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Cumulus Planning to Drop Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
In a major shakeup for the radio industry, Cumulus Media, the second-biggest broadcaster in the country, is planning to drop both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity from its stations at the end of the year, an industry source told Politico on Sunday. Cumulus has decided that it will not renew its contracts with either host, the source said, a move that would remove the two most highly rated conservative talk personalities from more than 40 Cumulus channels in major markets. New York Daily News New York radio observers have been expecting for the past year that Limbaugh and probably Hannity would leave WABC, which is owned by Cumulus, for rival WOR. Speculation about possible replacements at WABC for Limbaugh’s noon-3 p.m. show and Hannity’s 3-6 p.m. show has focused on Mike Huckabee and WABC evening hosts Mark Levin and Michael Savage, who signed with Cumulus last year. Deadline Hollywood In May, Limbaugh reportedly mulled leaving Cumulus after receiving blame for advertiser decline in the wake of his controversial Sandra Fluke comments. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey told Bloomberg TV at the time that “we have the premier talk distribution platform in the business and if you want to be on a big stage in this game, you need to be on our stations in the largest markets. They’re the biggest signals, the heritage brands and everybody knows that.”
Posts Tagged ‘Cumulus’
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Country is alive and kicking on Cumulus’ NASH FM, a first in 17 years on New York. It was also a rare flip to Country 40 years ago today, February 26, 1973. The WHN call letters started in 1922 at 1050. But country would have to wait several more decades and format adjustments.
By the 1960s, Beautiful Music was in full effect as WHN was resurrected for the second time. Owner Storer made the move to Country. Like today with Cumulus’ NASH FM, Country was never a hotbed for New York listeners. Nearby WJRZ in Hackensack, New Jersey, was one of the few area Country/Western spots. But it was gone by 1971, setting the stage for WHN to fill the void.
The station was sold to the Mutual Broadcasting System in the late 1970s. It got its strongest format competition when WKHK was born in 1980. By 1984, it would become WLTW. WHN prevailed, but the heyday was in the rear view mirror. Two years later, in what was the final nail in WHN’s coffin, Emmis purchased the station. It added sports talk programming to the Mets baseball games, which started in 1983. The Mets also called WHN home in the early 1970s.
On July 1, 1987, WHN’s Country format ceased in favor of the nation’s first all-sports format–WFAN. THe last voice on WHN was Dan Taylor, now WCBS-FM morning man. He talks about the station’s success, and credits program director Ed Salamon for making the difference.
Now the real fun begins!
Cumulus has announced its midday and afternoon jocks for NASH FM 94.7, New York’s first Country format in more than 15 years.
The station debuted last month, and Cumulus quickly stated that the NASH name will be branded nationally.
Ford joins NASH FM from Denver where she woke up Country listeners for 20 years. She has won best Major Market Radio Personality three times from the Country Music Awards and once from the Academy of Country Music Awards as well as a prestigious Marconi Award for Excellence from the National Association of Broadcasters.
Cumulus has yet to hire an air staff at the brand new NASH FM. But management is making strides toward the future.
Maire Mason has been named general sales manager of Cumulus New York. The former general manager of Oldies giant WCBS-FM, Mason has more than 20 years in industry with sales management experience. Most recently, she headed the sales department at Merlin Media’s now defunct FM News.
But there were definitely good times for Mason.
She was part of a CBS Radio team that won six Marconi Awards, and was named twice to the Radio Ink list of Most Influential Women in Radio.
The Cumulus New York stations are 77 WABC, WPLJ, and upstart NASH FM 94.7 Country format.
“I am enormously excited about building the NASH sales team and developing long-lasting relationships with our advertising partners,” Mason said in a statement. “The country format exudes fun, listener involvement, and total backing by their artist, how can you not get involved?”
It’s official: New York’s Country station is now WNSH/NASH FM 94.7. The temporary WRXP call letters now belong to a station in Minnesota.
The newly acquired Cumulus station made the historic move to Country last week. Now, the nationwide search begins for an air staff and a combination program director/air personality.
Ed Salamon knows all about programming Country in New York. During the latter half of the 1970s Salamon was in charge at WHN, the most successful Country station New York has ever heard.
The timing was right for a Country return, and also for Salamon to write a book detailing his memories from the WHN days. While he puts the finishing touches on the book, due out next month, it’s a perfect opportunity to pick Salamon’s brain about NASH.
Salamon, who lives in Nashville, took advantage of the Web site’s streaming live feature. Waiting another month or two before NASH starts to use live jocks, Salamon cautions anyone from being critical as this isn’t the final product.
“I can’t be listening and commenting on it, because it’s going to be something different,” Salamon says.
Now that New York has a new home for country music, there will ultimately be air personalities on NASH FM 94.7.
Cumulus VP/New York market manager Kim Bryant tells FishbowlNY that it will take a month or so before DJs are phased into the programming.
Yesterday, Cumulus announced the plan for NASH branding nationwide with its stable of 83 Country stations. But Bryant says 94.7, which is expected to change call letters to WNSH next week, will stay true to the city.
“It’ll all be out of New York,” Bryant says. “We have a studio here. We’re going to be a New York radio station.”
Bryant confirms that NASH is broadcasting from 2 Penn Plaza, alongside sister stations WPLJ and WABC.
She strikes down any possibility of linking the Country stations into a “Nash-in-nal” network.
“Every market is unique. Every market is going to have its own needs,” Bryant says.
Industry veteran Kim Bryant has been named executive in charge of Cumulus’ New York radio cluster. She’ll oversee all sales and station operations.
“As you would expect, we had hundreds of applicants for this position and Kim, with her passion for radio and incredible resume, was always our first choice,”COO/EVP Jon Pinch, tells All Access. “With WFME expected to close shortly, Cumulus will own and operate a significant cluster in market number 1 and Kim’s leadership will be essential for our continued success.”
Bryant joins Cumulus after more than 25 years in radio and television, most recently serving as EVP/marketing and sales for international cable channel Cinemoi.
“I believe this is one of the most exciting times in broadcasting. With all of the platforms at our reach from digital, video to social media and the important roll that radio plays in all of it,” Bryant said. “There is no place that I would rather be then with a progressive company like Cumulus and in one of the most important markets like New York City. I am thrilled to be working with the Cumulus team and one of the fastest growing radio companies in the U.S. today.”
We’re getting more details about Cumulus’ recent acquistion of Newark, New Jersey-based WFME. The broadcasting company is paying Family Stations $40 million, All Access reports.
Cumulus is using Radio License Holding X, LLC for the purchase that includes Country WDVY in Mount Kisco, a simulcast of WDBY/Kicks 105.5.
There’s an added wrinkle that could ultimately bring Cumulus a larger payout. Cumulus will receive an extra $8.5 million if WFME is moved into the five boroughs as a Class A or B1 within five years. It jumps to $10 million if WFME finds a home within the city limits at a classification higher than B1.
The deal also includes a provision for Family Stations to keep the WFME call letters, while Cumulus will retain the WDVY calls.
Cumulus has added a third station to its New York stable. WFME, the Religion station part of evangelist Harold Camping‘s Family Stations, covers much of the New York area from a West Orange, New Jersey tower.
WFME, a Newark based station, joins WPLJ and WABC under the Cumulus ownership.
All Access reports the deal is for an undisclosed price.
“This strategic acquisition of our second FM in the nation’s largest market will enable us to provide compelling new programming for our listeners and a powerful marketing vehicle for our advertising partners,” said Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey said in a statement.
The acquistion is expected to be completed by the end of the year, with format plans to be released at that time.
Geraldo Rivera is experiencing a rebirth on radio. The WABC midday host will expand to a national audience later this summer. Rivera’s show will be offered to Cumulus Radio Network affiliates, totaling more than 4,000 stations.
The show, which launched on WABC in January, and subsequently added KABC in Los Angeles.
Following the success of those shows, Geraldo will become a single live national show launching in advance of this summer’s political conventions. The show’s tagline is, “Not Red. Not Blue. But Red, White & Blue.”
“When Geraldo agreed to host shows for Cumulus stations in New York and L.A. we had a hunch there’d be national substantial listener interest in his incisive and insightful style,” John Dickey, co-chief operating officer of Cumulus, says. ”Now we’re thrilled that with Geraldo such a success in those two markets the show will now be available across the country.”
In just a few months on the air, Rivera spearheaded coverage during the early stages of the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman murder case. And his comments about the role apparently played by the young victim’s clothing, his ‘hoodie’, became the basis for an international debate.
Rivera will continue to host his Sunday night show on Fox News Channel, where he’s a frequent contributor weekdays.
The Geraldo radio begins its national run August 13, from 9 a.m. to noon. eastern time.