Talk Host Craig Silverman and KNUS, Denver Have Different Takes on His Departure. Only this appears to be agreed upon by former Denver chief deputy district attorney Craig Silverman and Salem Media Group’s news/talk KNUS, Denver – he exited during his Saturday program. Silverman claims he was ousted in the middle of his show after a segment critical of President Trump aired. But KNUS general manager Brian Taylor tells FOX 31 Denver that he was removed after appearing on a competing station. Taylor says, “He decided that it was important to work across town and so on Saturday on his program he announced that, and that’s what prompted our decision to take him off the air. The notion that he was relieved from his program because he criticized President Trump is absolutely untrue. We’ve never told Mr. Silverman the position to take on his impeachment.”
Monday Memo: What’s really ‘Official?’ With AM/FM broadcasters now competing with SO many audio competitors, the timing couldn’t be worse to blend-into the blah-blah-blah with dated-sounding station imaging. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke warns against what he calls “the most-abused word” in promo copy. Read it here.
iHeartMedia Announces $500 Million Private Offering. Via a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission,iHeartMedia, Inc. announces its intent to offer, $500 million aggregate principal amount of Senior Secured Notes due January 2028 in a private offering to qualified institutional buyers. Proceeds from the notes – guaranteed on a senior secured basis by iHeartCommunications’ direct parent, iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC, and the subsidiaries of iHeartCommunications that guarantee iHeartCommunications’ term loan facility – are intended (together with cash on hand) “to prepay at par a portion of the outstanding borrowings under its term loan facility, to pay accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but excluding, the date of prepayment, and to pay fees and expenses related to the offering of the Notes and the use of proceeds therefrom.”
Dunlap Maintains Innocence; Has New Attorney. On Friday (11/15), the Times-Picayune’s Ramon Antonio Vargas wrote an updated story on the case of former WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans sports talk host Seth Dunlap, who was fired from the Entercom station on October 31 in the aftermath of in investigation into the September 10 posting of a gay slur on the radio station’s Twitter account. If you’ve been following this story, you are aware that Entercom, based on its own investigation, believes Dunlap sent the text himself several days after posting to his own Facebook page an open letter to New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees complaining about Brees’ work with Focus on the Family, an organization that is not LGBTQ-friendly. Dunlap also went public with his own struggles in the radio biz as an openly gay man. Several days later the anti-gay slur appeared on the WWL Twitter feed. Entercom turned the investigation over to the New Orleans Police Department and recently, a judge denied the NOPD a warrant for Dunlap’s arrest on extortion charges. The request for a warrant was based in part on WWL’s statement that Dunlap sought $1.8 million from the station for him to drop his planned lawsuit against it for allowing a hostile workplace. Dunlap has since changed lawyers. Megan Kiefer no longer represents him. Dunlap tells the Times-Picayune that Billy Gibbens is his attorney. Another new development is that Dunlap says he no longer has the iPhone from which WWL and police believe he accessed the station’s Twitter account. The NOPD says their investigation is ongoing and Dunlap says he is still considering suing the station.
Jimmy de Castro ‘Retiring’ from Entercom. In a memo to staffers last Friday, Entercom COO Weezie Kramer announced that Jimmy de Castro – senior vice president and market manager for the company’s Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison station groups – is retiring from his position with the company. He’s expected to leave in mid-December. Kramer says of de Castro in her memo, “Jimmy was tasked with breathing new energy and positivity into the organization as we embarked on our journey as a new team. And Jimmy delivered. His spark, creativity, experience, and business acumen were just what was needed to improve our brands, our culture, our business, and our building in Chicago.” De Castro tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder that he’ll continue to operate sports marketing and consulting firm After The Whistle LLC and his firm The Content Factory, and through the latter he hopes to get into sports betting and gaming content.
Place Assumes Mornings on New Hampshire’s WNTK-FM. The Valley News reports that market on-air pro Jason Place is taking over the morning drive show on Sugar River Media’s news/talk WNTK-FM, New London, New Hampshire. Place takes over the program from former host Keith Hanson. Hanson – a local Republican committee chairman – exited the station in October after his controversial use of profanity on social media in defense of his decision to bring Jihad Watch author Robert Spencer to the area for a presentation caused a stir. Though the Valley News says station officials deny his exit had to do with that incident. Place tells the paper he isn’t hosting the show to espouse a certain political philosophy; he wants to have conversations with listeners. “What matters is what the listener thinks. Hopefully, we can get a conversation going, learn something. and have some fun. … God, I just hope I don’t take myself too seriously.”
TALKERS News Notes. St. Louis news/talk KMOX “News Radio 1120” announces it signs a contract extension to continue to serve as the flagship radio station for St. Louis Cardinals games through the 2024 season. Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “We are honored to continue to work with the world class St. Louis Cardinals. ‘News Radio 1120 KMOX’ and the Cardinals are synonymous institutions here in this great city and we couldn’t be more excited to continue this fantastic partnership.”…..Westwood One Podcast Network announces that “The Dan Bongino Show” adds a once-weekly interview show to its daily lineup. The new program launched with an interview with President Trump. During the interview, the president shared thoughts about why he uses social media, the impeachment hearings, the whistleblower’s identity, Ukraine’s new president, looking forward to the new Inspector General report, draining the swamp, tax cuts, the economy, capital gains indexing, Obamacare, and more. Bongino is a former Secret Service Agent, former NYPD officer, and a New York Times best-selling author…..AdLarge Media announces that Dave Boretti is named its vice president of Midwest sales. Boretti comes to AdLarge from a similar position with PodcastOne. Chicago-based Boretti says, “I’ve had conversations with Don for a few years about moving to AdLarge and this came together at the perfect time. AdLarge is an exciting company with leadership that consistently is ahead of emerging trends in audio. I look forward to marshalling their assets to help AdLarge’s advertisers achieve their goals.”
Impeachment Testimony/Ukraine Allegations, 2020 Presidential Race, Deadly Fresno Football Party Shooting, Hong Kong Protests, China’s Muslim Detention Docs, Prince Andrew Interview, Iran Protests, Venice Flooding/Climate Change, and Kanye West at Osteen Church Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment testimony against President Trump and the related allegations of impropriety with regard to Ukraine’s military aid money; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Michael Bloomberg’s entrance into the race as a Republican; the shooting at a football watching party in Fresno that took the lives of four; the protests at Hong Kong Polytechnic University; the revelation of Chinese documents indicating detention of Muslims; Prince Andrew’s awkward interview with the BBC regarding his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein; protests in Iran over the doubling of gas prices; the city of Venice suffers its third flood in a week that officials are blaming on climate change; and Kanye West’s appearance at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
2019 Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts Honored. Pictured above are the nine distinguished members of the media industry who were honored Friday (11/15) at the 17th Annual Library of American Broadcasting Foundation’s Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts awards ceremony held at New York City’s famed Gotham Hall. Clockwise from top left are: CW Television Network president Mark Pedowitz, Urban One CEO Alfred C. Liggins III, Patrick Communications founder and CEO Larry Patrick, CBS Television Stations president Peter Dunn, Advanced Television Systems Committee president emeritus Mark Richer, PBS president & CEO Paula Kerger, journalist Connie Chung, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. Photo: Wendy Moger-Bross
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Albuquerque CHR outlet KKOB-FM re-brands as “93-3 The Q.” Cumulus Media Albuquerque VP and market manager Jeff Berry comments, “‘93-3 The Q’ is the natural evolution of 93.3, a highly rated radio outlet with compassionate personalities, an enormous fan base, and market-leading, multi-platform content. ‘93-3 The Q’ brings renewed passion for and connection with the city of Albuquerque and its people. It is a reflection of our commitment to Albuquerque listeners and we couldn’t be more excited to grow and expand the brand when it is healthy and take it to the next level.”…..iHeartMedia Asheville announces the debut of “The Woody & Wilcox Show” on its WKSF-HD3/W266CP “ALT 101.1.” iHeartMedia Asheville SVP of programming Brian Hall says, “We are pumped to add ‘The Woody and Wilcox Show’ to the lineup. Woody and Wilcox can’t deliver food to your door, but they will deliver a morning wake-up call that Asheville listeners will love.”
2019 Radio Hall of Famers Inducted. On Friday evening at Gotham Hall in New York City, nine radio broadcasters were enshrined in the Radio Hall of Fame. Inductees Jim Rome, Joe Madison, Sean Hollywood Hamilton, Harry Harrison, Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter, John Tesh, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Ryan Seacrest represented the class of 2019 at the ceremony that included 2018 Radio Hall of Fame inductee Mike Francesa as Master of Ceremonies. Fellow RHOF inductees Jim Bohannon, Jim Kerr, and Kid Kelly were in attendance along with celebrity introducers actor Christian Slater (for Hollywood Hamilton), actress Connie Selleca (for husband John Tesh), and “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon (for his friend Ryan Seacrest). Jim Bohannon served as announcer of the event. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and his wife, professor/author Bernadette Duncan, were among the hundreds of industry luminaries, friends and family in attendance. “It was a truly memorable evening in a dazzling setting that was a heartfelt celebration of radio and the special breed of talented people who have literally been breathing life into it golden age after golden age,” says Harrison. “We salute the dedicated work of Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin, vice chairman Dennis Green, and the entire nominating committee for organizing and presenting such a deeply meaningful event honoring an indisputably deserving Class of 2019.” Harrison adds, “One of the most noble deeds any organization, platform or individual can perform for an artistic community such as our beloved radio industry – especially as it reaches the extraordinary milestone of its 100th anniversary in a rapidly changing world – is to give credit where credit is due.” Pictured above are (from l-r): Jim Rome, Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton, Ryan Seacrest, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Joe Madison, Kevin Ryder, Gene “Bean” Baxter, Harry Harrison (seated), and John Tesh. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Radio Hall of Fame
From the 2019 Radio Hall of Fame Induction. Above, wheelchair-bound Harry Harrison in the audience watches his children Patti and Patrick make an emotional presentation inducting him into the Radio Hall of Fame.
From the 2019 Radio Hall of Fame Induction. Inductee Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio with his old friend, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison.
Louisiana Judge Denies Felony Arrest Warrant for Former WWL, New Orleans Sports Talk Host Seth Dunlap. The Times-Picayune reports that last week, a New Orleans Police Department detective investigating the case involving former WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans sports talk host Seth Dunlap was denied a warrant to arrest him on a felony count of extortion. Regular TALKERS readers who’ve been following this case remember that after the official WWL Twitter account posted a gay slur against the openly homosexual Dunlap on September 10, an Entercom investigation appeared to indicate Dunlap sent the tweet via his phone, although Dunlap’s lawyer says Dunlap did not have access to the account and didn’t have its password. She also says Dunlap took a lie detector test and passed. Subsequent talks between Entercom and Dunlap’s legal team reportedly included Dunlap’s request for $1.8 million to settle his charge against the station of allowing a hostile workplace environment. Entercom turned the case over to the NOPD and the cops got a warrant to search Dunlap’s phone. In last week’s ruling, Magistrate Commissioner Robert Blackburn said the evidence presented didn’t rise to the level of the definition of felony extortion. The NOPD says the case is still “active and ongoing.” Dunlap, through his attorney, has vowed to sue WWL over the hostile workplace matter.
PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format. Less than 25% of news/talk stations suffered a (weekly 6+ AQH share) ratings drop-off from the September survey to the October survey. Gainers were led by Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City (+2.4). Comparing year-over-year numbers, 51% of stations on our panel are down, while just 37% see their ratings go up. News/talkers up over last year include: Entercom’s WCCO, Minneapolis; iHeartMedia’s WJNO, West Palm Beach; Cumulus Media’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City; and iHeartMedia’s WREC, Memphis. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Monday Memo: That First Call. As programming cutbacks continue, smart on-air people are involved in advertising sales. In this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke shares tips for getting – and making the most of – face time with prospects. Read it here.
Impeachment Proceedings/Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, Hong Kong Protests, Veterans Day Holiday, Berlin Wall Falls Anniversary, Looming Bitter Cold Weather, and Australia Bushfires/Climate Change Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment process against President Trump and the testimony about President Trump’s alleged quid pro quo offer to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the weekend’s violent protests in Hong Kong; the Veterans Day holiday; the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; the bitter cold temperatures forecast for parts of the U.S. this week; the devastating bushfires affecting Australia’s eastern coast and the role of climate change in that country’s drought were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that Stephen A. Smith has inked a new deal with ESPN – a five-year pact that will pay him about $8 million per year. As TALKERS reported last week, Smith is giving up his midday radio show on the ESPN Radio network at the end of the year. He’ll continue to appear on the cable channel’s “First Take” and will make more appearances on “SportsCenter” and on NBA coverage…..The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Rob Tornoe writes that Philadelphia sports media personality Rob Ellis is returning to local TV as co-host of a new show on KYW-TV called, “Odds On,” with station sports anchor Pat Gallen. The sports-betting themed, 30-minute program will air Sundays at 8:30 am. Ellis will continue to handle fill-in duties for Entercom’s WIP-FM. He’s been sitting in for the convalescing Big Daddy Graham on the overnight show. He previously served with NBC Sports Philadelphia for 17 years…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime WVON, Chicago afternoon talk host Cliff Kelley is being honored in “An Amazing Tribute to Cliff Kelley” on Saturday (11/16) at Parkway Ballroom, in Chicago. Kelley spent 25 years with the Midway Broadcasting urban news/talk station in both the morning and afternoon drive dayparts. He retired from the station last March.
WRKO, Boston Raises $230,000-plus for Disabled American Veterans. Last Friday (11/8), iHeartMedia Boston news/talk “AM 680 WRKO, The Voice of Boston” raised more than $230,000 to benefit the Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts during the DAV radiothon that took place from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. iHeartMedia Boston VP of news/talk Rob Sanchez says, “Since our nation’s inception, our military men and women have sacrificed their own lives for our freedom. It’s an honor for AM 680 WRKO to have this opportunity to show respect for our veterans with the help of our generous listeners. And to raise $233,593 this year is incredibly gratifying.” Pictured above are (from l-r): DAV-AM director of public relations Robert Lynch, WRKO APD Jarred Diglio, DAV-MA adjutant/CEO Dan Stack, and WRKO morning host Jeff Kuhner.
KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner Michael Zwerling is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The long-time owner of news/talk heritage station KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA, Michael Zwerling, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Zwerling, known throughout the radio industry as one of the last of the fiercely independent owner/operators, is described by TALKERS publisher Harrison as “an extremely colorful, quirky, eccentric, and intelligent lover of radio – a refreshing counterpoint to the budget-obsessed, community-indifferent, mega-corporate mentality that has consumed the decision-making processes of much of today’s industry.” In a free-wheeling conversation between two old friends, MH and MZ discuss the changing nature of Freedom of Speech and challenges facing the First Amendment in the 21st century digital era, plus more. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of the TALKERS email newsletter.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. WPXY-FM, Rochester air personality Brianna “Breezy” Sloth is promoted at the Entercom CHR outlet to morning drive co-host alongside morning radio pro Corey James on the “#TeamPXY” show. Entercom Rochester SVP and market manager Sue Munn comments, “Breezy has an undeniable work ethic and tenacity while delivering her one-of-a-kind, friendly and outgoing personality on the air. She has a real familiarization with our station, this market and its devoted listeners, and we’re thrilled to have her on board.” Breezy joined ‘98 PXY’ as an intern for the station’s morning show in 2017. Following her graduation from SUNY Oswego, she assumed various roles for the station, including in promotions and programming as WPXY’s evening show host, morning show fill-in host, and morning and evening drive traffic reporter…..Entercom assigns programming duties for country KMNB, Minneapolis to WUSN, Chicago PD Kenny Jay in the aftermath of the recent departure of KMNB PM drive host and programmer Lucas Phelan. Jay will continue to work from the company’s Chicago offices…..Programming pro Dylan Salisbury is leaving his APD/music director role at Cumulus Media’s CHR WZPL-FM, Indianapolis for a gig soon-to-be-announced. Cumulus Indy operations manager J.R. Ammons says in a memo to staff, “During his two years at ZPL, Dylan has proven to be a smart, strategic, passionate programmer and I will miss our music arguments every Monday. Please join me in congratulating Dylan on this well-deserved promotion; his last day will be next Friday the 15th. Until a permanent replacement is named, Zakk Babb will be filling in on ZPL.”…..Pictured below in New York City on Friday night (11/8) is pop radio icon Ryan Seacrest being inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame by “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon.
Monday Memo: Do You Copy? If you were the advertiser, how would you feel about being #5 in a 6-spot stopset? It’s a problem that now seems baked-into radio’s business model. But good commercials get results. And REAL good ones are actually welcome. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke shares tips from the experts, and actual phrases that got results for his client stations’ advertisers. Read it here.
Impeachment Process, 2020 Presidential Race, California Wildfires, McDonald’s CEO Fired, Hong Kong Violence, and Kanye West’s Sunday Service Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment process against President Trump and speculation about who will be called to testify; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the status of the California wildfires; McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook is fired for having a relationship with an employee; the violent clashes between protesters and police in Hong Kong; and rapper Kanye West’s Louisiana “Sunday Service” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Todd Starnes Launches New, Three-Hour Talk Show Today. Author, award-winning journalist, and former FOX News Radio personality Todd Starnes begins hosting his new, daily talk show today (11/4). “The Todd Starnes Show” airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and is premiering on more than 25 radio stations via syndication through Hamilton Strategies. Starnes says the program is a caller-driven format and weaves his unique, down-home humor with interviews featuring major newsmakers, entertainers, artists, and Christian leaders. He also covers breaking news and stories from across America. “I don’t spend three hours yelling at folks,” he adds. “Sure, I get riled up, but we also share plenty of laughs with our listeners. Callers are an important part of our program. Conservative or liberal, we give folks a fair shake.” In addition to the new show, Starnes also produces the daily, short-form feature, “Todd Starnes News & Commentary,” that includes unique, one-minute stories covering politics, culture, and heartland headlines. Starnes says, “I believe in taking care of our affiliates, taking care of our sponsors, and taking care of our listeners. I am first and foremost a radio guy. I love the format and I believe that radio will continue to have a lasting impact on the nation.” Interested stations can contact Hamilton Strategies via: Media@HamiltonStrategies.com or (610) 584-1096, ext. 101.
WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans Fires Seth Dunlap. WVUE-TV, New Orleans reports that Entercom news/talk WWL-AM/FM has fired evening sports talk host Seth Dunlap, almost two months after he took a leave from the station in the aftermath of the posting of a homophobic slur directed at him on the station’s Twitter account. The case is still in the hands of the New Orleans Police Department after Entercom requested it get involved following its own investigation. The station says it appears Dunlap posted the tweet himself, but his attorney says that, not only did Dunlap not have access to the station’s password for the Twitter account, he passed a polygraph test pointing to his innocence. Early last month the NOPD obtained a warrant for information from Dunlap’s cell phone. At the same time, according to a previous New Orleans Times Picayune story, Entercom alleged Dunlap is engaging in extortion after seeking a $1.85 million settlement. Dunlap’s attorney, Megan Keifer, alleges Entercom is not complying with requests for documents to “substantiate their defamatory claims” and also has not produced documentation for the NOPD.
TALKERS News Notes. Talk show host Joe Madison is the focus of a piece in the Los Angeles Sentinel the centers around his belief that ordinary citizens can make a difference in their government. The story also reveals that the SiriusXM Urban View host’s program was targeted by Russian trolls during the 2016 election. Madison tells the paper’s Nadine Matthews that after getting calls to the program from Blacks encouraging other Blacks not to vote, he discovered his show was being targeted. “We found out that the Russians had actually hired African Americans to target social media and Black news/talk programs.” Read the story here…..Sports talk host Josh Innes – formerly of WIP, Philadelphia and KILT-AM and KBME-AM in Houston – is filling in on the afternoon drive show on Gow Media’s KFNC-FM, Houston “ESPN 97.5” today (11/4). Innes has been off the AM/FM airwaves and has been focusing on his eponymous podcast since exiting KBME eight months ago…..Salem Media Group’s WNTP, Philadelphia re-brands the station as “Philadelphia’s AM 990 The Answer.” Salem Philly general manager Lorenzo Caldara says, “The change to ‘Philadelphia’s AM 990 The Answer’ more accurately reflects what we have always desired to be as a radio station – one that always went deeper into issues that matter to all of us, one that provides answers to the many questions we all have. With the addition of Chris Stigall in the mornings, we now have the added dimension to focus on local issues just as closely as we can on national issues. We’re proud of this city, and it’s time to serve it better than ever before.”…..Toledo’s “Talk Radio 100.7” is gone as Cumulus Media replaces the format with rock “100.7 The Zone” on WQQO-HD2/W264AK. The signals became the home of the news/talk format three years ago after the company moved the programming from WTOD-AM and turned in the station’s license…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway is doing double duty, filling in all this week on iHeartMedia’s sister news/talk WFLF, Orlando “Newsradio WFLA” in morning drive for “Good Morning Orlando” host Bud Hedinger in addition to his own program…..Envision Networks is offering stations 24 segments of its new “60 Seconds of Service” feature to air once per hour on Veterans Day (11/11). Stations are invited to broadcast “60 Seconds of Service” throughout the entire day, with each segment spotlighting men, women and even animals in uniform who have served their country and their communities. Program host Randy Miller says, “Veterans Day should be every day in the United States. We should never forget the sacrifice of the men and women who wear the uniform and give their all to protect our way of life. We do 60 Seconds of Service to remind everyone about the continuous commitment of the less than 1 percent who serve our country each and every day.”…..Pictured below is WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and WMCA “The Mission” talk show host Kevin McCullough with some of the guests that appeared on his Salem Media Group program that broadcast live from Bobby Vans “The Original” in the historic Helmsley Building in New York City. McCullough says more than 300 listeners packed the place for his 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm broadcast. Guests on the program included: Donald Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, and congressional candidates Mike Ghassali, Chele Farley, Nicole Malliotakis, and Fernando Cabrera.
Marianne Williamson Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. 2020 presidential candidate and prolific best-selling author Marianne Williamson guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Criticism of today’s media and journalism is not the exclusive domain of President Donald Trump. Nor is the observation that the national party committees are above putting their thumbs on the scale to help certain candidates of their own choosing. In a candid conversation conducted shortly after the most recent televised Democratic Party debate, Williamson tells Harrison that both today’s media journalism and political party machinery can use improvement when it comes to honesty, integrity, and competency. When asked what she has learned thus far from the experience of running for president, she states, “I’ve learned that the system is even more corrupt than I feared and that the people of the United States are even more wonderful than I hoped.” 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 TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.
BFoA to Honor George Beasley with Lifetime Achievement Award. At the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s Golden Mike Award dinner on March 4, 2020, Beasley Media Group founder and chairman George Beasley will be honored with the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. The annual fundraising gala takes place at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “George is one of the forward-thinking pioneers of radio and a longtime supporter of our charitable mission. Starting off with radio stations in small market America and expanding to major cities, George built the company that bears his name with ingenuity, integrity, and innovation. We are delighted to recognize his leadership in our industry.” George Beasley comments, “I fell in love with radio early in my career, and I have been fortunate to be a part of this wonderful business as it has grown and expanded. Giving back is an important tradition in our family, and it is an honor to support the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to help those in our industry who need it most.”
News Gigs at FOX News. There are three positions that FOX News Radio and FOX News are seeking to fill. The first is an Overnight Freelance Anchor for Fox News Radio that includes on-air duties for FOX News Radio and the FOX News Headlines 24/7 channel on SiriusXM. See that job description here. The second is a Freelance Writer for Fox News Headlines 24/7 that involves writing news for the national news network, conceptualizing, writing, compiling enterprise stories, fact checking, and building show content newscasts for FOX News Headlines 24/7. See that job description here. The third position is a Freelance Producer/News Editor in which the successful candidate will supervise the staff for the FOX network radio news operation, FOX News Headlines 24/7. See that job description here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Mike Killabrew returns to Indianapolis to serve as SVP of programming and PD of classic rock WFBQ “Q95” and alternative WOLT “Alt 1033” for iHeartMedia, effective January 1. Killabrew had been SVP of programming in Indy until leaving for the company’s Washington, DC cluster to serve as program director for classic rock WBIG “Big 101” and alternative WWDC “DC101” earlier this year…..In March of this year, “Kevin & Bean” show co-host Gene “Bean” Baxter announced he would leave the program at KROQ, Los Angeles to re-locate to Great Britain. Now, we know that his last show will be this Thursday (11/07). The duo has been hosting the successful program on Entercom’s KROQ for the past 30 years. Kevin Ryder will continue to host the morning show on the alternative rock station…..At country KMNB, Minneapolis “102.9 The Wolf,” Lucas Phelan exits the station and the program director position he’s held for the past 18 months. Phelan was also the afternoon drive personality…..Program director and PM drive jock Mike Miller exits iHeartMedia’s CHR WZFT-FM, Baltimore “Z104.3” and embarks on a new career on the sales side of the business with the company’s Harrisburg, Pennsylvania cluster as an account executive…..Premiere Networks’ “Brooke & Jubal in the Morning” – co-hosted by Brooke Fox and Jubal Fresh – are this year’s recipients of the Radio Hall of Fame’s “One to Watch” award. The honor was created last year in honor of radio legend and 2012 RHOF inductee Art Laboe. Each year, the RHOF nominating committee selects a promising radio personality or team who has demonstrated ratings success, audience growth, and impact on one or more radio stations and their communities. RHOF chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “Brooke and Jubal exemplify the inspiration behind this award. While they’ve made ‘Movin’ 92.5,’ KQMV-FM their home in Seattle, the magic they create on the air continues to win audiences far beyond.”
‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ – Day 2. Pictured above is conservative writer and media figure Ann Coulter (left) speaking on the air with Bill Meyer of KMED-AM, Medford, Oregon (right) at the 13th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row, presented by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill. This year, 72 talk radio hosts are taking part in the radio row, debating immigration policy, interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists, administration officials, and those who live and work along the Southern border.
WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans Talk Host Seth Dunlap to Sue Entercom; Company Brings Police into Anti-Gay Slur Incident. WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans owner Entercom released a statement yesterday (9/25) regarding its investigation into the use of the station’s Twitter account to publish a gay slur about station sports talk host Seth Dunlap on September 10. At the same time, Dunlap’s lawyer – Megan Kiefer – released a long public statement implying that Entercom has not shown Dunlap any proof of its investigation into trying to find the perpetrator and concludes saying they are preparing a suit against Entercom. (Read that in Kevin Allman’s piece in Gambit.) Dunlap has been on leave from the station since September 12. However, Entercom says in its statement, in part: “WWL has completed its investigation into the highly offensive, unauthorized tweet sent from WWL’s Twitter account on September 10, which directed a homophobic slur at Seth Dunlap. WWL conducted this investigation with the assistance of and external digital forensic firm and outside counsel, and expended considerable internal resources both in New Orleans and on our corporate staff. We determined that the most appropriate next step is to involve law enforcement. At this point, the investigation is in the hands of law enforcement and it is not appropriate for us to comment any further on the substance of our findings.” Kiefer says in her statement that Dunlap has taken and passed a polygraph test indicating he is not responsible for the tweet and, in promising the lawsuit, she adds that Dunlap has endured a “history of discrimination” during his eight years with the station.
Alpha Media and Salem Media Group Content to Be Available on Entercom’s RADIO.COM. The content distribution partnerships between Entercom’s RADIO.COM and broadcasting companies Alpha Media and Salem Media Group will put live channels for all of Alpha’s and Salem’s radio stations on the digital platform and provide a destination for the companies’ on-demand audio and podcasts. Entercom’s growth of the RADIO.COM platform beyond hosting just its own content is seen in recent content distribution agreements with CNN, Bloomberg Media, Cox Media Group, and Bonneville. Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “These partnerships further position RADIO.COM as the premiere destination for live and on-demand audio news, entertainment, music and sports content in markets all across the U.S.” Alpha Media content to be available on RADIO.COM includes livestream broadcasts from 183 stations in 12 markets. Salem Media Group content to be available on the digital platform includes livestreams from their portfolio of 115 radio stations, including 73 stations in the nation’s top 25 markets and 25 stations in the top 10, and over 700 podcasts. Salem Media Group will also partner with RADIO.COM to reach listeners directly and share information about local events, programming and promotions from their portfolio of stations.
‘WOR Live’ at The Cutting Room. Pictured above are WOR, New York personalities and their guests who appeared in the second installment of “WOR Live,” yesterday (9/25) at The Cutting Room in New York City. They had a spirited conversation about some of the day’s top stories, their radio careers, what has changed in radio in recent years, and how news reporting has changed in the wake of 9/11. From left to right are: WABC-TV reporter Toni Yates, WOR personalities Mark Simone, Joe Bartlett, Len Berman, Michael Riedel, Joe Concha, and WABC-TV reporter N.J. Burkett.
Seen and Heard at the NAB/RAB Radio Show. TALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay checks in from the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas in which he reports on the “2020 and Beyond: Insights from the Top” session with executives from top radio companies, as well as thoughts about monetizing podcasting and terrestrial radio in the era of media convergence. Read his report here.
TALKERS News Notes. On the same day that e-cigarette manufacturer Juul announced it is suspending all marketing efforts in the wake of the recent deaths being attributed to vaping, Entercom sent an internal email to its sales force that it is no longer accepting advertising for vaping products. Earlier this week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a public health emergency and banned the sale of all vaping products for four months…..The new podcast from Lemonada is titled, “Last Day,” and is hosted by Lemonada co-founder Stephanie Wittels Wachs. The program addresses the opioid crisis – reported to have taken 72,000 lives in the U.S. in 2017 – focusing on the last day of a victim’s life. Wachs lost her brother Harris to opioid addiction. She says, “We’re telling my brother’s story because it’s emblematic of so many stories of people taken too soon by this disease, and we think demystifying one person’s last day and their overall experience will help remove the stigma and shine light on solutions.”…..Season 4 of iHeartRadio’s Original Music Podcast, “Disgraceland” – produced and hosted by Jake Brenan – premieres today (9/26) on the iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartMedia says, “In the first episode of the musical true crime podcast, Brenan covers hip hop legends N.W.A., the self-proclaimed, ‘most dangerous hip hop group in America.’ Other programs this season include and examination of: Led Zeppelin and the dangers of the band’s guitarist, Jimmy Page; the story behind Madonna’s difficult and deeply saddening rise to fame; and even explores Eric Clapton’s drug addiction and his murderous drummer.”
Trump-Ukraine Controversy/Impeachment Inquiry, 2020 Presidential Election, Brexit Chaos, Jacques Chirac Dies, and Joker Screening Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/25). The controversy over President Donald Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the Democrats’ move to begin an impeachment inquiry; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the political chaos in Britain over Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy; the death of former French President Jacques Chirac; and the reports of possible threats of violence and public screenings of the new film, The Joker, were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Charlotte Job Opportunity. In the Charlotte, North Carolina market, Entercom is seeking a part-time news anchor for news/talk WBT-AM/FM. The company posts the following job description: “You’re an engaging, experienced on-air personality. You’re a great storyteller. You know how to get to the heart of a story and make it relatable to the listener. You’re never satisfied with knowing just the “Who?, What?, Where?, and When?” of a story; you always seek to know, “Why?” If this sounds like you, News Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT Charlotte would like to hear from you.” Get more information and apply here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In New York City, iHeartMedia names Greg T the new co-host for the morning show on hot AC WTKU. The new “Carolina with Greg T in the Morning Show” debuts on October 9. Carolina Bermudez says, “After a summer of having the opportunity to share the studio with some of the best and brightest on-air hosts across the country, it just made sense to welcome my brother Greg T to the KTU family. I couldn’t be happier and can’t wait to welcome him to his new radio home!” Greg T has been a part of the Elvis Duran show for the past 23 years. As he moves across the hall to his new gig, Duran says, “Greg T is a major part of our show’s 25-year success story and I will miss him dearly. We applaud his courage and determination to keep moving forward. I am so proud of him!”…..iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNR, Las Vegas “Sunny 106.5” names AJ Maguire morning drive personality in which he joins the station’s Joanna Baumann for the “AJ and Joanna Morning Show.” iHeartMedia SVP of programming Tony Matteo says, “We’re excited to have AJ anchoring morning drive on ‘Sunny 106.5.’ Adding AJ’s skill as a storyteller and entertainer to the already strong ‘Sunny 106.5’ Las Vegas brand puts the station in the perfect position for growth and success.” Maguire joins the station from Cox Media Group, where he most recently served as the afternoon host for country WWKA and classic hits WMMO in Orlando for the past three years…..Entercom’s hot AC WSTR, Atlanta “Star 94.1” names programming pro Jerry McKenna program director, effective September 30. McKenna was most recently with Cape Cod Broadcasting as director of programming. He previously served with Entercom in Springfield and Boston, Massachusetts. Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “I am excited for Jerry McKenna to bring his breadth of knowledge to ‘Star 94.1.’ His insight and experience will be invaluable as we continue to deliver the engaging content Atlanta listeners deserve and expect from our station.”…..Skyview Networks announces “The Dana Cortez Show” is added to the program schedule at Riviera Broadcast Group’s hip hop KKFR-FM, Mayer, Arizona (Phoenix market). This is the first top 15 market station to add the show to its lineup…..Sun Broadcast Group reports the Michael Baisden show is back on the air in his hometown of Chicago on dance-formatted W236CF, Chicago/W236CG, Bolingbrook “95.1 FM Club Steppin.”…..Townsquare Media Billings, Montana brings Michael Foth aboard as brand manager for classic rock KMHK “103.7 The Hawk.” He says, “Reaching people on digital platforms is something that was only imagined by most terrestrial broadcast companies 10 or 15 years ago. Radio is in the middle of a unique transformation and Townsquare Media is a leader in the industry. I’m excited to be a part of this evolution.”
‘970 The Answer’ Presents Special 9/11 Show. On the anniversary of 9/11, Salem Media Group news/talk WNYM, New York “970 The Answer” is presenting a special program today (9/11) from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on location from the kitchen table of Red Apple Group chief John Catsimatidis (soon-to-be owner of WABC, New York) with host Kevin McCullough and former New York Governor George Pataki and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. McCullough says, “The unique and intimate broadcast will take place on location around the Catsimatidis kitchen table and will bring the two leaders together in person in a way seldom seen since this fateful day.”
WHO, Des Moines Listeners Respond to Call for Flag Planting. Afternoon drive personality Simon Conway tells TALKERS magazine that WHO, Des Moines listeners planted almost 3,000 flags in a local park to commemorate those who died in the 9/11 attacks after the city decided to cancel the annual event. Conway says, “About four months after I arrived in Des Moines, there was a meeting. How were we going to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11? Some people wanted to rent the big arena in town and have a solemn service. I pointed out that was a big risk. It was the first or second NFL Sunday and how terrible would it be if no one showed up. Eventually, I came up with the idea of planting a flag in the ground for every person who was murdered that day. We have done that ever since. Yesterday morning my listeners started to contact me saying that the city had cancelled this year’s [event] due to lack of flags and volunteers (total garbage by the way – they want to move on!). There was no way I was going to let that happen and so using social media and the opening of my show yesterday, I directed people to the park. All the nearly 3,000 flags were in the ground before 5:00 pm! THAT’S the power of the very best audience in talk radio!”
Entercom Wrestling with ‘Technical Issues.’ The company has been pretty tight-lipped about the technical issues that may have been caused by a cyber-attack that occurred over the weekend. Entercom’s email system has been compromised and those trying to email someone at the company receive a message saying it is dealing with technical issues and directs them to call the local market via phone. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that the issue – again, the company won’t confirm it’s an “attack” – also has affected music scheduling, production, and billing. Radio trade site RadioInsight is calling it a ransomware attack and reports the attacker(s) is asking for $500,000. Whether it’s an actual ransomware attack or just the work of a devious hacker, the company has a lot of work to do. Entercom’s public statement on the matter is that it is working around the clock to fix the problems. An internal memo staffers received on Monday morning said they should not expect things to be back to normal for three or four days.
WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans Does Damage Control After Gay Slur Tweet. Openly gay WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans evening sports talk host Seth Dunlap was the target of a tweet containing a gay slur that appears to have emanated from within the station. According to a piece in The Advocate, many of Dunlap’s listeners may have learned of his sexuality after he wrote a personal essay questioning New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ affiliation with Focus on the Family, an organization that, among other goals, promotes gay conversion therapy. Brees has recorded a video for the organization about the upcoming “Take Your Bible to School” day. Entercom removed the offensive tweet and tweeted out the following: “We are aware of a tweet that went out today from the WWL account. The content of the tweet is categorically offensive and abhorrent to the station. We are actively investigating this incident and will take swift and appropriate action once we determine how this occurred.”
Todd Schnitt and Fark.com Partner for New Podcast. On-air pro Todd Schnitt and FARK.com founder Drew Curtis are launching a new podcast called, “Fark and Schnitt,” “a humorous approach to some of the more unusual story lines in the news cycle.” It’s being managed by Steve Lapa and Lapcom Communications and represented by Crossover Media Group. It’s being promoted as “an entertaining, irreverent look at the stories you may have missed. The ‘Fark and Schnitt’ podcast blends entertaining content with polished production to bring the audience the famous and the forgettable in an engaging format.” New episodes are posted each Tuesday. Schnitt says, “The explosive growth of podcasts cannot be ignored, and this delivery method will continue to grow exponentially. While I’ve been part of repurposing my radio shows for many years, ‘Fark and Schnitt’ is all new exclusive quality content just for the podcast universe. Soon, I’ll be Adam Carolla’s golf caddy.” FARK.com is a successful news aggregator site with more than 2,000 link submissions daily, 20 million page views per month with more than 1 million uniques.
TALKERS News Notes. Joining the meteorologist staff at EnvisionVirtualServices Weather is Tom Hauf, who will deliver custom daily weather forecasts and severe weather coverage for affiliated stations. Hauf says, “I’ve been passionate about weather forecasting since childhood, delivering my first forecast at age 10. Weather is one of a very few things in the world that affects every single person every day.” Hauf has 30 years of experience as a radio weatherman and possesses a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist certification from the American Meteorological Society. EnvisionVirtualServices Weather Reports from Envision Networks offer a complete locally derived weather solution for radio stations. The team of major market meteorologists deliver multiple daily reports and are ready to spring into action whenever inclement weather hits…..PodcastOne announces that it is teaming with Kc Wayland Productions for production, marketing and sales for the “We’re Alive” podcast series that has more than 160 million downloads to date. The new season, “We’re Alive: Goldrush,” features guest-star appearances from actors Danny Trejo and Christy Carlson Romano as well as former “Bachelorette,” Kaitlyn Bristowe. PodcastOne says “‘Goldrush’ is a multi-layered story that fully utilizes the audio drama medium, employing a multitude of audio-focused comedic gags, plot devices that force visualization, and scenes that take advantage of the soundscape.” PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Coming on the heels of our huge success with ‘22 Hours: An American Nightmare’ and the continuing strong showing of ‘Cold Case Files,’ our partnership with A&E Networks, the launch of ‘Goldrush’ not only gives us a strong, new entry into the scripted category, but also shows the strength of our content and promotional resources.”…..KPOJ-AM, Portland afternoon drive sports talk personality Travis Demers is named the new play-by-play voice of the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers. Demers has been the substitute play-by-play voice recently, filling in for Brian Wheeler who has been dealing with health issues. Wheeler recently retired, leaving the position open. Demers says, “It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do, it’s an absolute dream job. I’m thrilled to be able to live out that dream in Rip City.”
Beasley Announces Esports Initiative at UNLV. Broadcaster Beasley Media Group is collaborating with the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies to launch Checkpoint XP On Campus. Beasley XP is the company’s esports division that is leading this endeavor. Under this initiative, the school will serve as the primary content creation and production hub for Checkpoint XP’s college-targeted brand extension. Plans include a college-agnostic esports weekly video and podcast show, as well as extensive online content that will be featured under the Checkpoint XP On Campus section on CheckpointXP.com. The weekly video and podcast will be officially launched tomorrow (9/12) on RADIO.com, as well as Twitch, YouTube, and via a podcast on bPod Studios. It’s being hosted by Beasley XP’s Norris Howard, along with UNLV student anchors Daniel Agbuya and Jacob Brothers, with Kevin Kelly serving as the managing editor. Additionally, UNLV will work closely with Checkpoint XP to recruit student correspondents from more than 30 of the country’s top journalism and esports colleges to provide additional coverage on the growing esports scene across many of the nation’s college campuses. Beasley chief digital content officer Lori Burgess says, “The convergence of sports and entertainment has never been more real than with the esports academic curriculums, sports teams and arenas that are changing the face of campuses across the country. Checkpoint XP On Campus intends to capture this lifestyle-based competitive sport as it continues to gain popularity and become a more serious part of the university experience.” Pictured above at yesterday’s announcement are (from l-r): Dr. Kevin Stoker, director of the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies at UNLV; Dr. Robert Ulmer, Dean of the UNLV Greenspun College of Urban Affairs; Caroline Beasley, CEO of Beasley Media Group; Norris Howard; and Leslie Fitzsimmons, director of underwriting and corporate sponsorship for UNLV’s public media outlets.
Trump Fires John Bolton, 2020 Presidential Race, NC Special Elections, U.S.-China Trade War, Immigration Policy, Antonio Brown Rape Allegation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/10). National Security Advisor John Bolton is fired by President Trump; the Democrats and Republicans vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Republican Dan Bishop wins a North Carolina congressional special election; the war of tariffs between the U.S. and China; the Trump administration’s immigration and asylum policies; and the rape allegations leveled against Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cool Radio Opportunities in Phoenix. There are two positions that WestStar Multimedia Entertainment is seeking to fill. First, the Kim Komando show is looking for an on-air call screener and sidekick. They ask: “Do you have an engaging personality? Quick-witted? Funny? And this is very important, have a passion for consumer electronics and all things digital? We are looking for a superstar talent who’s hard working and wants to be part of national radio show and global TV show!” See more about the position and to apply here. Also, WestStar is seeking an affiliate relations manager with at least two years’ experience. The company says, “Kim Komando Multimedia is rapidly expanding in many divisions, as we are one of the fastest growing broadcast media companies in America! For over 20-years, Kim Komando has led the industry in tech-lifestyle programming within the national radio category, reaching millions of people every week.” For more on this position and to apply, click here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Sales and management pro Donald St. Sauveur is upped to chief operating officer for Northeast Broadcasting and its stations triple A outlets WXRV, Boston “92.5 The River” and WNCS, Montpelier “The Point.” St. Sauveur has been serving as general manager for WXRV for the past 11 years. Northeast Broadcasting CEO Ed Flanagan says, “Donald has shown an uncanny ability to integrate the sales and programming elements of the station, while simultaneously building brand and customer loyalty. We are looking forward to seeing him succeed in this new role.”…..Programming pro Leigh McNabb joins Saga Communications’ classic hits KIOA, Des Moines as program director. She comes to Saga from her most recent gig as PD and midday personality at Entercom’s hot AC KZPT, Kansas City “99.7 The Point.” Saga Des Moines vice president and general manager Tom Nankival says, “We are thrilled to be able to bring someone with Leigh’s experience and qualifications back to her hometown. Her passion for KIOA’s heritage is unparalleled and the fact that she is already so well respected in our building made her the obvious choice to rejuvenate the station and lead our terrific team.”…..Premiere Networks syndicated morning star Bobby Bones is offering his listeners the opportunity to put their personal twist on The General Insurance’s jingle for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas to see Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots perform. Fans can enter the contest by creating their own video showcasing their spin on the jingle. The winning video will receive a three-day, two-night trip to Las Vegas to meet Bobby Bones and attend the Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots performance on November 15 at Reynolds Hall at Smith Center.