Middlebrooks Marks Milestone
October 1, 2014

NTS MediaOnline Today sends a big ol’ congratulatory shout-out to WBBM (NewsRadio 780/105.9)/Chicago morning drive co-anchor Felicia Middlebrooks, who is celebrating her 30th anniversary in wake-ups at the CBS Radio all-newser today (10/1). Now in her 32nd year with the station, the award-winning journalist has traveled a career path that has seen her shatter the glass ceiling with a string of firsts, including being the first woman and the first African American to co-anchor mornings for CBS Radio. When she joined the Windy City all-news station at the age of 24, Middleton was (at the time) the youngest anchor and street reporter ever hired by WBBM, following early career stints in Northwest Indiana at stations including WBAA, WJOB, WGVE and WLTH. Her trophy case is chock full of awards including a coveted Edward R. Murrow Award and additional honors from the Associated Press, UPI, Women In Communications, the Illinois News Broadcasters Association, American Women in Radio and Television, the National Urban League and the National Association of Black Journalists. That’s Felicia (pictured) celebrating her milestone moment with her co-anchor Pat Cassidy (right) and morning Sports anchor Joss Liss.

WSSP Adds FM Simulcast, Rebrands As ‘The Fan’
October 1, 2014

WSSP/Milwaukee is expanding its footprint, with the addition of a full FM simulcast of the Sports/Talker’s full line-up on 105.7. The expansion also results in a  rebranding of the station from SportsRadio 1250 to 105.7 The Fan (the new AM/FM simulcast will retain the WSSP call letters). A press release from Entercom/Milwaukee announcing the new FM simulcast stated, “Nielsen reports that 72% of radio users in Milwaukee never tune to the AM band. After 10 years of service to Milwaukee fans at 1250 AM, it’s time to invite all fans into our stadium! Milwaukee sports fans can now get more than music on FM.” With the addition of the simulcast, WSSP’s lineup can now be heard on AM, FM and HD (103.7-2), streamed online at the station’s website, and dialed-up on demand via ‘The Fan’s’ Smartphone apps.

Foley To WW One As VP Biz Development
October 1, 2014

Radio sales veteran Jack Foley has joined Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One in the newly created position of Vice President of the network’s Business Development division. In his new role Foley — who most recently held a similar position at Radio Disney — will develop revenue streams and create growth opportunities for the company, its agency clients, and WW One’s partners across multiple platforms. “Jack’s outstanding record of success in radio, event sponsorship, digital, in-store audio, and experiential marketing is an ideal match for this position,” said Steve Shaw, President, Westwood One. “He has the ability to leverage all of our platforms and to create powerful marketing solutions for our clients.” Foley’s radio resume also includes prior executive sales stints at Entercom/Boston and Clear Channel/New England (now iHeart Media).

Digital Talk Media News Notes
October 1, 2014

SportsUSA’s syndicated Conversations with Joe Morgan — hosted by baseball Hall of Famer and Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Joe Morgan — will be available as a twice weekly podcast beginning tomorrow (10/2). Morgan (pictured) will create a new podcast each week featuring topics of the day along with ‘Classic Conversations’ culled from Joe’s hundreds of interviews over the years with sports greats and celebrities. The podcast will be available on PodcastOne, iTunes, Stitcher and TuneIn … Meanwhile, on October 6th, PodcastOne will debut The Rich Eisen Show, the audio version of the recently announced DirecTV show hosted by veteran sports broadcaster and NFL personality Rich Eisen featuring his take on the best in the day’s sports news and conversation … TheBlaze, Glenn Beck’s 24/7 digital news, opinion and entertainment network, announces a new deal with Suddenlink, the nation’s 7th largest cable operator. With the channel’s launch on Suddenlink, TheBlaze is now available on a reported 77 television providers nationwide, including 10 of the top 25.

Hands Across The Aisle
October 1, 2014

Liberal political commentator, author and talk show host Tavis Smiley (right) was in Seattle yesterday (9/30), where he chatted with conservative Salem Radio Network host Michael Medved about Smiley’s new book Death Of A King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year. Medved and Smiley also sparred over black unemployment, economic inequity in minority communities and failing schools after six years of the Barack Obama presidency. But it was all smiles from both hosts after the on-air debate, as the two posed for this digital souvenir of their time together.
FCC To NFL: “No More TV Blackouts”
September 30, 2014

In a unanimous and bipartisan decision today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to eliminate the National Football League’s blackout protection. Noting there have been “significant changes in the sports radio industry since these rules were adopted nearly 40 years ago,” a release from the FCC said the NFL can still choose to pursue its own private blackout policy but said, “The NFL will no longer be entitled to the protection of the Commission’s sports blackout rules and must rely on the same avenues available to other entities that wish to protect their distribution rights in the private marketplace.” Enacted back in 1973 to help boost local attendance for NFL games, the ‘blackout’ rule kept broadcasters and cable operators from televising games that were not sold-out 72 hours in advance of the kickoff. Read the FCC’s official release on the vote, along with statements from the Commissioner’s HERE.

Talk Media News Notes
September 30, 2014

Veteran Arkansas radio talker Dave Elswick — former PD and host at Little Rock stations KARN and, most recently, The Voice 96.5 — has hooked up with a new statewide digital television venture AR1.TV. Elswick says for now his show can be seen/heard exclusively on AR1.TV, but plans for radio distribution are in the works. Check out the new channel HERE … And another veteran talk host, Heidi Harris, has also hooked up with a new digital television venture. While continuing to host her nightly show on KBET/Las Vegas, Heidi will also take on duties as the new Sin City market manager for BlabTV/Las Vegas. Harris tells NTS MediaOnline Today that BlabTV has been around for some 30 years in Pensacola, FL, but is now expanding to additional markets, where she has snagged their new Las Vegas affiliate … Meanwhile, as the month of September draws to a close today, KDWN/Las Vegas nightly host and GCN syndicated personality Dr. Daliah Wachs (pictured) reminds women (and the guys who love ‘em) that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Board Certified Family Medicine practitioner and Talk radio host is urging all women to get a check-up and to schedule a mammogram if needed. “It’s not as much fun as other squeezing activities,” she says. “But this one saves lives!”

Executive Orders
September 30, 2014

Cumulus Media has tapped company veteran Jon Pinch (pictured) to run their Atlanta stations, filling a position that’s been open since former Market Manager Jeff Brown was upped to Corporate Senior VP back in April. Pinch, who has served as Cumulus’ Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the past 14 years, was scheduled to retire in November, but has opted to “take on one more key assignment for the company” as Market Manager of its six station Atlanta cluster, including All News 106.7/WYAY-FM … Meanwhile across town iHeart Media/Atlanta makes a couple of internal promotions, upping Justin Schaflander to Market President and Jason Mosher to VP sales for the five station cluster that includes News/Talk WGST. Schaflander replaces Matt Scarano who was recently named Market President for the company’s Chicago stations  … Former Westwood One VP/Programming Tim Maranville segues to Raleigh, NC-based Cross Platform Media, where he takes over as Chief Content Officer. Cross Platform recently acquired the programming assets of the IRN/USA Radio Network.

More Talk Media News Notes
September 30, 2014

Talentmasters and Gabe Hobbs Media are teaming up once again to present Talk Show Boot Camp 2015. The sixth annual event, hosted by Don Anthony and Gabe Hobbs, will take place February 6th and 7th at the W Hotel in Atlanta’s Buckhead area. Anthony notes TSBC is designed to “cater to current and future stars of spoken-word, programmers and more” and adds, “Both Gabe and I are looking forward to creating one of our most special and unique agendas ever!” Get registration information for TSBC VI HERE …The Los Angeles Dodgers and iHeart Media’s L.A. Sports/Talker AM 570 KLAC ink a new multi-year agreement that will keep the 2014 National League West champs on the station for the foreseeable future. In addition to retaining the radio broadcast rights to all regular season games, select Spring Training games and potential post season appearances, iHeart Media confirmed the new partnership will include an “equity position” in the station for the Dodgers’ ownership, as well as the opportunity for “collaborative programming.” … ESPN Radio is ready to rock coverage of the 2014 MLB Wild Card games and League Division Series on-air via the network’s nationwide affiliates, online at ESPNRadio.com and on-the-go through the ESPN Radio AppiTunes RadioSlacker and TuneIn. Coverage begins tonight as Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton call the AL Wild Card game between the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics at 8pm (ET). Check out ESPN’s complete MLB post-season game schedule HERE

Who Says Talk Radio Only Talks Politics?
September 30, 2014

WCCO/Minneapolis afternoon host John Williams recently welcomed North Dakota native and The Voice Season 6 finalist Kat Perkins to CBS Radio’s Twin Cities News/Talker. Perkins brought along a group of six musicians and performed live for an appreciative audience of WCCO listeners.