Beasley Media Group names Scott Masteller program director for sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic.” During his career, Masteller has served with ESPN Radio, KESN-FM, Dallas-Fort Worth, news/talk WBAL, Baltimore to name a few. Beasley Media Group Philadelphia VP and market manager Joe Bell comments, “Scott is one of the premiere programmers in sports talk radio. I have been a fan for years and feel he’s the right person to continue developing the Fanatic brand.” Masteller says, “I am excited to partner with Beasley and the talented staff of ‘97.5 The Fanatic.’ Philadelphia is such a great sports town with some of the most passionate fans in the country!”
Zimmer Marketing has a rare opening for program director for news/talk KZRG-AM, Joplin, Missouri. The company says, “KZRG has facilities typically found only in Top 30 markets, a strong staff, and location in an affordable, growing, mid-sized market. You’ll have a huge voice in programming as well as flexibility rarely found in corporate-structured environments.” Duties include: Managing the station’s audio image via branding, focusing on timely and frequent updates; overseeing social media and creating content that relates to the station’s brand and target audience; hosting a daily on-air shift; proficiency with Google’s G Suite, Selector, and Wide Orbit Automation system; and coaching staff. Learn more at https://zimmermarketing.com/. Send your resume and audio to Mark Zimmer at: email@example.com
Cumulus Media promotes Mike Killabrew to operations manager for its Indianapolis station group that includes sports talk WXNT-AM and five music brands. Killabrew has been serving as the program director for WXNT-AM, classic hits WJJK-FM and rock WNDX-FM since May of 2022. He’ll continue in those roles. Cumulus Indianapolis VP and market manager Darlene Park says, “Mike is an impactful leader who has a strong track record of building and developing great teams, serving the community, and delivering results. He understands our market and our amazing brands will grow under his leadership.”
Cumulus Media promotes KNBR, San Francisco afternoon drive co-host Adam Copeland to program director for its three sports talk stations – KNBR-AM/FM, KGO-AM, and KTCT-AM. He’ll continue in his on-air role on the “Tolbert & Copes” program. Copeland joined KNBR in 2009 as an intern in the promotions department at KNBR and was later hired at KNBR as a part-time board operator. In 2017, Copeland was promoted to full-time producer of “KNBR Tonight,” was then named host of “The Leadoff Spot,” and served as producer/board operator of the “Murph and Mac Show.” In 2018 he began co-hosting the San Francisco Giants pre-game show on KNBR and then joined KNBR’s coverage of 49ers pre- and post-game shows. Cumulus San Francisco and Los Angeles regional VP and market manager Larry Blumhagen says, “We are excited to have Adam Copeland as program director for these iconic stations. In his active role as a KNBR on-air personality, Adam has a connection with our listeners and a unique grasp of what they want from our platforms.”
The cross-platform program “Iowa Talking Points” – produced by NRG Media and Mudd Advertising, took to the road last Friday (10/20) for a remote broadcast that featured GOP presidential candidates Gov. Ron DeSantis, Amb. Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott, Gov. Doug Burgum, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and Ryan Binkley. “Iowa Talking Points” is produced for live video stream, video and audio on-demand playback, and radio rebroadcast by NRG’s “News/Talk 1540” KXEL, Cedar Rapids-Waterloo and is hosted by KXEL program director and host Jeff Stein. Previous programs in the series have been produced in front of a live studio audience from Mudd’s state-of-the-art “Studio5@Mudd” facility in Cedar Falls. Last week, the team arranged a special live broadcast from the annual tailgate fundraiser sponsored by Iowa State Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks. Stein says, “There are very few opportunities to have access to this many candidates at one time. Engaging with them in this way gives our audience the best information free from sound bites and media filters.” Pictured here is Stein with DeSantis (left) and Haley (right).
Cumulus Media announces that Jed Mescon is named program pirector and on-air host for news/talk WGOW-AM/FM, Chattanooga. Mescon will debut as morning drive host on Monday (8/21). Cumulus says, “Mescon brings 28 years of morning programming experience on local television to WGOW, and most recently worked in marketing and community engagement for Chattanooga’s Erlanger Health System, TVFCU, and the Skyuka Hall School. A beloved media personality, Mescon’s signature style, boundless energy, and passion for the community have made him a household name throughout the Chattanooga region.” Cumulus Chattanooga VP and market manager John Lewis states, “We are thrilled to welcome Jed to WGOW and our Cumulus Chattanooga team. Jed has amassed an impressive career in media and his unique perspective, connection to the community, and skillset will undoubtedly take WGOW to the next level.” Mescon comments, “I spent 28 years waking up at 2:45 am to bring the news to Chattanooga. This brings me back to my roots, doing both news and co-hosting mornings from 6-10am on WGOW Talk Radio 102.3.”
Griffin Broadcasting’s all-sports station KTSB-AM, Tulsa “The Blitz 1170 AM” adds “The Dan Patrick Show” to its program schedule airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Station program director Jeremie Poplin comments, “The Blitz is proud to welcome Dan back to the market in Tulsa and we look forward to the tremendous content he presents each day.”
Cumulus Media announces that it is promoting Ann Thomas to program director for heritage news/talk outlet WJR, Detroit. The company says that Thomas becomes the first female program director in the station’s 101-year history. She rises from her previous role as assistant program director and executive producer. Thomas started at WJR as an intern in 1982 and was then hired full-time as producer of a WJR program called, “The Other Side of the News.” She went on to become a WJR news reporter and anchor, winning several Associated Press, United Press International, and Detroit Press Club awards for Breaking News and Auto Negotiations. In 1999, Thomas was named executive producer of the “Paul W. Smith Show.” Thomas also produced the WJR-MSU tailgate shows for 15 years from 2006-2021. She has hosted WJR programs including “The Healthy Woman Show,” “Opportunity Detroit,” “The WJR Gardening Show,” and “Women Who Lead,” which she launched 11 years ago to highlight Michigan women from all walks of life doing great things in the community. Cumulus Media RVP and market manager Steve Finateri says, “Ann Thomas is the heart and soul of WJR and has been deserving of this move for a very long time. Her fingerprints are already all over this heritage, award-winning radio station, but we are all excited to see what the future holds with Ann in the driver’s seat!” At the same time, Cumulus promotes Mike Wheeler from WJR PD to operations manager for Cumulus Detroit/Ann Arbor. In the newly created position, Wheeler will manage operations for the company’s four Detroit stations and four Ann Arbor stations.
Cumulus Media is looking for an experienced program director for two iconic brands — KUGN-AM/FM (news/talk and home of the Pac 12 Oregon Ducks) and KUJZ-FM (sports talk). The program director will be responsible for growing and operating these brands and must have a strong background and passion for sports programming and spoken-word radio. Energy, enthusiasm, and experience within the genre is a must. You will be responsible for all aspects of programming including managing on-air staff, imaging, station strategy, developing and executing revenue generating sales & programming promotions, website & social media, digital content and have a strong understanding of the core audience(s). Find out more about this position and apply here.
Good Karma Brands and WEPN-FM, New York “98.7 ESPN” announce that New York Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson will appear weekly on the station’s “Bart and Hahn” show – hosted by Bart Scott and Alan Hahn – during this NFL season.
New Hampshire Public Radio promotes Emily Quirk to program director. In this role, Quirk will serve as leader of live broadcast platforms and live events programming for the statewide public broadcaster. NHPR says, “In her new role, she will lead NHPR’s efforts to use radio, the livestream and events to maximize the impact of the organization’s journalism and to grow and diversify NHPR audiences on those platforms.”
Cumulus Media is looking for a program director for its Chattanooga, Tennessee news/talk stations. The program director will be responsible for growing and operating strong brands and must have a strong programming background and passion for growing others and a passion for the local community. You will program two legendary news/talk stations. Energy, enthusiasm, attention to detail and experience in news writing/delivering and talk show hosting is a necessity. You must have the ability to interact with listeners and handle multiple phone calls at one time. You will be responsible for all aspects of programming including managing and motivating on-air staff, imaging, station strategy, developing and executing revenue generating sales & programming promotions, website & social media, digital content and have a strong understanding of the core audience of a news/talk format. The position also requires a daily AM drive air-shift, along with live appearances and live broadcasts! See more and apply here.
iHeartMedia Los Angeles announces it is naming Ann Ingold producer for news/talk KFI-AM 640’s morning shows, “The Bill Handel Show” and “Wake Up Call.” KFI program director Robin Bertolucci says, “Ann’s had an illustrious career in LA radio, from LOVELINE’s inception on KROQ through the show’s network syndication and MTV. We’re thrilled to have Ann joining our iHeart LA team.” Ingold was most recently serving as producer on ITV’s weekly live Facebook Watch program and consulted Los Angeles radio shows for Audacy and Meruelo Media. She comments, “I want to thank Robin and everyone at KFI for being so welcoming.”
iHeartMedia announces that Emery Songer is the new afternoon drive talk host at KFAB, Omaha “NewsRadio 1110,” effective June 26. Songer joins KFAB, Omaha after more than five years as a host and producer with Newsradio 1040 WHO in Des Moines. iHeartMedia says, “During that time, he has guest-hosted statewide news/talk programs as well as a regular weekend show, produced their daily morning show, worked with clients in a creative variety of ways, and spent countless evenings and weekends announcing local soccer and baseball games.” KFAB program director Scott Voorhees adds, “Emery will continue KFAB’s nearly 100-year-old tradition of on-air personalities who are passionate about connecting with the community we serve. It’s not about hammering an agenda; it’s about entertaining and relevant conversations of interest to Omaha/Council Bluffs and the surrounding area.”
In an interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, program director Ken Charles reveals the reasons for the programming changes that have taken place at Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM over the past year. Charles says that when longtime morning host Scott Slade announced he was stepping back from his duties, that allowed the station to use internal research to consider the best options to tweak its programming. That resulted in the station naming longtime station reporter and anchor Chris Chandler the new morning host, swapping late morning and afternoon hosts Mark Arum and Eric Von Haessler, and making Shelley Wynter solo host in evenings and giving his former co-host MalaniKai Massey her own Saturday night program. Charles says, “I feel very comfortable that we’ve got the right people in the right slots. We are set to grow our success.” Read the AJC story here.
M-10 Communications announces that conservative media personality and former Republican congressional candidate Kim Klacik will host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show on WCBM-AM, Baltimore, effective May 1. Klacik assumes the daypart from Derek Hunter, who exits the station. WCBM program director Sean Casey states, “Kim Klacik is a rising star in conservative politics, and we are thrilled to have her join our team at WCBM. Her energy, passion, and commitment to Baltimore are second to none and we know that our listeners will appreciate her insights on the issues that matter most to them. Klacik says, I am excited to join the team at WCBM and have the opportunity to engage with listeners in the Baltimore area. I believe that conservative principles and policies are the key to unlocking the potential of this great city, and I look forward to sharing my ideas and insights with the WCBM audience.” Regarding the decision to replace Derek Hunter, the station says the decision was not made lightly. “It was a result of WCBM’s ongoing efforts to better serve its listeners by offering more diverse programming options. While Derek Hunter has a loyal following, the station decided to go in a different direction to attract a broader audience.”
By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, Sterling on Sunday
The decision to change WABC from music to talk back in 1982 was not made by corporate, it was made by its then-program director, Jay Clark. Corporate was hoping he would approve the change, “they” lobbied for it, but the call was the ultimate responsibility of the program director. The business plan for WABC as a talk station predicted it to be profitable in year 10. (That’s because KABC, Los Angeles took 10 years to turn a profit.) As it turned out, WABC turned a profit in year 11.
At the time of the WABC format change back in the early 80s, the role of a program director was to be a disruptor. They were expected to cause trouble, get headlines, keep the energy coming out of the speakers up-up-up. It was my experience that the best program directors were extremely unpleasant, difficult people. They knew how to stir up their world on and off the air.
They did not get along with sales: “I’ll get you ratings, you go sell them” was the essence of their relationship with sales!
As co-worker relationships within radio stations became more important than results, the industry suffered. The death knell was the first time a program director dismissed a new idea by saying, “It’s not in the budget.” Until that tragic moment, good/great program directors would greet new ideas with, “They will just have to give us the money.”
The primary reason radio is losing younger demos is not technology, it’s the show. Technology attracts no audience. No one goes to a movie theatre to see a blank white screen no matter how good they may find the air conditioning and popcorn. If younger listeners are listening to another audio medium it’s because the show is UNPREDICTABLE, new, energetic, fun or on-demand.
Radio of any genre can be unpredictable, new, energetic, fun and on-demand. (Request lines built top 40. But what happened to them?) The actions of unpredictability are free.
Those unpleasant, autonomous program directors often earned more money than any general manager and more than almost any program director working today. A lot more. Why? Because radio stations attracted cume by acting as a 24/7 barker. The barker sizzle came from the single mind of the program director.
The programming mind that wins by disruption is not limited to top 40. For example, classical music WGMS in Washington featured promos declaring that “WGMS plays real oldies,” “mostly Mozart” and “Celebrate the bicentennial and Beethoven’s birthday.” Unexpected programming proves that radio is live and “LIVE” is the most powerful word in electronic media.
Walter Sabo was the youngest Executive Vice President in the history of NBC. The youngest VP in the history of ABC. He was a consultant to RKO General longer than Bill Drake. Walter was the in house consultant to Sirius for eight years. He has never written a resume. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. or mobile 646-678-1110. Hear Walter Sterling at www.waltersterlingshow.com. Meet Walter Sabo at TALKERS 2023 on Friday, June 2.