WGN/Chicago announces another major contract renewal, with word that longtime Windy City radio personality Steve Cochran will continue to wake-up Chicagoans for at least the next four years. During his show this morning, Cochran thanked fans for “all the texts regarding me signing a new four-year contract here at WGN, which I’m very excited about. I’m blessed to be here — and I will continue to be here — every morning through 2020. This is the job I’ve always wanted and I’m lucky to have it!” Cochran, who had called WGN home for a decade when previous station management abruptly dumped him in 2010, returned to the station after a stint at crosstown WIND when a new management team, under market veteran Jimmy De Castro, took over in 2013. Cochran’s extension is the third major deal announced by WGN in the past few weeks. The Tribune Media News/Talker has also recently signed long-term renewals with afternoon host Roe Conn and VP/Content and Programming Todd Manley. (photo:WGN.com)
Melissa Harrison is joining Mike Rogers and Scott Sams as co-anchor of KRLD/Dallas’ Morning News. A veteran journalist, Harrison (left) has worked as a television news reporter in New York and Dallas-Fort Worth as well as Birmingham, AL, Jackson, MS, Waco and Abilene. She was most recently a freelance reporter for crosstown KXAS-TV. “Melissa’s extensive journalism experience will further strengthen the award-winning KRLD news team,” said Paul Mann, Director of News and Programming for the CBS Radio-owned News and Talk outlet. “As with co-anchors Mike Rogers and Scott Sams, Melissa’s roots run deep in North Texas, and she is passionate about our community.” Harrison will make her KRLD wake-up debut on Friday (7/1).
NTS MediaOnline Today sends a shout-out to the crew at Alpha Media News/Talker KSAL/Salina, KS on being named ‘Favorite Station’ and the home of the city’s ‘Favorite Radio Host’ — Clarke Sanders — in the 2016 Salina Journal Readers’ Choice Awards. Market Manager Bob Protzman said the honors “speak to the ties KSAL has to central Kansas,” and also “shows AM radio is alive and well — all it takes is quality, local programming.” … iHeartMedia promotes Morgan Huelsman to Digital Program Director for the company’s Nashville cluster, including News/Talk WLAC. Huelsman (left)) segues to Music City from her current post as Digital Content Director for iHM’s Wichita stations … Hot off the success of his recently held 2016 HIVIO event in Los Angeles, researcher and media strategist Mark Ramsey has a new post asking broadcasters, “Where Are Your Stars, Radio?” Ramsey poses the pointed question in light of the recent launch of Facebook Live, noting that Facebook “is not counting on non-stars to evolve into stars, they’re counting on stars to attract audiences.” Read the full post HERE.
Condolences: To the family friends and colleagues of 14-year 102.9 Newsradio KARN/Little Rock anchor/reporter Donna Kelley, who died at her home over the weekend (6/26). Kelley, 66, reportedly died of natural causes. Funeral arrangements are pending. Market Manager Keith Liesmann called Kelley (right) “an outstanding reporter/anchor who served with the highest degree of journalistic integrity” and “a friend to everyone she worked with.” It’s the second death to be mourned in the newsroom at the Cumulus Media News/Talker in recent weeks. Morning anchor Gary DiGiuseppe was killed last month when he was hit head-on by a wrong-way driver while on his way to work.
Tribune announces the company has extended the contract of WGN/Chicago VP/Content & Programming Todd Manley, in a deal that will keep him in his current role at the heritage News/Talker through at least 2019. Prior to joining WGN in 2013 (he’d previously spent 10 years there as Creative Director from 1998-2008), Manley served as Director of Creative Content at crosstown WXRT. His resume includes previous stints at Windy City marketing services firm Tukaiz, WCKG/Chicago and KTRS/St. Louis. “I’m in awe of the effort our personalities and producers put forth each day,” said Manley in a release. “They’re each driven to make sure WGN listeners never ever miss a story. I’m grateful to [WGN President/GM] Jimmy De Castro and [Tribune Broadcast Media President] Larry Wert for the commitment to continue building this great team.”
Newsy — self-described as “an over-the-top news network that provides ‘news with the why'” — is now available via TuneIn to the audio streaming app’s reported 60 million-plus active users. A wholly-owned subsidiary of the E.W. Scripps Company, Newsy will offer two weekly podcasts — Newsy Politics and Givin’ Takes — along with three daily podcasts focused on U.S. and world news, tech, science and health, and current events. “Newsy joins an elite roster of the world’s most innovative content creators on TuneIn, creating audio for a mobile audience,” said Kevin Straley, TuneIn’s Chief Content Officer. “We’re excited to add Newsy to our premium offering of news properties. Their unique ability to deliver news in a way that resonates with a younger audience is a perfect fit for our diverse news platform we’re establishing to cover the topics we’re all talking about, from the 2016 presidential election to social inequality.” Newsy entered the digital audio space in 2015 with the release of the free Newsy Radio app for iOS. Today its distribution platforms also include Sling TV, Roku, Watchable from Comcast and Apple TV.
NTS MediaOnline Today sends our congrats to long time Bay Area journalist and Talk radio host Melanie Morgan — currently anchoring Sonoma County’s Morning News at KSRO/Santa Rosa, CA — and everyone involved in yesterday’s (6/23) successful 2106 ‘Troop-A-Thon’. The annual live online event raised more than $300,000 this year — with donations still pouring in — to help send Care Packages to U.S. military troops overseas. Back in 2004 Morgan (right) co-founded Move America Forward, a military charity dedicated to supporting America’s Armed Forces. Since its inception, MAF reports the charity has delivered more than 315 tons of those always welcomed Care Packages to our U.S. military men and women serving far from home. Although the 2016 Troop-A-Thon live webcast has now ended, those wishing to offer support can still contribute to this year’s fundraiser HERE.
Josh Everett (left) has been named Director of Spoken Word Programming for iHeartMedia’s Kentucky-Indiana Region. Everett will also serve as Program Director for News/Talk WHAS/Louisville, effective July 12, 2016. In his new role, Everett will be based in Louisville and will work closely with the programming staff and on-air talent for the region’s eight Spoken Word stations. A Louisville native, Everett began his career as a board operator at WHAS-AM, later moving on to become Program Director of WLAP/Lexington, KY and Program and News Director for WGY-WOFX-AM/Albany, NY. He most recently served as Program Director for KHOW-KDSP/Denver. “Josh started his career at WHAS-AM and knows what this station means to the community,” said Michael Jordan, RVP/Programming for iHeartMedia. “His focus on providing fresh, quality content and developing new ways to reach listeners will ensure that we continue to grow our audience across our eight Spoken Word stations in the Kentucky-Indiana Region.” Everett will replace 18-year iHeartMedia veteran Kelly Carls, who recently announced plans to retire in August.
NTS MediaOnline Today sends our congratulations to New York City’s ‘First Lady’ of Talk radio, Joan Hamburg, on being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Alliance for Women in Media’s 41st annual Gracie Awards luncheon, held yesterday (6/22) in NYC. Joan was introduced and presented with her award by long time pal and award-winning actor Alan Alda (pictured with Joan), who told attendees, “In a media industry where Talk radio is overwhelmingly dominated by men, Joan is a woman’s voice that is graceful and lively, but authoritative.”… GET WELL SOON WISHES: To FOX News and FOX Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto, who is recovering from open heart surgery that he underwent earlier this week. Cavuto, who has been off the air since the end of May, is scheduled to return to duty later this year … CONDOLENCES: To the family, friends and former colleagues of “Dandy” Dan Daniels — one of WMCA/New York’s legendary Good Guys — who died “suddenly” yesterday (6/21). CBS Radio/New York’s Classic Hits WCBS-FM — where Daniels had most recently been heard — has more HERE.
Cumulus Media News/Talker WABC/New York adds Always In Fashion, a new show featuring a behind the scenes look at the fashion industry, hosted by fashion industry power player and exec Mark Weber. The one-hour weekly business Talk program will feature Weber and “luminaries from the world of fashion sharing insights from the glamorous, fast-paced and highly competitive business of fashion.” Commenting on the new addition to WABC’s weekend lineup, PD Craig Schwalb said, “The minute I met Mark, I knew he had the right elements to effectively deliver a largely untapped new category to Talk radio – Fashion and Business – in a fresh and unique way to listeners and advertisers. We are excited to present Always in Fashion on-air, online, and on-demand at 77wabc.com.” WABC will be the first station to air Always in Fashion, which will get a planned national syndication rollout through KMG Networks (a division of Krantz Media Group) in association with Sungate Partners.
Matthew Gagnon, CEO of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, will replace Mike Violette as morning co-host at WGAN/Portland, ME. Gagnon (pictured), who has been among several locals who have filled-in for Violette in the past, will retain his current role at the conservative public policy center after joining 13-year morning show veteran Ken Altshuler and exec producer Olivia Gunn on the newly dubbed Mornings with Ken, Matt and Olivia. The wake-up shake-up at the station comes after Violette — who has been off the air at the Saga-owned News/Talker since the beginning of the month — told the Portand Press Herald last week that after 35 years on Maine radio he felt it was “time for a change.” The talk host said he’d recently asked to be released from his current contract and in what appears to have been a mutually amicable departure, station management agreed to the request. The new morning lineup was announced during last Friday’s (6/17) broadcast of Howie Carr’s syndicated afternoon show, which was in town to broadcast live from WGAN, an affiliate of the Boston-based show.