Wednesday, October 17, 2012

| October 17, 2012

Cumulus Media Inks Agreement to Buy New York Market FM.  Pending approval from the FCC, Cumulus Media will have a third New York City station after closing on Family Stations, Inc.’s WFME, Newark, New Jersey.  Cumulus states in a press release that it will announce format plans for the Class B FM at 94.7 upon closing and expects that to happen sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.  Crain’s New York Business cites an industry insider saying Cumulus got WFME for a bargain: $40 million. Family Stations has undergone changes during the past year and is said to be cash-strapped after Family Stations chief Harold Camping’s apocalyptic predictions on the date of Christ’s reappearance last year failed on two occasions.  CEO Lew Dickey says, “This strategic acquisition of our second FM in the nation’s largest market will enable us to provide compelling new programming for our listeners and a powerful marketing vehicle for our advertising partners.”  Of course, although Cumulus is remaining vague about the specifics of its programming intentions with the new acquisition, industry observers are actively speculating as to what might be in store for the Big Apple’s soon-to-be competitive commercial FM.  For years, through several ownerships, WABC program directors have privately confessed that they wished talk-formatted WABC had a NYC FM outlet for its programming.  But the fact that its only sister FM, hot AC WPLJ (95.5) has been such a consistent ratings and revenue success put up a roadblock to that happening easily.  Now with the New York talk market in flux per Clear Channel‘s soon-to-be-completed takeover of WOR and Cumulus launching new high-profile syndicated talk shows such as Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, and with the end of their contracts with Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity shows looming – it makes sense that they would be looking for a new Gotham outlet for their considerably valuable talk properties.  Of course, this is just speculation.

Trish Gazall Hired to Co-Host Mornings on CBS Radio’s Fresh 102.5, St. Louis.  Effective next Tuesday (10/23) well-known St. Louis air personality Trish Gazall joins Vic Porcelli as the two will co-host “The Vic and Trish Show” on CBS Radio’s AC KEZK (Fresh 102.5) mornings between 5:00 am and 9:00 am.  The show will feature a variety of music, along with the duo’s perspective on entertainment, current events and local happenings.  Upon making the announcement, KEZK PD Marty Linck tells RadioInfo, “Trish is the entertainment goddess in St. Louis.  She is totally in touch with pop culture and knows this city like the back of her hand.  Trish also has experience working with Vic Porcelli, so I know they’ll have great chemistry on the air, right off the bat.”  

More RadioInfo Career Moves.  Mary Rogers is the new director of sales for Cox Media Group’s San Antonio cluster as she moves to Texas from CMG’s Tampa cluster where she was general sales manager at AC WWRM and classic hits WXGL.  VP/market manager Dan Lawrie says, “Mary’s strategic leadership skills, combined with her innate ability to develop sales talent, make her the perfect fit to lead the sales organizations for our San Antonio cluster.”  She begins her new position on November 5…..Midday jock Andrew Harms announces he’ll leave Entercom’s alternative KNDD, Seattle “107.7 The End” after his November 2 shift to pursue interests outside of radio.  Harms has been with the station for 14 years.

Cumulus Media’s Urban Contemporary WQQK (92Q), Nashville Hosts Live Debate Watch Party at the Spoken Word Café.  In a smart promotion by a music station connecting to a public news event usually considered the domain of talk radio, 92.1 WQQK-FM (92Q), held a local viewing party for the community to watch last night’s (10/16) much-awaited second presidential debate. As President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Governor Mitt Romney answered debate questions from the voters themselves in a “town hall” fashion, 92Q asked the community of its audience to join them to watch the debate event that “belongs to the people.”  92Q program director Kenny Smoov tells RadioInfo, “This debate watch party at Spoken Word Café was the perfect way for the local community to educate themselves about the presidential candidates. It’s more important than ever that people realize how important it is to vote in the election.” The site of the event, Spoken Word Café, is an open mic café in North Nashville. They serve beverages from coffee to smoothies and serve American style food in what is described as “a calm and relaxing atmosphere” while their patrons experience performances including spoken poetry, jazz, comedy and DJs.

106.5 The Arch in St. Louis “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.”  The Hubbard Broadcasting-owned adult hits WARH (106.5 The Arch) is partnering with the American Cancer Society next Saturday (10/27) in promoting the organization’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walks at two of three walk locations.    According to the station, “The ‘Making Strides Against Breast Cancer’ event is a powerful and inspiring opportunity to unite St. Louisans as a community to honor breast cancer survivors, raise awareness about what the public can do to stay well from breast cancer, and raise money to help the American Cancer Society fight the disease with breast cancer research, information and services, and access to mammograms for women who need them. Since 1993, eight million cancer charity walkers from across the country have raised more than $460 million through Making Strides events to help fight breast cancer. Last year alone, dedicated supporters raised more than $60 million nationwide to help the American Cancer Society save lives and create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays.”

92.3 WIL, St. Louis to Host Second Annual “Cornbread’s Trunk or Treat.”  Hubbard Broadcasting’s country 92.3 WIL’s morning show hosted by Cornbread is inviting listeners to  “get your ghoul on” and join the radio station at its Second Annual “Cornbread’s Trunk or Treat” event next Sunday (10/28)  from 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm at the St. Louis Outlet Mall. “Trunk or Treating” –- also known as “Halloween Tailgating” – is designed to provide a safe, family-friendly alternative for children to participate in trick or treating.  Families decked out in their best Halloween costumes can bring their haunted-to-the-hilt vehicles and hand out candy from their trunks. The public must provide their own candy to hand out (enough to serve a minimum of 750 trick or treaters), and all candy must be store bought and pre-wrapped. As Cornbread says, “Consider it a dress rehearsal for Halloween!”  92.3 WIL will also have on-site activities taking place during the “Cornbread’s Trunk or Treat” event for parents and kids to enjoy including costume contests.  Families must RSVP their vehicle and reserve their spot.  Spaces are limited to 500 vehicles; first come, first served.

Creating Content Available Nowhere Else at Bonneville Seattle.  News/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle and parent company Bonneville announce a changing role for “Seattle’s Morning News” anchor Linda Thomas that puts the radio personality and journalist in the driver’s seat for bringing unique, local content to both KIRO-FM and the company’s digital space  Bonneville says Thomas will “devote 100% of her time and energy to original enterprise reporting for radio and digital channels in a groundbreaking new role announced today by KIRO Radio and  As senior features reporter at KIRO Radio and, her role is to meet intriguing people and tell their stories.  In her role as digital journalist, Linda will continue her award-winning blog and file original reports to covering topics from parenting and politics to technology and trends.”

During numerous presentations at industry gatherings, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has stated that what radio must do to survive this convergence of media and the changes in consumer behavior it is fostering, is to create content that is only available in one place – your radio station.  KIRO’s move combines this notion with the concept of a “media station” – a digital destination for unique multi-media content.  Bonneville’s radio and digital news director Peter Gammell says, “Original local reporting is what fuels KIRO Radio’s conversations and drives our users to visit  Linda has a proven ear for the compelling story, and she’s one of our most prolific reporters.  This role frees her to focus on what only she can do.”

Thomas relishes her opportunity to pursue her journalistic endeavors.  “I believe everybody has a story, and I want to know what’s yours.  I meet so many people whose stories have value, and someone hearing or reading them is going to have their life changed by their bravery and originality.”  Program director Larry Gifford states, “I’ve always been impressed with the compassion in Linda’s reporting.  She finds real, interesting people in the community, has a personal conversation with them and shares what she’s learned.  I can’t wait to hear who she introduces me to next.”

Thomas will continue her popular “News Chick” efforts.  Tweeting and posting on social media as “The News Chick,” Thomas is among the most-followed local journalists in the U.S., according to Bonneville.  The company says she promises her social media followers on Twitter @thenewschick and Facebook will continue to be fed her customary stream of sharable gems.  “The value of social media for me is connecting – in real life when possible – with people in the community, and being there when they want to interact with me.”  In addition to her longer-form radio and online feature reporting, social media are where she will continue sharing viral videos, photos, links to eye-catching stories from Seattle to Hollywood and around the world — along with Thomas’ famed fascination with her boots.

Condolences to the Family, Friends and Co-Workers of Rock WRBR, South Bend’s Reverend Ryno.  The 31-year-old night jock – real name Ryan Haukaas – and host of “The Church of Rock” on Federated Media’s rock WRBR, South Bend, Indiana “103.9 The Bear” died suddenly after suffering a  stroke on Sunday.  He passed away yesterday morning (10/16).  The station went jockless for the past 24 hours and the air staff is expected to talk with listeners about his passing today.

FCC Grants Assignment of Former Border Media Partners Austin, Texas Sports Stations.  Three sports talk stations in the Border Media Austin portfolio have been approved for change of ownership by the commission.  KZNX, Creedmoor, Texas at 1530 AM – the AM side of the simulcast of ESPN Austin “The Horn” is approved for transfer to The American Telecommunications Group.  The FM side of that simulcast, KTXX, Bee Cave, Texas at 104.9 is approved for transfer to Total Austin Sports Radio LLC as is KWNX, Taylor, Texas currently airing ESPN Deportes…..Wasting little time after announcing plans in August to buy talker WOR-AM, New York, the application to assign the station’s license from Buckley Broadcasting/WOR, LLC to AMFM Radio Licenses, LLC (Clear Channel) has been accepted by the FCC.  At the time of the sale, Clear Channel said it hoped the transfer would take place before the end of the year.

WFTI, St. Petersburg, Florida to Change Hands.  WFME, Newark, New Jersey isn’t the only station Harold Camping’s Family Stations is selling.  The religious broadcaster is also selling WFTI, St. Petersburg, Florida but this one is staying in the religious sector as Radio Training Network is buying the FM station for $2.5 million dollars and is expected to use it to expand its Christian AC “The Joy FM” network.

A Good Day at Broad and Wall.  The Tuesday Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 127.55 (+0.9%) at 13,551.78, the Nasdaq up 38.50 (+1.4) at 3101.17, and the S&P 500 closed up 6.47 (+1.0) at 1454.92.  Top radio sector performers included Cumulus Media, which announced its purchase of WFME-FM New York, up 0.06 (+2.24%) at 2.74, Salem Communications Corporation up 0.10 (+1.85%) at 5.50, Sirius XM Radio up 0.04 (+1.43%) at 2.84, and Beasley Broadcast Group up 0.07 (+1.40%) at 5.08.

Three Broadcasters Mourned:  Bill Stewart, former owner of KLMO AM/FM, Longmont, Colorado (now WRCN), from 1959 to 1998, died over the weekend. He was 88. Stewart who operated the station with his wife, Lila Jean Stewart, was a member of the Colorado Radio Professionals Hall of Fame…..Lloyd Mintzmeyer, 66, of Hays, Kansas, president since 2005 of the nonprofit Praise Network, owner of 20 religious radio stations in the Midwest, was killed in a traffic accident in Kansas on Sunday. He was the engineer for Smoky Hills Public Television from 1981 to 2004. Given credit for introducing public radio to Western Kansas, he  joined Praise after his retirement…..Longtime Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, station owner and radio personality Bill Norman also died over the weekend. He was owner of Norman Communications’ oldies WNMB-AM and co-owner of WVCO-FM “The Surf.”

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