Seacrest, Usher Engage in “Intimate Conversation.” Notwithstanding “American Idol” has concluded its final season, the talent competition’s host – Ryan Seacrest – still has a plethora of other responsibilities that keep him busy. Earlier this week, for example, the morning personality of iHeartMedia Los Angeles mainstream CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” was in Paris during the Cannes Lions Festival, where he discussed “hustle” and entrepreneurship with eight-time Grammy winner Usher. Introduced by iHeartMedia chair/chief executive officer Bob Pittman, the “Intimate Conversation with Usher” focused on the path to success and what it takes to build a lasting career. “Even though I created a benchmark to start,” Usher states, “I found new motivation in creating diversity as an artist. If I call myself an entertainer, then that means I should be able to do it all, I should be able to reach out, to have an understanding of different genres and to have an idea about how music is made.” He stresses that the point is to evolve. “We all individually are brands – the more we diversify and reach into other areas the more we grow.” Invoking the term “hustle,” the host of Premiere Networks’ “AT40” asks Usher to define it and the singer candidly states, “You’ve got to have chutzpah and defy the ideas that were set before you. If I continue to push on my vision, eventually somebody other than [me] will believe it too. It only takes one star to light the universe.” As far as the entrepreneurial spirit is concerned, Usher emphasizes, “Be willing to be the first there and the last to leave. Stand strong and be benevolent in your pursuit of what you believe in.” In what is bound to be music to the ears of radio programmers throughout the United States, Usher graciously maintains that the medium is “the only tool” in his opinion that “still matters with making a genuine connection with the consumer. Radio program directors and personalities have the ability and the responsibility to curate the story of the artists in the right way.” Touring is “definitely on the horizon” for Usher, while Seacrest explains that he (Seacrest) is “someone who thinks that where there is a void, I need to fill it. I am trying to have patience and a little bit of discipline. I am waiting to host the ‘Olympics’ this summer, do a bunch of things with NBC, and after that – see if there is something else to do.”
New Jersey Broadcasters Association Annual Conference a Success in Atlantic City. The 69th annual NJBA convention just wrapped up two-days at Caesars Atlantic City (6/22-23) and by all measures was a successful event. Several hundred broadcasters from the Garden State and beyond gathered to discuss the state of the radio industry both regionally and nationally. The theme of the conference was “The Power of Broadcast” and it included sessions on programming, sales and technology as well as an awards ceremony, Hall of Fame induction and radio row. TALKERS/RadioInfo special features correspondent Jeff McKay was in attendance and provides coverage of the sessions and speakers. To read it in its entirety, please click here.
Page Ends Mid-day Search. After having worked weekend and swing shifts at Cumulus Media Atlanta’s WNNX “Rock 100.5,” Alyssa Page will join KNDD “107.7 The End” for mid-day duty the middle of next month. Page succeeds former music director-mid-day talent “Pepper,” who left the Entercom Seattle alternative station four months ago. KNDD program director Leslie Scott comments, “Alyssa’s sense of humor, grit, and passion make her the perfect addition to our already strong team. I cannot wait for Seattle to get to know her.” Page remarks, “It’s not everyday you get to go work for your dream station. ‘The End’ is unique and extremely authentic in everything they do and I have so much respect for the brand. I am thrilled and honored to be joining such a tremendous team.” Down or flat for the fourth successive sweep (3.8 – 3.7 – 3.3 – 3.1 – 3.1, 6+), “The End” finishes at #15 in Seattle’s May 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM report; Hubbard Broadcasting CHR KQMV is #1 with a 6.2 (6+).
Townsquare Media Atlantic City & The Shore Officially Names Ruble Market President. It is “official,” in that, Michael Ruble had been market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media‘s Atlantic City & The Shore’s (New Jersey) properties on an interim basis. He now handles both of those responsibilities without the “interim” prefix. Senior vice president of operations Rob Williams notes that, “Mike has been an exceptional leader in Atlantic City for years, building a terrific team that has consistently performed at a high level. In Toms River, we have a team with significant strengths and talents; wonderful brands; and the foundation to grow to new heights with Mike’s leadership.” Three of the company’s Monmouth and Ocean County stations include talkers WOBM-AM, WADB, and WPGG. The rest of its outlets in that area are adult contemporary WOBM-FM “Soft Rock 92.7”; hot AC WJLK “The Point”; AC WFPG “Lite Rock 96.9”; sports WENJ “97.3 ESPN“; hot AC WSJO “SOJO 104.9”; classic rock WCHR “The Hawk”; and WPUR “Cat Country 107.3.” Ruble joined Townsquare Media five years ago as market manager-general sales manager. He previously was a market manager-general sales manager with Millennium Radio Group; national sales manager for Citadel Broadcasting; and an account executive with Spring Broadcasting.
Led Zep’s Stairway to Vindication. A jury in Los Angeles yesterday (Thursday, 6/23) ruled that Led Zeppelin did not pilfer any portion of its most famous track – “Stairway to Heaven” – from the 1968 Spirit instrumental “Taurus.” According to a statement issued on behalf of Led Zeppelin members Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, “We are grateful for the jury’s conscientious service and pleased that it has ruled in our favor, putting to rest questions about the origins of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and confirming what we have known for 45 years. We appreciate our fans’ support and look forward to putting this legal matter behind us.” A Warner Music Group spokesperson notes, “Supporting our artists and protecting their creative freedom is paramount. We are pleased that the jury found in favor of Led Zeppelin, re-affirming the true origins of ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ Led Zeppelin is one of the greatest bands in history. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are peerless songwriters who created many of rock’s most influential and enduring songs.” Owing to a legal matter, the jury was not allowed to listen to original “Stairway to Heaven” and “Taurus” recordings to determine their verdict. Instead, an expert performed both songs based on the original sheet music. Page and Plant testified they did not remember ever hearing Spirit’s “Taurus.” The original complaint against Led Zeppelin was filed just over two years ago (May 2014) on behalf of the trust of the late Randy Craig Wolfe, a Spirit guitarist.
“Brexit” Fallout Felt in U.S. Following yesterday’s “Brexit” vote by Brits to separate from the European Union (Thursday, 6/23), several major United States-based media companies such as Fox, Viacom, Netflix, and Apple opened their stateside trading days down billions of dollars in stock valuation. Netflix and Apple though were among those surging back within the first 10 minutes of the U.S. trading day. The Pound dropped to its lowest valuation in decades, and stock prices overseas sunk. British Prime Minister David Cameron has stepped down, vowing there will be a new PM in place by October. In a statement of support from the White House, President Barack Obama comments, “The people of the United Kingdom have spoken, and we respect their decision. The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is enduring, and the United Kingdom’s membership in NATO remains a vital cornerstone of U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy.” Given economic implications domestically and abroad, this is bound to be a big topic today – even on FM music-intensive outlets.
Nash Harmonizer. The winner from the fifteenth – and final – season of “American Idol,” Trent Harmon visited WNSH “Nash FM,” New York yesterday (Thursday, 6/23) to chat with 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm personality Jesse Addy . Currently working on his first album, Harmon performed some of his songs, including “What Are You Listening To,” “Falling,” and “There’s a Girl” for station listeners.
RadioInfo Tidbits. Six-year WNOW “100.9 Radio Now,” Indianapolis morning show talents Kyle & Rachel have done their final broadcast on the Radio One CHR. On his Facebook page, Kyle Smelser writes, “Simply put, we were not renewed for another year and they want to go [in] a different direction.” Meanwhile, Radio One notes that the market “has been a breeding ground for the nation’s top talent” and the company acknowledges it has “the perfect opportunity for an air personality to gain notoriety locally and industry respect for leading our morning show.” With a goal of transforming “the landscape of morning radio in Indianapolis,” it seeks “to hire the brightest talent, with a winning spirit we can find who demonstrates passion for our shared mission.”
WMMR Struts Its Stuff. This past Monday (6/20), Greater Media Philadelphia rocker WMMR kicked off its series of lunchtime performances at Ardmore Music Hall. There was a limited number of tickets for the invitation-only show to see the young British band The Struts, who performed “Could Have Been Me” and “Kiss” from their current album (“Everybody Wants”); a spontaneous meet-and-greet followed. Pictured with The Struts are WMMR personalities Blake Dannen (far left), Jacky Bam Bam (far right), and “Rabbi” (front).
Hardee Named Afternoon Host at ‘99.5 The Mountain’ in Denver. The Entercom classic rocker announced Dan Hardee is taking over the afternoon drive slot at KQMT, Denver “99.5 The Mountain,” effective July 18. Hardee, who was most recently with Bonneville’s Denver stations country KYGO and adult contemporary KOSI, replaces the retiring Dan Mitchell. KQMT program director Sam Hill says, “I’m beyond thrilled to have Dan join ‘The Mountain’ family. With his refreshing abundance of energy and clear passion for radio and classic rock music, he’s a wonderful fit.”
Cooke: Notes from the Connected Mobility Conference. AM/FM radio’s relationship with the automobile is its lifeline, so any time business professionals are getting together to talk about the state or future of the auto, it’s important to radio. Consultant Holland Cooke is on the scene in New York at CE Week and yesterday took in the Connected Mobility Conference. Cooke reports on some of the data and thoughts from industry leaders on the effects of Car-Sharing and Ride-Sharing, as well as a look to the future of autonomous cars. Read it here.
Country Radio Hall of Fame Honors CBS RADIO Broadcasters. At last night’s annual Country Radio Hall of Fame Awards and Dinner in Nashville, three distinguished CBS RADIO broadcasters were honored with inclusion into the Country Radio Hall of Fame. Among the newly inducted hall of famers were WUSN, Chicago “US99.5” personality Lisa Dent, CBS RADIO Detroit operations manager Tim Roberts, and recently retired and former CBS RADIO Minneapolis SVP and market manager Mick Anselmo. The Country Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to the recognition of individuals who have made significant contributions to the radio industry over a 20-year period. Pictured here at the June 22 event are (from l-r): CBS RADIO COO Scott Herman, Roberts, Dent, Anselmo, CBS RADIO president Andre Fernandez, and CBS RADIO EVP of programming Chris Oliviero.
RadioInfo Tidbits. In St. Louis, iHeartMedia launches “Pride Radio St. Louis” on the HD2 channel of KSLZ-FM. The station is using the slogan “The Pulse of LGBT St. Louis.” The station is the fourth iHM outlet in the U.S. with programming devoted to local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender listeners. It’s an extension of the iHeartRadio digital Pride Radio station…..Greater Media rocker WMMR, Philadelphia helped collect 1,297 units of blood in conjunction with the Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross. The blood drive took place last Saturday (6/18) at Valley Forge Casino Resort. WMMR morning show personalities Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison were the first to donate at 6:00 am and they hung out after giving blood to greet every person until the final donor left at 4:30 pm. Each donor left with the newest Preston & Steve t-shirt and a ‘Gadzooks!’ pint glass.
Entercom Promotes Chase Daniels to Madison OM. Programmer Chase Daniels is moving from Entercom’s Indianapolis operations where he’s been programming AC WNTR “107-9 The Mix” to the company’s Madison, Wisconsin cluster to serve as operations manager for hot AC WMHX “Mix 105.1,” triple A WMMM “105-5 Triple M,” and classic hits WOLX, effective August 15. Daniels comments, “I’d like to thank Jennifer Skjodt and JR Ammons, who not only helped me in my career here, but were also supporters of this decision. I’d like to also thank Chuck Sullivan and Brian Kelly for making this a smooth transition and for the opportunity.”
Riley Named Director of Sales for AGM Albuquerque-Santa Fe. Sales pro Josh Riley is hired by American General Media to serve as the director of sales for the company’s Albuquerque-Santa Fe cluster. Riley comes to AGM from his most recent position with El Dorado Broadcasters’ Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo markets serving as general sales manager. Prior to his time with El Dorado Broadcasters, Riley spent four years in sales and management with Wilks Broadcast Group’s Fresno stations.
WIHT, Washington-Based Morning Host Kane Arrested for Alleged Assault on Estranged Wife. This story comes from the Washington Post which reports that WITH, Washington “HOT 99.5” morning personality Peter Deibler, a.k.a. Kane, was arrested by police in Maryland on June 17 after his estranged wife Natasha alleged he threw her into a wall causing her to suffer injuries. The paper reports that the couple is in the midst of a “nasty divorce” that Kane references from time to time on his show and about which Natasha Deibler blogs. The court issued a protective order requiring Kane to stay away from her. The couple has two young daughters. Read the Post piece here.
‘The Sound 100.3FM’ to Air LA Rams Games. The newly relocated Los Angeles Rams are announcing their radio partners for the next several seasons and ESPN O&O KSPN will serve as the flagship station for the NFL club’s play-by-play broadcasts. However, Entercom’s classic rock KSWD “The Sound 100.3FM” will serve as the team’s official FM home. KSWD will also “create exclusive Rams programming, including regular segments on the popular ‘Mark in the Morning’ show.” KSWD VP/GM Peter Burton says, “We are excited to be welcoming the Los Angeles Rams to their official new FM home at ‘100.3 The Sound.’ Along with our terrific partners at ESPN, we look forward to delivering excellent game-day coverage to Rams fans throughout Southern California.”
Community Broadcasters Adds Four Destin-Ft. Walton Beach Stations. Growing radio company Community Broadcasters LLC agrees to buy four stations in the Destin/Ft. Walton Beach market from Apex Broadcasting Inc. The stations are CHR WECQ “Q92,” country WHWY “Highway 98.1,” adult hits WWAV “102.1 The Wave,” and rock WZLB “103.1 The Blaze.” Apex Broadcasting was represented in the transaction by MVP Capital, LLC and Kalil & Co. Community Broadcasters LLC, in partnership with Northwood Ventures, currently owns and operates 16 signals in upstate New York as well as 16 radio stations, 7 translators and 3 TV construction permits in South Carolina. The purchase from Apex brings Community Broadcasters’ total holdings to 46 signals. Community Broadcasters is operated by Jim Leven and Bruce Mittman. Leven says, “We established Community Broadcasters in 2006 with the vision to become the voice for the community. Our stations are considered great places to work and we look forward to supporting the staff, listeners and Ft. Walton Beach communities in every way.”
Michael Harrison and Dr. Joy Browne Discuss Emotional Consequences of the Internet and These High-Pressure Times. In the new installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” legendary radio psychologist Dr. Joy Browne of Genesis Communications Network makes a return appearance with host Michael Harrison to talk about the digital era’s possible contribution to society’s seemingly heightened level of stress and emotional discomfort. Does the combination of lowered inhibitions, instantaneous information and rampant negativity brought on by digital era technology contribute to anger, fear and despair? Is the Internet generating a gigantic negative feedback loop? To listen to the entire podcast 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 and RadioInfo.com.
PodcastOne’s ‘Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison’ Wins Trophy at New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards. The popular weekly podcast that is designed for “media freaks around the world” is honored with the Bronze Trophy in the “Culture & The Arts” audio podcasts category of the 2016 New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards for The World’s Best Radio Programs. “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is a co-production of PodcastOne and Goodphone Communications and features as host, TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo.com publisher and editor Michael Harrison in conversation with some of today’s top contemporary thinkers from the arts, sciences, business and pop culture. Harrison and his guests deliver provocative insights into the digital era’s rapidly evolving technology and the effects of these changes on the human condition. About the honor, PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “I’m not the least bit surprised. This is exactly why I wanted Michael on PodcastOne. He’s smart, creative, motivated, and what a voice. A pro’s pro. That’s why we’ve been friends and colleagues for all of our adult lives.” The specific episode of “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” cited for the award is “The Podcast Theater of the Mind” – described as “a media freak’s tour de force covering the evolution of humanity’s relationship with communications from prehistoric cave paintings to virtual reality and beyond.” Podcast executive producer Matthew B. Harrison (pictured at right) accepted the award on behalf of PodcastOne and Goodphone Communications at the ceremony at Manhattan Penthouse in New York City last night (6/20).
Winners Announced in 2016 New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards for The World’s Best Radio Programs. Entries in the New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards for The World’s Best Radio Programs come from all over the world and represent both private and public AM/FM radio, satellite radio and podcasts. This year, some of the U.S.-based trophy winners include: with Carole Zimmer with a Silver Trophy in the “General” category for audio podcasts; CBS RADIO Boston with a Silver Trophy in the Sports & Recreation category; ESPN Audio (in several categories); SiriusXM’s Joe Madison with a Silver Trophy in the “Best Talk Program” category; Entercom’s WLYF, Miami with a Bronze Trophy for “Best Drama Special”; and Westwood One with a Bronze Trophy for “America in the Morning” for “Best News Magazine.” See the Grand Award winners and the complete list of winners in all categories here.
Harlow Joins ‘105.7 MAX FM’ in San Diego for Afternoons. San Diego native Karen “Cha Cha” Harlow is named afternoon drive personality on Broadcast Company of the Americas-operated classic hits XHPRS “105.7 MAX FM.” Harlow got the attention of station management – and practically everyone else in San Diego – when she publicly lobbied for the gig by standing atop a 30-foot scissors lift next to the station’s billboard. She’s previously worked in the market at crosstown XHTZ “Z90” and KHTS. She’d most recently been with CBS RADIO on air at all-news KNX, Los Angeles. Broadcast company of the Americas vice president of programming and operations Mike Shepard says, “Cha Cha dominated afternoon drive in San Diego during the 80s, 90s and all the way through 2006, and we’re excited to bring her back to play many of those same feel good songs on ‘105.7 MAX FM.’ Her energy, passion and audience engagement is amazing… Welcome Home Cha Cha!”
More RadioInfo Career Moves. At the corporate level, iHeartMedia promotes Owen Grover senior vice president and GM for iHeartRadio to EVP/GM for of content & distribution for iHeartMedia. In this position, Grover will be involved across all of the company, overseeing the “creation and distribution of content” across the company’s station sites, personality sites and social platforms…..Seth Kleinschmidt is leaving Entercom’s CHR WXSS, Milwaukee “103.7 Kiss FM” to assume the afternoon drive role at Sison Broadcasting’s CHR WXXX, Burlington, Vermont “95 Triple X.”…..Programmer Scott “Lugnut” Dwyer joins Ohana Media’s hip hop KFAT, Anchorage to serve as PD. He leaves the heat of Alpha Media’s hip hop KKUU, Palm Springs “U92.7.”…..Centerpost Limited – the parent company to Youtoo America, BizTV and BizTalkRadio – announces the hiring of Kelly Kantz as vice president of programming. Kantz was most recently SVP of programming sales for Rural Media Group – parent company of RFD-TV, FamilyNet and Rural Radio.
Hivio 2016 – Day One Coverage. RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian is in Los Angeles at the Andaz Hotel covering the Hivio 2016 conference organized and presented by San Diego-based media advisor-strategist/research analyst Mark Ramsey and Slacker Radio director/content initiatives Jaime Solis. Among the media experts Ramsey interviewed during Thursday’s day one of the two-day event were radio consultant Valerie Geller and Pandora SVP of ad product sales & strategy Lizzie Widhelm. Geller explained to attendees that whether one is doing on-air radio or a podcast, “It is all about how to powerfully communicate your story. The real secret is: How does it matter to you?” Interestingly, what Pandora is trying to achieve is what AM/FM radio has going for it: ease of use. Widhelm said, “Discovery, ease of use, and personalization have to be in the DNA of everything we do. Pandora lovers want to stay on the platform: It is easy; it is in your pocket; and it is an app that is integrated in cars and homes. We want things to be frictionless.” Read more of Kinosian’s report here.
RadioInfo Tidbits. The morning drive “Dave & Chuck the Freak” show is named “Detroit’s Best Radio Program” for the third consecutive year by Hour Detroit Magazine. The show airs on Greater Media’s rock WRIF, Detroit and is hosted by (clockwise from top left) Dave Hunter and Chuck the Freak with cast members/staffers Lisa Way, Andy Green, James Campbell and Jason Watson. Hunter says, “We’re blown away that people would take some time out of their day to cast a vote for us. It’s an honor to be named ‘Detroit’s Best Radio Program’ for the third year in a row, and it’s even better that our incredible listeners helped make it happen.”…..Fredericksburg, Virginia country outlet WFLS was named Fredericksburg’s “Favorite Radio Station” in the 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards sponsored by Fredericksburg.com and The Free Lance-Star. Alpha Media market manager Ralph Salierno states, “This is a great compliment from the people of Fredericksburg to vote WFLS as their favorite radio station! The great team effort between programming, promotion and production departments has helped us be the best. We are all proud to be recognized as Fredericksburg’s 2016 Reader’s Choice ‘Favorite Radio Station.’”
Duane Doobie Jr.’s Music Picks of the Week. RadioInfo’s hard-working co-music editor, Duane Doobie Jr., backed by a growing team of information-contributing researchers and golden-eared, trench broadcasters, including this week: on-air personality Bayley Brown from KHUM, Humboldt County, California; Internet sensation The Iceman; and Bill Phipps, the golden-eared afternoon personality at WSIG, Mt. Jackson, Virginia “Real Country 96.9”; provide programmers with musical suggestions worthy of the attention of pro-active radio formats. You’ll be turned on to some of the exciting artists and music buzzing out there just over the horizon from the worlds of pop, rock, and country. This week’s selection posted today (6/1) includes such names as: Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Idris Elba, Justin Timberlake, DNCE, Bitter’s Kiss, OneRepublic, The Shelters, Violent Femmes, Foy Vance, Brett Eldredge, Rudy Parris, Cole Swindell, among others. To check out this valuable information, please click here.
‘Hot 97’ New York’s ‘Nessa On Air’ Goes National. WQHT, New York afternoon drive personality Nessa is going into national syndication via Benztown. Her show, “Nessa On Air,” starts airing on its first affiliate next week. The five-hour daily show is produced for CHR, rhythmic CHR and urban stations and designed to air in any daypart. CBS RADIO’s KMVQ, San Francisco has signed on and CBS RADIO SVP, programming Michael Martin says, “Nessa is such a superstar! The Bay has missed her but now she’s back and I couldn’t be happier to have her back on 99.7!”
Zaragoza to Afternoons at KBLX, San Francisco. At urban AC KBLX, San Francisco, Entercom moves Victor “Big Daddy” Zaragoza from the morning show cast to host of the afternoon drive daypart. Taking over for Zaragoza on the “Morning Dream Team” is on-air pro Tony Sculfield, who is expected to join the station on June 6. Entercom San Francisco OM/PD Elroy Smith says, “I am excited for Victor Zaragoza’s return to afternoon drive. He is electrifying, fun, and engaging. Victor’s spirit is contagious to everyone who hears him.”
Beasley Names McCurdy VP of Sales. Radio sales pro Bob McCurdy is joining Beasley Media Group, Inc. as vice president of sales. McCurdy, who most recently was president of the sales consultancy firm Upping the Volume, will be based at the company’s headquarters in Naples, Florida. McCurdy has held sales and management positions in the radio industry for decades. He became president of Katz Radio in 1990. In 2009, he was named president of Katz Marketing Solutions. McCurdy says, “I’ve known the Beasley folks for a long time and I am thrilled to be joining their team. They have a terrific lineup of stations around the country, staffed by talented people. It’ll be a privilege to be able to work even more closely with their sales and management teams, as we move forward.” Beasley interim CEO Caroline Beasley comments, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Bob to Beasley’s corporate office. He is a champion for the radio industry, and well known by both advertisers and agencies.”
Mueller Appointed Market Manager at Alpha Media Amarillo. Twenty-five year radio pro Robert Mueller, a.k.a. Cisco Kidd, is named to the market manager position at Alpha Media’s Amarillo, Texas that includes country KGNC-FM, classic hits KXGL “100.9 The Eagle,” and news/talk KGNC-AM. Muller has most recently been with Alpha Media at the corporate level as a product manager working closely with VP of interactive Stefan Brock rolling out digital initiatives across multiple markets. Before that, he served with Citadel in Oklahoma City in numerous management capacities. Alpha Media EVP of the Western Division, Larry Bastida, says, “I’ve worked with Robert in varying capacities for over 16 years and he’s always delivered. He’s smart and competitive. Radio and digital run in his blood. More than anything, he has always had great appreciation for his fellow teammates, as well as being mindful of the obligation we have to our advertising partners. Not only am I excited for Robert to have this great opportunity, I’m excited for Alpha to have him in Amarillo!”
Bold Gold Media Group CEO Vince Benedetto Interviewed on ‘Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.’ One of the rising young stars of radio station group ownership, Vince Benedetto, is the guest on this week’s installment of the PodcastOne international hit “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Benedetto, who just turned 40, bought his first station at 29. In slightly more than a decade, he has built Bold Gold Media Group into a chain that owns and operates nine radio stations, fifteen broadcast frequencies, and multiple digital media platforms throughout Eastern Pennsylvania and Upstate New York. Benedetto is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, a former Air Force captain and Air Force OSI special agent, where he worked on counter-intelligence, counter-terrorism and felony level investigative efforts for the Department of Defense. In 2013, Bold Gold was nominated for a Pennsylvania Governor’s ImPAct Award for Entrepreneurialism and Vince was recently named by RadioInk magazine as one of the “Top 30 Under 40 Rising Stars in the Radio Industry.” Benedetto also established and runs a non-profit foundation providing support for young people entering broadcasting and studying the U.S. Constitution. In the podcast, Harrison and Benedetto discuss the extremely positive aspects of radio ownership that still exist in 2016 and analyze broadcast radio’s transition into the digital era. They examine the differences between the Boomer and Millennial generations (as well as Generations X and Y) and Benedetto applies his experience in the US intelligence community to the principles of operating a media business as well as commenting on the nation’s present positioning in the struggle against international terrorism. To listen to the entire podcast please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Cumulus Media Appoints Dimick Vice President/Programming Operations. Former Lincoln Financial Media senior vice president of programming and operations John Dimick joins Cumulus Media as vice president of programming operations. Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay remarks, “John Dimick brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this position. He joins Doug Hamand and Greg Frey as a [vice president of programming operations]. Those three, along with our format specialists and analysts, will provide even more tools to our managers and program directors to employ when programming their stations.” Dimick – who begins his new assignment next Wednesday (6/1) – jokes, “I am very happy that Mike McVay would not buy my ‘retirement from the industry’ thinking. The new senior management team at Cumulus is building [something that] is extraordinary and compelling. I am flattered [corporate believes] I can help advance the growth and success of the stations and the remarkable Cumulus platform. Joining the corporate programming team with people like Greg Frey, Doug Hamand and the other pros at Cumulus is very exciting.” For the past 11 months, Dimick was franchise owner of the Dimick Automotive Group. In addition to Lincoln Financial stations in San Diego, Dimick has programmed Emmis rhythmic CHR WQHT “Hot 97,” New York; KPLZ, Seattle; KISN, Salt Lake City; and WNCI, Columbus.
Schneekloth Named GSM at WMJX. Following a 12-year run as vice president and manager of the Katz Radio Group, Brian Schneekloth becomes general sales manager of Greater Media Boston adult contemporary WMJX “Magic 106.7.” Greater Media Boston vice president and market manager Mary Menna comments, “Brian’s exceptional client relationships and expertise in the radio and digital space make him the perfect addition to the Greater Media Boston family.” In addition to his Katz Radio Group management role, Schneekloth was director of sales for Katz Digital. Prior to that, he held sales management roles at CBS Radio Boston’s WBCN and classic rock WZLX. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s April 2016 PPM report, “Magic 106.7” finished second (7.2), eight-tenths behind co-owned classic hits-oldies WROR (8.0, 6+).
“Sugar Mom” Marshall’s Meaningful Marking. While “voiceover artist,” “audio producer,” and “author” are apt summations of Robin Marshall, the most important depiction of the Dallas-based talent is that she is a one-year cancer survivor. Marshall will release recordings of “Lemons to Lemonade” blogs, which she wrote while undergoing aggressive ovarian cancer treatment. Those episodes will be part of the “Sugar Mom” podcast, leading up to National Cancer Survivors Day next Sunday (6/5). Starting next month, Marshall will distribute her audio book “The Diary of a Sugar Mom: Don’t Tell the Kids” free via her “Sugar Mom” podcast on various podcast directories. Marshall comments, “I want women and men who subscribe to my podcast and/or visit my Facebook page to understand what the concept of a ‘Sugar Mom’ really is, and more importantly, what it is not. If you can try one new thing a day, you are headed towards becoming who you used to be and now want to be again.” The “Sugar Mom” podcast releases new episodes Tuesdays and Thursdays. Marshall spent 20 years as a New York City on-air talent and she is the imaging voice for several radio stations. Since being diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer, she underwent weekly chemotherapy treatments in Dallas; she is in full remission.
Alan, McCoy in Special Salute. Country artist Neal McCoy and Premiere Radio Networks’ personality Cody Alan treated more than 200 (Phoenix area) Luke Air Force Base service members and their families to an evening of music and conversation last night (Thursday, 5/26). The event marked the first stop on this year’s “Super 8 Salutes” tour, a multi-city effort created by Super 8 and Premiere Networks, providing access to events and concerts with country music stars. McCoy states, “I am always excited to spend time with the women and men of our military and their families. Whether it is entertaining them overseas or here at home, it is the highlight of my year. I thank Super 8 and my buddy, Cody Alan, for inviting me to join in this salute to the hard work they do every day at Luke Air Force Base.” Thursday night’s Alan-hosted function included a “Q & A” with McCoy, followed by an acoustic set and a meet and greet. “Super 8 Salutes” is in its second year and will make three stops; last year the tour included visits to Fort Campbell, Kentucky and West Springfield, Massachusetts. Alan is host/executive producer of “CMT After MidNite,” “CMT Radio Live,” and “CMT All Access.” Included among McCoy’s 15 albums are three that went platinum and one gold.
To Tell the Truth – It’s Dierks Bentley. As part of a promotional tour for his album “Black,” which comes out today (Friday, 5/27), Dierks Bentley visited “America’s Morning Show.” During yesterday’s visit (Thursday, 5/26), the country singer agreed to enter the program’s “TruthBooth,” where he was given a sealed envelope with questions that he swore to answer honestly.
Millennials Account For 66.5 Million Radio Users. This is not a homogeneous group with a common set of beliefs, interests, and behaviors; ungrouping millennials can help advertisers, agencies, and radio stations understand each group more closely. Nielsen‘s Q4 2015 “Total Audience Report” separated 18-34s into three groups: “Dependent Adults” (those living in someone else’s home); “On Their Own” millennials (those living in their own home without children); and “Starting a Family” millennials” (those living in their own home with children). The data shows 97% of 18-year-olds live in someone else’s home. By their mid-30s, 90% of millennials live in their own home, and more than half have children. Radio is an important part of a millennial’s life and they listen to it in many ways. In the average week, radio reaches about 92% of “Starting a Family” millennials; 90% of “Dependent Adult” millennials”; and 89% of “On Their Own” millennials. CHR is the number one format for all three groups, but “Dependent Adult” millennials, who tend to live at home with their parents or another adult, listen to more classic rock, classic hits-oldies, and urban AC than the overall millennial group. “Dependent Adult” millennials listen to these formats because they are exposed to them by older adults in the home. “On Their Own” millennials are the least ethnically diverse group and they show a preference for non-ethnic formats like hot AC and alternative. They also listen to sports stations more than the other two millennial groups. Radio reaches 90% of all 18-34 African-Americans each week with urban AC the top format among this group. “Starting A Family” millennials include the highest percent of Hispanic and Spanish-speaking listeners. In this group, regional Mexican has the third-highest share of listening time. Overall, 16% of this group’s listening is spent with a Spanish language format. That is more than three times the amount of “On Their Own” millennials.
Getting Together with Smaldone. For almost 24 years, Valerie Smaldone was the mid-day talent at market dominant adult contemporary WLTW “Lite-FM,” New York. More recently, she has been hosting/producing a variety of projects. The latest for the imaging voice of CBS Radio New York all-newser WINS is “Hit Makers: Music Icons in Performance and Conversation”; Tommy James (“Tommy James & The Shondells“) was her first guest and he sang several of his hits. In addition, Smaldone interviewed him about his book “Me, The Mob, and the Music,” as well as his days with Roulette Records. For the past two years, Smaldone’s weekly, three-hour Envision Networks’ talk show “America Weekend with Valerie Smaldone & Friends” is heard in 15 markets.
RadioInfo Career Moves. Effective next Tuesday (5/31), Entercom San Francisco rhythmic hot AC KRBQ “Q-102” mid-day talent “Freska” will transition to afternoon drive on adult contemporary sibling KOIT-FM “Better Music for a Better Workday.” Taking her place at “Q-102” is Billy Vidal, who is promoted from weekends. KOIT-FM program director Brent Carey comments, “Freska’s unique delivery, community relationships, and creative show ideas will build a strong connection for our listeners.” The changes come about as former KOIT-FM PM driver Brent Carey exits.
Sirius XM’s “The Pulse” To Air “Live In The Vineyard” Concert Special. The three-hour feature will run this (Memorial Day) weekend. It was captured at the seventeenth installment of the “Live In The Vineyard” music festival in Napa Valley, California early last month (4/7-10) and will include acoustic performances by Andy Grammer, Ingrid Michaelson, Cold War Kids, Lukas Graham, Ben Rector, Daughtry, Zella Day, Tor Miller, Brendan James, Shawn Hook, The Strumbellas, AudioDamn!, Pentatonix and SafetySuit. SiriusXM “The Pulse” host Jim Ryan remarks, “It is an incredible weekend of wine, food, and ‘Pulse’ music that our listeners respond to in overwhelming numbers to try to attend the event twice a year. It is great to be able to bring the experience to listeners on the radio, especially for those that are not able to attend.” The special premieres tonight (Friday, 5/27) at 7:00 pm (ET) on channel 15 and it will rebroadcast tomorrow (Saturday, 5/28) and Sunday (5/29) at various times. Created eight years ago by Bobbii Jacobs and Claire Parr, “Live In The Vineyard” will take place again in November.
Beasley Broadcast Group Board Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend. It is for $0.045 per share of its “Class A” and “Class B” common stock. The dividend is payable on July 8 to shareholders of record on June 30. While Beasley Broadcast Group intends to pay regular quarterly cash dividends for the foreseeable future, all subsequent dividends will be reviewed quarterly and declared by the board at its discretion.
PPM Analysis: Classic Rock. RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the third of three analyses of the performances of stations airing gold-based formats, based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April PPM survey. Previously, we published reports on the classic hits-oldies and adult hits formats. One chart in this report measures 6+ ratings fluctuations from a year ago (April 2015) compared this year. Hubbard Radio’s KSLX, Phoenix shot up two full shares during the year to jump from #8 in the market to #2. Just two stations in PPM markets ranked #1 in their respective markets in April – both are Entercom-owned stations: KQMT, Denver and KSEG, Sacramento. In this report you’ll also find a chart comparing the performances of classic rock stations, classic hits-oldies outlets and adult hits stations. See Kinosian’s entire report here.
Heather Davis Takes Middays at ‘NASH FM 103.3’ in Nashville. Moving from Curtis Media’s country WQDR, Raleigh to Cumulus Media’s WKDF, Nashville “NASH FM 103.3” is air personality Heather Davis. She’ll handle the midday shift. Cumulus Nashville OM and company VP of country programming Charlie Cook says, “The minute I heard Heather’s audio I knew that she was the sound we need on WKDF. I love her varied on-air experience and she is a social media monster, which is so important today. We are looking forward to Heather joining radio’s best company in one of America’s best cities.”
Donovan Moves to iHeartMedia Tampa as Director of Digital. Digital pro and air talent Brian “Munchie” Donovan re-locates within the iHeartMedia family from its Hartford cluster where he was director of digital and afternoon jock on CHR WKSS “Kiss 95.7” to the company’s Tampa station group where he will serve as director of digital. iHeartMedia Tampa president Sam Nein says, “This is a welcome return to Tampa for Brian — he has ‘93.3 FLZ’ in his blood. He has a proven track record across multiple cities, and we’re excited for Brian’s expertise to make a positive impact on our digital strategy.” He assumes the role on July 1.
Foo Fighters Guitarist Chris Shiflett Joins PodcastOne. Los Angeles-based guitarist Chris Shiflett is launching a podcast titled “Walking The Floor” on the PodcastOne platform. The show hosted by the longtime Foo Fighters guitarist “engages a wide range of musical guests with Shiflett’s in-depth, one-on-one interviews exploring their creative inspirations, struggles and successes. With an insider perspective, ‘Walking The Floor’ features some of the biggest names in country, roots, and Americana music, as well as punk rockers, rock’n’rollers, writers, athletes and actors.” Guests include Merle Haggard, Sturgill Simpson, Dwight Yoakam, Brad Paisley, Mike Ness and many more. New episodes will be released every other Monday and this week’s edition features an extended interview with country singer Dierks Bentley and explores his history and new album, Black, due out this week. PodcastOne founder and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “It’s great to have the talents of Chris now on PodcastOne. The relationships he brings are an outgrowth of his many years as, quite literally, a ‘player’ in the music business. It’s great to have him aboard.”
National Radio Hall of Fame 2016 Nominees Announced. Today, industry voting begins for the 2016 National Radio Hall of Fame inductees. The 24 nominations in six categories were determined by the organization’s nominating committee. Four of those categories will be voted on by a voting participant panel comprised of 400 industry professionals, while the other two will be voted on by the public. Public voting commences June 20 for eight nominations for Music Format On-Air Personality and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “The sheer depth of talent in our industry never ceases to amaze me. After much discussion and deliberation, our nominating committee is very proud of this year’s class of nominees. We’re all looking forward to seeing the voter outcome from our industry peers and listeners nationwide.” Inductees will be announced July 11. The induction ceremony will be held Thursday, November 17 at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago. Nominees are: Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more): Jeff & Jer (Jeff Detrow & Jerry Cesak), San Diego; Charles Laquidara, Boston; Bobby O’Jay, Memphis; and Garland Robinette, New Orleans. Active Local/Regional (10 years or more): Tom Barnard, Minneapolis; BJ & Migs (BJ Shea & Steve Migs), Seattle; Eric & Kathy (Eric Ferguson & Kathy Hart), Chicago; and Preston and Steve (Preston Elliot & Steve Morrison), Philadelphia. Networks/Syndication (10 years or more): American Top 40 & On-Air With Ryan Seacrest, Ryan Seacrest; The Fabulous Sports Babe, Nanci Donnellan; The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Steve Harvey; and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Peter Sagal. Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more): Delilah, Delilah; Gospel Traxx with Walt “Baby” Love, Walt “Baby” Love; The Jim Rome Show, Jim Rome; and The Kim Komando Show, Kim Komando. The following are to be voted on by listeners. Music Format On-Air Personality: Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton; Tom Kent; The Kevin & Bean Show (Kevin Ryder & Gene Baxter); and Bob Kingsley. Spoken Word On-Air Personality: Diane Rehm; Mike Francesa and Chris Russo; Michael Savage; and Sean Hannity.
RadioInfo Career Moves. Adding program director duties for Entercom’s classic hits WMXJ, Pompano Beach, Florida “102.7 The Beach” is John O’Connell. This is in addition to his current role as program director for alternative WSFS, Miami “104.3 The Shark.”…..At Zimmer Radio Group in Joplin, Missouri, Chad Elliot is promoted to market manager for the six-station group. Elliot has been operations manager for the stations in addition to acting as host of news/talk KZRG’s “Morning Newswatch” program. At the same time, the company ups Rob Meyer to operations manager and PD roles for KZRG and promotes Carol Daily to director of sales for the company from her previous national and regional sales manager role…..Cate Carrier moves from Manhattan Broadcasting’s rock KMKF, Manhattan, Kansas to Bahakel Communications’ alternative rock KRXP, Colorado Springs where she’s now midday personality and promotions director…..At Plymouth Rock Broadcasting’s adult contemporary WPLM, Plymouth, Massachusetts “Easy 99.1,” APD Scott Reiniche is promoted to program director. That moves Kevin Cronin from PD/morning host to afternoon personality and Billy Teed is handling AM drive.
Garth Brooks Announces Ticket Sales for Yankee Stadium Concert. Country legend Garth Brooks (right) is pictured here with Cumulus Media SVP of content and programming Mike McVay (left) at Yankee stadium during Tuesday’s press conference announcing tickets for his Yankee Stadium concert go on sale today (5/20). The concert takes place on July 9 and this will be the first-ever country concert at Yankee Stadium. Brooks announced the show last week on “America’s Morning Show.”
2015 Acquisitions Help Entercom to Q1 Net Revenue Hike of 23%. During 2015, Entercom added stations to its portfolio in deals with Lincoln Financial Media and Bonneville. Those deals helped the company’s first quarter 2016 net revenue soar to $96.1 million. Company CEO David Field says, “But the bigger news is that we had another great quarter of organic revenue growth. Same station revenues increased 6% for the quarter… In sum, it was a terrific quarter. What is important to note is that is part of an increasingly consistent pattern of Entercom delivering solid growth quarter-after-quarter. This now marks the fourth consecutive quarter of accelerating organic revenue growth for Entercom.”
When Your Station IS the News. Last week’s attempted takeover of a media outlet in Baltimore by an allegedly deranged man happened at a television station. But, it could just as easily have been a radio station group. ABC Television Network director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes in a column published today (5/2), that “comprehensive, well-resourced and well-rehearsed emergency planning not only assures your continued ability to operate in times of crisis, but more importantly, shows your staff and clients how much you care.” He notes that the Sinclair-owned station and its staffers were prepared and it showed in how the situation was dealt with. Read Price’s valuable advice for preparing for potential emergencies here.
Kenetta Bailey Named SVP of Marketing for CBS RADIO. Joining CBS RADIO as senior vice president, marketing is Kenetta Bailey. She was most recently heading up her own consulting firm – KB Consulting – in which she worked with a variety of start-up businesses on subscriber growth, social media and branding. She also serves as an adjunct instructor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. CBS RADIO president Andre Fernandez states, “I’m thrilled to welcome Kenetta to our leadership team, and look forward to introducing her creative energy and brand expertise into everything we do. We have a tremendous opportunity to expand the strength of our brands locally and nationwide, as well as define our long range position in the marketplace. I know Kenetta will play an instrumental role in the telling of our story to the industry.” Bailey will be responsible for the marketing and brand positioning of the company, its stations and its digital products. She’ll also provide business-to-business marketing support and work with the division’s market managers and station management to develop and coordinate strategy for their local marketing efforts.
More RadioInfo Career Moves. WMPX, Beaverton, Michigan “Sunny 97.7” morning drive personality Gary Williams retires from the Steel Broadcasting-owned adult contemporary station. Williams had been with the north-central Michigan station for the past 32 years. He’d been working with co-host Chris Schaeffer, who will continue hosting mornings solo…..Beasley Media Group names JoAnn Johnson business manager for its Las Vegas cluster. Johnson has worked in the Las Vegas market for more than two decades…..International radio program distributor Radio Express announces Mike Savage (not to be confused with radio talk host Michael Savage) will host the next generation of its two-hour international hit countdown program titled, “The World Chart Show.” The company is also making the show available to U.S. stations for the first time.