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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

| February 12, 2019

Alpha Media Deals in Chicagoland Market. Regular TALKERS readers are aware that Alpha Media has been wheeling and dealing – recently selling entire clusters such as West Palm Beach and Bluefield, West Virginia.  Now it files to acquire two Chicagoland stations. FCC records indicate Alpha will pay $4.7 million for suburban classic rocker WFXF-FM, Dundee “103.9 The Fox” and adult contemporary WZSR, Woodstock “Star 105.5,” both serving the Northwest Suburbs. The company has been operating the stations under an LMA from Matrix Media, a company going through Chapter 11.  In order to comply with FCC ownership regulations, Alpha Media will turn around and sell WFXF to religious broadcaster Education Media Foundation for $900,000 and spin-off rock WRXQ, Coal City (far southwest side) to Walnut Radio for $300,000.  In the Chicago market Alpha also owns country WCCQ-FM, Crest Hill; classic hits WERV-FM, Aurora “95.9 The River”; adult contemporary WSSR, Joliet “Star 96.7”; hot AC WXLC, Waukegan; news/talk/sports WJOL-AM, Joliet; news/talk WLIP, Kenosha, Wisconsin; and Spanish sports WKRS, Waukegan “ESPN Deportes 1220.”

WIBA-AM, Madison Adds Dan O’Donnell Show. The WISN, Milwaukee-based Dan O’Donnell show is now heard in the Madison market on news/talk WIBA-AM “News Talk 1310” as iHeartMedia simulcasts the late morning program.  The Dan O’Donnell show airs from 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily.  On WIBA, O’Donnell takes over for Dan Conry, whostepped away from his daily show for health and family reasons.  Conry will continue to host his Sunday program and serve as a fill-in host at the station.  WISN program director Jerry Bott states, “Dan O’Donnell has made his mark with a hard-hitting show that is factually based, providing the foundation for Dan’s cutting-edge opinions, insights, and analysis.  He’s tough, yet fair, and Dan explores all elements of current events, politics, public policy, and pop culture with unmatched energy.”

‘TheDailyCentrist’ Digital Platform Launches Targeting Independents. A new multi-media platform called TheDailyCentrist is being launched in a joint venture by Crossover Media Group, 921 Associates LLC, and media personality Rick Ungar.  A press release says, “While there are no shortages of news and opinion destinations serving the interests of the far left and far right, there has – until now – been little available to appeal to those who identify in the middle: the center-right and the center-left of the political spectrum.”  They say the platform is “crafted to serve the wide plurality of Americans who identify as political independents and the even larger numbers who, regardless of party affiliation, can be considered center-right and center-left Americans in search of solutions.”  Rick Ungar will serve as editor-in-chief.  He’s a one-time senior political contributor at Forbes.com, political analyst at Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and recently co-hosted the SiriusXM program “Steele & Ungar” with former RNC chairman and current MSNBC political contributor Michael Steele, who is among TheDailyCentrist’s contributors.  Ungar says, “If you like to find company online at the far right or left wings of the political spectrum, you’ve got plenty of places to go.  But when you look at the data it’s not simply a plurality but really a majority of Americans whose views are in the center-right/center-left bandwidth.  We plan to be the water cooler for that great silent majority of Americans who are underserved by political opinion – or attitude – that speaks to their sensibilities.  We will offer intelligent, thoughtful, provocative and fun conversation and engagement.  And we will scrutinize and criticize commentators, personalities, politicians and candidates who embrace either extreme political pole.”  TheDailyCentrist will offer daily columns, blogs, podcasts, and video clips from an array of political writers, commentators, and experts whose political perspectives reflect the center-right or center-left schools of American political thought.

Godwin Rises to SVP at Townsquare Media. Radio management pro Kevin Godwin is upped to senior vice president for Townsquare Media from his Northwest regional VP role and will leave his role as president of the Boise market operations.  In this new post he’ll have multiple market oversight responsibilities. The Boise cluster consists of news/talk KIDO and sports talk KFXD-AM “630 The Fan” in addition to four music radio outlets.  Taking over the Boise supervision duties is Grand Junction, Colorado market president Rick Carmean.  That move requires a new manager in Grand Junction and current director of sales Natalie Redding is promoted to lead that station group.

John Wordock Named Executive Editor, Podcasting for Westwood One. This is a newly created position for Westwood One and its new executive editor, podcasting – John Wordock – comes to the company from The Wall Street Journal where he held the title, executive producer, podcasts.  Wordock previously served as executive editor of The Wall Street Journal and Marketwatch.com Radio Networks when they were syndicated by Westwood One. Most recently, the Wordock-led division at The Wall Street Journal grew total monthly audience over 2000%, guided the multi-department team that launched the chart-topping podcast “The Future of Everything,” and developed “many other successful shows from planning to distribution.”  Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “As the fastest organically growing podcast network in the U.S. in 2018, Westwood One is thrilled to welcome John to the leadership team.  With almost 15 years of experience in podcast development, production, and distribution, coupled with his journalistic roots, John will help us expand our content portfolio with a commitment to quality and scale.”

Rare and Fascinating Air Check of Bruce Williams Surfaces.  Since the death of talk show host Bruce Williams was reported this past weekend, TALKERS has received more than a dozen personal stories from our readers citing experiences they’ve had with the legendary radio personality.  Among them, we received a fascinating air check submitted by KMZQ, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris that she recorded back in 1995 when she called in to Williams’ NBC Talknet program seeking advice about the sale of her pet snake.  This took place prior to Harris’ radio career, when she was working as a cocktail waitress at a Las Vegas casino.  It captures the feeling, style and tone of Williams’ work, not to mention a glimpse back at the way talk radio sounded almost a quarter century ago.  To listen, please click here.

Federal Government Funding Deal, Trump El Paso Rally/Border Wall Battle, ‘Green New Deal,’ 2020 Presidential Hopefuls, Iran’s Anti-U.S. Rally, Rep. Omar Apology, Venezuela Unrest, Grammy Awards, Alliance of American Football Debut, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/11). The tentative deal to avoid another partial shutdown of the federal government; President Trump’s El Paso rally and the deal for 55 miles of U.S.-Mexico border fence; the controversial “Green New Deal” promoted by freshman Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez; the growing number of Democrats declaring their candidacy for president in 2020; the anti-U.S. sentiments expressed at Iran’s 40th anniversary celebration of the Islamic Revolution; Rep. Ilhan Omar apologizes for anti-Israel statement; the ongoing political unrest in Venezuela; Sunday night’s Grammy Awards show; the debut of the Alliance of American Football league; and NBA Action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. “The Big Interview” program hosted by legendary newsman Dan Rather is expanding into radio.  Krantz Media Group announces that, via a successful partnership with AXS TV and its own KMG Networks, they will a expand the reach of the AXS TV series, distributing additional episodes to radio.  Advertising sales will be handled by Westwood One.  As part of the agreement, stations will receive an audio version of the archived AXS TV series in addition to a corresponding video segment, that stations may post on their websites, mobile apps, and social media channels.  Radio stations will also receive customized promotional liners and promos from Rather. This year’s guest list features beloved music icons such as The Doobie Brothers, Geddy Lee, Steve Miller, Peter FramptonLindsey Buckingham, Robert Plant, John Mellencamp, Ringo Starr, and members of The Doors, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Kansas…..Radio pro Gary Alan reports that his podcast “The Sunday Express” – heard for the past seven years on Tmvcafe.com – is now airing on Salem Media Group’s Miami business talker WZAB-AM “The Biz.” Alan says that over the years he’s welcomed such guests as Loretta Swit, Ray AbruzzoTim Robbie and more to the program…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk radio personality Dr. Daliah Wachs is pictured below with the members of the Tenors of Rock at last Saturday night’s S.H.E.R.O Foundation Gala.  The S.H.E.R.O. Foundation provides resources needed to support, sustain, and empower young girls and women under the age of 25 who have been abused, abandoned, and exploited.  Dr. Wachs served as emcee for the event.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Source magazine is out with its annual “Power 30” list of the most powerful players in hip hop culture and the nationally syndicated urban radio morning show “The Breakfast Club” – hosted by Charlamagne Tha God, DJ Envy, and Angela Yee – was on top of the list for the 6th year in a row.   Their entry says they “not only mix the music but also command the streets, represent their hoods, break new artists, deliver news and information, reign at the top of the ratings, and are social media influencers.”…..Blaine Thompson from Indiana Radio Watch tips us that Dave North exits his role as program director at Star City Broadcasting’s country WYCM, Attica, Indiana (Lafayette market) yet stays on with the company to serve as chief photographer for WPBI-TV.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

| September 21, 2017

Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner Talks Culture Change in Chief Executive.  Two years into Mary Berner’s role as chief executive officer of Cumulus Media, Berner writes a piece for Chief Executive magazine about her work to change the culture of the company.  Calling it her “Culture Fix Playbook,” Berner says that in 2015, Cumulus “was in a free fall: four straight years of declines in radio listenership, four straight years of revenue declines, three straight years of EBITDA declines, and underperforming acquisitions which had saddled the company with an untenable debt load. We also had lousy systems, crumbling infrastructure, and unhappy employees who told us in surveys that the ‘dysfunctional,’ ‘toxic,’ and ‘lousy’ culture was the primary reason for the company’s poor performance.”  In the piece, she outlines her strategy for turning around the culture of Cumulus.  Read it here.

Monroe Named Production Director at WTMJ/WKTI Milwaukee.  The Milwaukee radio operations of E.W. Scripps announces that Frank Monroe is named production director.  In this role, he’ll be guiding the commercial production department for news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI.  He was most recently with Matrix Broadcasting’s Crystal Lake, Illinois radio group where he also was midday personality on hot AC WZSR.  Scripps Radio Milwaukee vice president Tom Langmyer says, “Frank is an experienced, creative leader who will drive results for our local advertisers.  His customer service, professionalism, voice work and commercial copywriting stand out.”

PodcastOne Debuts ‘Music Connection Podcast’ with Randy Thomas and Arnie Wohl. This new program from PodcastOne “brings to life Music Connection Magazine, a well-known industry publication led by publisher Eric Bettelli for 40 years.”  It presents exclusive interviews with music business legends including: Sting, Daryl Hall, Jimmy Page, and the hottest rising stars, such as Haim, Mondo Cozmo and Anderson Paak.  It’s co-hosted by voice-over star Randy Thomas (Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, Tony Awards, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and more) and music biz manager and promoter Arnie Wohl (Michael Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Coldplay).   Thomas says, “A giant ‘thank you’ to Norm Pattiz and the entire PodcastOne team for helping us bring the ‘Music Connection Podcast’ to life.  We are jazzed to be able to access the incredible resources at PodcastOne, as well as Music Connection’s network of musicians, producers, and executives from 40 years of incredible interviews about the music industry – which is why we call this a podcast from the people who make music, for the people who love music!”

RAB Study: Radio Ads Drive Search Results.  The press release says that this study, commissioned by the Radio Advertising Bureau, was conducted by Sequent Partners, Media Monitors, and In4mation Insights in June and July of this year in the top 31 markets.  Based upon its analysis of over 2,100 local radio ads across six different categories, the study concludes that these campaigns realized a “29% incremental lift in search results.”  Media Monitors president and CEO Philippe Generali says, “The study proves that radio significantly impacts digital behaviors and activities – and is even more relevant in a digital and e-commerce world.”  Sequent Partners’ Alice K. Sylvester adds, “Radio continues to be undervalued and we are uncovering incremental benefit that radio consistently provides to advertisers.  It was also clear that there is an opportunity to increase this benefit with smart, measurement-informed, placements and creative approaches.”  RAB makes the full study available to members.  It also offers the video presentation from the recent NAB/RAB Radio Show session on its website.

TALKERS News Notes. Former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is making daily appearances on Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte in the form of commentaries.  The former governor also served as mayor of Charlotte during his political career.  During his first appearance on the WBT morning program, he criticized the Charlotte City Council and Mayor Jennifer Roberts for not having a prayer session prior to the meeting.  The tradition of a pre-meeting prayer is controversial in light of a recent court case ruling the Rowan County Commission’s pre-meeting prayer method was illegal…..ABC News is launching a new news series and podcast it calls a “multiplatform docu-series,” titled “A Murder on Orchard Street,” that investigates the cold case murder of Burke O’Brien in New York in 2003.  ABC News producer and reporter Christina Kiely, who covered the O’Brien case moment-to-moment in 2003, joins ex-NYC detective Kenny Silvia in a renewed effort to solve the crime and bring the murderer(s) to justice…..This afternoon WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” host Kevin McCullough is broadcasting live from Lower Manhattan restaurant Giardino D’Oro.  Show segments today will include: a debate of Italian food questions; should Christopher Columbus’ statue be taken down?; a debate among NYC mayoral candidates; plus a live, fried calamari eating contest.

A “Talk” Down Memory Lane: The Great Kiddie TV Shows and Hosts of the Past.  In somewhat of a change of pace, the award-winning PodcastOne media series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” explores the lost art and genre of the television “kiddie show” that was a mainstay of popular culture from the late ‘40s to the early ‘70s.  Harrison is joined by veteran broadcaster Brad Shepard, an entertainment industry historian and GM/morning host of Pioneer Valley Radio (www.PioneerValleyRadio.com) in Springfield, Massachusetts.  Harrison and Shepard discuss such shows as “Howdy Doody,” with Buffalo Bob Smith; “Kukla, Fran and Ollie” with Fran Allison; Shari Lewis; “Andy’s Gang” with Andy Devine (and the infamous “Froggy the Gremlin” pictured at left), “Winky Dink” with Jack Barry; “Ding Dong School” with Miss Frances; Soupy Sales, “Wonderama” with Sonny Fox, Chuck McCann; “The Merry Mailman” with Ray Heatherton and so much more.  To listen to this fun and entertaining romp through fascinating media history, 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.

Cassidy-Graham Health Care Bill, Hillary Clinton Book Tour, Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump at UN, Maria Ravages Puerto Rico, Deadly Mexican Earthquake, Climate Change Debate, ‘Sanctuary’ Issue, MLB Playoff Push, and NFL Action/TV Ratings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/20).  The Cassidy-Graham health care bill with which Republicans hope to replace ObamaCare; Hillary Clinton’s What Happened book tour; the investigation into former Trump operative Paul Manafort and Russian agents; President Trump’s speech before the UN General Assembly and his meeting with African leaders; Hurricane Maria decimates Puerto Rico; rescue efforts after Mexico City’s deadly earthquake; the renewed debate over man-made climate change; controversy over California’s vote to make it a “sanctuary state”; the playoff push in Major League Baseball; and the week’s NFL action and talk of sinking television ratings for NFL games 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. New York hot AC WNEW-FM, “Fresh 102.7” announces a lineup shift as Mike Adam is promoted from his fill-in role to the afternoon drive slot.  That move bumps Cane from PMs to the evening show.   Adam previously worked part time at sister CHR WBMP “92.3 AMP Radio.”  WNEW program director Jim Ryan says, “Mike’s experience in CHR in Philly and on our sister station, ‘92.3 AMP,’ will help WNEW grow with an active audience.”  The station also announces that Matt Sneed is taking over the Saturday and Sunday midday shows…..Hubbard Radio moves Josh “JT” Holleman from evenings to middays at country WIL, St. Louis “New Country 92.3.”  Program director Scott Roddy says, “JT’s work ethic, positivity, willingness to take direction and follow strategy – in concert with his amazingly fun and interactive sound – make him perfectly appealing to our young female demo!”  The change means APD and music director Danny Montana now handles the evening shift…..Programming pro David Dean is named the PD at iHeartMedia’s country KWNR, Las Vegas “95.5 The Bull.”  Dean was most recently program director at the company’s country WNOE, New Orleans…..The new morning show at CBS RADIO’s CHR KEGY, San Diego “ENERGY 103.7” is Tonya Gonzalez and Sean “Sonic” Leckie.  The program launched back on September 12.  KEGY program director Chris Patyk comments, “There’s no mistaking the drive and passion Tonya and Sonic have for winning.  Their chemistry together is undeniable and they know this city and the ‘ENERGY’ listeners.”