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iHM/West Michigan Ups WBCT PD Taft to SVP/Programming

Dave Taft
Dave Taft
iHeartMedia/West Michigan elevates Country WBCT-FM (B-93.7)/Grand Rapids PD Dave Taft to Senior VP/Programming duties for the company's West Michigan region, including Grand Rapids and Muskegon. He'll continue as WBCT's PD, a role he's handled since September, 2009, after serving as Assistant PD/MD, then interim PD of WBCT. He previously handled Operations Manager duties for then Clear Channel's co-owned cluster in Muskegon, and PD responsibilities at the former WSHZ-FM (Star 108).

Concurrently, Sports WMAX-FM (96.1 ESPN)/Grand Rapids Assistant PD and afternoon co-host Jim Costa is upped to Program Director. He replaces News/Talk WOOD-AM & FM and News/Talk WTKG-AM PD Phil Tower.

"Dave is an incredible programmer," said Regional Senior VP/Programming Tony Travatto. "He's got the perfect blend of expertise to grow our listeners and clients, and we know he will continue to dominate the media market in West Michigan with our team."

SoCast Introduces Digital Ad Platform for Radio Revenue

SoCast has launched SoCast Ads, a digital revenue advertising platform that company says can bring more and new dollars to radio. The platform enables the sale and management of online display, video and mobile across a station's digital assets. SoCast Ads uses data from a radio outlet's digital channels (web, app, social, etc.), along with extensions to other relevant digital ad platforms, to drive multiple revenue solutions for local advertisers. Forcht Broadcasting and Renda Broadcasting in the U.S. and Acadia Broadcasting in Canada have already signed on.

"We believe radio is poised to take its share of growing digital ad dollars, and the SoCast Ads platform opens that revenue stream," stated SoCast CEO Elliott Hurst. "By extending digital advertising offerings beyond its own assets, radio can deliver the full-service marketing expertise that local advertisers need."

"Radio sellers have to become digital marketing specialists," added SoCast COO Sandy Hurst. "There's more to selling digital advertising than the usual ‘spots and dots,' and radio sellers need to be equipped with best-in-class tools and know-how to help advertisers develop local campaigns across broadcast and digital platforms."

SoCast also includes digital ad selling and management tools, weekly campaign reports, geo-targeting and geo-fencing capabilities, strict advertiser brand safety measures and more. It was created specifically for radio and offers a suite of integrated products that can be customized to meet a broadcaster's specific needs. The SoCast one-dashboard-publishing model makes it easy for broadcasters to manage their digital content and ad campaigns across websites, mobile, smart speakers, video, audio and social.

BMG CEO Beasley Unveils ''Beyond the Business'' Podcast

Beyond The Business
Beyond The Business
Beasley Media Group announces CEO Caroline Beasley recently interviewed Dr. Shawn DuBravac, author of the New York Times best seller "Digital Destiny: How the New Age of Data Will Transform the Way We Work, Live and Communicate" (Regnery, 2015), during a two-part interview for her new podcast entitled "Beyond the Business." For over a dozen years, DuBravac served as chief economist for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,000 consumer tech companies and owner and producer of CES.

"Podcasting is an area of growth in the audio space that I am personally very passionate about as we continue to grow as a company," said Beasley. "It was such a privilege to speak with Shawn and hear his valuable thoughts about the future role of smart cities, the transformation of automotive industry and more."

Shawn DuBravac is a well-regarded futurist and trendcaster who writes frequently on disruptive technological shifts. He advises companies and C-level executives on market opportunities and industry strategy. He is president and founder of Astra Insights which provides consulting, research and advisory services to CxOs on a myriad of topics including digital transformation strategies, business model disruptions, the pace of technological change and overcoming myopic thinking.

To download the first of the two-part interview session, go to www.bbgi.com.

WWO Collaborates with AP News Network for Ad Sales Rep

Westwood One
Westwood One
Westwood One has formed a collaboration with The Associated Press (AP) and its shortform news network for ad sales representation of their bartered breaking news wire service, photos, video, web content, sports scores, datasets and audio bites, among others. AP, which already has a presence on scores of stations across the country, offers audio news services for broadcast, podcast or live stream. AP is expanding its barter services in 2019, including its Presidential Campaign Kit.

"AP is very pleased to have our diverse content set and affiliate list represented by Westwood One in the advertising marketplace. Westwood One has a rich history of providing consumers relevant news talk, entertainment and sports programming." said The Associated Press VP/Local Media Michael Fabiano.

Westwood One COO Charles Steinhauer added, "Westwood One has had a long relationship with the AP, and with our entry into the short duration ad market they were a natural partner."

Vipology Signs Major Market Groups in Smart Speaker Space

Vipology inks long-term partnerships with broadcasters Local Media San Diego, Leighton Broadcasting, Auburn Network Inc., Dickey Broadcasting Company, Big Thicket Broadcasting and Mapleton Broadcasting to utilize VS3 (Vipology Smart Speaker System) via Amazon's Alexa. VS3 details user data such as Sessions, TSL, Reach & Frequency and user locations to identify Hot Zips for programming and sales.

Vipology CEO Chris Peaslee said, "We're attracting the most forward thinking radio groups in the country because of our smart speaker system, VS3. Our industry leading sales capabilities have resulted in 1100% ROI for our partners. VS3 also generates incredible real time user data that supports programming and sales."

Inner Harbor Media/Syracuse, NY, VP/Station Manager Sam Furco added, "WOLF FM Syracuse listeners now listen nearly 3 hours per session, and we've increased our streaming TSL by 18% in just the last 60 days! We're on track to have more Vipology VS3 users than mobile app users."

jacapps Announces Salem Media Group as Newest Client

Custom app developer jacapps has built and now launched more than 100 audio apps for its newest client, Christian radio broadcaster Salem Media Group. The 116 new apps, which are a complete upgrade, are available now in the Apple iTunes and Android Play stores and further broaden Salem's network and ability to share digital content with its audiences in 33 U.S. markets including Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. This includes mobile apps featuring Salem syndicated air personalities such as Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, Mike Gallagher, Larry Elder and Eric Metaxas.

"We have a very loyal listener base, but we are competing not just with other radio stations or media providers, but with other digital content that is available to consumers anytime, anywhere," said Salem Director of Digital Operations Rodney Whitaker. "We need solutions that make it as easy as possible for people to find, listen to and interact with us on their mobile devices, and jacapps has provided those with these new apps."

"You no longer need a radio to listen to the radio," said jacapps President Paul Jacobs. "Listeners want their content on-demand, wherever they are, and the brands that support that content want to connect with consumers in meaningful ways. Our job is to help clients, like Salem, create applications to make that all possible."

Brad Holtz to Become WTTS Indianapolis General Manager

Brad Holtz
Brad Holtz
Geoff Vargo will retire as President/GM of AAA WTTS-FM/Indianapolis at the end of the year following 37 years with parent company Sarkes Tarzian. Station Manager Brad Holtz will become General Manager, effective January 1, 2019. As part of the transition, WTTS Assistant PD/MD Laura Duncan is elevated to WTTS PD, effective immediately. She'll also serve as PD of co-owned News/Talk WGCL-FM/Bloomington, IN and will become PD of sister Alternative WAJI-FM-HD2 (ALT 99-5)/Fort Wayne, IN, by the end of the year.

Holtz has spent 21 years in Indianapolis radio, starting his career in programming and promotion roles with Emmis Communications. He's been PD of WTTS since 2002, while airing in middays and afternoons along the way. He added WGCL and WAJI-HD2 programming duties and became Director of Programming for Sarkes Tarzian's properties.

Holtz said "As I move into a new role in my career, I'm delighted that Laura Duncan will take over the programming reigns at WTTS. As our APD/MD for the past 14 years, Laura has set herself apart as one of the most dedicated and passionate in our business. She'll be an outstanding programmer at WTTS."

A 30-year veteran programmer and air personality, Duncan has served as Music Director for WTTS since 2004, winning "Music Director of the Year" multiple times. She'll continue to air in afternoons.

Rosenworcel Launches First Ever FCC Commissioner Podcast

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel launches "Broadband Conversations," the first-ever FCC Commissioner podcast dedicated to highlighting women who are making an impact on our digital lives. Each episode, Commissioner Rosenworcel will talk to women who are breaking new ground and forging new paths in technology, media, and innovation about what they're working on, what's on their minds, what they think is the next for the future.

"Women are almost half the labor force in this country yet only hold barely a quarter of jobs in science, technology, engineering and math fields. I'm reminded of this fact when I go into boardrooms, classrooms or meeting rooms -- there are not enough women at the table. Because there are just too few, it's time to amplify women's voices from across the technology and innovation sectors."

The first episode, featuring Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, was released Wednesday. During the episode, Commissioner Rosenworcel and Senator Cortez Masto discuss about how they can get more girls coding, how cities can be smarter, and why getting connected and online is essential for everyone to have a fair shot at 21st century success.

Broadband Conversations can be found at the FCC, iTunes, Google Podcasts on Android, and GooglePlay. Additional episodes will feature Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant, San Jose CA CIO Shireen Santosham, Professor of Urban Policy and Management Maya Wiley at the New School and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Potomac Radio Group to Acquire Two in Washington DC

Potomac Radio Group has agreed to acquire 50kW Asian WCRW-AM (1190)/Leesburg, VA and 50kW International WUST-AM (1120)/Washington, DC, from Potomac Radio, LLC and New World Radio Inc., respectively. Both outlets serve Washington DC and Baltimore areas. Terms were not immediately disclosed.

The sellers are headed by Trustees Alan Pendleton and Dick Aronoff. Both Potomac and New World have no other broadcast interests. Potomac Radio Group is a Virginia-based corporation and owns no other radio stations.

Kalil & Co. brokered the transaction.

BFA Raises Over $250,000 at Celebrity Golf Tournament

The Broadcasters Foundation of America (BFA) raised $250,000 to help broadcasters in need during its Celebrity Golf Tournament on Monday at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, NY. The annual event is one of the Broadcasters Foundation's biggest fundraisers, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to broadcasters in need. This year, more than 150 broadcasters and celebrities came out in support of their colleagues, who due to illness or unforeseen disaster have experienced terrible loss.

"For the second year in a row, we have seen an unprecedented increase in applications for emergency aid due to the devastation from natural disasters," commented Broadcasters Foundation Chairman Dan Mason. "Additionally, more broadcasters are reaching out for monthly grants, as people live longer but do not always have the means to pay for life-sustaining medications and medical care. The Broadcasters Foundation is often the last refuge for these broadcasters whose lives have been severely affected by unforeseen circumstances."

Celebrity golfers included: WCBS-TV's Maurice Dubois, Otis Livingston and Chris Wragge; WCBS-FM's Scott Shannon; actress and philanthropist Rachel Grant; NBA All-Star Ray Allen and NBA Star Donny Marshall; 1980s Miracle on Ice Star Mike Eruzione; ESPN's John Anderson and Anita Marks; NY Jets' Greg Buttle and Voice of the NY Jets Bob Wischusen, among others.

Sponsors included: title sponsor Evercore Wealth Management, ABC Channel 7, CBS Television, Entercom/CBS Radio, NBC Owned TV Stations & Telemundo Station Group, Eileen & Jack Connors, Jr., ESPN Radio, Empire Merchants/Diageo Brands, Flexjet, Katz Media Group, Norman Knight Charitable Foundation, Nielsen, Putnam Investments, Tito's Handmade Vodka, and others.

The Lee Iacocca Villa Nicola in Tuscany, which was donated by Ned and Kate Hentz, pulled in an additional $20,000 in auction.

CNN's Chris Cuomo to Host Live Weekday Show for SiriusXM

Chris Cuomo
Chris Cuomo
SiriusXM announced that CNN's Chris Cuomo will host a two-hour weekday program on SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S., channel 124. "Let's Get After It with Chris Cuomo" will premiere on Monday, September 24, at 12pm ET. His news program "Cuomo Prime Time" airs weeknights on CNN from 9-10pm ET, which is also simulcast on SiriusXM. As the Emmy-Award winning journalist and anchor, he regularly speaks with prominent figures, while reporting on breaking news from CNN headquarters in New York, Washington DC and around the globe.

Cuomo has led no-nonsense interviews with major political leaders on both sides of the aisle, including President Obama, as well as key members of the Trump administration, including the counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway and the president's attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

"Chris is a remarkable journalist, with a history of tough interviews that have everyone talking the next day," said SiriusXM Senior VP/News, Talk and Entertainment Megan Liberman. "On his new SiriusXM show, Chris will continue that tradition of fostering important, engaging conversations, while also giving listeners the bigger picture about what's going on in Washington and beyond."

"The opportunity to deal with listeners directly about the biggest news stories and to share different sides of my personality and outside interests for two hours a day on SiriusXM - and then have Cuomo Prime Time ready to go at 9pm EST - wow dream come true. #LetsGetAfterIt," added Cuomo.

iHeartMedia Renews Partnership with Seattle Thunderbirds

Seattle Thunderbirds
Seattle Thunderbirds
iHeartMedia Seattle inks a partnership renewal with the Seattle Thunderbirds to continue airing T-Birds games for two more years, with a third-year option. All T-Birds regular season and playoff games can be heard on Sports KFNQ-AM (1090 KJR). Play-by-play talent Thom Beuning is entering his 18th season calling T-Birds games. Some regular season and playoff games could air on co-owned Sports KJR-AM (950).

"We are very happy to renew our partnership with iHeart Media Seattle," said T-Birds Vice President Colin Campbell. "They have been instrumental in growing our game and reaching new fans."

KFNQ will continue to carry a half-hour weekly Coach's Show with T-Birds head coach Matt O'Dette. The Coach's Show will be heard every Thursday during the season from 6-6:30pm and hosted by Beuning and will take a weekly in-depth look at the team. The Coach's Show will also feature Beuning talking with WHL and NHL connected hockey guests. The first Coach's Show this season will air on September 20.

"We are very much looking forward to continuing our partnership with the Seattle Thunderbirds," said iHeartMedia Seattle Senior VP/Programming Rich Moore. "The momentum around hockey in our community is exciting and we are glad to be a part of it. The T-Birds have a passionate fan base that we are lucky to service and to be in front of."

Also, as part of the partnership renewal, all iHeartMedia stations in Seattle will participate with the T-Birds promotional and giveaway nights this season.

Radio Drives Tune-In for TV, Delivers Younger Viewers

Westwood One
Westwood One
Westwood One is sharing the results from a major cable network's advertising campaign that used broadcast radio to help launch the returning season of a scripted drama series. The media plan also included paid TV and promos running on their network and co-owned networks. Westwood One retained Nielsen to study how the combination of AM/FM radio and TV helped drive tune-in for the premiere. This was one of the first TV tune-in ROI studies to examine both TV and AM/FM radio.

AM/FM radio accounted for a small percentage of the media budget but generated significant impressions and incremental reach. Although AM/FM radio only represented 5% of paid media, it delivered 20% of total campaign impressions. With amplified frequency, AM/FM radio drove tune-in conversion as the more frequently consumers were exposed to tune-in ads, the greater the conversion to viewing the premiere. Tune-in conversion is especially high among consumers who are exposed to ads six or more times.

Compared to TV, AM/FM radio delivered a much younger audience: TV's audience skews older than AM/FM radio's audience. 70% of AM/FM radio impressions came from 18-54 year olds. Conversely, nearly half of all the TV impressions were from 55+. From a cost standpoint, AM/FM radio's reach and impressions were achieved much more efficiently. AM/FM radio is only 20% of TV'S CPM and cost per thousand net reach.

TV tune-in best practice was to utilize 125-150 GRPs of network radio to efficiently optimize a tune-in campaign with incremental reach and amplified frequency.

Celebrity Gossip Columnist Perez Hilton Joins PodcastOne

Perez Hilton
Perez Hilton
Celebrity gossip columnist Perez Hilton announces the debut of "The Perez Hilton Podcast with Chris Booker" on PodcastOne. The hottest stories and celebrity scoop are revealed through the humorous lens of Hilton and fellow pop-culture expert Booker. The pair brings their unique, and often clashing perspective and insight to the microphone, in this audio extension of one of the leading go-to sites for celebrity news. New episodes of the podcast will be released weekly, in line with the biggest news of the week.

"We are finally home," said Hilton. "PodcastOne is the leader in the space. I'm upset we didn't get here sooner. Chris Booker and I have been doing The Perez Hilton Podcast for over three years now, and each week it gets better and better. Our chemistry is unlike any other. People keep tuning in every week and catching up on all the old episodes they've missed because they don't just enjoy what's hot in pop culture, they also love the two of us together. That relationship with our listeners is so special to us. And we are so confident and grateful that PodcastOne will help us get heard by even more people. Tune in. We're trending now."

PodcastOne Chairman and CEO Norman Pattiz added, "We're happy to welcome Perez Hilton to PodcastOne. His radio and television visibility, plus his hugely successful blog, have made him the reliable source for celebrity scoops - which he's been delivering for years."

Senate Passes Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act

The Senate has passed the Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act (MMA), joining the House of Representatives in unanimously approving the first reform of music copyright law in decades. Because the bills are not identical, the bill now goes back to the House for approval, and then to the White House where President Trump is expected sign. The MMA includes language that will establish a formal role for Congress as the Department of Justice reviews consent decrees with ASCAP and BMI -- the two largest performing rights organizations. Collectively they license over 90% of the musical works that are played on local radio stations.

NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith said, "NAB applauds Senate passage of the Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act. Naming this critical legislation after Senator Hatch is a fitting tribute to his tireless efforts to improve the lives of songwriters. NAB appreciates the hard work of Senators Hatch, Whitehouse, Alexander and Coons, Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein in producing a compromise bill that will benefit songwriters, legacy recording artists, producers, digital streaming services, and music listeners.

"We are particularly supportive of a provision added to the Senate bill ensuring enhanced congressional review of any DOJ changes to ASCAP and BMI consent decrees. These decrees are essential to a functioning music marketplace, and any action to terminate them will now be preceded by appropriate Congressional oversight to protect the interests of songwriters, licensees, and consumers of music."

iHeartRadio Music Festival Reveals Celebrity Presenters

iHeartMedia has revealed its list of presenters and attendees that will appear at the iHeartRadio Music Festival and Daytime Stage on Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22. Celebrity presenters include SNL's Taran Killam; Ireland Baldwin, Erin Foster and Sara Foster from VH1's "Barely Famous;" Ken Jeong, Sarah Hyland, Sabrina Carpenter, Nikki Bella and Brie Bella from "Total Bellas;" Victoria Secret model's Lais Ribeiro; KJ Apa, Skeet Ulrich and Luke Perry from "Riverdale;" Sharna Burgess from DWTS; The CW's Candice Patton; Boyz II Men and Paula Abdul.

Celebrity attendees include Taylor Lautner, Sofia Carson, Debby Ryan, Lance Bass, Jana Kramer, Ben Higgins, Becca Tilley, Ashley Iaconetti, Jared Haibon, Wells Adams, Jason Tartick and Blake Horstmann from "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette." Also attending are Stephanie Pratt from MTV's The Hills; plus host Ryan Seacrest and iHeartRadio air talent Big Boy, Bobby Bones, Elvis Duran, The Breakfast Club and Woody.

Each night Elvis Duran will host a live backstage broadcast featuring performances and artist interviews that will air across iHeartMedia radio stations in more than 150 markets and on iHeartRadio. The CW Network will also livestream both nights of the festival and the Daytime Stage via CWTV.com and The CW App. The CW Network will then broadcast a two-night television special on October 7 and October 8 from 8-10pm. This year, iHeartRadio's on-air personality Angi Taylor from 103.5 KISS FM in Chicago will be the 2018 backstage announcer during The CW's livestream and television special.

The 2018 lineup includes Justin Timberlake, Fleetwood Mac, Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey, Imagine Dragons, Jason Aldean, Sam Smith, Luke Bryan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Panic! At The Disco, Kelly Clarkson, Shawn Mendes, Kygo, Rae Sremmurd, Logic and Childish Gambino among others. Plus, this year's Macy's iHeartRadio Rising Star winner Heffron Drive.

The Daytime Stage at the iHeartRadio Music Festival will take place at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds on Saturday, September 22 with performances by Logic, Dua Lipa, 5SOS, Lil Uzi Vert, Dustin Lynch, Bazzi, Belly, Bobby Bones and The Raging Idiots, Greta Van Fleet, Bad Bunny, Grandson, Leon Bridges, MAX, Badflower, The Vamps, Drax Project and FOX's The Four: Battle For Stardom Season One Winner and iHeartMedia's "On the Verge" artist Evvie.

iHM/Milwaukee Teams with FOX 6, CCOA for Florence Relief

Florence Relief Fund
Florence Relief Fund
iHeartMedia Milwaukee in partnership with local Fox affiliate "Fox 6" and Clear Channel Outdoor Americas will host a Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief Phone Bank to benefit families affected by the hurricane in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Air personalities from iHM's Milwaukee cluster will staff the phone bank and process donations on Wednesday, September 19 from 5am-12pm and 4-10:30pm. All proceeds will benefit the American Red Cross.

"It's great when multiple media outlets come together for the common good," said Market President Colleen Valkoun. "Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by Hurricane Florence and we're happy to help support the mission of the American Red Cross."

Listeners can also go to redcross.org/donate/cm/fox6now-pub.html to make a donation.

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WIL-FM/St. Louis: Remy from New Country 92.3's afternoon show ''Mason and Remy''raised thousands for the Humane Society of Missouri in a marathon 14-hour swing-a-thon on Tuesday. And Bud and Broadway, Kelly from Arnold and air talent from the other Hubbard Radio/St. Louis stations came out to ''pinch swing'' for Remy. The total number of golf balls hit by Remy (and other ''pitch swingers'') was 7,521.