Cox Sells Majority Stake of News/Talk WHIO, Dayton, Two Music FMs, and TV and Newspaper Properties. The “buyer” here is Apollo Global Management which – according to a piece in today’s Atlanta Journal Constitution – is acquiring a controlling interest in Cox Enterprises’ 14 television stations, its newspapers, and its three Dayton, Ohio radio stations. Cox made no secret of the fact it was shopping its television assets, but bunching Dayton radio outlets news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, country WHKO-FM, and rock WZLR-FM was not expected. Cox will retain a minority stake in the new company. Interestingly, Cox Media Group will continue ownership of the AJC, as well as its other radio stations and media outlets in other markets. Why is Apollo interested in the Dayton radio stations? The AJC writes, “The newspapers, radio stations, and WHIO-TV in Dayton share a unique business model that involve full integration of their operations. Apollo plans to maintain the Cox Media management and operating structure within the new company, which has yet to be named.”
Newt Gingrich Podcast Launches on Westwood One. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Westwood One partner to create the “Newt’s World” weekly, original podcast. The press release states that the program “will offer stories, conversations, and context on a different topic each week, from history to health, national security to science, and much more…’Newt’s World’ isn’t a podcast about politics; it’s a show that explores the past, present, and future to help listeners contextualize current events and important discoveries across all aspects of our society. The inaugural episode of ‘Newt’s World’ features the father of our country, the man who led the first Americans to freedom, George Washington.” Gingrich says, “I spend most of my time doing two things: learning and teaching. I’m looking forward to bringing others on the journey with me to fully explore fascinating topics together. Some weeks we’ll be talking about history, some weeks we’ll learn about the future, and others we’ll look at what is happening right now in culture, science, and events. We live in an amazing world, and there’s an enormous amount to learn and share.”
Former Sports Talk Host Marty Tirrell Faces Fraud Charges. Former KXNO, Des Moines sports talk host Marty Tirrell is being held in a Polk County, Iowa jail until space opens up at a residential release facility. The 59-year-old is charged with six counts of fraud as federal prosecutors charge he swindled at least eight people out of $1.5 million. The allegations against Tirrell include that he sought investors for a business in which he would buy tickets to sporting events and sell them at a profit. Prosecutors say initially Tirrell paid back his investors, but later began lying to them and used their money for personal expenses and to pay back other investors. When they sought the promised return on their investment, Tirrell allegedly wrote checks he knew would bounce or provided them with false wire transfer information. See the Des Moines Register story here.
Gomez ‘American Grit’ Podcast Addresses Immigration Reform. Radio pro Joe Gomez is producing a podcast called ‘American Grit’ that he tells TALKERS magazine is dedicated to covering immigration reform and current events. Gomez, who served as a radio reporter for iHeartRadio (KOA, Denver and KRTH, Houston), CBS, and NBC, hosts the program. The podcast is available via iTunes, Spotify and Stitcher. Check it out here.
Border Wall Issue Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 11-15. The battle over President Trump’s plan for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia investigation and the related ruling by a judge that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort lied to investigators. Coming in at #3 was the Green New Deal, tied with the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, followed by the Andrew McCabe CBS interview at #4. 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 published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Alliance for Women in Media Foundation Names New Board and Directors. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces its 2019 National Board of Directors. New to the AWM board are Abby Greensfelder, co-founder & co-owner, Half Yard Productions; Brenda Hetrick, chief revenue officer, Matrix Solutions; and Katherine Wolfgang, head of public relations, CBC. AWM/F board chair and president Christine Travaglini says, “We are thrilled to have these talented, accomplished women joining our leadership for the next two years.” Keisha Sutton James, vice president, Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, will serve as incoming chair, Heather Cohen, executive vice president, The Weiss Agency, will serve as treasurer. Josie Thomas, executive vice president, chief diversity and inclusion officer, CBS Corporation, will serve as treasurer-elect, while Sarah Foss, senior vice president, strategic initiatives, Freewheel Advertisers at FreeWheel will serve as immediate past chair. The following individuals will serve as directors at large of AWM: Joyce Fitch, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc.; Jinny Laderer, president, vCreative; Meg LaVigne, president of television, Litton Entertainment; Kelly DeLace Perdomo, vice president, content, sports, entertainment, and partnership marketing, SiriusXM; and Diane Schwartz, SVP and group publisher, Access Intelligence. The following individuals will serve as directors at large of AWMF: Anne Cowan, senior vice president, communications and marketing, CTAM; Annie Howell, co-founder and managing partner, The Punch Point Group; Deborah Parenti, publisher, RadioInk, RBR and TVBR; Rob Stoddard, SVP program network policy, NCTA; and Kristen Welch, chief financial officer, Illustrative Mathematics. At the same time the AWM/F announces that the 2019 call for entries for the annual Gracie Awards was the most successful in the program’s history. AWM/F executive director Becky Brooks adds, “The number and caliber of extraordinary programs and performances entered for the 2019 Gracie Awards is an unprecedented milestone for the AWM/F. Gracies judges – women and more men than ever before – include executives and talent from across every form of media. They have their work cut out for them in deciding the 2019 winners from this exceptional pool of nominees.” The 44th Annual Gracie Awards Gala will take place May 21, at the Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills and the Gracie Awards Luncheon will be held June 26, in New York City at Cipriani 42nd Street.
Michael Harrison Explores the Impact of Changing Communications Technology on the Human Nervous System. One of the common themes of the present era is the challenge people face in keeping pace and coping with the exponential changes in communications technology. On this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne production, “The Michael Harrison Interview,” the TALKERS founder interviews theoretical physicist Leonard Mlodinow, Norwegian explorer Erling Kagge, and licensed psychotherapist Dr. Bryan Robinson about the rapid changes taking place in our noisy world. Join them for a deep dive into the realm of neuro-plasticity, the sounds of silence, and escaping from the maddening, non-stop workplace. 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 every page on Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Adult contemporary WDZH, Detroit “987 The Breeze” names husband-and-wife radio duo Chadd & Kristi (pictured) hosts of the station’s morning drive program, effective Monday (2/18). Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “As a husband and wife team, Chadd and Kristi will bring a unique perspective to our airwaves and we are excited to welcome them to ‘The Breeze.’ They are both full of energy and our listeners can look forward to hearing all of their entertaining relationship and family life stories every workday.” Chadd & Kristi come to Detroit from their most recent position at Beasley Media Group’s WPBB, Tampa (recently flipped from AC to classic rock)…..iHeartMedia’s WRVE-HD2/W260CH “Wild Country 99.9” enters in to an agreement with NASCAR to broadcast each Monster Energy Cup Series race, including the Daytona 500, FireKeepers Casino 400, and Food City 500. “Wild Country 99.9” program director Terry O’Donnell says, “It’s an honor to be the new home for NASCAR in the Capital Region. NASCAR is the #1 spectator sport in America and since so many of us are on the move, we can’t always catch the race on TV. Now, listeners can hear the races live on their phone, smart speaker or in their car via iHeartRadio.”…..There’s a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast starring Mario Lopez titled “Listen To Mario” that launches today (2/15). In its inaugural episode, Lopez sits down for a candid conversation with Mark-Paul Gosselaar (a.k.a. Zack Morris from “Saved By the Bell!”) in which they discuss their childhood hairstyles, reminisce about “Saved By The Bell,” and much more.
Feature Story: Internet Radio’s Backbone. As far as TALKERS magazine is aware, nobody gets audio content on the Internet with the ease and sophistication (not to mention affordable rates) the way Backbone Networks does. In this piece published Friday (2/10), managing editor Mike Kinosian delves into how Backbone – in the words of president and CEO Rich Cerny, “the only completely integrated radio station service comprising live production, automation, storage, streaming, syndication, live assist, and call-in phone system,” works for content creators. Plus, interwoven into this feature is how Cerny’s past experience in fiber optics and television broadcast production played into the creation of Backbone Networks. Read it all here.
Hillman to Lead Sales at Beasley Media’s Southwest Florida Group. Sales pro Allyson Hillman is named director of sales for Beasley Media Group’s Southwest Florida cluster that includes news/talk WJBX, sports talk WWCN, CHR WXKB, rock WRXK, adult contemporary WJPT, and Spanish music W251AL. Beasley says, “Allyson brings three decades of broadcasting and advertising to this position. She served in management for 10 years in Detroit radio and has relocated to Southwest Florida from Savannah-Hilton Head. Allyson has worked in the radio, television, Internet, digital and outdoor industries, including careers as retail sales manager, local and general sales manager, director of business development and director of sales.”
Steve Deace Show Thriving on CRTV. In our recent reporting Salem Radio Network’s addition of Chicago-based talk host Joe Walsh to its evening lineup, TALKERS wrote that the Steve Deace show had been bumped from the schedule by Walsh. But Deace tells us there’s more detail to how the change took place. Deace’s show is, and has been, produced by Conservative Review TV (CRTV). Late last fall, CRTV and Deace chose to move the show from SRN to CRTV’s own platform. That initiated the change in SRN’s evening schedule. Deace says, “Fifteen months ago, we debuted on Salem with 11 affiliates. We’re leaving with approximately 70. They did a great job for us, never interfered with my content on the air, and I have no complaints whatsoever. I still have the same high regard for [Salem SVP] Phil Boyce I’ve always had.”
TALKERS News Notes. The FCC filing for Michael Crute’s purchase of WRRD-AM, Waukesha (Milwaukee market) from Good Karma Broadcasting is public, so we now know the price of the signal is $767,000. Crute, who with partner Dominic Salvia co-hosts the progressive talk show “Devil’s Advocate,” is programming a
progressive talk lineup on the station. The duo was formerly based at iHeartMedia’s WXXM, Madison, Wisconsin when it was progressive talk outlet “92.1 The Mic.” The station flipped formats after the holidays. The “Devil’s Advocate” airs in afternoon drive on WRRD…..Berkshire Broadcasting’s news/talk WLAD-AM, Danbury, Connecticut is now heard in the market on the FM dial after the station adds translator W231DJ at 94.1 FM to the station’s broadcast.
Trump’s Travel Ban Strategy, ICE Raids/Cost of Mexico Wall, Russia-Snowden Relationship, Flynn-Russia Talks Controversy, North Korea ICBM Tests, ‘SNL’ Trump Sketches, Nordstrom-Ivanka Trump Flap, Yale Changes College Name, and Al Jarreau Dead at 76 Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The ongoing legal clash over President Donald Trump’s travel order and the possibility he writes a new order this week; the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau begins raids to capture “known criminals” and the related issue of the U.S.-Mexico wall and Trump’s promise to reduce the cost; conflicting reports about whether Russia will turn Edward Snowden over to the U.S. to curry favor with President Trump; the status of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn over reports he engaged with Russia prior to Trump being sworn in as president; the test of a mid-range ICBM by North Korea; the numerous sketches poking fun at Trump and administration officials on “Saturday Night Live”; Nordstrom’s dropping of the Ivanka Trump lines; Yale changes name of Calhoun College due to John C. Calhoun’s advocacy of slavery; and musician Al Jarreau’s death at age 76 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Dr. Dave Returns to Dayton Air on 80s Rock WZLR. Radio personality Dave Gross, a.k.a. Dr. Dave, is back on the radio in Dayton on Cox Media Group’s 80s-intensive classic hits simulcast WZLR/W266BG. Back in the late 1980s, Dr. Dave was the ringleader of the “Z93 Morning Zoo” on then-CHR WGTZ – the program that dominated the morning ratings in the market. His new show, “Dr. Dave and the Eagle Morning Zoo,” is the first show with a live personality on the station. In a piece in the Springfield News-Sun, Cox Ohio VP of marketing Nick Roberts says the Dayton market is one of the biggest in the nation for 80s rock. See the whole story here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At its urban contemporary WHQT, Miami “HOT 105,” Cox Media Group announces syndicated personality Michael Baisden is taking over the afternoon drive show, effective February 20. WHQT director of branding and programming Phil Michaels-Trueba states, “Michael was a part of the ‘Hot 105’ super brand from 2007 to 2013 with a proven track record of success. I am happy to welcome Michael, George Willborn, and Tamara G back home to our already stellar lineup of icons.”…..iHeartMedia names Todd Zarnitz, a.k.a. Carson, afternoon drive personality for CHR stations KPWK, Seattle “Power 93.3” and KKRZ, Portland “Z100.” Pacific Northwest Region SVP of programming Tim Herbster states, “We are excited to add Carson to our teams here in Portland and Seattle. His passion, enthusiasm and wealth of experience will be a great addition to help us grow ‘Z100’ and ‘Power 93.3.’”…..In Indianapolis, WLHK “HANK FM” afternoon personality JD Cannon announces he’s retiring from the station – and from full-time work in radio – on April 28. Cannon will remain with the Emmis station as “brand ambassador.” In announcing his semi-retirement, Cannon says he’s been blessed to have had a 44-year career on country music…..Townsquare Media announces programming pro Dusty Hayes is assuming the operations manager role at its Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana station group that includes news/talk KEEL, country KXKS, adult contemporary KVKI, CHR KRUF, and rock KTUX…..Townsquare Media names Braden Smith operations manager for its Amarillo, Texas cluster consisting of news/talk KIXZ, country KATP, adult contemporary KPRF, hot AC KMXJ, and CHR KXSS. He’ll serve as brand manager for KATP. He comes to Townsquare from his previous position with Alpha Media country outlet WLFV, Richmond “The Wolf.”