Audacy Chicago Assigns VP Stripes To Solk. Four-year Audacy Chicago triple A WXRT “93 XRT” operations manager/program director Greg Solk is elevated to vice president of programming & operations for the company’s Windy City cluster. The promotion takes effect this Sunday (8/1) and will give Solk programming/operations strategy oversight for all-news WBBM-AM & WCFS “News Radio 780 AM & 105.9 FM” and sports talk WSCR “670 The Score,” as well as CHR WBBM-FM “B-96”; country WUSN “US-99”; urban-rhythmic oldies WBMX “104.3 Jams”; and WXRT. Audacy Chicago regional president/market manager Rachel Williamson remarks, “Greg has been an invaluable partner who is respected and appreciated by his team at WXRT; across Audacy; and throughout the industry. He has been influential in the success of many of the biggest brands in Chicago. I could not be more excited to promote him into this enhanced role overseeing our Chicago programming strategy.” Solk states, “These past years at WXRT have been among the most rewarding of my career – especially the opportunity to work alongside legendary talents. Along with so many others behind the scenes, this team returned WXRT to the top echelon of our great city’s broadcast properties. I now look forward to continuing to work with Rachel and our group’s superb brand/programming leaders. Together we will do our best to continue enlightening, entertaining and delighting the millions we serve on our airwaves and through our growing digital channels.” A then-21-year-old Solk began his programming career in 1983 at Chicago’s WLUP-FM “The Loop” and programmed comedy/talk WLUP-AM three years later. His resume also includes a tenure as Bonneville’s senior vice president of programming and the same title at Hubbard Broadcasting. Solk previously programmed Chicago sports talk WMVP and San Francisco triple A KFOG. Audacy Chicago is conducting an immediate search for Solk’s replacement at WXRT.
iHeartMedia Teams With NBA For Podcast Slate. The multi-year partnership between iHeartMedia and the National Basketball Association will feature more than 20 co-produced podcasts. The first one is set to debut this fall and will be distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network. According to iHeartMedia Sports president Kevin LeGrett, “The NBA is one of the toughest leagues in the world. These are relentless athletes with a grueling schedule at the absolute height of their game. Their stories are the stuff of legend and deserve mass-reach audiences and top-tier brand partners – iHeart alone can deliver that.” NBA senior vice president/national & local network partnerships David Denenberg comments, “We are excited to expand the league’s audio offerings to fans by teaming up with iHeartMedia to deliver NBA content and storytelling to the iHeartPodcast Network. We look forward to reaching more fans with content about our teams, players and history through this partnership.” Along with a mix of the latest league news; player commentary; and insider analysis, the podcasts will be produced using a wide variety of content from the NBA archives to tell backstories of some of the greatest moments in sports history.
Audacy’s NFL Training Camp Programming Kicks Off Tomorrow. “Training Camp Live” will be an in-depth look at National Football League training camp and preseason storylines. It debuts tomorrow (Friday, 7/30) and continues each Monday and Friday through September 3. Audacy vice president of sports Matt Volk remarks, “Training camp is the perfect time to capture pro football fans who are excited about the start of the season. By identifying insiders throughout our markets, this exclusive digital content will give fans a front row seat to all of the training camp and preseason storylines surrounding their favorite team.” Available on Audacy’s digital platform, “Training Camp Live” will be produced by these nine Audacy-owned sports talk properties: WFAN “Sports Radio 101.9 FM & 66 AM,” New York; WSCR “670 The Score,” Chicago; KGMZ “95.7 The Game,” San Francisco; KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” Dallas; WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan,” Washington, DC; WIP “Sports Radio 94,” Philadelphia; WEEI-FM “93.7 Boston’s Sports Station,” Boston; KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan,” Pittsburgh; and KCSP “610 Sports Radio,” Kansas City.” Local Audacy NFL experts will provide twice weekly insights into all of the market’s team’s training camp news. Shows will be hosted by various on-air personalities from each station; episodes will be repurposed into time-shifted podcasts.
New York Festivals Announces Its 2021 Finalists. The 2021 Radio Awards Grand Jury of creative media professionals and content creators from around the world selected finalists based on production values, writing, creativity, direction, achievement of purpose, and audience suitability. Entries achieving “finalist” status will advance to the next round to determine gold, silver, and bronze trophies. New York Festivals Radio Awards vice president/executive director Rose Anderson notes, “Once again, this year’s finalists – in addition to appealing to their own listeners – also impressed the Grand Jury with their mastery of the audio medium. Across all genres, they proved that radio, the original social medium, is robust and thriving. From podcasts and audiobooks to sound art and breaking news, these talented storytellers bring the world together and engage in real time.” Global broadcasters led the way including Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the 2020 NYF “Broadcaster of the Year,” and RTÉ Ireland, 2019’s “Broadcaster of the Year.” Additional prominent broadcasters moving onto the medal round include: BBC, Bloomberg, CBS News Radio, ESPN, National Radio of Argentina, Radio New Zealand, SiriusXM, and Westwood One. New categories were unveiled across all genres to shine the spotlight on “Social Justice.” The Radio Awards receives entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from over 30 countries. The mission of the competition is to honor the achievements of the men and women who make up the global audio storytelling community. The 2021 NYF Radio Award winners will be announced October 12th at the annual Storytellers gala taking place at NAB in Las Vegas. This is the 11th year of NYF’s strategic partnership with the NAB Show. View the complete list of the New York Festivals Radio Awards finalists by clicking here.
WOR, New York Personality Mark Simone is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime Big Apple radio star Mark Simone, who hosts the daily 10:00 am – 12:00 noon show on WOR, New York, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Simone, described by Harrison as the “ultimate embodiment of the expression ‘man-about-town’” for his numerous speaking engagements as a toastmaster and emcee has been a radio mainstay for decades in the nation’s number one market having performed on the rosters of such legendary outlets as WABC, WNEW, WMCA and WPIX, prior to joining WOR. For two years, he was the co-host of a three-hour daily comedy show with the legendary Steve Allen on the NBC Radio Network. He co-hosted a two-hour nightly talk show with Tom Snyder on the CBS Radio Network. In addition to discussing local and national politics, Simone is a music and entertainment historian who has hosted over 250 PBS entertainment specials and he has lectured at Hofstra University on the career and cultural legacy of Frank Sinatra. A regular guest on national cable TV, Simone and newspaper columnist Linda Stasi have co-hosted their “What a Week” segments for over 18 years on New York 1 TV, the highly-watched, all-news channel in NYC. Harrison and Simone discuss radio, politics, music, and technology in a fast-paced conversation that will engage both professional practitioners and dedicated fans of today’s cross-platform media environment. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Cumulus Media Nashville Extends Multi-Year Titans’ Agreement. Continuing as flagship of the National Football League’s Tennessee Titans through the 2025 NFL season is Cumulus Media Nashville sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone.” Cumulus Media Nashville vice president/market manager Allison Warren comments, “As the predominant sports voice in Middle Tennessee, we’re proud to extend our partnership with the Tennessee Titans. We are committed to bringing ‘104.5 The Zone’ listeners and Titans fans the compelling sports content they seek.” WGFX “104.5 The Zone” and Titans Radio Network operations manager/program director Paul Mason contends, “The Tennessee Titans and WGFX are among the best marriages in the NFL. We are excited to continue as the flagship station for Titans Radio. I am thrilled that our listeners will hear [the Titans] on ‘The Zone’ and Titans Radio for years to come.” Tennessee Titans senior vice president/chief marketing & revenue officer Gil Beverly adds, “The Tennessee Titans and ‘104.5 The Zone’ have had a long-standing partnership. We are excited to continue with a brand that shares our vision for the Titans. ‘The Zone’ has established itself as the preeminent Middle Tennessee sports leader and the Titans Radio Network will continue to create an incredible offering for passionate fans across the state.” WGFX will again have broadcasting rights for gameday play-by-play with Mike Keith and color analyst Dave “Coach Mac” McGinnis, as well as pre- and post-game programming. Also included are weekly shows such as “The Mike Vrabel Show,” “Titans Tonight,” and “Mac Talk.” Hall of Fame play-by-play announcer Keith and former NFL head coach McGinnis are entering their fifth season together on Titans Radio.
COVID-19, January 6 Committee, Voting Legislation, Infrastructure Bill, and Crime Were the Top News/Talk Stories on Wednesday. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Delta variant being the dominant strain, and vaccine hesitancy in many parts of the U.S. combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio yesterday (7/28). That was followed closely by the dramatic January 6 Committee Hearings featuring the testimony of the police officers involved, the Economy and Crime and Violence in the nation’s urban centers. 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 updated and published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
TALKERS News Notes. Through his partnership with the iHeart Podcast Network, “Lore” creator Aaron Mahnke has fashioned supernatural podcast “Bridgewater.” The Lauren Shippen-written mystery is about folklore professor Jeremy Bradshaw, who is pulled into the mysterious 1980 disappearance of his police officer father, Thomas. “Along the way, he’s helped by some unlikely partners who challenge everything he believes in and ultimately tries to answer the question: Can the past actually be rewritten? Jeremy must chase the clues that will tell him whether his father really did fall victim to a satanic cult in the Bridgewater Triangle – or something much more dark and unexplainable.” The first two episodes of a ten-episode first season will be posted next Friday (8/6). A second season of 12 episodes has been approved for fall 2022. Among those in the “Bridgewater” cast are Nathan Fillion, Will Wheaton, Lori Alan, Hilarie Burton Morgan, Melissa Ponzio, and Misha Collins.
Timely Guest Alert! Attorney/author/commentator Wayne Avrashow has penned an insightful article about the California Recall, Larry Elder’s Bid, and celebrity candidacies. The article deals with the potential impact of talk show host Larry Elder’s bid to replace California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom in the Golden State’s forthcoming recall election. In addition, Avrashow sheds light on the growing trend toward celebrity political candidacies across the nation. The article appears in today’s installment (Thursday, 7/29) of RealClearPolitics – Following in The Donald’s Celebrity Footsteps | RealClearPolitics. Attorney, college law professor and author, Avrashow is a respected non-partisan expert on the subject of California politics and is available for interviews. He has an extensive background in West Coast politics; served on two government commissions; was chair of a Los Angeles County ballot proposition; and co-authored ballot arguments. He began as a campaign manager for two victorious Los Angeles City Councilmembers and later served as a chief of staff. He can be contacted at 818-995-1100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Audacy Greenville-Spartanburg news/talk WYRD “106.3 WORD” has an opening for a full-time, aggressive, curious reporter/anchor to add to our award-winning news staff. Candidates must demonstrate creative instincts in finding local stories. He or she must have efficient and effective writing skills and the ability to react to breaking news. The successful candidate should be familiar with news gathering tools and be comfortable with social network postings and usage, including video for digital assets. Experience writing, producing, and reporting news is required. If you are passionate about reporting news and creating compelling, story-telling news features for on-air and digital platforms, show us you have what it takes. Please submit your resume, cover letter, and work sample. https://careers-audacy.icims.com/jobs/2164/news-reporter/job.
The Sons of Liberty and Bradlee Dean are looking for an affiliate relations person to take over the current line-up. With 153 affiliates nationwide – as well as broadcasting in over 53 countries – The Sons of Liberty and Bradlee Dean rank as the #1 and # 2 show on the Genesis Communications Network (out of 65 show hosts); they seek to build even more. If interested please call 1-866-233-0747; www.sonsoflibertymedia.com.
Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” Panel. TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story. Today’s (7/18) post presents the panel discussion “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Michael Berry, host, Michael Berry Show; Grace Blazer, national brand coordinator of news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, iHeart Media; Karen Hunter, host SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Brett Winterble, host KFMB, San Diego; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; and Dan Yorke, host WPRO, Providence. Posted yesterday (7/17): WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley saluting the Broadcasters Foundation of America and Vince Benedetto, CEO of Bold Gold Media Group receiving the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster (“Humanitarian of the Year”). Also already posted: a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network; the panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video. The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York. Already posted: the special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOne; Steven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi Media; Michael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history. TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year. To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.
Cumulus Media Charleston Market Manager Dollar Passes. After battling breast cancer, Cumulus Media Charleston (South Carolina) vice president/market manager Sherry Dollar died yesterday morning (Wednesday, 7/17). She was surrounded by her family, who ask for nothing more than prayers and to honor her last wish to, “be kind.” Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary Berner comments, “Sherry was a terrific market manager and a terrific human being. She will be sorely and deeply missed by all of us.” The company’s executive vice president of operations Bob Walker notes that, “Sherry’s passion for this business was only surpassed by her passion for life. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and I will forever be grateful to have worked with her.” Details about memorial services honoring Dollar’s life are forthcoming. The Cumulus Media Charleston cluster consists of news/talk WTMA “News Talk 1250”; classic hits-oldies WIWF “96.9 The Wolf”; urban AC WMGL “Magic 107.3”; CHR WSSX “95-SX Hit Music Now”; and urban contemporary WWWZ “Z-93 Jamz.”
Finalists: NAB Marconi Radio Awards. “Legendary Manager of the Year,” and “Best Radio Station Podcast” are the two new categories for this year’s NAB Marconi Radio Awards, honoring radio stations and on-air personalities for excellence in broadcasting. Additionally, “Best College Radio Station of the Year” has been renamed from “Noncommercial Station of the Year.” Here are the five finalists in each of the 23 categories.
“Legendary Station of the Year”: KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KNX, Los Angeles, KRTH, Los Angeles, WBAL, Baltimore, and WBAP-AM.
“Legendary Manager of the Year”: Ben Downs, Bryan Broadcasting, College Station, Texas; Charlie Morgan, WQHT-FM, WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM, New York; Dan Seeman, Hubbard Broadcasting, Minneapolis-St. Paul; Mark Anderson, WBZZ-FM and WDSY-FM, Pittsburgh; and Nick Martin, Big River Broadcasting, Florence, Alabama.
“Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year”: Bob Lacey & Sheri Lynch, Now Media; Elvis Duran, Premiere Networks; Rickey Smiley, Reach Media, Inc.; Rush Limbaugh, Premiere Networks; and Ryan Seacrest, Premiere Networks.
“Major Market Personality of the Year”: Ebro Darden, WQHT, New York; Ellen K, KOST, Los Angeles; Felger & Massarotti, WBZ-FM, Boston; Preston & Steve, WMMR, Philadelphia; and The Musers, KTCK-AM, Dallas.
“Large Market Personality of the Year”: Crisco, Dez and Ryan, KSTP-FM, Minneapolis; Jack Harris, WFLA-AM, Tampa; Mercedes Martinez, KMXB, Las Vegas; Mike Calta, WHPT, Tampa; and Mojo, WKQI, Detroit.
“Medium Market Personality of the Year”: Brent Lane, WYCT, Pensacola, Florida; Buzz Jackson, KIIM, Tucson; Harlen The Sports Guy and Pigskin Bob, KYKX, Tyler, Texas; Jeff and Amanda, WKRZ, Wilkes-Barre; and Mike Street, WBTJ, Richmond.
“Small Market Personality of the Year”: Brent Carl Fleshman, WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; Chris and Rosie, WUSQ, Winchester, Virginia; Glenner Anderson, KXLR-FM, Fairbanks, Alaska; Scotty and Catryna, KCLR-FM, Columbia, Missouri; and Shags & Trevor, KCMG-FM, Columbia, Missouri.
“Major Market Station of the Year”: KIIS-FM, Los Angeles; WKYS, Washington, D.C.; WTOP-FM, Washington, D.C.; WWPR, New York, NY; and WYCD, Detroit.
“Large Market Station of the Year”: KOA, Denver; KSTP-FM, Minneapolis; KQMV, Seattle; WMTX, Tampa; and WXTB, Tampa.
“Medium Market Station of the Year”: KIPR, Little Rock; KRMG, Tulsa; WHKO, Dayton; WKHK, Richmond; and WSSL, Greenville, South Carolina.
“Small Market Station of the Year”: KFGO-AM, Fargo, North Dakota; KROX, Crookston, Minnesota; KWYO-AM, Sheridan, Wyoming; WNDH, North Canton, Ohio; and WXLP-FM, Davenport, Iowa.
“Best Radio Podcast of the Year”: “Behind the Song,” WDRV, Chicago; “Denied Justice Podcast,” WCCO, Minneapolis; “Garage Logic,” Hubbard Broadcasting, Minneapolis; “On the Table,” NET, Lincoln, Nebraska; and “What Had Happened Was,” WHIO-FM, Dayton.
“Adult Contemporary Station of the Year”: KODA, Houston; KRWM, Seattle; WBZZ, Pittsburgh; WMAG, Greensboro; and WSHE, Chicago.
“CHR Station of the Year”: KRBE, Houston; KTXY-FM, Columbia, Missouri; WKZL, Greensboro; WQHT, New York; and WWPW, Atlanta.
“Classic Hits Station of the Year”: WMGK, Philadelphia; WMJI, Cleveland; WMMO, Orlando; WOGL, Philadelphia; and WXGL, Tampa.
“College Radio Station of the Year”: WHPC-FM, Nassau Community College, Garden City, New York; WMSC-FM, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey; WRCC-FM, Rider University, Lawrenceville, New Jersey; WRHU-FM, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York; and WSOU-FM, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey.
“Country Station of the Year”: KILT-FM, Houston; KSCS, Dallas; KUBL, Salt Lake City; KYGO, Denver; and
WQHK-FM, Fort Wayne, Indiana;
“News/Talk Station of the Year”: KIRO-FM, Seattle; KTMY, Minneapolis; WDBO-FM, Orlando; WINS, New York; and WKXW, Trenton, New Jersey.
“Religious Station of the Year”: KKFS, Sacramento; KKJM-FM, St. Cloud, Minnesota; KNWI-FM, West Des Moines, Iowa; KPWJ-FM, College Station, Texas; and WRVL-FM, Lynchburg, Virginia.
“Rock Station of the Year”: KISS, San Antonio; WCSX, Detroit; WIYY, Baltimore; WPLR-FM, New Haven, Connecticut; and WRIF, Detroit.
“Spanish Station of the Year”: KLNZ, Phoenix; KLOL, Houston; KLZT, Austin; WOJO, Chicago; and WYUU, Tampa.
“Sports Talk Station of the Year”: KFXN, Minneapolis; WBZ-FM, Boston; WIP, Philadelphia; WKRK, Cleveland; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.
“Urban Contemporary Station of the Year”: KBLX-FM, San Francisco; WBLS, New York; WGCI-FM, Chicago;
WHQT, Miami; and WPEG, Charlotte.
Winners will be announced at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show during the radio Show in Dallas (9/26).
London Contest Among Compass Media Networks’ 2019 NFL Highlights. A double-header will be heard on Compass Media Networks every Sunday over the course of the NFL’s 17-week regular season. Compass Media Networks general manager of sports Michelle Salvatore maintains, “NFL Gameday presented by Compass Media Networks has become a ‘destination listen’ across the country. Our long history with the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, and numerous other clubs across the country has enabled us to once again offer a full spectrum of NFL coverage, called by some of the greatest voices to grace the air. We are thrilled to count this as year 11 and are humbled by the success and reach our productions have. This will be an amazing season from anywhere you look – or listen.” Pre-season coverage includes Rams vs. Cowboys in Honolulu and Packers vs. Raiders in Winnipeg, Canada. The first five weeks of the regular season schedule has been finalized and includes Titans vs. Browns; Giants vs. Cowboys; Chiefs vs. Raiders; Steelers vs. 49ers; Packers vs. Cowboys; Jets vs. Eagles; and Bears vs. Raiders from London. Sunday afternoon NFL games will feature Chris Carrino and Jesse Agler (play-by-play); Brian Baldinger and Curtis Conway (analysts); and Jon Rothstein (studio host). Talent for Oakland Raider broadcasts are Brent Musburger (play-by-play); Lincoln Kennedy (analyst); Chris Townsend (sideline reporter); and Tim Cates (studio host). Games of the Dallas Cowboys (available outside the Cowboys’ home territory) will be handled by Kevin Ray (play-by-play); Danny White (analyst); and Jerry Recco (studio host).
King, Sundstrom Boosted at WWO. Two executives in Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One’s 24-hour formats division receive promotions. Specifically, vice president of country programming George King becomes vice president/general manager and will oversee all programming and affiliate management for the company’s 24-hour formats. King will report to Westwood One president of programming Kirk Stirland. Meanwhile, regional affiliate manager Eric Sundstrom is elevated to vice president of affiliate sales and will report to King. Stirland comments, “George is both a gifted, experienced, programmer and a big strategic thinker. He will bring both skills to bear with our customers at 24-hour formats. Very few people understand the local radio marketplace like Eric, which makes him a smart choice for this leadership role. With George and Eric at the helm, we’ll continue to bring high-quality radio to the traditional 24-hour format marketplace, as well make an impact in larger markets that require different features and qualities.” King remarks, “We are proud to be the leader in the field, and we will continue to deliver best-in-class 24-hour content to radio stations nationwide.” Sundstrom notes, “I’m honored to work even more closely with this world-class team of sales and programming talent. I look forward to developing an even deeper relationship with our valued partners and to connecting with new 24-hour format customers.” Prior to joining Westwood One five years ago, King was regional operations manager for Townsquare Media’s stations in Ft. Collins, Colorado. He also worked at country WMZQ, Washington (D.C.). Sundstrom has a more than 20-year affiliate management tenure at Westwood One. He previously held program management positions in Albuquerque at KRST, KRZY, and KKOB-FM.
Pride Media and iHM Team For LGBTQ+ Podcasts. The partnership between iHeartMedia and Pride Media kicks off today (Thursday, 7/18) with “The Outcast,” an iHeartRadio original podcast co-produced with Out Magazine and hosted by its deputy editor Fran Tirado. This weekly podcast will explore queer and queer-adjacent topics as they pertain to politics, pop culture, fashion, relationships, and money. President of iHeartMedia Podcast Network Conal Byrne states, “At iHeartMedia, our goal is to connect exceptional content with diverse audiences. Pride Media has been an authentic voice for the LGBTQ+ community for years, and this partnership would not be possible without their unique expertise. We are proud to partner with them to create and distribute exciting new podcasts for the LGBTQ+ community and beyond.” Tirado remarks, “Podcasting and audio storytelling, particularly in the LGBTQ+ space, needs more voices in it. I can’t wait to help elevate and uplift those voices.” Interim Pride Media CEO Orlando Reece notes, “We’ve seen the power of podcasting firsthand, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with the leading podcast platform to create shows that we know our audience will love. By combining our established brand with iHeart’s massive scale, we’ll be able to reach even more LGBTQ+ individuals across the country through audio.” Out editor-in-chief Phillip Picardi adds, “I’m so thrilled that Fran is blessing us with his unique talents in the podcasting space. Under his vision and direction, I’m hopeful that the stories we’re so proud to tell at Out will be given new dimension and texture.” Later this month, the iHeartMedia Podcast Network will launch Pride Media’s “Food 4 Thot,” which discusses sex, relationships, race, and identity.
Podcast Movement Unveils Content Site, Daily Newsletter. Billed as “the world’s largest conference for podcasters and the podcast industry,” Podcast Movement this week launches a content site for podcasting news, resources, and thought leadership. Guest articles from creators and critics across the industry will be published regularly, offering exclusive materials, information, and insights to podcasters and other podcast industry professionals. Meanwhile, morning-delivered newsletter PodMov Daily is designed to keep podcasters and industry professionals in the loop with news, curated topics, and community updates. Podcast Movement co-founder/president Dan Franks remarks, “While we love providing value to podcasters at our in-person events, we’re excited to now have a platform that provides that value year-round, and allows us to give back in an even bigger way to the community that’s shown us so much support.” The sixth annual Podcast Movement conference will be held next month (8/13 – 16) in Orlando.
LRF Bill Gains More Bipartisan Support. The “Local Radio Freedom Act” (LRFA) now has 184 co-sponsors in the House and 24 in the Senate. The latest four signing on as co-sponsors are representatives Deb Haaland (Democrat-New Mexico); Dan Crenshaw (Republican-Texas); and Van Taylor (Republican-Texas, as well). The additional Senate sponsor is Cindy Hyde-Smith (Republican-Mississippi). The resolution states, “Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over the air, or on any business for the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station broadcast over the air.” Principal co-sponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act in the House of Representatives (H. Con. Res. 20) are Kathy Castor (Democrat-Florida) and Michael Conaway (Republican-Texas). Senators Martin Heinrich (Democrat-New Mexico) and John Barrasso (Republican-Wyoming) are the lead co-sponsors of a companion resolution in the Senate (S. Con. Res. 5).
TALKERS News Notes. Celebrating its 50th season as the Denver Broncos’ flagship station, iHeartMedia Denver news/talk KOA “News Radio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” debuts “Broncos Country Tonight” tomorrow (Friday, 7/19, 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm). President of the iHeartMedia Denver region Tim Hager notes, the six-hour show “solidifies the strong partnership between the Denver Broncos, KOA and top sports on-air personalities such as [Broncos play-by-play announcer] Dave Logan and [Broncos color analyst] Rick Lewis. From the Denver Broncos training camp to behind-the-scenes preseason coverage, this show will attract a huge following and we’re excited to welcome it to our heritage station.” ….. To coincide with the listing of iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, iHM chair/chief executive officer Bob Pittman and president/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler rang today’s opening bell (Thursday, 7/18) at 9:30 am. The company’s stock began trading today under the ticker “IHRT.”
June 2019 PPM Data – Part Four. June 2019 ratings information has been released for Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, and Jacksonville, Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 survey period covered May 23 – June 19. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from all four of these PPM-markets. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.
Spoken-Word Formats – Down a collective one-half share in three straight down or flat moves (3.6 – 3.6 – 3.2 – 3.1, 6+), Cumulus Media news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” ends the slide with a gain of four-tenths to 3.5 (#13 to #12, 6+). The repetitive March 2019 through June 2019 topline for iHeartMedia news/talk WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” is: 1.7 – 1.4 – 1.7 – 1.4 (#17 to #19, 6+).
Not only does Cumulus Media-owned sports talk WGFX have its 6+AQH-share carved roughly in half (-2.8) in three straight setbacks (5.5 – 4.8 – 4.2 – 2.7, 6+), “104.5 The Zone” slumps from #11 to #14. The last time WGFX was below a three-share (6+) was July 2017 (2.7, as well). Meanwhile, Cromwell Group-owned WPRT “102.5 The Game” is a combined -1.1 in May/June (1.9 – 1.1 – .8, #21 to #22, 6+).
Adding two-tenths to May’s +1.0 (5.4 – 5.6, 6+), Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN-FM “NPR News and Classical Music” progresses from seventh to fifth. The news/talk/classical hybrid outlet was -1.3 in March/April (5.7 – 4.8 – 4.4, 6+).
Nashville Music Formats – Without an increase three successive reports for an overall -1.2 (7.5 – 6.6 – 6.3 – 6.3, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WNRQ “105.9 The Rock” makes up 75% of the deficit with a +.9 to 7.2 (fourth to third, 6+). Over and above logging its best 6+-stat (4.5) since “Holiday” 2018’s 4.7, Salem Media Group’s WFFH “The Fish” is a collective +1.0 through four straight positive spikes (3.5 – 3.8 – 3.9 – 4.1 – 4.5, #12 to #11, 6+). Four setbacks in succession by Midwest Communications adult contemporary WJXA resulted in a collective -5.9 (14.1 – 10.6 – 9.3 – 8.8 – 8.2, 6+), but “Mix 92.9 – Your Life, Your Music” is now a combined +1.4 in May/June (8.2 – 9.2 – 9.6, 6+) and repeats at #1. Before forfeiting six-tenths in April, “Mix” had been on top the previous 15 ratings periods. Twelve recent WJXA fluctuations include: +1.0 (June 2018); +.9 (August); -.9 (September); -.7 (October); +.9 (November); +1.9 (December); +3.2 (“Holiday” 2018); -3.5 (January 2019); -1.3 (February); -.5 (March); -.6 (April); and +1.0 (May). “Holiday” 2018’s 14.1 is the highest 6+-share for any Nashville outlet since WJXA’s 14.4 in “Holiday” 2017. TBLC Media Spanish contemporary WNVL “Activa 105.1 & 1240 AM” has nearly quadrupled (+1.3) its 6+-stat in five bumps in a row (.5 – .6 – .8 – .9 – 1.5 – 1.8, #18 to #16, 6+). Directly after posting an April increase of seven-tenths (3.0 – 3.7, 6+), Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WLVU “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” falters by a combined -1.7 in May/June (3.7 – 2.8 – 2.0, #14 to #15, 6+) and posts its lowest 6+-stat (2.0) since February 2018’s 1.0. The March 2019 through June 2019 topline for iHeartMedia CHR WRVW “107.5 The River” is 5.3 – 5.9 – 5.9 – 5.3 (fifth to sixth, 6+). The market’s three major country FMs are separated by just three-tenths of a share. After posting a collective +2.2 in five straight gains (4.1 – 4.2 – 5.4 – 5.9 – 6.1 – 6.3, 6+), Cumulus Media’s WKDF “103.3 Nash FM” falters by one-half share in consecutive sweeps (6.3 – 5.8 – 5.3, flat at #6, 6+). Prior to March, WKDF last hit the six-share threshold in June 2013. Six consecutive sweeps without a loss by iHeartMedia’s WSIX “The Big 98 – Nashville’s #1 for New Country” (steady in eighth-place) net a +1.7 (3.5 – 4.7 – 4.7 – 5.0 – 5.2 – 5.2 – 5.2, 6+). It has a two-tenths advantage over Cumulus Media’s WSM-FM “95.5 Nash Icon,” which was up two-tenths in three successive up or flat moves (5.0 – 5.0 – 5.0 – 5.2, 6+) but squanders two-tenths to 5.0 (eighth to ninth, 6+). Dropping by one-half share in addition to WKDF is iHeartMedia urban contemporary WUBT “101.1 The Beat” (6.8 – 6.3, third to fourth, 6+) with 6.3, its lowest 6+-showing since February’s 6.1.
Spoken-Word Formats – Slipping from seventh to eighth, Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM “News Talk 630” is a combined -.7 in May/June (3.8 – 3.7 – 3.1, 6+).
Owing to four dips in succession, iHeartMedia-owned news/talk WHJJ “Providence’s News, Traffic, and Weather” forfeits eight-tenths (2.1 – 1.9 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.3, 6+) and drops from #13 to #14. Even though Cumulus Media’s WPRV forfeits two-tenths (.7 – .5, 6+), “AM 790 Talk & Business” is back in the top twenty (#21 to #20).
By picking up one-tenth in June to 3.6 (6) – after sputtering by one-half share in May – Entercom sports talker
WVEI progresses from eighth to seventh.
Down three-tenths in May/June (1.3 – 1.2 – 1.0, 6+), iHeartMedia Boston hybrid news – talk WBZ-AM “News Radio 1030” slips from #17 to #18.
Stuck on 2.0 (6+) in April and May, The Wheeler School’s news/talk WELH is off one-tenth to 1.9 (6+) but stays at #10, while WGBH Educational Foundation Boston news/talk WGBH notches a 1.6 (6+) for the fifth time in the last seven reports (1.6 – 1.6 – 1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.6, #12 to #11, 6+).
Providence Music Formats – Busting out improvements of nine-tenths each are Hall Communications’ WCTK “Cat Country 98.1” (7.6 – 8.5, steady at #3, 6+) and iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WWBB “B-101” (7.2 – 8.1, fifth to fourth, 6+). When “Cat Country” surrendered two-tenths in May, it halted four straight gains that accounted for a +2.2 (5.6 – 7.2 – 7.4 – 7.4 – 7.8, 6+). That streak, however, followed a collective -3.1 via three declines in succession (8.7 – 8.2 – 6.9 – 5.6, 6+). “B-101,” meanwhile, has its best 6+-performance in nearly a year – matching July 2018’s 8.1. Reaching this Rhode Island market from Boston, iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” is up a collective four-tenths through four successive up or flat Providence moves (1.1 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.5 – 1.5, #14 to #13, 6+). In addition to bumping up two-tenths (10.0 – 10.2, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WHJY “94 HJY Providence’s Home of Rock & Roll” repeats at #1. An April loss of nine-tenths forced WHJY from the top spot after three straight months there. The decline halted four consecutive positive or flat moves that netted a +2.0 (8.5 – 9.8 – 9.8 – 9.8 – 10.5, 6+). Before taking over at #1 in January, WHJY was in the runner-up slot from September 2018 through “Holiday” 2018. Co-owned hot AC WSNE “Coast 93.3,” which cobbled together three consecutive improvements for a collective +1.2 (3.8 – 4.3 – 4.5 – 5.0, 6+), sputters by seven-tenths to 4.3 (6+) and remains at #6. In May, “Coast” reached the five-share level (5.0, 6+) for the first time since October 2018’s 5.5. Unlisted until February 2019, Hall Communications’ classic hits-oldies WNBH more than tripled (+.7) its 6+-stat in three straight upticks (.3 – .4 – .5 -1.0, 6+), but “Big 101.3” sees its 6+ AQH share sliced in half to a .5 (-.5, #18 to #20). In five straight negative or neutral reports, Townsquare Media CHR WFHN “Fun 107 – The South Coast’s #1 Hit Music Station” has lost roughly 60% (-2.6) of its 6+-share (4.2 – 3.7 – 2.6 – 1.9 – 1.9 – 1.6, flat at #11, 6+). Immediately in advance of this stretch, WFHN more than tripled (+3.0) its 6+-stat as a result of six successive up or flat moves (1.2 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.7 – 4.2, 6+).
Norfolk – Unchanged in fourth-place, WNOR posts a gain of eight-tenths to 6.8, the highest 6+ AQH share for the Saga Communications’ rocker since October 2018’s 6.9. In addition to more than doubling (+1.1) its 6+-stat in six straight reports without a loss (.8 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.9, 6+), iHeartMedia alternative WNOH “Alt 105.3” returns to the top ten (#11 to #8). Responding to March/April’s combined -2.4 (12.9 – 11.6 – 10.5, 6+) with a May +1.0 to 11.5 (6+), Entercom urban AC WVKL “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” drops one-tenth to 11.4 (6+) but is #1 for the sixth successive month. Just prior to logging a 10.5 this past April, WVKL had posted a 6+-share of 11.0 or higher 37 of 38 times. “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” had been on top 25 successive survey periods before segueing to the runner-up slot in “Holiday” 2018. Its August 2018 15.5 holds the record for highest 6+-performance by any Norfolk station in the PPM-era. Adult contemporary sibling WWDE “101.3 2WD,” however, erodes by -1.4 (5.8 – 4.4, fifth to sixth, 6+) and is below a five-share (4.4, 6+) for the first time since January 2018’s 4.3. An overall -1.0 in three straight negative or neutral moves (5.6 – 5.2 – 5.2 – 4.6, 6+), cluster-mate WNVZ “Z-104” improves by three-tenths to 4.9 (6+) and climbs from sixth to fifth. Ever since appearing in print in November 2018, its internet stream is trending .4 – .5 – .6 – .5 – .5 – .5 – .4 – .5 – .4 (flat at #14, 6+). WJOI “1230 AM – Great Songs/Great Memories,” which gained six-tenths in five straight up or flat trends (.8 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.4, 6+), surrenders half that increase (1.1, -.3, 6+) as the Saga Communications adult standards station falls from #11 to #13. Likewise, Norfolk State University urban contemporary WNSB improved by four-tenths via four consecutive sweeps without a loss (1.0 – 1.- 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.4, 6+), but “Hot 91.1” is off two-tenths to 1.2 (#11 to #12, 6+).
Spoken-Word Formats – This marks the fifth consecutive sweep without an increase for Cox Media Group news/talk WOKV-FM, which is a collective -2.9 in that stretch (10.4 – 9.7 – 8.8 – 8.6 – 8.6 – 7.5, 6+). Moreover, “104.5 – Jacksonville’s News, Weather, and Traffic” segues from a first-place tie to a second-place tie. WOKV-FM had sole possession of first-place in April.
Without an increase the eighth consecutive time for a net loss of 75% (-.6) of its 6+-stat (.8 – .7 – .6 – .6 – .5 – .3 – .3 -.3 – .2, 6+), iHeartMedia sports talk WFXJ “930 The Game – Jacksonville’s Sports Leader” repeats at #19.
Off seven-tenths in three setbacks in succession (3.7 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 3.0, 6+), public news/talk WJCT falls from #11 to #12. Immediately prior to April, “Your Community – Your World” was a cumulative +1.5 in five increases in a row (2.2 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 3.0 – 3.5 – 3.7, 6+).
Jacksonville Music Formats – A lofty +1.4 (4.6 – 6.0, 6+) enables iHeartMedia urban contemporary WJBT “93.3 The Beat” to vault from eighth to fifth. On the strength of a +1.0, co-owned CHR WKSL “97.9 Kiss FM” crosses the five-share level (4.2 – 5.2, 6+) and bumps up from ninth to eighth. At the same time, Cox Media Group’s similarly-formatted WAPE falters by -1.0 and is down the third straight sweep for an overall -1.3 (7.3 – 7.2 – 7.0 – 6.0, fourth to fifth, 6+). In addition, “95.1 Jacksonville’s #1 Hit Music Station” has its weakest 6+-stat (6.0) since 5.2 in “Holiday” 2018. Its adult contemporary sibling, WEZI “Easy 102.9,” nets +1.4 in three successive upticks (4.5 – 4.9 – 5.1 – 5.9, 6+) and carries on in seventh-place. A combined +1.1 in January/February, WEZI surrendered roughly half that increase with a March loss of six-tenths. Despite being a collective -1.2 in three declines in a row (8.7 – 8.3 – 7.6 – 7.5, 6+), Renda Broadcasting’s similarly-formatted WEJZ “96.1 Jacksonville’s Official Work Station” advances from third to a second-place tie. Its “Holiday” 2018 16.3 is the highest 6+-mark for any Jacksonville station since “Holiday” 2015 when WEJZ notched a 19.5. Locked on 3.1 (6+) in April and May, iHeartMedia’s WWJK “107.3 Planet Radio – Jacksonville’s Rock Station” posts a one-half share gain (3.1 – 3.6, 6+) and enters the top ten (#12 to #10). After a March-only stay at #1, Cox Media Group classic hits-oldies WJGL segued to a second-place tie in April and then progressed to a first-place tie in May. Even though “96.9 The Eagle” drops one-half share in June (8.6 – 8.1, 6+), it has sole possession of first-place. An April loss of six-tenths interrupted three upticks in succession that resulted in a +1.6 (7.3 – 8.1 – 8.6 – 8.9, 6+). Immediately prior to that streak, “The Eagle” was an overall -2.0 in four consecutive slips (9.3 – 9.2 – 8.5 – 8.2 – 7.3, 6+). Off seven-tenths to 5.0, its lowest 6+-showing since 4.9 in “Holiday” 2018, iHeartMedia urban AC WSOL “V-101.5” slips from sixth to ninth. Showing decreases of six-tenths each are Cox Media Group-owned WXXJ “X-106.5 Jacksonville’s Alternative” (unchanged at #13); iHeartMedia gospel WKSL-HD3 (2.3, flat at #14, 6+); and Radio Training Network contemporary Christian WCRJ “The Joy FM” (1.6 – 1.0, #flat at #17, 6+). “X-106.5” has lost seven-tenths in three straight negative or neutral moves (3.1 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 2.4, 6+). Prior to the June sweep, WKSL-HD3 had shown a net increase of seven-tenths in four straight sweeps without a loss (2.2 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.7 – 2.9, 6+). “The Joy FM” was frozen on 1.6 (6+) in April and May. In nine straight sweeps without a loss, iHeartMedia Spanish contemporary WQIK-HD2 gained two-tenths (.1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .3, 6+) but is off one-tenth in June to .2 (unchanged at #19, 6+).
KLOS, KXOS Officially Added to Meruelo Media. The existing Meruelo Media Los Angeles cluster welcomes rock KLOS (from Cumulus Media) and regional Mexican KXOS (from Grupo Radio Centro). They join rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106,” Redondo Beach-licensed KDAY “93.5 Hip-Hop Back in the Day” and Ontario (California)-licensed simulcast KDEY, as well as KWHY-TV and KBEH-TV. The company’s current executive team takes over KLOS’ operations, with Meruelo Media president Otto Padron serving as interim market manager; Tomas Trujillo overseeing day-to-day operations; vice president of client solutions David Criscitelli leading sales; and vice president of marketing Dianna Jason dealing with communication and marketing. KLOS program director Keith Cunningham continues in that capacity. KWHY-TV general manager Irma Barrios adds KXOS to her existing duties and Emmanuel “DJ E-Man” Coquia takes over KXOS’ interim programming and music duties. Padron remarks, “Two closes in one day – we are thrilled to add KXOS and KLOS to the Meruelo Media family. This is the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in Los Angeles media. We are absolutely committed to the amazing heritage rock brand of KLOS. We are electrified to officially close on our purchase of the station and begin a new chapter of this legendary brand together with its amazing cadre of talented employees and iconic personalities. It will give Meruelo Media great scale and access to a highly desirable market sector, in addition to giving our clients and partners a newly energized local option. In turn, we will commit to KLOS our deep hyper-local operational and content resources that will drive significant audience growth for a larger share of advertising dollars. Regarding the other addition, he teased, “Stand by, exciting news about KXOS coming soon.” Meruelo Media plans to relocate KLOS’ Culver City operations to its Burbank facility later this year; KXOS already operates from there. The $43 million deal for KLOS was announced in April; it reportedly paid $35 million for KXOS. In addition to notching its sixth straight up or flat trend for a net gain of nine-tenths (2.4 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 3.3, 6+), KLOS cracks the top ten (#11 to #8, Nielsen Audio, June 2019, 6+). KXOS picks up three-tenths in June (.9 – 1.2, 6+) and finishes at #30 – tied with KDAY (flat at 1.2, 6+). “Power 106” gains two-tenths (2.9 – 3.1, #11 to #10, 6+) and has its best 6+-showing since September 2018’s 3.2.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Starting September 9, longtime “Extra” host – Mario Lopez – will join Kit Hoover and Scott Evans in a similar capacity on “Access Hollywood” and “Access Live.” In addition to his television work, Lopez hosts Premiere Networks’ “On With Mario Lopez” and the hot AC version of “iHeartRadio Countdown With Mario Lopez.” NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution executive vice president/creative affairs Tracie Wilson declares, “Mario is a multi-talented television personality. As an entertainment TV and radio host, actor, author, and – of course – a father and husband, Mario brings a fresh voice and perspective with creative ideas to our business. Our viewers know him and love him, and we are so excited to have him as a part of the NBCUniversal family.” According to “Access Hollywood” senior executive producer Maureen Fitzpatrick, “Mario has grown up in the business and is able to offer our viewers a unique insight on the latest Hollywood headlines. As a husband and father of three young children, he has a respect for the daytime audience looking for a break in their hectic lives with uplifting stories of everyday people transforming their lives and making a difference in their communities.” Lopez notes, “I have long admired the NBCUniversal team and all the shows being produced. I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to join in that success and develop scripted and alternative projects on their many creative platforms.” …. Founder/president of The WTA Group – a leader in development/marketing of faith-based film and publishing – Bill Reeves, succeeds the retiring Mike Novak as Educational Media Foundation’s chief executive officer. EMF is the parent company of contemporary Christian radio networks K-Love and Air 1. EMF has issued a letter of intent to acquire The WTA Group, which Reeves founded in 2009. EMF interim chief executive officer and president Alan Mason maintains, “God always sends the right person at the right time. Bill’s unique skill set and personality are a great match with our current and future needs. His vast media experience complements radio as we take our first step toward becoming a more diversified media ministry.” EMF board chair Mark Voltmann comments, “All of us at EMF are excited to welcome Bill into our family. Bill’s love for the Lord and ministry through Christian media is a great fit.” Reeves remarks, “K-Love and Air1 have tremendous impact on our culture. I look forward to continuing to grow that impact and reach both through the radio networks and through new media in the future.” WTA Group will remain in Nashville where it has operated since its inception ….. Five-year WRSA “Mix 96.9” “After Hours” night talent Blair Davis is boosted to middays (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) at the NCA Huntsville (Alabama) mainstream adult contemporary outlet. WRSA general manager Nate Adams comments that, “When it comes to radio, Blair has the ‘it’ factor. Her on-air ability is years beyond her experience. She not only understands how to deliver great content, she is focused on finding the right content for our audience. She brings a great level of energy to the workday listener and connects well with them.” Davis, who will also do a Saturday morning shift (6:00 am – 10:00 am), notes, “You never know what tricks I might have up my sleeve.” …..Windy City media authority Robert Feder is first to report that a new morning show could surface on Entercom Chicago’s country-formatted WUSN “US-99” early next month. Feder speculates that Jason Pullman and Katie Bright will constitute the wakeup team. The slot has been open since the departure two months ago of Dougie Stylz and Justin Roman (“Stylz & Roman”). Pullman’s previous on-air credits include iHeartMedia Los Angeles’ KYSR (when it was hot AC “Star 98.7”) and Atlanta country sibling WUBL “94.9 The Bull.” Bright has worked on-air in Nashville and was based in Music City USA as director/national promotion for Warner Music Nashville.
APOLLO 11 ANNIVERSARY: CBS News Radio Correspondent Peter King is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing (7/20) and the stellar 45-year career of a CBS News Radio reporter who has been covering the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the past two decades, Peter King is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison (a passionate space enthusiast) and King discuss a wide variety of topics including NASA, US space exploration, memories of the Apollo 11 mission, their love of radio, and the state of journalism in America. 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 every page of Talkers.com.
Esiason Gets The Call to NY State Broadcaster’s Association HOF. Twelve-year Entercom New York City sports talk WFAN morning show co-host, Boomer Esiason, has been selected to the New York State Broadcaster’s Association’s Hall of Fame. The legendary former NFL quarterback will be inducted at the Broadcast Leadership and Hall of Fame luncheon during the NAB New York Show in October. Entercom New York regional president/market manager Susan Larkin remarks, “Boomer has been a cornerstone of this station since his arrival. This distinguished recognition represents his invaluable contributions to our station and industry overall.” In thanking the NY State Broadcaster’s Association “for this incredible honor,” Esiason comments, “It is extremely humbling to be recognized alongside hardworking, accomplished individuals in our industry.” He and Gregg Giannotti form “Boomer and Gio” weekday mornings on WFAN, which is the flagship of the Yankees, Giants, Brooklyn Nets, and New Jersey Devils. After his 14-year NFL career, Esiason debuted as a commentator on ABC-TV’s “Monday Night Football.” For nearly two decades, he has called games for Westwood One/CBS Radio Sports and served as a studio analyst for “The NFL Today” on CBS-TV and Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.”
Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with Special Luncheon Address by Salem Radio Network Host Sebastian Gorka. TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story. Today’s (7/16) post presents a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network. Yesterday’s (7/15) post presents the panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video. The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York. Already posted: the special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOne; Steven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi Media; Michael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history. TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year. To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.
Preliminary iHM Q2 Results, NASDAQ Listing. Under the Global Select Market ticker symbol “IHRT,” NASDAQ approves the listing of iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock, par valued at $0.001 per share. Class A shares are expected to begin trading on NASDAQ this Thursday (7/18). Meanwhile, preliminary SEC-filed second-quarter financial show year-to-year revenue rose 2.4% to $913 million. Operating income (OI) was off $1 million to $180, while Adjusted EBITDA grew 3.1% ($255 million to $263 million). Preliminary results have not been audited or reviewed by the company’s independent accountants, and remain subject to review by iHeartMedia’s management and audit committee. Results may differ from actual results, which remain subject to completion of management’s and the audit committee’s final review, as well as the interim review by its independent accountants.
Study: Podcast Ads Least Likely To Be Skipped. Monthly podcast listeners skip digital ad formats the most – online pop-up ads, online banner ads, e-mail advertising, direct mail, and online video. That’s among the nuggets Westwood One uncovered when it teamed with Canadian media research consultancy Audience Insights in a study focused on podcast consumers and their listening habits. Fielded this past March, the report examines podcast consumption habits of 1,407 monthly podcast listeners. It addresses four distinct segments based on when people began listening to podcasts: 313 “Podcast Pioneers” who started listening four or more years ago; 415 who began listening two to three years ago; 327 who began listening in the past seven to 12 months; and 352 “Podcast Newcomers” who began listening within the last six months. Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing Suzanne Grimes states, “The finding that emerging podcast listeners are using a diverse number of platforms signals a turning point for the podcast industry. When compared to the ‘Podcast Pioneers,’ who use Apple Podcasts almost exclusively, ‘Podcast Newcomers’ are open to using multiple platforms to access podcasts.” Audience Insights president Jeff Vidler notes, “This podcast download report expands on much of what we have seen as we put our microscope on Canadian podcast listeners. Podcasting is uniquely engaging, on trend with on-demand content platforms like Netflix or paid music streaming services, but the only one accessible to advertisers.” Other study highlights include: Roughly three of ten (31%) “Podcast Newcomers” typically discover podcasts by hearing about them on terrestrial radio. While the average monthly podcast listener accesses 2.7 podcast platforms, “Podcast Newcomers” use 3.5 platforms. Two of three “Power” podcast listeners follow their favorite podcast hosts on social media. Podcast listeners equally use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to follow their favorite hosts. Approximately two of five (42%) “Power” podcast listeners follow their favorite podcast host on Twitter, compared to 22% of U.S. adults who ever use Twitter. Spotify and Google Podcasts are attracting consumers who recently began listening to podcasts. Among those listening to podcasts over four years, Apple is the leading destination.
SBG President: “Case Is Far From Over.” As we reported yesterday (TALKERS, 7/15), a Los Angeles superior court jury ruled unanimously in favor of independent syndicator of radio live play-by-play Sports USA in its multi-year violation of contract suit against Sun Broadcasting Group. The jury awarded Sports USA damages in excess of $2 million as compensation for Sun’s breach of its advertising representation agreement with Sports USA. Sun Broadcast Group president Jason Bailey, however, stresses, “This case is far from over. We were shocked and saddened by the verdict in Pacific West Radio Sports, LLC (d/b/a Sports USA) v. Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. Despite establishing wrongdoing by Sports USA from even before the inception of the agreement between the parties, the jury granted judgment in favor of Sports USA. The jury reached that verdict without the benefit of being able to consider key evidence of Sports USA’s wrongdoing. Sun was barred from introducing that evidence at trial on hearsay grounds. We remain determined to see that justice is done, and plan to pursue every available avenue to overturn this result so that Sports USA’s improper business practices are exposed and no other company falls victim. This verdict involves the old Sun, which has not traded since late 2018. It does not involve the current SBG-owned and operated by Gen Media Partners.” Bailey further notes, “This will be the only statement I will make on the matter while we work through the appeal process.”
Three Moody Radio AM Stations Are On The Block. With plans to exit the AM radio business, Moody Radio is set to spin off its three AM facilities. Chicago-based operator Moody Bible Institute will focus on FM network expansion. Senior vice president of media Greg Thornton writes, “Moody Radio seeks to transform the world for Jesus Christ, one listener at a time, by producing and delivering quality, creative, biblical content, which helps people take the next step in their journey with Jesus. In looking to the future, Moody Radio is committed to double [our] overall impact by 2030. Our strategic roadmap to achieving this bold vision includes audience growth through market expansion/realignment, and content development strategies.” Thornton recognizes “the limitations of AM broadcasting today, including [that] many AM stations only broadcast in the daytime.” Thus, Moody Radio will be selling Spanish religion WMBI W268AY “Moody Radio – AM 1110,” Chicago; Spanish religion WDLM “Moody Radio – AM 960,” East Moline/Quad Cities, Illinois; and Spanish religion WGNR “Moody Radio – AM 1470,” Anderson, Indiana. According to Thornton, “Listeners in these cities will still hear Moody Radio 24 hours a day on our strong FM signals. Proceeds from the sale of these three AM licenses will be used to further the expansion of Moody Radio through the addition of digital/online content, new apps in both English and Spanish, and the acquisition of select FM broadcast licenses.”
TALKERS News Notes. As part of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing investigating charges of bias against conservatives, Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager will testify at 2:30 pm (ET) today (Tuesday, 7/16). Prager’s opening statement has already been submitted and, in part, he states, “I have been communicating this appreciation of America for 35 years as a radio talk show host, the last 20 in national syndication with the Salem Radio Network, an organization that is a blessing in American life.” According to Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup, videos from Prager’s “online Prager University have been blocked as ‘controversial’ by Google and other search engines. Google officials deny any political bias or filtering of conservative viewpoints.” Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz is the chair of today’s hearing ….. In two weeks (7/30 & 7/31), Westwood One News’ coverage of the Democratic National Committee-sanctioned/CNN-produced Democratic Presidential Debates will air from Detroit. Westwood One News correspondent Evan Haning will anchor, starting at 7:59 pm (ET) both nights, while Bob Costantini handles on-scene reporting and will be available for live Q&A from the Motor City. The network will offer stations an unanchored feed and one-minute special reports each night at the top and bottom of the hour (8:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) ….. Set to rejoin WTEM “980 The Team” in three weeks (8/5) is Kevin Sheehan, who wasn’t retained when Radio One acquired the Washington (DC) sports talk outlet late last year. Sheehan co-hosted mornings with Chris Cooley and will return for 7:00 am – 10:00 am duty. Radio One senior regional vice president Jeff Wilson comments, “I’m elated to have Kevin Sheehan back home on ‘The Team.’ His unique approach to the sports landscape, combined with his overwhelming passion, provides an entertainment destination for listeners throughout the Nation’s Capital.” Prior to departing last year, Sheehan had been with WTEM 14 years and states, “I’m looking forward to coming home – it’s great to be back.” ….. The first three Jim Rutt Show podcasts went live yesterday (Monday, July 15) on JimRuttShow.com. The series will examine “cutting-edge thinking” in science and technology, and the future of our economic, political and social systems and institutions. The past chair of The Santa Fe Institute; former chief executive officer of Network Solutions; and first CTO of Thomson-Reuters, Rutt was called “the internet’s bad boy” by The New York Times for his reputation for creative mischief. A complete collection of Rutt’s podcasts, including show transcripts, episode highlights, guest biographies, and links are available on the aforementioned website.
Line Drives. This past weekend, NBC Sports Radio produced seven radio shows from the driving range at Edgewood Tahoe golf course in Lake Tahoe (Nevada), site of the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament. Flanking MLB Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz (center) are Tim Murray and Michael Jenkins, hosts of NBC Sports Radio’s “The Daily Line.” Launched this past January in conjunction with Westwood One, “The Daily Line” is a weekday, 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm sports talk show, focusing on sports betting.
Trump’s Controversial Tweets; US Immigration Policy/Detention Facilities; 2020 Presidential Race; and US-China Trade War Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15). President Donald Trump’s Tweets attacking four Congressional Democratic women of color; conditions for migrants detained at the border; the relative standing and contributions raised by Democratic Party presidential candidates; and the US-China trade war’s impact on the Chinese economy were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
CRB Elects 2019 – 2020 Board of Directors. Returning as board president of the Country Radio Broadcasters is Townsquare Media’s Kurt Johnson; Cumulus Media’s John Shomby is elected vice president; and SummitMedia’s Beverlee Brannigan returns as secretary. Johnson remarks, “This is one of the strongest boards CRB has ever had. [I am] so proud to work with this group of radio and Music Row leaders to present country with the best CRS ever – February 19 – 21, 2020.” This year’s board of directors are: Chuck Aly (Country Aircheck); Beverlee Brannigan (SummitMedia); Becky Brenner (Albright & O’Malley & Brenner Consulting); Johnny Chiang (KKBQ-FM, Houston); George Couri (Triple 8 Management); Andy Denemark (United Stations); Ryan Dokke (Curb); Mike Dungan (UMG); John Esposito (Warner Music Nashville); Dan Halyburton (Falls Media); Debra Herman (Apple); Steve Hodges (Sony Nashville); Clay Hunnicutt, Dave Kelly (Big Machine Label Group); Jon Loba (BBR/BMG); Mike McVay (McVay Media); Charlie Morgan (Emmis Communications); Rod Phillips (iHeartCountry); Tim Roberts (WYCD, Detroit); Royce Risser (UMG); Bob Richards (Emmis Communications/WLHK, Indianapolis); Brittany Schaffer (Spotify); John Shomby (Cumulus Media); Lesly Simon (Pearl Records); Matt Sunshine (CFSS); Joel Raab (Joel Raab Country Radio/Media); Ryan Redington (Amazon Music); Kristen Williams (Warner); and Charlie Monk continues as a lifetime director emeritus.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Many stations are noting the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first-ever “moon walk” (July 20, 1969) with Apollo lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin. Without question, one of the cleverest promotions is being done by the program director of Cumulus Media Salt Lake City country-formatted KUBL “K-Bull 93” … Travis Moon. As part of the “Travis Moon Walk,” which began today (Tuesday, 7/16) at 7:00 am and is expected to end Saturday (7/20) coinciding with that history-making mission, Moon plans to “walk” more than 80 miles to raise money for Salt Lake City-based Shriner’s Hospitals For Children. Hoping to travel approximately 16 miles a day, Moon admits it will be a “long, tough walk. The exciting part is the unknown – if I can actually do this physically. I guess we will all find out.” While on foot from (Utah cities) Provo to Ogden, Moon will discuss the hospital’s purpose and invite listeners to make donations ….. “California Live,” a 30-minute lifestyle/entertainment show, which airs on Los Angeles’ KNBC-TV (as well as KNTV-TV, San Jose and KNSD-TV, San Diego) has added “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” co-host Sisanie as a correspondent. In her latest segment, Sisanie visits Los Angeles’ first cat cafe experience, where customers can drink coffee while cuddling rescue cats that are up for adoption ….. Starting next Monday (7/22), Sytonnia “Toni” Moore joins Cox Media Group Atlanta urban AC WALR “Kiss 104.1” as co-host/news anchor on the (5:00 am – 9:00 am) “Morning Groove” with Art Terrell and Corey “Zooman” Miller. The station’s director/branding and programming, Terri Avery, declares, “Toni Moore is the real deal. Her experience and passion for radio is beyond compare and will take ‘Kiss 104.1’ to new levels.” Moore remarks, “This is an incredible opportunity: I’m thrilled and honored to be joining the powerhouse that is Cox Media Group and ‘Kiss 104.1.’ It’s a dream I’ve had for a few years. It’s beyond exciting to see it come to fruition.” Moore previously was an on-air personality for cross-town Entercom urban contemporary and sports talk siblings WVEE “V-103” and WZGC “92.9 The Game,” as well as a sports reporter for the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Falcons ….. Continuing his role as afternoon-drive host, Andy Chanley adds music director duties at California State University – Northridge’s KCSN & Saddleback College’s KSBR, Mission Viejo (both California, simulcast on 88.5). General manager Patrick Osborn proclaims, “Andy has done it all in this market – mornings, middays, afternoon drive – and has vast experience in all the rock format genres. I’m happy to say we are operating at full strength with great, experienced broadcasters in every position.” Program director Marc “Mookie” Kaczor notes, “Andy is such an asset for us. He’s an incredible personality and he’s been a great sounding-board for me. We’re constantly bouncing ideas off of each other.” Chanley adds, “There’s no station in the world like 88.5 FM. It’s a special blend of music and people — on both sides of the transmitter — that makes radio fun again. I’m really proud to be on this team, and beyond excited at the opportunity to help steer the rudder even more.” KCSN and KSBR began simulcasting just over two years ago …. Three-year WUSN “US-99” nighttime talent Kimmie Caruba departs the Entercom country outlet. Caruba was previously heard in the same day-part in Phoenix on co-owned KMLE “Country @ 107.9,” and she did mid-days in that Arizona market on cluster-mate KALV “Live 101.5.” ….. A six-episode podcast on Milwaukee’s hip-hop history, “Backspin,” debuted yesterday (Monday, 7/15) on Radio Milwaukee triple A WYMS “88Nine.” Hosted by hip-hop expert Tyrone Miller (“DJ Bizzon”) and “88Nine” music director Justin Barney, “Backspin” provides an insightful view into black America in the late-1970s and early-1980s, through the lens of hip-hop. Miller comments, “The series is about so much more than who recorded Milwaukee’s first hip-hop song. It’s about the journey of getting to that song. Hip-hop is more than a genre: It’s connected everywhere – radio, movies, TV, and fashion. It’s in every piece of culture.” ….. After departing two months ago from Townsquare Media, “Taste of Country Nights” host Sam Alex surfaced yesterday (Monday, 7/15) on the eponymous “Sam Alex Show.” Affiliate licensing and sales for the syndicated program are being handled by Sun Broadcast Group. Alex notes (in Forbes Magazine) that he’s “so excited about this new chapter. The world of radio,” he opines, “has changed so much in the past decade, with continued consolidations, new technology, and increased competition to discover new music. This change positions me to have full creative control and reach listeners in new ways.” ….. KDVV “V-100 Topeka’s Rock Leader” 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm talent Randy Raley adds PD duties at the Cumulus Media rocker and classic hits cluster-mate KWIC “99.3 The Eagle.” Cumulus Topeka operations manager Amber Lee notes, “Randy brings significant on-air experience and format knowledge to these stations and to our programming team.” According to Raley, “I’ve been a radio geek since an early age – I’m happy to be taking the programming reins at the legendary ‘V-100.’ Amber Lee has put together an incredible staff and we’re going to do great things together.” St. Louis Classic Rock Hall of Famer Raley did afternoon drive on St. Louis’ KSHE for 13 years and has worked in Kansas City at KYYS “KY-102,” and KCFX “101 The Fox.” ….. Among the latest affiliates for Envision Networks’ “The Wolfman Jack Radio Show” is Metro Radio Berkeley Springs, West Virginia classic hits-oldies WXDC. The show airs Saturday nights starting at 7:00 pm on “Cool 92.9 – Good Times/Great Oldies.”
June 2019 PPM Data – Part Four. June 2019 ratings information has been released for Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 survey period covered May 23 – June 19. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.
Report: Savage Program Changes the Result of ‘Corporate Censorship.’ In an analysis/opinion piece in The Washington Times, writer Cheryl K. Chumley quotes both Michael Savage and Daniel Horowitz (identified as Savage’s lawyer) in a piece that asserts the coming changes in Savage’s program from three live hours to one live hour and a one-hour podcast and the resulting, anticipated loss of affiliate stations WABC, New York; WLS-AM, Chicago; WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; and KABC, Los Angeles are not business decisions but political ones. Horowitz is quoted saying, “Michael’s voice, unlike [his conservative competitors] has always been very independent. Savage is completely a wild card, right? And that’s what they’re trying to kill. It’s all about corporate control. Taking him off the air is not a business decision.” Horowitz adds, “Networks are actually losing millions of dollars in order to keep Michael’s voice off these stations.” Savage himself seems piqued the aforementioned stations won’t delay-broadcast his shows at night. “The only reason I can see is because of politics. It makes no sense. I have a loyal, large audience. Why not at least do reruns at night?” Read the Times piece here.
Dave Glover Re-Ups with KFTK-FM, St. Louis. St. Louis radio talk show host Dave Glover signs a multi-year contract extension with Entercom’s news/talk KFTK-FM to continue hosting his afternoon drive program on the station. Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “‘The Dave Glover Show’ has been a cornerstone of the afternoon drive at ‘FM NewsTalk 97.1’ from the very beginning and I am thrilled that Dave will be a part of the team for the foreseeable future. I have been honored to work with Dave for the last decade and look forward to continuing to work with him in the years to come. Dave leads the way on so many levels and strives for excellence in everything he does on a daily basis.” Glover has been with KFTK-FM since 2000. The station says Glover’s program finished #1 in 2017 with persons aged 25-54, according to Nielsen PPM ratings.
iHeartMedia Settles Lawsuits Removing Two Roadblocks. Two lawsuits that were partly responsible for postponing iHeartMedia’s Confirmation Hearing in its Chapter 11 reorganization have been settled. Creditors GAMCO and Norfolk County Retirement System objected to iHeartMedia’s use of cash sweeps from Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings and filed suit. An early December agreement between GAMCO and iHM called for iHeart to provide a revolving line of credit of $170 million to CCOH. This latest settlement calls for the revolving line of credit to be hiked to $200 million after iHeartMedia and CCOH become separate companies – part of the Fifth Amended Plan. iHeart is also indemnifying CCOH for up to 50% of certain tax liabilities.
TALKERS News Notes. Beginning January 2, Las Vegas talk radio pro Heidi Harris hosts a three-hour morning show on Kemp Communications’ news/talk KMZQ-AM, airing from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. Currently, Harris is hosting the 8:00 am to 10:00 am slot on the station. The station also swaps out Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager and Michael Medved in middays for SRN’s Mike Gallagher and Sebastian Gorka. Harris tells TALKERS magazine she continues to produce her podcast in addition to hosting her radio show. Harris has served with Entercom’s KXNT-AM and Beasley’s KDWN in the Las Vegas market…..Sales pro Ed Krampf joins Sun & Fun Media as senior account executive for its affiliate sales unit. Sun & Fun co-founder Rob Koblasz says, “Adding Ed to our team continues our mission of having the best and brightest minds in the industry serving our affiliates.”…..Premiere Networks announces the continuation of a long-standing “Coast to Coast AM” tradition of listeners being treated to live, holiday-themed programming, including special guest appearances, open lines, music and surprises on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Program host George Noory says, “When I began this journey 17 years ago, I made a promise to our faithful listeners that there will be live programs on the holidays – a time of joy, but also a time of loneliness for some. I look forward to sharing this special time of year with my ‘Coast to Coast AM’ family.”…..Tomorrow, WABC, New York personality Sid Rosenberg, along with WNYW-TV FOX 5 “Good Day New York” host Ines Rosales, will visit Maimonides Children’s Hospital in Brooklyn. The two will deliver presents and holiday surprises from the hospital’s wish list for every child in the unit to make their holidays a little brighter. Rosenberg says, “As the proud and loving dad of two, I can’t think of a better way to spend my holiday season than with the children at Maimonides Medical Center. Bringing laughs to my listening audience is fun but putting a smile on these kids’ faces will be the absolute best.”
Trump-Russia Investigation/Russian Election Meddling, Border Wall-Government Shutdown Threat, Dow Dips 500+/Recession Worries, Obamacare Status, Moonves Gets Nothing from CBS, Criminal Justice Reform Bill, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/17). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents and the related intelligence regarding Russian election interference; the battle in Washington over funding for the Mexican border wall that could shut down the federal government; the continuing stock selloff and concerns about a recession; the status of Obamacare in the aftermath of a federal judge’s ruling it unconstitutional; CBS reveals ousted chief Les Moonves will get no severance; the criminal justice reform bill that would reduce sentences for non-violent offenders; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Remembering Dave Robbins. Social media was abuzz Monday night as news spread about the sudden passing of highly respected programmer and general manager Dave Robbins. To see glowing tributes for someone who has died isn’t unusual, but the well-earned praise for Robbins was particularly voluminous and the word “mentor” was frequently mentioned. Held in high esteem for his days programming Columbus CHR WNCI, Robbins was among the most successful PDs who transitioned to the GM’s chair. What follows is a very brief sample from the many weighing in on him. Noted consultant/programmer John Sebastian: “He was my GM in Chicago at WJMK. He was a great boss and a very good man.” Executive vice president/programming operations at iHeartMedia Jon Zellner: “I have two mentors in this business and Dave Robbins is one of them. He literally taught me everything I know through the many years I had the opportunity to work with him at Nationwide and CBS Radio – I am forever grateful. No one was more creative, inspiring or motivating – a true strategist in every sense of the word. Dave possessed every trait of a natural leader, but he also was one of the most nurturing human beings I ever met. It truly brought him joy to see people on his team succeed.” Breakthrough Management partner John Parikhal: “This is terrible news. I was a huge fan of Dave’s and we had some serious fun working together. I’m so sorry to hear this.” WTUZ, New Philadelphia (Ohio) director/operations & programming Steve Kelly: “This is the most difficult post I have ever had to write, but I know our radio family and Dave’s friends will want to know that my dear friend, Dave Robbins, passed away today. Godspeed my friend.” Longtime Chicago programmer/consultant Buddy Scott: “I’m stunned – today we lost one of the greatest guys in radio and in life, Dave Robbins. We worked together twice and were corporate mates once. I loved Dave – he was my friend. [This is] so sudden and so sad.” Zapoleon Media Strategies president Guy Zapoleon: “We lost someone very special today, a broadcast industry legend; mentor to so many in our industry; and a great human being who always had time for anyone who would reach out in need. [This is a] heartbreaking loss for all who were blessed to know Dave Robbins. I was blessed to have worked with and partnered with Dave at Nationwide Communications. I always called him ‘the general’ because he had an amazing strategic mind that he applied to radio and was the greatest strategic mind I’ve met in our business, truly a leader of men. Most importantly, Dave was a wonderful nurturing man who mentored so many people in our business and taught them the secrets of success in radio and in life. Dave was simply a one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime human being.” Executive vice president/programming at iHeartMedia Tony Coles: “This afternoon brought the stunning loss of my friend and mentor, Dave Robbins. Dave was the person responsible for getting me into programming. All of these years later, I have never made a major career decision without consulting Dave – I am so thankful to have known him.” Cumulus Media Holdings vice president/programming operations John Dimick: “I am devastated at the news. [Dave] gave me my first shot and truly taught everyone how to be their best self. Programming WNCI with [him] as the GM is a bright spot in my life. The universe is just a little out of balance tonight.” Also “heartbroken” to hear the news of Robbins’ passing was Saga Communications Asheville (North Carolina) operations manager Neal Sharpe: “He was one of the most incredible people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. He was a mentor, a friend, and the greatest radio leader I’ve ever known.” WLNK, Charlotte on-air talent Ramona Holloway remarks that Robbins had, “one of the most unforgettable voices in the business.” Executive vice president of global music marketing & strategy for iHeartMedia Alissa Pollack: “Wow – I’m devastated – I just spoke with him. He was one of my all-time favorites. I’m so sorry to hear this about Dave ‘Rock & Roll’ Robbins.” Three comments from record company executives included this from Alchemy Entertainment owner Bill Pfordresher: “Dave was an amazing bright light in my life. Yes, he was a great radio executive, but also an amazing friend. You always felt special in his presence and he was able to do that with everyone he met. He had true soul and I am deeply saddened at his passing. He is in a good place and will be remembered and loved always.” What’s In-Store Music partner Bob Catania: “I will never forget my first meeting with Dave. He handed me a hand grip, stuck a quarter in it, and told me if I could hold it for five minutes without dropping the quarter, he’d give me an add. Of course, I couldn’t – he had tested it with many a promo person prior. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship [with a] true gentleman and a brilliant programmer. This news breaks my heart.” Hitpredictor owner Rick Bisceglia: “Dave was tough – almost impossible – but highly intelligent and fair at the end. He was compassionate and made me better.” From January 2006 to the time of his death, Robbins was owner and chief executive officer of Windermere, Florida-based Getaway Vacation Homes, where he owned/managed 50 vacation homes and condos along Florida’s beaches and at Walt Disney World. Prior to that, his lengthy radio resume included a five-year stint (2010 – 2015) as senior vice president/market manager for CBS Radio Orlando’s WOMX, WJHM, WOCL and eight years as vice president and general manager for four of that company’s Chicago stations – WUSN, WCFS, WBBM-FM, and WJMK. Prior to that (1998 – 2003), Robbins was VP/GM for Columbus facilities WHOK, WLVQ, and WAZU; as well as vice president and general manager of Nationwide Columbus’ WNCI, WCOL, and WFYI. He spent seven years as Nationwide’s vice president of programming (1988 – 1995) and, from 1982 – 1988, programmed KHTR, St. Louis. Just 59 years old, Robbins was reported to have suffered a massive heart attack. He’s pictured here (center) with his wife Patti (left) and Radio’s Best Friend Art Vuolo (right).
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Syracuse morning duo Ted Long and Amy Robbins have signed a multi-year contract extension with Cumulus Media to continue hosting the “Ted & Amy in the Morning” show on CHR WNTQ “93Q,” something they’ve been doing for 30 years. Long says, “To be able to do what I love for so long, with the same people whom I admire so much, and at a company that not only cares for the audience they serve, as well as their employees, really makes it a no-brainer when it came to re-signing our contract. Amy and I both feel very privileged to hold the positions we have had for so long here in Central New York. I am excited to continue to inform and entertain our great audience of listeners on 93Q.” Robbins adds, “I truthfully find it hard to believe that I have spent more than half my life on the airwaves of ‘93Q.’ We are beyond grateful to our amazing listeners who continue to keep us as a part of their daily lives and to Cumulus Media who continues to recognize how important local talent is to each and every market they serve.”…..Alpha Media names Frank Wright content director for adult contemporary WXLC, Waukegan, Illinois. Wright – midday host on the station – takes over for Haynes Johns, who exited the position in October of this year.
Most Talk Radio Programmers are Avoiding Use of the Term “Shithole” in Wake of Presidential Sh*tstorm. Once again, President Donald J. Trump – for better or worse – has shaken up the standards of traditional broadcasting and journalism. This time, with his controversial remark about immigration using the term “shithole” to describe countries from which he considers immigration particularly undesirable. The controversial racist aspect of this story notwithstanding, FCC-regulated broadcasters have had to make the quick decision to directly utter the term on the airwaves or buffer it with less offensive and non-potentially rule-breaking words. This decision has been made more difficult by the fact that many traditional, so-called mainstream cable outlets and online/print news media have chosen to use the word as the President said it. In conversations around the industry this morning TALKERS has learned that the prevailing tact on terrestrial talk radio has been NOT to use the word directly. Cumulus Media/Westwood One EVP Mike McVay tells TALKERS, “Despite cable television taking great joy in saying the ‘S’ word on TV, we are not saying the actual word on over the air radio. We recognize it as one of the seven words we cannot say. That has not stopped us from using it on our digital platforms.” Salem Radio Network senior VP, Phil Boyce says, “The word ‘shit’ is one of the FCC-banned words and our hosts should never use it, no matter if the president did or didn’t. My morning guy in Los Angeles, Brian Whitman, will be using the word “BLANK hole.” We want our shows to be safe for the whole family. No need to have listeners turn off the radio because kids are in the car.” Bold Gold Media Group CEO Vince Benedetto – owner of a number of stations in Pennsylvania and upstate New York – adds, “We haven’t changed our policy – we still do not say anything on air that violates George Carlin’s ‘Seven words you can’t say on television.'” ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones tells TALKERS, “ABC News Radio anchors and reporters are not speaking that word on air as it could be considered an FCC violation and it also might offend local community standards. Instead, we are referring to the phrase as an ‘expletive’ or ‘profanity.’ We have 1,650 affiliates and the majority use our ABC ‘Newscall’ service – which provides on-demand audio of reporters and actualities. We are more permissive in what we provide on that service because it is the decision of the station whether to run the audio – whereas as we control the newscast content and therefore have unilateral decision-making. If audio existed of any president using a profanity, we would put it on ‘Newscall’ and let stations decide its usage. If we determined language was so newsworthy we felt obligated to include it in a newscast, we would probably warn stations in advance. But, that’s hard to effectively control and I don’t recall it being done in many years.” Although the consensus is to avoid using the word directly on the airwaves, not everyone in talk radio fully agrees that the way to go. Nationally-famous, station owner/operator (and industry maverick) Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOME, Santa Cruz tells TALKERS that he will use the word on his own show (“The Saturday Special”) but respects the rights of his air personalities to make their own decisions, “My position is to use the word on the air since it is a bona fide news story – but I just checked with the ‘Good Morning Monterey Bay’ staff [the station’s morning show] and was told they opted to say ‘s-hole’ and to play the Haitian national anthem.” Zwerling continues, “Trump apparently has denied using that word (which is one of my favorites) but even if he was falsely accused of using it by the news media almost universally out to get him – it has nonetheless become a legitimate news story and therefore would fall into my category of okay to use on the air. Besides, it moves our industry in the direction of parity with the ‘paid’ services that have been and are allowed to use profanity with impunity!” Media consultant/TALKERS columnist/and RT America host Holland Cooke says, “It is a big topic with heavy phones at my client stations this morning. My advice: Ask listeners, ‘If he said that word, should we, here on the radio?'” TALKERS legal editor and Bentley University law professor Steven JJ Weisman says, “It is my opinion that the use of the word ‘shithole’ in the context of discussing the president’s comments would be allowed.” For Weisman’s full comments, please read the story below.
Steve Weisman’s Legal Take on Terrestrial Radio’s Use of Term “Shithole.” TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman offers his educated view on the terrestrial radio “shithole” issue prompted by President Donald J. Trump’s use of the term. To read the piece in its entirety, please click here.
Save the Date! Talkers 2018 Set for Friday, June 8, 2018 in New York City. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. Titled TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 8, 2018 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City. This marks the second year in a row that the convention will be held at this very popular venue. The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and dawn of a rapidly accelerating era. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will focus on the future. There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities. Good things happen at this convention. We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!” Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. However, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 2. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Gwiazdon Goes to Beasley Media Group Las Vegas as VP/MM. Most recently vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ Nashville adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9”; adult hits WCJK “96.3 Jack FM”; and CHR WNFN “i106.7,” Dennis Gwiazdon began similar duties yesterday (1/11) for Beasley Media Group Las Vegas. According to Beasley Media Group executive vice president and chief operating officer Brian Beasley, “It is a privilege to welcome Dennis to the Beasley Media Group family. His proven track record and leadership skills are the perfect fit for our Las Vegas cluster as we continue to grow and expand our business in the market.” Gwiazdon, who was president of the Nashville Area Radio Association, states, “I am absolutely thrilled about joining the Beasley team. There is tremendous potential for us in Las Vegas and I’m grateful [to be given] the opportunity to make a difference.” Prior to his Nashville duties, Gwiazdon was president of San Diego-based Sales Insights. He previously held the vice president/general manager title at Seattle’s KRWM; San Diego’s KGB-FM and KPOP-AM; San Diego’s KMCG and KXGL; and Salt Lake City’s KKAT. With their Nielsen Audio December 2017 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, Beasley Media Group’s Las Vegas cluster includes classic hits-oldies KKLZ “96.3 70s, 80s, and More” (6.3, #2); urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” (4.0, #6); country KCYE “102.7 The Coyote” (3.7, #9); hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9” (2.8, #15); news/talk KDWN “AM 720” (.7, #26); and KCYE-HD2, which did not appear in the December 2017 sweep. The Las Vegas market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5” (10.6, 6+), while Midwest Nashville’s WJXA “Mix” is on top (6+) with a 9.9.
WBUR, Reddit Debut “Endless Thread.” That’s the name of the weekly Ben Brock Johnson-hosted podcast done in partnership with Boston University-owned news/talk WBUR and Reddit, “the front page of the internet.” Starting today (1/12), weekly installments will be available every Friday to stream or download. According to Johnson, “Reddit is one of the most formidable communities online. Its lifeblood is people from all over the world sharing and organizing around every imaginable topic, making it an incredibly valuable resource for anyone trying to understand our world. As a journalist, I’ve been fascinated by Reddit for years, but I’ve also become an avid ‘redditor.’ I’m always surprised at what a mystery Reddit is to people who don’t use it. I’m looking forward to solving that mystery for the uninitiated, and helping ‘redditors’ share their incredible, real life stories with the world.” Reddit creative development manager Michael Pope remarks, “Reddit is home to the most authentic conversations on the internet and we know there is a massive opportunity to host thoughtful conversations about these stories in audio form. As one of the leading NPR affiliates in the country, we can’t wait to see what happens when we pair the production polish and talent at WBUR with the most compelling stories online.” The first episode, “No No No No Yes,” explores harrowing tales through first-hand interviews with ‘redditors’ who lived to tell their stories.
TALKERS News Notes. After a brief hiatus from a national platform, Dave Ross returns next Monday (1/15) with a daily, 90-second, CBS News Radio commentary, originally scheduled for a February 5 start date. Heard weekdays (“Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross”) on Bonneville-owned KIRO-FM, Ross is a five-time Edward R. Murrow award winner for best writing … This time next month (2/12), previous morning host of St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y-98” Guy Phillips begins doing afternoons at news/talk KTRS “Big 550 The Talk of STL”; Julie Buck will be his co-host … Five Entercom Chicago stations – sports talk WSCR “670 The Score,” all-news WBBM-AM, CHR WBBM-FM “B-96,” triple A WXRT “93 XRT,” and country WUSN “US-99” – will be broadcasting from this year’s “Cubs Convention” today (1/12), tomorrow (Saturday, 1/13), and Sunday (1/14). Entercom Chicago senior vice president/market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We look forward to this event where our brands can interact with fellow Chicago Cubs fans. We are grateful for our continued partnership with the Chicago Cubs organization as the exclusive radio home of the Chicago Cubs.” This weekend’s event is taking place at Chicago’s Sheraton Grand Hotel. WSCR continues as the team’s radio flagship ….. Former Tribune Broadcasting White House correspondent and Long Island television news anchor/reporter Drew Scott joins JVC Media news/talk WRCN “Long Island News Radio 103.9” as a reporter. JVC Media president/CEO John Caracciolo comments, “Having someone like Drew is a complete win for us. His job will be to use the contact list he has developed over the years to help us open doors; get the story; and get the info Long Islanders need and want. This is live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be.” WRCN operations director Frank Brinka notes, “Drew is a great addition to our staff. His wealth of news reporting and knowledge of the Long Island landscape will be an asset to the station. He will deliver a wealth of information to our listening audience.” Scott adds, “I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic, live and local radio news organization. I am looking forward to helping ‘LI News Radio’ and JVC continue to grow and prosper.” ….. The flagship of MLB’s Minnesota Twins from 1961 – 2006, Entercom Minneapolis’ WCCO “News Radio 830,” returns in that capacity this year. The first of its 15-game spring training broadcast schedule will be (Thursday) February 22 when the Twins play the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Cory Provus, Dan Gladden, and Kris Atteberry comprise WCCO’s on-air team ….. Launching on SiriusXM next Wednesday (1/17) is “Barstool Radio,” the 24/7 channel for Barstool’s unfiltered approach to covering sports, men’s lifestyle, and popular culture. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy remarks, “We are excited to launch our Barstool channel. It has been a wild ride to get to this point and this is another big step in our plan for total world domination.” SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen comments, “In today’s crowded media landscape, Barstool stands out as a unique and compelling voice. Live radio thrives on the kind of spontaneous and entertaining content that Barstool delivers every day. We don’t know what they are going to say next, but Barstool Radio on SiriusXM will be the place to hear it live and talk about it.” Weekday call-in shows will include: “The Barstool Radio Show” with Portnoy and Kevin “KFC” Clancy (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET); “The Heartland Radio Show” with former NFL punter Pat McAfee (10:00 am -1:00 pm, ET); and “The Evening Yak” with Dan “Big Cat” Katz (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, ET). Barstool Radio will be on SiriusXM’s “Power 85” and on the SiriusXM app ….. For over three weeks, Alpha Media Bakersfield (California) news/talk KNZR AM & FM “News-Talk-Dodgers,” mainstream CHR KLLY “Energy 95.3,” and urban-rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3” collected food and water for fire victims in Ventura and Santa Barbara. KLLY program director Danny Hill comments, “I am very proud of my community and I love the support they always show. Bakersfield constantly gives to others and is at the forefront of a lot of charity events.” A local veterans chapter helped to deliver the supplies.
British Talk Show Host and TalkersRadio Personality Graham Mack Forced to Apologize for On Air Statement that PM Theresa May “Has No Balls.” It is always fascinating to compare and contrast American radio with broadcasting in other English-speaking countries when it comes to tolerance, freedom of speech and political controversy. Well-known English talk show host Graham Mack, host of the popular BOB-FM, Herfordshire (greater London) breakfast show got himself into a sticky situation on Wednesday (1/10) by boldly stating that British Prime Minister Theresa May “has no balls.” According to a report in the Hertfordshire Mercury, The comment came on yesterday’s (January 10) breakfast show during a lengthy rant about May’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, in which he also claimed that she was the “weakest Prime Minister” the country had ever seen. Mack went on to berate the reshuffle, saying that not enough women and ethnic minority MPs had been promoted to justify promises made by the Prime Minister in the preceding days. However, the maverick radio host appeared to backtrack on his claims this morning (January 11), telling listeners that he had to “correct” his comments. Mr. Mack said that although his remark about Mrs. May’s lack of balls was “anatomically correct,” he should not have made it. He also clarified that he could not be sure that May was the weakest Prime Minister the country had ever seen, as Clement Attlee or William the Younger could conceivably be weaker. In a statement, Mr. Mack said: “We received a serious complaint yesterday about what I’d said on the air. “Someone in a very senior position told me to make an apology. “I cannot reveal who made the complaint. The seriousness of the complaint did take me by surprise because a regular listener would realise that I take a swipe at all politicians regardless of which political party they represent.” Mr. Mack concluded his on-air correction by issuing an apology directly to the Prime Minister, saying that as the leader of the nation she must be respected. To listen to the segment of the program that got Graham Mack in trouble, please click here. Graham Mack also hosts “London Calling” a weekly program on TalkersRadio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Mack as “one of the best radio talk show aahosts in the English-speaking world.”
iHeartMedia, MoviePass Announce Media Partnership. The agreement includes a marketing campaign across iHeartMedia’s multiplatform network to help build further brand awareness of MoviePass and target new subscribers in select United States metros. In addition, iHeartMedia will be an authorized reseller of ad inventory across the MoviePass website and mobile app. According to iHeartMedia Ventures president Joe Robinson, “We have the capability to build significant brand awareness for MoviePass through our unparalleled scale and reach of more than 270 million monthly listeners across the country and our multiplatform assets. We see a unique opportunity with MoviePass, and its ability to understand and analyze audience trends and behavior which is a great asset for our advertisers, especially those looking to further engage with millions of movie-goers.” MoviePass chief executive officer Mitch Lowe comments, “We expect that our partnership with iHeartMedia will fuel our continued growth by targeting more profitable subscribers in low-cost markets, while also opening up a new revenue stream with digital advertising. We also expect that this relationship will be beneficial to movie exhibitors because we hope to drive more traffic into theaters and to advertisers through our strong working intelligence on the preferences and behaviors of a substantial amount of movie-goers. Our subscribers are going to twice as many movies a month as other consumers and are buying one in every 50 movie tickets in the U.S.” MoviePass launched its current $9.95 per month subscription plan this past August.
Wynter Boosted to iHM EVP Urban/Hip-Hop. Los Angeles urban contemporary KRRL “Real 92.3” program director Doc Wynter adds corporate iHeartMedia duties as executive vice president urban/hip-hop. President/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler states, “No one understands urban and hip-hop programming like Doc. We are thrilled that he is expanding his role leading iHeartMedia’s programming strategy for those key formats. He has been instrumental in launching several of our urban and hip-hop stations nationwide and we’re excited for him to be even more hands-on with all of our urban brands in our over 150 markets.” Wynter adds, “Urban radio has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Having worked with iHeartMedia for almost three decades, I know we have some of the best programmers and on-air personalities in radio. I can’t wait to help our region and market presidents provide their local urban and hip-hop music fans with one-of-a-kind listening experiences that only a company like iHeartMedia can create.” In this newly-created position, Wynter – most recently the company’s senior vice president of urban programming/urban brand manager – will report to chief programming officer Tom Poleman. Wynter began overseeing the company’s urban radio stations in late-1999 and launched several iHeartMedia brands such as “Power 105.1 FM” in New York City (on WWPR); “Real 92.3” in Los Angeles (on KRRL); “V101.5” in Jacksonville (on WSOL); and “The Beat” in various cities.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. After doing four years of night duty on iHeartMedia Los Angeles mainstream CHR KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM,” Freddy Rivera transfers to co-owned Dallas hot AC KDMX “102.9 Now” for afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm). KDMX program director Jay Shannon comments, “Freddy is an outstanding on-air talent and we are very fortunate to add him to our lineup. Freddy is very much looking forward to calling DFW his home.” Rivera, who starts at KDMX in a little over three weeks (2/5), notes, “I am very excited to write the next chapter in my radio career with ‘102.9 Now.’ I have heard so much about the food, nightlife, and community – I can’t wait to jump right in.” Los Angeles-born/Inland Empire-raised Rivera began his radio career as an intern for former “Kiss-FM” wakeup talent Rick Dees and worked on-air at Riverside-Bernardino-Ontario rhythmic CHR KGGI ….. Changes at Merlin Media-owned/Cumulus Media-operated alternative WKQX, Chicago find morning driver Brian Phillips handling mornings by himself as his former co-host – Lou Lombardo – segues to evenings. In addition, Lombardo adds “digital content captain” duties. Former WKQX evening talent “Marconi” left the station about two weeks ago ….. Two-year KMLE, Phoenix morning show host Chris Matthews departs the Entercom country outlet, but Nina D and producer “Badger Gabe” remain in place ….. Steve Guittari departs Cumulus Media Indianapolis; Guittari was operations manager of the cluster and program director of the company’s WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” ….. Also in the “Circle City,” according to the Indianapolis Business Journal, iHeartMedia Indianapolis sports talk WNDE pulls the plug on the Dave “Gunner” Gunn and Don Stuck-hosted morning show “Flagrant Foul.” Gunn (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and Stuck (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm) continue though on classic rock sibling WFBQ “Q-95.” Clay Travis’ syndicated “Outkick the Coverage” returns to WNDE’s morning drive slot ….. Added to the weekend lineup of iHeartMedia-owned New York City rhythmic CHR WKTU “103.5 KTU” is Astra – who formerly did afternoon drive on cross-town mainstream CHR WBMP “Amp 92.3.”
Odom Out at WRXQ. The evening talent on Coal City, Illinois-licensed WRXQ “100.7 Q-Rock,” Ray “Crazy Ray” Odom, is pink-slipped by the Alpha Media station for remarks he made on CNBC’s “The Profit.” On a promo for that cable television show, Odom said, “I’m a sexist, egotistical, racist pig on the radio.” Alpha Media market manager Brian Foster notes, “We do not condone the views he expressed in the program. The feelings portrayed are that of his own and not of Alpha Media or ‘Q-Rock.’ After an internal review, we have decided to cut ties.” Odom is co-owner of Rayjus Outdoors, but he was placed on leave from that Morris, Illinois business, the subject of Marcus Lamonis-hosted “The Profit,” which offers financial help to struggling businesses. Lamonis acknowledges that Odom had, “a side job. I thought it may be a distraction, but I didn’t realize that the focus of it was to demonize minorities and degrade women.” Odom confirmed the firing, saying he worked hard to keep his radio persona separate from his business. “What I said got taken out of context completely – now I don’t have a radio job over it.” A Rayjus statement on Facebook reads, “Unfortunately, we cannot allow these statements to go unchecked. While an integral part of our organization, Ray will be taking a leave of absence to spend time with his family and reflect on what is in the best interest of his family and company.” Regarding what he has said on radio, Odom tells the (Joliet, Illinois) Herald-News, “Everybody has a different sense of what is funny and not funny.”
Entravision Expands La Suavecita. The Grupero/Cumbia La Suavecita format will be heard in 11 more markets, in addition to its Los Angeles area simulcast of KSSE, KSSC, & KSSD. Entravision president and chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman remarks, “Since its launch a year ago, La Suavecita has built an incredible following of loyal listeners and received strong advertising support in Los Angeles. We are excited to share this unique and exciting format with listeners in 11 new markets and to bring a powerhouse line-up of some of the most recognized on-air personalities in radio to La Suavecita. Los Angeles is the largest Hispanic radio market in the U.S. We believe our format, programming, and talent changes will allow us to better connect with our audiences, and in turn, our advertisers with their customers. La Suavecita is backed by a strong slate of on-air personalities that will drive engagement across our radio and digital platforms.” Coinciding with the national rollout of the La Suavecita format, El Genio will be heard 4:00 am – 10:00 am; “Piolin” (Eddie Sotelo) 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; Armida y La Flaka 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm; and Mayra 7:00 pm -12:00 midnight. Targeting women 25 – 49 and adults 25 – 54, La Suavecita surfaces in Houston (KGOL); Phoenix (KVVA and KDVA); Denver (KJMN and KMXA); Sacramento (KXSE); Las Vegas (KRRN); McAllen (KNVO); El Paso (KINT-FM); Stockton (KTSE); Modesto (KCVR); Palm Springs, California (KLOB); and El Centro, California (KSEH).
Cutbacks at Dick Broadcasting’s Three New Clusters. Back in September, Dick Broadcasting announced it would acquire Alpha Media’s 18 stations and two translators in Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville (North Carolina); Myrtle Beach (South Carolina); and Savannah (Georgia) for $19.5 million. Staffing cuts have been made in all three markets. Exiting WXQR “Rock 105,” Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville are program director/afternoon talent Tina Smash and night host Ryan Daniels. Departures at the Myrtle Beach cluster include production director/WXYY “G-100.1” afternoon driver Mark ‘Shark’ Eddis and WFXH “Rock 106.1,” Hilton Head Island assistant program director/night talent Ryan Koch. The business manager position has been eliminated in the three aforementioned markets.