Don Imus hosted the final FOX Business Network television simulcast of his daily WABC/New York-Westwood One morning radio show today, opening the program by declaring, “Ordinarily when I leave these jobs it’s by police escort.” While his radio show will continue (Imus confirmed he’s just inked a new contract with Cumulus Media), that didn’t stop many of his FOX colleagues from offering some tongue-in-cheek “tributes” to the I-Man via a special audio/video prepared for today’s show. “What a sad day,” said FOX News Channel personality and Premiere Networks syndicated Talk radio host Sean Hannity. “The FOX Business Network is going to lose the cranky, contentious, Imus In The Morning. Don, you are an icon, a legend, and if people knew the Imus that I know, you’d be fired again!” FOX Business anchor and self-proclaimed “Imus groupie” Neil Cavuto lamented Imus’ departure from FBN, but rejoiced that he will still be able to hear him on radio everyday saying, “I take great comfort, as I have for decades, in knowing that Don Imus is not dead — he just looks like he is.” Hear a podcast of the show posted on the WABC website HERE.
Cumulus Media has promoted current Worcester, MA VP/Sales John Sutherland to VP/Market Manager for the company’s Providence, RI cluster, including News/Talker WPRO. Sutherland will assume the chair that’s been occupied for the past dozen years by Barbara Haynes, who exited the stations just prior to the Memorial Day holiday weekend. “Placing John at the helm of Cumulus Providence is a perfect fit for that dynamic group of stations and will maximize our position in the market,” said Cumulus SVP Gary Pizzati. “John has many years of broadcast history in the northeast and his tremendous track record speaks for itself. This is another example of the opportunities for advancement and growth Cumulus offers to our employees. We congratulate John and are pleased to present him with this well-deserved battlefield promotion.”
Spencer Brown and David Landau — the former co-CEOs of Dial Global/Westwood One — have partnered with venture capitalist Michael Rolnick to form DGital Media, an “audio engagement company that partners with media brands to create, distribute, and monetize spoken-word audio products.” Also joining the company as Chief Content Officer is Chris Corcoran, formerly EVP/Content at Dial Global/WWOne, and Grace Carrick, formerly VP/Sales at Dial Global/WWOne, who will serve as DGital Media’s EVP/Sales and Strategy. The company’s first venture will be the creation of the Re/code Radio network, an offshoot of one of the nation’s leading independent tech news, reviews and analysis websites, founded by noted technology journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. The Re/code Radio network will feature a portfolio of programs, with its first show, Re/code Decode hosted by Swisher, slated to debut next month. The new company is headquartered in New York, with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
After years of drought conditions, large parts of Texas and Oklahoma are under water, experiencing what some are calling historic rainfall. Flooding, power outages, hundreds of flights cancelled at the Dallas and Houston airports, properties destroyed and a death toll nearing 20 people that is certain to rise (with numerous residents still listed as missing), are just a few of the problems residents and emergency responders are dealing with. Longtime Texas resident Tyler Cox (right), OM/PD at Cumulus Media News/Talk outlets WBAP and KLIF/Dallas offers his perspective on the rash of deadly weather, telling NTS MediaOnline Today: “While tornados and severe thunderstorms are nothing new in North Texas, the relentless every day aspect of this storm season has been completely out of the ordinary. We’ve almost lost track of how many days/weekends in a row we’ve mobilized our news staff to cover the latest outbreak. From being in drought conditions around here for years, to having a surplus of water in every area lake overnight, the most common comment you hear is ‘I’ve never seen anything like this in Texas!’ Our news team, along with our own meteorologist Brad Barton, have aired countless hours of continuous coverage. But that’s what you’re supposed to do in situations like this. We’re fortunate to have a staff that ‘gets it’ and does whatever it takes, no matter how long it takes.” Looking to the weeks and months ahead Cox continues, “The aftermath of the story once the rain finally does stop — and I never thought we’d be wishing for that in Texas — will continue. Communities and families rebuilding will be the focus of things for some time to come.”
Editor’s Note: The heavy rains in TX and OK have created hardships for many families flooded out of their homes who need shelter, food and supplies. Here’s how you can HELP.
Kudos to KSFO/San Francisco morning host Brian Sussman (left), along with his wake-up team members Katie Green and Sheri Yee, for raising $136,000 for the Fisher House Foundation during their 5th annual Memorial Day weekend broadcast from the Palo Alto, CA Fisher House. The yearly fundraising effort has resulted in over $600,000 in donations to the Fisher House Foundation from KSFO listeners … Effective June 2nd, Boston Talk radio veteran Michele McPhee (WRKO, WTKK) will take up residence at 1510 WMEX, where she’ll slide into the 3-6pm weekday slot most recently occupied by Howie Carr (now back at crosstown WRKO) … WGN/Chicago and ABC News Radio reporter/anchor Ryan Burrow is among eleven journalists selected to participate in this year’s RTDNF German Fellowship. It’s the 22nd year that RTNDF, in partnership with the RIAS Berlin Kommission, has participated in the German/American journalist exchange program … CBS Radio/Phoenix ups veteran programmer Tim Richards to VP/Programming for the company’s cluster in the Valley of the Sun.
When a common weather phenomenon known to all Floridians as a water spout came ashore on a crowded Ft. Lauderdale beach over the holiday weekend, a local happened to be filming video as what became a small tornado ripped across the sand and tossed an inflatable bounce house high in the air, hurling it like a toy into a nearby parking lot and injuring at least three children and one adult. WFTL/Ft. Lauderdale talk host Rich Stevens spoke live today with the man who shot the terrifying video that has gone viral worldwide. Hear their conversation HERE … Congratulations to 98.1 KMBZ/Kansas City’s Trend K.C. midday co-host Zak Burns and fiancé Jessica Kittams (pictured) who tied the knot in true radio fashion recently, exchanging their wedding day vows live on the radio during the Entercom FM News/Talker’s Dana & Parks afternoon show, hosted by Dana Wright and Scott Parks … Salem Radio Network syndicated host Hugh Hewitt will chat with former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morel this Thursday (5/28) during a live webcast hosted by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library. During the one-hour interview, Morel will discuss his new book, The Great War of Our Time: The CIA’s Fight Against Terrorism – From Al Qa’ida to ISIS. The live event is open to the public, but reservations are recommended. Find out more HERE.
Just as the long holiday weekend break officially got underway, the industry learned the sad news that popular longtime Cleveland radio personality Chuck Collins died following a long struggle with cancer. He was 62. Collins, whose career included stints at Cleveland stations WWWE and M105, spent the past decade and a half at Rubber City Radio Group News/Talker WAKR, where he hosted middays until retiring just over a year ago to undergo treatment for his advancing cancer. Along with his accomplishments on radio, Collins also authored several books, including his most recent effort, Robbing Mind, which the WAKR website characterized as a story that “serves as a diary of his experiences as a cancer patient.” Read more about Collins’ colorful Cleveland radio career and a personal tribute from his boss and friend, RCRG President/GM Thom Mandel, HERE.
While David Letterman is getting all the retirement attention today, we note that another broadcast legend — Johnny Donovan — is hanging up his headphones at WABC/New York, where he’s been Staff Announcer and Production Director for the past 30+ years. Donovan (pictured left in a classic 1978 station publicity photo) began his career at WABC in 1972, when he was one of the station’s popular DJ’s during it’s hugely successful ‘MusicRadio’ era. When WABC flipped to Talk radio in 1982, Donovan stayed on, becoming the signature voice of the station. “Johnny Donovan was the sound of 77 WABC,” said Mike McVay, SVP/ Content and Programming for Cumulus Media. “He joins the ranks of legends like Don Pardo, Ed McMahon and Ernie Anderson. His production and imaging skills are legendary. He will be missed at WABC, but more than that, he will be missed in our industry.” Donovan will continue to be heard as the voice of Premiere Networks’ nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh Show (a position that he’s held since 1988) as well as through media clients of his own successful voiceover business.
ABC Radio officially announces it has extended its ABC News Radio affiliation with Tribune News/Talker WGN/Chicago, in a deal that includes an expansion of shared editorial resources in the Windy City. Concurrently, Ryan Burrow (right), who recently joined WGN from crosstown News/Talk rival WLS, is now also serving as a contributor to ABC News Radio, reporting on stories from the Chicago region and from around the country. “Ryan Burrow is a talented award-winning reporter who understands how to tell stories that capture an audience’s interest,” said Steve Jones, ABC News Radio VP/GM. “Through ABC News Radio’s expanded partnership with WGN Radio, Ryan will cover stories of interest to our national audience from across the Midwest region and around the country.”
With the Atlantic hurricane season quickly approaching, CBS News Correspondent Peter King (left) — who has been providing hurricane coverage for the network over the past 22 years — sat down with National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb during the recently held Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference in Orlando to talk about what listeners in hurricane-prone areas might expect this year. Although many forecasters are predicting a below-average season for named storms, Knabb told King that, should the list of storms gets all the way to “P” in 2015, storm number 16 will be named Hurricane Peter! Upon hearing the news, the veteran reporter muttered something that sounded like, “Uh, gee — thanks … I guess.”