Glenn Beck has promoted Betsy Morgan to CEO of TheBlaze, effective immediately. Most recently President and Chief Strategy Officer for Beck’s news, information and entertainment network, Morgan will succeed Chris Balfe, who is stepping down after a 12-year run. During his tenure, Balfe helped Beck transform a two-person operation into a multi-media operation that today employs some 300 people in Dallas and New York. In a statement released about the executive transition Beck said, “Chris Balfe has been my friend and the CEO of Mercury Radio Arts for 12 years, and he will be an incredibly hard act to follow. Under Chris’ watchful eye we have done things that no group of people our size have ever done — things that people thought were impossible. And I think that under the leadership of our new CEO, Betsy Morgan, we will continue to prove that there is another way and we’ll confound the skeptics yet again.” Morgan (pictured) joined TheBlaze from the Huffington Post. where she was CEO. Prior to that she served as SVP of CBS Interactive, as well as General Manager for CBSNews.com.
iHeartRadio’s just released ‘Holiday Heartbeat Survey’ takes a look at some of the music, traditions and gifts that are hitting listeners’ hot buttons this holiday season. When it comes to ‘Favorite Classic Christmas Albums’ artists who haven’t charted in decades still dominate listeners’ top choices, with Bing Crosby (pictured) topping the list and Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra all ranking in the Top Five. What’s the number one overall favorite Christmas song? It’s the World War II classic, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, by a mile. Meanwhile, A Christmas Story leads the ‘Favorite Holiday Movie’ category, while hanging holiday decorations and baking holiday treats lead the way among ‘Favorite Holiday Traditions.’ And if you’re looking for what listeners are hoping to find in their stockings this year, the iPhone 6 tops the list of “This Year’s Hottest Gift,” followed by wearable fitness trackers, quality audio headphones, PlayStation 4, XBox One and e-readers to round out the Top Five.
PodcastOne has issued a demand to Stitcher (recently acquired by Deezer) to cease distribution of programming that PodcastOne produces or has the exclusive sales rights to. Norm Pattiz (pictured), PodcastOne Chairman/CEO, commented on the dispute saying, “In some cases, Stitcher has absolutely no rights to carry our programs, and in others, no rights to sell or monetize our exclusively represented content in any way. This has been an ongoing problem, and enough is enough. You can’t just steal content without permission.” … TechCrunch East Coast Editor John Biggs and Jordan Crook, TechCrunch writer and reporter, will host TechCrunch Radio as an exclusive weekly series for SiriusXM subscribers. The weekly show will be available each Tuesday at 6pm (ET) starting today (11/25) … Also effective today, TuneIn launches as the newest app now supported for the Google Chromecast device. The integration will allow Chromecast users to easily stream TuneIn radio content on their television screen.
Chicago Tribune reporter Robert Channick spoke with WGN Radio President and manager Jimmy de Castro about yesterday’s announced decision to pull the plug on both it’s FM Sports/Talk experiment at 87.7 The Game (WGWG-LP) and the recently launched streaming venture, WGN.fm. As you’d probably expect, de Castro (pictured) cited economics as the driving force behind the decision to shutter both operations that were launched with a fair degree of fanfare some nine months ago. Tribune has a deal to operate WGWG through next September via an LMA with Venture Technologies Group, which owns the frequency. Asked what, if anything, will be airing on the 87.7 frequency come January 2015, de Castro (pictured) told the newspaper he really didn’t know yet but, “It’s not going to be sports, that’s for sure.” Read more (subscription required) HERE.
Cumulus/Youngstown Market Manager Rick Parrish says he’s headed for retirement after more than four decades in radio ownership and corporate management. Quarterback for the Youngstown cluster (including News/Talkers WPIC and WSOM, and Sports/Talkers WLLF-FM and WBBW-AM) since 2010, Parrish (pictured) says he believes the best is still to come for a guy who has “loved radio since the age of 15 when my mother drove me to KMAD in Madill, Oklahoma for my first day of on-air work!” … Former award winning ESPN podcast producer Jay Soderberg is named Head of Content for BlogTalkRadio, where he’ll focus on cultivating and expanding the online radio platform’s community of podcasters, and also take a leading role in shaping the company’s future content portfolio … Jonathan Ghazal has been named Sales Manager for Greater Media-owned Detroit Sports 105.1 (WMGC). Ghazal joined the company’s Motor City cluster as an Account Executive in October of 2012 … Alex Ferrer, best known for his nine year run on FOX TV’s syndicated Judge Alex Show, will debut a new legal-focused radio show via Andy Dean’s new ConnectPal digital venture. A frequent guest commentator on Fox News, CNN, and HLN, ‘Judge Alex’ is also highly active on social media, with a Facebook following closing in on a quarter-million fans.
Following his recent split with Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One, former Governor Mike Huckabee (left) has officially announced it’s “on with the show” and confirms he will continue to host his daily commentary, The Huckabee Report, without interruption to affiliates. Huckabee spokesperson and McConnell Media namesake, John McConnell, reports that a new distribution and ad sales partner for the daily feature will be announced next week. “The support and interest from the Governor’s current affiliates has been tremendous,” McConnell told NTS MediaOnline Today. “He’s beloved by his fans and his fan base is huge!” … Cumulus/Memphis has tapped popular local radio veteran Forrest Goodman as morning host at Newstalk 98.9. He’ll be joined for wake-up duties by Steve Butler, weekdays from 6-9am … Westwood One ups veteran network sales exec Julie Boruchov (right) to Vice-President, Sports Sales and Marketing/East Coast, in its network sales division. She was formerly Director, Sports Sales, East Coast. In her expanded role, Boruchov will work more closely with the network’s ports partners and agency clients to help drive revenue and maximize brand initiatives and activations, while also managing a team of east coast-based sports sales account executives.
After wrapping up weekend hosting duties for Premiere Networks syndicated Coast To Coast earlier this year, longtime Texas talker John B. Wells (pictured) debuted Caravan To Midnight, a daily three-hour subscriber-based cybercast. Produced Monday-Friday and available for broadcast in all day parts, Wells “explores and exploits critical news stories that the mainstream media often ignores or superficially covers.” John B. is now taking the next step, announcing a national syndication rollout of ‘Caravan’ via his own C2M Network, with WRKO/Boston signing on as the show’s the first Top 10 market affiliate (WRKO will air the show on Saturday nights). Heading up syndication efforts for Wells’ new Dallas-based venture is former CBS Radio ad exec David Rubini who said, “John B. has a long track record for making money for his clients. Given the instant and overwhelming response and support for the Caravan to Midnight cybercast, I’m confident his track record is going to get longer.” Wells also said his future plans also include developing new talent for syndication via his C2M Network.
Veteran Talk radio PD Paul Duckworth reports he’s going to give retirement another try. “After two-and-a-half terrific years at KOMO and KVI in Seattle, I’m going to try my hand at that whole retirement thing again,” said Duckworth (pictured), who previously tried to hang up his headphones a couple of years back, following a distinguished programming career that included prior stints at WMAL/Washington, KLIF/Dallas and KPAM/Portland, along with a previous run at KOMO from 1997-2005. You can wish Paul ‘Happy Trails’ HERE … Congrats to Salem Radio Network host Michael Medved on receiving the 2014 Quill & Badge Award from the International Association of Police Unions, AFL-CIO. The award was given to Medved to cite his ongoing on-air and print support of America’s law enforcement officers … This Thursday (11/6), E! Television personality and best-selling author Ross Matthews will debut a new weekly podcast, Straight Talk with Ross Matthews, via PodcastOne … CONDOLENCES: To the family and friends of Tom Magliozzi, half of the wisecracking Car Talk duo known as Click and Clack, who died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 77. Read more from NPR HERE.
In a recent post, New York magazine technology columnist Kevin Roose writes that after a few years of waning interest, today’s world of podcasting is experiencing a “renaissance” in growth and argues that the medium is, “More alive than ever.” In support of that claim, Roose cites the most recent Infinite Dial study from Edison Research and Triton Digital, which reported that some 39 million respondents had listened to a podcast in the 30 days prior to the study being taken — the highest number on record. So what’s behind the resurging interest in a technology that was first introduced in the early 2000′s? Three key things: Improved quality/content, compelling economics and connected cars. “Connected cars are a boon for the entire streaming audio industry, but they’re especially exciting for podcast makers, whose shows are perfectly suited to in-car listening,” writes Roose. “Just as TV watchers can now choose Netflix or Amazon streams over surfing channels, radio listeners will soon have a bevy of on-demand options at their disposal.” Read the full article HERE.