From our “Not Exactly Talk Media News” Department: Programming veteran Buzz Knight has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Program Development at Greater Media. In his newly expanded role, Knight (left), who joined Greater Media in 2002, will oversee programming development for all of the company’s 21 radio properties and also collaborate with individual stations to build content, digital and brand management strategies … Talk host Christopher Gabriel has exited at iHeartMedia/Fresno News/Talker PowerTalk 96.7 and AM 1400. Gabriel joined the station in January of 2015 following a five-year run in wake-ups at WDAY/Fargo … Cumulus Media talker WFAS-AM/White Plains, NY has flipped to Sports, utilizing the full roster of network programming from CBS Sports Radio … Condolences: To the family, friends and colleagues of former Dallas (KLIF, KRLD) and Los Angeles (KFI) talk host Benjamin Dover. The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reports Dover died on January 1st of complications from pneumonia. He was 57.
Comedian and radio pioneer Bob Elliott (pictured at left with his comedy partner Ray Goulding), one half of the long running comedy team ‘Bob & Ray,’ has died at his home in Maine. He was 92. Together Bob and Ray first entertained radio audiences in the 1940s at WHDH/Boston, where they first met and honed their act when both worked for the station. Their success would lead them to being hired to do both radio and TV by NBC in New York. Over the years, the comedic duo’s Bob & Ray Show would also go on to be heard nationally on CBS and Mutual, as well as on local NYC radio stations WINS, WHN and WOR. With a soft style and a wicked sense of humor, as the New York Times noted today, “Together Bob and Ray specialized in debunking gasbags, political airheads, no-talent entrepreneurs and Madison Avenue hypemasters. Their weapon was not caustic satire but wry understatement.” Their final performances on the radio together aired on NPR from 1982-1987, prior to Goulding’s death in 1990 at age 68. Bob Elliott is the father of comedian Chris Elliot.
Westwood One News will have tonight’s broadcast radio simulcast of CNN’s Democratic Town Hall, live from New Hampshire. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper will moderate as Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders square off in a two hour match-up that airs from 9-11pm (ET) … Jeff Hickcox has returned to Beasley Media Group’s Southwest Florida cluster. He’ll serve as Director of Promotions and Special Events for the six-station group that includes Sports/Talkers ESPN 99.3 (WWCN) and AM 770 ESPN Deportes … Yahoo! Sports Radio is broadcasting live from Radio Row at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center this week, as network hosts Sean Salisbury (pictured), Steve Bunin, John Granato and more report on all the action in advance of this weekend’s NFL Super Bowl 50 … BRAGGIN’ RIGHTS: Kudos to the crew at Cumulus Media/Dallas — including News/Talkers WBAP and KLIF-AM and Sports/Talker’s AM 1310 & 96.7 The Ticket (KTCK) and ESPN Radio 103.3 (KESN) — as the cluster reports its local and national charity and fundraising efforts for the year 2015 surpassed $1.2 million!
Voting opens today (2/3) in Westwood One’s 3rd annual Super Bowl Sound Awards for Excellence in Audio Creativity. The consumer-driven contest celebrates brand advertisers and audio creative, featuring radio spots that will air the network’s affiliates during WW One Sports’ broadcast of the Big Game. “As we celebrate the golden anniversary of the Super Bowl, we also look forward to celebrating excellence in audio creative,“ said Brandon Berman, SVP Sports Sales & Marketing for WW One. “Last year, more than 28 million fans engaged via on-air, digital, and social platforms and we can’t wait to hear what our partners have in store this year.” Last year’s winner, Poo-Pourri, earned the top spot with a clever football themed play-by-play spot. The audio award’s first winner was Motel 6.
Mark Ramsey Media namesake and veteran media researcher Mark Ramsey has announced details and dates for his upcoming 4th annual Hivio, billed as “the first and only audio future festival.” The 2016 edition of Ramsey’s rather ‘unconventional’ convention will take place June 2nd and 3rd in Los Angeles at the Andaz West Hollywood Hotel. “Hivio gathers together people from radio, online radio, podcasting, talent, agencies, social media, platforms, and more,” says Ramsey. “All in one place to talk about where audio is headed, what the future is, and how brands are building business models to make that future a reality. This is the benchmark trans-audio event for a world where the consumer — the listener — is firmly in charge.” Just a few of the confirmed speakers for this year’s event are: Virgin Radio CEO Ian Grace, Peter Kafka, Media Editor for Re/code, Andy Bowers, Chief Content Officer at Panoply Media, Chris Balfe, partner at Red Seat Ventures, Valerie Geller, president of Geller Media International and Lizzie Widhelm, SVP Ad Product Sales and Strategy at Pandora. See the full lineup of speakers and get hotel and registration information for the annual limited seating conference HERE.
While everyone knows there will be tons of television coverage of this weekend’s 50th annual NFL Super Bowl, with millions gathered around their TV’s across the country watching and stuffing their faces at Super Bowl parties. But lest we forget, Westwood One Sports — the official network radio partner of the NFL — wants to remind radio folks that millions listen to the annual ‘Big Game’ on radio, too. So, who listens to the Super Bowl on radio, you ask? WW One replies, “Our Super Bowl audience is massive, with 28 million listeners reached across multiple platforms. This huge group is largely made up of listeners tuning in on-the-go -– with more than half of adults listening away from home. The Super Bowl audience is also young, with half of listeners falling into the 18-49 age group.” Westwood One Sports kicks off its pre-game coverage of Super Bowl 50 on Sunday at 2pm (ET) with Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason, and Hall of Famer Dan Fouts calling all the action starting at 5pm. Meanwhile, like most of the sports world, the WW One Sports crew is in San Francisco all this week, where the network’s NFL analyst and Hall of Famer James Lofton (on the right in the photo above) struck a pose with former Denver Bronco and Super Bowl XXXII MVP Terrell Davis during the Super Bowl 50 Opening Night event.
E.W. Scripps snares market veteran Bob Rosenthal to take over as VP/GM of the company’s Boise radio station cluster. It’s a return home for Rosenthal (left), who previously served as VP/GM of the stations for 11 years under Journal Broadcast Group, prior to the merger of Journal and Scripps last year. Most recently, he was Director of Sales for Cumulus Media’s crosstown stations … Chicago media watcher Robert Feder reports that former two-time WGN Radio news anchor Rob Hart has joined crosstown CBS Radio all-newser WBBM-AM as a fill-in reporter/anchor. Hart was previously heard on Merlin Media’s now defunct FM News 101.1 … Cox Media Group/Athens, GA has named Kisha Hardwick as its new Digital Sales Manager. Previously, Hardwick served in a similar role for Raycom Media in Augusta … Television producer/writer Chuck Lorre, the creative force behind the hit sitcoms The Big Bang Theory, Mom, Mike & Molly and Two and a Half Men, will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the upcoming 2016 NAB Show in Las Vegas. Find out more HERE.
Stewart Padveen (left) has been chosen to lead Glenn Beck’s muti-media venture The Blaze. The digital start-up entrepreneur will succeed Kraig Kitchin, who has been filling the chief executive role at Beck’s company on an interim basis since Betsy Morgan left that post last year. A not so flattering portrayal of the executive changes at The Blaze by TheDailyBeast’s Lloyd Grove that made the rounds on social media over the weekend, suggested Kitchin’s departure was a sign of deeper problems at the company — something Kitchin sought to clarify in an extensive comment to NTS MediaOnline Today. “Since 2008, I’ve been working with a select group of on-air and production company clients at my management firm, Sound Mind,” said Kitchin (right). “It’s a thriving business that allows me to do what I do best – nurture and grow the businesses of some very talented individuals. Given my longstanding, ongoing relationship with Glenn Beck, from launching his radio show into national syndication in 2001 to working with him as a client since 2008, and consulting The Blaze since 2011, I was in a position to help him with the business of The Blaze last year when it needed attention.”
Addressing any suggestions his stepping down as interim CEO is anything other than planned and voluntary Kitchin continued, “Last June, I assumed the role of interim CEO for The Blaze while also running Sound Mind. Over the last several months we moved the New York City headquarters to Dallas, the TV division doubled their household cable TV distribution reach, and appointed a new Chief Financial Officer, Human Resources Director, Head of Content and a Managing Editor. 2015 was The Blaze’s most profitable year to date. Last week, Stewart Padveen was appointed president of The Blaze. He’s a digital media wiz with great leadership skills and the previous head of product for The Blaze. Despite the company’s growing pains with first generation employee turnover these past 12 months, the new management team, under Stewart’s leadership, and the talented folks that Glenn employs have a robust business to manage.”
To the family friends and colleagues of longtime Motor City newsman Bob Schuman, who died Saturday (1/30) at his suburban Detroit home. He was 65. ‘Radio’s Best Friend’ Art Vuolo reports Schuman died in his sleep of congestive heart failure. Along with Bob’s more than a quarter century on the air in Detroit, his broadcast news career also included stops in New Orleans, Cincinatti, Atlanta, Dallas, Jacksonville and Boston. Watch a heartfelt video tribute to Schuman that Art compiled HERE … Sincere sympathies also going out to the family, colleagues and millions of fans of longtime Motor Racing Network anchor Barney Hall, who died last week of complications following surgery. The voice of NASCAR on the radio for more than five decades was 83. Beginning his radio career at WIFM in his hometown of Elkin, NC after a four year stint in the Navy, the NASCAR Hall of Fame broadcaster would go on to become a major cornerstone of MRN, joining the network when it was founded back in 1970. MRN pays tribute to Hall (right) HERE.
Yesterday (1/28), the Federal Communications Commission adopted new rules that will require broadcast radio, satellite radio, cable operators and satellite television (DBS) providers to post their public and political files to the FCC’s online public inspection file database. The FCC already adopted similar online public file rules for broadcast TV in 2012. An FCC release giving an executive summary of the details of the rule making says the new online regulations will initially be imposed only on commercial broadcast radio stations in the Top 50 Nielsen Audio markets that have five or more full-time employees. Mandatory implementation for all other broadcast radio stations will be delayed for a period of two years to allow for a smooth transition. Learn more about the FCC’s latest rule-making that will directly affect all radio broadcasters HERE.