As our subscribers first learned earlier today via a ‘Breaking News’ email, NTS MediaOnline Today has confirmed that WTOP/Washington Program Director Laurie Cantillo is leaving the Hubbard Broadcasting-owned all-newser. Cantillo joined WTOP in 2011 from WABC/New York, where she had served as PD. For the next year or so, Cantillo worked directly under longtime WTOP VP/News and Programming Jim Farley, in a well-planned management transition that culminated with Cantillo officially taking the programming reins at the station following Farley’s retirement at the end of 2013. Both Cantillo and SVP/Market Manager Joel Oxley called the break-up “mutual” and friendly.
In a note to staffers, Cantillo (left) said, “WTOP is exceeding 2015 revenue goals and according to the latest ratings we’re the #1 radio station in Washington, DC, both 6+ and 25-54. Our anchors and reporters have never sounded better. Uniques and page views for WTOP.com are off the charts. We’re on the brink of an exciting partnership with NBC4. Morale is high: as high as the International Space Station, where we conducted a historic live interview this morning. It was electrifying! We’re on ‘TOP’ in every respect, which makes this the right time for me to pursue my next adventure. I thank Joel and Jim and the amazing people at Hubbard for the opportunity to lead WTOP. There is no finer multimedia newsroom in America and I will miss seeing you every day. My immediate plan is to co-create a screenplay – based on [her husband Beau Phillips] Beau’s book – and finally get around to writing my next best seller (Cantillo is co-author of the 1998 book Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World). Radio and digital media innovation will continue to be a big part of my life, so stay tuned!”Friends and colleagues can reach Laurie via email HERE.
Westwood One inks a partnership and syndication deal with popular Chicago radio personality Jonathon “Johnny B” Brandmeier (left) that will put him back on the air in Chicago and nationwide next month. The Jonathon Brandmeier Show will air live weekdays from 10am-1pm (ET) on stations around the country, including WLS-AM/Chicago, KABC-AM/Los Angeles, KLIF-AM/Dallas, KKAT-AM/ Salt Lake City, WPRV-AM/Providence, KTBL-AM Albuquerque, and others TBA. The new show will air in the WW One slot now occupied by Dennis Miller who said he is “stepping aside” from radio — at least for now. “It’s been a great run and I’ve had a phenomenal time interacting with my guests and audience,” he said. “But with so many other commitments right now, it’s hard to maintain a daily talk show. It’s time to pass the torch as I move on to explore other opportunities. I wish Johnny B lots of luck.”
As NTS MediaOnline Today subscribers learned early this morning via a special ‘Breaking News’ email, Emmy Award winning sportscaster and New York Radio Hall of Fame broadcaster Len Berman and WFLA/Tampa and nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt are teaming up to host Len Berman & Todd Schnitt In The Morning on iHeartMedia’s heritage New York City talker WOR. Debuting January 26th, the new show will be focused on New York and local listeners in the Tri-State region, with Berman and Schnitt talking news, sports, entertainment and pop culture, and also offering interactive audience features. “This is the entertaining, informative and locally focused morning show that New Yorker’s have been waiting for,” said Thea Mitchem, SVP/Programming, iHeartMedia. “We are confident the show will quickly become an essential part of New Yorkers’ mornings.”
Meanwhile, Schnitt — who for many years hosted both mornings on WFLZ/Tampa and afternoon drive on sister station WFLA — will once again be pulling weekday double-duty, continuing to host his daily 3-6pm (ET) Compass Media Networks syndicated talk show in addition to his new WOR morning show with Len Berman. “Locating our show in the heart of New York City will be a huge benefit to our national listeners and help drive ratings for our affiliates,” said Schnitt. “I look forward to continuing to work with Compass Media Networks, our affiliates and sponsors.” The Schnitt Show is carried on a reported 60+ affiliates nationwide, including Tampa Bay flagship outlets 1250 WHNZ and 970 WFLA.
As NTS MediaOnline Today subscribers learned earlier today via our ‘Breaking News’ email, Talk radio veteran Randall Bloomquist, who joined Cumulus Media in November 2013 as Corporate PD for the company’s News and Talk stations, has announced he is leaving that post after just a little over a year on the job, citing “personal family reasons.” Prior to joining Cumulus, Bloomquist headed his own marketing communications and content creation firm, Bloomquist Media, following a lengthy Talk radio programming career that included stints as PD for WMAL/Washington, WGST/Atlanta, WBT/Charlotte and WRVA/Richmond. No word yet from Cumulus on who will assume Bloomquist’s current duties.
As NTS MediaOnline Today subscribers first learned via our ‘Breaking News’ email earlier today, Entercom Communications Corp has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Lincoln Financial Media from Lincoln Financial Group for $105 million plus working capital. The transaction is subject to FCC and other customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions. The company expects that the deal will close in the second quarter of 2015. The agreement includes fifteen radio stations in the Atlanta, Denver, Miami and San Diego markets, and it will expand Entercom’s station portfolio to more than 130 stations in 26 markets. “Lincoln Financial Media is a great organization that has done an excellent job serving its listeners, customers and communities over many years and we look forward to building on that tradition,” said Entercom President/CEO David Field (pictured). “LFM is a perfect fit for us as it bolsters our position in Denver and expands our footprint into Atlanta, Miami and San Diego with terrific brands that have significant growth potential. Furthermore, it fulfills our disciplined acquisition criteria as it enhances our company’s competitive position and growth and should be accretive to shareholders in 2015 while having a minimal impact on leverage.” LFMs radio spoken-word station holdings include Sports/Talkers WQXI/Atlanta, KKFN-FM and KEPN-AM/Denver, and WAXY-AM&FM/Miami.
Late last Friday (11/14), NTS MediaOnline confirmed rumors that Compass Media Networks has reached a deal to take over syndicating the Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s popular morning show, hosted by Gordon Deal (pictured). The announcement comes on the heels of last week’s surprise announcement by Wall Street Journal management that they’ll pull the plug on both the WSJ Radio Network and the MarketWatch Radio Network next month, saying the radio division does not fit with the company’s future business plans. The Peter Kosann-led Compass Media Networks has been handling affiliate and ad sales for the Wall Street Journal’s radio division since earlier this year. As a result Kosann also now counts former WSJ Radio Network Executive Director Nancy Abramson and longtime WSJ Affiliate Relations exec Susan O’Connell among his company’s staffers. More details on the quickly executed deal are pending.
As NTS MediaOnline Today subscribers learned via our ‘Breaking News’ email earlier today, the Wall Street Journal’s Editor-in-chief Gerry Baker came to the Wall Street Journal Radio Network studios in South Brunswick, NJ at 10am (ET) to deliver the news that all radio operations would be shutting down as of 12/31. The shutdown also includes MarketWatch Radio and all digital/podcasts. Although the network’s flagship program, The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal, is a popular early-morning lineup mainstay with tons of News/Talk stations nationwide, Baker reportedly told staffers that the broadcast radio network just doesn’t fit with the company’s future plans. Compass Media Networks has been handling ad and affiliation sales for the WSJRN since last March.
BREAKING NEWS: NTS MediaOnline Today is sad to report that longtime broadcast programming veteran and current KGO-KSFO/San Francisco PD Kevin Metheny died suddenly today (10/3). A post at Kevin’s Facebook page from his sister states: “I can’t even believe I’m saying this, but my brilliant big brother, Kevin Metheny passed away today. I have no words. Just deep, deep sorrow. He was a good brother and friend. He had a wonderfully crazy, bigger-than-life LIFE. I’ve always admired him and his accomplishments. It still doesn’t even feel real. I guess I’ll probably say more once I’m able to grasp what has happened.” Friends and colleagues are paying tribute to Metheny on his Facebook page HERE.
John Dickey, Executive Vice President, Programming and Content for Cumulus Media released this statement late Friday night: “Kevin Metheny’s sudden passing this afternoon is a devastating personal and professional loss for his broadcasting family at Cumulus, and for the entire radio industry. Kevin was a legendary broadcasting talent who touched many lives in his remarkable 44-year career, and whose successes made an indelible mark on radio. His reputation and accomplishments are simply unparalleled and we are grateful for having had the opportunity to work with him as PD of WJR in Detroit and most recently, as Operations Manager of KGO and KSFO in San Francisco. His Cumulus family extends our deepest sympathies to Kevin’s loved ones. We will miss him profoundly.”
CBS Radio and Beasley Broadcast Group have signed a definitive agreement to swap 13 stations in Tampa and Charlotte, as well as one AM station in Philadelphia, for two FM stations in Philadelphia, and three stations in Miami. As a result, CBS Radio will for the first time have a presence in Miami, the nation’s 11th largest radio market. “This transaction reinforces our strategy to concentrate on large market properties,” said Dan Mason, President and CEO, CBS Radio. “We already have television duopolies in both Philadelphia and Miami, so these new stations will be a terrific complement to our existing local broadcasting portfolio, and a welcome addition to the overall CBS family.” Meanwhile, Beasley Chairman/CEO George G. Beasley added, “Throughout Beasley Broadcast Group’s 53-year history, we have actively managed our station portfolio with the goal of serving the local communities where we operate, diversifying our operations, managing risk and improving financial results. The asset exchange agreement with CBS Radio addresses all of these strategic objectives as, upon completion, we will expand our station base by nine stations and add completed clusters in Tampa and Charlotte which complement our already strong mid-Atlantic presence. Furthermore, the transaction is also consistent with our long-term strategy to operate leading clusters in large- and mid-size markets.” Talk formatted stations NTS MediaOnline Today spotted that are involved in the swap include: WQAM/Miami (which moves from Beasley To CBS), along with 98.7 The Fan and CBS Sports Radio 1010/Tampa (WHFS-FM & AM); CBS Sports Radio 1660 and SportsRadio 610/Charlotte (WBCN-AM and WFNZ-AM) and CBS Sports Radio 610/Philadelphia (WIP-AM), which all move from CBS to Beasley.
As we first reported in a ‘Breaking News’ email earlier today, longtime KNX/Los Angeles Director of News and Programming Andy Ludlum has exited the heritage SoCal all-newser. Ludlum (pictured), who joined CBS Radio/Los Angeles in 1998 and has worked for both KNX and one-time CBS Radio clustermate KFWB during his tenure, sports a resume of more than 35 years of radio and TV news experience, including stints in San Jose, Seattle and Kansas City before moving to L.A. in the mid-1990s. “We parted ways with Andy last night (9/22),” CBS Radio/Los Angeles VP and Market Manager Dan Kearney told NTS MediaOnline Today. “We are starting a nationwide search for a new KNX Program Director immediately.” Kearney also noted that KNX News Director Julie Chin will serve as interim PD of the station until the opening is permanently filled.