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.
As reported via our “Breaking News” email earlier today, ABC News President James Goldston announced that, starting in January 2015, Disney-owned ABC will take back control of distribution and marketing for ABC News Radio. The announcement comes in advance of the clock running out on a deal with Cumulus Media, which acquired syndication and marketing rights to ABC News Radio when the company acquired Citadel Broadcasting back in 2011. Cumulus/WW One also distributes and syndicates CBS Radio News, NBC Radio News and it’s just announced new “white label” news product powered by CNN NewsSource. Goldston also reports that a new alliance between ABC and Skyview Networks will “help us deliver our content and bolster our sales efforts.” Calling it a “new era” for the network Goldston added, “We’re taking these important steps now to work more closely with our terrific, long-standing station partners and better position us for digital audio growth in the future. I’m confident that with [ABC News Radio VP/GM] Steve Jones and his team leading the charge, there are exciting new opportunities and many more great days ahead at ABC Radio.” ABC News Radio currently airs on a reported 2,000+ affiliates nationwide.
Casey Kasem — the “King of the Coundowns” — has died at the age of 82 following a lengthy illness and a bizarre family battle over his care that has played out in the public eye for the past few months. Kasem founded the “American Top 40″ nationally syndicated radio show in 1970 which he hosted until 2004. He then hosted several other countdown shows until he retired from the industry in 2009. Fans will never forget Casey’s signature sign-off: “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” Read the full story of Kasem’s broadcast career and listen to CLASSIC AUDIO from his National Radio Hall of Fame induction bio page HERE.
Statement from Ryan Seacrest, Kasem’s successor at AT40: “It’s a sad day for the broadcasting community and for radio listeners around the world. When I was a kid, I would listen to Casey Kasem’s AT40 show every weekend, and dream about someday becoming a radio DJ. So when decades later I took over his AT40 countdown show, it was a surreal moment. Casey had a distinctive friendly on-air voice, and he was just as affable and nice if you had the privilege to be in his company. He’ll be greatly missed by all of us.”
Statement from Darren Davis, Clear Channel Networks President: “People all over America have fond memories of Casey counting down the best songs each week. I can vividly remember listening to American Top 40 each Sunday morning when I was a kid, and Casey’s polished style and dedication to his craft helped me fall in love with radio. He was a true gem, and I’m grateful I got to meet him several times over the years. Casey was such a wonderful man.”
Statement from Premiere Networks: “Everyone at Premiere Networks offers our sincerest condolences to Casey Kasem’s family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this most difficult time. One of the most recognizable voices in radio and television, Casey set a gold standard for all broadcasters as the creator and host of American Top 40 for nearly 40 years, and he set the bar even higher outside the studio with his dedication to numerous charitable causes. While we’re deeply saddened to say good bye to our dear friend, Casey’s legacy will live on in the hearts of his millions of fans worldwide.”