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Monday, December 16, 2019

| December 16, 2019

Former Mega-Church Pastor Sues Mancow Muller for Defamation. In a complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois, WLS-AM, Chicago morning drive personality Erich “Mancow” Muller is being sued by James MacDonald, the former pastor of the Harvest Bible Chapel church.  MacDonald is seeking $50,000 in compensatory damages and punitive damages to be determined at trial.  The back story is that Mancow and MacDonald were once close, with Mancow a fan who publicly lauded MacDonald’s Chicagoland megachurch.  Over time, Mancow became disenchanted with MacDonald and ultimately recorded conversations in which MacDonald allegedly spoke of planting child porn on the computers of his enemies.  That got MacDonald fired from his position with the church.  MacDonald argues that Mancow used his radio show to destroy him and his surreptitious recordings were illegal.  The complaint also targets Cumulus Media for allowing Mancow to broadcast his speech about MacDonald and for “negligent hiring” – implying the history of defamation allegations against Mancow should have been enough to prevent him from being hired.

Monday Memo: Don’t list To-Do. “Assume that your listener is busier than you are,” cautions consultant Holland Cooke.  In this week’s column, he notes how some radio talkers seem to be over-estimating listeners’ attention.  Read it here.

Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, IG’s FBI Report, Chinese Diplomats Expelled, U.S.-China Trade Talks, Dem Congressman Flips, India’s Citizenship Rule, UK Election Aftermath, and Richard Jewell Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment proceedings against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the criticism of the FBI in the wake of the inspector general’s scathing report; two Chinese diplomats are expelled from the U.S. after suspicion of espionage; the trade talks between the U.S. and China; plans by New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew to leave the Democratic Party for the Republican Party; the controversy over India’s citizen rule that doesn’t apply to Muslims; the aftermath of Boris Johnson’s UK prime minister victory; and the poor weekend box office for the Richard Jewell film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

FOX News Talk Superstar Brian Kilmeade Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. Cross-platform, multi-media personality Brian Kilmeade is the guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” He is co-host with Ainsley Earhardt and Steve Doocy of the very popular daily ‘FOX & Friends” show on FOX News Channel from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET. Then he runs down the hall to host his daily 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated “Heavy Hundred” talk show on FOX News Radio. Both of his shows are famously among the favorites of the President of the United States and, of course, politically controversial. Kilmeade is the 2019 recipient of the prestigious TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award. As a best-selling author, he is proving himself to be an extremely contemporary and communicative storyteller of great events in American history. With co-author Don Yaeger, he penned George Washington’s Secret Six, followed by Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates and then Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans – all published by Sentinel. These three history books have already gone well past the million mark in sales. Now he has another book about American history, and it is extremely exciting and informative. It’s titled, Sam Houston & the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory that Changed American History (Sentinel, 2019). Harrison and Kilmeade engage in a lively dialogue about the nature of leadership, past and present as well as the rigors of hosting a live, three-hour radio show while major news – such as the impeachment hearings – is breaking in real time. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box that appears in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Joey Hudson’s ‘Breakfast Broadcasts’ on WGTK, Greenville Benefit the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign.  Morning drive talk radio personality Joey Hudson (pictured above at the mic) is making the rounds in Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina broadcasting his show from breakfast restaurants while ringing the bell and asking listeners to donate to the Salvation Army.  To date, Hudson’s listeners have raised more than $30,000.  Hudson’s show is based at Salem Media Group’s WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina “94.5FM The Answer.”  He says, “I have this wonderful platform to ask people to give generously and why not spend some time out in the communities we serve to raise funds and awareness of the wonderful work being done by the Salvation Army.”

Taylor Leads Townsquare’s Rochester, Minnesota Cluster. Management and sales pro Ben Taylor is named market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Rochester/Preston, Minnesota station group that includes news/talk KROC-AM and sports talk KLOM-AM “1520 The Ticket” and seven music brands.  Taylor was most recently VP of sales for iHeartMedia in Minneapolis.  Townsquare regional VP Kelly Quinn says, “Ben’s vast experience in radio and digital, both on-air and in sales, combined with his leadership experience as a coach and volunteer firefighter, make him an ideal fit to lead our team in Rochester/Preston.  We’re poised for a strong 2020, building on the growth we had in 2019, with incredible on-air ratings and digital content, and by continuing our ‘Local First’ focus.”

Townsquare Media Execs Receive New Contracts. In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Townsquare Media reveals it has entered into letter agreements that amend the employment deals with CEO Bill Wilson, CFO Stuart Rosenstein, COO Local Media Chief Erik Hellum and executive chairman Steven Price.  The agreements extend the terms of their deals through October 16, 2023 for Wilson and Rosenstein and through October 25, 2023 for Hellum. The letter agreements also provide that in the event of the executive’s termination by the Company without cause or by the executive for good reason, all outstanding, vested stock option awards will remain exercisable for 24 months following the executive’s termination date or, if earlier, until the original expiration date of the stock option award, and that all outstanding equity awards will fully accelerate and vest upon a change in control of the Company.

TALKERS News Notes. The best interviews from this year’s Howard Stern programs on SiriusXM are being packaged in a 19-episode podcast series on Pandora.  Titled, “Howard Stern: 19 from 2019” includes interviews with: Jennifer Aniston, Russell Crowe, Robert Downey Jr., and Kristen Stewart; musicians including The Black Crowes, Def Leppard, Billie Eilish, and Adam Levine; comedians including Jimmy Kimmel, Tracy Morgan, Seth Rogen, and Adam Sandler; and newsmakers such as Hillary Clinton…..There’s a webinar on Wednesday (12/18) from Edison Research that focuses on moms and social media.  Edison says, “The Infinite Dial study estimates that there are 15 million fewer Facebook users in the U.S. today than there were in 2017.  However, among Moms in the U.S., Facebook remains strong year over year.”   The webinar will “debut data from this study that explores moms’ usage, perceptions, and sentiments of all social media.  This is a new survey conducted in the second half of 2019 among a sample of moms in the U.S.  It includes why they use social media, what they use it for, and how they feel about using it – and how their feelings and actions don’t always align.”…..WTKN-FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina “Talk 94.5” is airing “The Jared Dillian Show,” hosted by self-made millionaire Jared Dillian.  He says, “I’m proud to be a part of the WTKN family and I couldn’t be more impressed by everyone’s professionalism in producing this show.”  The Jared Dillian Show is part of the 24/7 Smart Talk Radio Network, based in Chicago and distributed by Envision Networks…..Pictured at left is Salem Radio Network East Coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh in a still shot from Netflix’s The Irishman in which he plays a mob supporter of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa.  He tells TALKERS, “As someone who grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, I literally jump at any chance to be in a Martin Scorsese movie… it’s an offer you can’t refuse. LOL.”…..Entercom sports talker WSSP, Milwaukee “105.7 FM The Fan” helped raise more than $200,000 in cash and the value of toys to benefit Children’s Wisconsin and Robyn’s Nest during its 13th annual “WSSP Toy Drive.”  This marks a record-breaking year for the fundraiser, topping the $160,000 that the station raised in 2018…..Pictured below is Westwood One talk host Jim Bohannon reprising his role as Santa Claus for the Collins Children’s Home of Seneca, South Carolina.

Internationally Noted Artist Inspired by TALKERS Panels.  A world-renowned artist living and working in South America who is a fan of American talk media and reads TALKERS regularly has created a painting titled “Talking Heads” that she says was inspired by the convention and workshop panel discussions that she sees in this trade journal.  Clearly, this is an abstract work subject to interpretation.  Bobbie Winston (a.k.a. La Femme Bobbíe) is a multi-award-winning American artist living and painting in Rio de Janeiro since 1988.  She has a world-wide following that enjoys her highly identifiable style.  She paints wildly abstract portraits, full human figures, and imaginative, surrealistic scenarios marked by dramatic features and bold, striking colors.  Her perspective on the human condition is cosmic, inclusive, and evolved. Bobbie Winston’s Facebook page can be accessed here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programing pro Kelly Gueno is promoted from programming assistant to assistant program director for iHeartMedia Chicago’s urban programming.  In this role, Gueno will assist with brand support for all urban programming and digital operations for “V103,” WGCI and “Inspiration 1390.”  She reports to VP of urban programming Derrick Brown.  He says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled with Kelly’s expanded role.  She literally grew up at our stations and it has been absolutely gratifying to see Kelly’s progress from our promotions department, to being a programming assistant, and now, assistant program director for our iconic urban brands.  Kelly’s passion, skill and insight will be invaluable as we navigate our ever-changing media landscape.”…..Pictured below are the staff of Beasley Media Group’s country WKLB-FM, Boston at the Secret Superstar Holiday Jam last Thursday (12/12) at the House of Blues.  The station officially announced the show about six weeks ago and sold the venue out without divulging the names of the talent (Dan + Shay and Lauren Alain) that would be performing until the day before the show!  Pictured below are (clockwise from l-r): Summer Harlow, director, Northeast promotion, Mercury Nashville; Lauren Alaina; Dan Smyers; Shay Mooney; Dawn Santolucito, music and marketing director, WKLB; Kristen Williams, SVP radio & streaming, Warner Music Nashville; Heather Propper, regional manager, radio & streaming, WAR; and WKLB PD David Corey.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

| April 23, 2019

Entercom Files with SEC to Announce $300 Million Refinance. In the filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Entercom announces that subsidiary Entercom Media Corp. – the former CBS RADIO stations – is offering $300 million in aggregate principal amount of senior secured second-lien notes due 2027.  The company says it will use the net proceeds from the offering, cash on hand, and availability under its revolving credit facility to partially repay existing indebtedness under its senior secured term loan facility.  Also contained in the filing is preliminary operating results for the first quarter of 2019.  It reports net income should be between $1.3 million and $5.3 million, and adjusted EBITDA to be between $41.7 million and $43.7 million.  Entercom also says pacings for the second quarter of 2019 are up by more than 4% as of April 18, 2019 compared to the same period in the second quarter of 2018. During the first quarter of 2018, the company completed asset sales that generated $24.5 million in net cash proceeds. It used the proceeds, along with existing cash on hand, to repay $180 million in borrowings under its revolving credit facility.

New Myrtle Beach News/Talk Station to Launch on May 6. The station that is currently
adult contemporary WYEZ “94.5 The Tide” is flipping to news/talk with new calls WTKN as “Talk 94.5′ on May 6. The Byrne Acquisition Group station is bringing market radio personality Liz Callaway – formerly with Dick Broadcasting’s crosstown news/talk WRNN-FM – to host the morning show.  The rest of the lineup will include Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck; Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager, Sebastian Gorka, and Larry Elder; and Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro and the overnight “Red Eye Radio” show.

KKFN, Denver Names Nick Ferguson Host of Late Morning Show. On-air changes are taking place at Bonneville’s sports talk KKFN, Denver “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” The late morning “Pritchard and Cecil” show is giving way to a new show hosted by former Denver Broncos safety Nick Ferguson.  “The Safety Blitz with Nick Ferguson” will feature current on-air staffer John Davis as co-host.  Meanwhile, Cecil Lammey will remain with the station as digital talent in which he’ll focus on creating content for 1043TheFan.com and the station’s social media platforms.  Mike Pritchard will continue as a fill-in host, allowing him to focus on his own small business.  KKFN program director Raj Sharan says, “Nick is an absolute ball of energy that Broncos Country is going to fall in love with.  In his playing days with the Broncos, he would interact with fans and teammates while stretching at training camp.  He called it ‘The Nick Ferguson Show,’ and it was often the most entertaining time of practice.  Nick’s time as a recent NFL coach and former Broncos player combined with his incredible charisma makes him an extremely unique and valuable addition to our team.”

Premiere Networks Promotes Rush Limbaugh Show’s George Prayias. Digital pro George Prayias is promoted to vice president of digital for “The Rush Limbaugh Show.”  Prayias is based in New York where he reports to Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott.  She comments, “This is a well-deserved promotion.  George has been a valuable member of ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ team for nearly 20 years.  His vision and leadership have been instrumental to the continued growth and success of Rush’s digital business and helping maintain the award-wining program’s industry-leading status.”  The company says Prayias started his career with Premiere in 2000 when he conceived and launched the original website for the program.  Prior to joining Premiere, Prayias spent close to a decade in television and was one of the original producers at FOX News Channel.  He first met Limbaugh as a member of the production staff on the syndicated “Rush Limbaugh, The Television Show.”

Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo Inks Extension with SiriusXM. Sports media personality Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo signs a new, four-year deal with SiriusXM to continue leading his Mad Dog Sports Radio channel on the satellite radio service.  He hosts “Mad Dog Unleashed” each weekday from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  Russo’s show is also available to Pandora subscribers as a podcast.  Russo says, “Oh baby! Four more years, and I couldn’t be happier!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  There’s no place, NO PLACE, better than SiriusXM to do the kind of show I want to do, with the freedom to talk about the topics that I want to cover and the listeners want to talk about.  Now we’ll be reaching more fans than ever on SiriusXM and Pandora.”

Entercom Promotes Stacey Schulze to GSM for Greenville Station Group. Sales pro Stacey Schulze is being promoted to general sales manager for Entercom’s Greenville, South Carolina cluster that includes news/talk WYRD-FM “106.3 WORD,” sports talk WORD-AM “ESPN Upstate” and five music radio stations.  She was most recently digital sales manager for the cluster. Entercom Greenville SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “Stacey has done a tremendous job with our digital products and is an invaluable resource to our team and customers to navigate the sophisticated and fast-changing digital space effectively.  In her expanded role, she’ll also work with our team and customers with RADIO.COM, our seven radio brands, play-by-play sports and all digital products.”

TALKERS News Notes. Longtime New York City traffic reporter Jeff McKay announces he’s taking a new position with Westwood One News and will be relocating to Washington, DC. McKay posts on Facebook that he’ll be leaving his WINS, New York-based traffic reporting gig for DC next month.…..FOX Sports Radio says a new baseball podcast titled “”Inside the (Rob) Parker” – hosted by Rob Parker – will debut on The Herd Podcast Network.  Parker says, “Baseball is my first love, my true sports passion. If you think I have hot takes on the NFL and the NBA, wait until you hear them about the national pastime. For sure, it will be fun and informative.”  Parker continues co-hosting FOX Sports Radio’s 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard” that airs on close to 340 affiliate stations…..SiriusXM is providing subscribers with comprehensive coverage of the 2019 NFL Draft from Nashville, beginning with the first round on Thursday through the final round on Saturday.  SiriusXM NFL Radio’s on-site broadcast team at the NFL Draft will feature: Gil Brandt, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and former longtime player personnel executive for the Dallas Cowboys; Pat Kirwan, former NFL scout, coach and front-office executive; Jim Miller, former veteran NFL quarterback; Rick Neuheisel, former NFL quarterback and veteran coach; and Jason Horowitz, lead host for SiriusXM’s draft coverage.

Mueller Report Released/Impeachment Chatter, Trump Tax Returns Issue, 2020 Presidential Politics, Southern Border Crisis/New Mexico Militia, Iranian Oil Sanctions, Sri Lanka Bombings, NBA Playoffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/23). The release of the redacted Mueller Report and talk amongst Democrats of impeaching President Trump; the congressional requests for Trump’s tax returns and his suit to avoid being forced to comply; the 2020 presidential candidates and their policy proposals; the migrant status at the U.S.-Mexico border and New Mexico militia detaining migrants; the U.S. imposes sanctions on nations buying Iranian oil; the aftermath of the Sri Lanka bombings; the NBA playoffs; 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. In Philadelphia, iHeartMedia announces that Khary Sharpe is named general sales manager for hip hop WUSL-FM “Power 99” and urban contemporary WDAS-FM.  iHeartMedia Philadelphia SVP of sales Jeff Moore says, “I am thrilled to add Khary to our growing team.  Khary is someone that I’ve admired in the market for a long time and his extensive knowledge of the industry and ability to create and grow relationships with our advertisers on the client level as well as internally will contribute to the work we’re doing in creating a great culture here at iHeartMedia Philly.”  Sharpe joined iHeartMedia from Entercom where he most recently served as the digital sales specialist for WOGL, WBEB and WTDY…..Lincoln, Nebraska morning personality Matt McKay, a.k.a. Matthew Rydberg, is on leave from Alpha Media’s CHR KFRX-FM after being charged with domestic violence as the result of an incident that took place on Saturday (4/20).  The Lincoln Journal Star is reporting that Rydberg is being charged with felony strangulation.  According to the Journal Star, “police went to Rydberg’s home on a report of a domestic assault witnessed by two children.  A 46-year-old woman reported she went to sleep in her children’s room after an argument with her husband, who had been drinking, when he became angry… the woman told police Rydberg pushed on her neck and she couldn’t breathe, pushed her face, bit her nose and shoved her.”  Alpha Media Lincoln market manager Julie Gade confirmed Rydberg is on leave from the radio station…..Westwood One says recent ACM-award winner and platinum-selling singer/songwriter – Warner Music Nashville’s Chris Janson – will host Westwood One’s Annual “Summer Kick-Off” special.  The four-hour broadcast is available for radio stations nationwide to air over Memorial Day weekend.  Janson will spin popular summertime hits from Luke BryanFlorida Georgia Line, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Jason AldeanCarrie Underwood, and some of his own hits, including his new single, “Good Vibes.”