Industry News

WJR, Detroit Brings Anthony Bellino Aboard as “SportsWrap” Co-Host

Cumulus Media names Detroit sports media personality Anthony Bellino co-host of WJR’s “SportsWrap,” alongside Lomas Brown. WJR parted ways with the program’s previous co-host Sean Baligian in December.  Bellino currently serves as an in-game host for Detroit Lions and University of Michigan football broadcasts and is public address announcer for University of Michigan men’s andim women’s basketball programs and the University of Toledo men’s and women’s basketball programs. WJR notes that Bellino spends his free time helping his family at their Monroe, Michigan grocery store, Danny’s Fine Foods, where he works as a fourth-generation butcher. WJR program director Ann Thomas says, “Anthony Bellino started his broadcasting career as an intern for the ‘Paul W. Smith Show’ in 2007. I could not be more pleased to welcome him back to the ‘Great Voice of the Great Lakes’ as a seasoned sports professional ready to bring our listeners timely and thoughtful insights on Detroit’s sports scene.” Bellino comments, “What an honor and a privilege it is to be joining the ‘Great Voice of the Great Lakes,’ 760 WJR. I can’t wait to contribute to the station’s legendary broadcasting history and make some new history of our own. The phone call from WJR was really a full-circle moment… I can’t wait to get started and to host ‘SportsWrap’ with my good friend Lomas Brown.”

Industry News

WJR, Detroit Cuts Sean Baligian Loose

Detroit sports talk personality Sean Baligian exits Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR where he’d been co-hosting the nightly “Sportswrap” show with Lomas Brown. The Detroit NewsTony Paul reports thatim Baligian is the victim of budget cuts at the station. Baligian has worked at several Motor City sports talk stations during his career and has been with WJR for the past seven years in various capacities. Baligian, who says he might be done with radio, tells the News that getting let go is hard to put into words. “The worst part is what it does to your family. I think they’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and that sucks. You feel like a failure… I know the life that I chose. And I mean it when I say I’m not bitter. This is the road I decided to go down.” Meanwhile, Lomas Brown is hosting the “Sportswrap” program solo.

Industry News

WJR, Detroit Announces New Drive Time Programming

Cumulus Media announces additions to the morning and afternoon drive dayparts at news/talk WJR, Detroit. First is the all-new “JR Morning with Guy, Lloyd, and Jamie” program airing from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and starring Guy Gordon, Lloyd Jackson, and Jamie Edmonds. The station says, “The dynamicim team of award-winning journalists brings a fresh perspective to mornings while delivering a perfect mix of news, sports, and entertainment.” Also, station traffic and weather anchor Renee Vitale becomes co-host of “First Thing with Mike Parsons” from 5:00 am to 6:00 am. The station is pairing Detroit Lions great Lomas Brown with WJR’s Sean Baligian for the 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm “Sportswrap with Lomas Brown and Sean Baligian” program. Cumulus Media regional VP and market manager Steve Finateri comments, “‘JR Morning with Guy, Lloyd and Jamie’ plus ‘SportsWrap with Lomas Brown and Sean Baligian’ as bookends to our current big-name local daily shows on WJR has given ‘The Great Voice of The Great Lakes’ more prime time firepower than at any time in the past 20 years!”

Industry News

WJR, Detroit Unveils New All Local Lineup

Cumulus Media’s Detroit news/talk 760 WJR announces a series of lineup changes that will take effect on June 20 in which all of the daytime hosts will be live and local. One of the biggest changes is longtime station morning host Paul W. Smith moving to the newly created 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm daypart as host of “Focus.” Smith replaces the Westwood One-syndicated “Dan Bongino Show.” WJR says that Smith’s hosting the “Focus” show “will expand theim community’s access to Michigan’s most influential political, civic, and business newsmakers.”  Moving to mornings is current early afternoon host Guy Gordon, who becomes host of  “JR Morning” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. “All Talk” with Tom Jordan and Kevin Dietz airs from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Following “Focus” will be the imnewly created “JR Afternoon” show with host Chris Renwick from 2:00pm-4:00pm, followed by “The Mitch Albom Show” from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Additionally, WJR is bringing back “SportsWrap” with host Sean Baligian airing from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Cumulus Detroit VP and market manager Steve Finateri says, “Launching the ‘Focus’ show will give Paul W. Smith the opportunity to expand, on and off the air, his unmatched relationships with Michigan’s most influential newsmakers, for the benefit of our audience and our advertising partners. WJR is ‘The Great Voice of the Great Lakes’ and going 100% local is a big win for all Michiganders who count on WJR to inform and educate us about everything happening here in our state!” WJR program director Mike Wheeler adds, “What a lineup! Each of our talent is a brand unto themselves and have a unique vision and take on the events that shape the news. We are absolutely living up to our claim that WJR is where Michigan comes to talk.”

Industry News

WJR, Detroit Raises $1.8 Million During Radiothon

Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR-AM, Detroit raised $1,888,503 to aid The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit combat hunger and homelessness in Metro Detroit via the 36th Annual Bed & Bread Club Radiothon held on February 23-24. The 27-hour radio fundraiser featured WJR personalities Paul W. Smith, Sean Baligian,Detroit - WJR  Marie Osborne, Tom JordanChris Renwick, Lloyd Jackson, Mitch Albom, Ken Brown, Steve Courtney, Guy Gordon, and Bed & Bread Club founder and Radio Hall of Famer Dick Purtan, broadcasting from The Salvation Army Great Lakes Divisional Headquarters in Southfield. The Bed & Bread Club Radiothon has raised a total of more than $43.1 Million over the life of the radiothon.

Front Page News Industry News

Tuesday, March 2, 2022

Radio One Swaps Frequencies in Charlotte; Sports Talk WFNZ Gets Full Market FM Signal. Charlotte sports talk WFNZ-AM is getting a full-market FM signal as Radio One swaps FM frequencies between WFNZ and hip hop/R&B “92.7 The Block.” WFNZ is now heard on WFNZ-FM at 92.7 (in addition to WFNZ-AM at 610) and “The Block” airs on FM translator W273DA at 102.5. Radio One Charlotte/Richmond regional VP Marsha Landess says, “Charlotte has continued to grow as a great sports city and Sports Radio WFNZ will continue to grow with it! Now on a more powerful FM signal, with continued live and local talent, we will be able to superserve more of our listeners and clients with broader market coverage on the FM dial.”


Audacy Unveils New Audacy Digital Audience Network. In an effort to present advertisers with a “high-performing audience solution,” Audacy launches the Audacy Digital Audience Network, “an addressable aggregate of over 60 million listeners that other audio platforms and streaming platforms do not reach.” Audacy says that each month, it connects with 200 million fans across its broadcast and digital assets. Over 60 million of these listeners can be found on ADAN across its streaming content, on the Audacy app and on its podcasts. Through this, ADAN can target precise audiences at scale and deliver high-performing digital audio media strategies for Audacy’s advertising partners.” The company says it “continues to provide exclusive content across news, sports, talk, music and podcasts that its listeners seek and trust as a daily habit. ADAN audiences skew more affluent, are more likely to be college educated and are more diverse – collectively bringing the highest value consumers to advertisers. ADAN provides an unduplicated reach to listeners that other audio platforms do not deliver.” Components of the Audience Network include over 230 of Audacy’s broadcast brands and thousands of podcasts. Exclusive stations, curated music stations from Audacy brands, talent and influencers and digital streams of MLB play-by-play broadcasts via flagship partnerships are also included in ADAN.


WWO Blog: AM/FM Radio, Print, and Podcast Ads Lead in Attentiveness. The Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group releases a new Media Attentiveness and Ad Skipping Report that incorporates several new studies that examine consumer attentiveness and concentration levels when using various media platforms, ad-skipping tendencies, and the reasons why listeners choose to use various audio platforms. Cumulus EVP of marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “Our new Media Attentiveness and Ad Skipping Report demonstrates that AM/FM radio leads all media in advertising attentiveness with the lowest levels of ad skipping. Consumers also devote very high levels of concentration to podcasts since listeners actively seek them out to learn something new, which justifies premium CPMs for podcasts.” Some of the highlights of the report include: 1) Attention grows in importance among marketers and agencies: Nearly half of advertisers have discussed consumer attentiveness as a metric. Two out of three say it is important for measuring media investments; 2) Traditional media ads have greater engagement compared to digital ads: AM/FM radio, print, and podcast ads lead in attentiveness. Consumers skip social and digital ads the most; 3) Social media disconnect: Agencies/marketers overestimate consumer concentration of social media. Two consumer studies reveal social media has the lowest attentiveness of media platforms; 4) AM/FM radio CPMs should be a premium to Pandora and Spotify: Pandora/Spotify audio impressions are not the same as AM/FM radio impressions. The greater proportion of spoken word content on AM/FM radio generates much higher levels of concentration and attentiveness. The information and personalities of AM/FM radio satisfy consumer needs for information and connection. See the full blog post here.


KLIF-AM, Dallas Adds ‘Markley, van Camp & Robbins’ Show. The Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated news/talk program “Markley, van Camp and Robbins” is added to the program lineup at Cumulus Media’s KLIF-AM, Dallas in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot. KLIF-AM program director Bruce Collins says, “These guys were just what we were looking for to add to KLIF’s lineup, news and information and a whole lot of laughs and fun. They understand entertaining radio.” The program stars Jamie Markley, David van Camp, and Scott Robbins. Van Camp says, I’m excited and honored to be on the legendary KLIF. Having spent several years in the Metroplex, being on that station means a lot to me. Many thanks to Bruce Collins, who’s been a great partner and supporter of the show from the beginning.”


Todd Starnes Speaks at CPAC 2022. Nationally syndicated talk radio host and best-selling author Todd Starnes was a featured speaker at last weekend’s CPAC 2022 in Orlando. In addition to appearing on the conference’s agenda, Starnes broadcast his national radio show from the CPAC radio row during which he interviewed former President Donald Trump and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (pictured here with Starnes).



KYW, Philadelphia Honors 2022 GameChangers. Pictured above are the recipients of the 2022 GameChangers honors from Audacy’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia. The annual GameChangers recognize people making a difference in communities of color around the Philadelphia region. This year’s honorees were recognized at a ceremony at Audacy’s Philadelphia headquarters on February 27. KYW Newsradio community impact reporter Racquel Williams, who has been highlighting the GameChangers honorees throughout February, hosted the ceremony. The 2022 recipients were nominated by members of the audience and selected by a panel of previous honorees. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “KYW Newsradio shines light on the stories of people from all backgrounds doing amazing things in our communities who might not otherwise get the recognition they deserve. That’s part of our mission 365 days a year, and we’re proud to award these meaningful honors to these outstanding community leaders during Black History Month.”


Cumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit Helps Raise $1.74 million for Salvation Army. Detroit news/talk WJR-AM helped raise more than $1.74 million for The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit during a 27-hour radio fundraiser that took place on February 24 and 25. The Cumulus Media station presented the 35th Annual Bed & Bread Club Radiothon as station personalities including Paul W. Smith (pictured here), Sean Baligian, Kevin Dietz, Lloyd Jackson, Chris Renwick, Mitch Albom, Ken Brown, Steve Courtney, Kevin O’Neill and Guy Gordon broadcast from The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Divisional Headquarters in Southfield, Michigan.


Norm Lewis to Perform at BFoA’s Golden Mike Award Dinner and Ceremony. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that this year’s entertainment for the Golden Mike Award Gala will be Broadway, film, and TV star Norm Lewis. Following a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the BFOA Golden Mike Award Dinner and Ceremony returns this year on Monday, March 14 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The annual event is the biggest fundraiser for the Broadcasters Foundation, whose sole mission is to provide financial aid to broadcasters in acute need from critical illness, accident, or serious misfortune. This year’s BFOA Golden Mike Award honoree will be Hilton Howell, Jr., chairman of the board and CEO of Gray Television and Atlantic American Corporation. The Lifetime Achievement Award honors a broadcaster who has made invaluable contributions to the television and radio industries. This year, it will be presented to renowned sportscaster Lesley Visser.


TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast starring Dennis Prager and Julie Hartman is joining the Salem Podcast Network. After reading Prager’s book, Still the Best Hope, Hartman – a senior at Harvard University – realized she actually held many conservative beliefs. She reached out to Prager, who was so impressed with her that he invited her on to his national talk show. Not long after, she sat in for him for all three hours of the show. Now, the two are launching a weekly podcast titled, “Dennis and Julie.” She says, “Finding Dennis’ work changed my life. I discovered the historic significance of the American value system and just how much our society today has come to be guided by the wrong principles. I hope that Dennis and I can make the world more understandable to our audience and impart to our listeners — especially those my age — how important it is to resist the far-left push that comes at them every day. I’m honored to work with Dennis and I’m grateful to Salem for trusting me with this opportunity.”…..CNN debuts three new podcasts. “Breaking News Alerts” – previously only available to smart speaker listeners – this audio version of CNN’s breaking news alerts offer podcast listeners a more contextualized understanding of breaking news. “Tug of War” takes listeners to the most volatile corners of the world to document some of the greatest power struggles of our time – a mission that now feels more relevant than ever – and offers historical, political, and social context for the Russia-Ukraine conflict. “Diversifying” – hosted by Delyanne Barros – presents insightful discussions about how the financial system can work for us, instead of against us. It creates a space for people who have traditionally been left out of conversations around personal finance, and who are often faced with the challenge of balancing cultural expectations against their own financial needs…..ESPN Audio says that the 2021 Share of Ear from Edison Research finds that ESPN Audio accounts for over half of all sports listening, at 53%, marking a nine percentage point increase in the same category from 2020. ESPN Audio was also shown to account for 63% of the digital sports listening space and 47% of the terrestrial sports audio space, both up a significant 8% points from 2020, respectively…..SiriusXM announces that Hope Solo, the World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist goalkeeper, will launch a new and original SiriusXM podcast, “Hope Solo Speaks,” that debuts across all podcast platforms March 2. Solo will discuss a variety of topics on her mind, including her relentless fight for women’s rights and gender equality, motherhood and family, changing trends in sports and much more. Solo will be joined on episodes of the podcast by guests from various walks of life including world-class athletes, artists, and influencers for candid conversations on their experiences, passions and topics of the day.


Russia’s Attack on Ukraine, COVID-19, State of the Union, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, UN Climate Report, and Sacramento Murder-Suicide Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/28). Russia’s continued attacks on the Ukraine and the rest of the world’s response; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and relaxing mask mandates; tonight’s State of the Union address by President Joe Biden; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the dire warning on the effects of climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; and the murder of three children and their chaperone by the children’s father in a Sacramento church were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.