Good Karma Names Jacobsen PD for ‘ESPN Madison.’ Sports talk and news/talk radio pro Mike Jacobsen is named program director for Good Karma Brands-owned sports talk outlet WTLX-FM, Madison “ESPN Madison,” effective January 13. Jacobsen has served with WGN-AM, Chicago as producer of the morning drive show, as well as sports talk shows hosted by David Kaplan and David Haugh. He was most recently the director of education at Illinois Media School. Good Karma Madison vice president and market manager Keith Williams says, “We’re excited to have Mike Jacobsen join the ‘ESPN Madison’ team to lend his expertise and ear to an already exciting and growing lineup. His previous leadership roles and passion for the radio industry make him a perfect fit to lead the team to new heights.” Jacobsen comments, “I couldn’t be more excited to help lead such an incredibly talented lineup and teammates in one of the best sports towns in the country. It’s truly an honor to be a part of the innovative and ambitious Good Karma Brands team as we continue to grow the ESPN Wisconsin brand.”
Mike Rhyner Retires from ‘The Ticket’ in Dallas. After 26 years with Dallas sports talk radio station KTCK-AM/FM “The Ticket,” afternoon drive personality Mike Rhyner is retiring from the station immediately. Rhyner made his announcement via a YouTube video in which the 69-year-old broadcaster told fans the decision to retire was entirely his. He said, “The time is right. It has been my life for 26 years, probably more than it should have been. I loved everything about the radio station. I loved being on the air, being with the guys, the road trips with the guys. I will miss it terribly, no doubt.” Rhyner has been co-host of the afternoon drive show, “The Hardline,” since the station launched in 1994. Rhyner notes that the station has been through four owners, numerous general managers and yet has consistently achieved phenomenal ratings. “We’ve seen it grow into something that none of us could have possibly imagined.” The Dallas Star-Telegram quotes Rhyner’s co-host, Corby Davidson, saying, “He’s very happy with his situation. This has everything to do with a guy who has decided it’s time. We should all be so lucky. We all owe everything to him.”
Chris Berry Promoted to EVP of News, Talk and Sports for iHeartMedia. Radio executive Chris Berry is promoted from SVP to executive vice president of news, talk and sports programming for iHeartMedia. Berry will continue to provide strategic guidance for the company’s spoken-word formats and connect key advertisers with iHeartMedia’s news, talk, and sports audiences. Since 2011, Berry has managed iHeartMedia’s 24/7 News Source and was upped to SVP in 2017. He’ll continue as format brand manager and provide oversight for NBC News Radio and the 24/7 News Network, reporting to Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. She says, “Chris has tremendous programming experience and he’s been a valuable asset to our team for nearly a decade. As the spoken-word format continues to grow, his leadership and vision will help ensure we’re strategically positioned to provide the best content across multiple platforms, while delivering unparalleled results for stations and advertising partners.”
Little Rock Sports Talker Exits Station in Wake of Theft Accusation. KATV-TV, Little Rock reports that sports talk radio host Eric Sullivan has exited Signal Media’s KABZ-FM, Little Rock “103.7 The Buzz” after a staffer at a local restaurant accused him of taking $409 from her purse. KABZ confirmed to KATV-TV that Sullivan, host of the early afternoon “Out of Bounds” show, is no longer with the station. Sullivan has not been charged. Authorities say the money was returned to the restaurant staffer and it’s now up to her whether she wishes to file charges or not. Sullivan issued the following statement to KATV-TV: “I need to address something to you all: I’ve made a monumental career mistake & I take full responsibility for it, I let many people down as well as the listeners and great people at 1037 the Buzz and I will own that for the rest of my life.”
Cumulus Toledo Names Dana DiModica VP and Market Manager. Radio sales pro Dana DiModica is promoted from director of sales and local sales manager to vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Toledo station group that includes sports talker WTOD “The Ticket ESPN 106.5 FM” and six music brands. DiModica says, “I am honored and excited to be able to lead this wonderful group of people in Toledo. I appreciate the opportunity that has been given to me by our CEO Mary Berner and executive vice president Bob Walker. Having spent my entire radio career in the area, I know the impact our radio stations have in our community, with our listeners, and the relationships with our clients. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue that impact as vice president/market manager of Cumulus Toledo.”
TALKERS News Notes. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that it is accepting entries for the NAB Crystal Radio Awards, honoring outstanding community service, to be presented during the We Are Broadcasters Celebration on April 21 during the 2020 NAB Show in Las Vegas. Finalists will be announced next month. Entry submissions must be received by January 31. You can submit entries here…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Entercom all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM is promoting two staffers to full-time positions. Jennifer Keiper becomes the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm anchor. Her duties include reporting into the early evening as well as a Sunday shift. Andy Dahn moves into the anchor role Sunday through Thursday evenings. He’s also charged with boosting the station’s social media presence in late nights and overnight. WBBM director of news and programming Ron Gleason says, “Jennifer and Andy have shown tremendous reporting ability both in the field and in the anchor chair. Their flexibility and talents will enhance our news coverage, helping make WBBM even stronger as election season approaches.”…..Boston public media organization WGBH is beefing up its news department with a news bureau in the Central Massachusetts city of Worcester. The bureau will house a fully equipped broadcast studio providing easy access for interviews and will be equipped to stream digital video to platforms such as Facebook Live. WGBH News says it plans to collaborate with local colleges to develop internship opportunities with the new bureau and will use it as a convening space for local organizations…..Entercom’s KILT-AM, Houston “SportsRadio 610” announces it is airing “live and local programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as the Texans are in the postseason.” Program director Armen Williams adds, “Coming off the most amazing Texans victory in franchise history, the city of Houston is buzzing. We’re proud to be able to feed their hunger for this franchise by talking Texans around the clock.”…..On the national level, Entercom’s RADIO.COM is presenting weekly, live two-hour broadcasts of “You Better You Bet” (in partnership with The Action Network) to preview the NFL playoff games. Entercom president of sports Mike Dee comments, “As the NFL postseason gets underway, our listeners can turn to their favorite sports betting show for all of the insight and advice they need leading right up to kickoff.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting live play-by-play coverage of all four NFL playoff games this weekend. Ryan Radtke, Tony Boselli, and Scott Kaplan will call the Vikings at 49ers game; Brandon Gaudin, Ross Tucker, and Laura Okmin have the Titans at Ravens game; Kevin Kugler, Trent Green, and James Laurinaitis are working the Texans at Chiefs game; and Kevin Harlan, James Lofton, and Hub Arkush are calling the Seahawks at Packers game…..The Utica Comets hockey club and Galaxy Media Partners extend their broadcast partnership for another six years. As part of the deal, in addition to airing all 76 regular season and playoff games on rock WKLL-FM, Utica “94.9 KROCK,” a new and extended 30-minute pregame show has been added to gameday coverage with hosts Rainman and Scoop.
Saga Communications Strikes Deal with Aptivada for Online Promotions. Radio operator Saga Communications signs a company-wide, multi-year agreement with Aptivada for it to provide online contesting, marketing, revenue, and promotions. Saga director of digital strategies Eric Christian says, “In 2020, Saga is focused on creating unique and innovative solutions for audiences and clients within 120 of our local stations. Aptivada’s offering of multiple products on one platform will allow us to provide cutting-edge ideas to our partners with the confidence that all audience and client data is stored securely and privately – which is also a top priority for us. We look forward to this partnership and all the success it will bring.”
Iran General Killed/Middle East Tensions, Trump Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, Facebook Bans Deepfakes, Harvey Weinstein Case, Australian Bushfires/Global Warming, and Golden Globe Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). The aftermath of the U.S. killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and tensions in the Middle East; the articles of impeachment against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; Facebook announces a ban on deepfake videos; embattled movie mogul Harvey Weinstein – with a trial set to begin in New York – is charged with sexual assault in Los Angeles; the bushfires ravaging southeastern Australia and questions about whether climate change is a factor; and Sunday evening’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
PPM Analysis: Contemporary Christian. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the contemporary Christian format. See how those stations performed compared to the November survey, the December 2018 survey and more here.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Long Island morning radio duo “Roger and JP” are celebrating 20 years together on Cox Media Group’s classic rock WBAB, Babylon, New York. Roger Luce (right) and John “JP” Parise (left) began working together in 2000. Luce had years of radio experience in the market and served as PA announcer for New York Islanders games. Parise was a van driver for the station before they got together on the radio. In addition to their WBAB morning gig, they also host an 11:00 am to 2:00 pm show on CMG’s WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone.”…..iHeartMedia names Mike McCabe program director for CHR WZFT, Baltimore “Z104.3,” effective January 20. McCabe was most recently PD and afternoon drive personality at the company’s CHR WERZ, Portsmouth, New Hampshire “Z107.” iHeartMedia Baltimore SVP of programming Mike Preston states, “McCabe’s extensive programming background combined with his passion for the pop music landscape makes him the perfect fit for this position. We are thrilled to welcome him to Baltimore as we kick off Z104.3’s 11th year as Baltimore’s number one hit music station.”…..Compass Media Networks’ “Free Beer and Hot Wings” program is added to the schedule at Townsquare Media’s rock WGBF, Evansville, Indiana as the new morning show. WGBF brand manager Kat Mykals comments, “We are excited to start the new year and the new decade with a new era in morning rock radio as we welcome the ‘Free Beer and Hot Wings’ morning show to WGBF-FM. With their amazing chemistry and authenticity, the show is a natural fit as we continue to be Evansville’s and the Tristate’s home for ‘Everything That Rocks.’”…..Magnum.Media unveils the new classic country format on WBOG, Tomah, Wisconsin. Magnum staffer Robin Jon Olson is returning to the airwaves to host the morning drive show. He says, “After two years focused on the sales and production side of radio, I’m excited about adding back to my duties being on the air. Hard to believe I played those 80s country songs as current hits, and now I get to play them again. A lot of great country music came out in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. By focusing on this era of country music, ‘BOG Country’ isn’t in direct competition with another station in our market.”…..CMT and iHeartMedia announce their renewed partnership and multi-year extension that includes the two syndicated radio programs, “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” and “CMT Radio Live with Cody Alan.” Pictured below are (from l-r): Cody Alan, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, MCA Nashville recording artist Sam Hunt, and executive producer of CMT Radio content and programming partnerships Ashlee McDonald.