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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

| September 13, 2017

WFAN’s Craig Carton Professes Innocence in Ponzi Scheme Allegations.  Making his first public statement since being arrested and charged with fraud in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme, WFAN, New York morning personality Craig Carton said he is innocent of the charges against him.  His statement read, “I want to thank my family, friends and fans and especially Boomer [Esiason] for the outpouring of public and private support I’ve received over the past few days.  As you can imagine, it’s been incredibly hard to be silent while there is an endless stream of vitriol being hurled my way, but I’m confident that when the facts come out, you’ll see that I am not guilty of these charges.  My fight has only just begun and I know when this strange episode is over, I’ll be back, stronger than ever.  Thank you for all the kind words and good wishes as I continue on with one of the greatest battles of my life.”  Esiason spoke on WBZ-FM, Boston’s Toucher & Rich morning program saying he is “lost and heartbroken” over the matter.  He said he spoke with Carton on Saturday and he is being supportive of Carton during this difficult time.  Carton’s attorney, Robert Gottlieb, issued a statement saying Carton is a “victim who was deceived, manipulated and used by individuals seeking to gather assets for their own fraudulent schemes.”

Francesa Won’t Turn His Back on WFAN.  Afternoon drive star Mike Francesa tells the New York Post that if WFAN is facing real programming trouble from the Craig Carton legal matter combined with his own pre-planned departure from the station in December he would not “turn my back on the company if I thought it was in trouble.  That’s something that had to play out in the weeks and months ahead.  And I don’t really know if it is [in trouble], so I don’t know if that’s going to mean anything.”  Some industry watchers have speculated that Francesa’s exit combined with Carton’s absence from the morning show could affect the most lucrative dayparts, putting CBS RADIO’s New York sports talker in a difficult situation.  Read the Post story here.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the first of four analyses of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2017 PPM survey with today’s focus on sports talk radio.  The MLB playoff push and the ramp-up to the NFL season appear to have been good for sports talk stations with “roughly two of three stations (65%) on this sports talk panel up (6+)” from the July survey to the August survey.  But, a year-over-year comparison shows a different trend.  Kinosian notes that “more than half of these eligible sports talk stations are down year-to-year (53%) while 34% improve; the remaining 13% are steady.  No sports talk station ranked first in its market during the August survey – only CBS RADIO’s WXYT-FM, Detroit came close, finishing #2.  See the whole report here.

Larry Glover Moves to Middays at WVLK, Lexington.  Talk show host Larry Glover moves from the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart at Cumulus Media’s WVLK, Lexington, Kentucky.  At the same time, the Cumulus-syndicated Chris Plante show moves to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot.  The daypart opened up after Lee Cruse — who also works at WLEX-TV — resigned his position with WVLK due to time constraints.  He hosted the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  Glover was the radio voice for the minor league baseball Lexington Legends for seven seasons.   In 2008, he was honored as the Kentucky Sportscaster of the Year.  Cumulus Media Lexington VP/market manager Scott Frazier comments, “We are very excited to have Larry Glover join our midday lineup on News Talk 590 WVLK.  I’ve always believed that Larry possessed the ability to reach beyond the world of sports talk to offer entertaining and informative commentary on a broad range of topics.  He will now have that opportunity and I think our listeners will love what they hear!”

FCC Report Indicates 50 U.S. Mainland Radio Signals Still Off the Air.  Due to the loss of power and flooding from Hurricane Irma, there are still a slew of radio stations off the air, mostly in Florida.  The signals – including translators – are: In Florida — WMFM, WAXY, WDOZ, W227CP, W250BH, W274BB, W298BO, W300CL, WAQV, WFLJ, WJFH, W251BM, WROK, WAOA- FM, WHKR, WLZR, WIOD, WOLZ, WINZ, WBTT, WCKT, WZTA, WSVU, WSWN, WOTW, WMFQ, WXUS, WYGC, W240CI, W295BJ, W233AP, WMKO, WEAT, WMFL, WWFR, WJFR, WTIR, WMYR, WCNZ, W294AN, WNWF, WEJZ, WGNE-FM, and WJGO.  Georgia stations off the air are: WLFH, WHFX, WBGA, WGIG, WEKL and WGCO.  This report was as of yesterday at 11:00 am ET.  Some of these stations may have returned to air by the time you read this.

WEEI Presents $4.2 Million Check to Jimmy Fund.  This year’s 16th annual WEEI-NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon raised $4.2 million for the Jimmy Fund and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  Pictured above presenting the ceremonial check at Tuesday night’s Boston Red Sox game are (from l-r): Entercom Boston VP/market manager Phil Zachary; WEEI, Boston program director Joe Zarbano; NESN general manager Sean McGrail; NESN coordinating director Rose Marakian; Arbella Insurance Charitable Foundation president Beverly Tangvik; and Jimmy Fund chairman Larry Lucchino.

Hofstra University’s Dr. Evan W. Cornog is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  For the second time in the past three years, Long Island-based Hofstra University’s WRHU (FM and .org) was presented the NAB Marconi Award for “Best Non-Commercial Radio Station” in the nation – a remarkable achievement.  Dr. Evan W. Cornog, dean of Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, which oversees the institution’s radio department, joins Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out.”  Cornog, a highly respected scholar with stellar credentials in both academia and professional journalism, brings a wealth of experience and insight to the conversation.  Prior to joining Hofstra in 2010, Cornog served as an associate dean at the Columbia University School of Journalism for more than a decade during which time he was publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review.  He was also press secretary to New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch and a freelance writer and editor whose stories have appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, Slate and the Boston Globe.  Cornog also served as special assistant to the president of the New School in Manhattan.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in history and literature from Harvard University, and his master’s and doctorate degrees in history from Columbia.  Don’t miss this fascinating conversation in which Harrison and Cornog discuss the rapidly evolving state of media and its impact on society, as well as the future of journalism.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Andre Fernandez Named to FCC Committee.  Selected to serve on the new Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment (ACDDE) is CBS RADIO president and CEO Andre Fernandez.  Fernandez was selected by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on the committee that will “provide recommendations to the FCC on how to empower disadvantaged communities and accelerate the entry of small businesses, including those owned by women and minorities, into the media, digital news and information, and audio and video programming industries.”  Leading the committee as chair is NetCommunications president Julia JohnsonShootingStar Broadcasting president and CEO Diane Sutter is vice chair.

Irma and Harvey Aftermath, Sanders’ Single Payer Bill, SCOTUS Rules on Refugee Ban, Hillary Clinton Book, Cruz Porn Video ‘Like,’ Apple Unveils iPhone X, MLB Playoff Push, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/12).  The effects of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey on Florida and Texas; Senator Bernie Sanders announces his bill to create a single payer system for health care in the U.S.; the Supreme Court upholds the ban on travel for certain refugees for the time being; Hillary Clinton’s book about her loss to Donald Trump; Ted Cruz says “staffing issue” responsible for his Twitter “like” of a porn video; Apple unveils new iPhone 8 and the iPhone X; Major League Baseball’s playoff push; and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. This change was anticipated and now it happens as Hubbard Radio hot AC WTMX, Chicago formally changes the name of “The Eric & Kathy Show” to “Eric in the Morning with Melissa & Whip.  Eric Ferguson leads the morning show with castmates Melissa McGurren and Brian “Whip” Paruch.  Obviously, this comes on the heels of the official departure of Kathy Hart from the show.  She’d been off the air since late April in what appears to have been a contract dispute.  The station let her go last week.….Cumulus Media names Britt Rose afternoon drive personality on classic hits WJTQ, Pensacola “Jet 100.7” She was most recently with the company in Oklahoma City on classic hits KQOB and rock KATT.  WJTQ program director Chuck Whitaker says, “I am very excited to have Britt here as the new afternoon goddess in the ‘Jet 100.7’ cockpit.  It’s so good to see one of our own at Cumulus get the opportunity to advance in their career.  We look forward to Britt taking ‘Jet 100.7’ to new heights!”…..Lakes Media LLC flips WMPW, Danville, Virginia from its “MOREfm” adult contemporary format to classic country as “Country Legends.”  The company says that the online audience for the “Country Legends” stream has more than tripled in the last year.  That combined with the existence of sister AC WHLF already on the air, the decision was made to bring “Country Legends” to the FM airwaves on WMPW…..Sinclair Communications’ CHR KSXY, Forestville/Santa Rosa, California flips to alternative as “The 101 Modern Alternative.”  Program director Dray Lopez and air staffers Ashlee Sleek, Natalie, and Will Styles remain with the station…..Cumulus Media’s WGNI, Wilmington, North Carolina adds the nationally syndicated “Intelligence for Your Life” program starring John Tesh to its evening program schedule…..Premiere Networks radio personality Nikki Sixx is launching a new weekly program feature on his nationally syndicated “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx” radio program.  It’s called “My Favorite Riff” and it’s billed as “a first-ever multiplatform music and conversation series highlighting guitar legends and the hottest upcoming new artists.”  It launches tomorrow (9/14) with guest Joe Bonamassa.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

| January 17, 2017

Bubba the Love Sponge Countersues Nielsen and Files Third Party Complaints Against Cox Media and WHPT, Tampa’s Mike Calta.  The battle between Florida-based, syndicated morning talk host Bubba the Love Sponge, a.k.a. Bubba Clem, and Nielsen Audio just got more complicated after Bubba’s attorneys filed a countersuit against Nielsen Audio and fresh complaints against Cox Media Group and WHPT, Tampa morning personality Mike Calta.  As industry watchers are aware, Nielsen is suing Bubba claiming that his attempts tobubba manipulate the PPM ratings in the Tampa market have caused damages to its business.  During the discovery phase of this case, Bubba’s lawyers have requested documentation and Nielsen responded by ultimately providing some 71,000 pages, but not in a manner deemed timely by Bubba’s team.  In fact, they state that their work in the discovery phase has been “seriously delayed as a result of Plaintiff’s untimely nielsen logoproduction of discovery materials and broad-brush approach to making confidentiality designations.  Moreover, Defendants’ use of the discovery materials has been severely limited by the terms of the Protective Order.  As a result, on November 18, 2016, Defendants filed a Motion to Amend Case Management and Scheduling Order to extend the discovery cut-off from December 9 to January 9, 2016.  The Court entered an Order granting Defendants’ motion on November 29, 2016.”  If Nielsen’s tactics were intended to cause Bubba to settle the matter, it didn’t work.  He’s doubling down with the aforementioned countersuit and new complaints against Nielsen, Cox and Calta for: Defamation (Counts I and II), Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relationships (Counts III and IV), Violation of thecoxmediagroup Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (Count V), and Civil Conspiracy (Count VI).  Bubba’s lawyers say their counterclaims and third-party claims “are based on various documents that were produced by Plaintiff in response to Defendants’ discovery requests.”  Here’s the breakdown according to the court filing: “In early 2015, Plaintiff entered into a conspiracy with Cox (one of Nielsen’s largest subscribers) to, among other things: (i) utilize Nielsen’s monopoly power over the audience measurement and ratings for the Tampa Market to prevent Defendants from broadcasting their morning radio show on WBRN in competition with WHPT; (ii) tortiously interfere with Defendants’ caltamikecontractual relationships with Beasley Media Group and their other affiliates; (iii) tortiously interfere with Defendants’ current and prospective business relationships with WBRN’s advertisers and US-based syndication partners; (iv) improperly manipulate Nielsen’s ratings for the Tampa Market to simultaneously increase WHPT’s market share to the benefit of Cox, while decreasing the share of WBRN to the detriment of Beasley, Clem and BRN; (v) publish knowingly false, defamatory allegations of ratings distortion activities against Defendants in an effort to conceal the fraudulent conduct of Nielsen’s employees with respect to the data included in Nielsen’s monthly ratings reports; (vi) unfairly apply Nielsen’s rules and impose unprecedented sanctions pressure on Beasley to bring about the termination of its contract with BRN and Clem; and (vii) engage in unfair methods of competition, anticompetitive behavior, and various unconscionable, deceptive, and unfair acts or practices in violation of Chapter 501, Florida Statutes, in order to further the interests of a large Nielsen subscriber over those of a smaller subscriber.  As a result of Nielsen, Cox, and Calta’s conduct, and the conduct of those conspiring with them, Defendants have incurred several million dollars in damages.”  As noted, much of Bubba’s evidence for the complaints comes from Nielsen documents but it is heavily redacted to protect Nielsen’s proprietary PPM information.  Regarding the complaint against Mike Calta, Clem’s lawyers allege Calta defamed him during an on-air phone conversation in which he made the following false statements: that Clem was cheating Nielsen’s ratings system; that Clem had control over PPMs; that Clem had PPMs on watch winders in a shed and/or a shipping container; that Clem had purchased a PPM from his dentist’s nurse; and that after Clem left WHPT, he stopped using the PPMs he allegedly had control over to benefit WHPT, causing its ratings to fall.  Bubba also alleges that Cox conspired with Nielsen for the latter to de-list heavy listeners to Bubba’s WBRN show and that Cox and Nielsen concocted a “sting operation” to entrap Bubba into engaging into ratings manipulation.  The complaint also states that “Nielsen admits that none of the PPM data obtained from any PPM panelist alleged to have engaged in ratings tampering activities with Clem was ever included in any of its monthly ratings reports and, therefore, it was unnecessary for Nielsen to reprocess or reissue any of its monthly ratings reports as a result of the ratings tampering activities allegedly engaged in by Clem.  Nevertheless, at the urging of Cox, Nielsen imposed its most severe response to the alleged ratings distortion activity by delisting Beasley’s WBRN for the month of September 2015.”  Neither Nielsen, Cox or Calta have commented publicly on the suit.

WEEI, Boston Promotes Alex Reimer to ‘Brand Personality.’  Sports media personality Alex Reimer has been part of the “third-chair rotation” for the “Kirk and Callahan Morning Show” on Entercom’s sports talkreimeralex WEEI, Boston since the fall.  Now, the company announces that he’s coming aboard full time as a brand personality.  Calling it a “move designed to augment both the on-air and online components of its media ecosystem,” Reimer will join the WEEI.com staff “creating columns, blogs, and podcasts” while continuing his rotating co-host position on the morning show.  The Boston University grad has previously served with Forbes, The Boston Herald and SB Nation.  WEEI program director Joe Zarbano comments, “Since joining the Kirk and Callahan third-chair rotation last fall, Alex has done a terrific job delivering opinionated and entertaining sports talk.  I’m excited that WEEI.com will now be an outlet for Alex’s insightful writing to our massive online audience.”

WVLK, Lexington Names ‘Kruser’ Program Director.  Eighteen-year WVLK-AM, Lexington air personality Dave “Kruser” Krusenklaus is appointed program director at the Cumulus Media news/talk station.  As part krusenklausdaveof the change, Krusenklaus will move from his midday talk show slot to the afternoon drive daypart.  Current station PD Scott Johnson transitions to the news director role for WVLK and the Cumulus Lexington cluster.  Prior to his work as a talk host at WVLK, “Kruser” worked as a programmer and air talent in both the rock and classic hits formats.  Cumulus Media Lexington vice president and market manager Scott Frazier states, “I look forward to ‘Kruser’ delivering the same powerful analysis and spirited attitude he has brought as an on-air personality to programming central Kentucky’s heritage news/talker, 590 WVLK!”

Trump Inauguration Protests, Trump NATO and EU Comments, Russian Hacking Allegations, World Economic Forum, GOP ObamaCare Plan, Istanbul Terror Suspect Caught, Wife of Orlando Terrorist Arrested, Eight Billionaires Statistic, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/16).  The planned protests for Friday’s inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump, the boycott by numerous Democratic Members of Congress, and security plans; controversy over Trump’s comments about NATO being obsolete and his prediction about the end of the European Union; the allegations that Russia hacked the DNC emails in an attempt to influence the U.S. election; the World Economic Forum taking place at Davos, Switzerland; the GOP’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act; the capture and confession of the man responsible for the deadly terror attack in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve; authorities arrest Noor Salman, wife of Orlando club shooter Omar Mateen; the report that eight of the world’s richest people hold more wealth than half of the rest of the world; and the weekend’s NFL playoff games were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

cookehollandCooke: Recalibrating Talk for the Trump Era.  Consultant Holland Cooke writes today with thoughts about what talk radio can do to take advantage of the Trump era.  Cooke says that as social media flourishes, talk hosts should take that to mean that listeners expect to be heard and he adds that “the smartest thing talkers can do now is listen.”  Read more here.

Odds & Sods.  The nationally syndicated “Red Eye Radio” show from Westwood One is being simulcast by C-SPAN during the Wednesday (1/18) broadcast from 1:00 am to 6:00 am ET.  The full live show plus break banter with hosts Eric Harley and Greg McNamara will be simulcast by the cable news network…..“Thecarollaadam Forbes Interview” podcast debuts today on the “Forbes on PodcastOne” network.  The show is the first podcast to be developed jointly between Forbes and PodcastOne and delves into the minds of the most significant leaders of today – the people who have been, or easily could be, on the coveted cover of Forbes magazine.  The first interview by Forbes senior editor Steve Bertoni is with podcast superstar Adam Carolla.

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RadioInfo Web banner‘KISS FM’ Chicago’s Angi Taylor Joins ‘The Rendezvous.’  Chicago radio personality Angi Taylor is signed up for double duty as Premiere Networks announces she’ll partner up with Simon Marcel as the new co-host of the syndicator’s evening show “Thetaylorangi Rendezvous.”  Taylor will continue her role at iHeartMedia’s CHR WKSC “KISS FM” where she’s one half of the “Fred + Angi” morning show.  “The Rendezvous” is described as “the nightly radio program featuring insightful love and relationship advice, coupled with radio station music playlists.”  Taylor says, “I couldn’t be more excited to host ‘The Rendezvous’ along with the French captain of romance, Simon Marcel!  I’m so thankful for everyone at Premiere Networks for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime.  Hosting a syndicated show is a dream come true, and I can’t wait to share the love, romance, and FUN with a national audience!”

erickathy17Hubbard Re-Ups Eric & Kathy at WTMX, Chicago.  Chicago morning show stars Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart sign a multi-year contract extension with Hubbard Radio to continue hosting The Eric & Kathy Morning Show on WTMX “101.9fm THE MIX.”  The station says that over the past 20 years the show “has been a consistent market leader, ranking number one among advertiser-coveted 25-to-54-year-old Adults, for most of their tenure at the station.”  Hubbard Radio president and chief operating officer Drew Horowitz comments, “I’m thrilled to have the most successful morning show team in Chicago radio history continuing their run on ‘THE MIX’ and remaining an integral part of Hubbard Radio.”

iHeartMedia Announces Lineup for Fourth iHeartCountry Festival.  The iHeartCountry Festival is comingiheartcountry17 back to Austin this spring.  iHeartMedia announces the big country show will again take place at the Frank Erwin Center on Saturday, May 6.  The lineup will feature acts including: Jason Aldean, Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert, Rascal Flatts, Old Dominion, Jake Owen, Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini and The Raging Idiots, plus more to be announced.  iHeartMedia president of entertainment enterprises John Sykes comments, “The iHeartCountry Festival has become an annual family reunion for the biggest stars in country music.  These artists grew up together and you can truly feel their deep friendships when they join each other on stage.”