Longtime WTOP/Washington News Director Mike McMearty is promoted to Director of News and Programming for DC’s top-rated news station. McMearty has been at WTOP for 23 years, where he’s served as an editor, producer, reporter, anchor, sports reporter, Assistant News Director and — for the past 15 years –as News Director. He succeeds former PD Laurie Cantillo who left the Hubbard Radio-owned all-newser last March to join NASA’s Office of Communications. “Mike has been an integral part of our success for more than two decades,” said SVP/GM Joel Oxley. “He has led the newsroom to hundreds of industry awards for excellence in journalism, including 18 National Murrow Awards and more than two dozen honors already in 2015. I look forward to him taking the department to new heights.”
Cumulus Media promotes current WMAL/Washington, DC Program Director Bill Hess (left) to Corporate Program Director for News/Talk. Hess, who assumes company-wide News/Talk programming duties previously handled by Randall Bloomquist (who exited that post last January), will also continue as PD of WMAL. Hess’ 38-year radio career includes prior programming stints at Sports/Talker WTEM/Washington, and News/Talkers WHJJ/Providence and WHYN/Springfield, MA. He’s also served as a Brand Manager for Clear Channel Radio and held the title of Senior Vice President/Programming for NYC-based Air America Radio. Commenting on Bill’s new expanded duties with the company, Cumulus SVP Content and Programming Mike McVay said, “This promotion enables us to take advantage of Bill’s previous experience as a corporate programmer and rewards him for the amazing job that he’s doing at WMAL.”
As NTS MediaOnline Today subscribers first learned earlier today via our ‘Breaking News’ email, veteran News/Talk programmer Ken Charles has been tapped to be the new Program Director at KNX/Los Angeles. He assumes a chair that has been vacant since Andy Ludlum exited the CBS Radio all-newser last September. The move marks a return to the left coast for Charles, who recently spent a couple of years in the Golden State’s capitol city as VP/Programming for iHeartMedia/Sacramento. The 30+ year News and Talk radio pro most recently served as iHeartMedia’s National Format Brand Manager for News/Talk/Sports, based in south Florida. His considerable programming resume also includes executive stints at WIOD-WINZ/Miami, KTRH-KPPC/Houston, WGST/Atlanta and WSYR-WHEN/Syracuse. “You’d be hard-pressed to find a programmer with as much experience and success in the news format as Ken,” said Dan Kearney, SVP/Market Manager, CBS Radio/Los Angeles. “He is one of the most respected managers of news operations in the country and during this seminal, fast-changing period of how people get their news, he is uniquely qualified to build upon KNX’s reputation as Southern California’s news, traffic and information authority.” Commenting on his pending move to Tinsletown Charles said, “I can’t wait to begin working for CBS Radio, a company committed to local news, and the team of award-winning professionals at KNX — L.A.’s heritage home for local news and traffic. I’m thankful to Chris Oliviero, Scott Herman, Dan Kearney and Kevin Weatherly for giving me this incredible opportunity.” Charles will officially start his new gig on July 6th.
As we first reported to you late yesterday (4/23) in a ‘Breaking News’ email, former longtime KGO-KSFO/San Francisco Program Director Jack Swanson — who left those stations in 2011 after more than 17 years as PD — has been appointed Director of News and Programming for CBS Radio’s Bay Area all-newser 740AM and 106.9FM KCBS/San Francisco. Beginning Monday, Swanson (left) takes the helm from Ed Cavagnaro, who previously announced his retirement after nearly four decades at KCBS. Commenting on his new programming and news chief, CBS Radio/San Francisco VP/Market Manager Doug Harvill said, “Jack has a distinguished track record of leading iconic radio stations. He’s a terrific leader with a deep understanding of how a market leading station such as KCBS can be a trusted and active member of its community.” Harvill’s announcement that the station had hired Swanson — widely acclaimed as one of the smartest and most influential News and Talk programmers of the past couple of decades, with a wall full of trophies and honors to support that sentiment — came as somewhat of a surprise to industry watchers, as the News and Talk media veteran seemed pretty content in his self-chosen semi-retirement. “This is definitely the only job in radio and the only company in radio that could lure me off the beach,” Swanson told NTS MediaOnline Today. “Being asked to lead one of the best news teams in the country is one of those rare situations that do not present themselves often. I am a very fortunate guy.” Email your congrats to Jack on his return to radio HERE.
In a memo to staffers this morning, CBS Radio President/CEO Dan Mason (left) announced he is retiring. “After an unforgettable eight years leading CBS Radio, I am announcing today my retirement at the end of April,” wrote Mason. “Witnessing all that we’ve accomplished and knowing the bright future ahead for our company has not made this an easy decision. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as President and CEO and I want to express my gratitude to all of you.” Mason went on to say that despite his well-known love and passion for the radio biz, it’s time for a “pivot” in his life to spend more time leisure traveling and doing other “retirement type” things. “Broadcasting will always be part of my life,” he continued. “I am happy to continue with CBS Radio on a consulting basis and I will also be doing more work for the Broadcaster’s Foundation, a cause that I believe so much in. Finally, this fall I will be doing play-by-play for select college basketball games, a passion I followed early in my career. I guess you never get rid of the disc jockey blood you’re born with!” Mason also thanked CBS Corp. President/CEO Leslie Moonves for his support over the years saying, “Most people are lucky enough to have one great run at the helm of an organization — I’ve had two. My thanks to Leslie Moonves who has been so supportive of every new road we traveled down since this extraordinary second time around began for me in 2007. His desire for great content has been an inspiration for all of us and will no doubt continue to be the foundation of the company.”
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.