A just published feature in Bloomberg Business Week calls Salem Communications a “major player in the consolidation of conservative media.” Noting the Camarillo, CA-based media company’s acquisition this week of Twitchy.com — a website founded by author, blogger and widely read conservative pundit Michelle Malkin – reporter Felix Gillette says the move by Salem “may signal that the same forces currently driving consolidation in the digital news industry at large are starting to gain momentum among the ranks of conservative news publishers online.” The feature also reports that as consolidation in the digital news world increases, Salem is “well positioned for a buying spree” due primarily to the profitability of its owned-and-operated radio stations. Those stations include both Christian Talk and music outlets, along with secular conservative News/Talk stations that feature Salem Radio Network’s lineup of syndicated talkers: Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt. The company also owns the DC-based SRN News network. Read the full feature HERE.
L.A. radio veteran Brian Whitman inks an extension on his current deal to remain in mornings at Salem Communications News/Talker AM 870 The Answer (KRLA/Los Angeles). Whitman, who was previously heard on L.A. stations KIIS-FM, KLSX and KABC, as well as WABC/New York prior to joining KRLA, is part of a trio that also includes Elisha Krauss and Ben Shapiro. Both have also agreed to remain alongside Whitman (pictured at left with his co-hosts) on AM 870′s Morning Answer … Eric Nadel — now in his 35th year of broadcasting for Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers — has been named as the 2014 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually to a broadcaster who has made “major contributions to baseball.” Nadel will join a pretty darn exclusive club that started in 1978 with the induction of Mel Allen and Red Barber and includes Hall of Fame legends Vin Scully, Curt Gowdy, Harry Caray, Ernie Harwell, Bob Uecker, Tim McCarver and more. Nadel will be honored during next July’s MLB Hall of Fame Weekend in Cooperstown, NY … Available-on-demand Talk radio host and recovering politician J.D. Hayworth will bat clean-up for Mike Huckabee starting tomorrow, hosting live shows on most days through the rest of the year, as Cumulus Media Networks winds down production of Huck’s two-year nationally syndicated radio venture.
Current WIP-AM & FM/Philadelphia Program Director Jeff Sottolano has been upped to Director of Programming for CBS Radio, a new position from which he will offer support to the company’s 27 major market PD’s and help to drive overall growth for CBS’ 126 radio stations. “Jeff has consistently and successfully answered every challenge he’s faced during his career at CBS Radio,” said EVP/Programming Chris Oliviero in a release announcing Sottolano’s move up the corporate ladder. “With such diverse format experience and a respected reputation, both in and outside our company, I have no doubt he is ready to tackle this exciting and critical next chapter. Jeff will be a great complement to our corporate programming team.” Sottolano joined CBS Radio in 2001 at WZNE/Rochester, rising from intern to Program Director and on-air personality during his tenure with the station. In 2006 he moved to WYSP/Philadelphia, where he was promoted to PD in 2008 and also was instrumental in launching Danny Bonaduce’s morning show that same year. In 2011 he assumed programming oversight at WIP when the heritage AM Sports/Talker launched an FM simulcast on WYSP as ‘SportsRadio 94 WIP.’ Sottolano also created the lineup for Phillies 24/7, the WOGL-HD4 channel dedicated to all things Philadelphia Phillies. In his new New York City-based gig, Sottolano (pictured) will also be charged with “maintaining ongoing communication with external industry and charitable organizations,” as well as “working closely with the division’s digital media business to ensure a seamless cross-platform product and brand experience.”
In a long and winding saga that stretches back to the days following the horrific movie theater shooting in Aurora, CO, the New York State Court of Appeals today ruled in favor of FOX News reporter Jana Winter in a case that could have ended with Winter in jail, or in a Colorado courtroom. Winter (pictured) has steadfastly refused to reveal her confidential sources for a July 2012 story in which she reported on the existence of a “chilling” notebook that accused Aurora shooter James Holmes reportedly sent to his psychiatrist prior to the massacre. A previous lower court ruling said Winter would have to appear before a Colorado judge next month to either reveal her sources or face jail time — something the reporter has said she was prepared to do. Citing the state’s strong media shield laws, the NY Appeals Court overturned that decision, with the majority stating that forcing a reporter to reveal sources who had been promised confidentiality “would offend our strong public policy.” Winter’s attorney called the ruling a victory for all reporters and for the public “which has the right to receive news from confidential sources.” Read the full court ruling HERE.
In a radio story that comes from Main Street vs. Wall Street, the Matoon, IL Journal Gazette & Times-Courier reports that WRJM-AM & FM/Charleston, IL will cease operations come January. Owner Miller Media Group cited “financial viability” behind the decision to shutter the stations, which feature a mix of of News, Sports, Talk and local Agriculture news programming. WRJM’s 96.1 FM repeater will be sold to Bud Walters’ Cromwell Group upon the shutdown of 1270 AM, which has served the community for some 60 years … The Radio Advertising Bureau has issued a call-for-entries for the 2014 Radio Mercury Awards. Competition is open to “commericals, PSA’s, campaigns, integrated campaigns and innovative radio work.” Find out more and get official entry information HERE … Humphries Goes Hollywood: Veteran radio talker Rusty Humphries was recently in Bucharest, Romania where he was filming his role in the upcoming romantic comedy Love By Design. Humphries traveled to Paris and Bucharest for seven days, calling the whole experience “a blast” and adding, “I love the fact that I’m having the opportunity to live out my dreams — radio, TV and film. This is my third major motion picture and it’s always an honor to be involved with a project as special as this.” That’s Rusty pictured above on-set with the film’s Director Michael Damian.
Al Gardner is returning to the Charlotte, NC airwaves, where he’ll pull up a chair alongside Lanny Ford to co-host Sports/Talker WZVG’s (730 ESPN Radio) Bottom Line show. Gardner (pictured) left Charlotte a couple of years back after spending 14 years in mornings at crosstown WBT-AM&FM to join Merlin Media’s fledgling FM News/Talker WWIQ/Philadelphia. That station was recently acquired by EMF Media which flipped it to the company’s Christian music K-Love network. The Charlotte Observer’s Mark Washburn has more details HERE … WSB-AM/Atlanta has promoted Beth Bowers from Local Sales Manager to GSM for the Cox Media Group’s flagship News/Talker. Bowers takes a step up the company ladder following the recent promotion of Walt Phillips to DOS for CMG’s Atlanta station cluster … Longtime KOGO/San Diego Program Director Cliff Albert — who was bounced last week after nearly two decades of service to the Clear Channel-owned News/Talker — checks in to tell NTS MediaOnline Today that he’s definitely “not ready or interested in retiring” and report that he is “looking forward to the next chapter.” Friends and colleagues can reach the San Diego broadcast veteran HERE.
The New Year will see some of the biggest changes in the lineup in decades at now Clear Channel-owned WOR/New York. Along with the previously announced additions of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to the station’s lineup (both hosts’ daily Premiere Networks syndicated talk shows will move to WOR on January 1st from their longtime home at crosstown Cumulus Media News/Talker WABC), beginning January 13th, current WWDC 101/Washington morning host Elliott Segal will re-locate to New York City to take over wake-up duties from John Gambling, who recently announced his retirement after a 40-year career in broadcasting. Elliott In The Morning will also continue to air on DC 101, as well as current Richmond, VA affiliate WRXL. Meanwhile, legendary WOR midday host Joan Hamburg — a fixture on the station since the 1970s – will cut back to weekends only come the first of the year, hosting her long-running show on both Saturday and Sunday from 10am-noon. ”This is an incredibly exciting time for WOR,” said Joe Puglise, President and Market Manager for Clear Channel/New York City. “Bringing America’s top two talk show hosts to our lineup, the entertaining Elliot Segal and his team to the mornings, and becoming the flagship station for the New York Mets, will allow us to create unprecedented marketing opportunities for our partners and unbeatable programming for our listeners.”
Mark Adams will trade his boots and spurs for flannel shirts and Birkenstocks as he’s named VP/Programming for Clear Channel/Portland, OR. Most recently VP/Music Programming for CBS Radio/Houston, Adams will handle programming and operations oversight for Clear Channel’s 8-station Rose City cluster that includes News/Talker KEX and Sports/Talk KPOJ. Adams previously worked in the market from 2000-2008, when he served as Program Director of KXJM and as Operations Manager for then Rose City Radio-owned News/Talk KXL-AM. His resume also lists prior stints in San Francisco, Milwaukee and Fresno. ”I would like to thank Clear Channel/Portland for this opportunity,” said Adams. “I’m looking forward to working with all of the incredible brands and teams in the market and contributing to their future success. Portland is one of my favorite cities in the country and it’s exciting to have the chance to return to the Pacific Northwest and do some great radio.”
The Oprah Interview: Nelson Mandela will be available to SiriusXM subscribers tonight on Oprah Radio at 7pm, as well as tomorrow (12/10) at 8am, 12 noon and 5pm, and again on December 14th at 9am and 6pm (all times ET). In the archived interview, Oprah talks with the late world leader about his family, his fight against oppression, his 27 years as a political prisoner in apartheid South Africa and how he came to forgive his jailers and liberate a nation … Congratulations to the crew at KIRO-FM/Seattle as the Bonneville News/Talker’s 25th annual Holiday Magic Radiothon raised some $490,000 in donations for Treehouse, a local non-profit that provides foster kids in the region with holiday gifts, as well as year round programs and services dedicated to their educational and enrichment needs … Meanwhile, KFMB/San Diego was also in fund-raising mode last Friday (12/6), hosting the station’s annual radiothon to benefit AM 760′s Warrior Foundation. The daylong event netted a reported $250,000 in donations in a city where the military is a major member of the community. Since 2004 KFMB has raised more than $9 million to help with the needs of local injured military men and women and to help send injured and disabled military warriors home for the holidays.
As rumored yesterday (12/5), longtime KOGO/San Diego programming boss Cliff Albert has left the building after a nearly two-decade run at the Clear Channel News/Talker and Sports/Talk clustermate Xtra Sports 1360 (KLSD). An internal memo to staffers confirmed the San Diego radio veteran is leaving to “pursue new opportunities.” His voice will remain on the air at KOGO as Albert will continue hosting his long-running Cliff Notes On The News feature and be part of other unnamed special projects. Albert’s a familiar voice on the airwaves of America’s Finest City, having spent 15-years as News Director at crosstown News/Talk competitor KFMB prior to joining KOGO back in 1996. Albert’s departure comes just a few months after a shake-up of the station’s mostly live and local lineup that saw Chip Franklin exit after six years in wake-ups, replaced by afternoon host Chris Merrill. No word yet on who might replace or assume Albert’s duties at KOGO and KLSD.