.”…..Programming pro Miggy Santos joins Midwest Communications Battle Creek, Michigan station group as brand manager for country WNWN “WIN 98.5.” He was most recently with Neuhoff Media as operations manager for CHR duo WWHX, Bloomington “HOT 100.7” and WSOY-FM, Decatur, Illinois “Y103.”…..iHeartMedia Milwaukee announces the deal with local furniture franchise Steinhafels in which the latter is sponsoring iHM’s new performance lounge (pictured below). The new Steinhafels Relax Lounge is located in the iHeartMedia Milwaukee station headquarters and will showcase musical talent, live broadcasts, viewing parties, and more. It will also be furnished by Steinhafels, allowing the store to showcase the latest contemporary furniture it offers.
Swenson Out at Entercom Washington; Phil Zachary to Assume Market Manager Role. According to several consumer media reports (including the Philadelphia Business Journal) Entercom Hartford SVP and market manager Phil Zachary is leaving the cluster to assume the same role at the company’s Washington, DC operations. The company has not commented publicly about the change, but the report indicates Zachary will take over the position from Steve Swenson. Zachary moved to the Hartford cluster from the market manager position at Entercom’s Boston operations just after the CBS RADIO deal closed last November. His duties also included oversight of the Providence and Springfield, Massachusetts markets.
Radio Station Imaging Master and Syndicated Show Host, Nick Michaels Dies. Holland Cooke Pens Tribute. One of the radio industry’s most influential voice over artists and musical curators, Nick Michaels, reportedly died of a sudden heart attack in his Pinecrest (Miami), Florida home on Friday (5/25). Michaels was the host, writer and producer of the long-running, American Voice Corporation syndicated classic rock show, “The Deep End,” heard on music stations across the nation and the imaging voice of numerous major/medium market news/talk and all-news stations. He was known for his rich tone and thoughtful – almost poetic – approach to copy that made him one of the most distinguished performers in the radio business. Michaels’ media career began in advertising in his native Canada where success brought him to New York City in the late 1970s. He appeared as the voice in many major national radio and television spots for a variety of major products and television programs. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Nick Michaels joined forces five years ago as Michael & Michaels co-producing a Memorial Day one-time special, “The Classic Rock Summer of ’13 Kick-Off” – a two-hour countdown of the most popular summer songs from the AOR era. Harrison says, “The industry has lost a legend and I have lost a friend. Nick was a one-of-a-kind talent and a passionate proponent of everything good about the kind of radio we grew up with and love.” Media consultant, RT America TV host and special TALKERS correspondent Holland Cooke, a very close friend of Michaels, penned a tribute to the late broadcaster. To read it, please click here. In July of 2015, Nick Michaels appeared as a guest on the PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” To listen to a clip from that conversation, please click here.
WQTX, Lansing Sports Talk Host Suing Fellow Michigan Personality. What sounds like a feud between two sports talk hosts that goes back a few years is now a lawsuit in the state of Michigan. According to the Lansing State Journal, WQTX, Lansing sports talk host Ryan Schuiling is suing WBBL, Grand Rapids-based sports talker Bill Simonson and his employer, Cumulus Media, for defamation. Schuiling alleges that Simonson made “false allegations” in a column he wrote on the blog Detroit Sports Rag, including accusing Schuiling of attempting to “orchestrate some alleged sexual interaction with Mr. Simonson’s daughter.” Schuiling says Simonson sent the link to the story to the IBEW – one of Schuiling’s sponsors – and that the actions have caused him emotional distress and have affected his professional standing in the community. Simonson says the allegations in the suit are untrue and lack merit. See the story here.
PPM Analysis: News/Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk. Five news/talk stations saw (6+) increases of more than one full share from March to April, and four of those benefitted from the start of the baseball season. They are: Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis (+2.3); Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee (+1.9); iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati (+1.6); KOA, Denver (+1.4); and Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City (+1.2). Meanwhile, iHeartMedia’s WTKS-FM, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1” is up 2.6 shares since April of 2017, and Emmis’ WIBC, Indianapolis is up two full shares. Four news/talk stations ranked #1 in their respective markets in April: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; KOA, Denver; KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City; and Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.” Read the whole report here.
Price: Protect Your People, Protect Your Brand. By now, most broadcasters are aware of the tragic deaths of the two young television journalists from WYFF-TV, Greenville, South Carolina who perished while covering Subtropical Storm Alberto over the weekend. While the accident appears to have been a matter of bad timing – a tree fell on their SUV while they were driving – business continuity expert Howard Price writes that it is occurrences like these that should make all broadcasters review their safety protocols to make sure they offer the best safety practices to staffers. Read his piece here.
Radio Journalist Bob Fuss Dies at 64. Former longtime CBS Radio News reporter Bob Fuss died in Falls Church, Virginia on Sunday (5/27) after a battle with a rare form of leukemia. During his long radio news career, Fuss served as Capitol Hill correspondent for 16 years. During that time, he covered the impeachment of President Clinton, the Florida presidential election re-count, and the 9/11 terror attacks. He covered the House and Senate for CBS Radio and reported national political stories until his retirement in 2014. CBS News general manager Craig Swagler writes about Fuss saying, “After his retirement, he wrote a book about his life, Kidnapped by Nuns: And Other Stories of a Life on the Radio, drawing from his work and personal experiences in 50 states and 70 countries. The book briefly addresses what listeners couldn’t see: he was disabled. He writes he was born with defects his parents were told could end his life before adulthood. He beat the odds and described himself as ‘a busy and active kid’ who ‘never let anything slow me down.’ That attitude held true throughout his adult life; unable to walk without crutches, he never allowed the handicap to deter him from attaining his career goals or pursuing activities like snorkeling and skiing.” Swagler adds, “Bob was an extraordinary reporter with a true skill for making complicated stories relatable for everyday people. Not only was Bob an outstanding journalist he was an all-around optimistic and funny person. A true joy to work with.”
TALKERS News Notes. In the Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana market, Cumulus Media names Aaron Criswell vice president and market manager for the five-station cluster that includes sports talk KRMD-AM “The Ticket Sports Radio” and four music-formatted stations…..Chris Forgy is promoted within Saga Communications to the newly created corporate position SVP of operations. In making the announcement, Saga CEO Ed Christian comments, “Chris is a world-class broadcaster whose contributions to Saga will be very important and strategic as he joins us in the corporate office.” Most recently, Forgy was president and general manager of the company’s Columbus station group…..The Arizona Broadcasters Association announces that Art Brooks is exiting the president and CEO position after a near 30-year stint. Brooks says, “I leave the ABA proud of the many things we have been able to accomplish together in my nearly three decades of leadership and will remain ever grateful for the many friends I have made in the Arizona broadcasting community. I’m eager to explore my next adventure both personally and professionally.”
U.S.-North Korea Summit, Subtropical Storm Alberto, Ireland Abortion Vote, Starbucks Bias Training, Solo Film, Memorial Day Holiday, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The off-again, on-again summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un; subtropical storm Alberto hits the Southeast U.S.; the aftermath of Ireland’s vote to repeal the ban on abortion; Starbucks’ plan to close all stores today (5/29) for companywide bias training; the newest Star Wars film Solo; the Memorial Day holiday; Major League Baseball action; and the NBA Conference Finals 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. On-air pro Rebecca Wilde is becoming a personality on the “Wicker in the Morning” program with Jeff Wicker on Entercom’s hot AC WTVR-FM, Richmond. Entercom Virginia SVP Bennett Zier comments, “We’re thrilled to bring Rebecca back into the Richmond mix and look forward to having her reconnect with our community. Rebecca’s drive and enthusiasm will ensure we continue to deliver the engaging local content our listeners look forward to daily on ‘Mix 98.1.’” She previously worked on-air in the market at hot AC WURV and hip hop WBTJ…..Longtime Myrtle Beach personality David “Prez” Spindler retires from Dick Broadcasting classic rock WYAV “Wave 104.1” Station operations manager Charlie Steele says, “We wish Prez the best with where life takes him next. He’s spent a long time in the radio trenches and will be missed.”
Michael Harrison Says Talk Radio Is at the Forefront of Radio’s Evolution into the Digital Era. At this morning’s (9/29) weekly meeting of the TALKERS editorial board, the publication’s founder addressed the relationship between talk radio and music radio from a sales perspective saying that the foreground nature of talk radio and the significant influence its talent have over the actions of its loyal listeners gives advertisers a tremendous bang for their buck – “on a dollar by dollar basis, as much as three times the potency of music radio for a wide variety of general consumer products including restaurants, automobiles, appliances, clothing, travel and health care.” According to Michael Harrison, spoken word radio’s influence on keeping the medium pertinent extends beyond advertising power. He states, “Talk show programming is at the forefront of three movements that make it the most formidable force in radio today. These include the transition and expansion of audio media from on-air to online platforms; the delivery of effective direct-response marketing to advertisers; and continuing influence in public policy and the marketplace of ideas. In today’s noisy world, influence is valuable currency unto itself.” Harrison brought the issue up at the meeting after having recently been asked to comment on the subject of selling talk radio for a story being written by a major consumer publication.
Deborah Rodriguez New AM Anchor on WCBS News Radio. Starting Monday (10/2), radio news pro Deborah Rodriguez is the weekday morning drive time anchor for CBS News Radio. Rodriguez will anchor the top-of-the-hour newscasts on the network starting at 5:00 am. She takes over for Frank Settipani, who handled the morning anchor position for the past 10 years. Rodriguez has been with CBS News Radio since 2014 as a writer, reporter and correspondent anchoring such major news events as the San Bernardino terrorist attack, the shooting of five Dallas police officers, the presidential campaign, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, and Hurricane Harvey. Between 1992 and 2017, Rodriguez also worked at WCBS-AM, New York “Newsradio 880” anchoring middays and the afternoon drive dayparts. She was WCBS-AM news director from 2008 through 2014.
Shelman to Program KBOI, Boise. Afternoon drive talk show host Nate Shelman is adding program director duties to his role with Cumulus Media’s news/talk KBOI-AM. The company had been searching for a new program director and, in a memo to the staff from vice president and market manager Don Morin, Shelman is quoted saying, “I consider it an honor and a great pleasure to continue keeping KBOI as successful as it has been and will work hard with everybody to accomplish and surpass our goals!”
WTIC, Hartford Welcomes Bob Cox Back to Morning Show. Hartford news/talk WTIC-AM “NewsTalk 1080” announces a change to “The Morning Show with Ray Dunaway” as meteorologist Joe Furey exits the show and Bob Cox returns to serve as weekday morning meteorologist. Cox previously held the position from 1992 to 2014. WTIC-AM program director Jenneen Lee says, “Together, Bob, Sam, Steve and AccuWeather will provide important local weather forecasts, without the hype, to WTIC’s loyal listeners throughout Connecticut. We’re thrilled to welcome Bob back to the station and feel great about the dynamic team we have in place.”
iHeartMedia Names Drew Salamon to New Regional Sales Post. Radio sales pro Drew Salamon is moving from iHeartMedia’s Pittsburgh Region to the Virginia-Carolina Region to take on the regional vice president of sales position. iHM Virginia-Carolina Region president Dave Carwile says, “Drew is a natural leader and has a proven track record of success in this role. His experience as the region senior vice president of sales in iHeartMedia’s Pittsburgh Region, oversight of sales efforts with world championship teams like Pittsburgh Steelers Radio Network, back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins Radio Network and his tremendous passion for helping clients grow their business makes Drew the perfect choice for this important role.”
TALKERS News Notes. Satellite radio operator SiriusXM announces the appointment of Megan Liberman to the position of SVP, news, talk & entertainment. She comes to the company from the digital world, having most recently served as vice president and editor-in-chief at Yahoo News Group. To this position she brings experience from the print news industry, having served for 13 years with The New York Times, ultimately as deputy news editor. The following executives will report to her: Dave Gorab, VP/GM, talk programming; Tim Johnson, PD, entertainment programming; Steve Sturniolo, PD, entertainment programming; Jack Vaughn, SVP, comedy programming…..The Boston Globe and public radio news talker WBUR, Boston are partnering for a new, daily podcast designed to provide “in-depth analysis and thought-provoking discourse on sports.” Titled, “Season Ticket” (and launching on 10/2), it will be hosted by Globe sports columnist Chris Gasper. A preview episode is available and delves into the NFL protests issues from a local perspective …..WHMP-AM, Northampton, Massachusetts morning drive personality Bob Flaherty is training hard for his October 6 ping pong marathon fundraiser. Flaherty and the Saga Communications news/talk station will be at Zing! Table Tennis in Northampton from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm as Flaherty attempts to play for 12 hours straight — against a number of local politicians as well as regular citizens — while raising cash for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield’s refugees resettlement project. Check out the promo poster at right with Flaherty dressed up like John McEnroe.
Smyth Inducted into Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Pictured above are Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley (left) and former Greater Media chairman and CEO Peter Smyth (right) at yesterday’s Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon. Smyth was among the 2017 Inductees recognized for their life-long contributions and commitment to the broadcasting industry. Caroline Beasley commented, “On behalf of the entire Beasley Media Group family, we are thrilled for Peter in receiving this well-deserved honor that celebrates his many outstanding contributions and achievements in the broadcasting Industry.” Beasley Media Group acquired Greater Media’s radio stations in 2016.
NFL Anthem Protests Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 25-29. The protests by NFL players during the playing of the national anthem and President Trump’s admonition of the protesters was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Trump administration’s tax overhaul plan. Coming in at #3 was the GOP’s attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, followed by Alabama judge Roy Moore’s victory in the GOP Senate special election primary at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View this week’s entire chart here.
KHOW, Denver Talk Show Host and Former FEMA Director Michael Brown is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The latest installment of the award-winning PodcastOne media series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” posted on 9/26 features a fascinating, wide-ranging conversation between the TALKERS founder and KHOW, Denver host Michael Brown. Brown, a non-practicing attorney, hosts the daily 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm show on the iHeartMedia powerhouse. He gained fame (including a degree of infamy) while serving as head of FEMA during the post-Hurricane Katrina days of the President George W. Bush administration when he became the “poster boy” for all that went wrong in the government’s handling of the devastating crisis. Brown – a member of theTALKERS “Heavy Hundred” – has gone on to become a tremendously successful radio personality. He has also evolved into one of the nation’s leading “go-to” experts on the volatile intersection of natural disasters and politics. According to Harrison, “Michael Brown has evolved into one of the most original, knowledgeable and forthright hosts in talk radio today. His experience in the Department of Homeland Security [that incorporates FEMA], that included a trial by fire in the media in the aftermath of Katrina, has given him first-hand knowledge and extraordinary wisdom in the complex subject of government and personal responsibility during and after natural disasters.” Harrison continues, “He has also developed tremendous savvy about the modern-day issues of the radio business including navigating social media, accumulating workable cross-platform metrics, and balancing local and national content in the age of Donald Trump – topics we explore in this conversation.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. On air pro Shawnda McNeal joins Cumulus Media’s country KIZN, Boise “Kissin’ 92.3” where she’ll be part of the morning show with Cory Mikhals and will also host the midday program from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. During her career, McNeal has worked on air at KDGE, Dallas “102.1 The Edge,” KHMX, Houston “Mix 96.5” and others. Station program director Hank Aaron says, “We did an extensive national search to find the exact right person to join Cory Mikhals for mornings at ‘Kissin’ 92.3.’ Shawnda not only brings morning show experience but the energy, creativity, and passion to win. Can’t wait for them to start this Monday!”…..Envision Networks expands its partnership with Sun Broadcast Group to include additional affiliate sales support for Sun’s nationally syndicated shows, “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” and “Slacker & Steve.” Envision Networks continues its affiliation support for Sun’s Shazam for Radio platform. The two companies have been working closely together for years on various products including advertising sales support for Envision Hispanic and general market products including “Six Second Reviews,” AudioMonky, “Our Auto Expert” and Collin Raye’s “Rewind Country.” Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “With the continued success of Shazam for Radio affiliations, we are thrilled to add ‘Slacker & Steve’ and ‘Little Steven’s Underground Garage’ to the list of programming we can offer radio stations. Sun Broadcast Group represents some of the best talent available for syndication and we look forward to expanding their current footprints throughout the USA.”…..Country superstar Kenny Chesney (right) is co-hosting “Country Countdown USA” with Lon Helton (left) this weekend (9/30-10/1). On the program, the two discuss Chesney’s Love For Love City Fund, aimed at helping the residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands, hard hit by Hurricane Irma. Chesney also discusses his recent shows at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, his current hit “All The Pretty Girls,” and his forthcoming album Live In No Shoes Nation.