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.
MLB’s Padres Critical of Flagship Morning Host’s ‘Insensitive’ Tweet. On-air pro Kevin Klein begins his new gig as morning drive host at Entercom’s sports/hot talk KEGY, San Diego “97.3 FM The Machine” tomorrow, but he’s already irked the San Diego Padres and some of the general public with his Tweet promoting his new show. The Tweet used an image of the Coronado bridge (with its history as a site of numerous suicides) and the text “JUMP! To a new morning show.” The Padres – whose games emanate from KEGY as flagship station – among others, complained about the “insensitive and completely unacceptable” nature of the Tweet. Klein removed the offending images and apologized for his error in judgement, writing, “I’d like to sincerely apologize to San Diego and listeners of 97.3 for a distasteful and insensitive social media post…The comment was reprehensible and inexcusable. I’ve failed at making a good first impression, but I hope that you will give me another chance to provide entertainment and good-natured laughs when I go on the air on Thursday morning. Once again, I apologize to all the listeners and the city of San Diego.”
Report Indicates Padres “Evaluating” Relationship with KEGY. Apparently, it’s not just the above-mentioned Tweet snafu, but the MLB club is not thrilled with the station’s overall programming philosophy. The San Diego Union Tribune’s Bryce Miller reports that Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler has issues with the programming tenor on the team’s flagship radio station. “We’re going to get through this first home stand, then sit down and evaluate it. We’re going to assess our legal obligations. We just want a good radio partner that’s not offensive to the community.” He also called the programming since the station flipped “almost shock-jock radio” and “not what we intended to be involved in.” No doubt Entercom is working hard to save this relationship as the cume that baseball is likely to bring to the station is crucial to its successful launch. Stay tuned.
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his report on the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. As the sports world moved into the post-NFL portion of the calendar, sports talk stations took a hit to their AQH share. Only 9% of sports talkers saw their 6+ numbers go up, while almost 70% suffered a decrease compared to the January 2018 survey. But, year-over-year comparisons show about half of the sports talk stations in PPM markets saw their 6+ shares increase from February 2017. Just one station – Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles flagship WIP, Philadelphia – ranked #1 in its respective market; and just one other – New England Patriots flagship WBZ-FM, Boston (#3) – ranked in the top five. See Kinosian’s whole report here.
Cumulus to Place Four FMs in Divestiture Trust. In its latest FCC filing, Cumulus Media reveals, among numerous other things, that it will divest of four FM stations in markets where it is currently over the FCC’s ownership limits. The company says that it currently holds a grandfathered attributable interest in more radio stations than is permitted under the Commission’s local radio ownership rules in the Albany, Georgia; Columbia, Missouri; Green Bay; and Toledo markets. Cumulus is therefore filing an application with the FCC to assign the licenses of country WNUQ-FM, Albany; classic hits KJMO-FM, Linn, Missouri; country WPCK-FM, Denmark, Wisconsin; and sports talk WTOD-FM, Toledo.
Craig Carton to Launch Daily Show on FNTSY Sports Network. Former WFAN, New York morning personality Craig Carton is starting a daily program on SportsGrid’s FNTSY Sports Radio Network tomorrow (3/29). The “Carton and Friends” streaming program will air from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm via TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and others. FNTSY calls the show “innovative, irreverent, entertaining, compelling and a must listen…Craig and his group of celebrity friends together with a fresh group of off the wall real-life characters broadcasting live from Studio 34 in heart of Manhattan.” Carton is in a legal battle with the Feds after being charged with fraud in connection with an alleged concert tickets Ponzi scheme.
TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post reports that sports personality Dan Patrick is not going to return to NBC’s “Football Night in America” program. He says he is going to renew his deal with AT&T/DirecTV – the TV show that is simulcast for radio and syndicated by FOX Sports Radio. Patrick says he was offered a new, five-year deal to continue with the NBC TV show but says he wasn’t sure he wanted to commit to the program for that long…..The new host of the Public Radio International-syndicated, New York Public Radio-produced talk program “The Takeaway” is Tanzina Vega. The CNN news pro is taking over the permanent position from longtime host John Hockenberry, who left in December after allegations of inappropriate behavior. Todd Zwillich has been hosting the show in the interim. Vega begins on May 7. NYPR president and CEO Laura Walker states, “At this critical moment in our nation’s history, when America is so polarized, public media has an opportunity and a mandate to bring people together to debate, discuss, and share experiences and perspectives that have been buried for too long. With her deep expertise unpacking tough subjects with thoughtful insight and analysis, Tanzina is the perfect person to lead this urgent national conversation.”…..ABC Radio promotes Josh Cohan to the manager of digital audio position. ABC News vice president and general manager Steve Jones says, “In his new role, Josh will help lead our expansion of podcasts and other programming across digital audio platforms while continuing to play an important role in our newsroom operations and editorial.”…..iHeartMedia Albany’s sports talker WOFX-AM “FOX Sports 980” renews its deal to serve as the market’s affiliate station for Boston Red Sox baseball through the 2020 season. “FOX Sports 980” has aired Sox games since 2012…..Sun Broadcast Group announces that Paul Capodanno joins the firm as vice president of marketing and digital. In the past, Capodanno has served with Zimmerman Advertising where he worked on major campaigns including: Office Depot, Party City, Michaels, and AutoNation…..Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz announces that Emmy Award-winning NBC News executive Mark Lukasiewicz is appointed dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication. The school says that Lukasiewicz brings “deep experience as a broadcast journalist, production executive and transformational newsroom leader known for his innovative methods of integrating digital media and traditional television platforms.” He begins July 1.
Mark Simone Welcomes Geraldo Rivera. 710 WOR, New York midday personality Mark Simone (right) poses for a pic with news and talk legend Geraldo Rivera (left) in the iHeartMedia New York studios. Rivera appeared on Simone’s show to kick off his book tour for The Geraldo Show: A Memoir (2018, BenBalla Books).
Trump-Russia Investigation, Justice Stevens Calls for Second Amendment Repeal, 2020 Census Citizenship Flap, California Sanctuary Cities Controversy, Kim Jong Un in China, Stephon Clark Shooting Death Protests, the NCAA’s Final Four, NFL Rule Changes, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/27). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ call for a repeal of the Second Amendment; the controversy over the questions about one’s citizenship on the 2020 U.S. Census; the tensions between California and certain of its cities over sanctuary policies; North Korea’s Kim Jong Un visits China; the protests in Sacramento over the police shooting death of Stephon Clark; the NCAA Men’s tournament Final Four; free agency signings in the NFL; Thursday’s MLB season openers; and NBA 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. Longtime Detroit TV newsman Stephen Clark is tapped for the new morning show on Entercom’s classic hits WOMC. The company says the new show debuts on Monday (4/2) with Clark and a co-host to be revealed on Thursday, April 5. Clark recently retired from WXYZ-TV after 16 years as anchor of the 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm newscasts. But, he was a disc jockey and radio reporter before moving into TV. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Stephen is an integral part of the fabric of Detroit and we are thrilled to have him open this new chapter in the station’s rich heritage. Stephen’s connection with our local community, his personality and love of music make him a great fit to take the helm of the new WOMC morning show.”…..On-air pro Chad Pitt (left) is joining iHeartMedia’s WMGF, Orlando “Magic 107-7” as co-host of the “Magic Morning Show,” effective April 2. Pitt will work on air with incumbent personality Leslye (right). Station PD Brian Mack says, “Although, nothing will replace our beloved John Forsythe when he embarks on his well-deserved retirement after 50 years of radio, we can take solace in reunification with an old friend.” Pitt returns to iHM Orlando after working on air in markets including Memphis, Tampa, and Houston…..Envision Networks’ “The Country Oldies Show with host Steve Warren” is added to the program schedule at WJJM, Lewisburg, Tennessee. “The Country Oldies Show” features a half-century of the greatest country hits from the 1950s to the 1990s. Warren has been the host and producer of the program since its inception…..Milwaukee Public Schools-owned non-commercial triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee” is unveiling the grant and educational initiative “Backline” designed “to help Milwaukee musicians succeed, establish Milwaukee’s reputation as an emerging music city, and help Milwaukee companies attract and retain young employees.” The station is working with business accelerator gener8tor. “Backline” will recruit four Milwaukee area musicians or bands for its first 12-week session this summer, modeled on gener8tor’s nationally ranked business start-up accelerator. Selected musicians and groups will be eligible to receive grants of $20,000 for financial support and initiatives identified through the accelerator process, such as recording, promotion and touring…..iHeartMedia announces the lineup for the Daytime Village at the iHeartCountry Festival on Saturday, May 5 will feature live performances by: Luke Combs, Brett Young, Lauren Alaina, Dylan Scott, and Danielle Bradbery.