Townsquare Media announced today that longtime New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW/Trenton) morning host Jim Gearhart — who has been on an extended leave of absence from the station of late, following a recent injury — will not be returning to his daily program due to the extent of those injuries. Gearhart has been with the pioneering FM talk station for a quarter century, during which time he’s covered the ‘Great New Jersey Tax Revolt’ of the 1990s, ten New Jersey governors’ administrations, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and more. Prior to his move to mornings at NJ101.5, the New Jersey Broadcasting Hall of Famer’s career included major market stints in New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Seattle. “All of us at New Jersey 101.5 will miss Jim,” said Townsquare Media Market President Fred Bennett. “He is an extraordinary broadcaster and we thank him for his 25 years of service to NJ101.5 and the entire New Jersey community. Jim is in our thoughts and we wish him a speedy recovery.”
Concurrently, Townsquare has named Bill Spadea to succeed Gearhart in morning drive, effective December 1st. A familiar voice to NJ101.5 listeners from his daily feature Bill Spadea’s New Jersey and as a regular fill-in for Gearhart, Spadea will also continue to host Chasing News, a television show that airs in both the New York and Philadelphia markets. “I love New Jersey,” said Spadea, a longtime Garden State resident. “The NJ101.5 team is the best in the business and I’m proud to be a part of this successful family. I’ve always looked up to Jim Gearhart as a legend in New Jersey media. His shoes are too large for me to ever fill completely, but I am honored and humbled and will try my best to live up to his legacy of unequaled radio and service to the people of New Jersey.”
Cumulus Media has expanded the role of Corporate Program Director for News/Talk and WMAL/Washington, DC Program Director Bill Hess to include Operations Manager duties for the DC station cluster. Hess’ 38-year radio career has included on-air and News/Talk/Sports programming positions at crosstown WTEM/Washington, WHJJ/Providence and WHYN/Springfield, MA. He’s also served as Brand Manager for Clear Channel Radio/iHeartMedia, and as Senior Vice President/Programming for Air America Radio in New York City. In addition, Hess’s radio resume also includes music radio programming stints at WASH and WBIG/Washington and WSNE-WWBB/Providence. “Bill is an exceptional programmer and is deserving of this recognition,” said Mike McVay, SVP, Content and Programming for Cumulus “The growth that WMAL has experienced under his direction is nothing short of astounding. He has excelled as a Corporate PD and will continue in that role and as PD for WMAL, while now also expanding his involvement with our other DC stations.”
The radio industry has lost yet another legendary broadcast personality, as WCCO/Minneapolis reports retired morning show host Charlie Boone, who along with his radio partner Roger Erickson ruled wake-ups in the Twin Cities for nearly four decades, died Sunday (11/22) following a brief illness. He was 88. A story posted at the WCCO website reports, “Boone & Erickson arrived at WCCO the same year (1959) and hosted their own programs featuring music and information. Erickson’s afternoon show aired just before Boone’s and when the two began to chat and share jokes a legendary radio team was born. Erickson retired in 1998 while Boone (pictured) continued hosting a Saturday morning show until 2010.” WCCO reporter Susie Jones has more on Charlie Boone’s storied radio career, and also shares video and audio clips of the beloved local radio personality HERE.
WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment is once again offering An American Christmas, hosted by Mannheim Steamroller’s founder Chip Davis (left). The 12-hour holiday program tells the stories and legends surrounding the holiday, all keyed to Christmas music. Among the major market News/Talkers already signed up to carry this year’s show are KABC/Los Angeles, WSB/Atlanta, KOA-KHOW-KKZN/Denver, and WJR/Detroit … Bloomberg Radio will offer an original series of 30-second ‘Tax Tips’ for broadcast starting February 1, 2016 through Tax Day, April 15th. Written and anchored by Bloomberg correspondent Peggy Collins, the full series will be distributed through United Stations Radio Networks … Free Talk Live, which airs live seven days a week (including on the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday) welcomes new affiliates KVSF/Santa Fe and WTMA/Charleston, while WVNJ/Oakland, NJ (New York) expands the program to weeknights from its current weekend-only slot.
Sun Broadcast Group held its annual upfront event in New York City this past Friday night (11/20), where the syndicator unveiled new and returning shows and features for the upcoming 2016 season. That’s SBG CEO Jason Bailey on stage with Marilu Henner (whose daily syndicated talk show will remain part of the SBG roster) as they welcome the crowd to the gala evening titled, We Rise Together!
In a post this week to his JacobsMediaBlog, Fred Jacobs (left), president of Jacobs Media, ponders if the industry may be beginning to see the end for one of radio’s most cherished and profitable audience service features — live traffic reports. “While car manufactures continue to glean profits from marketing their in-dash GPS features, consumers are rapidly learning that mobile apps like Google Maps and WAZE provide these same services, and with even more real-time traffic conditions,” writes Jacobs. “This has impact on what the car makers will ultimately offer, but it also gets right into radio’s grille. For decades, AM and FM stations have capitalized on traffic jams, jackknifed semis, orange barrels, and other daily commuting gnarliness to provide information that has always attracted mega- sponsorship dollars. But that’s about to change, just as radio’s school closing model – reading long alphabetical lists of area schools – is no longer effective in a world where this info is available online and via text messaging.” Read Fred’s full commentary on the topic HERE.
The NAB reports the Alison & Adam Memorial Fund, established to support families of the victims of this summer’s murder of the WDJB-TV/Roanoke reporters, has raised more than $88,000. The NAB and the RTDNA launched the fund to accept donations from broadcasters on behalf of Alison Parker and Adam Ward (pictured), who were shot and killed on August 26th by a former station employee. Before year end, all proceeds from the fund will be distributed evenly in four contributions: 25 percent each to the families of Parker and Ward; 25 percent to Vicki Gardner, Executive Director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, who suffered gunshot wounds during the on-air shooting; and 25 percent to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based organization dedicated to press freedom and protecting the rights of reporters to work without fear of reprisal. Donations to the fund will be accepted for the fund until November 30th HERE.
The Detroit Lions and Cumulus Media announce a five-year broadcast partnership that will make News/Talk 760 WJR/Detroit the flagship station for Lions’ football beginning in 2016. The team’s history with WJR dates back to when the team moved to Detroit in 1934, after being purchased by then WJR owner/executive George A. Richards. Lions games were regularly broadcast on WJR from 1948-88 … iHeartMedia/Pittsburgh announces, an extension of its broadcast agreement with the Pittsburgh Steelers, effective through the 2018 NFL season. The new agreement includes the Steelers Radio Network, originating from WDVE and WBGG, with additional promotional support across all six iHeartMedia/Pittsburgh stations and websites. The deal also expands the Steelers’ HD radio station (SNR) to 8 hours of original programming per day throughout the season. WDVE has broadcast Steelers games since 1999.
Salem Media Group is looking for a full-time Program Director for our four-station San Antonio cluster, including News/Talker 930AM The Answer. This person will oversee all aspects of the on-air programming operations of the radio station and will report directly to the General Manager. Several years of experience in radio programming, production, and operations management is essential. Get additional details and full job requirements, as well as info on how to apply online HERE. (EOE)
• KCRO and KOTK/Omaha have an opening for a Part-Time Board Operator to run the audio board and automation system for talk shows, production, sports and other station programming. You’ll also handle light production duties. Radio board operating experience helpful but not required. Experience with ENCO Automation and digital editing is a plus. Must be willing to work nights and weekends. Contact Operations Manager Mike Shane HERE. (EOE)
Compass Media Networks — syndicator of a varied roster of programming including This Morning with Gordon Deal, The Lars Larson Show, The Todd Schnitt Show and more — is seeking an experienced Financial Controller to be based at the network’s corporate headquarters in Rye, New York. At least 3-5 years of experience in media finance and CPA required. Interested candidates should email cover letter and resume HERE. (EOE)
• Bloomberg has an opening for a Radio Traffic Specialist. This role is uniquely positioned between the advertising sales and broadcast editorial and operations teams. The candidate will be responsible for accurately scheduling the output for Bloomberg Radio. Responsibilities will include manual log editing, close monitoring and reporting of inventory, and collaboration with sales management to confirm and manage appropriate pricing for Bloomberg Radio. This position will require constant communication with the domestic sales, planning, operations and radio editorial teams. Prior radio traffic experience required. Get full details and application info HERE. (EOE)
Hearst is one of the nation’s most diversified media, information and technology companies and we believe in impactful live and local radio. Our Baltimore stations are News/Talk powerhouse WBAL-AM and the legendary 98 ROCK, and we are the flagship for the Baltimore Ravens and Navy Football. We need both a Local Sales Manager and Digital Sales Manager who share our desire to combine superior local content with exceptional sales leadership. Our team is determined and energetic, and our work environment is respectable with a high standard of excellence. Learn more about Hearst and these leadership opportunities HERE. (EOE)
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ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike broadcast their national show live from the Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill in Columbus, Ohio this morning (11/20) in advance of the upcoming rivalry matchup between the No. 9 Michigan State Spartans and the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes. Pictured (L-R) are: Ohio State coach Urban Meyer; co-hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic; and ESPN’s Cris Carter.